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The Wolf's Big Board:     Monday, August 21, 2017       Tier One - The Big Three ($65 - $75)   1 ) David Johnson (ARI) RB1   2 ) Le'Veon Bell (PIT) RB2   Tier Two - High-end WR1 and RB1s ($50-$65)   3 ) Antonio Brown (PIT) WR1   4 ) Julio Jones (ATL) WR2   5 ) Mike Evans (TB) WR3   6 ) Odell Beckham JR. (NYG) WR4   7 ) LeSean McCoy (BUF) RB3   8 ) AJ Green (CIN) WR5   9 ) Jordy Nelson (GB) WR6   10 ) Melvin Gordon (LAC) RB5   11 ) Jay Ajayi (MIA) RB6   12 ) DeMarco Murray (TEN) RB7   13 ) Michael Thomas (NO) WR7   14 ) Devonta Freeman (ATL) RB8   15 ) Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) RB9   Tier 3 - Remaining WR1s, Potential RB1s, and Gronk ($38 - $45)   16 ) Dez Bryant (DAL) WR8   17 ) Rob Gronkowski (NE) TE1   18 ) Todd Gurley (LAR) RB10   19 ) DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) WR9   20 ) Amari Cooper (OAK) WR10   21 ) Brandin Cooks (NE) WR11   22 ) Isaiah Crowell (CLE) RB11   23 ) TY Hilton (IND) WR12   24 ) Demaryius Thomas (DEN) WR13   25 ) Doug Baldwin (SEA) WR14   Tier 4 - High-End RB2 and WRs (with No.1 upside), Elite TEs ($25 - $35)   26 ) Jordan Howard (CHI) RB11   27 ) Marshawn Lynch (OAK) RB12   28 ) Tyreek Hill (KC) WR15   29 ) Keenan Allen (LAC) WR16   30 ) Martavis Bryant (PIT) WR17   31 ) Davante Adams (GB) WR18   32 ) Terrelle Pryor (WAS) WR19   33 ) Ty Montgomery (GB) RB13   34 ) Christian McCaffrey (CAR) RB14   35 ) Dalvin Cook (MIN) RB15   36 ) Joe Mixon (CIN) RB16   37 ) Leonard Fournette (JAX) RB17   38 ) Lamar Miller (HOU) RB18   39 ) Travis Kelce (KC) TE2   40 ) Michael Crabtree (OAK) WR20   41 ) Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) WR21   42 ) Carlos Hyde (SF) RB19   Tier 5 - Remaining #2 RB & WR options, elite QBs, High-End TE1s ($15 - $25)   43 ) Tom Brady (NE) QB1   44 ) Aaron Rodgers (GB) QB2   45 ) Bilal Powell (NYJ) RB20   46 ) Mark Ingram (NO) RB21   47 ) Eric Decker (TEN) WR22   48 ) Jordan Reed (WAS) TE3   49 ) Golden Tate (DET) WR23   50 ) Alshon Jeffery (PHI) WR24   51 ) Allen Robinson (JAX) WR25   52 ) Greg Olsen (CAR) TE4   53 ) DeSean Jackson (TB) WR26   54 ) Doug Martin (TB) RB22   55 ) Adrian Peterson (NO) RB23   56 ) Spencer Ware (KC) RB24   57 ) Willie Snead (NO) WR27   58 ) Danny Woodhead (BAL) RB25   59 ) Jamison Crowder (WAS) WR28   60 ) Sammy Watkins (LAC) WR29   61 ) Tevin Coleman (ATL) RB26   62 ) Mike Gillislee (NE) RB27   63 ) Jimmy Graham (SEA) TE5   64 ) Tyler Eifert (CIN) TE6   Tier 6 - Flex RBs, Upside WR3s, Quality TE1s and Elite QB ($10 - $15   65 ) Kelvin Banjamin (CAR) WR30   66 ) Julian Edelman (NE) WR31   67 ) Rob Kelley (WAS) RB28   68 ) Theo Riddick (DET) RB29   69 ) Stefon Diggs (MIN) WR32   70 ) Brandon Marshall (NYG) WR33   71 ) Jarvis Landry (MIA) WR34   72 ) DeVante Parker(MIA) WR35   73 ) LeGarrette Blount (PHI) RB30   74 ) Ameer Abdullah (DET) RB31   75 ) CJ Anderson (DEN) RB32   76 ) Zach Ertz (PHI) TE7   77 ) Hunter Henry (LAC) TE8   78 ) Martellus Bennett (GB) TE9   79 ) Jeremy Maclin (BAL) WR36   80 ) Cameron Meredith (CHI) WR37   81 ) Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) WR38   82 ) Pierre Garcon (SF) WR39   83 ) Drew Brees (NO) QB3   84 ) Matt Ryan (ATL) QB4   85 ) Delanie Walker (TEN) TE10   Tier 7 -Elite Bench Plays, Last Startable WRs and RBs, Quality QB1s   86 ) Derrick Henry (TEN) RB33   87 ) CJ Prosise (SEA) RB34   88 ) Donte Moncrief (IND) WR40   89 ) Terrance West (BAL) RB35   90 ) Thomas Rawls (SEA) RB36   91 ) James White (NE) RB37   92 ) Tyrell Williams (LAC) WR41   93 ) Randall Cobb (GB) WR42   94 ) Corey Davis (TEN) WR43   95 ) Frank Gore (IND) RB38   96 ) Jonathan Stewart (CR) RB39   97 ) Paul Perkins (NYG) RB40   98 ) Derek Carr (OAK) QB5   99 ) Jameis Winston (TB) QB6   100 ) Marcus Mariota (TEN) QB7   101 ) Kirk Cousins (WAS) QB8   102 ) Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) QB9   103 ) Philip Rivers (LAC) QB10   104 ) Cam Newton (CAR) QB11   105 ) Dak Prescott (DAL) QB12   106 ) Russell Wilson (SEA) QB13   107 ) Duke Johnson (CLE) RB41   108 ) Kareem Hunt (KC) RB42   109 ) Andrew Luck (IND) QB14   110 ) Tyrod Taylor (BUF) QB15   111 ) Jack Doyle (IND) TE10   112 ) Kyle Rudolph (MIN) TE11   Tier 7 - High End "Penny Stock" Bench Assets   113 ) Jamaal Williams (GB) RB43   114 ) Eddie Lacy (SEA) RB44   115 ) Joe Williams (SF) RB45   116 ) Robby Anderson (NYJ) WR44   117 ) Zay Jones (BUF) WR45   118 ) John Brown (ARI) WR46   119 ) Jamaal Charles (DEN) RB46   120 ) Eric Ebron (DET) TE13   121 ) D'Onta Foreman (HOU) RB47   122 ) Taylor Gabriel (ATL) WR47   123 ) Jacquizz Rodgers (TB) RB48   124 ) Darren Sproles (PHI) RB49   125 ) Marvin Jones (DET) WR48   126 ) Ted Ginn Jr (NO) WR49   127 ) Mike Wallace (BAL) WR50   128 ) Kenny Golladay (DET) WR51   129 ) Jonathan Williams (BUF) RB50   130 ) Alvin Kamara (NO) RB51   131 ) Samaje Perine (WAS) RB52   Tier 8 - Remaining "Penny Stocks" to consider   132 ) Josh Docston (WAS) WR52   133 ) Corey Coleman (CLE) WR53   134 ) Adam Thielen (MIN) WR54   135 ) Marlon Mack (IND) RB53   136 ) Julius Thomas (MIA) TE14   137 ) Austin Hooper (ATL) TE15   138 ) Jared Cook (OAK) TE16   139 ) OJ Howard (TB) TE17   140 ) Eli Manning (NYG) QB16   141 ) Andy Dalton (CIN) QB17   142 ) Matthew Stafford (DET) QB18   143 ) Carson Palmer (ARI) QB19   144 ) Matt Forte (NYJ) RB54   145 ) Branden Oliver (LAC) RB55   146 ) Kenny Britt (CLE) WR57   147 ) Cordarelle Patterson (OAK) WR58   148 ) Rex Burkhead (NE) RB56   149 ) Tarik Cohen (CHI) RB57   150 ) Nelson Agholor (PHI) WR59  

Mike Gillislee Fantasy Football Stock Profile: Immense TD Upside with the Patriots

Mike Gillislee

Position: Running Back

Former Team: Buffalo Bills

New Team: New England Patriots

Movement Summary

A year after robbing the Bills of Chris Hogan via restricted free agency, the Patriots pick their pockets again:

In the process, New England surrenders a fifth round draft pick, but gains a new early-down back to fill LeGarrette Blount‘s massive shoes. Gillislee goes from a mere high-end handcuff to a potential RB2 with mammoth TD upside, as we’ll explore deeper with his Fantasy Football Stock Profile.

Talent: 8 / 10

Gillislee doesn’t immediately jump off the page as truly “special” in any one facet.  Sure, at 5’11” and 210 lbs, he’s sizable, but he still isn’t a true “big back.”  His hands are solid, but he’s not anyone’s definition of a third-down specialist.  Though both strong and fairly fast, he’s neither a clear power nor speed back.

Yet, Gillislee does everything well, which is the exact versatility the Patriots crave. Besides being a well-rounded ball of size, strength, and speed, what jumps off the page most is Gillslee’s burst. Consistently avoiding tackles for losses, Gillislee reads blocks and finds the hole well, before sticking his foot in the ground and hitting it decisively . Often, this leads to broken tackles and allows Gillislee to reach the second level, where he displays strong open-field vision, frequently cutting back and gaining extra yards when available.

This hard-nosed, zero-hesitation style made Gillislee one of 2016’s most efficient backs, averaging a robust 5.71 yards per carry and scoring nine total TDs on just 110 touches.  Crucial on a Bill Belichick team, Gillislee has historically taken great care of the ball. Additionally, I always trust Belichick’s scouting eye, especially with divisional rivals who he sees twice a year (re: Wes Welker and Chris Hogan).  If the smartest man alive spies something, who are we to ever disagree?

In short, though he doesn’t truly “wow” anywhere, Gillislee absolutely churns with his powerful burst and strong all-around vision, making him a perfect fit for his upcoming role…

Opportunity + Usage: 8.5/ 10

 

Here’s where Gillislee’s fantasy value explodes.  Historically reliable ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss noted: “The Patriots aren’t paying Gillislee more than $3 million per season to be a backup, so the expectation is that he will essentially fill LeGarrette Blount’s role.”

What exactly does this role come with? In 2016, Blount’s heavy first and second down usage yielded the second most rushing attempts in the league (299). More importantly is the red zone usage: Blount’s 68 carries inside the 20 topped the league and were 15 more than next-closest David Johnson (53); Blount also led the league in carries inside the 10 (42) and inside 5 (24), all ultimately yielding a league-leading 18 TDs.

We already referenced Gillislee’s nose for the end zone. If he receives even close to this type of red zone work, 12+ TDs are a lock, and 15+ is a genuine possibility.

Despite the mammoth red zone role he inherits, Gillislee doesn’t receive a 10 in the usage department given this backfield’s serious depth (explored more in-depth later). He’ll be used minimally in the receiving game, and Belichick is sure to slip Rex BurkheadJames White, and Dion Lewis into certain red-zone packages.

Still, with early-down and red zone carries mainly his (and meshing perfectly with his get-upfield style), Gillislee carries one of the juiciest roles for fantasy backs; the lesser talented Blount rode this usage to a RB7 standard and RB9 PPR finish.

Lots of goal line plunges await Gillislee in this offense

Coaching Scheme: 7/ 10

As a reminder preface, this “scheme” grade strictly applies to Gillislee and keeps in the historic success (or lack thereof) of the “big back” in New England. Obviously, offensive wizard Josh McDaniels coaches a 10/10 scoring bonanza that maximizes everyone’s role and talent.

But it’s McDaniels “spread-the-wealth and “maximize the matchup” mentality causes game plans to be entirely revamped on a week-by-week basis, and this creates unpredictability. In fact, many owners simply put Patriots RBs right on their Do Not Draft list given this perceived inconsistency. Doing so, however, has caused owners to both dodge some bullets but also miss massive campaigns in equal measures.

In 14 seasons with Tom Brady as his QB, Belichick has coached 7 highly useful, often times monstrous, RBs that have gone for ~1,000 yards and over 10 TDs.  Yes, that means 7 other times he’s coached migraine-inducing committees, but these were often the results of injuries or fumbles (cough, Stevan Ridley, cough).  When Belichick has a talent he trusts and hand selects, the results have usually been fantastic.

In this light, Belichick didn’t surrender a 5th round pick and over $4 million this season for a running back he plans to sit.  Of course, with receiving backs Dion Lewis, James White, and Rex Burkhead all aboard, the catches will be light, but Gillislee should be a solid bet for between 200 – 250 carries, with around 40+ coming in the red area.  He falls forward, doesn’t fumble, and will set the team up well on second and third downs — think a juiced up Benjarvus Green Ellis, who feasted in Belichick’s scheme for 229 carries for 1,008 yards and 13 TDs in 2010.

