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Beginners Guide to PPR

While you may see the word “beginner” in the title and deem this beneath you, but the truth is that we should always be learning; honing our skills and getting better at the game. The PPR format has exploded in years past, and like any non-standard scoring format, it presents fantasy drafters an extra wrinkle in their quest for greatness.

Of course, it’s important to understand the fundamentals. If you’re a point per reception veteran, skip this section; we’ll see you down below when we highlight some PPR strategies for the 2018 season. For those of you who aren’t familiar, buckle up and we’ll take you on a crash course.

The Rules

PPR leagues differ from standard leagues in one very easy to understand facet; they award points to any player who records a reception. Whether it’s one full point, or a half a point, a player who has a higher volume of receptions becomes far more valuable than his standard league counter parts.

The first thing one should do is adjust your rankings. If you’re using a fantasy football magazine, or printing them off the internet, make sure you’re using PPR rankings. We always suggest doing the research and ranking your own players, but if you neither have the time nor the desire, ensure you’re not using rankings that don’t address your format.

A great example would be Duke Johnson as he’s primarily an after thought in standard, non-PPR leagues; and for a good reason. His highest single season rushing attempts total was 104 in his rookie year. Last year his 83 carries was good for 55th in the NFL, which we shouldn’t have to tell you isn’t enough volume to warrant much excitement.

In PPR leagues however, his 74 receptions was the 26th highest total in the NFL, and 4th highest among running backs. When you consider that he finished as the 11th highest scoring running back despite his average draft position of 97th overall in PPR leagues last year (data courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator.com) then it’s painfully clear that recognizing these pass catching backs can be fantasy gold in the right format.

Of course, that’s not to discount how it affects the wide receiver position either. Most of the elite players (regardless of position) are elite in either format. Volume and opportunity trump much of what you can dredge up in an argument, but in those middle rounds there’s plenty of players who have higher floors thanks to a larger share of targets.

Last year, Jarvis Landry was being ranking as the WR27 and was selected with the 78th pick on average. The value there was undeniable, especially considering that his 260 PPR points finished for 5th most at the WR position and 12th overall among skill position players. While his situation may require re-evaluation of his opportunity, the example rings true nonetheless. These players, who many discount because they build their rankings based off of the wrong data, are the targets that will help you win your league.

Players to Target

As always, we’ll use the ADP data compiled over at Fantasy Football Calculator to make our analysis. Finding these PPR gems isn’t as easy as it seems, though. Simply targeting player A because he led the position in receptions last year doesn’t ensure success this year. There is far more subtly when highlighting players to target in the middle and late rounds.

Running Backs

In the early rounds, you’ll ignore PPR vs. Standard debates; Jordan Howard and Melvin Gordon are still elite fantasy commodities even if they don’t catch the ball a ton. It’s in the middle rounds we can start the shopping list.

Fallers

  • Kareem Hunt (ADP 11): Unlike the Gordon/Howard example, Hunt has legitimate regression concerns after a monster rookie season. With Spencer Ware returning and pass catching specialist Charcandarick West still on the roster, there’s going to be fewer opportunities for the game breaker. While he’ll still be valuable, I don’t expect him to factor into the passing game as much this season, damaging his ability to be the top 10 player he’s being projected as.
  • Derrick Henry (ADP 36): While Henry has never been the most adept pass catcher, the signing of Dion Lewis pretty much relegates him to a 1st and 2nd down role. Without the benefit of the passing game, Henry’s 200 carries won’t do much to support a RB2 finish, and with his talent, drafters are still betting that he’ll break out. While Lewis certainly is an injury risk, he’s also good enough between the tackles to keep Henry from being elite.
  • Jay Ajayi (ADP 45): I really like Ajayi’s talent, but I don’t like his situation in Philly. With Darren Sproles returning, and Corey Clement still on the  roster, the idea that he’ll continue to the be the bell cow is a bit misleading. He will likely lead the team in rushes, but his involvement in the passing game will be minimal barring any major injuries.
  • Kenyan Drake (ADP 47): There is a lot of buzz after Drake finished 2017 strong, but Frank Gore should eat into his carries, and rookie Kalen Ballage is a far superior pass catching back who should eat targets up early an often. While he’s a safe bet for him to finish at the top of the committee for rushes, like Ajayi, he’ll figure into the scoring far less than his ADP provides for.
  • Duke Johnson (ADP 97): Mentioned above, Johnson still figures to make an impact in the passing game, but with Carlos Hyde also a capable pass catcher (88 targets last year were only 5 fewer than Johnson), there’s reason to be concerned that the volume could dip. His ADP is beginning to represent this, but don’t swing early on Johnson and expect 70+ catches again.

