Draft Season is Upon Us!

Draft season is my favorite time of year. If you’re a fantasy nut like me, you’ve probably done a ton of mock drafts, and read every article posted on the world-wide web. With my big money drafts completed, I can feel free to release some of my thoughts going into this season. Below are a handful of players I’m big on, low on, and guys you should grab late in your draft as someone who could potentially breakout (ala David Johnson last year).

This is strictly my opinion based on what I have read, saw, and heard from everywhere. Hopefully my advice can help you reach fantasy greatness. If so, remember to buy me a beer with your winnings!

Here we go!

Players I love:

Running Backs:

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David Johnson ADP 9: Johnson is a beast, and deserves to be taken in the middle to front of the first round. After Brown/Julio/Beckham, Johnson is the next guy on my list. A true 3 down back in a high-powered offense. Great pass catcher, and amazing to watch his speed in the open field.

Melvin Gordon ADP 68: I had Gordon last year in his rookie season and held onto him all season, waiting for him to explode. It never happened. This year will be different . He’s had a strong preseason, and is ready to take over as the lead back in San Diego. Danny Woodhead is still on the team, and will certainly take away some pass targets from Gordon, but Woodhead is a putrid runner and averages just over 3 yards per carry. Look for Gordon to handle most of the carries, and be a solid RB2. Great value for a guy you can grab in the 6th or 7th round.

Eddie Lacy ADP 23: In much better shape than last year, and is also entering into a contact year. He looks determined to right the ship and return to his form from two years ago. Cheeseburger Eddie is bound for a bounce back season, and is good value in the late second/early third round range.

Lamar Miller: ADP 15 Had a great year last year, and is the THE guy in Houston. Without Arian Foster last year, the Texans run game was dreadful, and I don’t expect anyone to steal carries from Miller this season. Miller will shoulder most of the load, and have another stellar year. He’s a great pick if you have the 10-12 picks in your draft, and you might be able to grab him on your way back in the second round.

Derrick Henry ADP 88 : He’s a big bruiser who also has speed. The Titans are going to be a run heavy team, but also have DeMarco Murray on the roster. Murray and Henry will share the load, but Henry will most likely be the Goal line back. He also might out touch Murray later in the season. A good value in the 8th/9th round for a guy who can end up being a solid RB2.

Wide Receiver:

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Keenan Allen ADP 35: Keenan was poised for a top 5 WR season last year before he got hurt. He’ll get a ton of targets in a pass happy offense, and has the ability on his own to be the main reason you’ll win some weeks. He can easily finish in the top 5 WR this season, and is being drafted in the late 3rd/early 4th round. Great value!

Randall Cobb: Monster year in 2014, numbers dipped in 2015 as the offense had less space to work with teammate Jordy Nelson sidelined. QB Aaron Rodgers loves looking for Cobb in the Red Zone. Look for him to get closer to his 2014 numbers.

Donte Moncrief: Had career highs in both yards and touchdowns last year, and that was without Andrew Luck. Speedy Colts WR TY Hilton and Philip Dorsett will get a lot of deep targets, but expect Moncrief to get a ton of targets over the middle, and he has the ability to turn them into big gains. Look for Moncrief to exceed his career high numbers from last year, and be a solid WR2.

QB:

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Eli Manning ADP 83: Eli has had back to back strong seasons since offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo took over the offense. McAdoo is now the head coach, and I see Eli continuing his upward trend. Beckham is back of course, and the addition of rookie Sterling Shepard and return of Victor Cruz will give Eli plenty of options to throw to. Look for another 30+ touchdown season from Elite Eli

Philip Rivers ADP 93: Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd, Stevie Johnson, Antonio Gates, Ladarius Green and Melvin Gordon all missed portions of the season last year, and the Chargers offensive line was totally decimated as well. Rivers was ranked as QB2 before Allen got hurt last year in Week 8. Considering he is going in the 11-12 range for QB’s, he is an absolute steal for a guy that should finish top 5.

These two are great to target later in the draft.I have always been a proponent of waiting at the QB spot and these guys are the 9th-11th QB’s being selected.  I’d rather draft these guys later on, than give up an early round pick for Cam Newton or Aaron Rodgers.

Players I Hate: these are players I would stay away from, unless they start to slip in your draft and are a good value.

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Alshon Jeffery ADP 26- It’s personal with me and Alshon. I’ve had him on my teams the last few years, and the guy is an absolute monster when healthy. The problem is, he’s always injured. He missed a ton of games last year with hamstring issues, and already had some injury issues in the preseason. With the new injury report rules removing the probable designation, do you really want your 2nd round pick listed as questionable every week? I would avoid him at his current ADP of 26 and take a guy like Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans.

TJ Yeldon: ADP 90 Yeldon is the non-red zone part of a running back committee, on a team that loves to throw the ball. There’s not much upside for this guy. If you’re taking a back from Jacksonville, grab Chris Ivory and chase the touchdowns.

Jeremy Hill ADP 48: Another personal circumstance. I was huge on Hill last year following his breakout rookie campaign. He was disappointing, and never broke the 100yd mark in any game. He scored single digit points in 9 of 15 weeks, and was a frustrating player to have on your team. I’m trying to save you that feeling. He was able to score 11 touchdowns, a high for the RB position, but that number will be tough to match this season. He continues to share the load with Gio Benard, and Benard is the main back in passing downs. I’m staying away from him, and I think you should as well.

Take a flyer on:

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Marcellus Bennett ADP 121: Great value if you wait to draft a TE. When Aaron Hernandez was on the Patriots, both himself and Gronk finished in the top 5 at TE. That could be possible again, especially if the Patriots run more double TE sets. Gronk is also injury prone, and if he gets hurt, Bennett would immediately be in the top 3 at the TE position. Absolutely worth a late round pick.

Christine Michael ADP 130 : Let me know if you’ve heard this before: “This is the year Christine Michael becomes a breakout star.” We’ve heard for the last few years that Michael was on the verge of being a star. After being traded, cut, put to the practice squad, and then back starting with Seattle late last season, Michael has seemed to have an awakening. Starter Thomas Rawls is still recovering from his broken ankle from last season, but it seems like he might be ready for Week 1. Either way, grab Michael later in your draft, as he should be battling for carries, and will be next in line if Rawls is slow to come back,

Spencer Ware ADP 143 : Ware was an absolute stud when he filled in for Jamaal Charles last season. Even with Charles healthy, Ware might be a flex play if they share carries in KC. There’s reports that Ware is currently getting most of the snaps with the first team offense, and that Charles is behind schedule in his ACL recovery. Ware could get the majority of the carries in Week 1 and early in the season, if Charles continues his slow recovery. He’s a great value pick either way, but If Charles goes down, Ware is immediately an RB1.

Tevin Coleman ADP 132: Still not 100% sold on Devonta Freeman. Coleman is talented. If the Freeman hype disappears, you’ll want to have Coleman on your bench instead of having to fight for him on the waiver wire.

Julius Thomas ADP 111: Poised for a bounce back year in a high-powered offense. Expect him to get more red zone targets, and steal some of those TD’s from Allen Hurns. Another good option if you wait at TE.

Well that’s it for now! As we mentioned before, be sure to stay tuned to The Sports Chill for fantasy advice all season, as well as James’ weekly Fanduel picks!

Good luck in your draft!

-Mark

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