Who is Your Must-Have Player? (2018 Fantasy Football)
There are several questions when it comes to 2018 fantasy football drafts. One such question is related to must-have players. These are players that owners find themselves targeting most frequently during fantasy drafts. We asked our writers and got their feedback.
Rashaad Penny (RB – SEA)
Although I wouldn’t have expected it a month or two ago, the player I find myself targeting in nearly every league is Rashaad Penny. Both Pete Carroll and John Schneider have publicly stated that they want Penny to be a three-down back, and his early work in camp has been excellent. Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has gushed over Penny’s progress as a blocker, and if he has truly made strides in pass protection, he should fulfill Carroll and Schneider’s mandate. With a still weak but improved offensive line with the additions of D.J. Fluker and Jamarco Jones, Penny could truly be fantasy gold, and I’m more than willing to take him well above his ECR.
Dan Harris (@danharris80)
Marshawn Lynch (RB – OAK)
I refuse to reach too far for anyone in the first handful of rounds, so it is tough to say I’m targeting anyone there, but one player I want on every single team, and have in most cases, is Marshawn Lynch. You won’t feel sexy drafting Lynch, but he is a touchdown machine and ended up an RB1 over the final eight weeks of the season. He led the NFL in yards after contact and now that Oakland has an improved offensive line, Lynch could even further improve upon his efficiency numbers. He is quite safe for his ADP and carries a low-end RB1 type of upside.
Bobby Sylvester (@bobbyfantasypro)
DeVante Parker (WR – MIA)
When trying to decipher who you want on all of your fantasy teams, it has to be a player you’re willing to reach a round or two for, so Parker fits that bill for me. He’s currently being drafted as the WR40, which might be lower than his actual floor. With Jarvis Landry gone, the offense has over 160 targets to disburse and Parker was on track for 118 targets over 16-game pace last year. With Landry gone, his target share will increase, but more importantly, his consistency in targets is going to improve. In 29 career games where he’s seen at least four targets, Parker has averaged 4.5 receptions for 61.1 yards and 0.3 touchdowns, which add up to WR2-type numbers. Again, keep in mind that those numbers came with Landry on the roster. He’s a WR3, at worst.
Mike Tagliere (@MikeTagliere)
A Rookie RB
Last year, unfortunately, it was Terrelle Pryor. This year, I cannot resist having a rookie running back (or two) on my team to see if one takes off. Loving Derrius Guice if he falls or Royce Freeman.
Marc Mathyk (@Masterjune70)
Corey Coleman (WR – CLE)
This is a really late-round flier based on his late ADP, Josh Gordon’s possible ongoing issues, and the amazing upgrade the Browns have at OC and QB. Haley is a proven guru and Tom Brady throwing left handed would have been an upgrade at QB. Really intrigued with the Brown’s offense this year, leading me to believe Coleman could be a huge steal.
Cole Beasley (WR – DAL)
Beasley has been the last-round pick in nearly all of my best ball drafts, this summer. Looking at the Cowboys offense, it’s easy to completely fade the WRs (in a similar fashion to the Patriots’ backfield). However, Dak Prescott will have his opportunity to play in a scheme that better fits his skill-set and Beasley is in a prime position (post-Jason Witten) to be the veteran presence and Dak’s security blanket. I think he’ll lead the team in receptions and solidify himself in this WR rotation.
Ethan Sauers (@ethansauers)
Kenny Stills (WR – MIA)
Although an admittedly boring answer, I’m frequently targeting Kenny Stills as a bench value pick. The WR26 and 27 over the past two seasons is available at a WR53 consensus ADP despite the Dolphins trading the target-absorbing Jarvis Landry. While the 26-year-old has compiled as many touchdowns as red-zone targets (15) over those two campaigns, that could change with Landry out of the picture. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if he again outperforms teammate DeVante Parker.
