Nailing your early-round picks in your fantasy draft is just one facet of putting together a successful fantasy football team. The second key factor is finding gems that can contribute and put your squad over the top.
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The former Heisman Trophy winner enters a pivotal season in Tampa with a new head coach in Bruce Arians, and lofty expectations. With a talented supporting cast of weapons at his disposal in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard, this will be a true test to whether the former Florida State star really has what it takes to succeed in the National Football League.
Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys
With Ezekiel Elliott off the grid as he awaits a new contract, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seems comfortable giving the reins of Elliott's touches to the promising rookie running back from Memphis.
"I certainly thought he had a good account of himself," Jones said, via David Helman of Cowboys.com. "He looks confident out there, we know he's inordinately understanding of what he does and can do. We've seen him do it, we know he's capable of if he really needs to, carry the whole load."
Pollard will be a very popular handcuff in fantasy drafts as the Elliot holdout continues. The closer to Week 1 the saga draws out, the higher Pollard's stock is going to get.
Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Chris Carson has been getting slept on since he entered the NFL in 2017. After falling to the seventh round, Carson excelled for Pete Carroll and establish himself as the go-to option in the Pacific Northwest.
Carson finished as the fourteenth best running back in fantasy football in 2018 and he missed two games. With Mike Davis in Chicago, and Rashaad Penny still unproven, Carson is primed for a big season.
Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos
Noah Fant landed in ideal location after being drafted by the Broncos back in April. He also should learn a lot from his veteran signal-caller, Joe Flacco, who utilizes his tight ends very well. According to the Denver Post, in every season with the Ravens (2008-18), Flacco had at least one tight end finish among the top five in catches on the team and in seven seasons, a tight end was among the top three Ravens in catches. Todd Heap, Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta, Dallas Clark, Benjamin Watson, and Mark Andrews all had seasons of at least 30 catches.
With Emmanuel Sanders recovering from an Achilles tear and Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton still rather unproven, Fant is in a very good spot to produce sooner rather than later.
David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears
David Montgomery excelled in his first preseason contest with the Bears and should be considered a legitimate flex option from the get-go. Tarik Cohen's usage will surely continue, but with Jordan Howard now in Philadelphia, there is a large void in the backfield, and Montgomery should thrive.
Jalen Hurd, WR, San Francisco 49ers
The switch to wide receiver has gone smoothly for Jalen Hurd, who dazzled in his preseason debut, and should easily catch the attention of his quarterback Jimmy Garrapolo, who still lacks a legitimate deep-threat outside of tight end George Kittle
Jakobi Meyers, WR, New England Patriots
The most notable standout from Patriots training camp didn't hear his name called by Roger Goodell in April. Jakobi Meyers, an undrafted receiver from N.C. State University, has been generating a lot of hype and backed it up in his first preseason game Thursday night.
Six receptions for 69 yards and two scores is a good way to make a name for yourself in the National Football League.
James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
The second-year receiver from Oklahoma State is poised to take on a larger role in the Steelers offense after Antonio Brown's departure. JuJu Smith-Schuster will draw significant coverage as the new No. 1 option, leaving a lot of opportunity for Washington to clean up.
For a tiered breakdown of each fantasy football position, click below: