Another fantasy football season is upon us. It is a fresh start for everyone with optimistic feelings that this is their year to win their league.
In this article we are going to look at the important positions for fantasy football and to see who you should be drafting and not drafting for your upcoming draft.
Quarterbacks to draft
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers: Entering his third season in the NFL, Winston looks to take the next step in his career. He threw for 28 touchdowns but also had 18 interceptions. The interceptions are a concern but the team acquired new weapons for him. The Florida State product has Mike Evans, Desean Jackson, Cameron Brate and rookie tight end O.J Howard. Also, Winston is an underrated runner who can scamper for some yards which is a good weapon to have at the quarterback position.
Carson Wentz, Eagles: Wentz, the former North Dakota Bison, looks to build off his solid rookie season. His rookie season, Wentz threw for 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The Eagles helped the young quarterback by adding Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. The Eagles also added LeGarrette Blount who had 18 rushing touchdowns last season giving the Eagles running attack a boost. The running game would open the field for Wentz and give him more space and opportunities to improve in his sophomore year.
Marcus Mariota, Titans: Marcus Mariota is being praised by all the fantasy experts as most of them are predicting a big year for the third year quarterback from Oregon. He started the season off slow and struggled late during the season when he ended up breaking his leg. But weeks 5-12 Mariota was a beast for Fantasy owners. He threw for 21 touchdowns and three interceptions during that stretch. He is also threat to run the ball which makes him even more likeable in Fantasy Football. He ran for 349 yards and two scores last season. If Mariota can play at the same level he did last between weeks 5-12, he could be a top-five quarterback.
Quarterbacks not to draft
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers: Roethlisberger commands a powerful offense in Pittsburgh that has players like Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. But Big Ben has a history of missing games due to injury and last year struggled on the road. When he plays at home he threw for 20 touchdowns but on the road he only threw for nine touchdowns. That is very inconsistent play that you don’t want at your quarterback position. Also, he scored less than 10 points four times when he was on the road which includes a game where he scored only two points. Roethlisberger has the potential to be a strong fantasy quarterback but has too many red flags surrounding him.
Cam Newton, Panthers: Newton comes off a disappointing campaign in 2016 after he was best fantasy football quarterback in 2015. Newton is a beast in fantasy football when he runs the ball but last year he was not effective. He got banged up more from poor offensive line play and from him holding onto the ball too long. The Panthers plan on throwing the ball more and don’t want him running the ball. Newton is an average passer in the NFL. He finished with 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Newton is expected to be more of a pocket passer in which the Panthers eliminate his running threat and fantasy value.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys: Prescott had a very impressive rookie season. He threw 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions. A lot of people would think Prescott is going to be even better and have a better season. But he could be headed for a sophomore slump. The Cowboys Running back Ezekiel Elliott is suspended for six games which hurts Prescott. He leaned on the running game and may be asked to throw a lot more. Also, in his rookie season, he ran for 6 touchdowns. It is going to be hard to repeat that. Prescott is a good quarterback but losing a key player like Elliot could hurt him.
Running backs to draft
Melvin Gordon, Chargers: Gordon had a huge sophomore season putting behind his awful rookie season. Gordon rushed for 11 touchdowns in 12 weeks before he was injured missing the last four games. Gordon was a very consistent running back last season only scoring less than 10 points twice in which he had a nine and eight point performance. Gordon is the main back for the Chargers and received helped when the Chargers drafted three offensive linemen in this past draft. Gordon hopes to continue his success as he finished eighth overall for fantasy running backs even though he missed four games.
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers: McCaffrey enters his rookie season with high hopes after an outstanding collegiate career at Stanford. He can do it all run, block and catch passes out of the backfield. He is an interesting player because the Panthers can use him in multiple ways. He is a running back that can line up as a wide receiver and can return kick offs and punts. McCaffrey’s main competition is Jonathan Stewart but McCaffrey is expected to be heavily involved in the offense. He should take over that number one back position quickly.
Darren McFadden, Cowboys: McFadden was irrelevant last season because of Ezekiel Elliott. However back in 2015, McFadden rushed for 1417 yards and was the main guy in Dallas. Now that Elliott is suspended, McFadden becomes a key player. He will be the starter for six games which can break or make a fantasy football owner’s season. The Cowboys have the best offensive line in the NFL. McFadden is good running back who should find success behind that line.
Running backs not to draft
Lamar Miller, Texans: Miller is coming off a decent year. He finished in the top-20 for fantasy football scoring for running backs. However he struggled to find the end zone as he only had four rushing touchdowns. Miller was the main back for the Texans and they gave him many touches. But he just didn’t produce like owners hoped for. The Texans drafted D’Onta Foreman in the third round which means the Texans may want to take the load off of Miller which would hurt his numbers in fantasy football.
Marshawn Lynch, Raiders: Lynch also known as “Beast Mode” retired after the 2015 season. But he pulled a Brett Favre and decided to come back to the NFL in 2017. He signed with the Raiders. Lynch is 31-years-old and will be in tough division with the Chiefs, Broncos and Chargers defense to face. It is hard to see Lynch being near anything like he was in Seattle. He is not a third down back and mostly finding his production on goal-line carries. The Raiders are going to be a pass first team with stars Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree.
