Fantasy Football 2018 Big Board: Latest Rankings Ahead of NFL Preseason
With more than a month until the regular season begins, hopefully you're checking out this initial big board to get an idea of where players stand before the start of the preseason and not because you have a fantasy draft this weekend. It's tough to get all your league-mates together over the next month. However, if you plan on drafting as early as this weekend, you'll be holding your breath anytime one of your players takes a hit in meaningless preseason action.
This is nothing more than a preliminary look at the rankings heading into the 2018 season. We'll learn more about position battles, running back committees and injuries between now and the start of the season. Unfortunately, there will be significant injuries to deal with and player movement to adjust to before the first real snap is played in Philadelphia on September 6.
Besides the early rankings, this big board will provide suggestions at each position of targets based on value, overvalued players to avoid at their current average draft position (ADP), sleeper candidates and players to monitor who may eventually move to one of the aforementioned categories.
In future updates to this article throughout the preseason, you'll get explanations of significant changes in rankings, as well as shifts in ADP data that could affect how players are grouped.
My rankings will update more often than this article, so you can bookmark this page to see the latest changes at any given point in the preseason. While this article focuses on points per reception (PPR) formats, that bookmark provides my rankings for PPR, standard and half-PPR scoring systems.
If you look at current ADP data, the first 100 picks are comprised of 11 quarterbacks, 38 running backs, 41 wide receivers and 10 tight ends. My top 100 differs somewhat with 10 QBs, 37 RBs, 45 WRs and eight TEs.
A closer look shows plenty of love for RBs, as they make up nine of the first 12 picks based on ADP. Other than Le'Veon Bell, each of those RBs has no more than three years of NFL experience, which does mitigate some of the concern that you might have about wear and tear for someone like Bell or LeSean McCoy, who went from a clear first-round pick in 2017 to an ADP of 28.2 in 2018.
McCoy and David Johnson are good examples of great players on potentially bad teams. When in doubt, it's smart to lean toward players in positive situations and avoid players on teams heading in the wrong direction. That's not to suggest you should completely avoid Johnson or his teammate Larry Fitzgerald, but assessing situations can be a useful tiebreaker when making picks.
As we get ready to begin the preseason, check out this handy guide of the best and worst situations around the league.
Most fantasy-friendly based on talent, coaching and volume:
- Atlanta Falcons
- Green Bay Packers
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Los Angeles Rams
- Minnesota Vikings
- New England Patriots
- New Orleans Saints
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Pittsburgh Steelers
Teams you might want to avoid based on talent, coaching and volume:
- Arizona Cardinals
- Baltimore Ravens
- Buffalo Bills
- Miami Dolphins
- New York Jets
2018 Top-100 PPR Rankings
2018 Top-100 PPR Rankings
Targets Based on Value
Philip Rivers, LAC
Current ADP: 114.6/QB16
My Ranking: QB10
In 2017, Rivers was the No. 8 QB in total fantasy points with an average of 16.9 fantasy points per game. Over the last five seasons, he finished outside the top 12 just once: 14th in 2016. Despite that consistency, Rivers isn't getting much love in drafts at his current ADP. Even with the loss of Hunter Henry to a torn ACL, Rivers has more than enough weapons in the Chargers offense to post another strong season. He's a great example of the value you can find by waiting to select your QB.
Jimmy Garoppolo, SF
Current ADP 97.8/QB9
My Ranking: QB14
Let me preface this by saying I'm a believer in Garoppolo and the offensive genius that is Kyle Shanahan. In the five starts Garoppolo made to end the 2017 season, he averaged 16.4 fantasy points per game, which was good for 10th among QBs. With a full offseason in Shanahan's offense under his belt, expectations are high for Garoppolo, but there's enough value elsewhere to pay for Garoppolo's presumed breakout. Don't be surprised to see him ascend even further up draft boards.
Patrick Mahomes, KC
Current ADP: 113.2/QB14
My Ranking: QB17
It's fair to say that the Chiefs offense has both a higher ceiling and lower floor with Mahomes taking over for Alex Smith. After the Chiefs traded up to get Mahomes at No. 10 overall in the 2017 NFL draft, Smith went on to have the best statistical season of his career yet still suffered a first-round exit in what was his final start in Kansas City.
