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Murray should start immediately in Arizona, so the playing time will be there. He'll have Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk and a couple of good rookie prospects (Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler) to throw to, so the receiving corps isn't bad either. I use a regression model to generate a starting point for rookie quarterbacks and Murray comes in with the highest projected touchdown percentage, the highest projected yards per attempt, the third-highest projected rushing yards per game and the fourth-highest projected rushing touchdowns in the 42-player sample. His passing numbers (in the same system at Oklahoma) were eerily similar to Baker Mayfield's and Murray is a much better runner. Keep this fact in mind—since 2011, the four top scoring rookie quarterbacks were Cam Newton (706 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns), Robert Griffin III (815 yards, 7 touchdowns), Dak Prescott (282 yards, 6 touchdowns) and Russell Wilson (489 yards, 4 touchdowns), so being able to run will really help Murray’s chances to find fantasy success as a rookie. If the offensive line improves, Murray will have a shot at QB1 numbers.
|Brett Hundley||Drew Anderson|
The touches (308) were there for Johnson in 2018, but his efficiency was down across the board. Most of the blame can be directed as the offense as a whole, but things should be a lot better this season with the arrival of Air Raid guru Kliff Kingsbury, dual-threat quarterback Kyler Murray and an improved receiving corps. This should put Johnson in a better position to succeed. Murray’s arrival should especially help. During the rookie seasons of Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, their teams saw an increase of 18% in rushing attempts, an increase of 48% in rushing yards, an increase of 151% in rushing touchdowns and an increase of 26% in team yards per carry. Johnson’s ADP should be solidly in the first round.
|Chase Edmonds||T.J. Logan||D.J. Foster||Wes Hills|
Fitzgerald’s ADP is laughable. Arizona’s pass attempts dropped by 17.2% from 2017 to 2018 and he still finished as the No. 26 receiver in PPR formats. In all likelihood, he’s getting a massive quarterback upgrade, and the offense should be much more pass-friendly under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Normally, it's understandable to write off a soon-to-be 36-year-old receiver, but Jerry Rice had three 1,100-yard seasons after the age of 36, and Fitzgerald is capable of following in Rice’s footsteps. He’s a steal in the eighth or ninth round.
Kirk was on pace for a 57-787-4 season in 12 games played before a broken foot knocked him out for the remainder of the season. Those numbers would have made him a low-end WR3, which is where he’s currently being drafted. He’s now fully healthy, and is likely to see a big QB upgrade from Josh Rosen to Kyler Murray. The offense will also play at a faster pace, potentially boosting his targets. Multiple reports from OTAs say the same thing--Kirk has been the best receiver in practice, and that’s saying a lot with Larry Fitzgerald still on the roster.
Isabella has freakish athletic ability and was wildly productive at UMass. He fared very well in Kevin Zatloukal’s Rookie WR Success Model thanks to his production, athleticism and the draft capital that the Cardinals used to get him. However, it appears that he’s running as the WR4 behind Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk and standout rookie KeeSean Johnson, so he has some work to do to get enough playing time to be a fantasy starter.
Johnson is outplaying the other Arizona rookie receivers and has apparently won the WR3 job behind Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. Per Scott Bordow of The Athletic, GM Steve Keim said that Johnson has “looked fantastic” and could “break out as a rookie.” HC Kliff Kingsbury said that Johnson is a “smooth route runner” who has “picked up the system really, really quickly.” Johnson caught 95 passes for 1,340 yards and eight scores at Fresno State, but posted a disappointing 40-yard dash (4.60). He fell to the sixth round and the Cardinals were elated to get him. He’s still flying way under the radar, but all it takes is one good preseason game and his ADP will rise from the 18th to the 12th/13th.
|Hakeem Butler||Damiere Byrd||Trent Sherfield||Pharoh Cooper||Kevin White||Chad Williams||A.J. Richardson|
|TE||Ricky Seals-Jones||Charles Clay||Maxx Williams||Darrell Daniels||Caleb Wilson|
Since 2012, Ryan has finished in the top seven in even years and No. 14 or worse in odd years. Not much has changed in Atlanta since last season, where Ryan finished as the No. 2 quarterback, so he should have another good season. For whatever reason, it’s been a while since Ryan has been able to post two good fantasy seasons in back-to-back years, though he does have the third-highest fantasy points per pass attempt over the last three seasons.
Freeman was the No. 1 overall running back in 2015 and followed that up with a top 6-7 finish in 2016, depending on the format. He turned in fringe RB1 numbers in 2017 before multiple injuries cost him all but two games last season. Freeman is still just 27 years old and now his primary competition, Tevin Coleman, is out of the way, so he should be in line for a big workload, provided he can stay healthy. Ito Smith will serve as his backup, but hasn’t yet flashed like Coleman did while he was in Atlanta.
|Ito Smith||Brian Hill||Qadree Ollison||Ricky Ortiz||Kenjon Barner|
Over the past two seasons, Jones has averaged 6.3 catches for 98 yards and 0.34 touchdowns. The knock on him is that he doesn’t catch enough touchdowns, and over the last three seasons he has averaged 0.37 touchdowns when he should have scored 0.97 per game according to Kevin Zatloukal’s expected touchdowns (xTD) model. He’s still a solid first round receiver and is capable of posting a No. 1 overall season if he figures out how to find the endzone more consistently.
As a rookie, Ridley finished as the No. 19 receiver in half-PPR formats behind a strong 64-821-10 line on 90 targets. He admitted to being worn out on Sundays due to the way he practices--he only knows one speed--and that may have resulted in a bit of a fade down the stretch. He fared very well as a rookie in Matt Harmon’s #ReceptionPerception charting, and should see an uptick in targets with Mohamed Sanu taking more of a backseat in Ridley’s second season.
|Mohamed Sanu||Russell Gage||Justin Hardy||Marcus Green||Olamide Zaccheaus||Devin Gray|
He’s a bit on the boring side, but Austin Hooper finished No. 6 last year and has increased his targets, receptions and yards in each of the last two seasons. He’s a good bet to garner five-plus targets in a pretty good passing attack in any given week.
|Luke Stocker||Logan Paulsen|
Jackson averaged 18.7 PPG in his eight starts, throwing for 159 yards and 0.7 touchdowns while adding 80 yards and 0.57 touchdowns as a runner. The Ravens hired ground-game aficionado Greg Roman to coordinate the offense so it’s crystal clear that the team will continue to emphasize the run with Jackson at quarterback. He will continue to rack up points with his legs, but it’s doubtful that Roman will be able to maximize Jackson’s ability as a passer. Jackson should be a high-floor fantasy quarterback in 2019.
|Robert Griffin III||Trace McSorley|
Ingram is 29 years old, has dual threat ability and has averaged 4.6+ yards per carry in each of the last four seasons. The Ravens are likely to lead the NFL in all rushing categories, so Ingram should post RB2 numbers with RB1 upside if his touches are consistent.
|Gus Edwards||Justice Hill||Kenneth Dixon||Patrick Ricard||De'Lance Turner||Tyler Ervin|
|WR||Marquise Brown||Miles Boykin||Willie Snead||Chris Moore||Seth Roberts||Jaleel Scott||Michael Floyd||Antoine Wesley||Jaylen Smith|
Once Lamar Jackson took over at quarterback, Andrews led the team in receiving yards (339) accounting for 26.0% of Jackson’s passing yards. He did that on just a 14.0% target share, so clearly Jackson and Andrews had a good thing going. Andrews was the No. 13 tight end over the final seven weeks of the season, which is nothing special, but if Jackson’s passing numbers rise and Andrews keeps the same usage rate, he could find himself in the top 10 at the end of the season.
|Hayden Hurst||Nick Boyle|
In the 10 games that Allen started and finished, he averaged 192 passing yards, 1.0 passing touchdowns, 1.2 interceptions and a 6.65 YPA. That’s pretty dreadful, but he’s on the fantasy radar as a QB2 heading into 2019 thanks to some incredible rushing numbers. He averaged 8.1 carries for 58.5 yards and 0.80 rushing touchdowns, effectively adding 10.7 fantasy points per game to his bottom line. His 19.5 fantasy points per game in those 10 games would have been good enough for a QB6 finish over a full, 16-game season. That’s a super optimistic extrapolation because teams are going to adjust to limit his running production, and the Bills added John Brown, Cole Beasley and Tyler Kroft to give Allen more weapons to throw to. Since this is not something he’s particularly good at, it may limit his fantasy upside. Still, given those rushing numbers, he’s an intriguing late round pick, especially in best ball formats where owners don’t have to worry about when they should actually start him.
|Matt Barkley||Tyree Jackson|
|RB||LeSean McCoy||Devin Singletary||Frank Gore||T.J. Yeldon||Senorise Perry||Patrick DiMarco||Marcus Murphy||Christian Wade|
The Bills’ offense is something of a mess, but Brown is ranked where he is because he’s a quality receiver. He had a great sophomore season, posting a 65-1003-7 line for the Cardinals before injuries (and a strange sickle cell issue) set him back. He found a new home in Baltimore, and was on pace for a 61-1,068-7.0 season (midrange WR2 numbers) through nine games, before Lamar Jackson took over as quarterback. Josh Allen’s deep ball accuracy on passes 20+ yards downfield was better than Joe Flacco’s last year, and Allen attempted 59 such passes, the 12th-most in the league, despite only playing in 12 games as a rookie. In other words, Brown’s speed and skillset is a good match for where Allen wants to throw the ball. (Data from Sports Info Solutions.)
|Cole Beasley||Zay Jones||Robert Foster||Andre Roberts||Isaiah McKenzie||Ray-Ray McCloud||David Sills||Victor Bolden||Cam Phillips|
|TE||Tyler Kroft||Dawson Knox||Lee Smith||Jason Croom||Tommy Sweeney|
After a No. 2 finish in 2017, Newton was on pace for a No. 6 finish before his shoulder injury sidelined him for the final two games. It remains to be seen how he'll recover, but as the 12th quarterback off the board in early drafts, there's definitely some upside here.
|Kyle Allen||Will Grier||Taylor Heinicke|
In his second season, McCaffrey racked up 326 touches (including 107 receptions) for 1965 total yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s one of the safest bets in the first round, especially in PPR formats. The Panthers are rumored to be trying to lessen his workload, but that’s not anything fantasy owners should be worried about. He’s very likely to see around 300 touches again in 2019.
|Cameron Artis-Payne||Jordan Scarlett||Elijah Holyfield||Elijah Hood||Alexander Armah||Reggie Bonnafon|
Moore began his rookie season playing about 25% to 50% of the snaps, but once the Panthers gave him starter snaps (70%+), his production spiked to 4.2-60-.10 or 9.7 PPG in half-PPR scoring, which are low-end fantasy WR2 numbers. Since 2000, Moore was the 13th rookie receiver who posted at least 700 receiving yards at 21-years-old. The other 12 receivers saw an average per game increase of 30% in targets, a 33% increase in receptions, a 28% increase in yards and a 19% increase in touchdowns. When these increases are applied to Moore’s rookie numbers, he’s looking at a 73-catch, 1004-yard, 2.4-touchdown season as a sophomore. That’s about what he averaged in the final 10 games from a fantasy points standpoint, so he probably has some room to grow from there, especially if his touchdowns regress positively to the mean for someone getting his sort of usage. If he’s able to score 7-8 touchdowns and keep up that production, he’s looking at a midrange WR2 season.
