It’s time to start making your list and checking it twice. Not your Christmas shopping list – your fantasy football draft list.
As the aroma of another fantasy football season approaches, it’s crucial to determine which players are poised to pole vault to high levels of productivity and which ones are one-year wonders. We all know Tom Brady is going to be an elite QB. The key to fantasy football success is those mid- to late-round picks who thrive.
Here are some players to consider as you’re sitting in your draft room mulling who to grab.
Starting here in the great state of Tennessee, the Titans might finally have some viable fantasy players. If you don’t take one of the top two QBs, Brady or Aaron Rodgers, then Marcus Mariota could represent great value.
The Titans spent all offseason bolstering their offense and giving Mariota more weapons. They drafted Corey Davis with the No. 5 overall pick, signed veteran WR Eric Decker, and also drafted WR Taywan Taylor and TE Jonnu Smith.
This is in addition to already having Delanie Walker, a top 5 tight end, and returning WRs Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe. Mariota combined for 28 TDs in 15 games last year. Entering his third year, he could reach 35 total TDs.
Panther QB Cam Newton had a slouch of a 2016 season and should plummet on draft boards as a result. But let’s not forget he was the league MVP in 2015 when he accounted for 45 total TDs.
I see Cam getting a huge boost from the addition of all-around RB Christian McCaffrey, a definite impact player to draft, and finishing in the top 5 for QB points.
On the receiver front, the obvious choice for resurgence is Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins, whose stats have suffered from having the worst QBs throwing him the football this side of Cleveland. Even with woeful Brock Osweiler as his QB last year, Hopkins nearly gained 1,000 receiving yards (954).
Helping Hopkins will be rookie QB DeShaun Watson, who played in back-to-back national championship games for Clemson. He could be better than any QB the Texans have had in their history and get Hopkins to reach double-digit TDs.
There’s also the intrigue of Dallas WR Dez Bryant, once considered among the best in football. The Cowboys are a run-first team, but Bryant still grabbed 8 TDs last year despite missing three games. If Dez plays an entire season, he’s an easy candidate for 12 TDs.
Other players you can likely get late in the draft who could be among the best at their positions are Chargers WR Keenan Allen, New Orleans RB Adrian Peterson, Baltimore WR Jeremy Maclin, and Green Bay TE Martellus Bennett.