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And so begins all of the hate. Well, not really. This piece is not meant to be filled with any kind of fantasy hate, but rather least liked we’ll call it. With a couple of drafts still to go this weekend I am constantly checking the current ADPs and looking over my (makeshift homemade) player rankings.
There are plenty of studs to love in this year’s fantasy drafts, but I would have to say there a couple of players getting lots of love right now that I am not feeling.
Let’s start with the biggest mover on the boards of recent, the Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan. Before the Patriots starting receiver Julian Edelman went down with a season ending knee injury, Hogan had value coming significantly late of the draft boards (in the flier position). Since the injury to Edelman, Hogan’s stock is skyrocketing. While I do believe his stock is on the rise (currently being drafted as the No. 35 fantasy receiver) remember last season with tight end Rob Gronkowski out for much of the campaign, Hogan did not even crack the top 50 fantasy receivers (in PPR). Hogan tallied just 38 receptions for 680 yards and four scores on 58 targets. He’s a popular fantasy flavor right now, but this season not only do you have Gronk back, but the team has added Brandin Cooks. I think his ceiling may be around 80 targets with his stats project out he’s looking at 52 catches, 930 yards receiving, 6 touchdowns (good enough for the No. 38 fantasy receiver last season). I think with the loss, Hogan definitely has a shot at finishing around the top 40 (but that is at the top of his ceiling), but his current 7th round draft position price may be a little too high.
I look at the Broncos backfield and yes, last season before going down running back CJ Anderson was having a very nice run ranked as the No. 12 fantasy runner after 7 weeks. Entering his fifth year in Denver, Anderson has yet to play a full season in his four year career and is coming off a knee injury just like newly acquired (in the off-season) running back Jamaal Charles (so health should be a concern for both). Both backs appear now healthy and at the moment the job looks like it’s Anderson’s. I don’t have any questions about Anderson’s toughness or productivity, but in the little that I have seen of both backs this season, there’s little separation from the two. When you stack up Anderson versus Charles, the latter just has so much more upside. Believing that Charles is healthy now (and he looked very good in the small sample size I watched, especially pass protection), I won’t be surprised if the Broncos head coach Vance Joseph names him the starter sooner rather than later. It’s because of this I am leery of Anderson’s current ADP of 5.03 (according FFC), the No. 23 fantasy running back going off the board. I think Anderson will stay fantasy relevant, but with a healthy Charles, a top 30 fantasy running back finish could be long stretch.
Moving to Vegas, oh wait, the Oakland Raiders will be moving to Vegas eventually, just not there yet. And one player they will be bringing along with them possibly (if he can last) is “Beast Mode” running back Marshawn Lynch. His nickname has to be one of the coolest, unfortunately however cool it is, it won’t help you score points in fantasy football. Lynch is returning to football after taking a year off and while some may say and believe the year off could be good for him and his body, I have my reservations about a player stepping away for a full season and then deciding to return. Lynch is one of the baddest and no question toughest runners the game has seen, but he sat out a full year (operative word being sat and not trained for a year). I think Lynch can return to his old form and in Oakland they have a pretty good O-line, so there should be some nice productivity. My concerns with Lynch, I just don’t see him coming back and rushing for 1,200 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns just like that, which his current 2.12 ADP in standard format (according to FFC) would suggest. Remember, he’s a hard nosed, tough runner between the tackles and now 31 years of age entering his 10th season; how much does he have left in the tank? The Raiders have depth and plenty of weapons surrounding their franchise quarterback Derek Carr, so I can’t see them overworking Lynch early in the season. Lynch collected 1,181 carries from 2011-2015, which is a lot of punishment. I expect to see Lynch used as a primary early down and short-yardage back this season, maybe getting a little more run late in the year. I’m just not expecting the volume needed to finish as a top 20 fantasy runner. I would be happy with 200 carries, 800 yards rushing, 160 yards receiving, 9 total touchdowns (that would be the No. 22 fantasy running back last season, standard format).
Now I might have a little more love for this player in Green Bay, tight end Martellus Bennett. He’s in a new system with a great quarterback and there’s no competition in front him to steal opportunities; Bennett is the clear cut starting tight end. Hold on, is this for 2016? After the Patriots lost Gronkowski, Bennett was set up to have big year as the No. 1 tight end. So how did he do? Bennett finished as the No. 10 fantasy tight end last season with 55 receptions, 701 yards receiving and career high 7 touchdowns. Not bad. Currently his ADP is 8.05, the 10th tight end off the board. My take here is you have other tight ends like Hunter Henry, Eric Ebron, and Jack Doyle going several rounds later and I am not so sure the difference in fantasy scoring is going to be that great. Remember like New England, Green Bay has a loaded offense with a lot of weapons, not really certain where Bennett will fit in the pecking order. I think you can wait on him and get players of equal or similar productivity.
That’s My Take. ~David Ortega