Matt Hicks, Staff Writer
It’s Day 2 of the 2018 season, what have you done to improve your team? There’s no rest for successful fantasy football owners, and these 10 players are a great way for dynasty owners to get a jump start on winning their next title.
Taylor battled through terrible coaching, and a non-existent wide receiving corps to finish as the QB16 through Week 16. It’s impressive that this dual threat quarterback gained 2,987 total yards and 17 total touchdowns (13 passing) to just 4 interceptions this season. Tyrod accomplished this in just 13.5 games, including the one where he infamously bailed out his rookie replacement. It’s clear the Bills are looking to release Tyrod, rather than payout his contract; in just the latest series of them intentionally dismantling whatever talent remains in upstate New York. Look for Tyrod to land on a team that will appreciate a quarterback that’s gone 756-1,210 (63%) for 8,653 passing yards, 50 touchdowns and 16 touchdowns since becoming a starting quarterback in 2014. His dual threat potential, an additional 1,540 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns since 2014, makes him a potent fantasy option when in an offense that will feature his skills. Capitalize on uncertainty, and grab Tyrod cheap; but don’t wait too long, once he lands on a new team his value could skyrocket.
This is a bit of a riskier one, so buy very low (or claim) him. There’s no beating around the push, Eli’s QB 22 finish through Week 16 was disappointing this season. In deeper leagues where he’s still rostered, though, he stands to gain value in 2018. If he departs from New York he’s bound to land on a playoff contending roster, like Denver or a Roethlisberger-less Pittsburgh. If he stays in New York, he gains a healthy OBJ, Marshall, and an offensive line that’s likely to be improved both through free agency and the draft. He’s not worth a lot, but he’s worth a shot in deeper leagues.
Anderson quietly rushed his way to RB15 on the season, making him a very high end RB2 in 2017. Anderson’s success has been undervalued because Denver refused to give him consistent work. In the 8 games he was given at least 15 carries, Anderson rushed for at least 75 yards 6 times, and over 115 yards twice. Anderson’s value was also diminished by his low performing offense; leading to just 4 touchdowns on the season, and zero mutli-touchdown games. Rather than paying for his high salary, Denver is likely to cut the running back they wasted, and Anderson will be free to land in a more dynamic offense where he can flourish; like the Giants or Seahawks. You’ll likely have to payout for Anderson but if you can get him for a third or second round pick, make that move; it’ll pay off.
Henry truthers rejoice, 2018 has to be the season the Titans feature Henry. In 2017 Henry rushed for 693 yards on 148 carries, to average 5 yards/carry. Compare that to DeMarco Murray who rushed for 34 less yards (659) on 36 more carries (184) for 1 less yard/carry (4). This offseason appears to be the perfect to for Tennessee to pivot away from the 29-year-old, injury ridden back to their explosive second year man out of Alabama; who has yet to get his chance as a lead back. Now is the time to buy into Henry, because once it’s clear that the Titans are moving away from Murray, it’ll be too late.
Ross’ 2017 season ended as horribly as it started; off the field and full of confusion. Fantasy players look at the chaos of Ross’ first season and see a big bust. Good fantasy players look at him and see terrific value. Ross was a highly touted player out of college, known for his quick play and possession style. Ross will come into 2018 healthy and without Marvin Lewis; who never clicked with Ross. I’m giving him the ultimate mulligan and I’m willing to trade a third or fourth round pick for him. This is one player you may not have to act on quickly, but keep an eye on him as the new coaching staff comes together in Cincinnati.
I wrote about Watkins earlier this week, but jaded Watkins owners may be ready to unload the player that hasn’t caught more than 4 receptions in any game since their Week 8 BYE. Since Week 9, however, Watkins has 6 touchdown receptions in 8 games. Watkins has the ability to move this offseason; if he’s able to join a dynamic offense where he better fits the scheme he has the ability to live up to his WR1 potential. Keep in mind, Watkins is just 24 years old; making him a prime buy-low target.
This one is easy, but a horrific 2017 season might have made Hilton owners forget about the player who finished as WR5 in 2016. Expect Hilton to return to WR1 value once he is reunited with a healthy Andrew Luck in 2017. If you can snag Hilton for a 2nd round pick, make that move ASAP; once Luck is 100% healthy, the Hilton hype will start rapidly building.
Howard was targeted 4 or more times in a game just twice in Weeks 1-10. In Weeks 11-15 he saw 4 or more targets 3 times; leading to 12 receptions, 206 yards and 3 touchdowns. It appears to be an intentional switch from Cameron Brate; who was the featured receiving tight end early in the season. Howard can still be bought low, even though he’s just outside of a TE1; at TE15 through Week 16. As Howard continues to develop, I expect him to grow into a more featured role in the offense.
Njoku is a very cheap value, finishing as the TE21 in 2017. The rookie, however, had the second most targets on the team (57), the most receptions (30), the second most receiving yards (348), and twice as many touchdowns (4) as the next receiver on the team. As Cleveland’s offense continues to grow, likely with a new quarterback, Njoku’s stats could scale him into a potent fantasy option at the most shallow position in fantasy.
I mentioned earlier this week that if Kittle is claimed in your fantasy league, he’s worth making a move for. Kittle has performed well since being paired up with Garoppolo. Since Week 15, Kittle has caught 7 of his eight targets for 94 yards and a touchdown. With an entire off-season to work with his new superstar potential quarterback, this rookie could emerge as a low end TE1, high end TE2 in 2018. Keep this underrated rookie on your radar during the off-season.
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