With a few weeks until the beginning of the 2019 NFL campaign, fantasy owners are ramping up their scouting and analysis in order to prepare for drafts. Preseason hype, committee backfield rumblings, and contract negotiations have dominated storylines, but we’re here to talk about something a bit more fun.
While your average Love/Hate articles and massive ranking sheets are helpful, the most exciting parts of fantasy football are the hype-filled players that could help you win your league. With that being said, The Sideline Observer Sports Staff presents you with a roundtable discussion of an especially eye-grabbing player from each of their teams.
Michael Gorman – Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
According to his profile on ESPN Fantasy, Aaron Jones was No. 13 amongst all backs in the 11 weeks he was active last season. From Week 8 to Week 14, Jones scored fewer than 10 points only once (Week 9) and proved himself as a threat on the ground and in the air. And all that was with known RB-killer Mike McCarthy at head coach.
Jones is my favorite player on my team for many reasons. But most importantly, I believe he’ll perform even better than he did last season. A new head coach, a healthy Aaron Rodgers, and not much competition in the backfield combine to give me the feeling that Jones could contend for top-10 production at RB.
At an average draft position of 48.6 on ESPN, Aaron Jones was an absolute steal for me at the turn of the 4th-5th round.
Greg King – Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
People forget, but in 2016, Dede Westbrook was a Heisman finalist at Oklahoma. While teammate Baker Mayfield ended up taking home the hardware, Westbrook posted 74 receptions for 1,465 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Since then, the best quarterback he has played with is Blake Bortles…. So while the talent is clearly there, it makes sense why Westbrook was only fantasy’s number 32 wideout (66 catches for 717 yards and 5TD).
However, this year Nick Foles is coming to town. While Foles is by no means an elite QB, he is certainly a step up from Bortles. With Westbrook as the clear top target on the team and his main competitor Donte Moncrief now in Pittsburgh, Foles is in line for a huge step-up in production. It only gets better though. Last time Jacksonville’s new offensive coordinator, John DeFilippo, and Nick Foles paired up, Nelson Agholor was a fantasy monster and a draft day steal. Agholor and Westbrook both play in the slot — where Foles exceeds and DeFilippo loves to target.
Westbrook will be drafted in round 8-10. But with his high upside and improved offense, he is a fantastic flex option for your fantasy team.
Jackson Parker – Le’Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets
With the fourth pick in my fantasy draft, I shocked some by drafting Jets RB Le’Veon Bell. With Ezekiel Elliott still holding out and David Johnson playing in front of one of the worst offensive lines in the league and a rookie quarterback, I went with Bell. There are a lot of people sleeping on Bell but I think he’ll return to form this year and might potentially have the best season of his career.
In Bell’s last two seasons playing for Pittsburgh, he rushed for over 1,200 yards and put up over 600 receiving yards. His ability to be a dual-threat makes him one of the most dynamic players in the league. With the Jets giving Bell such a lucrative deal for a running back, expect Bell to get upwards of 300 to 400 touches this year. It’s #BellCow season.
Abe Jolles – Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
With the fifth overall pick in my fantasy league, I surprised my friends by drafting Michael Thomas in a non-PPR league while passing up Deandre Hopkins. Hear me out: Thomas is going to be the best receiver in the NFL this year. After leading the League in receptions, finishing 6th in receiving yards, and raking in nine touchdown catches, I think he’ll be at the top of every stat. Physically, he’s a monster at 6’3’’. And as he is now the highest-paid non-QB in NFL history, living up to his paycheck should be a top priority.
Kurt Zottl- Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
In the third round of my fantasy football draft, I didn’t go with an explosive WR, a solid RB, or even a QB like Patrick Mahomes. I went with Zach Ertz, the best TE in the NFL. If Carson Wentz can stay healthy and the offensive line does its job, Ertz is going to be the biggest problem for opposing defenses. The biggest threat won’t be Alshon Jeffrey or DeSean Jackson. The biggest threat will be Ertz, and I’m excited to see him work for me in fantasy.