We apologize for the delay in our waiver targets article, as Gardner Minshew played on Thursday and would likely have been a target had we got this out yesterday. That being said, it’s important to note that the QB position has become that much more shallow with the injuries suffered to Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger in week 2, so we’re going to have to go deep.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Fransisco 49ers (45.4% owned)
- If you’re in a deeper league, he may not be available to you, but in more than half of ESPN leagues, Jimmy G is still floating around on waivers, and we’re not sure why. While the sheen had certainly come off him after the season ending injury left us with questions, the truth is that he still is at the helm of a Kyle Shanahan offense that is even more pass heavy with the loss of Tevin Coleman to injury. He has an excellent group of pass catchers, highlighted by TE George Kittle but filled to bursting with young guys like Deebo Samuel, Dante Pettis, and Marquise Goodwin. He’s trending up and won’t be available in many league if he has another solid week.
Andy Dalton, Cincinatti Bengals (17.8% owned)
- Dalton has long been maligned in the fantasy community, but we think he is finally trending up thanks to a change at head coach (see ya Marvin Lewis!) and the emergence of receiving weapons beyond A.J. Green. John Ross has been an excellent stand in and alleviates some of the fear that Dalton has very few high end pass catchers to through to, and we’ve seen Dalton perform well through two weeks. With a lack of quality passers, and a potential need, he’s likely available in most leagues this week.
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts (17.7% owned)
- When Andrew Luck retired, Colts fans and fantasy owners saw the news as “the sky is falling”. What we’ve seen through two weeks is that Jacoby Brissett may not be elite like we expect Luck to be, but he has plenty of weapons to succeed as a fantasy asset in limited exposure. With a potential shoot up on deck with the Atlanta Falcons, he could be a nice streaming option this week, and for Brees and Big Ben owners, a valuable addition to get you through the doldrums.
Nyheim Hines, Indianaplis Colts (45.9% owned) and Jordan Wilkins (0.8% owned)
- It’s not a given that Marlon Mack is going to miss time, but with his injury limiting him this week, it’s worth monitoring. While Hines is the name I’d rather add with a match up coming against the high flying Falcons, Wilkins isn’t a terrible look in deeper formats if you’re needing someone who can provide some assistance, and if you’re a Mack owner who wants to mitigate disaster if he doesn’t play, it’s likely that Wilkins is floating around on your waivers.
Raheem Mostert, San Fransisco 49ers (39.3% owned)
- It’s clear that Matt Brieda is the closest thing to a bell cow this offense has, but Kyle Shanahan loves using all of his weapons, and Mostert has looked good in limited touches. With an uptick in rushing attempts last week, we expect Mostert to float around 10-15 touches with a few pass catches sprinkled in. He’s not an elite option by any stretch, but he has plenty of flex value if you’re searching for value on waivers.
Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers (13.6% owned)
- I may not agree with Matt Lafleur’s assessment of the Packers backfield (I think Aaron Jones is a better back), but it’s time to take Jamaal Williams usage seriously after the comments made over the last few days. It’s clear they want to involve Williams in the offense, and expecting 12+ touches a week may not make him an obvious start, but it makes him a strong flex option in a potentially very good offense, and if Aaron Jones injury issues flare up, he becomes an excellent back end RB2 option at the cost of a deep roster spot.
Randall Cobb, Dallas Cowboys (28.9% Owned)
- Cobb looked pretty good already in this Dallas offense, but an injury to Michael Gallup could open up more opportunities for the shifty slot man to get possession work. Devin Smith is a popular add today, but I like the veteran Cobb as my waiver add at this point.
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers (20.5% owned)
- It sure seems like I’m high on the 49ers this year, but the truth is that Samuel is being completely overlooked after being taken in the second round of the draft. Dante Pettis’ health has kept him from being impactful, and Marquise Goodwin’s role as a downfield threat certainly doesn’t make him a high volume receiver. Samuel has played well through two weeks and, while he may settle in as a WR4 type player, he shouldn’t be owned in fewer than a quarter of ESPN leagues.
