Who do you think is a sleeper for each position (QB, RB, WR, TE) and why?
Anthony – QB – Robert Griffin III. RG3 is someone I believe that can become fantasy relevant again in 2016. He has proven he can be a top quarterback when he’s healthy. It will likely be rocky the first four weeks of the season without Josh Gordon, but I think the Browns offense will be better this season because of having a solid passing and running game, facilitated by RG3.
RB – Stevan Ridley. Ridley is a Detroit Lion now. I’m not convinced that Ameer Abdullah or Theo Riddick can be the primary ball carrier for the Lions, and Zach Zenner is still too green. Ridley has proven that he can a consistent running back, considering he did it while playing for the Patriots! Add in the fact that he can catch the ball, he’ll never need to leave the field.
WR – Mike Wallace. Wallace will be Torrey Smith in the Ravens offense. Smith was always around 50-55 catches for about 800 yards and 7 touchdowns. That’s a solid number two wide receiver. While it hasn’t shown in the last few years, Mike Wallace is a good wide receiver. Wallace can easily get Smith’s numbers.
TE – Jesse James. Ladarius Green may or may not play for the Steelers this year, which will open the door for Jesse James to become very relevant for Fantasy Football. Sure, he had eight catches for 56 yards and one touchdown last season, but Heath Miller was the primary tight end for Ben Roethlisberger. Without Miller or Green, Big Ben will be looking for James in the middle of the field all season.
Amol – QB – For me Derek Carr is a huge sleeper. The guy is a natural gun-slinger but also has a high football IQ. He leads a young and dynamic offense that should challenge to be one of the best offenses in the league. Protected by a great o-line, I think Carr will have a great season this year.
RB – I really like Jay Ajayi. Even though the Dolphins signed Arian Foster, I think Ajayi will show to the coaching staff that he can be a workhorse. At Boise State the guy did everything for the Broncos and I think he is built to do the same in the pros.
WR – Donte Moncrief is going to be a stud this season. The former Ole Miss Rebel was on pace to have his best season last year before Andrew Luck got hurt. This year, with a healthy Luck, Moncrief could surpass T.Y. Hilton as the top wide receiver in Indy.
TE – I had originally though Ladarius Green would have a break out year but the reports that he has been suffering from recurring concussions do not sound good. So now I would have to go with Clive Walford. The Raiders offense is built to be explosive this season and with attention naturally going towards Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Latavius Murray, I could see Walford carving a space to be Derek Carr’s reliable mid-range target.
Nick – QB – I think Matthew Stafford is poised for a huge year. He’s not going until the 11th round and is a perfect flyer to be your starting quarterback. He has had a whole offseason to work with new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and learn the offense. Plus, the Lions finished dead last in rushing last year and I don’t expect much improvement this year. Both Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick are great pass catching backs and will help boost Stafford’s numbers. After the bye last year in Week 10, he averaged over 26 fantasy points per game and didn’t score less than 20 points. I see him picking up right where he left off from last year.
RB – Darren Sproles. This one is a tough one for me because I am a Ryan Mathews believer, but I also think the Eagles want to get Sproles involved. The Eagles receiving core is pretty bleak outside of Jordan Matthews and beat reporters are expecting a huge year from Sproles. The new offensive coordinator in Philadelphia was the same one who gave Danny Woodhead over 100 targets in San Diego last year. For a 13th round pick, Sproles could fill a flex or RB2 spot in a PPR. He may be 5’6″ and 33 years old, but he’s a special talent and they gave him an extension for a reason.
WR – Bruce Ellington is someone I’ve had my eye on since the beginning of training camp. The 49ers’ receiver has gotten nothing but stellar reviews from everyone watching his camp. With Blaine Gabbert most likely the quarterback, I feel confident Ellington can be that underneath/slot guy the 49ers can depend on. With Anquan Boldin in Detroit, he leaves over 100 targets to spread around. Gabbert has yet to connect with Torrey Smith this preseason. Ellington will be the receiver to own in San Francisco, not Smith.
