Fading Khalil Mack is obvious… But how far do we let him fall until his value reaches a level we love?
This was Khalil Mack’s output last season:
61 Solo Tackles, 17 Assisted Tackles and 10.5 Sacks while playing all 16 games!
It’s clear to see why we would want him as the building block for our team. At this point, there are three thoughts you might be having while reading this article.
The First Thought:
Khalil Mack is one of the best defensive players in the game. This guy is stupid, I’m definitely drafting him in the 1st Round.
Don’t leave the article just yet. You’ll like what’s coming next!
The Second Thought:
Well duh, I already heard about the news way earlier in the preseason. Why is this guy writing an article about a guy we already have the scoop on?
Hey! Stay and keep reading, I’ll add some more context to it.
The Third Thought:
Well yeah, I wasn’t going to draft him in Round No. 1 but what about as my 2nd pick? It seems like an awesome value, I’ll stay and learn more, why not!?
We like you buddy. Thanks for tuning in.
Khalil Mack is undergoing a contract dispute with management and would like to get another deal done as soon as possible. The only issue is, that his agent and the Raiders organization are not budging from either side. These are types of negotiations we see from time to time where there is just no lee-way on either side. Negotiations last much much longer than it ever needs to be. The situation with Khalil Mack, on the other hand, is beginning to take a turn for the worst.
Reports have surfaced that Mack will sit out regular season games if a new extension is not reached. This is scary to think about for a guy that many people are willing to spend a first-round pick in drafts on.
Now how do we outline our perspective on someone who is so dominant and flashes moments of pure brilliance, but is in such a precarious situation? A situation that causes us to worry about the presence of that number 52 jersey back on the football field?
It’s simple, we don’t.
As human beings that participate in fantasy football leagues every single year, we examine pockets of value by players and how that can positively and negatively affect your shot at that illustrious championship. This consistently alters how we think about players and what we can do to provide our team with the best collective value each and every week.
Well, let’s take a look at how valuable Khalil Mack has been in real life so we have some understanding of just how dominant this guy is.
Having back to back seasons where Mack was graded as the best of the bunch is an achievement that is hard to match by almost anyone. He consistently shows that he is in the elite tier of defenders that we have in this league.
Unfortunately, there is no doubt that he may sit out multiple games this season based on his language and demeanor this offseason. There is, however, a little pinch of hope sprinkled in there. This draws me to my next conclusion. If we are not drafting him in the first round, then what are we thinking every time we skip his name for different IDP players? Let’s take a look.
Early Round 1: CJ Mosley and Kwon Alexander
I consistently steer on the side of building my team through LBs when approaching a draft with IDPs. So for me, I look at the two guys next to him during the various times he’s picked in drafts and wonder what I’m getting from them.
Mosley finished with a ridiculous 132 tackles last season to go along with two interceptions. That high tackle number really attracts me to Mosley and is one of the reasons I would consider him with a Top 5 pick this year in any and all IDP drafts.
Up and down years for Kwon Alexander in his first three seasons are room for pause but seeing him at his absolute peak should erase all of those doubts. I attribute that down year in 2017 to the Buccaneers just not being a good team in general with their franchise QB sidelined for a good chunk of the season.
While Winston will be out for three games, they are prepared. They’ve gone almost all training camp and regulated practices with Fitzpatrick taking first-team reps. I plan to see a huge uptick in Alexander this season and will garner that of a top-five selection in drafts this season.
Mack provides the opportunity for you to have a player at the defensive lineman position that provides tackles that are close to that of a linebacker while providing the elusive sack to his scoring totals as well. If the contract situation did not exist, Mack would go around here. However, until I know more, I am steering more on the cautious side for his return to the field.
Late Round 1: Telvin Smith and Landon Collins
At this point, Bosa is already off of the board as well as the fantasy supreme group of linebackers (Alexander, Mosley, Kuechly, Wagner and Jones) and other players based on preference (Tremaine Edmunds, JJ Watt, Brown and Ogletree).
Telvin Smith has 453 tackles in his first four seasons and I see no signs of slowing down for him. His young defense gets another year of chemistry already added on top of a breakout 2017 campaign. The signs are pointing up on that front. He is also very consistent and provides a quality floor. His ceiling is through the roof if his interceptions continue to increase (like they have the last three seasons).
While Landon Collins continues to impress in New York, he is going to have to find a way to bounce back after a disappointing 2017 season (regressing in tackles, interceptions and sacks). An almost total re-haul for the offensive skill positions is only going to help Collins as I believe they will play with the lead much more this year. He can pin his ears back and do what he does best (cause chaos). This will lead to an uptick in exposure and production.
I am not ready to take Mack here either. Collins is one of the truly elite safeties we have in this league, from a fantasy perspective, and I want to have a defender that exhibits those qualities without the potential baggage that Mack will bring. Mack’s value is almost right for me and as we move into the early stages of Round 2. A clear argument exists for Mack now. You can take him at this junction of a draft.
Early Round 2: JJ Watt and Blake Martinez
Well, we’ve found it, folks…This is around the area I would consider taking a risk on Khalil Mack because both of these players have question marks heading into 2018.
JJ Watt is well… you know is an absolute beast with not one, but two 20.5 sack performances in a single season. He is a former NFL MVP snub (wow… I’m sorry I had to). But in all seriousness that 2014 season was one for the books and a main factor as to why JJ Watt is right back in the best defensive player of the year discussion once again.
This is an encouraging sign but I am still taking caution on JJ Watt this season. He has played 1/4 the total amount of games over the last two seasons (8). I want Mack here by a slight margin due to uncertainty surrounding the question, can Watt still “get it done”?
Blake Martinez is being over drafted if we are being completely honest here. Last season, Martinez enjoyed an insane year where he doubled his output from the previous season. I like Martinez, I really do. He has the tools necessary to be a productive LB for fantasy purposes. I just do not think he is going to replicate the output he provided in 2017.
The regression writing is on the wall but getting down to around 100 tackles is more believable for me at this stage of his career. This belief has me wanting Mack over Martinez as well, and by a pretty decisive margin at that.
Mack presents inherent risks but what if those risks could go away at the beep of a notification…
All speculation considered, I already had the Jets penciled in to try and get the All-Pro. That is something I would be in for as he immediately upgrades a position of need for them. The Jets can line him up on the defensive line to replace Nathan Shepard. The could also have him stand up and replace Josh Martin and Jordan Jenkins. The possibilities are endless. Going to New York and teaming up with Leonard Williams and Jamal Adams have to be very intriguing for Mack in a vacuum.
If Mack can get his extension to come to fruition or be traded to one of his potential suitors (my vote is the Jets) he will be a value at the very end of the first round or beginning of the second.
Will you get Mack at the stage I have proclaimed that he should fall? Probably not. There will be someone in your league that is going to reach for him because they believe he can overcome the question marks. However, drafting a guy in the first round knowing that he may sit out actual regular season games, is scary. I want to stay away from that for the time being. That is one of the reasons you should be pushing down Mack until his value reaches a noticeably attractive level.
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