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Fantasy Football 2018: 16 Fantasy Football Sleepers

Updated: Sunday, July 29th

If you asked 100 different people to define a fantasy football sleeper, you may get 100 different answers.

In fact, you could easily argue that there is no such thing as a "sleeper" given the volume of year-round fantasy football analysis.

For purposes of this post, however, we'll refer to sleepers as players available after Round 10 of 12-team leagues.

So, even though the players on this list may be household names, they all have an average draft position of 121 (or later) based on consensus average draft position (ADP) data (via FantasyPros).

Embed from Getty Images

Certainly not an exhaustive list, here are 16 fantasy football sleepers to target late in your draft(s):

QB - Alex Smith, Washington Redskins (ADP: 136, QB20)

Roughly half of the draft-day cost of Kirk Cousins, Smith is coming off the best fantasy season (QB3) of his career. Even though that was the first top-12 fantasy season of his career, it shouldn't be difficult for Smith to clear the bar (draft-day cost) set for him to generate a profit for his fantasy owners.

As great as Smith was last season, he enters a favorable fantasy situation in Washington. Not only has Cousins finished as a top-eight fantasy quarterback in each of the past three seasons, Jay Gruden coordinated Cincinnati's offense in 2013 when Andy Dalton finished as the QB5. So, in other words, Gruden has coached a QB8 (or better) season in four of the past five years.

Averaging a career-high 8.0 Y/A last season, Smith threw for 4,042 yards and 26 touchdowns, both of which were career highs. One of the league's more mobile quarterbacks, Smith has rushed for 350-plus yards in three of the past five seasons with 10 rushing scores over that stretch.

Will he finish as fantasy's QB8 next season? Most likely no, but a top-12 season is certainly within reach.

- Continue reading Fantasy Football Sleepers: Late-Round Bargains



2018 Fantasy Football Mock Draft

- Updated: Sunday, July 29th

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. While we may not be able to draft a "perfect" fantasy football team, the more we practice, the better our teams will be.

Starting on July 7th, we began drafting (at least) one fantasy football team per day using the 2018 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator and we will continue to do so up until the start of the 2018 NFL season.

Each day, we will switch things up -- e.g., PPR vs. standard scoring, league size, draft slot, 2-QB leagues, auction leagues, etc.

In addition, we will centralize links to our daily fantasy football mock drafts for an easy way to keep track of our mock drafts.

Details of today's mock draft:
With that said, here are the results of today's mock draft:

1.08 - Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants: Over the past two years, a rookie running back -- Ezekiel Elliott (2016) and Kareem Hunt (2017) -- has led the NFL in rushing. Arguably the most talented back to enter the league since Adrian Peterson, Barkley has a rare combination of size (233 pounds) and athleticism (4.4 forty and 41-inch vertical) and was highly productive (3,801 YFS and 43 TDs over past two seasons) at Penn State. The do-it-all back is a top-five fantasy option with legitimate upside to lead the position in fantasy points as a rookie.

2.05 - Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers: Playing just eight games in 2015 and one game in 2016, Allen won the AP Comeback of the Year award as he posted career numbers (102/1,393/6) in a healthy 16-game campaign. From Weeks 11 to 17, Allen was absolutely dominant with five 100-yard games during that seven-game span. No player had more receptions (58) or receiving yards (797) and only Antonio Brown (six) scored more touchdowns (five) than Allen over that stretch.

3.08 - Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings: Thielen has only 10 touchdowns in his four NFL seasons, but the former UDFA built upon his breakout 2016 season to lead the team in targets (142), receptions (91) and receiving yards (1,276). Only Brown, Julio Jones, Allen and DeAndre Hopkins had more yards than Thielen last season.

- MORE: Minnesota Vikings 2018 Fantasy Football Projections

4.05 - Alex Collins, RB, Baltimore Ravens: Collins had double-digit carries in the final 12 games of the season. From Weeks 8 to 17, the second-year back had the eighth-most fantasy points among running backs.

5.08 - Michael Crabtree, WR, Baltimore Ravens: As part of a 1-2 punch with Amari Cooper in Oakland, Crabtree now becomes his team's clear No. 1 wideout. Over the past three seasons, Crabtree has 25 touchdowns -- eight-plus in each of the past three seasons.

- MORE: Michael Crabtree 2018 Fantasy Football Profile

6.05 - Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints: Even with rookie Alvin Kamara finishing as fantasy's RB4, Ingram set career highs in 2017 with 1,124 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns, 58 receptions and 416 receiving yards. Although he'll miss the first four games due to a PED suspension, that creates a discount for his strong production from Weeks 5 to 16.

- Continue reading 2018 Fantasy Football Mock Draft
- View full mock draft results here

Complete your own mock drafts for free on our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator page.

Fantasy Football ADP: Biggest Weekly Risers

Every Sunday, we post an update in players that have had the biggest moves both up and down in fantasy football average draft position (ADP) from the previous week.

With this information, we can get a better sense of changes in the collective perceptions of fantasy football owners (mock drafters); in essence, it's a version of fantasy football stock up/down for players. If a player is moving up the ADP chart, it may lead us to using a higher pick than his current ADP to make sure we secure a targeted/coveted player.

Of course, a player's ADP (and movement) is just one (small) piece in determining who to draft and our strategy used to assemble a fantasy roster.

For purposes of our comparison, we will use ADP data from 12-team mock drafts from Fantasy Football Calculator:

Biggest Weekly Movers in Fantasy Football ADP

Below is the full grid of weekly changes in Fantasy Football ADP:

[Note: The lower the number (i.e., negative numbers are good), the more a player's fantasy football ADP has risen since last week.]

No.PlayerPos.TeamWkly
Chg.
7/157/227/29
1Benjamin WatsonTENew Orleans Saints-14.3-159.8145.5
2Chris CarsonRBSeattle Seahawks-9124.8125.9116.9
3Geronimo AllisonWRGreen Bay Packers-7.7156.5148.2140.5
4Alex SmithQBWashington Redskins-6.6141142.3135.7
5Mason CrosbyPKGreen Bay Packers-6.4171.7168.9162.5
5Frank GoreRBMiami Dolphins-6.4162.2165.4159
7Denver DefenseDEFDenver Broncos-6.2120.9123.6117.4
8Jordan MatthewsWRNew England Patriots-5.6160.5160.7155.1
9Andrew LuckQBIndianapolis Colts-4.8104100.795.9
10Josh DoctsonWRWashington Redskins-4.3144.5141.9137.6
Full list of weekly risers/fallers in Fantasy Football ADP


Fantasy Football 2018: 12 Undervalued Players Compared to Current ADP

Regardless of the strategy you use to construct your roster(s), the goal of every fantasy owner should be to maximize the value they get from each individual pick.

The greater the cumulative value you accumulate throughout your draft(s), the more likely you are to win your league(s).

In this post, my goal is to identify several players that are undervalued compared to their current average draft position (ADP).

For purposes of this exercise, we used consensus ADP data from FantasyPros. Therefore, the players below may be a better value on one site compared to another. In addition, it's not an exhaustive list.

Here are 12 players undervalued compared to their current fantasy football ADPs:

QB - Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (ADP: 121, QB16)

Since taking over for Drew Brees as the starter in 2006, Rivers has finished as fantasy's QB16 (or better) every season except for 2012 (QB21). Over the past five seasons, Rivers has finished as the QB6, QB12, QB11, QB14 and QB8, respectively, and he's finished as a top-12 option in eight of the past 10 seasons.

In other words, it would take a historically bad season for Rivers (by his standards) to be the equivalent of what's currently expected.

The durable starter has thrown for a minimum of 4,286 yards and 28 touchdowns in each of the past five seasons. During that span, he's averaged 4,491.4 yards and 30.6 touchdowns per season.

While the difference from QB10 (Kirk Cousins) to QB17 (Jared Goff) in my 2018 Fantasy Football QB Projections is only 3.04 fantasy points, Rivers (QB11) is only 0.44 fantasy points behind Cousins. That said, Rivers is going 51 spots, on average, after Cousins (ADP: 70).

- Continue reading 12 Undervalued Players Compared to Fantasy Football ADP

Fantasy Football Rankings: 2018 Quarterbacks

Updated: Saturday, July 21st

Scoring: These rankings are based on standard-scoring formats -- one point per 25 passing yards and one point per 10 rushing yards plus four points per passing touchdown and six points per rushing touchdown. They are for the full 2018 NFL season.

Our 2018 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings from Kevin Hanson:

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (Bye: 7)

Since becoming the starter in 2008, Rodgers has missed roughly a half-season twice (2013 and 2017). In the other eight seasons, he has finished as either the QB1 or QB2 in fantasy football seven times. Assuming good health, Rodgers is a virtual lock for a top-two season. The only concern with Rodgers or any quarterback selected early is the lost opportunity to acquire an impact player at a position of greater scarcity/value.

2. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (Bye: 7)

A top-three fantasy quarterback in three of the past four seasons, Wilson has rushed for 2,777 yards and 20 touchdowns in his six NFL seasons. But he's also averaged over 4,000 passing yards over the past three seasons and threw for a league-high 34 touchdowns in 2017. Despite his dual-threat abilities, Wilson has never missed an NFL game. So, in other words, he has tons of weekly upside with a solid floor.

3. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans (Bye: 10)

Offensive line woes and lack of experience did not slow Watson down as a rookie. Unfortunately, an ACL tear did. Before the injury, however, Watson finished with the most or second-most fantasy points in each of his final four games and eclipsed the 30-point mark in three of those four outings. Expectations are high entering season two, but he has legitimate QB1 upside for 2018 if he can stay healthy for a full season.

- Full 2018 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings

Fantasy Football Rankings: 2018 Running Backs

Scoring: These rankings are based on standard-scoring formats -- one point per 10 rushing yards, six points per rushing touchdown plus one point per 10 receiving yards and six points per receiving touchdown. These rankings are for the 2018 NFL season.


Our 2018 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings from Kevin Hanson:

1. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye: 7)

Once again, the Steelers and Bell were unable to reach a long-term deal before the league-imposed cutoff. Given that, Bell won't report until after the preseason is over, but it "would be a shock" for him to miss regular-season games. Aside from his six-game 2015 season, the three-down workhorse has 1,200-plus rushing yards, 75-plus receptions and 600-plus receiving yards in three of his past four seasons.

2. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (Bye: 12)

What a difference a year (coach) makes! Leading all running backs in fantasy points scored, Gurley compiled 2,093 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns, both of which led the NFL. Repeating those lofty numbers in back-to-back seasons may be unreasonable for Gurley (or any NFL player). That said, Gurley is second overall in my rankings to Le'Veon Bell and he's currently going off the board with the first pick, on average, according to fantasy football ADP data.

3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Bye: 8)

The rushing champion as a rookie, Elliott served a six-game suspension in 2017 but led the league in rushing yards per game (98.3) with a larger workload (24.2 carries per game) in his sophomore campaign. With limited weapons in the passing game, Elliott and the Cowboys will face many eight-men fronts, but the former Buckeye should get north of 300 carries with a chance for another rushing title.

4. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (Bye: 9)

Missing all but part of Week 1 last year, Johnson is two seasons removed from 2,118 yards from scrimmage, 80 catches and 20 touchdowns. The ambitious goals he set for himself in 2017 -- 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards -- remain his goals for 2018. The order may be debatable, but Johnson is a top-four fantasy back along side Todd Gurley, Le'Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott.

5. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (Bye: 9)

Over the past two years, a rookie running back -- Ezekiel Elliott (2016) and Kareem Hunt (2017) -- has led the NFL in rushing. Arguably the most talented back to enter the league since Adrian Peterson, Barkley has a rare combination of size (233 pounds) and athleticism (4.4 forty and 41-inch vertical) and was highly productive (3,801 YFS and 43 TDs over past two seasons) at Penn State. The do-it-all back is a top-five fantasy option with legitimate upside to lead the position in fantasy points as a rookie.

- Full 2018 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings

- 2018 Fantasy Football PPR Running Back Rankings

Fantasy Football Rankings: 2018 Wide Receivers

Scoring: These rankings are based on standard-scoring formats -- one point per 10 rushing yards, six points per rushing touchdown plus one point per 10 receiving yards and six points per receiving touchdown. These rankings are for the 2018 NFL season.


Our 2018 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings from Kevin Hanson:

1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye: 7)

As good and consistent as it gets, Brown has finished as a top-three fantasy wide receiver in four consecutive seasons. Over the past five seasons, Brown has 582 receptions for 7,848 yards and 52 touchdowns. Leading the league by a wide margin in those categories, second-most in those categories are 481 receptions (Demaryius Thomas), 6,897 yards (Julio Jones) and 46 touchdowns (Dez Bryant).

2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (Bye: 10)

Leading the NFL in receiving touchdowns (13) last season, Hopkins now has four seasons with 75-plus catches and three seasons with 1,200-plus yards through his age-25 season. With a league-high 174 targets last season, Hopkins had 35-percent target share in 10 of 15 games and double-digit targets 11 times. As the focal point of Houston's offense, he arguably has the highest floor among all receivers in the league. A model of consistency, Hopkins had 70-plus yards and/or a touchdown (plus) in all 15 games last year.

3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (Bye: 8)

With 1,400-plus yards in each of the past four seasons, Jones has a total of 6,317 receiving yards during that four-year span. Only Antonio Brown (6,349) has more and both have more than 1,200 yards more than DeAndre Hopkins (5,063, third). Only Brown has more catches than Jones over that span. Of course, the problem is that Jones has just 23 touchdowns, tied for 21st in the NFL since 2014.

4. Odell Beckham, New York Giants (Bye: 9)

As much as he may do things to frustrate the front office and organization off the field and/or on the sidelines, there are few players as talented as Beckham Jr. on the field. Last season was lost to injury, but OBJ had more than 90 catches, 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns in each of his first three NFL seasons. With good health, the contract-year wideout should post similar numbers in 2018.

5. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (Bye: 8)

Playing just eight games in 2015 and one game in 2016, Allen won the AP Comeback of the Year award as he posted career numbers (102/1,393/6) in a healthy 16-game campaign. From Weeks 11 to 17, Allen was absolutely dominant with five 100-yard games during that seven-game span. No player had more receptions (58) or receiving yards (797) and only Antonio Brown (six) scored more touchdowns (five) than Allen over that stretch.

- Full 2018 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings

- 2018 Fantasy Football PPR Wide Receiver Rankings

Fantasy Football Rankings: 2018 Tight Ends

Scoring: These rankings are based on standard-scoring formats -- one point per 10 rushing yards, six points per rushing touchdown plus one point per 10 receiving yards and six points per receiving touchdown. These rankings are for the 2018 NFL season.


Our 2018 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings from Kevin Hanson:

1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots (Bye: 11)

Aside from his eight-game 2016 season, Gronk has 1,000-plus yards in three of the past four years and he has scored double-digit touchdowns in five seasons over his career.

2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (Bye: 12)

Recording back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, Kelce finished 2017 with 83 catches for 1,038 yards and a career-high eight touchdowns. After Rob Gronkowski, Kelce is the clear TE2 -- or perhaps even the TE1(a) given Gronk's durability history.

3. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (Bye: 9)

Along with Travis Kelce, Ertz is one of just two tight ends to have a minimum of 70 catches and 800 yards over each of the past three seasons. Only nine tight ends have a 70/800 season over the past three years and only four have multiple. Doubling his previous career high in touchdowns (eight in 2017), Ertz goes into 2018 as a top-three tight end with Rob Gronkowski and Kelce.

- Full 2018 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings

- 2018 Fantasy Football PPR Tight End Rankings

2018 Fantasy Football Profile: Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

While the Houston Texans traded up to draft their franchise quarterback, the plan wasn't for him to see the field in 2017.

That plan lasted all of 30 minutes.

Taking over for a benched Tom Savage, it didn't take long for Deshaun Watson to become a fantasy stud before his season ended prematurely due to a torn ACL (Week 8). Despite the season-ending injury last season, all signs point to a recovery timeline that appears to be ahead of schedule.

In his final four games, Watson finished as fantasy's QB1 or QB2 in ALL four games. Meanwhile, he scored 32-plus fantasy points in three of those four games.

Over that four-game stretch, the rookie signal-caller threw for 1,171 yards and 16 touchdowns while also rushing for 145 yards and a score.

Watson's dual-threat abilities provide him with a solid weekly floor and tremendous upside. Rushing for a 34/253/2 line in six starts, that per-game pace of 5.67/42.17/0.33 is the equivalent of 6.22 fantasy points per game from his rushing stats alone.

Even though he missed slightly more than half the season, no quarterback averaged more fantasy points on a per-game basis than Watson (24.1). The only other quarterbacks that averaged 20-plus fantasy points per game were Carson Wentz (21.8) and Russell Wilson (21.7).

- Continue reading our Deshaun Watson 2018 Fantasy Football Profile

2018 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)

Our fantasy football strength of schedule helps fantasy owners determine which teams and players have favorable (or unfavorable) schedules for the 2018 season.

Based on each team's scheduled opponents through Week 16, which is the championship round in most fantasy leagues, we have tallied the average fantasy points allowed by each of their opponents to the position.

While strength of schedule should not be the sole factor in determining who to draft/add, it could help potentially break a tie between two players that you may view as comparable.

Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS)

The top-five fantasy strength of schedules for quarterbacks are below:

RankTeamPlayerAverage PPGFantasy Playoffs
1Jacksonville JaguarsBlake Bortles16.3647.94
1Washington RedskinsAlex Smith16.3645.14
3Houston TexansDeshaun Watson15.9650.01
4Chicago BearsMitchell Trubisky15.8647.89
5Denver BroncosCase Keenum15.852.99
2018 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule

- Note: Average PPG are based on Weeks 1 to 16; Fantasy playoffs based on Weeks 14 to 16.

More Fantasy Football Strength of Schedules (SOS):