Five Players I Leave Every Fantasy Football Draft With
In the spirit of the “My Guys” show the Ballers do every year, I wanted to expand upon a few players I will have on nearly every roster this season. I already wrote up individual pieces on my top targets Tevin Coleman, Devante Parker, Phillip Lindsay, Tyler Higbee, and Joshua Kelley. The rest I compiled here, with a bit less in-depth analysis.
To be clear, this is based on cost and potential, not necessarily who will be a top-5 asset. The first few rounds are usually dictated by the decisions of your leaguemates, but this list presents five players that you can grab at cost in most drafts, especially the pride driven all-important ‘home’ league drafts. Let’s dive right in:
Will Fuller – WR, Houston Texans
Deandre Hopkins is gone, but Deshaun Watson isn’t. Fuller is the poster child for the frustrating term ‘injury-prone’, but the tag is expected given his documented hamstring issues and lower leg injuries. I can’t promise that Fuller plays a full 16 this year, but what I can assure you of is his potential if he even comes close to that.
Over his last sixteen games, Fuller has paced for 1,237 yards and 7 touchdowns. This output would put him firmly in the top 30 in half-PPR leagues, and that was alongside Deandre Hopkins. The Ballers have him ranked as the WR38, and he will likely go even later in a lot of drafts. Fuller will lead the Texans receiving corps in 2020 and should have plenty of opportunity to capture some of the monster target share left behind by Nuk’. As long as the health aspect can remain steady enough to keep him in our lineups, Will Fuller should be a lock to outproduce his ADP.
Marquise Brown – WR, Baltimore Ravens
Or should I say Tyreek Hill 2.0? Yeah, I said it. He was Jason Moore’s My Guy and I couldn’t agree with him more. Brown was flat out electric when targeted last season, but the volume was too low and he battled injuries most of the year. As far as rookie seasons go, his was above average, but not spectacular due to a few circumstances out of his control.
That will change in 2020. The Ravens are an elite offense and John Harbaugh is a master at scheming for his best players. Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, and Marquise Brown are textbook difference makers and Brown is the closest thing to Tyreek Hill we have in the league. Harbaugh is too smart of a coach not to target him more frequently this season. Camp reports indicate he’s put on some much-needed bulk, and his foot appears to be good to go. Another offseason in the Ravens scheme and another training camp to build with Lamar Jackson will certainly pay off, and his ADP is completely reasonable. If you can snag Brown in the 7th or 8th round of your home draft, he will light up your lineup more times than he won’t. I can’t stress enough how high his ceiling really is.
Jonnu Smith – TE, Tennessee Titans
I know I’m not the first one to mention this guy, but there’s a reason for that. Smith quietly performed at a high-level last season and he’s atop the depth chart this year for an offense with targets available. The Titans should remain a run-first team but aside from A.J. Brown, there are not many options for Tannehill when push comes to pass. Corey Davis has disappointed and they don’t run enough 3WR sets to worry about anyone else. Derrick Henry doesn’t get much work in the passing game, so Smith should be able to gobble up plenty of targets in the middle. He’s an athletic freak who already took a huge step forward in 2019. The most compelling argument for Smith as my top late-round target is his cost. He will likely go undrafted in many leagues and players like Mike Gesecki and Noah Fant will be snatched up earlier than they should be. Smith is a perfect target at the very end of your draft or a great backup for deeper leagues.
Parris Campbell – WR, Indianapolis Colts
This pick depends entirely on how deep your league goes. If you’re in a standard 2RB/2WR/1Flex league, Campbell is not a must draft. If you’re in a deeper league (which I recommend), or you’re playing a lot of best ball, Campbell is a great pick late in your draft. He was the darling of a lot of dynasty teams last year and he’s had a full year to grow into his role. Early reports suggest that Campbell will be playing in the slot, and slot targets are worth more on a per-target basis than outside targets across the board.
Quarterback changes are a big deal, but in this case – it’s an improvement. Phillip Rivers targeted Keenan Allen in the slot nonstop during his time with the Chargers, and Frank Reicht has already stressed a desire to speed up play in Indy. T.Y Hilton will lead the passing attack while Michael Pittman Jr. grows into his own on the outside. Campbell has unique speed, solid route-running ability, and adequate hands to maintain a big role in this offense. His ADP is in kicker territory, and just last season he was a coveted dynasty asset for good reason. Don’t pass him up just because he’s not being talked about all the time, that will change quickly.
Darrell Henderson Jr. – LA Rams
I saved the best for last. I have to implore the #FootClan to STOP avoiding backfields just because they’re a projected RBBC. The new normal in the NFL includes using multiple backs with only a few exceptions at the top of your fantasy draft. Most of the time when people avoid a backfield completely, it’s not because a player won’t rise to the top, it’s because they aren’t sure which one of them will. The 49ers were a perfect example in 2019, but both Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman ended up being very fantasy relevant. The Rams in 2020 are a textbook example of the exact same thing. When there’s uncertainty, there’s opportunity. Where there’s opportunity, there’s upside. The simple solution in these instances is to take the cheapest guy who has a realistic shot at being the 1A back. The Rams took Cam Akers early enough to expect him to see some work this year, but apparently our short term memory is a serious problem in this industry…. Henderson was a third-round pick just one season ago. He has the explosive skillset to demand playing time if he performs in training camp, and he will have plenty of chances to now that Gurley is in Atlanta. Henderson is an afterthought in redraft leagues, but he has a significant chance to earn the top spot in a backfield that produced a back to back top-five fantasy running back not long ago. Akers is much pricier, and with less time to prepare, Henderson may have a leg up in terms of playbook familiarity in a complex offense. He’s an easy choice for a sleeper and should be rostered in every format possible.