Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
Weapons. Say it with me… weapons. That is exactly what Eli Manning is surrounded by in the New York Giants offense this season. From Odell Beckham Jr. to Sterling Shepard to Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley. Eli has never had this much talent around him in his entire 14-year career. While he may throw the occasional interception from time-to-time, Eli should have no problem padding his fantasy stats on a weekly basis in 2018. In MFL10’s, Eli comes at the cheap price of a 14th round or later draft pick; there are 25 quarterbacks being drafted ahead of him. Which means people believe there are 25 better fantasy quarterbacks out there than Eli Manning. Look, I know 2017 was not his best season. Here is a simple question when I think about Eli Manning’s 2017 performance: How would Matt Ryan or Ben Roethlisberger perform if they were to lose Julio Jones or Antonio Brown? It’s not easy when you lose one of the best wide receiver’s on the planet for ¾ of the season. A bounce back season is coming for Eli and I’d be thrilled to pair him with a quarterback like Derek Carr or Case Keenum and play the matchup game on a week-to-week basis.
Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders
In 2017, Derek Carr had his worst statistical season since his rookie season in 2014. Enter Jon Gruden. While many have mixed feelings on the return of Gruden to the Head Coaching role, I believe Gruden will have an immeasurably positive impact on Carr’s future in this league. We saw how Carr progressed from 2014 to 2015 to 2016. I’m not going to dismiss Carr’s potential over one bad season. Most of the great quarterback’s in this league have had a down year from time to time. Carr comes at a discounted price in 2018 and I’m all for taking a chance on Carr if I choose to wait on a quarterback till the later rounds.
Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
I drafted Derrick Henry in both 2016 and 2017. Ultimately, he never fully reached his potential mostly because of Demarco Murray being the lead dog in the Titans backfield the past two seasons. How many times did you hear something along the lines of this in 2016 and last season, “Man, if only Murray wasn’t in Tennessee, Henry would be so valuable if he had a full workload.” Well guess what? Demarco Murray is gone and it’s Henry’s time to shine. Dion Lewis will obviously steal some carries and handle the passing down situations, but don’t let Lewis’ presence scare you away from Henry. Do you know how many times Derrick Henry had more than 15 carries in 2017? Just twice. Once in Week 6 and again in Week 17 when Murray did not play. Henry averaged 4.2 YPC on 176 carries in 2017. For cookies and giggles, let’s say Henry averages 15 carries a game and averages 4.0 YPC in 2018. Through 16 games, that’s 960 rushing yards. That’s on the low end in my opinion. Henry will obviously have weeks where he goes over 60 rushing yards. Add in the fact that he should be the unquestioned goal line back and you have yourself a running back with tremendous upside. At his current late 3rd/early 4th round price tag, you’re getting a solid RB2 with RB1 upside.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Last year I was down on Jay Ajayi. This year I’m up on Jay Ajayi. I feel that Ajayi has tons of upside in the Philadelphia Eagles offense. The reigning Super Bowl Champs have a stacked offense that will create all kinds of running room for the 4th year running back out of Boise State. While his 5.8 YPC mark in 7 games with the Eagles in 2017 is not sustainable, a league average 4.0 YPC mark on 225 projected carries should easily result in Ajayi finishing as a RB2 come years end. LeGarrette Blount is now a member of the Detroit Lions, so in theory the goal line touches should go to Ajayi. In the 4th round, I can get on board with what I feel will be a steady, consistent running back week in and week out in 2018.
Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Opportunity. Say it with me… opportunity. Marlon Mack is now the #1 running back for the Indianapolis Colts and has the opportunity to cement himself into that position for the foreseeable future. Mack was in the shadow of Frank Gore in 2017 and never truly got the chance to showcase his talents. Well, we’re about to see just how good Mack is in 2018. I’m not buying the RBBC talk that has been going on in the past couple of months. With some improvement and development, Mack can become the primary running back in Indianapolis. He also showed that he is a capable pass catcher out of the backfield, tallying 21 receptions for 225 receiving yards in his rookie season. If he can improve in the pass blocking area I believe the Colts will give the reigns to Mack. If you’re in 8th round or later of your draft and are looking for an running back with high end RB2 upside, Mack is the guy you want.
Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Golden Tate has had at least 90 receptions in each of the past 4 seasons. He’s a lock for at least 80+ receptions/900+ receiving yards. I covet that kind of reliability and consistency in my WR2. I wouldn’t even be opposed to having Tate be my WR1 if I happen to go RB/RB in the first two rounds. Imagine if Matthew Stafford starts to look Tate’s way more often in the red zone this season? There aren’t many wide receiver’s going in the 3rd/4th round that are as safe as Tate is.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
Once regarded as one of the premier fantasy wide receivers in the game, Demaryius Thomas’ sizzle is not what it once was. Even with poor quarterback play over the past couple of years, he’s still been able to put up some decent numbers. While I don’t believe he’ll ever revert back to his 2012-2015 consistency and dominance, I do believe he can finish as a high-end WR2. The arrival of Case Keenum is Denver bodes well for Thomas’ 2018 fantasy output. In my opinion, he’s a safe, high floor type of wide receiver with top-10 wide receiver upside. Considering only a select few wide receivers being drafted in the 5th round or later have his upside, I’ll be stoked if I can snag him at his current price tag.
Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots
Now, this is the type of wide receiver that you should be targeting in the 7th round this summer. Chris Hogan was on pace for 66 receptions, 876 receiving yards, 10 receiving touchdowns before being injured in Week 8 of last season. With Brandin Cooks off to the Los Angeles Rams and Danny Amendola off to the Miami Dolphins, there’s 200 targets up for grabs in the New England Patriots offense in 2018. Yes, I know a bunch of those targets will go to the returning Julian Edelman. However, Julian Edelman is 32 years old with some injury history and Rob Gronkowski isn’t exactly a model of staying healthy. As a result, the potential for Hogan becoming a must-start fantasy wide receiver at some point during the season is higher than you might think. Hogan averaged 7.4 targets per game in the 8 games he played in 2017. So, the fact that Tom Brady trusts and looks for Hogan in the passing game is something that cannot be ignored. I think Hogan has more upside than the likes of Nelson Agholor, Cooper Kupp, Corey Davis, Pierre Garcon and Devin Funchess.
SEE PAGE 2 FOR PLAYERS TO SELL