Dula’s First Round Draft Picks and Stacks to Target

It is an unorthodox year for fantasy football. Nearly every running back has a question mark hovering above them, there is next to no value for tight ends, and there is not a clear cut prototypical fantasy offense like the Patriots or Steelers have been in years past. Although, the Saints and Chiefs are close but are not without their issues. Follow these suggestions and give yourself a better chance of dominating your league. I’m sure you don’t want to do the last place punishment again this year (I’m looking at you, guy who had to get a tattoo of your buddy’s mom’s face last year).

Credit: NJ.com

Ideal First Round

Here is my ideal first round draft choices in a 12 team PPR fantasy football draft:

Pick 1: Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG

Pick 2: Christian McCaffrey, RB, CAR

Pick 3: Alvin Kamara, RB, NO

Pick 4: Michael Thomas, WR, NO

Pick 5: Julio Jones, WR, ATL

Pick 6: Davante Adams, WR, GB

Pick 7: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU

Pick 8: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, CLE

Pick 9: David Johnson, RB, ARI

Pick 10: JuJu Smith-Schuster WR, PIT

Pick 11: Joe Mixon RB, CIN

Pick 12: Travis Kelce, TE, KC

Notice how I have omitted Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliot from my ideal first round. Here’s why:

Todd Gurley is coming off of a nagging knee injury that kept him extremely limited in the postseason earlier this year. I am not convinced that he is 100% healthy or that the Rams plan to return him to his bellcow role he had in recent years. With the emergence of rookie Darrell Henderson in the preseason and training camp, lightening Gurley’s load might be in the Rams best interest. After all, we did just see Andrew Luck retire from the game because of the vicious cycle of injuries he’s been in for the past four years. The Rams might not want to overuse Gurley ultimately leading to another early retirement.

Remember drafting Le’Veon Bell last year? Remember keeping him on your team all year hoping he would come back eventually? Remember around week 10 when you just knew he would suit up for the Steelers again? I don’t remember that, but my buddy Ronnie does and that top five draft pick really ruined his season. I think we are seeing a similar situation with Ezekiel Elliot and Bell paved the way for players to hold out longer than usual in order to receive the money they feel they deserve. These guys are basically saying, “You don’t want to pay me what I want? Cool, try playing a whole season without me.” I do not trust that Zeke will play in enough games to be a viable fantasy asset. Of course in the games he plays in he will produce above average numbers but I would not risk a first round pick on a guy we don’t know will play 16 games, 8 games, or 0 games.

I also have Travis Kelce in my first round which may be surprising to many but the tight end position is getting thinner and thinner by the year. There was a time where Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez, and Antonio Gates were all in their prime. The tight end position was stacked with talented pass catchers who could go off for a multiple touchdown game at any moment. This year, that is not the case. If you don’t have Zach Ertz, George Kittle, or Travis Kelce on your roster then you are going to be stuck with a middle of the road tight end who you draft in a later round. What separates Kelce from the other two is his MVP quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. Zach Ertz and Carson Wentz have had a good connection in the past but if Wentz gets hurt again, then it’s very likely Nate Sudfeld, Cody Kessler, or Josh McCown do not have the same production. And George Kittle played very well last year but that was with Nick Mullens at the helm. I am hesitant about the chemistry between Kittle and “Porn Star Jimmy” as Stephen A. Smith would say.

Stacks to Target

Credit: dklegends.com

If you have never heard the term “stack” before, you probably have still used it in season long and daily fantasy. Stacking is when you have a quarterback and a wide receiver/tight end from the same team in your lineup. Using this strategy, a touchdown scored by your duo results in a minimum of 11 points in a PPR league (10 in standard) and that’s without the yardage points calculated in. My stack of Jared Goff and Brandin Cooks helped get me to the championship game last year. However, I lost due to a flawless performance by my opponent’s team (damn you, George Kittle). Nonetheless stacking can create a good foundation for your fantasy team and put you on top of the league.

Kansas City Chiefs: QB Patrick Mahomes stacked with TE Travis Kelce and/or WR Tyreek Hill

If you manage to get all three of these guys congratulations you’ve made the playoffs. Also, get some more knowledgeable friends. If you are able to get only two of them then you’re still in good shape. In the words of Meat Loaf, “Two out of three ain’t bad.”

