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Fantasy Football Staff Discussion: Rookies, Studs & Duds

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Fantasy Football Staff Discussion

This offseason, Gridiron Experts added many new faces to its team. We’re confident our new writers will help you build a Fantasy Football championship team through articles, podcasts, and advice throughout the season. This article is a group piece where some of our new guys answer Q&A with our more seasoned vets.


Question 1: Who is one rookie (not drafted in the first or second round) you are confident can win a starting job in training camp?

Paul Maland: ArDarius Stewart is a guy that I believe will make a larger than expected first-year impact. Drafted by the Jets in the third round, he brings an electric playmaking skill set to a depleted roster. After the release of Eric Decker, outside of Quincy Enunwa, there will be little competition for Stewart as he carves out a starting role. One of the things that young receivers often struggle with is their ability to beat press coverage. This should not be the case for Stewart as he possesses a rare combination of physicality and 4.49 40-yard dash speed that will keep defenders on their toes. Now, factor in a questionable quarterback situation and you have a recipe for a boatload of check down passes. Fortunately for the Jets, one of the brightest parts of their rookie wideout’s game is his ability to create yards after the catch. I fully expect him to win a starting role on this team and to be effective in the slot early. In deep leagues, fantasy owners would be wise to take a late-round flier on this overlooked wideout before he breaks out.

Graham Hackney

Graham Hackney: George Kittle: Obscured beneath the positive headlines created by the 49ers’ first round draft picks this year, I believe they secured a gem with the second pick in round five selecting tight end George Kittle. The competition in San Francisco at tight end is not one saturated with stellar recent veteran seasons. Kittle has the breadth in his skillset to offer multiple options for new Head Coach Kyle Shanahan, a coach who has proven ability to utilize the flexibility of his players successfully. While at Iowa, Kittle was considered one of the top blocking tight ends in the country. Pro Football Focus gave him the second-highest run blocking grade for a tight end in his draft class. This is important in most offenses, but increasingly so when your offensive line was considered one of the weakest last year (PFF had the 49ers ranked no. 27).

Although not the biggest tight end (Kittle was listed at 235lbs during his senior season) he is lauded for his blocking technique. In his draft profile, NFL.com explains that he approaches blocking like an offensive lineman. He has good technique and footwork to support this.
It is not just blocking where Kittle will add value to the 49ers’ starting offense. He possesses the speed to separate from linebackers making him a threat in Shanahan’s passing attack. And complementing this speed is his excellent catching ability, having only a single drop against 48 catches through college, helping him score ten touchdowns in his final two seasons. In stark contrast Vance McDonald and Garrett Celek, 49ers’ primary tight ends in 2016, combined to drop nine passes versus 53 receptions last year.

Shanahan is a coach who can make the most of players’ skill sets, maximizing their value, especially on offense. Evidence of this is Taylor Gabriel with the Falcons last season; he scored six touchdowns gaining 549 yards and became a significant threat, helping Atlanta to the Super Bowl This all happening after being released by the Browns. Shanahan also has had a positive experience with a rookie tight end in the past. Austin Hooper, last season, became the most productive tight end on his team. Shanahan is not concerned about throwing them in early.

The coach, already in a new city with a new regime encompassing new ideas, has more room to make bold decisions than most coaches. That is why in my opinion starting Kittle will be a perfect fit for the dynamic offense Kyle Shanahan will want to run.

Ethan Lillard

Ethan Lillard: The Kansas City Chiefs have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since 2014. That running back was, of course, Jamaal Charles. With Charles becoming a Bronco this off-season and Andy Reid unsure if Spencer Ware or Charcandrick West are capable of becoming a franchise back, Kansas City invested a third-round draft pick in Toledo standout Kareem Hunt. Hunt is not the fastest back in the world, running a 5.53 40-yard dash at this year’s combine, but he makes up for it with his ability to make defenders miss. Scouts did not project Hunt to start coming into the pros, but ESPN Staff Writer Adam Teicher thinks Hunt may have already started to carved out a role for himself despite the fact that teams have not even started practicing in pads yet.

