It’s soon NFL season, which means it is fantasy season! Here’s seven guys you should target to win your league this year.
Fantasy makes any sport better, and NFL Fantasy is special. The draft system makes fantasy more fun in my opinion, and that’s why American sports fantasy separates itself from FPL and other football fantasy games. It also makes the draft so important, and you need to do a bunch of research before draft night. These tips are based on a 12 person league with PPR scoring.
RB Todd Gurley – round 2
Todd Gurley had an awful year in 2016, averaging only 3.2 yards per carry. That’s incredibly low compared to his rookie year, where he gained 4.8 yards per carry. LA Rams trusted Gurley to carry the offense with a rookie quarterback (Jared Goff), but he was a big disappointment. So why is he a player to target in the 2nd round?
Well firstly, he showed in 2015 that he is a 1st round fantasy player at his best. 10 touchdowns and 1106 yards on 13 games is great. He just needs to get back to that level, and I think Rams has found a way to do it. Bringing in Andrew Whitworth from the Bengals gives the offensive line a boost. Whitworth is maybe the best pass blocker in the NFL, but good blocking is good blocking, and Gurley will definitely improve with a blocker like Whitworth. They also brought in John Sullivan from Washington, and he was the third best run blocking center in the NFL going into 2015, according to PFF.
These two signings tells me Rams will keep running Todd Gurley a lot, and he will have a much better year than 2016. That means he’s great value in round 2.
WR DeAndre Hopkins – round 3
The Houston Texans wide receiver have produced great fantasy numbers with average quarterback play. 2016 was poor, but nobody is good when Brock Osweiler throws the ball.
With Deshaun Watson as the new Houston Texans quarterback, his numbers should only go up. Watson and Hopkins went to the same school, and have a connection that will be visible on the field. He should be able to produce with Tom Savage as the quarterback also, but I’m certain Watson will start after a few weeks.
It doesn’t seem like most fantasy guys are high on Hopkins, which means you could get him in the 3rd round – maybe even 4th! That would be a steal.
WR Sammy Watkins – round 5
The trade came out of nowhere, but Sammy Watkins is now a Los Angeles Rams player. Buffalo felt he couldn’t help their organization anymore, and decided to get some draft picks and an average cornerback in return. Incredible. Watkins has struggled with an foot injury, but latest reports indicates that he will be good to go for Los Angeles.
Where Bills just stood by and watched, the Rams are cooperating with Nike to develop a shoe that provides the best possible support for his surgically repaired left foot. That could be the difference for Watkins, who has shown what he is capable of when healthy. If the foot injury doesn’t limit him, he’s one of the best wide receivers in the game.
It’s kind of a gamble with the injury, but I think that’s ok in the fifth round. Go for it!
TE Jimmy Graham – round 6
Break-out season incoming! Lets look at some Jimmy Graham stats from New Orleans. He was drafted in 2010. His first year was average, only 31 receptions for 356 yards. It was his rookie year, so it’s natural. 2011: 99 catches. 1310 yards. He just needed some time to adapt.
I know he has played two seasons in Seattle, and his second wasn’t as great as in New Orleans. Still, he did manage to haul in passes for 923 yards. What was missing was touchdowns, but those are coming. He showed many promising signs, and with a healthier Russell Wilson, Graham should be a desirable target. Round six? Yes please.
RB Derrick Henry – round 7
“He has been phenomenal, just phenomenal” – Mike Mularkey
That’s the Tennessee Titans head coach talking about Derrick Henry. Henry was DeMarco Murray’s backup last year, but still managed to run for 490 yards and 5 touchdowns. At 6-3 and 247 pounds, he runs through people. Still, what makes me so excited for him is his ability to move around defenders. You’re not supposed to move that well when you’re that heavy. He does.
I think Henry will take over the job from DeMarco Murray a few weeks into the season, and in November, Henry will be the one taking the most snaps. He produced flex starter numbers as a backup. You can only imagine what he will do as a starter.
He could possibly be the must-have player of this years NFL Fantasy Season.
RB Kareem Hunt – round 8
It actually looks like Kareem Hunt has won the job in Kansas City Chiefs already. With a running style similar to Marshawn Lynch, and a toughness to break all kinds of tackles, he’s just what Andy Reid wants in his running back. Spencer Ware was ok, but he was never the long term option. Hunt is.
Kansas City Chiefs running backs has been a gold mine in fantasy for years, and whoever starts will score points for your team. I believe Hunt will start almost right away, and then you have a great backup RB all the way down in round eight.
QB Cam Newton – round 12
He was the league MVP as late as in 2015. So why does he fall to round 11/12/13 in most fantasy draft? I simply don’t understand it. Yes, he did have an average year in 2016. Yes, he has struggled with an shoulder injury. But, he is back throwing the ball, and 2016 wasn’t that bad.
3500 yards. 19 touchdowns. Yes, it’s way down from 2015’s 35 touchdowns, but Newton is still a great option with 19 TDs. You also need to remember that he will score touchdowns with his legs, which makes him a great fantasy quarterback. He’s scored five touchdowns or more in every season since he was drafted.
In a world without ADP I’d concider Newton as early as in the 5th round. Getting him in the 12th? Give. Me. A. Break.
WRITTEN BY MATTIS HOLT, SPORTS AND BETTING WRITER FOR VALUEWINS
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