Preseason Pro: The top ranked players in the world each reveal their No. 1 sleeper, bust, breakout, comeback and stash & cash player of the year!
- FantasyPros back-to-back top 10 accuracy
- 2016 3rd-most accurate rankings
- 2017 9th-most accurate rankings
- Radio Host New England Patriots
RB Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: In love with this rookie’s big playmaking ability. His 4.65 40 yard dash time at the NFL Combine is very misleading considering he was battling a hamstring injury at the time. He rebounded at the USC pro-day running a 4.48 which would have put him in the Top 5 for all incoming rookie RBs. Jones is in the mold of Devonta Freeman or even Jamaal Charles given that he is dynamic in the open field and explosive enough to run away from defenders. The Bucs backfield is filled with “JAG” (Just Another Guy) types like Peyton Barber and Charles Sims. Jones is the most talented of the group, and once he proves to the coaching staff he can handle a full workload, he’ll run away with the starting gig. He may not have high expectations right now, but by the end of September, Jones will be everyone’s favorite rookie running back not named Saquon Barkley.
WR Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs: Watkins leaves one explosive offense with the Rams to join another explosive offense with the Chiefs. Will Andy Reid be the one to get Watkins to play up to his talent/potential? Fantasy managers seem to think so given his sixth-round ADP, but if we’re looking for a WR in that spot, we’d probably look elsewhere given Watkins has consistently disappointed since being drafted in 2014 ahead of fantasy studs like Odell Beckham Jr. and Mike Evans.
RB Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos: One of the best backs in the nation in 2015, Freeman’s production declined over the last two seasons while playing for Oregon mainly due to the Ducks change in rushing philosophy. Freeman is a BIG back: 6′, 238 pounds but he doesn’t always play up to his size. Though he is adept at catching passes out of the backfield, his pass protection needs work. Freeman landed in a great spot with the Broncos considering they cut C.J. Anderson. Not to mention, they only have Devontae Booker and last year’s draft pick De’Angelo Henderson occupying the RB depth chart. Freeman will have the chance to make an impact early in his career and is pushing Booker right out of that starting gig. Freeman has looked great in the preseason, scoring in ALL THREE of their games and is making plays on a daily basis at training camp. Not one beat reporter from the Broncos expects Booker to beat out Freeman for the job, so that tells us Denver’s coaching staff knows what they have in him and aren’t going to hold back his talent to start the year. Denver could be one of those sneaky good offenses in 2018 with a big improvement at QB with Case Keenum. Freeman could end up being one of your biggest steals of your draft and maybe even your favorite pick!
TE Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers: One of the most consistent tight ends in all of fantasy, Olsen’s 2017 season was cut short thanks to a broken fit in Week 3. He later returns in Week 12 but took a few weeks to be back in action before exploding for nine catches, 116 yards and one TD. Olsen was heavily involved during the Panthers’ Wildcard game catching eight balls for 107 yards and a TD. Including that Wildcard game, Olsen piled up 41 targets in four games. It’s pretty clear Cam Newton trusts Olsen as his top target in the passing attack, especially when you consider the top Wide Receiver on this squad is Devin Funchess. Olsen is in line for over 120 targets, a mark he’s hit in three of the last four seasons.
STASH & CASH
WR Julian Edelman, New England Patriots: Suspended for the first four games of the year, Edelman is also coming off a missed season due to a torn ACL. His ADP in the 8th-10th round (depending on scoring) is remarkable. We’re drafting Edelman in all our PPR leagues, sucking it up for four games, and then unleashing a PPR machine starting in Week 5.
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