Samuel started getting regular work in Week 11. In his final seven games, he averaged 3.9 catches for 53 yards and 0.43 touchdowns, which equates to a 62-846-7 pace over a 16-game season. He basically matched the production of D.J. Moore in that span. We’re expecting low-end WR3 numbers from Samuel in 2019.
|Jarius Wright||Torrey Smith||Chris Hogan||Terry Godwin||Aldrick Robinson||Mose Frazier||Rashad Ross||Jaydon Mickens|
Olsen has struggled with injuries in recent years, but in his last 16 games (including one playoff game), he has caught 50 passes for 571 yards and six touchdowns. That statline would have been good enough for a No. 8 finish last year in half-PPR formats.
|Ian Thomas||Chris Manhertz||Jason Vander Laan||Temarrick Hemingway||Cole Hunt|
|K||Graham Gano||Joey Slye|
Trubisky’s production was all over the place in 2018. He started the season with three sub-14.5-point games before his six-touchdown outburst in Week 4 that started a streak of four consecutive games with 21.9 points or more. Then, he scored 12.1 points or less in five of his final seven games.
In an effort to become less predictable, the Bears traded away Jordan Howard and signed Mike Davis (34 catches last year in a part-time role with the Seahawks) before drafting Montgomery in the third round. Montgomery was reportedly “a problem” for the Bears’ defense in spring workouts and led “the rookies, if not the entire team” in big plays this offseason. HC Matt Nagy praised Montgomery’s route-running and said that the team knew he had “great hands.” Montgomery is the clear favorite to lead the team in carries, though he’ll have to deal with Tarik Cohen if he hopes to have a major role as a pass-catcher. One thing to note: When I studied "trade up" running backs earlier in the offseason, I found that third round "trade up" running backs outscored their counterparts by 54% in their rookie seasons.
Cohen finished as the No. 13 running back in half-PPR formats, but the positive reports about rookie David Montgomery’s pass-catching in spring practices has depressed Cohen’s stock a bit. He should see mostly the same role, but expecting another 71 catches may be a stretch since both Montgomery and free agent signee Mike Davis are more than capable receivers, unlike Jordan Howard.
|Mike Davis||Kerrith Whyte||Ryan Nall|
In his first post-ACL season with a new team, Robinson caught 55 passes for 754 yards and four touchdowns, giving him the No. 34 per game average at his position in half-PPR formats. However, when we include the 10-143-1 that he posted in the Bears’ only playoff game, his average jumps to the No. 31 spot at his position. Now that he’s nearly two years removed from the ACL tear and is playing in his second season in Matt Nagy’s system, his numbers should improve. He has been dominating in camp per multiple reports. Remember, Robinson once posted an 80-1400-14 season catching passes from Blake Bortles.
As a rookie, Miller averaged 2.2 catches (on 3.6 targets) for 29 yards and 0.46 touchdowns. Given his measurables, he has solid speed with good burst and agility, and fared well as a route runner in Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception charting. He also came in second in Kevin Zatloukal’s Rookie WR Success Model, which predicts success in a player’s first three seasons. He faded down the stretch as his playing time waned. He played 64% of the snaps through Week 11, and just 46% of the snaps in his final six games. In those first 11 games, he played at a 2.9-40-0.56 clip, which are low-end WR3 numbers. He’s coming off of offseason shoulder surgery, so he may get off to a slow start, but since he’s being drafted as a fantasy WR5, owners can afford to be patient. If Matt Nagy’s offense takes off in its second season, Miller should be one of the primary beneficiaries.
|Taylor Gabriel||Cordarrelle Patterson||Javon Wims||Riley Ridley||Taquan Mizzell||Marvin Hall||Tanner Gentry|
Burton finished as the No. 8 tight end last season, but was on pace to finish No. 6 in the 14 games where Mitch Trubisky was active. Burton played at a 57-618-7 pace in those games. He’s still only 27 and this will be his second season in Matt Nagy’s system, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he took a step forward, production-wise.
|Adam Shaheen||Ben Braunecker|
|K||Elliott Fry||Eddy Pineiro|
In 27 games over the last two seasons with a healthy A.J. Green, Dalton has averaged 226 yards and 1.75 pass TD per game. The resulting 14.6 fantasy points per game would equate to solid QB2 numbers over a full 16-game season. With Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon and Tyler Eifert back, Dalton has plenty of weapons to throw to. He should be streamable in 2019.
|Ryan Finley||Jeff Driskel|
From a workload standpoint, Mixon is one of the few obvious bellcow backs in the league. In 14 games last season, he averaged 20.0 touches for 104.5 yards and 0.64 touchdowns per game, giving him the No. 9 per game average in half-PPR formats. He’s a rock-solid pick at the end of the first round in 2019 fantasy drafts.
|Giovani Bernard||Trayveon Williams||Rodney Anderson||Quinton Flowers||Jordan Ellis|
Over the past two seasons, Green has averaged 4.8 catches for 71 yards and 0.56 touchdowns, which is a 77-1136-9.0 pace. He’s still a WR1 when healthy, but he has played more than 10 games in just one of his last three seasons. He said that his toe will be a full go for training camp, and was able to participate in spring practices. He looks like a nice value in the third or fourth round.
Boyd broke out last year, and he did it with A.J. Green on the field. In nine games with a relatively healthy Green, he averaged 6.1 receptions for 80 yards and 0.56 touchdowns per game. Those are low-end WR1 numbers. He’s a nice value in the sixth round.
|John Ross||Alex Erickson||Auden Tate||Josh Malone||Cody Core||Stanley Morgan||Hunter Sharp|
In 14 games since the 2016 season, Eifert has averaged 3.4 receptions for 44 yards and 0.43 touchdowns. The red flags are obvious—Eifert has been unable to stay healthy. But the Bengals signed him to another one-year deal, so clearly they want to see if he can put a full season together. The last time he played 13+ games (2015), he caught 52 passes for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns, making the Pro Bowl in the process.
|C.J. Uzomah||Drew Sample||Cethan Carter||Mason Schreck||Jordan Franks|
Mayfield’s splits with Freddie Kitchens calling the plays are very encouraging for 2019, now that Kitchens has been promoted to head coach. Mayfield averaged 19.0 PPG from Week 9 on, after Kitchens took over. He had the No. 10 per game average in that span, and the Browns added Odell Beckham, so consider Mayfield a midrange QB1.
|Drew Stanton||Garrett Gilbert||David Blough|
In the final 10 games of last season, Chubb averaged 19.5 touches for 97 yards and 0.80 touchdowns. That works out to 15.5 points per game (half-PPR formats) which would have been good enough for the No. 10 per game average at his position. Chubb would be a no-brainer first round pick if not for the arrival of Kareem Hunt, who could be a headache once he returns from his eight-game suspension in Week 10. Owners who draft Chubb should expect excellent production for the first half of the season but need to be prepared for his numbers to take a small to medium hit down the stretch. The Duke Johnson trade improves Chubb’s outlook for the first half of the season.
|Kareem Hunt||Dontrell Hilliard||D'Ernest Johnson|
Beckham is obviously a fantastic talent. Since entering the league, he has averaged 6.6 receptions for 93 yards and 0.75 touchdowns. That’s a 106-catch, 1,488-yard, 12-touchdown pace, which would have been good enough to be the No. 1 receiver in 2017 and the No. 3 receiver in 2018. He’s changing teams, which is usually a bad sign, but in this case it’s a net positive since instead of a declining Eli Manning throwing him the ball, he’ll have an up-and-coming Baker Mayfield sending passes his way. The only caveat with Beckham is that he may miss a few games. He has missed 21 of a possible 80 games (26%) in the last five seasons, which is the same than Michael Thomas (2%), Davante Adams (8%), Julio Jones (4%), DeAndre Hopkins (1%), JuJu Smith-Schuster (6%) and Antonio Brown (5%) *combined* in the same span.
It’s going to be tough for Landry to meet his historical production in 2019. The first red flag is that Landry’s usage fell off a cliff in the eight games after Freddie Kitchens took over as the offensive coordinator. (Kitchens is now the head coach.) Under Kitchens, Landry turned 6.9 targets into 4.0 catches, 56 yards and 0.25 touchdowns. That’s a fantasy WR3 pace, though he’s being drafted as a high-end WR3. The other issue is that Odell Beckham is now on the team, and he’s likely to soak up 9-10 targets per game at a minimum. So unless this offense explodes and the fantasy pie gets a lot bigger, Landry owners might be frustrated with his week-to-week production. Optimistic owners can point to his usage over the last four seasons--he has had a minimum of 131 targets in that span--and hope that Kitchens finds ways to get him more involved than he was in the back half of 2018. There’s also an argument that Landry will be able to do more with fewer targets since the defense will be geared to stop Beckham. If that happens, Landry will have a chance for a fantasy WR2 season.
In his third season, Higgins turned 53 targets into 39 catches for 572 yards and four touchdowns. It appears that he has a stranglehold on the Browns' WR3 job, posting 5-98-1 on six targets in the Browns' first preseason game while playing ahead of Antonio Callaway. Last year, on 43 targets from Baker Mayfield, Higgins had 33 catches for 487 yards and four touchdowns. If he can maintain that sort of per target production on, say, 60 targets as the Browns' third receiver, he could turn in a fantasy WR4 season. He'd have upside from there if anything were to happen to Odell Beckham or Jarvis Landry.
|Antonio Callaway||Derrick Willies||Ishmael Hyman||Damion Ratley||Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi||D.J. Montgomery|
Njoku should be primed for a breakout, but his splits with Freddie Kitchens calling the plays weren’t pretty. He averaged 3.1-43-0.25 on 4.6 targets with Kitchens as the OC and 4.4-42-0.29 on 7.4 targets prior to Kitchens’ promotion. The overall production was about the same, but the drop in targets is concerning. Add a bona fide No. 1 option in Odell Beckham to the mix, and targets are going to be tough to come by.
|Demetrius Harris||Pharaoh Brown||Seth DeValve||Rico Gathers|
|K||Greg Joseph||Austin Seibert|
Prescott was shaping up as a great value heading into 2018, but then Jason Witten retired and the Cowboys cut Dez Bryant. Predictably, Prescott struggled before the team’s trade for Amari Cooper—he was the No. 24 quarterback through Week 8. However, with Cooper from Week 9 on, he was the No. 6 quarterback with a 19.1 PPG average. Including the team’s two playoff games, he averaged 19.9 PPG in 11 games with Cooper, playing at a 4305-yard, 32-total-TD pace when prorated to 16 games.
|Cooper Rush||Mike White|
With a possible suspension no longer a factor, a case can be made that Elliott should be the No. 1 overall pick in 2019. In 10 games after the Amari Cooper trade, he averaged 27.6 touches for 144.2 total yards and 0.7 touchdowns. His per game production only trailed Todd Gurley's. The Dallas offense looks like a much safer bet than the Giants’ as well, so Elliott compares favorably to Saquon Barkley.
|Tony Pollard||Darius Jackson||Jamize Olawale||Mike Weber||Alfred Morris|
It was unclear how Cooper would fare after a midseason trade to the Cowboys, but the team got him very involved immediately and he responded with top tier production. In 11 games with Dallas, he averaged 6.0 catches for 81.5 yards and 0.64 touchdowns (a 96-1304-10.2 pace) on 8.5 targets per game. He should be treated as a bona fide fantasy WR1 heading into the 2019 season.
