What’s going on everyone! Happy Friday to y’all! Today we are going to take a look at one of the most curiously interesting fantasy football players! Jaylen Samuels! What position even is he? A running back? A tight end? Many will label him a “scat-back”, or just my favorite a “Swiss army knife”! I’m here to break down all the hoopla behind Jaylen Samuels, (is it time to buy now?) and give you my bold prediction for him in the 2019 NFL season! Sit back, relax and hopefully this article will become useful for your success in 2019 and beyond!
Versatility is the name of the game when you think of Samuels, the Pittsburgh Steelers saw it and now, looking back, we in the fantasy football community can as well. In college, at North Carolina State, Samuels amassed 201 receptions and 182 carries in a 4 year career! Make no mistake, this Wolkpack phenomenon also learned how to score, as 47 touchdowns were scored in his career, a whopping 28 alone coming in 2017. One interesting fact that sticks out for me about Samuels college career is how close he was to being honored with nationally recognized awards! At one point, Samuels was on the watch list for the Biletnikoff award (Nation’s Top Receiver), a finalist for the Mackey Award (Nation’s Top Tight End), and was of course eventually was drafted as a running back! On the topic of college, we’ve got to bring up a widely unknown fact in the fantasy football community. Eddie Faulkner, the positions coach for Samuels in college, was hired on by the Steelers as running backs coach. This is very important for Samuels playing time because as I do not think expectations should be for him to become the “bell-cow” running back, you can make a case that Faulkner will get Samuels more involved. This all can be attributed to Faulkner comparing Samuels to Le’Veon Bell saying “He’s a really good receiver. He can run the ball. He does a lot of things well.”
Let’s start talking about production on the field, the NFL field I should say! College is great and all, but where it really matters is the pros. Luckily for us in the fantasy football community there is extensive tape and numbers produced, which make it easy to compare James Conner to Samuels. Jump to week 14 of the 2018 NFL season and you will see Samuels begin his “mini breakout” averaging 109 yards from scrimmage and, unsurprisingly, catching all 12 of his targets. Both running backs averaged a respectable YPC in 2018, with Conner finding that balanced 4.5 mark and Samuels over-achieving with 4.6, naturally yes on far less carries. Where the golden ticket lies for production is in the receiving game! Samuels showed out very well in the receiving game with 26 catches compared with 55 for Conner. You may be thinking, wait Conner not only had more carries, but also more receptions, what are you even getting at? How can we forget Antonio Brown though? The Steelers will be looking to get creative with finding a way to replace Browns targets and with Pittsburgh having a long history of valuing the pass catching ability of their running backs, you know that Samuels will have a role.
In conclusion, there should be no doubt that Faulkner, Samuels reunited position coach, will know the kind of skill set that he has to offer for the electric Steelers offense. At the bare minimum Samuels is in a prime position to steal work off of work Conner. There are just so many different factors working against Conners long term favor. Meaning that in 2019 you may see a top 10 finish for Conner, but as the success piles up, the money talks will come. We all saw what happened to the last Steelers running back that tried to ask for more money and a long term contract. Ultimately, Samuels will be a weekly flex play in 2019 and without question you should be trying to draft him in all startup dynasty leagues. Current draft capitol will run you a pick anywhere from the 11th to 14th round and trade wise you should be able to pick up Samuels for a 2020 3rd round pick!
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