Odell Beckham will score more Fantasy points than DeAndre Hopkins. Stefon Diggs will finish higher than Adam Thielen in PPR and standard leagues. You disagree? Odds are that you do. Public opinion is a clique that is not even cool. They’re like pretentious members of the Chess Club. They stick together and they are unflinching in their claims. It is as if at the beginning of the offseason the majority of Fantasy Football players get together in a small room and plant their unwavering flags early. Well, my friends: I am here to burst your bubble and share with you my Fantasy Football unpopular opinions for 2018.
Going against the grain in Fantasy has always worked for me. I have been drafting that way for four years and have come away with championships each season. This year, for instance, there are currently nine running backs being taken in the first round of 12-team PPR leagues. This is going to impact the second and third rounds drastically and there will be players of tremendous value that will slip like Keenan Allen and Davante Adams. However, that also means that Devonta Freeman, Jordan Howard, and Derrick Henry will be available later who all have presumed No. 1 running back value.
It takes some risk – but even more logic. Joe Mixon’s ADP is approaching A.J. Green’s in standard leagues. In the past five years, Jeremy Hill had the most carries for a Bengals running back in a season with 223. Green is the clear No. 1 option on the offense. Even after leaving the Jaguars game in the first quarter last year, Green had 143 targets in 2017- the most he has had since 2013.
So, let’s save the chess for later and take a trip to the Cool Kids table. It is time for some Fantasy Football unpopular opinions.
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Fantasy Football Unpopular Opinions
Odell Beckham will finish with more Fantasy points than DeAndre Hopkins
Hopkins had a great year in 2017 after laying a dud in 2016. No fault to Hopkins but in 2016 Brock Osweiler was his quarterback and that is enough said.
Hopkins had 174 targets last season with 96 receptions, 1,378 yards, and 13 touchdowns. He was the WR1 in standard scoring and was a set-it and forget it kind of guy that dominated every week for your team.
Hopkins is being taken ahead of Odell Beckham unanimously in PPR and standard and I am here to try and make it stop. In 2016, the same year that Hopkins production saw his draft stock fall to the third/fourth round, Beckham had 101 receptions on 169 targets and 10 touchdowns. We know Manning will be looking for Beckham as he has throughout his career. As long as Odell is healthy, he will be force-fed targets just as much as Hopkins. Beckham is a red-zone threat like Hopkins but excels – perhaps better than anyone in the league- at turning a 10-yard slant into a 60-yard touchdown.
If we believe that DeShaun Watson is a great quarterback, we have to assume that he is good enough to distribute the ball to the Texans’ other weapons. Last season in the games that Watson started Hopkins averaged 10 targets a game. In the nine games that Savage played, Hopkins got 12.25 targets per game. Hopkins was unbelievable with Watson on the field. Don’t misunderstand that. Projecting the second-year quarterback for 16 games is great for Hopkins in Fantasy. However, Beckham has a chance to get more volume than Hopkins AND has a higher upside. There is room for regression for Hopkins when his target percentage was so high in 2017. We saw this before when Hopkins dropped from 192 in 2015 to 151 in 2016.
Hopkins could very well finish ahead of Beckham. It also must be considered that Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, and Keenan Allen all could finish ahead of Hopkins. But, ADP has Hopkins going ahead of Beckham and most rankings would agree. Let’s not forget that Beckham is one of the best offensive weapons in the NFL. He is a borderline first/second round pick who presents tremendous value in 2018.
For more draft strategy, rankings, and great fantasy football analysis check out all of our 2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep.
Ty Montgomery is the Packers Running Back to Target
Going into last season, many were high on Ty Montgomery. I know I was. I drafted him in the fourth round in one half-point-PPR league as my RB1. There was a lot to like with the wide receiver turned No.1 running back for the Green Bay Packers going into 2017, and he delivered in the first three games of the season. In Weeks 1 through 3 he was the RB7, RB2, and RB21 in PPR leagues. He was a volume back and was highly-targeted by Aaron Rodgers.
Montgomery went down in Week 4 with a rib injury and rookies Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones both had Fantasy relevance. Montgomery did come back from injury but was not as effective as he was nursing his injury and had Brett Hundley as his quarterback.
Jones and Williams did their best to make Fantasy owners forget about Montgomery. However, now that Jones has been suspended for the first two games of the season, his draft stock is falling (8.12 ADP) and Williams is going up (8.04) while Montgomery is still being selected in the ninth round. My Fantasy Football unpopular opinion is that Montgomery is the guy to draft, especially in PPR.
With Jones down for the first two games, Montgomery’s workload will increase. He is the best pass-catching back of the bunch so he will assume the majority of third-down duties. The great thing about Montgomery is that even when Jones does come back, that statement will still be true. Rodgers targeted Montgomery four, seven, and 12 times in the three games they played together which proves that they have a formulated chemistry. Montgomery also had double-digit carries in each of those games.
If Williams and Jones dominate the carries, Montgomery still will have stand-alone value in PPR with a chance to get 8-12 carries a game himself. Montgomery is the best value of the Packers running backs and is worth the ninth-round selection.
With Aaron Jones suspended two games, read why I’m bullish on Ty Montgomery at his heavily slashed ADP. Will rise, but he’s one of the better 100+ ADP options available at RB. #BoomsBusts2018 https://t.co/OCF8hm8vtb
— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) July 3, 2018
Lamar Miller is an RB2
In the games that Deshaun Watson started last year, the Houston Texans scored 34.6 points per game. In two of those six games, Miller had two touchdowns. He was the RB4 and RB5 in those weeks respectively in PPR. Miller’s workload was heavy in those games (is it was for the majority of 2017) and he was used often in the passing game. More importantly for Fantasy, he was the goal-line running back on a high-scoring offense.
Miller is being drafted as the RB26 in PPR leagues. It is funny how public opinion changes so quickly. Just a couple of years ago Miller was a hot commodity who did not need volume to generate Fantasy production. Now, Miller relies specifically on volume to accumulate Fantasy points. Nevertheless, he is the No.1 running back for the Texans and he will have the opportunity every week to score.
Kenyan Drake, Mark Ingram, Jay Ajayi, and a number of rookie running backs are being selected well ahead of Miller. D’Onta Foreman is still recovering from an Achilles tear and even though Alfred Blue was being used more at the end of last year, Miller is not losing his starting role. Feel good about drafting Miller in the fifth round as a solid RB2 on a great offense.
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