Who should I draft? – AFC North
During the next few weeks I will be looking at who you should be drafting for your fantasy team in a half PPR league and who is going to make that extra difference so you can win your league. Firstly, I will be looking at the AFC North and the main players who you need to draft plus some players who you can get cheaply later on in your draft.
Firstly we have the Baltimore Ravens, a team who went 14-2 last season with a massive breakout from there QB Lamar Jackson. As wonderful as Jackson was if you want him in your team this year you are going to have to pay big to get him with his ADP being 1.12. The number 1 QB last year had some impressive numbers with over 1,200 rushing yards alone and 36 passing touchdowns would probably be to expensive for most.
Baltimore also have some interesting players that you could go for in Mark Ingram and J.K Dobbins at running back. Ingram was the RB8 last year rushing for just over 1000 yards but with Dobbins arriving some of the production might get eaten up. Marquise Brown is the main wide receiver for the Ravens but at number 45 last year he isn’t the best although he does have dynasty value as he is young.
Mark Andrews is a quality tight end who got 10 touchdowns last year and 852 yards making him the TE2. Unfortunately you will have to pay for that as his average draft position is 4.03. The only other offensive player that you might be interested in is Devin DuVernay at wide receiver who was at Texas last year. He will bring more speed to the offence but he would be a late draft pick in the hope he might do something and is probably more of a dynasty choice.
Next up we have the Pittsburugh Steelers, who had a season of injuries causing them to miss out on the play-offs with an 8-8 record. Big Ben is back after is injury last year and he and the Steelers are hoping that his arm is back to normal to push them back into the play-offs. His draft price is a snip at 12.11 but you do have to take into account that he is getting older and will he come back from the injury he suffered last year.
The running backs at Pittsburgh all have potential issues and although James Conner is the current number 1 there, he might not have it all his own way. Conner was the number 33 last year but with Jaylon Samuels and the new acquisition of Anthony McFarland through the draft it does mean that Conner might be more of a RB2/3 like last year.
At wide receiver the Steelers have some serious quality that will be worth noting now that Roethlisberger is back and could give you some serious players at a lower cost. JuJu Smith-Schuster is currently at 7.05 in a half ppr. Although he was wide receiver 66 last season Smith-Schuster was number 9 in 2018 and number 18 in 2017. Diontae Johnston was the wide receiver 40 last year but he has an ADP of 10.12, that’s the 52nd wide receiver off the board and with a better QB he might improve even more.
The Steelers also drafted Chase Claypool in the 2nd round and have James Washington who could both have decent chances of doing well but would be in the double digit rounds. Also the Steelers have free agent signing Eric Ebron at tight end who was with the Colts last year and Vance Macdonald who will probably stop each other from being fantasy relevant.
Third in the AFC North was the Cleveland Browns who had a record of 6-10 last year despite having some really good players that could be valuable to your team. The Browns QB Baker Mayfield has struggled over the last year and finished as the QB19 with 22 touchdowns but 21 interceptions. Given that he has an ADP of the 9.07 it feels that he would be a risk as there are many other QB’s you could opt for at the same price.
Nick Chubb however, is a player that is wanted by most people and given that he had the 2nd highest total for rushing attempts last year you can see him doing something similar this year. Although Chubb didn’t do much in the pass catching game he still got up to RB6 last year and although Kareem Hunt is there he is worth having as a RB1. His ADP is 2.02 which means if your at the end of the 1st round you could pick up a quality player and then have Chubb as well. Hunt is hoping to play 16 games this year but it wont stop Chubb being the number one choice and because of that his ADP of 6.11 seems a bit high.
At wide receiver the Browns have got one of the best players in his position over the last 5 years in Odell Beckham Jr but his first year in Cleveland was not great. He finished wide receiver number 31 however, it should be noted that he only had 4 touchdowns. You have to feel that by having another season with his new QB there is a strong chance that will improve. His average draft price is 6.02 and you have to feel that he could bounce back. Jarvis Landry is also a solid performer who has an ADP of 5.11 but if Beckham was to bounce back you would have to think it would cut into Landry’s numbers. Both players hit over 1000 yards last year and its plausible that both could do so again and the right player to pick would be team dependant. If you need solid and steady then go for Landry but if you want a possible WR1 then go for Beckham.
This year the Brown’s went out and got Austin Hooper in free agency who was the TE7 last season after an impressive season with Atlanta. He currently has an ADP of 5.11 which feels like he is going to cost a lot considering this is his 1st season with the team, especially with all the other weapons they have. The biggest problem with drafting the Brown’s player’s is that they are all around the same spot, causing you to be forced in making a choice for only one an d there are possible down sides to all of them.
Finally we have the Cincinnati Bengals who finished bottom of the pile with a 2-14 record, meaning that they would get the 1st pick in the draft. With that pick they opted for Joe Burrow from LSU who had one of the best season at college level. It is difficult to know if he is going to be a sure thing but given his talent you would expect him to do well. His ADP is 13.12 in half PPR which could be good value but chances are you would want someone more experienced. He would be a good pick in dynasty but obviously would cost a bit more.
At running back the Bengals have a high quality player in Joe Mixon who has got every chance to be in the top 10 running backs this year. Despite the problems the Bengals had last year Mixon still finished as the RB11and if Burrow can get going you have to feel that will only help. Gio Bernard is a solid back-up for the Bengals but really you would only draft him as a handcuff most likely in dynasty leagues.
At wide receiver the Bengals have got some decent players in Tyler Boyd and A.J Green. Boyd has been solid the last couple of years and last year produced just over 1000 yards making him the WR25. His ADP is 6.01 which means if you need a solid dependable wide receiver at that point then he would be a good choice. Green is harder to judge given his injury history but despite this he has the same ADP as Boyd. If Green can keep fit then he is a quality player but he is getting a bit older now and you have to think Boyd is the safer choice.
Along with Burrow the Bengals choose Tee Higgins in the 2nd round of the draft. Although it will be his 1st season he could get a lot of action if Green is not fit and he has some serious speed. Having said this you would be more likely to pick him up in a dynasty league given his uncertainty to make a big splash straight away.
Top QB choice : Ben Roethlisberger
I would pick Big Ben over Lamar Jackson purely on draft capital. By picking Jackson you would need to spend serious capital and Roethlisberger has a very good chance of getting back to how he was before last season’s injury.
Top RB choice : Nick Chubb
Chubb is a RB1 and is more than capable of taking the workload for the Browns again this year. It is very close between him and Mixon but given we don’t know how good Joe Burrow will be in the NFL I have to pick him first.
Top WR choice : JuJu Smith-Schuster
I think although his last year’s stats were not great he was without his first choice QB. Given his previous years with Big Ben playing you have to think he will come back to his best and his ADP is currently 7.05. I also have to mention that Odell Beckham Jr is a very good price considering his potential numbers. If you went running back heavy in the first 2/3 rounds picking him and JuJu up in the 6th and 7th round would be good value.
Top TE choice : Mark Andrews
Personally I wouldn’t go for a tight end in the 4th round but out of the four teams he is the best choice. He had a really good year last year becoming the tight end number 2 and you can see him keeping his numbers up as he is a key piece in the Ravens offence.