antonio-brown
Photo Credit: Paula Lively derivative: Diddykong1130 CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), via Wikimedia Commons

It’s that time of year again. My absolute favorite when the air is a little cooler and my spirits are a little higher, because football is back.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been doing whatever you can to fill your fantasy football void for the last 6 months. Don’t get me wrong, I love FanDuel & Draft Kings as much as the next girl, but nothing compares to the OG Fantasy Football leagues.

For those of you who may have been busy this off-season, I put together a pretty simple draft kit. It’s got my top 5 at each position, a few who I’d pass on unless they drop below their draft value, and some who are way better than their rankings.

Chris J. Nelson CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), via Wikimedia Commons
Chris J. Nelson CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), via Wikimedia Commons

WR:

  1. AB: If you don’t have Brown as your top receiver, then you’re doing something wrong. Even the other players agree. 1st in targets and receptions last year, and looks unreal in training camp.
  2. Julio Jones: The most consistent WR in the league over the last 3 years. He and Matt Ryan have the 2nd highest point combo behind Ben and AB. This year they’re going all the way up!
  3. OBJ: While I get the argument for having him in the #2 spot, he just hasn’t done as much as long as Julio or AB. With Sterling Shepard in the mix now, Cruz coming back, and Manning being inconsistent… he’s not guaranteed the points our top 2 are.
  4. DeAndre Hopkins: I mean, have you seen his highlight video? With that pure talent and no clear #2 WR in Houston, it’s safe to say he’s going to score big for you. The only unknown in his equation is how Osweiler will play behind his new line.
  5. Jordy Nelson: Since they can’t all be obvious…I’m calling this comeback of the year, because a healthy Jordy is EASILY in the top 5, especially with Rogers as his QB. Randall Cobb proved last season that he can’t handle the pressure of those #1 CB’s. That’s never been a problem for Nelson.

Overrated/Pass unless they drop: I think Dez is on the backside of his career. And with Romo being so inconsistent, his points will be too. Demariyus Thomas is still one of the most talented receivers in the league, but he’s got the Butt Fumbler, or maybe a young Paxton Lynch throwing to him. Danny Amendola had a couple good games last year, but as they continue to add offensive weapons and Brady’s out for the start of the season, I’d pass on him. It also drops Edleman’s stock a bit in my opinion, but I’d still take him if it lines up in my draft.

Undervalued: Kelvin Benjamin is going to be a top 10, possibly top 5 receiver this year. Amari Cooper is going to couple with Derek Carr for a ridiculous amount of points as the raiders win the AFC West. I don’t care how old Larry Fitz and Brandon Marshall get, they are still going to put up points. And don’t forget Allen Hurns… he’s the WR2 in Jax but with CB’s putting such a focus on Robinson after the year he had, this dude is going to get some serious touches. Tyler Boyd could also be a great late-round steal. He looks sick in Cinci. And if Victor Cruz comes back healthy after being valued at #70… lights out.

By MN National Guard CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
By MN National Guard CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

RB:

  1. Todd Gurley: Coming off a MONSTER year, he’s going to do even bigger things in his sophomore season! Especially with Tre Meson going completely off the reservation, and no real replacement at RB2.
  2. AP: Could easily take that #1 spot, as I still believe he’s the most talented back in the NFL. His situation just doesn’t warrant as many points as Gurley’s does playing against much better defenses in that Black & Blue division.
  3. LeVeon Bell: Sure we still aren’t positive if he’s missing 4, 3, 2, or 0 games… but his speed, hands and read ability will have him in the top 3 totals even with a few games off, especially in a PPR league.
  4. Devonta Freeman: Still kicking yourself for dropping him after week 1 last year? I know my brother is. He’s the RB powerhouse that the Falcons have been missing since Michael Turner was in his prime.
  5. David Johnson: I was a fan of his last year even though he wasn’t a huge fantasy producer. He’s a great, SMART runner, and he’s the clear RB1 this year instead of splitting snaps with at least 2 others. I’m big on him.

Overrated/Pass unless they drop: I like Ezekiel Elliot, but I think having him as the #3 RB in fantasy is madness. He’s got to show me something first, and he’s still splitting carries with Alfred Morris and Run DMC. Ryan Matthews is not a #1 back. He’s got a serious fumbling problem & has yet to find an offense that suits him. Doug Martin has been so “all-over-the-place” after his rookie year that I’m hesitant to take him again. I don’t trust him as my RB1 unless I’m desperate.

Undervalued: Matt Forte is going to go OFF in NY. He’s got great hands for those short passes to supplement his rushing yards. A friend/inferior fantasy rival of mine is still trying to sell me on Jamaal Charles. Despite his injuries, a healthy Charles is a HUGE value for where you can get him. Eddie Lacy showed up to camp lean and mean and ready to run. As much as I swore I’d never give him another chance… I might cave and let that Bama boy back in my life. Look out for Jay Ajayi in Miami. I was big on him before they signed Arian Foster, but I don’t see him staying healthy. Ajayi will be the starting back before the season is over.

