Before we get into our 2018 fantasy football sleeper, breakout, and bust, let’s do a quick primer: For the 2018 season we will explore fantasy football sleepers, breakouts (or bounce backs), and busts from every NFL team. First, a sleeper can leap into top-tier production at a bargain basement draft day price. A breakout is available in the middle rounds and will return positive value of at least a couple rounds. Bounce backs are normally helpful players coming off a down year or years whom you can acquire for a song. Busts are the worst case scenario: a player who drastically underperforms his draft position. While they may not be a wasted pick, you definitely don’t want them on your team.
The third article in this series turns to the most handsome team in the NFC West, the San Francisco 49ers.
2018 Fantasy Football Sleeper – Matt Breida, Running Back (ADP 157, RB52)
Kyle Shanahan doesn’t have the best history with his RB2s. In his ten years as a coach, only four of his RB2s had an above-average market share. However, Shanahan showed an ability to adapt and lean on Breida when needed. Breida had at least twelve touches in four of the last five games last season (The Jimmy G Games™) as Carlos Hyde faltered. In those games, he ended up on a near-900 yard season-long pace (ripping off over 4.5 yards a clip). That figure would put him about six yards per game behind Kyle Shanahan’s former blowout RB2, Tevin Coleman. Not too shabby of a 2018 fantasy football sleeper if he can keep that up for a full season and snag some more touchdowns.
2018 Fantasy Football Breakout – Marquise Goodwin, Wide Receiver (ADP 99, WR40)
When Jimmy G had his coming out last season to become the league’s new darling QB, he did a lot of it with Goodwin. Goodwin had been nothing but a burner in his career until he connected with Handsome James, and he snagged just under six balls for 76 yards per game. While he only scored one touchdown, The Goodwippolo Connection proved fruitful. The 49ers receiving corps are more developed this time around, but it looks like Goodwin will lead the way. He’s a shoo-in to exceed his ADP… likely by a wide margin.
2018 Fantasy Football Bust – Jerick McKinnon, Running Back (ADP 21, RB13)
Much like the first two busts, this is more a cautionary tale than a true belief that McKinnon will perform poorly this season. Jerick McKinnon is a good player (albeit one with some question marks), this isn’t about his talent level or opportunity.
Instead, this is a warning about offseason hype inflation, which comes when the entire fantasy football community is in on the same player. The player gets elevated and elevated to a point where he’s being drafted at his ceiling. When the 2018 NFL Draft ended, Jerick McKinnon had an ADP at the beginning of the fifth round in a twelve-team league (per fantasyfootballcalculator.com). When the 49ers broke camp on July 25, his ADP had taken him to the back end of the second round. Three months of pure idle speculation led to a near thirty-pick jump in his draft price. Be wary of when this happens, and be wary of drafting players at their ceiling. I fear he will be drafted as an RB1 before the season opener; I just hope his preseason performance does something to warrant his ridiculous ADP.
For more NFC West 2018 fantasy football sleeper, breakout, and bust candidates, click these links: