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These players have a great chance to outperform their DRAFT projection.
Aaron Rodgers – QB - Green Bay (DRAFT Projection: 18.4)
The 18.4 FP projection on DRAFT has Rodgers ranked as the 16th quarterback on DRAFT. I think we can all agree about that being way too low. I went ahead and promoted Rodgers to fifth in the quarterback rankings on my personal list. The Green Bay QB is coming off a tough matchup at Minnesota, but he should be in full bounce-back mode with the Packers settling in as two touchdown home favorites over Arizona. The Cardinals were torched by Philip Rivers last week, who only had one incompletion (28 of 29) with three touchdowns. Rodgers should have success while leading a hungry Packers team.
Alvin Kamara – RB – New Orleans (DRAFT Projection: 16.4)
If you are playing the Thursday slate, I recommend boosting Alvin Kamara in your queue. He has been mediocre over the past two weeks, but that has something to do with game flow while the Saints concentrated on the ground game. They likely won’t have that luxury while facing a Dallas run defense that ranks top five in the league. Instead, Kamara should see plenty of targets out of the backfield in an attempt to keep the chains moving. I’m expecting the Saints running back to get back to his 20+ fantasy point ways in this one.
Antonio Brown – WR – Pittsburgh (DRAFT Projection: 13.8)
There’s no real reason for Antonio Brown to be projected this low. Sure, his 11.2 FP output wasn’t great last week, but he still had nine receptions on 13 targets. Now the Steelers will return home where QB Ben Roethlisberger has enjoyed much more success throughout his career. Facing the LA Chargers is a matchup that doesn’t look great on paper, but you better believe Antonio Brown will get his opportunities to put up solid fantasy numbers. He notched solid performances in other recent tough matchups, including 5-42-1 at Baltimore (11/4) and 5-117-1 at Jacksonville.
These players may not live up to their DRAFT projection.
Julio Jones – WR – Atlanta (DRAFT Projection: 17.5)
Julio Jones is undoubtedly a top five receiver heading into this week, but I don’t believe he deserves to be ranked as the top lift at his position. I’d rather have Thielen, Hill, Hopkins, or Adams instead. Jones has been on a nice run lately, but that will be put to the test against a Baltimore team that has allowed the fourth-least fantasy points to opposing receivers. Expectations should be tempered as a result.
Jameis Winston – QB – Tampa Bay (DRAFT Projection: 21.7)
Winston belongs somewhere in the top 10 rankings of quarterbacks this week, but he probably shouldn’t be in the upper third of that. His opponent, Carolina, has had their issues in pass defense lately, but Winston has mistake-prone tendencies as well. I believe options like Goff, Brees, Rodgers, Watson, Wilson, and (maybe) Roethlisberger are much safer picks than going out of your way to snag Winston like the pre-draft rankings suggest.
David Johnson – RB – Arizona (DRAFT Projection: 17.9)
This isn’t a full indictment of David Johnson, but I will be moving him down the RB rankings at least a few spots. There’s a chance Johnson could get going against a Green Bay defense that ranks 23rd against the run, but Arizona’s offense is so stagnant without many ways to get Johnson the ball in space. The Cardinals’ RB is only as good as his offensive line, and that’s the problem in this case. Give me lower projected RBs like Aaron Jones, James Conner, Alvin Kamara, Austin Ekeler, Phillip Lindsay, Joe Mixon, and Nick Chubb instead.
Top 10 Overall. The list has been extended to 12 for those not including the Thursday slate. Upgrades include Alvin Kamara and Adam Thielen while David Johnson, Julio Jones, and Michael Thomas were downgraded – most of which were explained earlier in this article.
- Todd Gurley – RB
- Christian McCaffrey – RB
- Saquon Barkley – RB
- Kareem Hunt – RB
- Alvin Kamara – RB (Thursday)
- Ezekiel Elliott – RB (Thursday)
- Aaron Jones – RB
- James Conner – RB
- Adam Thielen – WR
- Tyreek Hill – WR
- DeAndre Hopkins – WR
- Davante Adams – WR
Quarterback Rankings. The shuffling compared to DRAFT’s default rankings comes from Rodgers and Wilson getting upgrades with downgrades for Winston and Brady.
- Patrick Mahomes – Tier 1
- Cam Newton – Tier 1
- Jared Goff – Tier 2
- Drew Brees – Tier 2 (Thursday)
- Aaron Rodgers – Tier 2
- Deshaun Watson – Tier 2
- Russell Wilson – Tier 2
- Ben Roethlisberger – Tier 3
- Jameis Winston – Tier 3
- Kirk Cousins – Tier 3
- Dak Prescott – Tier 3 (Thursday)
- Philip Rivers – Tier 3
Breakout WR candidates. Other receivers who have too low of projections include Odell Beckham Jr (13.9), Amari Cooper (12.1), and AJ Green (12.4). The Giants could be forced to the air vs Chicago, and Evan Engram’s likely absence could translate to more targets for the NYG WR corps … Amari Cooper is coming off an outstanding effort on Thanksgiving, and now he’ll face a New Orleans team that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing receivers. While the Saints’ defense has been playing much better than that lately, Cooper should see a healthy target-share due to game flow and more reliance on the passing attack … A.J. Green says that he’ll be ready to go this weekend after sitting out nearly a month with a toe injury. We’ll look for more indications as to his status and potential snap counts later in the week, but it appears the elite wide receiver will be ready to go vs Denver. He’s underrated with a 12.4 FP projection on DRAFT.