For the record – week 2 (plus season predictions)

 

Here’s a look at the week two matchups, who I like in each matchup and what fantasy players I may be loading up on or avoiding. Also, because I missed last week I will be plugging in a few season predictions, where relevant.

@ Steelers 5.5 over Chiefs

Coming off an uninspired tie versus the Browns the Steelers should be focused for this matchup. While I think the Steelers manage the win, I expect this could be a high scoring affair and the most exciting game of the week. Take the Steelers.

I’d own just about everyone for both teams in this one, with a slight tilt away from Tyreek Hill and towards Watkins and Kelce, who I think get some Mahomes love. Antonio Brown should also make up for a mediocre (by his standards) week 1.

Season prediction: Week 1 was a preview of things to come. The Chiefs will be the most fun team to watch for the foreseeable future, with an explosion of fantasy points to come; enough to make Sammy Watkins relevant once again.

Texans 0.5 over @ Titans

The Titans are missing half of their offensive line, possibly their starting quarterback and their number 1 passing target. Watson and the Texans are coming off of a lackluster week 1. This could be an absolute slaughter. Take the Texans.

Heavy ownership of Watson – Hopkins stack, who are likely to remind us of 2017 this week. Heavy ownership of Corey Davis who could inherit all of Walker’s targets, and then some.

Season prediction: Corey Davis will crack the top 15. Watson will come back to earth.

Chargers 7.5 over @ Bills

Another good team coming off a bad week one against a team in total disarray. The west coast team travelling across the country to play a 1 pm game is certainly a factor, but given Buffalo’s offensive woes, the Chargers should easily overcome.

Heavy ownership of Melvin Gordon. Medium-high ownership of Allen. That’s it.

Season prediction: Tyrell will be better than Mike Williams.

@ Packers 1.5 over Minnesota

Probably the toughest call of the week. A limited, if available Rodgers, versus Minnesota’s ferocious defense. It’s a coin flip game and my coin says Vikes.

In DFS terms I have very light ownership here, with the exception of a modest stake in Diggs.

Season prediction: By year end Laquon Treadwell matters.

Eagles 3.5 over @ Buccs

Defending champions versus the overconfident Buccaneers. I’ll side with the Philly D over another week of Fitzmagic.

In fantasy terms only Nelson Agholor gets me excited, and another week or Chris Godwin highlights is a possibility. I’m avoiding Evans and both backfields.

@ Falcons 6.5 over Panthers

Another team I had high hopes for that crapped the bed in week 1. Atlanta gets back on track at home and solves their red zone woes, while the Panthers adjust (again) to life without Olsen.

In DFS I will take all the shares of Julio I can get. Tevin Coleman is priced cheaply and will be heavily owned this week. I’m also on board for Austin Hooper who could get some red zone looks. McCaffrey may also absorb some Olsen targets and inflate his value.

Season prediction: Ryan serves up Julio 12+ TD passes.

@ Saints 9.5 over Browns

Sean Payton gets the Browns at home 1 week after an embarrassing loss at home to Tampa. Lightening will not strike twice. The Browns, as their known to do, compounded their problems by announcing Josh Grown will be cut Monday morning. Nothing like taking the focus off the task at hand and creating some locker room drama hours before a big road game.

Obvious owns are Kamara, Brees, Thomas. Less obvious is David Njoku who is a ticking bomb ready to explode this season. Gordon’s absence could make that a reality sooner rather than later.

Season prediction: Nick Chubb has 1,000 yards from scrimmage. Njoku has 800+ yards and 6 TDs.

@ Washington 6.5 over Colts

Difficult to get a feel for this one as both teams adjust to new or renewed quarterback situations. Given Washington’s at home and has what seems to be a more formidable defense, I’m erring on the side of the home team. The Colts feel like a team needing another week or two to figure out who their go to guys are.

I can’t say I own anyone here for DFS purposes. Unsettled backfield for Indy, questions about who the TE1 and WR2 are make only Hilton an option. For Washington both running backs and Reed have appeal.

Season prediction: Jordan Reed re-emerges as a top 5 tight end.

@ Jets 3.5 over Dolphins

Very impressive start for Sam Darnold. First start and an impressive home win. I’ll opt for Gas end the Dolphins here though. Home opener pressure coming of the big week one win is a recipe for disappointment.

DFS wise there isn’t anyone ownable. The Enunwa target share stood out in week one, but overreacting to one week is always a bad idea. I’d consider Stills the only startable weekly play.

Season prediction: Kenny Stills coming out party.

@ Rams 12.5 over Cards

Difficult to argue with this line. The Rams looked as good as the Cards looked bad, and they’re at home. This one should get out of hand quickly.

So, everyone will have Gurley, but I’d tease in some Cooks here as well as he reminds the rest of the WR room that he is head and shoulders above them.

Season prediction: A week ago I would have typed: David Johnson finishes as the highest scoring running back on the season. Not looking good so far, but I’m sticking to my guns and they don’t have to play the Rams every week.

Season prediction 2: Brandin Cooks finishes as WR1 on this team. Not Watkins 2.0.

@ 49ers 5.5 over Lions

Two week one losers face off. The Niners lost to a potentially great Vikings team in Minnesota while the Lions were shamed at home by a possibly horrible Jets squad led by a rookie QB in his first ever game. Matt Patricia was a suspect defensive coordinator last year in New England, this year he seems to have immediately rubbed everyone in Detroit the wrong way. Another Patriots coordinator about to disappoint as a head coach…

Fantasywise: George Kittle in DFS, along with some Alfred Morris and a little Kenny Golladay for garbage time.

Season prediction: None of the RBs on the San Fran roster are the next big thing and next year a new name will be atop of everyone’s list for Shanahan bump.

Patriots 1.5 over @ Jags

I’m betting the Jags take this one. The Pats look like a team still trying to figure out their personnel and the Jags have the disappointment of 2017 to fuel their fire. Get ready for lots of trash talking from Ramsay with whispers of Brady looking his age.

DFS-wise I would still take Gronk, and I’d also look to get some TJ Yeldon and Keelan Cole.

Season predictions: Career year for a healthy Gronk. Brady starts to look his age. While for the Jags Keelan Cole takes the strangle hold as WR1 on the team with 1,000+ yards, a ton from play action.

@ Broncos 5.5 over Raiders

Taking the Broncos here. The Denver home field advantage plus Gruden talking as though he will use the full ten years of his contract to turn the Raiders ship around. Denver Defense at home versus a shaken and stirred Oakland offense. Yes please.

In DFS there is no obvious own here. Emmanuel Sanders perhaps. Not buying the Cook week 1 production. Low Raiders output likely.

Season prediction: Amari Cooper is not good. Ditto Carr. Lynch becomes frustrated and vocal. Things fall apart.

In Denver I hope, more than predict, that we see Chad Kelly asap. And of we do, he will be every bit as good as what Keenum can provide.

@ Cowboys 3.5 over Giants

The Giants’ offense is the antithesis of the Cowboys’. Great weapons and no offensive line versus, a once great offensive line and no weapons. The one thing they seem to have in common is mediocre QB play. I’ll take the Eli bounce back via his many weapons over Dak playing with one.

I’m passing on all Cowboys, Zeke included. I’m buying Barkely and Beckham this week, heavily.

JASON GARRETT IS FIRED AT YEAR END

Season prediction: Eli will be better, Dak, Engram and Zeke will be worse.

@ Bears 3.5 over Seattle

Russell Wilson > Matt Nagy hysteria. Rome wasn’t built in a day and if Nagy is actually half as good as his hype, this Bears team may get themselves headed in the right direction. Wilson will be pressured by Mack and company but should have more than enough to keep pace with Trubisky in this one.

In DFS terms I’m buying Wilson, buying the Lockett big game and nibbling on Howard and Cohen.

Season Prediction: Wilson puts up MVP numbers but doesn’t win the MVP. Lockett has a 1,000 yard season and this is PETE CARROLL’S last season.

