Week 4 wasn’t our finest week, but we had a few solid picks and were in the money in one our leagues (nothing major but it keeps us at around .500 for cashes).
- $$$: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens ($7,100)
- After allowing 20+ points through two weeks, the Pittsburgh defense has played two excellent games against opposing quarterbacks, but we feel that this trend will revert in week 5. Jackson has shown the ability to play within the pocket, while using his legs to supplement a surprising passing game. In this divisional rivalry, I see the Ravens taking it handily, and Jackson performing very well.
- $$: Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($6,200)
- While New Orleans ranks 30th in points allowed to QB’s, it has been a tale of two defenses, with Houston and Seattle balling out in weeks 1 and three, and Goff and Prescott managing less than 25 points combined (with Dak’s 6 points being a low last week). Still, the emergence of Chris Godwin has turned the passing game into a lethal weapon, and Ronald Jones new found efficiency is helping to keep defenses honest. It may not be as high a scoring affair as it would be with Brees, but it should be Winston that benefits from a sub par passing defense.
- $: Teddy Bridgewater, New Orleans Saints ($5,200)
- While he’s been more of a game manager through three games, he’s been efficient regardless, completing over 70% of his passes over the previous two weeks. The Bucs offense has been scoring in bunches, and if it goes to the air (and I believe it will) he has the weapons in Thomas and Kamara to post points without having to do much of the work himself. Considering the Tampa defense has allowed quite a bit of scoring, I expect Bridgewater to be an absolute value in DFS this week.
- $$$: David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals ($7,500)
- Johnson’s volume has saved him from a bit of a difficult start to the season, as he’s drawn three difficult matchups in a row, running to the tune of nearly 3 yards per carry during that time. This week he gets a last place Bengals rushing defense that’s allowed no fewer than 21 points in PPR formats to opposing backs. This could be the turnaround game for the former 2,000 rusher as we expect that volume to remain constant.
- $$: James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers ($6,200)
- Life with Mason Rudolph was one where the ball rarely went down field, and Conner managed to turn a rough day on the ground into a very productive day as a dump off safety value for Rudolph. With Baltimore a very real threat to get up early, Conner could again be a heavy part of the passing game as the Steelers coaching staff didn’t seem comfortable taking the reigns off their back up signal caller
- $: James White, New England Patriots ($5,000)
- The last time we saw the Patriots, it was against a Bills team that bottled them up all day, but coming into a juicy match up against a Colt McCoy led Washington team, the Pats look to bounce back in a big way. Rex Burkhead is out, Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon are dinged up, and Brady is going to have to look White’s way fairly often, making him a solid cheap play on Sunday.
- $$$: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons ($7,700)
- Remember when Jones was considered a “can’t reach the end zone” receiver? Jones currently has four receiving TD’s through four weeks, and is still the best receiver in a passing attack that should put up points against Houston this week. The volume is there for Jones, who’s target share has been in the 8-12 targets per week. Start him with confidence if you’re looking for an expensive option for your team.
- $$: Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles ($5,900)
- The Eagles looked off last week, but Wentz tried over and over again to fit the ball to his star receiver. Against a Jets secondary that’s providing solid scoring to opposing fantasy receivers, he should again be a target magnet, and I expect him to have far better success this week.
- $: Dionte Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers ($4,400)
- When the season started, we had high expectations for Donte Moncrief and James Washington, but it looks like rookie receiver Dionte Johnson could be the peanut butter to Juju Smith-Schusters jelly in this offense thanks to an apparent level of comfort with backup made starter Mason Rudolph. As mentioned before, this offense has turned to a check down philosophy, and Johnson looks like he could fit the bill nicely.
- $$: Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders ($5,000)
- The raiders search for receiving weapons has seemed to provide the athletic tight end with extra opportunities so far, and a tough match up against a Bears defense that’s limited pretty much everyone but opposing tight ends from production looks like a solid play here.
- $: Tyler Eifert, Cincinatti Bengals ($3,300)
- Predicting anything in fantasy is difficult, but Arizona seems to love allowing opposing Tight Ends to score. While he’s been an afterthought through much of the season, a trip or two to the end zone shouldn’t be out of the question for the oft-injured tight end.
