“5 Guys…” is a quick set of 5 helpful lists to help formulate your fantasy draft approach. Selections and data based on a 12 team PPR league and all selections are based off ADP data from www.fantasypros.com.
5 Guys that I target in every draft
- QB Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (ADP 12.02) – Taylor finished as the #10 fantasy QB on a per game basis last year, and can be had as the 17th QB off the board. While the Bills are a run-first offense, Taylor is part of that running solution and after the release of Karlos Williams, it is very likely the Bills will be forced to pass more than they might desire as the depth behind starting running back LeSean McCoy is rather weak and mostly unproven. The Buffalo organization just signed Taylor to a 5-year deal, showing a good deal of belief in his continued growth and the preseason seems to be bearing out that growth as well.
- RB Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (ADP 7.02) – Not much went right for the Colts and their offense last season, with Andrew Luck either being injured or not looking like himself. Gore was primed to have a huge season after escaping the fantasy wasteland that has become San Francisco, if the offense had simply performed as expected. As it stands, Gore still managed to finish as the #14 PPR RB, which is amazing considering his age and all the negative happenings in 2015. The fact that everything looks realigned for the Indy offense in 2016 combined (with only an UDFA RB and underwhelming talents Robert Turbin and Jordan Todman being added to the mix), results in an extremely bullish outlook for Gore in 2016 to at least repeat last season’s performance and perhaps even finish squarely as a RB1….at the cost of a RB27 in current ADP value.
- WR Travis Benjamin, San Diego Chargers (ADP 11.10) – Benjamin had a sort of coming out party in 2015 finishing as a solid fantasy WR3 in a mostly inept Cleveland Brown passing offense. Now he joins the 4th rated passing offense from 2015 in San Diego with Philip Rivers, and with the news of the Stevie Johnson injury he is now thrust in the WR2 role with sky high potential. Rivers has been quoted as saying that Benjamin is the fastest player he has ever seen, and clearly seems excited about getting the ball in Benjamin’s hands often. For an 11th round pick that just proved his worth in a significantly worse fantasy situation, Benjamin is the individual player that I predict ends up on more of my teams than any other.
- WR Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (ADP 10.01) – How many 5th round rookie wide receivers come in and establish themselves as a clear WR1 for their team in their first season of NFL play? What Diggs accomplished in 2015 finishing in the top 50 WRs while on a run first, second and third down offense is pretty astonishing in my view. Not to mention he did not play the first 3 weeks of the season while Minnesota figured out exactly what they had on their hands. It seems that most of the fantasy community wants to go ahead and anoint Laquan Treadwell as the WR to own in the Viking offense, and while they may come to pass in future years, I believe Diggs will build upon his rookie performance that saw him come up with 5 WR1 fantasy performances and a highlight reel of plays that Randy Moss wouldn’t have been ashamed of.
- TE Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (ADP 15.02) – when you can get a solid high floor fantasy starter as your backup at the cost of TE15, you do that. Witten finished as TE10 last season despite having hands down the worst QB situation in the league missing Tony Romo for most of the season. Witten is as consistent as they come year in and year out, and while he won’t necessarily win you a league championship, he will absolutely keep you from losing due to TE position performance.
5 Guys that I avoid in every draft
- QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (ADP 5.03) – Big Ben finished the 2015 as the #15 fantasy QB (7th on a per game basis) after missing 4 out of 16 games, but is being drafted as the 5th QB in 2016 just one spot ahead of Drew Brees. I am not one to draft quarterbacks early to begin with, particularly in the deep QB environment this year, and the thought of spending my fifth round pick on a quarterback that lost both Heath Miller (#13 TE in 2015) and Martavis Bryant (#36 WR, playing in just 11 games in 2015) makes me nauseous. Roethlisberger is very likely to remain a QB1, however his outlook is not as positive as guys like Eli Manning and Philip Rivers who can be drafted 3-4 rounds later and have added strong weapons to their pass-catching core.
- RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (ADP 2.07) – I love Charles’ talent, don’t get me wrong, but he will turn 30 years old this season and just suffered his second ACL tear 10 months ago. And while injured in the 2015 season, the Chiefs had a revelation in the form of Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West….these guys can really run and receive the ball! So if I put myself in Andy Reid’s shoes, I am going to share and share and share some more across the 3 talented running backs and try to allow Jamaal time to further strengthen that ligament and remain as healthy and fresh for a postseason run as possible. So basically, for a second round pick that logic says could likely end up in a 3 headed time share, I am going to pass for the more volume-centric outlook of guys like LeSean McCoy and CJ Anderson.
- RB Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks (ADP 4.04) – Similar to Charles, another situation of a guy with great talent coming back from injury and finding himself stuck in the middle of a talent rich running back mess (for fantasy purposes only, Seattle likely loves this sort of problem). Suddenly Christine Michael is living up to the transcendent athleticism and skill set that was so often betrayed by his immaturity, so much so that head man Pete Carrol is hinting at a time share via his “1-2 punch comments”. On top of this, Seattle is not a 3 down RB situation any more, as 3rd round draft choice CJ Prosise was brought in to be the 3rd down back as a rookie and to top it off, another talented rookie by the name of Alex Collins is looking strong and likely to demand a couple of touches a game while he develops. I know Rawls had an amazing rookie season out of nowhere with two enormous games in particular, but do not forget that he was undrafted out of Central Michigan and only has 5 productive NFL games to his name so far….and they want me to take him as RB14 off the board this year?? No thank you.
- WR Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers (ADP 4.02) – (1) Coming back from injury. (2) Regressed as rookie year wore on. (3) Inefficient, volume dependent production as rookie. (4) Emergence of Teddy Ginn and Devin Funchess. There are significant red flags when looked at collectively, for an early 4th round fantasy selection. I’ll pass.
- TE Greg Olson, Carolina Panthers (ADP 4.09) – Continuing on the Carolina discussion here, I think Olson stands to lose some targets this year to Kelvin Benjamin’s return and Devin Funchess’ evolution into a weapon that has to be used. I see Olson as the first TE being taken in a large group of interchangeable TE talents for 2016 from Travis Kelce as TE4 all the way down to Zach Ertz as TE9. I prefer to wait and allow another owner to start the run with Olson around round 4 or 5 and then I will sneak in and grab the 6th or 7th TE in the grouping as I just do not see much variance among them and prefer to wait a round or two if I can. Add in that Olson has been having back spasms this past week and I would recommend you avoid.