While having too many misses in the early rounds of a fantasy draft can sink your season, it's also hard to win without taking a few risks. The key is taking the right risks at the right value.
With that in mind, here are three boom-or-bust players worth targeting in drafts this season.
3. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Rushing quarterbacks are the closest you can come to a cheat code in fantasy football. After Lamar Jackson took over the Baltimore Ravens' starting job in Week 11, both he and Josh Allen finished as top-10 QBs for the remainder of the season. Neither player was a polished passer, as both failed to complete 60.0 of their passes, but they were fantasy monsters because of their legs. By all accounts, Kyler Murray is one of the most athletic QBs to enter the league in quite some time, and he could return huge value as a runner. Still, we've never seen Murray produce in the NFL, his head coach Kliff Kingsbury is similarly inexperienced, and the Cardinals offensive line is one of the worst in the league. With an average draft position (ADP) of QB13, you'll have to take Murray ahead of some established signal-callers. His rushing ability could make him an elite fantasy option, but there's also a chance he struggles as a rookie.
2. Josh Gordon, WR, New England Patriots
Josh Gordon might have the widest range of outcomes in the NFL. He possesses a truly rare combination of size and speed, and is unquestionably one of the most talented WRs in the NFL when he's on the field. But therein lies the rub. Since 2014, Gordon has played in just 22 of a possible 80 games due to a variety substance-abuse related suspensions. While he played well in his return to the field with the New England Patriots, tallying 720 yards and three TDs on a staggering 18.0 yards per reception, he was suspended again at the end of the season. He also didn't look nearly as athletic as he did in 2013, and his season can end at the drop of a hat. If you take the plunge on Gordon, you've drafted a player capable of both a WR1 finish and of not recording a single point on the season. His upside makes him worth the risk, but owners would be wise to have a contingency plan in place.
1. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
In 2018, Dalvin Cook was not nearly as productive as his current ADP of RB10 might lead you to believe. He's the 16th player drafted on average, despite finishing as RB31 in 2018. Of course, he did miss five games, but Cook was also only RB23 on a per-game basis. That Cook is still this high should speak to just how talented he is, and if you need evidence of this, look at his 2017 rookie season. Cook amassed 454 total yards and two TDs before an ACL injury ended his season midway through his fourth game. However, he did not look nearly as explosive during his return to the field in 2018, topping 100 rushing yard just once in 11 games played. If Cook looks like he did as a rookie, then he has a chance at finishing as a top-five RB. But that's a big if, and in order to draft Cook, you'll likely need to pick him within the first two rounds, making him one of the riskiest selections in fantasy.
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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.