As we’re in the midst of the third week of the preseason, many fantasy football leagues are nearing their drafts.
There’s a lot of intrigue this year, with stars like Adrian Peterson, Jamal Charles and Brandon Marshall changing teams and rookies like Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffery with real shots to make in impact in Year One.
Last season was the year of the wide receiver. However, with high draft picks like Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins bottoming out last season, the draft strategy early on has changed.
By the way, I had a team where both A-Rob and Hop were my top-2 wideouts last year. Needless to say, it didn’t go well in that league.
A month ago there’s a Big Six. Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, Antonio Brown, Ezekiel Elliott, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr. But the recent six-game suspension to Elliott, things have shifted to a Big Five. If you have a top-5, you’re set.
However, this column has never been about top players, this about value.
Welcome to the second season of Flavor of the Week. This is a draft preview, pointing out players you must have, can pass on and are worth taking a shot on in your upcoming fantasy draft.
Must have: Tyrod Taylor. Buffalo Bills
This is just a value pick. Taylor has been a top-10 quarterback each of the last two seasons. Sammy Watkins getting traded doesn’t make me nervous in the least. Taylor put up 18 points with or without Watkins last season. He’s going as QB21. That’s an absolute steal.
Pass: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Look, Prescott threw interceptions at a historic low rate last season, and Elliott took all the pressure off of him. There’s going to be some regression to the mean, and to be honest, I’m not sure Prescott can put an offense on his back yet. I want him to prove it before I buy in.
Worth a shot: Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is a former quarterback. So is his offensive coordinator, Frank Reich. The Eagles are going to want to throw the ball this season. With the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, this is going to be a pass-happy offense. A great bye-week fill-in, with top-10 upside.
Must have: Danny Woodhead, Baltimore Ravens
With the injury to Kenneth Dixon, Woodhead looks to be the workhorse in Baltimore. With an average draft position of 19 among running backs currently on ESPN, Woodhead is completely undervalued. He has top-10 potential, especially in points per reception formats.
Pass: Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders
This could be because I was burned by Lynch in 2015, but he wasn’t very good that season and then took a year off. Sure he might be fresher, but maybe he lost a step, too. He’s going as an RB1, no thanks.
Worth a shot: Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland Browns
Johnson is a great RB2/flex candidate. He’s currently going as running back 37. That’s comical. He has the potential to catch 60-plus passes this year. A great sleeper in the ninth or 10th round.
Must have: Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers
Kelvin Benjamin is going as WR25. He’s a flex option? Are you serious? Go all in. Benjamin is going to have a bounce-back year. Mark my words.
Pass: Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
Landry is getting drafted as a fringe No. 2 wide receiver. With Jay Cutler at the helm, I’m not sure this is going to be the case. I have a feeling he’ll fall in love with his bigger target, DeVante Parker. If you’re not playing PPR, definitely stay away from Landry.
Worth a shot: ArDarius Stewart, New York Jets
Stewart is going undrafted, which means he’s basically free. I wouldn’t take him anywhere but with my last pick. The ball has to go to someone. Stewart saw the most snaps among wide receivers in the Jets’ last preseason game. At 6-foot-1, he has a nice frame and comes from Alabama, which seems to churn out wide receivers lately. He could be a sleeper this year.
Must have: Martellus Bennett, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers finally has a good tight end to throw to. Bennett had a career-resurgence with the Patriots last year. Don’t expect him to take a step back now. He could finish as a top-five tight end this season.
Pass: Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
I know that Eifert is tempting. He has all the talent in the world, but he’s always injured. In fact, if you were to Google his name right now, the first thing that would come up would be “Tyler Eifert injury.” Not good. If you’re going to draft him, make sure you have a good backup, like the next guy on my list.
Worth a shot: Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills
I know, another Bill. I’m a homer. But wait, just hear me out. Clay is being drafted as TE26. He’s better than that. Toward the end of the 2016 season he was one of the best fantasy tight ends in the league. And if there’s any positives to take from this preseason for Buffalo, it’s that Taylor is making it a priority to use the middle of the field and Clay. This could be a big year for the skilled tight end. A solid backup tight end with top-10 upside.