NFL

Fantasy Football Preview

Fantasy Football is bigger now than ever before thanks to FanDuel and DraftKings, just to name a few. The Mod Spice boys have their huge draft bonanza this weekend, and in preparation we have put together our Official Moderate Spice Fantasy Rankings for 2018. The rankings are based on a ½ Point Per Reception league and are to be taken to heart as the gospel as you prepare for your own draft day shenanigans. Each Mod Spice writer ranked their top 15 QB’s and TE’s, and their top 25 RB’s and WR’s.

These rankings were then aggregated to form our consensus fantasy rankings. In addition to the rankings, I’m going to provide you with my first annual Boom & Bust predictions. These are guys that I think will have significantly better or worse years than other experts are predicting. Last word of advice on drafting before we dive into the rankings: nobody knows everything, so go with your gut. But if you need a little nudge on which guy to take over another, you can check out my personal rankings here.

OFFICIAL MODERATE SPICE POSITIONAL RANKINGS

 

Quarterbacks
  KyleUncle GusKirkBryanAverage
1Aaron Rodgers, GB11111
2Tom Brady, NE33333
3Russell Wilson, SEA52824.25
4Cam Newton, CAR24764.75
5Kirk Cousins, MIN65997.25
6Drew Brees, NO461287.5
7Deshaun Watson912647.75
8Andrew Luck. IND147557.75
9Carson Wentz, PHI10NR279.75
10Philip Rivers, LAC119101010
11Matthew Stafford, DET88131310.5
12Ben Roethlisberger, PIT715141111.75
13
Jimmy Garappolo, SF12NR111213.75
14Alex Smith, WASNR114NR13.75
15Matt Ryan, ATL1310NR1414.25
Running Backs
  KyleUncle GusKirkBryanAverage
1LeVeon Bell, PIT11311.5
2Todd Gurley, LAR32122
3David Johnson, ARI23443.25
4Ezekiel Elliott, ARI44233.25
5Alvin Kamara, NO55655.25
6Melvin Gordon, LAC68566.25
7Saquon Barkley, NYG76977.25
8Leonard Fournette, JAX978108.5
9Kareem Hunt, KC109788.5
10Christian McCaffrey811131110.75
11Dalvin Cook, MIN141010910.75
12Devonta Freeman, ATL1113121212
13
LeSean McCoy, BUF1512111312.75
14Jordan Howard, CHI1618141415.5
15Jerrick McKinnon, SF1315211816.75
16Joe Mixon, CIN1220231517.5
17Kenyan Drake, MIA1914221617.75
18Jay Ajayi, PHI1716182118
19Lamar Miller, HOU1821202019.75
20Alex Collins, BAL2217241920.5
21Mark Ingram, NO2524172522.75
22Marshawn Lynch, OAK23NR152322.75
23Royce Freeman, DEN2123252423.25
24Derrick Henry, TENNRNR161723.25
25Dion Lewis, TEN2025NR2224.25
Wide Receivers
  KyleUncle GusKirkBryanAverage
1Antonio Brown, PIT11111
2Julio Jones, ATL22443
3Odell Beckham Jr., NYG43233
4DeAndre Hopkins, HOU34523.5
5Keenan Allen, LAC58856.5
6Michael Thomas, NO107366.5
7Davante Adams, GB69687.25
8A.J. Green, CIN867107.75
9T.Y. Hilton, IND713979
10Mike Evans, TB1151199
11Stefon Diggs, MIN1311101111.25
12Larry Fitzgerald, ARI1212141513.25
13
Doug Baldwin, SEA1610151213.25
14Amari Cooper, OAK919131413.75
15Adam Thielen, MIN1414161314.25
16Jarvis Landry, CLE2015171617
17Golden Tate, DET1816181817.5
18Tyreek Hill, KC2518121718
19Demaryius Thomas, DEN1517221918.25
20JuJu Smith-Shuster, PIT1721242120.75
21Chris Hogan, NE21NR192223
22Allen Robinson, CHINR22202323.75
23Marvin Jones, DET2425232424
24Michael Crabtree, BALNR2021NR25.25
25Brandin Cooks, LARNR23NR2025.75
Tight Ends
  KyleUncle GusKirkBryanAverage
1Rob Gronkowski, NE11111
2Travis Kelce, KC52222.75
3Zach Ertz, PHI
23533.25
4Greg Olsen, CAR45655
5Evan Engram, NYG74475.5
6Jimmy Graham, GB96345.5
7Jordan Reed, WAS38796.75
8Delanie Walker, TEN147969
9Kyle Rudolph, MIN1191089.5
10Jack Doyle, IND101081210
11Trey Burton, CHI612131010.25
12George Kittle, SF1311111312
13
Tyler Eifert, CIN813151412.5
14David Njoku, CLE15NR121114.5
15O.J. Howard, TB1214NRNR16.5

 

BOOM AND BUST CANDIDATES

*These are not my picks to finish as the best fantasy players at their positions. They are my picks to finish significantly higher or lower than their projections.

