Here are some steals that should get you into your playoffs this season. In fantasy football you usually don't win in rounds 1, 2, or 3. The first three rounds are what I like to refer to as the foundation rounds. You need them to be strong to win a chip but you need the rest of the house to look great for it to sell. The later rounds from 4-10 are where the magic happens in most years. So here are some guys Stevie P and Kevin have come up with to help you take control of your league from draft to championship.
Stevie P's list:
Kerryon Johnson: Round 4 - Johnson finished last year on IR but before going down he was looking great. His 16 carries for 101 against the Patriots was the first time since Reggie Bush played there that the Lions had a 100 yard rusher and Reggie left the Lions at the end of the 2014 season. Kerryon is by far the best back on the Lions and the faster Matt Patricia realizes it, the better.
Kenny Golladay: Round 4 or 5 - Golladay is something special when you take a look at his tape. He routinely makes the tough catches and looks like a true #1 in the league. Once again it's up to the Matt Patricia led Lions' coaching staff to realize his talent and give him his 140 targets this season. If that happens, he could be one of the biggest steals in this year's draft.
Darrius Guice: Round 5 or 6 - Guice is being taken this late only because of his knee injury from last year. Watching his tape he reminds me a lot of Zeke. He isn't as explosive as Zeke after he cuts but his hard nose, never go down on first contact style is Elliott like. He will fight for every yard, and if he gets to the second level, watch out because he is a rhino going downfield so either move or get trucked over. If he is fully healthy he could be an excellent pick to get in the 5th or 6th round.
David Montgomery: Round 6 or 7 - Not my favorite Rb in this year's draft but it is hard to argue the landing spot. David can do it all. He is a fluid catcher of the ball along with some impressive running skills. Unlike Jordan Howard, with him in the lineup defenses can't cheat the way they did when Howard was on the field. Montgomery could have a huge season it just all depends on how much the team uses Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen. If he sees somewhere close to what Howard saw last year (270 total touches) he is going to be a powerful asset in round 6 or 7.
Miles Sanders: Round 7 or 8 - The Eagles got my favorite Rb in this year's class. A three down workhorse for years to come. There are a lot of things to like about Miles. He is 5'11" 211lbs with the ability to add muscle as he is only 22 years young. He has a really nice bounce and agility without dancing in the backfield. He has soft hands and will put his nose in a defender's chest. The only weakness in his game is he puts the ball on the ground to much, which is correctable. I believe he can be a top 10 Rb in the league given a full workload and given the Eagle's line and all around talent on that roster. Jordan Howard may eat into that early on, but I believe he takes over that job because he is a superior talent. Love this kid.
Royce Freeman: Round 8 or 9 - Coming into 2018 Royce Freeman was the hottest name in the rookie class, only to see his job taken by an undrafted free agent (Phillip Lindsay). Freeman has size and explosion, and he feels to me like a player that is going to see a lot more work in a Vic Fangio run team. Vic believes in running the ball and playing great defense (which if you look at the bears last year who he was with as the DC, you can see a dominant Broncos defense as a possibility this year). Freeman could give the bears that kind of attack and if he takes the #1 role on the Broncos at his ADP, he could be great.
Geronimo Allison: Round 10 - After tearing his adductor muscles in practice last year, which cost him the rest of the season, Allison became a free agent. He was brought back to the Packers on a one year deal. Before going down, he was having a solid season with 19 catches for 289 and two TDs in only 4 games. After three weeks off he tried to give it a go in week 8, caught one pass, then left the field and was later placed on IR. On an Aaron Rogers led Packers team, with hopefully a much more wide open offensive game plan, look for Allison to prove to the Packers he is a player they are going to want to keep long term.
N'Keal Harry: Round 10 - I want to start by saying I have a healthy love for what this kid brings so I MAY be biased toward him. That said, he brings everything you want in a WR1 at 6'2" 228 lbs. With the body control of an award-winning dancer, he has the size and athleticism to get open even when he is covered. The knock on him is that he has trouble separating. My answer to that is, when was it ever a problem in his college days? He consistently won contested jump balls, while also showing how dynamic he was in the open field (not to mention how he was underthrown probably more than any player in college). Harry has the highest ceiling of any receiver in this class in my eyes, and Tom Brady is going to love throwing to this kid. I'm getting him everywhere I possibly can. If Belichick likes him as much as I do, I'm confident he will have a role this year and be great in the years to come.
*For more player info check out our Player Profiles.
Marlon Mack: Round 3 or 4 - I love Mack’s value here. He is the feature back on one of the top offenses in the league and with Andrew Luck at QB, there will be plenty of open lanes in the run game. Mack was excellent last season at finding those lanes and hitting the holes without any hesitation. He missed the first four weeks with a hamstring injury, then from week six on was the 7th ranked RB in PPR scoring. He is the 15th RB off the board now, but we believe he has top 10 upside.