Risers

  • Dion Lewis (ADP 61): I’m not predicting him to completely overtake Henry in the rushing game, but his floor his immensely high. In the 7th round, he’s the kind of back that can secure you 50 receptions and 1,000 total yards without impacting the incumbent start too much. His ceiling is far better than that, creating a wonderful target to return heavily on his investment.
  • Chris Thompson (ADP 81): Not to discount the effect that Derrius Guice will have on the Washington Backfield, but Thompson was on pace for 1,200 total yards, 60+ receptions, and 9 TDs last year before missing the final 6 games due to a broken leg. Even given a reasonable amount of regression, he figures to be one of the most valuable 3rd down backs in fantasy.
  • Ty Montgomery (ADP 111): He’s not going to impress anyone on the ground, but the converted wide receiver has the pass catching ability to provide plenty of value; especially in the 12th round. Prior to his injury, Montgomery was targeted heavily in the passing game, averaging nearly 8 targets and 6 receptions a game. Expect a return to the third down role for the sure handed Montgomery, and reap the rewards this late in the draft.
  • James White (ADP 165): The forgotten man in New England, White continues to fly under the radar despite securing 90 targets and 56 receptions last year in an over crowded backfield. With Sony Michel still a rookie, and Dion Lewis leaving for  greener pastures, Tom Brady’s safety blanket is in line for another big year in terms of PPR production. At 165, I’ll take the chance that the 26 year old continues to produce in the passing game for one of the best QB’s of all time.
  • Kalen Ballage (ADP 213): I’ll continue beating my drum for Ballage who enters the season firmly behind Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore on the depth chart. But the speedy big man possesses the kind of silky smooth mitts that coaches game plan around, and while Drake was effective down the stretch in 2017, the moves made in the off season scream of available opportunity for the guys they brought in. If he carves out a portions of first and second downs, Ballage could be a monster for basically a waiver wire stab.

Wide Receivers

Fallers

  • Adam Thielen (ADP 29): With an upgrade at QB, you’d think Thielen is in line for the same kind of statline that saw him win leagues in 2017, but think again. History shows that Cousin’s is a bit of a gunslinger, and while Thielen will probably continue to be a contributor, he’s primed for regression yet being drafted as though he’s regression proof.
  • Golden Tate (ADP 48): You may look at the bottom line and suggest that he’s a PPR gold mine; after all he’s recorded 90 receptions for 4 straight years. I’d implore you to dig a little deeper. Aside from the emergence of Marvin Jones, it’s important to note that Tate was wildly inconsistent last year. In 6 games last year, Tate failed to record more than 4 receptions, and in four of those games he had less than 6 PPR point. That amounts to nearly 40% of the season that Tate is a bust player.
  • Brandin Cooks (ADP 53): Don’t get me wrong, Cooks is a nice little player. The issue is that with the Rams being a run first team, there’s about 10% or more opportunity lost in targets (550 pass attempts in LA to 600 in New England). Cooks is a deep threat that won’t command the kind of target share that other elite PPR receivers will. With Robert Woods returning as the slot man, Cooks is in line for major regression, especially in the PPR format.
  • Jarvis Landry (ADP 59): This isn’t a knock on Landry the player, but expecting the kind of volume that he had in Miami is to ignore the fact that he’s not the most talented receiver on his current team. With Josh Gordon figuring to command the highest percentage of targets, Landry’s expectations should be limited, even if his ADP suggests otherwise.
  • Julian Edelman (ADP 69): It pains me to include the New England slot receiver, but the reasons for his inclusion here are fairly straight forward. On top of missing 25% of the season due to suspension, he’s 32 years old and coming off a major knee injury that cost him the entirety of last season. With real competition for the slot position, it’ll be very difficult for Edelman to be more than a spot start, and at his current price, there’s a ton of other guys I’d rather have.