BOOM #1: Jordan Reed, TE, WAS

Reed has been injury prone and inconsistent due to those injuries over the last 3 years. He’s healthy. When he’s healthy, he’s a freak. Alex Smith is his new quarterback. Alex Smith is a TE stud-maker (see Vernon Davis, Travis Kelce, etc.). Right now his ADP is hovering around rounds 8-9. Big time Boomer here in Washington.

BUST #1: Andrew Luck, QB, IND

Nobody takes the time off that Luck has and immediately returns to the top of their game. Nobody (well, almost nobody — see below). Andrew Luck is no different, but for some reason everyone expects him to have a comeback season much the same as Peyton Manning in his first year in Denver. Not going to happen. Luck has a propensity to turn the ball over. The Colts will not be very good. He’s sitting at QB #9 off the board and I think there’s much better value waiting for a Philip Rivers or Matt Ryan five rounds later.

BOOM #2: Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL

I know he shares a backfield with Tevin Coleman. I know Julio Jones is going to get so many looks this year that it will make you sick. Freeman is going to go off. He catches the ball out of the backfield better than any other RB not named Alvin or LeVeon. In PPR and ½ PPR leagues this guy is going to finish as an RB1, and yet in mock drafts he’s going two picks ahead of Derrick Henry right now. Get out of my face with Derrick Henry and give me Devonta Freeman all day (sorry Adrian), every day.

BUST #2: Dalvin Cook, RB, MIN

His rookie season got cut short when he was leading the league in rushing. People forget that Latavius Murray was injured during that time, allowing the rookie to split carries with, well nobody. He’s not going to see that same workload coming off of an ACL tear. His numbers were great, but the sample size is minuscule (see Deshaun Watson) and won’t finish the season as an RB1. He’s a top 10 running back off the board and at the end of the first round to the beginning of second I see too much value in other guys to reach for Dalvin.

BOOM #3: Christian McCaffrey, RB, CAR

The Panthers offensive line is the biggest question mark for Christian. But that doesn’t bother me. CJ Anderson will suffer as a change-of-pace running back who focuses on rushing. McCaffrey has too much talent in space and Norv Turner is going to feed him the rock almost to the point of nausea. And by that I mean if you don’t have him on your team it’s going to make you sick. McCaffrey has the talent to work on the edges, break tackles, and take the pressure off of the offensive line and Cam Newton. He’s a first round pick and a top 10 RB for me. Making him an excellent value in the 2nd round. If you can get him.

BUST #3: Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen, WR, MIN

Both of these guys are going in rounds 2-3. Minnesota isn’t going to bulldoze the NFC North like they did last year. They aren’t going to dominate through the air and on the ground. There just simply isn’t enough ball to go around here. One of these guys may shine, but they are both going way too high. One of them will bust, and you heard it here first.

BOOM #4: TY Hilton, WR, IND

How can I have the Colts QB as a bust but their #1 receiver as a boom? Easy, Luck still has to throw to somebody. They are going to run TY through so many crossing patterns that his route tree is going to become horizontal like one of those trees on the Serengeti that are wider than they are tall. He had two HUGE games last year that kept him relevant and left his owners crying time and time again. This year consistency will return and while Luck may not be elite quite yet, TY will make his growing pains a little more like shin splints.

BUST #4: Jimmy Graham, TE, GB

Jimmy Graham is not the same automatic 10 TD’s a year tight end that he once was. Every single year the experts point to GB TE’s as “breakouts” and every single year Aaron Rodgers throws the ball to his WR’s. Nothing will change this year. Don’t get me wrong, Jimmy may finish as a top 10 TE, but he is not a top 5 guy. Just isn’t going to happen. See Marty Bennett, Richard Rogers, Jermichael Finley, etc.

BOOM #5: Cam Newton, QB, CAR

The Carolina Panthers offensive line is going to be a problem. But so is Christian McCaffrey. Cam Newton has his favorite target back in Greg Olsen and another year with Devin Funchess. First round WR DJ Moore provides huge deep ball potential. Cam is going to explode this season. The Panthers may not win 11-12 games, but Cam Newton may finish the season as the #1 quarterback. A steal if you can grab him in rounds 6-7. Thank me later.

BUST #5: Travis Kelce, TE, KC

Travis Kelce has thrived in Andy Reid’s offense in Kansas City. A large part of that was Alex Smith at QB, who is no longer in KC. With Patrick Mahomes now behind center, the game has changed. A west coast-style QB fed the ball with great regularity to Kelce, but now a big-arm QB steps in and the Chiefs will try to open up the field by pushing the ball deep to Tyreek Hill and the newly acquired Sammy Watkins. Kareem Hunt will benefit from his ability to spread out the defense, but Kelce will struggle to put up the same numbers he did with Smith at the helm.

And there you have it. My first annual Boom & Bust. Don’t be afraid to draft the Busts and don’t be silly and reach 2 rounds up to draft the Booms. Go with your gut, take the best player available, and please for the love of God don’t draft a quarterback in the first round.

 

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