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The Top Fantasy Football Draft Picks, Contractually

The Top Fantasy Football Draft Picks, Contractually

As many, if not most, fantasy football leagues head for their draft day, we'll take a quick look at the top available players at each position, making note of their actual contract status, their stability with their current team, and an upcoming free agent dates.

 
Quarterbacks
A look at the Top 5 projected quarterbacks to draft this year, including our outlook on the stability of their contracts, when they expire, and when their respective team can get out if needed.
PlayerTeamAgeProj.
POints
Details & StatusContract ExpiresPotential Out
Aaron Rodgers GB 34 325 His 5 year, $110M contract with the Packers doesn't expire until 2020, but the clock is already ticking on a major extension. He'll soon be locked into GB with guarantees likely through the 2022 season. 2020 N/A
Tom Brady  NE 41 305 His contract runs through 2019, but the decision will be his to return or not. He's certainly not a strong dynasty fantasy option, but it's hard to argue with his year by year success, though offensive line losses and weapon downgrades are of concern in 2018. 2020 2019
Russell Wilson SEA 29 300 Wilson's been a Top 5 fantasy QB for years now, and his current contract runs through 2019, with just $32.5M to be made over the next two seasons. The Seahawks are attempting to rebuild on the fly around him, and if all doesn't go well, questions about Wilson's future in Seattle may be looming. If his plan is to stay, contract discussions should begin shortly. 2020 2019
Deshaun Watson HOU 22 289 We've seen so little, but are expecting so much from the 22-year-old in year two. He's locked in through 2021, and can be franchise tagged a few times thereafter if needed. He's one of the best long-term fantasy options in the league, barring another injury. Watson will be extension-eligible after the 2019 season. 2022 2021
Cam Newton  CAR 29 287 Newton has what looks to be a better arsenal to work with in 2018, but lost a key player in front of him in Andrew Norwell. He'll likely still pile up numbers, even if it's a down year for the Panthers. Cam has $50M remaining over the next three seasons, but none of that comes guaranteed. 2021 2019
 
Running Backs
A look at the Top 5 projected running backs to draft this year, including our outlook on the stability of their contracts, when they expire, and when their respective team can get out if needed.
PlayerTeamAgeProj.
POints
Details & StatusContract ExpiresPotential Out
Todd Gurley LAR 24 278 The Rams rewarded the best player in fantasy football last year with nearly $22M in upfront guarantees, and a contract structure that locks him in until at least 2021. Good news for fantasy owners. He's had 627 less touches than Le'Veon Bell, and there's a chance he catches 70 balls this year. 2024 2022
Le'Veon Bell PIT 26 267 Speaking of running backs and receptions, Bell had 85 in 2017, and projects much of the same for the upcoming season. In what many are assuming will be his parting shot in Pittsburgh, expect another 400 touches and tons of production. His long-term fantasy status is a question mark with a new team, and a potential decline in store after age 27. 2019 2019
Ezekiel Elliott  DAL 23 248 No Witten + No Dez should = a huge payload for Zeke in 2018. He's entering year three of his rookie deal, which means he'll become extension eligible after 2018. A 5th-year option locks him in through 2020 for now. 2021 2020
David Johnson ARI 26 248 Like Bell, Johnson has a chance to catch 80 balls in 2018 should he remain healthy behind a suspect offensive line. He's entering a contract year in Arizona, but all signs point to a Todd Gurley-type extension forthcoming that will see him locked in most likely through the 2021 season. 2019 2019
Alvin Kamara  NO 23 220 Kamara exploded onto the scene in 2017 and should have no trouble recreating this production in 2018 (especially with teammate Mark ingram on the shelf for the first four weeks). The 3rd-round pick was guaranteed only a signing bonus through 2020, so he's incredible value while he remains on his rookie contract. 2021 2021
 
Wide Receivers
A look at the Top 5 projected wide receivers to draft this year, including our outlook on the stability of their contracts, when they expire, and when their respective team can get out if needed.
PlayerTeamAgeProj.
POints
Details & StatusContract ExpiresPotential Out
Antonio Brown PIT 30 208 He's caught 100 balls 5 straight seasons, with 1500+ yards in 4 of those, and 10+ TDs in 3. He's as sure a bet as you can have at the WR position. Contractually Brown is fairly stable through the 2020 season, though if he begins to decline over the next 2 seasons, Pittsburgh can handle the dead cap after 2019. 2022 2020
DeAndre Hopkins HOU 26 187 Nearly 100 catches, nearly 1,400 yards, and 13 TDs in 2017 plus a potential full year with Watson at QB should be plenty to get you excited about Hopkins in 2018. He cashed in $49M guaranteed last offseason, but structurally the deal holds a fairy easy out after 2019. With that said, the 26-year old should have no trouble sticking around for 4 more years in Houston. 2023 2020
Julio Jones  ATL 29 186 While the TDs have been down for a few years now (and still project to be low), Jones still fills up the stat board on a weekly basis. Contractually though, Jones' status in Atlanta is on very thin ice, as the money he was fronted this offseason to statisfy his dispute leaves just $9.6M to be made in 2019. It's possible we're heading for Jones' final year in Atlanta. 2021 2019
Odell Beckham, Jr.  NYG 25 173 A healthy OBJ has a chance to approach Antonio Brown numbers in 2018, especially with an upgraded offensive line, and a legitimate run-threat in Barkley to boot. He's set to play out a 5th-year option in 2018, and won't be happy about a looming franchise tag next February, so expect extension talks to continue throughout the year. It's probably 75/25 that OBJ remains a Giant after 2018. 2019 2019
Keenan Allen  LAC 26 170 The Chargers got 16 games out of Allen in 2017 and were rewarded with nearly 1,400 yards on 100+, with a whopping 13.7 yards per reception. He's a Top 5 WR with Philip Rivers when healthy, as well as a financial value. Allen has 3 years remaining on his current deal, with just $24.75M to be made. Another big year could warrant extension talks for the 26 year old. 2021 2019
 
Tight Ends
A look at the Top 5 projected tight ends to draft this year, including our outlook on the stability of their contracts, when they expire, and when their respective team can get out if needed.
PlayerTeamAgeProj.
POints
Details & StatusContract ExpiresPotential Out
Rob Gronkowski  NE 29 162 Gronk is slated to earn $9M in 2018, good for 5th among active TEs. He's hinted at retirement in recent months, and could be alilgning his departure with Tom Brady, be it next offseason or after the 2019 campaign. Either way, he's the best fantasy option for right now still, but a murky pick for long-term leagues. 2020 2019
Travis Kelce  KC 28 138 The projected falloff from Gronk to everyone else is pretty significant. Kelce's been healthy for three straigth seasons, and is now a key piece in a deep, young, spread offense in KC. He'll be hard-pressed to see 120+ targets again, but he's plenty worth a pick. 2018 represents the final year of guarantees on Kelce's current deal, providing the Chiefs an easy out each year forward should they need it. 2022 2019
Zach Ertz PHI 27 122 This will be the last year the Eagles will find incredible cap-value from Ertz, as his $4.9M cap figure in 2018 jumps to $11.8M in 2019. With Brent Celek & Trey Burton both out of the picture, Ertz has a chance to become the most productive TE in the game this season. 2022 2020
Greg Olsen CAR 33 107 The 33-year-old signed a restructured contract with the Panthers to keep his cap figures under $8M over the next two seasons, his likely cut-off point. If he's healthy, he should have no problem garnering 120+ targets and 75+ receptions, though he'll need to need to regain his redzone production to contend with the TEs above him here. 2021 2020
Evan Engram  NYG 23 107 The #23 overall selection from 2017 is slated for a breakout year with the Giants, as he complements Beckham Jr. & Barkley in 2018. He'll be extension eligible after 2019, carries a 5th-year option in 2020, and is arguably the best long-term fantasy Tight End in the game. 2021 2020
 
Defensive Teams
A look at the Top 5 projected defensive teams to draft this year, including our outlook on the stability of the projected starters, and how many of those players possess a contract that expires after 2018.
PlayerProj.
POints
Details & Status2019 Free Agents
Jacksonville Jaguars 128 The Jags aren't just the top-rated projected defense in football, their starters are locked in for at least 2 seasons to come. 0
Los Angeles Rams 117 The Rams' defense might become a casualty to the money invested into their spread offense. With 4 starters set to hit free agency, plus a major Aaron Donald problem, this is something to watch in the very near future. 4
Baltimore Ravens 117 The Ravens will be hard-pressed to keep this unit together after 2018, as 5 of the projected starters are set to hit the market, including C.J. Mosley. 5
Philadelphia Eagles 116 The Eagles did well to keep a large majority of their SB winning team intact this offseason. They'll have big decisions to make on Brandon Graham & Jordan Hicks soon. 3
Minnesota Vikings 115 The Vikings signed Eric Kendricks & Danielle Hunter to extensions, added Sheldon Richardson & George Iloka in free agency & somehow kept Anthony Barr happy without paying him. There's a really good chance for a big 2-3 year window with this team. 2