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Daily Fantasy: Week One Targets

ARodgersWhile the Dr. hasn’t really spent much time focused on the Daily side of Fantasy Sports, the noise has grown too loud to ignore. Of course, the strategy around building solid daily lineups is both similar, and all together different from what you’re used to in season long leagues.

If you’re a veteran of Draft Kings or Fan Duel, you can skip this section, but for first timers or newbies, here’s a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Take the time to learn the names at the BOTTOM of the price list
    • It’s more important to nail the inexpensive players you choose to roster as their value can be the most helpful for placing you in the money. Players like James White ($4,000 on Draft Kings) can be super helpful if you know how New England’s offense is trending.
  2. Understand the matchups
    • If you’re on the fence about a player or two, sometimes it helps to understand the game plan. If two high powered offenses are playing each other, it may mean more opportunity for pass catching backs and depth receivers. Targeting a player like Matt Brieda ($4,600 on Draft Kings) can help you maximize the points from the bottom of your roster.
  3. Pay attention to trends
    • This one is tougher to do in the first few weeks of the season, as trends haven’t yet begun to show, but keep an eye on players who consistently out perform the more expensive options. As mentioned above, with a finite cap number, you’ll need players to perform like Chris Thompson did last year when healthy.

Week 1 Targets

We won’t spend too much time on Tiers in this article, although come back later for more information on those particular contests later in the week. Instead, we’ll look at players throughout the league at each cost and highlight a few we think should perform at or above expectations.

Expensive Players

Week one may be the easiest time of the year to justify spending a large amount on a player or two, as these players are easier to predict than mid level or inexpensive roster options.

QB – Tom Brady, NE ($7,200) – While you may argue that the lack of weapons will be a problem for Brady, starting quick has never been an issue. With a Houston defense that’s not been great against the pass, and the likelihood of a shootout, and Brady looks like he’ll be a fine option despite his large price tag.

RB – Alvin Kamara, NO ($8,500) – The signing of Mike Gillislee may scare you away from last years breakout running back, but the truth is that one week isn’t enough time for Gillislee to learn enough of the play book to make an impact. Kamara will be a huge part of the offense all season, and during Ingram’s suspension he’ll be a workhorse.

WR – DeAndre Hopkins, HOU ($8,300) – There’s a lot of names at the top of the list that oyu’d be justified in using, but the New England offense is one of the worst against the pass in the league, and Hopkins is a constant mismatch even against the great ones. With Watson returning from injury, it’s likely he’ll rely on the talented receiver all game long.

TE – Rob Gronkowksi, NE ($6,900) – This is a bit of a cop out since there’s no other really expensive options at the position, but Gronk is the only reliable pass catcher available to Brady in week one. He’ll have plenty of opportunities for a TD or two right out of the gates.

The Rest Of The Field

Crafting a winning lineup will require a handful of players at each tier. We’ll give you an idea of a few players who may be considered a value come game time, and can give you a boost without costing you an arm and a leg.

QB

  • Russel Wilson, SEA ($6,200) – It seems like the disrespect for Wilson being a top tier fantasy asset has gone too far, and this just reinforces my opinion. A healthy Wilson is a threat regardless of how good a defense may be against the pass thanks to how well he runs the football. With Doug Baldwin less than a 100% it’s far from a stretch to see him run the football for 75+ yards and a TD.
  • Blake Bortles, JAX ($5,600) – He’s been the butt of many jokes but he’s quietly produced in fantasy terms nearly every year of his career. With the Giants defense being ugly against the pass, he’s an inexpensive option if you’ve invested elsewhere.
  • Mitchell Trubisky, CHI ($5,600) – While the expectation is that the second year start is going to struggle out of the gates, he’s playing a Green Bay team that should force Chicago to pass. If I were drafting a QB to win I may pass, but Trubisky could be playing catch up from the opening drive.

RB

  • Saquon Barkley, NYG ($6,700) – We’ve seen rookie backs come out and dominate early in the season for several years now, and Barkley is in a unique position to carry a large portion of the load for the Giants. With Jacksonville on the schedule, you may worry about the defense, but they were one of the worst against the run in terms of fantasy scoring. I’d be surprised if Barkley doesn’t find the end zone at least once.
  • Kenyan Drake, MIA ($5,900) – I’ve been critical of Drake in the past, but recently I’ve softened my stance on him. While I still expect Ballage to take some of the passing downs, his concussion issues should leave Drake in line for a solid three down work load against a Tennessee team that’s made opposing backs look really good.
  • Carlos Hyde, CLE – ($4,500) – While it’s true that the Cleveland backfield is a bit crowded, it’s still Hyde who figures to be the defacto lead back going into week 1. With the most impressive play through the preseason and a history of three down work, he’s an impressive discount at his current DFS value.

WR

  • Larry Fitzgerald, ARI – ($6,600) – There’s a case to be made for Washington’s secondary as one of the leagues best, but Fitzgerald’s primarily lined up over the last few years in the slot. With the DB’s locking down the outside, Fitzgerald should be targeted heavily in week 1.
  • Emmanuel Sanders, DEN ($5,000) – As bullish as I’ve been on Demaryius Thomas of the Denver wide outs, part of that is because they’re planning on using him more in the slot. Despite that, it’s still Sanders that should see the bulk of his snaps at a position Keenum targeted a ton last year. Think Adam Thielen level production out of Sanders, who is probably a more talented receiver than Thielen anyhow.
  • Anthony Miller, CHI ($4,600) – Much like the case for Trubisky, Miller should settle right in as one of the top target getters for the Bears right out of the gates. Given that Green Bay was one of the three worst teams in terms of providing production to fantasy wide outs and that Chicago will likely be playing from behind, and Miller’s value as Trubisky’s safety blanked can’t be highlighted enough.

TE

  • Delanie Walker, TEN ($4,900) – He may be closer to the top of his position group than the other names mentioned, but he’s a discount at his current price. The match up against Miami is as good as it gets (Miami ranked at or near the bottom against TE’s all season long) and the potential for a lingering injury to keep Rishard Matthews at less than 100% means an increased workload for one of the steadiest producers at the position.
  • Jack Doyle, IND ($3,600) – Andrew Luck should be back in week one, so we expect an immediate boost in performance for Doyle. He proved his connection with the former all pro two seasons ago, and a favorable match up against a Cincinnati team should work wonders to get the two off to a soaring start to this season.
  • Antonio Gates, LAC ($2,600) – If you think this means I expect him to be used heavily in the passing game, you’d be wrong. What I do expect is his usage in the Red Zone to be prolific. With an understanding of the offense and a great rapport with Philip Rivers, the 39 year old Gates should have a strong start thanks to the high potential for early season TDs.

 

Dr. Fantasy’s Daily Sports Lineup

  • QB: Mitch Trubisky ($5,600)
  • RB: Kenyan Drake ($5,900) Carlos Hyde ($4,500)
  • WR: DeAndre Hopkins($8,300) Emmanuel Sanders ($5,000) Anthony Miller ($4,600)
  • Flex: Alvin Kamara ($8,500)
  • TE: Jack Doyle ($3,600)
  • D/ST: Ravens Defense ($3,800)

 

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Labor Day ADP Update!

In our quest to provide the most pertinent information and analysis, we will use current ESPN ADP rankings provided as of Friday 8/31. If you draft in a 10 team league, adjust the rounds accordingly, otherwise this will review the ADP values for a 12 team league. We’ve highlighted three players in each round we like at their current ADP, feel free to argue your point of view in the comments section.

CKuppAs I look out over the fantasy landscape on the eve of Labor Day weekend, I’m amazed at how different things look following the brutal four week stretch we like to call the pre-season. Littering the battle field are high profile injuries, unresolved position battles, and early draft casualties left to rot in no man’s land.

With a large percentage of drafts scheduled for the final weekend before the NFL kicks off the 2018 season, it’s only appropriate that we make one last run at addressing the current ADP data provided by the largest players in the game. By addressing the value’s assigned to each proverbial tier, we can provide you with extra tools in your quest for fantasy dominance.

Round 1 – 3

The early rounds of your draft are simultaneously the most important and the least important picks you can make all day. As we preach gratuitously… you won’t win your league with the picks, but you can certainly lose.

Round 1

  • 1.01 – Le’Veon Bell, RB – PIT
  • 1.02 – Todd Gurley, RB – LAR
  • 1.03 – David Johnson, RB – ARI
  • 1.04 – Ezekiel Elliott, RB – DAL
  • 1.05 – Antonio Brown, WR – PIT
  • 1.06 – Saquon Barkley, RB – NYG
  • 1.07 – Alvin Kamara, RB – NO
  • 1.08 – DeAndre Hopkins, WR – HOU
  • 1.09 – Odell Beckham, WR – NYG
  • 1.10 – Kareem Hunt, RB – KC
  • 1.11 – Leonard Fournette, RB – JAC
  • 1.12 – Dalvin Cook, RB – MIN

It’s far from a surprise to see the backs dominating the first round; after all, a large number of league champions can point towards a break out back as the catalyst for their wins. Still, I’d consider grabbing a WR at the back end of the first – the value is just too great.

Best Value: Odell Beckham at 1.09 is stealing – his career per game fantasy production is greater than DeAndre Hopkins single best season. He’s as safe a pick in the first as you’ll get.

Worst Value: Dalvin Cook could have a monster year, but with a capable back in Latavius Murray spelling him, and the unknown of returning from a major knee injury means too many question marks for a round 1 pick.

Round 2

  • 2.01 – Julio Jones, WR – ATL
  • 2.02 – Melvin Gordon, RB – LAC
  • 2.03 – Keenan Allen, WR – LAC
  • 2.04 – Christian McCaffrey, RB – CAR
  • 2.05 – Michael Thomas, WR – NO
  • 2.06 – Devonta Freeman, RB – ATL
  • 2.07 – A.J. Green, WR – CIN
  • 2.08 – Rob Gronkowski, TE – NE
  • 2.09 – Davante Adams, WR – GB
  • 2.10 – Mike Evans, WR – TB
  • 2.11 – LeSean McCoy, RB – BUF
  • 2.12 – Aaron Rodgers, QB – GB

This years second round features even greater value than the first as the top tiers at several positions become available. For years I railed against drafting Rob Gronkowski in the 2nd, but this year may be the exception with the New England offense likely siphoning through him.

Best Value: It wasn’t long ago that Mike Evans was considered a first round talent. The off season issues Tampa has experienced and the lack of help have suppressed his value, but he’s still the same dominant receiver. Draft confidently.

Worst Value: I’m not suggesting LeSean McCoy is washed up, but even ignoring the off field issues, McCoy is a thirty year old back with high mileage and a terrible team around him. There’s been some great articles about fantasy production for backs on bad teams (Like this one at Rotoworld), and this situation screams bust from day one.

Round 3

  • 3.01 – Travis Kelce, TE – KC
  • 3.02 – T.Y. Hilton, WR – IND
  • 3.03 – Jordan Howard, RB – CHI
  • 3.04 – Joe Mixon, RB – CIN
  • 3.05 – Jerick McKinnon, RB – SF
  • 3.06 – Tyreek Hill, WR – KC
  • 3.07 – Stefon Diggs, WR – MIN
  • 3.08 – Larry Fitzgerald, WR – ARI
  • 3.09 – Tom Brady, QB – NE
  • 3.10 – Adam Thielen, WR – MIN
  • 3.11 – Zach Ertz, TE – PHI
  • 3.12 – Amari Cooper, WR – OAK

You can see in the third the effects of all those backs going early with some pretty fantastic wide receivers falling in the draft. Most of them are excellent values and some could prove to be top 10 at their position. The backs going in the third are the boom or bust guys who have the talent or opportunity to be in the RB1 conversation.

Best Value: Especially in PPR formats, it’s amazing how Larry Fitzgerald continues to be overlooked simply because of his age. While he’s shifted mostly to the slot and runs far shallower routes, he’s still a lot for 90-100 receptions, 1,000+ yards and 5-7 TDs.

Worst Value: I’m a firm believer that drafting a QB early is a poor way to start your draft. You can make a solid argument for Rodgers as an early pick, but this is the year to fade Brady in the first 5 rounds. He’ll win a lot of football games, and he’ll play efficiently despite the lack of weapons, but his last few seasons have shown that he’s no longer the 3rd round asset he was in years past.

Rounds 4 – 8

These rounds are far more important to your fantasy health that the three that came before. While you’re guaranteed to grab a few guys worthy of early picks, these rounds separate the researches from the consensus drafters. With dinged up superstars, rookie running backs, and one dimensional players, there’s as many pitfalls as league winners sprinkled throughout.

Round 4

  • 4.01 – Demaryius Thomas, WR – DEN
  • 4.02 – Kenyan Drake, RB – MIA
  • 4.03 – Royce Freeman, RB – DEN
  • 4.04 – Doug Baldwin, WR – SEA
  • 4.05 – Jarvis Landry, WR – CLE
  • 4.06 – Derrick Henry, RB – TEN
  • 4.07 – Allen Robinson, WR – CHI
  • 4.08 – Golden Tate, WR – DET
  • 4.09 – Alex Collins, RB – BAL
  • 4.10 – Josh Gordon, WR – CLE
  • 4.11 – Brandin Cooks, WR – LAR
  • 4.12 – Cam Newton, QB – CAR

There’s a handful of players who could crack the top ten at their position in this round, but each features a good deal of risk. While fantasy champions require a great deal of luck, there’s something to be said for minimizing risk. If you’ve drafted your first three rounds well, then a player like Kenyan Drake or Josh Gordon could put you over the top assuming their healthy and resume the kind of production we expect.

Best Value: Fantasy production doesn’t need to be flashy; 75 yards and a TD is the same if it’s on 5 touches or 15 touches, so seeing Alex Collins fall behind players like Freeman (a rookie) and Henry (entrenched in a committee) lends to his value as a potential 3 down bell cow. He’s not exciting, but he gets the job done.

Worst Value: I won’t go so far as to suggest Cooks is a bust candidate, but considering that he’s going to one of the most crowded wide receiver corps in the NFL, and the headlines in LA have been mostly about the relationship that Kupp and Goff have formed, and you can see how this may be a bit too early for a guy competing for targets.

Round 5

  • 5.01 – Greg Olsen, TE – CAR
  • 5.02 – Marvin Jones, WR – DET
  • 5.03 – Juju Smith-Schuster, WR – PIT
  • 5.04 – Deshaun Watson, QB – HOU
  • 5.05 – Marshawn Lynch, RB – OAK
  • 5.06 – Jimmy Graham, TE – GB
  • 5.07 – Russell Wilson, QB – SEA
  • 5.08 – Jay Ajayi, RB – PHI
  • 5.09 – Lamar Miller, RB – HOU
  • 5.10 – Chris Hogan, WR – NE
  • 5.11 – Mark Ingram, RB – NO
  • 5.12 – Dion Lewis, RB – TEN

Here’s the best example I can give for the ZeroRB crowd as a handful of lead backs are still available in round 5. With enough knowledge and few late round targets still in tact, there’s plenty of value here at a position many think dries up in the first few rounds. The pit fall here is a potential TE run with Olsen and Graham likely to go at some point. Don’t fall into the trap.

Best Value: Can we all agree that Lamar Miller is the only healthy running back in Houston? With the prevailing opinion being that Houston should be a high powered offense with Deshaun Watson back, how is it that we’ve ignored the RB1 numbers Miller put up when the two were playing? He’s not a sexy name, and his time is coming to an end, but for this season, he’s as safe as you get at this point.

Worst Value: Meanwhile, Juju Smith-Schuster continues his meteoric rise to fantasy stardom in spite of a few important details. He’s got two target hogs ahead of him on the depth chart. With Big Ben aging and a rookie in James Washington also in the picture, it’s going to be difficult for Juju to carve out a role large enough to justify taking over other players available at this point in the draft.

Round 6

  • 6.01 – Alshon Jeffrey, WR – PHI
  • 6.02 – Delanie Walker, TE – TEN
  • 6.03 – Carson Wentz, QB – PHI
  • 6.04 – Evan Engram, TE – NYG
  • 6.05 – Michael Crabtree, WR – BAL
  • 6.06 – Emmanuel Sanders, WR – DEN
  • 6.07 – Robert Woods, WR – LAR
  • 6.08 – Marquise Goodwin, WR – SF
  • 6.09 – Drew Brees, QB – NO
  • 6.10 – Jaguars D/ST
  • 6.11 – Tevin Coleman, RB – ATL
  • 6.12 – Kyle Rudolph, TE – MIN

There’s a lot to like in the 6th round; a defense isn’t one of them. I won’t waste too many words letting you know why you should draft a defense in the 6th round (after all, the Jags were likely a waiver pick up in your league). The wide receiver depth continues to show itself with several high upside picks reside in the middle of the round, as well as some of the less heralded RB2’s in the league.

Best Value: Drafting the top wide out in an offense that figures to improve dramatically in Kyle Shanahan’s second year with San Francisco is a boon in the 6th round, so grab Goodwin if you can. A lot of the buzz in the Bay is centered on RB Jerick McKinnon and Jimmy G’s dating habits, but the real prize is Goodwin at a seriously inexpensive draft position.

Worst Value: Evan Engram was a revelation last year, but not enough focus is being placed on the laundry list of injuries and inefficiencies that made his TE5 finish possible. With Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard back and healthy and Saquon Barkley likely to require a good number of touches, there’s little chance that Engram repeats the numbers that he put up last season.

Round 7

  • 7.01 – Carlos Hyde, RB – CLE
  • 7.02 – Duke Johnson, RB – CLE
  • 7.03 – Corey Davis, WR – TEN
  • 7.04 – Sammy Watkins, WR – KC
  • 7.05 – Rex Burkhead, RB – NE
  • 7.06 – Randall Cobb, WR – GB
  • 7.07 – Devin Funchess, WR – CAR
  • 7.08 – Jordan Reed, TE – WAS
  • 7.09 – Isaiah Crowell, RB – NYJ
  • 7.10 – Andrew Luck, QB – IND
  • 7.11 – Kirk Cousins, QB – MIN
  • 7.12 – Ben Roethlisberger, QB – PIT

This is one of my favorite rounds in the draft as there’s really no one here that’s not worth picking in their spot. The hardest part about evaluating it is only choosing three players I like, and finding someone I really don’t like. Suffice it to say, I wouldn’t consider reaching beyond this group of players if it was me picking.

Best Value: It’s been a few years since Andrew Luck has been on the field and been right, but even at less than 100% in 2016 he managed 4200 yards and 31 TD’s in 15 games. After taking his time to rehab and not putting himself in a bad position, Luck appears ready to take back over under center. With his track record, it’s insane value grabbing a potential top 3 QB this late.

Worst Value: This is a bit of a cop out because I don’t necessarily dislike Sammy Watkins, but of all the names on the list here, he’ll have the hardest time reaching his ceiling. With Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and a very capable backfield, there won’t be as much opportunity for the former first round pick to really light up the scoreboard. He’ll have weeks that he dominates with big plays, but he’s harder to predict than these other players.

Round 8

  • 8.01 – Pierre Garcon, WR – SF
  • 8.02 – Julian Edelman, WR – NE
  • 8.03 – Will Fuller, WR – HOU
  • 8.04 – Chris Thompson, RB – WAS
  • 8.05 – Chris Carson, RB – SEA
  • 8.06 – Eagles D/ST 
  • 8.07 – Cooper Kupp, WR – LAR
  • 8.08 – Rams D/ST
  • 8.09 – Robby Anderson, WR – NYJ
  • 8.10 – Tarik Cohen, RB – CHI
  • 8.11 – Kerryon Johnson, RB – DET
  • 8.12 – Jordy Nelson, WR – OAK

As always, these ADP lists are made with consensus and compiled data, so while we understand that in mock drafts folks draft more loosely, we never advocate drafting a defense this early. With two going on average, there’s a growing trend that I aim to buck. There’s a lot of value still at the RB position so eschew the special teams and build a juggernaut instead.

Best Value: It’s a toss up here but Cooper Kupp is inexplicably being drafted as the third WR off the board from the Rams despite leading the team in targets last year and running as the top target for Jared Goff. Cooks may be better than Watkins, but it won’t be enough to keep Kupp from approaching 100 targets.

Worst Value: Drafting based on the “bottom line” is short sited, and a player like Will Fuller gets a bump because of a handful of crazy Sport Center Top 10 highlights. The truth is that Houston doesn’t throw enough to give him the targets needed to overcome an unsustainable TD percentage and a 55% catch rate. Much like Martavis Bryant, this is a bit of fools gold.

Round 9 – 14

In these rounds, there’s fewer “hate” players as your general drafting a late QB or TE, or taking fliers on roster depth. It’s imperative that you read up on your targets as hitting on a few of these players gives you the kind of depth that provides a playoff and bye week advantage.

Round 9 

  • 9.01 – Rashaad Penny, RB – SEA
  • 9.02 – Matthew Stafford, QB – DET
  • 9.03 – Matt Ryan, QB – ATL
  • 9.04 – Stephen Gostkowski, K – NE
  • 9.05 – Jack Doyle, TE – IND
  • 9.06 – Vikings D/ST
  • 9.07 – Sterling Shepard, WR – NYG
  • 9.08 – Kelvin Benjamin, WR – BUF
  • 9.09 – Greg Zuerlein, K – LAR
  • 9.10 – Jamison Crowder, WR – WAS
  • 9.11 – Adrian Peterson, RB – WAS
  • 9.12 – Jamaal Williams, RB – GB

If there was ever a picture of how ZeroRB should work, it would be this round. Seeing a first round pick in Rashaad Penny and two starters in Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Williams available in the 9th should prove that the depth at RB isn’t as barren as many make it seem. Sure, it requires a great amount of care and planning, but you can win your league with these players.

Best Value: New quarter back Alex Smith may have had a career year throwing the ball down field last year, but he’s proven to be an efficient passer who finds the receiver who gets open. Not many receivers find separation like Jamison Crowder who should be his go to from day one. This is a potential WR2 being drafted as a WR4; that’s some great value!

Worst Value: Thankfully the rest of the round is worth a pick in the 9th so I can sound off on the practice of drafting a kicker in the 9th! DON’T DO IT! Matt Prater, the 10th ranked kicker last season was only 23 points shy of top ranked kicker Stephen Gostkowski’s 169. There’s no need to spend this kind of draft capital on a kicker… ever.

