Never stop preparing. Never stop paying attention.
We had our 14-team draft last Sunday (Aug. 27, if you care). Going into that draft, I knew very well who Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Kareem Hunt was. But, when our draft started that morning, news was JUST starting to leak out that Chiefs starting RB Spencer Ware had torn his PCL and was going to be out for the season.
The thing is, once the draft starts, most people aren’t hopping around to ESPN.com or NFL.com to see what the latest news is. They’re fixated on that draft window and the list of players cycling up into that draft queue. In around the third round, I went to NFL.com just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, and there was the Ware news. I waited a little while, pulling the trigger on the Hunt pick in the sixth round.
Now, I have no idea if Hunt will be any good. But finding what looks like an every-down starting running back with potential with the 75th pick in a draft is a really good get. I could have held off another couple of rounds maybe and hoped that nobody else had noticed Hunt was now a starter. But, my greatest concern was that Ware was coming up in the player queue, and THAT wouldn’t be missed by the other drafters. That little note box next to Ware’s name would surely give Hunt away.
A win is a win. Don’t push your luck. I saw Hunt go in the second round of an experts’ draft this weekend, so I’m feeling pretty good about the Hunt pick.
I haven’t blogged much lately, but I like to get on this platform again and share my fantasy football thoughts. It’s fun to see at the end of the year what I got right and what I didn’t. Last year, I called out Michael Thomas, Terrelle Pryor and Terrance West as sleepers. However, I led you astray by saying Robert Griffin III and Allen Robinson were worth the price of admission.
Here are a few players whose draft values I really like this year:
Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
I know what you’re saying. Of course the Fargo guy puts Wentz here. But, I am not a North Dakota State alumnus or fan. Never have been. This is a completely impartial selection for the list. Wentz showed pockets of promise early last season. This year, the Philly running game looks messy, so Wentz will really have to shoulder the offensive load. Plus, they’ve made additions to their receiving corps with Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, and Zach Ertz is a young, emerging tight end. Good offensive line. There’s a lot to like about Wentz (from a fantasy perspective).
Ty Montgomery, RB, Packers
This isn’t really a sleeper, because Montgomery is probably going in the third and fourth rounds of a typical 10- or 12-team league. But he’s often ranked near 20th among running backs, despite seemingly having the Packers running back role all to himself. He was really elusive last year, and the converted wide receiver obviously has great hands. In his first true season as a running back, there’s so many reasons to think he’ll get better. I like him more than a lot of the running backs being taken around that time.
Duke Johnson, Jr., RB, Browns
Isaiah Crowell is the starting RB for Cleveland, but reports are that Johnson is going to play all over the field this year. The Browns are really lacking in passing game weapons, having lost Terrelle Pryor in the offseason. With rookie QB DeShone Kizer opening the year as the starter, there’s no reason to think he won’t lean on the short passing game. Johnson, in addition to his work in the backfield, should log plenty of catches out of the slot. This is an especially strong pick in PPR leagues.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Chargers
If you’re looking for a cheap 1,000-yard receiver, this is it. Williams had 1,059 yards and 7 TD catches last season, despite not getting serious targets to open the year. Keenan Allen is back from injury, and rookie Mike Williams will return from injury in the middle of the season. But, they aren’t going to just push Tyrell Williams aside if he’s playing well. And I believe he will play well.
Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings
Thielen didn’t have 1,000 yards last year, but he got awfully close (967 yards). He went on a tear in the second half last year. So … what’s the concern now? I’m not really sure. Nothing happened in the offseason that makes me pessimistic about his ability to, at the very least, match last year’s numbers. He’s barely going in the top 50 among wide receivers.
John Brown, WR, Cardinals
Brown is in the same neighborhood as Thielen, and I don’t get it. There are HUGE injury concerns with Brown, but he’s healthy right now. Might be the best receiver in Arizona’s passing game. Hauled in a couple of touchdown catches in the Week 3 preseason dress rehearsal. If you’re drafting a receiver this late, forget about the injury concerns. The ceiling is so high.
Corey Davis, WR, Titans
The No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft just returned from an injured hamstring that kept him out of preseason games. So that certainly hurt his ability to develop a rapport with Marcus Mariota. However, the talent is undeniable. Remember, there’s a reason you’re getting a guy like Davis as late as you are. If he was healthy, you couldn’t get him in the 140s overall of your draft like I did. I’ll take the chance. I’ll wait. He’s going to be a star.
Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons
I loved this kid last year in limited action. Now, with Jacob Tamme gone, it’s all Hooper. Great passing offense to be a part of, and I think there’s a good opportunity for him to carve out a role behind Julio Jones and their running backs.