Risers

  • Cooper Kupp (ADP 94): I was wrong about Kupp last year, and while I think Cooks and Woods eat up a lot of targets, it’s important to note that Kupp quietly led the Rams in targets last year with 94. With a floor around 60 catches and 800 yards (tack on around 5 TDs), and you’re looking at fantastic value in the 10th round.
  • Marquise Goodwin (ADP 104): Goodwin looked great in the five games that Garoppolo started, averaging nearly 9 targets a game. With Jimmy G as the every day starter, I expect Goodwin to continue to elevate his game, and a WR2 ceiling (65 receptions, 1,000 yards, and 4 TDs) is well within reach.
  • Kenny Stills (ADP 148): Many expect Danny Amendola to fill the role vacated by Jarvis Landry, but I find myself coming back to Stills as the perfect candidate to inherit those targets. Already one of the Dolphins most targeted receivers, his familiarity with the system and quarter back Ryan Tannehill are great catalysts for an increase in production. Perennially Stills has inhabited the 80-100 target mark, so bumping him to 130-150 feels right, and puts him firmly in the break out column on draft day.
  • Keelan Cole (ADP 174): I don’t typically get excited about guys with as small a sample size as Cole has, but the 25 year old out of Louisville was impressive when called upon late in the season, and seems to continue to be overlooked with Marqise Lee and Donte Moncreif sitting above him in the depth chart. Neither of those players has done anything over their careers to keep Cole from taking their jobs, and with a solid rapport developing between he and Bortles, he’s a breakout candidate you can have for pennies on the dollar.
  • Michael Gallup (ADP 212): I don’t expect Gallup to come out of the gate blazing, but with a mediocre group of receivers ahead of him, he’ll likely carve out a large share of the targets in Dallas. With much of the buzz surrounding him positive, I expect 100+ targets for the rookie, and a floor that most players in the 200’s don’t have.

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Team Rankings: 32 through 26

32. New York Jets

It’s low hanging fruit to bash on the listless Jets, but the relative lack of fantasy fire power is hardly a surprise to anyone. Aside from deep sleeper lists and waiver wire conquests, the Jets boast a roster devoid of much except late round fliers.

Worth Drafting:  Isaiah Crowell (ADP 102), Robby Anderson (ADP 104), Bilal Powell (ADP 169)

While none of these players should be selected with anything but serious flyer considerations, Powell may offer the most upside in PPR leagues only. Crowell, on the other hand, doesn’t project to work much with the passing game, so it all depends on how you think he’ll be used. I expect this team to pass a lot, similar to how last years team found themselves training early. Anderson could out perform the 11th round price tag, but I expect Quincy Enunwa (undrafted in ESPN leagues at this point) to return to some relevance in terms of offensive workload. Every target he steals from Anderson is a massive hit to his fantasy value.

Deep Sleeper: While Sam Darnold has his work cut out for him behind both Bridgewater and McCown in front of him, it’s only natural that the best QB of the bunch get some consideration. He probably won’t play, but in dynasty leagues he’s worth a late round pick, and as waiver wire fodder he should be on your radar until the team finally names it’s starter.

31. Buffalo Bills

This could be even worse, pending the fallout from LeSean McCoy’s domestic violence accusations. Even if he remains on the team, though, I expect a decline across the board as this team is littered with youth and raw future talents. With the pending media firestorm, I’m out on Buffalo unless it’s dealt with sooner than later.

Worth Drafting: LeSean McCoy (ADP 17), Kelvin Benjamin (ADP 91), Charles Clay (ADP 145)

Obviously McCoy’s inclusion on this is difficult, as the ADP data hasn’t caught up to the fall I’m expecting. If he’s found guilty, he’ll be gone from the league post haste, making this team even worse. Unfortunately for Benjamin and Clay, the prospects working with AJ McCarron and Josh Allen are nebulous at best. While Taylor didn’t have as massive a year statistically as we expected last year, this team should struggle to find consistency.

Deep Sleeper: Zay Jones’ rookie year was a disappointment to those, like me, who had him pegged as a high end rookie option. His 10 starts only yielded 27 receptions and 316 yards; not good enough. Still, the talent is there, and Jones is a downfield threat who may work well with Allen’s monster arm. It’s a long shot, and a player I only look at in the deepest of drafts, but Jones could be a contributor by the end of the season.

30. Baltimore Ravens

A common theme among the teams named to this point are the potential quarterback controversies. While I fully expect Flacco to start when healthy, it’s important to note that Lamar Jackson has the potential to unseat Flacco, especially if he’s awful again this year. To combat that, the Ravens brought in free agent receivers Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead, so expect a bit of an uptick in Baltimore’s overall numbers.

