We’re getting closer to the start of the NFL season, which means fantasy drafts are just around the corner. While you wait for your Fantasy Football T-Shirt to arrive, check out this article covering the best players to target and value picks.Make sure to have it by your side as you draft. And don’t forget this is based on standard format not ppr. ESPN ADP is in parenthesis as of 7/31/17. Hope you enjoy!
Ezekiel Elliott (3.8 ADP): “Zeke” had a phenomenal year last year finishing with 1,631 yards good for first in the NFL.The only problem that I have with him are his off the field legal troubles. It’s been reported that Elliott could miss up to four games for his “incident.” Your first round pick should always be someone who you can depend on game in and game out. If you are willing to risk him not being able to play for possibly the first two games or more be my guest. But the beginning of the season is crucial because that’s when you have mostly every one healthy. He definitely is a RB1 but not a top 3 pick. He should be targeted around picks 4-6 in fantasy drafts depending on the length of his suspension.
Mike Evans (9.1 ADP): Mike Evans finished fourth overall in the NFL last year with 1,321 yards and is no doubt one of the best receivers in the NFL. The problem with picking him ninth overall? The Buccaneers made a great team signing in deep threat receiver Desean Jackson over the summer and added TE OJ Howard. In terms of fantasy production for Evans, not so much as Jackson was a 1,000 yard receiver and will eat into Mike Evans touches. Mike Evans gets a lot of his receptions from Jameis Winston just chucking it up, and rightly so. Now that there is another dependable receiver in the mix I’m not sure Evans deserves a first round pick. Not to mention, down the stretch last season Evans struggled, with most of his production coming from early on. I know we are using ESPN ADP, but in the current Yahoo rankings, Evans is ranked 6th! Yes sixth, ahead of even Julio Jones and LeSean McCoy, who I have ranked much higher. I would be comfortable taking him anywhere in second round.
Devonta Freeman (11.7 ADP): Freeman is a great running back but I expect some regression. Mainly due to the emergence of touchdown magnet Tevin Coleman and the departure of offensive mastermind Kyle Shanahan. While he’ll put up good numbers I don’t think he’s worthy of a first round pick at least for me. I would feel comfortable taking him in the begining to middle of the second round.
Todd Gurley (25.5 ADP): Gurley had a stellar 2015 season. 2016… not so much. While ranking fifth in carries and 12 in targets among running backs but finished 15th overall in fantasy points. He never for any given week finished in the top 9 in fantasy points among running backs. He also has one of the worst signal callers in the NFL in Jared Goff. QB play coupled with one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL does not warrant 25th overall pick status.
Marshawn Lynch (25.6 ADP): Lynch comes back to the NFL after being retired for only one year. He’s now 31 years old and his last season he posted a below average YPC of 3.8. I really see it as kind of a gimmick. But, hopefully he can provide the Raiders with that one piece that helps them get over that hump to a Super Bowl contender. While the Raiders have a great offensive line at the very least he will be a goal line back. But I can’t take him in the second round. He’s to much of a liability to depend on as your second round pick.
Leonard Fournette (26.8 ADP): Leonard Fournette was a great running back in college but the 27th pick? I don’t think so… Mainly because he is only a rookie. I think people just have “Zeke Fever” thinking that maybe he can replicate Zeke’s Rookie season which is not an easy thing to do, in any means, especially in the Jaguars offense. Pro Football focus has Jacksonville’s offensive line ranked 13th overall. While that may be a recipe for success I am not comfortable taking him over guys like Brandin Cooks, Alshon Jeffery, and Doug Baldwin. I would take him somewhere around the 40th pick .Unless you still haven’t picked a running back and there aren’t any halfway decent ones left on the board.
Christian Mccafrey ( 35.4 ADP): Once again, Mccafrey is a rookie and while he could be the next Zeke later down the road that still does not justify him at 35. Mccafrey averaged over 30 touches a game while at Stanford and while he produced very well there could be durability concerns. Not to mention, he is expected to split time in the backfield with veteran Jonathan Stewart who just signed a two-year contract extension. Also, it is worth noting that in Newton’s career he has hardly thrown to RBs, but he has never had a player like Mccafrey.Nonetheless, he is a great flex option down the road, but not 3rd round pick worthy.
Jarvis Landry (36.7 ADP): As previously stated above this article is assuming that you are in a standard league not PPR where Landry thrives.Hes a great, speedy slot receiver but the third round? No thanks. He ranks 58th overall in TD’s since entering the league and least year he only had one red zone target all season. Not to mention Tannehill his signal caller Ryan Tannehill has streaky performances. I would be comfortable taking him around the 50th pick.
Keenan Allen (45.3 ADP): Allen has been a great fantasy asset in the past when healthy but he’s missed 23 games over the past two years. He has yet to be healthy an entire season. The chargers receving corps is also pretty stacked. He has the potential to be a decent WR2 or FLEX option, only if you’re willing to take the injury risk.
Great Value Picks
Rob Gronkowski (18.9 ADP): Gronk isn’t necessarily a under-the-radar pick.But, on average he’s being selected in the late second round to me that’s a absolute steal. While he did have injuries derail him last year, when healthy he led all tight ends in fantasy points during weeks 6-10. During the past four seasons in which he’s appeared in 11 games he’s been top five in touchdowns,fantasy points, and yards per target. While you could say that the addition of Brandin Cooks will hinder some of Gronks fantasy production. While true, the Patriots have downgraded in the backfield with the loss of Legarrette Blount.
Bilal Powell (56.1 ADP): Powell spent most of 2016 as Matt Forte’s backup. But, when given the chance he sure did leave no doubters. During the last four games he averaged over 23 points a game. Trailing only Le’Veon Bell in fantasy points during that span. While having a minimal workload he ranks sixth among running backs with 105 receptions over the past two seasons.
Martavis Bryant (70.7 ADP): Bryant missed all of last season due to suspension.But, in 2015 he ranked 10th among wideouts when he played.As a rookie nonetheless.Also, being the third option on arguably one of the best offenses in the NFL means he’ll be getting covered by some of the lower end DB’s. That’s a recipe for success in my opinion and has high WR2 upside.
Cameron Meredith (107.4 ADP): As a diehard Bears fan I know all to well what Meredith can do when given the chance. He was a non factor in weeks 1-4 but when promoted to a every-down role in week 5. He averaged 7.3 targets a game and was on the field for at least 40% of pass plays. Now that teams are starting to notice Jordan Howard they are going to start loading the box and with Chicago’s elite offensive line that leans towards good production.I consider him a very worthy flex consideration and he will finish the season as a WR2.
Evan Engram (130.5 ADP): While, a rookie, Engram’s 65 receptions and 926 yards were most among tight ends who attended the combine. During each of Ben McAdoo’s past three seasons with the Giants at least 19 percent of the teams targets have gone to the tight end.Having great value at 130th overall Engram has terrific upside and could even finish the season as a high-end Tight End 2.
Players to target in the later rounds
RB Mike Gillislee, NE (77.4 ADP)
WR Corey Davis, TEN (105.2 ADP)
TE Hunter Henry, LAC (117.1 ADP)
RB, Duke Johnson Jr, CLE (121.3 ADP)
RB, Terrance West, BAL (123.3 ADP)
TE,O.J. Howard TB (125.1 ADP)
RB, Samaje Perine WSH (133.7 ADP)
WR, Kevin White CHI (140.2 ADP)
WR, Kenny Stills MIA (142.3 ADP)
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