Philip Dorsett, New England Patriots (5.3% owned)
- At first blush, this offense is so full of play makers it’s easy to see why Dorsett has become available in 95% of leagues. But with the buzz around Antonio Brown growing louder, and a week one performance that highlights his usefulness in this Patriots offense, I could see Dorsett being a big part of this offense going forward. If Antonio Brown is forced to miss games, either due to being released or being placed on the Commissioners Exempt List, he’ll be snatched up in a ton of leagues, so getting in front of this may save you the trouble.
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (37.5% owned)
- I’ll admit I was in the “wait and see” camp on the un-retired future hall of famer, but despite not having major target share, Witten resumed his role as safety blanket for Dak Prescott, making big catches, and seeing the end zone twice already. With Gallup on the shelf (as mentioned earlier) it could be more of the same going forward at a position that’s seen several high profile assets go down to injury.
Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks (21.4% owned)
- This one may feel like low hanging fruit, but with a passing attack that featured little in the way of red zone threats, Dissly has emerged as a premier option in that area of the field. I don’t expect him to put up top 10 numbers regularly, but if you’re a Henry or Njoku owner that hasn’t had success elsewhere, Dissly may get you through a few weeks without a huge step back.
Chris Herndon, New York Jets (7% owned)
- Yes, the Jets are a mess, and Herndon still has two games to go on his four game suspension to start the season, but if you’re in need, and have the roster to hold on to him, Herndon could be one of those mid season pick ups that helps you achieve fantasy greatness. He’d return (likely) after Sam Darnold comes back from his bout with mono, and he’s become the teams best red zone weapon outside of Le’Veon Bell the moment he walks on the field. He’s a deep add, and there’s always some risk putting a player on your bench you can’t use for 3 more weeks (they have a week 4 bye) but he could be sneaky good when he returns.
Streaming Options D/ST
- Tampa Bay D/ST vs. New York Giants (4.7% owned) Tampa’s D has played pretty well against the run this year, and forcing rookie QB Daniel Jones to throw the football may lead to some interesting results. Even if Saquon Barkely is more efficient on the ground, I expect Tampa to force a few turnovers with the rookie under the lights for the first time.
- San Francisco 49ers D/ST vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (32.1% owned) The Steelers are reeling from the loss of their QB for the season, and with James Conner not 100% healthy and backup Mason Rudolph starting, the 49ers are in a prime spot to make noise on Sunday. They aren’t a season long D/ST but for streaming purposes, they could be a helpful add if you’re looking at a situation like Baltimore vs. KC.
In what has become a bit of a running joke, the Thursday Night Football game promises to be a dud more often than not. What does that mean for your fantasy prospects? We’ll take a look in this weeks Thursday Night Preview.
The Teams – Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week wasn’t kind to these two teams, as only Christian McCaffrey turned in a worth-while fantasy performance (128 rushing yards, 10 receptions for 81 yards, and two rushing TDs). Cam Newton, Mike Evans, Jamies Winston, and Greg Olsen were all duds, while Chris Godwin and D.J. Moore had solid PPR days, but left a lot on the table. Carolina’s defense did allow 166 rushing yards to RB’s on only 28 total carries, but Tampa Bay features a far less exciting stable of backs than the Rams do.
Conversely, the 49ers offense wasn’t nearly as efficient despite hanging 31 points on the Bucs. Cam Newton will have to improve on his week one performance is the passing game is going to get back on track against a defense that allowed a meager 166 yards through the air to Jimmy Garoppolo.
Jameis Winston: Facing a Carolina defense that held Jared Goff and the prolific Rams passing offense to under 200 yards passing, Winston could have another tough go of it in week 2.
Mike Evans: While I still believe in Evans in year long leagues, I’m concerned about the Bucs offense providing Winston with enough time to find Evans down the field. I could see a game script that’s more run heavy with a lot of short to intermediate passing plays; something that doesn’t help a guy like Evans.
