A Very Early 2017 Fantasy Football Primer
By Josh Williams
One of the great things about the National Football League is that there are always headlines and stories throughout the entire year, including the offseason. With free agency already starting and the NFL Draft approaching, this is a great time to look forward to the start of the season. With that said, here is a look at who you should be targeting for your Fantasy Football team next season.
Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back Le’Veon Bell
At age 25, Bell will be entering the prime of his career. Bell should be healthy after having groin surgery to repair the injury that bothered him during the playoffs. Bell is known for his patient style of running and rushed for over 1,200 yards last season. Bell also caught 75 passes out of the backfield. He should have another big season. Of course, everything is depending on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returning.
Arizona Cardinals Running Back David Johnson
Johnson sprained his MCL in the final game of the season, but should be healthy for the start of training camp. Johnson had a fantastic season and made a lot of fantasy football owners very happy. Johnson scored 20 touchdowns and nearly gained a 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving. Stud running backs are hard to come by in fantasy football, so if you have the chance to draft Johnson, do so without blinking. With defenses making him the focal point of their game plan, he may not score 20 touchdowns again, however Johnson will still make fantasy owners rejoice this season.
Dallas Cowboys Running Back Ezekiel Elliott
The fourth overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft, Elliott took the league by storm as a rookie, leading the league in rushing by gaining 1,631 yards to go along with 15 rushing touchdowns. Will Elliott suffer a sophomore slump? It is extremely unlikely given the talent that surrounds Elliott in quarterback Dak Prescott, tight end Jason Witten, and wide receiver Dez Bryant. The Cowboys also have arguably the best offensive line in football, so Elliott could potentially surpass his rookie year.
Atlanta Falcons Wide Receiver Julio Jones
Julio Jones has a scary combination of size and speed that makes him a matchup nightmare for defenses. Jones was impacted by a painful foot injury in the playoffs and still dominated. When healthy, Jones is one of the NFL’s most dangerous weapons and should be targeted early in the fantasy league draft.
Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver A.J. Green
Due to injury, Green failed to gain over 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career last season, which is a sign of how great a player Green is. Green makes great use of his 6’4” frame to win jump balls over smaller defensive backs. If healthy, Green should have another outstanding season.
Quarterbacks To Target
Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers remains the most talented quarterback in the NFL. Despite the major injuries on offense, Rodgers almost single handedly lead the Packers to the Super Bowl. Even in a down year, Rodgers still threw for 40 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards passing.
New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady
At this point, you can make a strong argument that Brady is the best player of all-time. Looking for his sixth Super Bowl ring this season, Brady could have one of his best seasons as the team recently acquired speedster wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
Los Angeles Chargers Running Back Melvin Gordon
Gordon could be primed to cement himself as one of the best running backs in the NFL. Entering his third year, Gordon should rush for over 1,000 in his career for the first time and record his second straight season of scoring double digit touchdowns.
Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz
Wentz had a solid if not spectacular rookie year. However, The Eagles have given Wentz some weapons this offseason in wide receivers Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery to go along with Jordan Matthews. Wentz could have a big year.
Players To Avoid
New York Giants Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard
Shepard enjoyed a nice rookie season, scoring eight touchdowns. His role seemed like it would be increasing following the release of Victor Cruz, then the Giants went out and signed Brandon Marshall.
Cincinnati Bengals Running Back Jeremy Hill
Hill has stagnated since his nice rookie season, and now he’ll try to get back on track behind a Bengals offensive line that just lost its two best linemen in Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth during free agency. You should avoid Hill even as a low round pick.