RANKS

Week 12 fantasy football rankings

These are my very early ranks, so keep in mind I post these on Thursday. Make sure you check the injury report on Sunday for players that have missed practice. If it doesn't look like a player will play this week, I typically won't rank him. Keep in mind, these are PPR rankings, and don't forget to set your lineup for Thursday Night Football.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. Be sure to check out my show MoneyLine with Jerry Bo on ESPN 97.5FM. We're on every Sunday morning from 10-noon, and we'll talk a lot of fantasy football and NFL gambling getting you ready for kickoff every Sunday.

@JoshJordan975

@Moneyline975

@JerryBoKnowz

QB

1Lamar Jackson

2Matt Ryan

3Russell Wilson

4Drew Brees

5Aaron Rodgers

6Deshaun Watson

7Baker Mayfield

8Jacoby Brissett

9Dak Prescott

10Josh Allen

11Jimmy Garoppolo

12Tom Brady

13Sam Darnold

14Derek Carr

15Nick Foles

RB

1Christian McCaffrey

2Alvin Kamara

3Saquon Barkley

4Derrick Henry

5Aaron Jones

6Ezekiel Elliott

7Josh Jacobs

8Nick Chubb

9Phillip Lindsay

10Leonard Fournette

11Jaylen Samuels

12Le'Veon Bell

13Mark Ingram

14Chris Carson

15James White

16Tevin Coleman

17Devin Singletary

18Todd Gurley

19Joe Mixon

20Kareem Hunt

21Miles Sanders

22David Montgomery

23Ronald Jones

24Sony Michel

25Derrius Guice

26Duke Johnson

27Tarik Cohen

28Carlos Hyde

29Bo Scarbrough

30Jamaal Williams

WR

1Michael Thomas

2Julio Jones

3Odell Beckham Jr

4Mike Evans

5DeAndre Hopkins

6Davante Adams

7D.J. Chark

8Julian Edelman

9T.Y. Hilton *Make sure he's active for TNF.

10D.J. Moore

11Chris Godwin

12Calvin Ridley

13Allen Robinson

14Tyler Lockett

15Tyrell Williams

16Jarvis Landry

17Jamison Crowder

18Kenny Golladay

19Courtland Sutton

20John Brown

21Devante Parker

22Amari Cooper

23Cooper Kupp

24Michael Gallup

25D.K. Metcalf

26Deebo Samuel

27 Will Fuller

28Marvin Jones

29Golden Tate

30Robert Woods

31Emmanuel Sanders

32Curtis Samuel

33Terry McLaurin

34Nelson Agholor

35Marquise Brown

36Tyler Boyd

TE

1George Kittle *Make sure he's playing on Sunday night

2Zach Ertz

3Mark Andrews

4Darren Waller

5Jared Cook

6Greg Olsen

7Eric Ebron

8 Noah Fant

9Ryan Griffin

10Jacob Hollister

11Gerald Everett

12Jason Witten

DEF

1 Steelers

2 Saints

3 Ravens

4 Patriots

5 Bears

6 Bills

7 Lions

8 Browns

9 Raiders

10 Titans

11Falcons

12 Packers

Kicker

1 Justin Tucker

2 Wil Lutz

3 Greg Zuerlein

4 Younghoe Koo

5 Matt Prater

6 Mason Crosby

7 Ka'imi Fairbairn

8 Jason Myers

9 Steven Hauschka

10 Nick Folk

11 Joey Slye

12 Austin Seibert

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Tucker looks like the real deal. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Kyle Tucker finally had his breakout season in 2020. The 23-year-old flashed potential to be a legitimate five-tool threat. He slashed .268/.325/.512, swiped eight bags, and played above average defense. Is Tucker's performance sustainable? Not only that, but is there room for growth?

Hard Hit % - 44.5%

Barrel % - 9.1%

K % - 20.2%

BB % - 7.9%
Chase % - 26.2%

The first thing to realize with Kyle Tucker is the small sample size at the MLB level. Despite appearing in three separate seasons, he's played in a total of 108 games, which is obviously quite a bit shy of even one full season. He also has an extremely unique swing that you wouldn't teach to anybody, but it "works" for him. This makes him a tough hitter to judge, as it's uncomfortable judging mechanics that work for him, and it's uncomfortable judging numbers that haven't had time to develop trends.

Hard Hit, Barrel, and Chase numbers are unavailable for the minors, but walk and strikeouts percentages are. This creates the ability to at least look at one trend.

