2018 Redraft RB Rankings

To quote Anakin Skywalker, this is where the fun begins. While QB rankings are fine and dandy, the fantasy community cares most about the running backs. My rankings are obviously subject to change and I even feel as if some people should already be moving up or down. However, I feel comfortable enough where everyone is enough to put it out into the fantasy world. Just like my QB ranks, the RB ranks will be split into 7 tiers and the players will be ranked according order they are revealed. So in this case, Ezekiel Elliott would be my RB1 and so on and so forth. So here are my Re-Draft PPR rankings for 2018.

Tier 1: Ezekiel Elliott (1), Todd Gurley (2), Le’Veon Bell (3) and David Johnson (4)

Here are the ELITE guys. If you get pick 1, 2, 3 or 4 in a re-draft league then congrats, you have the option to take one of the top guys at running back if you so please. On top of that, these 4 guys are interchangeable to be honest. They all are so close to each other that any one of them could be the RB1 this season. I won’t spend too much time on these guys because I feel as if everyone knows what they’ll be getting with these 4.

Tier 2: Alvin Kamara (5), Saquon Barkley (6), Kareem Hunt (7), Melvin Gordon (8), Dalvin Cook (9) and Leonard Fournette (10)

My most perplexing argument that I have heard this offseason is that Alvin Kamara can’t handle a full workload… what? Are you serious? This guy is a FREAK. He already is one of, if not THE, top receiving back in the league, which matters because these are PPR rankngs. He also averaged 6.1 yards per carry last season on 120 carries and added 8 rushing touchdowns to his 5 receiving touchdowns. Kamara is the real deal and he will absolutely NOT fall off in that offense. Barkley I’m ok with if you want to take him in the first round. His ADP is currently 1.07 and that’s about where Zeke was going in his rookie year. I doubt Barkley runs for 1,600 yards this year but I definitely think he’s an easy RB1 this season. Fournette worries me because dating back to college he has always been dinged up. I don’t doubt the talent, I just doubt the durability and that’s enough to scare me when talking about first round picks. I expect Hunt, Gordon and Cook to all have very good seasons. They are the alpha dogs in their respective offenses.

Tier 3: Jordan Howard (11), Christian McCaffrey (12), LeSean McCoy (13), Sony Michel (14), Derrius Guice (15) and Devonta Freeman (16)

I’ll be the first to tell you that McCaffrey is not an in between the tackles runner. He will never be that at the NFL level. The fact that a lot of people around the community think he will jut evolve into that this season is dumbfounding to me ESPECIALLY with CJ Anderson in town. Howard is a phenomenal talent who produced in his first 2 seasons in an awful offense. Enter Matt Nagy and I am now a firm believer in Jordan Howard. LeSean is at 13 out of respect for his talent and body of work but let me tell you, I don’t want any part of that Buffalo offense. As for the two rookies, I expect New England to realize that Sony Michel is the best running back they have by week 4 and maybe earlier than that. The fumbles are worrisome but until they happen, I am willing to give Sony and Patriots RB coach Ivan Fears the benefit of the doubt. I think Guice will have a serious chip on his shoulder. He’s THE guy in Washington and I expect him to prove why he shouldn’t have fallen so far in the Draft. Freeman worries me because of the injuries. A RB with his punishing style and concussion history is enough to scare me away.

Tier 4: Jerrick McKinnon (17), Kenyan Drake (18), Derrick Henry (19), Dion Lewis (20) and Alex Collins (21)

Take what I said about Christian McCaffrey and apply it to Jerrick McKinnon. I am not going anywhere near McKinnon and his ADP of 2.09. No thank you to a guy who averaged 3.8 and 3.4 yards per carry the past 2 seasons and that was with a better offensive line than he has right now in San Francisco. I have him this high because I believe in Jimmy G, I believe in Kyle Shanahan and I still think McKinnon’s receiving ability is enough to warrant RB2 territory. Nothing against Kalen Ballage but Kenyan Drake is the real deal and is not relinquishing that job in Miami. He is a VERY good running back and should be given 16 games and a full workload. Believe in Kenyan Drake. Henry and Lewis are tough calls but I fully believe Dion Lewis is the better back. They will make a great real life running back duo but not a great fantasy running back duo. If the Ravens don’t give Alex Collins 16 games as the starting running back then John Harbaugh should be fired and ashamed. Collins was incredible last season when he was finally given a true opportunity to produce.

Tier 5: Royce Freeman (22), Rashaad Penny (23), Jay Ajayi (24), Ronald Jones II (25), Mark Ingram (26),  Duke Johnson Jr. (27), Lamar Miller (28) and CJ Anderson (29)

Denver shouldn’t get cute with their running back situation. Booker is not the answer and Freeman should just be given as many reps with the top offense as possible. I think because of a lack of weapons at the receiver and tight end position, Rashaad Penny has a good chance to be the top option in Seattle and maybe number 2 at the worst due to Doug Baldwin’s presence. Ajayi being in an offense as good as Philly makes me believe he will produce as long as he stays healthy. I’m a little bullish on the Bucs offense as a whole but I do really like Ronald Jones II. The uncertainty at QB plus the coaching is what scares me in his case. Duke Johnson is a slam-dunk pick at his ADP of 8.07. I would take that production all day even with Nick Chubb and Carlos Hyde in town. I have no faith in Lamar Miller and the only argument I have been hearing in favor of Miller is that he will be the starter. Sure, the offense is good but the Texans’ offensive line is just that, offensive. I can’t buy into Miller because even with Deshaun Watson playing, he still didn’t perform well. That combined with his ADP means I’m avoiding him. CJ Anderson should be higher in my rankings; I will flat out admit that. I think the split in Carolina is going to be a lot closer than people think and CJ isn’t even remotely close to finished at age 26.

