With the NFL season right around the corner, millions of people worldwide are preparing for their Fantasy Football drafts. While these drafts can be hard to navigate, here is some position-by-position analysis to help show who to draft, and who not to draft.
Best: There is no surprise here, as the best quarterback in the NFL, Peyton Manning, will be the best quarterback in fantasy football. Manning’s monster year set the NFL touchdown record, yet he still has a chip on his shoulder for the Broncos’ Super Bowl performance. Watch Manning erupt again this year.
Bright: Perennial top-tier quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are the next best quarterbacks, as they both put up mass amounts of points. Rodgers’ mobility provides another option for point scoring, whereas Brees has receiving options aplenty, and will dissect even the best defenses. Both could lead any fantasy team to victory.
Sleepers: For sleepers this year, it is all about mobility. Robert Griffin III had a terrible season last year, due to recovering from a terrible injury as well as issues with the coach, Mike Shanahan. RGIII will bounce back and be on of the top fantasy quarterbacks due to his passing and running ability. Another great sleeper is Johnny Manziel. Manziel may not get start for the Browns in the beginning, but he will be the team’s quarterback by the end of the season. His running ability alone makes him a great backup quarterback, yet his passing ability only makes him even more dangerous.
Who to Avoid: Tom Brady had an awful season last year, and will look to keep up the lack of success this year. Yes, Rob Gronkowski will be healthy and will be a great target, but Brady doesn’t have any other good receivers, as Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman can get shut down easily. Stay away from Brady this year.
Best: While ESPN has Adrian Peterson as their number one running back, they are sorely mistaken. The best running back, as well as the best overall fantasy football player, is Jamaal Charles. Charles carries the Chiefs every week, and puts up incredible stats. Watch Charles continue to dominate the entire league, and win your league.
Bright: The next best running backs are not hard to guess, they are Lesean McCoy and Adrian Peterson. McCoy is deadly due to his ability to run, but also his ability to get options for receiving options that other running backs don’t get. Adrian Peterson is still maybe the best athlete in the NFL, and he will definitely end up being picked in the top three, so don’t shy away.
Sleepers: Look out for Montee Ball next year, as he will be the main running back in Denver for the first time in his career. While the Broncos tend to only throw the ball, watch Ball vulture red zone touchdowns away from the Broncos’ receivers. Additionally, Bishop Sankey will be the main running back in Tennessee, and has already shown a strong performance in training camp. Watch Sankey come up huge this season, while still being available in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft.
Who to Avoid: While Alfred Morris hasn’t put up bad rushing yards in his first two seasons, it is the receiving stats that worries many owners. In two years, Morris has had only twenty receptions, and this shows that the Redskins will be more likely to give Roy Helu the ball on third downs, which will diminish the value of Morris.
Best: Calvin Johnson is without a doubt the best wide receiver in the NFL, and may be the best ever by the end of his career. Watch Megatron continue to dominate defenses, and catch huge touchdown passes from Matthew Stafford. Get Megatron in the first round, as there are only a handful of players better than him.
Bright: Demaryius Thomas is a no-brainer, since he is Peyton Manning’s favorite target. Thomas gets deep looks several times a game, and is always the first choice for Manning in the red zone. A.J. Green has also proven himself as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, and will continue to be the main part of Cincinnati’s offense. Get both of them early, as they will be gone in the blink of an eye.
Sleepers: Cordarrelle Patterson exploded into the NFL as a rookie this year, and will only continue his dominance. While he is the Vikings’ second receiver behind Greg Jennings, don’t wait too long to draft him, as he will be nabbed by your opponents for his ability to make get yards and touchdowns out of nothing. Additionally, look for the Brandin Cooks to be dynamic for the Saints. Drew Brees has Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston for big bodies, yet Cooks’ speed is unparalleled, even by Kenny Stills. Watch Cooks become a hot commodity, and it is even better that you can get him in the last round of your draft.
Who to Avoid: While Roddy White just got a fat new contract, he is aging rapidly, and can’t compete with Julio Jones, who will be Matt Ryan’s favorite target this year. Jones’ speed and skill outmatches White, and he will get most of the touches. Avoid White at all costs.
Best: Although he may not want to be called a tight end, Jimmy Graham is the best tight end in the NFL. Graham is Drew Brees’ favorite receiver, and will get countless yards and touchdowns. Get Graham in the second round, as he is better than all receivers other than Calvin Johnson.
Bright: Julius Thomas is young, but has found a connection with Peyton Manning, and will be a sure target for touchdowns and important yardage situations. Rob Gronkowski may be slow to recover from a torn ACL, but he is Tom Brady’s only good target, and he will be sure to get abused by Brady.
Sleepers: With RGIII coming back, he has plenty of options to throw to, and Jordan Reed will continue his receiving success. Reed is young, quick and has great hands, and will surely be available late for a complete snipe. Eric Ebron has great size and athleticism and will be a great second option for Matthew Stafford to throw to after Calvin Johnson. Ebron will be available late in the draft, and should surely be picked up.
Who to Avoid: While Antonio Gates has had a great NFL career, he has seen his best days already. Youngster tight end Ladarius Green has formed a bond with Philip Rivers, and will be the main tight end threat for Rivers to throw to. Gates is obsolete, and should not be picked up.
Best: The Seahawks’ defense is what won the team the Super Bowl last year, so don’t miss out on the Legion of Boom this year. This team allows very few points, while forcing turnovers and scoring points on their own.
Bright: The 49ers and Panthers are both stellar defensively, and added key new players to further help them this year. Both teams limit their opponents to very few points, which is a very sought-after skill. Get these defenses if you can.
Sleepers: With the addition of Aaron Donald, the Rams defense will be dangerous this season. Look for the team to get tons of sacks and fumbles, generating points for fantasy teams. The Saints will have a deadly secondary this year, with the addition of Jairus Byrd. Watch them force lots of fumbles and make lots of interceptions for your fantasy team.
Who to Avoid: While the Browns added Karlos Dansby and Justin Gilbert, they and Joe Haden and Donte Whitner are not enough to make this defense good. Don’t be fooled, they have a weak defensive line, and will be ran over all day long, losing points for fantasy teams.
Best: Last year Denver was the highest scoring team in the NFL, and they will absolutely be scoring as much if not more this season. With all those touchdowns, Matt Prater gets a point for every extra point. Also, in the instances that the Broncos don’t get a touchdown, Prater has a boot and can get tons of extra points for long distance points. Don’t wait until the last round to get a kicker, get Prater before it’s too late.
Bright: Stephen Gostkowski and Justin Tucker are in good offenses that just can’t seem to find the end zone. This means that the teams turn to them to make good fantasy points by kicking field goals. If Prater is not available, get these guys.
Sleepers: Robbie Gould and Dan Bailey may not be the best kickers, both of their teams were top five scoring teams in the NFL last year. These kickers will be getting field goals left and right, as well as adding extra points.
Who to Avoid: The Falcons have solid offensive threats now, and will be scoring more touchdowns than field goals. This means that Matt Bryant will only be earning one point, not three or more. Try to pick up somebody other than Bryant.