2018 fantasy football power rankings: Teams 28-25
We’ve gone through the four worst teams in the league from a fantasy perspective — three teams from the AFC East and the Baltimore Ravens. Today’s list of teams is a little better, but we’re still scraping the bottom of the barrel here.
As a reminder, these power rankings detail each team as it stands from a fantasy perspective. This has nothing to do with each team’s real football potential in 2018.
(The information here was compiled from the stats and projections available to subscribers.)
|July 23: 32-29||July 24: 28-25|
|No. 32||New York Jets||No. 28||Oakland Raiders|
|No. 31||Buffalo Bills||No. 27||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|No. 30||Miami Dolphins||No. 26||Washington Redskins|
|No. 29||Baltimore Ravens||No. 25||San Francisco 49ers|
No. 28: Oakland Raiders
The Raiders were the No. 15 team on our power rankings series leading into last season, but their offense fell far short of expectations. The team didn’t do much in the offseason to give people much hope that the tide would turn, and as a result, the Raiders rank No. 28 for the 2018 fantasy team power rankings.
The Raiders offer fantasy players 52 percent as much value as an average NFL team. They have five fantasy-relevant players you need to know about for your 2018 draft:
The Raiders have the No. 30 backfield from a fantasy perspective.
After retiring in 2015, Lynch came back in 2017 to play for his hometown Raiders and put up 891 yards on 207 attempts (4.3 YPC) and seven touchdowns. Lynch will remain the starter in Oakland, even with Doug Martin now in town, but at 32, he’s simply not the league-winner he once was. Lynch is still a bruiser — his 3.09 yards per contact after attempt ranked fourth among running backs last year — but he won’t see enough volume to produce as anything more than a mid-pack RB2 or flex option in fantasy.
I mentioned Martin, but he is unlikely to be a fantasy factor unless Lynch gets injured. Washington slips in as an emergency bye week fill-in because he will likely lead the backfield in receptions (and these rankings are based on PPR scoring).
Overall, Oakland’s backfield is one of the worst in the league for fantasy players.
The Raiders have the No. 20 wide receiver corps from a fantasy perspective.
There’s no getting around the fact that Cooper was bad in 2017. He had 48 receptions for 680 yards and seven touchdowns — and about 25 percent of that damage (no joke) came in a single game. But Cooper is still just 24 years old, and he’s now the clear-cut No. 1 wideout in Oakland now that Michael Crabtree has left. Crabtree saw 18 targets while in the end zone last year, fourth among all players. Cooper saw just four — two of which came in Week 1. Cooper can be viewed as a tail-end WR2 with upside (and downside).
The team did add Nelson this offseason, once one of the league’s best end-zone weapons in Green Bay. But that was with Aaron Rodgers under center, and Nelson is now 33 years old. Nelson may be the team’s slot receiver with Cooper and Martavis Bryant on the outside. Nelson is a bit of a gamble given his age and new situation, but he seems like a safe bet to put up top-50 wideout numbers, which should make him a viable flex option most weeks.
Speaking of Bryant, he doesn’t need to be drafted in your fantasy league this year, but he isn’t the worst dart throw in the world given his athletic talent.
The Raiders have the No. 17 group of tight ends from a fantasy perspective.
Cook slips in as a vaguely relevant fantasy tight end. He’s one of the safer targets if you wait — really, really wait — on a tight end on draft day, but he doesn’t have much of a ceiling.
There are some positives about his 2018 outlook, though. Cook had seven end-zone targets last year, tied for 13th among tight ends, but none of those resulted in touchdowns. (All other tight ends that had at least five end-zone targets scored at least once.) This is a sign that Cook is primed for some positive touchdown regression in 2018. Cook won’t be a weekly starter, but he’ll find himself in lineups in 2018 as a streaming option or as a bye week fill-in.
You don’t need to draft Derek Carr in your 2018 fantasy draft.
No. 27: Jacksonville Jaguars
It might be surprising to see the Jaguars rank at No. 27. After all, this team was a Tom Brady fourth-quarter comeback away from the Super Bowl last year. However, you have to remember that these are fantasy rankings — and they don’t calculate DST, which obviously hurts the Jaguars, as they have the best fantasy DST in the league.
The Jaguars offer fantasy players 66 percent as much value as an average NFL team. They have five fantasy-relevant players you need to know about for your 2018 draft:
- Leonard Fournette, RB
- T.J. Yeldon, RB
- Marqise Lee, WR
- Donte Moncrief, WR
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE
The Jaguars have the No. 11 backfield from a fantasy perspective.
Fournette was a great fantasy player as a rookie, as he racked up 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns in 13 games. His 3.9 YPC average wasn’t very strong, and his 36 receptions (three per game) certainty didn’t help him that much in PPR leagues, but he still finished 10th overall among running backs.
We have a similar outlook for Fournette in 2018, as he’s projected to finish 10th at the position again. He seems like a good bet for 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns, but Yeldon is still in town, which limits Fournette’s value in PPR leagues.
Speaking of Yeldon, he has some standalone value as a bye week flex fill-in, but he’s not going to be a weekly producer for fantasy.
The Jaguars have the No. 30 wide receiver corps from a fantasy perspective.
The Jaguars have one of the deepest wideout corps in the NFL, but it’s extremely difficult to pin down from a fantasy perspective. Lee is the presumed No. 1, but he has yet to truly thrive in that role. He was the overall No. 41 wideout last year while posting a 56-702-3 line in 13 games. We have Lee projected to be the No. 43 wideout in 2018.
Moncrief joins the crowded Jaguars wideout corps from the Colts, where he never gained traction in the wake of Andrew Luck’s injuries. Moncrief is supposedly going to be a starter for the Jaguars, and if that’s the case, we can pin him down as a tail-end WR5. That makes him worth a roster spot, but it’s unlikely he’ll be a weekly starter.
The Jaguars have the No. 15 group of tight ends from a fantasy perspective.
The athletic Seferian-Jenkins does fill a need at tight end for the Jaguars, but his general inconsistency over the course of his career — coupled with the fact the Jaguars will be a run-first team and have a crowded group of pass-catchers — means it’s hard to project ASJ for enough volume to be anything more than a TE2.
Blake Bortles doesn’t need to be drafted this year, but he’ll be a viable streamer.
No. 26: Washington Redskins
Led by a new quarterback and running back, the Washington Redskins check in at No 26 in the 2018 power rankings. The Redskins offer fantasy players 70 percent as much value as an average NFL team. They have six fantasy-relevant players you need to know about for your 2018 draft:
- Alex Smith, QB
- Derrius Guice, RB
- Chris Thompson, RB
- Jamison Crowder, WR
- Josh Doctson, WR
- Jordan Reed, TE
The Redskins have the No. 16 backfield from a fantasy perspective.
The Samaje Perine project didn’t work out for the Redskins, and they’ve moved on to a new, better young running back in Guice, who figures to be the team’s early-down back. He should garner about 275-300 total touches with 1,200-plus total yards — nearly all of which will come on the ground. Guice should be viewed as an RB2 whose upside is limited because of his projected lack of use in the passing game.
Guice won’t be used too much in the passing game (probably) because he didn’t do it much in college and because the Redskins already have one of the league’s best pass-catching backs on the roster in Thompson. He is coming back from a broken leg, but he should be good to go for the season.
Last year, Thompson averaged 15.3 points per game in PPR leagues, which put him on pace to be a top-10 running back in the format last year. Thompson is probably closer to a tail-end RB2 or strong flex option in reality, but his role isn’t expected to change much with Guice now on board.
The Redskins have the No. 27 wide receiver corps from a fantasy perspective.
After a semi-breakout season in 2016 in which he scored seven touchdowns and emerged as one of the team’s best red-zone threats, Crowder didn’t take a step forward in 2018 and was largely viewed as a disappointment as a result. But Crowder still fits in as the slot man in Washington, a role that should make him a tail-end WR3 or decent flex option most weeks. It’s hard to project him to do more than he’s done over the past two years — about 70 catches and 800 yards with about five touchdowns — but that production is good enough to rank in the top 35.
It’s nearing “do or die” time for Doctson, who has all the tools to be a team’s No. 1 wideout but has yet to put it all together. Doctson posted a 35-502-6 line last year in 15 games, which ranked 55th among wideouts. However, he was targeted 17 times in the end zone — tied for fifth among all wideouts. Doctson obviously needs to see more than 72 targets to be a worthwhile fantasy option, but his elite red-zone usage makes him intriguing.
The Redskins have the No. 8 group of tight ends from a fantasy perspective.
Reed needs to stay healthy in order to be a viable fantasy option, but his upside is undeniable. He was the No. 2 fantasy tight end back in 2015, and his 9.8 PPG average from 2017 would have made Reed a top-10 tight end in 2017 if he played a full season.
Reed also gets a new quarterback (Alex Smith) that is quite comfortable throwing to his tight end. He’s easily a top-10 tight end this season, health permitting.
The Redskins have the No. 16 group of quarterbacks from a fantasy perspective.
Smith had a career year in 2017 with the Chiefs, as he threw for 4,042 yards, 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Smith added 355 rushing yards as well, the third-highest mark of his career. Smith, who was always a dink-and-dunk quarterback, caught fire with his deep ball last year. His NFL QB rating on deep passes (20-plus yards) was a league-leading 131.4. He led the league in deep yards (1,344) and deep touchdowns (12).
