The QB List consensus rankings are out, featuring a Top 200 players list that can help you navigate your league’s draft this season. But a deeper look at the individual rankings behind those consensus numbers reveals where certain writers stray from the group. For this article, we’ll dive into where I differed from the consensus with my rankings, as a means to highlight which players I’ll be targeting heavily at their current ADP, as well as which guys I’ll be staying away from this draft season.
Players I Love
Jaylen Samuels (RB, Pittsburgh Steelers) – Staff Rank RB46, 122 Overall / My Rank RB34, 83 Overall
If I have to reach to secure Jaylen Samuels as the first man on my projected bench, that’s just fine. Though we saw him with occasional fill-in duty in 2018, Samuels is likely to emerge as a receiving threat out of the Steelers backfield this season. Word out of Pittsburgh is that the offense is incorporating more two-back sets that would feature Samuels alongside 2018 breakout star James Conner. With Conner functioning as the downhill bruiser, Samuels will have opportunities to get into open space and break big plays on the regular. And if something happens to Conner, it’s Samuels show. Samuels is one of the best handcuffs in the NFL this season and will have standalone value thanks to his ability as a pass-catcher.
Latavius Murray (RB, New Orleans) – Staff Rank RB32, 79 Overall / My Rank RB26, 55 Overall
Latavius Murray has never excited me too much as a player, but when it comes to fantasy football, I’m all about players with ample opportunity in good offenses. That premise describes Murray precisely this upcoming season. Given comments from Sean Payton that indicate he doesn’t intend to upgrade the workload for Alvin Kamara any time soon, Murray should absorb the role vacated by Mark Ingram in the Saints offense. Murray is a north-and-south force who could even snake some goal-line chances from Kamara. Like Samuels, Murray is a spectacular handcuff who should have standalone flex appeal even with Kamara healthy.
Darwin Thompson (RB, Kansas City Chiefs) – Staff Rank RB71, N/A Overall / My Rank RB51, 133 Overall
If you want to make certain you are drafting Darwin Thompson at this point, you need to be doing so within the first 10 rounds of 12-team drafts. The athletic sixth-round running back out of Utah State is rising up fantasy draft boards just as quickly as he’s rising up Kansas City’s proverbial RB depth chart. The Chiefs should probably just cut Carlos Hyde now because there’s nothing he can do that Thompson can’t. He’s got the wiggle to turn standard plays into special ones, the strength to fight for the extra yard, and the hands to make plays through the air. Hopefully, he’ll have the chance to show it in third-down situations right out of the gate–and can ultimately expand his opportunity from there in the league’s best offense. One of my bold predictions for this fantasy season: When it’s all said and done, Thompson will lead the Kansas City backfield in fantasy points in 2019. Move over Damien Williams; the Darwin Thompson show is ready to begin.
Trey Quinn (WR, Washington Redskins) – Staff Rank WR78, 198 Overall / My Rank WR56, 143 Overall
Trey Quinn is worth a late-round dart throw on your fantasy bench in PPR leagues. As the slot-man for the Redskins, Quinn has as good of a chance as anyone to lead the team in targets this season. So why couldn’t he help your fantasy team on the strength of that volume in the passing game? The D.C. offense overall doesn’t have to be a winner for Quinn to rack up receptions. Whether he’s catching passes from Case Keenum or Dwayne Haskins, Quinn shouldn’t be overlooked as a high-floor player to stash away early in preparation for bye weeks. Better yet, if he proves himself early on, you could end up doing worse than Quinn as a weekly flex option. That’s excellent value for a meager price, the name of the game in fantasy drafts.
Players I Hate
Antonio Brown (WR, Oakland Raiders) – Staff Rank WR9, 22 Overall / My Rank WR13, 29 Overall
Antonio Brown is WR9 in our staff consensus rankings, and while I was wary of him going from Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers to Derek Carr and the Raiders, that only accounted for a minor dip in my original draft grade for him. He was my WR13 for these rankings, seven spots overall lower than the consensus. But then the foot thing happened, and the helmet thing happened, and I said ‘no mas.’ Currently, Brown, who finished as WR5 in PPR (and WR2 on a PPG basis) last season, is completely absent from my personal draft board. He’s outside my top 200 entirely. I no longer can justify Brown being drafted as a WR1 or WR2 considering the constant drama surrounding his status. I refuse to put myself into a position where something dumb Brown does can surprise me. To all those willing to try and find value in Brown if he falls to you in round three or so, godspeed, but leaving Brown out of my updated rankings ensures I can just sit back and laugh at the circus.
D.J. Moore (WR, Carolina Panthers) – Staff Rank WR25, 49 Overall / My Rank WR29, 64 Overall
At his current ADP, I’m very unlikely to end up with any shares of D.J. Moore this season. And you know what, I’m perfectly fine with that. While many are predicting Moore as a breakout wide receiver for the Panthers, I’m higher on his teammate Curtis Samuel to emerge in the Carolina passing game. So it’s a simple value proposition; I’m fading Moore in rounds four and five and targeting Samuel in the sixth or seventh. Additionally, the entire passing attack in that offense could end up suffering if Cam Newton, seen in a walking boot in recent days, doesn’t hold up physically over the course of the year. All those factors considered, I’ll happily let the hype around Moore build so that other teams draft him ahead of me, and I can see more of my actual targets in those rounds fall into my lap.
T.Y. Hilton (WR, Indianapolis Colts) – Staff Rank WR11, 24 Overall / My Rank WR14, 30 Overall
When our consensus rankings came out, Andrew Luck was the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. Though his preseason had been weird and eerie, I don’t think anyone saw his retirement coming. So how will the weekend’s biggest sports news affect the skill players for the Colts this season? As it was, T.Y. Hilton was in my rankings as the last man in a WR tier that included Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Amari Cooper. Without knowing how he’ll fare with Jacoby Brissett under center in Indy, I’ve got him slotted somewhere among the likes of Julian Edelman, Kenny Golladay and the Rams WR trio. Hilton is unquestionable a great player, and should be motivated to prove doubters wrong in the absence of Luck, but there are other guys I like better for my WR2 spot at his draft range.
Dion Lewis (RB, Tennessee Titans) – Staff Rank RB42, 114 Overall / My Rank RB50, 130 Overall
Those he is typically a fiend in the PPR format, I’m not going to be spending any draft capital on Dion Lewis this season. And it’s not really through any fault of his own. It’s more about the offense in which he plays and the opportunity to draft higher upside players at his ADP. Lewis is at risk of decreased usage heading into this season after the late-season emergence of Derrick Henry as the game-breaking bell cow he proved to be down the stretch. If Henry catches fire early in this campaign, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Titans look to ride him ‘til the wheels fall off, which would mean tough times for Lewis. Though the speedy receiving back only needs a few targets per game to make an impact in fantasy, I’ve highlighted other players like him in my ‘love’ section already. I’d rather have the upside of a Jaylen Samuels over the floor of Lewis. Not to mention, I may be faced with the decision to reach on certain rookie backs like Justice Hill and Devin Singletary in the same rounds as Lewis is likely to be available. For the latter portion of my roster, it’s all about upside, and I don’t think Lewis has quite enough of it to be drafted in that portion of my draft.
(Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire)