Top dynasty options in the 2018 draft class: Nos. 7-12
First off, for those of you who don’t know me, I have been writing for the last four years with a focus on dynasty and devy fantasy leagues. Joining Pro Football Focus for the upcoming season means that I plan to share a lot with you. I thought rather than look to the past for my inaugural article, it would be better to look ahead.
The hype surrounding the 2017 draft class, and subsequent dynasty rookie drafts, took hold over a year ago. The prospects of having a robust running back group, a deep wide receiver trough, and a historically talented tight end class made dynasty owners act illogically trying to acquire 2017 first-round picks. The 2016 season and some late injuries and decisions to stay for another college season weakened the overall class.
Fast forward now to 2018. The hype is starting up again. Many owners are already trading out of the 2017 rookie draft and projecting forward. There is some serious talent that could come out for this class, but is the hype warranted?
Over the next two days, I’m taking a look at my top 12 prospects eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft for fantasy purposes. Below are 7-12, with the top six coming in Part 2.
12. Richie James, WR, Middle Tennessee State
Much like Zay Jones in this NFL Draft, James could be the small-school stats accumulator who rises over the next year. James already has two seasons of 100-plus receptions and was second in total yards after the catch (875). That was partly due to his ability to make tacklers miss after receptions as James was third in the nation with 24. His balance and elusiveness is the reason the team gave him 39 carries on top of the 161 targets in 2016. Unsurprisingly, the 5-foot-”, 170-pound receiver spent 92 percent of his routes in the slot with 477 total routes, the latter number good for third overall in 2016.
His frame and short-area quickness has James positioned to be a game-changing slot receiver for an NFL team. Comparisons to players like Randall Cobb or a smaller Golden Tate are apt, but it’s clear that landing spot will be key. James might not go as high as Jones did this year but I would be surprised if he isn’t a Day 2 option.