Don’t worry, no expletives here in this post.
As I looked at a few mock drafts this week and a couple of podcasts that I listen to have turned their attention to 2018 drafts already so when conducting my own mock drafts, a few teams and players I found myself drawn towards to which previously, I’ve never wanted a piece of and vice versa. These are broken down below;
Teams where the value lies (as of pre draft):
Denver Broncos WR
Last year, you would have shivered had any of the Broncos WR been in any trade negotiations, even being the massive Emmanuel Sanders fan that I am.
First name up is Demaryius Thomas. He is a player who i have NEVER drafted before in my over half decade participation in Fantasy Football. Not sure why, just not a player I’ve ever related to or been attached to. Maybe it’s his draft price, but here is a guy that was 51 yards away from having 6 straight seasons of 1000+yards each season. Alright, his TDs have plummeted in the past 3 seasons (5,5,6) but Thomas consistently gets the yards and consistently gets the looks and volume so this may finally be the year in which you can get him at a steal. This may be mainly due to his age (is already the wrong side of 30) and also the fact that people have given up on Denver because of the previous years QB situations.
But let’s look at the positives;
He isn’t a player that has had major health concerns, they are a team that no longer will be relying on their defence and running game (simply because they are not there) and he now has a competent QB in Case Keenum (if playing to a similar level last year like in Minnesota) who was able to prop both Diggs and Thielen up last year. I really like what price you get Thomas for at the moment in drafts, which is the WR2/ WR3 area in the 4th/5th rounds. That means you can get your stud RB in the first round, you can have a WR1 in the 2nd round and then do what you want in the 3rd or 4th rounds.
Emmanuel Sanders is even more of a discount as he is a cheaper version of Thomas, but can still put up the same production. Sanders has had WR2 or better seasons in 3 of the last 4 years (last year being the exception) and is a great compliment to Thomas in the offence. Maybe he isn’t as reliable as Thomas, but in rounds 7 or 8 where he is currently going, is a great flex spot play for bye weeks.
Hopefully Case Keenum can come in and elevate them to outperform their ADP as it stands right now. In any case, their ADP is not going to rise as they are seem to be forgotten somewhat for fantasy.
San Francisco 49ers WR
Whilst there are no fancy names here, they are being criminally undervalued in drafts.
The 49ers offence could be a high scoring and powerful one next season for a variety of reasons;
Firstly, a full season of Jimmy Garoppolo, the franchise QB who enjoyed a hot streak last season, even without that many weapons.
Secondly, the defences in the NFC west (apart from the LA Rams) are weak, including the 49ers, which could mean high scoring games, which translates to more beefy fantasy scores.
Thirdly, Kyle Shanahan. This guy is a wizard at scheming and using the players he has at his disposal to maximise their potential and talent.
Main target and veteran Pierre Garcon returns from his long injury layoff and has yet to catch a pass from Jimmy G so it will be interesting to see how those 2 pair up. Pierre Garcon was the main man before injury cut his season short and you have to expect that he remains the No.1 target in this offence, despite the wideout turning 32 when the season starts. Other protagonists in this offence are Marqise Goodwin, who did himself no harm in the exposure he got towards the end of last season went Garcon went down.
Trent Taylor, the second year slot receiver will probably go undrafted again this year and few people have probably heard of Tight End George Kittle.
These 2 will probably have a small amount of value as plug the gap type players in your team and are definitely worth considering in dynasty or deeper PPR leagues.
Anywho, don’t expect to see any players on the 49ers offence to come off the board before rounds 7 or 7 in drafts, which makes them a steal considering the upside in this offence plus added in the leakiness of their defence, and those opposing defences too.
Teams where the value lies (as of pre draft):
New Orleans Saints RB
Now, don’t @ me on this.
I know they are a high powered offence, and were able to support 2 RB1s last year in fantasy. However, you were paying 6th round prices on Mark Ingram and drafting Kamara way after that (my main fantasy league last year he was drafted in the last round or 2).. This year you are paying, in many cases, 1st round picks on Kamara and 2nd or 3rd round picks on Ingram. Although both give you RB1 upside, there is just something stopping me from going all in on them. Whetehr it’s because they are sharing this backfield, I am not sure. Plenty of NFL backfields now support 2 compliment RBs, which was of course mainly promoted by the Atlanta duo of Coleman and Freeman.
For me, 1st and 2nd round picks are spent on either clear no.1, 3 down RBs or WR that are funnelled targets (1st round Zeke, Bell, Melvin Gordon / 2nd round Mike Evans, Michael Thomas, Keenan Allen etc) and i will just be staying clear of these 2 at their current draft price.
Oakland Raiders RB,WR,TE,QB,K,P (everyone, basically)
Do not make the mistake this year or drafting any Oakland Raider anywhere before the 3rd or 4th Round. It’s just not worth it. They will go earlier than they should purely because of name value.
For the more casual player, players like Jordy Nelson, Doug Martin, Marshawn Lynch and Amari Cooper always look better on the cover.
Oakland could legitimately be picking in the top 10 of next years draft and unless Derek Carr gets back in to his groove, this offence is going nowhere. That plus all the golden oldies will be no doubt battling injuries and niggles throughout the season just are too many red flags for these players. A lot of GMs will come to the conclusion that the departure of Crabtree means Amari Cooper becomes the clear number 1 at the WR position in Oakland. However, we all know how terrible Cooper was with catching the ball last season and I don’t think this is something he will get over in one offseason. Doug Martin is a backup to Marshawn Lynch, and nothing else. Therefore, he is pretty much worthless in 2018 fantasy football.
Why leagues draft now, I don’t know. Maybe they want the glory of calling it right early? Maybe they want to put their money where their mouth is before things change to say that they predicted it exactly how it happened. Either way it’s ludicrous. But as of early April and before the NFL draft, these are potential teams and skill players in which the value can be had.