This really came out of nowhere. Smith’s deep yards (1,344) last year were more than he had in 2014-2016 combined (1,199). Smith’s weapons aren’t as good in Washington as they were in Kansas City, though, and his 2017 season will likely look like a statistical outlier once it’s all said and done. Smith should be viewed as a borderline QB1 who might better be served as a streaming option rather than a weekly starter.
No. 25: San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are on the up-and-up after trading for Jimmy Garoppolo, but from a fantasy perspective, it’s still more potential than reality. The 49ers rank No. 25 on the 2018 fantasy football team power rankings.
The 49ers offer fantasy players 72 percent as much value as an average NFL team. They have seven fantasy-relevant players you need to know about for your 2018 draft:
- Jimmy Garoppolo, QB
- Jerick McKinnon, RB
- Matt Breida, RB
- Pierre Garcon, WR
- Marquise Goodwin, WR
- George Kittle, TE
The 49ers have the No. 14 backfield from a fantasy perspective.
McKinnon, Minnesota’s former pass-catching specialist whose athleticism jumps off the screen, is primed to take on a lead role in a rising 49ers offense. McKinnon was the No. 17 overall PPR back last year while stepping in for an injured Dalvin Cook and splitting the backfield with Latavius Murray.
The McKinnon hype is justifiable: He’s joining Jimmy G in a Kyle Shanahan offense, which features pass-catching backs, and there isn’t too much competition for touches. But McKinnon has also never topped 160 rushing attempts in a season, nor has he amassed more than 600 rushing yards in a season, so there is some hesitation to label him a true “workhorse” for the 49ers. He’s a pretty safe bet for at least 225 touches, though — with 275 within reasonable reach — so it’s fair to consider McKinnon a solid RB2 in PPR leagues.
McKinnon’s only legitimate completion for touches is Breida, who impressed last year with 645 total yards on 126 touches while spelling Carlos Hyde. Breida projects as the team’s chance of pace back, but his role could be larger than people expect if McKinnon isn’t able to handle workhorse-like volume.
The 49ers have the No. 23 wide receiver corps from a fantasy perspective.
Garcon was on pace for 80 receptions and 1,000 yards last season, but he played only eight games and missed out on the Garoppolo bump the 49ers offense experienced over the second half of the year. Garcon will be 32 when the season begins, but he still profiles as the 49ers’ No. 1 wideout, and there’s really no reason to think he’ll fall of the pace he set last season. Garcon is a tail-end WR2.
Goodwin filled in as the team’s primary wideout with Garcon out and Garoppolo under center last year. This was a profitable position for Goodwin, as he was the No. 8 wideout in fantasy over the final five weeks of the season, averaging 5.8 receptions and 77 yards per game. He’ll likely slide back in as the team’s No. 2 receiver with Garcon back from injury, but his successful connection with Garoppolo down the stretch last year bodes well for his 2018 outlook. We currently have Goodwin projected for 50 receptions and over 800 yards, which would be enough to make him an occasional flex option. He does have upside for more, though.
The 49ers have the No. 18 group of tight ends from a fantasy perspective.
Kittle is everyone’s favorite breakout tight end candidate for 2018. Kittle posted a 43-515-2 line last year, and he had a big 7-83-1 line against the Colts that showcased his upside. Kittle also posted lines of 4-52-0, 3-42-1, and 4-100-0 over the final three weeks of the season, which is likely what makes people most excited for what he can do over a full schedule with Jimmy G as his quarterback.
Kittle should be viewed as a TE2 with upside. He’s worth a pick later in drafts. If he catches fire in the new-look 49ers offense, then you have yourself a cheap TE1 on your hands.
The 49ers have the No. 14 group of quarterbacks from a fantasy perspective.
From Weeks 13-17 last season, while serving as the 49ers’ starting quarterback, Garoppolo was the No. 7 fantasy quarterback. He threw for 1,542 yards (third in the NFL over those final five games) and attempted 176 passes (tied for fourth-most). It’s a relatively small sample size but coupled with his short stint as a starter in New England to kick off the 2016 season and his general success in the preseason, people are rightfully excited about Garoppolo.
The small sample indicates that the 49ers are going to let Garoppolo let it loose often, which should give him the volume needed to be a weekly fantasy starter. The thing working against Garoppolo, though, is that the quarterback position is absolutely loaded this year, so it’s hard to paint him as a top-12 quarterback. Jimmy G is best viewed as a tail-end QB1 or a weekly streaming option. His surrounding talent isn’t as good as some other quarterbacks and his sample size is small — even if it has all been good.