Andrew Gould (@andrewgould4)
Peyton Barber (RB – TB)
Zero RB has fallen in popularity since David Johnson (2016) and Todd Gurley (2017) were trump cards in fantasy championships. Targeting late RBs with potential starter ability is still a strong fantasy football strategy. Tampa Bay drafted Ronald Jones on day two of the NFL Draft, but he tested poorly for his size and has not shown full three-down ability. Barber averaged nearly 12 PPG in a five-game stretch, despite negative game script where Tampa Bay lost four of those games. Jones is likely to get the crack at starting, but durability and ability concerns make Barber an excellent late-round bench option.
Jordan McNamara (@McNamaraDynasty)
Larry Fitzgerald (WR – ARI)
The player I want the most exposure to is Larry Fitzgerald, who is regularly available in the fifth round of PPR drafts. Over his last three seasons, Fitzgerald has averaged 153 targets, 109 receptions and 1,131 receiving yards and been a top-9 PPR wideout each year. The Cardinals are in the process of revamping their receiving corps, so Fitzgerald should remain the team’s No. 1 target. With no signs of slowing down, even at age 35, Fitzgerald is going to see another healthy dose of targets, this time from uber-accurate QB Sam Bradford, who will rely on the savvy veteran even more than Carson Palmer did. Fitzgerald looks like one of the safest bets in all of fantasy football and a tremendous bargain some 50+ players into a PPR draft.
Jody Smith (@JodySmithNFL)
Kareem Hunt (RB – KC)
Andy Reid RBs have a long history of RB1 production with extreme consistency. You all know about Hunt’s successful rookie year with Reid calling plays for half the season. Reid has reclaimed playcalling duties in 2018 and Hunt is in line to benefit. Before him, the Andy Reid RB1 saw an average of 15 rushing attempts and nearly six targets for 19.5 PPR points per game since 2004. Remember Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, and Jamal Charles? Those guys were fantasy studs and Hunt will get the same opportunity. There’s so much to love about the NFL’s returning rushing champion and I have him as a top 5 RB.
Josh Dalley (@JoshDalley72)
Andrew Luck (QB – IND)
My love affair with Luck is mostly based off where he is being drafted. His rehab is worth monitoring as we inch closer to training camp, but he claims that his shoulder remains pain-free and it has been for some time. No other player besides Aaron Rodgers offers the upside of Luck. Given his ADP of QB12, there is a tremendous amount of value to be had. That price-point is simply too hard for me to ignore.
Shane Davies (@FantasySD1)
Mark Ingram (RB – NO)
Ingram is being drafted far too low in standard leagues. This is a guy who finished sixth in scoring among running backs last season, and he’s being drafted behind guys who are far more uncertain like Joe Mixon and Kenyan Drake. The Saints backfield doesn’t have to deal with the four games of drama it did with Adrian Peterson last year, and there’s no question about Ingram and Alvin Kamara’s roles in the offense. I don’t see Terrance West cutting into his workload at all, either. This is a guy who’s had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, and he’s only carried the ball more than 200 times in three seasons, so I don’t think he’ll hit his age-30 cliff yet.
Jon Munshaw (@jon_munshaw)
Chris Hogan (WR – NE)
Hogan finished last season with an average of 8.4 fantasy points per game which puts him among the Top 25 WRs. He was on his way to a breakout season in 2017 before the injury bug struck. At the eight-week mark of the campaign, only six WRs had more fantasy points than Hogan’s 75.5, an average of 9.44 per game. Unfortunately, Hogan was not healthy beyond Week 5, and by the end of Week 8 his body succumbed to injury and he missed all but one regular season game the rest of the way. This season, WR Julian Edelman is out for the first four weeks to serve a suspension and WR Brandin Cooks is gone, leaving Hogan as the Patriots’ best all-around receiver. QB Tom Brady trusts Hogan, and since he’s now the Patriots’ longest-tenured WR, that trust and Hogan’s experience will make him the go-to player in important game situations, a time when Hogan has consistently excelled. There is a very good chance that Hogan will finish the season as the Patriots’ WR1 with production that places him among the league’s top 10 players overall at the position.
Tim McCullough (@TimsTenz)
Thanks to all of our writers that contributed! Let us know who your must-have players are.
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