FANTASY PLAYS: Players being avoided can make for nice value

June 7, 2018

Whether trying to avoid a first-round gamble or reaching for a player too soon, many fantasy football players will go into 2018 drafts with a list of performers to absolutely not trust.

Don't be that obtuse to completely exclude players. One person's disappointment could be another's bargain:

JOE MIXON, RB, Bengals: Mixon will be off most boards by the end of the fourth round yet still has the taint of a 3.5-yard average yards per carry and the shadow of Giovani Bernard, especially in point-per-reception (PPR) leagues. Mixon is worth the risk if his value freefalls. Also note that only Tennessee's Dion Lewis (91.4 percent) had a better catching percentage than Mixon's 88.2 percent.

COREY DAVIS, WR, Titans: Last year's fifth overall pick had just 34 catches for 375 yards and failed to score in 11 games. Davis was an overreach in drafts last summer, but health and the addition of new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur are strong signs he can be a mid-round steal who could emerge as a WR3/flex with upside, which would be good news for...

MARCUS MARIOTA, QB, Titans: After firing 26 touchdown passes in 2016, Mariota threw half that number last year while tossing 15 interceptions. LaFleur will open the offense to take advantage of his dual-threat potential. He'll start as a backup option, but Mariota can easily account for 30-plus TDs this fall.

SAMMY WATKINS, WR, Chiefs: Despite scoring eight touchdowns, Watkins was a disappointment, catching only 39 passes for a Rams offense that broke out under quarterback Jared Goff. Now in Kansas City, Watkins' game-altering skills will be a good fit for strong-armed Patrick Mahomes.

MARSHAWN LYNCH, RB, Raiders: Oh, how he will love new coach Jon Gruden. Lynch could return to RB1 status under the new regime as he should eclipse the 207 carries he had in 2017. A 1,200-yard, 10-12 TD season is not out of the question.


Clayton Kershaw owners can't be blamed for being in near-panic mode upon the Dodgers ace returning to the disabled list last week. Kershaw's back woes will keep him out at least a month while a possible early August return is also possible.

Those who own Kershaw should look at what - if anything - they can get in return for moving him now, pitching trade partners the idea of having Kershaw for the stretch run. Equal value is no longer in discussion, so moving Kershaw for about 70-75 cents on the dollar might be as good as it gets. Owners willing to gamble on acquiring him should put themselves in position to dictate the price, especially if the Kershaw owner is already out of the money.


Chase Elliott is overdue for a Top 5 finish after four straight weeks of ranking between 10th and 12th place. Elliott ($9,300 at DraftKings, $10,600 at FanDuel) is still looking for his first career win and is in position to do so in Sunday's NASCAR Monster Energy FireKeepers 400.

He has run well at Michigan Speedway, having placed in the Top 10 in each of his previous four races that includes three top five finishes. Elliott has been solid in 2018 thus far yet has managed just one lap led during his previous 14 races entering Sunday.


This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network,

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