The 2018 NFL season is still seven months away, but it’s never too early to get ready the fantasy season or gear up with some sweet fantasy football shirts. While free agency, trades, and the NFL draft will have an impact on these players fantasy value for the upcoming season, let’s take a way-too-early look at the top ten at each position.
Players are listed with where they finished at their position last season in PPR scoring.
1) Aaron Rodgers, Packers (29th): In 2016, Aaron Rodgers finished as the top scoring quarterback with 365 fantasy points. The only reason he finished 29th this year was because he missed nine games with his collarbone injury. He will be the top selected quarterback in 2018 drafts.
2) Carson Wentz, Eagles (5th): Despite missing the last three games of the season, Carson Wentz was on a hot enough pace to still finish in the top five. He scored 20 or more fantasy points in eight games last season. With the majority of his supporting cast back next year, Wentz should continue to play well in 2018.
3) Tom Brady, Patriots (3rd): Even at ages 39 and 40, Tom Brady finished as the QB2 and QB3 over the last two seasons on a points per game basis. The Patriots will find another underrated stud in the off-season for Brady and at age 41 he will still be the G.O.A.T.
4) Andrew Luck, Colts (N/A): Assuming Andrew Luck’s shoulder is healthy and he takes part in training camp, he should be a top five quarterback selection in 2018. During the 2016 season, Luck was the QB4 and only missed one game due to an injury.
5) Russell Wilson, Seahawks (1st): No quarterback accounted for more of their team’s scoring than Russell Wilson did last year; scoring 37 of 38 offensive touchdowns. However, my biggest concern with Wilson is that the Seahawks are bound to improve the running game in the off-season, and that will limit Wilson’s upside next season.
6) Drew Brees, Saints (9th): After finishing as the QB3 in 2016, Drew Brees slid back to QB9 this season, in large part to a strong running game and an improved defense. While Brees failed to score 23 or more fantasy points in any game this season, his upside on any given week makes him a must-start weekly.
7) Cam Newton, Panthers (2nd): Cam Newton finishing as QB2 was a little surprising to me, especially given his accuracy trouble. However, his running ability gives him a big advantage over other quarterbacks. Newton averaged seven of 18.7 fantasy points per game from running the ball.
8) Deshaun Watson, Texans (26th): Interesting note; Deshaun Watson scored more fantasy points in six starts this season than Jay Cutler did in 14 starts. Prior to Watson tearing his ACL, he was on a stretch where he scored 32 or more fantasy points in three of four games. Obviously he won’t score that high throughout the 2018 season, but he could easily average 17 fantasy points per game.
9) Kirk Cousins, TBD (6th): After the Redskins traded for Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins will be playing elsewhere in 2018. Depending on where he lands, Cousins’ fantasy value can either jump or drop substantially. Despite losing his two top wide receivers and his tight end for 10 games, Cousins only dropped from QB5 in 2016 to QB6 this season. 1
0) Derek Carr, Raiders (19th): Hopes were high entering the 2017 season for Derek Carr’s fantasy owners. However, Carr was injured in week four and was never the same after. Additionally, the team as a whole seriously regressed. I expect Carr to have a bounce back year in 2018 under a new head coach and a better supporting cast.
1) Todd Gurley II, Rams (1st): After a disappointing sophomore season, Gurley erupted this year scoring 20 or more fantasy points in ten games. For the fantasy playoffs, Gurley scored 45 and 49.6 fantasy points in weeks 15 and 16. Gurley’s strong 2017 season will put him in the conversation for the number one overall pick in 2018 drafts. 2) Le’Veon Bell, Steelers (2nd): Thanks to his contract hold out, Le’Veon Bell started the season slow, scoring just 20.8 fantasy points in the first two weeks combined. However, after that Bell scored 19 or more fantasy points in 11 of his final 13 games. Thanks to his high volume both rushing and receiving, Bell is a top five lock for 2018 drafts. 3) Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (12th): Prior to serving his six-game suspension, Zeke Elliott was averaging 21.3 fantasy points per game. Over a season-long pace, that would have made Elliott the RB3 this season. With the suspension behind him and the Cowboys expected to improve the offensive line in the off-season, Elliott is in the conversation for a top five pick next season. 4) David Johnson, Cardinal (N/A): His wrist injury in week one knocked David Johnson out for the season, and crushed many fantasy owner’s season just like that, as many selected Johnson with the first overall pick. With all the off-season changes coming in Arizona, Johnson’s fantasy value is in serious flux. 5) Kareem Hunt, Chiefs (4th): The 2017 rushing leader, Kareem Hunt’s fantasy value takes a jump up with the trade of Alex Smith. The Chiefs will rework their offense around Hunt to take pressure off Patrick Mahomes. Hunt had 325 touches in 2017 and that number could get up to 360-plus in 2018.