Worth Drafting: Alex Collins (ADP 53), Michael Crabtree (ADP 72), Kenneth Dixon (ADP 180)

One of the more interesting competitions is going to be Collins and Dixon in the Baltimore Backfield. Dixon was labelled as the heir apparent last year before an injury ended his season. Collins was fantastic in relief, giving many the impression that the team had moved on. But even after several off the field issues, Baltimore expects Dixon to be a part of it’s offense. The leash will be short, but this may start as a committee and coaches will likely ride the hot hand.

Deep Sleeper: It’s been a while since Willie Snead has popped up on the fantasy radar, but in Baltimore, he’ll have every opportunity to show the talent that flashed in New Orleans. With John Brown no safe bet to see the field, Snead should be heavily involved in the passing game, and Flacco does love to fling it.

29. Miami Dolphins

A team that maybe deserves a bit more respect than they receive annually, the Dolphin’s roster is a who’s who of mediocre players. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is back, so it’s possible he and Davante Parker rekindle the magic that made them both trendy picks a few years ago, but I’m not going to go that far just yet. Likewise, the questions in the run game need to be answered before I invest heavily in a run game that’s actually produced some fantasy relevant backs in recent years. While Kenyan Drake has the inside track, don’t count out Frank Gore as he will likely see a healthy dose of carries early on.

Players Worth Drafting: Kenyan Drake (ADP 41), Devante Parker (ADP 91), Kenny Stills (130), Mike Gesicki (ADP 165), Frank Gore (ADP 172), Albert Wilson (ADP 182)

It was a strange development that saw the Dolphins bring in an aging Frank Gore via free agency, and Kalen Ballage in the draft. If the team believed in Drake, then I’d argue that at least one of them would be elsewhere. As a 5th round pick, that scares the hell out of me, and may force me to look elsewhere. That elsewhere, in this offense, are the 160 targets vacated by Jarvis Landry. While Parker will get his, Albert Wilson is a sneaky pick to slide into the slot. If the Dolphins like his game more than Amendola’s he could be a monster producer out of the 19th round.

Deep Sleeper: I should probably stop screaming his name from the rooftops if I want to secure him in the later rounds, but Kalen Ballage is an intriguing player in that he possesses all the skills necessary to become a 3 down back in the league. Possessing impressive speed for his size, and above average hands in the passing game, Ballage could easily see his timeshare expand to a level that supports a roster spot.

28. Denver Broncos

The addition of Case Keenum elevates this team from dead last, to near last. That’s not to say there’s no one worth drafting, because I do like some of the talent on this roster, but the days of Denver popping out top 30 players is in the past. While Demaryius Thomas still possesses the skill to overcome sub-par quarterback play, the question is can Case Keenum’s arm support multiple fantasy receivers in Denver like it did in Minnesota? Given the age of guys like Emmanuel Sanders, and the inexperience at TE and in the backfield, and I’m cautious when drafting a Denver player.

Players Worth Drafting: Demaryius Thomas (ADP 38), Royce Freeman (ADP 58), Emmanuel Sanders (ADP 68), Devontae Booker (ADP 151), Case Keenum (ADP 157)

Case Keenum went from draft bust to hero last year as he brought the Vikings to within one game of the superbowl. Cashing in on that success, he’s slated to take over the starting gig and I’m not so sure that he’s the franchise cornerstone that last years performances convinced Denver he was. If he reverts back to the player he was before, and I’d argue it’s far more likely that he does, then this offense could continue to struggle beyond Demaryious Thomas.

Deep Sleeper: 2nd Round pick Courtland Sutton has a steep hill to climb with fantasy stalwarts ahead of him in Thomas and Sanders. Expect him to be up to the task. With Sanders coming to the end of a sparkling career, Sutton may see enough of the field to warrant a roster spot after a few weeks.

27. Dallas Cowboys

Oh how the mighty have fallen. I’m sure there’s plenty of Dallas fans shaking their head at the ranking, but the bottom line is that aside from Ezekiel Elliott, their roster is middle of the road at best. When you consider the talent that walked out the door in Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, it’s easy to see why this roster doesn’t inspire much confidence in the fantasy community.