Dynasty Tight End Rankings

Tight End Rankings
Tight End    Reason
Rob Gronkowski Still head and shoulders above the rest of the league
Travis Kelce Steady at #2
Zach Ertz Still holding the typical #3 spot, but most likely to fall of the top three due to Goedert
David Njoku Has all the physical and mental tools needed to succeed. If Cleveland emerges, he could lead.
Hunter Henry A lost year but still only 23.
Evan Engram Volume questions persist after rookie year bolstered by being only healthy body in town.
Kyle Rudolph Red Zone TD hog.
Jordan Reed If not for the injury concerns, he would be #3 on this list
Tyler Eifert Same story as Reed, if healthy he is much more valuable.
OJ Howard Targets is a near-term concern, coaching turn-over a long term question.
George Kittle Small sample size, but could very well be a red zone star.
Trey Burton An offseason darling who has run up based on a handful of games and optimistic speculation. Show me.
Jimmy Graham Injuries have made him a shadow of his former self. Rodgers could propel him higher.
Ricky Seals-Jones Hot finish on a team in desperate need on offensive targets. Could make a serious leap.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins New team, new role. Wait and see approach.
Austin Hooper A now or never year for Hooper. All the talent needed, none of the production.

Dynasty WR ranks

I’m skeptical of rookies until proven otherwise. And given the track record of rookie WRs its reasonable to think they will be available at more reasonable prices in years two and three.

Here’s how I’m valuing them now, or how I think they’ll be valued come year end.

Dynasty WR Ranks
Wide Receiver Reason
DeAndre Hopkins He doesn’t catch the ball. He attacks it. He owns it. A beast with a QB on the rise
Keenan Allen PPR beast, technician, not going anywhere for a very long time.
Odell Beckham Big market noisy and likely to face a QB transition give me pause.
Antonio Brown He’s Antonio Brown
Julio Jones A beast off a bad year. He’s got production and trade value to spare.
AJ Green Forever tied to Julio, though anchored by a QB, coach and organization.
Stefon Diggs He might be Antonio Brown 2.0
Doug Baldwin Just like the next guy except his Drew Brees is considerably younger.
Michael Thomas Brees sunset coming. Questions about what he is in aftermath.
Brandin Cooks New teams, new playbooks: no problem. 24 years old with three 1,000 yards seasons. Yes please.
Corey Davis QB and rookie season questions loom, but I remain a believer this staff makes it work.
Sammy Watkins Home at last. Great potential fit. It’s now or never for this once highly regarded talent.
Davante Adams Prove it year. If he does he jumps 5+ spots. Otherwise a rookie is making big leaps.
Tyreek Hill Strange player with hug opportunity to modernize the no helmet tackle era.
Josh Gordon One time stud with a giant hiatus. All the tools and now possibly the brain to match.
Mike Evans Yes, way down here. Big body era gone by? Question marks at QB and coach? I prefer certainty.
T.Y. Hilton If Luck is right, he climbs but Tommy John is no joke.
Juju Smith Schuster Surprisingly mature, surprisingly young, excellent teal with a track record at WR development.
Amari Cooper Yes, way down here. If he cares he’ll be good to great. He hasn’t cared yet.
Jarvis Landry A boring track record that can’t be argued with. Cleveland is as good or better than Miami, no?
Kenny Golloday Potential beast with an under-loved QB who will have Rivers/Roethlisberger love in a year.
Golden Tate A new era WR that arrived too early. Still more yards to come.
Kenny Stills Under the radar #1 in Miami and not going away any time soon. Also 26.
Chris Godwin He’s 22, Evans is likely overrated and TB is in transition. I think his contract sees the other side.
Tyler Lockett Now or never season for this one time high upside 25 year old.
Cameron Meredith Nice recipe for fantasy jolt playing with Brees. 25 years old.
Sterling Shepard Meredith without the Brees bump. ODB counterweight.
Allen Robinson Once loved, loved again but many questions to be answered.
Keelan Cole Most of his yards in 17 came from play action. Fournette should provide more opportunity.
Nelson Agholor Wentz still needs another #1. Maybe Jeffrey?

 

Dynasty Running Back Rankings

As the title suggests, these are my Dynasty RB rankings, and by that I mean how I would trade for them now, or how I would anticipate them being ranked at year end.

These will tick many of you off, and make others question my sanity.

But these are my guns, and I’m sticking with them (until further notice).

Dynasty RB Rankings
Running back Reasons why
Todd Gurley Complete package RB, coaching staff with a long leash and a great D is a perfect storm for success.
David Johnson Talent on par with Gurley, with slightly less coaching security.
Leveon Bell Uber talent who deserves to be paid uber dollars. Unfair league makes investing a challenge.
Alvin Kamara Coaching and offense bullettproof. Brees departure and evolution are volume question marks.
Saquon Barkley A better buy post hype. Still risks being a larger Reggie Bush. Let’s wait on this, sell him if you’ve got’em.
Ezekiel Elliott Egomaniac owner, incompetent coach, eroding talent pool = nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
Christian McCaffrey New age running back under horrible coaching and RB circumstances. He may see better tomorrow.
Dalvin Cook All the tools, save health and offensive line. Buy low candidate under what could be a disappointing 2018.
Melvin Gordon Win now asset with a sunset in sight.
Leonard Fournette A TD hammer who can catch passes on an up and coming dominant D. Sign me up.
Jordan Howard A discount version of Fournette who offers alpha if he figures out the screen pass.
Devonta Freeman As Indiana Jones once said “it’s not the years, it’s the mileage”.
Kareem Hunt Guess what. Spencer Ware is probably better.
Nick Chubb In Matt Waldman I trust.
Joe Mixon A horrible human being and a horrible organization intersect, peppered in hype. I’ll take Gio as a value.
Jamaal Williams A complete back playing with the best QB in the game for 3+ years. Yes please.
Jay Ajayi Who the hell knows. Bad knees + bad press + split backfield.
Mark Ingram He’s not so old and will find a new home, or maybe even the same one given the RB market.
Royce Freeman In two years Sanders and Thomas are gone. Who’s left other than the great D? #poundtherock
Lamar Miller Great situation for the easy to replace Miller.
Kenyan Drake Very easy to committee away or turn the page on. Not a long-term investment.
Alex Collins May hang on for a stubbornly long time, but just a place holder.
Tarik Cohen Maybe 3 years early before we adopt full touch football mode. But maybe not…
Kerryon Johnson No startable RBs since #20 retired prematurely. I’m not holding my breath here.
Peyton Barber For all the reasons I can’t cheer for Mixon, I can cheer for Barber.
Kenneth Dixon Fantasy community has quit him, het he’s a Collins hammy away from being RB1 behind a stud O-line.
Spencer Ware Andy Reid is Shanahan RB success without the hysteria. Huge year pre-Hunt who was up and down.
TJ Yeldon All around talent in a great situation with oft-injured Fournette as his only hurdle. Free agent darling to be.
Alex Jones If the other guy doesn’t work out, this is a nice hedge. Also pretty affordable.
Jerick McKinnon Shanahan mythology aside, they failed as much as they hit and always found another guy.
Ronald Jones Drafted by a GM and coach who will be gone next year. A mistake that may be swept under the rug.
Rashaad Penny Same situation, same rug. I’d draft Carson and Prosise before him.

 

 

Dynasty QB Ranks

First of all, everyone’s dynasty roster is in a different state. If you’re going for it you’ll happily trade an unproven rookie for a stable senior citizen QB.

The list below is how I would view these players’ trade values for the season ahead.

