Fantasy Mailbag 2016: Week 7

Can we talk about LeSean McCoy for a minute?

McCoy is 150 yards from scrimmage away from surpassing both Shaun Alexander and Marshawn Lynch for 39th on the all-time list. Among backs with 10,000 career yards total, McCoy ranks 7th all-time with 4.7 yards per carry. When many (me included) thought he was close to being done, he proved to us that he is still an elite back in the league after scoring 7 touchdowns this season(2nd in the NFL).

He is set to face a Miami defense that is allowing the 4th most rush yards to opposing RBs. He left practice early this week with hamstring tightness and should be worth monitoring before kickoff though. If healthy, McCoy will be a great play this week. If not, be ready to pick up Mike Gillislee.

 

Mail Time!

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-10-43-24-am

It’s never comfortable to play someone on Thursday Night, but Cameron Meredith is legitimate play this week against a Packers defense that is missing its TOP 3 defensive backs. He ranks 3rd in receiving yards and 1st in receptions over the last 2 weeks. Meredith is also a favorite of Brian Hoyers when in the red zone. While I DO believe in Kenny Britt, you have to play Meredith.

 

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-10-43-35-am

If Jordan Reed sits, you should go with Vernon Davis. If he doesn’t, Charles Clay is your next best play against a Dolphins defense that has allowed touchdowns to tight ends in 2 of their last 4 games.

 

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-10-43-59-am

TE:¬†Anyone who had Coby Fleener a week ago (*raises hand*) finally got to unleash the power of an athletic tight end in Sean Payton’s system. This week, however, I would recommend going with¬†Kyle Rudolph. He is second among TEs in touchdowns and is averaging 7.4 targets per game. He is also getting 40% of the Vikings red zone targets and it’s hard to pass on that consistency.

WR: Demaryius Targaryen¬†and¬†Brandin ‘Too Many’ Cooks’

 

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-10-44-29-am

WR:¬†I feel bad about this because I do really like Kenny Britt going forward, but Julian Edelman is healthier and on the Tom Brady Revenge tour. If it doesn’t all come together this weekend against a Steeler’s defense that will be too busy with the tight ends, then bench him.

DEF:¬†Seattle is the better defense but I like Cincinnati’s matchup WAY MORE.

QB:¬†It’s time to unleash¬†#HoyerTheDestroyer.

 

Have more Fantasy lineup questions? Don’t hesitate to ask on Facebook or Twitter. 

Fantasy Mailbag 2016: Week 6

The highest scoring non-quarterback in Fantasy Football right now is David Johnson (aka #DJ2K). He added two touchdowns and 157 rush yards to his total last week against San Francisco.

dj2k-vs-san-fran

Johnson has gained over 100 yards from scrimmage in every game, so far this season, and faces a Jets defense that has allowed¬†16 receptions, 125 yards and two touchdowns to running backs in the last two weeks. He may not see as many carries as he got against the 49ers (27) because Carson Palmer is set to return, but you can count on his receiving skills to do some heavy damage against the J-E-T-S…blah blah blah.

Mail Time!

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-9-15-27-pm

TE: The perennially slow starting Seahawks offense seems to have found a connection between Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham. Graham has recorded back-to-back 100-yard performances for the first time since 2003. The Falcons are also the second worst (to the Browns) at giving up TDs to the position.

Flex: Jordan Howard¬†recorded the 9th most yards from scrimmage by a rookie in Bears franchise history. Names like Anthony Thomas, James Allen, and yes…Walter Payton…produced better games in their first year, and just by up to 30 yards. In terms of matchups, Howard doesn’t have an easy one in Jacksonville. They have allowed 104 rush yards per game and only 2 touchdowns on the ground. Based on the volume Howard gets in the Bears offense (running and receiving) you can’t let him sit.

DEF:¬†I’m not sure about the Panthers in the long-term, due to their young secondary being taken advantage of nearly every weekend and having one takeaway in their last 3 games. Short term, their matchup with the Saints has shootout potential, and that’s bad for any defense. I like your¬†Titans¬†pick against Cody Kessler and the Browns. The Titans are making a lot of noise with back-to-back multi-interception games and ranking 6th in sacks.

 

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-9-16-12-pm

Steve Sr. is (1) not a tight end and (2) dealing with an ankle injury that knocked him out of last week’s game. Go with¬†James White.

 

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-9-16-34-pm

If I learned anything last week, it’s not to doubt Devonta Freeman.¬†Against the best defense in football, Freeman totaled 123 yards and a touchdown. You can look at the yards per carry as a negative, but 26 touches is proof he is Atlanta’s every down back (with Coleman getting his work receiving). The upside is in Freeman’s favor, while Frank Gore will give you either 75+ yards or a touchdown…like he has in every game so far this season. Up to you.

 

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-6-41-57-am

TE: In the Brian Hoyer era for Chicago, Zach Miller is averaging 6 catches, 61 yards and a touchdown. While Hoyer is spreading the ball around, he does seem to have favorite targets in 3rd down situations and Miller is one of them. Keep riding that train as Zach Ertz is facing a defense that gave up less than 60 yards to both Gary Barnidge and Dennis Pitta.

Flex:¬†Matt Forte is that guy we all want to love (with good reason) but we really shouldn’t. He hasn’t done anything close to his monster Week 2 and Bilal Powell is taking more and more pass targets away from him. I also don’t think this will be a good week to play Travis Benjamin. As you know, Broncos are probably looking for blood on Thursday Night Football this evening.¬†Jordan Matthews¬†is your best call.

 

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-9-17-45-pm

Well, Quincy Enunwa would’ve been a pretty great pickup. Sammie Coates would be outstanding, if you can find him. Outside of those two? Chris Hogan, Jeremy Kerley and Devante Adams are decent week-to-week fill-ins, but I would try to make a trade if you are looking for a dependable solution for the rest of the season.

 

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-9-18-28-pm

Melvin Gordon is going to get the touches against a Broncos D (that has given up the 10th most points to RBs) and has averaged a score in every game. If I’m looking for a safer play though, it’s¬†Kelvin Benjamin against the Saints. They have allowed 86+ yards to 6 different receivers in 4 games and are letting quarterbacks just CHUCK IT on them. Love the shootout potential at the Superdome this weekend, Cam Newton or not.

Have more Fantasy lineup questions? Don’t hesitate to ask on Facebook or Twitter. 

Fantasy Mailbag 2016: Week 5

Did you have either Julio Jones or Matt Ryan in your lineup last week? Both? Or did you leave one on your bench because you underestimated how good they are paired together?

matt-and-julio

It’s hard to doubt these two again for a while, right? They (the unstoppable force) take on Denver (an immovable object). Ryan is the the highest scoring quarterback in Fantasy Football. The Denver defense leads the league in sacks, have only allowed 1 touchdown reception (to Kelvin Benjamin) and have allowed just 3 receptions on 7 targets in the red zone.

X-Factor? Julio being Julio. He’s a Mutant and likely future X-Men, so there’s that.

Mail Time!

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-55-55-pm

TE:¬†You have a strong predicament there, considering both TEs are facing really terrible defenses. With Tom Brady returning and Rob Gronkowski back to 100%, I feel more comfortable with¬†Zach Miller’s¬†targets this weekend than Martysaurus Rex. Miller is definitely going to be depended on more with the loss of Kevin White and he is going up against The Replacements…being the Colts linebackers.

QB: Neither matchup looks pretty for your quarterbacks but there are two things to consider:

  1. Matt Ryan is playing like the best quarterback in football right now.
  2. The Eagles defense hasn’t allowed a passing touchdown yet this season.

The Falcons run game helps setup Ryan and his receivers better, even against the Broncos defense.

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-56-16-pm

TE: Martysaurus. 

RB:¬†I like Giovani Bernard’s¬†ability in open space against Dallas much more than Tevin Coleman having to play second fiddle against the Broncos.

WR:¬†Sammy Coates¬†was one of the best WR pickups you could snag on the waiver-wire this week but I like Quincy Enunwa¬†much more in this matchup, with Eric Decker likely to sit out. Steeler’s are ranked 30th in defending #2 WRs.

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-57-42-pm

QB: I’m shocked Philip Rivers is available in your league. If you can get him, play him. The Raiders are THE WORST at defending pass yards and are in the bottom 3rd in allowing pass touchdowns.

DEF: The Rams will be your best bet this weekend, as they are SMOTHERING quarterbacks this year and not even Tyrod Taylor can out run Aaron Donald.

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-58-02-pm

TE:¬†Ertz.¬†Carson Wentz loves throwing to his tight end and the Lions haven’t figured out how to defend the position in the past season and a half.

WR:¬†For the reasons I like Philip Rivers above, I REALLY like¬†Travis Benjamin.¬†You don’t have a bad play though, considering Jordan Matthews plays out of the slot and will do so in a very good matchup. The Lions allow the 6th most fantasy points against receivers.

 

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-58-28-pm

I also don’t feel good about Stafford this week, but if you can stream a QB…go with¬†#HoyerTheDestroyer.¬†He has 300+ yards and 2 TDs in each of his past 2 starts and it should continue this weekend against a Colts defense that has 3 TDs to 2 of the 4 QBs they have played against this year.

 

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-59-00-pm

QB:¬†I feel better about Wentz against the Lions than I do Jameis repeating Matt Ryan’s murderous work. I don’t think you’ll be particularly wrong with either though.

RB:¬†GAH…it pains me to say it because I’m not a big fan of his Fantasy prowess (love him as a person though) but you have to go with Frank Gore in this matchup. Davonta Freeman is facing the best defense in football. Gore is not.

 

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-9-59-31-pm

We don’t normally do Keeper League things on here, but I do want to talk about Kevin White. White was getting better every week before he was placed on IR. He had more receptions than any Bears receiver in their first 4 games. I think it depends on how desperate you are for an extra roster spot, what’s available, who will emerge to pickup for your draft next year…I haven’t given up on White’s potential and I like the prospects of him playing with a new quarterback in 2017.