Worth Drafting: Ezekiel Elliott (ADP 4), Dak Prescott (ADP 122), Allen Hurns (ADP 128), Michael Gallup (ADP 164)

A whole lot of mediocre pretty accurately describes the Dallas passing game. While the bulk of the offense is going to run through the run game, it’s a burning question as to where the passing game will trend. It’s clear that fantasy players are out of Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley, the two incumbent receivers of note, but I think Hurns isn’t talent enough to be a true number one receiver. At his current cost, he’s a low risk option, but I’d ignore him at any steeper a price.

Deep Sleeper: I doubt it will be this way when drafts come along, but Gallup is the best chance Dallas has to replace Dez Bryant with a player on it’s roster. He’s not as talented as Bryant in his prime, but Gallup has all the tools to eat up a ton of targets. It might not happen right away, but he has #1 written all over him.

26. Indianapolis Colts

It’s amazing how poorly a franchise can manage it’s star players, but the job the Colts did last year with Andrew Luck’s injured shoulder takes the cake. By not properly handling the injury, they set back the franchise years and forced fantasy owners to look elsewhere for production. The Jacoby Brissett experiment wasn’t all bad, but it didn’t produce much in the way of fantasy points.

Worth Drafting: T.Y. Hilton (ADP 31), Andrew Luck (ADP 91), Jack Doyle (ADP 97), Marlon Mack (ADP 98), Jordan Wilkins (ADP 185), Eric Ebron (ADP 191), Nyheim Hines (ADP 193)

It’s got to say something for how important you are as a player when the success of everyone on this list comes down to if you play or not. For Andrew Luck, that scenario is very real, and could affect who and when you draft. With Hilton especially, the cost is so high that any doubt you have that Andrew Luck is healthy should dissuade you from drafting him. With half of his yards in only 2 games, he’s a massive bust candidate with Brissett under center.

Deep Sleeper:  Ryan Grant may not be a sexy name, but the disregard may work in your favor if Luck is back on the field. A healthy Luck is a safe bet for 550 attempts and someone other than Hilton is going to get involved. Grant is likely to be that guy as the tight ends and depth receivers aren’t great options.

 

Home Stretch: ADP Preview Rounds 11-20

You’re confident in your strategy, and you have your core guys targeted and queued up. You’re prepared to supplement the foundation with high upside guys in the middle rounds, and you’re wondering what you can add in the late rounds to help define your team during bye weeks and injuries. Let’s take a look at the more confusing rounds featuring players you may not know to players you may not want.

Round 11

  • Aaron Jones, RB – GB
  • Jared Goff, QB – LAR
  • Jamaal Williams, RB – GB
  • Robby Anderson, WR – NYJ
  • C.J. Anderson, RB – CAR
  • Jaguars D/ST
  • Ben Roethlisberger, QB – PIT
  • Sterling Shepard, WR – NYG
  • Matt Ryan, QB – ATL
  • Jack Doyle, TE – IND

Player I Love: The hype surrounding Neslon Agholor subsided quickly during a rookie year that was rocky to say the least. Last year, though, he and Wentz developed the kind of chemistry that could help push him into the WR2 category. While you’ll have to live with a few weeks of sub par performances, as a flex starter or backup WR, the potential for 800 yards and 8-10 TDs is hard to pass up.

Player I Hate: I will use this as a platform to decry the drafters that feel it’s necessary to draft a defense earlier than round 15. Instead of wasting a pick this early, draft skill position players and stream a defense drafted at the end of your draft.

Round 12

  • Nick Chubb, RB – CLE
  • Nelson Agholor, WR – PHI
  • Rams D/ST
  • Philip Rivers, QB – LAC
  • Kelvin Benjamin, WR – BUF
  • Patrick Mahomes, QB – KC
  • Devontae Booker, RB – DEN
  • D’Onta Foreman, RB – HOU
  • Ty Montgomery, RB – GB
  • Allen Hurns, WR – DAL

Player I Love: As the QB 12 in the 12th round, Mahomes provides the kind of excitment you’re missing with the other QB’s in this area. The talent around him is elite, the ability and athletisim is off the charts, and Kansas City turned milquetoast Alex Smith into an elite Fantasy option. Draft with confidence.

Player I Hate: Devontae Booker seemed for a moment to be on the verge of breaking out. Now he’s  fighting for touches with rookie Royce Freeman, who is better suited for the full time gig. While the potential may be there for Booker to see touches, his talent doesn’t scream “draft me” even at this point in the draft.