- Patriots D/ST ($4,300)
- Daily fantasy sites are starting to catch up to the Pats dominance against weak opponents, but against a third string QB and a Washington team that offers very little talent on offense, this could be another dominating performance for a defense that’s strung together several to start the season
- Titans D/ST ($3,000)
- If you’re looking for a cheaper option, the Titans defense has been excellent this year as well, and draws a Buffalo team that may not be 100% on Sunday. With Josh Allen having been knocked out of last Sunday’s contest, it should be interesting to see how he handles pressure this week.
The Dr’s DFS Team
- QB: Jameis Winston
- RB: James Conner
- RB: James White
- WR: Chris Godwin
- WR: Alshon Jeffery
- WR: Dionte Johnson
- TE: Darren Waller
- Flex: Sterling Shepard
- DST: Patriots D/ST
According to an article published in the Athletic, James Conner admitted that he expects the Steelers to employ a committee approach in 2019. Stating he expects the backfield to be “spread pretty evenly” between himself, Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels, it’s clear that even Conner expects there to be less opportunity in 2019.
The addition of a very talented back in Benny Snell was the first warning sign that Conner may not be expected to emulate the departing Le’Veon Bell this year. What Snell brings to the Steelers is excellent red zone ability (he scored 48 touchdowns in his college career) and his pass catching ability is something that shouldn’t be overlooked in this offense, as he added 16 receiving TD’s across his collegiate career as well.
While I do expect Snell to carve out a nice role for himself, I will still argue that despite a regression in time share, it’s likely that the Steelers, faced with an offense void of Antonio Brown and helmed by an aging QB in Ben Roethlisberger, will run the ball even more in 2019.
Of course, the news isn’t great considering that Conner was already nearing a tier break at the running back position. Expect us to monitor the backfield in Pittsburgh going forward, and Conner’s position in our rankings could shift if our concerns become more than just rumor.
Right out of the gates, you’ll see your draft will likely be RB heavy in the first round. The first tier of backs (Barkley, Zeke, Kamara, and CMC) are unlikely to face any real questions as to their value. Nuke Hopkins and Davante Adams are worthy of a look in the first round as well, but it’s not until the turn that the ADP data suggests we could see our first real quandary of the 2019 season.
James Conner or Le’Veon Bell?
It’s fitting that the man who replaced Bell would check in just behind him on the consensus ADP rankings, and his 225 points in standard scoring leagues was good for an RB7 finish despite having only played in 13 games.
Bell, of course, refused to take the field for Pittsburgh, burning those bridges before ultimately being shipped to the New York Jets, a franchise starved for identity and in need of a stud running back.
So is either one more valuable?
The argument for Bell, of course, would center on his three down ability. During the bulk of his career, there were very few backs who could claim to have been as productive in both the rushing and passing games as Bell was. He was incredible consistent, averaging nearly 130 total yards per game, while scoring 0.67 TDs per contest and being involved heavily in the passing game. Simply put, he was as secure an early round pick as there was… until last year.
Now he’s been out of the league for a season and finds himself in a situation that unfortunately features far more questions that I’d be comfortable asking about the achor of my football team. Do the Jets use Bell the way he was used in Pittsburgh? Is Adam Gase really stubborn enough to force the ball away from Bell in the name of balance (much like he did to Kenyan Drake in Miami)? What kind of condition can we expect, and can he maintain the kind of passing game presence he had for the Steelers?
It’s important to remember that Bell is still in his prime at 27 years old, but it may be one of the more terrifying first round picks you’ll ever make.
Still, on average, he’s being drafted ahead of the player who replaced him, James Conner, and we’re not sure that makes much sense. Conner was a stud last season in much the same roll Bell vacated, as evidenced by his RB1 finish. In standard formats, he scored 17.3 points per game, good for 6th (only 1 tenth of a point shy of what McCaffrey managed in his amazing season). In PPR formats, he finished 6th among his peers, this despite playing fewer games (13) than the rest of the top 12, aside from Melvin Gordon.
His 21.5 points per game average was better than the likes of Joe Mixon, Kareem Hunt, and David Johnson. Clearly he was up for the challenge. I’d argue that Conner is inline for a similar RB1 workload in 2019. Given that the Mike Tomlin Steelers has been an offense that values its RB’s in it’s passing game for many years, there’s no reason to expect Conner to be used less. While the loss of Antonio Brown may make the offense slightly less efficient as a whole, I don’t see it really impacting Conner in terms of his overall performance.
Who To Chose?
It’s a difficult decision for sure, especially given that we’re really in the dark on what Bell could be in New York. Of course, if you’re drafting simply on ceiling, then Bell is a steal late in the first; he’s far more likely to produce 2,000 total yards and 15+ combined TDs, Especially given the lack of dynamic talent on that Jet’s team, and a young QB who he’ll likely be a safety blanket for. But unlike Conner, who’s floor is as a back end RB1, Bell could completely fall off the map.
Regardless of his age, Le’Veon Bell has the kind of floor I’d aim to avoid in the first round. With an entire season off, and a new coach, system, and QB, there’s far too many moving pieces to be comfortable with any projection. His range of outcomes is enormous.
If tasked with choosing ourselves, James Conner would be the easy selection. We know what his role is in that Steelers offense, and with no reason to expect any real loss in work to the rookie back Snell, we expect a solid RB1 season. Bell is intriguing, but for us he falls just outside of that safe Tier 2 and thus wouldn’t be target unless the safer options were off the board.
Who do you think you’d select? Do you think Bell’s history as one of the leagues premier fantasy assets trumps the unknown of playing for a new team? Tell us in the comments. We’ll be back next week when we examine another interesting “either or” scenario!
It’s early in the off season, and these rankings will likely take on a different form as we approach the start of the NFL season, but in an effort to map the journey, we’ll take a few days to give you a look at the top of each position and who we think is rising and who we think is falling. If you’re looking for overall rankings, our initial rankings will be posted at the links in the header this week as well.
- Saquon Barkley, New York Giants – Considered a can’t-miss prospect, Barkley turned in an all time great rookie season in 2018 with 2,000 total yards, 91 receptions, and 15 total TDs. Considering that he did that behind a pourous offensive line and without much protection from an inept passing game, it’s fairly obvious that even minor improvements should allow Barkley to maintain his frantic pace. With Odell Beckham gone, there are some (myself included) that expect this Giants offense to run a bit more efficiently, and I expect a similar output to the generational talent in 2019.
- Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys – Zeke fought through some rough weeks to start the season but really came on down the stretch, giving the owners of the #1 overall pick something to think about. While the Cowboys feature a better offensive line, Zeke does present a few questions given that his usage in the passing game is far less impactful than Barkley. Also, keep an eye on any discipline that may come of an off season run in with security at an event. I doubt he’ll see discipline, but any missed time may impact his standings.
- Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers – When you look at sheer opportunity, McCaffrey’s snap share should relieve any concerns about his ability to repeat as a top 3 option in 2019. He’ll continue to be a target hog in the passing game, and his ability to run the ball was entirely overlooked when he came into the league. Don’t expect folks to make the same mistake in 2019, as McCaffrey is an elite option at the RB position and should go early in the first round.
- Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints – While Latavius Murray was brought in to replace the exiting Mark Ingram, it’s still Alvin Kamara’s offense when it comes to the running back position. He’s a trusted weapon for the Drew Brees led passing game, as evidenced by his 162 receptions in his two seasons in New Orleans, and he was excellent running the football despite the obvious regression we expected in terms of efficiency. Even if his trips to the endzone dip slightly from the 14 he had last year, he’s still a safe bet for 1,500-1,700 total yards and monster PPR weeks.
- Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers – If Gordon could stay healthy, he’d be higher on this list, but as it stands, he’s a high volume back with a propensity to miss games. Still, it was encouraging to see him take the next step last year with a 5.1 yard per carry mark, and 10 TDs in only 12 games. If you miss out on the sure-thing backs that come just ahead of him, Gordon is an excellent consolation prize, just be sure to have a back up plan if he misses a few weeks during the season.
