Pre-Season Power Rankings
11. Derrick Coleman
I hesitate to rank Derrick this low because this is actually one of my sleeper playoff teams for this season. I like a lot of what Derrick did in this draft and think he could be the surprise team of the year. The reason he is so low post draft for me is because he drafted a lot of players who could go either way this season making this team very boom/bust. I think his QB1, RB1, WR1, and WR2 positions are definite strengths, but his QB2, RB2, and WR3 have enough questions for me that he falls to number 11 in my rankings. I also like Derrick’s bench depth getting Akers as his RB3 and a few solid options for his WR4 in Ruggs and Hardman. I fully expect to revisit these rankings and laugh at myself for ranking him this low.
QB: Drew Brees, Jimmy Garoppolo, Tyrod Taylor
Drew Brees finally showed some signs of age last year by getting injured and missing 6 games, but in the 10 games he did play he slung the ball around to the tune of a QB2 performance. The Saints are absolutely loaded on offense and adding Emmanuel Sanders as a WR2 will do nothing but help. I look for Brees to be a top 8 QB this season. The QB2 position for Derrick is much less solid as he’s starting Jimmy Garoppolo who has been average at best for fantasy purposes in his time in San Francisco. The problem lies with the offensive scheme as Kyle Shanahan employs an extremely run heavy approach. I don’t see Garoppolo finishing in the top half of QBs this season. Tyrod Taylor was an interesting late upside pick to me because as long as he’s starting he’s a good bet to put up some decent fantasy numbers. The problem is, he may not start for very long as the Chargers spent the 6th overall pick on QB Justin Herbert who is waiting in the wings to take over ASAP. I could see Tyrod starting over Jimmy G for Derrick the first few weeks and I wouldn’t question it at all.
RB: Austin Ekeler, Kareem Hunt, Cam Akers, Ke’shawn Vaughn
I love Derrick’s RB1 this year, Austin Ekeler. He dominated in the Chargers offense last season even though he was technically the RB2 finishing as the RB5 in fantasy. Phillip Rivers left in the offseason leading some to believe that he will lose production, but with the same coaching staff and scheme I fully expect Ekeler to pick up where he left off maybe even adding some production as he picks up some of Melvin Gordon’s work. Another top 6-7 finish would not surprise me in the least. Derrick took a big leap in drafting Kareem Hunt in the 4th round when many expected him to be more of a 6th-7th round pick, but the more I look at this pick, I don’t hate it. Yes he left value on the board, but Hunt was RB17 after he returned from suspension last year almost surpassing Nick Chubb the RB1 in Cleveland’s offense for value. If Chubb were to get hurt however, (he’s already picked up a concussion during training camp) Hunt would easily be a top 5 RB in fantasy. Cam Akers was a great mid round pickup for Derrick as it’s looking like he will be the main ball carrier for the Rams this year. That position has led to lucrative fantasy seasons for Todd Gurley in the past so there is heavy breakout potential with Akers this season. Ke’shawn Vaughn is another guy who has high upside, and is just an injury away from fantasy relevance. He was supposedly going to take over the Bucs backfield, but Ronald Jones has had a strong showing in camp while Vaughn has been injured squashing those rumors at least for now.
WR: Michael Thomas, Kenny Golladay, Marquise Brown, Henry Ruggs, Mecole Hardman, Brandon Aiyuk
Derrick’s receiving core is by far his largest strength and it’s not relatively close. He started by picking Michael Thomas at #3 overall. There were a few people who laughed at this pick, but Michael Thomas literally broke the fantasy football WR position last season scoring 330 more points than #2 WR Chris Godwin. To put that in perspective, it took all the way until #29 WR Jamison Crowder for Godwin to outscore someone by 330 points last season. Thomas likely won’t be THAT good again, but another overall WR1 performance is very likely. At WR2 is another solid WR in Kenny Golladay. Golladay finished as WR9 last season and that’s despite playing without Matthew Stafford for half of the season. He doesn’t typically have the most targets or the most catches, but Golladay is a TD and big play machine. That should add up to another top 10 WR year for Golladay. The question marks start to creep in at the WR3 position with starter Marquise Brown. Brown has a ton of buzz surrounding him going into this season with many players thinking he is going to breakout in a big way catching passes from Lamar Jackson. I’m not quite sold yet due to a mix of injury concerns and volume concerns in the Ravens offense. He will absolutely have some big, potentially week winning games this season, but I’m all about consistency and I just don’t think it will be there with Brown this season. Derrick took some nice fliers in his WR4-WR6 positions for bench depth as well. Henry Ruggs landed in a good spot with the Raiders where he doesn’t have much competition for targets outside of Darren Waller and to a lesser extent Hunter Renfrow. Ruggs was a first round pick for a reason and I expect him to be a solid asset in his rookie season. Mecole Hardman is the definition of boom/bust, but anyone who has Patrick Mahomes throwing them the ball is worth a look. Brandon Aiyuk is in the same boat fighting for targets with Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. He also is dealing with some injury issues, which could limit his early season usage.
TE: Noah Fant, Chris Herndon
Derrick’s TE spot is another big question mark for me. I like Noah Fant and Chris Herndon in real life, but for fantasy purposes I’m not sure either of them will have enough usage to produce top 12 numbers. The Broncos and the Jets both like to run the ball and neither Fant nor Herndon are the number 1 pass game options for their teams. If he can hit on one of them, he should be okay, but I don’t think there’s a high chance for either.