Andrew Luck is the easy answer but Carson Wentz sticks out for me at fourth overall. Wentz recently revealed that he also tore his LCL in addition to his ACL. That makes it seem iffy at best that Wentz will be ready to return by Week 1, especially with Nick Foles still under contract and the Eagles feeling little pressure after their Super Bowl win. Even if he does make it back in time for the start of the season, he'd be unlikely to run much, especially in the early going, and would likely take some time to look like his old self. At this point, he's way too much of a risk to be valued that high.
What RB is the most overvalued in our early consensus rankings and why?
Frankly, no one stands out as drastically overvalued at the running back position, but I don't feel comfortable with Dalvin Cook at number nine. Yes, he's an incredible talent and he should theoretically be recovered from his ACL tear, but there are always risks in recovery. And although Jerick McKinnon will almost certainly be gone, Latavius Murray has proven himself as a more-than-capable goal-line back, and new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo comes over from the Eagles where the offensive philosophy revolved around three running backs. Cook may be fully recovered, he may get goal-line work, and he may get the lion's share of the touches, but there is enough risk there for him to be considered lower than the ninth running back off the board.
What WR is the most overvalued in our early consensus rankings and why?
I just can't see drafting Jordy Nelson as if he's a No. 2 fantasy wide receiver. There are rumors that he may be cut this offseason, but even if he stays in Green Bay, Davante Adams is clearly the top dog now. Nelson's speed has declined dramatically, and although he could move to the slot role where his lack of speed wouldn't be as important, it seems unlikely that he'd earn that draft price. He should be considered a middling WR3 at this point, at best.
Pick: New England Patriots (-4.5)
I just can't bet against the Patriots at this point. Yes, they always play close Super Bowls, but there's no reason to think that the Eagles will build up a significant lead like the Seahawks and the Falcons did in the Patriots' last two Super Bowls. Once they fall behind, I'd be hard-pressed to see Nick Foles leading a comeback effort for the Eagles, and I think the Patriots should win the game by a touchdown or so.
Game: Will the combined score be over or under 48 points?
Game: What will the total combined points be at the end of the game?
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars (+9)
Game: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (+3)
Pick: Minnesota Vikings (-3)
Kudos to the Eagles for finding a way to win last week's game against the Falcons, but this weekend should be a different story. Absent some bad luck, the Vikings could have won handily against the Saints, as their combination of decent offense and incredibly strong defense is the perfect recipe for success in the playoffs. It's hard to see the Eagles scoring many points in this one and, though the game should be relatively close, I'd expect the Vikings to be playing from ahead most of the game, and to win by more than three points.
Which game pick are you most confident with?
Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (+3)
Pick: Philadelphia Eagles (+3)
Game: Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-13.5)
Pick: New England Patriots (-13.5)
Game: Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
Obviously, there's some precedent in favor of the Jaguars here, as they demolished the Steelers in the teams' first meeting back in Week 5, which came at Heinz Field. But the Steelers offense is an entirely different animal at this point in the season, and Blake Bortles has regressed to being . . . Blake Bortles. Though still outstanding, the vaunted Jaguars defense has shown cracks against decent offenses lately (the 49ers, the Seahawks, even the Cardinals), and I'd expect the Steelers to exact revenge for their earlier defeat. I think the Steelers will get out to an early lead and that Bortles' poor play will only help pad that lead.
Game: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5)
Pick: New Orleans Saints (+4.5)
Which game pick are you most confident with?
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs (-8)
Arrowhead Stadium should be an incredible home-field advantage as always this weekend, and I think it will show up in the final score. The Titans are solid against the run but have struggled to contain the pass all season, and that has somehow become Kansas City's best weapon this year. The Chiefs look to have rekindled their offensive rhythm from early in the season and the Titans are not built for huge comebacks. I'd expect the Chiefs to get out to a big lead early and then easily keep their distance.
Game: Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams (-5)
Pick: Los Angeles Rams (-5)
The Rams haven't been great at home, but it's difficult to bet against their incredible offense at this point. The Falcons defense has played well of late, but they aren't quite elite, and Atlanta simply does not have the offense to keep up. Likely playing from behind, I'd expect Atlanta to be unable to rely on their running game, and have difficulty putting up significant points as they quickly have to become one-dimensional.
Game: Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (-8.5)
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars (-8.5)
It's hard to imagine that this game will be close. LeSean McCoy won't be nearly at full strength even if he plays, and the Bills' pass protection can't stand up to the Jaguars' edge rushers. Blake Bortles probably won't need to do all that much, and Jacksonville should be able to rely on their defense and run game, and cruise to an easy victory.
Game: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-6)
Pick: New Orleans Saints (-6)
The Saints beat the Panthers by more than six points in both meetings this year, and there's little reason to expect this one to come out differently. Cam Newton has played poorly in recent weeks, and the Saints and Cameron Jordan should be able to devote extra resources to contain Newton's rushing ability. The Panthers excel at stopping the run but in the irresistible force of the Saints' running game versus the immovable object of the Panthers rush defense, I'll go with the Saints. They should cover the six-point spread.
Which game pick are you most confident with?
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (-8.5)
Le'Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, David Johnson, Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Kareem Hunt, Odell Beckham Jr., Leonard Fournette, Alvin Kamara.
Tell us why the player you ranked at #1 is the best fantasy option in 2018.
Truly, there's very little difference for me among the top three picks, as I'd expect Le'Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, and Ezekiel Elliott to all have fantastic seasons. But if I'm drafting right now in a re-draft league, Bell would be my top choice. All indications are that he'll be playing for the Steelers next year, at least under the franchise tag, and unless Ben Roethlisberger retires, there's little reason to expect a downturn in production. He'll be just 26 years old next season, and basically set career-highs across the board in every major category. He's the perfect combination of safety and upside, and makes the perfect No. 1 pick.
Tell us who your top sleeper candidate is for drafts next for season.
I'm not sure if he'll be a sleeper come draft day, but Corey Davis is certainly a guy I expect to end up with on plenty of my teams. Be it injury or the stagnant state of the Titans' passing game, Davis just never got going this year. Although he wasn't blameless, if you watched enough Titans games, you understood why his strength and explosiveness made him a top pick in the NFL draft last year. Eric Decker probably won't return to Tennessee, and I'd expect that with a full offseason of work, Davis will settle in to becoming an incredibly reliable fantasy option, with the possibility to become a superstar in 2018. If is poor numbers depress his draft stock in any way, he'll be one of the great bargains of 2018 drafts.
There are plenty of decent receivers (Mike Wallace and Dede Westbrook) and quarterbacks (Joe Flacco and Blake Bortles) who haven't been close to every-week starters but who have gotten a lot buzz this week, and deservedly so. But if you're in a deep league and need a true under-the-radar play, Kenny Golladay fits the bill for me. He's been seeing a steady four targets per game or so since his return, and with TJ Jones now on IR, that number should go up this weekend. The Bengals defense is both decimated by injury and mentally checked out, and it looks to me from afar like this has the potential to be a huge game for the young receiver.
Name one dud for Week 16 and tell us why you think this is one player owners should strongly consider benching.
Marshawn Lynch is someone who has been extremely solid for fantasy owners for the last four weeks, and it really looks like it was Oakland's plan to keep him fresh for the end of the season and then unleash him. But I would be very nervous about starting him on Monday night in Philadelphia. The Eagles are incredibly tough against opposing running backs, allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to the position, and they've allowed just six rushing touchdowns to running backs all season. At home in a nationally-televised game with a (likely) chance to clinch the No. 1 seed, I'd expect the Eagles to be fired up, and for Beast Mode to struggle to find room to run.
Give us one struggling player that owners should resist the temptation to sit because a payoff is coming this week.
Fantasy owners seem very concerned about Dak Prescott after he laid an egg last weekend against a very beatable Raiders team. But I'm fairly confident in a big game here against a Seattle team that looks to have finally succumbed to the litany of injuries that have ravaged its defense. Ezekiel Elliott's return will surely open up the passing game, and things appear to be trending in the right direction for Tyron Smith. At worst, we know that the Seattle defense is vulnerable to running quarterbacks, so I wouldn't shy away from Prescott this weekend.
