Speculation and hype surrounding fantasy football players begins from free agency and on forward through training camps and into the preseason. Every year we see a few guys that ride the fantasy football 2018 hype-train then their average draft position (ADP) gets inflated. Sometimes, these players live up to the hype. Other times, the hype ends up being exactly that; just hype. A few notable candidates from last season are Derek Carr, Isaiah Crowell, Terrelle Pryor, and Darren McFadden. Those players are examples of passengers on the Hype-Train that derailed.
In this article, we’re going to identify some early passengers on the Hype-Train and the conditions surrounding their boarding. We will also assess whether or not they belong on that train, or if they should be steered clear of come draft day.
Fantasy Football 2018 Hype-Train: Whistle Stop One
Andrew Luck – QB – Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck is an early prediction for the Hype-Train. News just broke yesterday that he was throwing footballs at practice. Granted, they were college sized footballs, but in his meeting with the press afterward, his excitement was very real.
Luck on if he’ll be ready for Week 1: “Absolutely. No knock on wood. I believe it in my bones.”
— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) June 12, 2018
So while this report is very new and the news has yet to affect to his ADP, it’s all but certain that with no setbacks, Luck’s value is going to skyrocket which in turn will boost the value of his receiving core. It is well worth potential fantasy owners keeping an eye on his progress.
Chris Hogan – WR – New England Patriots
Julian Edelman made headlines last week with a PED suspension to start the 2018 season. Chris Hogan immediately boarded the hype train. His ADP jumped and he is currently listed as the 30th wide receiver off the board.
Hogan had a solid season shaping up until an injury occurred. In six of the nine games he played, he had 60 or more yards. He had five or more targets in eight of those nine games.
The downside is that the New England Patriots are deep at the wide receiver position. Rob Gronkowski, Malcolm Mitchell, and Phillip Dorsett are all still there, and they’ve added Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Kenny Britt. That list does not include the running back core, all of which are capable receivers.
As of now, Edelman is only serving a four-game suspension and will re-join as one of Tom Brady’s favored targets. What this means for fantasy owners, is whoever is the recipient of the uptick in targets through the first four weeks could immediately fade back into the committee upon Edelman’s return.
Josh Gordon – WR – Cleveland Browns
Putting Josh Gordon on a hype list almost seems redundant at this point. There is no doubt that the young man is an athletic specimen. There is statistical proof that he is capable of not just being a WR1, but being the WR1 for fantasy football. However, the last time he was the WR1 was the 2013 season.
Since that 2013 season, Gordon has only played in 10 games. In those 10 games, he has compiled 638 yards and one touchdown.
Gordon has a new quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, who has never thrown for more than 3,035 yards or 20 touchdowns. The other option is rookie Baker Mayfield. Gordon also is on a roster that is filling up with talent at the receiving position. He will be battling third-year receiver Corey Coleman and target-monster Jarvis Landry. Taylor is also rather fond of targeting his tight end. David Njoku is very athletic and may compliment Taylor’s affinity for the position. There is also expert scat-back Duke Johnson who’s role seems secure to garner his share of targets.
Bottom line, Gordon’s current ADP is 3.07 which is very high for a receiver that has missed more games than he’s played over his five-year career. Especially when one factors in how crowded the receiving options for a quarterback that doesn’t maintain a high-volume passing attack. His current ADP reflects almost strictly upside and is, therefore, a risky selection.
Jerick McKinnon – RB – San Francisco 49ers
Jerick McKinnon may be the player that was the first to board the 2018 Hype Train. He boarded early, during the free-agency frenzy. Carlos Hyde departed for Cleveland and the 49ers snatched up McKinnon quickly to be their lead back.
McKinnon has succeeded for fantasy owners primarily as a third-down specialist or pass-catcher out of the backfield. He can be electric if targeted in open space but does show some struggles between the tackles.
What is interesting is that this is not McKinnon’s first crack at the lead back. He had the shot when Adrian Peterson was out for the Minnesota Vikings and lost the job to Matt Asiata. Then again when Dalvin Cook went down to injury, and he lost the lead back role to Latavius Murray. One could speculate that it was the Vikings coaching that didn’t want to overload the young back, or they saw something that made them leery of him in that role.
McKinnon finished 2017 as the RB 20 last season. He had a combined 991 yards from scrimmage, and five touchdowns.
The encouraging difference is that the 49ers paid up to get him. The depth chart favors him as the clear-cut lead back with pass-catching upside. In fantasy football, opportunity reigns supreme.
Embed from Getty Images