Nick, Shawn, Harold, Anthony, Amol, and Pasha discuss some thangs.
The consensus is that Antonio Brown should not only be the number one wide receiver picked in drafts, but he should also be the first overall pick in drafts. If that’s the case for you, who should be the second wide receiver taken?
Nick – Odell Beckham Jr., and for me there isn’t even a question. He has finished 5th in WR scoring his first two years in the league and this coming season I believe he will jump into the top two. He has one of the easiest schedules for WR, facing six teams that were 25th or worse in defense against the WR in 2015 as the NFC East is notorious for producing high WR numbers. He’ll also have familiarity with the offense. Former offensive coordinator Ben MacAdoo is now the head coach and knows how special Beckham is. He will try to get Beckham involved in every way possible. Rookie Sterling Shepard will take some pressure off Beckham as well. Already getting glowing reviews at camp, Shepard provides another deep threat which former Giants wide out Rueben Randle could not. Beckham’s big play ability could turn an average day into an elite one in a matter of seconds. Plus, it’s well known by the fantasy community that a WR really finds himself in his third year. Beckham has already become a force in the league, can you imagine if he gets that third year boost? Beckham will finish inside the top 2 and should be taken after Antonio Brown.
Shawn – I don’t think there is much debate here, the 2nd wide receiver taken this year is a man whose numbers will be almost as flashy as himself: Odell Beckham Jr. We’ve never seen anything like OBJ before as no one has accumulated more receiving yards in their first two seasons in the NFL than his 2,755. Who did Beckham eclipse, you wonder? Just a guy by the name of Randy Moss; and what’s even more mind blowing is the fact he did that while playing five -FIVE!- less games than Moss. Like, seriously? OBJ’s continuity with the offense in new head coach Ben McAdoo’s pass first offense will lead to some more more mind blowing numbers for the 23 year old phenom.
Harold – I think that OBJ could actually finish as the number one overall. Eli tends to throw for more yards than Big Ben and is part of an offense that passes first and only thinks about running as an afterthought. In Pittsburgh, the offense tends to run through Bell before being spread out to the WRs. If OBJ isn’t in the argument for the number one pick, he should for sure be the number two WR off the board.
Anthony – I personally do not feel that Antonio Brown should be the number one wide receiver taken in drafts, Odell Beckham Jr. should be. Antonio Brown has finished the last two seasons as the number one receiver, but it’s not been the most consistent. In 12 of the 15 games that Beckham played in 2015, he had double digit fantasy points. Beckham’s quarterback, Eli Manning, doesn’t get hurt and is always throwing to Beckham. When Ben Roethlisberger is out, Antonio Brown’s production goes down. I also buy into the third year receiver theory. That means that the receiver will “break out” and become an elite option. Beckham has been elite since he walked onto the field, but I think he still has room to go. Over 100 receptions, 1,800 yards and 16 touchdowns is not out of the question for him this season, and I think is very likely.
Amol – Going into the 2016 season it is cleat that Antonio Brown is the top wide receiver in fantasy and will be the first wide out off the board come draft time. After Brown, the debate about who should be taken second boils down to two names: Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr. Although Beckham Jr. has emerged over the last two seasons as an elite receiver in the league, I have to go with Jones. With Roddy White out in Atlanta, Jones will have an even larger role in the passing game. Furthermore, Jones is so naturally gifted that he can consistently beat the double teams that will be thrown his way and he is the kind of player that can break a game open at any given time. Beckham, on the other hand, has shown that when he is covered well he can get easily frustrated and lose his temper (see Beckham vs. Josh Norman 2016). Also, The Giants have other options besides Beckham in the form of Victor Cruz, Larry Donnell and Sterling Shepard. I think Jones is definitely the safer bet and should go number two.
Pasha – JULIO JONES. Julio hasn’t had any setbacks since his broke foot a couple years ago and has been an absolute fantasy monster. He is a huge target for QB Matt Ryan and should see plenty of touchdowns this season. Atlanta brought in Mohamed Sanu this offseason to replace the aging Roddy White as WR2 in ATL. Sanu’s presence will help take some pressure off Julio, though outside of the two there aren’t really any other options in the passing game. Julio could lead the league in targets this year. Expect a big season from him.
The Arizona Cardinals are projected to have one of the best groups of wide receivers in 2016, but which wide receiver out of John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, and Michael Floyd will have the best season?
