2018 Draft Day Targets
My name is Dan Fornek and I am an English teacher and football coach based in Indianapolis, Indiana. When I’m not teaching about literature and words or coaching at the high school level, my hobbies include reading and writing (off-brand I know), playing competitive recreational sports (mainly flag football and playing on a nationally ranked team… yes that is a real thing) and being a total sports fanatic. Having been raised in the suburbs of Chicago, my favorite teams are the ones you would expect: Bears, Blackhawks, and Bulls, and one that you wouldn’t (White Sox > Cubs all day every day and twice on Sunday). Like any red-blooded American, I love tweeting about “The Bachelor” And of course, I have a deep love for fantasy sports.
Since my sophomore year of high school (let’s just call it 10+ years so I don’t age myself too badly), I have been absolutely consumed with a love for fantasy sports… and I have played them all in many formats. I am all about daily leagues, best ball, season long, Superflex, 2 QB, full point or half point PPR, dynasty… you name it, I love it. Beyond the need to compete, I find a ton of satisfaction in the strategic differences in every league format and digging in to find a player that nobody else is on so I can win against friends, family, or even strangers. If you’re a part of the “Late Round QB and TE Army”, we will get along just fine. All of this is how I got here in front of you today.
For the upcoming season, I’ll be diving into the players I think you should sit or start on a given week. You will get these articles every Wednesday all season long, but feel free to ask questions and interact throughout the week and weekend as we get closer to game time on Sunday (twitter handle: @AvonCoachFornek). I love communicating with the fantasy football community and I love to hear why people think I’m either right or wrong because it helps me fine tune a process. My focal point will be giving advice on players I love in the PPR league formats.
Unless you play in the most in depth fantasy league on Earth and are looking for sit/start preseason advice (hint: sit your starters), I have nothing for you in that sense today. But, I can give you a player at each position who should be available later in your draft that I think you should target to maximize the talent on your roster going into the 2018-2019 fantasy season.
QB: Philip Rivers (QB14/ADP 112)
If you’re like me and you like waiting on drafting QB’s so you can load up on the top running backs and highly targeted receivers, then Philip Rivers is the guy for you right now. Fun fact: Rivers has finished as a top-12 quarterback in 8 of the last 10 years, including 5 years in a row. He’s in an offense that has multiple pass catching options in the backfield combined with numerous receivers who can go up and get the ball. The return of 2 year offensive lineman Forrest Lamp from a pre-season ACL injury in 2017 also bolsters the offensive line as he was one of the top lineman in his draft class. Yes, the injury to Hunter Henry hurts, but a healthy Keenan Allen, consistent Tyrell Williams, and emerging target Mike Williams should be enough to compensate for that loss, especially given their size in the red zone. Having Rivers to stabilize your QB slot allows you to go after players in the first 8 or 9 rounds in your draft and ride his consistency to victory.
RB: Rex Burkhead (RB37/ADP 90)
A good rule of thumb is to never try and predict what the Patriots are going to do, but since this is your first time reading my writing I’m here to throw caution to the wind. Sony Michel’s troublesome knee issue that dropped him to the back end of round 1 in the draft has officially popped up in training camp, and I think Burkhead will be the biggest beneficiary from it. While Burkhead wasn’t super utilized last season (only 17.1% of offensive snaps), he still was able to total over 500 yards from scrimmage and pace the backfield with 8 touchdowns. The thing that stood out to me as a casual observer was the way he was utilized by New England as the season was closing out. Burkhead would line up in the backfield AND as a slot receiver in the red zone, and he seemed to be Tom Brady’s safety blanket. Think of him as a swiss army knife version of LeGarrette Blount a few years ago and you have a guy who you can plug into the FLEX spot of your lineup and not worry too much about it, especially as Michel works to get back up to speed. Keep an eye on him in round 7 to round out your RB corp.
WR: Anthony Miller (WR63/ADP 160)
I couldn’t go the entire article without letting my Bears bias fly. Let’s go on a vision quest together. A few weeks from now, and the draft is in those pesky late-middle rounds. You’re sitting there in round 12, looking for a high upside dart throw. You just want one guy who is going to separate you from everyone else in your league. The heavens open, and a single ray of light shines on a name in the player pool. That name is Anthony Miller. All he has done in training camp is make a solid Bears defense look absolutely foolish. He’s getting first team reps and absolutely breaking the starting corners off on routes. He can work outside and in the slot. He is a polished route runner who catches everything thrown at him. Get in on him early, because he is a name you will hear a lot of as the preseason moves on. Do yourself a favor and check his highlight tape from his last season at Memphis. I’m willing to proclaim that he has a legitimate shot to be the most productive rookie receiver this year. Strike while the iron is hot and don’t let the rest of your league catch up and snag him before you.
TE: Eric Ebron (TE22/ ADP 178)
Eric Ebron is one of those guys you feel like you’ve been watching in the NFL since 2006. Realistically, he is 25 years old and not too far removed from being taken as a first round pick by the Detroit Lions. He now finds himself on an Indianapolis Colts team that doesn’t have much else in the skill position department. Andrew Luck seems to be healthy, but the backfield is a mess. TY Hilton is still explosive, but who knows which receivers start next to him coming out of the preseason. Jack Doyle is a solid player, but he’s limited athletically and probably profiles as a better 2 tight end option instead of the primary guy. Ebron really has a chance to stand out (especially in the red zone) for a team that just doesn’t really have many weapons to steal targets from him. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling anybody to take him as their only tight end and roll with him. But in round 14 when you’re looking for high upside fliers, I think you can certainly do worse than Ebron in 2018.
Alright guys, there are four players who I think can make a difference for you this season. While this is a bit different than what I’ll bring to the table each week, I think it should help you see my line of thinking and hopefully open an opportunity to tell me what I got right or wrong (again, don’t be afraid to criticize me because that’s where this gets fun). Again, you can reach me at my personal twitter handle (@AvonCoachFornek) or the company handle (@tffgurus). While you’re here, also be sure to follow the new podcast page @trophytimepod and hit that follow button. Looking forward to helping you guys win this year!
*ADP and position rankings provided by www.fantasypros.com