Breakout players can and do play a vital role in deciding who wins and who loses fantasy football championships. Players such as Devonta Freeman, Doug Baldwin, Derek Carr and Leonard Fournette exceeded past expectations on their stat sheets and helped people win. With the 2018 Fantasy Football season upon us a new list of players could be on the verge of putting up big numbers for their respective teams and helping you win a fantasy football championship.
As training camp quickly approaches and player stock rises here is my list of players who are set to breakout in 2018:
COOPER KUPP, WR, RAMS: The third-round draft pick from Eastern Washington developed chemistry with quarterback Jared Goff in his rookie season. He led all Rams receivers in targets (94) and receiving yards (869) during the 2017 season. Further, he finished second behind Sammy Watkins in yards per catch (14) and touchdowns (5). With Watkins long gone to free agency, he is left to compete with newly acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who recorded 65 receptions for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns, a low for Cooks. While Cooks brings speed on the outside, Kupps smaller frame presents a smaller target in the redzone making him a better threat. He also has the added benefit of being with the Los Angeles Rams and knows the system along with having Goffs trust. He is not going to be the guy who fades away this season. He is an excellent WR 3 option with major WR 2 upside.
MARLON MACK, RB, COLTS: The University of South Florida byproduct in his second season finds himself in a position to burst on to the scene. Last season he had 93 carries for 358 yards (3.8 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. This season with the departure of Frank Gore (3.7 yards per carry) to Miami, Mack finds himself in the best position to be the workhorse. He also showed great potential as a pass catching back who caught 21 receptions for 225 yards and a touchdown. I expect the Colts to start the year with a running back by committee approach, but with his growth and development towards the tail end of the 2017 season and sound blocking it’s his for the taking. He will end up being a valuable flex option in most leagues, especially in PPR.
DEDE WESTBROOK, WR, JAGUARS: The former Oklahoma Sooner, Fred Biletnikoff Award winner and 2016 Heisman Trophy finalist is set to compete this year for a starting spot. He had a late start to his rookie year as he was on the injured reserve for the first 10 games of the season. He finished the year with 27 catches on 51 targets for 339 yards and a touchdown over a seven game stretch. Westbrook was targeted six or more times during this span, with the exception of one game, and shined in the playoffs. With the departure of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns this offseason Westbrook enters the season as a solid WR2 in Jacksonville and a meaningful role. He may not be the sexiest pick in your fantasy draft, but it is very unlikely that he will be undertargeted in games this season. He is a safe option to fill-in at the flex position and WR3/WR2 upside.
Ben is the host of WP Fantasy Football Podcast. For more from Ben, check him out on Twitter @fantasy_wp and Facebook.