New Orleans Saints: QB Drew Brees stacked with WR Michael Thomas or RB Alvin Kamara

Let’s be honest, you will not get all three of these guys. Thomas and Kamara will be snagged in the first round but Brees is pretty low on a lot of people’s draft boards this year so grabbing him late is doable. Also, Kamara is involved in this stack because of his ability to receive out of the backfield. He’s been targeted at least 100 times and had 81 receptions in each of his first two seasons.

Cleveland Browns: QB Baker Mayfield stacked with WR Odell Beckham Jr. and/or WR Jarvis Landry

With the addition of OBJ, Landry’s stock has fallen a lot. Which makes him a considerable sleeper to pick in the mid-rounds of the draft. Mayfield will also likely go somewhere around there which makes me believe that Mayfield/Landry will be a common stack this season. Getting Odell is more luck of the draw than anything because of how high he will be drafted.

Green Bay Packers: QB Aaron Rodgers stacked with WR Davante Adams

Davante Adams’ worst game last year involved 6 receptions on 9 targets and a touchdown which was good enough for 16 fantasy points. With a new offense and a healthy Aaron Rodgers, this stack could be lethal.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Jameis Winston stacked with WR Mike Evans or WR Chris Godwin

If you read my previous post, I absolutely love Jameis Winston under Bruce Arians this year. When Winston plays a full season you can almost guarantee 4,000 passing yards and 25 touchdowns. Mike Evans’ consistency is undeniable. Every year he has been in the league, he’s had no less than 120 targets and 1,000 yards receiving. It often takes receivers three years to adjust to the speed and pace of the NFL and with the very talented Godwin entering his third year, expect a breakout from a guy you can draft in the later rounds.

Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Ben Roethlisberger stacked with WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

Last season, Ben Roethlisberger had what was statistically the best season of his career and we had no idea it was happening. He posted career highs in both passing yards and passing touchdowns while he also had the third highest completion percentage of his career. If he can limit his interceptions and avoid more drama then we could be looking at the 2019 NFL MVP. Also, with Antonio Brown gone, JuJu is the obvious number one receiver on this team. Not that he wasn’t last year, AB just wouldn’t let it be obvious.

Other Stacks to Consider:

Houston Texans: QB Deshaun Watson stacked with WR DeAndre Hopkins

Dallas Cowboys: QB Dak Prescott stacked with WR Amari Cooper

Sleeper Stacks

The following stacks are stacks that are under the radar but might be very productive this upcoming season. Most, if not all of the players mentioned can be selected in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft.

New England Patriots: QB Tom Brady stacked with WR N’Keal Harry

For a New England stack to be effective, touchdowns need to be scored. The receiver that comes to mind for the Patriots is Julian Edelman, however, Julian Edelman’s best season resulted in only 3 receiving touchdowns. I’m not saying don’t draft Julian Edelman, he’s a PPR monster. But for the sake of stacks, 6’4″ N’Keal Harry is more likely to contribute to Tom Brady’s touchdown total. Expect Harry to receive a plethora of red zone targets.

Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray stacked with WR Christian Kirk

Christian Kirk is probably the sleeper pick everyone is talking about this season. His expectations are very high in an offense under new head coach, Kliff Kingsbury. When Kingsbury was at Texas Tech, his offenses were always very high powered and could score in bunches. Often times, his defense would falter. But we don’t draft players from defense in fantasy football in most leagues so that shouldn’t be an issue. Kyler Murray is a mobile quarterback that can make plays with his legs and combine passing touchdowns with rushing touchdowns. Much like Patrick Mahomes who played quarterback at Texas Tech under Kliff Kingsbury. Twenty-two year old Christian Kirk is entering his second season in the NFL and despite missing the final four games of last season, he accounted for 20 percent of the teams total receiving yards. In a better, higher-powered offense, expect this duo to connect multiple times.

Written by Jon Dula

Why R.J. Barrett, Not Zion Williamson, Should Have Been the #1 Pick

In an era where the eye test seems obsolete, advanced analytics don’t do former Duke basketball star R.J. Barrett justice. It is only a matter of time before people see why the newly drafted Knicks guard is more prepared for the bright lights then his former partner in crime.

Credit: CBS Sports
Credit: CBS Sports

In July of 2017, something unimaginable in the basketball world happened. The United States basketball team lost in a world tournament. Although it was a U19 team in FIBA, it was still very shocking to someone who follows all levels of USA basketball like I do. The USA team included the likes of Carsen Edwards, Cam Reddish, Kevin Huerter, P.J. Washington, Romeo Langford, Kevin Knox, Josh Okogie, and Mitchell Robinson (just to name a few). USA lost to team Canada in the semifinal 99-87. It was the most watched game of the tournament and arguably the best game of R.J. Barrett’s career. That’s when I knew. It’s when I knew he was going to be one of the most special young basketball players I have ever seen (and yes I’m not that old). The then 17 year old had 38 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists. Although his advanced stats were fantastic (a 40 efficiency rating and a +/- of +14), most of his performance could never be measured by statistics.