Check out our Fantasy Profile article on Kareem Hunt

Hunt was a monster at Toledo, leading the Mid-American Conference in rushing his sophomore year with 1,613 yards before his junior season was derailed due to suspension and injuries. He came back and rushed for 1,475 yards his senior year for the 15th best rushing season among FBS running backs. He may not have played in one of the NCAA’s power conferences, but he has proved what he is capable of in his four collegiate seasons. Neither Ware or West have a 1,000 yard rushing season under their belt, as the Chiefs were middle of the pack in rushing last season. In 2015, when West carried the ball for KC after Charles went down, West averaged four yards per carry ranking him as the 42nd back in the respective category. When the Chiefs went with Ware last season the run game improved, but Ware still only finished as the 15th-best back in yards per carry. It is evident Reid and the Chiefs have been waiting for one of the two backs to prove themselves as they continue the running back carousel each season. The fact they added Hunt should put both Ware and West on stand bye. A third-round pick is typically somebody the team really likes. The fact they handed Hunt a four-year deal also bodes well for his chances of being named the starting back week one. He has the talent, body size, and ability. He just has to become a better power running back between the tackles and Hunt will have the skill set required to be a featured back in the league. Reid is the perfect coach to teach Hunt how to become the back the Chiefs need moving forward.

Neil Dutton: Landing on one of the most pass-happy teams in the league, taking to the air on 65 percent of their offensive plays last season, who also played with three wide receivers on 75 percent of these plays, Kenny Golladay could hardly have asked for a better landing spot than the Detroit Lions. Coming out of Northern Illinois, Golladay has drawn favorable comparisons to players like Stefon Diggs, Keenan Allen and A.J. Green from an athletic as well as a production standpoint. Golladay offers Matthew Stafford a totally different set of skills to Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. For one thing, he is much bigger at 6-4 and should provide a red-zone presence the Lions sorely need to give the absence of Anquan Boldin. Boldin averaged a less than impressive 8.7 yards per reception last season, but he did find the end zone eight times. Golladay could easily exceed this yards per reception output, and if he is also able to visit the end zone a few times…well, so much the better. He has won rave reviews from Lions’ observers in the practices the media has been allowed to see; he has shined in getting open AND making contested catches. You know, the type that Stafford used to throw to Calvin Johnson? His competition for the third receiver spot in Detroit includes such giants as Jace Billingsley, Keshawn Martin, and Michael Rector. Yeah…Kenny G is winning this job.

Joe Hulbert

Joe Hulbert: The Rams wide receiving corps was so useless in 2016, that Cooper Kupp might already be the most talented wideout on the roster, despite never taking a snap in the NFL. Kenny Britt and Brian Quick are gone, and Tavon Austin is one of the worst receivers in football, as he ranked dead last in the NFL in DYAR, which is a measure of receiver efficiency from Football Outsiders. Many Kupp critics point to the fact that he is not a particularly speedy wideout, but he still manages to get separation, and he will be a legit weapon for Jared Goff. It must also be noted, that speed is not a necessity in Sean McVay’s scheme, which is more of a timing based offense. This means that route running and ball skills will be more valued than pure speed by the Rams front office moving forward.

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Every young signal caller needs a safety blanket, and to put it bluntly, Jared Goff did not have one last year, as no one could gain separation, and their system was archaic. Kupp could become a safety blanket for Goff, as he isn’t someone who necessarily needs to be hit in stride, he is someone who just needs the ball to be placed in his general direction. His versatility as a short-play guy, and as someone who can dominate cornerbacks and safeties in slower developing plays, makes him an enticing option in what will be a very new look offense in Los Angeles.

The most enticing part of Kupp as a fantasy player is that he will likely be the go-to receiver in the end zone. Although his competition wasn’t great in college, he still scored 73 touchdowns in four seasons, which is a great return. Kupp’s competition in the red zone will be guys who are proven to be average or worse such as Robert Woods and Tavon Austin, or players who are simply very raw such as Gerald Everett. There is a gaping hole in the Rams red zone offense, and Kupp is surely the man who is going to fill this void, as he is a matchup nightmare for smaller cornerbacks, safeties, and nickel corners. McVay’s offense is designed to attack space, and Kupp should be able to thrive in such a setup. A Rams source told Matt Miller that Kupp has been the most impressive receiver in summer camps and that they plan to use him in the slot and outside. This heightens his floor, as he can be a safety blanket over the middle for Jared Goff and the main red zone threat.