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-11-18-43-pm

Ben. 

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-11-20-06-pm

I hope you didn’t go with Michael Floyd…

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-11-20-32-pm

The best thing in this trade appears to be Michael Crabtree. Problem is…Kelce has all the ability to be a top end Tight End and could be elite paired with a Top 10 quarterback. You don’t seem to be needy for a major trade but Crabtree would help you in the short run…Kelce would help you in the long run. I’ll let you decide.

 

Have more Fantasy lineup questions? Don’t hesitate to ask on Facebook or Twitter. 

Fantasy Mailbag 2016: Week 4

Bears safety Chris Prosinski was just minding his own business, serving as a backup on defense and contributing on special teams. Next thing you know, he’s forced into the game because of injuries and is immortalized on posters for years to come…because Ezekiel Elliott did this to him.

elliott-hurdle

Aside from the shame that Prosinski has to harbor, in film sessions and highlight shows for years to come, the Cowboys have something special on their hands. Elliott had his coming out party against Chicago on Sunday Night Football last week, rushing for 140 yards and adding 20 more receiving. He was a workhorse down the stretch. Gashing a beat up Bears defense, but running harder on every down. He is currently the league’s 3rd leading rusher, with 2 touchdowns, and should only impress more behind the NFL’s best offensive line.

The Cowboys are also led by another rookie at quarterback, who is making a lot of us wonder how he fell to the 4th round in this year’s draft. Dak Prescott doesn’t have gaudy numbers, yet, but he appears to be looking better by the week. He threw his first career touchdown pass in Week 3, averages 33 attempts per game, and goes up against the 28th ranked pass defense on Sunday (San Francisco). He won’t necessarily carry your team, but a spot start by Prescott doesn’t appear shabby in Week 4 if you need one.

Quick Hits

  • Terrelle Pryor¬†became the first player in NFL history to record over 140 receiving yards, 20 rushing yards, and 30 passing yards all in the same game. He is the Browns’ best source for offense and even played safety, at one point, against the Dolphins in Week 3. You can also tell that Cleveland coach Hue Jackson is scheming specifically to put the ball in Pryor’s hands AND in open space…because why wouldn’t you, when the guy is 6’6, 240 pounds and can run a 4.4 40-second drill.

 

  • Christine Michael¬†looked like he was in a video game in the first quarter against San Francisco in week 3. 9 carries, 71 yards and 2 touchdowns (the first on his first touch for 41 yards). He came back to Earth though, only rushing for 35 on 3.1 yards per carry after that. Michael is the guy many people have waited on, with all the physical tools to be a star in the league. The injuries Thomas Rawls has dealt with have given Michael his 3rd or 4th chance to prove it, as it seems. He has a tough matchup this week against the Jets, a Top-3 rush defense.

 

  • In tonight’s Thursday Night Football matchup, your first thought for best fantasy option may be AJ Green, but I lean toward¬†Jarvis Landry.¬†He is commanding 30% of his team’s targets, is lethal in the return game, and is LITERALLY putting up Antonio Brown numbers (even though he went 4 rounds later in your draft). Landry is¬†tied with Brown for the league lead in receptions (24) and has recorded more yards in 3 games (314). He’s even stealing Brown’s touchdown celebrations…

 

Mail Time!

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-39-14-am

If Dez Bryant plays, he’ll be doing so with a fractured knee…So, I’ll let you decide on that one.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-39-55-am

For PPR’s sake, you’ll for sure want to start Mark Ingram. The Chargers are allowing NINE CATCHES PER GAME to running backs, so far this season. Being without Manti Teo (who is still without his imaginary girlfriend. Sorry too easy), makes the Chargers way more susceptible to the run.

Carlos Hyde may have gone off on the Seahawks, but they didn’t allow Arian Foster or Todd Gurley to go over 51 yards the weeks prior. Travis Benjamin¬†will continue to get is targets and shoot EAT against the Saints secondary.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-40-16-am

 

The Giants have done some impressive things rushing the passer and against the run, but they are THE WORST against the pass through 3 weeks this season. Stefon Diggs should be in for a solid day of receiving yards on Sunday.

Despite facing his toughest matchup of the season, I have to recommend¬†Mike Evans¬†over Emmanuel Sanders because he is 2nd in targets this season to Antonio Brown. Jameis Winston may not play particularly well, but you can count on him at least throwing it Evans’ way.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-40-28-am

This one will be quick:

League leader in receiving yards Marvin Jones against the depleted Bears secondary. Then Brandin Cooks, for the real potential of a shootout with San Diego.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-40-40-am

You have to play Julio Jones if you have him. Last week was a bit of an enigma with him. Look for Julio to take advantage of a young Panthers secondary that has only faced Trevor Siemian, Blaine Gabbert, and Sam Bradford so far this season and Matt Ryan has all of a sudden shown up as a top quarterback again. I get the temptation for Marvin Jones, but Julio is far more proven and that deal needs to be sweetened much more for me to trade him.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-41-04-am

Hey man, I just give advice. I don’t lock your lineup for you.

Have more Fantasy lineup questions? Don’t hesitate to ask on Facebook or Twitter. 

Fantasy Mailbag 2016: Week 3

After all the running back injuries last weekend, it seems the best course would be to tread lightly…when claiming a fill-in.

fozzy-whittaker

Fozzy Whittaker, Panthers

After Jonathan Stewart went down with a hamstring injury, Whittaker took over with 100 yards rushing on 16 carries (6.25 yards per carry). Stewart isn’t expected to be out very long, but you can’t expect the Panthers to increase the potential for Cam Newton to get hurt on more quarterback draw plays. Whittaker has the talent to be effective with a lead back’s workload. Cameron Artis-Payne and Mike Tolbert will be in the rotation for touches, but the majority should go to Whittaker…who recorded nearly a quarter of his 3-year career rush total just last week.

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings

There are 3 running backs, not named Adrian Peterson, who are looking to shine on the Vikings roster. Matt Asiata is a goal line vulture, with short-yardage power. Ronnie Hillman landed from Denver, not too long ago, and has the ability to be a flash-in-the-pan every once in a while. Then there’s Jerick McKinnon, who may be the most talented of the 3 and should be counted on for his pass-catching and breakaway speed. Your best bet is McKinnon for those exact reasons, and because the Vikings could be playing from behind against Newton and the now high-flying Panthers offense.

Kenneth Dixon, Ravens & Kenyan Drake, Dolphins

These two rookie running backs should be on your radar. Dixon is on his way back from injury, but worth stashing once he returns. Neither Justin Forsett or Terrance West have done enough to claim the #1 RB role in Baltimore, and Dixon is one of the most talented players to come out of the draft…Going down the coast, we find Drake getting an opportunity to earn #1 type work over Jay Ajayi while Arian Foster deals with the thing that’s plagued him since 2013…injuries. Drake ran in a touchdown last week, and Ajayi has been a healthy scratch for Dolphins once already this season.

Mail Time!

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-7-53-55-am

RB2 –¬†You’ve got really good problem on your hands. Both players have great matchups, but I like Gordon’s situation more. The Chargers signed Dexter McCluster to fill in for the Woodhead role, but realistically he still needs to learn the offense. The Colts are also incredibly banged up on defense. The 2015 version of myself wouldn’t believe I’m saying this, but go with Melvin Gordon.

Flex –¬†I understand the concern not wanting to stack a RB & WR from the same team, but Ken Whisenhunt has brought some serious fire power back to the Chargers’ offensive play-calling. On top of Woodhead and Allen being hurt, the Chargers may also be without Antonio Gates this weekend.¬†Travis Benjamin¬†should be a target monster.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-7-54-13-am

I would respond by asking, who is available? The Chiefs had a solid bounce back last week with 2 sacks and 2 picks, while also holding one of the more potent offenses in football to under 20 points. The Jets looked pretty dangerous a week ago against a pretty messed up Bills squad, but they could be just as prone for turnovers…as FitzMagic proved at the end of last season. Tweet me your other Defensive options at @Mike_PiFF03.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-7-54-26-am

Not Golden Tate. As a Golden Tate enthusiast before the season, I’ve got pretty hard feelings toward his production in the first two weeks.

Atlanta’s secondary has been LIT UP 2 weeks in a row, and Brandin Cooks is just the spark for another deep bomb of a TD (or 2).¬†Jordan Matthews¬†has recorded 100 yards or a touchdown in 6 of his last 8 games. You can trust him more than Demaryius Targaryen, which is very tough for me to say.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-7-56-23-am

FLEX –¬†Gordon for the reasons above.

WR –¬†T.Y. Hilton¬†becomes more valuable with Moncrief being injured. I love Will Fuller but it’s hard to trust players to play at their best on Thursday night.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-7-56-43-am

I don’t love going against Carson Palmer, but I do love most quarterbacks facing the Saints secondary. They will likely be without P.J. Williams and Delvin Breaux and it’s obscene that Eli Manning didn’t score more points on them. Go with¬†Matt Ryan.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-7-56-59-am

I know Sproles is tempting, but you must resist. Ryan Matthews is proving that his nose for then end zone is too strong to deny.

Have more Fantasy lineup questions? Don’t hesitate to ask on Facebook or Twitter. 

Fantasy Mailbag 2016: Week 2

Week 1 is in the books and man…did football get off the bus running or what?

A few new names made quite an impression on Fantasy Football enthusiasts, like Jalen Richard above. Or Eli Rogers and his ricochet touchdown catches.

However, the Week 2 edition of Thursday Night Football featured much of the opposite. The key offensive players on the Jets are all 30 and over: Ryan Fitzpatrick (33), Brandon Marshall (32) and Matt Forte (30). Forte ran the ball 30 times to rush for 100 yards and 3 touchdowns. FitzMagic threw for 374 yards and 1 touchdown in a 37-31 Jets victory.

Quick Hits

  • Some of you were smart and drafted DeAngelo Williams in the 8th round or later (hopefully handcuffing him to Le’Veon Bell). Some of you were smart about picking up Spencer Ware on waivers right after, or drafting him late. Williams owners were treated to an AFC Offensive Player of the Week performance of 171 yards from scrimmage with 6 catches and 2 touchdowns. Ware owners were rewarded with 199 yards from scrimmage, 7 catches a touchdown. They may be placeholders for Bell and Jamaal Charles for now but Williams and Ware are playing at level that’s worth riding for as long as you can, considering they were both Top 4 in total yardage.

  • Carson Wentz¬†impressed a lot of people across the league in his NFL¬†debut. Completing 22 of his 37 passes for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns earned Wentz the 7th highest quarterback rating by a rookie on opening day. Although it doesn’t count for Fantasy points, there were more Wentz jerseys sold than any in the league over the 2 days following the opener. Wentz will have an opportunity to build on his success and become the 5th NFL quarterback since 1960 to start his career 2-0 against a shaky Bears secondary on Monday Night Football.

wentz-td

  • On the flip-side of the Week 2 Monday Night matchup,¬†Alshon Jeffery¬†could be in for a big night. The Eagles will be without starting CB Leodis McKelvin and will depend on a 7th round pick Jalen Mills in his place. Also being counted on to cover Jeffery is Nolan Carroll, who was lit up by the BROWNS (all caps necessary) in Week 1. Jeffery became the first Bears player since Forte (in 2010) to record 100+ receiving yards in the first half, against Houston, and should do even more damage when Chicago hosts Philly.

 

Mail Time!

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-9-49-59-am

I love the repertoire Willie Snead and Drew Brees have. Snead had the best game of his young career in Week 1 (9 catches, 172 yards, 1 TD) in a shootout with Oakland. A game with the Giants has potential for similar results, but I still lean toward Spencer Ware while you can still use him. The Saints have a heck of a wide receiver group and anyone can be in-store for a big day. Ware is guaranteed to get touches against a Texans defense that allowed 57 rush yards and a touchdown to Jeremy Langford a week ago. Alex Smith is also bound to continue dumping the ball off to Ware over the pass rush.

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-9-50-26-am

Going back to the potential shootout between the Giants and Saints, I would go with Snead in this case…mostly because I think Eli Manning will be targeting Odell Beckham Jr. more than Victor Cruz after just 4 catches a week ago. OBJ is 9 catches away from becoming the youngest receiver to 200.

Remember the 52-49 game a year ago? Round 2 has a lot of hype to live up to.

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-9-50-43-am

Flex:¬†Safest play would be¬†Golden Tate, who will be a target machine in his hometown of Nashville. Boom would be Demaryius Targaryen against a weak Indy secondary, but he’s dealing with a bad hip. Melvin Gordon may be taking a step back, as his team should be playing a lot of catchup against the high-powered (that’s right) Jaguars offense.

QB:¬†I’m not particularly high on a less-mobile Russell Wilson against one of the best pass rushing front-7’s in football. Wilson has proved me wrong in the past, but I see the Seahawks attacking St. Louis better by handing off to the Rawls-Michael tandem. Trust the Jim Bob Cooter offense and Matthew Stafford this weekend.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-9-52-53-am

Einhorn. Sean Young, FTW.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-9-53-44-am

I do like Houston better, you’re right…but way more because of Whitney Mercilus than JJ Watt. The pass rush that they hoped to get from Jadeveon Clowney has arrived in the form of a man with a great football name, from the University of Illinois. While Cincy-Pittsburgh always lives up to its “rock’em, sock’em” reputation, but the Steelers offense is too good (even without Martavis Bryant and Le’Veon Bell) to bet against.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-9-53-55-am¬†I hope you didn’t go with McCoy…

A tandem of DJ2K (David Johnson) and Williams is a tough one to beat. They are also two of the most reliable backs you can find, with schemes that will always put the ball in their hands. Have fun.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-9-54-12-am

I like Stefon Diggs the most, as a receiver, but I don’t like the quarterback situation throwing him the ball. It will either be an under-prepared Sam Bradford or Shaun Hill against the Packers 3-4 pass rush. Does that inspire confidence in you? I didn’t think so…

Emmanuel Sanders may be the best option for the sole reason that he is the healthier than Thomas and he’s going against one of the worst secondaries in football.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-9-54-33-am

Jay Cutler and I think you should go with Will Fuller.

jay-cutler-point-gif

Have more Fantasy lineup questions? Don’t hesitate to ask on Facebook or Twitter. 

Fantasy Football Mailbag 2016 – Week 1

It’s Thursday, there’s football tonight, and you have a lineup (or 3) that you need to set.

breesus-sideline

Thank goodness, Fantasy Football is back.

Look at the NFL, starting the new season where they left off last year. NBC’s Thursday Night Football will premiere with a Super Bowl 50 rematch between the Panthers and defending champion Broncos. Both teams return with stout defenses. One will have Cam Newton under center. The other will have…

Trevor Siemian.

The Broncos make Siemian the first Northwestern quarterback to start the regular season since Otto Graham. Siemian beat out Mark Sanchez and 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch. He also inherits an offense from sure-fire Hall of Famer Peyton Manning that includes Pro Bowlers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders on the outside, and CJ Anderson at tailback.

It’s hard to tell how the wide receivers will fair with the 7th rounder at quarterback. He won the job by not turning the ball over and managing the preseason games fairly well. Key term: Managed. Anderson and rookie backup running back Devontae Booker will likely get plenty of touches, but you can’t expect Siemian to beat the Panthers defense with his arm. Carolina can still fly to the ball, even without Josh Norman.

Quick Hits

  • It wasn’t far-fetched to draft Jamaal Charles in the 2nd round, especially when his ceiling is that of a Top 5 back. If you were smart though (owning JC or not), you picked up Spencer Ware when Andy Reid mentioned his #1 RB wasn’t going to be ready for the start of the season. When handed the ball 10 times or more, Ware averaged 95.3 yards and 1.3 touchdowns rushing in 2015. He also faces a Chargers defense that gave up nearly as many rushing yards and touchdowns in the league.

spencer-ware

 

  • The people who told you that Alfred Morris would be a viable Fantasy pickup were sorely mistaken. Ezekiel Elliott was drafted 4th overall for a reason, and that’s to be the Cowboys’ bell cow. Even as a rookie, Elliott was expected to get a ton of touches with Tony Romo at the helm. With another rookie taking snaps, expect him to be depended on even more…especially in 3rd down situations.

  • Antonio Brown was the consensus #1 pick in just about every league. He may not be the #1 WR to start the season though. Julio Jones was near historic in 2015, recording 136 catches and 1,871. Sunday, Jones will face the team he has terrorized the most in his 5-year career. He has averaged 116 yards and 7 catches per game against Tampa Bay, scoring 6 touchdowns over the 9 games he’s played them.

julio-jones-week-1

 

Mail Time!

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-11-26-31-pm

You know Jared Goff is inactive this week, right? He ended the preseason 3rd on the Rams’ depth chart. I hope you didn’t draft him. So¬†Dak Prescott…Yeah. Dak.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-11-26-57-pm

It seems like a lot of people forget that Carson Palmer is coming off the best season of his career, throwing 4,671 yards, 35 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. The 4 interceptions and 2 fumbles in the NFC title game against the Panthers may have something to do with that, but he isn’t playing against Carolina this weekend. I understand the temptation to go with Matt Stafford but his set of weapons aren’t nearly as proven as Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, Michael Floyd and David Johnson combined. Go with Palmer¬†against New England. Arizona will hope to capitalize on the mistakes of young Jimmy Garoppolo.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-11-27-28-pm

This is a fun one, and I’m surprised you were so trusting of so many rookies. Michael Thomas is realistically the 3rd option in New Orleans against a pretty decent Raiders defense. I like Sterling Shepard a lot and the opportunities he can get while Odell Beckham Jr. is double covered, but I don’t see him being the star against Dallas. Then that leaves us with Will Fuller, who is facing an already banged up Bears secondary. The Houston Texans have opportunity to feast on an ariel assault this Sunday, with Kyle Fuller likely out and Tracey Porter returning from injury in the preseason. Go with the the Notre Dame burner, Fuller, who can take the top off most NFL defenses.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-11-58-02-pm

Matt Ryan has too much he needs to show before I start him over Palmer. I already went into depth, regarding Palmer’s weapons so plan on starting him. Julio Jones will get his numbers, but I still need to see more from his new complimentary receivers. Vernon Hargreaves could also pose a threat, as the rookie had allowed a QB Rating of ZERO in the preseason.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-12-02-32-am

I know, people LOVE Marvin Jones paired with Matt Stafford. I just don’t understand why. Jones never topped 100 yards in 2015 and scored just 4 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Golden Tate has proven to be a target machine (sans Calvin Johnson as well) and Michael Crabtree actually had a statistically better year than Amari Cooper last season. There is shootout potential between the Saints and Raiders, and you’ll benefit greatly from starting¬†Crabtree¬†in that scenario.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-12-06-27-am

This may sound crazy…

I have trouble picking Cam Newton against the Denver defense. I know he has a chip on his shoulder after last year’s Super Bowl, but Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is going to throw the kitchen sink at him. Newton will still score some, either by air or ground. You should feel more comfortable with Ben Roethlisberger against a Washington defense that ranked in the bottom 3rd against passing yards and touchdowns a year ago.

And now for #DancingWade…

wade-phillips-dance

Have more Fantasy lineup questions? Don’t hesitate to ask on Facebook or Twitter.¬†

Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs (4.0)

Just when you thought it was safe to post a final rankings midway through July

Le’Veon Bell gets suspended, Arian Foster is signed, a Dion Lewis has knee surgery…mass hysteria!¬†With fantasy drafts already happening, it’s now or never to update the rankings. Rosters are closer to being set and depth charts are starting to seem clearer.

Here is my final Top 40 Fantasy Running Back list…until the next dramatic roster change.

