“The Quarterback“ (CC BY 2.0) by afsilva2 .
The days of drafting a quarterback in the first two rounds of your NFL fantasy draft are now more or less over but should you be considering a signal caller in the third, fourth or even fifth round? .
Well, it might prove prudent to load up on running backs and wide receivers in the early stages of the draft. With so much talent out of the backfield and at receiver, the key to winning another fantasy title might just be to refrain from taking Aaron Rodgers and co. in the opening few rounds. .
Eight of the top 10 points scorers in 2016 were quarterbacks but running backs were much more valuable. Nine backs scored 200 points or more; a solid total for the position. Only five quarterbacks notched 300 or more – with 25 racking up over 200 points. .
Even San Francisco 49ers star Colin Kaepernick, who sat out for more than half the campaign, managed to rack up over 200 points. Most quarterbacks who throw a mediocre tally of touchdown passes and yards will eclipse that total. .
Running backs like Le’Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott are worth so much more than say Andrew Luck or Matt Ryan. Whilst an elite quarterback gives you the chance to rack up a hefty total and advantage at the position, you won’t benefit in the long term. Simply put, a consistent running back who scores 10 or more points per game is vital to success in fantasy football. .
The same goes for wide receivers. Drafting Antonio Brown or Julio Jones in the opening round of your fantasy draft could give you the edge; particularly as both men will prosper in the hunt for Super Bowl glory. .
Jones’ Atlanta Falcons, priced at 14/1 in the NFL odds with bet365, averaged 30 points a game in the final six matches of the campaign and Jones will still prosper despite the departure of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to San Francisco. .
The National Football League is still a quarterback league but the number of pass-heavy offenses means that wide receivers are now more important than ever. By the same token, solid running backs are equally as vital to success; especially as more teams are throwing the football. .
Take the Indianapolis Colts for example; Andrew Luck is the heart and soul of that offensive unit. Knowing this immediately boosts the stock of Donte Moncrief and T.Y Hilton but Frank Gore may be one to stay away from. By the same token, the Dallas Cowboys will adopt a run heavy offense and Elliott will be key. .
It is always important to consider whether a back is a three down back or whether he has competition at the position. Quarterbacks can win a fantasy title but running backs and wide receivers WILL win your fantasy crown this year. .
The days of selecting a QB in the opening round are over and we are now in a new era. Take two running backs and two wide receivers in the first couple of rounds and you will be well on your way to winning another fantasy championship.
The 2016 fantasy football season has come to a close and has left plenty on the table for conversation. Among the top scorers at their positions, Aaron Rodgers led quarterbacks, David Johnson led running backs, and Mike Evans and Jordy Nelson finished tied atop the wide receiver crop. Having these four players at the top left some surprised, considering only one of these teams would move on to the postseason.The season also had a long list of shortcomings, under performers, and nagging injuries to reduce output. Below we’ll detail some of the headlines of the 2016 fantasy season and look ahead to what 2017 could have in store.
We start with underwhelming performers. Two names that we find at the top of the list are two running backs: Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles. Peterson was a first-round pick in nearly all leagues, but rarely saw the field in 2016. Peterson went down in week 3 of the season with a meniscus injury. Through those three games, Peterson wasn’t exactly setting the fantasy world on fire. He only accumulated 72 total rushing yards through three contests and failed to reach the end zone. He was off to a disappointing year before the injury occurred.
Jamaal Charles entered the 2016 as a question mark with big upside attached to his history of success in the league. Charles was coming off a season that he saw cut short due to a torn ACL. He was being drafted in the late second to early third rounds of most leagues. Charles spent the first few weeks on and off the injury report, not once seeing the field. During this time the Chiefs leaned heavily upon both Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West. Both Ware and West reaped the benefits of Jamaal Charles’ absence. Once Charles made his return, it was too little too late for the fantasy stud of old. The backfield was crowded and he never returned to a form he once owned. Later in the season the team would place Charles on IR and would mark a second disappointment for fantasy owners.
The 2016 season also offered a sit and wait perspective with both Le’Veon Bell and Tom Brady. Bell was forced to sit out the first three games due to breaking the substance abuse policy and Brady received his four-game reprimand for his involvement in the deflate scandal. Bell would go on to finish in the top four for running back scorers and Brady would come in at 11th among quarterbacks. Not bad for having a heavily reduced work log to make up the distance among league leaders. Owners who were able to secure these talents in later rounds were the ones who were reaping the benefits of a fantasy playoff run.
The 2016 also had its fair share of surprises. We go back to the running backs and visits Dallas for a dynamic duo. Jordan Howard of the Chicago Bears was a lone bright spot in a dismal season. The Bears finished near the bottom of the league in most statistical categories and win to loss ratio. Howard had over 1300 yards, which placed him near the top rushers in the league.
Jay Ajayi was a second unicorn of a fantasy draft pick. Compiling multiple 200 yard performances, Ajayi was the diamond in the rough we all hope to seek out before he gains the eyes of the other players in our leagues, finishing fourth in the league in rushing yards. The Dallas Cowboys also brought the heat from an unlikely source category: the rookies. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott created a tandem that ended their season as the top team in the NFC. Both players out-performed their projected value and made for nice additions to any fantasy roster.
With the 2016 season long gone, owners look ahead to 2017 perspectives. The 2017 season will likely follow a format that mimics the this season: take a chance on players who are up against adversity and make sure you backup your studs. Injuries plagued most of the top positional players and opened the doors for new faces to showcase their talents in 2016. The Chiefs backfield, the Cowboys offensive attack, and players that led their teams when the record didn’t show for it helped make up for the big storylines in the 2016 season.