- David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals – It certainly feels like David Johnson has been in the league a long time, but the truth is he’s still well within his prime as an NFL running back, and should be healthy coming into 2019; something we haven’t seen from Johnson since he suffered a season ending injury in 2017. As the season wore on, we saw glimpses of the DJ that convinced us he was the top overall option in fantasy. With a new head coach and quarterback combo that should keep defenses a little more honest, and additional weapons at the receiver position, there could be a little more room to run for Johnson, which should help him get back to his A game. 2,000 yards may be a bit of a lofty goal, but he’s a threat to the top 5 regardless.
- James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers – I know that others are a little higher on Conner as a stud fantasy running back, but the truth is he’s not Le’Veon Bell, and the Steelers off season saw plenty of turmoil that will make it difficult to come out of the gates firing. Expecting a bit of regression still provides for a valuable fantasy season, but don’t be surprised if/when Conner disappears for a few weeks. Fatigue was a definite factor last year, and with no Antonio Brown to help pull defenders from the line, we’re going to get a good look early on how well Conner runs against heavier fronts.
- Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams – Gurley is proving to be a special case in 2019. We know how good he is when he’s healthy, and we also know how health so often evades him in his NFL career. With what’s being dubbed a “chronic knee issue” we have fears that Gurley won’t be as effective in 2019 as he was early in the season last year. When the Rams drafted the dynamic RB Darrel Henderson, it certainly looked like they were concerned too. My guess is that even a healthy Gurley sees far fewer touches in 2019. The Rams would be wise to give their stud running back a little rest during the season, otherwise they’re bound to be missing him in big games again this year.
- Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets – Relocating to the Jets wasn’t necessarily the most ideal landing place for a perennial top 3 pick. The money may have been right, but there’s certainly going to be some growing pains as Bell acclimates to an Adam Gase offense that has to be digested by a handful of young players, including second year starter Sam Darnold. Could that be a recipe for success though? It’s not difficult to see Bell having a huge impact in the passing game, so don’t expect him to completely fall off the map. My big concern is simply a wide range of outcomes. These are the Jets were talking about here, and Gase has a history of misusing his running backs (and wasn’t keen on Bell in the first place). He could have a huge season as the teams focal point, or he could have a complete dud if they struggle on offense again in 2019.
- Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – This is about the point in the draft that the running back position becomes a crap-shoot. I do love Mixon’s skill set, and he was excellent during stretches last season, but injuries derailed a promising season for the second year pro. With the end of the season leaving a sour taste in the front offices mouth, they added two running backs in the draft, which may impact Mixon’s ability to garner top 5 snap share, but top ten is a solid prediction. I don’t expect him to feature as heavily in the passing game as the backs ahead of him, but a 1,500 yard (total) season and double digit TDs are very reasonable predictions for Mixon if he sees 14-16 starts.
It was a bit of a rough week for the Dr. when it comes to Daily Fantasy. I had teams finish in the money, but despite hitting some of the weeks biggest scorers, I was a bit off on my tight ends and some of my middle of the road picks.
Best Pick: I was spot on with Denver’s use of Emmanuel Sanders and Case Keenum continued to target his slot receiver. With 10 catches for 135 yards and a TD, he was a massive producer for a small price tag.
Worst Pick: Despite Chicago being ahead 20 – 0 at half time, Anthony Miller was no where to be found. His final stat line of 2 receptions for 14 yards was disappointing as the hyped rookie failed to make an impact.
Week 2 Targets
Philip Rivers, LAC ($6,700) – With a week 2 date against a Buffalo secondary that made Joe Flacco look like Joe Montana, this one may be the easiest pick of the week. With weapons on the outside, at the slot, and in the backfield, Rivers should easily put up great numbers, even if a blow out slows him down in the 2nd half.
Alvin Kamara, NO ($9,500) – We’ll go back to the well on this one as Kamara and the Saints draw a Cleveland defense that got gashed by James Conner in week 1. It may sound asinine, but projecting Kamara for 150 total yards, 8 receptions and a TD is a bit on the conservative side. There’s no better high price option in week 2 at the RB position.
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU ($8,000) – While we admit week one was a bit underwhelming given that Hopkins was facing one of last seasons worst secondaries, but much of his lack of success can be attributed to a terrible offensive game plan that seemed to ignore it’s most talented players. With a match up against a bottom half defense in Tennesse in week 2, Houston, as well as Hopkins, should return the high flying ways that had fantasy owners licking their lips at the drafts this year.
Zach Ertz, PHI ($6,100) – Nick Foles looked every bit of a backup in a week one victory against the Atlanta Falcons, so it was no wonder that Zach Ertz was held to a moderate fantasy performance. Thursday night games may feature some entertaining games, but they play tricks on fantasy stats, and Ertz should bounce back just fine in week 2. Matching up against a Tampa defense that ranks in the bottom 10 of the league against tight ends, Ertz should be used heavily in what now looks like a higher scoring affair.
The Rest Of The Field
Kirk Cousins, MIN ($6,400) – With a chance for this division rivalry to turn into a bit of a shoot out, Cousins stands to produce big time against a Packers defense that sits middle of the pack against QB’s. With an impressive debut in Week one, Cousins should continue to perform as a top 5 fantasy QB.
Alex Smith, WAS ($6,000) – Alex Smith continued his high efficiency ways last week, completing 70 percent of his passes for 255 yards and 2 TDs against the Cardinals. While he continues to be one of the least exciting options in the NFL, Smith draws a Colts defense that continues to give up fantasy points to opposing QBs. With less chance of a beat down, I see Smith producing on at an even higher level in week 2.
Joe Flacco, BAL ($5,200) – While you may be skeptical after the Ravens week one beat down of the listless Buffalo Bills, it should be noted that this receiving corps may be the best Flacco has had to work with in years. With legitimate down field threats and a serviceable run game, Flacco looks like a solid QB option against a Cincinnati defense ranked 27th in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs. I don’t expect the monster out put in week 2 that we saw last week, but for the price, he’s a very safe option.
James Conner, PIT ($6,700) – It’s another cushy match up for the defacto starter as Conner draws a Kansas City team that ranks 30th against RBs in fantasy. With a Pittsburgh play book that will continue to rely heavily on its lead back, Conner should produce in spades for a second straight week as we wait for Le’Veon Bell to return from his self imposed lock out.
Adrian Peterson, WAS ($5,500) – While many will point to the below average 3.6 yard per carry in week one, I think the opportunity for 20-30 touches is too good to overlook considering the Redskins will play a terrible Colts front seven. If he sees 25 touches again, Peterson is a safe bet to out produce the weekly projections for a second straight week.
Matt Brieda, SF ($4,800) – The week one back field was split in San Francisco between Matt Brieda and Alfred Morris, but Brieda far outplayed the former Redskins back. With the passing downs to himself, and a growing share of attempts, Brieda, along with the entire 49ers defense, should be far better in week 2.
Golden Tate, DET ($6,500) – The Lions hope to put a dismal week 1 performance behind them when they take the field against San Francisco in week 2, and Golden Tate should be the focal point of the offense after being one of the only players in a Lions uniform who played well last week. While Golladay and Jones Jr should continue to be targeted, Richard Sherman and company will likely force Stafford to use his slot receiver heavily if they look to bounce back.
Josh Gordon, CLE ($5,800) – After being one what was described by the Browns coaching staff as a “pitch count” Gordon should be used far more heavily in week 2 as the Browns look for a spark to end their current winless streak. Still able to stretch the field (as was apparent after Gordon torched the defensive back only to suffer from an under thrown ball that was intercepted at the end of regulation), Gordon could be their best chance to combat the high flying offense New Orleans will feature on the other sideline.
Corey Davis, TEN ($5,100) – It’s not an ideal match up as the Titans play the Houston Texans in week 2, but with Delanie Walker out for the year, Davis becomes the only real red zone target in the passing game worth drafting. I don’t see a monster receiving yard number, but a TD or two isn’t out of the question, and at a discount no less.
Trey Burton, CHI ($4,100) – Week one was a poor start to what was expected to be a borderline TE1 season, so it may shock you to see him here. Still, his 6 targets were an indication that Nagy and the Bears offense want to include Burton as a pass catcher. He should improve in all categories in week 2, and should feature in heavily in the red zone.
George Kittle, SF ($3,800) – San Francisco didn’t look like the juggernaut we expected but Kittle was a bright spot in week 1. With the trust of Jimmy G and the potential for Marquise Goodwin to be limited or miss the game, Kittle will be called upon as a receiver for a second straight week.
Jared Cook, OAK ($3,600) – Cook finally looked like the big play receiving option he’d been touted in years past in a week 1 loss to the Rams. His 9 receptions for 180 yards was a revelation, and Jon Gruden would be foolish to not feature Cook heavily in the passing game. For nearly nothing, this is one of the highest ceilings at the “inexpensive tight end” range in all of football.
Dr. Fantasy’s Daily Sports Lineup
- QB: Philip Rivers ($6,700)
- RB: James Conners ($6,700)
- RB: Alvin Kamara ($9,500)
- WR: Corey Davis ($5,100)
- WR: Josh Gordon ($5,800)
- WR: Philip Dorsett ($4,500)
- TE: Jared Cook ($3,600)
- WR: John Brown ($4,400)
- D/ST: Chargers ($3,600)
9. Houston Texans
The Texan’s playoff hopes were dashed the moment the team announced budding superstar Deshaun Watson would miss the remainder of the 2017 season with a non-contact ACL tear. What we were witnessing up until that point was nothing sort of miraculous, and the lack of a larger sample size has led many pundits to argue the pro’s and con’s a little more loudly than for some other players.
Players Worth Drafting: DeAndre Hopkins (ADP 8), Deshaun Watson (ADP 45), Lamar Miller (ADP 73), Will Fuller (ADP 79), D’Onta Foreman (ADP 115)
While DeAndre Hopkins is one of the safest bets in any league format, predicting how much regression to expect for Watson is the hardest thing to do. As others have been so quick to point out, Watson’s 2017 pace had him finishing with just under 500 attempts, which when accounting for regression should scare those who are willing to draft him early. The same can be said for Will Fuller who’s ceiling may be sky high, but his bust weeks could be more numerous than other guys in his draft area.
Deep Sleeper: One of my favorite sleepers last year, D’Onta Foreman was hit with the injury bug as well, rupturing his achilles to end his season. While he certainly flashed at times, his usage remained inconsistent despite Lamar Miller’s numerous ailments. I expect that at some point this season Foreman should gain at least a split in the carries, if not a larger time share than that. Blessed with three down talent, he’s one opportunity away from stealing the full time gig.
8. New Orleans Saints
A perennial powerhouse when it comes to churning out fantasy studs, New Orleans looks poised to do so again this year with 2nd year back Alvin Kamara ready to take a larger portion of the offense on, especially in the absence of Ingram who will serve a suspension to start the year. As always, this team goes as far as Drew Brees takes them, and the consistency remains despite his advanced age.
Players Worth Drafting: Alvin Kamara (ADP 6), Michael Thomas (ADP 16), Mark Ingram (ADP 57), Drew Brees (ADP 75), Ted Ginn Jr. (ADP 156), Cameron Meredith (ADP 168), Ben Watson (ADP 182)
Still one of my favorite fantasy commodities, Michael Thomas should return as a fantasy stud, even with Cameron Meredith brought in to bolster this offense. Expecting this team to run the football as much as it did last year would be a bit foolish given the explosiveness this team features in the passing game. Expect a bit of a down turn in Ingram’s usage when he returns from his suspension.