Mahomes' higher ceiling stems from his big arm and ability to rack up yards with his legs. Of course, he's entering his first year as a starter, so he could have some growing pains. Luckily, there's not much risk in Mahomes at QB14, so he's worth a look with plenty of upside thanks to his skill set and strong group of targets around him, including Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Kareem Hunt out of the backfield.
Mitchell Trubisky, CHI
Current ADP: 153.2/QB21
My Ranking: QB21
If you're reaching a little deeper in hopes of finding this year's Jared Goff, it might be Trubisky. While Trubisky didn't have the nightmare rookie season Goff did, it was largely uneventful in a boring Bears offense. Much like offensive-minded Sean McVay did in taking over in Los Angeles, Matt Nagy comes to Chicago as more of a forward thinker, especially compared to the previous John Fox regime.
The additions of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel join an already strong backfield of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, so Trubisky has plenty to work with in his second season. It's not fair to expect Trubisky and the Bears to reach the offensive heights the Rams did in 2017, but he and the Bears could take more than a step forward in 2018.
Other Names to Monitor
Andrew Luck, IND
Current ADP: 98.0/QB10
My Ranking: QB13
Not surprisingly, Luck's ADP has been on the rise heading into August after general manager Chris Ballard pronounced Luck "good to go" for training camp, according to Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. Head coach Frank Reich indicated that the plan is for Luck "to play in Seattle" in the preseason opener, per Colts.com. Any positive report or performance by Luck will only raise his draft stock, which makes sense since he finished as a top-five fantasy QB three times from 2013-2016 before missing all of last season with a shoulder injury.
2018 Quarterback Rankings
# Player (Team/Bye) 1 Aaron Rodgers GB (7) 2 Deshaun Watson HOU (10) 3 Russell Wilson SEA (7) 4 Tom Brady NE (11) 5 Carson Wentz PHI (9) 6 Cam Newton CAR (4) 7 Ben Roethlisberger PIT (7) 8 Kirk Cousins MIN (10) 9 Drew Brees NO (6) 10 Philip Rivers LAC (8) 11 Matthew Stafford DET (6) 12 Jared Goff LAR (12) 13 Andrew Luck IND (9) 14 Jimmy Garoppolo SF (11) 15 Matt Ryan ATL (8) 16 Marcus Mariota TEN (8) 17 Patrick Mahomes KC (12) 18 Dak Prescott DAL (8) 19 Derek Carr OAK (7) 20 Alex Smith WAS (4) 21 Mitchell Trubisky CHI (5) 22 Case Keenum DEN (10) 23 Ryan Tannehill MIA (11) 24 Blake Bortles JAC (9) 25 Eli Manning NYG (9) 26 Andy Dalton CIN (9) 27 Jameis Winston TB (5) 28 Joe Flacco BAL (10) 29 Sam Bradford ARI (9) 30 Tyrod Taylor CLE (11) 31 Josh Allen BUF (11) 32 Josh McCown NYJ (11) 33 Sam Darnold NYJ (11) 34 Baker Mayfield CLE (11) 35 Josh Rosen ARI (9) 36 Ryan Fitzpatrick TB (5) 37 Lamar Jackson BAL (10) 38 AJ McCarron BUF (11)
2018 Quarterback Rankings
|1||Aaron Rodgers GB (7)|
|2||Deshaun Watson HOU (10)|
|3||Russell Wilson SEA (7)|
|4||Tom Brady NE (11)|
|5||Carson Wentz PHI (9)|
|6||Cam Newton CAR (4)|
|7||Ben Roethlisberger PIT (7)|
|8||Kirk Cousins MIN (10)|
|9||Drew Brees NO (6)|
|10||Philip Rivers LAC (8)|
|11||Matthew Stafford DET (6)|
|12||Jared Goff LAR (12)|
|13||Andrew Luck IND (9)|
|14||Jimmy Garoppolo SF (11)|
|15||Matt Ryan ATL (8)|
|16||Marcus Mariota TEN (8)|
|17||Patrick Mahomes KC (12)|
|18||Dak Prescott DAL (8)|
|19||Derek Carr OAK (7)|
|20||Alex Smith WAS (4)|
|21||Mitchell Trubisky CHI (5)|
|22||Case Keenum DEN (10)|
|23||Ryan Tannehill MIA (11)|
|24||Blake Bortles JAC (9)|
|25||Eli Manning NYG (9)|
