To help you prepare for drafts for the upcoming fantasy football season, we asked eight analysts to reveal which player they changed their mind about (positively or negatively) after the preseason ended — answers are listed in order of current Yahoo average draft position (ADP).
Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
Until recently, my tight end draft strategy was, “Travis Kelce or wait.” Then I did a draft where Andrews was staring at me in the third round after I’d taken a pair of wide receivers with my first couple of picks.
I ended up liking that build, and compared Andrews’ numbers to Kelce’s through the first six games last year, before Andrews missed time with injury:
Andrews: 39 catches, 455 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns.
Kelce: 41 catches, 455 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns.
Nearly identical numbers, and that was before the Ravens hired Todd Monken as their offensive coordinator. Monken turned Georgia tight end Brock Bowers into a 2024 first-round pick, which has fantasy managers frothing at the thought of Andrews being unleashed in this new offense.
Playing at a greater pace, and pushing the ball through the passing game more than ever before, Lamar Jackson will look to Andrews as his first option. Now my tight end draft strategy is: “Kelce, Andrews or wait.” — Jorge Martin
T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings
Earlier in the summer I was focused on some of the bugs in T.J. Hockenson's profile — his modest touchdown counts, and his low YPC after he joined the Vikings. But his Minnesota usage is to be celebrated — Hockenson gobbled up 8.6 targets per game wearing the purple, which would translate to 146 in a full season.
Usage is always a huge part of solving the fantasy puzzle, and that type of usage is not common at tight end — last season only four tight ends made it to 100 targets, and even a modest 86-target season would rank you in the Top 10. No matter what Hockenson's touchdown equity turns out to be, he offers both floor and ceiling around Yahoo ADP 43.5. — Scott Pianowski
Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans
Football is a year-round thing for me, so naturally, I managed dynasty teams all offseason. I have Pierce in a few leagues, and I felt good about his prospects this season, coming off a solid rookie campaign where he racked up over 1,100 scrimmage yards with five total touchdowns and a catalog of angry runs. He’s an every-down back, too; he averaged 19 touches per game (eighth among RBs) and fittingly finished fourth in broken tackles. The dude was a beast. And then the Texans signed Devin Singletary.
I’m not saying that Singletary is a massive threat by any means, but he graded out as an effective RB last year, averaging 4.6 yards per carry with over 1,000 scrimmage yards the past two seasons. The man scored more fantasy points than Pierce last season. But I’ve thrown whatever doubt I had into the bushes because, in the preseason, Pierce dominated the snaps with CJ Stroud on the field and even added to his list of angry runs. I’m convinced Singletary is a change-of-pace back at best, and with an improved Texans offense, Pierce is a player I won’t hesitate to draft in the fourth round. — Dan Titus
Darren Waller, New York Giants
I was not one of the first members of the Waller hype train, but I’m fully on board now. In early August, I was still fixated on the negatives. He’s a 30-year-old who missed 14 games in the past two seasons and is joining a team that ranked 27th in passing yards last year.
But after building “blah” squads in some of my July drafts, I realized that I needed to be more aggressive with potential league-winning players. Waller perfectly matches that description, as he is the focal point of his team’s passing game, has a pair of 1,100-yard seasons on his resume and is available past pick-60 in many Yahoo drafts. Waller is now my clear TE4, and I build my draft plan around adding him in Round 5 in 12-team leagues. — Fred Zinkie
Rashaad Penny, Philadelphia Eagles
I’ve cooled on Penny since earlier this summer. While well aware of his injury history, I underestimated his latest ankle issue, which involved a deltoid ligament tear that’s more serious. News out of Philadelphia has mostly praised Kenneth Gainwell and D’Andre Swift. A healthy Penny running behind the league’s best offensive line still possesses a ton of fantasy upside, but managers are going to have to be patient and expect headaches while dealing with the Eagles backfield in 2023. — Dalton Del Don
Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos
Going into August, I thought Dulcich was going to be the one player I was proactively drafting from the Broncos passing game. Dulcich’s preseason usage, essentially running out as a package player and losing base work to one of Sean Payton’s former Saints guys in Adam Truatman, led me to back off this take.
With the receiver injuries ahead of him, rookie Marvin Mims is now the lone Broncos pass-catcher I seek out in fantasy football drafts. Dulcich should still have a valuable role, especially if he gets early slot reps with guys like Jerry Jeudy banged up, but I bumped him down the ranks behind fellow second-year breakout hopefuls in Chigoziem Okonkwo and Jake Ferguson and the rookie dart throw trio (Dalton Kincaid, Sam LaPorta, Luke Musgrave). I’m open to him breaking out as the season progresses and emerging as a fantasy starter but he’ll have to do that as a waiver-wire add, not a draft pick. — Matt Harmon
Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans
There may not have been a tight end sleeper I was more excited to draft this year than Dalton Schultz, who signed with the Houston Texans in free agency after a very productive start to his career with the Cowboys. He checked all the boxes, having offered fantasy managers three consecutive seasons of top-10 production. Over the past three seasons, Schultz has ranked top seven among tight ends in total receiving yards (2,075) and receiving touchdowns (17), and it seemed that could translate really well in Houston with a relatively unproven receiving corps.
The Texans preseason has yielded some red flags for Schultz, however, when it comes to the rotation at tight end. It seems based on the team’s usage that Schultz is playing more as the TE2 behind Teagan Quitoriano, even if his role is more heavily involved as a receiver. There’s still a lot of room for Schultz to emerge as a consistent target for rookie C.J. Stroud, but he hasn’t done enough to stand out even among a receiving corps that should be wide open for opportunity to continue to hold the title of “favorite sleeper” at this point in fantasy drafts. — Kate Magdziuk
Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers
Yeah, sure, we've had the Doubs fire-drill before and he ultimately proved unhelpful. But after yet another offseason of serious camp buzz with highlights to support the hype, it's hard not to be at least intrigued:
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) August 20, 2023
Christian Watson's draft cost has remained a bit rich, considering the uncertainty attached both to Jordan Love and to Green Bay's offense generally. Doubs, however, is available in the back-half of drafts and he seems clearly to have established himself as an every-snap receiver as he enters his second pro season. If Love is simply competent, Doubs is going to easily outproduce his 128.5 ADP. — Andy Behrens