QB List Staff 2018 Fantasy Favorites

Recently, the staff at QB List came together for this article where we each shared our top picks for the respective categories:

  • “Your Guy” – One of your must-have players for this season and one that ends up on all/near all of your teams.
  • “Favorite Sleeper” – A player who could blow up, but you could also see them not. Generally said player comes at a very low cost or an extreme discount in terms of an ADP/$ amount.
  • “Bounce-Back Candidate” – A player with previous NFL success or high draft pick expectations that failed to meet expectations a year ago and now is often able to be acquired at a cheaper cost than the year before.
  • “Bust Pick” – A player with high expectations for performance in 2018 that may finish with poor statistical results and not return the appropriate value for their ADP/$ amount this year.
  • Note that more in-depth reasoning for selections can be found by clicking a highlighted author in the chart below
Author “Your Guy” “Favorite Sleeper” “Bounce-Back Candidate” “Bust Pick”
Aaron Rader Jerick McKinnon Trey Burton Jamison Crowder Jimmy Graham
Adam Garland Jamison Crowder Anthony Miller Marcus Mariota Dalvin Cook
Alex Silverman Alshon Jeffrey Demaryius Thomas Julian Edelman Kareem Hunt
Ben Palmer Alex Collins Matt Breida Marcus Mariota Jay Ajayi
Brennen Gorman Davante Adams Ronald Jones II Allen Robinson Kareem Hunt
Dave Cherman Jerick McKinnon Nelson Agholor Marcus Mariota Kareem Hunt
David Fenko Corey Davis Jake Butt Darren Sproles Alvin Kamara
Joe Hanretty Cooper Kupp Martavis Bryant Eli Manning Dak Prescott
Marc Salazar Juju Smith-Schuster Corey Davis Andrew Luck DeShaun Watson
Matt Cava Juju Smith-Schuster Will Fuller V Emmanuel Sanders Brandin Cooks
Matt Dean Jordan Howard Derrius Guice (Inj after selection) Andrew Luck Allen Robinson
Matthew Bevins Alex Collins Julian Edelman Jordy Nelson Mark Ingram
Michael Collins Jordan Howard Robby Anderson Jamison Crowder Melvin Gordon
Mike Miklius Trey Burton Marquise Goodwin Amari Cooper DeShaun Watson
Nick Light Travis Kelce Cam Newton T.Y. Hilton Sony Michel
Paul Ghiglieri Trey Burton John Brown Amari Cooper DeShaun Watson
Ryan Heath Rob Gronkowski Matt Breida Jordy Nelson Saquon Barkley
Steve Honovich Jerick McKinnon Tyler Lockett Josh Gordon Alvin Kamara
Tommy Reilly Christian McCaffery Cameron Meredith Evan Engram Brandin Cooks
Trey Huntsman Dion Lewis Tre’Quon Smith Corey Davis Joe Mixon

“My Guy” reasoning:

Alshon Jeffery (WR, Philadelphia Eagles)by Alex Silverman: Let’s call this more of a hunch than anything, but I’m taking Alshon Jeffery as “my guy” this year. He’s a pillar within the ridiculously dynamic Philadelphia Eagles offense and stands at 6’ 3”. With Alshon this coming season, there are two frequently considered questions: is he healthy, and how many targets will he get? To answer the former, we won’t know until he practices. He’s still in the midst of his recovery from offseason rotator cuff surgery, however, the Eagles have publically stated a desire to bring players back only when they’re fully ready. This means Alshon could miss week 1, but even if that’s the case the Birds will be sure to bring him back at 100%, which means he plays healthier and stronger than last season. As for the latter question, it oddly should not even be a question. Last year within roughly the same offense, Alshon received a rock solid 120 targets, slotting in as the 13th highest share in the league. However, Alshon suffered from a lack of efficiency with those targets as only 81 (!!) of those 120 targets were catchable. With another year of familiarity in Doug Pederson’s offensive scheme, and Carson Wentz entering year 3 with sky-high expectations (or a super bowl MVP if you feel Wentz won’t be ready for week 1) that figure is sure to improve. Combine your two answers, and you have a player with a top 15 target share in a high-octane offense with a strong QB situation AND improved health. I don’t think you can ask much more of a WR going after the likes of Jarvis Landry, Allen Robinson, and Jimmy Graham in drafts with an ADP of 57 in standard leagues. Go get you some Alshon and bask in the glory of stealing WR1 shares for the cost of a low-end WR2.

