2018 Fantasy Football: Former Pitt Panthers Player Outlooks

Senior Expert Shawn Childs breaks down the Fantasy Football potential of the best Pitt Panthers players now in the National Football League
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Are you a Pitt Panthers fan? Fortunately, not only does FullTime Fantasy Sports provide NFL team specific outlooks, but we also produce content for all you College Football fans following your favorite players from your favorite school!

Senior Fantasy Football Expert Shawn Childs breaks down and forecasts the top players from the biggest colleges in the nation! In this edition, he takes a look at Larry Fitzgerald, LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis and many more of your favorite Pitt players! Stay tuned for more College Football Player Breakdowns!

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WR Larry Fitzgerald– Over the last three seasons, Fitzgerald has 325 combined catches for 3,394 yards and 21 TDs on 456 targets. He’ll enter 2018 at the age of 35, which will give Fantasy owners a reason to fade him on draft day. Larry only needs 390 yards to pass Terrell Owens for the second most all-time. He needs 102 catches to pass Tony Gonzalez for the second most catches in NFL history. With David Johnson back on the field and what looks like an upgrade at QB with the addition of Sam Bradford, Fitzgerald should have more bullets in his gun. His yards per catch (9.6 in 2016 and 10.6 in 2017) will require plenty of looks to be a competitive lead WR in 2018. Hard worker with winning opportunity, possible 90+ catches for 1,000+ yards with mid-level TDs. Over his last three seasons, his catch rate (71.3) has been phenomenal.



RB LeSean McCoy – After a special season in 2016 where McCoy delivered 1,633 combined yards with 14 TDs and 50 catches leading to the 4th highest ranking at RB in PPR leagues, LeSean was tough to pass up on draft day in 2017. He’s a perfect case where stats from the previous season shouldn’t dictate draft value. In the end last year, McCoy finished with comparable yards (1,576) and catches (59), but regression in TDs (8) and less room to run (4.0 yards per rush compared to 5.4 in 2016) led to a 7th place ranking at RB in PPR leagues with 264.60 Fantasy points. The rub here is the next RB drafted in many leagues last year was Todd Gurleywon outscored LeSean by more than 120 Fantasy points. McCoy will start 2018 at age 28 with six seasons with over 1,000 yards rushing and five years with 50 catches or more. He has a high floor in most weeks with a chance to get more than 20 touches per game. Over the last eight seasons in the NFL, LeSean has 11 missed game in 108 possible starts. His stats point to another top 10 finish at RB in PPR leagues, but his offensive line has weakness plus the loss of a running QB will free up another linebacker to limit his ability to break into space. It is tough avoiding a player with a long resume of success, but the direction of this offense suggests more regression. Possible 1,400 yards with a chance at another 50 catches and below ten TDs. At best a second piece to the puzzle with risk on his late-season value. (Update: 7/27) McCoy reported to camp on time, and he remains positive on his playing time despite a huge legal case looming over him. Fantasy owners must follow LeSean’s off the field news in August as it could turn on a dime. With more information released, his season could be lost and possibly his career if he’s found tied to the incident vs. his ex-girlfriend at his house in Georgia.

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RB Dion Lewis – The Patriots turned to Dion Lewis over the second half of the season as their lead back. He finished with 212 touches for 1,104 yards with nine TDs and 32 catches while starting eight games. Over the last six games of 2018, Lewis had three games with over 100 combined yards (15/112, 153 combined yards with two TDs and five catches, and 133 combined yards with two TDs and six catches) while receiving 61 touches over the last two starts of the season. Dion projects as the pass-catching back with a change of pass value on early downs. Possible 150 rushes for 600+ yards plus 50+ catches for another 400+ yards with a handful of TDs.

RB James Conner – When watching the highlights of Conner, he looked to have the movements of a quarterback running the ball (Steve McNair was my thought) with a fullback’s mentality yet he has deceiving long speed. His footwork is choppy but driving while running with a high style. Over about three seasons at Pitt in college, James rushed for 3,733 yards on 668 carries with 56 TDs and minimal value in the passing game (30/412/4). He missed most of the 2015 season due to a successful battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. In his rookie season, Conner has 32 rushes for 144 yards. His season ended in Week 15 with a right knee injury that required surgery. The Steelers will give Conner the top backup role in 2018, which is a minimal opportunity unless Le’Veon Bell has an injury.

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WR Tyler Boyd – Over three seasons at Pittsburgh, Boyd caught 254 passes for 3361 yards and 21 TDs. His best success came in his sophomore year (78/1261/8). His hands are his drawing card with strength in his route running. In a way, his game fits the style of a big WR who can win many jump balls. Tyler projects to be a possession receiver. He lacks deep speed, and his quickness is a step below the best WRs in the NFL. Boyd may struggle against press coverage in the NFL until he adds more upper body strength and improves his release. His overall game has much higher ceiling than LaFell. His rookie season stats (54/603/1 on 81 targets) suggested upside, but a knee injury and an issue off the field that led to a weaker role in 2017 (22/225/2 on 32 targets). Boyd should become the WR that sees the short area targets in 2018 with Brandon LaFell being phased out and Tyler Eifert continues to battle health issues. Possible 50+ catches for 600+ yards with some value in TDs.

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