Fantasy Corner: 2018 Sleeper, Breakout, & Bust For Every NFL Team

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Arizona Cardinals

Sleeper: WR Christian Kirk

Breakout: TE Ricky Seals-Jones

Bust: QB Sam Bradford

Love David Johnson but ALMOST put him in my bust category. Cardinals will likely have a bottom-five offense so it will be hard to see coming close to his 20 touchdown campaign from 2016. Ricky Seals-Jones is a converted receiver who will be an intriguing late round sleeper but a recent arrest for assault might mean a suspension is looming.

 

Atlanta Falcons

Sleeper: WR Mohammed Sanu

Breakout: RB Tevin Coleman

Bust: TE Austin Hooper

Huge fan of Mohammed Sanu. He quietly has put up consistent WR3 numbers during his time in Atlanta. Tevin Coleman is approaching a contract year so look for him to try and showcase his talents in a timeshare with Devonta Freeman.

 

Baltimore Ravens

Sleeper: RB Kenneth Dixon

Breakout: WR Chris Moore

Bust: QB Joe Flacco

We will obviously go more in depth on the Ravens from a fantasy perspective in the weeks to come but this Ravens team arguably more offensive talent than they have in a long time. Flacco, however, is still undraftable unless you are in a 16 year, two QB league. Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could have fantasy value at some point but chances are they will each prevent each other from being reliable fantasy assets in 2018. Michael Crabtree was born to be a Raven. Will be fun to watch his style of play. The real wild card is Alex Collins. If he gets the majority of the carries he could finish as a top-12 fantasy back.

Hayden Hurst

Buffalo Bills

Sleeper: QB Josh Allen

Breakout: WR Zay Jones

Bust: RB LeSean McCoy

Not much here, especially with the possibility of a Shady McCoy suspension. Kelvin Benjamin has burned me too many times. Charles Clay could be a bye week replacement at tight end but that’s about it.

 

Carolina Panthers

Sleeper: WR Devin Funchess

Breakout: RB Christian McCaffrey

Bust: TE Greg Olsen

Everything the Panthers did this offseason was to help Cam Newton. They signed Torrey Smith, drafted D.J. Moore, and retained Greg Olsen. I love Christian McCaffrey and want him in all my leagues. PPR monster heading into his second season.

 

Chicago Bears

Sleeper: TE Trey Burton

Breakout: RB Jordan Howard

Bust: WR Kevin White

Everyone’s fantasy darling at the tight end position this offseason is Trey Burton, who will occupy Travis Kelce’s role in head coach Matt Nagy’s offense. Jordan Howard has top ten RB potential and can be had in the 3rd round.

Trey Burton

 

Cincinnati Bengals

Sleeper: WR Tyler Boyd

Breakout: RB Joe Mixon

Bust: WR John Ross

Remember Tyler Boyd? Only in your nightmares right? Well entering his 3rd season I like him to be a compliment to A.J. Green. Joe Mixon, on the other hand, I’m torn about. Bengals were 31st in the league last season in YPC and Mixon only managed one 100 yard effort. John Ross is crazy fast but can’t seem to stay healthy.

 

Cleveland Browns

Sleeper: QB Tyrod Taylor

Breakout: TE David Njoku

Bust: WR Jarvis Landry

If you are playing the waiting game at the tight end position this season David Njoku isn’t a terrible option. Tyrod Taylor likes his tight ends (Charles Clay led the Bills in receiving yards last season) so he could be a late round hidden gem for owners. Jarvis Landry is a WR1 in PPR leagues but I doubt he gets enough touchdowns to warrant his current draft position.

 

 

Dallas Cowboys

Sleeper: WR Michael Gallup

Breakout: WR Allen Hurns

Bust: QB Dak Prescott

Jason Witten and Dez Bryant are gone. In their place? Not much. Allen Hurns comes over from Jacksonville and it will clearly be opportunity over talent. Rookie Michael Gallup will hopefully be given a chance to shine by midseason. Zeke Elliott will get fed the ball ALOT and should be the first overall pick in all leagues.

Dak Prescott

 

Denver Broncos

Sleeper: QB Case Keenum

Breakout: RB Royce Freeman

Bust: WR Emmanuel Sanders

Case Keenum threw for 22 touchdowns in 2017 and the Broncos decided to give him a butt load of money (always wanted to use “butt load” in an article). While he isn’t someone worth drafting I do think he will have value at some point so grabbing him in the last round of your draft might not be terrible. They play a talent stripped Seahawks defense in Week One and bottom five passing defenses Chiefs and Raiders in the first four weeks. I expect rookie Royce Freeman to steal the majority of carries away from Devontae Booker sooner rather than later.

 

Detroit Lions

Sleeper: TE Luke Wilson

Breakout: WR Kenny Golladay

Bust: RB LeGarrette Blount

I didn’t list him here but I need to talk about Kerryon Johnson for a minute. I really want to love him but I’ve been burned by so many Lions backs in the past. With Blount and Riddick already in place, it will be hard for Johnson to be a huge difference maker in his rookie campaign. Last preseason’s fantasy darling Kenny Golladay is getting largely ignored in most mock drafts but I could see him being a reliable fantasy starter with Golden Tate operating mostly out of the slot.

 

Green Bay Packers

Sleeper: RB Jamaal Williams

Breakout: WR Davante Adams

Bust: TE Jimmy Graham

With the departure of Jordy Nelson, it looks like Aaron Rodger’s go-to target is going to be Davante Adams. I’m not sure I would trust him as my WR1 but he could easily put up numbers that will make me eat my words. Either way he’s a damn good WR2 if you go WR/WR at the end of the first round. Rodgers should be the first QB off the board in all leagues. Duh. Still wouldn’t take him in the 3rd or 4th round when you can get serious value like Kirk Cousins or Jimmy G in 8th or 9th round. Jimmy Graham goes from one future Hall of Fame QB to another but he’s become too TD dependent at this point of his career to be considered an elite fantasy tight end.

Ty-Montgomery-Lambeau-Leap-e1444682090941

 

Houston Texans

Sleeper: WR Will Fuller

Breakout: QB Deshaun Watson

Bust: RB Lamar Miller

While I don’t think Will Fuller can keep up his torrid touchdown pace, he will play opposite one of the best receivers in the game and have one of the most explosive QBs in the league throwing him the ball. I think him as a WR2 if you grab running backs early. Speaking of Deshaun Watson, folks are drafting him as high as the 2nd overall quarterback. While I think that’s a bit high, the upside is clearly there. Lamar Miller is a starter but he’s become completely unreliable as anything but a flex option.

 

Indianapolis Colts

Sleeper: QB Andrew Luck

Breakout: RB Jordan Wilkins

Bust: WR Ryan Grant

The fantasy outlook for the 2018 Colts rests solely on the shoulder of Andrew Luck. If he is 100% healthy this team will put up some serious points and right now most of their offensive players besides T.Y. Hilton are going undrafted. Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins are sleepers behind Marlon Mack in a backfield that is completely up for grabs.

Colts Luck Football

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Sleeper: WR Marqise Lee

Breakout: WR Dede Westbrook

Bust: QB Blake Bortles

Leonard Fournette was a beast in his rookie season and the team should only continue to lean on him as well as their star-studded defense. Fellow rookie Dede Westbrook showed flashes and without the departure of Allen Robinson might have the highest ceiling of all the Jags pass catchers.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Sleeper: WR Chris Conley

Breakout: QB Pat Mahomes

Bust: WR Sammy Watkins

The Chiefs have fantasy producers at every position. Travis Kelce is a top three tight end. Kareem Hunt led the league in rushing in his rookie year and should only get better. Tyreek Hill and newcomer Sammy Watkins can stretch the field better than any duo in the league. The biggest x-factor is Patrick Mahomes. Simple as that. Their success will depend on his development as a starter.

