Penn State Football

What’s Saquon Barkley’s fantasy upside? Fantasy football expert weighs in on Penn State alumni

Saquon Barkley is a sure-fire fantasy first-round pick, while Mike Gesicki and DaeSean Hamilton could have late-round value.
Saquon Barkley is a sure-fire fantasy first-round pick, while Mike Gesicki and DaeSean Hamilton could have late-round value.

Fantasy football season is here, and Penn State fans have plenty of former Nittany Lions to pick in their upcoming drafts.

The obvious is Saquon Barkley, but for those looking for mid-round value or a late-round flier, there are Penn State players to be had.

To help break down the available Nittany Lions, from Barkley to Robbie Gould, we spoke to Joe Dolan, the managing editor of FantasyGuru.com.

Note: All position and overall rankings reflect standard PPR scoring and come from FantasyGuru.com.

Saquon Barkley, running back, New York Giants

Position ranking: No. 9

RB-WR-TE ranking: No. 14

Dolan outlook: “There’s a very clear top four at running back, and in no particular order, it’s Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott. They’re the consensus top four. ... I would say in most drafts, Barkley is the seventh player off the board, after the top four running backs, Alvin Kamara and Antonio Brown. I have seen him go in the top five. It’s not uncommon.

“One thing I have not seen is (him) fall out of the first round. He is a locked in first-round fantasy pick, and I have seen hundreds of drafts. Saquon falling out of the first round would be mind-blowing at this point. It just does not happen. He’s got league-winning potential. We’re talking 250 to 275 carries, 40 to upwards of 80 catches. ... He has the profile of a true foundation back in the NFL, and that makes him a true foundation fantasy player.”

Allen Robinson, wide receiver, Chicago Bears

Position ranking: No. 23

RB-WR-TE ranking: No. 40

Dolan outlook: “He’s kind of a fourth round, fifth round type of fantasy pick. You draft him as your No. 2 wide receiver. The reason he’s going there is, we’re not entirely sure what the Bears are going to look like. Now, the entire fantasy industry is optimistic about the Bears. They got rid of a dinosaur of a head coach in John Fox, and they brought in somebody who is very progressive in Matt Nagy.

“The question becomes, how good is (Mitchell) Trubisky going to be? And if he’s very good, how many of his targets are actually going to filter to Allen Robinson? Given the fact that Robinson is coming off an injury, that’s what puts him in that fourth or fifth round, as opposed to somewhere in the third round with guys like Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Tyreke Hill. There are more questions about Allen Robinson. But given what the Bears paid him, and what this offense could look like, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him have a year like Alshon Jeffery had in Philly last year as a threat to score double-digit touchdowns.”

Chris Godwin, wide receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Position ranking: No. 64

RB-WR-TE ranking: No. 116

Dolan outlook: “I just finished a draft where I picked Godwin in the 14th round, and he was my fifth wide receiver. I think that’s kind of the right spot for him. There’s been a lot of talk that Tampa wants to start Godwin in two wide receiver sets opposite Mike Evans, and they’ve been running DeSean Jackson in the slot. ... Think about Robert Woods in Los Angeles last year, just that movable chess piece who lines up off the line of scrimmage and kind of gets a free release. They like what Godwin can do with his athleticism and his contested catch ability.

“The question I have about Godwin is he didn’t really produce a ton last year. That doesn’t preclude him from this year. We just didn’t see a whole lot of what he was capable of. ... I believe in Chris Godwin’s talent and his upside, but there are so many questions here about his role that it pushes him into the double-digit rounds in fantasy.”

DaeSean Hamilton, wide receiver, Denver Broncos

Position ranking: No. 113

RB-WR-TE ranking: No. 243

Dolan outlook: “I would advise people who are excited about DaeSean to go watch the Broncos’ second preseason game. DaeSean got big-time snaps with the first-team offense. He was targeted on a flea flicker, where Case Keenum got hit, and he was actually overthrown in the end zone. He should have scored a touchdown with the first-team offense.

“From what I’ve seen so far, Hamilton will have a role this year. But he’s probably more of a dynasty stash at this point. He’s a guy in a keeper league you want to have on the end of your bench. Not somebody who’s going to get drafted in your weekend drafts with your friends. But he is someone who could, if things shake right, be valuable in the middle of the season and becomes one of the top waiver wire pickups.”

Mike Gesicki, tight end, Miami Dolphins

Position ranking: No. 20

RB-WR-TE ranking: No. 147

Dolan outlook: “He’s a double-digit flier based on talent. The thing Gesicki has going for him is the tight end position is an absolute wasteland for fantasy. There’s really only seven or eight guys you feel good about overall, and after that, you’re kind of just throwing darts.

“He’s really picking it up in training camp, and Ryan Tannehill is looking for him in the red zone. I think Gesicki is a really good guy to draft as a second tight end, especially if you have a guy like Zach Ertz or Travis Kelce, who you view as a high-end tight end. He’s a guy you can have on the bench with high touchdown upside. I don’t think it’s outrageous to say he has double-digit touchdown upside.”

Jesse James, tight end, Pittsburgh Steelers

Position ranking: No. 38

RB-WR-TE ranking: No. 209

Dolan outlook: “There’s nothing for fantasy. Vance McDonald has been hurt, and I know Jesse James has kind of come out and almost asked for a bigger role. But if Vance McDonald is healthy, I think Vance McDonald is the guy the Steelers view as their primary receiving tight end. He came on late in the year, so that’s the guy I’d be looking at in fantasy.”

Robbie Gould, kicker, San Francisco 49ers

Position ranking: No. 5

Dolan outlook: “Robbie Gould is a kicker I’m interested in. He kicks in warm weather. He kicks for a good offense, a team that’s anticipated to score points with Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan. Robbie Gould, to me, is a kicker who should be drafted. Warm weather with a good offense is a recipe for a big-time fantasy kicker.”

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