Tier 6: Isaiah Crowell (30), Tevin Coleman (31), Joe Mixon (32), Marshawn Lynch (33) and LeGarrette Blount (34)

I’m going to use the Lamar Miller argument that people are using for Isaiah Crowell here. He is the starter on an offense and his ADP warrants some good value. I’m lower on Coleman than I have been in the past but I really hope Atlanta realizes that Coleman is leaving after this season and they decide to utilize him as much as possible knowing he’ll be elsewhere in 2019. I am floored by how many people are picking Joe Mixon early in fantasy drafts. What on earth were you watching last season and are 2 new offensive lineman in Cincy really enough of a difference for you to think otherwise? I don’t get it at all and I’m not touching Mixon with a ten-foot pole as long as he is under the terrible watchful eye of Marvin Lewis and the Bungles. Lynch actually had a better year than I thought last season. With a revamped offense and new system in place, he might be worth the risk in the late 7th round where he’s currently going. Blount should start out as the lead back in Detroit but I really do wonder how long it will take Kerryon Johnson to surpass him. I think Johnson will end up being the starter by the end of the season; it just depends on when he takes over to decide if he’s worth the roster spot.

Tier 7: Rex Burkhead (35), Tarik Cohen (36) and Aaron Jones (37)

Ok so I feel as if a lot of people view Burkhead as a possible dark horse to be the lead back in New England. I think they have it all wrong. Burkhead is a wide receiver who is listed as a running back. He is more of a receiving threat that can actually run in between the tackles every now and then. He is by no means a lead back. Cohen is being a little overhyped for a couple decent games last season. I think he’s a talented player but I have no idea why he is going ahead of guys like CJ Anderson, Marshawn Lynch and Isaiah Crowell. Aaron Jones is the most talented running back in Green Bay. Yes I mean RUNNING BACK not offensive player (looking at you Ty Montgomery).

Tier 8: Marlon Mack (38), James White (39) and Latavius Murray (40)

The jury is still out on Marlon Mack but the limited sample we saw last year was promising. If Luck returns to form then his job will be a lot easier plus the addition of Quenton Nelson is going to be huge for the Indy running game. I still expect James White to be relevant in PPR formats and he will remain the go-to pass catching back in New England. I expect Dalvin Cook to be managed a bit early on so Murray still retains some value.

Projecting Rookie QB Playing Time

One of my favorite aspects of Fantasy Football is speculation. This past April, 13 quarterbacks were drafted in the NFL Draft. Anywhere from 5 to 7 of them have a legitimate chance to see snaps as a starter in 2018. The question is, “Are they worth a stash in redraft leagues?” Using a formula of my own creation, let’s find out.

The Six Who We Won’t See Starting in 2018

Let’s take a quick moment to mention the six quarterbacks who have an almost 0% chance to take starting snaps this season, whether it’s because of the current starter or the depth chart. The following should not be drafted in any format:

Mike White – 0% chance to see starting snaps – Currently third on the Cowboys depth chart. Dak is the starter, case closed.

Luke Falk – 1% – Currently third on the Titans depth chart. Mariota is the starter. If injured, it will go to Blaine Gabbart.

Tanner Lee – 1% – Current third on the Jags depth chart behind Bortles and Kessler. They’re a running team, anyway.

Danny Etling – 2% – Currently third on the Patriots depth chart. Although, Brady is old and Hoyer’s health is always a question mark.

Alex McGough – 0% – Currently third on the Seahawks depth chart. Wilson is the starter, case closed.

Logan Woodside – 0% – Currently fourth on the Bengals depth chart. Practice squad, here we come!

Could Start, But Highly Unlikely

The next set have a slight chance to start, but should not be drafted in any redraft format:

Kyle Lauletta: 5%

Laulette is Currently third on the Giants depth chart behind Eli Manning and Davis Webb. We must consider this: Under a different head coach, Eli was sat in favor of Geno Smith. Eli no longer has the consecutive start streak in play. The fantasy football universe is currently trembling with the excitement of a returning OBJ and the (different article topic) drafted-too-high Saquon Barkley. Let’s face it, the Giants stunk last year. It’s quite possible that they will stink only slightly less this year. Should we get to the end of the season and the Giants are not in contention for a playoff spot, they might just give Kyle Lauletta a try. The back half of their schedule is pretty winnable.

Mason Rudolph: 3%

He’s is third on the Steelers depth chart behind Big Ben and Landry Jones. The Steelers are a perennial playoff contender and are playing in a weak division (AFC North). Mason Rudolph has some hype but, unless an injury occurs to Big Ben AND the Steelers are out of playoff contention, Mason Rudolph won’t see the field this year.