Round 13

  • Vikings D/ST
  • Stephen Gostkowski, K – NE
  • George Kittle, TE – SF
  • Greg Zuerlein, K – LAR
  • Dez Bryant, WR – Free Agent
  • Eagles D/ST
  • Tyler Eifert, TE – CIN
  • Marcus Mariota, QB – TE
  • Justin Tucker, K – BAL
  • Dak Prescott, QB – DAL

Player I Love: George Kittle may have not been on your radar last off season, but this year he should be. With an up and coming offense devoid of any real red zone targets besides, Kittle could be in line for a big work load. Currently atop the depth chart for the TE position, expect a low end TE1 season for the 2nd year pro.

Player I Hate: Dak Prescott is a player that I want to like, I try to like, but I just can’t bring myself to overlook the issues Dallas has to deal with. With no real number one receiver and a run game that’s going to get all the work it can handle, Dak is a talented QB without many avenues to fantasy greatness. I could be wrong but there are better options out there if you prefer to wait on a QB.

Round 14

  • Derek Carr, QB – OAK
  • O.J. Howard, TE – TB
  • Marqise Lee, WR – JAC
  • D.J. Moore, WR – CAR
  • Calvin Ridley, WR – ATL
  • David Njoku, TE – CL
  • Kenny Stills, WR – MIA
  • Cameron Meredith, WR – NO
  • Jameis Winston, QB – TB
  • Martavis Bryant, WR – OAK

Player I Love: Cameron Meredith was a top sleeper pick last year in Chicago, and that was with journeyman Mike Glennon slated to be his starting QB. Unfortunately, the talented wide out suffered a season ending injury and didn’t play a snap. This off season he popped up in New Orleans, and I expect him to gobble up a fair amount of looks. While Michael Thomas is fully entrenched as the #1, Meredith will provide an upgrade over Ted Ginn as an every day player.

Player I Hate: Marqise Lee may look like the heir apparent to the departed Allen Robinson, but I’d argue that he’s reached his ceiling and other players in that offense are better suited to carry the load. Between late season hero Keelan Cole and rookie Dede Westbrook, Lee has his work cut out for him if he wants to earn the lions share of targets, and I doubt he’ll accomplish that goal.

Round 15

  • Chargers D/ST
  • Alex Smith, QB – WAS
  • Texans D/ST
  • Giovani Bernard, RB – CIN
  • Corey Clement, RB – PHI
  • LeGarrette Blount, RB – DET
  • Mike Williams, WR – LAC
  • Doug Martin, RB – Oak
  • Ravens D/ST
  • Broncos D/ST

Player I Love: Mike Williams is a name that you’ve no doubt seen pop up on sleeper boards all off season and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t buying into the hype. With mediocre players behind him on the depth chart and an injury prone Keenan Allen the only real obstacle away from WR1 looks, there’s not much keeping him from being fantasy relevant right out of the gates.

Player I Hate: LeGarrette Blount has had more fools gold seasons in his career than I’d care to admit falling for, and this year he’s off my list of potential starters for that reason. That uneasy feeling you get when preparing to select Blount stems from the fact that he can’t catch the football and the Lions have more talented backs on that roster already. While he may be inline for a ton of goal line work, rookie Kerryon Johnson and Theo Riddick are the two players I want from this backfield.

Round 16

  • Chris Carson, RB – SEA
  • Rishard Matthews, WR – TEN
  • Bilal Powell, RB – NYJ
  • Josh Doctson, WR – WAS
  • Latavius Murray, RB – MIN
  • Kenny Golladay, WR – DET
  • DeSean Jackson, WR – TB
  • Case Keenum, QB – DEN
  • James White, RB – NE
  • Wil Lutz, K – NO

Player I Love: Chris Carson is the forgotten man in Seattle after Mike Davis stole the thunder last year and Rashad Penny was added in an attempt to return Seattle to the 80s where smash mouth football was the norm. You know who hasn’t forgotten about Carson? Coach Pete Carroll, who’s gushed about how fantastic Carson has looked this off season. As a depth piece, Carson’s road to starting touches is a fairly straightforward one, and with very little risk to boot.

Player I Hate: Kenny Golladay may still have some sheen after last years pre-season feeding frenzy, but don’t be fooled by the feelings you may still harbor towards him. Marvin Jones is the true threat down the sidelines and Golden Tate will eat up a ton of targets himself. Without enough to go around, Golladay will be the mouth left hungry.

Round 17

  • Jake Elliot, K – Phi
  • Theo Riddick, RB – DET
  • Nyheim Hines, RB – IND
  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE – JAC
  • Harrison Butker, K – KC
  • Eli Manning, QB – NYG
  • Cameron Brate, TE – TB
  • Panthers D/ST
  • Matt Bryant, K – ATL
  • Robbie Gould, K – SF

Player I Love: He’s been on my sleeper list more than once, but I can’t shake the feeling that a healthy and sober Austin Seferian-Jenkins is in a position to blow up this year. With as much talent as anyone else at the position not named Gronkowski, ASJ will have the chance to prove himself in Jacksonville this year as the starter. While I don’t expect a top 5 finish, he’s certainly in the conversation as a low end TE1.

Player I Hate: At some point, Cameron Brate had to be on the outs in Tampa Bay. With O.J. Howard comfortable after a full season, it’s likely that the offense transitions towards him in the coming months. Couple that with the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t target either tight end much in the games he played, and Brate may be better suited for the back of a milk carton than the bench of a fantasy team.

Round 18

  • Saints D/ST
  • Patriots D/ST
  • Chris Boswell, K – PIT
  • Mitch Trubisky, QB – CHI
  • Paul Richardson, WR – WAS
  • Michael Gallup, WR – DAL
  • Hayden Hurst, TE – BAL
  • Kenneth Dixon, RB – BAL
  • Blake Bortles, QB – JAC
  • Matt Prater, K – DET

Player I Love: While you’re firmly in the “drop in case of waiver wire pickup” stages of the draft, Michael Gallup presents real upside as a potential top receiver in Dallas. The rookie out of Colorado State is in the mix for the targets vacated by Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. In the 18th round, having a potential top receiver available seems criminal, and I’ll be jumping on Gallup as often as I can this draft season.

Player I Hate: I don’t hate Hayden Hurst the player, but I hate Hayden Hurst the Baltimore tight end. There hasn’t been much success for Baltimore tight ends since Dennis Pitta’s career was cut short, and with Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams on the roster siphoning plays, Hurst has too high a mountain to climb for me to feel comfortable drafting him at all.

Round 19

  • Christian Kirk, WR – ARI
  • Dan Bailey, K – DAL
  • Courtland Sutton, WR – DEN
  • Frank Gore, RB – MIA
  • Mohamed Sanu, WR – ATL
  • Matt Brieda, RB – SF
  • Steelers D/ST
  • Eric Ebron, TE – IND
  • Jared Cook, TE – OAK
  • Tyrod Taylor, QB – CLE

Player I Love: It’s reasonable to be concerned about Tyrod Taylor’s job security, after all Baker Mayfield was drafted first overall. That would be to ignore the very loud proclamation that regardless of Mayfield’s presence on the roster, Taylor is the guy this year. Looking at the weapons both at wide receiver and in the backfield, there’s no better last round QB in my mind for real fantasy production.

Player I Hate: I’ll admit I’m guilty of hyping up Matt Brieda last year, as I incorrectly assumed Carlos Hyde wouldn’t handle passing downs. Now, he’s stuck behind an even better pass catcher in Jerick McKinnon. While Brieda may have some NFL talent, there’s little daylight in terms of fantasy value here. If McKinnon goes down, he’s a waiver option, but not worth carrying in standard leagues.

Round 20

  • Baker Mayfield, QB – CLE
  • Andy Dalton, QB – CIN
  • Ted Ginn, WR – NO
  • Tyler Lockett, WR – SEA
  • Dede Westbrook, WR – JAC
  • Austin Ekeler, RB – LAC
  • Mason Crosby, K – GB
  • Josh Rosen, QB – ARI
  • Lamar Jackson, QB – BAL
  • Vance McDonald, TE – PIT

Player I Love: We mentioned it early with Marqise Lee (spoiler alert, I don’t like him as a #1) but Dede Westbrook is a guy that I look at with massive upside in an offense that seems to never have stability at it’s wide receiver position. While it’s typically useless to extrapolate previous years stats, it’s important to note that the young WR’s numbers over a full 16 games would have been 774 yards on 61 catches; and now he has less competition for targets.

Player I Hate: Lamar Jackson, in my eyes, is more of a project then a polished, NFL ready passer. With Joe Flacco still the starter, it’s unlikely Jackson sees extended time this season, and even if he does, there’s very little chance he excels in what would be a dismal situation. In dynasty leagues he’s a flier, but in redraft or short term keeper leagues, he’s best left to the waiver wire.