With the majority of fantasy football leagues crowing their winner this past weekend, it gives people like me a chance to start preparing early for 2016. You know the people I’m talking about, the kids who missed the playoffs, and lose in the playoffs, those kind of people.
Any who, with the 2015 fantasy football season all but over, I’ve given a lot of thought to my strategy, and who I’d be taking with the first overall pick, if the cards were in my hand.
This year everyone seemed to be targeting running backs, which is fine, and is what I normally do. However, next year I expect to lean towards a different approach.
While the running back position is a very important one in fantasy football, it might not be enough to capture a title, especially if you decide to start your draft off with two running backs. Take this scenario for example, I start my draft off with Le’Veon Bell, and CJ Anderson. On paper heading into the draft that sounds great. But looking at that duo now, my team would most likely be out of the playoffs. Le’Veon Bell’s a great back, but we all know how his season ended early due to a major MCL injury. And CJ Anderson has stepped up immensely the past couple of weeks, but from like week 1 to week 6 he hadn’t had even came close to 100 rushing yards in one game, and this season he’s only had two games with over 100 rushing yards. So are running backs really the way to go? I mean in two of my leagues I had both Adrian Peterson, and Doug Martin, the two backs leading the NFL in rushing yards this season, and both of those teams failed to even make the playoffs. While a team with Antonio Brown made it to the championship. So is it time we give the wide receivers of the world some love?
Now I know two players can’t make the entire difference between a winning and losing season, but they definitely can make up a big chunk of it. So with my point being partly proven, here are some players I have my eye on heading into… well 2016.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
If you look up the definition of fantasy consistent, a picture of Antonio Brown should appear. Unfortunately if you look up the definition of inconsistent you might find him there too… so I don’t really know what I’m getting at. Anyways, this season Antonio Brown’s had eight games where he hit over 100 receiving yards, since he’s playing Cleveland this week I’m gonna take a pick that he adds one more game to his resume, so make it nine. However he’s also had seven others where he’s had less than 100, so there’s that. Look, if Ben Roethlisberger‘s entirely healthy next season, Brown should be in the running for top two in receiving yards, a stat he’s had for three years in a row. It’s clear Brown should be the first WR off everyone’s fantasy board next season, and possibly the first overall player as well.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
For a while now we’ve been putting Rob Gronkowski in the conversation for #1 Fantasy pick, and this year could be the year he starts getting some SERIOUS recognition. For the third time in his six year career Gronk’s recorded over 1,000 receiving yards, and at least 10 touchdowns. His receptions might be dropping, but he’s still producing at a high enough level to help his team win, and help your fantasy team. Only thing stopping him from being a clear #1 gut choice is his history of injuries. Other than that, Gronk’s golden.
Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
One player who’s taken a huge leap from ordinary to extraordinary this year was Jaguars WR, Allen Robinson. Robinson landed in the top six in terms of receiving yards this season, and is currently tied with Seahawks WR, Doug Baldwin for most receiving touchdowns, 14. Blake Bortles has had a great 2015, and a lot of that is in part thanks to Allen Robinson. If the two can duplicate the success they found this year and use it next year, they’re gonna be one helluva QB-WR tandem. Personally I think this is only the beginning for Allen Robinson.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
He leads the NFL in receiving yards, and his 178 of those last weekend were a huge part in beating the previously undefeated Carolina Panthers. Julio’s had a great year this year, and he has the potential to do so yet again next year.
Odell Beckham, New York Giants
Heading into this season his critics were skeptic that he’d have quite the sophomore slump. Instead, Beckham proved his doubters wrong and posted another great season, surpassing his total amount of receiving yards last year, this year. Even managing to land in the top 4 amongst wide outs. This kid’s gonna be scary good when it’s all said and done, but for now let’s just enjoy the talent level he’s on. He’s nuts.
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Yeah, yeah, I know. I started the article off by badmouthing the idea of going running back heavy, but no matter how hard I try, I have to fit my running backs in somewhere. I’m not against the idea of going RB heavy, just choose wisely. Anyways one of the top running backs heading into next season has to be Le’Veon Bell. Even though Bell spent most of his 2015 sidelined, when he was on the field he played too good to be unnoticed. With a majority of the running backs who used to be respectable first round picks now aging a bit more (Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch), Bell seems to be next in line in terms of stellar running backs. It’s as if the torch has fallen right into his hands now.
David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
One more final running back everyone should be high on next season is Cardinals back, David Johnson. Johnson didn’t start the season as a popular name, but when he’s been given the chance, he’s made the most of his opportunity. In Johnson’s last 4 starts at running back, he’s had 100 yards from scrimmage each time, including a three touchdown performance game against the Eagles where Johnson rushed for 187 yards. Johnson’s showing signs of a prominent star in the NFL, and it’ll be interesting to see how he plays in the postseason, and next season as well.