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Five Mid-Round Must Have Players

With just two weeks left in preseason, the NFL regular season is right around the corner. That means fantasy drafts are ramping up everywhere.

In every draft, I have players that I consider "must-haves," players I will reach a round or two early on to secure them on my roster. Here are five of my must-haves in the middle rounds for 2018, one at each position (quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end) and then a bonus fifth player.

For more "must have" players, check out the RotoRevolution's recent episode here.

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Mid-Round Must Haves

Andrew Luck (QB, IND) ADP: 8.07

In Andrew Luck’s last two healthy seasons, he has thrown for 9,001 yards and 71 touchdowns. His fantasy QB finishes those years were QB2 and QB5. Health concerns should be behind him now, but drafters still seem cautious. They shouldn’t be. With a new coaching regime around him and a better offensive line, Luck’s ceiling is even higher this year. Luck is a locked in top-five quarterback in 2018 and has top-two potential. If you get to the eighth round or later in your draft and he is available, he is a must-draft.

Carlos Hyde (RB, CLE) ADP: 8.05

If you’ve watched any of preseason it is obvious Hyde is going to be the starter entering the season. He has played almost all the starter snaps thus far, and rookie Nick Chubb has been relegated to second-team duties. Hyde is still getting no respect though, as he is even being drafted after teammate Duke Johnson. Over the last two seasons with San Francisco, Hyde had 457 carries, 1,926 yards and 14 touchdowns. Cleveland’s offensive line is very good, and will be much better than anything Hyde had with the 49ers. While his receiving numbers will not come anywhere close to the 88 he had a year ago, he still offers solid RB2 value in PPR formats but is being drafted as an afterthought. Don’t let that happen in your draft, as Hyde is a must-have running back.

Randall Cobb (WR, GB) ADP: 8.01

Imagine being Aaron Rodgers' number two wide receiver and getting no love. That’s Randall Cobb. In the eight seasons Rodgers has played at least 15 games, his number two wide receiver has finished top-30 seven times with an average finish of 21. In the three years they have both been healthy, Cobb has finished WR6, WR31 and WR19. In the last two years, in the 19 games both Cobb and Rodgers played, Cobb has averaged seven targets per game. With no clear-cut number three receiver and Jordy Nelson gone, Cobb has a chance to explode this year and is an absolute must-have in all drafts.

Trey Burton (TE, CHI) ADP: 9.03

I have to admit, despite owning him in dynasty, I was not as excited as most when Trey Burton signed with Chicago. Well, I was wrong. It appears he is going to be a huge part of this offense under new head coach Matt Nagy. You know what other tight end played under Nagy? Travis Kelce. And like Kelce, Burton has been getting a lot of run out of the slot. Thus far Burton has played on 92% of the starter snaps in preseason, and has run 47% of his routes out of the slot. For context, Kelce was 50% slot last year under Nagy. Of Mitchell Trubisky’s 18 preseason throws, Burton has been targeted on six of them. And if all that is not enough, Adam Shaheen just suffered what appears to be a serious injury that will keep him out of action to start the season. Burton looks to be in line for a huge year; if you didn’t get one of the elite early tight ends, he becomes a must-draft at the position as a low-end TE1.


Bonus Player

Emmanuel Sanders (WR, DEN) ADP: 7.05

I’ve been talking up Emmanuel Sanders all offseason and things have only gotten better for him. We know about the upgrade at quarterback with Case Keenum, but even more encouraging is it seems like he will play more out of the slot this year. Last season, Adam Thielen played primarily from the slot with Keenum and had by far his best season with 91 catches, 1,276 yards and four touchdowns on his way to a WR8 finish. According to Pro Football Focus, Sanders has played 53% of his preseason snaps from the slot. A year ago this time the Vikings told us Thielen would play the slot, yet he had an ADP of 9.03. He crushed that. Sanders is primed to crush his ADP, don't let this must have receiver pass you by like the Pharcyde.


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