Alex Collins (RB, Baltimore Ravens)by Ben Palmer: Collins was excellent last year, showing great burst and speed while simultaneously being really difficult to bring down. He finished the season with a 13.1% DVOA, good for third-best in the NFL, ahead of names like Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley, and Ezekiel Elliott. He’s likely going to be the main guy in the Ravens backfield, as Kenneth Dixon has been dealing with injuries and has seemed to have fallen out of favor with the Ravens organization while Javorius Allen should be in on passing downs more often than not. I expect the Ravens offense to be better than it was last year and given a full season, I really like Collins’ chances at putting up high-end RB2 numbers.

Cooper Kupp (WR, Los Angeles Rams)by Jon Hanretty: Cooper Kupp proved to be a great outlet for Jared Goff. Despite some nagging injuries along the way, he played in 15 games and finished the season with a catch percentage of 66% on 94 targets. He averaged 14 yards per reception! How can you not love it? I think Kupp benefits from more attention from defenses focusing more on Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods.

Jordan Howard (RB, Chicago Bears)by Michael Collins: Surprising inconsistency last season has many doubting Jordan Howard in 2018. As the only between the tackles back in Chicago, I only see greener pastures in the Windy City. Howard ran for over 4.0 YPC despite facing stacked boxes week in and week out. New additions Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller, paired with the emerging Nagy/Trubisky combo, defensive backfields should be playing further off the LOS. Howard’s ceiling is limited compared to similar backs at his ADP, but his high floor is enough to make him a priority in every draft.

“Favorite Sleeper” reasoning:

Cam Newton (QB, Carolina Panthers)by Nick Light: Cam Newton is currently being drafted as the seventh quarterback off the board. This is the same Cam Newton who finished as the second-best quarterback in fantasy last year, despite the Panthers trading away wide receiver, Kelvin Benjamin mid-season. To replace Benjamin, the Panthers added the talented wideout, D.J. Moore, via the draft. Moore, along with a healthy Greg Olsen and another year with running back, Christian McCaffrey, gives Cam plenty of weapons on offense. Even if all those weapons fail, Cam’s rushing ability gives him a safe floor to work with, especially at his current average draft position. Before you draft the unproven DeShaun Watson, aging Tom Brady, or recovering Carson Wentz, remember that Cam will still be sitting there a few rounds later.

Nelson Agholor (WR, Philadelphia Eagles)by Dave Cherman: Nelson Agholor is currently the 39th WR off the boards in Yahoo at an ADP of 108, but is likely to return value well in excess of that. He was on pace for a 59-816-8 line over his 13 games with Carson Wentz at the helm and he flashed his upside numerous times, including 15-205-1 in his final two games with Wentz. Oh, and did I mention that those two games came against Seattle and the Rams? Clearly, Agholor was building a strong rapport with his second-year QB. Alshon Jeffery and Mike Wallace surround him, but this is a pass-first offense that will find looks for Agholor that he will convert. He averaged over 8 targets/game over Weeks 13-16 and the playoffs (ignoring Week 17, where starters played one drive), with a 72% catch rate that would’ve been best in football over the full season.

Jake Butt (TE, Denver Broncos)by David Fenko: Jake Butt didn’t play a single snap in 2017 after suffering an ACL tear in the Orange Bowl. That injury came before the draft and the Broncos still took Butt in the 5th round. Beyond that, as of August 3rd, it looks like Jake Butt will be the starting TE for the Broncos. All of that indicates a level of trust in Butt, one that shouldn’t be ignored. On the other side of the ball, the Broncos are entrusting Case Keenum to be their QB in 2018. With Keenum under center, Kyle Rudolph finished as a top-10 TE. Furthermore, Keenum tends to play the short yardage game, which aligns well with TE usage.

