Fantasy Football 2018: Pre-Senior Bowl NFL Draft Positional Rankings

We take an early look at the top NFL Draft prospects.

With only two teams remaining in the 2017-18 season, it’s time for the other [loser] teams to get younger, faster and stronger. Sure, free agency begins on March 14th, but teams are currently down in Mobile, AL at the Senior Bowl, trying to dissect both Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. From a fantasy standpoint, the majority of these names won’t make a major impact, but there are always rookies such as Mike Thomas, Alvin Kamara or Kareem Hunt, to name a few, who can win you a title.

If you aren’t a college football guy, it’s time to get familiar with these prospects.


1. Josh Rosen – The UCLA product is the most NFL-ready in this group and should be the first quarterback to make a fantasy impact.

2. Sam Darnold – Darnold needs to limit his turnovers (13 INT in 2017) and should sit behind a veteran (Eli) for a season. Either way, he’s loaded with talent and will be a solid NFL starter.

3. Baker Mayfield – Some compare him to Johnny Manziel, but Mayfield is 100x the competitor and loves the sport. His height will be his major question mark but he’s a gamer. His intangibles could help him win a job out of training camp.

4. Josh Allen – You’re going to hear all of the typical quarterback cliches when it comes to the Wyoming product. “Has all the tools!” “Can make all the throws!” Well, he sucked in games and he sucked statistically. He possesses the most upside, but it’s tough to look past his 2016 and 2017 campaigns where he threw 21 interceptions and completed only 56% of his passes.

5. Mason Rudolph – Coming from Mike Gundy’s spread attack, Rudolph throws darts all over the field. But like most college quarterbacks who sit in the shotgun and throw the ball 50x per game, he might face a steep learning curve. Rudolph is my QB binky of this draft.

6. Lamar Jackson – Some don’t believe that the former Heisman Trophy winner is an NFL quarterback, but I disagree. He’s raw and he needs to add some mass, but if he’s drafted into the right system, he can definitely play at the next level.

7. Luke Falk – Falk will face similar challenges as Rudolph, but Mike Leach’s scheme is a little more quarterback friendly with quick passes near the line of scrimmage. He still possesses great size (6-3, 225 lbs) and accuracy, so he’ll be one to keep an eye on throughout the draft process.

Keep an eye on: Mike White, Kurt Benkert, Riley Ferguson, Tanner Lee

Running Backs

1. Saquon Barkley – Barkley was built in a lab and is the best player in this draft. Depending on his surrounding talent score, Barkley could go in the first round of your fantasy draft.

2. Ronald Jones II – Everyone is going to be looking for the next Alvin Kamara, and the former USC Trojan might just be that guy. His speed and quickness are off the charts and he’s a home run threat on every touch.

3. Derrius Guice – Guice got his chance when Leonard Fournette battled injuries at LSU, before taking over the reigns in 2017. He’s a violent, athletic freak who will be a day one starter in the league.

4. Sony Michel – Michel shared the Georgia backfield with Nick Chubb (and Todd Gurley at one point), making the Bulldogs one of the toughest teams to defend on the ground. Michel proved in the title game that he was the better of the two backs against an elite defense and that will be confirmed in the NFL. Michel is a future three-down back.

5. Rashaad Penny – He was built in a running back laboratory and also filled the stat sheet when he led the nation in both rushing yards (2,248) and rushing touchdowns (23). After backing up the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher, Donnel Pumphrey for three seasons, it’s safe to say Penny has the least mileage on his legs and is set to do damage in the NFL. Penny is a future three-down back.

6. Kerryon Johnson – Johnson sorta runs upright, possesses similar patience like Le’Veon Bell and can also catch the ball out of the backfield. He was a workhorse at Auburn but also has some injury question marks. He might be best in a committee to preserve his health, but he could be a fantasy steal depending on the situation.

7. Josh Adams – Adams is a big, physical beast (6-1, 225 lbs), but lacks elite quickness. He’ll be a short yardage, goal line back who could find the end zone on the regular.

8. Royce Freeman – A four-year starter at Oregon, Freeman has logged some serious miles (5,621 yards on 947 carries) on his gigantic legs (5-11, 238 lbs). Freeman is a complete back who has bell-cow potential.

9. Nick Chubb – Chubb is a bowling ball (5-10, 225 lbs) who suffered a gruesome knee injury at Georgia. He was able to return to form, but his lack of quickness was definitely exposed against Alabama in the title game. He’s a pure running back, but he’ll likely be a plodder in the league.

10. Mark Walton – Walton looks like a PPR star who possesses the speed, hands and athleticism to make plays in space. He’s a highlight reel/ boom or bust player who also has some off-field and injury issues.

Keep an eye on: Nyheim Hines, John Kelly, Bo Scarbrough, Justin Jackson

Wide Receivers

1. Calvin Ridley – Ridley is the most NFL-ready of this bunch, who like Amari Cooper, lined up everywhere for the Crimson Tide. Due to quarterback issues, Ridley was held back a little, but was still able to show off his elite talent repertoire.

2. Courtland Sutton – He’s big and physical standing at 6-3, 216 lbs and has the hands to match, but there’s something that’s just off with him. He looks slow, but if he runs well at the combine, watch out for the hype train because the rest of his game definitely translates. This ranking is based more off potential than his current status. Need to see more from him.

3. Christian Kirk – Kirk is a star in the slot and is built to take punishment in the middle. He’s going to catch a lot of footballs and score a lot of touchdowns in the NFL. Daniel Jeremiah of compared him to Golden Tate, and it’s tough to disagree with that comp.

4. James Washington – The 2017 Biletnikoff winner is pegged all over the place, but I personally think he’s one of, if not the most consistent receiver in this class. He’s going to be a PPR star and can make plays horizontally and vertically. He’s built like a running back, but his wingspan at 5-11 is abnormal.

5. DJ Moore – Maryland was a quarterback disaster in 2017, but Moore still put up big-time numbers (80 rec, 1,033 yds and 8 TD). Moore will likely line up in the slot and use his elite quickness to catch a shit load of balls in the NFL.

6. Deon Cain – Another year, another stud receiver coming out of Clemson. Nope, he’s not a DeAndre Hopkins or Sammy Watkins, but Cain might be the fastest of the former Tigers. He’s going to light up the combine and could be one of the better deep ball receivers in the NFL.

7. Simmie Cobbs – The physically imposing (6-3, 220 lbs) Indiana product had his coming out party against Ohio State when he corralled 11 receptions for 149 yds and a touchdown against future first round corner Denzel Ward. Cobbs has great ball skills and could really turn heads at the combine.

8. Equanimeous St. Brown – Brown stands at 6-4, 205 lbs and oozes potential. His father, John Brown is a former Mr. Universe, which is one reason as to why Equanimeous is so well built. He is sneaky one of my favorite receivers in this class and could definitely make an impact as a rook.

9. Dante Pettis – Pettis is not only one of the best returner prospects ever, but he also has great quickness which allows him to gain separation on the opposing defender. He’s still relatively raw as a receiver, but drips in upside.

10. Michael Gallup – Even though Gallup comes from Colorado State, it’s tough to argue with production. Gallup racked up 100 rec, 1,413 yds and seven touchdowns in 2017. Need to watch more of him, but I definitely love smaller school guys who put up big numbers.

Keep an eye on: D.J. Chark, Anthony Miller, Deontay Burnett, Korey Robertson

Tight End

1. Mark Andrews – Andrews is the most complete tight end of this group and should be a day one starter. Baker Mayfield’s No. 1 target was a touchdown machine (22) throughout his career and will make a fantasy impact during his rookie season.

2. Dallas Goedert – Goedert hails from FCS power South Dakota State, where he led all FBS and FCS tight ends in receiving yardage with 1,111 yards on 72 receptions. He can bully on the line of scrimmage and can beat a linebacker in the slot. He’ll make some noise early on.

3. Mike Gesicki – Gesicki is a talented pass catcher who has the size (6-5, 242 lbs), athleticism and hands to make an instant impact in the passing game. He’s a mismatch in the slot and is a legit red zone monster.

4. Hayden Hurst – The South Carolina product kicked around minor league baseball for two years before walking on to the football team. In his final season, he was named all conference after putting up 559 yards and two touchdowns on 44 catches. Hurst will turn 25 in August but still has some untapped potential due to his minor league baseball career.

5. Adam Breneman – Breneman is a former top tight end recruit, Penn State Nittany Lion, retired football player, state senate campaign manager and most recently a UMass football player. In his final collegiate season, he was named a USA Today All-American after posting 64 receptions, 764 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He’s big (6-4. 240 lbs), runs crisp routes and possesses reliable hands. If he stays healthy (serious knee issues), he could make a mid-to-late season impact.

Others to watch: Troy Fumagalli, Dalton Schultz, Ian Thomas

Disagree with my rankings? Hit me up @cjason112!


Most Popular

Related Posts