10. DeAndre Washington
RB, Oakland Raiders
At a glance you may not think much of Washington on paper. The 5’8” fifth-round pick out of Texas Tech currently sits third on Oakland’s depth chart (behind Latavius Murray and Taiwan Jones). This kid is a do it all speedster, though. He should have no problem taking the backup role from Jones as a third-down pass-catcher that gets a handful of carries behind Murray. Keep in mind Murray was one of the least efficient rushers in the NFL last season, and finds himself in a contract year. Washington could steal the show if Murray isn’t on top of his game.
9. Josh Ferguson
RB, Indianapolis Colts
All the buzz in Colts’ camp is about an undrafted rookie RB. Like Washington, it would appear Ferguson has a long way to go on the depth chart — currently fourth-string behind Frank Gore, Robert Turbin and Jordan Todman. By all accounts it’d be shocking if Ferguson doesn’t emerge as the backup RB by the end of preseason. As a receiving back, he’ll get work that Gore isn’t able to handle in the passing game (and probably just some carries to due age). Of course, Gore is no lock to play 16 games either, so Ferguson is a great handcuff to own.
8. Bilal Powell
RB, New York Jets
With Matt Forte’s arrival in New York, all the attention is on him when it comes to the Jets’ RB job. The truth is, even with a fully healthy Forte, Gang Green is looking at a timeshare in the backfield. Powell figures to get equal work to Forte and is being selected after him in practically every fantasy draft (and a much cheaper DFS price tag). Powell is a solid pick regardless of Forte’s status, but if anything were to happen to him, Powell could turn into a top-15 RB.
7. Jordan Howard
RB, Chicago Bears
The Forte fallout just keeps on going. Jeremy Langford did a great job filling in for Forte last season, and it’s his starting job right now in Chicago. The Bears’ official depth chart lists Howard as fourth-string, but word is he’s posing a big threat to Langford in terms of sharing carries (which has a lot of unofficial depth charts listing Howard as second-string). Howard could legitimately ease his way into a 50/50 role with Langford, and at 6’0” 230 lbs the goal line work would likely go Howard’s way. There’s a good shot he’s the better Bears back to own.
6. Martellus Bennett
TE, New England Patriots
So many storylines in New England. Brady out four games. Garrapolo in four games. Gronk being Gronk. The health of Edelman and Amendola. Who’s the RB? In the background Bennett is gearing up for a huge season behind (or next to) Gronkowski, no matter who’s throwing the ball. Having the receivers healthy will be great, but the TE duo is going to be unstoppable at times for the Pats. With Gronk getting the attention we know he will, the Black Unicorn’s going to be dancing in the end zone often.
5. Devin Funchess
WR, Carolina Panthers
Sure, Kelvin Benjamin is back, but he’s not the lone WR on the Panthers as many make it out to be. Of course, Greg Olsen may still lead the team in receptions, but Cam’s going to spread it around to his receivers. The difference between Benjamin and Funchess (who are physically twins with a helmet and pads on) is much less than you think. Funchess was eased into game action last season despite the glaring need at WR. He still managed 31 receptions on 63 targets for 473 yards and five touchdowns. Expect Funchess to contribute nearly as much as Olsen and Benjamin for a significantly cheaper price.
4. Sterling Shepard
WR, New York Giants
The Giants’ first depth chart has been released and it’s Shepard that will be starting opposite OBJ. With Victor Cruz still and unknown, Shepard figures to be a big part of the passing game and Eli is going to need more than just Beckham. According to reports, Shepard’s been making tough contested catches in a lot of traffic … sound like anyone else? This second-rounder is in a nice situation considering who he’s working with and the skills he already has.
3. Sammie Coates
WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Coates is third on the depth chart behind Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton. Those two will undoubtedly get the majority of the targets, but Coates could challenge Wheaton for Martavis Bryant’s role within the offense. As the biggest WR of the group, Big Ben will need a target to replicate the 6’4” Bryant on some throws down the field. Coates is having an impressive start to training camp, so he’ll definitely have some kind of role in Pittsburgh’s offense.
2. Rishard Matthews
WR, Tennessee Titans
Matthews figures to be one of the receivers that starts for the Titans in two receiver sets. Kendall Wright will be the slot guy while Dorian Green-Beckham battles a slew of other WRs to start alongside Matthews. What this means is that Matthews has separated himself from the group. After snagging 43 balls for 662 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games in Miami last season, Matthews made a name for himself in the fantasy world. This year could really be his chance to breakout.
1. Jameis Winston
QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winston is obviously a name you know well. A No. 1 overall pick with a year of experience under his belt, Winston is ready to really make the jump this season. After a solid 2015 — 4042 yards, 22 TDs, 15 INTs, 213 rushing yards for six TDs on the ground. Look for his 58.3% completion percentage to improve, and his touchdowns/yards through the air to both be on the rise. Winston has lost weight and is acting like a pro athlete. All signs point to this season trending in the right direction for him.
Find me on Twitter @julianedlow
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.