Might or Will See Starting Snaps This Season

Lamar Jackson: 55%

Jackson sits behind Joe Flacco on the depth chart. Flacco will be the starter in 2018. However, the Ravens start their season with four out of the first 5 games completely winnable (Bills, Bengals, Broncos, Browns). They have a fresh set of starting Wide Receivers (Crabtree, Snead, John Brown, and a lot of rookies). There should be hope for the Ravens. Despite his Super Bowl ring, I am not a fan of Joe Flacco. Not in reality and CERTAINLY not for fantasy. If they get through week five with a losing record, I believe they will grant the starting job to Jackson. Week five at the earliest, although it’s still in the realm of possibility that we will not see Lamar Jackson until 2019. Draftable in redraft leagues? Resist the desire, hype-sters and homers, no way! Not in Superflex or 2QB, either.

Baker Mayfield: 60%

Baker is second on the depth chart behind Tyrod Taylor. Tyrod will be the starting QB in Cleveland in 2018. Between draft picks and free agency, Cleveland has added more than half a roster in the last two years (29 players). Tyrod led the, arguably, worse 2017 Buffalo Bills to the playoffs. My rose colored glasses and love for an underdog has Cleveland finishing with a 9-7 record. But, when I take those glasses off I see them eliminated from the playoffs by Week 15 at the latest. With weeks 16 & 17 winnable (Bengals and Ravens), they might put Mayfield in to see what they have for 2019. Earliest – Week 12. Latest – 2019. Draftable in redraft leagues? No and you can ignore him in Superflex and 2QB, too.

Josh Allen: 90%

Allen is second on the depth chart behind AJ McCarron. Third if you believe the horse pucky coming from the Bills camp that Nathan Peterman could be the starter. I don’t believe a word of it and neither should you. Let’s face it, the Bills are going to stink in 2018. Part of me thinks that Josh Allen could take the starting spot early. The other part of me thinks, “Why would they frustrate a rookie QB and possibly destroy his confidence?”  Earliest – Week 1 by winning the starting role. Latest – Week 9. Do not draft him in any style of redraft…..even if he wins the starting role in week 1.

Sam Darnold: 90%

Darnold is third on the depth chart behind Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater. I can repeat almost everything I said the paragraph above. The difference? I think the Jets are slightly better and will win at least 4 games in 2018.  Earliest – Week 1 the veteran McCown on the sideline could be a booster. Latest – 2019. Unfortunately, the last three games on the schedule are against the Texans, the Packers, and the Patriots. That is not an ideal litmus test for a rookie QB. If he wins the starting role by the time your draft roles around, take a shot! In 1QB leagues, I recommend a last round flyer. In SF and 2QB, do it LATE. He’s a rookie on a bad team and likely won’t be in your starting lineup, but there’s potential.

Josh Rosen: 100%

Finally, Rosen is second on the depth chart behind Sam Bradford. Bradford hasn’t played a full season since 2012, 80 games out of a possible 128. Even if he stays healthy, he’s not that good. Take away his stellar 2016 completion rate and he’s barely above 60% for his career. His career Yards per Completion is on par with Nathan Peterman at 10.6 (I’m being hyperbolic with the Peterman comparison, but 10.6 is really low). Josh Rosen will see starting snaps. Earliest – Week 1 because Bradford won’t win the starting job or will get injured in the preseason. Latest – Week 3 because that’s the high end of my confidence in Bradford staying healthy. Draftable in redraft leagues? Yes, but do it late. After all, he’s still a rookie.

Devy Targets: 2019 Draft Class #1-4

Draft day has come and gone.  Draft season however, never ends.  Time to get on board for next year.  Before the season gets started, before lineups need to be set, before trades need to be made, before championships need to be won, it is time to do your homework on next year’s possible rookies.  Oh, and while you’re there, why don’t you check out the 2020 eligible draftees? Sound like a lot of work? Well that’s what I’ve been up to and what I will continue to work on until (and let’s be honest, throughout) the season.  Ladies and gentlemen, for your reading pleasure, a quick Devy player update. And as always, tell me what you think, tell me how wrong I am, or ask me to expound upon my below pontificates.

This class is fabled to be for wide receivers what these past 2 classes have been to running backs.  At least 5 guys profile as possible WR1’s at the next level. This class of wide outs is dripping with size and athleticism which means the ceiling on these guys is sky high.  If you don’t talk to me regularly, maybe you don’t know, but ceiling plays are basically how I play dynasty. High reward players are my targets whether risk is low or high. These guys fit that bill.  So let’s get into this class in a rankings order with some brief thoughts.

1. N’Keal Harry – WR – Arizona State – Junior – 6’4” 216 lbs
2017 Stats – 82 receptions for 1142 yards and 8 touchdowns

You can’t overthink it at this point.  N’Keal Harry is the one of the best players in college football and sits atop my board for the 2019 rookie class.  Harry was dominate last year and looks to only improve on that performance this year. I expect another 1000 yards season with a bump in touchdowns to get him over 10.  A phenomenal athlete who can play anywhere on the field (he even had 13 carries last year), Harry excels on the outside. He is out of this world along the sideline with body control and fantastic hands and feet that allow him to get the ball up top and find a way to stay in bounds.  He also has a knack for playing with his size. He knows how to stay in front of defenders, go over the top of them, and he often just plays through contact and outmuscles the defenders. Harry will be drafted high next year and should be able to contribute right out of the gate, but the floor isn’t what you are drafting him at 1.01 for.  He could be the next Julio Jones or Calvin Johnson. He is that good. A dream landing spot come draft time for Harry (and a lot of these other wideouts) would be Arizona. A young quarterback and a strong running game opening up the field. For right now, I don’t see anyone surpassing Harry for the top spot, but this next group is still pretty exciting.

2. AJ Brown – WR – Ole Miss – Junior – 6’1” 225 lbs
2017 Stats – 75 receptions for 1252 yards and 11 touchdowns

AJ Brown has lined up in the slot for most of his college career, but don’t let that fool you.  I am #teambigreceiver all the way and I almost let that affect my opinion of AJ Brown. Brown is a very interesting player from many aspects.  Like I said, he lines up in the slot mostly for Ole Miss, but he could play different positions at the next level. The thing that jumps out about Brown to me is his quickness and agility.  That coupled with his strength makes him a nightmare in open space. The jury is still out on his long speed for me, but he should test well enough. He takes short, choppy strides and is eager to move side to side and make you miss and for good reason.  He has left many defenders frozen in his wake, not to mention the ones he left on the ground. He will break your ankles or he will stiff arm your into the ground, you can choose how you want to be embarrassed. Brown is stout for his height at 225 lbs and I am making him an honorary member of my #teambigreceiver.  I like how he plays the game and I hope whoever drafts him gives him the opportunity to move around the formation more than Ole Miss has. One thing I will look for this coming year is a more extensive route tree. It would help if they let him play outside more. He is great in the short and intermediate areas. They like to get him the ball quickly and let him work.  I would like to see him work more downfield and over the top on the outside.

3. David Montgomery – RB – Iowa State – Junior – 5’11” 219 lbs
2017 Stats – 246 carries for 1146 yards and 11 touchdowns, 36 receptions for 296 yards

Montgomery is the number one back in this class for me, but the more I watch Rodney Anderson, the closer he gets to Montgomery.  I like both of them for the performance they put on last season, but this is also what separates them. Montgomery put on a show last year on an Iowa State team that didn’t have much else going on.  He was the center of attention for scouts and defenses alike and he still put up good numbers. The efficiency was a little on the lower side, but that is to be expected for the same reasons. Montgomery showed everything you want to see from a young back including quick feet, good vision and great hands.  Montgomery showed out as a receiver out of the backfield which really sets him apart from guys like Bryce Love and Damien Harris who haven’t really been able to show the same ability. My favorite thing about Montgomery is his Shady McCoy-esque jump cut. He is super shifty and loves to make guys miss and the jump cut is his go to move.

4. Kelvin Harmon – WR – North Carolina State – Junior – 6’3” 213 lbs
2017 Stats – 69 receptions for 1017 yards and 4 touchdowns

There is a lot to like about Kelvin Harmon.  The most important thing I see with him is his ability to play above the rim.  He is great at the catch point and uses his hands very well in the air. He is also very good at tracking the ball on deeper routes.  He is also very strong once he has the ball to the point where he carries defenders 10 or more yards to the end zone after winning up top.  One issue Harmon has is catch percentage. He is not terribly efficient with his targets. This, to me, can be explained away with the depth of targets and the coverage the Harmon was dealing with as the top receiving option.  Samuels and Hines were both great last year and Jakobi Meyers was solid as well, but the backs play a very different role and didn’t help draw coverage and Meyers played closer to the line of scrimmage than Harmon. It likely doesn’t help much that Harmon played exclusively on the right side of the field.  He was the outside wide receiver on the right side for almost every single play I watched for him. This can be ok, but you need some talent on the other side to help spread the other team out or scheming against a top receiver is not that difficult. Harmon is a willing blocker which is likely due to team culture and scheme.  Blocking for guys like Samuels and Hines can be difficult and bodes well for this area of his game. I have bumped him up to my 3rd wide receiver and 3rd overall player for 2019 after some good conversations and watching some more tape. I don’t foresee him climbing any higher than this, but a solid year should be all he needs to hang inside the top 5.

 

3 Reasons to Pump the Brakes on David Johnson

David Johnson, the former number 1 RB in fantasy? David Johnson, the dual threat dynamo? David Johnson, the man who wants 1000/1000? David Johnson, the man you shouldn’t take in the top 3 of redraft leagues? Yeah, that David Yan-Son (Think an over-exaggerated Boston accent) I’m a believer that in those first 3 picks there are better options and here’s why.

1. The Team

The Cards have experienced a lot of change this off season. A new coach with schemes, 2 new QBs to drive the ship, a decrease in talent on the defensive side (RIP Honey Badger) and no real improvements to the offensive line (I’m not sold on Andre Smith and Justin Pugh is a “Meh” addition)

The QB room is interesting with the always-injured Sam Bradford and Josh Rosen. It’s almost a guarantee that Bradford will go down with an injury in which case, is Rosen as ready as everyone thinks he is? There was a reason he slid to #10, was it his attitude? Maybe. But if you’re a QB needy team in the top 9 picks, if he’s as good as you think, why didn’t you take him? I don’t know, maybe I’m a skeptic but their QB’s don’t sell me on giving him a favorable game script.