TE – I would say Vance McDonald, but since I already wrote about one 49er, I’ll give you a name I’ve been doing more and more research on and that’s Clive Walford. The Raiders tight has gotten a lot of praise this year from head coach Jack Del Rio. The third round pick from last year posted a 28/329/3 line last season and is going pretty much undrafted. With the Oakland offense on the raise, he’s a guy I am confident in targeting him late.
Harry – QB – Tyrod Taylor. He fits the mold of QBs like Newton and Wilson, who can pick up yards with his legs and avoid trouble when necessary. His upside might not be as high as the other two because of the offense he plays in, but he can provide for the tough points when playing against strong defenses due to his ability to move and avoid pressure. It is also Tyrod’s second year in the offense in Buffalo, which means he should be more familiar with the reads and intricacies needed to be more successful than last season. This all comes at a lower draft price than any other QB with as much upside, promise, and ability as Tyrod Taylor.
RB – Darren McFadden. There’s been very little news about McFadden except for his accident involving a cell phone. All the hype in Dallas has been about ‘Zeke Elliot who has already suffered a soft tissue injury. Once McFadden comes back, I think he will play a bigger role in the Dallas running game than most people think this year. Even if the Cowboy offensive backfield ends up a timeshare, if McFadden can produce half the stats he did last season, he will be a steal at his current draft price, which in most leagues is late rounds, or free. Take the flyer on him.
WR – Anquan Boldin. Is it strange to be calling Boldin a sleeper? We’ve seen the success and ability he has to preform at a high level. Given the state of the 49er offense the last few years, most fantasy owners may have forgotten about Boldin. Now he joins the pass happy Lions, and is definitely the most experienced WR Stafford has in that offense. I think he will play the slot guy, which will limit his snaps, but may still account for him being on the field more than most slot guys in the league because the Lions will be throwing all day. Being a big body guy, Boldin will also catch the eye of Stafford early may become an impromptu TE from the slot position. He provides the size and catching ability to have a year like Larry Fitzgerald did last season.
TE – Martellus Bennett. The second fiddle in New England, Bennett will see more action than initially thought. There have been a few reports that the Patriots could use a two TE system like they did in previous years. It’s also important to remember Bennett was a top TE in Chicago, an offense not known for extreme fantasy production. Bennett could be a great pick up late in a draft, when you’ve been waiting on guys like QB and TE.
Shawn – QB – Derek Carr: Carr is one of the best up and coming quarterbacks on an up and coming team. 32 passing touchdowns in 2015 is almost pro bowl worthy and he’s only getting better.
RB – Melvin Gordon: Gordon has a galloping style of running which I see translating to NFL success. His rookie season is an outlier as he’s just in too good a position to not be factor. I’m willing to bet he scores 2 touchdown within the first 2 weeks.
WR – Sterling Shepard: Anybody paying attention knows about him by now. The dude is a beast and he has fallen into the perfect situation to thrive, across from Odell Beckham and in pass happy offense. Plus, if Odell think Shepard can break his rookie yardage record, I’m buying.
TE – Zach Ertz is one hell of an athlete who just figured it out in the NFL. Proof for the vote of confidence that he will be a top 5 sleeper on the year is confirmed by the Eagles brass extending him a $42.5 million contract and they don’t just hand those out to everybody. Snatch Ertz up.
Pasha – QB – Philip Rivers. A perennial QB1, he is severely undervalued at his current ADP. The Chargers defense should force the offense to throw the ball a lot too.
RB – Devontae Booker. Stud rookie. Reminds of LeSean McCoy. Elite in the passing game. It could be just a matter of time before he surpasses C.J. Anderson on the depth chart.
WR – Tajae Sharpe. Largely unknown rookie out of UMass. Has excellent hands and leaping ability. Could be a deep threat and starter for Marcus Mariota.