Deep Sleeper: Before the season, I was hyper critical of Ted Ginn’s one dimensional game, and while he was successful last year, Cameron Meredith was brought in to provide a more traditional number two option in the passing game. While his health will certainly be in question, the talent that had him one of the trendier picks prior to his season ending injury in 2017 remains. With an elite QB throwing him the football, he’s a safe bet to out perform his ADP.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
Is it any surprise that, despite the issues with depth, a team featuring two of the top five players on the planet would finish as a top 10 ranked fantasy juggernaut? We all know what Bell and Brown bring to the table, and Ben Roethlisberger should continue to be boring but reliable. It’s the rest of the offense that presents the biggest risk as well as opportunity.
Players Worth Drafting: Le’Veon Bell (ADP 1), Antonio Brown (ADP 5), Juju Smith-Schuster (ADP 44), Ben Roethlisberger (ADP 89), Vance McDonald (ADP 169), James Washington (ADP 192)
with Bell threatening to hold out for much of the preseason, the question becomes how quickly will he hit the ground running? I doubt there will be much of an impact; this team and it’s offense hasn’t changed much in the last few years, and Bell’s talent trumps any other circumstance. The passing game does have a huge hole at tight end, though, with neither Jesse James or Vance McDonald being worth drafting in almost any format.
Deep Sleeper: This roster consists of a mostly top-heavy spread of talent, so choosing a deep sleeper is difficult. If you’re like me, and the issues surrounding Bell concern you, it’s not hard to see the value in his backup; James Conner. Already, rumblings about how well Conner has looked in off season programs have been surfacing, so either the Steelers are trying to motivate Bell or their preparing for life without him. Either way, any back with the kind of volume a Pittsburgh back has is worth a flier in case Conner sees extended time on the field.
6. Kansas City Chiefs
A breakout year across the board, the Chiefs cut bait with former first overall pick Alex Smith and instead are going to roll with Pat Mahomes as their young gunslinger of the future. Gifted with a monster arm, Mahomes may be better suited for this offense than his predecessor, especially given the addition of Sammy Watkins.
Players Worth Drafting: Kareem Hunt (ADP 10), Travis Kelce (ADP 26), Tyreek Hill (ADP 27), Sammy Watkins (ADP 74), Patrick Mahomes (ADP 113)
With so much speed and so many weapons, it’d be important to caution anyone about over drafting Kareem Hunt. Despite his massive numbers in his rookie year, consistency was never a given, and with Spencer Ware returning to the fold and Charcandarick West still on the squad, it’ll be difficult for Hunt to return with the volume he had last year. Getting a piece of the Chiefs offense may seem like a good idea, but only at the right price.
Deep Sleeper: The fact that Spencer Ware isn’t on anyone’s radar this off season speaks to the impressive nature of Kareen Hunts 2017 season. What it doesn’t account for is that Ware looked might impressive himself when he had the starting gig down the stretch in 2016. What should start as some kind of committee, there’s no way to discount the player that Ware is. While I doubt Hunt falters enough for Ware to take over 100%, any struggle should give Ware time on the field. Should he prove himself, Ware would be a steal in that offense.
5. Carolina Panthers
So I’m man enough to admit that I was wrong about Christian McCaffrey when I tried to talk folks out of drafting him. What I’m not wrong about is the effect C.J. Anderson’s arrival will have on his rushing statistics. When the team brought him in to replace the departed James Stewart, it signaled that McCaffrey would not inherit the first and second downs like many expected.
Players Worth Drafting: Christian McCaffrey (ADP 20), Greg Olsen (ADP 54), Cam Newton (ADP 60), Devin Funchess (ADP 81), C.J. Anderson (ADP 138), D.J. Moore (ADP 146)
Cam Newton, however, should benefit from the additional weapons. Both Anderson’s ability to refocus opposing defenses and D.J. Moore providing a potential #1 WR should make Cam an even safer bet this year to finish as a top five quarterback. I’m bullish on all three of them to far outperform their price on draft day, while less so on McCaffrey and Olsen.
Deep Sleeper: As mentioned above, I believe in the talent that D.J. Moore has, and there’s a reason why Carolina traded up to get him. With Funchess not really possessing the elite receiver profile, he’ll have opportunities early and often to steal a larger portion of targets than most of his fellow rookie receivers.