Fantastic Football Players and How to Find Them

Newswire’s guide on how to accumulate fantasy points and avoid punishment

By Owen Barr, Guest Writer

With the NFL season just a few weeks away, it’s  time for the fantasy football train to get going. As your respective drafts approach, let’s run down the depth chart and look at the hottest top players, the best players to trade for, good sleeper picks and the players to avoid. 

At wide receiver(WR), there  seems to be an absolute treasure trove of talent. Wide receivers Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings), Tyreek Hill (Miami Dolphins), Davante Adams (Las Vegas Raiders) and Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams) are likely to go in the first round of many drafts. These players are talented, and all of them are likely to produce results this year. Much like wide receivers, there are a lot of running backs (RB) available who are going to be impactful. This includes Christian McCaffery (San Francisco 49ers), Austin Ekeler (Los Angeles Chargers), Nick Chubb (Cleveland Browns) and Josh Jacobs (Las Vegas Raiders), who are all likely to be integral pieces of many fantasy teams. For quarterbacks (QB), Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs) is going to be the player most people are longing for, but there are plenty of other great options. Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills), Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals), Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles) and Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens) are fantastic picks, who are going to be very productive this year. Finally, Travis Kelce (Kansas City Chiefs) might seem like the only real option at tight end, he is far from the sole pick. Mark Andrews (Baltimore Ravens), T.J. Hockenson (Minnesota Vikings) and David Njoku (Cleveland Browns) are all good options, and are likely to be available in the early rounds of the draft.  

In terms of trading, one person’s trash is another person’s dynasty starter, and there are plenty of formidable targets this season, such as James Connor (RB, Arizona Cardinals). Connor has been an overlooked running back the past few seasons, despite posting good numbers and being a solid producer. Connor will likely be sitting on a lot of benches, making him the perfect target to be picked up.. Another great trade target that has seemingly flown under the radar is Jerick McKinnon (RB, Kansas City Chiefs). McKinnon posted impressive stats in his 2022 campaign in Kansas City, and he had the highest points per touch among true running backs in the NFL. Despite that, McKinnon will probably end up riding the bench or sitting as a third string back on a lot of teams. Therefore, he will make a great trade target for those looking for a good, consistent running back. Other good trade targets to keep an eye on are Tyler Higbee (TE, Los Angeles Rams), Jerome Ford (RB, Cleveland Browns) and Terrance Marshall Jr. (WR, Carolina Panthers).   

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Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler caught 107 passes out of the backfield last season. His versatility places him among the likes of Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase and Christian McCaffery in drafts.

With the good, there will always be the bad, and there are a few players to avoid. Baker Mayfield (QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) has looked abysmal throughout preseason and training camp, and he shows little sign of improvement. Another QB that looks primed to fall flat this season is Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys), who has looked woeful in training camp and who does not have a good receiving core around him. Finally, we have DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Tennessee Titans). The aging receiver finds himself on a team that ranked third-to-last in the league in passing attempts last season, and who’s QB in Ryan Tannehill has looked mediocre at best.