Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Written by Ben Morgan, Loaded Box Podcast
In this series of articles I will highlight one player on every NFL team that you should target in your fantasy draft, and one player from every team you should definitely avoid. As always, the decision on these picks is based on how I feel about the player in relation to their current average draft position.
Part two of this eight-part series will showcase players in the NFC East – so sit back, relax and get ready to adjust your fantasy rankings accordingly.
Player to Target: Corey Clement
While LeGarrette Blount is out of the picture and last year’s mid-season acquisition in Jay Ajayi seems to be in line for more touches in 2018, Clement may be the running back you should target in this backfield. He’s not likely to be a player you’ll want to rely on to start for you weekly, but with an average draft position of 10.07 you’ll only have to use him on bye weeks or if some of your typical starters go down with injuries. If you believe the Eagles once again spread the touches throughout the backfield, Clement in the 10th is the pick over Ajayi in the third.
Player to Avoid: Zach Ertz
Let me start by saying this is the most difficult team to pinpoint a player to avoid as I believe most of their fantasy-relevant players have very appropriate ADP’s, but if I have to pick one to avoid, it’s Ertz. Ertz is a really good tight end and can be productive in fantasy football when given targets, but up until last season he’s been a fairly disappointing fantasy performer. Ertz topped 800 receiving yards and hauled in eight touchdowns last season, but doesn’t possess a single season with more than four touchdowns – outside of last year – over the course of his five-year career. And now you want to take him as the third tight end off the board in the fourth round? I’d rather grab another running back or wide receiver at this point and take my chances on a guy like George Kittle or Tyler Eifert six rounds later.
Player to Target: Zeke Elliott
This is far and away the most obvious pick I could make for the Cowboys, so trust me, I know I’m not breaking any news here. Elliott, currently sitting with a 1.03 ADP, could be your league’s top-overall selection and it wouldn’t be the wrong pick. You’re getting an every down running back, who doesn’t really split carries with anyone, on a team littered with question marks as pass catchers. Let’s also not forget that the Cowboys have one of the best run-blocking offensive lines in the entire NFL. Don’t overthink this one, take Elliott with confidence if you’re selecting in the top three of your fantasy draft.
Player to Avoid: Allen Hurns
The Cowboys were another tough team to find a player to avoid based on all of their players having fairly appropriate average draft positions, but if I’m going to select one, it’s going to be Hurns. Currently going as the ninth pick in the ninth round, Hurns will likely be the player on the Cowboys’ roster that opposing team’s defenses look to take away outside of Elliott. Several reports from Cowboys camp have the passing game not clicking the way you’d like to see, so I’d go a different direction at receiver in the ninth round as the position is relatively deep and you can still find some great contributors at this point in the draft. Here’s a quick reminder that outside of Hurns’ career season in 2015, he’s never topped 700 yards or hauled in more than 52 receptions. He’s also played just 21 of a possible 32 games and combined for just five touchdowns over the last two years.
Player to Target: Jamison Crowder
I typically tend to stay away from receivers in their first year playing with new quarterbacks, but Crowder is the exception to my rule this season. Alex Smith is the ultimate game manager, and despite putting up legit QB1 numbers last season in Kansas City, don’t expect a repeat performance this season with the Redskins. He no longer has the threat of a dominant run game, one of the top-two tight ends in the league in Travis Kelce or a straight-line speed threat of Tyreek Hill. However, the one constant is that he’ll have a security blanket working the middle of the field in Crowder. Look for Crowder to be targeted often, securing a lot of receptions and providing excellent return on investment at his current 9.04 ADP.
Player to Avoid: Rob Kelley
It’s hard to tell you to completely avoid someone currently going as the last pick in the 12th round, but I believe you should avoid Kelley taking up a roster spot on your fantasy team this year. Derrius Guice being out of the season makes Kelley a touch more fantasy relevant, but I think you can do better as Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine should still see plenty of touches in this backfield. You’d be better off taking a chance on guys such as Frank Gore or Jordan Wilkins who are currently going in the 13th round.
New York Giants
Player to Target: Sterling Shepard
If you listen to the Loaded Box Podcast – which you should be if you aren’t currently – you’d know that we are very high on Shepard this season. There are definitely a lot of mouths to feed in New York with Odell Beckham Jr. returning, the emergence last season of Evan Engram and the selection of Saquon Barkley, but keep in mind that Barkley is an unproven rookie while Engram seems likely to regress some statistically with a healthy Beckham and Shepard back in the mix. Shepard is a steal as the 50th receiver off the board as the seventh pick in the 11th round.
Player to Avoid: Saquon Barkley
Saved this pick for the every end to make sure you kept reading, but hear me out. How do you justify taking a rookie running back playing for the New York Giants as the fifth overall pick in your fantasy draft? The Giants haven’t had a fantasy-relevant running back since Ahmad Bradshaw, and while Barkley is definitely the most talented running back the team has had recently and warrants an early selection, there’s zero chance I’m taking him over the likes of Antonio Brown, Leonard Fournette, Melvin Gordon, DeAndre Hopkins, or Beckham Jr., who are all more proven options going after him in fantasy drafts. Barkley is a great player with a bright future, but investing the fifth overall selection into the rookie is asking way too much in 2018. Pass on Barkley in the first round and save your fantasy season.
Be sure to check out the latest episode of the Loaded Box Podcast as the guys breakdown which WRs ranked 13-24 they are targeting/avoiding this fantasy draft season!