1. Todd Gurley, Rams

Gurley leap vs Seahawks

Early candidate for the Hard Knocks¬†draft bump goes to…

Besides the freakish talent, athleticism and stats from his rookie year (1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns in 12 games), another thing Todd Gurley has going for him will be his usage in the upcoming season. The Rams offense hasn’t¬†improved much in the offseason, outside of #1 overall pick Jared Goff. Will Gurley be prepared to handle defenses that fill 9 players into the box? Look to Adrian Peterson as an example of someone who wasn’t phased by it, and consider Gurley to be a younger and faster version of him.

2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.16.38 AM

Adrian Peterson has posted 10+ touchdown in 8 of the 9 seasons he has played, and has also averaged 1,689 yards from scrimmage in each of those seasons. You can’t expect him to give you receiving points anymore and he only plays on the first 2 downs, but even at age 31 you can’t let him go out of your first round.

3. David Johnson, Cardinals

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.18.43 AM

David Johnson (I refer to him as DJ2K) is going ridiculously high in most mock drafts for his incredibly high ceiling in the Arizona Cardinals offense. From the RB3 spot in their backfield, Johnson scored 6 touchdowns in his first 5 games. When given #1 reps, Johnson showed you why he is rated so high, most notably Week 14 against Philadelphia…29 carries for 187 yards, 3 touchdowns + 4 catches for 42 yards.

4. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.20.30 AM

Ezekiel Elliott couldn’t have landed in a better situation. He’ll be running behind one of the best¬†2 offensive lines in the league…in a system that is most effective in play-action…and a quarterback who loves to check down. He isn’t afraid of the big stage, from what college fans saw vs. Alabama and Oregon in the 2014-2015 College Football Playoffs. 41 touchdowns in his last 2 years at Ohio State shouldn’t be ignored either.

5. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.07.46 AM

Le’Veon, Le’Veon, Le’Veon *continues shaking head*

He is the best offensive football player in the league. His 2014 season was proof of that as he totaled 2,215 yards from scrimmage (1,361 rushing, 854 receiving), 11 touchdowns and 83 catches. In the 6 games Bell played before his 2015-ending injury, he averaged 115 yards and scored 6 touchdowns.

…but of course a 3-game suspension makes it difficult to draft Bell early in the first round. You can’t let him get out of the 2nd though. Plan on handcuffing him to DeAngelo Williams.

6. Devonta Freeman, Falcons

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.21.30 AM

In 13 starts, Devonta Freeman ranked 1st in total touchdowns, 5th in yards from scrimmage, 7th in rushing and 2nd in touches. He¬†will have new Falcon/Pro Bowl center Alex Mack to run behind in 2016. Tevin Coleman will get reps, but look for Freeman to be even more dangerous around the end zone this year. Coleman also wasn’t very dependable health-wise last season, but could set Freeman up by taking care of business between the 20’s.

7. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.10.31 AM

Fresh off the PUP list, but also simply fresher than most overall after an early season-ending injury. Before the 2015 season, Charles was a production machine. He totaled 5,049 yards and 39 touchdowns over the previous 3 seasons. Yes, another injury would be devastating, but the ceiling for a healthy Charles is too high to deny.

8. Doug Martin, Buccaneers 

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.22.53 AM

Doug Martin answered a ton of questions I had a year ago, including those regarding his health. It was the first time since his rookie year that Martin played all 16 games. While the numbers didn’t quite match those of 2012, he still ranked 2nd in rush yards and 4th in yards from scrimmage. Hopefully former OC Dirk Koetter, now at the helm, will help Martin break the plain of the end zone more often.

9. Lamar Miller, Texans

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.26.14 AM

Lamar Miller was such a curious case in 2015. The Dolphins were 6-1 when Miller got 13+ carries and winless when he didn’t. You can expect Bill O’Brien to give the 25-year-old plenty of action in his new digs. In the same system, Arian Foster recorded 1,573 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns in 2014. Miller, who has 19 touchdowns in the past 2 season, is much younger and faster than Foster was then. Fantasy owners should prepare for a monster year out of him.

10. Thomas Rawls, Seahawks

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.27.20 AM

In 6 starts last season, Thomas Rawls averaged 118.6 yards per game and scored 5 touchdowns. The Seahawks are ready to roll with Rawls as their #1 in the backfield and he should be an absolute force if he can stay healthy.

11. Mark Ingram, Saints

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.28.46 AM

Mark Ingram stepped up big for the Saints and Fantasy owners in 2015. He recorded career highs in yards from scrimmage, targets, receptions, and receiving yards. Proving he could be effective in the passing game made Ingram incredibly valuable in-between the 20s, and he should build on that momentum within the red zone as well. You should also feel optimistic by the fact that CJ Spiller has fallen down the depth chart and won’t be threatening Ingram for as many touches as last year.

12. Latavius Murray, Raiders

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.30.12 AM

I may be a bigger fan of Latavius Murray than most, but I do believe he’ll be running behind arguably the best offensive line in football and the Raiders receivers will keep defenses on their heels. I also like how much usage Murray got in 2015, ranking 4th in touches, 3rd in carries and 6th in rush yards.

13. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.31.24 AM

If there was one takeaway from the Panthers’ offseason, besides saying goodbye to Josh Norman, was their commitment to the run, as their notable moves were extending fullback Mike Tolbert and guard Chris Scott. In order to preserve Cam Newton, the MOST VALUABLE PLAYER in the league, the Panthers will utilize Jonathan Stewart in the run game. From weeks 5-12, Stewart had 20+ carries in each game, averaging 86.7 yards per game and scored 6 touchdowns in that span (plus another the week after).

14. Eddie Lacy, Packers

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.32.45 AM

The prospects of the Packers returning to their typical offensive form makes me much more optimistic about Eddie Lacy this season. With the caveat being that Jordy Nelson will bring back some normalcy for Aaron Rodgers, allowing everyone else (including Randall Cobb) to fall back into their roles, Lacy and the run game could be set up to take advantage of defenses that are too focused on covering deep passes. Maybe Lacy will look like the back that recorded back-to-back 1,100+ rushing seasons and 20 touchdowns to start his career and NOT the one that was benched based on merit.

15. LeSean McCoy, Bills

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.34.32 AM

I am not totally sure how LeSean McCoy was named to the Pro Bowl last year, but recording EXACTLY 112 yards rushing in 3 of the 5 games from Weeks 6-10 might have something to do with it. Shady McCoy should be depended on more, thanks to the release of suspended backup Karlos Williams, but it’s starting to feel like the back-to-back seasons of 310+ carries prior are catching up to him. His value in the passing game can’t be overlooked as he continues to build chemistry with Tyrod Taylor on play-action and 3rd down.

16. Jeremy Langford, Bears

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.41.43 AM

The Bears running back situation was hyped as one to watch, with good reason because of John Fox’s reputation to use the back with the hot-hand. Jeremy Langford stepped out in front of the pack, with a solid performance against the Patriots. With continuity in schemes and philosophy, expect Langford to get similar reps on the ground and in the air as he did last year when he was the feature RB. His speed, catching skills, and an improved starting offensive line should help him elevate his production.

17. CJ Anderson, Broncos

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.35.31 AM

You have to appreciate the love C.J. Anderson got from others in the league, including Tom Brady, after shining in the playoffs and Super Bowl. He was a great story when he broke out in 2014 and even better when he averaged 80.4 yards and scored 4 touchdowns in his last 5 games (end of regular season until he lifted the Lombardi trophy). Then the Broncos awarded Anderson for his efforts by matching Miami’s offer sheet. No question, he’ll be depended on in high volume as the Denver offense transitions from the post-Manning/Osweiler era.

18. Matt Forte, Jets

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.38.28 AM

The all-around back has averaged 1,589 yards from scrimmage per season over his 8-year career. He’s missed a lot of time in camp, due to a hamstring injury, but is expected to handle a steady workload in the running and passing game. The Jets converted 22 of 26 goal-to-go touchdowns, leading the league with 6.35 points per situation. Hopefully that’s a credit to their blocking and schemes, which would help Matt Forte’s inefficiency from the 3-yard line and in. He has only converted 17 of 58 tries from that distance.

19. Carlos Hyde, 49ers

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.43.44 AM

The 49ers brought in Chip Kelly as their new head coach and that was really the only change they made on the offensive side of the ball. That also means Carlos Hyde has zero real competition for the #1 running back job (save your Shaun Draughn responses). Hyde had a very promising start to 2015, rushing for 168 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns, but then adversity and injuries ended any optimism for the 49ers and his season by Week 7. 2016 will be a serious PROVE IT year for both Hyde and Kelly.

20. Jeremy Hill, Bengals

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.45.24 AM

Like Hyde, Jeremy Hill started 2015 with tons of promise by awarding those who drafted him high with 2 touchdowns. Then he frustrated them with immense inconsistency until Week 10, despite a 3 TD performance in Week 4 (good for you if you started him). We found out down the stretch that Hill’s game does not translate particularly well between the 20’s but can be devastating in the red zone. He scored 11 of his 12 touchdowns from within 10 yards of the end zone. Maybe the touchdown totals should have him ranked higher, but his split-back status should give you pause to draft him high.

21. Ryan Mathews, Eagles

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.46.38 AM

Ryan Mathews is the starting running back in Doug Peterson’s new Eagles offense, designating Darren Sproles to 3rd down and special teams situations (where Sproles is¬†at his best). The 2011 Pro Bowler filled in fine¬†when DeMarco Murray went missing, scoring 6 touchdowns in 13 games and averaging 5 yards per carry. The Eagles were a complete mess for mostof 2015 though, and Peterson brings are well-structured running game that made Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware into viable fantasy options last season.

22. DeMarco Murray, Titans

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.47.38 AM

DeMarco Murray made the Cowboys relevant on the field again, with Pro Bowl seasons in 2013 and ’14, but fell into something weird with Philadelphia in 2015. Now he has a chance to prove it “was them, not him”¬†in 2016 with the run-happy Tennessee Titans. The question is…how much use will he get in a backfield that includes receiving back Dexter McCluster and reigning Heisman winner Derrick Henry?