TE – Vance McDonald. McDonald is a breakout candidate and could be a big part of the SF passing game. He should establish himself as a redzone threat.
Who do you think will be a bust for each position (QB, RB, WR, TE) and why?
Anthony – QB – Ben Roethlisberger. Don’t get me wrong; Ben Roethlisberger will be an okay option. Where you have to draft him will cause him to be a bust. He has had two seasons where he threw for more than 30 touchdowns. While the Steelers offense will be powerful, the running game is the back bone of the offense and will be the first option for scoring every time.
RB – Jeremy Langford. I don’t think the Bears like him as they have tried to sign other running backs during the offseason. I think there is going to be a timeshare between Langford, Ka’DeemCarey and Jordan Howard, and I want to stay away from this backfield!
WR – Alshon Jeffery. I might just hate the Bears offense altogether. Alshon Jeffrey has proven that when he is healthy he can be a dominant wide receiver. WHEN he’s healthy is the key point in that sentence. I don’t think he plays a full season, and ends up being a decoy more often than not.
TE – Jordan Reed. Health is going to be a concern for Jordan Reed. He managed to stay relatively healthy in 2015, but I feel like it will catch up to him this season and he will miss a significant amount of time.
Amol – QB – I could see Kirk Cousins having a sub-par year. I just don’t know if he can replicate that success from a year ago.
RB – Devonta Freeman is primed to have a letdown year. At the latter part of last season, he showed signs that he could not handle the load and this year I think he will be surpassed on the depth chart by Tevin Coleman.
WR – Golden Tate will likely be unable to handle the pressure of being the go-to guy in Detroit. When he was drafted to be the number one in Seattle, he never really impressed. I think he is a good number two option in an offense but don’t think you can rely on him to be your consistent playmaker
TE – I’d say now Ladarius Green.
Nick – QB – The biggest quarterback bust of the 2016 season will be the guy that takes one too early. Don’t be that guy. There are some guys I am hesitant to take (i.e. Ben Roethlisberger, Blake Bortles), but I don’t hate them if I can get them at great value. The quarterback position in fantasy is all about value. You want to be able to draft a guy in the later rounds to finish in the top 10 and there is a good chance you can. When you take a quarterback early, you’re relying on him to finish in that position at the end of the season. By giving up a fourth or sixth round pick, you’re sacrificing a position player to draft a guy at his ceiling. Don’t draft a guy at his ceiling, find a late round quarterback to draft at his floor and hope he can go beyond his ceiling.
RB – The more tape I watch of Titans running back Derrick Henry, the more I am staying away from DeMarco Murray. Going into the season I had confidence that Murray could come back but now not so much. There is a very good chance that Henry is the best back on that team. Henry has shined this preseason, rushing for 105 yards on 15 carries so far. I believe that this will become a RBBC or Henry will flat out take over. The Titans don’t have the offensive power to make both backs consistently relevant. Murray will be a bust in the 4th round.
WR – Just because his ADP is in the fourth round, I believe Julian Edelman will be a bust. Clearly there’s injury risk. He’s already had one scare in camp, slamming his helmet on the ground as he walked off the field. He’ll also be without Tom Brady for four games. I think Jimmy Garoppolo will be a good game manager, but will hurt a lot of Patriots players’ fantasy value. He’s being drafted at his ceiling and as mentioned above, that is something I do not like doing. His fourth round ADP is too rich for my blood and he will disappoint this season.
TE – Tyler Eifert is someone I’ve avoided everywhere. We still have absolutely no idea how much of the season he’ll miss. He just started to attempt to jog this week and the season is less than two weeks away. He’s also extremely touchdown dependent when he’s on the field. He only reached 90 yards twice all last season. He had five games under 10 fantasy points and only scored double digit fantasy points in games he scored a touchdown. Touchdown dependent and unsure of when he’ll come back? No thank you.
