Fantasy Football 2015-2016

Fantasy Football 2015-2016

At the beginning of the school year, teams begin to suit up for one of the most competitive non-physical sports known to man (and woman): fantasy football. Greatness, however, is not easy to achieve, reputation is not easy to maintain and dignity is not easy to preserve. Starting down the treacherous road of fantasy football can be confusing at times and make one feel utterly lost in the endless array of players, but having the tools to succeed can ultimately help reach triumph.

Running backs

Running backs (RB) are a premium position in fantasy football because many get replaced or injured throughout the season. The top round picks for RBs are often not safe a safe draft for these reasons, as commonly seen with Houston Texan RB Arian Foster, who has missed at left one game in every season he has started. Foster left training camp with a groin injury that is predicted to keep him out for the first eight weeks of regular season. Originally predicted to be drafted in the first round, Foster dropped, on average, to the seventh and eighth rounds. By the seventh round, most starting RBs will likely be drafted, leaving mainly handcuffs (backups). Alfred Blue, Foster’s handcuff, is a strong draft for the first eight games, but if Foster comes back when predicted, the leading role will shift back to the star RB who will be a top ten RB being drafted outside the top 70. Even after being injured during five games in the 2014 season, Foster still ended the season as the fifth best RB in fantasy points. There is no question that Foster is one of the most skillful RB’s in the NFL, and once he recovers from his injury, he is a definite starter.

Unlike the Texans large depth in RBs, the Tennessee Titans’ offense struggled in the 2014 season. Rookie RB Bishop Sankey took over the lead role that year and underperformed, partly because of a poor offensive line, and partly because of a lack of talent. Without a proficient backup, the Titans looked to take one of the top RB talents In the 2015 draft. The Titans picked up David Cobb in the fourth round to aid their RB issue. While Cobb is not particularly quick or fast compared to many other RB’s in the NFL, the 239 pound “bell cow” could be useful for plowing through the defensive line and has enough bulk on his frame to withstand a high amount of carries. Even though Sankey is expected to to begin the season as the Titan’s starter, Cobb is predicted to take over the job if Sankey has another poor season.

The Detroit Lion’s star RB, Joique Bell, has the talent to maintain a starting position on almost any team; however, this 29-year-old faces many health issues. As much as fantasy owners want Bell to stay active, He often is not able to. Bell missed almost the entire season in 2013 due to a series of knee, achilles, and rib injuries, and is starting the 2015 season with more knee and achilles injuries. If Bell stays injured, rookie Ameer Abdullah is a solid handcuff. Although the five-foot-nine-inch 205 pound RB is quick and changes direction on a dime, it is unlikely that he will be a three down back. Even so, Abdullah has raw talent and is a “must-own” in fantasy. Often drafted in the seventh and eighth rounds, Abdullah has a high potential.

RB Isaiah Crowell of the Cleveland Browns had the best performance on the team in the 2014 season, but lost best carrier to RB Terrance West. Even though Crowell is the clear better back, the Cleveland staff is keeping the two headed monster in the 2015 season. making the Brown’s fantasy situation even worse for fantasy owners is that another RB is coming into the mix. Rookie RB Duke Johnson will take carries as well, so the upside for any Cleveland RB is small.

There is a lot of hype for RB T.J. Yeldon in the 2015 season as he takes over as the lead back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the prospect may not be worth all that he is said out to be. The main upside for Yeldon is the fact that the Jaguars don’t have any other decent RB’s, but he is not a perfect prospect. Yeldon should get a large workload, but that may be all that he gets.

Wide Receivers (WR)

After 2014, the New Orleans Saints lost two of quarterback (QB) Drew Brees’ main pass targets, WR Kenny Stills and tight end (TE) Jimmy Graham. The combined 148 receives, 1,820 yards, and 13 touchdowns will be spread out amongst the next two starting pass catchers, Marques Colston and Brandin Cooks. Colston is on a downhill path after ten years in the NFL, leaving Cooks to be the main target for Brees. With a 75 percent completion rate, Cooks has a very high potential in the 2015 season, but is often overlooked.

