By Andy Orton
This article will highlight players that are being drafted and ranked lower than they should be, players that are expected to dramatically increase their production and players that will be disappointing given their average draft position.
Phillip Rivers QB SD
Rivers consistently outperforms his value on draft day. This season, he’s being drafted as the 20th QB in round 11 but he’s finished as a top 10 QB in the past two seasons. The Chargers are a dark-horse team to go deep into the playoffs this year, and they have the offensive firepower to back it up. Losing Hunter Henry to an ACL injury will hurt Rivers’ value slightly, but he still has a top-10 RB in Melvin Gordon, a top-10 WR in Keenan Allen and second-year WR Mike Williams out of Clemson. Rivers is the perfect QB to target late in drafts to complete your team.
Jerick McKinnon RB SF
“Jet” McKinnon has a new home and it’s with the 49ers and head coach Kyle Shanahan. McKinnon has the skill set to be an electric, every-down RB. He’s being drafted as an RB2 but has the ceiling of an RB1. His player comparison would be Devonta Freeman of the Atlanta Falcons who’s had top-10 fantasy performances with Kyle Shanahan.
Chris Hogan WR NE
Before suffering a shoulder injury that kept him out for the second-half of the season, Hogan was 10th in fantasy points among all WRs with 438 yards and 5 touchdowns through 8 weeks. Now with Brandin Cooks out of the picture in New England (traded to the Rams) and Eric Decker retiring, Hogan has secured a starting spot with the Patriots. With Tom Brady throwing him the ball, he will have a much better season than his current ADP suggests.
Andrew Luck QB IND
Luck will return this season after missing the entirety of the 2017 season due to a shoulder injury. When Luck is healthy, he is one of the best fantasy QBs. In the past 3 seasons where he’s played 15 games, he’s finished as a top-4 QB. He ranked in the top 10 in passing yards, passing touchdowns and rushing yards among quarterbacks in 2016. With upgrades to the offensive line and a new weapon in Eric Ebron to go along with TY Hilton, Luck could be primed to put up his best season thus far.
Royce Freeman RB DEN
Royce Freeman was a statistical monster in college. As an Oregon Duck, he had 5,621 career rushing yards, which is the 7th most in NCAA history. To go along with impressive numbers, he also has impressive physical ability, running a 4.54 40-yard dash at 5’11” and 229 pounds. He’s currently listed behind Devontae Booker on the depth chart. It shouldn’t take Elway and the Broncos long before they realize Freeman’s talent.
Corey Davis WR TEN
Davis is a classic high-risk, high-reward player. He was hampered by a hamstring injury last season which limited his production. Mariota’s passing performance didn’t help either, as he only threw for 13 touchdowns. Despite the injury and underwhelming offense, Davis was drafted with the 5th overall pick in the 2017 draft and his talent is undeniable. Titans will find ways to get him the ball. Davis enters the season as the Titans’ number one receiving option so he could end up being a star by season’s end.
Jimmy Garoppolo QB SF
Garoppolo showing up on the bust list might be controversial. He had a record of 5-0 when starting under center for the 49ers and threw for over 1,500 yards and six touchdowns in those games. The reason why he will most likely be a bust is because he’s being drafted in the 9th round as the 11th QB off the board. In a 12-team standard league, that’s a QB1. It’s hard to justify drafting a QB 1 who’s played only five games. The sample size is too small to justify taking him over established vets like Roethlisberger, Rivers or Ryan who all have lower ADPs.
Carlos Hyde RB CLE
Hyde is being drafted in the 5th round. This is way too high for a player on an unproven offense with a crowded backfield. It’s unclear what Hyde’s role will be in the new-look Brown’s offense. The Browns drafted Nick Chubb in the second round of the 2018 draft and should see some early down and goal line work. They also have Duke Johnson Jr. who will receive snaps on passing downs. There are too many unknowns to take him with one of your first five picks.
Juju Smith-Schuster WR PIT
This might be another surprising player to show up on the bust list. He finished last season as the 19th best WR in fantasy football. He currently has an ADP in the 4th round. He’s a bust because he will not have enough targets in the Steelers offense to make that high draft pick worthwhile. On a team with Antonio Brown who could lead the NFL in targets and Le’Veon Bell who will have 100+ touches, there’s simply not enough share for him to be worthy of that coveted 4th round draft pick. There other players going around him who are safer picks for getting 100+ targets (Larry Fitzgerald or Demariyus Thomas).