Robert Kohnfelder Chris Godwin’s athletic ability was blatantly obvious while playing for the Nittany Lions. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ third-round selection in this year’s NFL Draft, Godwin by no means has a starting roster spot waiting for him. He will need to work his butt off in training camp if he wants to stay on the field alongside stud wideout Mike Evans during the regular season. The Bucs brought in veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson this offseason to serve as a compliment to Evans, but Godwin will still have every chance to win the number three job behind those two. Although the Buccaneers seem prepared to use plenty of two-tight end sets instead of implementing more three-wide receiver formations, Godwin can change this philosophy if he can showcase the same talent as he did in the Big Ten. I think this ex-PSU wideout will easily enter the season as a starting receiver with a serious chance to steal D-Jax’s number two spot if he goes down with a nagging injury, something he has become used to dealing with. Whether it is forcing the coaches to use more three-wide receiver sets after a strong training camp/preseason showing or perhaps taking Jackson’s job opposite Evans, Chris Godwin has the talent to seize a spot in the Buccaneers’ starting lineup as early as Week 1.

Adam Strangis

Adam Strangis: Alvin Kamara: The more I read about this kid, it is easy to see why the New Orleans Saints picked him in the third round. No, he will not beat out Adrian Peterson or Mark Ingram for the bulk of the carries. However, he brings a dynamic element to the passing game and will be a weapon in a high powered offense. He is going to be starting caliber in any point-per-reception format.

Question 2: Who is one Fantasy Player you want absolutely nothing to do within 2017 and why?

Tanner Bollers: It is easy to see why there is so much love for Matt Ryan right now. He had the best fantasy performance of his entire career in 2016 by far. Although, I believe all the love is shrouding the reality of last season. 2016, surprisingly was only the second time in Ryan’s entire career that he exceeded 30 passing touchdowns, the first time was in 2012. In comparison, Andrew Luck, who was drafted in 2012 has already matched that same feat. So, I believe the 38 scores Ryan tossed last year was an anomaly that is unlikely to happen again.

Furthermore, Ryan had the honor of playing for one of the sharper offensive minds in the league, Kyle Shanahan. 2017 will not be the case since the Falcons have turned offensive coordinator duties over to Steve Sarkisian after Shanahan became the head coach of the 49ers recently. No disrespect to Mr. Sarkisian but expecting him to transition into the pro game and then picking up right where Shanahan left off is a very tall order. Especially if you consider that Sarkisian has been away from the NFL since the early 2000s. I am expecting some growing pains from the new offensive coordinator and new offensive system to affect Ryan’s performance significantly. Look for Ryan to finish the year closer to the quarterback two spectrum than top notch quarterback one he was last season.

Ethan Lillard

Ethan Lillard: After Jeremy Hill blew up in 2014, finishing the season with 1,124 rushing yards (eighth best in the league) on 5.1 yards per carry (third best among running backs), I was head over heels for him when it came to fantasy drafts in the 2015 season. Little did I know Hill’s five big games during 2014 were not a sign of things to come, but rather the best games of his career which he would fail miserably to duplicate the next two years. In 2015 Hill did not have a single 100-yard rushing performance but gained fantasy relevance by recording 11 scores on the ground. Turn the page to 2016 and Hill puts together two 100-yard games, but lowers his touchdown total to nine. He went from averaging 5.1 yards per carry in his rookie campaign, to 3.6 yards the following season (ranked 45th) and only managed to increase it to 3.8 in 2016 (ranked 32nd). We are entering the 2017 season, and Hill’s already depleted stock may have hit ground level after the Bengals decided to draft running back Joe Mixon in the second round. Mixon was easily one of the top skilled position players in the draft, but his draft stock took a hit after off the field issues swirled about him hitting women. Mixon rushed for 1,274 yards at Oklahoma in 2016 to go with ten touchdowns. Regardless of the off the field issues, the Bengals saw enough talent to invest a second-round pick in the Oklahoma product, so clearly they plan on using him. This was a clear-cut sign to both Hill and Giovani Bernard that they plan on moving on from their 13th ranked rushing attack they have been stuck with for the past two seasons. Not to mention Bernard blew out his ACL last year. Hill comes at a discounted rate this season, coming off the board as the 36th back, but I still want nothing to do with him. Give me names on the list that offer more upside that are being drafted after him such as Jonathan Stewart, Danny Woodhead, Theo Riddick and maybe even James White as a dark horse candidate. I would rather roll the dice on pass catching backs and guys that have an opportunity than a back that had his chance and is steadily being put out to pasture.