 

Los Angeles Chargers

Sleeper: TE Antonio Gates

Breakout: RB Melvin Gordon

Bust: WR Mike Williams

The Chargers are being labeled as Super Bowl sleepers this season and for good reason. The team won 9 of their final 12 games last season and has built extremely well through the draft. Melvin Gordon is my target in all leagues if I get stuck with a middle of the 1st round pick. Personally I think they re-sign Antonio Gates eventually but if they don’t Virgil Green is another DEEP sleeper at the tight end position since Philip Rivers loves throwing to his tight end in the redzone. Oh yea Keenan Allen is a beast too. Lots to like about this team from a fantasy perspective.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers

 

Los Angeles Rams

Sleeper: RB John Kelly

Breakout: WR Robert Woods

Bust: WR Brandin Cooks

Playing with Drew Brees and Tom Brady can make any receiver’s numbers look great so consider me bullish on Brandin Cook‘s replicate his numbers from the past two seasons. Robert Woods is a more true #1 receiver but for fantasy purposes I would draft both as WR2. I could see Jared Goff taking a step back in 2018 but he’s currently the 15th QB off the board according to Fantasy Football Calculator so that’s a pretty decent value for a guy that threw 28 touchdowns and added a big time receiver. Todd Gurley is my #2 overall running back behind Zeke. Should be in line for another monster season.

 

Miami Dolphins

Sleeper: RB Kalen Ballage

Breakout: TE Mike Gesicki

Bust: QB Ryan Tannehill

Kenyan Drake took me to the playoffs in a couple of my leagues last season and the Dolphins really like him. However, he doesn’t have the size and power that rookie Kalen Ballage possesses. He was getting rave reviews from former ESPN reporter Joe Schad during rookie minicamp. Only draft Ryan Tannehill if you are related to him or you play in a 20-team league.

20180511 Dolphins rookies 019

 

Minnesota Vikings

Sleeper: QB Kirk Cousins

Breakout: RB Dalvin Cook

Bust: TE Kyle Rudolph

Are Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen the best wide receiver duo in the league? It’s close. Either way it’s an upgrade over what Kirk Cousins had in DC. Dalvin Cook is the real x-factor here. Can he come back from his early season ACL tear?  Supposedly he has knocked rehab “out of the park”, according to Vikings trainer Eric Sugarman. If so he’s a steal on draft day in the second round.

 

 

New England Patriots

Sleeper: WR Braxton Berrios

Breakout: RB Rex Burkhead

Bust: WR Jordan Matthews

Tom Brady has made a career of doing two things: cheating at football and making good receivers great. Rookie Braxton Berrios is certainly Wes Welkerish and without Julian Edelman for the first four games he could be a sneaky PPR flex option in deeper leagues. Rob Gronkowski is the best tight end in the game but more injury prone than Kelce or Ertz so be careful. The backfield is filled with versatile guys but I have to think the team drafted Georgia standout Sony Michel for a reason.

 

New Orleans Saints

Sleeper: RB Boston Scott

Breakout: WR Cameron Meredith

Bust: QB Drew Brees

Alvin Kamara will benefit from Mark Ingram‘s four game suspension but even still he’s a top five back in all formats. Drew Brees is entering his 18th season and his numbers dipped from 37 touchdown passes in 2016 to 23 last season. Ben Watson led the Ravens in receptions last season and now he returns to the high powered Saints offense. Oh yea plus you can literally take him in the last round of your drafts.

104949213-Alvin_Kamara.1910x1000

 

New York Jets

Sleeper: WR Jermaine Kearse

Breakout: WR Robby Anderson

Bust: RB Isaiah Crowell

Despite inconsistent quarterback play, Robby Anderson managed almost 1,000 receiving yards and has 9 touchdowns over his first two seasons. Despite the depth of talent at receiver, he makes a really nice WR3 in all leagues. His numbers should only improve if 1st round pick Sam Darnold is given some starts under center. If you want a super deep sleeper former Clemson standout Jordan Leggett could be a PPR waiver wire pickup during the bye weeks.

 

New York Giants

Sleeper: WR Roger Lewis

Breakout: RB Saquon Barkley

Bust: TE Evan Engram

With a stud rookie running back (Saquon Barkley), an elite receiver (OBJ), and an up and coming tight end (Evan Engram) could Eli Manning be a sleeper QB in his 15th season? No……no he can’t.

