When we talk about must-have players for fantasy football, we cannot simply talk about the best players, but we have to discuss the best values on the board in most leagues at all different positions. I want to talk about a QB, RB, TE, and 2 WRs that I am really trying to get in every draft due to the value.
Jameis Winston is riding a rather large hype train coming into the season, but it is not even close to big enough yet. Winston is taking over an offense that has experienced a major coaching change away from an air raid offense but into another QB-friendly offense that should suit him well. Last year, the Buccaneers were explosive in the passing game, but half of the games were with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm for Winston.
With FitzMagic gone, I expect a really long leash for Winston, similar to what we see with most major QBs in the league, and that will be really refreshing for Winston owners. I expect this team to improve drastically from skill positions with the growth of the team and the offense, and I think that Winston is a top 10 QB and likely even higher than that. Winston will almost always be available as QB10, and I would likely take him towards QB7 or 8 if I had to.
The running back position is very interesting this year, and I am going to avoid using anyone in the top end because I don’t want to tell you to take Saquon Barkley or Christian McCaffrey at RB only to get pick 11 in your draft and have no shot at landing him. There are some interesting plays much further down the board as well.
The Rams’ Darrell Henderson is a back that I am trying to get in every single draft possible due to his potential upside. Henderson is a rookie out of Memphis who had one of the best seasons ever from a yards-per-attempt basis in college. Henderson is also likely the backup for Todd Gurley or maybe much better.
The sharper the draft, the quicker you will see Henderson get sniped for the upside, but this is simply a situation where you are getting a top 5 potential RB WAY down the board. Todd Gurley is not at full health and could never really return to the same form. Henderson has all the tools to be a bell cow in this offense, and he would be incredible as a fantasy option if it comes to fruition.
Julian Edelman is one of my favorite players on the board this year for the price given his consistency in the Patriots’ offense over the years. Edelman is reliable from week to week and season to season, and I think that you could easily make an argument that this is the year where he could be asked to do even more. If Tom Brady is falling apart, Edelman could be looked to more for short completions. He should also be a go-to guy in big games and moments.
My favorite WR down the board is Paris Campbell, a rookie on the Colts. Campbell is an elite athlete and should get the chance to thrive in this offense as a complement to TY Hilton. Campbell’s biggest issue in the draft process is that he was never asked to run deep routes in college, which is a viable concern.
However, from all reports out of minicamp and even the small glimpses we saw in the draft process, I think that Campbell’s route running and catching ability were massively underrated. Now you put him on a fast track with Andrew Luck and multiple other established receivers? I think we will see plenty of big plays from Campbell this season.
Tight end is a spot where I often want to pay up for safety this year, but if I can’t do that, I find myself looking at Vance McDonald. McDonald plays in a good offense in Pittsburgh that is losing multiple key pieces that should allow him to have a breakout season if he takes advantage of the opportunity.
The Steelers lose both Antonio Brown and Jesse James as receiving options and will look to Conner, Juju, and McDonald to carry the load, especially early in the season. I really like McDonald’s floor in this Steelers offense.