News & Analysis

Fantasy Football Mailbag: Keeper league questions — Saquon Barkley vs. Lamar Jackson, Marquise Brown vs. Darren Waller and more

Welcome to the Weekly Fantasy Football Mailbag!

PFF's Andrew Erickson is here to answer any and all fantasy football questions on a weekly basis throughout the NFL preseason. The mailbag will appear periodically throughout the regular season.

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Submit questions for Andrew either via email ([email protected]) or Twitter @AndrewErickson_ or @PFF_Fantasy. Without further ado: Let's talk about Saquon Barkley, Lamar Jackson and answer all your pressing keeper league questions.

This week’s questions come courtesy of @profootballfocus on Instagram.

Keep Saquon Barkley for a 1st or Lamar Jackson for an 11th? — @guirrevi

You always want to get the best value when it comes to keepers, so in this case I'm going to lean on the side of Lamar Jackson. Saquon Barkley is going to be going in the first round anyway, so there is not much value to be gained by keeping him there, whereas with Jackson — at an 11th-round value — is absurdly good as PFF’s No. 2 fantasy quarterback. Keep in mind that the reason Jackson gave you such an edge last season was that his draft cost was so low. 

The best way to think about this question is to ask yourself: Which combination of players do you like better? Do you prefer Barkley and an 11th-round quarterback like Baker Mayfield or Jared Goff? Or do you prefer a different first-round running back and Jackson? I side with the latter. 

Keep Marquise Brown or Darren Waller? — @Thums7

The PFF consensus fantasy rankings and my rankings have Marquise Brown ranked one round ahead of Darren Waller. Brown has just so much upside and room to grow in hisYear-2 season. Last year, he generated an NFL-high passer rating of 134.4 on his 65 targets despite playing through injury.

The Ravens also are unlikely to repeat their league-leading 596 rushing attempts from 2019. Since 2010, the team that has led the NFL in rushing has seen its total rushing attempts decrease by 11% on average the following season. Less running means more passing volume for Mr. Hollywood Brown.

Waller, on the other hand, might have hit his ceiling from a target perspective last season with little competition on the roster. Waller saw just a slight increase in target competition last year when the team got Hunter Renfrow more involved, and his target rate per route run dropped from 30% to 22%. 

Is Nick Chubb a good keeper? — @_jacobhare

I am the highest on Nick Chubb among all the PFF rankers (No. 9 overall) so, yes, I do think he is a solid keeper option. The Cleveland Browns have made upgrades across the offensive line, added a fullback in Andy Janovich and got a new head coach who operated a successful ground game in Minnesota

Fullbacks don’t get any attention, but Chubb could smash running behind Janovich. Fullbacks are most commonly featured in 21 personnel sets, and no running back has a higher PFF rushing grade (84.4) in 21 personnel than Chubb since 2018.

You might be concerned about the presence of Kareem Hunt, but in a new offense there’s no guarantee that his usage as a receiver is going to be the same — especially with the Browns adding more tight ends to the roster. There’s a negative correlation between running back targets and tight end targets.

Besides, the Hunt/Chubb fantasy points per game splits are slightly misleading (13.0 vs. 12.6). Chubb’s ineffectiveness behind a bad offensive line and no fullback led to just four rushing touchdowns despite 32 carries inside the 10-yard line. His touchdown numbers will almost certainly regress positively in what should be a much more efficient offense in 2020. 

Quick Hitters

Who should I keep: Adam Thielen (2nd round), T.Y. Hilton (4th round), Tyler Boyd (16th round), DeVante Parker (16th round)? — @knuge32

Adam Thielen. He has the chance to be this year's Michael Thomas. You can read more about my excitement on him here

Keep Derrick Henry or Miles Sanders? Same price. — @ssanders15

The Big Dog: Derrick Henry

Keep Miles Sanders or Joe Mixon? — @willmatthews03

Joe Mixon

Keep three: Nick Chubb, Austin Ekeler, D.J. Moore, Adam Thielen, Kyler Murray. PPR, 6pt passing TD Superflex league — @kfanuele

Kyler Murray, Nick Chubb and Austin Ekeler

Mark Andrews or  T.Y. Hilton? — @Charliewi_27

Mark Andrews

Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, Kenyan Drake: I can keep only two RBs. — @BGcarnage

Easily Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon.

Patrick Mahomes in round 8 or Austin Ekeler in round 5? — @Johnnycahalane

The greatest quarterback on the planet, Patrick Mahomes.

How does Deebo Samuel’s injury impact his keeper value? — @nas_is_like_

I would be looking elsewhere. The track record of wide receivers coming back after foot injuries is not good. You do not want to invest a keeper selection in a player you might not even be able to use Week 1.

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