10 Rookies to Snag in 2018 NFL Fantasy Football Drafts

Drafting rookies can be a high risk – high reward strategy to elevate your fantasy roster.

 

Three NFL Teams With Awesome 2016 Drafts!

Cleveland Browns: The Browns are usually on the losers of the draft, but not this year. They traded away the 2nd overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles and got lots of picks including a first rounder in next year’s draft. They then traded the 8th pick to the Titans and got even more picks while drafting speedy WR Corey Coleman later in the first round. They also got two great pass rushers in Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib, along with a nice addition to the OL in Shon Coleman. They then got QB Cody Kessler to add more competition with Robert Griffin lll. The Browns had a solid draft, but since it is the so often incompetent Cleveland Browns, they definetely had a great draft by their standards and should show improvement.

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders struck gold by drafting the best safety in the draft in Karl Joseph, who has solid coverage skills but specializes in coming into the box and unloading on RBs and WRs. The Raiders needed defensive help, and they got it with pass rushers Jihad Ward and Shilique Calhoun. Ward is raw but has a ton of upside if he can develop and Calhoun has some of the best technique of any DE in this class. They also drafted a solid backup to QB Derek Carr in Connor Cook, who was widely considered to be the 3rd or 4th best QB in the draft. The Raiders have a young nucleus of talent on offense with Carr, WR Amari Cooper and RB Latavius Murray, so the defensive additions should help the Raiders win more games this year.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars had the best draft by far in my opinion, they were able to land two top 5 players in this draft. CB Jalen Ramsey was the best player in this class to me because of his versatility, size and elite athleticism. They also got a steal in LB Myles Jack at the top of the second round. Jack fell so far because of a knee injury he suffered in college that ended his season. Before that injury, he would have been a top 5 selection. The Jaguars also essentially have another 1st round player coming in this year as their top pick last year DE Dante Fowler suffered a season-ending injury in minicamp. With a healthy Ramsey, Jack and Fowler the Jaguars defense should be much improved and will help out the offense. The Jaguars are young but extremely talented on both sides of the ball and can compete in the AFC South this year.

[Analysis by NFL expert Preston Rowe]

CONFIDENTIAL FILE EXPOSED: Top 3 Picks for 2016 NFL Fantasy Drafts

2016 may represent a changing of the guard, when it comes to the first overall pick in standard scoring fantasy football leagues. Previously, especially in leagues that didn’t incorporate any points per reception component, it was a foregone conclusion that you’d take the best running back in the league. Over the last decade, guys like Priest Holmes, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Adrian Peterson were almost always off the board by the second overall pick. Sure, there would be the odd year when Peyton Manning or Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers would enter the consideration set, but the ability to capitalize on the rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and receiving yards and touchdowns that the elite franchise running backs produced was just too much to pass up.

So with this changing of the guard, who enters the 2016 season as the top overall picks? Here’s are the 

Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers —  Brown may be the singularly most dominant wide receiver in fantasy football (and football in general) since Randy Moss.  In 2014, he lead the league receptions, receiving yards, and passes caught for a first down. He averaged over 100 receiving yards per game, and almost one touchdown per game (he had 13). How did he follow that up in 2015? By again leading the league in receptions and receiving yards, exceeding both totals from 2014. His 136 receptions was the second highest total in NFL history, and his 1,834 yards was the 4th highest total in NFL history. Few players have shown that type of year-over-year consistency, in terms of re-writing NFL standards for their position. With Ben Roethlisberger throwing the football as well as any quarterback in the league, and with the suspension of Martavis Bryant opposite Brown (meaning the Steelers will likely have to continue to force targets in Brown’s direction), there’s no reason to see those statistics dropping.

Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams — at this point last year, there were legitimate questions as to whether Gurley would even play in the 2015 season for the team that drafted him; he suffered a torn ACL injury in November while playing his last season for the University of Georgia. The Rams tried to bring him along slowly, not rushing him into immediate action when the season began.  It started with just a few spot carries in an ugly game against the Steelers; Gurley had a paltry nine rushing yards on six carries (and one reception for five yards). From there? Everything changed. Over the next four games, Gurley ripped off 566 rushing yards and four touchdowns, drawing rave reviews from the rest of the league for his startling combination of vision, size, and speed. Despite really only playing in 12 games last year, Gurley finished third in the NFL with 1,106 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns (the latter tied for second best in the NFL). Who knows what a full season of carries, and an improvement at the quarterback position — assuming the Rams select a quarterback with the #1 overall pick — could bring.

Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers — Once Bell returned from his two game suspension to start the 2015 season, the conversation began as to whether he emerged as the best running back in the NFL. His ability as a runner and a receiver began to draw comparisons to Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk. In the five games prior to the early November matchup against Cincinnati, when he suffered his season-ending knee injury, Bell recorded over 125 combined yards in four of those five games. He remains one of the true “bell cow” running backs in the NFL, but the biggest question around Bell will be whether he will be fully healthy when the 2016 season begins, after his offseason surgery to fix the damaged MCL/PCL in his knee.