Round 10 

  • 10.01 – Trey Burton, TE – CHI
  • 10.02 – Ronald Jones, RB – TB
  • 10.03 – Jimmy Garoppolo, QB – SF
  • 10.04 – Sony Michel, RB – NE
  • 10.05 – Nelson Agholor, WR – PHI
  • 10.06 – David Njoku, TE – CLE
  • 10.07 – James White, RB – NE
  • 10.08 – Peyton Barber, RB – TB
  • 10.09 – Patrick Mahomes, QB – KC
  • 10.10 – Philip Rivers, QB – LAC
  • 10.11 – Alex Smith, QB – WAS
  • 10.12 – Kenny Stills, WR – MIA

Round 10 could be called the Rodney Dangerfield round due to the number of players who just seem to never get the respect they deserve. Whether it’s Philip Rivers being in the QB 1 conversation nearly every year or Alex Smith who almost won an MVP last season, there’s plenty of names in this area of the draft worth throwing darts at. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some pitfalls.

Best Value: With the injuries at the running back position in New England and the lack of reliable passing game targets, James White is looking more attractive than ever. With excellent passing down abilities and the trust of Tom Brady, he could be a RB2 if the Pats don’t address their current issues. While he won’t be asked to do much more than he has on the ground, he’ll approach the 90 or so targets he seems to get every year.

Worst Value:  When the draft concluded, many were proclaiming their love for the rookie running back selected by Tampa Bay, but Ronald Jones hasn’t looked like he deserves the comparisons to Jamaal Charles just yet. While the jury remains out on him in his first season, it’s crazy that he’s being drafted before Peyton Barber who is expected to start. With Charles Sims no longer on the roster, and Jones being awful in the passing game, Barber is a safe pick either way.

Round 11

  • 11.01 – Dak Prescott, QB – DAL
  • 11.02 – Josh Doctson, WR – WAS
  • 11.03 – Jared Goff, QB – LAR
  • 11.04 – Texans D/ST
  • 11.05 – Ravens D/ST
  • 11.06 – Justin Tucker, K – BAL
  • 11.07 – DeVante Parker, WR – MIA
  • 11.08 – Allen Hurns, WR – DAL
  • 11.09 – Mohamed Sanu, WR – ATL
  • 11.10 – Derek Carr, QB – OAK
  • 11.11 – Marcus Mariota, QB – TEN
  • 11.12 – Marlon Mack, RB – IND

With the depth beginning to dwindle, you may be justified stabbing at a player you like here despite them not showing up on many rankings sheets. Don’t feel bad doing something the “experts” wouldn’t do, the truth is many would do the same thing. Guys like Tucker and the Texans defense are far better values here than the guys taken several rounds ago, but I still don’t advise locking up either this early.

Best Value: Despite being a constant on the “bounce back” lists, Mariota is still being drafted as an afterthought. With a new OC in Matt LaFluer (who turned Goff from an embarrassment to an exciting NFL QB), an improved passing game with a healthy stud in Corey Davis, and a complimentary run game with pass catcher Dion Lewis, there’s little chance he disappoints in this round.

Worst Value: It’s sad when we finally give up on a player we’ve been behind for years, but that’s the case with DeVante Parker and Dr. Fantasy… as I write this brief obituary, I’m reminded of all the talent that he has yet the inability to catch the football or beat out lesser receivers. With all the competition now in the Miami offense, it’s time to give up on Parker as a break out candidate.

Round 12 

  • 12.01 – Tyler Eifert, TE – CIN
  • 12.02 – Eli Manning, QB – NYG
  • 12.03 – Chris Boswell, K – PIT
  • 12.04 – Patriots D/ST
  • 12.05 – Ty Montgomery, RB – GB
  • 12.06 – Keelan Cole, WR – JAC
  • 12.07 – Charles Clay, TE – BUF
  • 12.08 – Kenny Golladay, WR – DET
  • 12.09 – Matt Bryant, K – ATL
  • 12.10 – Aaron Jones, RB – GB
  • 12.11 – Paul Richardson, WR – WAS

You have now entered the “Dart Throw” zone where you’re drafting sleepers and backups in the hopes to land the next diamond in the rough. Guys like Alvin Kamara (who was likely later in your drafts or undrafted) are the kinds of names you hope to scratch off in what is the fantasy version of a 5 dollar scratch ticket. I’m less inclined to berate someone for a special teams pick, but again, don’t do it.

Best Value: When the Packers needed a running back and Montgomery and Williams were hurt or ineffective, Aaron Jones was a workhorse, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and looking like a true RB1. Now suspended, and sitting behind the vanilla Jamaal Williams, Jones value has plummeted. The talent is still there though, so it’s only the opportunity part that is lacking, and Williams may not be good enough to keep Jones down.

Worst Value: I believe in Tyler Eifert’s talent, but until he proves to me he can stay healthy, I’m not touching him in any round. Coupled with the fact that Marvin Lewis (the greatest destroyer of talent in this current NFL generation) plans on using him as sparingly as possible to preserve him for a playoff run that won’t happen, and I’m even less inclined to draft him.

Round 13

  • 13.01 – Nick Chubb, RB – CLE
  • 13.02 – Chargers D/ST
  • 13.03 – Benjamin Watson, TE – NO
  • 13.04 – Tyler Lockett, WR – SEA
  • 13.05 – Calvin Ridley, WR – ATL
  • 13.06 – Jared Cook, TE – OAK
  • 13.07 – Cameron Meredith, WR – NO
  • 13.08 – Danny Amendola, WR – MIA
  • 13.09 – LeGarrette Blount, RB – DET
  • 13.10 – Latavius Murray, RB – MIN
  • 13.11 – Tyrod Taylor, QB – CLE
  • 13.12 – Broncos D/ST

This is where the forgotten men come to be drafted, despite there being a lot of value even this late in drafts. First round pick Calvin Ridley may be considered a more marquee name, Tyler Lockett and Danny Amendola should contribute a healthy amount too. If your league is a keeper league, Chubb and Ridley begin to look even more attractive, assuming they’ve fallen this far. Don’t forget to know your format!

Best Value: When the Seahawks gave Tyler Lockett a big contract extension, it was a bit of a head scratcher as he’s only ever flashed in limited action. Still, the extension coupled with the loss of Jimmy Graham and the ongoing injury issues with Rashaad Penny and Doug Baldwin, and Lockett could see a big increase in work as well.

Worst Value: I was a Cameron Meredith fan last year before his injury, and I expected him to make the leap in New Orleans as the number two target for Drew Brees, but this offseason has been a complete bust for the former Bear. With very little rapport with the QB and not much success even against lesser competition, he could be a roster drag that forces you to drop him much earlier than you’d like.

Round 14 

  • 14.01 – Michael Gallup, WR – DAL
  • 14.02 – Cameron Brate, TE – TB
  • 14.03 – George Kittle, TE – SF
  • 14.04 – O.J. Howard, TE – TB
  • 14.05 – Mike Williams, WR – LAC
  • 14.06 – D.J. Moore, WR – CAR
  • 14.07 – John Ross, WR – CIN
  • 14.08 – Mitchell Trubisky, QB – CHI
  • 14.09 – Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, TE – JAC
  • 14.10 – Giovani Bernard, RB – CIN
  • 14.11 – Courtland Sutton, WR – DEN
  • 14.12 – Corey Clement, RB – PHI

If you’re in need of a Tight End, there’s plenty of upside with any one of these guys, but the real value is at the wide receiver position. It’s impossible to hit on every one of these guys, but with so much talent still on the board, these are all low risk options with plenty of high reward upside.

