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Fantasy Insider: 2018 Recap & Look Ahead, Plus How To Thank Fantasy Heroes Like Chris Carson

Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com has more than 20 years of experience in the Fantasy industry and is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame. This is his seventh season providing Fantasy Football coverage and advice on Seahawks.com.

Hopefully your Fantasy Football season was as successful as mine. Readers and followers often want to see that those they follow for advice are winning, so I will report that I have won three Fantasy Super Bowls so far and have one more to potentially win in Week 17. I have won back-to-back championships in the most prestigious league I play in, which includes other Fantasy experts and highly competitive players.

I believe in showing gratitude to the NFL players who helped us win our leagues, and in doing so, you can also help others. By taking a small portion of your league winnings and donating it to the favorite charity of one of your key players from your championship team, you can make a difference in other lives and say “thank you” to the player or players who made your Fantasy Super Bowl championship story possible.

So this year, I will be donating to ROOTS (Rising Out of the Shadows) Young Adult Shelter in the name of Seahawks running back Chris Carson. He rushed for 235 yards and three touchdowns in Weeks 15 and 16 and was a major reason why I won my second championship in two years in my most important league. Carson wore cleats in Week 13 featuring ROOTS as part of the NFL's 'My Cause, My Cleats Campaign,' which you can check out here, and was honored by the NFLPA in Week 9 for his efforts in supporting the cause.

Carson1

Fantasy participants often wonder what the NFL players think of Fantasy Football. Recently, Carson told me he very much appreciates their support of him.

“You don’t want to let down the people who drafted you,” Carson said. “It’s always good when they have some trust in you.”

Chris Carson did not let any Fantasy owners down when it counted most, and to show your appreciation for his efforts, I strongly suggest those who rostered him this season to donate to ROOTS also, or similar charities of their favorite Seahawks who performed very well in key Fantasy Playoff Games, such as Russell Wilson (Why Not You Foundation) and Doug Baldwin (Southern Sports Youth Association).

Here are some other feel-good Fantasy Football stories of 2018, and what they can mean for next season.

Running Backs

Todd Gurley was once again the most productive Fantasy RB in NFL.com standard scoring, with 313.10 points in the first 15 weeks. But Giants rookie Saquon Barkley was No. 2 after 16 weeks (when most Fantasy seasons end) with 274.60 and could challenge Gurley as a potential No. 1 overall pick next year in PPR leagues. Christian McCaffrey scored a dozen times during the second half of the Fantasy season, including the playoffs, and may also be a Top 1 to 3 pick in many PPR formats next year. James Conner was the seventh-best scorer at RB on NFL.com with 215.60 points and is set to be the Steelers’ full-time starter for 2019. He should easily be a Top 5 selection in many leagues. 

The two best storylines at RB, however, featured an undrafted free agent and a resurrected battering ram who got hot at just the right time. Broncos rookie Phillip Lindsay was the waiver pickup of the year, instantly seizing the Broncos starting job in the first week and finishing 11th at the position on NFL.com with 187.80 points. He will be targeted in the late first round/early second round of 2019 drafts, Late in the NFL regular season, the Titans discovered that feeding Derrick Henry regularly could lead to outstanding production. Looking like a star “rhythm back,” Henry was an unrivaled Fantasy playoff hero, rushing for 492 yards and seven TDs during the all-important Fantasy playoff Weeks 14 through 16. He raised his Fantasy stock for next season and should be a very tempting third round pick.

Browns rookie Nick Chubb had eight double-figure Fantasy outings on NFL.com in his last nine games and should be taken in later first round territory in 2019. A re-born Adrian Peterson finished 16th with 169 points and may still be viable at least as a flex player if he returns next year. Aaron Jones rushed for seven TDs from Weeks 8 through 14 and will be viewed as a high-end RB2 next year. Rookies Kerryon Johnson and Sony Michel flashed considerable promise and will be highly sought-after RB2 types in 2019.