Harry – QB – Kirk Cousins. I’m not really sure what happened last year after the “you like that” game, but remember up to that point there was serious talk about how effective of a QB Cousins was. Looking at the offense, you would assume there would be a possibility of an even better season if he can continue the trend he was on the second half of the season. That being said, I think the Redskins running game is what will effect Cousins fantasy outlook. Their RBs aren’t good, and that will force them to throw a lot, which you would think would be good for a QB, but not bad to average QBs.
RB – Todd Gurley. The hype train has gone way to far off the rails. I understand the season he had last year, which started late, due to injury, and started trailing off at the end of the season. That could have all been conditioning and injury related, but those are the exact reason we use caution with other players, and Gurley’s stock hasn’t done nothing but rise all offseason. Be prepared for a return to the mean for Gurley this year because of his terrible offense.
WR – DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans number one guy will not repeat the production he had last season. A brand new QB, brand new RB, and conceivably a new offensive strategy, Hopkins will experience the growing pains along with the rest of the Houston offense. At his current draft value he could upset a lot of fantasy owners expecting a result similar to the season he had prior.
TE – Jordan Reed. Same as with Kirk Cousins, I’m not high on the Redskins offense this year. Somehow based purely on upside Reed has vaulted to the status of elite TE talent, and can’t put together a stretch of games that doesn’t see him hit the injury report. I expect more of the same from Reed.
Shawn – QB – Blake Bortles’ completion percentage was on a downward trend throughout the year and the interceptions followed. Though he’ll manage average numbers, he will not meet the expectations some have for him after a hot start last year. His defense has improved and will not be able to rack up as many garbage time points as he did last year.
RB – Arian Foster. A lot of people like refer to the NFL as the “Not For Long” and in Fosters case unfortunately I think that time has come. It’s not that I don’t think he can be productive when he’s on the field; its that I don’t see him on the field. Every year since 2013, he’s played in 8, 13 and 4 games respectively and is on the wrong side of 30, coming off a major injury. I’m rooting for the guy but I just don’t see him meeting expectations.
WR – DeSean Jackson can be lethal when he plays. Again, with the “if he plays”. In 2015 Jackson didn’t even play until week 9 and didn’t score in double digits till week 11. Perhaps what scares me the most about Jackson is the fact that Washington has invested in his replacement, Josh Doctson…limited touches for DeSean this year.
TE – Tyler Eifert. Talented guy and he was a happy surprise for fantasy owners last year but a confluence of too many scenarios are leading to an uphill battle for him. His numbers in 2015 were far above his career average and now he’s dealing with injuries and does not know when he will be cleared to play; I don’t see owners getting a return on their mid round investment that they’re currently paying.
Pasha – QB – Andy Dalton. The losses of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu this offseason, along with the injury to Tyler Eifert will hurt Dalton majorly. Tough early season schedule, with A.J. Green as his lone, yet elite, established target, Dalton should struggle at times.
RB – Devonta Freeman. Free fallin’ here. Low YPC last year despite fantasy success. Tevin Coleman has the talent to get touches and I see an even split here by midseason.
WR – Jordy Nelson. He’s been slow in his recovery from an ACL tear a year ago, and couple with his age, I don’t see him returning to the elite level of production he once had.
TE – Coby Fleener. He’s just not good at football and is reportedly still a work in progress for the Saints. Not buying that he’ll succeed just because he is playing with Brees.
Which first round pick, based on ADP, will hold their value the best during the season and why?
Anthony – Adrian Peterson will hold his value the best this season. The best part of Peterson is that you can guarantee that he will have at least 1,000 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. It’s far likely he exceeds both, and is consistent every week.
Amol – I’ll go with David Johnson. I think this season he will be a beast and rack up the most all-purpose yards in the league. Bruce Arians will finally unleash him and I could see him scoring 20 total touchdowns. He is a candidate for Offensive Player of the Year.
