My strategy this year is generally to go robust RB. It’s not because I don’t think there are RBs in the mid rounds that will be hidden gems and outproduce their ADP, it’s simply a matter of how many of the mid round WRs I really, really like. I feel a lot more confident that I can hit on the mid round WRs than I do about getting the mid round RBs right, so RB heavy in the first 5 rounds is kind of what I try to do in most drafts, depending on how things play out.
Miles Sanders – Sanders was one of the biggest winners of the NFL Draft, as Philly didn’t add anyone that could potentially threaten his touches. Boston Scott will get some passing down work, but Sanders is poised to be THE GUY, and Doug Pederson has said as much in interviews over the summer. Sanders is a freak athlete who can catch the ball as well. That’s what I want out of my RB1.
Aaron Jones – The TD regression is definitely coming, which is why I’ve been fading Jones in the 1st round in other drafts. Second round of a 14-teamer? Sure, I’ll take the plunge. A.J. Dillon was drafted in the 2nd round and could be a problem. At the very least, I wouldn’t be surprised if he stole goal line work since he’s such a big back. That said, I’ll take the risk as my RB2 – regression be damned.
James Conner – He’s extremely injury prone, but there’s no denying that he produces when he’s actually on the field. With Big Ben returning I expect the Steelers offense to get back to what we’re used to seeing, with Conner getting work on the ground and through the air.
Robert Woods – Woods is perfect example of why I don’t mind waiting on WR this year. The Rams struggled mightily for most of the year on offense until they made a switch to using 12 personnel more often. Whether it was problems with the offensive line or McVay realizing the league (more specifically Belichick in the Super Bowl) has figured him out, the change worked. With Cooks gone, Woods figures to be the main target in this offense. Kupp’s numbers took a hit when they changed offenses, and while I like him as a player, I think Woods will quietly put up one of his best seasons ever as the WR1 in this offense.
Cam Akers – But what about the offensive line? Akers had a crap line at Florida State as well, and after digging in, the Rams did a lot of shuffling up front and seemed to figure things out toward the end of the season. The move to 12 personnel should help the running game, and Akers is supremely talented. I expect a committee approach with Henderson and Brown early on, but I don’t think it’ll take long before Akers is getting the majority of the touches.
Marquise Brown – Coming off a foot injury, Hollywood came on strong in the playoffs. I don’t think he’ll ever be a 90-100 catch player, but his big play ability is undeniable. After Mark Andrews, he figures to be next in line to lead the Ravens in targets. He’ll probably be a boom or bust option for me, but when he booms, he booms big. Others in the industry seem to think he's going to take a huge leap this year and emerge as a top 15 WR, so there's that.
Marvin Jones Jr. – Jones was injured last year and seems to be the forgotten man in Detroit with Golloday asserting himself as the alpha. Despite the emergence of Babytron, Jones is still a big, strong, fast WR that Stafford trusts. Detroit may run the ball a bit more now that they have Swift in town, but I expect Marvin to feast on lesser CBs as defenses focus on stopping Golloday and the run.
Hayden Hurst – Can I just call this the Atlanta TE? The Falcons are among the best at utilizing the TE, and Hurst is a former 1st round pick that they traded for in the offseason. I don’t expect him to be Austin Hooper year 1, but Hurst should be a rock solid TE1 with TD upside each week.
Jalen Reagor – With Alshon likely heading for PUP to start the season, that leaves….JAWS? Marquise Goodwin? Injury prone Djax? I know that Ertz will eat up targets from Wentz, but Reagor is a speed demon who the Eagles drafted in the first round. Even though I liked Lamb, Jeudy, Ruggs and Jefferson more than him prior to the draft, you can’t deny Reagor’s juicy situation. I’m all in on this kid this year.
Tony Pollard – There are 3 “handcuffs” that I try to target in every draft, and Pollard is at the top of my list. The other two are Mattison and Edmonds, in case you were wondering. Pollard has shown well in the passing game even when Zeke is healthy, but if Zeke gets injured then Pollard immediately becomes an RB1 as the lead back in a high-powered offense.
Daniel Jones – It was hilarious to see 72Dolphins go back-to-back QBs with Brady/Rodgers and then brag about how he got me. In a 1 QB league, I’m going to wait until everyone else has drafted a QB (or 2 in his case) before I start to look at who I’m going to take. Even if Rodgers was there (he’s not the Rodgers of year’s past, BTW. Just look at the numbers) I wouldn’t have taken him. Dimes is my top late round QB target for a lot of reasons. He showed well last year, he runs the ball, and he’s surrounded by a lot of talent (Barkley, Engram, Shepard, Tate, Slayton). He fits all the criteria for a breakout QB and I was happy to get him late. Don't be surprised if he ends up being a rich man's Josh Allen this year.
Sterling Shepard – Seems to be the forgotten man in the Giants offense with Slayton and Engram getting all the hype. Before he got injured (which is his biggest concern moving forward), he was showing great rapport with Daniel Jones. He’ll ride my bench and fill in during byes and injuries, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being Jones’ favorite WR to throw to as the season moves on.
Anthony McFarland Jr. – Some think that McFarland might steal the job outright from Conner. While I’m not THAT high on him, I do like him as a rookie RB. And with Conner’s injury history, I think this is a good pick. Benny Snell ain’t it guys, and there’s rumors that Jalen Samuels might not even make the team at final cuts.
Allen Lazard – Instead of drafting Aaron Rodgers some weapons as he enters the twilight of his career, GB drafted his replacement in the first and an RB the size of a LB in the second. We know Adams is the guy in GB, but who will be No. 2? Funchess? MVS? Lazard King is an end of the bench guy who might end up surprising. If he ends up being the WR2 in this offense, that’s a win for me.
Greg Zuerlein – Legatron is in Dallas now, and I think the Cowboys are going to have the best offense in the league. He kicks bombs and is on a good offense. What more could you ask for?
NE Def – They lost Van Noy, Collins, Harmon, Elandon Roberts and Danny Shelton, but they added Adrian Phillips, Brandon Copeland and Beau Allen. The core of this unit is the secondary, which had more INTs last year than TDs allowed. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better unit than Gilmore, JC Jackson, J. McCourty, J. Jones, D. McCourty, Chung and Phillips. They also drafted safety Kyle Dugger in the 2nd, OLB Josh Uche in the 2nd, and OLB Anfernee Jennings in the 3rd. I expect to see big jumps from Chase Winovich and Ja’Whaun Bentley this year as they take on larger roles. Hightower and Lawrence Guy are both still there as well and are about as solid as they come.