Mark Ingram: Round 4 or 5 - Last year, from week ten on, Gus Edwards was the #17 RB in PPR fantasy leagues. Yes, the Gus Bus. Who was #15 during that time? It was Mark Ingram while being the second option at RB with the Saints. Baltimore’s run-heavy offense is tailored made for Ingram as he combines a great mix of speed and power. He also has excellent hands out the backfield making him a great check down option for Lamar Jackson who, let's be honest, didn’t stretch the field at all last year. He is currently the 22nd RB coming off the board, however, I believe he has top 15 upside in his first year as a feature back with Baltimore.
Jarvis Landry: Round 5 or 6 - Landry has never had talent around him, thus making him the focal point of a defense. This year Odell should draw most of the double teams which would give Jarvis a lot of single coverage. Last year was the first time in four years he did not finish in the top 20. However, he dealt with a QB change and his coach's firing, while only dropping to #23. This offense has a chance to be lethal, and Landry could be extremely productive with so many other weapons attracting attention. I would love the top 15 upsides at this place in the draft.
Sterling Shepard: Round 8 or 9 - This is excellent value for Shepard, despite his unproven track record. He has the most chemistry with Eli of any pass catcher on the Giants. Plus, Saquan will see 8 or even 9 men in the box, so Shepard will be on an island with CBs most of the time. His numbers against man coverage are much better than against zone, and he likely will see a lot of man this year with so much focus on the run game. He is currently the 40th receiver off the board but has WR2 upside with an expected bump in targets and opportunity.
Dede Westbrook: Round 8 or 9 - I loved Dede’s talent coming out of Oklahoma and thought he could be excellent in the slot for the team that drafted him. An upgrade at QB should help him showcase that talent, with Nick Foles being a great decision maker. His production will depend on how well Fournette’s run game opens up the offense and if Nick Foles can become the franchise QB. His upside could be a low-end WR2, and he could be a reliable flex option or WR3 for your team. If you can get that as the 46th WR drafted, I think that’s a great value.
D’Onta Foreman: Round 9 or 10 - This is my favorite value in the draft and, by the time the season starts, that value could be non-existent. Nothing but good things have been reported about Foreman coming into OTA’s. He has lost weight and gained speed as he tries to compete with a very average Lamar Miller for the starting job. Houston did not add to their RB depth, which shows a high level of confidence to those currently on the roster. I see this starting off as a one-two punch with Foreman proving to be much better and getting more of the work as the season moves along. He is currently the 46th RB off the board, but I believe he has RB2 upside presuming he takes over that starting role.
James Washington: Round 10 or 11 - There are two starting WR spots open on the Pittsburgh roster. They drafted Dionte Johnson in the 2nd round this year and last year took Washington in the same round. With Big Ben at the helm, the Steeler receivers will always be relevant, and I like taking a flier on the speedster at this spot. Pittsburgh is expecting a big jump in year two for Washington to get downfield because of the attention drawn by Connor and Juju. He is currently the 47th WR selected and I believe he will have some blowup Desean Jackson type weeks which could be huge during bye weeks.
BANG!BOOM!BOOM!BANG!BOOM! That’s the sound of your fantasy football team as your second and third round picks give you a dud, after injury, after bad performance, throughout the season. Just a little more research might have helped you out. There are signs that a player may not live up to his value. Players that many fantasy analysts give huge expectations that may not be warranted, and are often over-hyped, from minor success from the previous year. The key is to know what to look for in determining who these players are.
What usually institutes a buyer beware on a QB is going to be where he is being drafted and possible regression to last year’s numbers. My philosophy on quarterbacks is to get the best value possible and that usually means me getting a guy in round 10 or 11 who I believe has the ability to break into the top 5. Similar to what Mahomes did last year (Unfortunately, I didn’t have him on any of my teams last year). This year Patrick Mahomes is a guy I will be staying away from, his price tag is too rich for my blood, as he is going in round 3 as the 32nd player drafted overall. His weapons have extremely declined with Hunt gone and Hill probably missing games. I also don’t believe he’ll be able to lean on his run game as much despite all the hype on Damien Williams. Plus, his season last year was magical and will be incredibly hard to duplicate.
Similarly, Aaron Rodgers is another guy to beware taking as early as he is being drafted. Rodgers is currently the third QB off the board going at 54, a round 4 or 5 pick. Over the past 4 years, he hasn't been the same, coming off injuries and poor performances. Last season, he finished 6th overall while going as the number one QB off the board. Jared Goff finished 2 points behind him and was drafted as the 16th QB overall in the 11th round. The Packers did nothing to help him in the offseason with wideouts, so Rodgers must rely on a group of unproven receivers and an over the hill TE. He also has a new coach who is expected to use the run game a little more than the pass-happy Mike McCarthy. I cannot trust Rodgers here when I can get other guys later on that can match his production.
The hype on Baker Mayfield is real, so real that he is being drafted as the 6th QB in round 6 (64th overall). I love the upside of Baker given the addition of Odell and growth coming into his second year. However, to take him before Matt Ryan and Drew Brees is ridiculous to me. Especially if I have to get him in round 6. If I’m getting a QB that high, I would like a little better track record of success. He only played in 13 and a half games last year, but his fantasy points per game (fppg) were just below Tom Brady. Those that drafted Tom know how bad he was for fantasy last year. I understand he can take an enormous leap, but the sophomore slump is a real thing because coaches now having a year of game film to break down his weaknesses. I'm not saying Baker won’t be a stud, but this early in the draft for an unproven player draws a flag on his name for me, a guy I probably won’t be taking.