Let me start by justifying my… let’s say credibility… for the claim I have made. I have been a huge Duke basketball fan by entire life. Before you click off rolling your eyes due to the hatred you probably have for Duke, hear me out. I have watched every Duke basketball game since the 2011-2012 season. These last 8 years as die hard fan have been a lot of fun; especially considering they won the title in 2015. I watched Duke basketball before the one-and-done and am now living through it. I have watched every game post Kyle Singler, every 1st and 2nd round exit in the NCAA tournament, and almost every iconic ACC one-and-done player after Kyrie. From the pinnacle fan moment of winning the national title, to the rock-bottom in-and-out/what-could-have-been bank shot by Grayson Allen that would have sent Duke to the final four. I’ve seen it all. So in other words, I am not the typical bandwagon Duke basketball fan who watches the two UNC games and a few tournament games and calls it a season. I watch all of the recruits in their AAU circuits and high school games that are aired on TV as much as possible. With all that being said, let me make my case.

Before the 2018-2019 season started, myself along with a lot of Duke fans were wondering whether Zion could do more than just be a freak athlete and a highly above average transition player. Because, in fact, he did play against mediocre high school talent at best. He had quite a few injuries in the AAU circuits so I did not get to see as much of him as I wanted. Heck, he even had a finger injury during the McDonald’s All-American game. So yeah, the skepticism was real. However, when I watched him play in Duke’s Canada preseason tour, I was mesmerized. He did everything… and a whole lot more. He was instantly one of the best rebounders I’ve ever seen, one of the best shot blockers I’ve ever seen, and had a better second jump off of an offensive rebound than Marvin Bagley III (which I didn’t think another college player would for a while). Zion is clearly very special, I am not denying that. He kept Duke in their Elite 8 game against the Spartans nearly by himself in the first half and played one of the best games a college player has ever played in the ACC quarterfinal against Syracuse.

So yeah, Zion is amazing. On and off the court. Did I mention he swept every single NPOY award? I understand why the consensus is that he is the next big thing. I, however, am all in on Barrett. In fact, I think R.J. will be a clear cut better pro than Zion. So why do I think R.J. should have been the #1 pick? Why should it have been him over this generational athlete; the guy who plays like someone we have never seen before?

Part of my reasoning is because I saw something most of the college basketball community didn’t: the 6 games Zion Williamson didn’t play after his infamous shoe injury. He injured himself 30 seconds into the first game against Carolina. That game lost almost half it’s viewers after it was reported he wasn’t going to return. If you could guess what other 4 nationally televised games were the least viewed for Duke last season, I bet you could guess which 4 they were (2 of the 6 he missed were played against UNC which always get high viewership anyway). So I know for a fact people did not witness what I did over that stretch.

What R.J. did in those 6 games without Zion was show the highest level of a will to win I have ever seen on a college basketball player in my lifetime. The one exception I could think of would be Cardiac Kemba. R.J. was on that level. His performance against Syracuse, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina on the road was something else. At this point, most of you are probably scrolling through the box score real quick to look at his numbers in those games and thinking to yourself “10-27? how is that an above average performance?” Let me give you an example

The game when Zion got poked in the eye, they played on the road at Florida State. Zion did not play the entire second half. R.J. completely took over. Yeah, he scored a lot using his versatile skill set. But it’s what he did in the final stretch of that game that allowed them to win. When Duke had a chance to win with an out of bounds play under the basket, everyone in that building knew who was going to get the ball; the guy who played all 40 minutes and had 32 points. The only problem was, nobody actually got it right. The play was drawn up around Barrett. R.J. faded to the corner after a little slip screen from the block, knowing he would draw at least two defenders. That allowed a back screen for Cam Reddish to curl and fade to the three point line to be wide open. When I say wide open, I mean he could have signed the ball before anyone was even near him. He hit the shot and Duke won the game. Yes, Reddish hit the shot, but it was R.J. who allowed for him to be wide open. It was R.J. who wanted Cam to get the ball; who wanted to win even if his hot hand wasn’t the guy to get it done.