Nick – I can’t think of a guy I’m more excited for than Odell Beckham Jr. He is the second player taken off the board and in my opinion has the best chance of taking the throne as the top receiver. His schedule is incredibly easy. I don’t care that Josh Norman is in the same division. Beckham went for 74 yards and a touchdown (should have had 2) in their first matchup last season. Former offensive coordinator and now head coach Ben McAdoo knows how special this kid is and will get him involved in the offensive in any way possible. Rookie Sterling Shepard will also be able to relieve some pressure off of Beckham as the Giants WR2. Plus, we all know about the third year receiver breakout seasons. In is first two years, Beckham has had more yards than any receiver in history in their first two years. Imagine a breakout from that. I could go on and on but if you have that second pick, please take Beckham.
Harry – I think OBJ will be the first rounder that will hold his value best based on his current ADP. He will have an outstanding season and will probably finish as the number one fantasy WR this year, ahead of the other two top WR choices.
Shawn – Adrian Peterson will return the best value on a 1st round pick based his current ADP of 1.05. Getting this stalwart of human specimen at #5 must be so gratifying for owners. Peterson quietly rushed for 1,382 yards last year and sitting doesn’t have as many miles on him with the whole 2014 season debacle. With improved play at wide receiver, Peterson should see less defenders in the box, leading to another All-pro year from AP.
Pasha – Ezekiel Elliott. He is running behind the best offensive line in the league and wasn’t selected that high by Jerry to not shoulder a lion’s share of carries this year. He has all the talent to succeed in the Cowboys offense.
Outside of fantasy football, which two teams make the Super Bowl and which team wins it all? Why?
Anthony – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals – Steelers win
The Cardinals will have a great offense and defense this year. The Steelers will have the best offense and their defense will actually show up this season. Great offenses and defenses will propel both teams to the Super Bowl. The Steelers will win because Bruce Arians will try and prove he shouldn’t have been fired by the Steelers, and will end up making a lot of mistakes!
Amol – I think the Packers and the Patriots will be in the Super Bowl. The Packers have an elite offense and an underrated defense. With Jordy Nelson back and a fit Eddie Lacy the offense could be the best in the league. On the other side, the Patriots just look like the most complete team in the AFC. Every other team in the conference is either great on one side of the ball, while the Pats look like a complete unit. It also helps to have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
Nick – I think the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots will be facing off for the Lombardi trophy. The Cardinals in my opinion are the most complete team in the NFL. Carson Palmer and his three receivers will thrive once again in Bruce Arians high flying offense and the run game will be dominant. Their defense is already near the top of the league and I don’t see that changing. The Patriots always find a way. I see Brady seeking revenge for his suspension and that offense will continue to dominate. The Super Bowl will end with Palmer raising the Lombardi trophy for the first time in his career.
Harry – Arizona and New England. I think Arizona has all the pieces on offense and defense to compete with and beat any of the teams in the NFC. The Patriots are the best team in the AFC, who can’t they beat? Even with Brady out for part of the season, they are still the best team in the AFC and can compete with all the teams at the top. Arizona wins.
Shawn – The Super Bowl this year is Arizona Vs. New England. The Cardinals have gotten better every year under Bruce Arians and right now have everything together. On offense, they’re going to be tough to stop especially with the emergence of David Johnson and Michael Floyd. They’re both young and experienced, and hungry. The Patriots will be representing from the AFC. I’ve had the pleasure of watching the Patriots since 2002 and I’ve never seen them with a defense this stacked. From the D-line and linebackers (oh my, Jamie Collins) to the stout defensive backfield. Additionally, on offense, Packers coach Mike McCarthy deemed the Michael Bennett trade the best move of the offseason and I agree. How do you stop that Gronk-Bennett combo up the seams? You don’t. And insert a less dinged up Brady in there with those four weeks he sits and you have a tornado coming your way. My prediction in the biggest nail biter Super Bowl: 31-30, Patriots.
Pasha – I believe the Patriots and the Cardinals have the most complete football units in the league, along with two of the best coaches. I’ll take the Pats over the Cardinals by a hair.