RB Sony Michel – Over four seasons at Georgia, Michel rushed for 3,613 yards with 39 TDs and 64 catches while splitting time with the impressive Nick Chubb. Over the last few seasons, New England has had a grinder type RB as their lead runner on early downs. Sony is a huge improvement in explosiveness with a great opportunity to score a TD a game. Over the last five seasons, the Patriots scored 19, 13, 14, 19, and 16 rushing TDs. Michel runs with vision, power, and acceleration while offering scoring ability anywhere in the red zone. His lack of opportunity in the passing game in college gives Fantasy owners minimal info on his value in the NFL. New England loves to throw to the RB position as an extension of the run game. In 2017, their RB caught 126 passes for 957 yards and a league-high nine TDs on 156 targets. My floor for Michel in 2018 is LeGarrette Blount in 2016 (299/1161/18 with seven catches for 38 yards). I expect Sony to receive between 275 and 300 touches for 1,400 yards with 15+ TDs and about 20 catches. If his hands and route running grades better than his resume, Michel may even finish with a top 10 opportunity at RB.
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RB Nick Chubb – Over four seasons at Georgia, Chubb rushed for 4,769 yards with 44 TDs on 758 rushes. He gained 361 yards receiving in his career with 31 catches and four TDs. As a freshman, Nick appeared to offer more value/upside as a pass catcher (18/213/2). Chubb runs with patients while waiting to hit second gear through an opening at the line of scrimmage. His power and acceleration work well at the second level of the defense and at the goal line. Nick will start the year behind Carlos Hyde on the depth chart, but he may emerge as the top early down runner by the end of the year. Must handcuff if you draft Hyde.
RB Todd Gurley – At age 22, Gurley made Fantasy owners a ton of money in 2017. His ADP was about mid-second round creating a great buying opportunity for sharp Fantasy owners. The Rams scored the most points (478) in the NFL last season, which came after ranking last in points scored (224) in 2016. LA scored 51 total TDs in 2017 with 19 touchdowns coming from Gurley. The previous season the Rams only scored 24 combined TDs. The change in coaching staff and the 2017 offseason moves were magical bringing the NFL spotlight back to Los Angeles. On the year, Todd finished with 2,093 combined yards and 64 catches while averaging 22.9 touches in his 15 games. His explosiveness was back in his game (4.7 yards per rush and 12.3 yards per catch). LA is on the rise with a young improving quarterback. Scoring TDs win Fantasy games, and Gurley should be one of the best in the game in this area again in 2018. Three-down back with the opportunity and scoring ability to win Fantasy championships. Next step: 375 combined touches for 2,200 yards with 15+ TDs and 75+ catches. Great foundation RB1 in PPR leagues, but he will have two tough games in the high stake’s championship rounds (PHI and ARI). In 2017, Todd beat the Eagles for 135 combined yards at home with two TDs and three catches while gaining 312 combined yards with one TD and ten catches in two games vs. the Cardinals. High floor player each week thanks to his pass-catching ability while having the talent to post a difference maker score multiple times over the long season.
WR A.J. Green – Based on targets (142), Green had the fifth best WR opportunity in the NFL in 2017. Unfortunately, his catch rate (52.4) was a career low. A.J. has over 1,000 yards receiving in six of his seven years in the NFL with his only failed year coming in 2016 (66/964/4) when he missed six games. In his career, Green averages 5.4 catches for 80.5 yards and 0.56 TDs per game or 16.9 Fantasy points. He’ll start the year at age 30, which suggests his upside days may be behind him. His long resume sets a high floor. The Bengals added some talent on the offensive line, and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor seems committed to becoming more dynamic on offense. I look for a rebound in targets and a return to double-digit TDs in 2018. Green should be a value this draft season. I expect 90+ catches for 1,300+ yards with 10+ TDs, which would beat his last four seasons.
QB Matthew Stafford – Over his last seven seasons has with the Lions, Stafford hasn’t missed a game with a 57-55 record. Matthew has 197 TDs and 97 Ints over his previous 112 games. His completion rate (66.1) moved into an elite area over the last three seasons, but his passing yards have drifted from his highest levels without the might Calvin Johnson at his service. Stafford passed for 4,000 yards in each of his last seven seasons. His passing attempts (583) over the previous three years are well below his previous for years (656 per season). Last year Matthew threw for over 300 yards five games, and he had four games with three TDs or more. In 2018, Stafford has weakness in the passing game at TE while feature three options at WR and pass catching talent at RB. Possible 4,500 passing yards with a chance to beat 30 TDs if Kenny Golladay makes step forward.
2018 Fantasy Football: Positional Team OutlooksFantasy Football Rainman Shawn Childs, a six-figure high-stakes career earner and one of the most accurate rankers in the industry, previews the most relevant players at each skill position on all 32 NFL teams! Use these team previews to DOMINATE your competition as we approach the 2018 Fantasy Football season!