2018 Fantasy Football - Value Players









By Chet Gresham - @ChetGresham
Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Most of the fantasy football sites out there submit their rankings to Fantasy Pros, so they put out consensus rankings which I'll compare my own rankings to right here in this article! I wouldn't call these players sleepers, but at the moment they aren't valued as highly on average as I value them.

Michael Crabtree, WR, Ravens
Michael Crabtree's consensus ranking is as the 26th wide receiver off the board, whereas I currently have him as my 16th receiver. The Raiders opted for the cheaper and older receiver in Jordy Nelson, saving over $7 million by releasing Crabtree. Last year was an awful season for Oakland's offense, but Crabtree still outplayed Amari Cooper yet again with a similar target share. Despite Cooper coming in as the No. 1 receiver, Crabtree scored more fantasy points in every season and finished as the 12th-best fantasy receiver in 2016. Now, Crabtree goes to a Ravens team that is in desperate need of a go-to receiver, which he will become, and that in turn should boost his target totals and opportunities into the top-15 wideout range.





Chris Hogan, WR, Patriots
I currently have Hogan ranked as the 24th fantasy wide receiver, while the consensus has him at No. 35. I get it, the Patriots are a tough team to get a grip on usage, so we often take a measured approach, but with Brandin Cooks gone, Hogan becomes the big-play guy. Since joining the Patriots in 2016, Hogan has 72 receptions from 117 targets - 61.5 percent - for 1,119 yards and nine touchdowns. And that doesn't even count his 128 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Yes, Julian Edelman will be back,, but Hogan's role is safe in comparison to Edelman's, and Danny Amendola and Cooks are, as you know, elsewhere.

Sony Michel, RB, Patriots
Rookie running backs are sometimes downgraded slightly due to being rookies, while Patriots running backs are downgraded due to the many running backs Bill Belichick uses. The good news is that those Patriots running backs score a lot of fantasy points, second only to the Saints over the last three seasons. New England has also given a bigger percentage of work to individual running backs over the last two seasons, with LeGarrette Blount seeing 306 touches in 2016 and Dion Lewis seeing 212 touches last year despite not getting into double-digit rushing attempts until Week 6. And to top it off, Michel is the best pure runner on the team and was drafted in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Yes, Rex Burkhead is a good all-around player, but he is more useful to Belichick as someone he can move around the formation, while Michel will handle the early-down work and will have upside as a receiver when called upon. I have Michel ranked as the 15th-best fantasy running back while the consensus has him at 28th. Burkhead is the only other back I feel has a chance to succeed, so I could see backing Michel up with him and then dominating fantasy football forever!



Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks
Penny is a top prospect, to be sure, but his real value comes from a landing spot in Seattle that affords him a lot of leeway and a three-down job. I only have him four spots above consensus as the 18th running back compared to the 22nd, but I have him a bit higher in PPR leagues. I'm sure many people are worried about the Seahawks' offensive line, and I get that, but Duane Brown is a monster and they will have him for the full season in 2018. He makes this unit much better, and Penny will be a workhorse from day one.

Vance McDonald, TE, Steelers
McDonald is an injury risk to be sure, but he looked great when targeted last season for Pittsburgh. He is currently ranked as the 27th-best tight end and I have him as the 16th, but if he stays healthy, I think he could easily surpass that. In Pittsburgh's playoff loss to the Jaguars, he saw a whopping 16 targets, catching 10 for 112 yards, and he averaged over 13 yards a reception in his limited work during the regular season. McDonald can be had very cheaply, and his upside is great in the Steelers' offense, especially with a declining defense that will keep the offense going full tilt.



David Njoku, TE, Browns
Njoku will be the no-doubt No. 1 tight end in Cleveland this season. He has tremendous talent and was hidden last year due to poor quarterback play and an even split with Seth DeValve, but Njoku will be ready for a breakout this year after scoring four touchdowns on 32 receptions. The loss of Hunter Henry from the tight end pool also bumps him up because there isn't a lot of talent to mine from the for-sure tight end starters. Njoku has talent to spare and is on a team that should have a much better all-around offense this year.

Also, check out WalterFootball.com's otherFantasy Football Rankings.






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