This is a dual article written by John Schepps (@CoachSchepps) and Justin Stephens (@JustinFF_). We put together a list of their top players to target and avoid based on their current ADP (average draft position). ADP was gathered from fantasypros.com. We know this is draft season so we also threw in a few of our reasons why for each player.
Let’s start off on a positive note with our top targets! Here is Coach’s first…
Brandon Aiyuk, WR 29 / 6.12 (49ers)
Aiyuk is where I’ve planted my flag this season. He does not get the credit he deserves for how talented of a wide receiver he actually is. In each of Aiyuk’s 1st three seasons he saw improvement in targets, receptions and receiving yards. Last year he passed the 1000 yard mark for the first time in his career.
I also expect the QB situation to be a better one in San Fransicso this season which should allow for more consistency game in and game out. Recent word coming out of San Francisco’s camp is that Aiyuk is “Unguardable.” He will be the 1st 49ers WR since Anquon Boldin to top 1000 yards receiving in back-to-back seasons.
James Cook, RB 30 / 7.08 (Bills)
Cook should have all the opportunity he can handle in Buffalo. I mean, who’s going to challenge him for touches? Singletary received 50+ targets each of the last 3 seasons and Cook is a better overall back and should be inheriting those targets.
This report is straight out of Bills Camp from Aug. 1st-
“James Cook [was] heavily involved in the pass game on Day 6…[Allen] completed 12-of-19 pass attempts through team drills. And of those 12 completions, second-year running back James Cook came down with five of them. Cook was easily the Bills’ best offensive player with the first unit, making good reads on run opportunities and then showing off his speed and hands as an outlet for Allen…Cook has continued to look like the far-and-away top back at training camp and seems destined for at least over half of the offensive snaps”
Jarod Goff, QB 17 / 10.08 (Lions)
Jarod Goff is respected by his peers more than he is from the fantasy community. There were only 10 QB’s voted by NFL players into the NFL top 100. Goff was #9 of 10. This is also going to be an electric offense with a surrounding cast of Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jameson Williams, and Sam Laporta.
The word out of Lions training camp from both the media and the players is that Goff has been lights out thus far. Also, let us not forget that Goff is 28 years old, so he is only now hitting that prime of his career age for quarterbacks.
Dameon Pierce, RB 18 / 4.08 (Texans)
Dameon Pierce has been utilized heavily in the passing game this offseason. He also gets a legitimate Quarterback in CJ Stroud, so there will be at least a better threat of a real passing game to help keep the opposing defenses honest. Houston has greatly improved their offensive line this offseason. Not only should Kenyon Green take a huge step in year 2, but they also added Shaq Mason who is an excellent run blocker.
Quentin Johnston, WR 47 / 10.09 (Chargers)
The cost for Quentin Johnston is so low in redraft right now that it is almost criminal. His opportunity shares have a chance to be among the highest in the league for all rookie Wide Receivers and even most rostered WR3’s in the league right now. That is even before considering the fact that Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have trouble staying healthy at times.
Also, Quarterback Justin Herbert is good enough to help elevate an already talented rookie WR. The highlights from the Chargers training camp proves as much. Here is a link to a YouTube short that shows just a taste of his freak athleticism.- https://www.youtube.com/shorts/PjF6zuxdwTc
Jake Ferguson, TE 31 / 20.02 (Cowboys)
With his ADP in the 20th round, this essentially means that Jake Ferguson is going undrafted in most leagues. This means you merely have to take him in the last round of your draft to take a chance on him and if he performs at all from the TE position, then you’ve won. If he doesn’t, then you’ve only “wasted” a 20th round pick. However, here is why I know he will perform.
Luke Schoonmaker has missed most of training camp and he will not likely be a factor until mid-season at the earliest anyway. Ferguson is going into year 2 and has established a great connection with QB Dak Prescott throughout camp. Also, Dalton Schultz is gone and the Cowboys and Dak need someone to take those targets.
Now let’s dive into Justin’s top targets for this redraft season…
DJ Moore, WR 21 / 5.08 (Bears)
DJ Moore has a total 5 year career average of 1,040 yards, 73 receptions, and 4 TDs. His Quarterbacks over that time have been Cam Newton (only 21 games — 14 of those were DJ’s worst season, his rookie year, so only 7 games with Cam after his rookie season), Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, Will Grier, Teddy Bridgewater, PJ Walker, Sam Darnold, and Baker Mayfield for 6 games. Aside from Cam and Baker, all of these guys are backups on their current teams. And DJ Moore’s average over his career is STILL equal to a WR 14 overall based on last season.
This means that if his new Quarterback, Justin Fields and the Bears offense is no better than what DJ Moore has had the last 5 years, he can still easily perform as a high-end WR2. Spoiler alert… His current situation is better than what he had in Carolina. Even if it’s about the same situation, then he is still likely to perform at close to his average, which is still 6 full spots ahead of his current ADP.
With the upside of Justin Fields’ improvement and the 10th overall pick in the NFL draft, Darnell Wright OT from Tennessee, I can see DJ Moore easily performing as a top 10 WR by the end of the season, so the value as the 20th WR off the board is delicious!
Nico Collins, WR 59 / 13.02 (Texans)
Nico Collins is now the WR1 in Houston. His biggest competition for targets at the WR position are Robert Woods, John Metchie, and Tank Dell. I love Robert Woods as a solid WR2 on any team he has ever been with, but when given the opportunity as the WR1 on a team he has failed to produce. He is a prototypical WR2 in the NFL and I see him nicely filling that role in Houston this season.
The John Metchie feel good comeback story is great and I feel strongly that he will bounce back and help make a big difference this season for the Texans. However, he still isn’t ready just yet to take that leap to be the guy. Tank Dell is a talented and explosive WR, however, he is just a rookie and he isn’t exactly built like a “Tank” at 5’10” and 165 pounds.
Another thing to consider is that 3rd year breakouts for WR’s are a real thing that happens a lot in the NFL. Even players will admit to that. Nico is primed and ready to take that leap. I also want to remind you of what Coach Schepps said earlier in this article about CJ Stroud being a more legit QB to help keep the defense honest. In order for that to work, someone will need to be on the other end of Stroud’s attempts.
By sheer volume alone Collins could easily be a WR3 on fantasy rosters and is being drafted as almost a WR 6 at the 13.02. If I’m being perfectly honest, I love all 3 of the top WR’s in the Texans offense compared to their ADP. I just think Nico has the best chance to be the biggest payoff.
Travis Etienne, RB 14 / 3.07 (Jaguars)
If y’all didn’t listen to Coach all last offseason, it’s still not too late! 1,125 yards, 35 catches for 316 yards, and 5 TDs in “practically” his rookie season last year after bouncing back from his Lisfranc injury the year before. Travis Etienne will expand on those numbers this season.
He does now have Tank Bigsby who will be competing for downs, but this offense will be strong enough to hold 2 good RB’s should Bigsby have a huge rookie year and if he doesn’t have a huge rookie year, then Etienne will just eat even more. As the 3.07 RB 14 overall, I’ll take Etienne and feel confident that I’m getting a consistent top 8 RB most weeks from my RB 2 position.
Dak Prescott, QB 10 / 7.10 (Cowboys)
Since I have already talked a ton on Aaron Rodgers this offseason, I’ll leave him off this list and take another redraft favorite QB of mine this year, Dak Prescott. This is mostly a 1QB league play here, but it works for Super Flex as well. You just may need to take him a bit sooner in Super Flex obviously, but this ADP is including both 1QB and Super Flex leagues.
In 1 QB mocks, I have been able to get Dak in the 10th, 11th and even 12th rounds of drafts. That is where I typically go after my QB’s in 1 QB leagues. Dak was the QB 13 last year in Points Per Game and that’s including the Week #1 game where he went out early with his injury against the Bucs (whom he later went on to have a 36 point game against in the playoffs BTW).
I know the team keeps saying they are going to RUN, RUN, RUN… But they let Zeke go, and signed Brandin Cooks, who is making heads turn and jaws drop in camp. Their actions would suggest they may also decide to throw the ball some too. Either way, Dak is the QB 10 in drafts and I see him getting that consistently most weeks, with the chance for some big-game winning weeks as a top 3 QB.
Juwan Johnson, TE 18 / 14.05 (Saints)
Juwan Johnson finished last season as the TE 18 overall. He is the true TE on the team, as I don’t consider him competing with Taysom Hill. Taysom rarely lines up as a TE and they were on the field at the same time regularly when Taysom was out there. So, Juwan has no real competition for snaps.
With Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston last season, Johnson finished where he is being drafted at now… with Derek Carr as his QB. He has to only improve. Additionally, Johnson’s stats have grown exponentially in a positive trajectory each of his first 3 seasons and year 4 is historic for being known as the “Breakout Season” for a lot of TE’s.
If you draft Johnson, you are getting him in the last round of your redraft leagues and he will pay off as a top 12 TE this season most weeks. You at least will not need to stream the position if you take him late in drafts like most TE’s being taken in the final 2 rounds of drafts.
Next are the players that Coach is passing up on based on their current ADP…
DK Metcalf, WR 15 / 3.09 (Seahawks)
This has less to do with DK Metcalf and more to do with Jaxson Smith-Njigba. It’s going to be hard to hit those high-end numbers with JSN eating into his numbers.
Daniel Jones, QB 14 / 9.12 (Giants)
This is going to be year 2 in Coach Daboll’s system and defenses now have film on them. They will be better prepared to stop the Giants offense. I also don’t believe he will be consistent enough to warrant going ahead of Goff, Wilson, or Stafford. Goff and Wilson are currently going a full round later and Stafford is going 3 rounds later.
Kenneth Walker, RB 16 / 3.09 (Seahawks)
This is actually an “avoid player” for both Coach and Justin. Kenneth Walker has been banged up this offseason as he is missing time with a groin injury. He also has a bit of a Zach Charbonnet problem behind him in the depth chart that will likely take a lot of touches away from Walker. Walker appears to be the RB 1 for the Seahawks and he is very talented. We just don’t like the situation with the potential workload.
The Seahawks were already in the bottom ⅓ of the league in rushing attempts last season. They were in the top half of the league in passing. So, they were relatively equal compared to most teams.
As mentioned above, the Seahawks also drafted Jaxson Smith-Njigba which suggests to me that the Seahawks don’t intend to change their passing/rushing ratio any time soon. They want to keep a balanced offense.
DJ Moore, WR 21 / 5.08
Justin has DJ Moore as a guy to target, but I for one feel differently about him this season. Can Justin Fields be consistent enough as a thrower to make DJ Moore a high end WR 2 week in and week out?
Also, Chase Claypool has looked great at camp and may challenge Moore for targets and Tyler Scott & Darnell Mooney can both spread the field and will both warrant short passes as extensions of the running game, due to their YAC ability.
Keenan Allen, WR 22 / 5.09
Keenan Allen is now 31 years old and going into his 11th season. He is coming off a season where he missed 7 games during the regular season due to injuries, and young and talented starts such as Mike Williams, Quentin Johnston, and Josh Palmer are all emerging.
Now for Justin’s players to avoid based on ADP…
Jaylen Waddle, WR 10 / 2.11 (Dolphins)
In games without QB Tua last season, Waddle and Hill combined for 0 TDs. Although Hill still performed consistently well, Waddle on the other hand wasn’t so consistent without Tua. This would suggest that he is very Quarterback-dependent. However, what many don’t seem to realize is that Waddle also wasn’t very consistent even with a healthy Tua at QB.
In 8 of 13 games with Tua (62%), Waddle finished as a WR 2 or worse for fantasy. And 7 of 13 games with Tua he finished as a WR 3 or worse. WR19, 28, 60, 26, 38, 30, 97, 69. That is an average of WR 46 (A low end WR 4) in games with Tua. And no TD’s in games without Tua. That is not the consistency that you want from your WR 1. He is a boom or bust player right now. I don’t want a boom or bust guy as my number 1. Now, if he happens to slip to the late 3rd and you can get him as your WR2, I’m ok with it.
Isiah Pacheco, RB 16 / 5.02 (Chiefs)
On PlayerProfiler.com, there isn’t a single stat that Pacheco excelled in. In fact, his best category was “Yards per touch”, but he only touched the ball 9 times per game, even though the Chiefs were playing with a lead nearly every week when a RB typically will touch the ball more.
Quite honestly Pacheco, McKinnon, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire are all guys that will continue to get in each other’s way, so they are all guys I will avoid at their ADPs in this non-RB friendly offense.
Jerry Jeudy, WR 24 / 5.12
In 1/3rd of his games last season in PPR, Jerry Jeudy recorded numbers that didn’t even qualify him as a WR3! He’s being drafted ahead of 9 other WR’s with way better proven consistency AND Diontae Johnson that is bound to have a positive TD regression. That is at least 10 WR’s behind Jeudy who will provide a more consistent weekly output.
There is no way Jeudy finishes even as a top 30 WR for more than half of his games and people are drafting him as a WR 2 or WR 3.
David Njoku, TE 10 / 9.01
David Njoku’s average finish in any given week over his career are as follows (excluding games he missed)…
2017- Averaged as the 29th best TE in any given week that he played.
2018- 16th (His best season).
2019- 40th (Only 3 games played. He finished 8th, 60th, and 54th)
2022- 18th on the season. 16th without Watson, 22nd with Watson.
Career- TE 26 in any given week. That’s a TE 3 overall for your fantasy rosters.
In 18 of his 77 (0.237) games played, Njoku finished at his current ADP of TE 10 or better. In 40 of his 77 (0.519) games played he finished at TE 25 or worse. Now, maybe Watson didn’t lose it and he figures it out. And maybe that brings out a talent in Njoku that we have rarely seen on any sort of consistent basis, and maybe that makes him a low-End TE1… But that’s a lot of MAYBE’S that MIGHT get him to pay off at the cost you are drafting him at. The reward value is not anywhere near high enough to take that risk for me.
Also, considering there are a lot of other TE’s under him that may not have a track record at all, I think not having a history PLUS potential, is better than having a proven TE2/TE3 history.