Rank Player Age Comment
1 Russell Wilson 29 MVP/HOF calibre despite coaching
2 Aaron Rodgers 34 MVP/HOF calibre despite coaching
3 Matt Stafford 30 Steady as she goes. Crazy weapons
4 Cam Newton 29 Feels like a time bomb
5 Andrew Luck 28 Higher if he’s right
6 Carson Wentz 25 1 more season cements value
7 Marcus Mariota 24 Lofty position that needs to be earned
8 Deshaun Watson 22 Nice start, show me more
9 Matt Ryan 33 A strong career finish coming
10 Jared Goff 23 Progress, but mighty D/Run game is a ceiling
11 Lamar Jackson 21 Runs and throws well
12 Pat Mahomes 22 Throws well and runs
13 Jameis Winston 24 Maturity misteps proving to be an anchor
14 Jimmy Garoppolo 26 Overhyped, overpriced
15 Philip Rivers 36 Shot put gold medalist
16 Ben Roethlisberger 36 Armed with star-studded cast
17 Drew Brees 39 Last gasp: return of the air game
18 Mitch Turbisky 23 Mariota, with a coaching headstart
19 Josh Rosen 21 He can take this job early
20 Eli Manning 37 Roethlisberger-like cast
21 Sam Darnold 21 Ideally he is afforded a learning year
22 Tom Brady 41 Old man vs AFC east
23 Baker Mayfield 23 Has to overcome a curse od Cleveland
24 Kirk Cousins 29 New team/system. Not as young as you think
25 Blake Bortles 26 Underhyped, underpriced
26 Derek Carr 27 Possibly horrible
27 Chad Kelly 24 Probably best Broncos QB now
28 Dak Prescott 25 Must overcome lack of coaching and weapons
29 Alex Smith 34 You’re not in Kansas (City) anymore
30 Andy Dalton 30 Boring us into submission. Possible surprise
31 Teddy Bridgewater 25 Deserves a chance to be a #1
32 Josh Allen 22 Poison narrative makes him a value play
33 Ryan Tannehill 30 Reclamation project. Perhaps Gase turns it around
34 Mason Rudolph 23 Long wait behind stubborn jerk
35 Kyle Lauletta 22 Probably not the heir apparent but a lifetime backup
36 Case Keenum 30 Journeyman killing time looking for QB1
37 Joe Flacco 33 The big yawn. Lamar push may provide minor lift
38 Tyrod Taylor 29 Denied a real shot, Cleveland will rush Mayfield

 

QB Ranks: best ball & re-draft

I will be adjusting my ranks on a regular basis. As it stands now, this is my guess as to how they finish in value for the 2018 season (hate mail welcome).

 

1 Aaron Rodgers
2 Russell Wilson
3 Drew Brees
4 Matt Stafford
5 Cam Newton
6 Andrew Luck
7 Matt Ryan
8 Philip Rivers
9 Ben Roethlisberger
10 Tom Brady
11 Marcus Mariota
12 Pat Mahomes
13 Deshaun Watson
14 Alex Smith
15 Eli Manning
16 Carson Wentz
17 Jimmy Garoppolo
18 Mitch Trubisky
19 Kirk Cousins
20 Jared Goff
21 Jameis Winston
22 Joe Flacco
23 Blake Bortles
24 Ryan Tannehill
25 Case Keenum
26 Andy Dalton
27 Derek Carr
28 Dak Prescott
29 Josh Rosen
30 Tyrod Taylor
31 Sam Darnold
32 Josh Allen

Quarterbacks – best ball

Any fantasy football junkie worth his salt will know the name JJ Zachariason. Zachariason and Denny Carter cohost the in-season podcast Living the Stream, in which they recommend waiver wire caliber quarterbacks as weekly plug and play starts. The theory in a nutshell is that the quarterback position is extremely deep and that there is no need to spend early picks on the position, as you can often replicate or at least get yourself in the ball park, of top line QB production from the waiver wire. This theory was first introduced with 1 QB leagues in mind, but the basis of the theory works well for best ball.

While best ball may not have a waiver wire to lean on, it offers equivalent streaming-like value through its roster structure. The advantage being that you are able to draft multiple players at a position while only needing to rely on one of their scores. So, taking a cue from Zachariason and company you could just load up on quarterbacks in the mid to late rounds.

While others are reaching for Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton or Deshaun Watson, players are provided a chance to zig while others are zag, passing on those big-name passers in favour greater depth at all other positions. After all, your weekly score can be based on as many as three running backs or four wide receivers, or two tight ends but only one quarterback will ever count.

With this in mind, this is how I think we can best approach the position. Here’s a look at each QB, ranked by Play Draft’s ADP, along with which players I’d suggest targeting.

The current top five quarterbacks by ADP are:

Aaron Rodgers (QB1, ADP 39): there’s no anti-Rodgers argument here aside from his price.

Deshaun Watson (QB2, ADP 58.2): Five complete games under his belt and he is being drafted as QB2. This seems outrageous. He has nowhere to go but down in value based on this ADP. I proudly own zero shares.

Russell Wilson (QB3, ADP 67.2): Rodgers’ like greatness, Deshaun Watson, except with a long track record, and like both of them: too expensive. Along the lofty price tag come a few questions, namely: Doug Baldwin’s health, receiver depth in general, how much he might miss the departed Paul Richardson and Jimmy Graham, what sort of offensive line the Seahawks might patch together, and what new, uninspired direction offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer might take them in. You also have to ask how long Wilson can play at an elite level while running for his life.

Tom Brady (QB4 ADP 70.9): he is without Julian Edelman, Brandon Cooks and possibly Sony Michel. Did we mention he is 41? Gronkowski, Hogan and Burkhead can likely keep the ship afloat, but it would not be surprising if this is the year the wheels start to fall off. He could produce at the Rivers/Ryan/Roethlisberger ADP level and we’d all be impressed. Drafting him as QB4 is riskier than I like, let someone else pay the GOAT folklore premium.

Cam Newton (QB5, ADP 77.6): Okay, now we’re getting warm. There is plenty to like: rushing touchdowns and yards, a host of young intriguing targets, and a returning Greg Olsen. The passing trends haven’t been encouraging though, as Cam has been no more than mediocre through the air. His ground game makes him a cheaper, lighter passing version of Russell Wilson, at a better price. But that price is still expensive enough to have me asking if Mariota or Mahomes can’t manage comparable numbers much later.

Drew Brees (QB6, ADP 85.8): Now we’re getting warmer. Brees has fallen as the Saints run game has become such a force. The market seems to be assuming Brees is fading into the sunset and the Saints are forced to rely on Kamara and Ingram. The Saints offseason seems to suggest otherwise. Brees has been re-armed with the criminally underrated Ben Watson, the addition of Cameron Meredith, who they stole from the Bears and the drafting of TreQuan Smith. And yes, Ingram is gone so this transition may happen early.

Carson Wentz (QB7, ADP 92.9): Wentz has exploded out of the gate and was an MVP candidate late into 2017. That campaign was cut short by a torn ACL. This price level seems fair, but given the small sample size and questions about any lingering effects from the injury have me avoiding Wentz. A big part of his passing game success has been his use of his pocket mobility. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he missed some 2018 starts, it also wouldn’t be a surprise if he was less than 100%. Let’s wait until 2019 to pay a QB7 price tag for him. He’ll likely be cheaper then.

Andrew Luck (QB8, ADP 95.9): Earlier in the season Luck offered solid value but as encouraging camp stories mounted his ADP has climbed. If he is healthy he offers great upside as the Colts should lean heavy on the pass. Like Wentz though, I’d rather give him an extra season to remove some of the risk.

Kirk Cousins (QB9, ADP 101.4): New coach, new team, new teammates, chemistry with receivers and lineman starting at zero, all of this makes me think it would be wise to let him find a home on a competitor’s squad.

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB10, ADP 107.9): The Jimmy G hype, like the aforementioned Deshaun Watson and the soon to be discussed Mahomes hype, has me skeptical. I prefer drafting the known versus the unknown, particularly at certain price points That being said, I own zero shares of Watson but own a considerably more of the cheaper Garoppolo and lots more of the cheaper still Mahomes. Buying a few shares of Jimmy G to gain exposure seems reasonable, but the investment should be light.

HOT – guys to buy aggressively:

Matt Stafford (QB11, ADP 109.6): And now we are in the buy zone. Stafford is a known quantity who puts up consistent numbers and while he may have a new head coach he has the same offensive coordinator. Add to the equation a deeper backfield and the possibly emergence of Kenny Golladay and this looks like the makings of an exciting offense. Tate + Jones + Golladay could be the most exciting receiving trio in the NFL in 2018.

