A look at draft sleepers and questionable veterans
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Bet On the Bears Signal-Caller
The Bears selected Mitchell Trubisky second overall in 2017, but nobody really had any expectations of immediate success. The team around him was bad, particularly in the receiving corps, and there was simply very little asked of him--it was a run-first team. However, the Bears front office has done its best to get Trubisky the tools he needs to succeed in 2018. Perhaps most importantly, the Bears hired the vertically-minded Matt Nagy as their head coach, and he'll certainly bring more of a pass-heavy game plan to training camp. They also surrounded Trubisky with weapons, spending a second-round pick on dynamic wideout Anthony MIller and adding former Jaguar WR1 Allen Robinson, athletic tight end Trey Burton and speedster Taylor Gabriel to the offensive mix. The cards are falling in the right place for Trubisky to take a huge leap forward in 2018, which makes him well-worth the late-round flier he'll cost you on draft day if you wait on quarterbacks (and you should).
After sneaking into the playoffs last year, there is very little chance that the Buffalo Bills will do any contending in 2018. Their offensive line was decimated by retirement and injury, their quarterback situation is murky at best and they simply don't have the roster to contend with the big dogs of the AFC. That certainly doesn't mean there isn't fantasy value to be found, though. Big-bodied wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is (as of this writing) finally healthy, and as the Bills will likely be playing from behind in many games, the onus will be on Benjamin to help them claw their way back. With career backup A.J. McCarron likely the starting QB in Week 1 and first-round pick Josh Allen waiting in the wings, it's fair to say the Bills have very little to lose by maintaining a conservative game plan. It will still be a run-first team, but they'll need to take their shots in the air if they want to stay in games, and Benjamin should be the main beneficiary, because, well...who else will it be? It's all about opportunity for Benjamin, and that should allow him to return at least low-end WR2, high-end WR3 numbers all season.
Change of Scenery Drains Cooks' Value
Brandin Cooks has been a mainstay atop the wide receiver rankings for three years now. He's had three straight seasons of at least 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns, but after being shipped from the Patriots to the Rams in the offseason, his prospects are very likely to dip. There is certainly nothing wrong with the Rams offense--they were the highest-scoring offense in 2017 and ranked in the top 10 in total yards as well. What is unfortunate for Cooks is the role he will likely play. The case can be made that he's the most talented wide receiver on the roster, but as such he'll likely be called on for deep balls and big plays. While that certainly has value, particularly in the touchdown department, that will almost certainly lead to fewer touches. Jared Goff has a rapport and trusts three players who all do their damage down low and across the middle (Todd Gurley, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp), and Cooks will likely have the role that Sammy Watkins played last year--the big-play threat. In this offense that role will definitely at least muster flex value, but I don't think it's enough to warrant Cooks' current top-50 overall ADP. Fantasy football Trubisky Brandin Cooks Kevlin Benjamin advice ahead of the season with looks at Fantasy football Trubisky Brandin Cooks Kelvin Benjamin.
Draft Sleepers of the Week
Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts - The Colts selected Hines in the fourth-round of the draft, but his skill set plus the return of a theoretically healthy Andrew Luck has some experts dreaming of a poor man's Alvin Kamara. In the late rounds, you should absolutely take a shot on that potential.
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins - Jarvis Landry is no longer there to hog targets, and Parker is still just 25 years old. He has a great shot at being a post-hype sleeper, and a breakout, 1,000-yard season is definitely possible here.
David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns - The Browns didn't select him in the first round last year for him to block. He's a freak athlete and now that there is more stability at the quarterback position he had a great chance to finish the year as a TE1.