But wait, isn’t he a great receiving back and would benefit from that? Yes, he is uber dynamic. BUT, teams know this. They know what to expect out of his usage at this point. If you think any defense won’t have a spy on him the entire game you’re out of your mind. There’s no real threats outside of the ageless Larry Fitz but he could see the cliff at any point and when does, their team becomes one-dimensional through DJ.

2. The Injury

As mentioned in a previous article by my colleagues, he was probably kept out of the entire season because Arizona had no playoffs hopes. This definitely has some substance to it but if you’re a competitor, which DJ is supposed to be, wouldn’t you want to get some action before the season ends regardless? I know, sometimes a fracture can be worse than a break and for a RB who has to handle the ball and take hits, a fractured wrist is detrimental as we saw.

But, players have played with wrist injuries. Brian Cushing played part of 2014 with a broken wrist! At some point, you have to tough it out. If the injury happened mid way through the season, fine, you get a pass. But no, it happened almost on the first drive of the season. You’re telling me if you’re an athletic freak like he is, your body doesn’t heal that injury in 12 weeks or less and allow you to play? I don’t know man, something’s telling me he didn’t want to play. Where’s the fire?

3. The Competition 

The Cardinals are in an interesting position within their division, they certainly won’t be first but they could very well be last.

The Rams are the clear dominatrix of this division so that’s 2 games where DJ has to see what will probably be the best defense in the league and that’s 2 games where his team will certainly struggle on the offensive side of the ball. I can’t imagine it’s going to be easy for Arizona to run the ball against Aaron Donald, reigning defensive MVP and his new smash brother in Suh. I also imagine that they’ll be able to use the reigning offensive MVP in Todd Gurley to keep the ball away from DJ and Co. So reduce DJ’s value to 14 games, not 16.

Next, SanFran, the hot team, the darkhorse, all thanks to Jimmy G. They have a new swagger about them after winning the last 5 games of their season, beating the top defense in Sacksonville, and having a fairly interesting off season. I think this team will be better than last years on both sides of the ball. We’re not here to talk about them as a whole but why DJ will be effected: Buckner and Solomon (Sounds like a law firm) SanFran has premium young talent on their defensive line and made upgrades to the backend. I think they have a real chance to give Arizona’s offensive line some hell which spells some issues for our RB. I know everyone thinks that SanFran’s defense was a weakness and it was, but it got better and we’ll see that. I could see Johnson splitting this series with one game producing stellar RB1/Elite numbers and the other producing an RB2/3 performance.

Finally, Seattle. They’re in a rebuild without a doubt and these could be games where Johnson gets a breakout. Their defense is looking like it’s in shambles and has holes all over the roster and it certainly does. But, they still have Russell Danger Wilson. I think his ability to keep Seattle in games against a lesser Cardinal’s defense will force a shootout where DJ could see great usage in the passing game or he could not. Remember, teams will plan for him and Pete Carroll isn’t a slouch when it comes to coaching, sans not running the ball with Marshawn to close out the superbowl (I’m a patriots fan, so thank you!) Either way, that team will be ready for David Johnson and that could hinder his play.

In closing

Will DJ be a top RB? Definitely. But, I think there will be better options ahead of him and I’d pause to think about taking him if I had the third pick. Its hard to truly know the future for a player and his past indicates he can do it even if it’s only 1.5 years worth of footage. But exactly that, only 1.5 years and the other time spent injured and not playing the game. It’s worrisome.

2018 Redraft Quarterback Rankings

As we inch closer to the start of the 2018 NFL season, we start to solidify our feelings on certain players. Who belongs where in the rankings has been thought about since early March and it is now time to set it in stone. This year, my QB rankings are reflected in tiers. There are 7 tiers amongst the 32 starting quarterbacks around the NFL and the order they are listed in is where I have them overall. Here are my Fantasy Football QB rankings for Re-Draft leagues in 2018.

Tier 1

Aaron Rodgers (1)

Deshaun Watson (2)

Rodgers is my top QB going into this season. The Packers went out and got Rodgers 3 new wide receivers in the draft, all of whom stand 6 feet 3 or taller. At least one or a combination of the 3 will be able to replace top target Jordy Nelson. Adams should take another step forward, Randall Cobb still mans the slot and they have a talented group of running backs to take pressure off of 12. Oh yea, they also signed Jimmy Graham. Rodgers is the top dog this year. People seem down on Watson and expect him to regress even mightily… I don’t see it at all. I see an offense primed for a continued breakout. The only thing that scares me is his horrid offensive line.

Tier 2

Cam Newton (3)

Kirk Cousins (4)

Tom Brady (5)

Carson Wentz (6)

Cam finished QB3 last year and has added CJ Anderson and DJ Moore to an already potent offense. Greg Olsen needs to have a healthy bounce back season but I still believe in Cam, especially with his ADP of 1st pick in the 6th round. I was stunned to find out that Kirk Cousins finished as QB5 last year. He is now in a much better Minnesota offense so I expect him to be a high QB1 this year. Tom Brady is Tom Brady. You can still trust him because he is still in a pass heavy offense with great weapons and a great offensive line. Wentz might fall for me before the season but if he can get back by week 2 then I’m confident in saying he’ll be a QB1.

