By: Weston Mills (@wmills94)
The biggest weekend in fantasy sports is upon us. This weekend is the most common weekend to hold league fantasy football drafts. If you’re like me you have spent the last month reading advice from fantasy insiders, listening to fantasy guru podcasts, and building your own draft board. OK, you aren’t like me, mostly because you’re not a nerd. You’re draft is probably today or tomorrow and you are looking for some last minute tips. Well, you’re in luck, I’ve got 10 of them from 10 different NFL teams.
1 – Arizona Cardinals: You already know that David Johnson is clearly 1A or 1B on pretty much everybody’s draft board but did you know that Larry Fitzgerald had over 1,000 yards each of the last two season along with catching over 100 balls? That’s good football. His average draft position (in ESPN leagues) is 46 which makes him the 20th WR off the board. This also makes him great value! Consistency week-to-week is the key to fantasy football and that is what Fitz is all about.
Target: Larry Fitzgerald
2 – Chicago Bears: Almost everyone has a first round grade on Bears running back Jordan Howard. Count me out. I admit he has a lot of talent and I would most definitely draft him but I wouldn’t draft him in the first round or before Gurley, Fournette, Elliot, Ajayi or Lynch. The Bears are going to be bad. The offense is going to be bad. In turn, Howard is going to be bad(er than last year). I know they weren’t good last year and he still put up good numbers but that was when opposing defenses were either A) focused on Alshon Jeffery or B) unaware what Howard brought to the table. Defensive coordinators will be focused on Jordan Howard and Jordan Howard only.
Avoid: Jordan Howard
3 – Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Devonta Freeman all led the Falcons to becoming one of the most explosive offenses in 2016. I don’t have any reason to believe that they won’t do the same in 2017. Most fantasy players have the same expectations and are eyeing all three. The name to watch is Tevin Coleman. He is the back-up running back in Atlanta but has plenty of talent himself. If anything were to happen to Freeman, I would expect Coleman to put up same or similar numbers.
Watch: Tevin Coleman
4 – Dallas Cowboys: Prior to his 6-game suspension, Ezekiel Elliott was the consensus #3 RB. Zeke’s 6 games suspension does not change much for me. I would slide LeSean McCoy and Devonta Freeman in front of Zeke but wouldn’t let him fall any further. Part of Zeke’s outstanding success is due to the Cowboys offensive line. I think most would agree that it is the best in the NFL. I bring this up because you can draft Zeke at the end of the 1st round or beginning of the second and still take Cowboys RB2 Darren McFadden towards the back end of the draft. Additionally, and this is just a speculation, I could see the 6-game suspension getting reduced to 4.
Target: Ezekiel Elliott
5 – Baltimore Ravens: Former Kansas City Chief Jeremy Maclin found a new home in Baltimore. His average draft position as a Raven is coming in at 94th overall. That makes him the 38th WR off the board. If we were talking about 2014/2015 Jeremy Maclin that would be absurd. However, we are not. Maclin caught 44 balls last year for only 536 yards. Yes, he missed 4 games but that is always my concern with Maclin, durability. Even at this low ADP, I am avoiding Maclin this year. I have heard mention that Maclin could be great value at his current ADP but injury concerns, regression, and the learning curve of a new system have me staying away from J-Mac.
Avoid: Jeremy Maclin
6 – Pittsburgh Steelers: Le’Veon Bell is good at football. REALLLY good at football. You knew that. Did you know, in the 4 games Le’Veon Bell missed last year, DeAngelo Williams scored 6 touchdowns and went for over 120 total yards in 2 of the 4 games. This is not necessarily an endorsement of Williams but more an endorsement of the Steelers offense. They love to run the football and they love to throw to their backs out of the backfield. Williams is no longer in Pittsburgh and rookie James Conner has taken his place. If anything should happen to Bell, Conner will be the next man up. He might be worth drafting as a handcuff but is nonetheless worth watching.
Watch: James Conner.
7 – Buffalo Bills: Rookie Wide Receiver Zay Jones out of East Carolina is getting a lot of buzz as a sleeper pick in 2017. Well… let me tell you about his Quarterback. Tyrodddd Taylor. Taylor’s ADP in 2017 is 136. 136! 19 Quarterbacks are being drafted before him. He finished 9th amongst all QBs in 2016. What more does this guy have to do? I think Tyrod is good enough to be your QB1 but definitely look to snag him as your QB2.
Target: Tyrod Taylor
8 – Carolina Panthers: I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Kelvin Benjamin this year. Benjamin is entering his 4th year in the league and is a monster of a WR (6’5 245). I think due to his freak athletic abilities many fans assume he is going to break out. Benjamin has the potential to put up some big games but in 2016 he had 7 games with 3 or less receptions. Consistency is the name of the game and I’m not interested in a weekly boom or bust player.
Avoid: Kelvin Benjamin
9 – Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz experienced the typical ups and downs of a rookie quarterback. He threw 16 TDs and 14 INTs. Average numbers but considering he was a rookie not to bad. Now take into consideration he had 31 dropped passes (2nd most) and his WRs were Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor. Now Wentz has added Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Couple them with tight end Zach Ertz and Wentz should be able to put up some big numbers in year 2. He will make a great QB2 in 2017 and I wouldn’t be bothered if you drafted him as your QB1. Additionally, Alshon is out Chicago and not the sole focus of opposing defenses. Torrey Smith’s speed will keep other teams from constantly rolling safety help over the top. Alshon is poised for a big year and is being drafted as the 16th WR. I would have no problem drafting Alshon anywhere outside the top 10.
Target: Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery
10 – Cleveland Browns:
Avoid: Cleveland Browns.
(I actually do like Isiah Crowell because somebody has to score right? … right?)
Bonus – New York Jets: See Cleveland Browns.
There it is. 10 things from 10 different teams to know for your upcoming fantasy draft. Feel free to hit me up on twitter (@wmills94) with any other fantasy questions you may have. Happy drafting!
Former Defensive End. Current Attorney. Sometimes NFL Contributor for The Dive 35.