The 2018 Rotos: Best Fantasy Football Value (ADP) - Roto Street Journal
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The 2018 Rotos: Best Fantasy Football Value (ADP)

For the most part, each year’s Fantasy Football MVP is someone most of us saw coming. Heading into the 2018 season, guys like Todd GurleySaquon Barkley, and Christian McCaffrey were coming off draft boards pretty quickly, so it’s no surprise they led the pack in fantasy production for the season. But finding value players late in the draft, that’s a whole other issue, and one that goes a lot further in determining fantasy championships.

The 2018 NFL season featured a ton of players who seemingly came out of nowhere to put up huge numbers that virtually nobody saw coming. These guys were drafted in the late rounds or not even drafted at all and rewarded those who stuck with them by putting up huge numbers all season long

The nominees for 2018 Best Fantasy Value Player are:

  • James Conner
  • George Kittle
  • Patrick Mahomes
  • Adam Thielen
  • James White

Contenders

Adam Thielen

Preseason ADP: 34 (13th WR)
2018 Scoring Rank: 18th (6th WR)

Fresh off an NFC Championship appearance and the offseason signing of Kirk Cousins, the Vikings weapons were looking like surefire fantasy studs heading into the 2018 season. Interestingly enough, Stefon Diggs got generally more love from fantasy pundits than Adam Thielen, but Thielen proved right away those who went with him made the right choice. He broke an NFL record with 8 straight 100-yard receiving games to start the year, finishing his breakout season with 110 receptions for over 1,300 yards and 9 TDs. His production definitely slowed a bit in the 2nd half, but for where he was being drafted heading into the season, Thielen was a phenomenal value.

Patrick Mahomes

Preseason ADP: 114 (16th QB)
2018 Scoring Rank: 1st (1st QB)

Obviously, after the season he’s had, Patrick Mahomes will be adding a handful of awards to his resume after the season — possibly even an NFL MVP. In his first season as a starter he set a ton of passing records, led the Chiefs to an incredible season and a playoff birth, and led every player in the NFL in fantasy scoring. This all from a guy who was being drafted after names like Sterling ShepardDuke Johnson, and Jamison Crowder before the season. We at the Roto Street Journal were high on Mahomes virtually since he was given the starting job, but it took a while for the rest of the fantasy world to catch up to our genius. Regardless, everyone knows now what a stud Mahomes is, and even though he won’t take home this award, I have a feeling his trophy case will be plenty full by the time next season rolls around.

James White

Preseason ADP: 124 (44th RB)
2018 Scoring Rank: 32nd (8th RB)

Even as a Patriots fan, I’ve always been hesitant to rely on New England running backs for fantasy production. Guys are always being shuffled in and out depending on gameplans, and especially with rookie Sony Michel in the fold, James White wasn’t a huge target for me and many others heading into the season. But White was a model of consistency in a backfield that breeds inconsistency, and his 83 receptions and 712 receiving yards were both 3rd among NFL RBs. He tacked on another 400 yards and 5 TDs on the ground to finish with a top-10 season that not a lot of people saw coming, making his candidacy for this award well-deserved.

Finalists

James Conner

Preseason ADP: 167 (55th RB)
2018 Scoring Rank: 28th (6th RB)

This is where I have to start fighting my bias, because I took a late-round flyer on James Conner in 3 leagues this season and made the championship in all 3. At the same time, I lost all 3 championships, at least partially due to the fact that Conner missed the entire fantasy playoffs due to injury. Even though he disappeared when we needed him most, Conner was a beast all year, putting up almost 1,400 all-purpose yards and 13 TDs — all from a guy who was being drafted after Gio Bernard and Derek Carr. Conner rewarded all of the owners who took a chance on him while the Le’Veon Bell situation was up in the air, and for that reason is a serious candidate for Fantasy Value of the Year.

George Kittle

Preseason ADP: 136 (13th TE)
2018 Scoring Rank: 43rd (3rd TE)

At a position that featured very few stars this season, George Kittle was a godsend for those who chose to forgo the popular TE options and snag one late in the draft. While their competitors were streaming TEs to replace Greg Olsen or O.J. Howard, Kittle owners watched their guy become the leading receiver on his team by a wide margin. Kittle finished the year with over 1,200 yards and 4 TDs, finishing 3rd in scoring among TEs behind two guys, Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce, who had top-5 seasons all-time for tight ends. Kittle had kickers being drafted before him and turned in one of the best seasons we saw in 2018; very few guys have a better case for this award than he does.

Your Winner for 2018 Best Fantasy Value

James Conner

As much as I wanted to pick Kittle with his massive production at a position that had few clear studs in 2018, I had to go Conner. This guy went undrafted in some leagues and finished behind only a handful of other running backs in fantasy production despite missing a few games at the end of the year. His playoff absence obviously hurts, but Conner went out this year with his first real opportunity and ended up convincing some people that Le’Veon Bell is a system RB — not an easy task by any means. I wouldn’t fault anyone for wanting to bestow this honor upon Kittle, but I call the shots around here, and James Conner is my Best Value Play for 2018.

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