|26||Andy Dalton CIN (9)|
|27||Jameis Winston TB (5)|
|28||Joe Flacco BAL (10)|
|29||Sam Bradford ARI (9)|
|30||Tyrod Taylor CLE (11)|
|31||Josh Allen BUF (11)|
|32||Josh McCown NYJ (11)|
|33||Sam Darnold NYJ (11)|
|34||Baker Mayfield CLE (11)|
|35||Josh Rosen ARI (9)|
|36||Ryan Fitzpatrick TB (5)|
|37||Lamar Jackson BAL (10)|
|38||AJ McCarron BUF (11)|
Targets Based on Value
Dion Lewis, TEN
Current ADP: 61.8/RB27
My Ranking: RB18
Over the first five games of last season with the New England Patriots, Lewis had just 19 carries for 99 yards and a TD and seven receptions for 42 yards on seven targets. After that, he took over the lead role in that backfield for the rest of the season and finished as the No. 15 RB in PPR formats. He did that in a backfield that included Rex Burkhead and James White, who both remained active on a weekly basis.
Lewis was able to cash in on last year's performance by signing with the Tennessee Titans on a four-year deal with $8.25 million guaranteed. Those numbers should have put a damper on Derrick Henry's rise in fantasy value after the release of DeMarco Murray, but that really hasn't been the case. Henry will be addressed in the overvalued section.
Lewis gives up seven inches and more than 50 pounds to Henry, yet it was Lewis who averaged 5.0 yards on 180 carries to Henry's 4.2 on 176 carries. Both players have been able to produce after contact, which might not be expected of Lewis like it is for Henry. Lewis has a clear advantage over Henry as a receiver. In two seasons, Henry has just 24 receptions on 32 targets, while Lewis had 32 receptions on 35 targets in 2017 alone. He's logged at least 32 receptions in two of the last three seasons and averaged 3.6 targets per game and 2.8 receptions per game over that same span.
Even though both Lewis and Henry should be consistent parts of the Titans offense, Lewis has a better all-around skill set, which makes him more valuable, especially when comparing the two at their current ADPs.
Isaiah Crowell, NYJ
Current ADP: 98.8/RB38
My Ranking: RB32
Boring isn't always a bad thing, which is the best way to describe Crowell in his first year with the Jets. Crowell had four solid, yet frustrating seasons with the Cleveland Browns. To his credit, he handled an unenviable position of being the lead back on bad teams well and managed to be productive without much help around him. He doesn't come into a great situation with the Jets, but because he's proved he can persevere, it's easier to believe in him, especially without much risk attached to his draft value.
Crowell never finished worse than 33rd at the RB position in four years with the Browns, so an ADP of RB38 seems to be a bit of an undervalue. The departure of Matt Forte leaves 24.1 percent of the carry share and 9.1 percent of the target share up for grabs. Crowell should take that over and more from Bilal Powell, who led the team with 41.7 percent of the carry share last season. Second-year RB Elijah McGuire was expected to see a bigger role after logging 20.6 percent of the carry share in 2017, but that will be in question thanks to a broken foot that will keep him out six weeks, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com.
The door is wide-open for Crowell to lead the way in the backfield on a team that doesn't have a strong receiving corps and could be looking at a veteran starter in either Josh McCown or Teddy Bridgewater unless the team feels comfortable enough to roll with rookie Sam Darnold. Regardless of who's playing QB, Crowell's role will be an important and consistent one. His volume is his value.
Derrick Henry, TEN
Current ADP: 41.2/RB19
My Ranking: RB35
The bulk of the argument against Henry can be found above in the write-up on Lewis. When the Titans decided to move on from Murray, it wasn't unexpected since Murray had clearly declined last season. The Titans didn't seem to recognize that, as Murray wound up with 184 carries (15 games) to Henry's 176 carries (16 games) despite Henry's average of 4.2 yards per carry to Murray's 3.6.
However, even though Henry should have played over Murray, it doesn't mean he should be considered anything more than a decent RB. The Titans made that obvious with the lucrative deal they gave to Lewis. With a new coaching staff in place, nothing can be taken for granted when it comes to Henry's touches.
Even if Henry winds up with an increase over his 39.7 percent carry share from last year, Lewis likely won't be far behind. Plus, Lewis should have a major advantage when it comes to targets, which is yet another knock against Henry's inflated value. This might be less of a conversation in non-PPR formats, but in PPR, Henry is overvalued while Lewis is undervalued.
Corey Clement, PHI
Current ADP: 142/RB48
My Ranking: RB37
At this point last year, you could argue the top two RBs in Philadelphia were LeGarrette Blount and Darren Sproles. Blount became expendable when the Eagles traded for Jay Ajayi, and Sproles is back for another season but not as high on the depth chart after tearing his ACL just three games into the 2017 season. That's because Clement emerged in the second half of last season and was an important part of the team's championship run, including four receptions for 100 yards and a TD in the Super Bowl victory.
Ajayi is firmly on top of the depth chart, yet the Eagles should continue to use multiple backs on a regular basis, as it was a successful formula last year. Clement should be able to serve as both Ajayi's primary backup and the team's primary passing-down back. Those roles put him in position to be a reliable RB3/flex option on a regular basis, especially since he's in a good situation playing for a contender. Expect rises in both his carry share (15.6 percent) and target share (15 targets) from last year. He's a low-risk, high-reward player.
Other Names to Monitor
Derrius Guice, WAS
Current ADP: 37.8/RB17
My Ranking: RB26
When the Redskins landed Guice with the No. 59 pick in the 2018 NFL draft, he immediately became the favorite to take over the starting job as a rookie. Samaje Perine led the way with 43.6 percent of the carry share, but that resulted in just 603 yards on 175 carries (3.4 yards per carry) and a single rushing TD. Rob Kelley didn't provide much, either, as he rushed 62 times for 194 yards (3.1 yards per carry) and three TDs. As an early-down back, Guice is a clear upgrade over Perine and Kelley.
The concern for Guice's high price tag is more about his role in the passing game. While Guice is a capable receiver, the Redskins have one of the best pass-catching backs in Chris Thompson. Before breaking his fibula, Thompson racked up 510 yards and four TDs on 39 receptions (54 targets), which made up 10.1 percent of the team's target share in just 10 games. He also added 64 carries for 294 yards and another two TDs on the ground (16 percent carry share).
With Guice in the fold, Thompson shouldn't be needed for much in terms of carries, but it would be foolish to waste his big-play ability in a diminished role. A one-two punch of Guice and Thompson could pay big dividends for the Redskins, so it might be wise to manage expectations for Guice knowing that Thompson should still have a sizable presence.
2018 Running Back PPR Rankings
2018 Running Back PPR Rankings
Targets Based on Value
Demaryius Thomas, DEN
Current ADP: 44.8/WR20
My Ranking: WR13
If the Denver Broncos cured their quarterback woes with the signing of Case Keenum, the return of Thomas' domination should come along with it. Thomas' ADP doesn't reflect his ability to overcome shaky play from his signal-callers in the last two seasons.
The combination of Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian and brief appearances by Paxton Lynch netted Thomas back-to-back finishes as the 16th-best WR in PPR formats over 2016-17. Before that, he had four straight years of top-11 finishes thanks to a great connection with Peyton Manning.
Keenum doesn't have to be anywhere near Manning at his best, but if he's an upgrade over last year, fantasy players should expect Thomas to easily pay off his current ADP. He's being valued as a mid-range WR2 when he has the upside of a high WR2 with potential WR1 performances. Other than the oft-injured Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos lack proven weapons in both their receiving corps and backfield, which makes Thomas that much more important.
