Remember when I finished that NFL Preseason notes article? Yea… but anyway, fantasy football draft season is upon us. I don’t want to brag, but in my four money leagues last year, I cashed out in 3 and went undefeated in one. I used a pretty similar strategy in all 4 leagues. So if you want to win your league this year, check this out. We’ll start with some player rankings at each position, as well as the overrated and underrated players based on the rankings I’ve seen. (This is for Standard Leagues. I may do a PPR version in the future).
1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Drew Brees
3. Tom Brady
4. Matt Ryan
5. Russell Wilson
This pretty much goes without saying, I don’t feel like there needs to be much of an explanation here. Rodgers is clearly #1, but 2-4 you can really take anyone and be happy. Wilson rounds it out before the talent goes down.
Overrated – Andrew Luck, Kirk Cousins, Marcus Mariota
This is really tough, because there’s a lot of good QB options. But Luck might miss a few games, and Mariota will likely hand the ball off a lot so his numbers might suffer a little bit. Cousins lost his top two targets, so seeing him in the top 10 confuses me a little bit.
Sleepers – Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer, Carson Wentz
Philip Rivers has weapons galore, he could be a fine starter or a great backup. Carson Palmer should bounce back from his tough year. And Carson Wentz actually has some players who can catch, and he’s had a whole year to develop. Draft more depth at RB early and take these guys late if you miss out on Rodgers, Brees, Brady, or Ryan.
1. David Johnson
2. Le’Veon Bell
3. Lesean McCoy
4. Demarco Murray
5. Melvin Gordon
6. Devonta Freeman
7. Ezekiel Elliott
8. Jay Ajayi
9. Jordan Howard
10. Lamar Miller
Johnson and Bell are the obvious top two choices. If you really want to take Bell, fine, but I’ll take the safer pick. McCoy and Murray are two workhorses who operate behind fantastic offensive lines. Both are 29, so there are some risks, but until they show some decline I’ll take them. Melvin Gordon is the only player worthy of snaps in LAs offense, and his line is improved from last year. Freeman would be higher if Tevin Coleman wasn’t stealing snaps, but that hefty contract proves he’ll obviously get plenty of touches. Elliott is so valuable that I’ll take him over any other RB, even if I only get him for half of the season. Ajayi is a bit risky with his injury history. Howard is a bit risky because his team is so awful, but he was incredible down the stretch last season. Miller is just a solid, consistent option, which is tough to find at RB.
Overrated – Todd Gurley, Joe Mixon, Leonard Fournette
Gurley and Fournette both suffer the same issue; their offensive lines are atrocious. Mixon also suffers that issue, and he has two other productive RBs to split carries with. I’d avoid them.
Sleepers – Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, LeGarrette Blount, Robert Kelly
Cook also runs behind a weak line, but at least he has a) a decent QB to take some pressure off and b) fantastic vision. He’ll catch a lot of balls too. McCaffrey is in the same boat, only he’s actually behind a good line. He could have 100 total yards just about every game. Blount is running behind a stout line on a team with no other stable RB options (Sproles won’t be taking carries on early downs). Kelly is still the starter in Washington and he was very solid last season.
1. Antonio Brown
2. Julio Jones
3. Odell Beckham Jr.
4. Mike Evans
5. A.J. Green
6. Jordy Nelson
7. Dez Bryant
8. Amari Cooper
9. T.Y. Hilton
10. Deandre Hopkins
11. Demaryius Thomas
12. Doug Baldwin
The top 5 are all pretty obvious. After that, it gets kind of tough. Dez and Hopkins both have the least amount of competition against them. Jordy is coming back from injury, but when he’s healthy he’s terrifying. Cooper has been incredibly consistent. Baldwin has been consistently healthy but he can be underwhelming sometimes. Hilton is interesting, when Luck is healthy I might put him at 6. Thomas has also been consistent, but his QB situation is awful.
Brandin Cooks, Terrelle Pryor, Sammy Watkins
Notice a trend? I tend to avoid WRs who change their situations. Cooks would be fine, but there are so many weapons in NE and you never know who will be the focal point on a week to week basis. Pryor could be nice, he’s just going a little too early. Watkins is injury prone, his QB is unproven, and he’s on the Rams… I’d just avoid him altogether.
Larry Fitzgerald, Jamison Crowder, Willie Snead, Tyrell Williams
Fitzgerald continues to fall in drafts… he’s just so consistently solid. Crowder is poised to break out this year as he rises to the #2 in Washington. Snead should be getting a lot more opportunities now that Cooks is gone. And Williams is improving every year; bonus points if Keenan Allen goes down again (which unfortunately feels likely).
1. Rob Gronkowski
2. Travis Kelce
3. Greg Olsen
4. Jimmy Graham
5. Delanie Walker
Gronk should bounce back after being hurt last season. Kelce and Olsen easily round out the top 3. Graham should be more comfortable in Seattle this year. And Walker should have more opportunities now that there’s actual WRs to take pressure off of him. I avoided Eifert and Jordan Reed due to injury worries.
Kyle Rudolph, Martellus Bennett, Eric Ebron
Rudolph is another one of those injury prone TEs. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t really thrown to his TEs since the Jermichael Finley days, so I’d avoid Bennett. I don’t ever remember thinking “oh no” when I go up against Eric Ebron…
O.J. Howard, Zach Miller, Evan Engram
OJ and Evan are both risky, but their also both insanely gifted receiving options. Engram should be the obvious starter in NY, and Howard will likely see plenty of the field in Tampa. Miller is just a solid TE option who can fill in if your first option gets hurt; Trubisky will like throwing to him.
3. Los Angeles Rams
There’s not much to say about defenses, look for the ones who play the easiest schedule.
Overrated – Panthers, Giants
Both are very good defenses, but they have a lot of tough offensive matchups…
Sleepers – Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons
The Chargers get to play the Jets, Browns, Jaguars, and the Broncos twice… those are some nice easy points. The Falcons do play some very tough teams, but their defense is young and full of playmakers. They’ll get a ton of sacks and INTs.
Just wait til the last round…
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