Early 2017 Rankings: Top 40 Wide Receivers: How high Does Michael Thomas Rank & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know who the top few wide receivers are, though you could argue the order (Antonio Brown or Odell Beckham Jr.).  After those top few, though, things do start to get a little bit questionable.  Whether it’s a player in a poor situation or questions about health or some other issue, things are definitely in flux.  Let’s take a look at how things currently look, keeping in mind that they will likely change dramatically as we get closer to the start of the season:

  1. Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. Odell Beckham Jr. – New York Giants
  3. Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
  4. Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  5. Jordy Nelson – Green Bay Packers
  6. A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals
  7. Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders
  8. Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints Read more

Late Round Target: Could The Bills’ Zay Jones Prove To Be A Worthy Gamble?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was a rather underwhelming season for Buffalo wide receivers and tight ends, especially with Sammy Watkins being limited to eight games and 28 catches.  With their star out of the picture, no one stepped up and claimed the opportunity:

  • Robert Woods – 51 receptions
  • Charles Clay – 57 receptions
  • Marquise Goodwin – 29 receptions

Part of the blame can be put at the feet of Tyrod Taylor, though he did complete 61.7% of his passes for 3,023 yards (188.7 yards per game).  Part of the blame can be put on a run dominated attack, with nearly 500 rushing attempts.  However you slice it, though, the group was bad in ’16 and that should mean opportunity for someone to emerge.  Enter second round selection Zay Jones, who has little competition for a starting role.  Read more

Top 10 Rookie Quarterbacks For 2017: Is There Anyone Who Could Emerge In ’17?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While there is some potential upside in this year’s quarterback class, it’s hard to imagine much of an impact from any of them in 2017.  That doesn’t mean that there won’t be some production, and maybe someone ultimately emerges, but in one-quarterback leagues we wouldn’t be targeted any of them.  In deeper formats (and in dynasty leagues) it’s a different story, but let’s take a look at the group and see if there is any glimmer of upside:

 

1) Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans
Just looking at the quarterbacks currently on the roster (Watson, Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden) tells us that Watson is highly likely to be starting Week 1.  With one of the better defenses in the league, as well as a potentially strong running game and an elite wide receiver (DeAndre Hopkins), Watson will be asked to manage the games and deliver when the opportunity is there.

Then again there could be a lot of growing pains as he transitions from the spread offense to having to receive the snap from under center.  That alone makes us wonder how productive he can be immediately, as Walter Football described him by saying: Read more

Early 2017 Rankings: Top 15 Tight Ends: Will Zach Ertz Finally Emerge, Hunter Henry On The Rise & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Tight end is often a frustrating position to fill, as we see week-to-week inconsistency (outside of the elite in the game).  While that makes it more difficult to stream an option, the idea of owning one of the top options who you know you can count on becomes that much more important.  We all know that a healthy Rob Gronkowski is among that group, but who joins him?  The potential candidates have grown, so let’s take a look at our early rankings and see who it is that we’d be targeting:

  1. Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
  2. Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs
  3. Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers
  4. Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins
  5. Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles
  6. Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Bengals
  7. Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans Read more

Old Faces, New Places: Now In Baltimore, Will Jeremy Maclin Be Able To Rebound?

by Ray Kuhn

Entering the 2017 season the buzz in Baltimore is going to be surrounding Breshad Perriman. That hype is warranted as Perriman is a dynamic, young talent, but we also shouldn’t ignore their late addition this off-season in Jeremy Maclin.

The release of Maclin by the Chiefs, which came earlier in June, took a lot of observers by surprise. He struggled through most of last season, but at 29 I would wait before officially writing him off from fantasy relevance.

That conclusion is based on a piece of information we learned from Maclin during his appearance on Adam Schefter’s podcast. We knew that Maclin was injured last season, he was on the field for just two snaps in Week 9 prior to leaving the game, and he then didn’t appear again until Week 14. Read more

Third Year Receivers: Breakout or Bust: Are Devin Funchess or Brandon Coleman Worth Buying?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Third year receivers are generally seen as potential breakout candidates, but obviously they don’t all live up to the hype.  We’ll be taking a look at all of the third year receivers, as we try to determine who is worth grabbing and who should be ignored:

 

Devin Funchess – Carolina Panthers
There were high hopes for Devin Funchess after being selected in the second round of the 2015 draft.  At the time of his selection Mike Maycock of NFL.com said:

“I don’t know if the Panthers plan to play Funchess inside or outside. It doesn’t matter. He’s a matchup nightmare.”

Unfortunately for Carolina that hasn’t been the case.  Over his first 31 NFL games he’s managed 54 receptions for 844 yards.  While he has proven capable of finding the end zone, with 9 TD, that’s simply not enough given his inefficiency: Read more

Early 2017 Rankings: Top 15 Quarterbacks: Does Drew Brees Remain In The Top 5 & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all think we have a good grasp of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, and to an extent we do.  The Top 4 or 5 names on this list are pretty obvious, though you may want to alter the order a little bit.  After that, though?  Things start to get a little bit cloudier.  Who are the names we should be targeting?  Who are likely to be overvalued on draft day?  Let’s take an early look at our Top 15 quarterbacks for the coming season (this list will be expanded as we get closer to the season):

  1. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
  2. Tom Brady – New England Patriots
  3. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts
  4. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
  5. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
  6. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
  7. Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders
  8. Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers Read more

Draft Day Decision: Is The Returning Martavis Bryant Worth Selecting?

by Ray Kuhn

Buzz… At this time of year that fuels a lot of the fantasy football talk. We have young players looking to build on success from last season, players in new places as well as a fresh crop of rookies, but we can’t forget about Martavis Bryant despite the fact that the wide receiver was suspended for all of 2016.

As we entered 2016 there was that same word, “buzz”, surrounding Bryant. The wide receiver was coming off a season that saw him catch 50 passes for 765 yards and six touchdowns, including three 100-plus yard games, and expectations were high. Instead he was suspended for the entire season due to drug use, and now it is something that will be hanging over Bryant’s head moving forward.

However, by all indications he appears to headed in the right direction and will come back stronger. With Marcus Wheaton no longer calling Pittsburgh home, Bryant is currently slotted in as a starting receiver opposite Antonio Brown. Read more

Breakout Candidate: Could Marlon Mack Emerge As A Top 25 RB In 2017?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When we think about rookie running backs it’s the big names that fill the discussion.  Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon and Dalvin Cook are the players everyone is clamoring to acquire, but as your drafts progress don’t overlook the potential value of another rookie runner.  Drafted in the fourth round (143rd overall) out of South Florida, the Colts’ Marlon Mack has the potential to make a significant impact as soon as Week 1.

The current depth chart alone should tell us about his potential to produce immediately:

  1. Frank Gore
  2. Robert Turbin
  3. Josh Ferguson

Gore is now 34-years old, and sooner or later the production is going to stop.  As it is he averaged 3.9 yards per carry in ’16, breaking just 1 of his 263 carries for more than 20 yards.  That’s hardly a dynamic back, and one that isn’t going to help keep defenses honest.

Read more

Early 2017 Rankings: Top 25 Running Backs: How High does Jay Ajayi Rise, Crowell Borderline RB1 & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As more and more NFL teams gravitate towards a committee approach in the backfield, the top tier running backs grow that much more valuable.  Someone who is going to be on the field for all three downs, drive after drive, gives fantasy owners that much of an advantage over the rest of their league.  Who are those running backs?  Who are the prime draft day targets?  Let’s take a look:

  1. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
  2. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys
  4. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears
  5. Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers
  6. Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins
  7. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills
  8. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons Read more