23. Arian Foster, Dolphins

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 12.40.47 PM

There’s a lot of risk to selecting Arian Foster. He hasn’t played a full season since 2012, he just missed an entire season, and he’s playing in a new system…Fortunately, he’s playing in a very RB-friendly scheme under new Dolphins coach Adam Gase. Despite sitting out the first preseason game, Foster is expected to win the starting running back job and his 1,573 total yard/13 touchdown output in 2014 is too hard to ignore by the middle rounds of your draft.

24. DeAngelo Williams, Steelers

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.57.59 AM

In just 10 starts, Williams tied the league high for rushing touchdowns and totaled 1,274 yards from scrimmage. Deja vu, he’s starting the season for the Steelers again because of a Le’Veon Bell suspension. Best case scenario, you handcuff Williams to Bell in your draft. Based on the recent track record, Bell could get hurt again (like last year) and the Steelers offense won’t skip a beat with Williams carrying the rock.

25. Matt Jones, Washington

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.49.08 AM

High on the over-valued list is Matt Jones, who has assumed the #1 running back role in Washington with Alfred Morris now in Dallas. In 13 games last year, Jones scored just 4 touchdowns (3 rush and 1 receiving). Their offense was clicking much more when Kirk Cousins was finding his receivers deep and Jordan Reed in the end zone. Perhaps another year in the system and confidence from coach Jay Gruden will reward Jones more opportunities, especially in the red zone.

26. Justin Forsett, Ravens

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.50.46 AM

Justin Forsett was one of the best stories of 2014, filling the void Ray Rice left by earning his first Pro Bowl invitation and recording career highs in total yards (1,529), touchdowns (8) and receptions (44). The Ravens offense hit a serious snag as both Forsett and Joe Flacco went down after 10 games. Forsett can bounce back and return to being a Fantasy force again, but he will have Javorius Allen and rookie Kenneth Dixon ready to step in if he can’t.

27. T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.52.59 AM

TJ Yeldon was steady in his rookie season, but never put together the monster game that people expected. The Jaguars were regularly playing from behind and were forced to pass most of the time. While the addition of Chris Ivory may appear as a bad sign for Yeldon’s reps, it could actually prove to be the opposite. Yeldon could learn from the veteran back, and will be depended on more in passing downs. If the Jaguars’ passing attack can strike first against opponents, they’ll be able to control the clock and pace with Yeldon running.

28. Danny Woodhead, Chargers

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.54.36 AM

For as long as Philip Rivers is playing quarterback and head coach Mike McCoy is influencing the Chargers offense, Danny Woodhead will be a fixture in Fantasy Football. The Chargers don’t have a vaunted defense and you can’t bank on Melvin Gordon bouncing back, but you can plan for Woodhead to¬†get plenty of attention from the quarterback who threw more passes than anyone last season.

29. Jay Ajayi, Dolphins

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.37.34 AM

Jay Ajayi started the summer as Miami’s clear #1 RB, with great potential for a breakout season. Then when the Dolphins signed the imm more proven Foster, everything changed. Foster isn’t as surefire a choice for the starting role as one would assume though. Ajayi started the first two games of the preseason, and Adam Gase may have tipped his hand with the reps he gave the 2nd year back.

30. Rashad Jennings, Giants

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.55.31 AM

Rashad Jennings had his most productive season in New York last year. He totaled 1,159 yards from scrimmage and had a serious uptick in rush attempts, but only hit pay dirt 4 times all season. The Giants are better known for throwing the ball and Shane Vereen had twice as many targets as Jennings (81 to 40). For now, Jennings is their #1 back.

31. Ameer Abdullah, Lions

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.56.55 AM

Ameer Abdullah was high on many lists, last season, as a strong sleeper pick coming out of the draft. Unfortunately, the Lions had different plans. Abdullah would start games with a big run or a string of big downs, but then he wouldn’t see a single rush or target his way again. Theo Riddick was actually getting Woodhead-esque work as games progressed, finishing the season with 80 catches on 99 targets. If the Lions want to find balance though, they’ll want to hand the ball off to Abdullah.

32. Melvin Gordon, Chargers

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.59.41 AM

It’s difficult to put a lot of stock in Melvin Gordon, but the Chargers are giving him every chance to bounce back. They were never totally healthy at offensive line in 2015 and they could be poised to get ahead of teams early in games, capable of controlling the pace by handing off to Gordon. If he’s the starting running back in San Diego, he’ll have more value than most running backs in the league.

33. Duke Johnson Jr., Browns

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.01.53 PM

Duke Johnson Jr could very well be Hue Jackson’s new Giovani Bernard. When he received more game reps, Johnson became a strong PPR threat and finished with 61 receptions. The Browns may be playing from behind a lot in 2016 and that gives him a significant edge over Isaiah Crowell.

34. Giovani Bernard, Bengals

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.03.27 PM

Gio Bernard recorded a career high in rushing yards, but had most of his touchdowns “vultured” by Hill. It was clear that Bernard is a better running back and he is capable from scoring from anywhere on the field. After the recent departures of Andy Dalton’s #2 and #3 receivers, there’s a good chance Bernard could be spreading out more as well.

35. Chris Ivory, Jaguars

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.10.42 PM

The Jaguars aren’t looking like the punchline that they used to anymore. They have one of the best WR duos in football, and you could be saying something similar about their backfield as well. Chris Ivory was Top 5 in rushing yards and Top 10 in rushing touchdowns a year ago, and could be a dangerous goal-line weapon while splitting carries with TJ Yeldon.

36. Bilal Powell, Jets

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.06.36 PM

Bilal Powell could be a huge sleeper this season, as he showed to be a PPR stud down the stretch in 2015. After returning from injury in Week 10, Powell averaged 5.3 catches per game. There’s also no telling how Forte will hold up for the whole season and Powell has a much better nose for the end zone.

37. James White, Patriots

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 11.40.34 PM

Following the news of Dion Lewis’ need for a second knee surgery and no set timetable for a return, James White immediately emerged as a popular candidate to fill his role. In the final 5-game stretch of 2015, White averaged 5.6 receptions per game and scored a touchdown in 4 straight before the final game of the regular season. He’s been better utilized as a pass catcher out of the backfield and a makes for a reliable weapon between the 20s. There’s solid mid-round value for White if he is dubbed Bill Belichick’s opening day starter.

38. Frank Gore, Colts

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.07.52 PM

Right now, Frank Gore is the #1 running back in Indianapolis but how long does 33-year-old running back have to maintain that role. In 2015, Gore finished with the lowest amount of rush yards after completing a full 16-game season and his 7 touchdowns were recorded in just 5 games.

39. Christine Michael, Seahawks

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 11.52.28 PM

Christine Michael has looked really good in preseasons of the past, but it never seems to translate to the regular season. His vision and decision have improved though, in his 4th NFL season, and that bodes well for the Thomas Rawls’ backup. Rawls runs hard and looks for contact, which increases his chances for another injury. Handcuffing Michael with Rawls would be extremely savvy in your upcoming draft.

40. Derrick Henry, Titans

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.12.10 PM

It’s hard to leave the Heisman trophy winner off the list. Derrick Henry made his NFL debut with 74 yards and a touchdown, all in the 2nd quarter of Week 1 against the Chargers. His pairing with Murray is being referred to as the “Thunder and Thunder Offense”, which seems scary given lightning is supposed to warn of the thunder…and there appears to be know warning with this backfield.

More Position Rankings:

*Updated Rankings Coming Soon*

Running Backs (3.0)

Quarterbacks (3.0)

Wide Receivers (2.0)

Tight Ends (1.0)

 

Follow for more and ask questions on Facebook and Twitter. 

2016 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks 3.0

The quarterback position is the most important in the NFL game today, which was evident when the first two picks in the draft were quarterbacks despite them not being the best overall players. The game has evolved so much that throwing 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns is considered average.

Yet while quarterbacks are valued and paid more than anyone else in the league, it has become customary in Fantasy Football not to draft the position until the 3rd round at the earliest. There are some quarterbacks who can win games for you all by themselves (Cam Newton), some who will give you a solid output week-to-week (Carson Palmer) and those who could lose games for you (Hopefully not ranked here).

After publishing the first list back in February and another on Day 1¬†of the NFL Draft, let’s take a look one last look at the Top-25 quarterbacks who will likely be drafted in your league this year.

1. Cam Newton, Panthers

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 2.35.51 PM

Cam Newton scored touchdowns, whether it was through the air or on the ground, in EVERY game he played during the 2015 season. He recorded 45 in total (35 passing, 10 rushing), plus 3,837 yards passing and 636 yards rushing. It was an unprecedented year for a quarterback, and sure it’s hard to expect him or anyone to do it again…but Newton’s talent and skill-set are too unique to doubt it.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 2.39.16 PM

Aaron Rodgers saw his numbers dip a little last season without Jordy Nelson. 31 TD/8 INT are nice for anyone, but down from the 38/5 the year before. Twice he threw 4 or more touchdowns in a game in 2015, but he wasn’t helping fantasay owners much down the stretch averaging just 1 TD and 1 INT a game in the final 3 games of the season. How often, though, have you seen Rodgers make throws and finish drives like the best quarterback in the league should? The Packers offense appears to be returning to normalcy in 2016, and that bodes well for the Discount Double-Check.

3. Carson Palmer, Cardinals

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 2.49.03 PM

Carson Palmer consistently gave those who likely stole him in the middle rounds last year a stat line of 2 touchdowns and 290 yards per game. That consistency goes a long way when everyone after Palmer on this list (outside of Tom Brady) has proven to give you a much worse output on any given Sunday. Palmer is 36 and not getting any younger, but the talent around him should continue the momentum he has built following his best statistical season to date (35 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and 4,671 yards).

4. Russell Wilson, Seahawks

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 2.53.59 PM

If there was another quarterback who could put up similar numbers to Cam Newton, Russell Wilson may have the tools to do so. Take a look at 7-game sample sizes from 2015 where both quarterbacks completely lit it up:

Wilson (Weeks 10-16) – 25 total touchdowns, 1 interception

Newton (Weeks 8-14) – 29 total touchdowns, 2 interceptions

The Seahawks offense found an incredible groove in that span, and it was built around both Russell and Thomas Rawls. With most of the offense returning and hopefully a better Year 2 of Jimmy Graham, it’s not inconceivable to see Wilson sustain that production for a full season.

5. Tom Brady, Patriots

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 2.57.13 PM

The Patriots (and the rest of the league) appear to have accepted Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension, but that shouldn’t stop you from drafting him by the 5th or 6th round. The caveat should be that you have your fill-in quarterback drafted not long after, but Brady will be returning after throwing the most touchdown passes in 2015. He’ll also have the best tight end combo in the league (Gronk & Bennett) to absolutely terrify opposing red zone defenses.

6. Blake Bortles, Jaguars

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 2.58.25 PM

Despite being the most sacked quarterback in the league in each of the 2 seasons of his career, Blake Bortles was one of the most improved players overall from one season to the next. Additions¬†to the offensive line and Chris Ivory should improve Bortles’ protection, and his wide receiver tandem of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are one of the best in the NFL.

7. Drew Brees, Saints

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.06.41 PM

Although it’s been a slight decline year-to-year, Drew Brees has averaged 5,127.4 yards thrown over the past 5 seasons. Yardage hasn’t been a problem for the 37-year-old quarterback, neither have attempts or completions as he ranked 2nd in both last season. Also declining have been his touchdown numbers though, throwing 32 last season when he averaged 40 the four years prior. He did throw multiple touchdowns in 9 of his 15 games last season, including a 7-touchdown performance Week 8 against the Giants.

8. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.08.42 PM

Despite missing 4 games last season, Ben Roethlisberger still got after it with the high-powered Steelers offense. For the 2nd season in a row, Roethlisberger led the league in passing yards per game (328.2). Even without Martavis Bryant, he’ll have Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Ladarius Green, and Le’Veon Bell available to make big plays for him.

9. Eli Manning, Giants

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.11.18 PM

There is only one Manning brother in the league, and he’s coming off a season where he threw the most touchdowns of his career. Eli Manning threw multiple touchdowns in 11 of his 16 games, 5 of which were for 3+ (including the 6-touchdown battle with Drew Brees). The Giants spent most of their free agency spending on the defensive side of the ball, but upgraded their pass catching group by drafting WR Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma) and TE Jerell Adams (South Carolina). Year 3 of Odell Beckham Jr. should also lead to plenty more “throw it up and catch it” plays from Eli.

10. Andrew Luck, Colts

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.13.47 PM

¬†After awarding him with the league’s biggest contract, 6 years for $140 million, the Colts are betting a lot on Andrew Luck to be the quarterback who threw 40 touchdowns and 4,761 yards in 2014…not the one who only played 7 games in 2015 and threw just 15 touchdowns. When you invest that kind of money in a quarterback, the pressure is on for him to produce.

11. Derek Carr, Raiders

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.15.19 PM

Derek Carr is a star in the making. Like Bortles, Carr had a much better sophomore season by throwing 11 more touchdowns than he had in his rookie season. He also led the league in comeback victories with 4 total. I expect his chemistry with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree to improve even more, for Latavius Murray to compliment him better, and for their incredible offensive line to make all of that possible.

12. Philip Rivers, Chargers

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.17.34 PM

The pass-happiest quarterback of them all started out so incredibly hot in 2015. In the first half, Rivers averaged 344 yards per game with 15 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Then EVERYONE around him got injured, including Keenan Allen, Malcolm Floyd, Antonio Gates and a majority of his offensive line. It was Rivers and Danny Woodhead against the world (which needs to be a buddy comedy). Ken Whisenhunt has returned to San Diego as offensive coordinator, who helped resurrect Rivers’ Pro Bowl production in 2013. He should be available in the middle rounds as a late QB1 or top tier QB2, and his weapons will be touch to pass on as well.

13. Andy Dalton, Bengals

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.24.00 PM

I found myself rooting hard for Andy Dalton last season. He always gets the Bengals to the playoffs but can’t get them out of the first round, so he takes a lot of heat for that. Before getting injured early in his 13th game of the season, Dalton was on pace to match his career high passing touchdown total (33). 9 of the 12 games prior, he recorded multiple touchdowns and added rushing TD’s in 3 of them. There’s some concern with the departures of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, but #ADalt will still be throwing to AJ Green, Gio Bernard and Tyler Eifert when he returns. Also, don’t sleep on new addition Brandon LaFell filling in the WR2 role.

14. Tony Romo, Cowboys

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.28.03 PM

ROMOLICIOUS is back! *he says with tongue-in-cheek*

Tony Romo will, in fact, return this season and the front office has provided him with a gift from the NFL Draft in Ezekiel Elliott. We saw what Romo and the rest of the Cowboys offense was able to accomplish with an every-down back like DeMarco Murray (34 touchdowns and 9 INTs in 2014). Enter Elliott, who can run, catch, block and everything Boobie Miles’ uncle talked about in the Friday Night Lights movie. Behind the league’s best offensive line, Romo has less pressure on him and more time to throw to his favorite downfield target, Dez Bryant. Your biggest concern should be “what will happen when he takes another big hit?”

15. Kirk Cousins, Washington

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.29.28 PM

Kirk Cousins stepped up big in his first full season of starting in the NFL. He threw 29 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and 4,166 yards and that earned him a franchise tag from the Washington front office. His gamelogs don’t flash many multi-touchdown pass games, but he did record 5 with 3+ and 3 of those were for 4. He’ll be motivated even more to earn a longterm deal and the combo of Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson at their healthiest will be helpful in getting there.

16. Jay Cutler, Bears

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.34.20 PM

Despite injuries to his Top 3 WRs (Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White and Eddie Royal), #1 TE (Martellus Bennett), #1 RB (Matt Forte) and having to manage his offense in spite of a leaky defense, Jay Cutler produced his best statistical season since joining the Chicago Bears. He recorded multiple touchdowns in 8 of the 15 games he played with a receiver group that resembled one from the 4th quarter of a preseason game. A very much improved defense, a franchise tag motivated Jeffery, the debut of Kevin White, and offensive play-calling that compliments his strengths should help Cutler and his numbers immensley in 2016.

17. Matt Ryan, Falcons

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.37.04 PM

Despite having arguably the best WR to throw to and breakout RB Devonta Freeman, Matt Ryan threw as many touchdowns (21) and MORE interceptions (16) than Jay Cutler in more games played. Just watching him week-to-week, you wanted to yell at your television out loud, “JUST THROW IT UP TO JULIO!”, but Ryan would appear overmatched by the pass rush. Ryan will have better protection with new offensive linemen, like Pro Bowler Alex Mack at Center, and new WR2 Mohamed Sanu. The improvements to the offense should help Ryan bounce back but this will be the last straw for many people.

18. Matthew Stafford, Lions

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.39.02 PM

There was Matthew Stafford before Jim Bob Cooter (not great) and Matthew Stafford AFTER the OC took over for Joe Lombardi in Detroit. It began with 4 touchdowns against the division rival Bears in Week 6, then 8 multi-touchdown games over the next 10 games (including a 5 TD performance against Philly). Stafford’s issues over his career have always been consistency. He threw 41 TDs in 2011 but then just 20 the next. Fantasy owners better hope history doesn’t repeat itself in the now post-Megatron era.

19. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.41.17 PM

Jameis Winston was clearly the best rookie quarterback last season after going #1 overall and backing it up with 22 touchdowns and 4,042 yards. Unfortunately for Winston, the Bucs didn’t do much upgrading around him on offense after elevating his offensive coordinator to head coach. If Doug Martin lives up to his new contract and Mike Evans catches more balls in the end zone than he drops, Winston could ascend to monster levels, like he had on the field at Florida State.

20. Brock Osweiler, Texans

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.46.36 PM

Brock Osweiler left Denver for an excellent situation in Houston. The Texans added multi-talented RB Lamar Miller and drafted two ridiculously athletic WRs in Will Fuller and Braxton Miller to compliment the very elite DeAndre Hopkins. Osweiler showcased why he belongs in NFL with a comeback win against Chicago, a statement win against New England, and keeping pace with the high-powered Steelers offense. However, there were times when Osweiler wasn’t inspiring confidence, which setup the welcomed return of aging Peyton Manning. Head Coach Bill O’Brien will be excited to sculpt Osweiler into his kind of quarterback with a great set up weapons. It will be on Osweiler, though, to make it work.

21. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.54.54 PM

Adam Gase should be the best thing to happen to Ryan Tannehill. Gase made TIM TEBOW work for a season, managed Peyton Manning’s offense, and helped Jay Cutler look like the quarterback he was meant to be. Tannehill is ridiculously skilled in play-action and option-style offenses, capable of running and throwing for big plays. With budding star WR Jarvis Landry as his #1 option, Tannehill can play more like the the QB who 4 touchdowns against JJ Watt’s Texans and not the one who contributed nearly nothing in 4 different 2015 games.

22. Marcus Mariota, Titans

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.57.24 PM

In 1/3 of the 12 games Marcus Mariota played in his rookie season, he threw 3+ touchdowns (tying Peyton Manning’s Rookie record). He became the¬†first player to throw 3 touchdowns and 250+ yards, plus run for over 100 yards as well. Overall, he proved to be a big playmaker. The Titans comitted to continuity by sticking with interim HC Mike Mularkey and also their running game by adding DeMarco Murray and Heisman winner Derrick Henry. If Dorial Green-Beckham finally emerges as a true #1 receiver and the offensive line keeps him in one piece, Super Mariota could continue to grow as Fantasy producing force.

