At the conclusion of the NFL’s 2018 Draft, my first thought was, “Which one of these players am I going to select for my fantasy team in the upcoming season?”. Extreme talent and some favorable situations have led to a few interesting prospects for the 2018 fantasy season.
- Josh Rosen, quarterback, Arizona Cardinals
- Dante Pettis, wide receiver, San Francisco 49ers
- Kerryon Johnson, running back, Detroit Lions
- Deon Cain, wide receiver, Indianapolis Colts
10. Sony Michel, running back, New England Patriots
Although it is typically not a great idea to bet on Bill Belichick’s running backs, the combination of Dion Lewis’ departure to Tennessee and Belichick’s confidence to take Michel at No. 31 makes me think there are big plans for Michel, a former Georgia Bulldog. Even with four viable options in the Patriot backfield, Michel has the speed and pass-catching ability to get enough touches per game to make him a viable fantasy option, especially in PPR leagues.
9. Calvin Ridley, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons
The draft’s top receiver, Ridley is the most physically gifted player at his position in the this year’s rookie class. Although Ridley will most likely start the season as the Falcons’ No. 3 receiver behind Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, he has all of the tools to take Sanu’s spot as the second receiver, which would make him valuable for a fantasy owner.
8. Mike Gesicki, tight end, Miami Dolphins
One of the draft’s top tight ends, Gesicki walks into the Dolphins’ locker room as the starter. At 6-foot-6 and 252 pounds, he has all of the physical tools to thrive in a system that has provided some strong seasons from the tight end position during the last five years. A lot of his success will depend on the health of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is returning from a season-long ACL injury.
7. Derrius Guice, running back, Washington Redskins
The Redskins haven’t had a consistent running back since Alfred Morris ran for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014. With sporadic performances from many of Washington’s returning backs, Guice will have a lot of competition for touches in this backfield. Aside from Saquon Barkley, Guice was the most physically gifted running back in this year’s draft class. He will need to utilize that skill to gain touches over the likes of Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley.
6. Michael Gallup, wide receiver, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys cut three-time Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant, and this opened up a starting position alongside Terrence Williams and Cole Beasley. Gallup will have to compete against free agent signing Allen Hurns for the Cowboys’ No. 2 receiver role, but with his size and pass-catching ability, he will be a smart stash for fantasy owners.
5. Royce Freeman, running back, Denver Broncos
Freeman is in a similar situation as Ronald Jones. Both of their teams cut their previous starters and have little experience returning in their positions. One of college football’s most prolific runners the last two years, Freeman has only one man in front of him for the job: second-year back Devontae Booker, who rushed for fewer than 300 yards in his injury-riddled rookie season. If another injury were to hit Booker, Freeman would immediately turn into a week-to-week flex player.
4. D.J. Moore, wide receiver, Carolina Panthers
Although Moore was not the highest rated in this year’s receiving class, he is the player who wound up in the best situation possible. Heading into 2018, the Panthers have one reliable receiver in the form of Devin Funchess. Moore should step into the No. 2 receiver role and flourish with quarterback Cam Newton running the show.
3. Ronald Jones, running back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Following six-year starter Doug Martin’s release, the Buccaneers entered the draft in need of a replacement, and Jones fits the bill. He rushed for 1,486 yards in his senior season, and with only former part-time starters to compete with, Jones should take this job with ease.
2. Rashaad Penny, running back, Seattle Seahawks
After leading college football in rushing yards his senior year, Penny was selected with the No. 27 pick in the first round. He is heading to a team with no defined No. 1 running back. With Chris Carson and Mike Davis as his main competition, Penny has a good chance of winning the starting job out of camp and becoming valuable to fantasy owners.
1. Saquon Barkley, running back, New York Giants
As the consensus No. 1 running back, Barkley would have been highly coveted regardless of which team drafted him. Thankfully for Barkley and fantasy owners alike, he will go into a situation with little competition and a strong chance to thrive. Barkley’s home-run running style mixed with the Giants’ strong passing game should lead to a year of success for Barkley and fantasy team owners who draft him.