What You Need to Know About the Upcoming Fantasy Football Season
There are a number of things that you should take into account when preparing for your 2019 Fantasy Football season. Some of these are the same year after year; coaching changes, players on new teams, and players coming back from injuries. One of the other trends that I am sure you are aware of is players holding out for new contracts. If you drafted Le’Veon Bell last year then you know all too well how this can affect your team. I hope you were able to pull James Conner before someone else did.
Holdouts in my opinion are dumb. Yes you are a great player, but you signed a contract. If you didn’t do well would you expect the team to demand a refund? Probably not. So play out your contract and then chase the big money. Le’Veon was a little different because he got franchise tagged, he did not get a choice in the matter.
There is not much to worry about when it comes to holdouts. If you think I am crazy, then read this article from ESPN’s Dan Graziano (Link). Bell was not under a traditional contract, but rather a franchise tag. He was still able to become a free agent after sitting out all year, and he would have a certain guarantee of money from the franchise tag. Currently, Melvin Gordon and Ezekiel Elliott have not been to pre-season training as they holdout for contract negotiations. Unfortunately for them, if they do not play for the entire year their contract will “toll”. This means that it will just push everything back for another year and put that right back where they they are right now.
On the bright side for these players, especially for Elliott, their teams will still need a solid starting runningback if they want to make a run for the Super Bowl. This makes it likely that they will get better contracts. Both sides will have to give a little, but they can work it out and both of these teams could be very successful this year.
Elliott has a solid chance of being given the contract that he desires. There are several reasons for this. For starters, he is incredible on the field. He is one of the best running backs in the game. Also, the Dallas Cowboys don’t have a whole lot of depth in the running back position. Darius Jackson, Mike Weber and Jordan Chunn can’t even compare to the level of talent that Elliott posseses. This means that the Cowboys really need him.
If they choose not to pay him, and he sits out a game, this is what I expect to happen. They struggle to run the ball with their limited depth and resort to puting the ball in the hands of Dak Prescott. He does decent, still has couple of interceptions and they have a close game with the Giants week one. Now every team knows they will rely on a passing game and they will lock this down on defense. By week 3 at the latest Jerry Jones is personally calling Elliott and giving him whatever contract he wants so they can win some games. The only difference between this scenario and Emmitt Smith in 1993 is that the Cowboys didnt win a superbowl last year.
Melvin Gordon is does not quite have the bargaining power with the Los Angeles Chargers that Ezekiel Elliott has with the Dallas Cowboys. Gordon is a great running back, but not quite at the caliber of Elliott. Also, unlike the Cowboys, the Chargers have some depth at the running back position. Austin Ekeler had a great season last year when Gordon was out with an injury. Justin Jackson is also looking promising for the position as well. These guys are not as good as Melvin Gordon, but they can handle an adequate workload and keep things running smooth for the team. Its likely that he will renegotiate his contract, but will have to settle for less money than he wants. There is also a small chance that he can land a trade, but that would involve a team both paying him more, and giving up something to the Chargers.
I think that both of these players will land better contracts and play for the year. They may still miss a game or two in the beginning of the season, but when their teams decide they really need them, or when the players decide it is time to earn a paycheck, they will be back. So as far as your fantasy football team goes, I wouldn’t be too afraid to draft these guys. For Zeke, maybe scooping up Dak in a late round could offer help if Elliott sits our a game and Dak has the ball more often. For Gordon, I would definitely pick up Ekeler as a handcuff option. This worked well for those who did it last year when Gordon was injured. Draft well and best of luck in your season.