Gallup’s production increased after the Amari Cooper trade, but it still left something to be desired. He averaged 2.6 catches for 35 yards and 0.11 touchdowns, though Kevin Zatloukal’s xTD statistic suggests that Gallup should have caught 0.72 touchdowns in that span, so Gallup was either unlucky and/or inefficient in his scoring opportunities. Gallup fared well in Zatloukal’s WR Success Model, coming in third behind D.J. Moore and Anthony Miller. With a year under his belt Gallup has a chance to take a step forward in his sophomore season.
|Randall Cobb||Tavon Austin||Noah Brown||Lance Lenoir||Cedrick Wilson||Reggie Davis||Jon'Vea Johnson||Jalen Guyton|
Witten has unretired after taking the 2018 season off. He hasn’t caught less than 63 passes since his rookie season and had finished in the top 11 in PPR formats in 14-straight seasons prior to retiring last year. He has reportedly accepted a role as a part-time player, but don’t be surprised if he catches 50-60 passes this year as Dak Prescott’s safety valve.
|Blake Jarwin||Dalton Schultz|
|QB||Joe Flacco||Drew Lock||Kevin Hogan||Brett Rypien|
As an undrafted rookie, Lindsay beat out third rounder Royce Freeman to win the lead back job, racking up 1,278 yards and 10 touchdowns on 227 carries. He is recovering from wrist surgery and his stock has taken a hit as positive reports about Freeman came out during spring workouts. But Lindsay is back at camp now and reportedly looks good. It feels like Lindsay should be going earlier than he is, considering how productive he was as a rookie.
Freeman gained 521 yards and five touchdowns on 130 carries (4.0 YPC), but was never able to beat out undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay (192 rushes for 1,037 yards, a 5.4 YPC). Some believe that Freeman will usurp Lindsay in his second season, and Lindsay’s absence (due to wrist surgery) from spring practices has allowed Freeman to operate as the RB1. Lindsay was so much more productive than Freeman last season that he’s going to have to fall on his face to lose the lead back job. Being undrafted, Lindsay probably has less room for error than a typical incumbent starter.
|Theo Riddick||Andy Janovich||Devontae Booker||Khalfani Muhammad||David Williams||Devontae Jackson|
He’s recovering from an Achilles injury, but he avoided the PUP list to start camp and was even participating in 11v11 drills in camp, which is a great sign for his potential availability for Week 1. Over the past two seasons he has played at a 78-949-4 pace, which are low-end WR2 numbers, but he was expected to score twice as many touchdowns in the opportunities he had, so he has upside from there. Considering he’s the 50th receiver off the board, there’s quite a bit of upside here.
Once Demaryius Thomas was traded, Sutton’s production increased to a 50-catch, 760-yard, four-touchdown pace, which was good enough to make him the No. 42 receiver from Week 9 to Week 17. We expect some growth in his efficiency, but with Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles) possibly back, and DaeSean Hamilton in the mix, it’s no sure thing that Sutton is a top two option in the Denver passing game. (Hamilton was the No. 25 receiver in the final four weeks of the season.)
|Tim Patrick||DaeSean Hamilton||Juwann Winfree||Nick Williams||River Cracraft||Trinity Benson||Brendan Langley||Kelvin McKnight|
|TE||Noah Fant||Jeff Heuerman||Troy Fumagalli||Jake Butt||Austin Fort|
|QB||Matthew Stafford||Tom Savage||David Fales||Josh Johnson|
In his final eight games, Johnson racked up an average of 94 total yards (5.53 YPC) and 0.5 touchdowns on 16.1 touches per game. HC Matt Patricia is committed to the run, so Johnson should be heavily involved in 2019.
|C.J. Anderson||Ty Johnson||Zach Zenner||Mark Thompson||Nick Bawden|
Predicting Golladay’s 2019 production has been a little tricky. He spent the first half of the season with both Marvin Jones and Golden Tate in the lineup, and in those games, he was out-targeted by Jones 47 to 44. After Tate was traded, Golladay played one full game with a healthy Jones and posted 3-46 on four targets against the Vikings. (Jones posted 6-66 on eight targets in that game.) Jones was injured the following week against the Bears after posting 3-55 on seven targets in 62% of the snaps. That’s when Golladay blew up. He posted 6-78-1 on 13 targets in that game against the Bears and proceeded to average 9.5 targets per game over the final six games of the season. So which Golladay will owners get in 2019? The version that was the clear No. 1 option on his team or the one that was out-targeted by Jones through eight weeks?
Through Week 10 (before his knee injury), Jones was the No. 26 receiver, and that was mostly prior to the Golden Tate trade. Early drafters have pegged Kenny Golladay as the WR1 for the Lions, but there’s a decent chance that Jones lead this receiving corps in fantasy points. In 25 games over the past two seasons, Jones is averaging 3.9 catches for 64 yards and 0.56 touchdowns. The biggest threat to Jones’s production is probably head coach Matt Patricia’s insistence on establishing the run. Jones looks like a steal in the early eighth round.
|Danny Amendola||Andy Jones||Brandon Powell||Tommylee Lewis||Travis Fulgham||Deontez Alexander||Chris Lacy|
|TE||T.J. Hockenson||Jesse James||Isaac Nauta|
Rodgers didn’t play up to his usual standards last year but still finished as the No. 6 fantasy quarterback. He gets a fresh start in a new offense as Matt LaFleur takes over as head coach. After averaged 2.27 touchdowns per game from 2014-17, his touchdown rate dropped to 1.56 per game last year (4.2% of his pass attempts, his lowest TD% since he took over as the starter in 2008). It’s likely that his touchdowns bounce back and he finishes in the top five. He has seven top two finishes in his career, so he’s certainly capable of outplaying his ADP.
|DeShone Kizer||Tim Boyle|
Jones led the Packers’ backfield for a long stretch before spraining his MCL. Through his first two seasons, in the 12 games where he has garnered at least 10 carries, Jones has averaged 95 total yards and 1.0 touchdown on 16.5 touches per game. He was also getting more involved as a receiver as the 2018 season wore on, catching 18 passes in his final five full games. That’s a 58-catch full-season pace, and he showed major improvement in pass protection as well. He has earned the right to be in the driver’s seat to be Green Bay’s RB1 in 2019, though HC Matt LaFleur indicated that he would like to utilize a committee of Jones and Jamaal Williams.
|Jamaal Williams||Dexter Williams||Tra Carson||Dan Vitale||Tommy Bohanon||Darrin Hall|
In 22 games in the last two seasons with a healthy Aaron Rodgers, Adams has averaged 6.5 receptions for 81 yards and 0.86 touchdowns per game. Those numbers would have been good enough for a No. 1 positional finish in 2017 and a No. 6 finish last year. The only question mark with Adams heading into 2019 is the arrival of Matt LaFleur and a new offense. Adams should continue to be the centerpiece of the passing attack, but the offense may look to spread the ball around more than in recent years.
Heading into the offseason, Geronimo Allison seemed to be the most likely candidate to become the No. 2 option behind Davante Adams. Allison had a strong start to 2018 before his injury, but MVS reportedly looked great in spring practices. His quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, agrees, “I think [Marquez Valdes-Scantling] has had a fantastic spring and really stepped up as a guy who can be an every-down player.” The rookie had a great stretch from Week 5 to Week 10, where he posted fantasy lines of 7-68-1, 3-108, 2-45-1, 3-101 and 6-44, which works out to a 67-1,155-6.4 pace over a full 16-game season. He’s unlikely to produce at that level, but he showed he was capable of it for a five-game stretch as a rookie. His production in the eight games where he saw at least five targets (3.9-62-0.25 or 62-997-4 over a full season) is a more reasonable projection assuming he has a firm grasp on the team’s WR2 job. He’s an upside fantasy WR4.
Allison started the season strong, posting receiving lines of 5-69-1 (8 targets), 6-64 (6), 2-76-1 (4) and 6-80 (11) in the first four games. That put him on a 76-catch, 1156-yard, eight-touchdown pace over a full season. He was on pace to see 116 targets so he was very much the team's WR2 before a groin/core muscle injury derailed his breakout campaign. However, it appears that Marquez Valdes-Scantling is running as the team’s WR2 in two-WR sets, so Allison looks to be slated for duties in the slot.
|Jake Kumerow||Equanimeous St. Brown||JMon Moore||Trevor Davis||Darrius Shepherd|
Graham finished with 55 catches for 636 yards and two scores in his first season with the Packers. Kevin Zatloukal’s xTD stat for Graham is 0.37 per game, so he should have caught 5-6 touchdowns instead of two. Had he caught five, he would have finished as 2018’s No. 7 fantasy tight end.
|Jace Sternberger||Marcedes Lewis||Robert Tonyan|
|K||Mason Crosby||Sam Ficken|
Watson owned the No. 1 per game average as a rookie, but only played seven games. He followed that up with a No. 3 finish at his position. He’s a bit of an injury risk behind a shaky offensive line, but he’s one of the most productive quarterbacks in fantasy and has a potent receiving corps to throw to.
|AJ McCarron||Joe Webb|
The entire Houston offense benefits when Deshaun Watson is healthy, and that includes Miller. In 21 games with Watson in the lineup, Miller has turned 17.8 touches into 83.6 yards and 0.47 touchdowns. Had he scored at that rate last season for 16 games, he would have finished as the No. 14 running back in half-PPR formats. The Texans let Alfred Blue walk, and recently cut D'Onta Foreman, but they traded for Duke Johnson, who is likely to see a fairly large role, at least in the passing game. The Johnson trade puts Miller on shaky ground once again, but he should still lead this backfield in touches.
Johnson finally got his wish to be traded, and he landed in a pretty good spot behind a vulnerable RB1 (Lamar Miller) in what should be a high-scoring offense. In the last three seasons (48 games), Johnson has turned 195 carries into 907 yards for a 4.65 yards per carry. He has caught 174 passes for 1,636 yards and scored 11 total touchdowns. The resulting 10.3 points per game (PPR) put him at a high-end RB3/low-end RB2 pace in that format on just 7.7 touches per game. Alfred Blue saw 170 touches last year, so there's a sizable role for Johnson, though the Texans haven't utilized their running backs in the passing game very often. They'll need to change their approach if Johnson is going to continue to see 3.6 receptions per game. Johnson should have standalone value in half-PPR and PPR formats, but is also a threat to to win the RB1 job outright. He's capable of being a three-down back.
|Damarea Crockett||Taiwan Jones||Cullen Gillaspia||Josh Ferguson||Karan Higdon||Buddy Howell|
Hopkins has posted back-to-back finishes in the top two (in half-PPR formats) and is one of the safest receiver picks in the first round. One thing to note: His target share in the 10 games that Keke Coutee missed was significantly higher than the target share in the six games in which Coutee played (34.8% vs. 27.7%). This resulted in a PPG that was 13% lower when Coutee was on the field. With Coutee last year, he was more of a midrange WR1 than the No. 1 fantasy receiver in football.
Fuller has averaged 4.1 catches for 71 yards and 1.0 touchdowns—which are high-end fantasy WR1 numbers—in 11 games with DeShaun Watson, but he has missed 15 games over the past two seasons. If he can stay healthy, he should return great value on his current seventh round ADP, though his injury history is obviously a big concern.
Coutee only played six games, but averaged 4.7 catches (on 6.8 targets) for 48 yards and 0.17 touchdowns per game. He added 11-110-1 in the Texans’ lone playoff game, raising his per game average to 5.6-57-0.29 over a seven-game span. Deshaun Watson indicated that the team has to find ways to get Coutee the ball since he’s so dangerous with it. He could turn into a solid WR3 if he begins to see 7+ targets per game.
|DeAndre Carter||Vyncint Smith||Tyron Johnson||Isaac Whitney||Jester Weah||Steven Mitchell||Johnnie Dixon||Chad Hansen|
As a rookie, Thomas caught 20 passes (on 27 targets) for 215 yards and four touchdowns. He saw eight red zone targets, which was the second-most on the team behind DeAndre Hopkins. The converted receiver is working as the team’s TE1 in camp and Patrick D. Star (who covers the team) said that, so far, Thomas “has made everyone that covers him look silly.” If he continues to start, he’s a threat for 8-10 touchdowns.
|Jordan Akins||Kahale Warring||Darren Fells||Jerell Adams|
In the five seasons where Luck has played 15+ games, he has finished No. 8, No. 6, No. 1, No. 4 and No. 5 at his position. He has a great offensive line and the Colts added Devin Funchess and Parris Campbell to his arsenal of receiving weapons. He should have another great year.
|Jacoby Brissett||Chad Kelly|
Mack struggled with an injury in training camp, but once he got going, he really got going. He had five games where he ran for at least 119 yards and a touchdown and saw at least 10 carries in all but two games. He was not as involved in the passing game (1.4 receptions per game), but he averaged a total of 87 yards and 0.79 touchdowns per game in 14 games, including the postseason.
|Nyheim Hines||Jonathan Williams||Jordan Wilkins||Spencer Ware|
Hilton finished as the No. 14 WR despite missing two games, and would have finished in the top 10 had he played a full season. He barely practiced once he suffered an ankle injury in Week 15, but still managed to catch 23 passes for 429 yards and a touchdown in his final five games, including the postseason. Since 2016, he has averaged 5.7 catches for 92 yards and 0.41 touchdowns in 29 games with Andrew Luck under center. His targets may get pinched a bit given the weapons that the Colts added this offseason.
Funchess turns 25 this summer and is coming off of a disappointing season. He caught just 44 passes for 549 yards and four touchdowns after posting a 63-840-8 receiving line in his third-year breakout season. His role in the Carolina offense decreased as the year went on—the Panthers instead gave work to rookie D.J. Moore and the dynamic Curtis Samuel in the back half of the season. Even Jarius Wright was seeing more snaps. It was time for a change of scenery and, football-wise, Indianapolis is about as good as it gets for Funchess. The Colts struggled to find a steady No. 2 target in the receiving corps, so they utilized TE Eric Ebron in that role. Funchess will compete with rookie Parris Campbell for No. 2 WR duties. Given the presence of Ebron (110 targets), Jack Doyle (5.5 targets per game) and Nyheim Hines (81 targets), Funchess is not a shoo-in for 100+ targets, but he should see plenty of playing time and provide Andrew Luck with another big target in the red zone. Another eight-touchdown season is within reach.
|Parris Campbell||Chester Rogers||Zach Pascal||Deon Cain||Daurice Fountain||Marcus Johnson||Steve Ishmael||Jordan Veasy||Krishawn Hogan||Ashton Dulin||Penny Hart|
Ebron turned in a No. 4 finish last season thanks in large part to the 13 touchdowns he caught. If Jack Doyle is back, Ebron is going to have a tough time replicating those numbers. While his fantasy production was actually better with Doyle on the field, that had everything to do with the 1.2 touchdowns per game he scored in the six games that Doyle was active. Otherwise his numbers were down across the board. His targets (8.8 without Doyle vs. 3.7 with Doyle), receptions (4.8 vs. 3.0) and yards (52 vs. 38) all suffered when Doyle was active. The team also signed Devin Funchess to provide Andrew Luck with another big target to utilize in the red zone.
Doyle is coming off of offseason hip surgery, but was able to run routes at full speed in OTAs, so he seems on track to be ready for Week 1. He’s also dealing with a kidney issue that is actually more of a concern than the hip, so we’ll be monitoring his health closely this summer. In 2018, only eight tight ends had a higher per game average than Doyle, though the presence of Eric Ebron obviously caps Doyle’s upside, as long as Ebron is healthy. Still, Doyle is a good value as the 16th tight end off the board in early drafts, and would have top five upside if anything were to happen to Ebron.
|Mo Alie-Cox||Ross Travis||Gabe Holmes|
|K||Adam Vinatieri||Cole Hedlund|
In his last 12 full games for the Eagles, Foles has averaged 20.3 PPG, throwing for an average of 271 yards, 1.75 touchdowns and 0.83 interceptions per game. He should be a streaming option in Jacksonville.
|Gardner Minshew||Alex McGough|
Injuries have been Fournette’s bugaboo, but he has 11+ carries in 23 of 24 games played (including the postseason) and has averaged 2.7 catches per game in that span. His career 3.65 YPC is pretty ugly, but his 0.83 touchdowns per game more than makes up for it.
|Ryquell Armstead||Alfred Blue||Thomas Rawls||Devante Mays||Roc Thomas|
Westbrook has averaged 4.0-46-0.26 in 23 games through his first two seasons. T.J. Hernandez noted, “The addition of Nick Foles should give the Jaguars’ offense a giant boost, especially in the passing game. Foles likes to throw short and in the middle of the field, a strength that matches up perfectly with Westbrook’s game as Jacksonville’s primary slot man.” Beat writer Daniel Popper said that Westbrook “is most likely to put up eye-popping numbers.” Foles reportedly took a shine to Chris Conley, and Marqise Lee could push Westbrook for targets if he can get healthy, but Westbrook is the safest pick of the bunch.
If/when Marqise Lee returns, it could change the dynamic in Jacksonville, but at this point Chark has played well enough—especially in the red zone—to likely start alongside Dede Westbrook. Chark stands 6’3” and has game-breaking 4.34 speed and 93rd percentile burst, per Player Profiler. His offensive coordinator, John DeFilippo, said that Chark is “greatly improved from the spring” because he has been “more consistent.”
|Chris Conley||Marqise Lee||Keelan Cole||Terrelle Pryor||Tre McBride||Quadree Henderson||Tyre Brady|
|TE||Geoff Swaim||Josh Oliver||James O'Shaughnessy||Ben Koyack|
All Mahomes did in his first season as the starter was post the greatest fantasy season in the history of the league. Sure, he’s bound to regress some, but he has room to regress and still be the fantasy QB1 in 2019. Other than Mahomes, there have been 15 seasons since 2000 where a quarterback has averaged 8.5+ yards per attempt on a minimum of 300 attempts. Collectively, those quarterbacks averaged 8.87 YPA. In the following season, they averaged 7.69 YPA, a 13.4% drop. Every single quarterback experienced regression, though some were more drastic than others. Mahomes’ situation (surrounding talent, coaching staff) haven’t changed, so he has a good chance to post another great fantasy season. It just may not be historic.
|Chad Henne||Chase Litton||Kyle Shurmur|
Williams took over for Kareem Hunt in mid-December and definitely looked the part. He averaged 19.4 touches for 114 yards and 1.6 touchdowns in five games (23.4 PPG in half-PPR formats), including the postseason. He averaged 5.60 YPC in that span and showed dual-threat ability, playing well enough to earn a two-year extension from the Chiefs.
|Darwin Thompson||Carlos Hyde||Darrel Williams||James Williams||Anthony Sherman||Josh Caldwell|
Hill has had a tumultuous offseason to say the least. Word came down on 7/19 that the NFL won’t suspend him in 2019, so from a projections standpoint, it appears that he will play a full 16-game season, barring injury or rest, or if new information comes to light regarding the NFL’s investigation. This puts him back in the first round of fantasy drafts, though he carries more off-field risk than the other top-producing receivers.
Watkins had a couple of low-snap games (7%, 15%) that weighed down his per game averages. When those are removed, he averaged 4.9-64-0.38 on 6.6 targets per game in eight games, which are high-end fantasy WR2 numbers. Given that he has missed 18 of his last 64 games, there is some injury risk baked into his projection, but he has as much upside as anyone being drafted in his range.
|Mecole Hardman||Demarcus Robinson||Marcus Kemp||Byron Pringle||Cody Thompson||Gehrig Dieter||Jamal Custis||Felton Davis|
Kelce has finished as the No. 1 overall tight end for three consecutive seasons and is the odds on favorite to do it again. With Tyreek Hill likely back, maybe his ceiling isn’t as high as it could be, but it’s a bad idea to bet against the Chiefs’ offense right now. He’s worth of a first round pick in all formats, and especially so in TE-premium leagues.
|Blake Bell||Deon Yelder||Neal Sterling|
A model of consistency, Rivers has thrown at least 28 touchdowns and posted at least 4,286 yards in six straight seasons. Rivers per game production has only cracked the top 15 once in the last four years but since he always plays a full season, he has three top 12 finishes in the same span. He has posted top 12 (QB1) numbers in 10 of the last 12 seasons. He does have a tendency to throw interceptions, but he has only thrown 22 total picks in the last two seasons, so he’s taking better care of the ball. He represents nice value as the 18th QB off the board.
|Tyrod Taylor||Easton Stick||Cardale Jones|
Gordon recently hamstrung his own fantasy value by demanding a new contract and threatening to hold out as long as he needs to to get a new deal. This negotiating tactic has been compared to Le’Veon Bell’s holdout, but Gordon is under contract while Bell was not, and Gordon will need to report by Week 10 to get credit for the year. Gordon believes the value of his position is second only to that of a quarterback, and that he should be compensated as such. The timing of Gordon’s demands--after both free agency and the draft, when the Chargers could have shored up the position--has put the team in a tough spot. Through his first three seasons, Gordon averaged a measly 3.8 YPC yet he considers himself to be an elite back. (He did post 5.1 YPC last season.) The Chargers could wait it out, and go with Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson at the position until Gordon likely reports in Week 10. Or they could elect to work out a long-term deal with Gordon. The situation is murky because the team’s position is not yet known. Instead of being a solid first round pick, Gordon looks like a risky third or fourth rounder until his contract situation is resolved.
Ekeler is one of my favorite late-round running back targets thanks to the every-week role he has even with Melvin Gordon in the lineup. In 14 games with Gordon, Ekeler averaged 8.5 touches for 68 yards and 0.45 touchdowns, and he has fantasy RB2 upside if anything were to happen to Gordon.
|Justin Jackson||Detrez Newsome||Derek Watt||Troymaine Pope||Jeremy Cox|
Over the past two seasons, Allen has averaged 6.2 receptions (on 9.3 targets) for 81 yards and 0.38 touchdowns per game. That’s low-end WR1 production, which is where he’s being drafted. Expect more of the same out of Allen in 2019.
Williams finished his second season with 43-664-10, which made him the No. 24 fantasy receiver in half-PPR formats thanks in large part to the 10 touchdowns. He managed that production on just 4.1 targets per game, and his usage is bound to rise with the departure of Tyrell Williams, who posted 41-653-5 on 4.0 targets per game. Even if Williams’ FP/T regresses to the average of both players, and he sees half of Tyrell’s targets, he’s looking at a fantasy finish in the teens.
|Travis Benjamin||Geremy Davis||Artavis Scott||Dylan Cantrell||Malachi Dupre||Jason Moore|
An early-offseason ACL tear delayed Henry’s breakout at least one year. The good news is that he returned to practice late last year, so he should be fully healthy for all offseason activities. His career per game average immediately places him in the top 10, and his production in three games without Antonio Gates is higher than all but Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, George Kittle and Eric Ebron last season. Three games is an extremely small sample, so another way to ballpark Henry’s projection is to apply his career fantasy points per target (half-PPR = 1.90) to an expected number of targets. A not-in-his-prime Antonio Gates saw 6.9 targets per game from 2014-16, so if Henry maintains his per-target production with that sort of usage, he’s looking at 13.1 PPG, which is basically what Kittle averaged last year. Henry should be the fourth tight end off the board this summer.
|Virgil Green||Sean Culkin||Vince Mayle|
Goff should benefit from the return of a healthy Cooper Kupp. In 23 games with Kupp over the past two seasons, Goff averaged 279 yards and 2.0 touchdowns per game. In eight games with Kupp last season (and Brandin Cooks joining the receiving corps), Goff averaged 330 yards and 2.1 touchdowns per game. The resulting 21.1 fantasy points per game would have been the third-highest production behind only Patrick Mahomes and Matt Ryan last season. He offers next to nothing as a runner, but with Kupp back and HC Sean McVay calling the shots, I have full confidence in Goff in 2019.
|Blake Bortles||Brandon Allen|
Gurley played 14 games last season before having a setback with his knee. He averaged 22.5 touches for 130.8 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game, which resulted in 24.0 points per game in half-PPR formats, far and away the highest average at his position. Unfortunately, he tweaked his knee in Week 15, sat out the last two games of the regular season, and produced mixed results in the team’s three postseason games. He had 18 touches for 118 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys, five touches for 13 yards and a score against the Saints, and then 11 touches for 34 yards against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. C.J. Anderson out-touched Gurley 46 to 34 in the three playoff games. The Rams chose not to re-sign Anderson, which is a vote of confidence for Gurley and his knee, but they did trade up to get Darrell Henderson in the draft. HC Sean McVay reportedly thought that Henderson was the most dangerous offensive player in the draft. Gurley’s workload will be scaled back, the question is how much. He’s also likely to miss a game or two even if he remains fairly healthy. At this point, he’s worth the risk near the 2/3 turn in 12-team drafts, though risk-averse owners may want to look elsewhere.
HC Sean McVay reportedly thought that Henderson was the most dangerous offensive player in the draft. When I studied “Trade Up” running backs this offseason, I found that since 2008, when teams traded up for a back in the third round, they produced 54.1% more fantasy points than their “No Trade Up” counterparts. So history is certainly working in Henderson’s favor. GM Les Snead said that Henderson brings that “[Alvin] Kamara element” to the team, so it seems clear that he’s going to be involved as a rookie. If Todd Gurley misses time, Henderson will probably split work with Malcolm Brown. Like Kamara, Henderson should hold more value in full-PPR formats.
|Malcolm Brown||John Kelly||Justin Davis|
In his last four seasons, Cooks has racked up at least 65 passes, 1,082 yards and five touchdowns. That production would be good enough for low-end WR2 numbers, and Cooks is currently the No. 17 receiver off the board, so he’s being drafted just above his floor. His three-year average would make him a high-end WR2, which is where he finished 2018, his first season with the Rams. If you’re worried about Cooper Kupp’s return--don’t. Cooks was actually significantly more productive (5.5-90-0.25 on 7.4 targets per game) in the eight games with Kupp in the lineup last year. Cooks is a safe pick in the 4th round this year.
Over the past two seasons, Woods has been a mainstay in the Rams’ offense, averaging 5.1 catches for 71 yards and 0.39 touchdowns per game. Last year, those numbers rose to 5.4-76-0.38 and he was actually more productive with Cooper Kupp in the lineup than without, so Kupp’s return shouldn’t convince drafters to shy away from Woods.
In the seven games where Kupp played at least half the snaps, he averaged 5.7 catches for 81 yards and 0.86 touchdowns on 7.9 targets. That’s a 91-1294-13.7 pace. Fantasy-wise, that’s about what Adam Thielen scored as last year’s No. 7 receiver. Since entering the league, he has played at a high-end WR2 pace.
|Josh Reynolds||KhaDarel Hodge||JoJo Natson||Mike Thomas|
Everett is definitely on my radar as a late round dart throw at the tight end position. He finished the fantasy regular season with three straight games of 6+ targets and played 59% of the snaps in the last month after playing at a 26% rate during the first 12 games. He played 58% of the snaps in the team’s three postseason games as well, so that playing time trend continued throughout the playoffs. He didn’t have much production to show for it, but he has all the physical tools (4.62 40-yard dash, other elite measurables for the position) to emerge as a viable fantasy TE1 if Todd McVay decides to use him.
|Tyler Higbee||Johnny Mundt|
|QB||Ryan Fitzpatrick||Josh Rosen||Jake Rudock|
Despite the feeling that the fantasy community views his 2018 campaign as a failure, Drake finished the season as the No. 17 back in half-PPR formats. He hasn’t been a consistent producer thus far in his career, but that was mainly due to his irregular usage under former HC Adam Gase. There’s a new regime in town and the team let Frank Gore walk, vacating 156 carries in the backfield. Kalen Ballage looms, but I think Drake is better and he has proven that he can produce when given a good workload. In 12 games where he received at least nine carries in the last two seasons, he has averaged 17.8 touches for 96 total yards and 0.50 touchdowns per game (on 4.66 yards per carry). If he scores at that rate, he’ll likely finish in the top 10 at his position. He’s a fine value in the late fourth/early fifth of fantasy drafts.
|Kalen Ballage||Kenneth Farrow||Mark Walton||Chandler Cox||Myles Gaskin||Patrick Laird|
|WR||Kenny Stills||Preston Williams|
Williams was a five-star recruit and the top-ranked receiver in the class of 2015 by Scout. He started at Tennessee and went undrafted after catching 96 passes for 1,345 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior at Colorado State. He wasn't drafted due to off-field concerns--he was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge for shoving his then-girlfriend as she was trying to move out--but has the physical profile of a Day 2 draft pick. He's reportedly lighting up Dolphins camp and has shown a good rapport with Miami's possible quarterback of the future, Josh Rosen. The Dolphins' receiving corps is headlined by Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson, DeVante Parker, so it wouldn't be too difficult for Williams to find himself in a starting role if he continues to impress.
Wilson was the No. 22 receiver through seven weeks, prior to a hip injury that ended his season. He avoided surgery and is ramping up his work in camp, although at press time he’s not yet a full go. Wilson is fully capable of soaking up targets in the slot and on underneath routes and he has plenty of speed (4.43) to get deep as well. He’s a great dart throw as a WR5 or WR6.
|DeVante Parker||Jakeem Grant||Allen Hurns||Brice Butler||Isaiah Ford||Ricardo Louis||Reece Horn||Saeed Blacknall|
|TE||Mike Gesicki||Dwayne Allen||Clive Walford||Nick O'Leary||Durham Smythe|
Despite a good per game average and two great receiving options, Cousins’ value is depressed thanks to Minnesota’s run-heavy attack late in the season under Kevin Stefanski. The team’s pace slowed by 6.4 plays per game and had an almost-even run/pass split in three games under Stefanski. As a result, Cousins’ per game production dropped to 15.8 PPG in that span. This doesn’t bode well for 2019.
|Sean Mannion||Kyle Sloter||Jake Browning|
In 15 games over the last two seasons, Cook has averaged 17.2 touches for 90.9 total yards and 0.40 touchdowns per game. That equates to 13.2 points per game in half-PPR formats. Had he played 16 games at that pace, he would have finished as the No. 12 running back in 2018. One thing really working in Cook’s favor is the Vikings’ decision to promote Kevin Stefanski from interim OC to full-time OC. In four games under Stefanski last year, Cook averaged 18.0 touches for 103.5 yards and 0.75 touchdowns per game. The resulting 16.5 points per game is more than what Joe Mixon scored as the No. 9 running back last year. The big question is -- can he stay healthy?
|Alexander Mattison||Mike Boone||Ameer Abdullah||DeAngelo Henderson||C.J. Ham|
Like his quarterback and fellow WR Adam Thielen, Diggs’ volume suffered under Kevin Stefanski once he was promoted to play-calling duties in Week 15. Diggs targets dropped from 10.4 per game for the first 12 weeks to 7.7 per game for the final three weeks. In fact, he averaged almost as many receptions for the first 13 weeks (7.3 per game) as he did targets in the final three. He did catch a touchdown in each game, but only averaged 35 yards under Stefanski.
Thielen’s drop in production late in the season is concerning. The Vikings fired Joe DeFilippo as offensive coordinator and promoted Kevin Stefanski to the position. The team’s pace slowed by 6.4 plays per game and had an almost-even run/pass split in three games under Stefanski. Thielen’s production dropped from 7.9-95-0.69 in his first 13 games to 3.3-46-0.0 in his last three games. His targets dropped from 11.0 to 4.0 per game. He’s too good to produce at those lower levels, but he’s no longer a no-brainer fantasy WR1 with Stefanski calling the plays.
|Chad Beebe||Olabisi Johnson||Brandon Zylstra||Jeff Badet||Jordan Taylor||Laquon Treadwell||Dillon Mitchell|
|TE||Kyle Rudolph||Irv Smith Jr.||David Morgan||Tyler Conklin||Cole Hikutini|
|K||Dan Bailey||Kaare Vedvik|
Since 2016, Brady’s numbers have suffered with Gronk sidelined. Brady’s yardage (-5.4%), touchdowns (-12.9%), YPA (-8.6%) and fantasy production (-9.8%) have all suffered in the 11 games that Gronk was sidelined. Still, he averaged 272 yards in the five games that Gronk has missed over the last two years and his expected touchdowns (2.52) suggests that he left some points on the field in those games. The team will have a full offseason to prepare for life without Gronkowski, so they should have a plan in place to make Brady successful.
|Brian Hoyer||Jarrett Stidham|
Michel had a scope on his troublesome knee after the season, but has been reportedly running at “full tilt” this summer. Michel finished with 209 carries for 931 yards (4.5 YPC) and six scores in 13 games at a rookie, but he has to deal with a crowded backfield that includes James White, Rex Burkhead and third round rookie Damien Harris. The Patriots used a first round pick on Michel, so he’s likely to lead this backfield in carries as long as he’s healthy.
White finished as the No. 7 running back in PPR formats and No. 11 in standard yet he’s going significantly later in fantasy drafts. With Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan retired/gone, there should still be a sizable role for White in the passing game. White’s numbers did take a dip when Rex Burkhead was available, but White should continue to lead this backfield in receptions.
|Rex Burkhead||Damien Harris|
Given their depth at the position, the Patriots raised some eyebrows when they drafted Harris in the third round, raising questions about the health of Sony Michel’s knee. With Michel, James White and Rex Burkhead on the roster, Harris may not have a big role right away, but if/when the injuries start to pile up, Harris has the three-down ability to take advantage.
|James Develin||Brandon Bolden||Nick Brossette|
In 13 games (including the playoffs), Edelman played at a 102-catch, 1232-yard, 7.4-touchdown pace. Rob Gronkowski has retired, which will leave Edelman as the primary weapon in the passing game, if he isn’t already. In the 11 games since 2016 with Gronkowski sidelined, Edelman has averaged 6.9 catches for 84 yards and 0.27 touchdowns per game. Those are solid WR1 numbers in PPR and half-PPR formats, yet Edelman is going off the board as a midrange WR2.
|Josh Gordon||Phillip Dorsett||N'Keal Harry|
The Patriots drafted Harry in the first round, signaling that they very much value his services as a replacement for Josh Gordon and/or Chris Hogan. Harry came in as Kevin Zatloukal’s No. 1 receiver in his Rookie Success Model, so the data supports success for Harry, at least within his first three years. He made a strong first impression at spring workouts, and should settle in as the No. 2/No. 3 target in the passing game after Julian Edelman (and perhaps James White).
|Jakobi Meyers||Maurice Harris||Demaryius Thomas||Braxton Berrios||Dontrelle Inman||Matt Slater||Damoun Patterson|
|TE||Ben Watson||Matt LaCosse||Lance Kendricks||Ryan Izzo||Stephen Anderson||Andrew Beck||Eric Saubert|
After 11-straight finishes in the top six at his position from 2006 to 2016, Brees has finished No. 10 and No. 8 in the last two seasons, thanks in large part in a drop in volume as the Saints have gone more run-heavy offensively. From 2006 to 2016, the Saints averaged 641.5 pass attempts per season. Over the last two seasons, they have averaged 527.5 pass attempts. Brees’ increase in efficiency has offset some of this loss in volume, but he’s no longer a no-brainer QB1. However, he is still elite at home--he averaged 322 yards and 3.0 pass touchdowns in eight home games last season.
|Teddy Bridgewater||Taysom Hill|
In the four games during Mark Ingram’s suspension last season, Kamara averaged 22.8 touches for 153 total yards and 1.5 touchdowns. It was incredible production, but when Ingram returned, Kamara’s workload dropped considerably to 16.7 touches per game. That’s still RB1 usage for a player of Kamara’s efficiency, but one has to wonder how much Kamara’s workload will increase now that Ingram has been replaced by Latavius Murray (if at all). The Saints gave Murray the second-most guaranteed money in free agency--$7.2 million, more than what Ingram got from the Ravens--and that indicates that they plan to use him in a two-back committee. Kamara is a solid fantasy RB1, but don’t expect early-2018 usage in 2019, as long as Murray is in the picture.
Mark Ingram averaged 13.3 touches per game last season and 18.0 touches per game the year before, so the role he’s vacating is sizable. Alvin Kamara will be the clear leader in backfield touches, but if Murray sees Ingram’s 2018 rushing workload (11.5 per game) at his career 4.1 YPC, he’s looking at around 48 yards per game just as a runner. Throw in a half touchdown per game and half of Ingram’s receiving production and Murray could post a low-end fantasy RB2 season, and he’d have RB1 upside if anything were to happen to Kamara.
|Dwayne Washington||Zach Line||Devine Ozigbo||Michael Burton||Matthew Dayes||Kerwynn Williams||Jacquizz Rodgers|
Thomas has averaged 7.2 receptions for 83 yards and 0.44 touchdowns over the past two seasons. Thomas’s situation hasn’t changed much since last season so he’s one of the safest receivers available in the first or second round.
Ginn has played at a 56-797-5 (16-game) pace in his last 20 games. Those are low-end WR3 numbers. He’ll have to fend off Tre’Quan Smith for starter’s snaps opposite Michael Thomas.
|TreQuan Smith||Emmanuel Butler||Keith Kirkwood||Austin Carr||Cyril Grayson||Travin Dural||Simmie Cobbs||Lil'Jordan Humphrey|
Cook finished as the No. 5 tight end last season, turning 101 targets into 68 catches for 896 yards and six touchdowns. It was his best fantasy season of his career and he subsequently signed a deal with the Saints that averaged $7.5 million per year. It’s feasible that he’ll see the third-most targets on the team behind Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. The Saints’ tight end coach, Dan Campbell, has raved about Cook this offseason, called him a “phenomenal athlete” who can “really help” the team provide a “vertical stretch down the field.”
|Josh Hill||Garrett Griffin||Dan Arnold||Alize Mack|
|QB||Eli Manning||Daniel Jones||Kyle Lauletta||Alex Tanney|
Barkley will once again be the centerpiece of the Giants’ offense, though prospective owners should be aware that he scored roughly 17% fewer fantasy points in the four games that Odell Beckham missed last season. The Giants are likely to be bad, but Barkley’s usage should be there even if he doesn’t get as many scoring opportunities.
|Wayne Gallman||Rod Smith||Elijhaa Penny||Paul Perkins||Jon Hilliman|
The Giants are not a terrible landing spot for Tate. The quarterback situation could be (a lot) better, but there are a boatload of targets available after the Odell Beckham trade. Tate had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2016 and 2017 and was on pace for 1,182 yards through seven games with the Lions in 2018 before being traded to the Eagles. It's unlikely that he'll be a 90-catch/1,000-yard player in the Giants' run-heavy offense, but he could catch between 70-80 balls for 800-900 yards if things break his way in New York. This signing is not good news for Sterling Shepard or Evan Engram since Tate is capable of soaking up a lot of targets.
The Giants gave Shepard $41 million after signing Golden Tate to a deal worth almost $38 million, so it looks like this will be a 1a/1b situation in terms of targets, and since Tate is typically a high-target player, he could out-target Shepard this season. Shepard’s production certainly increased when Odell Beckham was sidelined. In 11 games over the last three seasons without Beckham, Shepard averaged 5.3 catches for 68 yards and 0.18 touchdowns. Those are low-end WR2 numbers and he would have some upside from there if he simply posted his three-year touchdown rate of 0.33 per game. That would make him a solid fantasy WR2. The primary issue is Tate and how many of Beckham’s targets he’ll soak up. Beckham averaged 10.4 targets per game in the last three seasons while Tate averaged 7.5 T/G in his last two seasons with the Lions. Shepard averaged 6.3 T/G with Beckham in the lineup and 8.5 T/G without. With the Giants likely to go run-heavy, will Shepard get enough volume to post fantasy WR2 numbers? He has been a solid fantasy WR3 with Beckham in the lineup and that’s about where he’s being drafted right now. The other red flag is that Eli Manning’s production is tailing off.
|Cody Latimer||Bennie Fowler||Russell Shepard||Darius Slayton||Brittan Golden||Alonzo Russell||Reggie White Jr.||T.J. Jones||Da'Mari Scott||Alex Wesley|
There is reason to be optimistic about Engram’s upside in 2019. Odell Beckham has been traded away, and Engram has played at a 76-945-6.0 pace in the 15 games over the last two seasons when Beckham has been sidelined. That pace jumps to 82-1043-5.8 when the four games that Sterling Shepard missed are excluded. (In other words, he was more efficient with Shepard in the lineup than without him, which bodes well for 2019.) The wild card is Golden Tate, who has been a target hog at times in his career. There is also the matter of the substandard targets of Eli Manning, who is well past his prime. Most signs point to a career year for Engram, but between Tate and Manning, there are a few different reasons why he may fail to live up to expectations.
|Rhett Ellison||Scott Simonson||C.J. Conrad|
Darnold struggled for most of his rookie season, scoring 14+ points in just one of his first eight games before getting injured in Week 9. When he came back, he had two 21+ point games in his last four. Rookie quarterbacks who have started a minimum of 12 games tend to fall into one of two categories. Either they average 17.0+ PPG or they average less than 14.0 PPG as rookies. The “good” rookie quarterbacks see their PPG decline by 6.0% in their second season, on average. The “bad” rookie quarterbacks see an average PPG increase of 26% in year two. Applying this increase to Darnold’s rookie year PPG (13.0) would yield 16.4 PPG, or solid QB2-type numbers.
|Trevor Siemian||Davis Webb||Luke Falk|
The 27-year-old Bell should return to action with a bellcow workload for the Jets, but there are a couple of red flags. New HC Adam Gase tends to use multiple backs, but he did have a pair of backs with 240+ carries (Knowshon Moreno in 2013 and Jay Ajay in 2016) in his six seasons as an offensive coordinator or head coach. Also, Gase reportedly did not want to sign Bell to a big contract, and Jets GM Mike Maccagnan was fired after the Draft in May. For what it’s worth, Gase seems to have put his feelings about the signing behind him saying, "Everybody can criticize the contract all you want, but he's here. When you get a chance to coach a great player, I'm excited for that opportunity." The final issue is the quality of the Jets’ offensive line, which was last in the league in Adjusted Line Yards (per Football Outsiders). Since Bell can also generate points as a receiver, this is less of a concern that it would be with more run-oriented backs.
|Ty Montgomery||Bilal Powell||Trenton Cannon||Elijah McGuire|
Coming off of 63 catches for 941 yards and seven scores in his second season (and a No. 16 finish in half-PPR leagues), Anderson had a big Week 5 in 2018 (3-123-2 against the Broncos), but was otherwise disappointing through Week 13. Then, something strange happened: Anderson and Sam Darnold started to click. In consecutive games, Anderson posted receiving lines of 4-76-1, 7-96-1 and 9-140-1, averaging 9.8 targets per game in his last four. It helped that Quincy Enunwa was out, and there are market share concerns heading into 2019—the Jets signed Jamison Crowder and Le’Veon Bell—but it certainly helps that Anderson seems to have a fan in new HC Adam Gase, who raved earlier this year about Anderson’s speed and how smoothly he tracks the ball downfield.
The Jets gave Crowder $9.5 million per year in free agency, which shows intent. Adam Gase has had success with slot receivers in the past. Wes Welker had 73 catches when Gase was the OC in Denver in 2013. Jarvis Landry had 96 catches in 2016 and 112 catches in 2017 after Gase took over the team. A 33-year-old Danny Amendola led Miami in receptions (59) last year. Crowder has had fantasy success in the past, finishing No. 30 in 2016 and No. 37 in 2017, but he was not healthy in 2018. The other issue is that the Jets already have Robby Anderson and target-hog Quincy Enunwa, who has a similar skillset as Crowder.
|Quincy Enunwa||Deontay Burnett||Josh Bellamy||Greg Dortch||Charone Peake||J.J. Jones||Deonte Thompson||Tim White|
As a rookie, Herndon finished No. 12 in points per snap in both standard and PPR formats. He only played about 63% of the snaps as a rookie, but if his playing time increases to 80% and he maintains his point per snap efficiency, then he's likely to finish in the top 10 on a per game basis. Unfortunately, he was slapped with a four-game suspension, so owners will have to wait until Week 6 before they can use Herndon in their lineups.
|Ryan Griffin||Trevon Wesco||Eric Tomlinson||Daniel Brown|
The arrival of a bona fide elite WR1 (Antonio Brown) is great for Carr, but is it enough to turn him into a QB1? His career was certainly trending that way after a No. 14 finish in his second season (2015) and a No. 13 finish in (2016). Since then, he has posted back-to-back disappointing finishes (No. 22 and No. 18) in the last two seasons, and there were serious questions about whether Jon Gruden was committed to Carr as his franchise quarterback. It appears now that Gruden will move forward with Carr. Brown’s presence in Pittsburgh served to raise Ben Roethlisberger’s FP/Att by 10.2%, so if Brown sees a similar target share and posts similar per-target production in Oakland, then Carr’s per-attempt production should rise by about the same amount. Assuming the same volume as last year, that sort of rise would have made Carr the No. 15 QB instead of the No. 18 QB in 2018, so a QB1-type season is within reach if Carr exceeds expectations and/or Gruden cranks up his volume. The Raiders also added Tyrell Williams and cut Jordy Nelson.
|Mike Glennon||Nathan Peterman|
Jacobs should see a big workload in his rookie season. Oakland has roughly 18.2 touches per game vacated by Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin, though the team did re-sign Martin after Isaiah Crowell’s injury. (This is probably a net gain for Jacobs since Crowell is better than Martin at this point.) From 1998-2007, Jon Gruden’s lead backs averaged 266.1 touches on an average of 14.7 games played. That works out to 18.1 touches per game for Gruden’s top back, so assuming Jacobs can keep Jalen Richard at bay on passing downs, he should see 250-280 touches. Moreover, the Oakland offensive line blocked pretty well in the running game last season, finishing No. 13 in Adjusted Line Yards at Football Outsiders. Of this year’s running back draft class, Jacobs easily fared the best in Kevin Zatloukal’s model that predicts a back’s chances of success in his first three seasons.
|Doug Martin||Jalen Richard||DeAndre Washington||Keith Smith|
Effectively, Derek Carr was almost as productive on a per attempt basis as Ben Roethlisberger was when he was throwing to any receiver not named Antonio Brown. This indicates that the drop off from Roethlisberger to Carr is not as severe as it appears on the surface, so despite the historical trend that free agent receivers tend to decline, Brown has a good chance to maintain his status as an elite fantasy receiver. He should easily soak up double-digit targets, though the fact that Jon Gruden wasn’t able to get much of anything out of Amari Cooper (before he blew up after a midseason trade to the Cowboys) is a bit worrisome.
Williams is a good player, but he was something of a forgotten man for the Chargers the last two seasons after catching 69 passes for 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns as a second-year player in 2016. Unfortunately, he didn’t crack 70 targets in either 2017 or 2018. The good news is that after Antonio Brown and Williams, there isn’t a whole lot of receiving talent on the roster. The team lost Jared Cook (101 targets), Jordy Nelson (88), Seth Roberts (64) and Amari Cooper (31) from last year’s team, so there’s room for Williams to get 90+ targets even if Brown sees a monster target share. Oakland signed him to a deal worth $11.1 million per season, which was the biggest per season signing at the position this year, and that certainly shows intent. As a 27-year-old with good size, speed and a history of production, Williams is an intriguing pick in the double-digit rounds.
|Hunter Renfrow||J.J. Nelson||Marcell Ateman||Dwayne Harris||Keon Hatcher||Ryan Grant||Keelan Doss||Jordan Lasley|
The Raiders let Jared Cook (68-896-6) walk without even offering him a contract, and have basically handed the keys to Waller to see what he can do. Waller is a converted receiver with ridiculous measurables now that he’s moved to the tight end position: 4.46 40-yard dash, a 99th percentile speed score, an 89th-percentile burst score, an 82nd-percentile agility score and a 96th-percentile catch radius per Player Profiler.
|Foster Moreau||Derek Carrier||Luke Willson|
Since the beginning of the 2017 season, Wentz has averaged 20.1 fantasy points per game, which is solid QB1 production. His 2018 production is considered a disappointment, but if we ignore his three-interception debacle in New Orleans, he averaged 19.0 fantasy points in his other 10 games, which is about what Philip Rivers scored as 2018's No. 13 fantasy quarterback. He had the third-highest per game average through 13 games in 2017, so he has proven top five upside.
|Nate Sudfeld||Clayton Thorson||Cody Kessler|
Sanders’ offseason got off to a rough start since he missed all of spring practices with a hamstring injury. But he has been turning heads in camp and is ascending the depth chart. He checked in with the second-highest chance of success in Kevin Zatloukal’s new running back model and finished third when Kevin’s three models are averaged. There is upside here, but he may not get a big workload until he’s able to put Jordan Howard in his rear view mirror.
The Eagles traded a sixth round pick for Howard prior to selecting Miles Sanders in the draft. Sanders missed all of spring practices due to a hamstring injury, so he’s behind and Howard is likely to lead the Philadelphia backfield in carries for the first half of the season, perhaps longer.
|Darren Sproles||Wendell Smallwood||Corey Clement||Josh Adams||Donnel Pumphrey||Boston Scott|
Since 2017, Jeffery has played at a 70-886-9.1 pace in 23 games with Carson Wentz at quarterback. Those are midrange fantasy WR2 numbers, and what we would expect from Jeffery if not for the addition of DeSean Jackson. Jackson’s presence will likely help Jeffery’s efficiency (i.e. his targets will be better since the defense will have to account for Jackson), but Jeffery’s targets could get pinched. The Eagles have many mouths to feed including Jeffery, Jackson, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and Nelson Agholor. We’re expecting a midrange WR3 season in 2019.
D-Jax can still fly, and he can still be productive when he’s healthy enough to play. He has missed six games in his last two seasons, but when he was on the field last year, he played at a 3.4-65-0.33 clip on 6.3 targets per game. His speed is a good match for Carson Wentz’s deep ball, which was improved in 2018. He’s a better fit for best ball leagues but can be deployed as a high-upside WR3/WR4 in regular redraft leagues as well.
|Nelson Agholor||JJ Arcega-Whiteside||Mack Hollins||Marken Michel||Shelton Gibson||Charles Johnson||Braxton Miller||Carlton Agudosi|
Errz finished with an eye-popping 116 receptions for 1163 yards and eight scores in his sixth season. The only reason for concern is the number of mouths to feed in Philly. His targets dropped from 11.0 per game without Alshon Jeffery to 9.5 per game in the 13 games that Jeffery played, and now DeSean Jackson joins the fray. The Eagles would also like to get Dallas Goedert more involved. I consider Ertz to be the No. 3 TE this year.
|Dallas Goedert||Richard Rodgers||Joshua Perkins||Will Tye|
Over the past two seasons, Roethlisberger has averaged 0.63 fantasy points per pass attempt directed at Brown. He has averaged 0.46 fantasy points per pass attempt (FP/PA) to all other Pittsburgh wide receivers. In the two games that Brown missed, Roethlisberger's passing yards dropped by 13%, his YPA dropped by 9%, his touchdowns dropped by 27% and his fantasy points per game dropped by 18%.
|Joshua Dobbs||Mason Rudolph||Devlin Hodges|
In 13 games as the lead back last season, Conner turned 20.8 touches into 113.1 yards and 1.0 touchdown per game, resulting in the No. 8 per game average in half-PPR formats. The only question heading into 2019 is his workload. There have been rumblings that the Steelers plan to spread the ball around to their other backs, namely Jaylen Samuels (who is a very good receiver) and rookie Benny Snell, who may spell Conner on early downs. Conner is still deserving of a pick in the late first round, but his workload is not a given.
|Jaylen Samuels||Benny Snell Jr.||Roosevelt Nix||Trey Edmunds||Ralph Webb|
Smith-Schuster averaged 10.4 T/G in his second season, blossoming into a bona fide fantasy WR1. He’s going to see more defensive attention with Antonio Brown gone, but he should be able to handle it. In the three games that Brown missed over the past two seasons, Smith-Schuster posted receiving lines of 6-75-1 (7 targets), 9-143-1 (10) and 5-37-1 (10). Draft JuJu with confidence.
The former second-rounder was highly productive in college, racking up 145 catches for 2929 yards and 23 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Oklahoma State. He won the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver in 2017 and was a favorite of #ReceptionPerception creator Matt Harmon as he evaluated last year’s draft class. After a strong preseason—catching seven passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns—The former second-rounder was highly productive in college, racking up 145 catches for 2929 yards and 23 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Oklahoma State. He won the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver in 2017 and was a favorite of #ReceptionPerception creator Matt Harmon as he evaluated last year’s draft class. After a strong preseason—catching seven passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns—Washington had a quiet rookie year, catching just 16 balls for 217 yards and a touchdown on 30 targets, but there wasn’t much room for Washington in the offense with Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster gobbling up 166+ targets apiece. Even though he was playing fifth fiddle in the passing game, Washington still played 55% of the snaps and had two of his best games late in the season, posting 3-65 on four targets against the Patriots in Week 15 and 3-64 on three targets in Week 17 with Brown sidelined. Recent reports say that Donte Moncrief is well ahead of Washington on the depth chart, while Washington is having trouble holding off Dionte Johnson to be the team’s WR3.
Camp reports have consistently said that Moncrief has been running as the No. 2 option after JuJu Smith-Schuster, so I have flipped Moncrief and James Washington in our projections. If Moncrief truly is the WR2, he’s going to be a screaming value in the ninth or 10th round. Antonio Brown vacated 168 targets so there is plenty of room for one or two players to emerge in this offense.
|Diontae Johnson||Ryan Switzer||Diontae Spencer||Eli Rogers||Johnny Holton|
McDonald is capable of expanding his role in the Pittsburgh passing offense. He caught a solid 50 balls (on 73 targets) for 610 yards and four touchdowns, and he even missed Week 1. He finished as the No. 10 tight end in PPR formats and should see a significant increase in playing time now that Jesse James is out of the way. McDonald played on 55% of the snaps last season while James played 50%, so unless the Steelers decide to directly replace James with another player, McDonald’s playing time should surpass 70%. If he stays healthy and plays starter’s snaps, he’ll finish in the top 10 and has upside from there.
|Xavier Grimble||Zach Gentry|
|K||Chris Boswell||Matthew Wright|
Wilson has three Top 3 finishes in the last five years, but the Seahawks’ run-heavy ways have made Wilson’s scoring heavily dependent on his ability to throw touchdowns. His 8.2% touchdown rate was the seventh highest since 2000. Patrick Mahomes was one of the seven, so excluding him, the other five quarterbacks experienced a drop of 34.7% in their touchdown rate, which would put Wilson at 5.3%, well below his career average of 6.0%. I feel comfortable penciling in Wilson for another 29-30 passing touchdowns, but unless the Seahawks increase his passing volume (unlikely, from the sound of it) or he runs more frequently, he’s going to have a tough time posting Top 5 numbers.
|Geno Smith||Paxton Lynch||J.T. Barrett|
Last year at this time, Carson was expected to lose the lead back job to rookie Rashaad Penny, but that never happened and Carson finished with 1,314 total yards and nine touchdowns on 267 touches. He had some sort of a procedure done on his knee, though he's a full go at camp. With Mike Davis (146 touches) now in Chicago, there is plenty of room or Penny’s role to grow without affecting Carson’s workload, but Carson is making a case for a 300-touch season. He's apparently shown good hands as a receiver, and the Seahawks want to double his targets. He's reportedly taking at least two-thirds of the snaps in camp with the starters, with Penny rotating in occasionally. Carson is a great pick at his current ADP in the fourth round, but I think he might be going in the third by late August.
As a rookie, Penny was unable to beat out Chris Carson for the RB1 job, and finished third in the backfield touches (94), yards (494) and touchdowns (2). No. 2 back Mike Davis has moved on, so his 146 touches are up for grabs. Carson is probably unable to handle much more than the 19.1 touches that he saw last season, so if Penny is able to take over all of Davis’s touches, he could turn into a 16-touch back, assuming the team’s rushing volume doesn’t drop much. It’s feasible that both Seattle running backs can be fantasy RB2s in 2019.
|J.D. McKissic||C.J. Prosise||Bo Scarbrough||Travis Homer||Tre Madden||Nick Bellore|
Lockett finished as the No. 11 receiver in standard formats and No. 17 in PPR, and that was with Doug Baldwin leading the team in targets (73). Those targets are up for grabs, so there’s a good chance that Lockett will be able to build on the 70 targets that he saw last season, which should offset any potential loss in efficiency. He’s a solid fantasy WR2.
|DK Metcalf||Jaron Brown||David Moore||Gary Jennings||John Ursua||Jazz Ferguson||Amara Darboh||Keenan Reynolds|
|TE||Will Dissly||Nick Vannett||Ed Dickson||Jacob Hollister|
In eight games with the 49ers where he attempted at least 26 passes, Garoppolo posted an average of 283 yards, 1.4 touchdowns and 1.0 interceptions per game, for a 16.0 fantasy points per game average. If he’s able to play a full season at that pace, he’s looking at a high-end QB2 finish.
|Nick Mullens||C.J. Beathard|
Coleman turns 26 in April, and although his 2018 season is viewed as a disappointment, he still gained 1,076 total yards and scored nine times on 199 touches, including 4.8 yards per carry. Over the past three seasons, Coleman has shown RB1 upside when he receives 10+ carries, though he’s joining a crowded backfield that also features Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida.
|Matt Breida||Jerick McKinnon||Raheem Mostert||Jeff Wilson||Kyle Juszczyk||Brandon Wilds|
The rookie played at a 64-989-11 pace (on a 99-target pace) over his final six games. He should be a full-time starter and enjoy a QB upgrade in his second season. He’s an intriguing breakout candidate typically available in the seventh round.
Dante Pettis has not had a good camp, and the team is reportedly trying to find a receiver to "start alongside Marquise Goodwin this season." In eight games over the last two seasons with Jimmy Garoppolo, Goodwin has played at a 72-984-4 full-season pace, and should have played at an 8.8-touchdown pace according to Kevin Zatloukal's xTD statistic.
Samuel posted 62-882-11 in his senior season at South Carolina. He missed most of his junior season, but had an impressive 59-783-1 (adding 98 yards and six touchdowns on the ground) as a sophomore. Two beat writers have projected that Samuel would start as the 49ers’ “Z” receiver, making him a starter opposite Dante Pettis. George Kittle is likely going to lead this team in targets, but Samuel could be a good value in the later rounds, especially in PPR formats. Kendrick Bourne posted 30 catches for 361 yards (on 45 targets) in eight starts last year. Samuel finished as the seventh-best prospect in Kevin Zatloukal’s WR Success Model.
|Jalen Hurd||Kendrick Bourne||Trent Taylor||Richie James||Jordan Matthews||Max McCaffrey|
Kittle finished as the No. 3 tight end last season, catching 88 passes (on 136 targets) for 1,377 yards and five touchdowns. The offense as a whole should improve with the return of Jimmy Garoppolo. He should continue to post great numbers and is worth a second or third round pick on draft day. It’s worth paying up for a position that is so top-heavy.
|Ross Dwelley||Garrett Celek||Kaden Smith||Levine Toilolo|
|K||Robbie Gould||Jon Brown|
Winston’s value has spiked since the arrival of new head coach Bruce Arians, who appears to be very committed to the former Heisman winner. In the 20 games over the past two seasons in which Winston attempted at least 25 passes—a way of filtering out a few of those games where Winston either did not start or was benched during the game—he has averaged 19.4 PPG. In 11 such games in 2018, he averaged 20.0 PPG. Those are top eight numbers. Arians’ history with Carson Palmer—20.8 PPG playing for Arians in 38 games from 2015-17—makes this look like a great pairing. If he’s going in the double-digit rounds, he’ll be a fantastic late-round quarterback option. Arians should be able to get the most out of Winston, especially with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard in the fold.
|Blaine Gabbert||Ryan Griffin|
Jones had a brutal rookie season, but the former second rounder gets a fresh start with a new regime led by Bruce Arians. There have been multiple positive reports about his play in spring workouts, but The Athletic’s Greg Auman still believes that Peyton Barber is the starter and is likely to lead the team in rushing yards. As camp opened, Jones made several big plays and drew praise from Arians, who indicated that Jones and Barber were in a camp battle for the starting job. One intriguing thing about Jones is that he finished second in the 2018 RB class in Kevin Zatloukal’s RB success model.
Despite good offseason reports regarding Ronald Jones, it appears that the Bucs will go into the 2019 season with Barber as their lead back. When new HC Bruce Arians was asked about which players surprised him when he was self-scouting the team, he mentioned Barber. “I love him, for a man that size. You know, when you watched the tape, you don’t see him as 230 [pounds]. You think he’s a 205-pound running back because he’s got great feet,” Arians said of Barber. “Not every back’s going to be a home run hitter. He gets those 10, 15-yard runs breaking tackles, power runner, punishing runner. When we’re building something, that’s the kind I want to build around.” Barber finished as the No. 27 running back in half-PPR formats, but he’s the 46th running back off the board in the double-digit rounds. For owners going WR/TE-heavy in the early rounds, Barber is a good target later in the draft. If the new regime can get Barber’s YPC up from 3.7 to 4.0, and he scores two additional touchdowns, he’s looking at a low-end RB2 finish.
|Andre Ellington||Bruce Anderson||Dare Ogunbowale|
Evans followed up a No. 18 finish in 2017 with a No. 8 finish in 2018. He’s currently the eighth receiver off the board, so fantasy owners believe we’ll see a repeat of 2018. There’s a new regime in town, while DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries are no longer around to threaten his targets. The Bucs still have Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard, so we don’t expect Evans targets to increase too much, but he should do well in Bruce Arians’ scheme.
Godwin finished strong in 2017, posting 3-98 on six targets against the Panthers in Week 16 and 7-111-1 on 12 targets against the Saints in Week 17. In the five games as a rookie where he played at least 50% of the snaps, he averaged 4.2 catches for 73 yards and 0.20 touchdowns on 7.2 targets per game. In 2018, he finished the season as the No. 25 receiver despite the fact that he played more than 70% of the snaps in just six games, five of which came with DeSean Jackson mostly sidelined from Week 13 to Week 17. Godwin is expected to start, play some slot, and “is going to be close to a 100-catch guy,” per new HC Bruce Arians. Everything is lining up for a breakout season in 2019.
Watson was a favorite of Kevin Zatloukal’s Rookie WR Success Model, coming in ahead of Christian Kirk, Courtland Sutton and Calvin Ridley, though his gaudy stats (81 catches for 1083 yards and 14 touchdowns) against questionable competition had something to do with that. However, Watson’s measurables (4.49 40-yard dash, 87th percentile speed score, 88th percentile burst score and a 92nd-percentile catch radius, per Player Profiler) also contributed to his strong finish in Kevin’s model. The team let Adam Humphries walk in free agency and traded away DeSean Jackson, so Watson just has to beat out Breshad Perriman to get on the field with regularity.
|Breshad Perriman||Bobo Wilson||Scott Miller||Anthony Johnson||DaMarkus Lodge|
Bruce Arians has a reputation for underutilizing the tight end position in the passing game, so the usage of Howard in 2019 is a bit of an unknown. Arians actually won’t be calling plays—new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will have that duty—but Arians will surely have a heavy hand in designing the offense. Keep in mind that Arians hasn’t had a tight end of Howard’s caliber in his 14 years as an offensive coordinator or head coach. His most productive tight end was Heath Miller, who averaged 3.6 catches for 41 yards and 0.27 touchdowns in 74 games under Arians, though Miller’s best season (76-789-6) would certainly be a good season for Howard, who was in the midst of a breakout season when he injured his foot and ankle in Week 11. He was the No. 6 fantasy tight end at that point. Given Arians’ history, Howard is a bit of a risk/reward pick in the middle rounds, but it’s usually smart to bet on talent, and Howard has it.
|Cameron Brate||Antony Auclair||Jordan Leggett|
|K||Matt Gay||Cairo Santos|
Mariota’s career has weirdly tailed off after a good start. In his first two seasons, Mariota played 27 games and averaged 231 yards passing (7.60 YPA), 1.67 pass touchdowns, 0.70 interceptions, 23 rushing yards and 0.15 rushing touchdowns for 17.4 fantasy points per game. His per game fantasy production was the 17th-best at his position in that span, ahead of Philip Rivers, Jameis Winston and Alex Smith. In 29 games over the last two seasons, he has averaged just 199 yards passing (7.35 YPA), 0.83 pass touchdowns, 0.79 interceptions, 23 rushing yards and 0.24 rushing touchdowns for a per game average of 13.3 fantasy points. Delanie Walker is back and the team added A.J. Brown in the draft and Adam Humphries in free agency, so the Titans seem to be prioritizing the passing game heading into 2019.
Henry finished with 1,059 rushing yards, but 55% of that total came in the team’s last four games. He was hitting a few waiver wires before that outburst. His value is going to depend mainly on his workload. Are the Titans committed to getting him going even if he struggles early in games? He’s a risky pick in the third round.
Lewis averaged 15.0 touches per game and played 65% of the snaps through Week 14, but once Derrick Henry had his monster game against the Jaguars that week, Lewis’ work dried up. He averaged just 6.3 touches and played 40% of the snaps in the final three games. If Henry is going to see a bigger workload, it’s going to come at Lewis’s expense. He’s still a good player and has RB2 upside if anything were to happen to Henry.
|David Fluellen||Jeremy McNichols||Dalyn Dawkins||Alex Barnes||Ryan Hewitt|
Davis finished as the No. 27 receiver in his sophomore season, catching 65 passes for 891 yards and four touchdowns on 112 targets. He’s one of 12 receivers since 2000 who have posted 800 to 1,000 yards in their age 23 sophomore season. The other 11 receivers increased their per game targets by 10%, their receptions by 8%, their yards by 5% and their touchdowns by 11%. Applying those increases to Davis’s sophomore production results in a 70-catch, 936-yard, 4.4-touchdown season. That sort of production would have resulted in a high-end WR3/low-end WR2 finish in each of the last two years. On the negative side, the Titans added quite a bit to their passing game this offseason, signing Adam Humphries and drafting A.J. Brown. Delanie Walker is also returning, so Davis’s targets could get pinched.
|A.J. Brown||Adam Humphries||Tajae Sharpe||Taywan Taylor||Kalif Raymond||Darius Jennings||Cameron Batson||Cody Hollister||Anthony Ratliff-Williams||DeAngelo Yancey|
Walker had 74 catches for 807 yards and three scores in his last full season with the Titans, which made him the. No. 6 fantasy tight end in 2017. From 2014-2017, he averaged 74-896-5.0, numbers that would put him squarely inside the top five at his position. But there are a couple of things working against him this season. First of all, he’s 35 and nearing the end of his career. (His 10.9 yards per catch in 2017 was a four-year low.) The other issue is the talent that the Titans brought in to help the passing game. Adam Humphries figures to be Walker’s biggest competition since they both will work the middle of the field. Corey Davis’s targets jumped from 65 in 2017 to 112 in 2018, so the team obviously wants to get him going. They also added a talented rookie, A.J. Brown, to the mix. In total, Walker is more likely to post baseline-type numbers at the position than he is to find himself in the top five again.
|Jonnu Smith||Anthony Firkser||MyCole Pruitt||Cole Wick|
|QB||Case Keenum||Dwayne Haskins||Colt McCoy|
Peterson’s ADP will be dependent on the status of Derrius Guice, who is expected to be the running back of the future in Washington. The only problem is that Guice’s balky knee has required three additional surgeries due to infection. Washington signed Peterson to a two-year deal, but only $1.5 million is guaranteed, so they can move on if necessary. For now, we see Peterson continuing to lead this backfield in touches.
|Chris Thompson||Derrius Guice|
Guice tore his ACL early last season and had three additional procedures due to infections. HC Jay Gruden expects that he’ll be ready for training camp. The fantasy community collectively believes that he’ll start in 2018, though Adrian Peterson’s return should give everyone pause. Guice certainly has more upside than Peterson at this point, but Peterson ran pretty well last year and is unlikely to give up touches without a fight.
|Byron Marshall||Samaje Perine||Bryce Love||Shaun Wilson|
|WR||Paul Richardson||Terry McLaurin|
Snaps in the Washington receiving corps are as wide open as any in the league, so McLaurin has a chance to play a lot right away. In response to a question about Paul Richardson and Josh Doctson, HC Jay Gruden shifted the conversation to McLaurin saying that he has that “wow factor” and going on to say that “he’s powerful, he’s smart, and he’s physical.” The Athletic beat writer Ben Standing came away from the conversation with Gruden thinking that McLaurin would start. McLaurin caught 35 passes for 701 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior at Ohio State and has ridiculous speed (4.35 40-yard dash), along with good burst and agility, per Player Profiler.
|Trey Quinn||Josh Doctson||Brian Quick||Jehu Chesson||Cam Sims||Darvin Kidsy||Kelvin Harmon|
Reed is an obvious injury risk, but in his last 16 games he has 67 catches for 664 yards and four touchdowns. Those numbers would have beat out Kyle Rudolph as the No. 7 fantasy tight end last season. Reed should see plenty of targets given the state of the Washington receiving corps.
|Vernon Davis||Jeremy Sprinkle||Donald Parham|