Fantasy Football 2018: 1st-Round Mock Draft, Team Names and Sleepers

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2018

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 08:  Keelan Cole #84 of the Jacksonville Jaguars in action against the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 8, 2017 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Start your fantasy football draft on the right foot. It's difficult to recover from an early whiff.

A majority of managers will take the safe route and choose a high-usage running back in run and pass situations. For those new to the fantasy football realm, take that approach with the first two picks and then feel your way through the following rounds.

Veterans may try something different—sometimes going with a wide receiver or even a quarterback in the opening round. How can they put together a successful team with that strategy?

It's all about an owner's confidence in hitting on a sleeper pick in the middle to late rounds. Where are the under-the-radar gems? Let's take a look at three to consider at different positions. The Fantasy Football Calculator provided the average draft position (ADP) for each player.

The crop of interesting team names below should give your competitors a chuckle once you have joined your respective leagues.

               

Team Names

Federal Stafford Loans

All Barkley, All Bite

All About the Benjamins

Blakes on the Plane

Deshaun of the Dead

Dion Lewis and Clark

Kung Suh Panda

Ladies and Edelman

Peachy Keenan

Scobee Snacks

        

1-Round Mock Draft 

Team 1: RB Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams 

Team 2: RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys 

Team 3: RB Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers 

Team 4: RB David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals 

Team 5: RB Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers

Team 6: RB Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs

Team 7: RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Team 8: WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

Team 9: WR DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans 

Team 10: WR Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants

Team 11: RB Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

Team 12: WR Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

         

Sleepers 

QB Eli Manning, New York Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 24: Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants in action against the New York Jets during their preseason game at MetLife Stadium on August 24, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
Al Pereira/Getty Images

Believe it or not, at 37, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning could have one of his best statistical seasons. The front office committed to him as a starter during the offseason, acquiring left tackle Nate Solder, rookie left guard Will Hernandez and running back Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick in April's draft.

Clearly, general manager Dave Gettleman feels the 15th-year veteran has more good football performances left in his career. Fantasy owners should feel optimistic in terms of production.

Barkley caught 102 passes for 1,195 yards and eight touchdowns through three seasons at Penn State. He flashed those skills during training camp, which suggests head coach Pat Shurmur will design plays for the rookie in the passing attack, which bodes well for Manning's numbers.

There's also superstar wide receiver in Odell Beckham Jr.'s return. His presence should allow secondary pass-catchers Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and Barkley to see favorable matchups against No. 2 cornerbacks or linebackers in coverage.

In addition to a stacked group of pass-catchers, the upgrades in pass protections with Solder and Hernandez should keep Manning upright in the pocket. He will have more time to pick apart opposing defenses.

ADP: 14.05 

            

RB Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 24:  Peyton Barber #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs the ball against the Carolina Panthers in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Ima
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

During the preseason, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter labeled running back Peyton Barber as the team's starter. However, he left the door open for changes, per Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud.

Through three exhibition contests, Barber outperformed Ronald Jones. He'll likely handle of the bulk of the carries to open the regular season as well. The third-year tailback logged 15 carries for 87 yards and two touchdowns in exhibition action.

Barber finished the 2016 campaign on a strong note, logging 78 carries for 335 yards through December. Now in the driver's seat for the featured role, he could continue to post solid numbers.

The Buccaneers will start the season without quarterback Jameis Winston because of a three-game suspension for a personal conduct violation. The running backs may see a little more action with the 35-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Regardless, Peyton has a pathway to the lion's share of the carries, and he's worth a spot in fantasy lineups as an RB2.

ADP: 7.03

             

WR Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 10:  Keelan Cole #84 of the Jacksonville Jaguars catches a pass before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a deep wide receiver corps, but Marqise Lee's knee injury dealt a blow to the unit. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Lee will miss the entire 2018 season.

In 2017, Lee saw 96 targets in the passing game, and he would have likely eclipsed the century mark in the upcoming season because of Allen Robinson's departure during free agency and the team's decision to release Allen Hurns. Nonetheless, someone has to soak in the opportunities in the aerial attack.

Keelan Cole led the Jaguars pass-catchers with 748 receiving yards last year in 16 appearances but only started six contests. Without Lee on the field, he should have a lock on a spot in three-wide receiver sets alongside Donte Moncrief and Dede Westbrook. The former came over from the Indianapolis Colts on a one-year deal, and the latter missed half the 2017 campaign recovering from a core muscle surgery.

Cole's familiarity with quarterback Blake Bortles should lead to increased production and a WR2 return for fantasy owners. He's a good bet to lead the team in targets and build upon a strong rookie season.

ADP 11.02

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