By: Ron Sears @Dynasty Ron
We’ve officially reached what I like to call “the off-season hangover” period. The excitement from the NFL draft and Rookie/Startup Drafts has passed, and we’re left with a full month of nothing but beat writers and their fluff pieces. Fear not, I’ve got you covered. It’s time to check out your leagues, knock on some doors, go shopping in the bargain bin and find yourself some value for 2018.
QB- Matt Ryan
His current positional ADP puts him at QB18. This is the farthest he’s fallen in the last 5 years. In that time, he’s only finished outside the top 18 QBs once, in 2015 (QB19). Last year, in what most would consider a “down year”, Ryan was the 13th QB off the board, according to ADP, and finished as QB8. He did this despite just 20 TDs- his lowest since his rookie year.
Ryan’s 2018 resurgence should be bolstered by a bounce-back year from Julio Jones. In 2017, Jones only scored 3 TDs despite 15 end-zone targets. As a result, look for Ryan to revert back to the mean in both yards and TDs.
I expect him to push QB1 numbers as he returns to his 4500+ yards and 25+ TD self. Not bad for your 18th QB off the board.
RB- Lamar Miller
Everybody loves to hate on Lamar Miller. His ADP has hit a 5 year low, seeing him come off the board as the 30th running back. He’s quietly been a top 20 RB each of the last 4 years, and I see no reason for that to change in 2018.
Let your league mates go on about how it’s D’Onta Foreman’s job to take. Lest they forget he ruptured his Achilles in week 11 last year. And please, don’t remind them how slow of a recovery it is for an Achilles injury. According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, it “remains up in the air” if he’ll be ready week 1 or will open the season on the PUP list.
I see Miller as a poor man’s Melvin Gordon. He’ll dominate the touches out of the backfield, and he’ll compile numbers in a non-sexy, inefficient way. Even if Foreman returns to form in the first month of the season, he lacks Miller’s receiving chops. So he’ll only steal touches on 1st or 2nd down if that.
I expect to see Miller push 225 carries, 40 rec, and 1200+ yards. He’ll give you a 6+ TD floor with 10+ TD upside. Miller should guarantee you a positive return as a mid RB2, with low-end RB1 upside. Ridiculous value for a guy you can routinely get rounds 8-10.
WR- Doug Baldwin
He’s outproduced his ADP each of the last 5 years, yet he’s perennially undervalued. Just finished a 3-year stretch finishing as WR9, WR8, and WR14, all while being drafted well outside the top 15 WRs.
This year he returns to an offense that saw nearly 200 targets vanish with Jimmy Graham (96), Paul Richardson (80), and Luke Wilson (22) leaving via free agency. Baldwin is averaging 115 targets per year since 2015, and I’d expect that to be his floor in 2018.
Look for him to end up over 130 targets, 90+ catches, 1100+ yards, and push for 10 TDs this year. He’s a locked an loaded WR1, even though he can be had in the 5th round as WR20-WR24 off the board.
TE- Delanie Walker
Yes, I know he’s going to be 34 years old next month. But you can’t pass up his value here. Whether you’re looking to make a title run this year and acquire him through trade, or you’re looking to build a strong team with veteran depth through a startup, Walker is a must.
Since 2013, his worst finish is TE11. He’s been a top 5 TE each of the last 3 years. In that time, he’s never been inside the top 10 TEs off the board according to ADP. Despite a down year by Marcus Mariota in 2017, where he only threw for 13 TDs, Walker still finished the year TE4. With new Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur in town, I won’t be surprised to see improvement in the passing game and a bounce-back year by Mariota, with Walker being one of the biggest benefactors.
Look for Delanie to reel in over 80 catches, 950 yards, and 6+ TDs which should make him a lock for another TE1 year, with top 5 TE upside.
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