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These players have a great chance to outperform their DRAFT projection.
Cam Newton – QB – Carolina (DRAFT Projection: 19.1)
If you take a quick look at the QB Rankings below, you’ll see that Cam Newton checks in as a Tier 1 signal caller (yet again). In other words, he’s easily a top five pick at the position. DRAFT has him ranked ninth among QBs with a 19.1 FP projection. Guys like Alex Smith, Ben Roethlisberger (on the road), and Jared Goff undeservedly stand above him in the pecking order. Newton’s fantasy floor and ceiling is elevated with rushing upside to go along with the potential for 2-3 passing touchdowns. He’ll face a Washington defense that is playing on shortened rest after getting shredded in New Orleans.
A.J. Green – WR – Cincinnati (DRAFT Projection: 13.4)
Cam Newton and A.J. Green always seem to be somewhat underrated on DRAFT. This week is no exception. Some people may be apprehensive to use Green for fantasy purposes on Sunday, as he could be shadowed by Pittsburgh’s top corner – Joe Haden. That’s what happened to Julio Jones last week, a strategy that paid off quite well for the Black & Gold. Still, we aren’t sure if that will happen. There’s a chance Green could come away with a strong showing regardless, and the chances of that happening increase if he sees coverage away from Haden. After all, the Steelers have allowed the fourth most fantasy points to receivers this season.
Rob Gronkowski – WR/TE – New England (DRAFT Projection: 11.3)
Gronkowski has been pretty mediocre this season, playing through an ankle injury along the way. Here’s the good news: he played nearly every snap last Thursday vs Indianapolis. He’ll now have 10 days to fully recover for a shootout (58 over/under) against the Chiefs, who have allowed the third most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. I’m thinking we’ll see a massive breakout performance from Gronk on Sunday night.
These players may not live up to their DRAFT projection.
Ezekiel Elliott – RB – Dallas (DRAFT Projection: 16.9)
Elliott had a tough outing last week at Houston, piling up only 84 yards on 27 touches. Another inefficient performance could be in store against a stout Jacksonville defense. Aside from Zeke’s week four breakout vs Detroit, he has been pretty mediocre this season, reach the current 16.9 FP projection only two of five times. This is easily his hardest matchup of the season, and I’m dropping him several spots in the rankings as a result.
David Johnson – RB – Arizona (DRAFT Projection: 16.3)
It’s really hard for me to get on board with David Johnson. His offense is not in a position to move the ball with regularity, which makes him a tough sell. Minnesota’s defense has been generous over the past few weeks, but I don’t expect that to be the norm moving forward. Facing the Vikings on the road is a daunting task for Johnson and company, and the Arizona running back could find himself getting phased out of the game if they fall behind.
Cooper Kupp – WR – LA Rams (DRAFT Projection: 14.8)
This is more of an injury situation to monitor than anything. Cooper Kupp is in concussion protocol, leaving his chances of playing on Sunday in question. We’ll need to monitor his status throughout the week. Take note that fellow WR Brandin Cooks is in concussion protocol as well. They both have a chance of playing at Denver this week, but Robert Woods would see a boost if either/both miss this game … Even if Kupp plays, I’m elevating guys like Thielen, Adams, and Green over him at wide receiver.
Top 10 Overall. My strategy has stayed pretty true throughout this season: looking to load up on an elite running back early. That continues to be the plan, as wide receiver and quarterback have plenty of depth and parity to take a patient approach. I’m looking at stacking two of the top six RBs (shown below) if possible. Of course, that will greatly depend on your league size. Running backs further down on the list (Mixon, Yeldon, Hunt, Michel, Carson, White) remain a priority as RB2 selections in later rounds.
- Todd Gurley – RB
- Melvin Gordon – RB
- Christian McCaffrey – RB
- Saquon Barkley – RB (Thursday)
- Julio Jones – WR
- Antonio Brown – WR
- James Conner – RB
- DeAndre Hopkins – WR
- Ezekiel Elliott – RB
- Adam Thielen – WR
Quarterback Rankings. As mentioned earlier, there is so much parity at quarterback on a week-to-week basis. The following rankings are not intended to be used as hard-fast rules, which is why I also included tiers to paint a better picture while splitting hairs between these signal callers. I have been finding myself drafting Cam Newton or Matt Ryan in the later rounds of six-person leagues – especially Newton and his underrated projection (as mentioned earlier).
- Patrick Mahomes – Tier 1
- Tom Brady – Tier 1
- Matt Ryan – Tier 1
- Cam Newton – Tier 1
- Deshaun Watson – Tier 1
- Aaron Rodgers – Tier 2
- Carson Wentz – Tier 2 (Thursday)
- Kirk Cousins – Tier 3
- Philip Rivers – Tier 3
- Jared Goff / Andrew Luck – Tier 3
Buying WR Adam Thielen (MIN). You may have noticed earlier, but Adam Thielen cracked the Top 10. He has seen a marginal upgrade compared to the 14.2 FP projection on DRAFT. Cousins and Thielen have developed quite the connection, and that could be the theme yet again with Patrick Peterson potentially shutting down Stefon Diggs.
WR Calvin Ridley (ATL) underrated. This is for deeper leagues of 8-10 people. Ridley had one bad game in Atlanta’s snafu at Pittsburgh last weekend. Let’s not write him off just yet; after all, the guy put up six touchdowns in three games prior. Ridley and company have an excellent chance at redemption against a Tampa defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing receivers. Keep Ridley in mind as a WR2 in deeper leagues.
RB Jordan Howard (CHI) underrated. Howard is a RB2 worth adding to your queue in deeper 8-10 person leagues. He has been very mediocre this season, but there has been quite a bit of discussion through Chicago’s bye week about getting him more carries. Facing a Miami defense that has been bulldozed by the running attack of Cincinnati and New England in the past two games is a great spot to get Howard going.
Updated for injuries, weather, etc will be posted here throughout the week – highlighting the DRAFT consequences of each situation.
Isaiah Crowell questionable. Bilal Powell would join the scene as a decent RB2 play in most formats of 6+ people if he is out.
Devonta Freeman questionable. Tevin Coleman would most certainly become a steady RB2 through all formats if Freeman is deemed inactive.