Kareem Hunt gets more yards than he should almost any time he touches the football. I love watching teams forced to use 2, 3, 4 guys to bring him down. Like watching a senior play freshmen. pic.twitter.com/10YqmZRdWn — Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) January 27, 2018
6) Melvin Gordon, Chargers (5th): For some odd reason Melvin Gordon never gets the respect he deserves. Despite fighting injuries all year long, Gordon averaged 18 fantasy points per game and scored at least one touchdown in 11 games this season. With second round pick Forest Lamp back next season, the interior run game should improve.
7) Alvin Kamara, Saints (3rd): The fantasy MVP, Alvin Kamara was on more fantasy championship rosters than any other player besides Gurley. Despite starting the season third on the depth chart, Kamara averaged 20 fantasy points per game. Thanks to his big-play ability, Kamara can win fantasy owners their game single-handedly.
8) Leonard Fournette, Jaguars (9th): Unless the Jaguars bring in Kirk Cousins, Leonard Fournette will remain the focal point of the offense in 2018. During his rookie season, Fournette played in 13 games despite ankle issues and manged to score 13.5 or more fantasy points in 11 of them.
9) Derrick Henry, Titans (37th): DeMarco Murray will be released in the off-season, handing over the starting gig to Derrick Henry. During week 17 and the Wild Card playoff game, Henry had 54 touches for 308 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. Unless the Titans bring in another starting-caliber running back, Henry will be the bell cow next year.
10) LeSean McCoy, Bills (7th): In 2016 Shady McCoy was the RB3, scoring 238 fantasy points, and in 2017 he was the RB7 but scored 264 fantasy points. The Bills will be an interesting team to watch in the off-season because of their undetermined quarterback situation. McCoy has some risk entering 2018 depending on who his handing him the ball.
1) Antonio Brown, Steelers (1st): The best receiver in the game, Antonio Brown finished the season as the WR1 despite missing the last two games. Brown was the only receiver with two 40-plus point fantasy games this season. Brown should clearly be the top receiver drafted in 2018.
2) DeAndre Hopkins, Texans (2nd): DeAndre Hopkins is a fantasy stud as long as Brock Osweiler isn’t throwing him the ball. But, even more importantly, Hopkins averaged 21.5 fantasy points per game over Watson’s six starts this season. Hopkins is a top seven pick in 2018.
3) Odell Beckham Jr., Giants (83rd): Prior to getting hurt in week five, Odell Beckham, Jr. was averaging 18.5 fantasy points per game. In 2016 Beckham, Jr. also averaged 18.5 fantasy points per game. With Eli Manning expected back in 2018, Beckham should bounce back to his old form.
4) Davante Adams, Packers (14th): Despite Aaron Rodgers missing nine games, and Davante Adams missing two games himself, he still averaged 15.9 fantasy points per game. Adams has taken over as the team’s number one receiver and there is a possibly Jordy Nelson is a cap casualty in the off-season, giving Adams even more targets in 2018.
5) Michael Thomas, Saints (6th): Even with the Saints focusing more on the running game this season, Michael Thomas still managed to score double-digit fantasy points in 14 games this season. Unless the Saints bring in a big-time free agent receiver, Thomas will be the focal point of the passing attack next season.
