2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Draft to stream tight ends, kickers and DSTs
Heath Cummings gives you two options at three of the four streamable positions.
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Planning on streaming one or more positions this season in Fantasy Football? Good for you! But are you really planning for it? Or are you just taking whoever you think is the best season-long option left at the end of the draft? Because that's not planning.
In-season it's a well-established practice to scout the upcoming schedule and make acquisitions based on the strength of opponent. I even write a weekly column about it. But too often we don't put the same effort into Week 1.
Lucky for you, I've done the research for you. Below are the top two Week 1 streamers at tight end, DST and kicker. Want to really push the limits of this strategy? Draft nothing but running backs and wide receivers the first 10-11 rounds. Use three of your last four picks on the players below. They'll all be available.
There's a lot of noise in positional Fantasy points allowed. This is especially true when it comes to the tight end position. In 2017 the difference between being a bottom-five defense against the position and league average was 1.4 Fantasy points per week. I'm not really sure what to make of that or how much it matters. But there were three teams that looked like they were barely trying to stop tight ends. Two of them face streamable options in Week 1.
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The Cleveland Browns ranked 30th in targets allowed to tight ends (126), 31st in receptions (90), 28th in yards (890) and 31st in touchdowns (10). Tight ends against the Browns last year would have led the position in Fantasy points. In Week 1, Vance McDonald gets the first crack at them. McDonald has struggled to stay healthy, but the Steelers have big plans for him in 2018. If he gets hurt again this preseason, don't fret. Just take Jesse James instead.
The New York Giants weren't much better than the Browns in most regards, and gave up a league-worst 12 touchdowns to the tight end position. Austin Seferian-Jenkins was added by the Jaguars to be a red-zone threat, and they'll have a great opportunity to get him going in Week 1 against the hospitable Giants defense.
This is a tricky one because I'm sure in some Fantasy drafts the Ravens will be an early defense selection. But according to early ADP, they're the eighth defense off the board, which means they should be available in the final two rounds of the draft. If you just miss them, there's another option coming up. But before we get there, the selection process for the Ravens should be illuminating as to what we're looking for in a streaming defense. If you can get a defense at home against a bad or inexperienced quarterback, you have yourself a streaming option. I don't yet know who the Bills will start at quarterback in Week 1, but I'd bet a good sum on that quarterback being bad, inexperienced or both.
At home? Check. Bad or inexperienced quarterback? Most likely. Not to mention the possibility this defense is improved in Matt Patricia's first season. The Lions have a lot of talent that was hurt in 2017 and their schemes should be better, but for Week 1 I'm not sure it matters. They'll be aided by a rabid home crowd for the opener, and they'll be facing a below-average offense with a bad offensive line.
I'm not going to act like there's an exact science to ranking kickers. Give me an accurate kicker in a dome against a bad defense and I'm pretty content. If he plays for a team that is a favorite, has a good passing game and struggles running the ball? All the better. Prater and Vinatieri should fit the bill in Week 1 against the Jets and Bengals.
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