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys: Elliot had a rookie season to remember. He was the second ranked running back in fantasy football. He rushed for 15 touchdowns and 1631 rushing yards. But he was suspended by the league and will miss the first six games of the season. His first game back will not be until week 8 because of the Dallas bye this season in week 6. He will miss half of the fantasy football season which makes it very risky to draft him early. However, if anyone drafts Elliott it is very important to draft McFadden has he will be Elliott’s replacement.
Wide receivers to draft
Michael Thomas, Saints: Thomas is coming off a great rookie campaign. He finished with nine touchdowns and was the ninth overall wide receiver for fantasy football. Thomas production should go up even more this season, as former Saints wide receiver Brandon Cooks was traded to the New England Patriots. The Saints quarterback, Drew Brees, went to Thomas often during the 2016 season and built a strong connection with him. Thomas should build off his strong rookie season and be a strong number one wide receiver this season.
Stefon Diggs, Vikings: Diggs is wide receiver who should be in line for a big season. The Maryland product caught 84 passes last season for 903 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Diggs was getting a ton of targets from Sam Bradford and is the Vikings’ main deep threat in the passing game. Diggs missed four games last season because of injuries but if he can stay healthy he could put up solid numbers. Remember, Adrian Peterson is no longer there and the Vikings coaches have talked about going down the field more which will benefit Diggs.
Martavis Bryant, Steelers: Bryant is coming off a full-year suspension in 2016. He reunites with his team and should make fantasy football owners’ happy. Bryant has been a monster in fantasy football when he is on the field. He has played in 21 games which he has accumulated 15 touchdowns (14 receiving and one rushing). All he does is score touchdowns. Bryant is expected to play the full season and be part of high powered offense in Pittsburgh.
Wide receivers not to draft
Davante Adams, Packers: Adams finished in the top-10 last season in scoring for fantasy football for wide receivers. Adams had 12 touchdowns including three games where he had multiple touchdowns. He is in a very pass happy offense and is expected to have the same numbers this season. However, Adams was very touchdown dependent and didn’t have many games with a many of receptions. He had 10 games where he had four catches or fewer. Also he had 10 games where he had 50 receiving yards or fewer.
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs: Hill exploded onto the fantasy football seen with explosive plays. He did it all last season catching, running or returning the ball. Hill had 12 total touchdowns last season in which four were receiving touchdowns. Hill is fun to watch because he can score at any minute but the concern with him is will he get enough touches. Hill is in an offense that doesn’t throw the ball deep, running back depth is deep and kickoffs are getting to be more touchbacks. Hill is aboom or bust player. He needs to score touchdowns to be relevant on your team.
Keenan Allen, Chargers: Allen is coming off a torn ACL injury that occurred in week one last season. Allen is a favorite target of Philip Rivers but the problem is that Allen gets hurt way too often. He is an injury prone wide receiver. Plus, the Chargers are becoming more of a run and pound type team with Melvin Gordon. Also Tyrell Williams, who filled in Allen’s spot, developed a strong connection with Rivers and may take away targets from Allen.
Tight Ends to draft
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings: Rudolph was the number three tight end in fantasy football last season scoring seven touchdowns. He was a red zone machine and was targeted by Sam Bradford more than any other receiver on the Vikings in 2016 in the red zone. Rudolph is a solid player and a player who has been able to stay healthy for a whole season. Rudolph should be in line for more targets this season and could have a career year.
Zack Etrz, Eagles: Etrz is a talented tight end that has yet to really shine in the Eagles’ offense. Early in his career he was competing with Brent Celek. However, now he is the main tight end for the Eagles. He is coming off a season where he finished ninth overall for tight ends. He could find more open space down the middle this season with the Eagles signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. More chances to be covered by a linebacker in which Etrz would have the advantage every time.
Evan Engram, Giants: Engram is a first round draft pick who is a very highly talented receiver in a potential explosive passing attack. Engram will be teamed up with Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepherd. The tight end could have many one-on-one opportunities. His size will create problems for defenses in the red zone. Also, the Giants are expected to throw often since their running game is not expected to a force.
Tight Ends not to draft
Jordan Reed, Redskins: Reed may be the second best tight end in the NFL behind Rob Gronkowski but has problems staying on the field. Injuries are a concern when it comes to Jordan Reed. Reed is a gamble of a player when it comes to fantasy football cause when he plays he is great but when he doesn’t it hurts you. Reed has never played a full season in the NFL.
Jack Doyle, Colts: Doyle surprised many people last season as he became the number one tight end on the Colts. He finished 12th overall for tight ends. He finished 5 touchdowns and had seven games with 5 or more points. But entering this season there are question marks surrounding the Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck. The bottom line is if Luck plays Doyle is a solid play but if Luck can’t or gets hurt then Doyle will not be a trustworthy play.
*All stats are from ESPN. Rankings are figured for standard league scoring.