Yes, the weapons cabinet is stacked and McDaniels is going to ride Jesus aka Tom Brady.  Yes, predictability has not been the exact word to describe the Patriots backfields historically. But New England has produced monsters, loves running in near the goal line, and will frequently be in the red zone, setting Gillislee up well for double digit scores and a real shot at 900-1,000 yards.

Surrounding Talent: 8.5 / 10

This one is a bit redundant, as Gillislee both benefits and is cursed from the wealth of talent surrounding him. On the positive, with Tom Brady slinging the rock to his most dangerous cast yet (Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman… Chris Hogan…Malcolm Mitchell?!?) defenses cannot come close to keying in on Gillislee; boxes will be light and scoring chances plentiful.  Additionally, the Patriots fielded the 6th best run blocking line in the league according to Pro Football Focus, much in part to the (again) returning Dante Scarnecchia and his brilliant tutelage.

On the negative, such a stacked cast limits just how many scores Gillislee can net. Of course, the scoring pie is massive, but the mouths to feed are equally plentiful.  Especially in the backfield (again – James White, Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis), Gillislee faces tons of competition for carries. Truth, he’s a different mold than the other three and appears set for a more differentiated role, which should help keep him easily the most consistent and trustworthy of the bunch; still, Belichick will keep defenses guessing with a variety of packages and looks.

Overall, with the seemingly clearest role (re: early downs and scoring chances) amidst such an explosive cast, Gillislee is definitely more helped than harmed by his teammates.

Touchdowns will always be plentiful when this stud is leading the charge

Risk: 6.5 / 10

As a reminder, risk boils down to injury history and/or susceptibility, as well as expected consistency. Unfortunately, Gillislee’s injury history is tough to assess; though he has never suffered any major ailment, Gillislee has never been fed overly significant work even dating back to college.  This shouldn’t be a major issue, however, as Gillislee isn’t expected to shoulder an enormous workload in New England (just a valuable one). He did suffer some hamstring ailments last season,  and Gillislee does run with physicality, which makes him susceptible to dings.  Still, he remains a major unknown in terms of durability and conclusions are still tough to draw.

Thus, we turn to consistency.  As explored in depth, the Patriots backfield has been far from predictable. But if Gillislee is truly pegged for Blount’s role, the stability was unparalleled: double digit half-PPR FPs in 12 of 16 games, below 9 FPs only twice, never below six.  If Gillislee receives even somewhat similar work, he’s going to feast at a near identical pace. Just like his health, however, this remains a bit shrouded in mystery for now.

Overall Stock Score: 38.5 / 50 = 77, C+

Ceiling Projection / Scenario: Just like Corey Dillon, LeGarrette BlountStevan Ridley, and BenJarvus Green Ellis, Gillislee is treated as the sole early down back, feasting on a healthy workload that’s most fruitful near the stripe. Though a lack of receptions keeps him from truly elite territory, Gillislee’s dependable 10-12 FPs make him a title-swinging RB2.

260 carries – 1,200 yards – 14 TDs; 20 catches – 150 yards

Floor Projection / Scenario (excluding injury):  Belichick rotates his backs in a game-to-game nightmare carousel, and weekly usage is near impossible to predict. Gillislee mixes 20 carry, 120 yard, 2 TD days with 3 carry, 20 yard efforts, and becomes a tough-to-trust flex play in the process.

135 carries – 650 yards – 7 TDs

Bottom Line:  Projected to fill the “early down, goal line back” role in New England’s prolific offense, Gillislee drips with serious upside, especially in the scoring department.  Still, barriers exist: what will Gillislee’s exact usage be amidst so many talented backfield mates and surrounding weapons? Is he capable of handling a featured back pounding? Will he be involved on a weekly basis, or only against certain opponents?

Generally, the Patriots don’t forfeit valuable cash or draft assets without a clear, prominent role for the player in mind. Thus, Gillislee seems more likely to fall much closer to his ceiling projection than his floor, which makes for a valuable RB2 or better. Just draft extra depth in case he misses, as the floor is low and largely unusable.

2017 Predicted Stat Line:  210 carries, 937 yards, 11 TDs; 15 catches, 80 yards

We used this formula to nail David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott in 2016. Check back for more Fantasy Stock Profiles throughout the off-season to stay ahead of your fantasy football league.

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