Fantasy Football 2018: Early Mock Draft and Rankings Before Training Camps

Richard Janvrin@@RichardJanvrinFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2018

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 24:  Todd Gurley II #30 of the Los Angeles Rams runs the ball during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Rams defeated the Titans 27-23.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Now I know what you're thinking: It's July, so why are we talking about fantasy football already?

Well, my response to you is that it's never to early to talk about fantasy football and you need to relax.

After all, the NFL preseason kicks off in just under three weeks and training camps are coming up throughout this month.

So don't tell me it's too early!

With that said, let's look at the cards we're dealt with and play a game of mock drafts, rankings and also look at three players who have a chance to break out this season who you should keep an eye on.

What should we start with? A mock draft?

You got it. Let's go.


2018 Fantasy Football Mock Draft

1.01: Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

1.02: Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

1.03: Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

1.04: David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

1.05: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

1.06: Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

1.07: Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

1.08: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants

1.09: Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

1.10: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

1.11: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

1.12: Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars


2018 Fantasy Football Rankings

1. Todd Gurley

2. Le'Veon Bell

3. Antonio Brown

4. David Johnson

5. Ezekiel Elliott

6. Alvin Kamara

7. Saquon Barkley

8. Odell Beckham Jr.

9. Melvin Gordon

10. DeAndre Hopkins

11. Julio Jones

12. Leonard Fournette

13. Kareem Hunt

14. Michael Thomas

15. Keenan Allen

16. Davante Adams

17. A.J. Green

18. Mike Evans

19. Doug Baldwin

20. Dalvin Cook

21. Rob Gronkowski

22. Christian McCaffrey

23. T.Y. Hilton

24. Devonta Freeman

25. Tyreek Hill

26. Travis Kelce

27. Adam Thielen

28. Jerick McKinnon

29. Larry Fitzgerald

30. Aaron Rodgers

31. Zach Ertz

32. Stefon Diggs

33. LeSean McCoy

34. Joe Mixon

35. Golden Tate

36. Josh Gordon

37. Jordan Howard

38. Allen Robinson

39. Alshon Jeffery

40. Kenyan Drake

41. Tom Brady

42. Demaryius Thomas

43. Russell Wilson

44. Alex Collins

45. Michael Crabtree

46. JuJu Smith-Schuster

47. Amari Cooper

48. Jarvis Landry

49. Derrius Guice

50. Jay Ajayi


2018 Breakout Candidates

Chris Ivory, RB, Buffalo Bills

While he may be in the rankings above, there is certainly a fair amount of uncertainty surrounding Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy.

In case you've missed what's been going on, McCoy has been accused by his ex-girlfriend of orchestrating an armed home invasion that saw her assaulted and threatened. McCoy has denied the accusations.

Of course, we have no idea what's the truth and what's fiction, but it's certainly something to be aware of.

Should something happen and McCoy be suspended or even cut from the Bills roster, the next man up is veteran Chris Ivory.

While he may be 30 years old and coming off a forgettable season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the lack of competition surrounding Ivory makes for a spot that might be way too delectable to pass up.

One would have thought perhaps the Bills could solicit DeMarco Murray's services in the event of a major fallout with McCoy, but he has since retired, leaving the Bills with essentially nothing other than Ivory.

And no, Taiwan Jones isn't going to be a threat one iota.

Again, this totally rests on McCoy not playing football, but Ivory is worth a stash if you have a draft between now and when this situation is rectified.

Ivory may not have averaged over four yards per carry since 2015, but that could change should he be given a starting role with the Bills.


Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans

For those unfamiliar, Keke Coutee is an incoming rookie wide receiver drafted out of Texas Tech.

While he may only be 5'10", Coutee is lanky and has excellent top-end speed that will get the attention of pretty much any opposing defensive backs.

On a team with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, Coutee could find himself as the slot man over Braxton Miller for the up-and-coming DeShaun Watson.

Not only is he fast, but he can separate well, too.

Fuller has dealt with injuries in the past. Should he get the injury bug again, Coutee could step in as the No. 2 guy opposite Hopkins. There are only so many secondary players that it could be difficult to cover the field with these kinds of options.

Coutee has the ability to turn simple catches into long touchdowns, making him an explosive threat and weapon for Watson.

It would not surprise me to see Coutee's ownership percentages soar as the season progresses.

Make sure to keep an eye on this guy. He's caught the attention of former Texan great Andre Johnson, and wide receivers coach Wes Welker went to the same school as him.

That could mean something as the season gets closer.


Willie Snead, WR, Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens garnered much more attention at the NFL draft when they selected quarterback Lamar Jackson in the first round—the eventual successor to Joe Flacco.

The team also made some signings this offseason, with the biggest one being wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

The Ravens offense the last few seasons has been totally anemic.

Flacco was seventh in the league in pass attempts last season, but he still only mustered up just over 3,100 passing yards and 18 touchdown passes.

So yeah, the offense needed work.

But they also made another signing that's kind of flown under the radar.

And that's the guy's name you see above, Willie Snead.

It wasn't too long ago that Snead was targeted over 100 times in a Drew Brees led New Orleans Saints offense and went for nearly 900 yards.

However, 2017 was derailed after a suspension cost Snead the first few games of the season and the rest of the team just seemingly passed him by.

Now, in OTAs, Garrett Downing of BaltimoreRavens.com said that Snead has been doing a nice job, finding the soft spots in coverage and even becoming a "popular target" for Flacco out of the slot.

With Crabtree in the fold and a solid running game led by Alex Collins, the Ravens offense should be better in 2018, which could also lead to some solid PPR production for Snead.

Will he reach 100 targets again? That might be kind of tough, but he has the potential to turn in an 80 target season if Flacco continues to throw the ball around.

Snead isn't even being drafted at the moment, but he's not just a sleeper. He has the potential to break out in a big way and be the steal of your draft in late rounds.

Take Snead and watch a player that was once the sweetheart of your 2016 fantasy football season become reborn.


All statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.