Fantasy Football 5 To Go On
5 players with the Father's blessing
Last year, I tried out an article where I picked out 5 players that I thought would outperform their draft ranking. A quick review of said predictions shows a mixed bag.
Of the 5 players I recommended, Baker Mayfield was the only real success story, as he was definitely improved. Preston Williams sadly got hurt after a strong start, Chris Herndon, Mecole Hardman and Brian Hill didn’t do enough to justify their place. Of the players I suggested to avoid, however, I was quite successful. LeVeon Bell was a home run pick. Lamar Jackson and Tyler Higbee were VERY good choices to avoid. Mike Evans didn’t exactly live up to his billing either. Nick Chubb was probably the worst of the suggestions as he was good when he played, but he did miss 4 games with injury. So, overall, batting about .500. Let’s try again. Same rules as last year, I will take a player from each position and a flex. I will try to pick players outside the top 8 rounds to recommend and inside the top 8 to avoid. These recommendations will be for a standard PPR league.
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick - Washington Football Team
Currently the consensus 17th choice in ESPN rankings, Fitzpatrick enters an offense with plenty of talent. Logan Thomas, Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson are all good players. The offense itself was hampered by quite possibly the worst QB combo in the NFL last year in Dwayne Haskins and Alex Smith (While a great feel good story, Smith did not have the talent to be playing, let alone starting). Fitzpatrick loves to put the ball in the air, and he loves to push the ball down the field. While he will inevitably throw some bad picks, that won’t matter much in fantasy. Last season in the games he did play, he was a top 10 QB with much less talent than he has now. I predict that if he stay healthy (which seems likely as he has rarely missed games with injury, another perk), he ends the season as a top 10 QB again.
RB: Kenyan Drake - Las Vegas Raiders
Currently rolling around the 40th selection in ESPN recommendations, Drake has a lot of upside, particularly in PPR leagues. Here are my reasons why. The Raiders paid him well this offseason, trust me, he will get used. Derek Carr is immobile. He is going to dump the ball off when he is in trouble, not run it himself like Kyler Murray did at Drake’s last stop. Their offensive line will be worse, so this is going to happen more. Josh Jacobs is simply not a good running back. His YPC, YAC and general numbers behind a very stout offensive line show me that he is not special. He isn’t going to keep Drake off the field. Finally, Drake is actually quite good. While he was miscast last year as a between the tackles hammer, he is excellent as a receiving back or third down rusher. I think he ends the season as a top 25 rusher in PPR.
WR: Elijah Moore - NY Jets
The Jets are bad at football. You know who is really good at football though? Elijah Moore. This guy is blowing up in the preseason and training camp and there is good reason. He had a dominant college career and by most accounts slipped in the draft because of questions about his size and teams general avoidance of drafting slot receivers high. The Jets don’t have a ton of talent on the outside, in the backfield, or at tight end (or in the front office, ownership group, defense, etc.). He is going to get a LOT of targets, because he is the best offensive skill player they have. Currently, he is going outside the top 50 WRs. Barring injury, I expect he will be in the top 40. They are going to be playing catchup a lot, and when they do, short dump offs to slot receivers will be a welcome relief for a rookie QB who is getting rushed to death behind a bad O-line.
TE: Anthony Firkser - Tennessee Titans
Who? Well, Tony is currently ranked 24th among tight end in the ESPN composite rankings, but I think that is way too low. He is certainly not the most talented tight end out there, but I think opportunity is going to come calling for Anthony. First, the Titans have been throwing to the tight end a lot. Top 5 in the NFL level high for the last few years, despite not having an elite talent at the position (Jonnu Smith was fine, but certainly not elite). The issue is going to come when defenses try to stop Julio Jones and AJ Brown outside. Covering the two of them is going to demand two high safety which is going to leave the center of the field very vulnerable up the seam and in zone. Stopping Derrick Henry is going to mean linebackers on the line of scrimmage. I think Firsker is going to have a field day running up the middle in wide open spaces and he will easily end up being top 15, maybe even top 10.
Flex: Giovanni Bernard - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Basically the only person on the Bucs offense who wasn’t on the Bucs offense last year, Bernard is a secret PPR special. Tom Brady LOVES throwing to running backs. He singlehandedly made James White a thing for what feels like a decade. Bernard is the new James White. Bernard is here to serve as the third down back that Brady can check down to over and over and over. He is currently outside ESPN’s top 50 running backs, and behind a certain James White. Guess what, Tom Brady is not in New England anymore. Bernard will be better than White, and better than many of those ahead of him. I predict a top 35 finish at RB in PPR leagues. Plus, if you think Leonard Fournette or Ronald Jones are great, you would be wrong. A worthy bench stash and great bye-week fill in.