Curtis Samuel: Moore and McCaffrey shared the bulk of the targets, and considering how well Tampa defended San Francisco, it could be more of the same in week 2. Moore is clearly the top target, and if Newton has to lean as heavily on the run game in week 2, the opportunities aren’t going tot be there for Samuel to be a safe play.
Christian McCaffrey: Don’t read too much into the lack of success San Francisco had in week 1; their backfield was thrown into turmoil early on with the loss of Tevin Coleman. CMC is on a different level, and even thought we can’t expect nearly a 7 yard per carry mark every week, he’ll have one of the safest weekly volumes, and is clutch in the red zone.
Chris Godwin: Evans is likely to be the focal point of the Bucs defense, meaning Godwin will have more opportunities to be targeted. If Carolina scores early and often, it’s Godwin, and not Evans, that I’m targeting in daily for week 2.
Thoughts on The Game
I don’t think this will be your prototypical 13-10 Thursday night game, but I expect fatigue to become a factor for the teams playing on the first short week of the season. Of course, these two teams look like they’re continue to filter the ball through it’s best play makers, so feel confident starting most of the top guys in these offenses, but be wary of the Thursday Night curse (low scoring duds).
Despite rumblings to the contrary, Ronald Jones defenders pointed out his skill set and draft position as reasons why he’d overcome the issues that plagued his preseason. Now, it’s harder than ever to defend those who spent an early draft pick in early drafts on the rookie running back.
Previously described as a Jamaal Charles clone, Jones struggled in the preseason, only producing 4 yards on 10 carries. In addition to the awful efficiency on the ground, Jones continued to struggle in the passing game, becoming a liability in pass protection.
At this point, Jones is a project who’s only worth drafting with keeper round picks in dynasty and keeper leagues. There’s a chance that his obvious talents force him back into the good graces with Buccaneers coaching staff, but only draft at a serious discount.
Instead, snagging Barber at a still-discounted rate is looking like a great move. As a depth back, he’ll figure into most of the early down work and goal line touches. Jaquizz Rodgers may steal some value in the passing game, but Barber is the back to target in this offense for the foreseeable future.
It was a busy weekend with NFL action featuring several story lines that may or may not make your life easy as you prepare for your drafts. As we continue to inch towards D-day, we’ll continue to review the position battles and injury updates to help you navigate the potential pitfalls.
Tampa Bay vs Tennesee Titans
Suspended Jameis Winston showed why he’s still the best quarterback on the roster with his 13 for 18 performance, putting up a stout 226 yards and 2 TDs. DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans both saw down the field targets as their 4 combined cathes went for over 100 yards.
On a more concerning note, rookie running back Ronald Jones continues to lose ground to incumbent starter Peyton Barber as he managed only 2 yards on 4 carries. It’s been a bit of a slow start to his NFL career as he continues to make headlines for a lack of pass protection and efficiency. Peyton Barber is seeming like a more consistent weapon in the backfield. At their current ADP, you should be targeting Barber in redraft leagues.
On the other side of the football, Mariota wasn’t asked to do as much, but his 80 yards on 4 completions wasn’t too shabby.
In the absence of Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews, it was Taywan Taylor that garnered all the attention as he took his 4 receptions for 95 yards and a TD. If Matthews is forced to miss time, Taylor could be a nice deep sleeper target, or waiver wire add if you drafted early.
Unfortunately, not much headway was made in the running game as both Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry were ineffectual again with neither one doing much on the ground. While it’s mostly a blip on the radar, it’s a backfield I have highlighted as one to avoid. Aside from Lewis in PPR leagues, this backfield is one that I’m not keen to take a chance on at their current ADPs.
19. Los Angeles Rams
Following a disappointing 2016, Todd Gurley bounced back in a big way, proving that when given the opportunity, he is one of the best backs in the world. Of course, the Rams surprised across the board, with 2nd year QB Jared Goff taking a massive step forward, and guys like Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp coming up big in the possession game. With a balanced offense and an elite defense, there’s no telling how good this team can be.
Players Worth Drafting: Todd Gurley (ADP 2), Brandin Cooks (ADP 64), Robert Woods (ADP 67), Cooper Kupp (ADP 86), Jared Goff (ADP 127)
This off season saw the Sean McVay led Rams add former first round receiver Brandin Cooks to further bolster the offense. Of course Cooks, who’s been effective in both offenses he’s played in prior to this one, should see a fair share of targets, making both Gurley and Woods regression candidates in terms of targets and yards. Goff should continue to see early QB2 consideration, but it’s unlikely he’ll push into the QB1 territory even with the added weapons; this team is still Gurley’s at the end of the day.
Deep Sleeper: Don’t misconstrue his inclusion as anything other than recognizing the potential. Last season, Tyler Higbee didn’t see enough of the field to be a real difference maker, but 2018 could see more involvement for the Ram’s 2017 second round pick. While this team figures to continue to favor the run game, Cooks’ addition may signal a balancing between the pass and run games, and Higbee offers far pass catching skills than Gerald Everett. As a waiver wire add, he’ll certainly come cheap.
18. Oakland Raiders
What a difference a year makes, as teams who heavily targeted the Oakland Raiders found themselves disappointed as all three of Carr, Cooper, and Marshawn Lynch all severely under performed. With Jon Gruden signed on to coach the team into the future, there are now new questions that need to be answered. Is this team really going to commit heavily to the run game? If so, then why add two potential difference makers to a passing game that only 2 years ago was the toast of the town?
Players Worth Drafting: Amari Cooper (ADP 48), Marshawn Lynch (ADP 56), Jordy Nelson (ADP 94), Derek Carr (ADP 134), Martavis Bryant (ADP 160), Jared Cook (ADP 162), Doug Martin (ADP 177)
When Gruden walked through the doors in Oakland, it hardly hit the frame before in walked Martavis Bryant, Jordy Nelson, and Doug Martin. These three players certainly represent a shifting of philosophy, and incumbent starters have been placed on notice. Still, outside of Carr and Coopers security in this offense, it’s anyone’s best guess as to who’s the next options will be. Does Lynch have enough to hold off the mercurial Muscle Hamster? Can Bryant stay on the field long enough to show why everyone was in love with his talent? Is Jordy Nelson all washed up? Only time can answer these questions.
Deep Sleeper: With so many new faces, it’ll be on players like Jared Cook to help the team transition to it’s new look. With an average of about 5.5 targets per game since 2013, Cook has been an underrated TE commodity for years; one that could be a true breakout candidate in 2018. After starting 16 games for the first time in his career, the veteran is locked in as the starter and a floor of 90 targets and 60 catches is attractive considering he’s routinely being ranked outside of the low end TE2 range.
17. Chicago Bears
It seems strange to list the Bears as a “team on the rise” but the truth is that trusting the process seems to be working well for the Bears. After years of futility, the Bears finally have their QB of the future ready to take the field, and I’m firmly in the camp that supports Tribusky as an above average NFL quarter back. It helps that they added as many weapons as they did with Allen Robinson and Trey Burton arriving as free agents and Anthony Miller, the rookie out of Memphis, arriving in the 2nd round of the 2018 draft.
Players Worth Drafting: Jordan Howard (ADP 29), Allen Robinson (ADP 41), Tarik Cohen (ADP 91), Trey Burton (ADP 112), Mitchell Trubisky (ADP 157), Anthony Miller (ADP 176)3
Of course, having a rushing game that features the complimentary Howard and Cohen doesn’t hurt. With protection, Trubisky should have plenty of opportunities to succeed. Allen Robinson is a true #1, and gives them the best receiving option since Alshon Jeffry, and Trey Burton is still slightly underrated in terms of pass catching ability. We’ve seen this movie before, and the big, sure handed TE seems to be a safety blanket for many young QBs. It may have more to do with a lack of history, but Burton could easily finish as a top 5 Tight End in 2018.
Deep Sleeper: With other rookie WRs receiving more attention, Anthony Miller is flying under the radar in terms of fantasy relevance. With Chicago having a good blend of skill sets, Miller looks as though he’s destined for the slot in this offense. As a complimentary talent to the down the field threat of Robinson, he could be in line for a ton of targets as a rookie, pushing him into the WR3 territory for me.
16. Cincinnati Bengals
Welp, Marvin Lewis is back, and my expectations for the Bengals remains middle of the road. As a regular season team, they seem to always tease, and this year feels no different even from a fantasy perspective. Despite possessing gobs of talent, both A.J. Green and Joe Mixon feature lower floors than the rest of the players around them in drafts; you’re as likely to see a bust season as you are a top 10 season, and much of that comes from a history of misusing it’s best players.
Players Worth Drafting: A.J. Green (ADP 18), Joe Mixon (ADP 36), Tyler Eifert (ADP 135), Giovani Bernard (ADP 147), John Ross (ADP 191)
Outside of the obvious, the Bengals have a handful of players who have yet to put together enough consistency to be more than flier options. Tyler Eifert has plenty of talent, but injuries may threaten to ruin what was once a promising career. Expecting more than bye week production from any one else on this roster (Andy Dalton included) would be to hitch your wagon to a horse with no legs.
Deep Sleeper: In completely contradictory fashion, I’ll cite John Ross as one of my favorite end-of-the-draft sleepers. While there’s a little risk that he’s nothing more than another Bengals receiving bust, selecting that kind of talent in the 20th round or later is just too good to pass up. His 2017 was forgettable, largely due to injury, and he’s a player I’m betting on breaking out in his sophomore season.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Another off season full of controversy has many souring on even the most consistent fantasy performers. With Jameis Winston set to miss the first 3 games of the season, this is an offense that won’t hit it’s stride until weeks into the season, making the prospect of adding a Mike Evans or Ronald Jones in the first 4 – 5 rounds terrifying. While the talent is there, casting Ryan Fitzpatrick as a starting NFL quarterback is a movie I wouldn’t pay to see.
Players Worth Drafting: Mike Evans (ADP 24), Ronald Jones (ADP 59), DeSean Jackson (ADP 110), Jameis Winston (ADP 133), O.J. Howard (ADP 153), Cameron Brate (ADP 163)
It’s important to note that the receiving game suffered the least during Fitzpatrick’s starts in 2017. Both Jackson and Evans performed similarly with him than without him, so that should calm your nerves when selecting either player. It hurts Hward and Brate the most as the gun slinger from Harvard hardly targeted his tight ends. Drafting a player not named Mike Evans is a bit of a risk this year, but one that may pay off as drafters let Bucs slide.
Deep Sleeper: While I don’t expect him to contribute early on, Chris Godwin may have an opportunity for targets as Evans and Jackson both exist mostly as down the field threats. Given his catch rate of about 62%, he’ll only need about 60-80 targets to become fantasy relevant, especially given that he’ll likely only cost a roster spot as a waiver wire guy. With a little luck, he could be pushing a WR3 ceiling, something that’s immensely important from your high value low risk roster spots.
Justice has been served like a plate of cold crab legs as the NFL announced it’s suspension of Jameis Winston for an altercation with an Uber driver a few years past. In his stead, Ryan Fitzpatrick will start under center.
Winston should drop down draft boards a bit, as the three games represents about 20% of the season, but what about it’s affect on the skill positions around him?
Mike Evans: Evans played three games with Fitzpatrick in which he threw for more than 20 passes, and he averaged 4.7 catches on 10 targets for 265 total yards and 1 TD. While the efficiency could have improved, the proof is in the pudding. Don’t drop Evans down your board on account of the change under center.
DeSean Jackson: Jackson, on the other hand, was inconsistent but still targeted fairly regularly with two games over 10 targets. It’s safe to say that the wide receiver group is going to be healthy across those three games.
Cameron Brate/OJ Howard: Brate was the forgotten man in the four games that Fitzy played. His four catches in those four games was disappointing, especially when you consider that Howard did see an uptick in production with 100 yards between the two final games. Neither one is exciting for the first two weeks, but the more athletic Howard should produce a bit more for Fitzpatrick.
Running Backs: I firmly believe this is Ronald Jones’ backfield, but don’t expect more than a handful of targets in the passing game as Fitzpatrick only looked his backs way 12 times total over the 4 games he started. Still, he should see a fair amount of touches as the offense looks to remain balanced with the aging QB starting the first three games.
Tampa Bay’s offense sputtered last year, and one would be justified in expecting some of the same this year after the suspension was made official. Expect a bit of a slow start for the running game, and for Winston himself, but draft the wide outs with confidence.
As is being reported all over the place, ESPN Tallahassee host Jeff Cameron reports that the league is close to suspending Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston for a failure to report violation of the CBA stemming from a 2016 incident with an Uber Driver (Story Here)
Here at the Dr.’s Office, we’re more interested in the potential fantasy fallout. As we’ve read, it appears to be likely a 1 game suspension, but at maximum he won’t serve more than 3. Of course, where areas of discipline are concerned, the NFL makes it’s own rules. So we have to take that with a grain of salt.
If Winston only misses one game, it’s not an end of the world situation, should you like him as your starting QB. I’d suggest caution at this point, though.
As Winston has progressed through his NFL career, he’s struggled to shake the idea that he’s a bit of a bad egg. This does nothing to dispel the notion, and a down year in 2017 could spell a bit of a hiccup in the former first over all pick’s career.
Of course, if he were to face a three week suspension, I’d be forced to dock him appropriately in my QB rankings. Until such time he’ll remain where he currently is, as my QB15.
Eli Manning, QB – NYG: Currently ranked 186th by Fantasy Pro’s consensus rankings, Eli Manning appears to be little more than an afterthought going into his 14th professional season. Part of the problem for fantasy owners is that, at 37, his performance last year is as easily attributed to his age, as it is to the circumstances surrounding the Giants roster upheaval. I’d say they’re wrong.
This offseason, the Giants have tried adding help to both the backfield and the offensive line, two maligned personnel groups that managed to cost Manning valuable time in the pocket. With a stronger run game, a healthy wide receiver corps, and a cleaner jersey thanks to a capable left tackle, Manning should have a much more favorable fantasy season. Do I expect him to finish in the top 5? Hell no, he is 37 after all, but 4,000 yards and 28 TD’s is a reasonable expectation, and one that will give you excellent value in the 19th round of your draft.
Derek Carr, QB – OAK: With all of the noise surrounding the Oakland Raiders and it’s young stud quarterback going into last season, it’s no surprise that the team seemed to shrink from the pressure. Carr turned in some duds early on and suffered a broken vertibrae midway through the season, Amari Cooper showed up for a handful of games at best, and the run game was a mess when Marshawn Lynch got dinged up. This year, expectations should be more in line with what this team is capable of; a wildcard playoff run and maybe a round or two in the playoffs.
With a shiny new weapon in Jordy Nelson, and a likely bounce back candidate himself in Amari Cooper, Carr should turn in a season much closer to what we saw from him in 2016. If he competes hard and reaches his ceiling, he’s a top 10 fantasy QB without a doubt.
Matt Ryan, QB – ATL: The Super Bowl hangover strikes again, as 2016’s break out star and MVP Matt Ryan turned in a stinker after being drafted far earlier than necessary in drafts last year. Ryan finished 15th amongst quarterbacks last year, which was shockingly worse than Blake Bortles, Jared Goff, and Case Keenum.
Still, the Atlanta offense remains one of the most high powered in the league, and Ryan still owns the keys to the car. With Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu being one of the rangier WR duo’s in the league, and two pass catching backs in Coleman and Freeman still on the roster, it’d be a surprise to me if he didn’t bounce back in a big way. His floor is around the QB12 mark, but with his ranking sitting around the 12th round, I’m all in on Matty Ice.
Honorable Mentions: A revamped offense in Cleveland means Tyrod Taylor has the best receiver corps he’s ever had the privilage of throwing to. In the 18th round (ranked 175) he’s a steal. Likewise, Jameis Winston managed to play himself out of the position’s top 10 rankings thanks to a down year. Expect the Winston to Evans magic to resume early as he finishes in the top 10 again.
As the NFL transitioned in the 2000’s to the made-for-tv passing attacks that led to high flying offenses around the league, it became clear that wide receivers are the new “must haves” in the early rounds of fantasy drafts. Consistency is the key, and with so many targets to go around, it’s unlikely that stud wide outs fall from grace unless injuries to themselves or their quarterbacks derail their season.
Still, the NFL is an ever changing landscape and the wide receiver pool features new names every year. Who can you count on to make the leap into the top 10?
Least Risk: Dez Bryant, WR – DAL
If you want an in depth look into Dez Bryant and his prospects this year, check out this fantastic article at FantasyPros.com, the data is pretty clear; Bryant isn’t done. A combination of injuries, ineffective play, and the emergence of Ezekiel Elliott as the catalyst for the Dallas offence led Bryan to finish as the WR 29, far below the expectations levied on him in the preseason. He’s still being selected as early as the end of the 2nd round, but the truth is that as his rapport with Prescott improved, Bryant quietly returned to his effective self, setting up a likely return to the top 10 of WR’s and the potential to push into the top 5.
A Little Risk: Tyreek Hill, WR – KC
Hill has gone from a sleeper pick to rocketing up draft boards following the release of WR Jeremy Maclin. As of the writing of this article, his ADP is in the 6th round but climbing. He presents a difficult assesment because the young receiver has never been tested as his teams #1 so regression is a potential concern as defenses cue up on him much more. Still, aside from Kelce, Hill offers strong upside as one of the most likely targets between the 20’s. Despite the unknowns, his ability and Kansas City’s committment to him as their guy should propel him up the standings by the time the season ends.
Most Risk: DeSean Jackson, WR – TB
While you may think Jackson in the top 10 is a stretch, remember that he’s sliding into the number two spot on Tampa’s Targets list and he’s protected from defenses thanks to the otherworldly ability of Mike Evans. With Jackson’s ability to stretch the field and get behind defenders firmly in tact (Jackson’s 17.9 YPC led all receivers with more than 25 receptions) expect Winston to look his way early and often and a career year could be in the cards for the crafty veteran.
As futile as the exercise may seem this early, identifying sleeper candidates is one of the most important pieces of research you can embark upon. Below we’ll identify three leading candidates for you to keep an eye on before the preaseaon starts.
Danny Woodhead – Baltimore Ravens | ADP 75 – RB28 | The running back situation in Baltimore has been in flux since the release of Ray Rice, and Woodhead looks to fill a void. While he can’t be relied upon for 250 rushes, the likelihood of 100 rushes and 75 receptions makes him an intriguing option, especially in PPR leagues. Prediction: 350 Rushing Yards, 750 Receiving yards, 6 total TDs
Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers | ADP 105 – RB 36 | Reports out of Tampa regarding Martin are encouraging as he’s been seen in better shape and exhibiting better burst and speed in OTAs. While most take these reports with a grain of salt, Martin tends to be on the wrong side of the pre-season buzz, and he’s still the breadwinner in that backfield. Prediction: 1,000 Rushing Yards, 250 Receiving Yards, 8 Total TDs
Jamaal Williams – Green Bay Packers | ADP N/A – RB59 | This is a deep cut considering Williams isn’t being drafted enough in ESPN mock’s to show up in their ADP data, but Green Bay’s converted RB Ty Montgomery occupies a very specific slice of the offense leaving plenty of room for rookie RB Jamaal Williams to exist. While he’s unlikely to make a major impact early in the season, for dynasty and keeper leagues he’s worth a late round look. Prediction: 700 Total Yards, 6 Total TDs
Honorable Mention: Jamaal Charles, Den (ADP 116), Latavius Murray, Min (ADP 122), Chris Thompson, Was (ADP 170+)