Running back is where a lot of red flags come in given the history of injuries at the position, and many teams adopting a dual running back system. Therefore, it pays dividends when you can get the top end RB talent that stays healthy for the entire season. Finding those particular players involves some skill, but perhaps even more luck. Take Kareem Hunt for instance. He was a monster, the number six RB in fantasy, until week 11 when his off the field stupidity crushed fantasy owners down the stretch of the season. Strictly related to fantasy, many owners were victims of some bad luck.
However, other players come in with red flags that may help predict which guys could be susceptible to poor fantasy performance. Take a guy like Damien Williams. Everyone is blushing at the opportunity to get the RB behind Patrick Mahomes in the Chiefs’ offense. He has made his way up to rd2 pk 8 at number 21 overall. Obviously, the positives are there, but signs are there that could lead to disappointment. He was Miami’s starter two years back in 2017 after the trade of Jay Ajayi. He was moderately productive, going 17 carries for 59 yds and 3 Tds over four weeks, but couldn’t stay healthy and lost his job to Kenyan Drake. Williams has the ability to perform, but whether he can last a full sixteen as a lead back has yet to be proven.
Derrick Henry finished last year by filling owners hearts with love going into this year. His week 14 game against Jacksonville was an epic performance, going 17 carries for 238 yds and 4 Tds. He followed that up by going 33 carries for 170 yds and 2 Tds against the Giants almost assuring his owners that started him a spot in the championship game. My issue with Henry is that every year we go through this. He has a couple of games at the end of the season that made people googly-eyed going into the next season. He was unusable until week 8-10 when he scored 5 Td, in those three weeks. However, he only rushed 29 times for 118 yds during those games, showing extreme TD dependence. He only had 18 targets all season in the passing game thus making him less likely to land as an RB1 in PPR leagues. Therefore, I’d rather take a player with more upside like Aaron Jones or Kerryon Johnson (guys going in his area of the draft). Ultimately, Henry has let down fantasy owners more in his career than he has achieved expectations.
Nick Chubb is going as the twelfth RB going with pick 7 in round 2, a lofty price tag for a player that may lose his job halfway through the season. I don’t deny his talent, and if I do draft him, I would be taking Kareem Hunt, whose going in round 7 at pick 7. But think about it, he gets eight games before Hunt comes in week 10 (Cleveland bye week is 7) and at best, they work together in a dual backfield. We’ve seen two RB’s be productive in the same offense, but there are a lot of mouths to feed in Cleveland, and that could hurt his chances of being an RB1 where he’s currently being drafted in 12 team leagues. I’d instead go with Marlon Mack, or Leonard Fournette at this position in the draft, full-time workhorse RBs that I believe are more likely to finish higher than Chubb.
If you read the Blowup Players article, you know of the expectation I have in the Houston backfield. I’m high on D’Onta Foreman coming into this season, thus making Lamar Miller a very risky draft selection, even with the 11th pick in round 6. I’m surprised that Miller made it this far without being released. His cap hit is over $6 million, and surely the Texans could find a cheaper option to equal his production. They didn’t pick up any additional backs so that could be a good thing for Miller, but I believe Foreman will show to be a better RB and ultimately take the job away from Miller.
Noticing wide receiver red flags generally, are about finding spotty production throughout the season. That could show bust potential for the following season. The position is so deep that a few big games could cause fantasy owners to fall in love with players that jumped a few spots in rankings because of those games. Amari Cooper is the biggest culprit of that going into this season as he is the 12th receiver being drafted at pick 4 in round 3. Other than two good games against Philly and Washington, Cooper was pretty much the same player he was in Oakland. He played nine games in Dallas, and if you take away the previous two games mentioned, he only scored one TD and didn’t break 100 yds in any other game. I’m not excited about drafting a guy as my potential number one receiver, that is average for most weeks and keeps your hopes up with big numbers once in a while. I will not have Cooper on any of my teams this year because I hate his value.
Somehow, Brandin Cooks is going ahead of the other Rams receivers despite not even finishing number one between them last year. I’ll be honest…the only reason he finished as high as he did was that Cooper Kupp got injured. Kupp was number 4 overall in scoring through the first five weeks, but then the injuries took over and opened the door for Cooks to produce. With a healthy Kupp, I expect Cooks to drop in production and finish in scoring behind both Robert Woods and Kupp. No way I would take him as the 16th receiver, and I would take both other Rams WR as well as Kenny Golladay before him.
