Knowledge is power and the greatest asset you can acquire in order to compete for a fantasy football championship. Here’s your 2018 preview of the AFC South, the third of eight division profiles leading to draft season.
2018 Fantasy MVP: DeAndre Hopkins, WR
Not many holes in Hopkins game. He’s a target monster (averaging 172 over past three seasons) regardless of his quarterback and durable (missed one game in career). Plus, there’s a chance he hasn’t peaked (he’s only 26).
2018 Fantasy Rookie of the Year: Keke Coutee, WR
Coutee will challenge Braxton Miller and Bruce Ellington for the slot receiver job. He’s a burner, a highlight reel waiting to happen. He will likely go un-drafted, but he’ll have the opportunity to be a waiver-wire darling later in the season.
2018 Fantasy Sleeper: Will Fuller, WR
There’s no denying the chemistry between Fuller and Deshaun Watson — they connected on seven touchdowns in four games before Watson was lost to a season-ending injury. I’m thinking Fuller is a new age DeSean Jackson. Somewhere in the range of 60-plus receptions, 1,000-plus yards and eight-to-10 touchdowns seem reasonable, including a couple of monster performances that single-handedly earn you a victory over the course of the season.
2018 Fantasy Bust: Lamar Miller, RB
This is almost an obvious choice. I considered Watson simply because of the overwhelming hype, but this makes too much sense. When in doubt: keep it simple, stupid. Miller would have likely been released this offseason after another pedestrian season if the talented D’Onta Foreman hadn’t ruptured his Achilles last year. There’s a chance he’ll receive a heavy workload early on — with only Alfred Blue standing in his way and Foreman still recovering — so he might provide flex-worthy value, but it’s likely to be fleeting. Miller is nothing, if not underwhelming and eventually Foreman will take his job.
2018 Fantasy MVP: Andrew Luck, QB
You may be concerned with Luck’s health, but he actually represents a relatively small risk for fantasy owners considering his current ADP — he’s a borderline top-100 pick, which puts him around Round 10 in most 10-team leagues. There’s legitimate fantasy MVP upside here at a decent discount.
2018 Fantasy Rookie of the Year: Nyheim Hines, RB
A former wide receiver who was converted to a running back at North Carolina State, Hines was drafted to take over the Darren Sproles role in Frank Reich’s offense, a very lucrative position for fantasy owners in the past.
2018 Fantasy Sleeper: Marlon Mack, RB
The addition of Quentin Nelson adds significant value to whomever is the starting running back in this offense. Hines is more of a complementary piece and a healthy Mack will receive first crack at the starting gig over fifth-round rookie Jordan Wilkins. He had three games as a rookie last season with at least 10 touches, and scored double digits (standard leagues) in all three.
2018 Fantasy Bust: T.Y. Hilton, WR
It was clear Hilton wasn’t the same player without Luck last season, and unlike Luck, there’s not a built-in discount to insulate you from risk this time around (he’s currently going in the third or fourth round in most leagues).
2018 Fantasy MVP: Leonard Fournette, RB
Fournette was dominant with most teams stacking the box. Imagine if the Jaguars can develop an actual passing game (they certainly have enough talent at the receiver position). There’s some injury risk here considering his physical running style, but it’s hard to pass on one of the true workhorses left in the NFL.
2018 Fantasy Rookie of the Year: D.J. Chark, WR
Chark will likely go un-drafted, but keep an eye on him. He’s a big-play, burner in a similar mold of Martavis Bryant, but I count at least four or five receivers ahead of him on the depth chart.
2018 Fantasy Sleeper: Dede Westbrook, WR
I’m a firm believer in talent winning the day, eventually. Westbrook is the most talented receiver on the Jaguars roster, but there’s some leapfrogging he has to do to earn the opportunities he’ll need to produce solid numbers for fantasy owners.
2018 Fantasy Bust: Donte Moncrief, WR
Moncrief is being drafted before any other Jaguars wide receiver after topping 450 yards receiving once in four seasons. Moving from Andrew Luck to Blake Bortles and a run-first offense doesn’t warrant an ADP boost to me.
2018 Fantasy MVP: Derrick Henry, RB
The addition of Dion Lewis has somehow depressed Henry’s value, but it was Henry who singlehandedly beat the Chiefs in the playoffs last season. Henry is now featured in the same offense — former L.A. Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur is now running the show — that helped Todd Gurley become a fantasy superstar last season. The addition of Lewis will only help keep the former Heisman winner fresh and healthy.
2018 Fantasy Rookie of the Year: Akrum Wadley, RB
Wadley is a younger, healthier version of Lewis and when the veteran eventually misses time, the rookie will step in and produce in most PPR leagues.
2018 Fantasy Sleeper: Corey Davis, WR
The new offensive system fits Davis’ skillset perfectly. His ADP is currently 70, which means you draft him as a WR2 or WR3 with WR1 upside.
2018 Fantasy Bust: Dion Lewis, RB
Lewis has only played a full-season once since 2011, last season, and only started eight games. He managed to turn that into a decent contract with the Titans, but I make it a point to never pay for a career season in fantasy.