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Offenses To Trust and Which Will Bust for 2018 Fantasy Football

It perhaps goes without saying that fantasy owners should look to draft players on high-powered offenses, as they usually offer a bevy of startable assets and have a higher chance for scoring opportunities than most teams.

Although stud players can often rise above their circumstances, projecting which teams will prosper on the offensive side of the ball can allow owners to make some of the harder decisions in drafts. In this article, I will be projecting which offenses will produce plenty of fantasy points and those that will fall flat in 2018.

Check out our individual player rankings, newly updated for the preseason, right here.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Fantasy Point Factories: Slated to Finish Top-10

New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons

The New Orleans Saints are certainly a contender for the most balanced roster in the NFL and their offense being headlined by hall of fame quarterback Drew Brees means plenty of skill position players will reap fantasy benefits. Although Brees himself had a disappointing season by fantasy standards as a result of his lowest number of pass attempts since 2009, he should be a lock to finish in the top-12 of fantasy quarterbacks next season like he has done over that entire span. The dynamic running back duo of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara should continue to prosper (after Week 4 when Ingram's suspension ends, of course) while Michael Thomas is about as safe a player you can draft in PPR formats.

The 2018 season might be Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's last hurrah and fantasy owners should look to this team's passing offense for fantasy production. The Steelers have never fallen out of the top-five in passing yards since 2014, meaning owners of wide receivers Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster should have a consistent weekly contributor on their roster. Of course, through five years in the league, running back Le'Veon Bell has averaged 371 touches over his last two seasons with 43-percent of those coming through the air.

Many fantasy owners would say that the Atlanta Falcons 2017 season was a huge disappointment. They wouldn't be wrong, as despite the team ranking ninth overall in total offense, they ranked 20th in passing touchdowns and 13th in rushing touchdowns. What's more, the team had the worst drop rate on third down and the highest rate of turnover-worthy throws ending up as actual interceptions, meaning luck truly wasn't on their side in the turnover department. That being said, I expect positive regression for most of the Falcons' offensive pieces entering Year Two with offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian's scheme. This might be no truer than for quarterback Matt Ryan, who has a good chance of finishing in the top-10 of fantasy passers because of the additions of veteran right guard Brandon Fusco and rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Ryan is a steal at his current tenth round average draft position, even to be a backup on owner's rosters.


Bottom of the Barrel: Slated to Finish Bottom-10

Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets

Although I don't like to relegate any offense to the fantasy graveyard before the preseason shakes out, the AFC East looks to be one of the weakest divisions in football outside of the obvious powerhouse New England Patriots.

Despite making the playoffs in 2017, the Bills chose to ship quarterback Tyrod Taylor off to Cleveland and draft Wyoming product Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. He will have to compete with former Cincinnati Bengals backup A.J. McCarron for the starting gig, but neither exactly inspires much confidence in the team improving from a 31st ranked passing yards per game finish last season. Skill position players like Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, and Charles Clay could all be diamonds in the rough if the Bills offensive identity changes to a gunslinger mentality, but that remains to be seen. Even the brightest fantasy spot on the roster, running back LeSean McCoy, is mired in potential legal issues. Again, owners will have to wait and see how the team looks before adding any of their players to a roster.

Much like the Bills, the Miami Dolphins offensive success will largely hinge on quarterback play. Presumed starter Ryan Tannehill missed his last 20 games due to a left knee injury and will be throwing to a group of mostly unfamiliar names in Devante Parker (who is struggling in training camp so far), Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, and Albert Wilson. Considering that Tannehill is four years removed from his highest fantasy finish as QB-11, I would rather let someone else take a ride on the carousel for which Dolphins receiver will be fantasy relevant. Looking to the backfield, even if the recently emerged Kenyan Drake can fend off veteran Frank Gore and rookie Kalen Ballage for snaps, the team's offensive line is shaping up to be a below average unit.