As a devoted Eagles fan, I feel almost like I’m betraying one of my own by putting Alshon Jeffery in this article, but I’ve seen him going in mock drafts as early as the third round. I can’t say I’d be thrilled getting him this early in the draft considering how little he was used by Carson Wentz last season. Now, I am expecting his numbers to go up with Carson being 100% healthy and a lot of oversight on Wentz’s play given accusations of being a bad teammate and throwing to Zach Ertz way too much last season. Still, Jeffrey has to be a guy to be careful of because the Eagles have a ton of weapons and could be looking to upgrade their running game from last year with Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders taking over the backfield. Jeffrey’s price is a little too rich for me right now, but I wouldn’t mind getting him in round 5 or lat
So last year, the Bears offense was extremely potent however other than Cohen, the rest of the team underperformed. Allen Robinson was no exception to that. He came in with big expectations to improve the passing game as a number one receiver but was far from that. He missed two games to injury and only went over 100 yds one time all year. The Bears spread the ball around and mostly relied on Cohen’s playmaking for scoring. He only scored 3 Tds all year as well two in one game, the same game he recorded his 100 yds. That’s all….one good game all year. Robinson is a guy going in round 7 at pick 3, but I would surely gamble on Robby Anderson or Will Fuller before him as both have shown they can produce more consistently.
Emmanual Sanders was great last year until he was injured. He was the 15th WR in PPR scoring until that time, and one of the best values drafted last year. His ADP was the end of round 5, and he was a high-end WR2 at the time he got injured. This year, however, his value is way too high for a player coming back from a torn Achilles and not expected to play any time soon. He is going as WR 39 ahead of Sterling Shepard, Christian Kirk, and Corey Davis, all who could be number one options on their teams, albeit bad teams. I understand how you can feel good about Sanders with his successful play last year, but this year he will be a guy you’re releasing early on for someone that is actually on the field. It seems like a waste of a ninth-round pick that could be used for players with a great deal of upside.
As bad as the TE position is for fantasy, there are few TE red flags due to low expectations. Outside of Ertz, Travis Kelce, and George Kittle, the TE crop is full of hope and potential luck. Even as you get into round 5 or 6 this year, Hunter Henry, OJ Howard, and Evan Engram all have super potential but are all unproven players and gambles, risks worth taking due to their upside. Delanie Walker is coming off an injury as Greg Olsen, and Jimmy Graham is a shell of his old self. That’s why I stress the importance of getting one of the top three guys at the position.
So a guy like Eric Ebron could be one player that sees a dip in his production this year. He scored an unbelievable amount of Tds last year (13 to be exact), but the Colts have upgraded their pass-catching options on the outside with the additions of Perris Campbell and Devin Funchess. I know, but Andrew Luck loves the TE in the red zone, but a healthy Jack Doyle will probably cut into Ebron’s Tds and if you take away say 6 Tds and 200 yds he drops two spots, without considering the rise in Henry, Engram, and Howard. Ebron is a guy I will likely shy away from as I expect his numbers to drop a lot and I’m not willing to bet on how much.
Austin Hooper is another guy I would expect to decline at least by ranking this year as he finished 6th overall last year at the end of the season. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Atlanta and Hooper is literally as average and meddling as you can get. He only scored once every four games and only finished this high in the TE pecking order due to injuries of players that will clearly be better this year. If I’m waiting on a TE until extra late, guys like Chris Herndon or even Greg Olsen will be my selection before I take Hooper.
I’m not telling everyone not to draft these guys. More so, I’m just giving you some things to think about when drafting. All players have a chance to be good including these guys, but I’m staying away from them for the variety of reasons I gave. Everyone should have a list of flagged players as reasons to go elsewhere in a draft, or pick them but know the risks.
Before we dive into the winning rookie picks, first let's explain what we mean when we say winning rookie picks. Value-based drafting is what we preach, and rookies are no different. So let's talk about some rookie ADP's that are sure to help you win this season. In this article we will talk about 5 RB’s, 5 WR's, 2 QB's and 2 TE's. Here is the list of those players in that order.
Josh Jacobs: ADP R4 P2 - Jacobs seems to be going high but let's look at the track record of John Gruden with rookie running backs. In 2005 Cadillac Williams was drafted by Gruden in Round 1, that season he played 14 games and ran the ball 290 times while pitching in 20 receptions. If Jacobs can match or exceed that he will be well worth his current ADP. I would even recommend taking him in round 3 to make sure you get him. With AB and Tyrell Williams taking the main focus of the defense with their long speed, Jacobs could run wild. I love him this year.
Miles Sanders: ADP R8 P9 - At this ADP I love this guy and he could be the #1 running back on a possible a top 5 offense in the NFL. Miles is a great running back with receiving ability. He has a chance to make a difference on your fantasy team and with his ADP, what is there to lose.
David Montgomery: ADP R6 P8 - David Montgomery is in line to be the #1 back on an offense that was pretty good last year. That was last year though. The offense had many more opportunities last year because of the defense. This year they lost Vic Fangio, possibly the best defensive coordinator in the NFL, which could lower the number of possessions the offense sees. I like Montgomery, but in round 6 he makes me just a little nervous not knowing exactly how much work he will get. Once again this is not the same defense and also, Cohen and Davis are on the squad.
Darrell Henderson: ADP R9 P3 - Read his bio because it says it all. What I will say is this, he is a must draft if you have Gurley. If you are the Gurley owner draft him in round 8 to make sure you have him.
Justice Hill: ADP R14 P5 - Justice Hill could be the steal of your redraft league. Just watch the kid run because he is one hell of an athlete and fun to watch. He also has good hands which I think will allow him to have a roll much sooner than people anticipate. He is elusive, and while most people will say Mark Ingram is the guy in Baltimore, I think Justice Hill may have something to say about that. If you take him in round 12, I have no problem with that. Get him on your bench and wait for the game he exploded and his play demands he get more touches. If you draft Mark Ingram, he is a must-have.
N'Keal Harry: ADP R9 P12 - I praise him enough in his player profile so here I will say his ADP is maybe a round too late. I would take him in round 8 with the chance that Tom, and Harry, develop chemistry with one another and have an excellent rookie season.
Deebo Samuel: ADP R14 P7 - I don't think a lot of people realize that Deebo could be the #1 receiver for the 49ers this season. He is a better receiver coming out of college then Pettis was, and he has more upside then Pettis does if you ask me. At the very least he takes the number 2 job and has a very productive rookie season for the 49ers. Round 14 is too low, take him in round 12 or 13 and be happy everyone else knows nothing while you got a steal.
Parris Campbell: ADP R13 P6 - Campbell was hand picked by Frank Reich in this clip so watch the reaction of the war room knowing they are getting him. (Watch 34:30 into the video) -https://youtu.be/hDdmDyRht-M - You don't get that excited about a player you don't intend to use. Campbell should arguably be the second rookie receiver off the board in redraft leagues so in round 13, it's a no brainer. Do it.
DK Metcalf: ADP R8 P12 - D.K. has the talent to be good his rookie season, and with Russell throwing him the ball I like him. The only problem that I have is I'm not sure of what his volume will be with the frequency the Seahawks offense runs the ball. In round 8 or 9 I will take someone I'm a little more confident in like Larry Fitz, Marvin Jones, or Geronimo Allison. If you feel differently, I understand entirely and have no problem with you taking D.K.
JJ Orsega-Whiteside: ADP Not drafted - I know most analysts are saying JJ is only a Dynasty League guy this year and has no redraft value. I am not most fantasy analyst. J.J. can play the big slot role which Nelson Agholor has not done at a very high level. Let's not forget Alshon Jeffery has never been the pillar of health. J.J. could take over the slot role or even fill in for Alshon. Either way, I don't see J.J. sitting the pine all year. He gets on the field this year. So take him as your last player in your draft, and look like you had some inside knowledge no one else did.
TJ Hockenson: ADP R11 P12 - T.J. is a Gronk like great blocker and has the size and speed to be a downfield threat. In the Lions offense, it could either be great or terrible. In late round 11 if you have not drafted a tight end then take T.J. and see how it turns out. He is no different than anyone else you will get in that round or later so take his upside, and he could work out.
Noah Fant: ADP R14 P1 - I like Fant but I just can't with Joe Flacco. Fant has all the tools to be an Evan Ingram type player, but the Qb situation is his kill. I don't mind taking him in the 14th to see, but your other Tight End better give you something, because Fant may not.
Kyler Murray: ADP R10 P5 - Kyler has a great ADP and could end up a top 10 guy. I am completely sold on this guy so if you missed on the top 7 guys, wait and take Kyler. If you want to take someone else to back him up, do it. It could take your team over the top so take a chance that I don't feel is a chance at all. Trust me on this one.
Dwayne Haskins: ADP Not Drafted - Another guy I'm sold on! Dwayne Haskins has upside for days and was great at Ohio State. With the team he has around him, he could be better then people think. He isn't someone you need to draft because Qb is so deep, but keep an eye on him if you’re hurting at Qb. He could be a guy you pick up in week 2 or 3 who becomes an excellent number 2 for bye weeks or injury to your #1 spot.
Late round diamonds are precisely that, the guys who at first glance may look like pieces of coal, but if you look closer, they might blow up and help you win your league. Here is a list of players who could play way above their ADP's. These players have 12th round or later ADP and are no risk but all reward. lays fantasy in week 17. Also, we don't add games they didn't play because that isn't the way to accurately tabulate PPG.) Samuels was 11 ppg while Moore was 9 PPG. Given the round you are getting Curtis he is well worth taking in round 10, but you're getting him later, and he could be the Panthers best receiver.
Justice Hill: ADP R12 P5 - Justice Hill is not going to be the Ravens main back this year, and I am not going to say otherwise. What I am going to say is he could 100% be the Alvin Kamara to this offense, now I know before everyone jumps down my throat, he is not Kamara, but he could be a much larger part to the attack than people are saying. In round 12 I will pull the trigger on a guy I may actually be using this season.
Anthony Miller: ADP R12 P7 - With a bad shoulder for most of the season last year, Miller piled up 7 Tds on only 33 catches. If he is used more this season as I expect, I believe the second-year receiver could see a jump in production. I don't know if his Td's will be much more then 7, but it would not surprise me if he were to double his catches and have 700 yards and 6 Tds. With those type of numbers, he is well worth a round 12 pick and a guy you will be happy you took that late as depth.