2017 will be no different. Bounce-back candidates include: Cam Newton, Jay Cutler, C.J. Anderson, Doug Martin and even Julio Jones, who was on-and-off all season long. Target the players who have something to play for in 2017. Teams who almost tasted the success of the post season, but fell short are prime candidates on draft day. Search out the guys that don’t have the hype surrounding their play. The ones who are the silent performers; the ones who let their play do the talking and keep quiet off of the field.
Now that the dust is settling on another season, let’s take a look at the QB landscape. . The Elite Tom Brady – Missed four games because of Roger’s vendetta. 3,554 yards, 29 TDs, 2 INTs which extrapolate to 4,739 yards, 39 TDs and 3 INTs. Set the Super Bowl record for passing yards as he got the last laugh. No signs of slowing and has a great group of weapons that fit his style. If Gronk can stay healthy, he’s even more dangerous. Drew Brees – 5,208 yards, 37 TDs, 15 INTs. A remarkable fifth 5,000 yard season. He’s 38, but no signs of slowing. Good young receiving options. Aaron Rodgers – 4,428 yards and an NFL-high 40 TDs to just 7 picks. Matt Ryan – Matty Ice may have a Super Bowl hangover after that debacle, but he has the best receiver in the game, along with numerous weapons. MVP season with 4,944 yards, 38 TD and 7 INTs. . The Next Wave Andrew Luck – 4,240 yards, 31 TDs, 13 INTs. Great to see the TD-INT ratio come back. Adding 341 yards and 2 TDs on the ground has him knocking on that elite status. Philip Rivers – 4,386 yards, 33 TDs. A little heavy on the INTs (21). Key injuries set him back, but still solid year nonetheless. Consistently delivers. Also consistently undervalued. Ben Roethlisberger – 3,819 yards, 29 TDs, 13 INTs in 14 games. He’s a force but tends to deal with injuries. You’ll want a capable backup. . Strong Options Derek Carr – It’s a shame he got injured as he was in the MVP discussion with 3,937 yards and 28 TDs to just 6 INTs. Kirk Cousins – Third in league with 4,917 yards, but a little light on TDs (25) to be considered in the upper echelon. Cam Newton – 3,509 yards, 19 TDs, 14 INTs with 359 yards and five rushing TDs. Should produce more next year both with his arm and his feet. Matthew Stafford – Same boat as Cousins with 4,327 yards and 24 TDs. Only 10 INTs though. Russell Wilson – 4,219 yards, 21 TDs, 11 INTs with 259 yards and a rushing score. Injury limited his mobility. He should be back to his dual threat tendencies next year. . Up and Coming Marcus Mariota – 3,426 yards, 26 TDs, 9 INTs with 349 yards and 2 TDs rushing. Took a huge next step before being injured. Zak Prescot – 3,667 yards, 23 TDs and 4 INTs with 282 yards and 6 TDs. Impressive rookie year. Future looks bright. Jameis Winston – 4,090 yards, 28 TDs, 18 INTs. A little heavy on the INTs, but he did progress in year two. . Veterans Andy Dalton – 4,206 yards, 18 TDs, 8 INTs Joe Flacco – 4,317 yards, 20 TDs, 15 INTs Eli Manning – 4,027 yards, 26 TDs, 16 INTs Carson Palmer – 4,233 yards, 26 TDs, 14 INTs
Super Bowl LI features two of the highest scoring offenses. Defense may not be a premium in this one. That said, the Patriots do have the better statistical defense. Plus, they have the better defensive minds installing their game plan. .
1. New England Patriots
2. Atlanta Falcons . .
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My guess is the Patriots’ defense will allow Atlanta to move into field position, but force Bryant into multiple field goal attempts. Meanwhile Gostkowski will be kicking PATs. .
1. Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons
2. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots . .
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Perhaps the biggest advantage in the Super Bowl is the tight end comparison. .
1. Martellus Bennett, New England Patriots
2. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons
3. Levine Toilolo, Atlanta Falcons . .
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Bill Belichick will do his best to take away Julio Jones in Super Bowl LI. I still like Julio’s chances to be productive, even if it’s late. .
1. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
2. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
3. Chris Hogan, New England Patriots
4. Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons
5. Taylor Gabriel, Atlanta Falcons
6. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots
7. Michael Floyd, New England Patriots
8. Malcolm Mitchell, New England Patriots
9. Aldrick Robinson, Atlanta Falcons . .
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Super Bowl LI features two teams with multiple viable fantasy football options. It’s possible that any of the top two backs on each team could be the top fantasy back this week. I’ll roll with the past using Blount force against the Falcons. The Pats have the top scoring defense, which puts Freeman in the second spot for me. .
1. LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots
2. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
3. Dion Lewis, New England Patriots
4. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons
5. James White, New England Patriots . .
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Super Bowl LI features two of the top quarterbacks in the league. Matt Ryan averaged 309 yards and 2.4 touchdowns per game (4,944 yards, 38 TDs, 7 INTs). He has somehow risen his game this postseason averaging 365 yards and 3.5 touchdowns in two wins. He even added a rushing touchdown. Entering the Super Bowl, Ryan is playing at the higher level of the two. Brady averaged 296.2 yards and 2.3 touchdowns per game (3,554 yards, 29 TDs, 2 INTs). He’s averaging 335.5 yards and 2.5 touchdowns in his two wins. .
Where Brady has Ryan beat is experience. This is the seventh time playing on the biggest stage in professional sports. He has averaged 267.5 yards and 2.2 touchdowns in his six appearances. In his past five he’s averaging 292 yards and 2.4 TDs. The other area where Brady has the advantage is the defense he’s facing. Those two factors give Brady a slight edge. .
1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
2. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons . .
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Here are the Lester’s Legends fantasy football team defense rankings for the Conference Championship Round. .
1. New England Patriots
2. Atlanta Falcons
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Green Bay Packers . .
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