Fantasy Football: Mike’s Ultimate Value Hitsquad for 2018

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After Andy paraded around the office showboating about his latest 32 Shamelessly Bold Predictions article, I thought it was time for the verified version of FFHitman to get in on the writing action before the season starts. The hit squad is made of an elite group of my favorite players per round based solely on my projections in the Ultimate Draft Kit and value that I see at their current average draft position (ADP).

1st Round- Melvin Gordon, RB (1.09)

I’ve been the resident naysayer when it comes to Melvin Gordon among the group simply because of the inefficiency he’s had on the ground to start his career. However, I’ve come to terms that his volume and opportunity make him a screaming value towards the back of the 1st round. Gordon proved he was a workhorse in both the rushing and passing game as one of only 4 RBs to see 360+ opportunities (targets plus rushing attempts) in 2017. Bell-cow RBs are the rarest and most precious commodity to find in fantasy football and Gordon is one of those players.

2nd Round- Rob Gronkowski, TE (2.11)

As I’ve been sharing all off-season during my live best ball drafts and most recently in the Fantasy MVP episode, Gronk is an almost automatic 2nd round pick for me and THE positional advantage at the TE position. Julian Edelman is gone for the 1st 4 games of the year and that means Gronk is gonna smash big time. If you’re getting a full year out of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, you are getting a player that is a championship winner.

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3rd Round- Amari Cooper, WR (3.11)

I understand the apprehension and the negativity that follows hanging with Mr. Cooper. I currently have him ranked as a low-end WR1 and I stand by that. You can’t argue with the immense talent and the value that comes at the end of the 3rd round is too enticing to pass up. The Raider offense will funnel through him and it’s hard to find players this late with 130+ targets coming their way. I’m willing to chalk up 2017 to injury and believe that his superior route-running ability can win out.

4th Round- Lamar Miller, RB (4.05)

Miller has been a man of mystery this entire offseason. You can even predate the enigma back to last season when Miller was awful on the field, had a short stretch as a top-12 RB when his QB Watson was burning NFL defenses to the ground, and then closed the year by getting essentially benched for Alfred Blue. Miller recently received a big value bump when his coach referred to him as a 3-down back and his real primary competition, D’Onta Foreman, looks to start the year on the PUP list and miss at least six games.

5th Round- Marshawn Lynch, RB (5.01)

I’ve done everything short of tattooing Marshawn across my chest (RIP Jeremy Hill) in declaring him one of “my guys” for 2018. He still has some juice left and I’m not worried at all about the washed-up Doug Martin eating into his workload. 900+ rushing yards and 8 TDs doesn’t grow on trees and I’d be ecstatic to slot him in as my RB2 at this draft price.

6th Round- Rex Burkhead, RB (6.01)

Judging by Sexy Rexy’s ADP, people are still nervous about putting draft stock into NE running backs. I’m looking to turn those fears into RB treasure. All reports, well aside from the knee tear, about Burkhead have been extremely positive and he looks to play a large role in the Patriots offense. From Weeks 8-15, he was the RB11 in PPR formats and that was while competing for touches with Dion Lewis.

7th Round- Emmanuel Sanders, WR (7.02)

Sanders is the cheaper of the two Bronco receiving options and the one I’m targeting in the middle rounds of drafts. He’s been a 1,000-yard guy when he’s had adequate QB play, not the abomination behind center last year in Denver. He’s being treated like a borderline-WR3 but I love his upside knowing he can easily end the year in the top 24.

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8th Round- Cooper Kupp, WR (8.02)

As recently highlighted on the Busts episode, I’m not a huge fan of Brandin Cooks taking over simply because I believe Kupp is the WR to own this year in Los Angeles. He showed major chemistry with Jared Goff with 23 targets in the red zone, 5th most among WRs. He owns the slot and will be leaned upon heavily once again.

9th Round- Philip Rivers, QB (9.12)

Rivers arguably has the best weapons of his career and he’s shown that finishing as a QB1 is his final destination almost every year. If you believe in Keenan Allen, then you have to love Rivers. You know I subscribe to biding my time and waiting to be among the last in my drafts to nab their QB. Rivers fits this strategy perfectly especially for someone who has averaged almost 4,500 yards and 31 TDs over the last 5 years.

10th Round- Corey Clement, RB (10.04)

The Philadelphia backfield still has some ambiguity and flexibility for Clement to carve out a greater role in 2018. Doug Pederson does not like to feed Jay Ajayi as much as some would think and I believe it’s because Clement has shown himself electric in the passing game (ask the Patriots) with the chops to also profile around the goal-line. At RB45, it’s stealing my friends.

11th Round- Kenny Stills, WR (11.03)

Jason and I have professed our deep and unfailing devotion to Kenny Stills over the years and there might be no better time to scream it from the rooftops than 2018. Jarvis Landry and his 164 targets are gone from Miami and DeVante Parker is still dealing with the injury bug this preseason. Stills is more than a best ball play for me. As a fantasy team’s 4th or 5th WR, he has more upside than almost anyone at this draft price.

12th Round- Bilal Powell, RB (12.05)

The Jets front office brought in Isaiah Crowell and Thomas Rawls and the one affectionately known as Blaow Plow! has been regulated to simply Blah in drafts. No-one wants this guy! Powell has averaged 4.7 per carry and 11.5 fantasy points per game (PPR) over the last 3 seasons. He’s a legit flex option towards the end of the draft that could easily finish the year as the best back in a seemingly crowded Jets backfield.

13th Round- Keelan Cole, WR (13.12)

This addition comes off some very recent breaking news. Starting WR Marqise Lee went down with what appeared to be a very serious knee injury. There was already a large amount of Keelan Cole buzz coming out of Jacksonville’s camp. If Lee is in fact done for the year, it’s entirely possible that Cole elevates to the No. 1 WR for the team. It’s not likely that Cole will stay at this draft price for very long, but he is now a very intriguing WR flier at the end of drafts.

14th Round- Danny Amendola, WR (14.04)

I couldn’t sleep at night knowing that Danny Amendola is still available at the very end of drafts as a late-round flier. When he’s on the field, he’s a consistent producer and a PPR weapon that the Dolphins paid up to obtain this offseason.

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