Because Thomas doesn't have a lot of buzz, you shouldn't have to reach to get him. Replicating his 25.3 percent target share shouldn't be tough, and with Keenum, the quality of targets should improve.
Tyreek Hill, KC
Current ADP: 28.8/WR10
My Ranking: WR22
Hill's big-play ability has been on full display over his first two seasons, which is why pairing him with the big arm of Patrick Mahomes seems like a can't-miss proposition. However, the move from Alex Smith to Mahomes isn't the only huge change to Kansas City's offense this season. The arrival of Sammy Watkins gives the Chiefs another dangerous weapon in their passing attack.
While Watkins may have had a disappointing season with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, he entered free agency as one of the most coveted wide receivers of the class. The Chiefs landed him on a three-year deal that included $30 million guaranteed. How much will he eat into Hill's 19.9 percent target share?
Travis Kelce led the team with 23.1 percent of the targets, yet after Hill, running back Kareem Hunt had the next-most at 11.9 percent, followed by Albert Wilson at 11.7 percent.
The Chiefs clearly have plans to get Watkins involved. According to Adam Teicher of ESPN.com, at the end of June, head coach Andy Reid said of Watkins, "We're moving him all over the place, and he's handled it."
Injuries plagued Watkins in Buffalo, and his late arrival in Los Angeles put him in a tough spot to contribute on a regular basis. Between the arrival of Watkins and any growing pains with Mahomes, Hill's margin for error may be a little smaller this season. Drafting him as a low-end WR1 seems a bit too aggressive.
Amari Cooper, OAK
Current ADP: 37.2/WR16
My Ranking: WR26
Getting burnt by Cooper hasn't been a lot of fun, yet his ADP indicates many are willing to draft him with confidence in 2018. That's tough to do when he posted a No. 36 finish in PPR last season and never better than WR14 in his three seasons as a pro.
The departure of Michael Crabtree leaves 18.3 of the target share up for grabs, so even if Cooper takes some of that to increase his share from the 17.4 percent he had last year, the arrivals of Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant limit just how busy Cooper will be in this passing attack. Assuming there are no issues with Bryant, he should start with Cooper on the outside, while Nelson plays the slot, which may afford him a pretty active role.
Besides the additions in the receiving corps, Cooper needs to improve his pitiful 50 percent catch rate, and quarterback Derek Carr has to show that last year was just an injury-plagued season that he will be leaving in the past. All of this must happen under new head coach Jon Gruden as he returns to the sidelines for the first time since 2008.
There's a surprising amount of faith in Cooper and the Raiders based on his ADP. Don't pay for the bounce-back.
Michael Crabtree, BAL
Current ADP: 70.4/WR27
My Ranking: WR40
The Baltimore Ravens stuck to their philosophy of signing veteran wide receivers who might have something left in the tank by bringing in Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead IV. If you want to believe Crabtree is the best of that bunch, you won't get much of an argument. However, the best of the scrap heap doesn't always translate to fantasy production.
In 2017, Mike Wallace led all Ravens wide receivers with 52 receptions on 92 targets. He was a bit more productive in 2016 with 72 receptions on 116 targets. Kamar Aiken led the Baltimore wideouts in 2015 with 75 receptions on 127 targets. If you go back one more year, Steve Smith Sr. hauled in 79 of 134 targets. Derrick Mason is the only Ravens wide receiver in the Joe Flacco era to catch at least 80 passes in a season, and the last time that happened was in 2008, which was Flacco's rookie year.
Expecting Crabtree to buck that trend is foolish, even if he is the best of the current WR group. Baltimore's passing attack hasn't been fantasy-friendly during most of Flacco's tenure, and you shouldn't expect that to change in 2018. Lower your expectations for Crabtree in this low-floor, low-ceiling offense.
Cameron Meredith, NO
Current ADP: 140.2/WR52
My Ranking: WR56
After a breakout performance in 2016, we were robbed of seeing how Meredith would follow it up thanks to a torn ACL and MCL he suffered in the 2017 preseason. He joined the Saints in April as a restricted free agent when the Bears declined to match the offer from New Orleans. That puts Meredith in a great situation to bounce back on a far better team.
