With the NFL season approaching, that means one thing: fantasy football is almost back. The key to any successful fantasy draft is getting players at a good value, this means not drafting them too early or waiting until it’s too late. Here are five under the radar NFL players to watch for fantasy football in 2019.
Derrius Guice – RB, Washington Redskins
A heartbreaking injury in training camp last year sidelined this former LSU running back who had so much potential. Now Derrius Guice tries again in year two.
Guice will be running behind an offensive line that maintains a lot of continuity from 2018. Losing Alex Smith to injury didn’t give the Skins much of a passing attack as the QB position became a revolving door.
In 2019 the QB will either be the dependable Case Keenum or the unproven commodity with a high ceiling, Dwayne Haskins. Either one is an improvement. This means the Redskins will get the ball downfield more reliably, opening up the running lanes for Guice. Keep an eye on how Guice looks in the preseason – if he’s not fully recovered, this discussion could be moot – but if he’s looking healthy, he may put up big numbers.
Jamison Crowder – WR, New York Jets
Guice’s former teammate, Jamison Crowder, enters 2019 with something to prove. He missed significant time last season due to an ankle injury, but in New York, he’ll have the ever-improving young QB Sam Darnold throwing his way.
When he’s healthy and playing, Crowder averages 10 yards per catch. The Jets need weapons, and Crowder definitely has the talent to be one if he can stay on the field. He won’t be a viable number one receiver, but Crowder could be a great number two, three or flex option (especially in points-per-reception leagues).
Kyler Murray – QB, Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray has as much pressure on him as just about any player drafted this past offseason. That said, he couldn’t have landed in a better spot to put up big passing numbers. Coach Kliff Kingsbury’s “Air Raid” offense is perfectly suited to a player of Murray’s talents. Kingsbury likes to throw which may mean a lot of turnovers but it should also translate to plenty of passing yards and touchdowns.
It’s not clear how many wins Murray will put up this year – after all, the Cardinals are still depleted of talent at many positions – but the team will probably score in bunches. Expect Murray to put up a lot of points as Kingsbury experiments with his newfound franchise QB.
Justice Hill – RB, Baltimore Ravens
Former New Orleans Saint Mark Ingram may be the starter in Baltimore, but Justice Hill may be nipping at Ingram’s heels sooner rather than later.
Ingram played in a favorable scheme in New Orleans, meaning his numbers may suffer coming to a team that isn’t as offensively gifted as the Saints were. Meanwhile, Hill is much younger than the 30-year-old Ingram with much less mileage on his tires.
Ingram may start the season as the guy getting the most carries, but if he breaks down don’t be surprised if Hill is inserted and excels in the role.
Jameis Winston – QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
While serving a suspension last season, Jameis Winston didn’t have the greatest season. The key to his production this year lies in the Bucs’ leadership – namely, new head coach Bruce Arians. Take a look at some of the great QBs Arians has helped flourish or develop during his career as an offensive coordinator and head coach:
- Ben Roethlisberger
- Kurt Warner
- Andrew Luck
- Peyton Manning
- Carson Palmer
The title of Arians’ book was “The Quarterback Whisperer.” He clearly sees it as an important position and takes pride in working with QBs. Enter Winston who’s still only 25 with loads of potential he has yet to hone.
While Winston has been frustratingly inconsistent during his pro career, few would say he doesn’t possess plenty of talent. Expect Winston to bounce back this season with much-improved numbers.