FANTASY PLAYS: Preseason tidbits vital for football drafts

BRANDON C. WILLIAMS (RotoExperts)
The Associated Press
Fans call for Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller to sign autographs an NFL football training camp Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

FANTASY PLAYS: Preseason tidbits vital for football drafts

Fans call for Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller to sign autographs an NFL football training camp Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The obvious advantage of later fantasy football drafts is more information, especially on less-heralded rookies and free agent signees. There's enough vital intelligence to force readjustments of draft boards.

Don't foolishly rely on rankings from a magazine bought in early June or the gleeful tones of a local sports announcer who'll make you believe in a player who has no chance of making the roster.

As the preseason kicks into overdrive, keep these draft board risers in mind:

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

PEYTON BARBER, RB, Buccaneers: Rookie Ronald Jones II has struggled with pass blocking, which could give more carries to Barber, who came into camp 13 pounds lighter and determined to keep his starting job. This could be a timeshare but if Barber maintains his momentum he will be a stealthy play as a flex option with the bulk of the touches in what should be a more potent Tampa Bay ground game.

AUSTIN EKELER, RB, Chargers: The backup to Melvin Gordon averaged 7.2 yards from scrimmage and scored a touchdown every 14.8 touches. The Chargers continue to find ways to put the explosive second-year back on the field more often, and if something were to happen to Gordon, Ekeler will go from trendy late-round selection to a potential top 24 running back in one of the league's more productive offenses.

GERONIMO ALLISON, WR, Packers: Despite having only 39 targets last season, only three other Green Bay receivers played more snaps than Allison. He's firming his grip as the third receiver, a role that has consistently been fantasy-friendly. Allison is in position to be a late round selection whose numbers could explode with a healthy Aaron Rodgers throwing in his direction.

NYHEIM HINES, RB, Colts: A good example of a player whose value has risen since the start of camp, Hines is drawing comparisons to Bears RB Tarik Cohen. Hines has been deployed all over the field and his fantasy value will increase in leagues where individuals receive credit for return yards. Those in PPR leagues must add Hines as the middle portion of the draft concludes.

BLAKE JARWIN, TE, Cowboys: Someone must replace future Hall of Famer Jason Witten, and Jarwin has presented himself as the potential heir apparent. At 6-5, 260 pounds, Jarwin is a big target who also has enough speed to turn a short pass into a bigger play. He's a late-round selection with the upside to emerge as a red zone threat.

COMING SOON...

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Eloy Jimenez will arrive at some point before the baseball season ends. With the Blue Jays in need of a boost to spark lagging attendance at Rogers Centre, Guerrero - batting a composite .405 in the minors - will take the mantle of third base from injured Josh Donaldson, while Jimenez and his .987 OPS will arrive to either patrol left field or slide into the designated hitter role for the White Sox.

Those who miss out on adding either to their roster should simply lay back and use their initial taste of the majors as an outlier for how to handle them for 2019 drafts.

CASEY AT THE PUCK

Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt has an outstanding opportunity to be the best rookie available in fantasy hockey leagues. Mittelstadt scored 5 points (one goal, four assists) in his six-game debut last season and won't turn 20 until Nov. 22, yet will join fellow center Jack Eichel as part of the franchise's revival.

A 50-point season should be easy for Mittelstadt, but if he improves on his average of nearly 18 minutes of ice time, 70 points will be a reasonable barrier.

---

This column was provided to The Associated Press by RotoExperts: https://rotoexperts.com/

What to Read Next