Michael Thomas is not only the best wide receiver in New Orleans but also one of the best in the league, so defenses will almost always be paying extra attention to him. Both head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees have been masters of getting receivers into the best matchups, which should bode well for Meredith and his 6'3", 207-pound frame.
Even though Ted Ginn Jr. was the de facto No. 2 WR in New Orleans last year with 13.3 percent of the target share, Meredith has a great chance to take over those targets. Keep an eye on his performance during the preseason to see how he progresses from the knee injuries.
Other Names to Monitor
Doug Baldwin, SEA
Current ADP: 30.4/WR12
My Ranking: WR8
Baldwin has been a model of consistency the last three seasons. During that span, he finished No. 11, No. 8 and No. 10 at the WR position in PPR formats. While that should be more than enough evidence to expect another strong season, there's even more reason to believe 2018 could be his best fantasy season ever.
In the last three years, Baldwin averaged nearly 115 targets and never had more than 125 targets in a single season. He averaged just over 82 receptions during that time with a career-high 94 receptions in 2016. Last year, Baldwin led the Seahawks with 22.1 percent of the target share, with Jimmy Graham at 18.3 percent and Paul Richardson at 15.2 percent.
Graham and Richardson are gone, which vacates 33.5 percent of the target share. Secondary options such as Ed Dickson and Tyler Lockett will pick up some of that slack, but Baldwin should see an uptick in targets out of necessity. The one roadblock for Baldwin is a "sore knee" that head coach Pete Carroll said would keep him out for a couple of weeks, according to Gregg Bell of the News Tribune.
Combine Baldwin's target increase with a defense that is in transition after dominant seasons, and it's easy to see why he has never meant more to the Seahawks. Volume always goes a long way in fantasy, so pairing that with Baldwin's talent means a career performance could be coming in 2018, as long as the knee issues don't linger.
Josh Gordon, CLE
Current ADP: 44.2/WR19
My Ranking: WR24
With Gordon yet to report to the Browns for training camp, his fantasy value is up in the air. Even though general manager John Dorsey told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com that he would "absolutely" play in 2018, Gordon's past absences can't be ignored, even if he is trying to take the proper steps to be ready for the season.
He's a talented player with a total of 42 receptions to his names since 2014. Until his situation is clarified, it's hard to make a case for the top-20 ADP at the position. Hopefully, he reports soon and resumes his career to build on the comeback he made in 2017.
2018 Wide Receiver PPR Rankings
2018 Wide Receiver PPR Rankings
Targets Based on Value
Jack Doyle, IND
Current ADP: 116.4/TE11
My Ranking: TE9
Even though the Colts signed Eric Ebron this offseason, Doyle's draft value hasn't dipped too much. However, he's slipped outside of the top 10 despite a No. 7 finish at the position last season without Andrew Luck. Doyle's initial breakout campaign came in 2016, when he posted 59 receptions for 584 yards and five touchdowns on 75 targets with Luck playing in 15 games.
Other than T.Y. Hilton and Doyle, Luck is returning to a team with a different receiving corps than he last played with that campaign. The familiarity and rapport between Luck and Doyle could be a big key to Doyle's fantasy value, especially early in the season with the quarterback getting back into the swing of things. Doyle isn't flashy or exciting, so it's easy to pass over him. Don't make that mistake.
Evan Engram, NYG
Current ADP: 61.4/TE5
My Ranking: TE8
Seeing Engram ranked so low is probably a surprise. Talent is not a question for Engram, but opportunity is in 2018. The Giants enter the season in much better shape than they ended it in 2017. Even though Engram bucked the trend of unreliable rookie tight ends, part of the reason he did so was out of necessity.
The Giants got just four games out of Odell Beckham Jr. and five contests out of Brandon Marshall before both players landed on injured reserve. While Engram was involved from the beginning of 2017, the Giants had no choice but to feature him the rest of the way.
After Week 5, Engram had just two games without at least seven targets. He led all Giants with 19.1 percent of the target share. The return of Beckham will cut into that, which is one concern for Engram.