Best Value: Much like Corey Davis several rounds earlier, Mike Williams was once considered one of the best WR prospects in football. Injuries derailed his 2017 season but there’s no excuse for the degree of his fall from grace. With his back healed and only Tyrell Williams to compete with for the #2 spot on the Chargers depth chart, it’s almost a guarantee that he’ll outpace the draft spot.

Worst Value: While I like D.J. Moore as a long term prospect, his 2018 prospects are poor. There’s far too many hurdles to meaningful target shares for me to invest in him in redraft leagues. Already behind Devin Funchess and Greg Olsen, it’s become clear that McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel will out target him as well. In deep formats maybe, but not in the 14th round.

Round 15 and 16

I won’t spell out the 15th and 16th rounds (or beyond) as they tend to be more specific formats that require help in these areas. In standard Redraft leagues, you should be drafting a D/ST and Kicker here. I suggest grabbing whichever is the highest rated on your board in the 15th and grabbing someone to stream in the 16th.

In case you went off script and drafted one or both previously, here’s a list of players I like that are going later than this.

  • Anthony Miller, WR – CHI
  • DeSean Jackson, WR – TB
  • Jeremy Hill, RB – NE
  • Jordan Wilkins, RB – IND
  • Chris Godwin, WR – TB
  • James Washington, WR – PIT
  • Tyler Kroft, TE – CIN
  • Blake Jarwin, TE – DAL 

 

 

Weekend Recap: Seahawks vs Chargers

RWilsonRussell Wilson got an extended look as he attempted 21 passes in preseason game #2, completing 13 of them for 193 yards. Secure in his role as a top 5 fantasy QB going into 2018, there’s little to be concern about despite only 1 rushing attempt.

The running back battle that was skewed with a Rashaad Penny injury seems to be centered firmly on Chris Carson as he took his 9 carries for 34 yards, a 3.8 yard per carry mark. While the sentiment is that he’ll be the starter come week one, he’ll need to improve slightly on his efficiency if he’s going to hold off the first round pick.

The receiving game looked a bit off as well as the Seahawks continue to play without injured WR Doug Baldwin. While he was seen doing sprints, it’s likely going to be a showcase for the depth receivers as guys like Jaron Brown try to ingratiate themselves to Wilson and the offensive coaches. Taking 2 receptions for 74 yards certainly doesn’t hurt his case for being a starter, especially considering how cheap he can be had on draft day (likely for free as a waiver add).

Still, it was the Chargers in the end who won the game on the effort of it’s run game. Not one signal caller ended the game with more than 8 passing attempts, as each Geno Smith and Philip Rivers only threw one incomplete pass. Instead it was Detrez Newsome who put on a clinic with 78 yards on 19 carries. While it was certainly impressive, there’s no real threat to Melvin Gordon’s starting gig as he turned his 10 rushes into 35 yards and a TD.

Despite his continued poor efficiency, Melvin Gordon made good in the passing game with 2 receptions for 18 yards. It’ll be something to consider at the end of the first as Gordon has put up decent receiving numbers despite being pegged as a standard league only option.

While the rest of the receiving game was surpressed due to the lack of attempts, it’s interesting to see Virgil Green excelling, as this Chargers offense should continue to use it’s TE’s in the passing game. With Hunter Henry out for the year, Green could be a late round target with plenty of value in redraft leagues.

Drafting A Contender: QB Series

ARodgersAs we continue to preach preparation here at Dr. Fantasy, we’ll shine our spotlight on the age old question of “when do you draft a QB?”

There’s plenty of different schools of thought on this one – I’m sure you’ve got the guy in your league who throws a second round pick at Aaron Rodgers every year. I’m not here to tell you that guy’s wrong. What I will tell you is that it’s often times far easier to secure a top 10 QB later in the draft while securing a stud RB or WR in that same spot than it is to hope you hit on all your mid round picks to make up for it.

There’s only a handful of QB’s that I’d consider “early” round picks. They are as follows:

  • Aaron Rodgers (ADP 23)
  • Tom Brady (ADP 29)
  • DeShaun Watson (ADP 46)
  • Carson Wentz (ADP 55)
  • Russell Wilson (ADP 56)
  • Cam Newton (ADP 58)

You can certainly waste an entire day arguing the merits of each of these QBs, but the fact is that if you want one of them, you have to prepare yourself to spend big time draft capital to acquire them.

Ignoring Wentz, Wilson, and Newton (because they all have decent value in the 6th round), we find ourselves debating second year QB DeShaun Watson, perennial #1 QB Aaron Rodgers, and a 41 year old Tom Brady.

Of this group only Aaron Rodgers is worth considering at their current draft point. Consider this; by selecting Rodgers at 23rd overall (his current ESPN draft price), you’re passing on the 2nd tier of receivers and the end of the starting running backs pool. Is it worth it to piece together a skill position group without a 2nd round pick? For an argument, here is what you can expect from Rodgers + an 11th round WR and what you can expect from 11th round Matt Stafford + a 2nd round receiver.

  • Aaron Rodgers (20.3 points per game) + DeSean Jackson (6.1 points per game)
  • Mike Evans (10 points per game) + Matt Stafford (16.6 points per game)

Consistency wise, there’s not much of an argument as DeSean Jackson is, at best, a flex play and bye week fall back. While you’re likely to have other wide outs on your team, you can instead draft a starting QB who’s 50% production (compared to Rodgers) is far more appealing that the 35% you’d get from Jackson (compared to Evans).

Now extrapolate that for Watson and Brady and there’s little argument that those guys are as valuable in the 3rd and 4th round as a 2nd back or wide receiver. If you’re not really sure how to piece together a team with high upside backups and sleeper wide outs, we implore you: wait on a QB.

 

 

 

Early QB Rankings

  1. Aaron Rodgers, GB
  2. Russell Wilson, SEA
  3. Cam Newton, CAR
  4. Drew Brees, NO
    • A quiet yet efficient season has bred this idea that Brees is no longer elite. Expect a return to the top 5, especially with Ingram missing time.
  5. Carson Wentz, PHI
  6. Deshaun Watson, HOU
  7. Tom Brady, NE
    • This off season has been difficult for the Patriots as they have faced infighting, suspensions, and denatures. Brady will likely still be elite on the field, but his fantasy prospects take a hit.
  8. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
  9. Kirk Cousins, MIN
  10. Matthew Stafford, DET
  11. Philip Rivers, LAC
  12. Jimmy Garoppolo, SF
    • The 5 game stretch to finish the year was impressive, but too many quarter backs have wilted under the pressure after securing the big contract. If reports of Jimmy G’s struggles at camp are correct, caution should be taken.
  13. Jared Goff, LAR
  14. Matt Ryan, ATL
  15. Jameis Winston, TB
  16. Patrick Mahomes, KC
    • The weapons are there in this high powered offense, but the difference between the potential floor and potential ceiling is where the questions begin. As likely as he is a top 10 QB, he’s a bottom tier guy who struggles in his first real action.
  17. Alex Smith, WAS
  18. Mitch Trubisky, CHI
  19. Dak Prescott, DAL
  20. Marcus Mariota, TEN
  21. Eli Manning, NYG
    • The age is a real concern as Manning turns 38 this year and has tons of mileage on his tires, but his situation has improved immensely. Getting back OBJ and Shephard, receiving better protection, and having an effective run game should have him back in the top 20 conversation.
  22. Derek Carr, OAK
  23. Case Keenum, DEN
  24. Andrew Luck, IND
    • This is likely to change as we approach the season and his availability becomes clearer, but for now we have him ranked conservatively, should he start the season on the roster.
  25. Blake Bortles, JAC
  26. Andy Dalton, CIN
  27. Ryan Tannehill, MIA
  28. Jacoby Brissett, IND
  29. Joe Flacco, BAL
    • I would once have defended Flacco against the haters but I can no longer ignore the writing on the wall. One year older, and an early round addition in Lamar Jackson give Flacco very little room for error.
  30. Tyrod Taylor, CLE
  31. Sam Bradford, ARI
  32. Teddy Bridgewater, NYJ
  33. Sam Darnold, NYJ
  34. Josh Rosen, ARI
    • Of all the rookie QB’s, Rosen feels like he’s the closest to a starting gig, mainly because Bradford is a safe bet to get injured. If you’re drafting in re-drafts, most of these rookie QB’s aren’t an option, but Rosen may be the best of the bunch.
  35. Baker Mayfield, CLE
  36. Nick Foles, PHI
  37. Josh Allen, BUF
  38. A.J. McCarron, BUF
    • Neither McCarron, nor Allen, excite me much, but it’s likely McCarron’s offense for now. If you need a really deep play – he may be worth a look in the last round of your draft. Ideally he’d be a waiver wire pickup, though.
  39. Lamar Jackson, BAL
  40. Josh McCown, NYJ

Keep It In The Family: Pairing Same-Team Combo’s

RodgeAdamsEvery year I run an article where I examine the what I consider to the be the most rewarding same team pairings in fantasy football. The idea, if you’re not familiar, is that by adding high tier quarterbacks with elite wide receivers or running backs you give yourself a larger share of the available points. Of course, this works best with high scoring offenses.

Last year I missed the mark a little bit with my go to; Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, as both disappointed. Luckily I planned well enough that it didn’t impact me too much (I won the league after all), but the same risks exist for any strategy as some guys just don’t show up.

But this year presents a different challenge, as the number of elite quarterbacks have dropped precipitously and the number of sure fire fantasy studs is at a questionable level. Let’s begin:

Earl Round Pairs ( Most Difficult To Manage)

Aaron Rodgers and Devante Adams: Adams is finally getting the respect he deserves, ranking 7th among wide receivers. Pairing the #7 WR with the #1 QB is a healthy strategy regardless of what team they play for, but getting extra point for yards and touchdowns shared has this pairing at the top of list. Still, it’ll cost you two of your first four picks to assemble this pairing.

Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown: While the jury seems to be out on Roethlisberger every year in the off season, Big Ben grinds his way to a top ten finish at the position. What’s NEVER a question is how good Brown will be when he’s on the field. The easy answer is that Brown is the safest pick in fantasy, but it will require you have a top 3 or 4 pick.

Drew Brees and Michael Thomas: Despite still playing at a high level, Brees has sort of slipped behind Thomas and Alvin Kamara as the top targets in the New Orleans offense. That in no way diminishes his ability to produce in fantasy, and I’d argue is a better option than both Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, but that’s a different article all together. Getting Michael Thomas, though, is the hard part. His ADP of 15 will mean drafting 1-5 will preclude you from drafting him unless you get lucky. If you do get lucky, a 6th or 7th round pick will land you Brees, who’s ADP of 69 is criminally low.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski: Draft Brady at your own risk, but if you’re confident that the off season malaise in New England won’t affect Brady’s ability to perform then have at it. The truth is that Rob Gronkowski could set records this year as the only reliable pair of hands left for Brady to chuck it up to. Sure, Edelman will be back in 4 games and Hogan has shown he can play with Brady, but Gronk should see the end zone 10-15 times this year on top of a ton of yards. Grabbing him in the 3rd round to pair with Brady in the 7th gives plenty of time to add skill players besides.

Middle Round Pairs (Easier To Coordinate)

Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin: This one isn’t as impactful in terms of fantasy because Wilson tends to supplement his passing stats with his legs. Unfortunately for this exercise, his rushing statistics can’t be taken into account. Still, Doug Baldwin is one of the leagues best slot receivers, and as a 4th round pick has a lot of value regardless. Without Jimmy Graham in the red one, he may even see a few more looks there. This one may not be the sexiest pair on the list, but they may be the most effective.

Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz: It may seem strange to see another WR/TE combo, but the fact is Wentz and Ertz seem to share a brain in the red zone, meaning a ton of points are up for grabs between the two of them. While Alshon Jeffrey may be the #1 wide out on the team’s depth chart, the true number one is Ertz. if you miss out on Gronk but you want a stud tight end, pair a 4th round Ertz with a 7th round Wentz and reap the benefits.

Kirk Cousins and Stefon Diggs: Wait, you say. This should be Thielen and Cousins! I’m here to tell you, not so fast. Now, I can see a scenario like in Denver years back with multiple 1,000 yard receivers, but the guy I’m targeting is Diggs in the late 4th round. He was excellent last year even though he wasn’t the top target for the Case Keenum led Vikings. Now, he has Cousins tossing the ball to him. A classic gunslinger, Cousins’ game best fits the strengths Diggs brings to the table. This is one of the least expensive pairings you can get as a 4th and a 10th gets you both players.

Matt Ryan and Julio Jones: You may have to spend a 2nd round pick on Jones, but the wait on Ryan is a bit longer than the other QB’s on this list. As the QB13, he’s being drafted in the 11th round, and I’d argue his value is sky high this year as a bounce back candidate. If you’re like me, and you see more value in grabbing high end skill players to pair with the later round QB, Matt Ryan is a slam dunk. Have him and Julio, and you’ll reap the rewards for all those yards.

Odell Beckham and Eli Manning: If you’re nervous about drafting either of these guys, I’d say you’re hardly alone. Beckham is an otherworldly talent when he’s right, but the combination of recent injury woes and an inability to stay level headed means he may fall towards the end of the first round. What I will say is that if you manage Beckham, Manning is a wonderful pairing if you waited a bit long on your QB. In the 16th round of drafts (current ADP is 152) Manning presents a conundrum. He was awful last year but much of it could be logically blamed on the terrible circumstances around him. With healthy weapons, an upgraded offensive line, and an elite RB to draw the attention, and Manning could be a surprise top 15 QB this year.

Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen: Allen proved last year that when he’s healthy, he’s every bit the stud we thought he was. Rivers remains one of the most under appreciated QB’s in fantasy, and his ADP of 112 presents tons of value. Without Hunter Henry, even more weight will be given to Allen, meaning these two could hook up for a ton of points.

Honorable Mentions: Derek Carr and Amari Cooper (a new coach could help get these two back on track). Jared Goff and Brandin Cooks (it’s a new look for Goff, but Cooks could be his go to early and often). Jameis Winston and Mike Evans (This requires a bounce back year for both, but not guaranteed). Marcus Mariota and Corey Davis (There’s so much talent between these two, it’s hard to imagine both of them laying duds this year).

The ADP Game: Rounds 6-10

With the NFL season creeping ever closer, we’ll examine current consensus ADP data provided by Fantasypros.com to discuss the players we love and the players we hate based on where they’re being drafted. 

Round 6

  1. Mark Ingram, RB – NO
  2. Jordan Reed, TE – WAS
  3. Sammy Watkins, WR – LAR
  4. Julian Edelman, WR – NE
  5. Jimmy Graham, TE – SEA
  6. Kelvin Benjamin, WR – CAR
  7. Martavis Bryant, WR – PIT
  8. Golden Tate, WR – DET
  9. Russell Wilson, QB – SEA
  10. Mike Gillislee, RB – NE

Player I love – Golden Tate: After a rough stretch to start the season, Tate followed up the bye week by catching at least 5 catches over the final 6 weeks to finish just shy of 1,000 yards. In PPR leagues especially, his value is rock solid late in the 6th round.

Player I Hate – Martavis Bryant: A few years ago, Bryant flashed big play ability to grow into the kind of unsustainable hype machine that burns fantasy teams who over-commit to lack of performance. While the skill is certainly there, Bryant has yet to prove he’ll stay clear of discipline long enough to reward fantasy owners. With the names going after him I’m passing entirely in the 6th round.

Round 7

  1. Tevin Coleman, RB – ATL
  2. Larry Fitzgerald, WR – ARI
  3. Andrew Luck, QB – IND
  4. LeGarrette Blount, RB – PHI
  5. Tyler Eifert, TE – CIN
  6. Brandon Marshall, WR – NYG
  7. Bilal Powell, RB – NYJ
  8. Ameer Abdullah, RB – DET
  9. Emmanuel Sanders, WR – DEN
  10. Adrian Peterson, RB – NO

Player I love – Tyler Eifert: All Eifert does is catch touchdowns, to the tune of 18 over his last 21 games. Finally healthy, Eifert should continue to grow in the Bengals offense, and it feels comfortable to extrapolate the second half of last season to predict 750 yards and 10TDs.

Player I Hate – Bilal Powell: Don’t get me wrong, I was on the Powell train earlier in the off season too, but the buzz got too big and now he’s being drafted before starters like Perkins, Abdullah, Gore, and Martin… which feels far too early for me. He’ll have some decent games but the Jets are going to be bad this year and to commit to Powell in the 7th round is foolish.

Round 8

  1. Stefon Diggs – WR – MIN
  2. Jameis Winston, QB – TB
  3. Frank Gore, RB – IND
  4. Delanie Walker, TE – TEN
  5. Cam Newton, QB – CAR
  6. Derek Carr, QB – OAK
  7. Doug Martin, RB – TB
  8. Paul Perkins, RB – NYG
  9. Eddie Lacy, RB – SEA
  10. Kirk Cousins, QB – WAS

Player I love – Doug Martin: It’s likely that if Martin wasn’t facing a suspension, he’d be going in the first 3 rounds of drafts, but thanks to his absence, the Muscle Hamster has fallen to the round 8 range. His offseason performances have me leaning towards bounce back year with a RB1 ceiling in the weeks following his return, which is a steal in the 8th round or later.

Player I hate – Eddie Lacy: What seemed like a match made in heaven for Lacy and the Seahawks has turned into a situation that has fans wondering if he’ll even make the team. Thomas Rawls has been announced as the starter and we all know C.J. Prosise is a lock for third downs, leaving slim pickings for the anything-but-slim back. Sure, Lacy may start by default if Rawls can’t stay healthy, but it doesn’t bode well for confidence if you decide to take a chance on the former Packer.

Round 9

  1. Willie Snead, WR – NO
  2. Marcus Mariota, QB – TEN
  3. Kyle Rudolph, TE – MIN
  4. Jamison Crowder, WR – WAS
  5. Danny Woodhead, RB – BAL
  6. Derrick Henry, RB – TEN
  7. Matellus Bennett, TE – GB
  8. DeSean Jackson, WR – TB
  9. Robert Kelley, RB – WAS
  10. Donte Moncrief, WR – IND

Player I Love – DeSean Jackson: It’s no secret that I’ve been targeting Jackson since the day he signed in Tampa. A burner with elite speed, he’ll slot in on day one as the 2nd WR opposite Mike Evans. If you think he had room to run last year when he had 1,000 yards and average nearly 18 yards per catch, just imagine the room he’ll have with Evans drawing doubles and Winston’s cannon of an arm leading him down field. Consistency will likely be lacking since he won’t top the team in targets but in the 9th he’ll be fantastic value.

Player I Hate – Donte Moncrief: This isn’t to say that I think Moncrief is a bad player, but the situation in Indy is looking worse by the week and while T.Y. Hilton will still find his fair share of targets, Moncrief could be in fantasy trouble if Scott Tolzien is handling the football. If Moncrief falls a few rounds I may consider him, but in this position I’d go with any number of receivers over him.

Round 10

  1. Randall Cobb, WR – GB
  2. Eric Decker, WR – TEN
  3. Dak Prescott, QB – DAL
  4. Ben Roethlisberger, QB – PIT
  5. Pierre Garcon, WR – SF
  6. Kareem Hunt, RB – KC
  7. Zach Ertz, TE – PHI
  8. Jonathan Stewart, RB – CAR
  9. Jeremy Maclin, WR – BAL
  10. Terrance West, RB – BAL

Player I love – Eric Decker: After the drama surrounding Decker when he was cut with New York it seemed he may be destined for the veteran run around as he looked for a landing spot. Now he’s in Tennessee and the rumors are that he’s Mariota’s new favorite weapon and he’s been looking his way in the red zone an awful lot. Decker could be a massive value at his current ADP.

Player I Hate – Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben will still win a lot of games this year, and he does have Antonio Brown to throw to, but these things may convince you that he’s an elite fantasy QB when in reality that ship has sailed. This team is going rely on Le’Veon Bell more than ever and while Roethlisberg will be serviceable, he’s less valuable than he’s ever been.

QB Review –

Over the next few days, we here at Dr. Fantasy will take a closer look at each skill position and where the best value is as you prepare for your drafts. 
brady4

While plenty of fantasy teams featuring an early QB selection as their starter have gone on to win their leagues, there are more borderline great QB’s available in the middle rounds than ever. Waiting on a QB has never made so much sense as the tiers below will show you.

Elite Tier (1) 

  • Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
  • Tom Brady – New England Patriots
  • Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints

The only question surrounding these three QB’s is where to take them. Rodgers will inevitably go early (round 2) but even Brady and Brees could see selections in the first 40 picks. Waiting even for these guys only makes sense.

Very Good Tier (2)

  • Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
  • Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
  • Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins
  • Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans
  • Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers

Can Matt Ryan duplicate his 2016 season? I doubt it but he’ll still be very effective with those weapons. Cam Newton scares the hell out of me looking at 2017 as his corp of wide receivers didn’t really improve while the team drafted backs to help ease the pressure of running the football. If Newton finishes as a top 10 QB I’d be surprised.

Decent Tier (3)

  • Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
  • Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders
  • Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts
  • Philip Rivers – Los Angeles Chargers
  • Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions
  • Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo Bills
  • Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals
  • Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Eli Manning – New York Giants
  • Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles

This is the money maker tier for quarterbacks as most of them can be had in rounds 8 or later. The top of this tier are borderline Tier 2 guys so draft with confidence. The bottom, most importantly Ben Roethlisberger should be viewed as a lower end QB2 as injuries are sure to take a tole on the aging QB. Carson Wentz has a real chance to make a leap this year but Philadelphia figures to continue it’s balanced attack with Blount in the fold. He offers a modest ceiling with a pretty high floor.

Make a Prayer Tier (4)

  • Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens
  • Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals
  • Sam Bradford – Minnesota Vikings
  • Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs
  • Jay Cutler – Miami Dolphins
  • Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams

Uninspiring? Sure. Cost you much? No. These guys are the back end of your draft, either as an insurance policy on an aging QB or as streaming option for the more adventurous owners. Joe Flacco’s schedule and enhanced weapons (Woodhead+Maclin > Smith+Pitta) make him a really safe streaming option. Jay Cutler may be fine in an offense he’s familiar with, but the gunslinger is being asked to QB a team that’s very likely to run the football a lot, so don’t over draft the un-retired QB hoping for some kind of magic.

Worth a Flyer Tier (5)

  •  Blake Bortles – Jacksonville Jaguars
  • DeShaun Watson – Houston Texans
  • Mike Glennon – Chicago Bears
  • DeShone Kizer – Cleveland Browns
  • Brock Osweiler – Cleveland Browns
  • Brian Hoyer – San Fransisco 49ers
  • Trevor Siemian – Denver Broncos
  • Josh McCown – New York Jets
  • Mitchell Trubisky – Chicago Bears
  • Chad Henne – Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Jimmy Garoppolo – New England Patriots

If you’re drafting one of these guys, then odds are you like em a heck of a lot more than I do. Bortles may lose his job to Chad Henne (who isn’t exactly draftable himself), Trevor Siemian couldn’t lose this job if he tried (and I argue that he has), and Trubisky and Garoppolo are future starters with either not enough weapons to work with or no road to starting in sight.

The age old adage “wait on a QB” is easy to preach this year with so many viable quarterbacking options in the middle rounds. If you do swing early on a Rodgers or Brady, don’t worry but just be aware of what your pick may cost you in the other positions.

Sparknotes: NFC West

The NFC West has undergone major changes in terms of success. With the 49ers looking to enter a multiyear depression and the Rams still struggling to get out of their own, it’s up to the Cardinals and Seahawks to bring respect to the West.

Seattle Seahawks

Notable Fantasy Stars: Jimmy Graham (TE6), Russell Wilson (QB8), Doug Baldwin (WR11), Eddie Lacy (RB20), C.J. Prosise (RB41), Thomas Rawls (RB48), Tyler Lockett (WR59)

Synopsis – The Seahawks will go only as far as Russell Wilson will take them, and an effective run game will go a long way in keeping him healthy. With Prosise and Rawls proving to be injuried or ineffiecient, the Hawks added Eddie Lacy who hopes to bounce back with the new club. Doug Baldwin should garner the bulk of Wilsons attention between the 20’s but Jimmy Graham finally achieved symbiosis in Seattle and can be relied upon as a top 5 TE again.

San Fransisco 49ers

Notable Fantasy Stars: Carlos Hyde (RB12), Vance McDonald (TE29), Brian Hoyer (QB32), C.J.Beathard (QB39), Pierre Garcon (WR39), Joe Williams (RB54), Jeremy Kerley (WR80)

Synopsis – Barring a miracle, this San Fransisco team is looking like an abject disaster. Brian Hoyer as a starting QB isn’t the worst thing that could happen to this team, but between Pierre Garcon and Jeremy Kerley, there isn’t much to work with in this offene. McDonald may be a servicable backup TE but only Carlos Hyde is worth investing in as he proved last year he can be effective despite a crumbling organization around him.

Los Angeles Rams

Notable Fantasy Stars: Jared Goff (QB31), Todd Gurley (RB10), Robert Woods (WR60), Tavon Austin (WR73), Cooper Kupp (WR74), Tyler Higbee (TE27)

Synopsis – Things went sideway on the Rams last year as Gurley faced too many stacked boxes to show the burst we expected of him. With Goff likely to start this year, no one knows if they’ll actually be improved or not, but Gurley should still garner attention thanks to the high volume of carries. Robert Woods will outperform Tavon Austin, but not by much, with Tyler Higbee being the true sleeper candidate on a roster devoid of much fantasy bright spots.

Arizona Cardinals

Notable Fantasy Stars: Carson Palmer (QB23), David Johnson (RB1), Larry Fitzgerald (WR26), John Brown (WR48), J.J. Nelson (WR63), Jermaine Gresham (TE36)

Synopsis – David Johnson returns as my number one fantasy player this year, and this season could be the perfect record breaking scenario following the obvious decline to aging Carson Palmer and the lack of weapons not named Larry Fitzgerald to compete with. John Brown is an underwhelming option and J.J. Nelson has more questions than answers. This is David Johnson’s team.

Top 10 (Quarterbacks)

In preperation for my personal position rankings, I’ll be taking a look at the top of the list at each offensive fantasy position.

  1. Cam Newton – Newton was a Fantasy stud last year, owning the feild with his arm as well as his legs. Adding a top teir WR back into the fold with the returning Kelvin Benjamin
    will mean good things for Super Cam this year.
  2. Aaron Rodgers – His 60% completion percentage was his career low as a starter, and much of that can be attributed to a lackluster run game and losing his number 1 receiver in Jordy Nelson for the entire year. He still managed nearly 4,000 yards and 30+ TDs in 15 games. If Nelson is ready to go and Lacy is even remotely the player he has been in the past, expect a wilsonreturn to greatness.
  3. Russell Wilson – If you believe the loss of Marshawn Lynch will make this offense a bit too one dimensional, then you’d be wrong. When he’s called on to make plays, all Wilson does is produce. He may not break records, but his ability to add 500-800 yards on the ground make him elite in terms of Fantasy.
  4. Drew Brees – A model of consistency, Brees again led the league in yards while completing nearly 70% of his passes. Another year with animproving O-line and 4 capable receivers means Brees can be counted on again to win Fantasy games.
  5. Andrew Luck – It’s not secret that Luck struggled mightily last year, missing significant time due to a plethora of injuries. Still, Luck has the goods – and the weapons – to produce at a high level. If they can keep him healthy, theres no reason to believe he’ll return to the elite signal caller we know he is.
  6. Ben Roethlisberger – The ceiling was raised a few years ago, and with Antonio Brown lining up to catch passes, you can’t expect too sharp a decline even as father time inches up behind Big Ben. He’s fallen a bit on my list with the news that Bryant will miss the entire season and his saftey blank in Le’Veon Bell will miss 4 games, and he may fall farther still.
  7. Carson Palmer – Old age seems to be an antiquated reason to skip on NFL QB’s in your fantasy leagues as Carson Palmer returns to the top 10 as a 36 year old. He’s got three fantasic receivers, a very good line, and a running game to help take off the pressure. Did we mention he takes care of the football? He may not be a flashy name, but he’ll get the job done.
  8. Philip Rivers – Rivers seems to never get the love that he deserves, but in the end he’ll throw the ball a ton which will mitigate any issues that may surround this offense. They’ll likely continue to easy Melvin Gordon into a larger roll, so expect games with 35+ attempts early on.
  9. Blake Bortles – I hear that we shouldn’t expect a repeat of the fantastic year we saw out of Bortles last year. I disagree. Hurns and Robinson are both great weapons and adding a successful down hill running in Chris Ivory will free up some plays over the middle. His legs can help him add another 250+ yards to what will likely be a 4,000 yard 30 TD campaign.
  10. Eli Manning – I’ll preface my inclusion in my top ten by saying I don’t really like Eli Manning. Not in the least, but he manages to find a way to put up fantasy numbers even while he’s managing ways to lose real NFL games. OBJ is Elite, Cruz (even at 50% of what he was) will attract some of the defense, and the kid they drafted, Sterling Shephard should give him more weapons to work with.

Missed the Cut

Tom Brady (his supension moved him from the top 10), Matt Ryan (so much hate for no reason. Has a top 3 WR catching the football), David Carr (close, but not there yet. Another up year in Oakland and he’ll be tough to deny), Tony Romo (he’s Eli Manning if Eli Manning got hurt every year. He’ll put up massive numbers when he’s healthy… which is likely less than 12 games).