July and August are the best time of the year for fantasy football. We all start to formulate strategies, plant our flags, and decide who we will yell at on TV for the rest of the year. That’s right, it’s fantasy football draft season! One key to winning your leagues is zeroing in on the right talent who will outperform their draft stock. Avoiding busts is equally, if not more important. With that in mind, and as a quick hitter, we here at Football Absurdity would like to prime you with the players to target, and the players to avoid, in your fantasy football drafts, team-by-team. What’s the difference between a sleeper and a breakout, you ask? I don’t know, why don’t you tell me, tough guy? You seem to have all the answers.
Sleeper – J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Wide Receiver (Expert Consensus Rank: WR94, 254 overall)
I’m a huge fan of Arcega-Whiteside from his college tape. He has the biggest “my ball” mentality out of any player taken in this draft, and he’s a lot of fun to watch because of it. He’s currently going completely off the board, but he could pop up as a fantasy football value in the second half of the season if/when (let’s be clear here, when) Alshon Jeffery goes down with an injury. Arcega-Whiteside will have a couple of two-TD games out of nowhere but he’s buried for targets on a depth chart that includes Alshon, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Nelson Agholor, and DeSean Jackson. Without someone clearing out in front of him, he won’t have much fantasy football value, but he could be just the guy that saves your bacon in week ten and beyond as he starts earning more red-zone looks.
Breakout – Miles Sanders, Running Back (Expert Consensus Rank: RB39, 109 overall)
I’m not buying the Jordan Howard experiment keeping Miles Sanders on the bench in Philly for more than five or six games. Sanders is a well-rounded back, something that the Eagles haven’t had in a long time. They thought they had it with Josh Adams, but he fell apart. They thought they had it with Jay Ajayi, but he literally broke. Now, they spent a high pick (second round, #53 overall), and expressed relief that they finally had a complete back, and he’s going outside the top-36 at running back? Because of Jordan Howard? He’s a fantasy football draft-and-stash, but Sanders is going to be this year’s Nick Chubb. Once he is free of Howard, he will run roughshod over the league, and your fantasy football team will reap all the rewards.
Bust – Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver (Expert Consensus Rank: WR23, 56 overall)
Alshon has one season over 13 games played since 2015. He’s also surpassed 94 targets just once in that same timespan. He’ll be five seasons removed from his last 1,000-yard campaign and has 21 touchdowns in just four years. The Eagles added two pass-catching threats and two talented running backs this offseason, further muddying the waters for Alshon. Call me crazy, but I am not going to put a guy who can’t stay on the field and who plays in an increasingly messy offense a #2 fantasy football receiver. He’ll probably end up in the WR30 range. Not the worst bust, but not someone you should slot into your second WR slot in your drafts.