Fantasy football: Tar Heel Draft Guide

Fantasy football: Tar Heel Draft Guide

With NFL training camps and preseason football at full speed, so too is fantasy football. As a Tar Heel student, graduate or fan, it’s hard not to want to draft a UNC player in your draft. After all, you want to have people on your team who you like to watch playing. 

While there are now over a dozen Tar Heels in the league, none of them are top-tier fantasy players that you’ll want to grab in the early rounds. Instead, there are several guys that could be grabbed late in the draft when your other friends are snoozing.

Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals 

What's his prognosis?

Gio is stuck in what we fantasy nerds call a RBBC (Running Back By Committee), and it’s not good for his 2017 fantasy potential. With Gio sharing a backfield with Jeremy Hill and rookie Joe Mixon, there is truly no telling what the breakdown of snaps is going to look like for the Bengals until Week 1. What we do know is that Gio is a change-of-pace back who has the potential to break off big runs and make opposing linebackers look foolish. Still, it’s hard to guess how often he will be getting these touches. 

Where should I draft him?

Gio is going to be a double-digit round guy this year for the first time in his career. Early indications out of Cincy are that Marvin Lewis is going to give Mixon a chance to be “the guy” and for that reason, I’m not taking Bernard until late in the draft when I’m looking to handcuff my starters in case of injuries. 

Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears

What's his prognosis?

Early indication out of Chicago is that N.C. State grad Mike Glennon is going to be the starting quarterback for the Bears, and for that reason, Trubisky is undraftable in standard leagues barring an injury or a change in the starting job. Now, obviously he had a great preseason game to start off his career as a Bear, but it's against second and third string guys, and that's worth keeping in mind. Either way, although you may be buying lots of Trubisky NFL stock, it doesn't mean you need to be buying his fantasy stock just yet.

Where should I draft him?

Don’t. However, if you’re in a dynasty league, he’s obviously someone who will go early. If Glennon gets injured or Trubisky edges him out for the starting job, then Trubisky is a late-round guy in standard leagues who you’re taking as a flier and hoping he makes the best out of a bad offensive situation in the Windy City. But a guy like Tyrod Taylor is going undrafted in most leagues and he was a top-12 fantasy QB last year, so keep that in mind before you fall in love with Mitchell in round 10.

Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions

What's his prognosis?

Right now, Ebron is hovering at the tail end of the TE1 marker on most fantasy big boards. Most experts have him in the 10-15 range for the position, and I like him to have a breakout year with Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford. Ebron’s targets, receptions and receiving yards have gone up each year of his career, and I think this is the year we see Ebron get attention on a national level. This is a big year for him to prove to the league that he can be both an elite blocker and pass catcher in the NFL.

Where should I draft him?

Ebron’s ADP (average draft position) is Round 12 in standard leagues. If you’re looking to punt at trying to grab an elite TE (Gronk, Kelce, etc.) and grab a guy with a high ceiling late in the draft, look no further than Ebron. He has the potential to be a 750 yard, 7 touchdown guy this season, which would be above expectations for a player you can grab in the 12th round.

Shaun Draughn, RB, San Francisco 49ers

What's his prognosis?

OK, now that you’re done laughing, seriously, let’s talk. Draughn finished last season with six touchdowns and just over 450 total yards. That’s as many touchdowns as Todd Gurley had and more than Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, and A.J. Green. Draughn found himself replacing an injured Carlos Hyde in the backfield last year for San Fran, and he did more than average in his stead, including the final game of the season where he recorded 23 fantasy points. In normal games, Draughn is going to do no more than be a replacement when Hyde needs a breather — but in case of injury, Draughn is a great guy to have on the bench.

Where should I draft him?

Draughn should only be drafted if you have already taken Hyde in a prior round. It’s always nice to have the backup to one of your starting RBs in case of injury, and Draughn has proven that he is more than capable to be a replacement-level player in fantasy in the wake of injury.

If you’re interested in how the recent UNC seniors are acclimating to the NFL or are in a dynasty league and are curious about where these guys are fitting on their respective rosters, then dive in.

Mack Hollins, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

An SB Nation blog that covers the Eagles has already sent out one post titled “All Aboard the Mack Hollins hype train,” so it’s fair to say he’s off to a good start in Philly. Hollins is going to learn from veteran Alshon Jeffery and mesh with young QB Carson Wentz, and I like his chances to be an impact guy one day simply because of his hands and size.

Elijah Hood, RB, Oakland Raiders

If you read around Oakland Raiders blogs, you’ll find that people see Hood on the outside looking in for a roster spot. However, there’s a case to be made that he can play on special teams and find himself on that final 53-man roster. The backfield is crowded after the recent signing of Marshawn Lynch, so Hood is not going to make an immediate impact on the offensive side of the ball. It seems, sadly, that the best thing for Hood would have been one more year getting to run over ACC foes.

T.J. Logan, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Before Logan’s injury in the Hall of Fame Game, he had the best fantasy outlook of any UNC rookie. He was doing some exceptional punt returning for the Cards in the opening game, and although the backfield in ‘Zona is crowded, he had as good of a shot as anybody to work his way into touches. A wrist injury is going to keep him out for 12 weeks, but I like Logan to make an impact in the NFL in the next few years as a special teams nightmare and change-of-pace back.

Ryan Switzer, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Switzer has a hamstring that’s bothering him, but just this week a Cowboys beat reporter said if there was a regular season game tomorrow, Switz would see action. Another Dallas WR, Cole Beasley, is a very similar type of wideout and has great connections with QB Dak Prescott, which leads me to believe Switzer will fit right in the Dallas offense. Prescott loves quick slants and check-downs in the flat, and I think Switzer could truly be playing meaningful snaps this year for Dallas. I may be drinking the Kool-Aid a little bit, but part of me wants to jump on Switzer in the late rounds of a standard draft.