When the Giants took Saquon Barkley at No. 2 in the 2018 draft, they were addressing a major need. Another reason Engram's role was so big last season was the team's unreliable rushing attack. The Giants ranked 26th in rushing and averaged just 3.9 yards per carry. Barkley will provide a massive upgrade to the backfield and the offense as a whole. That makes him another candidate to steal touches.
Without the same opportunities, it's hard to peg Engram as a top-five fantasy tight end. You can't expect him to play the same role with the return of Beckham and the addition of Barkley.
Jordan Reed, WAS
Current ADP: 88.2/TE9
My Ranking: TE12
Questioning Reed's ADP has everything to do with his lengthy injury history and nothing to do with his talent. Reed was a top-10 fantasy tight end as recently as two years ago and finished third at the position in 2015. However, he's never played more than 14 games in a season and saw action in just 18 games over the last two years, including just six appearances in 2017.
If you take Reed, you know the risks and the rewards. The Washington Redskins receiving corps isn't loaded, and with a reliable quarterback like Alex Smith, Reed could easily be the top option in the passing game if he stays on the field. That's been the biggest "if" in fantasy football since Reed entered the league in 2013, and it remains in 2018.
George Kittle, SF
Current ADP: 126.2/TE12
My Ranking: TE10
Calling Kittle a sleeper is more about acknowledging his position on what appears to be an ascending team in the San Francisco 49ers.
Last year's rookie season provided a glimpse into his potential as he nabbed 43 receptions for 515 yards and two touchdowns on 63 targets in 15 games. He accounted for 10.5 percent of the team's target share, but that trailed Marquise Goodwin (17.5), Carlos Hyde (14.7) and Pierre Garcon (11.2).
The 49ers had 607 pass attempts last season, so if that number rises and Kittle can get a slightly bigger target share, he has potential for a top-12 fantasy season at a position begging for breakouts. Even though San Francisco has a talented receiving corps, it failed to land one of the big-name free agents, which gives Kittle more of chance to take a bigger piece of the pie.
Other Names to Monitor
Trey Burton, CHI
Current ADP: 94.6/TE10
My Ranking: TE11
Burton is a prime example of the desperation fantasy players show at the tight end position. Burton caught just 23 of his 31 targets for 248 yards and five touchdowns last season with the Philadelphia Eagles, but because he performed well for a couple of games without Zach Ertz, his stock rose when the Chicago Bears brought him in as their new starter.
Considering the success Travis Kelce had in Kansas City with new Bears head coach Matt Nagy, you should expect Burton to have an important role, even if he's not as gifted as Kelce. It's easy to cast Burton as the security blanket for young Mitchell Trubisky.
However, the second-year quarterback is still unproven, and it's not as if Burton has a lengthy resume. He played in 61 out of a possible 64 regular-season games for the Eagles yet totaled just 63 receptions for 629 yards and six touchdowns on 95 targets. The jump from backup to starter is a big one. Burton might pay off his ADP, but it's far from a lock to happen.
2018 Tight End PPR Rankings
2018 Tight End PPR Rankings
This year is nothing new when it comes to defense philosophy. You should wait until the final two rounds to grab yours. There are no values to discuss since most fantasy players are wise enough to wait until the end of the draft to select a defense. If you aren't required to draft one, feel free to bypass the position and grab it off the waiver wire before Week 1.
At the end of the preseason, the final update of this big-board article will provide defense targets to grab based on favorable schedules to open the season. Streaming defenses is a smart strategy to use throughout the year, as playing the matchups makes the most sense.
It's pretty easy when it comes to kickers.
You want accuracy and players in good situations with lots of chances to score. Greg Zuerlein of the Los Angeles Rams, Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots and Wil Lutz of the New Orleans Saints were among the top options in 2017. Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens was arguably his team's most reliable fantasy producer.
If you don't have to draft a kicker, don't take one. You're better off taking a flier on a player at another position since you can always pick up a kicker before Week 1. If you have to take a kicker, wait until your last pick. This is another spot to stream during the season.