John Brown: ADP R14 P12 - John Brown was having an excellent year before Lamar Jackson took over as the starting Qb. If you take his numbers before Joe Flacco was injured, he was on a pace of 68/1,068/7. I don't know about you, but I would take that all day in the 14th (almost 15th) round. Yes, Josh Allen is not great but is he worse than Joe Flacco? His offensive line is much better this season. I have always liked Brown, and this season could be the year he proves he is an outstanding NFL wide receiver. He will be on a lot of my teams when the draft season is all said and done.
Chris Thompson: ADP R14 P6 - If Chris Thompson could stay healthy, he would not be this far down draft boards. Thompson, when healthy, has a clearly defined role in his offense and can have really big games on just a few touches. I like him in the 14th round, and don't feel like he is a risk at all that late in drafts. Take him, and he could be a piece you use during bye weeks and in situations of injuries as a capable replacement.
At the end of the day, it's your fantasy team, and these may not be guys you are sold on, but each one of these guys has a path to fantasy points this season. That could be the difference between winning a championship and being the toilet bowl king. Good luck and remember, "fortune favors the bold."
Father Time is undefeated but Tom Brady is fighting that with all his will and might to prove that false. Other guys are not so fortunate and have to hang up the cleats when their production just isn’t what it used to be. Today we’re going to look at a handful of guys who are getting long in the tooth but produce every year better than their draft ranking. I’m not saying these guys will be there late because chances are you have 9 or more other guys drafting in your league, and they might bite early to take a chance on one. Here’s a list of some players with good previous production and why I think they will have good years.
DeSean Jackson: ADP R12 P2 - DJack is hot and cold and he’s getting older now but his speed is still elite. He can explode for huge games any time he steps on the field. He has proven in the last few years that he can come up big when he has the desire to. He has torched his former team, the Eagles, ever since they traded him years back. He has that “chip” on his shoulder against them, pun intended.. Early news out of camp is that he is rejuvenated and instantly building chemistry with Carson Wentz. There’s a lot of talent on the Eagles offense so he may not be a 1000 yard receiver but he’ll be worth a late look for sure. He should produce above a round 12 pick. You can’t teach speed.
Demaryius Thomas: ADP R14 P5 - Thomas’ decline has been exactly what I talked about above, age taking over talent. He is still a big body receiver but he struggles to get open these days. I was curious to see how he would do in Houston last year with Watson but just about all balls went to Hopkins, and for good reason. The only reason I would take a flyer on Thomas is because of Tom Brady. He is all timing and preparation and the two veterans could surprise some people. I don’t see Thomas going for 1400 yards like he did in Denver but 800 and 7 td’s is not out of the question. I’ll take that production at round 14 every time.
Larry Fitzgerald: ADP R9 P10 - He’s still the number 1 receiver on his team and only 1 year removed from three 1,000 yard seasons in a row. Last year the Cardinals were terrible. TERRIBLE! The offensive line was bottom of the league so Johnson had a rough year and the QB situation was a disaster. Fitz may have the most reliable hands to every put the gloves on, but if there’s no one to throw him the ball then he’s just out there staying in shape. Speaking of which, this guy gets older but still runs beautiful routes. His work and dedication to the game is top class, along with his personality. Kyler Murray was a stud at Oklahoma and only got to showcase 1 year of talent because of Baker Mayfield. He has an ability to extend a play like Russell Wilson and Fitz will use that to his advantage. Just keep an eye on these 2. Rookie QB’s love nothing more than a reliable security blanket when the pressure is breathing down their necks. Fitz is the definition of reliable.
Randall Cobb: ADP Undrafted - Seriously? I don’t think there’s any middle ground with this stretch of a pick. He may surprise some people and be a huge waiver wire add or just continue his downward spiral of production. I do like the change in scenery and going to a playoff team. A young and hungry Cowboys team who added back vet Jason Witten to give stability to the middle of the field. Zeke is also a huge threat out of the backfield to catch. There’s just too many weapons to cover and I think he will find comfort with Dak. Cooper spreads the whole field and Cobb is more of a route runner so I think he will see his share of targets. Cowboys are going to score points and move the ball so yards will pile up and Dak will finally have a big statistical year. Cobb will take a small bite out of that pie in the form of 700 yards and 5
Julian Edelman: ADP R4 P2 - Edelman’s career got off to a snail’s pace and looked like he was going to be just a hardworking backup in the league. I mean the guy played QB at Kent State so no wonder he wasn’t productive as a receiver at first. We all know the Patriots don’t value players, they trust in their system and staff. The next man up mentality and it’s cashed in some nice jewelry for them. In has is last 5 years Julian has come out of his shell and been Tom’s go to guy every game. Sometimes it feels like every play. Subtract Gronk’s monster size and production from the team and Edelman will be Brady’s sole reliable target until he gets comfortable with some new guys. Hogan is now in Carolina and DThomas, who I touch on earlier in this article as a possible steal, will need time to get chemistry with Brady. Julian is projected in the 4th round and if he’s still hanging around then, don’t pass him up. ESPECIALLY if you’re in a PPR league. You’ll have a 4th round guy with easy 2nd or 3rd round production.