WR Jeremy Maclin left the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2014 season, leaving WR Jordan Matthews as the lead target. While Mathews will receive a majority of targets from QB Sam Bradford, he is still maintaining his position from the slot, meaning he will receive a lot of short passes. Matthews is still very fantasy relevant, but a new player makes his entrance on the Philadelphia offense this year. Rookie WR Nelson Agholor was the 20th overall draft pick for the 2015 season, and trailed only WR Amari Cooper in touchdowns out of all WR draftees. Bradford is known to have a big arm, so the best bet on a deep threat is Agholor. Only two teams have placed two fantasy receivers in the top 24 for two season in a row (2013 and 2014): the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles. Agholor is looking to make a large fantasy impact in 2015.

Tight Ends

TE’s are a mess. There is only one TE that is worth taking in the early rounds and that is Rob Gronkowski on the New England Patriots. Even he has a small downside since QB Tom Brady is suspended for the first four 2015 season games. TE Jimmy Graham has been a top TE since he made the Pro Bowl in 2011, and had the second most fantasy points in 2014, but he is now on the Seattle Seahawks, a change from his previous position on the New Orleans Saints. Although the Seahawks won the super bowl in 2014, their offense is completely different form the Saints. While the Saints were a pass heavy offense with Graham as the center of the offense, the Seahawks are a run heavy offense with RB Marshawn Lynch as a main proponent. The Seahawks ran the ball 51.4 percent of the time in 2014, the second highest rate in the NFL. That looks to be the same in 2015 under Pete Carroll’s offense. Graham is still the second best TE in the NFL, but he looks to take a dip in fantasy points. If Gronkowski is taken, waiting for a TE in the later rounds is a better option. That means Graham should be avoided until then, yet he is being drafted in the first five rounds.

So who is looking to fill the spot in New Orleans? Brandin Cooks can’t be the only pass catcher on the team, and TE Josh Hill contends for the starting spot. 120 targets went to Graham in 2014, so Hill is a good candidate to receive many of those. Of the times Hill did play in 2014, he caught 14 passes, five of which were touchdowns. That provides a touchdown rate that is higher than any other TE in the league. Hill’s ability is high, but his experience is low. Hill can be a high risk, high reward pick for 2015, and is often not even being drafted.

Similarly, TE Owen Daniels did well under coach Gary Kubiak on the Baltimore Ravens, but was never a strong fantasy starter. In the 2015 season, Daniels follows Kubiak to the Denver Broncos, a team that could boost Daniels’ fantasy value. The previous starting TE on the Broncos, Julius Thomas, had the most red zone passes in the NFL by QB Peyton Manning. With Manning in for another year, Thomas on the Jaguars and Kubiak and Daniels reunited, Daniels has a possible breakout year. Daniels is also not being drafted until the last rounds and is often overlooked.

Quarterbacks

QB’s score the most points in fantasy football, but are not often drafted in the first rounds (besides a select few) because taking a QB would mean giving up a good RB or WR. Unless Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck or Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers are still available, quarterbacks should not be taken in the first three or four rounds. There are many QB’s, however, who are not even being drafted, or are ignored. Unless there is a top QB on a roster, many QB’s are week to week, but there are a few that stand out from the others.

Arizona Cardinals’ QB Carson Palmer missed a majority of the 2014 season with an ACL injury, but will be back and healthy in 2015. From the games that Palmer did play, however, he had the fifth most fantasy points out of any QB in that stretch. With many of the veterans from last year, as well as some new rookies on the Cardinals, Palmers quite possibly could see a bounceback year.

QB Sam Bradford on the Philadelphia Eagles is also injury prone, and missed all of 2014. Many fantasy owners are reluctant to use a QB that may not be in for the whole season, but when Bradford is in, he is one of the best QBs in the league. Bradford has a strong arm and is not afraid to go downfield. With the addition of Nelson Agholor on the Eagles in 2015, the pair could be a serious deep threat, allowing for more pass yards and touchdowns. Since Chip Kelly took over in 2013, Eagles quarterbacks have combined to score 594 fantasy points (18.6 per game). During that span, the only quarterbacks with more fantasy points than Eagles’ QB’s are Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Andrew Luck. Sam Bradford is also going outside the top 15 at quarterback.
Although RB Demarco Murray will take some load off of the passing game, Bradford has the skill to be a top ten QB.

In 2014, Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater lead the league in red zone completion (72 percent) and and third down completion (68.5 percent), and was fifth best in completions of 15 yards or more. Now that Adrian Peterson is back from his suspension, the Vikings offense will have another running threat, who also catches. If Bridgewater continues his trend from 2014, he will be a top ten QB who is being treated outside the top 15.

The fantasy football draft can set one up for success or failure. Knowing the right information going into the draft can boost ones chances for victory.