Even if the New York Jets find their man under center for 2018 between veteran Josh McCown, former Minnesota Viking Teddy Bridgewater, and rookie Sam Darnold, it's hard to imagine their roster propelling them out of the bottom-10 in total offense per game. While solid offensive pieces like running back Isaiah Crowell and wide receiver Quincy Enunwa certainly help, the team's abysmal schedule for passers will likely result in plenty of negative game scripts and a low ceiling for fantasy purposes. Keep an eye on wide receiver Robby Anderson, though, who finished as the WR-16 last season and could be ready to explode on to the 2018 scene if he can stay out of trouble during training camp.


Poised to Breakout: Will Outperform Last Season's Finish

Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears

It only felt natural to include three teams with quarterbacks returning from injury on a list of teams ready to outperform last season's finish. Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, and Deshaun Watson all had to deal with serious injuries that kept them out for a combined 34 games in 2017.  The Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, and Houston Texans finished in the bottom-twelve of the league in total offense largely due to an inability to pass the football, as each team ended up ranked in the bottom-seven in passing yards per game. Fantasy owners should look to capitalize on key assets in those offenses who may have underrated average draft positions as a result of the down year, including wide receivers T.Y. Hilton (round four) and Randall Cobb (round 10).

To be fair, there really is nowhere to go but up for the Chicago Bears and Cincinnati Bengals offenses, with ranks of 30th and 32nd in total offense respectively. However, both teams are set up to take massive leaps given their offseason moves. Although the Bears have gone all-in on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky by adding multiple competent pass catchers in Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, and Trey Burton, the game-changing addition was that of head coach Matt Nagy. He heavily contributed to the transformation of former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith into a dominant deep passer and top-six fantasy finishes for running back Kareem Hunt, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, and tight end Travis Kelce in 2017.

Turning to Cincinnati, the Bengals were returning steady offensive production for fantasy owners leading up to last season with the 14th highest yards of total offense in 2014, 15th highest in 2015, and 13th highest in 2016. That plummeted to the worst in the league after losing key pieces along the offensive line, but the team has made moves to patch it up. The first-round selection of center Billy Price in the 2018 NFL Draft and trade for left tackle Cordy Glenn will no doubt make quarterback Andy Dalton's life much easier and help create lanes for sophomore running back Joe Mixon. With more time throw, who knows, maybe a fully healthy John Ross could be a potent deep threat and sneaky fantasy play.


Jury is Still Out: Teams That Could Go Either Way

San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders

There are some offenses that are too difficult to make heads and tails of until we get a chance to see them in action. San Francisco 49ers passer Jimmy Garoppolo certainly looked the part of a franchise quarterback with a six-game win streak over the final games of the 2017 regular season, but he will now have to adapt to head coach Kyle Shanahan's new offensive scheme and three new starters along the offensive line. Still, the team borders the line of a top-10 finish and could easily prosper with running back Jerick McKinnon scoring fantasy points on the ground and through the air and No. 1 wide receiver Pierre Garcon returning.

The Kansas City Chiefs find themselves with a new man under center and endless possibilities for how the offense could turn out. Sophomore quarterback Patrick Mahomes clearly made the team comfortable with shipping off Alex Smith after his best season yet, but fantasy football is a game of predictability and Mahomes has played in only one Week 17 contest. Combine that with the loss of Matt Nagy as the team's offensive coordinator and fantasy owners have to be concerned about which of the bevy of talented players will be fantasy studs or duds.

Finally, the Oakland Raiders chose to hand the keys to the franchise over to new head coach Jon Gruden. His offseason moves have included releasing red zone threat Michael Crabtree and adding wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant to line up alongside Amari Cooper. Quarterback Derek Carr may have taken a step back from his 2016 QB-9 finish last season, but Gruden could help him return to form and make one or two of the pass catchers in Oakland fantasy relevant once again. As for the backfield, Gruden has already raved how Marshawn Lynch doesn't appear to be slowing down as the team's feature back.


More 2018 Fantasy Football Draft Strategy


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