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|This could be the year that quarterbacks Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger reach fantasy mortality.
The 39-year-old Saints passer Brees saw his touchdown production drop by 38 percent in 2017 Youth Tyler Pitlick Jersey , his 23 TDs the first time since 2007 he’s failed to throw at least 30. He still hit 4,000 yards for the 12th straight season but his 4,334 yards passing was his lowest since a Super Bowl run in the 2009 season.
Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram (once Ingram returns from a four-game suspension) are to blame for the potential fall. The duo accounted for 1,852 yards rushing last season while averaging a combined 5.2 yards per carry and 20 rushing touchdowns. The Saints have become a more balanced offense, which takes the weekly volume pressure off Brees. He attempted fewer than 600 passes for the first time since 2009 with 536 in 2017.
Brees isn’t going to fall into the scrap heap, but a balanced Saints team doesn’t bode well for his fantasy outlook. Drafting Brees between the 10th and 12th round in one-quarterback leagues this year makes more sense compared to the years when he was usually one of the top three quarterbacks off the board.
In the case of Roethlisberger, time is creeping up like a safety blitz. Although Big Ben threw 28 touchdowns last season, he has been something of an overrated fantasy commodity. Last year’s 10th place finish among quarterbacks was only the second time this decade Roethlisberger ranked in the top 10. The loss of offensive coordinator Todd Haley will also work against him along with the unnerving split between his work at home and on the road.
Roethlisberger will go earlier than expected and still merits value for those who selected Antonio Brown. However, this is the year to double down with a more consistent passer who can be plugged into the lineup when the Steelers are on the road.
NEW COLORS, SAME KING
Don’t expect the production from LeBron James to dip now that he’s donning a Lakers uniform. James finished sixth among all players in fantasy hoops this past season and will continue to maintain that pace. He also finished sixth in usage percentage at 31.6 percent, marking the 13th straight season he has been above 30 percent.
The pieces aren’t all together (yet) Authentic Alexander Radulov Jersey , so there’s no clear winner when it comes to which Lakers player benefits most from James’ arrival, although a healthy Brandon Ingram stands a chance to evolve into a fantasy-relevant player.
THE KID WILL BE ALRIGHT
Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker was the latest elite prospect to be called up, recording his first hit and RBI during his debut last week. Look for Tucker to begin laying the foundation toward becoming a fantasy star in the next year or two. His upside compares highly with fellow rookie outfielders Ronald Acuna Jr. (Braves) and Juan Soto (Nationals), as he projects to evolve into a .320 batting average with 25-30 homers, 100 RBIs and 20-25 steals, numbers that would make him a first-round pick in any format.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, Philip Rivers doesn't need to see anything more from Patrick Mahomes. In fact, he'd prefer not to see anything more.
The Chargers' veteran quarterback can already tell his young Chiefs counterpart is the real deal.
Rivers witnessed it up close while Mahomes threw four touchdown passes and led Kansas City to a season-opening 38-28 win over Los Angeles on Sunday in the second-year quarterback's second career start.
Rivers met up with Mahomes on the field after the final whistle and gave a few words of praise to the next big arm in the AFC West.
"I think he has a chance to be a really, really awesome player," Rivers said. "He has some arm talent. I'd like to borrow his arm every now and then. Some of those throws, he can really throw it Chris Wideman Jersey , and shoot, he's really accurate."
After an offseason of preparation and a preseason that included some tantalizing throws , Mahomes was poised and prepared from the start at StubHub Center. Although he went just 15 of 27 for 256 yards, Mahomes made no turnovers while connecting on several exceptional throws that showcased his vaunted arm strength and his growing touch in equal measure.
Afterward, Mahomes largely shrugged off his success and praised his teammates, showing the maturity that the Chiefs love.
"It felt comfortable out there," Mahomes said. "It helped that we game-planned well. I feel like I was seeing it well and getting it to other hands. There's definitely stuff we have to keep working on. There was stuff I could have hit that I didn't. Little things that I need to improve."
Those little things were dwarfed by Mahomes' ability to make big plays 鈥?with plenty of help from Tyreek Hill and De'Anthony Thomas, of course. The Chiefs' speedy playmakers also have no doubt about Mahomes' ability to handle the responsibility thrust upon him after Alex Smith's departure for Washington.
"Every time Pat steps into the huddle, he is very comfortable," Hill said. "With the play-call, he was like Tobias Rieder Jersey , 'OK, guys, let's drive this ball down their throat.' As a receiver, tight end, offensive line, we were like, 'We have a great leader in our huddle.'"
Mahomes' 284-yard performance in last year's regular-season finale at Denver played a role in persuading the Chiefs to leap into the future without Smith. Mahomes promptly became the third quarterback in Chiefs history to throw four touchdown passes in an opener, joining Len Dawson in 1963 and Smith last season.
Mahomes repeatedly found Hill , who finished with seven catches for 169 yards and two TDs, including an exceptional 58-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter. Mahomes got credit for another TD on a 1-yard shovel pass to Thomas , who grew up a few miles from StubHub Center.
Mahomes also completed three passes to Sammy Watkins Ryan Kesler Jersey , the Chiefs' expensive free-agent acquisition as a big-play threat. And his best throw might have been the 36-yard TD pass feathered perfectly to fullback Anthony Sherman late in the third quarter.
Hill made sure Mahomes played with a lead all afternoon by returning a punt 91 yards for a TD after the Chargers' opening possession. The big play provided a lesson to Mahomes on controlling his emotions.
"It was hard after Tyreek returned the punt," Mahomes said. "I tried to calm myself down and run the offense. Last year, having that Denver game, I knew when I went out there I was too excited. I needed to calm myself down before making a mistake first."
The Chargers racked up 541 yards and would have kept it close with their division rivals if they hadn't made two huge special teams mistakes. But Rivers realizes he's in for a few years of tough matchups with the Chiefs and Mahomes, whose potential looked unlimited in the cozy confines of the Chargers' temporary home.
"I haven't seen a ton of him, but he was really accurate today on some of those balls," Rivers said. "He seems to have (an arm) that can throw it from any arm angle, and he was poised. He's got a chance. That's what I was kind of trying to tell him after the game. Whether he wanted to hear it from me or not, he's got a chance to be really awesome. Just be steady and keep going. It's just too bad he's in our (division for) those two games (every year)."
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