Fantasy Football: The 5 Draft Moves We Love How Much We Love
**Suggested draft position based on .5 ppr, 10-12 team formats, with 1 QB starting
In order to make this piece meaningful and usable, I tried to target five guys that I think could all be on one fantasy team. In other words, in my ideal draft, I am taking all five of these guys, and if that happens, I will be talking more shit about having just had the perfect draft than I ever have...and that is saying something.
So, here you go...the five draft moves that I love how much I love (in no particular order, honestly, I want them all on my team).
1. Le’Veon Bell - Mr. Rested and Ready
The numbers simply speak for themselves. He had 336 touches in 2016 and a whopping 406 in 2017, and then he got to sleep in, relax a lot, and stay healthy in 2018 (why do we feel like he probably played a lot of laser tag???). We like that combination...a lot! He should be a MONSTER in Adam Gase’s system. Think about this, in his one season as offensive coordinator in 2015, the Bears had 8/16 games with more than 109 rushing yard including four of them with over 150, and that was with Matt Forte who has a similar set of skills and size (LB = 6’1 and 225; MF = 6’2 and 218). The reports out of Jets’ camp regarding Darnold’s development are encouraging; there is speed on the outside to stretch the D and a general lack of talent with the rest of the running backs (sorry Ty Montgomery fans). In other words, I LOVE how much I love LB. Aside from CMC as my number one, give me LB to start my draft every day of the week and twice on Saturdays! And oh ya...think he might have something to prove?
Ideal Value: Late 1st
Willing to Go: number 3 overall after CMC and Barkley
Love Him More than: David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott
2. Derrick Henry - Give This Man the Rock...Consistently
The only hesitation I have with this one is the preseason calf strain (as those can linger), but the reports are that he will be ready for week one (and no real history of injuries--he played all 16 games last year). So, if you can get past that piece, the rest just makes sense. At 6’3, 247 with a 4.54 40 time, Henry has a career average of 4.6 yards per carry with 4.9 last season. He had 12 touchdowns in 2018 which was really his first time as a lead back. Of course, he plays better in standard scoring or .5 ppr as he isn’t a huge receiving threat, and Dion Lewis will still have that role. That said, this is a team that was within one win of the playoffs last year, with a head coach now in his second year, and while they have a new offensive coordinator in Arthur Smith, Smith has been working with the Titans’ offense for the past eight seasons. Add back a presumably healthy Delanie Walker to help spread out the defense just a bit, and Henry is poised for a great season with tons of carries.
Ideal Value: Early 4th
Willing to Go: Mid 3rd if RB are going fast or if you choose to start WR/WR or WR/TE
Love Him More than: Kerryon Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, Devonta Freeman
3. OJ Howard - Just Too Athletic to Not Be Great
Much like Henry, I love the physical nature of this man. With 4.51 speed and a 30 inch vert at 6’6” and 251 lbs, it is easy to see why Jameis Winston could very easily make Howard his best friend this year. I am sure some of you are worried about the Cam Brate factor (if that is even a thing), but he has been on a steady decline each of the last three years in targets and catches: with 81 to 77 to 49 targets good for 57 to 48 to 30 catches. So, 2018 did see Howard surpass Brate in both targets and receptions, and I only look for this trend to continue with new head coach Bruce Arians who we know has a great offensive mind. While he has not traditionally featured the tight end position, would you if the best tight end you had to work with any given year was your time with Vance McDonald? We didn’t think so. Arians encourages his QBs to be aggressive especially downfield and with a depleted WR core and largely unproven stable of (bad?) running backs, this season has all the signs of a true breakout one for Howard. I predict he finishes the season as TE4.
Ideal Value: Mid-to-late 6
Willing to Go: Mid-to-late 5 (this would really need to depend on how the TE position is being drafted and how my first 4 rounds played out)
Love Him More Than: Evan Engram, Hunter Henry (honestly, I have him as TE4 and that is where he is and should be drafted)
4. D.J. Moore - The New Steve Smith is in the House?
A healthy Cam Newton finds his new best friend to actually be DJ Moore not CMC--at least that is what I am projecting. First, make no mistake, I am not saying DJ Moore will have a better season than CMC, but I am saying Cam Newton will see and have something he hasn’t had since Steve Smith left: a true stud WR1. While there are not a ton of stats of Moore’s for us to go off of, let’s look at Smith’s time with Newton. His worst season with Cam was 2013 when he had 64/745/4 and his best was 2011 with 79/1394/7. Comparing those to DJ Moore is far from apples to apples, but in his rookie season, Moore had 55/788/2 (so similar to Smith’s “bad” 2013 season). The talent for Moore is there, the damage that Newton has done with a legit WR1 in the past is documented, Devin Funchess, who had 44/549/4 last year, is gone, and the WR2, Curtis Samuel, had a mere 39/494/5 last year. With the attention that defenses will have to give to CMC and Cam’s legs, DJ Moore gives us plenty of reasons to love how much we love him in 2019.
Ideal Value: Mid to late 6th
Willing to Go: Late 5th
Love Him More than: Chris Godwin, Tyler Boyd
5. David Montgomery - The Hometown Pick That Makes All Chicagoans Proud
So, admittedly, there are zero NFL numbers to back up this pick since he is a true rookie, but if the biggest comparison is true and he ends up similar to Kareem Hunt, this guy could be a top-five RB this year. Let’s look at this comparison:
DM = 5’10 222 4.63
KH = 5’10 216 4.62
In his one season with then Chiefs’ OC Matt Nagy, Hunt had 272 carries for 1327 yards and 8 TD plus 63 targets for 53 catches and 455 yards with 3 TD. Hunt was a rookie (like Montgomery), Nagy was in his FIRST season as an OC (assuming that he has only gotten better at play calling since then), and Alex Smith was the QB. Enter 2019, Nagy begins his third year calling plays, oversees one of the most explosive offenses in the league, and Montgomery slides right into the lead back role (with Cohen playing the scatback, trick play, swiss army knife role), and I think this has ALL of the makings of a man-crush for me for years to come. A dual-threat QB in high school, Montgomery was the DIII Ohio Player of the Year as a senior and only continued that kind of work at Iowa State just like he will in the NFL. Lock this guy in...especially in a dynasty format, but he is a virtual must-own in all formats.
Ideal Value: Late 5th
Willing to Go: Late 4th or early 5th
Love Him More Than: Sony Michel, Chris Carson, Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay