Pre-Season Power Rankings
3. Buck Bernard
I honestly wanted to list myself #1 because this is my favorite draft, I’ve had in my 13 Winkenbach seasons, but removing the bias as much as possible, I do think I have a few more question marks than Darin and Bo do. Dalvin Cook sliding to #6 was a solid surprise as he is one of probably 5 RBs who have #1 overall RB potential, but in my opinion the steal of the draft, who many consider, a top 8 RB, was Miles Sanders at #30 overall. WR2, WR3, and TE positions along with bench depth are the main question marks here, but again even these question marks could turn into potential booms if these guys do what I think they will.
QB: Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan
Drafting early QBs was the theme of this year’s draft it seemed like so solidifying 2 starting QBs early became a priority. Russell Wilson is a little bit up and down in fantasy, but typically always finishes in the top 6 every year. The recent Twitter campaign to #LetRussCook can only help his outlook this year and Wilson’s rushing ability adds in a pretty safe floor making him a top tier QB1. An interesting Matt Ryan stat I read right before the draft was that in odd years, he has never finished in the top 10 of fantasy QBs, but in even years he’s never finished lower than 7th including a #2 overall QB ranking the last two even years. What year is it this year? I expect Ryan to be solid all year long.
RB: Dalvin Cook, Miles Sanders, Ronald Jones, Matt Breida, Alexander Mattison
Arguably the biggest strength for this team is at the most important position, RB. Dalvin Cook finally lived up to his potential last season and through 14 weeks was the RB2 for fantasy football. He does come with injury concerns though having never made it through an entire season healthy including 2 more missed games last season and a final finish of RB6. Luckily, Alexander Mattison is not a huge drop off in talent and starting whomever the RB1 for Minnesota each week was last year resulted in a final finish of RB2. Miles Sanders is one of, if not the best starting RB2 in the league. As a rookie, Sanders finished as RB14 despite only starting 11 games. When Eagles starter Jordan Howard was hurt last year, Sanders really got it going turning in a RB8 performance from weeks 11-17. Is this a sign of a future elite back? Doug Peterson and Duce Staley seem to think so calling Sanders an every down back and one that will not need his workload monitored. The bench depth could prove to be an issue if Ronald Jones reverts back to his plodding non-elusive ways, but word from training camp is he has looked better than ever. Matt Breida was a late round dart throw that could be good this year with only injury prone Jordan Howard standing in his way for touches for Miami.
WR: Julio Jones, Michael Gallup, Brandin Cooks, Preston Williams, Sterling Shepard, Anthony Miller
Another potential strength of this team is WR. Julio Jones is as solid as they come at the WR position finishing at least top 8 at the position over the last 7 years. Barring injury, don’t expect to see anything different. The WR2 and WR3 spots are potential question marks filled with unproven or veteran players coming off a down year. At WR2, Michael Gallup looks like a budding superstar, even out targeting and out playing Amari Cooper at times last year, but Dallas added 1st round WR Ceedee Lamb to the mix muddying the waters a bit on Gallup’s outlook. Rounding out the starters is new Texans WR Brandin Cooks. Prior to last season, Cooks had 1000+ yards and a top 15 WR finish each of the previous 4 seasons, but concussion issues caught up to him last year leading to a poor finish. Swapping teams and with only injury prone Will Fuller in his way for targets, Cooks could easily be in for a bounce back season. The bench receivers look to be solid with a few question marks. Shepard is the #1 WR for the Giants with his own injury issues, Preston Williams was on his way to a breakout rookie season with the Dolphins before tearing his ACL, and Anthony Miller is a solid player who showed his immense upside from weeks 11-16 last year while turning in stats that over the course of the season average out to 90 receptions and 1100 yards.
TE: Tyler Higbee, Will Dissly
Another potential question mark is at the TE position for this team. Tyler Higbee burst onto the scene late last season becoming the first TE in the Super Bowl era to post four straight 7 catch 100-yard games, which drove him to a TE8 finish. The question is was this performance an outlier or a sign of things to come. This team needs it to be the latter. Dissly may turn out to be an early drop, but he has shown the potential over the last couple of years to be a top 5 TE. Two major injuries have limited his availability and have people questioning whether he will be the same player when he returns. As a bottom of the bench TE2, he’s worth the risk.