NFL Fantasy Football: Top 10 safest picks in the league

Dec 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) celebrates after kicking a field goal during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

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With a little over a month and a half left before fantasy leagues start drafting, owners need to start thinking about their plans for the season. This is a list of safe picks. Odds are Patrick Mahomes is going to have another phenomenal year in Kansas City, but the sophomore slump is famous for a reason. Odds are Kyler Murray is going to shake things up in Arizona but then again, the same was said about Johnny Manziel.

Every fantasy owner knows that some picks are easy, and some are risky. There is often that third option of ‘probably safe but’ and those are the picks that can make or break your team. Safe picks are players that you do not worry about being able to start each week. Or worse, someone you would need to drop and cannot. This is based off player rankings from NFL.com. Each league varies a little due to scoring but typically, not enough to throw numbers off completely. There is hardly anything that is considered a safe bet in football but here are some players you may find easy to pick.

  1. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
  2. Say what you will about Tom Brady, you can love him or hate him as much as you want but the man knows what to do with a football. Oddly enough he is a quiet threat. Brady has not been ranked first in recent fantasy years. He varies year to year. While the loss of Gronkowski will certainly have an effect on his numbers, Gronk was injured for a large portion of his time in the NFL. Brady knows how to win without him. He holds many different kinds of records and even as he gets older, he’s still got it. If the younger quarterbacks in the league have a year expected of them, he will probably land somewhere in the middle of the pack. However, his numbers will be strong enough for several fantasy wins.
  3. Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams
  4. There should not be a single fantasy owner questioning Goff at this point. His offense is simply stacked, and he has the skill set to utilize them. The past two seasons, Goff has led the team straight to the playoffs. During last season, they even went as far as the Super Bowl. So far, he has shown that he has not been bitten by the injury bug. He is another quiet quarterback. Jared Goff has the ability to just win. There is not much news surrounding him, but fantasy owners will reap the benefits for sure.
  5. Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams
  6. The Rams went to the Super Bowl last year and a large part of that is due to Woods. He shared the field with big names like Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp for the air game and Todd Gurley on the ground. A wide receiver can easily get lost in a starting line-up like that and he was still ranked 11th in wide receivers. He’s another quiet threat but, unless you’re an LA fan you won’t hear his name much. Because Woods gets the work done, he is an easy add for fantasy owners.
  7. JuJu Schuster-Smith WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
  8. Last season, this was a risky choice. Schuster-Smith didn’t explode on the field until the latter half of the 2017 season and there was still a chance that it was a fluke. This year, with Antonio Brown moving to the other coast, he is bound to play a much larger role in the Steelers offense. So far, he has managed to avoid injuries. This means there is no need to worry for the week to week game-time decisions. The Steelers seem to still be discovering their new plan for their run game with Bell out of the picture. This makes JuJu Schuster-Smith an easy target for fantasy owners looking for a second receiver.
  9. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
  10. Kamara has been one of the top running backs in the league for some time now. This year, he is about as safe a bet as fantasy owners can get and he did not have to leave New Orleans to achieve it. Over the past few seasons, he had been splitting the workload with teammate Mark Ingram, an impressive running back in his own right. Even being second in command, Ingram was a respectable fantasy choice. This year, Ingram will be suiting up in a different city and Kamara will carry the brunt of the load. With both Ingram and Kamara having solid seasons last year, all that leads up to a nice big number for fantasy owners. He’s got the skills to carry the load of two men.
  11. Devonte Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons
  12. A lot of fantasy owners hesitate to go with Freeman because he often shares the load with Tevin Coleman. Coleman has spent the past few seasons proving that he’s as good as gold when he gets the ball. However, it has not made the Falcons change their mind about their starting running back. Freeman is their guy and fantasy owners should make him theirs too. He puts up solid numbers each week and even the weeks where Coleman plays a larger part, Freeman’s numbers are still solid. There is no reason to jump off the Freeman bandwagon yet.
  13. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
  14. For most positions on this list, a safe choice could be any number of people and narrowing it down for this list is difficult. The tight end position is not one of them. Notoriously, tight end is the hardest spot to draft in fantasy football. It’s a huge risk to draft them first. However, if fantasy players wait, you are often left with a sub-par TE because there is only one player at the top. This year, it’s Travis Kelce. Aside from the fact that he broke records last season, this year is looking to be even more prominent. Teammate Tyreek Hill’s playing time might be limited this year. Patrick Mahomes is going to be looking for a sure thing and that is Kelce. He is one of the best in the league even when injured.
  15. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
  16. Ertz is probably the riskiest pick on this list but as previously stated, tight ends are the hardest position to draft. He has had a solid few years and if Wentz stays healthy, he will be set. Even when Wentz isn’t healthy, Ertz seems to be the go-to for the Eagles ranking second the past two years in terms of tight ends. The hesitation from this season stems from Nick Foles’ departure from Philadelphia. The Eagles must have faith in whoever their number two is now and Wentz has made it through more than half of each season he’s played. In fact, since Wentz emerged on the scene Ertz’s lowest ranking has been sixth overall.
  17. Justin Tucker, K, Baltimore Ravens
  18. Kickers are often one of the more underrated fantasy players and they are often drafted in the last round. There is one kicker who is often drafted earlier, though and that is Justin Tucker. The golden points for kickers are in their field goals. A kicker that can consistently hit 50+ yards is rare, and Tucker missing is practically unheard of. Lamar Jackson played most of last year and Tucker was still ranked second in NFL fantasy rankings so there is no need to worry about a new QB disrupting the flow.
  19. Los Angeles Rams, Defense
  20. Just like in real life, the defense can be the thing that makes a team lose. Defenses often go into negative points taking away from the rest of the team. Since Goff has started in LA, the Rams defense has been on point. Coincidentally, the two have absolutely nothing to do with the other. It is possible that Goff gets the defense so amped up with his great offense that the defense is just ready to go. Aaron Donald is an absolute beast. So much, that even the loss of Ndamukong Suh won’t change much. Not to mention, this team made it to the Super Bowl last year. They will be hungry to go back.

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