Tom Brady: ADP R10 P7 - There’s not really any introduction needed for this guy. He’s old, he throws to guys who played a different position (or sport), he raises Lombardi's. I’m well aware quarterbacks in fantasy aren’t as valuable as your other skill position players, but to say this guy won’t produce more than a round 10 pick makes my head spin. Perhaps the cliff is near or everybody is just expecting it to sneak up sooner rather than later. He doesn’t have Gronk anymore but Gronk has only been a shadow of his former self the last few years due to injuries. Suit the water boy up in some pads and the Bill/Tom combo will find a way to get him looks. 4,000+ yards in 8 out of 10 seasons and the 2 he missed 4k weren’t by much. Consistently in the 25-40 TD’s/year with low picks defines his portfolio. The grass looks a whole lot greener on the other side when you have these young studs tempting you to pick them but there’s no place like home and Tom in the later rounds is like having the best security system in town.
Ben Roethlisberger: ADP R11 P7- I’m never completely sold on Big Ben because I hear the noise, but I always love to pick him in the later rounds after all the flashy guys are off the board. It has allowed me to pick stronger RB’s and WR’s and know I’m still getting a proven Hall Of Famer. No Antonio, no problem? You don’t just replace an Antonio Brown’s production that he was able to string together the last few years. JuJu Smith-Schuster looks willing to try though. He out gained AB last year in yards and receptions and nobody who’s watched a Steelers game the last handful of years would’ve saw that coming from the kid. Ben is big, he’s accurate, and he’s smart. He’s proven. They added Donte Moncrief, who I feel, will have a much better year in black and gold then he’s put up in recent years. McDonald had a solid TE season, earning him a starting spot, and Conner had an excellent year after not even knowing his role with Bell’s holdout. Bottom line, Ben threw for over 5,000 yards and 34 Touchdowns. If he has even 60-75% of that production he is still overachieving as a projected 11th round pick. My guess is he still outperforms a handful of round 10 projected picks.
Andy Dalton: ADP Undrafted - I am by no means saying to grab this guy in round 16 and insert him as your starting QB. He’s been a relatively mediocre quarterback, and at times, just flat out bad. He does know he has AJ Green on the outside right? This is more of a gut pick where you play your odds on red (haha) coming up after like 10 straight black spins. He’s got a great arm and a better weapon with Green. Decision making and execution have kept him in the middle of the quarterback pack since he’s been a pro. My advice would be to grab one of the 2 guys I listed above as a starter and grab this guy way late in the draft (if you want a backup QB). If he turns out to have that breakout year and outperforms your starter, then you can pick matchups. You won’t start him over Mahomes or Luck, even if he plays great, so he is more a strategic pick. He’s probably going to be mediocre again but you can’t be mad if you wasted your last pick and have to pick up someone slightly better on the waiver wire. The juice just might be worth the squeeze though.
Dion Lewis: ADP R12 P4 - I will begin by saying that the only reason this guy has such a low ADP is because Derrick Henry had a 1,000 yard season and took the lead as the #1 back. That’s not to say Dion didn’t contribute, because he logged over 900 yards rushing and receiving. Henry is huge so he is always going to get those goal-line carries, but Dion is the shifty pass catcher out of the backfield so he will continue to be the third down back. If Lewis could find the endzone more often his draft stock would increase significantly. Tennessee is going to stay run heavy again this year and these guys will both see the field a fair amount. Lewis in a PPR league in the 12th round is wonderful but even Non-PPR I think he still carries a higher than 12th round rating. He should be around 1000 yards of offense again. 50 balls or so catching and 6 TD’s make him a solid plug and play back on your team especially if Henry goes down which isn’t that far of a stretch.
Latavius Murray: ADP R7 P8 - Murray is on the move again and this time lands in New Orleans. He is basically taking over Ingram’s role as the change of pace back for Kamara. He will see time as the next man in when Kamara needs some gas, because the Saints will run A LOT of plays this season. They always do. Murray is bigger and stronger than Kamara so he might steal some goal-line carries much like Ingram did. Latavius hasn’t been anything too great in his career so far, but he had some success in a Viking’s offense that scored a lot of points last year. I think he’ll have similar success as a Saint. Last year he had 578 rushing yards and 6 TD’s. I think he will be closer to the 700-800 yards of total offense while contributing 8 or so TDs. That’s not going to be your top back, but it’s a solid 7th round draft pick every year in my book.