Michael Hauff: Following the 2014 season, Frank Gore would exit the 49ers backfield, and Carlos Hyde represented a smooth transition. That transition has not gone as smooth as Hyde or the 49ers would have hoped as the former Buckeye has played in just 20 games over the past two seasons. Along with his injury concerns, Kyle Shanahan will represent Hyde’s fourth coach in four years. Shanahan’s offense requires running backs with pass catching ability which was made evident by Devonta Freeman’s and Tevin Coleman’s combined 85 receptions last season in Atlanta. In Hyde’s six seasons between Ohio State and the pros, he has had just one season with 20 or more receptions. The new 49ers coach along with general manager John Lynch have made it clear that they are molding their own team. The inclusion of names like hybrid fullback Kyle Juszczyk and rookie running back Joe Williams among others only help support that claim. Add to that the reports that the 49ers may pass on extending Hyde and you could be looking at a reduced role for an injury prone player. His current standard ADP in the late third round is too rich for my blood. I will let someone else gamble on cautious optimism.

Andrew Erickson The Cleveland Browns let quarterback turned wide receiver Terrelle Pryor sign with the Washington Redskins this offseason. Presumably, this was done to set the stage for Corey Coleman whose rookie year was plagued by injuries and a rotating play-caller under center. However, as the offseason has progressed, I find myself seeing Coleman as a player that I want absolutely nothing to do with entering 2017. A big concern for me is his inability to stay healthy.

Training camp has not even started yet, and Coleman has already suffered two injuries. The first is a hamstring injury which is something he also dealt with in college. Soft tissue injuries like this scare me because they tend to be extremely nagging for wide receivers. Anytime there is a player with a hamstring injury it seems like it hinders that player for the entire season. Coleman’s other injury came from him falling on top of a football at OTAs. Now, this injury does not seem too serious, but it is still taking practice time away from Coleman. Also getting hurt from falling on football, does not entrust me with confidence that Coleman is a guy that can remain healthy for an entire football season. Injuries aside, the Browns’ offense also strays me from taking a chance on Coleman.

The Browns signed Kenny Britt instead of Pryor this offseason, and I believe that he may have a bigger role on the team than Coleman. Britt is almost identical in size to Pryor, and he is coming off his first 1,000-yard season. Britt was able to accomplish this feat with Case Keenum and Jared Goff throwing him the ball. If Britt could have 1,000 yards with those clowns throwing him the ball, I am confident that he will have some success with whoever is playing quarterback for the Browns. Personally, I feel that Britt will end up being the number one receiver on the Browns, thus making Coleman very unappealing to me.

The other part of the offense that makes me shy away from Coleman is the fact that the Browns will definitely be running the ball more in 2017. They were very efficient running the ball last year averaging the second highest yards per carry (4.9). But because they continued to fall behind in games, they were forced to throw the ball more. Entering 2017, the Browns have an improved defense which will allow them to keep games closer and increase their use of the running game. Hue Jackson has even came out and said that in reference to running back Isaiah Crowell: “The guy almost had 1,000 yards a year ago when I didn’t give him the ball. What can he have if I give him the ball?”

With Coleman looking to be an injury prone number two wide receiver, on a run-first team, it is a no-brainer as to why I want absolutely nothing to do with him in 2017.

Anthony Cervino:  The Washington Redskins’ backfield appeared intact at the start of the 2016 season. Matt Jones was the starter while Chris Thompson was his handcuff. However, after a disappointing start to the year that included three fumbles through the first seven games, he was benched in favor of Robert Kelley. While Jones was designated inactive for the remainder of the campaign, Kelley impressed. In 14 games, he accumulated 168 carries for 704 yards rushing and six touchdowns while averaging 4.2 YPC — he also added a 12-82-1 stat line as a receiver.

Cue the 2017 NFL Draft at which the Redskins selected Samaje Perine with the 114th overall pick (fourth round). At first, most thought he was taken to add depth to the backfield as Jones’ tenure with the club was expected to come to an end. But, following rookie minicamp at which Perine impressed, rumors flurried that he would contest Kelley for the starting job, which is why I want absolutely nothing to do with him for the upcoming fantasy football campaign.

Washington’s backfield is as volatile as they come. It is uber crowded and full of question marks. It seems that only Thompson has a clear cut role as their change of pace back/ primary receiver out of the backfield. For the early down work, who will emerge as the starter remains up in the air. Not only will Kelley and Perine engage in a position battle for the top spot on the depth chart for the remainder of the offseason, but Jones is still a member of the team as well.

