Football is back! With the preseason under way, fantasy players are doing mock drafts hourly (or maybe it’s just me) to prepare for their fantasy drafts. Each year fantasy owners want to construct their team with a proper mix of good value players and upside sleepers while avoiding players with high bust potential. In part two of my eight part installment, I will look over the AFC North and provide ADP values, likely to bust candidates and potential sleepers.

Players ADP is based off of PPR scoring according to the fantasy football calculator. Remember you can practice for your fantasy drafts using the mock draft simulator. Check out the previous installment here. As always, happy hunting fantasy friends!

ADP Values

Alex Collins, RB, Ravens (3.10) – After being a preseason cut by the Seahawks, the Ravens found themselves a diamond in the rough with Alex Collins. Last season Collins finished as the RB21, averaging 11.4 FPPG. However, over his last seven games Collins averaged 16.7 FPPG. Over a 16 game pace he would have finished the year as the RB7. While I don’t expect Collins to finish as a top 12 running back this season, he has the upside of a high-end RB2, while providing one of the safest floors in the league.

There isn’t another running back on the roster who can challenge Collins for the starting role. Javorius Allen is clearly a third down back, while Kenneth Dixon missed all of last season with a torn meniscus, and reportedly he is on roster bubble. Furthermore, the Ravens had 12 draft picks and didn’t use any on a running back. Unless the Ravens make some sort of last minute move at the position, Collins is probably the safest running back to select outside of the first round.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers (11.01) – Despite having two top 24 wide receivers and the RB2 last season while finishing the season as the QB10, Ben Roethlisberger is currently being drafted as the QB14 behind players like Jimmy Garoppolo and Matt Ryan. Last season, Roethlisberger led the league with 37.4 pass attempts per game, and that number should go up this season as the Steelers defense is expected to struggle.

Linebacker Ryan Shazier will miss the 2018 season as he tries to come back from a spinal injury. Last season in games where Shazier played, the Steelers defense gave up just 17.8 points per game, compared to the games he didn’t play where they gave up 23.8 points per game. Needless to say, the Steelers offense and Roethlisberger are going to need to score more this season.

The biggest argument against Roethlisberger is his home/road splits. Last season, Roethlisberger averaged 20.5 FPPG at home compared to just 14.7 FPPG on the road. However, fantasy owners can wisely punt on the quarterback position until the last few rounds, where they can grab Roethlisberger at the top of the 11th round and pair him with a safer floor quarterback like Alex Smith in the 12th round. Playing Roethlisberger at home can win fantasy owners their match-up by himself.

Busts

Josh Gordon, WR, Browns (4.10) – Reportedly, Josh Gordon has been dealing with some personal issues. While the Gordon has reported to camp, he is not allowed to participate just yet. Despite the good news, I’m not touching him anywhere near his current ADP. Since his career season in 2013 where he averaged 22.5 FPPG, Gordon has averaged just 11.2 FPPG — because he has missed 54 out of 64 possible games due to suspensions. Even if Gordon plays all 16 games this year, fantasy production like his 2013 season will not happen again.

In 2013, Gordon finished as the WR2 and had a 23.4% target share, while Jordan Cameron finished as the TE4 that season with 17.4% target share. The rest of the Browns offense was awful. That year the Browns top fantasy producing running back was Chris Ogbonnaya, as the RB42, and their second wide receiver was Greg Little, who finished the season outside the top 55 wide receivers.

This season Jarvis Landry is expected to finish — at the worst — as a top 25 wide receiver and at least one Browns running back, if not two, will finish as a top 30 running back. Many also expect David Njoku to finish as a TE1 this season. Gordon’s elite fantasy days are over, and he is much more risk than reward at this point.

Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals (13.04) – Somehow Tyler Eifert is currently being drafted as the TE14, which is crazy to me. Eifert is currently my TE24, and that isn’t likely to change between now and the start of the season. Eifert is being drafted ahead of players with more upside like O.J. Howard and Mike Gesicki. During his five year career, Eifert has never played a full 16 game season and has missed 51.3% of his games due to injury. Furthermore, since his career season in 2015, Eifert has played in less than a third of his games.

During his 2015 season, Eifert had 52 catches on 74 targets for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 14.7 FPPG; all career highs. However, other than that season, Eifert has averaged just 18.8 catches on 28.8 targets for 230.5 yards and 1.8 touchdowns per season while playing in an average of 6.5 games per season and averaging 8.1 FPPG. I’m not drafting Eifert in any league this year. Even if he can prove he can stay healthy he has limited value.

Sleepers

Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals (11.04) – Even with Joe Mixon and Jeremy Hill as the starters last season, Gio Bernard finished as the RB27 in PPR scoring. However, guys like Isaiah Crowell and Corey Clement are being drafted ahead of Bernard, despite averaging fewer fantasy points per game than him last season. Bernard had a higher yards per carry average than Mixon and was targeted almost twice as much last season.

With Hill now in New England, Mixon is expected to take over the feature back role. However, don’t discount Bernard as worthless. During the 2014 and 2015 seasons, when Hill finished as the RB11 and RB20 respectively, Bernard finished as the RB17 and RB16.

Stats

Hill 2014

Bernard 2014

Hill 2015

Bernard 2015

Total Touches

249

211

238

203

Scrimmage Yards

1339

1029

873

1202

Total Touchdowns

9

7

12

2

Fantasy PPG

13.2

14.5

10.6

11.3

Even with a top 20 running back on the roster with him, Bernard still showed to have a solid fantasy impact. Last season Mixon seriously struggled, while Bernard finished as a RB3 and out-performed Mixon in almost every category.

Stats

Mixon (14 games)

Bernard (16 games)

Total Touches

208

148

Yards Per Touch

4.49

5.72

Total Touchdowns

4

4

Fantasy PPG

9.5

10.1

If you agree with me and project Mixon as a RB1 this coming season, Bernard still has weekly flex play potential in PPR leagues. Bernard has career averages of 12.9 touches per game and 0.94 fantasy points per touch. While Bernard isn’t likely to finish as a RB2 this season, he should easily finish in the RB30-36 range.

Hayden Hurst & Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens (14.01 & undrafted) – Last season when Evan Engram finished as the TE5, he was the only rookie to finish as a top 15 tight end. However, while rookie tight ends tend to struggle as a rookie, for the second year in a row we might have a one finish in the top 15. During the 2018 draft the Ravens spent two of their top four picks on Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews. Joe Flacco loves to throw to his tight ends.

Over the last two seasons Flacco has targeted a tight end 22.5% of the time. There are 337 targets up for grabs from last season and while the Ravens did sign three wide receivers in free agency, only Michael Crabtree is clearly ahead of the rookie tight ends in the targeting pecking order. John Brown has struggled to stay healthy and hasn’t played a full 16 game slate since 2014, while Willie Snead had just 16 targets last season for the Saints in 11 games.

Over the last two seasons, Flacco’s starting tight end has averaged 100 targets and 13.5 red zone targets per season. If one of the two rookies can separate themselves from the other, they should see enough volume and red-zone targets to finish the year as a top 15 tight end.

About The Author Mike Fanelli

Mike is a former journalism major who spent all four years in high school working for the school newspaper. At 25 years old, he is happy to write for Breaking Football as it gives him a platform to get his fantasy football takes and sports opinions out there.