Still not buying my logic? Let me debunk the “ball-hog” notion that surrounded R.J. all season. The notion that apparently played him out of being the number one pick, according to some. If I were to ask how many people reading this could name me 3 non-freshman players on Duke’s roster, how many would be able to? Duke fans aside, probably not a lot. So let me help you name them. Without Zion Williamson, here’s the guys who R.J. had to help him score.

Before I get into the players I am not AT ALL trying to be negative about them. Because each player, especially this past season, was very good at their role. Obviously, most of them were not scorers. I love all these guys and all they contribute to the program. I am extremely excited about these returning guys this upcoming season. So here’s what R.J had once Zion went down

Cam Reddish and Tre Jones were the two most talented players R.J. had around him at the time of the injury. Reddish was so inconsistent that he became unreliable. His occasional Paul George-esque step back jumpers gave the fan base hope of a leap… a leap that never really came. This led him to become one of the biggest enigmas in the draft. Tre Jones’s role on the team was to pass first and put immense pressure on the ball (both of which he did exceptionally well). But he too was not a reliable scorer. He would hit elbow jumpers occasionally and was wildly inconsistent from 3 point range. But again, he and Reddish were not consistent scorers. But what about the other guys? Couldn’t they take the load off of R.J.? The captains, Javin DeLaurier and Jack White, were both good in their respective roles; both of which were not scoring. Once upon a time White was a good perimeter shooter during the non-conference before having a nightmare final 3/4 of the season from deep; missing over 30 straight from beyond the arc at one point. During that time he was predominantly used for rebounding and was basically a non-factor in March. DeLaurier is a defense-first player who could lose in a shooting contest to any 12 year old AAU shooting guard in America; 3 point and free throws (he is also my favorite player because of his undoubted hustle and ability to lead. However, he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of boat). Marques Bolden was plagued with injuries his entire career and never really recovered well. I thought he was looking up after the Auburn game in Maui when he blocked every shot imaginable and was beating the eventual final four guards of Auburn up the floor on fast breaks. However, he got hurt in the road game at UNC late in the year and did not get going until later in March and was not nearly as effective (which is a shame because he was the clear-cut starting center before he got hurt his freshman year).

The guards should be different right? Guys who can really shoot the ball and allow R.J. to attack downhill and have someone to throw it too when he can’t barrel his way through? Well Jordan Goldwire is a defense first guy who, actually, peaked at the right time. He air-balled, I think, every three point shot he took during the regular season and his percentages were atrocious. He doesn’t have the ability to create his own shot and is not your typical score-first college guard. However he played exceptionally well from the Louisville game on and should make a leap this upcoming year. Alex O’Connell is a tall, lanky, and surprisingly super athletic shooting guard who has an elite catch-and-shoot jumper. Unfortunately, this helped R.J. once during the best case scenario for a catch and shoot guy; playing against the 2-3 defense of Syracuse where he had 20 points. However, every time he had to dribble the ball, he looked like Stanley Hudson on his best day out there. So when they played tight defense on him, he too was not effective. The guys not mentioned like Baker, Vrankovic, and Justin Robinson did not play enough to be mentioned.

That was a long list of player profiles all to prove one point. In a way, doesn’t it make sense why R.J. had to take so many shots? He was truly the only guy who was consistently able to create his own shot. In games where he wasn’t being double teamed, his assists numbers went up. Being ball-dominant does not make you a ball hog. All I am saying is he HAD to take that many shots to give Duke a chance to win those games.

I am also not saying him taking 25 shots a game makes him so special. What makes him special is willingness to fight and leave everything he has on the floor. You can teach someone how to make free throws, how make threes, make mid-range shots, and teach schematics and x’s and o’s. What cannot be taught to any athlete on any level is how to be a winner. Aside from this, his stats were also very good. 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists is pretty good for any freshman, let alone any player, playing in college basketball’s best conference. All I heard after the season was how R.J. played himself out of being the top pick. How in the world did he do that? That’s right… by being a ball hog.

He led the charge when Zion went down. Without him, Duke would not have won their games against Florida State, Syracuse, Wake Forest, national champion Virginia (twice), and probably other games. He did it all with guys who nobody would consider even average collegiate offensive players.

I saw it when he won the national championship in high school. I saw it in FIBA when he was 17. I saw it at Duke on the biggest stages against the best college players. Now, I will see it under the bright lights of the the city that has been plagued with horrible ownership and a fan base desperately awaiting someone to be their savior. New York fans, you have your guy.

Yes, Zion has the will to win too. But I do not get the same feeling watching Zion that I do watching R.J.. For me, it is strictly my eyes and senses telling me. They tell me that R.J. shows the will to win qualities more than Zion does.