23. Joe Flacco, Ravens

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.58.57 PM

Joe Flacco’s 3-year extension was Baltimore’s attempt to answer the age-old question “Is Joe Flacco elite?”. He’s never thrown more than 27 touchdowns in a season but can surprise you with a 5-touchdown spot, like he did against Tampa in 2014. In Steve Smith Sr’s farewell season, it shouldn’t be far fetched to see Flacco throwing deep and often to bounce back from his injury-ended 2015 season.

24. Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 4.01.12 PM

Since coming into the league in 2014, Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t taken the next step being a viable Fantasy option. 2016 looks like an opportunity for it though, as the Vikings bulked up their offensive line and added the best wide receiver from the draft, Laquon Treadwell. Treadwell is excellent as possession option and Stefon Diggs emerged as a playmaker downfield last season. Now it’s on Bridgewater to make those plays.

25. Alex Smith, Chiefs

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 4.03.02 PM

Alex Smith is the safest spot-start¬†option out of anyone that isn’t named on this list. He’s back to throwing touchdowns to wide receivers, has an excellent #1 option in Jeremy Maclin, mini-Gronk Travis Kelce, and Jamaal Charles returning. It’s also worth noting that he threw multiple touchdowns in 4 of the final 6 games of the season and has one of the league’s best defenses to enable him to score more.

More Position Rankings:

Running Backs (3.0)

Quarterbacks (2.0)

Wide Receivers (2.0)

Tight Ends (1.0)

Follow for more and ask questions on Facebook and Twitter. 

2016 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs 3.0

With the 2016 season just around the corner, it’s time to really hunker down and prepare for your upcoming draft.

We began ranking players by their position back at the start of February, because it’s never too early to start thinking about the next season. Then we updated the running back rankings after free agency, just before the NFL Draft. (Thank you, Cowboys, for dramatically changing things with Ezekiel Elliott)

Here we are now, with the best idea of what starting backfields will look like across the league before training camp. Coaching changes, game plan philosophies, offensive lines, plus new additions through free agency and the NFL Draft are all taken into account as we rank the Top 40 running backs by priority in which you should be drafting them.

 

1. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.07.46 AM

Le’Veon Bell takes the #1 spot because when he’s right, he is the best offensive football player in the league. Both on the ground and in the air, Bell does it all. His 2014 season was proof of that as he totaled 2,215 yards from scrimmage (1,361 rushing, 854 receiving), 11 touchdowns and 83 catches. In the 6 games Bell played before his 2015-ending injury, he averaged 115 yards and scored 6 touchdowns.

Though his injury history is worth the concern, his motivation this year seems to be the next big pay day, which he has made note of multiple times this summer. A player that is hungry to earn more money than anyone else at his position is usually a good one to bet on.

2. Todd Gurley, Rams

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.09.14 AM

Besides the freakish talent, athleticism and stats from his rookie year (1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns in 12 games), another thing Todd Gurley has going for him will be usage in the upcoming season. The Rams offense hasn’t¬†improved much in the offseason outside of #1 overall pick Jared Goff. Whether it’s Goff or Nick Foles under center, both will be giving Gurley a high volume of reps on all-three downs in order to move the ball.

3. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.10.31 AM

I give Jamaal Charles a a slight edge over Adrian Peterson for the simple fact that he has a little more tread on the tires, despite and because of 2 season-ending. Before the 2015 season, Charles was a production machine. He totaled 5,049 yards and 39 touchdowns over the previous 3 seasons. Yes, another injury would be devastating, but the ceiling for a healthy Charles is too high to deny.

4. Adrian Peterson, Vikings

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.16.38 AM

Adrian Peterson has posted 10+ touchdown in 8 of the 9 seasons he has played, and has also averaged 1,689 yards from scrimmage in each of those seasons. You can’t expect him to give you receiving points anymore and he only plays on the first 2 downs, but even at age 31 you can’t let him go out of your first round. The Vikings have improved their line as well, and the only reason I don’t have him higher is because he is on the wrong side of 30.

5. David Johnson, Cardinals

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.18.43 AM

David Johnson (I refer to him as DJ2K) is going ridiculously high in most mock drafts for his incredibly high ceiling in the Arizona Cardinals offense. From the RB3 spot in their backfield, Johnson scored 6 touchdowns in his first 5 games. When given #1 reps, Johnson showed you why he is rated so high, most notably Week 14 against Philadelphia…29 carries for 187 yards, 3 touchdowns + 4 catches for 42 yards.

6. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.20.30 AM

Ezekiel Elliott couldn’t have landed in a better situation. He’ll be running behind one of the Top 2 offensive lines in the league…in a system that works best in play-action…with a quarterback who loves to check down. He isn’t afraid of the big stage, from what college fans saw him do against both Alabama and Oregon in the 2014-2015 College Football Playoffs. 41 touchdowns in his last 2 years at Ohio State shouldn’t be ignored either.

7. Devonta Freeman, Falcons

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.21.30 AM

In 13 starts, Devonta Freeman ranked 1st in total touchdowns, 5th in yards from scrimmage, 7th in rushing and 2nd in touches. He will have new Falcon/Pro Bowl center Alex Mack to run behind in 2016. Tevin Coleman should still get some reps, but look for Freeman to be even more dangerous around the end zone this year.

8. Doug Martin, Buccaneers 

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.22.53 AM

Doug Martin answered a ton of questions I had a year ago, including those regarding his health. It was the first time since his rookie year that Martin played all 16 games. While the numbers didn’t quite match those of 2012, he still ranked 2nd in rush yards and 4th in yards from scrimmage. Hopefully former OC Dirk Koetter, now at the helm, will help Martin break the plain of the end zone more often.

9. Lamar Miller, Texans

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.26.14 AM

Lamar Miller was such a curious case in 2015. The Dolphins were 6-1 when Miller got 13+ carries and winless when he didn’t. You can expect Bill O’Brien to give the 25-year-old plenty of action in his new digs. In the same system, Arian Foster recorded 1,573 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns in 2014. Miller, who has 19 touchdowns in the past 2 season, is much younger and faster than Foster was then. Fantasy owners should prepare for a monster year out of him.

10. Thomas Rawls, Seahawks

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.27.20 AM

In 6 starts last season, Thomas Rawls averaged 118.6 yards per game and scored 5 touchdowns. The Seahawks are ready to roll with Rawls as their #1 in the backfield and he should be an absolute force if he can stay healthy.

11. Mark Ingram, Saints

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.28.46 AM

Mark Ingram stepped up big for the Saints and Fantasy owners in 2015. He recorded career highs in yards from scrimmage, targets, receptions, and receiving yards. Proving he could be effective in the passing game made Ingram incredibly valuable in between the 20s, and he should build on that momentum within the red zone as well.

12. Latavius Murray, Raiders

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.30.12 AM

I may be a bigger fan of Latavius Murray than most, but I do believe he’ll be running behind arguably the best offensive line in football and the Raiders receivers will keep defenses on their heels. I also like how much usage Murray got in 2015, ranking 4th in touches, 3rd in carries and 6th in rush yards.

13. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.31.24 AM

If there was one takeaway from the Panthers’ offseason, besides saying goodbye to Josh Norman, was their commitment to the run, as their notable moves were extending fullback Mike Tolbert and guard Chris Scott. In order to preserve Cam Newton, the MOST VALUABLE PLAYER in the league, the Panthers will want to utilize Jonathan Stewart in the run game. From weeks 5-12, Stewart had 20+ carries in each game, averaging 86.7 yards per game and scored 6 touchdowns in that span (plus another the week after).

14. Eddie Lacy, Packers

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.32.45 AM

I have not bought into the Eddie Lacy hype, which is all based on his fitness, but the prospects of the Packers returning to their typical offensive form makes me optimistic. With the caveat being Jordy Nelson bringing back some normalcy for Aaron Rodgers, which allows everyone else (including Randall Cobb) to fall back into their roles, Lacy and the run game could be set up to take advantage of defenses that are too focused on covering deep passes. Maybe then Lacy will look like the back that recorded back-to-back 1,100+ rushing seasons and 20 touchdowns to start his career and NOT the one that was benched based on merit.

15. LeSean McCoy, Bills

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.34.32 AM

I am not totally sure how LeSean McCoy was named to the Pro Bowl last year, but recording EXACTLY 112 yards rushing in 3 of the 5 games from Weeks 6-10 might have something to do with it. Hopefully Shady’s 2nd year in Buffalo will be more productive but it’s starting to feel like the back-to-back seasons of 310+ carries prior are catching up to him. His value in the passing game can’t be overlooked as he continues to build chemistry with Tyrod Taylor on play-action and 3rd down.

16. CJ Anderson, Broncos

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.35.31 AM

You have to appreciate the love C.J. Anderson got from others in the league, including Tom Brady, after shining in the playoffs and Super Bowl. He was a great story when he broke out in 2014 and even better when he averaged 80.4 yards and scored 4 touchdowns in his last 5 games (end of regular season until he lifted the Lombardi trophy). Then the Broncos awarded Anderson for his efforts by matching Miami’s offer sheet. No question, he’ll be depended on in high volume as the Denver offense transitions from the post-Manning/Osweiler era.

17. Jay Ajayi, Dolphins

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.37.34 AM

If you’ve been following along, this is big jump for Jay Ajayi. He was ranked 40th in the last version of these rankings because I wasn’t sure if Miami would give him more competition. The closest thing to real competition appears to be their 73rd overall pick, Kenyan Drake from Alabama, but he appears destined for 3rd down and change-of-pace status in the immediate future. So that makes Ajayi the new Frankenstein running back for Adam Gase, and you can look at Matt Forte, CJ Anderson, and Knowshon Moreno as references for success.

This should also give you some Ajayi optimism…sorta.

WHAT A BEAST!

18. Matt Forte, Jets

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.38.28 AM

Speaking of Matt Forte, it’s going to be so weird to see him a uniform that isn’t navy and orange. After concluding a tenure in Chicago that is considered only behind Hall of Famers Walter Payton and Gale Sayers, Forte is now a New York Jet. He’s the football definition of an all-around athlete (running, blocking, catching, even passing) and averages 1,589 yards from scrimmage per season.