Ben Roethlisberger (QB12, 111.9 ADP): Again, more proven production on a roster featuring Leveon Bell, Antonio Brown and Juju Smith Schuster. While the 9th round is a little earlier than I like, Ben and Stafford are nice QB1s for your best ball squad. As are the next two guys…

Philip Rivers (QB13, ADP 115.4): More tried, tested and true production available in the ninth round. He may not offer shiny new toy appeal like a Watson or Jimmy G, but he will likely be throwing for as many yards and TDs. Keenan Allen, the Williamses and Melvin Gordon will given defenses plenty to contend with.

Matt Ryan (QB14, ADP 120.8): A reversion to the mean play available in the 10th round. Recall Julio managed only 3 touchdowns last year under the new coaching staff. That’s a number that is likely to go up considerably. Add Calvin Ridley to the equation and recall Sanu, Freeman and Coleman will all contribute and you have a recipe for team set to return to elite offense status. We have not heard the last of Matt Ryan.

Patrick Mahomes (QB15, ADP 122.1): Jimmy G and Watson are small sample size guys with monster hype and ADPs to match. Mahomes has a smaller sample size, similar hype and an ADP I’m willing to roll the dice on. The Chiefs have gone all in on Mahomes and loaded their offense with dynamic playmakers. Kelce, Hill, Hunt, returning Spencer Ware and yes, Sammy Watkins, all are reason to be excited. There will be bumps on the road but he offers big week to week upside. He also provides sneaky rushing yard/TD alpha. I would not be surprised if he or the next guy bested the Cam Newton as dual threat QBs.

Marcus Mariota (QB16, ADP 125.9): Mariota is Matt Ryan lite. He’s coming off a disappointing 13 touchdown year and the market is punishing him for it. He enters the year with a new coaching staff and young stable of weapons. There certainly could be some growing pains as he adjusts to this new reality. While the Titans may be looking at a transition year, there offense could surprise. Mariota should regress to the mean and also offers Cam Newton lite appeal in the running game. He is great value in the 12th round.

Luke warm value plays:

Jared Goff (QB17, ADP 129.1): Goff made leaps last year and could well continue that trajectory. I’ve avoided him for the most part, however for two reasons: the Rams insane defense and Todd Gurley. If there was ever a team that looked able to control a game’s tempo it is the 2018 Rams. Armed with a vicious d-line and arguably the best back in the league and there you have a recipe for mediocre passing attempts. Similar situation and production can be had much cheaper in Jacksonville.

Alex Smith (QB18, ADP 132.7): There is no way Smith is replicating his 2017 performance. The Chiefs played a college offense and Smith, pushed by Mahomes, played more aggressive than he ever before. A watered-down version of 2017 Smith provides stability in your QB best ball stable. Smith can contribute modestly in the running game as well, and in the 11th round, paired with a big upside play, he can smooth the waters of a wavy season.

Dak Prescott (QB19, ADP 143.2): Here’s a QB on what appears to be a dreadful team. He’s currently struggling in camp and has zero proven targets. This is a transition year for the Cowboys and it will likely transition Jason Garrett right out the door. The only reason to be excited about Dak is that he is likely to face plenty of friendly garbage time game scripts. If he’s able to stay healthy he should get the opportunity to produce relevant numbers.

Derek Carr (QB 20, ADO 147.5): Carr enters 2018 with a new coaching staff. On the mend from a broken back, expectations are high. It’s difficult to know what Oakland will look like however as the new staff may opt for a run heavy approach. Amari Cooper may or may not be able to catch, Jordy Nelson may or may not be washed up, Martavis Bryant may or may not be suspended for the year…let’s of questions. I’m just not convinced Carr is really very good. At the very least this will be a transition year with many questions to answer.

Late round, big value:

Eli Manning (QB21, ADP 154): Stop me if you’ve heard this before…everyone thinks Barkley, Beckham, Engram, and Shepard are set for big years, so shouldn’t Eli be great. While I like to run contrarian to many narratives this one is difficult to argue with, particularly when you can get exposure to that collection of stars with a 12th round pick.