Nick – My mind tells me John Brown, but my heart tells me Larry Fitzgerald. While every once in a while I pick players in my lineup based on gut instincts, I am going to have to go with Brown. The third year receiver had a good year last year, posting over 1,000 yards and 7 touchdowns on 65 catches. What do Mike Wallace, T.Y. Hilton, and John Brown all have in common? All are speedy, downfield receivers who have had Bruce Arians as a coach. Arians is extremely aggressive when it comes to the deep ball and Brown has the speed to beat his defender down the field. Arians also said last month that Brown should have had 1,400 yards last year. He is third on the depth chart but has that big play ability to separate himself from both Floyd and Fitz. Brown is the WR to own in Arizona’s pass happy offense.
Shawn – The Cardinals heir apparent to their number 1 wide receiver option is a battle between John Brown and Michael Floyd. Though I envision a very productive year out of Brown, it is Floyd who I see having the better year. The difference between the two pass catchers is that Floyd is more of a downfield play maker whereas Brown is more of a between the numbers speedster. With the Cardinals heavy backfield artillery led by David Johnson requiring the safeties attention, the downfield attacks should be more open for Floyd to get work done. One detail to keep in mind is that Floyd is in a contract year and as our favorite fictional Cardinals wide receiver Rod Tidwell, once said, “SHOW ME THE MONEY”!!! Floyd will be doing his best Tom Cruise all season long.
Harold – I tend to favor Floyd over the other two. You could see last year that he is the primary WR in the offense, with Brown being the stretch guy, and Fitzgerald playing slot. I do t think the offensive strategy will change at all this season and Floyd should be continue to see the majority of the receiving targets.
Anthony – I always go back to the well that has produced the most for me, and that’s Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald had a great 2015 season that saw him catch 109 passes for 1,215 yards and 9 touchdowns. In a PPR league, he had double digit fantasy points in 13 of 16 games. Until he decides to hang up his cleats, he will be the first wide receiver I take from the Arizona Cardinals.
Amol – Out of the impressive Cardinal trio of John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, I think John Brown will have the best season in 2016. Last season John Brown broke out, totaling over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns. I fully expect his upward trajectory to continue in 2016. Fitzgerald is nearing the end of career and will operate mainly in the slot and Floyd is more of a redzone target. That leaves Brown to be the primary receiver to run a variety of routes (similar to Fitzgerald’s role earlier in his career) and feature heavily in the passing game in different scenarios. Carson Palmer clearly has a strong connection with him and I think they will take that connection to the next level in 2016.
Pasha – JOHN BROWN. JB has been compared to Marvin Harrison by HC Bruce Arians and this could be the season he truly explodes. He looks to build on a nice 2015 campaign and with Fitz aging and likely relegated to the inside role, Brown should see a nice share of targets. He can play all over the field, while Michael Floyd is more of a deep threat. While he may not have the most touchdowns for a Cardinals receiver this year, I still see him leading the WR corps in fantasy points come season’s end.
Who will be the better running back for San Diego in 2016: Melvin Gordon or Danny Woodhead?
Nick – As hard as it is for me to say, I think Gordon has a turnaround season and turns out to be the better running back. As great as Woodhead is, there is no way that he repeats his 81 catch season and it’s through the air where most of his points come from. The target monster who is Keenan Allen will be back healthy this year, along with Antonio Gates. Woodhead’s targets will drop significantly, opening the door for Gordon. Gordon got almost twice as many carries as Woodhead last year and there is no doubt that the Chargers will give Gordon every opportunity possible to rebound. Devastated by injuries last year, the Chargers will have most of the their offensive line back and not have issues running the ball. Based on the opportunity he will have, Gordon will be the back to own.
Shawn – There isn’t much to base this off but my gut tells me Gordon has the year he was supposed to have as a rookie and establish himself as a star in the NFL. Coming out of college at the running back-factory that is the University of Wisconsin, Gordon dazzled coaches and scouts alike with his 2,587 rush yards, 29 touchdowns and 11 second flat 60-yard shuttle drill. In addition to the stellar numbers, my faith in Gordon is reinforced by the fact that he is coming into training camp healthy after injuring his knee mid season, which hampered his production the rest of the way. The talent, system and health are now all together and I expect to see results from the hype that started a little over year ago.
Harold – I think Melvin Gordon will have a better year. He was drafted to be the primary back, and should still be considered such. Last year was his rookie season and he should probably be given some credit for having to try and adjust to the NFL while playing. I completely expect Woodhead to still be a value option at RB, especially in PPR.
