Posted: Monday, August 20, 2018
If you've read our Top 10 Draft Tips, you'll know that we recommend having a healthy mix of safe and sexy to your roster. Here are five of the riskiest fantasy picks you can make on draft day but may still payoff.
LeSean McCoy, RB - BUF
Shady is no longer worth a first or second round pick. He turned 30 this past July and is playing on a questionable offense behind a terrible offensive line that ranks 29th in the NFL. He finished 2017 as the 2nd in rush attempts and saw a career-low 4.0 YPC. He's dealt with hamstring, knee, and ankle troubles over the years. Even though he's likely to be the workhorse in Buffalo, it's the risk associated with the legal allegations that have been brought against him. If those prove to be anything close to true, there's every reason to expect the league to suspend him. He's going in the 3rd round of most 12-team drafts. If he's your RB1, that's probably not good, but if he's your RB2 or RB3, he may be worth the risk.
Josh Gordon, WR - CLE
Even though Gordon has indicated that he's returning to the Browns this year, there still hasn't been a timetable for that return. He hasn't even showed up to camp yet and hasn't seen a single preseason snap. Additionally, the team has indicated that they will "ease him into action" meaning that he's not going to be the Josh Gordon we fondly remember. Even when he returned last year, he put up just 18 catches for 335 yards. While he gets a QB upgrade in Tyrod Taylor and #1 pick Baker Mayfield, he's also going to have to compete for targets with Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Duke Johnson, Corey Coleman and rookie Antonio Callaway. Gordon is being drafted in the late 4th/early 5th round of most 12-team drafts showing the upside and potential that many fantasy owners believe he can deliver. He definitely has the talent to be the kind of player to take you to the fantasy playoffs, but there's no guarantee how well he plays or even how often he plays. There is a great deal of risk for where he's being drafted.
T.Y. Hilton, WR - IND
Perhaps no other player's value is so intricately tied to his QB than Hilton's. Andrew Luck has returned to the field, but Hilton's fantasy value rests solely on the recovering right shoulder of Luck's. When Luck was healthy, Hilton was a fantastic player averaging 81 catches for 1,250 yards over four seasons. When Luck was hurt, Hilton was a complete non-factor in fantasy. He wasn't always the most consistent player, but Hilton was (and remains) the clear #1 option in Indy. With an early 3rd-round ADP, Hilton may be risky but he's worth the risk where he's being taken.
David Johnson, RB - ARI
There's every reason to expect Johnson to have a monster year, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't carry some risk. He ended the 2016 season with a sprained MCL, and fantasy owners lost DJ in Week 1 last year with a wrist injury that cost him the entire season. He's an incredible talent in the prime of his career, but he also runs behind the 28th-ranked offensive line. Even though he carries risk, he is absolutely worth drafting because the reward is definitely worth it. We have him projected for 72 catches, 1,837 yards, and 11 trips to the end zone.
Jordan Reed, TE - WAS
When Jordan Reed is on the field, he's a beast and a monster red-zone target. The key to that statement is "when he's on the field" because Reed is as injury-prone as he is talented. He only suited up for 52 of a possible 80 games in his career, and saw a career-low 23% of the snaps in Washington last year. A healthy Jordan Reed should produce incredible fantasy numbers with new QB Alex Smith under center. If he can stay healthy, his current ADP is a significant value, but if there's any player that we can be certain will deal with an injury issue, it's easily Jordan Reed. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't draft Reed, it just means that you'll want to be sure to grab a competent backup option.
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