Jameis Winston (QB22, ADP 154.1): Yes, he will miss four games, but yes this is best ball and you can lean heavily on your other QB or QBs while you wait for Winston to return. The Buccs may not be great this year but they are likely to put up great offensive totals. Winston finished 2017 on a tear and eclipsed 300 yards six times (and had 299 once). This seems likely pretty great value in best ball where he will still compete in 11 games.

Mitchell Trubisky (QB23, 157.8): For your QB hype needs, after Watson, Garoppolo and Mahomes, there’s Trubisky. There will certainly be challenges as he adapts to year two in the NFL under a new coach, but he has considerable weapons and offers ground game alpha. As a 12th rounder, paired with one of the Ryan, Rivers, Big Ben, Stafford group, you have yourself a duo with stability and upside.

Case Keenum (QB24, 162.4 ADP): Keenum will be welcomed with open arms by the Broncos faithful and target starved Demaryius Thomas and Emanuel Sanders. Keenum will not compete as a top 10 QB for fantasy purposes but he should provide consistent stable numbers. A good pairing for him might be one of the big upside riskier plays.

Blake Bortles (QB25, ADP 163.6): The only thing more consistent than the market’s hatred of Blake Bortles are his numbers. Despite the naysayers Bortles churns out startable, streamable totals. Add Donte Moncrief to an emerging group of young receivers and there is reason to believe that he can continue to rack them up. Like Goff there is some concern about how much havoc his defense and Leonard Fournette might reek, but I much prefer Bortles ADP to Goff’s.

Andy Dalton (QB26, ADP176.6): The red rifle is a complimentary piece to a more expensive and exciting counterpart, or two. He can provide a stable baseline and bye week stop gap in the 14th round. So long as you have a QB1, Dalton is good late value as a supporting best ball cast member.

Ryan Tannehill (QB27, ADP187.7): The market seems to have given up and Ryan Tannehill and Adam Gase, but given this ADP, it might be worth picking the QB as your third best ball option. The Dolphins will certainly find themselves in throwing situations and Tannehill can also move the ball on his recently repaired legs.

Tyrod Taylor (QB 28, ADP 187.8): Tyrod has all the makings of a surprisingly good season. If he were to play the entire season he would play behind his best offensive line and throw to his best offensive weapons to date. Despite Hue Jacksons’ repeated proclamations, however, I have zero confidence he will be provided such an opportunity. Instead the Browns will be impatient and rush Baker Mayfield to early starts, potentially damaging another first round asset in the process. Sigh.

Joe Flacco (QB29, ADP 202.1): Unlike the Browns, the Ravens are likely to have discipline and give Lamar Jackson the benefit on a full year on sideline finishing school. This could bolster the beleaguered Flacco as he will benefit from an improved offensive line and weapons, like Tyrod. Flacco’s first year with Marty Mornhinweg showed promise and they may be able to deliver on it this season. The additions of Michael Crabtree and John Brown are underrated, s is the possibility of the all but written off Kenneth Dixon. Don’t be surprised if both the Ravens and Flacco are better than expected.

Sam Bradford/Josh Rosen (QB31 and 33): The last round offers you a chance to grab a Cardinal QB. It’s uncertain just who that will be but given his track record at staying healthy, one would have to assume Rosen will get his turn. If you haven’t drafted a 3rd QB by now, the volume here may be enough to make them best ball startable a week or two. You might be better off forgoing this duo though, and instead opt for an extra receiver or back.

In a nutshell, don’t bother paying a big price for a big-name quarterback. Use those rounds instead to add running back, receiver and tight ends. Those positions fall off in a hurry while quarterback remains extremely deep and seems to be getting deeper. Best ball allows you to survive off weeks, so long as your depth shows up at the right times.

I find myself not drafting anyone until QB11 (Stafford). From there I generally employ one of two strategies: (1) – take two from the group of: Stafford, Roethlisberger, Ryan, Rivers, Mariota, Mahomes, or (2) take just one from that group along with two later targets, Eli and Trubisky, for example.

Good luck!