The key to a successful fantasy football draft is getting the highest value player for each of your picks. For example, in a draft last year, I got Ezekiel Elliott in the third round of one of my drafts. In case you aren’t aware, this is a CRIME. The man was a top-three back and should’ve been off the board in the first 10 picks. In contrast, someone in my league took Jamaal Charles early in the second round because he “had a feeling.” That was a mistake. So this week, I highlight five players who I think would be mistakes if drafted before the end of third round.
1. Brandin Cooks, WR, New England Patriots
Before all you Patriots’ fans start calling for my head, hear me out. Brandin Cooks’ previous QB was Drew Brees, who is the certified stat king. Brees throws more than almost any QB in the league and Cooks was his primary target. Yes, Cooks is now with the legendary Tom Brady, but Brady is known to spread the love across the offense. How much does Cooks’ value increase now that he’s on the Pats? If you ask me, I’d say his fantasy value probably drops a bit.
2. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders
Please don’t let the hype get to you. Marshawn is a year out of football, and I have no idea what kind of shape he’s kept himself in. Obviously, it was good enough to get him signed, but I’m just unsure how well he is going to be able to play for the first half of the season. However, this is Beastmode we’re talking about … draft at your own risk.
3. Any Quarterback at all
This is just my personal philosophy, but I never draft a QB before round four. There are so many passable starting fantasy QBs, and really only players like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are gone by round three. Last year, I drafted Matt Ryan in the eighth round and Matt Stafford in the twelfth. You can almost always find top-tier QB value in the later rounds, so use those early picks for the RBs and WRs.
4. LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
The run-heavy offense of Rex Ryan is dead. Ryan, who vowed to run more than any coach in history, tried to stay true to his word and made McCoy and Co. a bunch of fantasy studs. With Sean McDermott in town as the new head coach, I expect an entirely new game plan that will have more balanced passing and running games. The signing of TD-vulture Mike Tolbert is only going to lower McCoy’s value even more.
5. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans**
I starred this one because it’s too early to tell what’s going to happen in Houston. Hopkins was a widely-accepted first round pick last season who ended up being a massive bust due to horrible QB play. Well, there is still no QB in Houston, but there is still time to snag one. If Houston gets a reliable QB, then ignore this post. If they enter the season with Tom Savage at the helm, then stay the hell away from DeAndre.