2019 Fantasy Football: Prime QB and WR targets in the late rounds

Not all hype trains lead to fantasy football success. Here are a few QB and WR targets that offer great value and are worthy of a second chance.

Every year we search for that fantasy football sleeper or breakout candidate that will give you the supreme edge over your league. These guys do not always perform up to expectations.  It is very easy to give up on these players and move on to the next one. It is important to not only remember why you were so excited about that player but also look at the situation.

There are so many factors that go into a good fantasy season. Sometimes it is not the players who are at fault. Whether it was injuries, bad quarterback play, tough schedules, or a new system; these players are still talented. The beauty of the post-hype players is the price, and that they will certainly come at a discount.

Late round values with big upside can give you the winning edge and that is what we aim to do. Here are some prime quarterback and wide receiver candidates that I think are going to be worth investing in this fantasy football season.

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo finished the 2017 season on fire and was the number two overall fantasy football quarterback the last three weeks. This set the table for huge expectations in 2018. The hype train was derailed early, unfortunately, after Jimmy G tore his ACL in week 3.  As far as the injury is concerned, he is a full participant this offseason and shouldn’t be limited when the season starts.

To finish out the season, head coach Kyle Shanahan was able to get a top 10 performance from backup C.J. Beathard and three top 22 performances. Nick Mullens was the number seven fantasy football quarterback from Week 9 through Week 17. All of this happened in an offense that was playing with third and fourth-string players all over the field.

This year, the offense welcomes back Garoppolo and has surrounded him with more weapons. The backfield brings back Jerick McKinnon, who also missed 2018. McKinnon started training camp this year on the PUP list, but he could be cleared to play as soon as this week. McKinnon brings a lot to the passing game as well as newly added Tevin Coleman, who has a history of success under Shanahan.

In the 2019 NFL Draft, the 49ers drafted Deebo Samuel in the second round to play the role left void by Pierre Garcon. Samuel will play alongside second-year stud Dante Pettis and speedster Marquise Goodwin.

Garoppolo should start the season hot as the team has one of the most fantasy friendly schedules, beginning in Tampa Bay before their home opener vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. The San Francisco 49ers as a team are a prime sleeper and are a team to watch in 2019.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is currently being drafted as the 19th QB off of the board in the 12th round of fantasy football drafts. Last year, everyone was expecting him to put up video game-type numbers. He never had a Michael Vick type of game that put him on the map though, despite leading the Ravens to the playoffs. Jackson struggled wildly in the Wild Card playoffs against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Although Jackson struggled in that game, he still threw for 2 touchdowns and 194 yards while rushing for 54 yards in an attempted comeback.  What’s easily forgettable is how consistent Jackson was in 2018. In seven starts, Jackson had four top 12 fantasy football QB performances, including one finish within the top-five. In the other three starts, he was fantasy football quarterback 13, 15, and 17. Jackson’s rushing ability gives him an edge and helps him offer a safe floor.

The coaching staff did an incredible job last year implementing a new offense midseason to suit Jackson which landed them in the playoffs. Their offensive coordinator Greg Roman has had tremendous success working with rushing quarterbacks such as Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, and Tyrod Taylor. The Ravens have supported Jackson by upgrading the weapons around him this offseason. Most notably, by using two of their top three picks on wide receivers.

In addition, Baltimore also added veteran running back Mark Ingram along with rookie speedster Justice Hill. Now this team has had a full offseason to implement this offense, and with the new weapons, Jackson should see growth in 2019. Most importantly, he is a quarterback that should see a jump in his fantasy football production. The best part is you can sit back and watch him fall into the 12th round before selecting him in your fantasy football drafts.

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is currently being drafted as the 20th QB off of the board in the 13th round. Cousins has perennially been a top 12 quarterback and his big free-agent contract brought high expectations. These expectations exceeded the football field and did not exclude fantasy football.

Unfortunately, Cousins had a very up and down season that left fantasy football faithful giving up on the Vikings’ signal-caller. The highs from 2018 included four top 12 fantasy finishes, including a number two overall finish. The lows included two weeks where he finished outside of the top 24 quarterbacks. The struggles were obvious, but Cousins did finish as the 11th overall fantasy quarterback. Despite that, fantasy owners still do not view him as anything close to a QB1.

On the contrary, Cousins has consistently been a QB1 (top 12 quarterbacks), and there is a great argument for him continuing this success. The Vikings fired their offensive coordinator last season, and that change affected the offense as a whole in 2018.

In 2019, we should see some cohesion. The Vikings improved their offensive line in the draft and welcomed back highly touted running back Dalvin Cook who missed most of 2018.  Minnesota has not one, but two of the top 15 ranked wide receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. I question rankings that have both of these wide receivers in the top 15 and Cousins outside of the top 15. Look for Cousins to put together a top 10 season in 2019 at a top 20 cost.

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