Matt Breida (RB, San Francisco 49ers)by Ryan Heath: With the rush to get in on Kyle Shanahan’s offense pushing Jerick McKinnon into the 2nd round, it only makes sense for fantasy owners excited about the 49ers this year to look for discounts. Matt Breida in the double-digit rounds represents a much cheaper opportunity to get in on a player who was a more efficient rusher last year than McKinnon and could also benefit from the same scheme. Breida also owns an 88th-percentile SPARQ score, putting his athleticism in a similar ballpark. He managed to steal some carries away from Carlos Hyde last year as an undrafted rookie and could wrestle away goal-line duties from McKinnon this year in the same way Latavius Murray did on the Vikings. Breida is a no-brainer for anyone suspicious about McKinnon’s ability to be a bell-cow for the first time in his career.

Julian Edelman (WR, New England Patriots)by Matt Bevins: Edelman has been Tom Brady’s right-hand man since 2013. When he’s been healthy or on the field, his targets can be seen as a major factor in this Patriots offense, as in the four years since ’13, his targets are 151, 134, 88 (shortened season of only 9 games), and 159. If there, the Patriots offense goes, he goes. Now, this year, he’s coming off an injury season, a training camp where he told reporters he doesn’t feel “at his best” in so many words, and oh, he also has a 4 game suspension that he won’t have limited for PED’s. So, why should we eye him in our drafts? I think we can all agree, other drafters will not be as on board with taking a 32-year-old WR with the limitations of the above, but the targets show, and the glimmer in Brady’s eye for him shows that you can do worse than taking Minitron, the target monster, either at his current ADP from trusted fantasy sites at 81, or even propelling him over Chris HoganPierre Garcon, or if you want to feel adventurous, Sammy Watkins, all expected to go in the round 7 range. Draft Edelman without worry, and grab an extra wideout or two-end of the draft to cobble the first month, and we can raise a beer or sparkling beverage to our fantasy championships in 2018/19.

“Bounce-back Candidate” reasoning:

Jamison Crowder (WR, Washington Redskins)by Aaron Rader: Jamison Crowder battled through a hamstring injury for much of 2017. However, he managed to rectify his slow start to finish as the 18th WR over his last nine games. Now he is back healthy and has a new QB in town. Alex Smith is known for making throws that are intelligent and surgical rather than bombing it deep into coverage. Smith threw into tight coverage less than any other QB in the league last year and Crowder finished eighth in terms of separation at the time of target. The Redskins also added Paul Richardson and that will help stretch the field; creating room underneath for Crowder. With a current ADP of 97 and the projected easiest schedule amongst WRs, Crowder could be a late round steal, especially in PPR leagues.

Marcus Mariota (QB, Tennessee Titans)by Adam Garland: There were some high expectations for Mariota after a sophomore NFL season in which he threw 26 TDs against 9 TDs with a solid 61.2% completion percentage and also picked up an additional 349 yards of rushing and 2 TDs. The hype grew even higher after the Titans selected WR Corey Davis with the 5th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. 2018 didn’t go as planned for Mariota and fantasy owners as he struggled to throw TDs (13) while making more mistakes (15 interceptions) and ultimately finished as the 18th ranked QB in fantasy last year. Looking ahead to 2018, I am optimistic because of the new coaching staff in Tennessee including Matt LaFleur who is the new Offensive Coordinator. LaFleur has been on the coaching staff when these notable QBs had their best seasons: Jared Goff in 2017, Matt Ryan in 2016, Everett Golson in 2014, Robert Griffin III in 2012, and Matt Schaub in 2009. Also of note is that Mariota’s QB rating was 53 points last season off of play action plays but just 22% of his attempts came off of play action plays (ranked 19th).  Under LaFleur, 29% of Jared Goff’s attempts came off of play action which ranked 3rd highest in the league. The skillset of Mariota and the playcalling of LaFleur seem to align well and the addition of Dion Lewis along with a healthy Delanie Walker and a 2nd year Corey Davis leads me to believe in a bounce-back year for Mariota.