The hope was that he could be a role player for a championship ready team, but the Jets seem to have taken a step back from continuity by not bringing Ryan Fitzpatrick back. Based on circumstance, Forte could get a ton of touches running and catching from any of the Jets QB contingent (Smith, Petty, Hackenberg).

19. Dion Lewis, Patriots

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.40.45 AM

It’s so hard to rely on New England Patriots running backs because Bill Belichick is so unpredictable in who he wants to use. However, he seems to have found a lethal weapon in Dion Lewis, who broke onto the scene in 2015 with 4 touchdowns in 6 games before a season-ending injury. Lewis’ nose for the end zone and versatility in the pass game made the Patriots confident enough to extend his contract during the season too. With Jimmy Garoppolo likely starting the first 4 games of the season, expect him to rely heavily on Lewis in both the run and passing game.

We also know how much Brady loves throwing to his running backs in uptempo situations too…

20. Jeremy Langford, Bears

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.41.43 AM

It pains me to drop Jeremy Langford in these rankings, but the drafting of Indiana running back Jordan Howard makes his status as a bell-cow back a bit less likely. In both Denver and Carolina, John Fox had always gone with the hot-hand in the running game and that could push Langford elevate his play in training camp, then carry it over to the regular season. This is the one backfield situation that you’ll want to keep an eye on before the season starts, as Langford has his leg up on the competition.

Whoever gets the starting job though will be getting TONS of work, as we saw in 2015.

21. Carlos Hyde, 49ers

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.43.44 AM

The 49ers brought in Chip Kelly as their new head coach and that was really the only change they made on the offensive side of the ball. That also means zero real competition for Carlos Hyde as the #1 running back on the depth chart (save your Shaun Draughn responses, unless he wins the job). Hyde had a very promising start to 2015, rushing for 168 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns, but then adversity and injuries ended any optimism for the 49ers and his season by Week 7. 2016 will be a serious PROVE IT year for both Hyde and Kelly.

22. Jeremy Hill, Bengals

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.45.24 AM

Like Hyde, Jeremy Hill started 2015 with tons of promise by awarding those who drafted him high with 2 touchdowns. Then he frustrated them with immense inconsistency until Week 10, despite a 3 TD performance in Week 4 (good for you, if you started him). We found out down the stretch that Hill’s game does not translate particularly well between the 20’s but can be devastating in the red zone. He scored 11 of his 12 touchdowns from within 10 yards of the end zone. Maybe the touchdown totals should have him ranked higher, but his split-back status should give you pause to draft him high.

23. Ryan Mathews, Eagles

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.46.38 AM

Without question, Ryan Mathews is the starting running back in Doug Peterson’s new Eagles offense, designating Darren Sproles to 3rd down and special teams situations. The 2011 Pro Bowler filled in fine¬†when DeMarco Murray went missing, scoring 6 touchdowns in 13 games and averaging 5 yards per carry. The Eagles were a complete mess though, for a lot of 2015, and Peterson brings are well-structured running game that made Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware into viable fantasy options last season.

24. DeMarco Murray, Titans

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.47.38 AM

DeMarco Murray made the Cowboys relevant on the field again, with Pro Bowl seasons in 2013 and ’14, but fell into something weird in Philadelphia in 2015. Now he has a chance to get back to that level in 2016 with the run-happy Tennessee Titans. The question is how much use will he get in a backfield that includes receiving back Dexter McCluster and reigning Heisman winner Derrick Henry.

25. Matt Jones, Washington

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.49.08 AM

High on the over-valued list is Matt Jones, who has assumed the #1 running back role in Washington with Alfred Morris now in Dallas. In 13 games last year, Jones scored just 4 touchdowns (3 rush and 1 receiving). Their offense was clicking much more when Kirk Cousins was finding his receivers deep and Jordan Reed in the end zone. Perhaps another year in the system and confidence from coach Jay Gruden will award Jones more opportunities, especially in the red zone.

26. Justin Forsett, Ravens

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.50.46 AM

Justin Forsett was one of the best stories of 2014, filling the void Ray Rice left by earning his first Pro Bowl invitation and recording career highs in total yards (1,529), touchdowns (8) and receptions (44). The Ravens offense hit a serious snag as both Forsett and Joe Flacco went down after 10 games. Forsett can bounce back and return to being the a Fantasy force again, but he will have Javorius Allen and rookie Kenneth Dixon to ready step in if he can’t.

27. T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.52.59 AM

TJ Yeldon was steady in his rookie season, but never put together the monster game that people expected. The Jaguars were regularly playing from behind and were forced to pass most of the time. While the addition of Chris Ivory may appear as a bad sign for Yeldon’s reps, it could actually prove to be the opposite. Yeldon will be forced to earn a starting role in camp, could learn from the veteran back, and will be depended on more in passing downs. If the Jaguars’ passing attack can strike first against opponents, they’ll be able to control the clock and pace with Yeldon carrying the rock.

28. Danny Woodhead, Chargers

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.54.36 AM

For as long as Philip Rivers is playing quarterback and head coach Mike McCoy is influencing the Chargers offense, Danny Woodhead will be a fixture in Fantasy Football. The Chargers don’t have a vaunted defense and it’s hard to expect that Melvin Gordon will bounce back, but you can plan for Woodhead to¬†get plenty of attention from the quarterback who threw more passes than anyone last season.

29. Rashad Jennings, Giants

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.55.31 AM

Rashad Jennings had his most productive season in New York last year. He totaled 1,159 yards from scrimmage and had a serious uptick in rush attempts, but only hit pay dirt 4 times all season. The Giants are better known for throwing the ball and Shane Vereen had twice as many targets as Jennings (81 to 40). For now, though, Jennings is their #1 back.

30. Ameer Abdullah, Lions

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.56.55 AM

Ameer Abdullah was high on many lists, last season, as a strong sleeper pick coming out of the draft. Unfortunately, the Lions had different plans. Abdullah would start games with a big run or a string of big downs, but then he wouldn’t see a single rush or target his way again. Theo Riddick was actually getting Woodhead-esque work as games progressed, finishing the season with 80 catches on 99 targets. If the Lions want to find balance though, they’ll want to had the ball off to Abdullah.

31. DeAngelo Williams, Steelers

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.57.59 AM

I would highly recommend handcuffing DeAngelo Williams with Bell, or stashing him in the case that he has to be a starter again. In just 10 starts, Williams tied the league high for rushing touchdowns and totaled 1,274 yards from scrimmage.

32. Melvin Gordon, Chargers

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.59.41 AM

There isn’t much reason to put much stock in Melvin Gordon, but the Chargers are giving him every chance to bounce back. They were never totally healthy at offensive line in 2015 and they could be poised to get ahead of teams early on, capable of controlling the pace by handing off to Gordon. If he’s the starting running back in San Diego, he’ll have more value than most running backs in the league.

33. Duke Johnson Jr., Browns

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.01.53 PM

Duke Johnson Jr could very well be Hue Jackson’s new Giovani Bernard. When he received more game reps, Johnson became a strong PPR threat and finished with 61 receptions. The Browns may be playing from behind a lot in 2016 and that gives him a significant edge over Isaiah Crowell.

34. Giovani Bernard, Bengals

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.03.27 PM

Gio Bernard recorded a career high in rushing yards, but had most of his touchdowns “vultured” by Hill. It was clear that Bernard is a better running back and he is capable from scoring from anywhere on the field. After the recent departures of Andy Dalton’s #2 and #3 receivers, there’s a good chance Bernard could be spreading out more as well.

35. Jordan Howard, Bears

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.05.17 PM

I include Jordan Howard here because there’s a possibility he breaks Bears training camp as their #1 running back. It will be a volatile situation, more than likely, but Howard possesses the size, speed and ability that could win the starting job…or at the very least, get plenty of opportunities in the red zone.

36. Bilal Powell, Jets

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.06.36 PM

Bilal Powell could be a huge sleeper this season, as he showed to be a PPR stud down the stretch in 2015. After returning from injury in Week 10, Powell averaged 5.3 catches per game. There’s also no telling how Forte will hold up for the whole season and Powell has a much better nose for the end zone.

37. Frank Gore, Colts

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.07.52 PM

Right now, Frank Gore is the #1 running back in Indianapolis but how long does 33-year-old running back have to maintain that role. In 2015, Gore finished with the lowest amount of rush yards after completing a full 16-game season and his 7 touchdowns were recorded in just 5 games.

38. Karlos Williams, Bills

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.09.33 PM

Remember when Karlos Williams scored touchdowns in each of first 6 games? That was awesome…Williams is another player to keep close, with strong possibilities that McCoy goes down. He also seems to get plenty opportunities in the red zone, regardless of McCoy’s health status, but dealt with the injury big himself in his rookie season.

39. Chris Ivory, Jaguars

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.10.42 PM

Chris Ivory tied for the league lead in carries within the 5 yard line and finished with career highs in touchdowns (8) and rushing yards (1,070) and for the season. Now he’s in Jacksonville, likely to split carries with Yeldon and running in an offense that tends to play from behind a lot. That could see the workload he earned in 2015 for his first Pro Bowl diminish quite a bit, but there’s potential for Jacksonville to be in his sweet spot (5 yards out) a lot because of the passing game.

40. Derrick Henry, Titans

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.12.10 PM

It’s hard to leave the Heisman trophy winner off the list, especially when the running back ahead of him had such a disastrous 2015 season.¬†Henry is a total workhouse too, who gets stronger after every run.¬†Although the Titans invested a lot to acquire Murray, Henry could be getting plenty of carries in the red zone and could earn more reps throughout the season as well.

More Position Rankings:

Running Backs (2.0)

Quarterbacks (2.0)

Wide Receivers (2.0)

Tight Ends (1.0)

 

Follow for more and ask questions on Facebook and Twitter.