As I said before, most of my arguments are based on eye test and not analytics. But what about logic? Let’s take a second to logically look at Zion Williamson at the next level. Doesn’t logic seem to say a guy his size, who jumps that high and that powerfully, is bound to play in the league for only a decade. Maybe less? Have guys like him had long NBA careers?

Before you start screaming names like LeBron, Shaq, and Shawn Kemp, think about it. We have NEVER seen anyone like Zion before. The guy weighs over 270 pounds. Wouldn’t it make sense to assume logically that at an 82 game pace his body will eventually break down at a faster rate compared to most? Especially quicker than R.J.’s? Part of my reasoning is I don’t think Zion will be able to play nearly as many minutes as R.J. throughout his career. R.J.’s body type is similar to that of Vince Carter, a guy who has been around to play in 4 different decades. It makes sense to assume R.J. will be better for much longer.

R.J.’s full talent was put on display during his summer league games. He did, as most people love to point out, struggle mightily his first 2 of 4 games each team gets before playoffs start. In the 4 “regular season” games of the summer league, despite the struggles, R.J. was the only player with at least 50 points, 35 rebounds, and 10 assists. He has better talent around him now and started to show how elite he can really be.

I truly believe that over the last 8 years of Duke basketball, R.J. Barrett is the best I have seen. The analytics, although are great, cannot compare to the stat that cannot be measured; the will to win. Zion, of course, has it too (as I said before). R.J.’s is just on a different level. He is the son of the guy who is Mr. Canadian basketball. He is the godson of Steve Nash, one of the best floor generals to ever walk this planet. He was by far the best high school player in his class for years. He led Canada to a FIBA U19 title at 17 years old. He was the go-to guy at Duke. He is a winner. Every time I watched him I just got the feeling that this kid would die out there if it meant his team could win. Bold Take: The Duke team would have had a better record with a whole season without Zion, then a whole season without R.J.. In other words, R.J. had more impact/was more important than Zion. The eye test is the reason R.J. Barrett will be better than Zion Williamson.

My final point elaborates on the eye test vs. analytics thing with a familiar example. It seems a new trend of people slamming Kobe Bryant over advanced analytics has been born. These ridiculous people on First Take and all these other terrible shows are saying he is not even a top 20 guy of all time due to the amount of missed shots and inefficiencies he had. For years people talked about Kobe as right there with MJ. I know a lot people in their 20s might say he is better than LeBron and Duncan. This is outrageous to say… if you look at it from an analytics perspective. Using that lens he was incredibly inefficient and did miss the most shots in the history of the league. But it was what we watched with our eyes that made him superlative. It was watching him in those Western and NBA Finals. It was watching him win 5 titles and literally sacrifice every part of his body to do it. He might have missed the most shots in history, but he will ALWAYS be my pick to take the last shot. Want to know why? Because Kobe Bryant was an absolute dog with the heart of a champion. Having the heart of the champion is immeasurable stat I saw in R.J. Barrett in July of 2017. It’s what I saw all season at Duke. It’s what I will continue to see as his career opens up as the new guy in New York. I promise, New York, you got your guy; you got your winner. Despite the countless highlight dunks, blocks, and fast breaks of Zion, the Maple Mamba will fly, to the shock of many, higher than Zion ever could.

Fantasy Football: Sleepers and Reachers

In every relationship there is a settler and a reacher… wait. Wrong blog. Sorry.

In every fantasy football draft there are owners who rely on sleepers, defined as players with high value that will be productive despite their selection being during later rounds. And there are owners that will reach for a player whom I like to call reachers, defined as owners who draft players in early rounds whose production will not justify their high selection. Now, you may be wondering, “Why should I listen to some rando writing a blog who has no impressive credentials whatsoever?” You’d be right to be skeptical… in most situations. Take my word for it, I am entering my thirteenth year of fantasy football and after learning from countless mistakes I made as a teenager, I am now a mature and experienced fantasy football owner who has finished in the top four in each of my three leagues in the last three years. And in each of the last three years I have entered the playoffs as a 1 seed or a 2 seed in each league, winning twice and placing second twice. Some say, “It’s better to be lucky than good,” but I say, “It’s better to be better than good.” Trust me. Without further ado, let’s get into the players you should not reach for and the players you should not sleep on.