Emmanuel Sanders (WR, Denver Broncos)by Matt Cava: It’s been a few years, but the Broncos should have some stability at the quarterback position. Therefore, I can see Emmanuel Sanders having a bounce-back fantasy season. For his ADP as a top-30 WR, the value is there to put up solid numbers, despite being behind Demaryius Thomas in the pecking order. For comparison sake – and I’m not expecting mirroring production – but Case Keenum did favor his WR2 Adam Thielen last year in such capacity that he turned him into a WR1 over Stefon Diggs. Can the same be done with Sanders?

“Bust Pick” reasoning:

DeShaun Watson (QB, Houston Texans)by Mike Miklius: DeShaun Watson is currently being drafted as the QB2 in fantasy football based on a 5-game sample where he looked amazing. You know who was the #1 QB over the last five weeks of the season? Blake Bortles. Sample size does matter! To make matters worse, Watson is coming off a torn right ACL and is a player who relies on his mobility. He previously tore his left ACL in college, so this isn’t something new. Finally, his touchdown rate of 9.3% last season (Watson threw a touchdown on 9.3% of his pass attempts) is incredibly unsustainable. For comparison, Peyton Manning‘s career average was 5.7% and Tom Brady‘s is 5.5%. Therefore, his TD% is likely to see some HUGE regression. For these reasons, I can almost guarantee Watson won’t end up on any of my fantasy teams this year.

Brandin Cooks (WR, Los Angeles Rams)by Tommy Reilly: My pick for “bust candidate” just received a massive contract and was traded from one of the most consistent offenses of our time to a high powered offense from last year. The team that acquired him also grabbed 3 other marquee names so the locker room should be interesting. He has played with 2 of the best quarterbacks of the last decade (Drew Brees and Tom Brady) to a QB who was recently drafted one number overall. This year his team will face some of the most daunting pass defenses from weeks 2 through 7 and has a tough slate 14 through 16. His quarterback, Jared Goff, already has 2 young wide receivers (Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods) that he was able to gel with really well and he’s the new number one. I expect a bit of a regression in general with the Rams offense especially the passing game, but my “bust candidate” is Brandin Cooks of the LA Rams.

Kareem Hunt (RB, Kansas City Chiefs)by Brennen Gorman: Kareem Hunt burst onto the scene last year running for 148 yards, receiving for 98 yards, and putting up 3 touchdowns in his debut game. It was the highest single-game performance of any player at any position last year (coming in at 40.6 points). Although Hunt had other high scoring games – those were offset by several poor performances (failing to break 10 fantasy points in 6 games). If we consider his 40-point game an outlier and remove it with his lowest scoring game, we end up with a fringe top-10 running back. I think Hunt regresses, harder than his draft value is worth.

Jerick McKinnon (RB, San Francisco 49ers)by Nick Miko: This was written prior to his injury, but even before then, McKinnon has been getting drafted too high for a guy who is with a new team. We have no idea how much he will be used. Early in the draft, I like to look for high usage running backs. We have no idea if he will be that. Drafting McKinnon in the 2nd round is drafting the absolute best case scenario and we don’t know that it will actually happen. At his ADP, I would much rather take a known commodity. I like Mckinnon, just a couple rounds later than he is currently going.

Those are the staff picks, we hope you all enjoyed it! Feel free to comment below on whether or you agree or disagree with any of our picks! Also, stay tuned for a more in-depth look at author selections for these categories as various staff members will be releasing individual articles explaining all of their picks and reasoning for them.

Adam Garland

Adam is a marketing professional 9-5, but an avid sports fan and fantasy sports player 24/7. He writes for Pitcher List about MLB prospects but he also is a Buffalo Bills and NFL Draft fan. He plays in multiple leagues of varying sizes, and he hopes he can help with yours! He's also always up to talk football/prospects with anyone, so please don't hesitate to strike up a conversation!

sdf

Leave a Comment


Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.