Tier 3

Russell Wilson (7)

Matthew Stafford (8)

Philip Rivers (9)

Drew Brees (10)

Matt Ryan (11)

Ben Roethlisberger (12)

Andrew Luck (13)

Other than Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, who still own an ADP of a 5th round pick, this is where you should target your qurterbacks. The later the better because the depth is too strong and the points are too close for quarterbacks. You should be loading up on wide receivers and running backs early. I really don’t like the Seattle offense this year and I only have Russell at 7 out of respect. Brees is officially in a run first offense and while he can still produce, that 5th round pick is too rich for my blood. Stafford is consistently a QB1 and is going in the 9th round. I worry a bit about Todd Haley leaving Pittsburgh but Big Ben still has a ton of weapons so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Rivers is always solid and I expect Ryan to be better in year 2 under Sarkisian. Luck is a player who could rise before the season but the Colts’ offense is Jack Doyle and TY Hilton dependent and that I don’t like.

Tier 4:

Case Keenum (14)

Dak Prescott (15)

Jared Goff (16)

Patrick Mahomes (17)

Mitch Trubisky (18)

Marcus Mariota (19)

Jimmy Garoppolo (20)

Eli Manning (21)

Derek Carr (22)

I definitely think the coaching change is a step down for Case Keenum in Denver but the talent at wide receiver actually might’ve improved. For that I have him not too far from QB1 territory. Dak Prescott still has no weapons. Actually, that’s wrong, he had barely any weapons last year but now he really has no weapons. That offense is Zeke dependent with a dominant O-Line. I think the O-Line keeping Dak clean is the only reason he’s so high for me. Goff should have another solid QB2 season. I think Cooks is a better fit for the Rams offense and he will provide the big play ability that Sammy Watkins couldn’t consistently.

I have Pat Mahomes up at 17 because of who is in his backfield and whom he is throwing to. I am not a believer yet so he has something to prove. Mitch Trubisky also has a promising new offensive minded head coach along with a new, big time receiver in Allen Robinson. The bears revamped their offense and are solid at the skill positions. Mahomes and Trubisky are 2 guys to watch this year because if they are as good as the Chiefs and Bears hope they are, then QB1 territory is coming sooner rather than never.

I wish the 49ers did more for their offense instead of just signing Jerrick McKinnon and drafting Dante Pettis. They took a tackle in round 1 and while that makes Jimmy G happy, it does nothing for the fantasy community. I believe in Jimmy G and think he’s the future at QB, but the only thing going for him is possible second year improvement under Shanahan and I don’t think that’s enough to justify how hyped people are on him. Eli and Carr are dart throws that could either struggle like they did last year or thrive because they actually have some talented players to throw to.

Tier 5

Tyrod Taylor (23)

Alex Smith (24)

Blake Bortles (25)

Andy Dalton (26)

 

Tier 6

Ryan Tannehill (27)

Jameis Winston (28)

Sam Bradford (29)

 

Tier 7

Josh McCown (30)

Joe Flacco (31)

AJ McCarron (32)

 

Notables

I expect Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and possibly even Josh Allen all seeing the field this year. I think Jackson definitely deserves a look and should be monitored BY EVERY FANTASY RE DRAFT TEAM. He will make an impact the moment he hits the field.I think Mayfield, due to a strong offense filled with weapons along with a great coordinator in Todd Haley, should also be kept under close watch. The Browns’ offense is one to keep an eye on.

Mock Draft Series 5

This is the 5th article in the Mock Draft Series; where Top2Sports teams up with fantasy experts from across the community to participate in, and break down mock drafts. This draft is PPR, Dynasty, and Superflex. A link of the draft is below, followed by an explanation of highlighted picks, in the authors words-not mine.

Full Results

1st Round Highlights

1.03: Odell Beckham Jr., Josh Padgett 

OBJ is my number 1 dynasty player regardless of league setup.  I still build my dynasty teams around receivers. The running back revival has not convinced me to take guys like Gurley or Barkley over OBJ and Hopkins.  OBJ will be the key cog in much improve offense this year and it still the best long term asset out there.

1.08: Saquon Barkley., League Builders

This was a bit of a strategy change from my usual, and would only happen during a dynasty draft. Three stars aligned to make this pick happen: first, Antonio Brown was sniped from me at the eighth spot (once he fell past six I thought I could snag him). Second, all the new data proving that volume is the best correlating statistic to RB1 finish, and I am confident Barkley will get the necessary volume (especially in PPR). Finally, after debating with a friend over the risks (or lack thereof) of taking a rookie in the first round, I wanted to try out his viewpoint and see if I could feel confident in my final team when starting with a rookie and banking on RB1 production from him. As it turns out I am very comfortable having Saquads leading my squad.