 

Oakland Raiders

Sleeper: RB Doug Martin

Breakout: QB Derek Carr

Bust: RB Marshawn Lynch

This is a team that really peaked offensively a couple seasons ago. Now they have an aging Marshawn Lynch penciled in as their starting running back. Look for free agent signee Doug Martin to push Lynch heavily for playing time. Amari Cooper dealt with a knee sprain, ankle sprain, and concussion in 2017 but only missed two games. If you want a value in the 3rd or 4th round he is your guy. Cooper has all the talent to be a top fantasy receiver in 2018 and nobody on the roster is a threat to take the top spot on the peaking order from Derek Carr.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

Sleeper: RB Josh Adams

Breakout: TE Zach Ertz

Bust: RB Jay Ajayi

Doesn’t really matter who is at quarterback for Week One. This is Carson Wentz‘ team. After his injury fantasy owners are forgetting he had 33 touchdowns in the first 13 games. Zach Ertz is a top three tight end and might actually have higher upside than Gronk and Kelce now that Trey Burton has left town. The running back situation is far from ideal and one that I plan to stay away from during my drafts.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Sleeper: James Washington

Breakout: JuJu Smith-Schuster

Bust: Ben Roethlisberger

I say this every season but this is the year Ben Roethlisberger misses multiple games with an injury. His body has to be held together by duct tape at this point right? James Conner is a guy I would draft late if I take LeVeon Bell in the first round. I like Vance McDonald as a deep tight end sleeper but with Jesse James penciled in as a the starter I don’t know how much McDonald will get on the field.

 

San Francisco 49ers

Sleeper: George Kittle

Breakout: Jerick McKinnon

Bust: Pierre Garcon

CAN’T HIDE MONEY! Jimmy Garoppolo came over at the end of November and lead the 49ers to five straight wins. His talent with Kyle Shanahan’s playcalling finally makes the 49ers a viable fantasy option. Marquise Goodwin lead the team in receiving in 8 of the 16 games and George Kittle had 15 catches over the final five games. Jerick McKinnon was signed to be the workhorse and he has all the tools to also be a 60+ catch receiver out of the backfield.

jerick-mckinnon

 

 

Seattle Seahawks

Sleeper: Tyler Lockett

Breakout: Rashaad Penny

Bust: Brandon Marshall

The Seahawks went from a Super Bowl contender to one of the least talented rosters in the league. For fantasy purposes, however, their depleted defense might mean the offense will be forced to score more points late in games. Russell Wilson is a duel threat and a much better value at QB than taking Rodgers or Watson early. Unable to find a running back last season, the team will lean heavily on Rashaad Penny. The dude had 2,248 rushing yards in his senior year so he can handle the rock. Problem is he isn’t much of a pass catcher. That role could go to Chris Carson or CJ Prosise.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sleeper: Chris Godwin

Breakout: Ronald Jones

Bust: Jameis Winston

I’m not super high on Ronald Jones but he’s far more talented than Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber. Jameis Winston is facing an early season suspension which will probably lead to him going undrafted is some leagues. He also faces two top-12 pass defenses right when he returns to the lineup.

 

Tennessee Titans

Sleeper: Derrick Henry

Breakout: Corey Davis

Bust: Marcus Mariota

I’m much higher on Derrick Henry than most fantasy writers and I’m fine with that. I think he has the talent to be a top five fantasy running back and I’m not scared of the Dion Lewis signing. Corey Davis is a extremely popular sleeper in fantasy circles but I would rather have Rishard Matthews four or five rounds later.

Derrick Henry

 

Washington R-Words

Sleeper: Jordan Reed

Breakout: Josh Doctson

Bust: Chris Thompson

When healthy……let me stress WHEN HEALTHY……..Jordan Reed is a top five fantasy tight end. Maybe top three. If you draft him be sure to grab another tight end later in your drafts. With Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson, Alex Smith has some weapons. Only problem is I have no idea which one is going to emerge as the team’s #1 option. As much as I dislike the Redskins I can’t really find a “bust” on this team but I guess Chris Thompson since he’s relatively one dimensional and is coming back from a broken leg.

 

 

 

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