Seahawks RB Focus: Carson finished No. 16 at RB with 162.50 points, with his best work coming down the Fantasy regular season stretch and in the postseason. From Weeks 11 through 16 he rushed for six TDs and added a receiving score and he rushed for 119 and 116 yards in the Fantasy semifinal and Super Bowl weeks. Carson will be targeted in the third round in many leagues next year, as he soars into 2019 drafts with his highest Fantasy appeal ever.

Wide Receivers

Antonio Brown may have been the safest Fantasy draft choice of all, as he delivered big time for all those who passed on a RB to draft him in the first round. Brown led all Fantasy WRs with 219.70 points on NFL.com and 15 TD receptions. He delivered his best Fantasy outing when it mattered most, with 30.50 points in Fantasy Super Bowl week. If you want Fantasy peace of mind, no one delivers it more than Brown. You can take him anywhere from first overall next year and no one should raise an eyebrow.

Only Brown caught more TD passes than Davante Adams (13), who will be one of the top three Fantasy WRs off the board next season. Julio Jones led all WRs with 1,539 yards, and all of his seven TD receptions came during the second half of the season, suggesting better production in that department for 2019.

Robert Woods enjoyed his best season yet, with 177.10 points, and he will be drafted as a Fantasy WR1 for the first time in his career next season. Amari Cooper had six TD catches as a Cowboy from Weeks 8 through 14 and will confidently drafted as a WR2 next season, Tyler Boyd had a breakout season for the Bengals with 1,028 yards and seven TDs and may be drafted as a lower-end Fantasy WR2 next year. Kenny Golladay soared over 1,000 yards for the first time and should score more than the five TDs he did in his second year. He has Fantasy WR2 promise for 2019. Look for rookies Calvin Ridley and DaeSean Hamiton to make leaps into higher prominence next year. Returns to health by A.J. Green and Cooper Kupp will be welcomed.

Seahawks WR Focus: The most inspiring Fantasy story on the Seahawks roster from a Fantasy perspective was the breakout campaign of Tyler Lockett. Only four other NFL receivers had more than Lockett’s career-best nine TD receptions and he finished 15th overall on NFL.com at WR with 152.50 points, marking him as a WR2 in standard formats. Lockett will be drafted as a Fantasy starter for the first time in his career in 2019. Showing the clutch form in Fantasy that he does in real life, Baldwin came on strongest during the Fantasy playoffs. His two TD receptions in Week 15 and season-best 126-yard outing with a TD in Week 16 were outings that helped boost many Fantasy teams to championships.

Quarterbacks

Patrick Mahomes far outdistanced the field with 399.74 points and could go as early as late first round in many leagues next season. I recently considered the question of whether or not he should be a first-rounder in 2019 at RotoExperts.com.

Andrew Luck had a very impressive comeback year with 36 TD passes and should arguably be the second QB off the board in 2019. Matt Ryan bounced back to finish third at the position with 325.64 points and should be a nice pick next year when you choose not to go with a QB in the earliest rounds. Young QBs Mitchell Trubisky and Baker Mayfield could threaten to push into the QB1 picture next season.

Seahawks QB Focus: Only Mahomes and Luck had more TD passes than Wilson’s 34. Despite the Seahawks gaining a national reputation as a running team, Wilson remained a master of the deep and play-action passes and finished eighth at the position with 290.54 points. Wilson threw multiple TD passes in 13 games and four in Week 13, when those who rostered him really needed a win during their regular season finale. His season-high of 28.54 Fantasy Points on NFL.com came during Fantasy Super Bowl Week. He is a safe QB1 target again for 2019. 

Tight Ends

Travis Kelce officially took over as the top player at the position for the first time with 185.40 points, George Kittle broke out in a bigger way even than most expected with 162.80 points and could go as early as the second round in some 2019 drafts. Eric Ebron led the position with 12 TD passes as he finally reached his potential, and he’ll be drafted as a Top 5 Fantasy TE next year. Jared Cook had a career season with 122.80 points and should be targeted in the same range. A healthy O.J. Howard could challenge for a top 4 spot at the position next year, and youngsters David Njoku, Ian Thomas and Chris Herndon should continue to rise.

Follow Scott Engel and the team at RotoExperts.com throughout the NFL playoffs and offseason for continuing Fantasy Football coverage.

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