There are a few receivers with tough matchups this week. Between Marquise Goodwin (vs. JAC), T.Y. Hilton (at BAL), Robby Anderson (vs. LAC), Randall Cobb (vs. MIN) and Jordy Nelson (vs. MIN), who do you trust the most and what should owners expect?
Goodwin is the guy I'd trust the most of those options, and although I'd start him as a fairly strong WR3, I'm admittedly nervous about him. Tales will be told about the strength of this Jaguars secondary, but it's worth noting that they've allowed a touchdown to an opposing wide receiver in four straight games and have allowed six to the position over that span. Touchdowns aren't really Goodwin's game, but it's difficult to doubt a guy with 25 targets and 220 yards receiving over his last two games. At worst, you know that Goodwin should have at least a handful of receptions given his target share and, at best, he can break through for one of the big plays he's famous for and provide a huge day for fantasy owners.
There isn't a single guy that jumps off the page this week, though Nick Foles is an obvious priority add if you (or your championship opponent) has a question mark at quarterback. But for me, Mike Wallace would be my top target. He's now led the Ravens in receiving yards in each of the last five games, and has 34 targets over his last four contests. With Jeremy Maclin potentially missing next week's game against the Colts with a knee injury, Wallace should again be integral in the newly opened-up Baltimore offense, and I'd have no qualms about starting him in my championship matchup.
For owners renting a D/ST in Week 16, what readily available option (under 40%) should they target and why?
When in doubt, it's always wise to go with the team playing against the Browns, and in Week 16, that's the Chicago Bears. The Bears have a better real-life than fantasy defense, but they've tallied seven sacks over their previous two games and will be playing at home after two road games. Frankly, DeShone Kizer can make a Pop Warner defense fantasy-relevant for a game, so Chicago certainly needs to be under consideration next week.
There are actually a few decent options even this late in the season at this point, but the best pickup, for me, is Dede Westbrook. Marqise Lee is still the top dog in the Jacksonville receiving group, but Westbrook now has at least eight targets and five receptions in each of his last three games, and finally scored his first touchdown against Seattle on Sunday. With a fantastic matchup against the Texans on tap for Week 15 and a decent matchup against the 49ers set for Week 16, Westbrook is one of the few guys remaining on the waiver wire who could be a difference-maker for fantasy teams. If I lost Carson Wentz or (potentially) Josh McCown, I also wouldn't hesitate to grab Jimmy Garoppolo and start him against the Titans next week.
For owners renting a D/ST in Week 15, what readily available option (under 40%) should they target and why?
If the answer to this isn't the Saints, then the whole world has gone crazy. Josh McCown will likely lobby to try to play through a broken left hand, but chances are we'll see either Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg under center on Sunday. Nothing about either Petty or Hackenberg has suggested that either is an NFL-caliber quarterback, and the Saints will be both rested and playing at home. In what now amounts to a critical game for New Orleans, and coming off devastating loss, expect the defense to be angry and to have a field day on Sunday.
My bold prediction is that Ben Roethlisberger is the No. 1 fantasy quarterback for the fantasy playoffs. I struggled with how to rank Roethlisberger in my rest of season rankings for most of the year, knowing that come playoff time, he'd be a difference-maker. Although Baltimore, his Week 14 opponent, has a strong defense, Roethlisberger excels at home generally, and even more so in prime time games (19-3) in his career. He's also faced the Ravens twice at home without Jimmy Smith and gone bananas both times. He'll follow this game up with a shootout at home against the Patriots in Week 15 and a road matchup against an awful Texans pass defense in Week 16 (followed by the Browns at home in Week 17 if you go that far). If everything breaks right, he has the potential to be the top quarterback for the rest of the season.
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Father. Husband. Editor-in-Chief, FantasyPros/BettingPros. Host of the Sunday Night FantasyPros Football Podcas,the Leading Off Baseball Podcast, and the BettingPros NFL Podcast. Writer of fantasy articles that have been alternatively referred to as "kinda funny," "mildly valuable," and "why do you keep making me read your fantasy articles?" That last one is from my wife. Fine, they're all from my wife. You caught me!