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- The NFL and fantasy football season is approaching.
- We took a look at 14 players who could be steals this year.
- These are not sleeper picks — they are players who offer the most value, who could live up to, if not exceed, where they are currently being drafted.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
With the NFL season fast approaching, it’s time to start prepping for fantasy football season.
Fantasy football is always a crap-shoot to some extent, but the idea of value plays into every draft — who is the best pick when, who is under-valued, over-valued, etc.
We took at 14 players who could become steals in 2019. These are not quite sleeper picks. Instead, these are players who offer the most value at what they’re currently being drafted. They could easily live up to, if not out-perform, their current draft positions.
We used Fantasy Pros’ consensus rankings and average draft positions to identify 14 players you should target if available in fantasy football.
1. James Conner, RB
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Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Average draft position: 9th
Consensus ranking: 8th
2018 stats: 973 rushing yards, 55 catches, 497 receiving yards, 13 touchdowns
Why he could be a steal: Conner is projected as a late first-, early second-round pick. Depending on your drafting philosophy, Conner could be worth going as high as fifth. He tailed off toward the end of 2018 and the Steelers drafted a running back in the fourth round. But Conner is still running behind the same solid offensive line, and more touches should open up with Antonio Brown’s departure. The floor for Conner should be pretty safe, and that could make him a better pick over players like David Johnson, Dalvin Cook, Le’Veon Bell, Joe Mixon, and Leonard Fournette, all of whom carry some risk.
2. Aaron Jones, RB
Team: Green Bay Packers
Average draft position: 30th
Consensus ranking: 29th
2018 stats: 728 rushing yards, 26 catches, 206 receiving yards, 9 touchdowns
Why he could be a steal: When Jones finally took over as the No. 1 running back over Jamaal Williams last year, he produced, racking up 705 yards from scrimmage and 8 touchdowns in 8 weeks. Jones enters camp as the lead back, with the Packers saying they want to use him more in the passing game. Jones also said he cut his body fat in the offseason. If everything holds up, Jones has RB1 potential.
3. Brandin Cooks, WR
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Team: Los Angeles Rams
Average draft position: 40th
Consensus ranking: 36th
2018 stats: 80 catches, 1,204 yards, 5 touchdowns
Why he could be a steal: All Cooks does is produce 1,000-yard seasons. Last year, he had more yards than Keenan Allen, Stefon Diggs, and Amari Cooper and just 66 fewer yards than T.Y. Hilton. Cooks has to compete with more weapons than those four receivers, all of whom are ranked higher than Cooks, but that’s been the case his whole career and he still produces. If Cooper Kupp is not 100% to start the season and Todd Gurley is ailing from a knee condition, Cooks could be in line for more work.
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