Anthony – I really like Melvin Gordon this season. He had a tough rookie season, and was playing for a team that needed to throw a lot because they were terrible. He doesn’t catch the ball a lot, which is also not what the Chargers need. Gordon’s biggest issue was that he didn’t score a single touchdown last season. The Chargers are entering this year with a healthy offensive line and the starting wide receiver back. With the addition of Travis Benjamin, defenses are not going to be able to “cheat” and leave everyone at the line of scrimmage to stop Gordon. Danny Woodhead is getting older, and he’s not going to stay healthy if he has to carry the ball as much as he catches the ball.
Amol – Although the Chargers drafted Melvin Gordon to be their workhorse back, it still looks like Danny Woodhead will feature heavily in both the running and passing game. Woodhead is what you could call a “grit” player. He is undersized and not overly athletic, yet he gives it his all on every play. That is something you cannot teach. Woodhead has assumed the old “Darren Sproles” role, which makes him more valuable, especially in PPR leagues. Gordon might be more talented but Woodhead’s determination and versatility mean he will be a factor and I think the former Patriot will outshine his second-year teammate in 2016.
Pasha – MELVIN GORDON. While recovering from microfracture knee surgery, a pretty big deal for anyone, Gordon should be ready when the season commences and will look to beat out the aging Woodhead for touches. Woodhead will likely be relegated to third down, passing catching situations until Gordon can prove he can excel in that department. Despite this, I see Gordon having the larger workload. I don’t see him having a great year as the Chargers have a porous offensive line that didn’t improve much this offseason. They will be in a lot of passing situations, making the SD RB corps one to avoid come draft time.
Tom Brady is likely going to serve a four game suspension for “Deflategate”. When he returns after the suspension, do you expect that he will produce at an elite quarterback level?
Nick – There is a good chance that when Tom Brady comes back in Week 5 against the Browns, he beats them so bad the city of Cleveland forgets the Cavaliers won an NBA championship. Brady will be out for blood and return to being that elite level quarterback immediately. If motivation alone wasn’t enough, Brady will have all his offensive weapons back, plus a couple new ones. When both Dion Lewis (ACL) and Julian Edelman (ankle) were on the field, Brady didn’t score less than 26 fantasy points, scoring over 29 in 6 of those 7 games. The Patriots also signed TE Martellus Bennett to help the offense as they love to use two tight ends sets. Everything is in place for Brady to have an insane last 12 games of the season and the rest of the league better watch out.
Shawn – Why would he not? Brady will play at his elite form once again, as from 2014 to 2015, Brady’s completion%, yards and touchdowns all increased, while his interceptions decreased. He has become more mobile in the pocket and now has a 2nd tower in Martellus Bennett to stretch the middle of the field even further, clearing the under routes for Edelman and Amendola even more and getting a healthy Dion Lewis back to make everybody miss in the open field. Having the most efficient football mind of anybody on the field, Brady is going to have the easiest time of his life cutting defenses apart. when Brady returns in week 5 it’s gonna be crazy-eyed-Brady looking to ride the league with about double the anticipation of what he usually goes home to at night. And I’m psyched.
Harold – At this point in time, is it smart for anyone to bet against Brady and him producing on the field? But, just to play Devil’s advocate, why wouldn’t we expect Jimmy G to produce at a high level and force a mid season QB Controversy. If he performs at an elite level, wouldn’t it be responsible to examine and explore what the future without Tom Brady might look like by allowing Jimmy G to do his thing.
Anthony – He’s Tom Brady, of course he will be elite when he finishes serving his suspension! He will also have a chip on his shoulder because he missed four games, and he will want to stick it to the NFL. Brady averaged 28 points a game last season, and even if he’s at 26 points a game, you’ll be happy you drafted him this season!
Amol – I have no doubt in my mind that when Tom Brady returns from suspension, he will continue to produce at an elite level. Brady is one of the most driven and determined athletes I have ever seen and this suspension will not sit well with him. He will come back stronger than ever. He has not shown signs of dropping off at all in his career and until I see it, I will never count him out. I could even see the offense being even more explosive in 2016, with Brady working tirelessly during his suspension to make sure when he returns the offense runs like a “well oiled machine.”
Pasha – YES. When the GOAT is on the field, he produces at an elite level. Sans the four game suspension, he would have been my QB3 after Rodgers and Cam. I’d draft Brady as early as the seventh round of drafts and take a fill-in QB like Bortles or Cousins later, as the championship is not won in the first four weeks. Tom Terrific will indeed be elite this year.