By Keith Allison (Flickr) CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0), via Wikimedia Commons
By Keith Allison (Flickr) CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0), via Wikimedia Commons

QB:

  1. Aaron Rogers: The pack is looking serious this year. With Jordy back and Cobb in that #2 spot, he’s poised to regain his #1 spot atop the fantasy elite. His TD to interception ratio is also 4-1.
  2. Cam Newton: Don’t get me wrong, Cam is an absolute animal. But even with Benjamin back in the mix I don’t see him putting up more points than he did in his MVP season as Rogers makes his comeback.
  3. Ben Roethlisberger: After throwing for just under 4K yards last season, he still doesn’t get the credit for being a top 5 QB. With the weapons the Steelers have on offense, and a running game to open the pass up for Ben, he’s going to put up BIG POINTS this year. And he has AB.
  4. Drew Brees/Carson Palmer: I don’t care how old these dudes get, they still put up points. I used to wait around and grab Palmer in the 8-10th rounds and he would ball out. But it looks like everyone else is finally wising up. I also like the addition of Fleener in NO to give Brees another redzone target. Either of them will compliment your squad.
  5. Tom Brady: I don’t care that he’s out for 4 games. He’ll still put up more points than most of the QB’s only playing 12 weeks to their 16. Grab one of my sleepers to get you to week 5.

Overrated/Pass unless they drop: I think we’ve seen the best fantasy years of Andrew Luck unfortunately. He won’t be a bust, but he doesn’t have the weapons to be top 5. Eli Manning is like that boy who doesn’t know what he wants. He’ll put up 35 points in one week and you’re in love, and then get you negatives the following and you swear you’ll never talk to him again. He’ll lose you some games and break your heart, then try to win his way back in. Don’t fall for it.

Undervalued: It seems strange not having Carson Palmer on this list, so we’re going to add the guy who took his spot in Oakland. Derek Carr is going to do big things this year. Just wait and see. Phillip Rivers was 2nd in passing yards last season and led the league in attempts and completions. Big fantasy value there. I also think that Andy Dalton going at #18 is a steal. Do you really think there are 17 QB’s in the league that will score more than him?

By Andrew Campbell (Flickr) CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), via Wikimedia Commons
By Andrew Campbell (Flickr) CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), via Wikimedia Commons

TE:

  1. Gronk: I don’t think this even warrants an explanation.
  2. Greg Olsen: He had a record year last season as Mariotta’s primary target, even as he entered the latter stages of his career. With Benjamin back pulling away some of the better defenders, his presence should actually add to Olsen’s fantasy production, not take away.
  3. Jordan Reed: 2015 was very good to Mr. Reed. I think he can do it again. But with only 1 good season so far, he’s got to prove it to me.
  4. Coby Fleener: He’s already had a great career, and in his 5th season is going to the Saints who are 2nd in the league in TE targets. I’ll take those odds all day.
  5. Delanie Walker: Now entering his 11th season, Walker had ¼ of his CAREER yards last year. He’s on his way back to the top!

Overrated/Pass unless they drop: Julius Thomas proved that he was only awesome because he was catching passes from Peyton Manning. With 2 top receivers ahead of him in Jax, he’s not getting the targets. Going into his 4th season, we’ve all expected Tyler Eiffert to do big things by now… and he hasn’t. With AJ Green and now Tyler Boyd coming onto the scene, I don’t think he’s a top TE. Travis Kelce could go either way for me. He’s Alex Smith’s primary target and KC LOVES Tight Ends… but their offense is absolutely terrible, so I’m not sure how many points he’s going to have for you. Top 10 for sure, but not top 5.

Undervalued: Martellus Bennet is going to be worth more than #12 once Brady is back. They’ll be running those 2 TE sets like when they had Hernandez. Dwayne Allen is rated #18 and will do WAY better than that. With Fleener gone, he’s going to get all those redzone looks from Luck. Zach Ertz is the only bright spot on an otherwise dismal Eagles offense. That should warrant him some points by itself.

D:

  1. Seattle: I think Carolina actually has a better defense, but Seattle’s division is not very high scoring, which should lead to some more points for your team. They still have a shut-down corner and solid LB’s. Very safe pick.
  2. Carolina: Even with the loss of Josh Norman, Carolina has enough weapons on Defense to make some big plays, and also get you some special teams points. If they didn’t play the Saints and Falcons twice who can score serious points, I’d have them as my #1.
  3. Kansas City: With Eric Berry expected to sign and Tamba Hali expected to be healthy, the Chief’s defense hasn’t lost a step. And honestly, with the lack of QB in Denver, who in their division is going to score points other than maybe the Raiders?
  4. Denver: They may not have a real QB, but they have a sick D. I still expect these mile-high guys to have a great turnover differential and give their fantasy team double digit points regularly.
  5. Houston: They were sketchy for a bit last season, but I think that the Texans have regained their composure and are following J.J. Watt’s lead in a softer scoring division.

Overrated/Pass unless they drop: Cincinnati. The #3 Defense in the league? Come on. I’ll give them top 10 but don’t waste a decent pick on them. Especially with the injuries they’re seeing in camp. Surprisingly, I’m pretty much ok with the other rankings. At least that nobody else is severely overrated.

Undervalued: Jacksonville has so many improvements from last year, especially Jalen Ramsey, and again that division doesn’t put up a ton of points. They’re a year or two removed from being a serious playoff contender, and I think we’ll see that D show their value. New England is always big for special teams points, which gives their perpetually solid defense even more value for your squad. Watch out for Oakland and Khalil Mack too. I’m not sure which is going to be more improved, their offense or defense. 

Allie is a lifelong resident of Beaver County. She is a 2006 graduate of Blackhawk High School, and still resides in Patterson Heights with her husband Andy and their 3-year old son, Luke. She is a Regional Manager at PLS Logistics and a sports fanatic. You can find her on Facebook as Allie Dixon.