Vikings LB Andrew Sendejo Got Knocked Out Cold By Saints Receiver Michael Thomas https://t.co/Q1qtWo9oZD
— Krusty Sox Sports (@KrustySoxSports) January 17, 2018
6) Keenan Allen, Chargers (3rd): Over the previous two seasons Keenan Allen only played in nine games, but he played in all 16 games in 2017. Allen has always been a PPR machine and ranked fourth in the league with 102 catches and fifth with 159 targets in 2017. 7) Adam Thielen, Vikings (9th): After bursting onto the scene last season, Adam Thielen was given a contract extension and backed it up this season; finishing the year with 91 catches for 1,276 yards and four touchdowns. The Vikings quarterback situation is up in the air for next season, but more than likely Case Keenum will be back as the starter in 2018. 8) A.J. Green, Bengals (10th): Some fantasy owners might be scared of drafting A.J. Green because of his quarterback. However, Green has been a dominant force — when healthy — his entire career. Hopefully the Bengals improve his supporting cast, but even if they don’t, Green is a top ten wide receiver pick. 9) Jarvis Landry, Dolphins (5th): As a pending free agent, Jarvis Landry’s fantasy value could rise or drop depending on where he is playing next season. However, Landry has always been a PPR stud, averaging 100 catches per season over his first four years. I would love to see him in San Francisco next season. 10) Julio Jones, Falcons (7th): Without a doubt, Julio Jones is one of best wide receivers in the game. However, for whatever reason his fantasy production is erratic. Last season Jones had nine games scoring less than 14 fantasy points. Jones is a top ten fantasy wide receiver, but his lack of consistency is concerning.
1) Rob Gronkowski, Patriots (2nd): Rob Gronkowski is a difference maker at the tight end spot for fantasy owners. Year after year Gronkowski is drafted as the TE1, and that won’t change in 2018 unless Tom Brady abruptly retires. 2) Travis Kelce, Chiefs (1st): Much like Gronkowski is always drafted as the TE1, Travis Kelce should be viewed the same way as the TE2. With Mahomes taking over as the starting quarterback in 2018, he should lean on Kelce a lot next season. 3) Zach Ertz, Eagles (3rd): Until this year, Zach Ertz has always been a “Mr. December” guy, meaning he doesn’t show up for fantasy owners until the last month of the season. However, with Wentz’s development, Ertz turned into a top three fantasy tight end this season, and that should be similar in 2018. 4) Hunter Henry, Chargers (14th): Prior to ending up on injured reserve in week 16, Hunter Henry was averaging 13.6 fantasy points per game over his last four games. Henry was starting to become a bigger part of the passing game and that should continue to unfold in 2018. 5) Greg Olsen, Panthers (50th): After being an Iron Man, Greg Olsen missed 10 games this season. In 2016, Olsen finished the year as the TE2 with 207.3 fantasy points. The Panthers don’t need to rely on Olsen as much in the passing game, but he might have the safest fantasy floor among tight ends.
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6) Evan Engram, Giants (3rd): In the middle of a disappointing season for the Giants, Evan Engram provided some hope. He finished the 2017 season leading the Giants in catches, targets, and receiving touchdowns. With Beckham back next season, Engram should see more one-on-one match-ups.
7) Jimmy Graham, Seahawks (6th): With the Seahawks cap space issues, Jimmy Graham is likely playing somewhere else in 2018. Depending on where that is, his ranking on this list will change. There are rumors that he has interest in returning to New Orleans, and if that happens his fantasy value will seriously increase.
8) Jordan Reed, Redskins (36th): The Alex Smith trade shouldn’t have any real impact on Jordan Reed’s fantasy value. With Reed, his health has always been the issue that scares away fantasy owners. Reed has missed 28 games during his five year career. If Reed can stay healthy he’s a top three fantasy tight end, but until he can prove that, he is closer to the low end TE1 range.
9) Delanie Walker, Titans (4th): It’s more likely than not that Delanie Walker is back with the Titans next season. However, they did spend a third round draft pick on Jonnu Smith last year and can save $6.2 million dollars against the cap if they release Walker before March 18th. Assuming Walker is back in Tennessee, he is the “Old Reliable” receiver Marcus Mariota depends on most; as he led the team with 74 catches last season.
10) Kyle Rudolph, Vikings (8th): The Vikings’ pending quarterback free agency situation won’t have a major impact on Kyle Rudolph. Despite playing in all 16 games this season, Rudolph only scored double digit fantasy points seven times. His upside is limited, thanks the Vikings excellent trio of Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Dalvin Cook.