Fantasy’s Good, Bad, and Ugly

With the NFL regular season approaching rapidly, more and more fantasy players scour the web for advice on who to draft and what to expect from the upcoming four months. Most trusted advice comes from the big boys of online sports, but clearly you see through that over-marketed garbage. No, you want the opinion of your friendly neighborhood fantasy player.

I’m going to preface my predictions with a warning: you are the owner of your team, I am not. I cannot make decisions for you nor am I some magical, grecian oracle. Take this information and contemplate it using your own knowledge in the game; if you happen to have no knowledge of the game then feel free to take every word for truth because for all you know it is. With that, I’m gonna bust out the crystal ball and see what it holds.

The Good


Andrew Luck is the #1 Fantasy Player of 2015.

Alright so maybe this isn’t that bold, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Already the league’s #2 QB (ESPN standard scoring), Luck will benefit from the additions of RB Frank Gore, WRs Andre Johnson and Phillip Dorsett, and OT Todd Herremans. Even though the defense is (slightly) improving, it is still a hot mess of many sorts. Luck will have to play out of his mind if the Colts hope to have any shot at winning a title, but I know the 4th year QB has the ability to do so.


Melvin Gordon finishes top-10 in points.

This may seem like a stretch based on last year’s San Diego rushing attack: 1251 yards on 358 carries (3.49 YPC); however, this can be deceiving. Running back injuries plagued the Chargers, yet the offensive line improved. Even this year, the offensive line has been improved with the addition of OG Orlando Franklin. In 2013 a nearly fully healthy Ryan Mathews rushed for over 1200 yards with a 4.4 YPC, and in total their RBs combined for 1841 yards with a YPC of 4.22. Gordon, admittedly a much greater talent than Mathews, has a great opportunity this year; all he has to do is burst through the hole.


Antonio Brown has the best statistical year of any receiver ever.

Here are two players’ receiving numbers for the first three full seasons: 3803 yards, 199 catches, 27 TDs and 4305 yards, 308 yards, 23 TDs. The second set of numbers belong to Antonio Brown. The first? Hall of Fame WR Jerry Rice. Brown has gotten bigger and stronger this offseason in order to improve his toughness and stamina leading one to believe that he can better his gaudy numbers from last year (1698 yards, 129 catches, 13 TDs). The only reason keeping this man from cracking 2000 yards receiving is the wealth of other talent present on the Pittsburgh roster, but I still think he can do it. Also, Brown threw for one more TD and one less interception than Rice did during those three years.


Zach Ertz finishes top-3 in points for TE.

A fantastic talent, Ertz was restrained by the Eagles; he only played 50% of offensive snaps (compared to aging Brent Celek’s 69%). He turned this limited action into a very successful season: 11th in receiving (NFL TEs) and 3rd or better in just about every Eagles’ team receiving category. New QB still adjusting to the offense, a sure handed and fast TE, and a coach calling plays faster than coked up Madden professional? Gimme gimme. As long as he’s healthy, he’ll thrive this season.

The Bad


Peyton Manning has a lengthy mid-season slide.

Old man Manning turned away from that golden sunset to strap on his helmet for at least one more season, perhaps one too many. Last seasons “quad tear” 3:6 (TD:Interception) for the final four regular season games could be an indication of a new Peyton Manning. Now 39, he needs a strong offensive line in order to remain uninjured. Unfortunately, star tackle Ryan Clady tore his ACL and fellow star guard Orlando Franklin dipped to San Diego. Good luck buddy, worst case scenario he’ll have more time to do commercials.


CJ Anderson doesn’t live up to the hype.

I almost feel bad for rashing on the Broncos like this, but the success of these two players are very vital to one another. Anderson stepped up in the second half of the season, the question is can he carry over the momentum? Offensive coordinator turned head coach Gary Kubiak likes to ride the hot hand when it comes to RBs à la Bill Belichick. If Peyton goes down, does Anderson have the talent to carry that offense? That’s yet to be seen. Another quick nugget of information: Anderson is currently going 10th overall in most fantasy drafts. The player to go last year with the 10th pick? Teammate Montee Ball.


Mike Evans is probably not a top-20 WR.

Oh, how easy it would be to talk about Demaryius Thomas (projected #2 WR, more like #5) or Emmanuel Sanders (projected #13, more like #25). Sorry Broncos fans, I’ll just pick some other overvalued guy as to not completely ruin your day. Mike Evans is the projected #12 WR with a rookie QB, poor backfield, ROOKIE QB. Evans and Vincent Jackson had very similar seasons besides touchdown totals (12 to 2, respectively): around 70 catches and 1000 yards. Even out the touchdowns a little more, take away a few TDs, catches, and yards (rookie QB), and you’re left with less production.


The #1 TE will not be Gronk or Jimmy Graham.

Gronk is without Tom Brady for a quarter of a season (as of right now). Jimmy Garoppolo should be serviceable, but not the same, leading what should be some less than spectacular numbers. Graham no longer has Brees, and is now on a team that has a defense and a very strong run game. The more damning thing, however, is the (likely) emergence of a new class of elite TEs. Travis Kelce, Ertz, Coby Fleener and/or Dwayne Allen, just to name a few, may snatch the throne. The TE field is very deep this season as the position is becoming more heavily featured in offenses, and Gronk and Graham are going VERY high in fantasy drafts this year.

The Ugly

  • Any Jacksonville Jaguars player not named Allen Robinson or TJ Yeldon
  • Any Carolina Panthers wide receiver
  • Any Tennessee Titans player


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