Finally!! Football season is upon us! If you’re anything like me, you’ve been waiting for this since the NFL season ended. Popularity of the NFL has risen in years past, largely due to the craze over fantasy football. Most of you will partake in your draft by next week so I wanted to give you a guide — my humble opinion of course — to the best available players at each position. I will also attempt to pick a few sleepers to target later in drafts.
You can’t go wrong by taking the best quarterback in the game on a high-powered offense. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are returning, Richard Rodgers has improved, and Eddie Lacy will still be a dominant runner between the tackles to keep defenses honest.
Luck has improved every year since entering the league in 2012. With an influx of talent with the additions of Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, while resigning T.Y. Hilton, drafting Phillip Dorsett, and bringing back Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, the Colts will again have a high-powered offense.
Wilson is the most complete dual-threat quarterback in the game. While his wide receiver position is considered average at best, Marshawn Lynch’s presence allows Wilson to find open receivers in single coverage, while allowing him improvise with read-option plays with his feet.
Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, and Matt Ryan.
Adrian “All Day” Peterson returns after missing all of last season with personal issues. He just turned 30, which is the age when running backs show steep decline in skills. However, with a year off, “All Day” looks primed to explode out the gates and prove naysayers wrong.
He has Ben Roethlisberger as his QB and Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, and Martavis Bryant at WR. How will any defense contain this offense? They’ll have to pick their poison on whom to try to contain. I like Bell’s running and catching abilities so much that I’m able to overlook his 2-game suspension.
There are multiple options that I’d consider at RB#3. Jamal Charles, Marshawn Lynch, and C.J. Anderson to name a few. However, I can’t pass a three-down back on a team with Aaron Rodgers at QB. Of the top 3 running backs, I consider Lacy the safest pick.
Jamal Charles, Marshawn Lynch, C.J. Anderson, Matt Forte, Demarco Murray, LeSean McCoy, and Jeremy Hill.
Antonio Brown! Antonio Brown! Do you see a pattern here? I guess I’m predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers to have a great season! But looking at the numbers, it’s hard to argue against this pick. He has averaged 120 catches, 1,598 yards, and 11 touchdowns the past two years. He should be the first WR to come off the board in every draft format.
Dallas lost the NFL’s leading rusher (Demarco Murray) from a year ago. They replaced him with a platoon of guys with mediocre talent, injury history, or guys past their prime (Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden, and Lance Dunbar). Dallas will air it out more with Tony Romo, which should directly impact Dez Bryant’s stats this year.
He returns with a new contract to be Peyton Manning’s go-to receiver. With the departure of Julius Thomas, Demaryius should be targeted even more in the red zone. The new coaching staff will rely on the running game more than previous years, but Thomas will get his. Don’t be afraid to draft him with confidence.
Calvin Johnson, Odell Beckham, Jordy Nelson, Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Randall Cobb, and T.Y. Hilton.
If Tom Brady’s suspension is upheld, Gronk’s numbers will be slightly lower during that span. However, Jimmy Garoppolo will rely on Gronk as his number-one option. And when Brady returns, you’ll have the freakishly-talented Gronk dominating once again. He’s unanimously the best tight end on the board.
His total targets will decrease in Seattle’s run-based offense. However, he’ll be the number-one passing option in the red zone. Teams will look to stop Lynch which will open things up for Graham.
The 3rd tight end position is the hardest to predict. Kelce came on last year, making his case to be the third tight end after Gronk and Graham. However, Greg Olsen and Martellus Bennett won’t be far behind. With Alex Smith at QB, we can expect lots of check downs to tight ends and running backs.
Greg Olsen, Martellus Bennet, Julius Thomas, Jordan Cameron, Antonio Gates, Zach Ertz, and Dwayne Allen.
David Cobb, RB, Tennessee Titans
With only below-average Bishop Sankey ahead of him on the depth chart, Cobb will have opportunities to steal the starting running back position.
Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons
Devonta Freeman was supposed to take the reins this year. However, he’s looked pedestrian so far, and has been hurt for the majority of camp. Coleman, who has been dealing with his own injuries, has the talent to overtake Freeman. We’ll see how the camp and preseason battle turns out.
John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Michael Floyd has been a huge disappointment in Arizona. Now, he’s dealing with an injured hand. The speedy Brown will capitalize on his opportunity and will hold off Floyd to start opposite of Larry Fitzgerald.
Breshad Perriman, WR, Baltimore Ravens
He has the talent to become the deep threat that Baltimore was looking for when they drafted him. Injuries have held Perriman back from becoming a starter outright, but he should have no problems passing Marlon Brown and Eddie Royal as the season progresses.
I hope you’re able to construct a winning team based on my player rankings and potential sleepers. In all honesty, it’s a crap shoot to predict the upcoming season, especially with injuries and such. However, don’t be afraid to take chances. If you win your league, then you deserve your respect. If you lose, don’t blame me! Good luck y’all!
Image Credit: Busted Tees