Tucker broke onto the scene in 2018 with a monstrous season for AAA Fresno, the Astros affiliate at the time. In 2018, Tucker slashed .332/.400/.590 with 24 homers and 20 steals. He had an 18.1% K% and a 10.3% BB% that season. In 2019, Tucker struck out a little bit more (21.6%) but also walked a little bit more (11.2%). Tucker's 20.2% K% in 2020 is more in line with his minor league K%, indicating he's adjusted to major league pitching.

Tucker essentially put the pieces of contact ability and quality of contact from his previous MLB stints together in 2020. In 2018, Tucker didn't strike out very much (18.1% K%), but his 3.9% Barrel % didn't strike fear in any opponent.

In 2019, Tucker had a 12.8% Barrel %, and his 92 MPH average exit velocity is the best of his three seasons in MLB, but he struck out 27.8% of the time and walked just 5.6% of the time.

In 2020, there's a marriage between the two. His K% and BB% aren't as good as his 2018 marks, but they're better than his 2019 marks. His exit velocity and Barrel % aren't as good as his 2019 marks, but they're better than his 2018 marks. Tucker became a hitter that was able to do more damage without sacrificing consistency.

Tucker had a xBA of .267, which is right in line with his .268 average. His .459 xSLG lags behind his .512 actual SLG, but it isn't a catastrophic drop. The version of Tucker Astros fans saw is essentially who he is, but how does he improve?

What really unlocked Tucker in 2020 was a change in his setup.

Image via: GraysonSkweres/Twitter/Screenshot

Here he is on August 2nd against the Angels. As you can see, he's standing pretty straight up, and he has a "neutral" stance. Following the game on Aug. 2, Tucker was batting .200/.250/.300 with no homers.

Image via: GraysonSkweres/Twitter/Screenshot

Here's Tucker on August 6th, just a few days later. He's started to close off his stance just a bit, but he's still pretty neutral, and he has a little more forward body lean with his torso. Following the game on Aug. 6, he was batting .214/.267/.357 with a homer.

Image via: GraysonSkweres/Twitter/Screenshot

Now, here's Tucker on August 10th. His stance is considerably closed off, and he's maintaining the forward body lean he adopted on August 6th. Following the game on Aug. 10, Tucker was batting .190/.230/.328. It would be the last time any of those numbers would be that low the rest of the year. He maintained that stance for the rest of the season, and he finished the month of August hitting .272/.333/.588.

The swing change allowed him to be a factor on the outside pitch. Tucker would pull off on his front side, which made it tough for him to keep balls fair on the pull side. He'd often yank inside fastballs into the stands down the right field line. It also made him uncompetitive on outside strikes, as he'd either swing-and-miss, or roll them over into the shift.

After he made the change, Tucker started steering inside pitches fair, and he was able to do something with pitches on the outer third.

The next step is finding a way to continue to diversify his batted ball profile. Tucker's pull percentage in 2020 was 47%. That's a higher pull % than guys like Kyle Schwarber and Matt Olson. It was only 1% lower than Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo.

The one dimensional batted ball profile allows teams to shift Tucker aggressively. Teams shifted Tucker in 74% of his at-bats. His wOBA against the shift is .304. In AB's where teams didn't shift him, Tucker had a .455 wOBA. The shift hurts Tucker more than most as well, because he hits the ball on the ground 39% of the time. Gallo and Olson hit it on the ground 32% and 35% of the time respectively.

Lastly, Tucker's performance on breaking balls leaves a lot to be desired. He crushes fastballs, as he batted .303 with a .574 SLG against fastballs in 2020, with a .292 xBA and .528 xSLG. His .208 AVG and .396 SLG against breaking balls aren't very good, and his .209 xBA and .340 xSLG don't tell a prettier story. His 32% whiff % against breaking balls is nearly double his whiff % on fastballs.

If Tucker can learn to be more competitive against breaking balls and learn to use the whole field, then he'll be a really scary hitter. If he doesn't, teams will be able to gameplan for him, and he'll see streaky production similar to other one dimensional hitters like Matt Carpenter and the aforementioned Gallo and Olson.

While the bat may be streaky, Tucker brings it with the glove and on the bases. He had 5 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) in the outfield in 2020, a 0.6 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), and he was plus-4 in Outs Above Average. His well above average speed and instincts give him the ability to be a rangy outfielder and dangerous baserunner.

Tucker had a breakout season in 2020, but there's still changes left to be made if he wants to be a breakout star and not a one hit wonder.

This is part four of an offseason series covering the 2020 Houston Astros. Be sure to check out parts 1-3 on SportsMap.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome