Some NFL teams have a surplus of fantasy football talent.
The Steelers, for example, have four players who are likely to be taken in the first 100 picks in most leagues, with Le’Veon Bell being the top option. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have Ezekiel Elliott as their lone player projected in the top 120 picks and the Ravens have just two guys expected to be drafted in the top 150.
But who is the top option on each NFL team when it comes to fantasy football this season? For the Patriots it’s tight end Rob Gronkowski. For the Cardinals it’s running back David Johnson.
In the case of the Packers, it’s obviously quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He’s the fuel to the offense and what makes Green Bay tick. Without him, you end up with ... well, what they had in Green Bay last year following Rodger’s Week 6 injury. The Packers lost the Week 6 contest, in which Brett Hundley took over after Rodgers went down and went 3-8 from Week 6-17. The Packers were 4-1 prior to Rodgers’ injury, showcasing the difference with and without him. So, when should you try to draft the top quarterback in fantasy football?
”Unless you are in a league that overvalues quarterbacks (six-point TD passes), I recommend waiting until at least the end of the second round to draft Rodgers,” says David Fucillo, SB Nation’s resident fantasy football expert. “He’s in line for a strong year, but there are enough additional solid options at the position if you wait until the fifth or sixth round. If you want to draft somebody and not have to think about him, Rodgers is your guy, and I won’t judge someone for spending a second-round pick on the Packers QB. But I usually prefer to wait for someone further down the food chain.”
Is a rookie quarterback worth drafting this year? We don’t even know if a rookie quarterback will be starting in Week 1, but Fucillo has interesting advice when it comes to scouting the first-year QBs.
”I wouldn’t draft any of them at this point in a basic re-draft league,” he advises. “Keeper and dynasty leagues, sure, but for a single year, not so much. That being said, if I wanted to stash a QB who might get into the starting lineup this year, I’m intrigued by Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. He’s been inconsistent in the preseason, but if Joe Flacco got hurt or was ineffective, I could see Jackson getting a shot this year. And while his passing numbers would not be great, his legs could turn him into a decent fantasy option.”
The rookie with potentially the best chance to start come Week 1 is Jets quarterback Sam Darnold and his top receiver is the Jets’ best fantasy option, Robby Anderson. The problems with Anderson are 1) his starting quarterback is currently up in the air and 2) he could be suspended following recent legal troubles.
”Anderson led the Jets in receiving yards, and is their only interesting fantasy threat for the time being (apologies to Terrelle Pryor),” Fucillo says. “His value is particularly intriguing if your fellow owners are hesitant because a) he plays for the Jets and b) he faces the suspension. Buy low on Anderson. In our standard rankings, he comes in at No. 82.”
The clear best fantasy option on the Cowboys’ roster, as referenced above, is Elliott. But is there a single other player in Dallas worth drafting?
”QB Dak Prescott is a tough one to pin down, but I still think you’ll get sufficient fantasy value out of him to make him worth a pick around rounds nine to 11,” Fucillo recommends. “I have zero interest in Allen Turns, Cole Beasley, and Terrance Williams at this point, but rookie Michael Gallup is an intriguing one. Hurns is the best bet to be most reliable, but Gallup is the most interesting option.”
That uncertainty with the rest of Dallas’ weapons should make Elliott an even better fantasy option and if you’re among the top four picks in your league, you’re in luck as he likely won’t make it to pick five.
With fantasy drafts approaching, there’s a ton of advice to take in (and we’ve got you covered!) but what’s the best piece of advice for you to consider in the lead up to your draft?
”Depending on your league specifics, a first round running back is still a strong value. But don’t feel you have to force a second running back too quickly,” Fucillo says. “If a quality talent falls to you in the second or third round, so be it, but if not, always remember the waiver wire is your friend. Every year, a handful of backs end up claiming a starting role after the season has begun, and they are often nowhere near your radar. It’s a bit of a gamble, but it allows you to build depth elsewhere in your draft.”
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Tweet of the Day
The Browns were picked for this year’s season of Hard Knocks for obvious reasons. The drama! Who else is looking forward to more of Todd Haley beefing with his fellow coaches on tonight’s episode?
Todd Haley, upset with the defense getting too close to Baker Mayfield: “Good teams don’t touch the fucking quarterback!”— Jimmy Watkins (@JimmyWatkins95) August 13, 2018
Gregg Williams: “Block ‘em then!”