Fantasy Football Rankings Update – Rob Gronkowski, Todd Gurley and Young Upside Wide Receivers

Tyler Boyd

Who is this guy? Someone you should consider taking a chance on drafting before Brandon LaFell and a host of other veteran receivers who aren’t going to help you win your fantasy championship.

We are right in the thick of fantasy football draft season, with this upcoming weekend being perhaps the busiest one of all. Making sure I have a quick turn around answering questions from Draft Buddy customers is putting pressure on my ability to update my player rankings.

This morning I did manage an update however, which you can see all at once on the one-page cheatsheet. Quite a few changes based on recent news, including:

  • New England Patriots RB Dion Lewis requiring a second surgery on his knee
  • positive reports for Carolina Panthers WR Devin Funchess
  • positive vibes for Cleveland Browns offense including QB Robert Griffin III – say what?
  • Denver Broncos QB situation a complete mess to figure out

And numerous other things from the last week. Plus, some of the bigger changes to my rankings are as a result of impressions and strategy considerations from drafting my own leagues the last few weeks. Here goes:

Rob Gronkowski is no longer in Tier 1 at TE by himself
The feeling here is, I am probably not drafting Gronk this season, and I hope showing him in the same tier as the next three – Greg Olsen, Jordan Reed and Travis Kelce – indicates that recommendation to not draft him. Not for a first round or early second round pick. He is dinged up currently, apparently not serious, but it gives us a small reminder he does carry some more injury risk than most with the pounding he takes. He is obviously great when going full steam, but I worry the risk-reward just isn’t worth it to grab Gronk where you need to for his services. Give me one of my other Tier 1 tight ends at a decent discount off the Gronk rate.

Todd Gurley is no longer in Tier 1 at RB by himself
Kicking myself a little here this was even necessary. Originally, it was Gurley plus Le’Veon Bell. Okay, so Bell gets suspended four games (now three), so he drops out of Tier 1. I did feel each of the other closely ranked RB had some small warts, such as Adrian Peterson (age, wear and tear), David Johnson (partial season), Lamar Miller (limited prior workload), but doesn’t Gurley too? His team is going to be starting Case Keenum and a rookie Jared Goff this season, the receivers are dismal, so how much can we expect this guy to do? Lots of carries is great but highly efficient carries are better. I still have him number one, but am I so convinced he is deserving Tier 1 treatment alone versus the other three? No. Lets put them all in Tier 1, which goes to the nature of running the football in today’s NFL anyway, the position is devalued.

More emphasis on young, potential breakout WR in the later tiers
While I’ve always believed this, to draft young, upside wide receivers late in drafts as the fourth, fifth and sixth wideout spots on your roster, I thought my rankings were a bit off in this regard. Perhaps the rankings are supposed to reflect where a player will finish the season, and in that case it makes some sense to rank a veteran player who is mostly ho-hum, like Pierre Garcon, Robert Woods and Cincinnati Bengals “starter” Brandon LaFell (ugh) above Bengals rookie Tyler Boyd or projected San Francisco 49ers slot receiver Bruce Ellington.

For drafting purposes though, and especially drafting this late, lets go for upside. A host of players have it at wide receiver – Boyd, Ellington, Tajae Sharpe, Jaelen Strong, etc. If they work out, great! If they don’t, it cost you little and you can throw them back. Put it this way, are you going to win your fantasy football league championship with Brandon LaFell on your roster? Maybe, but I think the odds are extremely low he contributes to help you get there.

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to post your own comments agreeing or constructively disagreeing with these opinions or any of the rankings. There is a scheduled update for Draft Buddy late tonight, available tomorrow morning. Happy drafting!

Quarterbacks to Target and Avoid, Projection Pal Files Available

Russell Wilson

I’m not saying make a habit of drafting a quarterback early, but if you are going to take the plunge, Russell Wilson offers the best potential ROI of the top passers.

In case you missed it … What? You haven’t liked our Facebook page or don’t follow us on Twitter yet?… here is a bit of an update on what I’ve kept myself busy doing the last week.

Mostly, answering emails from Draft Buddy customers. It is mid-August and we are in the thick of drafting season. NFL regular season will be here before we know it. If you haven’t re-upped Draft Buddy yet then please get on it. Don’t wait until the last minute in case you do need some help getting ready for your draft.

I also updated my own rankings here on the website. The last update included some icons to show players to target and avoid. I will add a few sentences below explaining why I picked some of the quarterbacks who received the target or the avoid tags.

Today I added three Projection Pal files to the Draft Buddy download page, which include projections from each of CBS, ESPN and FantasyPros you can import into Buddy. These projections are as of yesterday, as it took a little while to put these together.

Quarterbacks to Target

Russell Wilson, SEA
I have him ranked 4th at QB. He usually goes QB4. The point here is, if you are going to take one of these top quarterbacks, grab the guy near the end of that tier and only IF he is at a value. In some drafts, Wilson is falling far enough he is worth it over stockpiling more middling RB and WR. Would it surprise me if Wilson ends the season as the number one QB? Not at all.

Kirk Cousins, WAS
Fantasy players don’t believe in Cousins’ talent. Fair enough. Under pressure, a do-or-die playoff game, I probably don’t have Cousins high on my list either. However I do believe in the offense run by coach Jay Gruden and Cousins has excellent receiving talent around him. Running game could look better. Cousins finished QB9 last season and is usually getting drafted outside the top twelve. When I wait at QB, which is most of the time, I’ve ended up taking Cousins a fair bit.

Quarterbacks to Avoid

Andy Dalton, CIN
A.J. Green is great but Tyler Eifert is banged up and I am not confident he is going to start the season. While I’m getting slightly intrigued by rookie Tyler Boyd because of the opportunity in front of him, Brandon LaFell is LaForgettable. Short of Giovani Bernard catching 100 passes there isn’t enough receiving talent here to propel Dalton to be any more reliable than Alex Smith, and everyone is already avoiding him, right?

Marcus Mariota, TEN
Admittedly my avoid picks at quarterback are, on average, not usually ranked or drafted very high, but I’ve seen a reach or three for Mariota in the last month. I think it is his youth, draft pedigree and good old fashioned optimism getting some fantasy players ahead of themselves on Mariota. Maybe he will be the next breakout Blake Bortles, but not this year. The receivers aren’t good enough and head coach Mike Mularkey has a spotty offensive record even though that is supposed to be his forte.

Video: Draft Buddy Fantasy Football Getting Started Crash Course

Props to customer Jason who inspired me to create a new getting started demo for the fantasy football version of Draft Buddy. He emailed me late last night asking for the crash course. Looking through our video library I noticed the old demo video was getting pretty old. So, this morning I created a new one.

This is the basics to get you going from setup to start your draft. It is no work of art but hopefully gets you the information you need.