I highlighted some targets in every position group in my IDP Strategy Guide earlier this week. But here are a few more players with big upside worth strong consideration if you have your fantasy football draft this weekend ...
Josh Allen, DE, Jaguars
Can the 7th overall pick really be a sleeper? Sure, at least in this case.
Allen sits basically outside of draft territory in the Fantasy Pros expert consensus IDP rankings. That’s probably because landing in Jacksonville didn’t give him a clear path to starting at DE. But Allen will clearly factor into the edge picture right away, and the Jags’ issues at OLB present extra opportunities for playing time. Off-field issues have Telvin Smith gone for the year, and rookie OLB Quincy Williams enters the year as a question mark after tearing his right meniscus.
Allen, meanwhile, started the 3rd preseason contest, played more snaps than anyone else in the lineup with him and looked GOOD while delivering a pair of tackles for loss and 2 QB hits. He could have immediate double-digit sack upside on this loaded defense.
Josey Jewell, LB, Broncos
I pointed out Jewell in the IDP Strategy Guide as a player I’m well ahead of consensus on, but I wanted to shine a little more light on him.
I’ve liked Jewell since he entered the league last season off a stellar career at Iowa. He led last year’s LB class in both run-stop percentage and passes defensed in his final college season, according to Pro Football Focus. Jewell racked up 124+ total tackles in each of his final 3 seasons with the Hawkeyes and tallied 28 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 6 INTs and 26 passes defensed.
He spent 2018 behind Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis on the Denver depth chart, but Marshall is gone and Davis spent most of training camp and the preseason injured. That has cleared the path for Jewell to not only lock up a starting gig but also wear the green dot as the defensive play-caller.
I consider Jewell’s #28 ranking among LBs in our default scoring system a conservative starting point. He carries true breakout potential into 2019.
Jerome Baker, LB, Dolphins
Miami’s battles at QB and RB have drawn primary focus, but the new coaching staff has also shaken up the defense.
The “unofficial” depth chart continues to list last year’s starting trio as the top 3 LBs: Baker, Kiko Alonso and Raekwon McMillan. But Baker is the only 1 among the 3 who has played in any of the preseason contests. He and CFL import Sam Eguavoen have started and played through each outing as the 2 LBs in the nickel set that has served as Miami’s base defense. Both Baker and Eguavoen have reportedly impressed all summer, and recent rumors leave Alonso and McMillan as cut candidates. (NFL teams must get down to 53 players by 4 p.m. on Aug. 31.)
The situation gives sleeper status to both Baker and Eguavoen for IDP drafts over the next 2 weekends. I’ll favor Baker, though, as the 2nd-year, former 3rd-round pick. He delivered 155 tackles, 7 sacks and 2 INTs over 2 starting seasons at Ohio State before working his way into the strong-side starting role in last year’s 4-3 base. Baker’s elite speed for the position (4.53-second 40 at the 2018 Combine, 89th percentile among LBs) should keep him near the ball.
Chris Board, ILB, Ravens
I mentioned in Thursday’s IDP Strategy Guide that I appear to be way ahead of the consensus in my ranking of Baltimore ILB Patrick Onwuasor, and I haven’t moved him down at all. Onwuasor is calling the defensive plays, which should mean a full-time role for the 1st time in his 4th season. And he has posted nice numbers in multiple categories in limited time to date.
But we don’t need to dislike Onwuasor to like his new partner inside.
Last season found Onwuasor playing just 42% of the snaps as the #2 ILB. In 2017, he played 59.2% in the same role. Should we expect that level of playing time for Board?
We’ll see. But the preseason games have found both ILBs staying on the field for nearly every down. Board missed the 3rd exhibition after sustaining a concussion in the previous outing. But he has been playing ahead of Kenny Young, who also stayed on the field with Onwuasor across situations against the Eagles.
Board’s history as a college safety should help his chances of playing in passing sub packages.
Desmond King, CB, Chargers
Here’s a gem for leagues that score return yardage. King is already in play for CB slots across IDP formats. He finished 2017 among the top 20 fantasy DBs and followed with a 2nd top-40 finish. And that’s without factoring in returns.
King hits his 3rd season as the Chargers’ primary option for both kickoffs and punts. He took a punt back for a TD last year, something King never accomplished at Iowa. He also finished 2018 3rd in the league in yards per punt return and 8th in yards per kick return.
If you get points for return yardage, then push King way up your IDP rankings.