2nd Round Highlights

2.08: Amari Cooper, Anthony Zaragoza

What does Amari Cooper, second-year WR Corey Davis and rookie Calvin Ridley have in common? 23. The number twenty-three represents their age as of today. It’s hard to believe that a two-time pro bowler is the same age as a rookie WR barely entering the league, but that’s what makes Cooper such a great pick late in the second round. He’s extremely talented and has a quarterback for years to come (Derek Carr). If I needed more assurance for the pick, new Head Coach Jon Gruden plans to force feed his new #1 WR. That’s music to my ears.

2.12: Stefon Diggs, Happy Hour Fantasy

Diggs over Thielen,Hill,Baldwin,Hilton,Gordon and A-Rob?? Yes, and here’s why: In a Dynasty setting, the 24 year old has a bright, promising future ahead of him. Diggs showed us that he can be a true WR1 in PPR at times, and flashed huge games last year. Add in a contract year where he’s gonna ball out for the big bucks to either stay with the Vikes in that ascending offense or be THEE guy for a team for the next 5+ years (my preferred option to get away from Thielen), im all in for Diggs in Dynasty.

3rd Round Highlights

3.02: Patrick Mahomes FFVigilante

I’m a big fan of “GYG” (getting your guy) and  that’s what happened here. I’m confident that he’ll be in the top 15 before it’s all said and done this season. He’s got a slew of weapons and a fantastic arm. Also, it’s dynasty, so I just happened to grab my young promising QB very early. Which is fine because I got Winston later as a vet and valuable starter to go alongside Pat. Overall, I just wanted to “get em and forget em”. I didn’t want someone to snag him while I was thinking of another position.

4th Round Highlights

4.01: Kirk Cousins, Matt Hicks

After pushing my luck and waiting until the 4th to take a quarterback I’m ecstatic to get my dynasty QB3 as the 7th QB off the board in this draft. In his three seasons as a starter, Cousins has finished as QB6, QB5, and QB8 in fantasy. Yet, he’s disrespected in both rankings and ADP even after transitioning to Minnesota where his offense weapons and scheme get markedly better. Cousins best target is Washington was an injury riddled Jordan Reed (who saw no playing time in 2017) and Jamison Crowder, who finished as WR33 in fantasy last season. Now Cousins will have Thielen (WR8 in 2017), Diggs (WR 19 in 2017), and Rudolph (TE8 in 2017) at his disposal.You can get my full take on Cousins in my Dynasty Quarterbacks article.

4.03 Demaryius Thomas, Rick Rosen

New QB, who dis? Perhaps the most overlooked elite talent in the NFL, Thomas has languished in Denver since the decline and exit of Peyton Manning. Despite the drop in production, however, Thomas has remained one of the most targeted wide receivers in the NFL.

Six straight years. For six straight NFL seasons, Thomas has seen 140+ targets and played every single game. It doesn’t get more consistent then that, especially from a position known for its volatility. It’s like taking an Antonio Brown-type floor in the fourth round.

It doesn’t directly translate to numbers, but in fantasy we look for opportunity. And with Case Keenum under center, expect way more than the five touchdowns he’s produced each of the last two season. He’s back.

5th Round Highlights

5.04: LeSean McCoy, Marc Szymanski

I already had a strong start at RB (Zeke and Davonta Freeman), but the epitome of “bell-cow running back” was staring at me in the fifth round. I just couldn’t pass it up. Part of me wonders if I should have gone RoJo here if I was determined to get a third RB in a dynasty startup. But I’m a “win now” drafter in dynasty. I’m quite satisfied with this pick. It’s another year where we’re going to wonder if Shady will be the #1 receiver in the Bills offense, too. Once I picked him, I knew that I would be grabbing Chris Ivory as a handcuff. When a person drafts Shady, it is highly recommended to grab Ivory which I did in the 14th round.

5.09: Andrew Luck, Geoff Lambert

I really wanted to go with my first RB here, but with 9 QBs already off the board in a super flex league, I felt I had to go QB. Everyone is scared of Luck based on his recent injury history, but if he can return to form, I just landed a Top 5 QB in the 5th round of a super flex league. I couldn’t pass that up.

6th Round Highlights

6.02: Nick Chubb, Ryan Cearfoss

Nick Chubb is one of the most talented running backs in this year’s class and is the front runner for the early down role in Cleveland. With 2 fantastic backs on my roster already I have the opportunity to be patient if Hyde starts right away. (https://247fantasyfootball.com/nick-chubb/)

6.06: Alshon Jeffery, Dynasty Dorks

Alshon Jeffery – Eagles, WR – Alshon had a really nice bounce back year last year.  He gets Wentz back and should be the #1WR on that prolific offense. He has big play ability and gets a lot of targets in the redzone.  Not the typical PPR WR I would take, but the value was too good here. Great Robinson insurance if needed and he is young enough. I don’t load up on rookies and hope to have the team that is going to be good….in 3 or 4 years.  A lot can change in 3 or 4 years. Don’t neglect youth, just don’t overemphasize it. Play to win now and get a good mix of middle aged guys and rookies with maybe an old vet or 2. Not the all under 25 squad that is sexy on madden.

7th Round Highlights

7.03: Royce Freeman,  Josh Padgett

Going into the seventh round with one running back was starting to feel like 0 RB too much for my liking.  Freeman has a chance to be the full time back in Denver and it’s that upside that makes him the pick here. His competition isn’t great so even if it does turn into a committee, I think the floor is there as the lead back and the likely goalline guy.  Either way, this is more of a need pick for this roster than I would like.

9th Round Highlights

9.02: Chris Godwin, FFVigilante

First off, the kid has a perfect name. Chris is my first name and a surname of God and Win? How can you not select him? Slated to more than likely take time from Desean as the flanker, this kid will be a great compliment to Evans and weapon for Winston. It’s dynasty as well, so I had to grab a kid with high upside at only 22 years old in his sophomore season (younger than that one rookie in ATL lol).  

9.08: Randall Cobb Anthony Zaragoza

From nagging injuries, having Brett Hundley at quarterback for a season and Davante Adams taking over the #1 WR role, Randall Cobb has been up and down since his pro bowl season back in 2014. But this season, Cobb has Aaron Rodgers back and his number two wide receiver spot after the departure of Jordy Nelson. And let’s not forget, Cobb is only 27 years old and healthy. In the ninth round, grabbing Rodgers second best wide receiver is not too shabby.

10th Round Highlights

10.02: Lamar Jackson Ryan Cearfoss

Lamar Jackson is a full long term investment. With Baltimore having only a year left where they have to pay Flacco, Jackson should be able to step in next year. His ridiculous rushing ability will give him a fantastic floor with the ability to be a fantasy star!

10.04: Kalen Ballage Geoff Lambert

Going with my zero RB strategy, after taking Luck in the fifth, I went with 5 straight high upside RBs, with Ballage being the last of the five. Kenyan Drake is the incumbent, but I don’t 100 percent trust him and I don’t think the Dolphins do either. They wouldn’t fully commit to Drake last year saying that he and Damian Williams were going to split carries once Williams got back from injury, they signed Frank Gore this offseason and then drafted Ballage. You don’t do that if you think you’ve found “your guy”. Ballage could end up the starter at some point this season, and at a 10th Round Pick, that’s great value.

11th Round Highlights

11.01: Nyheim Hines Happy Hour Fantasy

Ahhh my man crush so far this season. This kid is explosive (4.3 speed) and is an incredible pass catcher. IND has been lining him up as a slot receiver a ton in OTA’s as well as the primary return man. They want to get him involved in as many ways as possible and desperately need a playmaker outside of T.Y. With a healthy Luck, it should make things easier for the RB’s. Both myself and IND coaches (trust me) aren’t sold on Mack and his 3.8 YPC, and I believe by the end of the season in PPR leagues, Hines very well could lead INDY RB’s in fantasy points. And to get him this late it’s absolutely worth the high upside potential.

11.08: Martavis Bryant League Builders

For those who didn’t know, Jon Gruden has had a wide receiver finish with 1,000+ yards in ten of his eleven seasons as a head coach. Martavis Bryant is a guy who was highly touted out of college, has had some big games, but never really broken out. In Oakland he gets a fresh start, can put his off-field issues in the past, and can focus on his on-field game with a young quarterback and new head coach. His competition consists of a potentially washed-up Jordy Nelson and an Amari Cooper whose drop issues finally caught up with him last year. He’s a sleeper for me, and in the 11th round I will take the risk that his talent overcomes everything else this year (and beyond) for the Raiders.

12th Round Highlights

12.06 Blake Bortles Dynasty Dorks

Love or hate him, he was a QB1 last year.  He is young and they didn’t draft Lamar Jackson so I feel okay.  Unless Cody Kessler or Tanner Lee take the job, Bortles was a steal this late in superflex.  He is a guy you can buy low and as long as your rushing yards count the same as all runners, he is a good late round QB.  I like the new weapons around him and the improved offensive line.

13th Round Highlights

13.04: Sam Darnold Marc Szymanski

I already drafted Aaron Rodgers. In round 12, I grabbed Tyrod who might not have the role for the entire year. How to fix this? When the 13th round came around and Darnold was still on the board, I celebrated. This was a mock and I celebrated. Youth and the heir-apparent to the starting QB role. It might not have any value for the first few weeks, but by week 8 (and definitely the 2019 season) I have a starting QB in a Superflex league THIS late in the draft. I’d be pretty happy if this were a real league.

13.10: Tyler Lockett  Rick Rosen

I got two rounds left, so I’m taking home run swings. Really nice to hear that last year, when Tyler Lockett was already a sleeper of mine, he recently revealed that he played the entire season a 75-80 percent health.

Cool story, bro.

Now that the truth is out, I can once again shill for one of the best deep threats in the league. Lockett is a big-play receiver with hands to match, and should see a significant amount of snaps with only he, Doug Baldwin and the walking corpse of Brandon Marshall as capable receivers. Seattle can’t run the ball, and Lockett has great rapport with Russell Wilson. I’d be legitimately excited about this pick if this draft wasn’t real.

14th Round Highlights

14.01 Courtland Sutton, Matt Hicks

I’m thrilled Josh whiffed on Sutton and let him fall to me. This big target playmaker fits in well in Denver; and adds depth to an offense led by a consistent quarterback who has a history of making his wideouts better. Sutton has the potential to contribute this season, but his value comes in the future; with at least one or both of Thomas and Sanders likely to move on after this season.