EARLY FANTASY HYPE TRAINS
The 2021 season is still in the early days of teams post OTAs, rookie mini camps and other various workouts, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hype coming via the media. We have already heard quite a bit from beat reporters and coaches praising the ability of their players and guys who are already in “the best shape of their career.” What does it all mean for fantasy football though? Take the situation in New England right now where the Patriots are saying Cam Newton looks like the better quarterback. Well, shouldn’t he? How much stock can we put into the hype being heaped upon players this early into the year, and what does it mean for their fantasy outlook? I'm going to take a look at a few players and discuss what the early chatter means and how much we can really expect from them.
If you have been on Twitter anytime in the last month, you’ve likely seen a report about how New York Jets rookie Elijah Moore has been showing out in all his workouts. The 34th overall selection out of Ole Miss was expected to be in the mix with the wide receiver core, but all reports so far seem to indicate that Moore will compete for the #1 role. The Jets are still going to be a team that struggles, especially with the talent in the AFC East at the moment, and rookie quarterbacks usually needing time to get adjusted to the speed of the game. Moore will likely not have any starter value in redraft leagues but could be an intriguing late round flyer. While the hype almost certainly won't match the on-field production, he is still someone worth keeping tabs on.
I don’t know if there is anything more predictable than the Patriots running back off-season hype piece, but here we go again. Damien Harris has been receiving the praise of beat reporters with reports that he will be the “decisive RB 1” heading into the season. Harris showed flashes in 2020 when he was on the field, but staying on the field was a struggle for him, playing in only 10 games. Likewise, he didn’t see much work in his rookie year in 2019 due to a crowded backfield, so I have my doubts that he will be the true workhorse back he’s being made out to be. The other factor that dampens the value of Harris is the rushing ability of Cam Newton, especially in the red zone. Newton had 12 rushing TDs in 2020 compared to just 2 for Harris, showing where the trust lies in terms of carries. Overall, I think Harris has a low floor with a slightly above average upside, but is someone to definitely keep an eye on heading into training camp.
These are just a couple of the early hype trains to follow as we approach training camps. I will advise all of you to remember to take everything we hear with a grain of salt. Players can look amazing in practice throughout the off-season and receive praise from the media, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to take that step up into fantasy relevancy. The media’s job is to hype up players, so listen and read what they’re saying in order to be informed enough to make your own opinions of these players. Thanks for reading and stay dreamin’!