Fantasy Football Studs and Duds: Who Can Help Your Team Win a Title?


Ethan Schwam

Millions of people, (including myself), involve ourselves in fantasy football, a game in which you can play publicly or with your friends that allows you to draft a team out of real NFL football players and hopefully find success based on how they play. A player must realize who on their team is playing well, and who is not, in order to maximize your team’s potential of winning against another player. Here, I will present based on the first half of the 2019 NFL season, studs and duds at every position, and under-the-radar players you could potentially look to add to your team.

Quarterback Studs:

Russell Wilson (SEA) – Russell Wilson has arguably been the best QB in the NFL so far this season. He has thrown for an impressive 24 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions and is a surefire MVP candidate that will be a huge improvement to anybody that has the star on their team.

Deshaun Watson (HOU) – The scrambling QB for Houston has taken huge steps forward this year and has established himself as an elite fantasy player. His high octane offensive style including long touchdowns and rushes make for a perfect guy to give your team some points.

Lamar Jackson (BAL) – The Baltimore quarterback was previously known to run all over the field, much like a running back, but has vastly improved his throwing skills to complement his speed. He has thrown for 19 touchdowns, already more than he threw all of last year, and gets lots of points on the ground as well. Anybody who drafted him should be ecstatic with his performance so far. 


Quarterback Duds: 

Baker Mayfield (CLE) – Expected to thrive under a revamped Cleveland offense with newly acquired target Odell Beckham Jr., Mayfield has vastly underperformed. He already has 13 interceptions and is 23rd in fantasy quarterback rankings so far. It is safe to say that one should not start him in the quarterback position for the time being.

Jared Goff (LAR) – Coming off a Superbowl appearance for the Rams, Goff has downgraded his stats so far from last year. He has 15 turnovers and is ranked as merely average among starting quarterbacks this season, a huge drop from his performance last season. 


Running Back Studs:

Christian McCaffery (CAR) – Even though he was a consensus top 3 fantasy pick this year, the running back continues to provide more than needed for fantasy players this season. He is the number 1 RB in all of fantasy, and doesn’t show signs of slowing down. He is arguably the most valuable asset in all fantasy leagues. 

Dalvin Cook (MIN) – The Minnesota running back is coming off a torn ACL suffered last season, and he made sure to come back strong. He is in second of all running backs in average points scored and is the top running back in all of fantasy with the Vikings’ run-heavy offense. He is certainly one of fantasy’s best backs so far.

Leonard Fournette (JAC) – In the past, Fournette has dealt with many injuries, a suspension, and many setbacks, but it seems this year that he is fully healthy and dominating the league. He is very consistent, never scoring below 10 points in a game this season. He is valuable to any fantasy squad. 


Running Back Duds:

Le’Veon Bell (NYJ) – Coming off a season of rest due to a holdout with the Steelers, Bell signed with the Jets to try to continue his elite running back status. Instead, he is ranked below average among starters this year and hasn’t even scored 25 points in a game this season. For an elite level RB, Bell has underperformed so far. 

Melvin Gordon (LAC) – People who drafted Gordon were already in for a rude awakening because Gordon held out with the Chargers for a new contract, and ever since he came back, he hasn’t been playing too well. For a very good running back in a contract year, Melvin hasn’t solidified himself as a player worth starting in fantasy leagues.


Wide Receiver Studs:

Cooper Kupp (LAR) – As a small slot receiver in a loaded receiving corps, Kupp wasn’t projected to even be more than a FLEX option in most leagues, but he has turned into a top 10 receiver in the whole NFL including a recent 41 point outburst in week 8. He is certainly worth keeping for the stretch run. 

Michael Thomas (NO) – A consensus top 5 receiver, Thomas has lived up to expectations, and is number 1 in wide receivers for fantasy. He racks up yards and touchdowns and is a consistent player to start every week in your lineup. 

DJ Chark Jr. (JAC) – A practically unheard of name going into the 2019 campaign, Chark has quickly transformed into a top 10 receiver. He has come out of nowhere, having top 5 receiving yards to go along with 8 touchdowns on the year. Anybody who drafted him got very lucky with their pick.  


Wide Receiver Duds:

Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE) – As mentioned earlier, Beckham was the new addition to a loaded Browns offense. However, he has been horrible for an average second round pick for fantasy users. He is ranked a lowly 27th in receiver rankings and only averages 13 points per game, a true disappointment for the projected top 10 wideout.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT) – With Antonio Brown leaving Pittsburgh, JuJu was propelled into the WR1 duties for the Steelers, but has been very bad in part due to their quarterback situation.  As a 38th ranked receiver for a consensus late 1st to early 2nd round pick is a fantasy bust for anyone who drafted him.


Tight End Studs:

Darren Waller (OAK) – Like the aforementioned Chark, Waller was a virtually unheard of tight end going into the season, but has made a name for himself as he has quickly rose up the fantasy ranks to become the number 4 player at his position. He has put up multiple productive games, including a 33 point outburst against Green Bay in week 7.

Mark Andrews (BAL) – An under the radar sleeper tight end going into the season, Andrews has put up multiple 25+ point weeks and has established himself as a top 5 tight end with upside. He continues to log receiving yards for a solid Ravens offense. 

Evan Engram (NYG) – The Giants’ top target has backed up a solid 2018 season with a top 10 tight end performance so far. He too has multiple 25+ games and stands as an elite starting option for your team even though he has been very injury prone as of late. 


Tight End Duds:

Zach Ertz (PHI) – Going into the year, Ertz was widely considered to be a top 3 tight end this year, but has underperformed so far. He just hasn’t found the ball at all so far. Though he has recently returned to his elite potential, he is not a surefire starter at tight end.

Do you have any of these players on your team? If so, you may have found the best players of the draft, or a bona fide draft bust in your quest to become a fantasy football champion this season.