Let’s get right into it… what are my credentials for having the audacity to tell you who to draft and what strategy to use this upcoming fantasy season? Well, get a load of this!
I’m a current two-time fantasy football champion – ignore the other eight years I’ve been playing… they were practice – I have a whopping $4.58 in my draft kings account and my average score on yahoo mock drafts is an impressive C+. Finally, I had the no.3 pick in my league this year and refused to draft Zeke. Why? Because I’m a bitter Giants fan, who would have ended up running around his living room mimicking the ‘feed me’ action in celebration of any touchdowns he scored. I’m cheap.
So I may not be the best person to take advice from but stay with me as I’m going to throw eight bullets at you in the hope at least one hits the target and I can then tell you all I’m the fantasy football genius I’ve always proclaimed to be.
So how this is going to work is I’m going to give you my ‘value’ pick and ‘dark horse’ for each position. This is based on where players are being drafted on average so I see it as ‘value’ using the ‘expertise’ I have gathered over the last 10 years by simply being a fan sat on the sofa shouting abuse at players thinking I could do it better myself. Let’s go!
Now in my ‘not so’ expert opinion, the drop off on top quality running backs is quite drastic! That means for me you should be drafting at least 2 running backs in the first 3 rounds (unless obvious superstars in other positions are available). We all know it’s the running backs who carry a fantasy team so get the good ones in early while you can as I personally feel more comfortable knowing I have at least 2 starting RB’s in my team who are going to put up consistent scores for you. This leads me to my first two picks who have perhaps gone under the radar a little…
VALUE – James Connor (Steelers) 3rd Round
The key to James Connor as we all know is staying healthy. According to reports his injuries are behind him and we are going to see a better version than ever before. So let’s say that is the case… what’s his upside? For me, the two major factors are as follows. James Connor puts up very good numbers when playing with Big Ben. When Roethlisberger is healthy, the Steelers are competitive. When the Steelers are competitive they can run the football. I expect James Connor to see a lot of the ball this upcoming season in a competitive Pittsburgh team. If that is the case the question then becomes can Connor capitalize on this? My main reason for edging towards yes is this is a contract year for him. If he wants to establish himself as the no.1 back in Pittsburgh over the next couple of years this is the season he has to go out and prove that! For me, if you can get him in the 3rd round James Connor is a far from terrible pick for the terrible towels!
DARK HORSE – Ronald Jones (Bucs) 6th round
Ronald Jones is a BIG sleeper for me this fantasy season! Now under the stewardship of the evergreen Tom Brady, I can only see him getting better on the back of a rookie season where he did start to improve throughout. The Bucs have not only improved at QB but also their offensive line with the 1st round pick of Tristan Wirfs. I believe he will end up the no.1 RB in Tampa. There are question marks about him in the passing game which is why I believe they brought in McCoy… but he will be the go-to guy in and around the red zone & should go over 1,000 total yards once again this season. So for me, I’m all go on Ro-Jo!
Personally I believe the only stand out receiver who will consistently score as well as the top RB’s is Michael Thomas of the Saints. If you can pick him up outside of the top 4/5 running backs I wouldn’t advise against it. Beyond that, it’s very much rich pickings! On ratings from Davante Adams right down to Cooper Kupp and the 13 or so players in between you can’t really go wrong and it’s all very much about personal opinion. My choices are going to be the players just below that tier…
VALUE – Terry McLaurin (Washington) 5th round
Now looking at the other end of the scale from what is needed for a good running back, you can argue the opposite can help in finding a good valued wide receiver. If your man is playing on a team who has to throw the ball 40 times a game because they are usually behind and chasing leads it quite simply means more targets. That’s exactly what you get with the Washington Football team and let’s be honest who else do they have to target? McLaurin was a very good fantasy option last year & I believe he will be even more exciting than his badly named team this year.
DARK HORSE – Courtland Sutton (Broncos) 6th round
A little like MacLaurin, Sutton is the only proven target for me over in Denver. He’s got a great relationship with Drew Lock who I believe will also come on this season and is a very solid option as a WR2 or even a flex going around the 6th round. I’m also going to give a shout to Pat Shurmur who will be leading the Broncos attack from the sidelines. He worked wonders with DJ in New York despite being not so great elsewhere and that only adds to my thinking that Courtland Sutton will run wild in the Mile High city.
Quarterbacks are always a strange one when it comes to fantasy football… the most important player on the field, yet not in terms of fantasy value! Aside from Mahomes & Jackson, drafting a top ten QB isn’t going to win or lose you your league. So here’s a value pick of mine allowing you to focus on the rest of your team who you can pick up right near the end of your draft board.
VALUE – Matthew Stafford (Lions) 9th round
For the first 9 weeks, last season Matty Stafford put up some of the best numbers of his entire career. An injury did curtail that in the second half of the season but nevertheless, he’s back healthy now and playing with a not so great Lions defense meaning they’ll be behind a lot. First round draft pick D’Andre Swift may be seen as a negative as the Lions may want to run the ball more but I don’t believe their D will allow it meaning they’ll always be trying to come from behind. Having said that Swift is also a very good pass-catcher out of the backfield. So for me, he’s a cheap Matty Ice who I’m hoping catches fire.
DARK HORSE – Daniel Jones (Giants) 9th round
Go DJ, that’s my DJ. Boys and girls I give you the one and only Danny Dimes! Excuse the hype but he’s my guy. This should be the most in-depth analysis I provide as I watched him every single game last year… yet only one thing needs to be said: Daniel Jones Fumbles. So Daniel, DJ, Dimes, my guy, if you’re reading… just stop it! Hold the frickin’ football! Now I know it’s easier said than done, but fumbles aside let’s check out his numbers. 24 TDs to 12 INTs in his rookie season… in TWELVE games! His O-line was terrible, his receiving core was always injured and Saquon wasn’t fully fit. Danny Dimes with a healthy receiving core a much-improved O-line and the addition of Jason Garrett will put up numbers this season – JUST STOP FUMBLING!!!
Outside of Kittle & Kelce, I see the window for the tight end’s being quite open this year. I believe from 3 right down to 10 can be a mix match of any order. So I’m going with the less obvious names as it’d be easy to put up a case for the likes of Zach Ertz or Mark Andrews… but I’m going for guys who won’t be far off them at a much better value.
VALUE – Evan Engram (Giants) 7th round
Evan Engram is going to break out… providing he stays healthy! As we all know that’s the problem with Engram – health. All I can say is the signs are positive from the work he’s done in the offseason and as of right now he’s ready to go! Maybe I do have my blue-tinted glasses on, as for the Giants to have any success we need him healthy, but let’s say he is. In my opinion, over the course of a 16 game season, he’s a top 3 TE… who’s currently going in the 7th round. The Giants love throwing to tight ends, Jason Garrett loves throwing to tight ends, and what’s most crucial is when on the field he’s almost unplayable. Double E is well worth picking up around the 7th round as IF he does stay healthy… he can win you and the Giants a championship. Ok, maybe not the Giants!
DARK HORSE – Blake Jarwin (Cowboys) 13th round
Another tight end I feel is going to have a breakout year is Blake Jarwin of the Dallas Cowboys. A guy going in the very, very late rounds who will be an absolute gold mine for the Cowboys. Taking the reigns from Jason Witten (who was the no.11 TE in fantasy last year despite being 148 years old!). He’s recently signed a new contract with Dallas and I feel he’s their guy going forward. McCarthy is very much pass-heavy in his offense and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Jarwin sneak into the top ten at his position, especially with the obligatory four touchdowns the Giants allow Cowboys tight ends to have every season!
So there we have it – eight players who will give you bragging rights over all your mates when you lift the imaginary Championship at the end of the year… or a total waste of five minutes of your time which will lead to much abuse down the road when you fail to make the playoffs and instead of setting your line up you’ll be sending me abuse on twitter instead!
You can join in with the official NFL Fantasy Football game in the following link – https://fantasy.nfl.com/