Fantasy Football Overachievers
[the_ad id=”58837″]As we are in the heart of drafting season for fantasy football, there are always players who are drafted perhaps in the top 25 but have the potential to be a top 10-12 player instead. In this article, I will identify a few players I believe are prime candidates being drafted as a “two” or “three” at their position that could easily finish as a “one.”
DISCLAIMER: All average draft position (ADP) is courtesy of MyFantasyLeague.com as of 8/25/16. Also, this article is based on point per reception (PPR) scoring format.
Tyrod Taylor (Bills, 17th QB taken): This time last year, Taylor wasn’t even a starting quarterback in the NFL. A dark-horse in the competition to be the Bills starting signal caller, Taylor got the nod and performed admirably. While he did miss two games due to injury, Taylor finished with the 7th best fantasy points per game average of qualified quarterbacks (we are excluding Geno Smith as he only played in one game). He had the 2nd most rushing yards of all quarterbacks (568) to go with four rushing touchdowns as well.
Taylor had a solid passing line as well (3,035 yards, 20 touchdowns, six interceptions) and it doesn’t hurt when you have one of the best young wide receivers in the game (Sammy Watkins) and one of the best dual-threat running backs as well (LeSean McCoy). Taylor has the chance to be superb in 2016 again as a solid passer who can run the ball and could sneak into the low-end QB1 range if he can stay healthy all season.
Jeremy Hill (Bengals, 22nd RB taken): Despite running for only 794 yards and having a 3.6 yards per carry in 2015, Hill was still tied for the most rushing touchdowns (11) with Devonta Freeman, Adrian Peterson, and DeAngelo Williams. Only one season removed from his terrific rookie campaign (1,124 yards, nine touchdowns, 5.1 yards per carry), there is still hope for a bounce-back from Hill. With the passing attack losing a few targets in Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, along with star tight end Tyler Eifert hobbled, the Bengals could rely more on their run game in 2016.
Every indication is that Hill will remain the starting two-down and goal-line running back for the Bengals in 2016, which can a very prosperous role behind the fourth best offensive line in the NFL (according to Pro Football Focus). Hill finished as the 11th best running back in 2014 in PPR leagues, so it’s not a feat that Hill hasn’t accomplished more. He also finished as the 18th best running back in PPR leagues in the second half (weeks nine-17) of the 2015 season, so his arrow is ascending in what could be a big bounce-back year for him.
(Chargers, 25th RB taken): After finishing as the number THREE overall running back in PPR leagues last season, Woodhead is being drafted as a high-end RB3 so far this year. Finishing with the most receiving yards (755) and receiving touchdowns (six) out of all running backs, Woodhead is a PPR dynamo. Even with the Chargers having Antonio Gates, Keenan Allen, and Travis Benjamin as the other primary play-makers, Woodhead will still be heavily involved in both the receiving and running game.
He finished with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage (1,091) and nine combined touchdowns and will remain one of the “go-to guys” for Philip Rivers in 2016 yet again. There is no doubt that Woodhead could finish as a top 10 running back in 2016 PPR leagues due to elite receiving ability.
(Colts, 23rd WR taken): Despite finishing as the 36th best wide receiver in 2015 PPR leagues, Moncrief has legitimate WR1 upside. On a pass-first offense with a now-healthy Andrew Luck, Moncrief is locked in as the number two wide receiver behind T.Y. Hilton. Moncrief can do a little bit of everything, as he can play in the short, intermediate, and deep receiving game. Not only could Moncrief be the number two target for Luck, but he could also be the primary red-zone target outside of Dwayne Allen for a quarterback who could flirt with 35-40 passing touchdowns in 2016.
Moncrief doubled his receptions, targets, and receiving touchdowns between 2014 and 2015, and is sure to improve drastically on his 2015 stat-line (64 receptions, 733 yards, six touchdowns) as Luck will be back under center and hopefully out of the slump he dealt with in 2015. Moncrief has all the makings of a breakout wide receiver, and we could see him finish as a top 10 wide receiver in 2016 PPR leagues.
(Cardinals, 34th WR taken): Like Moncrief, Brown is an ascending third-year wide receiver on a team with a strong quarterback (Carson Palmer). Brown had a solid 2015 as he finished as the 26th best wide receiver in PPR leagues. He finished with 65 receptions, 1,003 yards, and seven touchdowns over 15 games. While Larry Fitzgerald was the star of the Cardinals wide receiver core (Fitzgerald, Brown, and Michael Floyd) with 109 receptions, 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns, he will also be 33 years old when week one rolls around.
With that being said, Brown may have the upper hand between him and Floyd to finish the season as the best Cardinals wide receiver in fantasy football due to his better overall skill-set. On a pass-friendly offense including the wide receiver trio and emerging superstar David Johnson, Brown has a shot to assert himself as the “top dog” in this offense as he has continually gotten better since coming into the league. Don’t be surprised if Brown finishes the season in the top 10-12 wide receiver range.
(Patriots, 13th TE taken): The last time the Patriots had a solid number two tight end opposite Rob Gronkowski was Aaron Hernandez. His last full season was in 2011 when Hernandez went for 79 receptions, 910 yards and seven touchdowns (212 fantasy points in PPR, good enough for fifth most among tight ends in 2015) while “Gronk” had 90 receptions, 1,327 yards, and 17 touchdowns. So clearly the Patriots can fully support two tight ends having stellar seasons. Enter Martellus Bennett, who is only one season removed from finishing as the fourth-best tight end in PPR leagues.
Bennett has the chance to have Tom Brady throw to him and function as a primary red-zone target and chain-mover in this Patriots offense. Bennett could have a somewhat similar season in 2016 to what he did in 2014 (90 receptions, 916 yards, six touchdowns) and finish in the top 10 for fantasy tight ends. With one of the best quarterbacks ever throwing to him in an extremely dangerous offense, Bennett has the chance to do some real damage in 2016.
(Bears, 18th TE taken): Before last season, Miller had last played in 2011. So it’s a remarkable feat that Miller came in when Martellus Bennett went on injured reserve following a week 13 rib injury. Miller had 18 receptions, 211 yards, and one touchdown over the next three weeks, which made him the fifth best tight end in PPR leagues during that span (Weeks 14-16). Re-signed to a two-year contract this off-season, Miller will enter as the Bears starting tight end and has the chance to be a focal point in the passing game every week.
With Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White locked in as the Bears top two wide receivers, Miller has the chance to be Jay Cutler’s number three target and primary red-zone target as well. If Miller can replicate anything close to his solid three-game stretch in late 2015, he could very well be a top 12 tight end in PPR for 2016.
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