Carlos Hyde: ADP R9 P3 - I love this pick in the ninth round if he’s there. It might be one of my favorite middle/late round draft choices overall. He’s in an Andy Reid offense now that has been torching the score board the last few years. Especially last year with the MVP Mahomes as the field general. Since leaving SF, Hyde hasn’t been close to that 900 yard rusher of the past. I think the talent is still there and he just wasn’t able to showcase it in Cleveland and Jacksonville. Kansas City is big on Damien Williams this year after he took over for the released Kareem Hunt. The guy has yet to exceed 50 carries a year in his 5 year career so I think the high ADP for him is based solely on the Chief’s powerful offense. Do I think Hyde will take the starting job? Maybe. Maybe not. But he’ll do enough to work himself in to a steady amount of plays and help the Chiefs put points on the board like they do with the best of them. The risk in the ninth round is well worth it in my opinion for a guy who has shined before.
Jason Witten: ADP R14 P7 - You can’t have an old man article without having un-retired Jason Witten on it. Will he catch 100 balls this year? More than likely not. He’s old, he’s slow, he’s out of practice. He never had speed, but the man could run a route and find gaps in the middle of the field like an elite TE. You’re more than likely only going to have 1 TE on your team till your bye, so is Jason Witten better than 11 others in the league? That is the question that will remain to be seen, because you can’t predict what a guy who did commentary the entire previous season is going to do. He’s a Hall Of Fame name that you can probably get at the very end of the draft. If you think he can be anything like the Witten of past then he’ll have you happy week after week as your late TE draft pick. Dak hasn’t shown to have an above average arm in strength or accuracy so Witten could be just the comfort target he’s been looking for.
Jimmy Graham: ADP R14 P7 - Let’s flashback to 2013 when Jimmy Graham had 16 TD’s and over 1200 yards. He was a high end receiver with the title of a Tight End. He’s been very hot and cold in years since, but the yards always seem to land around 5-600. He went from Brees, to Wilson, and now in his second year with Rodgers. You can’t really play with much better than that unless you throw Brady in there. There’s a lot of names above him in the TE category, but most of these guys are solely there because they are younger. I feel if Graham had an inexperienced QB this year he wouldn’t even be considered for a draft spot (and he still might not be). Aaron is not young or inexperienced. His career speaks for itself and I think these 2 will find the endzone together starting early in the season and carrying throughout. With Rodgers throwing to him he could be in the 1000 yards and 10 TDs range. He’s not too far removed from seasons of that caliber.
In this article we are going to talk about receiving going in to their third year. These are fantasy relevant players who have either increased their production from rookie to second year, or have been stat stackers since coming out of college. The 2018 wide receiver class was a good one so I had to narrow down to a handful of names that shouldn't steer you wrong.
Moore was very good last year posting 1,175 yards and 87 receptions. His 4 TD's were not as impressive, but he is still young and can increase those numbers for sure. The discussion and debate was out before last season who would come on and shine as Carolina's number 1 guy, Moore or Samuel. The debate is over. You can feel good with D.J. as a solid WR on your roster this year and for years to come.
Before last season kicked off we all (Steve, Kev and myself) stated that Calvin's 10 TD rookie season would just not be repeatable, but his 800 yards would be outdone. He finished last year with 45 more yards and 3 less TD's so all predictions were pretty much on par. Ridley is always going to be a really good second receiver on Atlanta and should increase his yards slightly, while staying in the 7-9 TD range. As good as he might become it'll be hard to produce anything more than that, having big ole Julio lined up as the other outside receiver.
I believe this kid has the most potential on the list of receivers I am breaking down. If you listened to our podcasts (I hope you did and if you did not then do yourself a favor and start), than you would have known how high I was on him. I started to watch some Denver games and saw he was a special talent. Without a relevant QB last year he still put together a nice season of 1,112 yards and 6 TD's. I truly believe Denver will be on the rise this season with the addition of Gordon and their young roster. If Sutton finishes a top 10 WR it will not come as any shock to me at all.
I am putting Kirk on this list for the simple fact that he is an unbelievable talent with a QB that I think will win an MVP in this league. His rookie year was plagued by injury and last year, aside from a monster 3 TD game, was a huge letdown. He will be cheap to get and at the spot he will be in with other guys, I will take his upside. The addition of DHop, I feel, will only help his production. Arizona showed they can move the ball with Kyler's ability to escape the pocket and make all the throws. Kirk just has to find that rhythm with him. When he does, he'll be a beast.
Chark had himself a nice little season logging just over a grand in yards and 8 TD's. His production tailed off the last 1/3 of the season and he missed 1 game later on, but he still showed early on that he is a solid WR. I am not as high on him as I am others because I think Minshew's magic turned a little more in to dust. I don't think Jacksonville's offense is going to be anything great this year. I really like Fournette last year and help prove me right, but I won't be as high on him or any Jags for that matter. There's better value.
Last on our list is Michael Gallup and on draft night the Cowboys threw a complete curveball and drafted Ceedee Lamb with their first pick. Many teams would be very happy having Gallup and Cooper as their wideouts, but Dallas is going all in and giving Dak no excuses. This offense has weapons and Gallup will unquestionably see his fair share of that action. My only concern with him is how much will Lamb's production hurt his fantasy season? If you watch Ceedee at Oklahoma than you know his adjustment in to the Pros won't take long. He's very very good, possibly even receiving more targets than Gallup? Time will tell.
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