It’s getting late in August and fantasy football drafts are officially underway. Contrary to traditional wisdom, I’m not going to go round-by-round and tell you guys I want in each round based on their ‘average draft position.’ Instead, I’m just going to offer some players in three tiers: Obvious picks, Sleeper Picks, and Late Round Fliers.
“Obvious” picks are players that are obviously elite and chosen in the early rounds; I’ll spare you players like Antonio Brown, David Johnson, Julio Jones, etc. But I’ll offer some players that may be going a little overlooked. “Sleeper picks” are players that are available in those mid-rounds where things get murky. “Late Round Fliers” are just players that are unknown going into the season, but may pan out to be weekly contributors. So here we go…
AJ Green, Mike Evans, Amari Cooper, Alshon Jeffery
- Why is Green such an afterthought this season? He was literally dominating until he got hurt last year. He’s 100 percent healthy now and the Bengals should throw the ball a good amount. He’s a top three receiver in my eyes, and should be listed alongside guys like Brown and Julio.
- Evans isn’t exactly being overlooked, but he had a great season last year and should be in an even better offense this year. The addition of DeSean Jackson shouldn’t hurt, but help Evans. Safeties HAVE to be cautious of Jackson’s speed, and that should give Evans some more chances against single-man coverage; the Bucs are loaded on offense, you simply can’t double everybody.
- Cooper is going into his third season and progressed each of his first two seasons. The Raiders’ defense is still bad, so they should throw a ton in high-scoring battles. I like him to take that next step this season and I’d consider him in the early second.
- Jeffery to Philly was one of the better free agency acquisitions this offseason. Wentz threw a ton last season, but had no reliable receivers. I think these two will work great together, and Jeffery will prove his worth for a longer contract.
Dalvin Cook, Isaiah Crowell, Stefon Diggs, Jamison Crowder
- There’s a ton of hype around the rookie running backs this season, but Cook has kind of gone overlooked. It’s all about Fournette in JAX and McCaffrey in CAR. I guess rightfully so — both Fournette and McCaffrey were high first-round picks, and Cook was chosen much later. But I think Cook has the chance to pan out better than both of them this season, or at least close, and he’s being drafted later. It’s clear that the Vikings like him, and he can both run and catch out of the backfield.
- Crowell isn’t sexy, but he gets the job done and boasts good value. The Browns not only have a really good offensive line this season, but they should run a ton to ease in their new quarterback, whoever it be.
- Diggs needs to be a little more consistent, but he’s still only 23 years old (!!!). This could be a huge season for him. I think Sam Bradford is a better QB than given credit, and MINN’s offensive line should help him out more than they did last year.
- Crowder is the only starting receiver that QB Kirk Cousins has some chemistry with. Garcon and Jackson are gone, and Pryor and Doctson are in. While I like Pryor and Doctson, I think Crowder is going criminally overlooked. He’s going into just his third season and has home-run potential. You can get him for cheap, too.
Kareem Hunt, Austin Hooper, Corey Davis, Samaje Perine
- The Chiefs run game has been dominated by Spencer Ware as of late, but I’m not sure I trust him for 16 games this year. It’s tough to ignore what Hunt can offer, and the Chiefs are seeing that in the preseason. He’s worth a flier later in drafts, especially considering the balanced attack of the Chiefs.
- Hunter Henry is being hyped a lot, but I think Hooper is the better choice. Both are young and likely to be around for a while, but I think Hooper is in a slightly-better offense and has some more upside. You can get him in the 10th round or later and he may end up being your starting TE for the season.
- Corey Davis was phenomenal in college, and the Titans desperately need a #1 receiver. I also like rookie Taywan Taylor, but I see Davis as the guy with more superstar potential. He hasn’t played this preseason, but I think he’ll be good to go for the season and have an immediate impact.
- Perine is a deep sleeper, but I think the RB job in Washington is up for grabs. Their offensive line is above average, they have an above average offense, and the running back should benefit from both.