Reachers

  1. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

Wait, I can’t be serious. Drew Brees? First ballot hall of famer Drew Brees? Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees? 2008 and 2011 Offensive Player of the Year Drew Brees? Yes, that Drew Brees. Do NOT reach for the New Orleans Saints QB. Here’s why:

Last year, Brees failed to eclipse 4,000 yards passing for the first time since 2005. From weeks 13 to 16, Brees killed playoff hopes for some teams scoring only an average of 11 points per week. He also had 4 rushing touchdowns last season, the highest total of his career that he is unlikely to replicate. Now, is Brees’ talent declining? Absolutely not. He’s still as sharp as ever, however in 2005, his running back was Hall of Famer, LaDanian Tomlinson who rushed for over 1,400 yards and scored 18 touchdowns. With Mark Ingram gone, the reigns have been taken completely off Alvin Kamara who is projected to be the third best fantasy running back this season. Expect the saints to stick to their dominant running game. DO NOT reach for Brees.

2. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

Now this one is interesting as well because Gurley is likely going in the first or second round. Say he falls to mid-to-late second round or third round, by all means take him. His talent is undeniable and his ceiling is incredibly high IF HE IS HEALTHY. There was some speculation earlier this year that Gurley’s knee injury was arthritis which would be a nagging injury that would definitely soften his workload which is what we saw happen when the Rams began giving carries to C.J. Andersen late last season. Even if Gurley is healthy enough to play, be wary of his workload. There is a good chance that he will not return to his bellcow role he had in 2017. Expect rookie, Darrell Henderson, to have a role in the backfield.

3. Any San Francisco 49ers Running Back

The talent combined in this backfield might be the among the best in the league. Jerick McKinnon is coming back after a season ending injury suffered in preseason last year. Matt Breida is back after a breakout season. The Niners are also welcoming Tevin Coleman into their backfield this year. This crowded backfield is a good problem to have for Kyle Shanahan and offensive coordinator, Curtis Modkins. But for fantasy owners, this should be a red flag. On any given day, one of these running backs can go off for a hundred yards and a touchdown but it’s risky having one of them in your lineup when the Niners are feeding the hot hand in this Running Back By Committee scheme (RBBC). The smart play here if you do draft one of these backs is to draft them late when you are drafting your bench spots and stash one of them on your bench in hopes that they emerge as the favorite back. But the risk is too high for the reward here. Stick to running backs who you know will receive a decent amount of touches.

Honorable Mentions: Devonta Freeman, Kenyan Drake, James Conner, Eric Ebron, Damien Williams, Corey Davis

Sleepers

  1. David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

At first glance you might think that the Bears are in the same situation as the Niners when it comes to running backs. They currently have Mike Davis, Tarik Cohen, and Montgomery on their depth chart. But if you look closer, Tarik Cohen shouldn’t interfere too much with Montgomery’s touches. Currently, Cohen is the most talented back on the roster and him and Jordan Howard were able to co-exist while they played together, both putting up serviceable numbers. Montgomery is also a different type of running back than Cohen. While Cohen is shifty and agile, Montgomery has more of a ground and pound style to him despite coach Matt Nagy praising his hands out of the backfield. Mike Davis is also the least of my worries when it comes to sharing touches, he’s shown flashes in his career but nothing consistent enough to be a three-down back. David Montgomery may not produce right away but he is worth drafting because of his upside.

2. Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Yes, Winston served a three game suspension to start last season and yes at one point lost his starting job to Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he scored 196 fantasy points in just 11 games last season. If that was prorated to 16 games then he would have been among the top 15 quarterbacks. In the two of his four seasons where he played all 16 games he threw for over 4,000 yards and for an average of 25 touchdowns per season. Winston is currently being taken in the 10th round on average in most fantasy drafts and if he falls to you at that point in the draft, I suggest you take him. If Tampa Bay can finally figure out their atrocious running back situation, it could help Winston even more.

3. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Kupp is a player I have loved ever since his days at Eastern Washington. Unfortunately, in the middle of his breakout season he tore his ACL. But the good news is that he was a full participant in training camp and is expected to start the season fully healthy. Kupp was averaging nearly 12 fantasy points per game and scored 6 touchdowns before going down with the injury in week 10. He is currently the 24th wide receiver taken in drafts on average which to me is too low for Kupp. But take advantage of the people overlooking Kupp and make him the steal of your draft. With Gurley’s knee banged up, Kupp can see an increase in red-zone targets with his 6-2 frame.

Honorable Mentions: Miles Sanders, Curtis Samuel, James Washington, Devin Singletary, Tre’Quan Smith

Written By Jon Dula