If you were the lucky person to win the lottery, pool, race or random competition your fantasy league holds to award the top pick in your draft, we have some fairly easy advice for you.
Take Justin Jefferson.
It has been a long time since the consensus first pick in fantasy has been anything other than a running back, but Jefferson more than backs up his claim to the title.
The Vikings WR averaged 17.9 points per game, which trailed only Cooper Kupp – who only played nine games.
He also put up incredible counting stats, leading the league in targets, receptions and receiving yards, while scoring nine touchdowns. His 1,809 receiving yards were the sixth most in a season and his 128 receptions were the seventh most ever.
He’s no flash in the pan, either. Jefferson’s 4,825 yards over his first three seasons are an incredible 600 more than the next best WR in that category, Randy Moss. JJ also beat Michael Thomas’ record for most receptions in his first three seasons with 324.
Last year, Jefferson tied for the lead in weeks where he finished as a top-24 WR in fantasy scoring with 12. He also had six outings with double-digit receptions and 10 contests with 100-plus yards.
The Vikings all-pro also has proven to be durable, having yet to miss a game in his career.
The next best options are 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey, Chargers RB Austin Ekeler and Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase – all of whom have more downside.
McCaffrey isn’t going to get the same workload as he did in Carolina, where he was the only real option to move the ball.
Ekeler was last year’s top non-QB in fantasy points, but it’s impossible to expect another season with 100+ receptions and his 38 TDs over the last two years has to fall off some time, right?
Chase is an excellent WR, but missed five games with an injury and his per-game numbers lagged behind Jefferson, especially in yardage (106.4 yards per game for JJ, 87.2 for Chase).
ABOUT JONATHAN TAYLOR
Last year’s consensus first-overall pick won’t be anywhere near the top of drafts this time around.
Jonathan Taylor followed up a stellar 2021 season with an injury-plagued 2022 and is now starting the season on the PUP list.
But that’s just the start of the drama involving the star Colts RB.
Taylor and the team spent most of training camp exchanging barbs through the media and a meeting between him and team owner Jim Irsay went about as poorly as it could.
Taylor sat out camp and the pre-season with reported back and ankle injuries while demanding a trade – a request that was granted by the team, but nothing materialized as no suitors reached Indy’s lofty price and Taylor was shelved on the PUP list.
FANTASY FOOTBALL: Justin Jefferson is top WR and a potential first-overall pick
FANTASY FOOTBALL: Jalen Hurts headlines our list of top QBs to draft
FANTASY FOOTBALL: Travis Kelce the lone elite TE option in our top 25
While GM Chris Ballard said the team is open to mending the relationship, it is caught in a conundrum: The Colts are simultaneously saying that Taylor isn’t worth investing in with a new contract, but their set price in the trade market for him is more than any team is willing to meet.
The whole situation is messier than an episode of The Challenge and won’t be settled for at least four weeks, when Taylor is eligible to be activated.
Whether he is traded, comes back to Indy or sits out the entire season, anything is possible right now. With fantasy drafts looming for many players, Taylor can be a potential league-winner if he suits up and is motivated or could be a wasted pick and roster spot.
HURTS SO GOOD
Looking for a few more reasons why we ranked the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts as our QB1 for this season? We have you covered.
— Only three QBs in the past 10 years have bettered his 25 PPG last year: Peyton Manning’s 55-TD 2013 season, Patrick Mahomes’ 50-TD 2018 season and Lamar Jackson’s 1,200-rushing-yard 2019 season.
— Hurts was third in YPA behind just Mahomes and Tua Tagovailoa.
— Averaged just four passes per fourth quarter due to the Eagles building such big leads.
— Had 30 more designed runs than Justin Fields, who had one of the best QB rushing seasons ever.
— Was the first QB to run for double-digit TDs in consecutive seasons.
— Had more weeks scoring 30-plus fantasy points than weeks in which he scored fewer than 20.
— Had 154 points as a rusher, which would’ve ranked him as RB26.
1. Justin Jefferson, WR, MIN
2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, SF
3. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, CIN
4. Austin Ekeler, RB, LAC
5. Cooper Kupp, WR, LAR
6. Tyreek Hill, WR, MIA
7. Bijan Robinson, RB, ATL
8. Travis Kelce, TE, KC
9. Nick Chubb, RB, CLE
10. Stefon Diggs, WR, BUF
11. Tony Pollard, RB, DAL
12. Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG
1. Davante Adams, WR, LV
2. Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, DET
3. Derrick Henry, RB, TEN
4. A.J. Brown, WR, PHI
5. Josh Jacobs, RB, LV
6. CeeDee Lamb, WR, DAL
7. Jaylen Waddle, WR, MIA
8. Joe Mixon, RB, CIN
9. Garrett Wilson, WR, NYJ
10. Jalen Hurts, QB, PHI
11. DeVonta Smith, WR, PHI
12. Patrick Mahomes, QB, KC
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