Even if Kelley opens the year as the starter, if he struggles early, I would expect Perine to be thrust into the starting job sooner rather than later. Remember, Jones did not even make it until the mid-season mark before the Redskins pulled the plug on him and sat him for the rest of the year.

At Kelley’s 6.05 ADP in standard scoring formats, I am passing on him for players who not only have greater upside but who also have a role locked down. I am targeting Bilal Powell (ADP 6.09), Mike Gillislee (ADP 6.11) and Paul Perkins (7.05) ahead of Kelley in fantasy drafts. However, if a fantasy owner is inclined to select Kelley at any point, be sure to handcuff him with Perine in the latter rounds of the draft if he falls past his 9.05 ADP.

Alex Gormley

Alex Gormley After experiencing a career renaissance upon changing positions to wide receiver, Terrelle Pryor is someone who is undoubtedly on most people’s radar as they prepare for their drafts. At his current ADP, which has him going at the tail end of the third round, there is simply no way I am drafting him this season.

The former quarterback’s breakout season seemingly came out of nowhere, but he ended up leading the Browns in all receiving categories by posting a 77 catch season with 1,007 receiving yards and four touchdowns. What the stats do not tell you is that 25 percent of all throws in the Cleveland offense went to Pryor. Despite a whopping 140 targets, he was able to catch just 77 passes. He seems unlikely to get such an impressive volume of targets in the Washington offense due to the fact that the team has multiple quality weapons in their passing game.
Despite the fact that Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson left the nation’s capital for greener pastures, Washington still has Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed who will both command over 100 targets if they stay healthy. They also have secondary weapons like Vernon Davis and Chris Thompson, who racked up a total of 121 targets combined in 2016. It’s tough to forecast Pryor’s role until the start of the season, but it is safe to say that his targets will certainly go down this season due to competition alone.

Right now, Pryor is being selected ahead of the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Sammy Watkins, Keenan Allen, and Michael Crabtree, which I think is insane. A few of those receivers have had injury problems, but each of them has demonstrated the ability to produce consistent fantasy numbers. The way things currently stand, Pryor just is not the right fit for me.

Question 3: Who is one player you’d reach in the first 3 rounds of PPR/Re-draft league for?
Hunter Gibbon

Hunter Gibbon: Let me begin by admitting my bias when it comes to my man-crush, Terrelle Pryor. What is not to love? He is a 6’4”, 233 lb wide receiver with a 4.41 forty yard dash. A former quarterback who amassed 77 receptions, 1,007 receiving yards and the wide receiver 19 PPR finish in his first full year as a wide receiver. The statistics are even more impressive considering that Pryor had five different quarterbacks throwing him passes. Enter Kirk Cousins, the quarterback five in fantasy last year with the sixth most pass attempts and third most passing yards in the NFL. Not to mention the departure of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, who accounted for 37.1 percent of Washington’s targets last season. Even with some of those targets distributed to a full, healthy season for Jordan Reed (which is not a guarantee) and Josh Doctson (yet to play meaningful NFL snaps), there is a large chunk of the pie leftover for Pryor. A 20 percent target share, around 120 targets, is well within his range of outcomes. That is 21 fewer targets than he had last year. How will he produce better numbers with fewer targets? Increased efficiency. Per PlayerProfiler.com, Terrelle Pryor was sixth in the NFL in air yards last season. Kirk Cousins was the number 1 quarterback in air yards last season. Air yards refers to a number of yards accumulated at the point of the catch. Essentially, Kirk Cousins throws the ball deep to his receivers more than any quarterback in the NFL and Terrelle Pryor’s size and speed combination makes him an ideal deep threat. This sublime pair should increase Terrelle Pryor’s yards per target, thus counteracting the minor reduction in targets. Additionally, Pryor only caught 54.6 percent of his targets, 74th in the NFL. While deep threats are expected to have lower catch rates, his was unusually abysmal. The driving factor behind his poor catch rate was the collection of young and misfit quarterbacks throwing him the ball each week. Meanwhile, despite his tendency to throw the ball deep, Cousins completed 67 percent of his passes, seventh in the NFL. In summary, it is easy to project a scenario in which Terrelle Pryor maintains a significant target share and increases his yards per target and catch rate. Decidedly better quarterback play and another year of development at the wide receiver position will ensure that Pryor ascends to a low-end wide receiver one status in 2017.

Kyle Holden

Kyle Holden: One of the most underrated receivers in all of fantasy football is Michael Crabtree.  I guess most people did not know he finished last year as the wide receiver 12 in PPR leagues, ahead of teammate Amari Cooper. Most people consider Cooper as the clear wide receiver one on the Raiders. However, Crabtree had more receptions and touchdowns than him last season. Do not think that last year was a fluke either. Crabtree had almost identical stats in 2015 as well. His skillset wasn’t always properly used during his six-year tenure with the 49ers. However, he has been a model of consistency when paired with an adequate quarterback in Derek Carr.

Still just 29 years old, Crabtree has plenty left in the tank. In the red zone and on critical third downs over the last two seasons, Derek Carr has often looked Crabtree’s way. Also, Cooper often draws the defense’s best cornerback. This allows Crabtree to take advantage on the other side of the field.

Crabtree’s current ADP is 47th overall according to fantasyfootballcalculator.com. This puts him at the end of the fourth round in 12 team leagues. Hard to believe, since he finished last season as a wide receiver one with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. While most people will select Cooper in the second round, I will patiently wait and take Crabtree a round later. He is an under-the-radar low-end wide receiver one/high-end wide receiver two that you can snag in the third or fourth round of your draft

Phil Clark: If you stop to assess New England’s newly constructed assemblage of potential targets for Tom Brady- which now includes Brandin Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Danny Amendola, Andrew Hawkins, Mike Gillislee, James White and Dwayne Allen – it is understandable that a certain degree of trepidation might arise regarding Julian Edelman’s ability to sustain the favorable output that he has attained since the 2013 regular season. However, at his current ADP of 61 (Fantasy Football Calculator), Edelman is being selected after Kelvin Benjamin, Brandon Marshall, and Martavis Bryant. Let that fact resonate for a moment. Because even though the Patriots’ seemingly endless collection of offensive talent can create matchup issues of nightmarish proportions for opposing defenders, Edelman’s current status as an early sixth round draft selection represents an unnecessary overreaction to the team’s newly constructed roster. While the Patriots have repeatedly bolstered their arsenal of offensive weaponry during the offseason, Edelman’s track record of productivity and the massive degree of trust that he has achieved with Brady will enable him to remain a primary component within the team’s formidable aerial assault once again in 2017. Only Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr. garnered more targets than Edelman last season (158), which represented 28 percent of the passes that were launched toward the Patriots’ collection of receiving options. It was the third time in the past four years that Edelman has eclipsed 135 targets, with the lone exception occurring in 2015. Even then, he collected 88 despite only performing in nine contests due to a fracture in his left foot. The eight-year veteran also finished fourth among all receivers with 98 receptions in 2016, delivered a career-high 1,106 yards, and participated in 78 percent of New England’s offensive snaps. This is not to suggest that Cooks will not also commandeer a sizable role during some of New England’s game specific scripts. But excessive apprehension concerning a massive decline in Edelman’s production is unwarranted. As it is unlikely that Cooks will match Edelman’s consistency, or operate in a role that significantly diminishes Edelman’s opportunities.

Neil Dutton: Two players have scored more receiving touchdowns over the last two seasons than Doug Baldwin, yet he still seems to be underappreciated by the fantasy community. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, 12 wide receivers are being taken ahead of Baldwin. Most of them I can almost understand, if not excuse. But someone is going to have to explain to me why Lamar Miller and Leonard Fournette are going off the board ahead of Baldwin. Just do not get it. He is proven to be the most reliable piece of what has become quite an explosive offense in Seattle, and that is the type of player I want early in my leagues.

Andrew Roberto

Andrew Roberto: After a very slow start last season, Golden Tate bounced back in a big way as he went on to his third consecutive season with 90 or more receptions. Heading into 2017, I believe he is the Lions most talented weapon and has the best rapport with quarterback Matthew Stafford out of all of the Detroit receiving options. The other wide receivers in the Detroit Lions’ offense all have questions marks surrounding them. Wide receiver Marvin Jones was inconsistent in his first year in the Detroit offense and came up small on several occasions. While Jones has potential to improve on last year’s lackluster performance, he should not pose too much of a threat to Tate’s production. Third-round rookie wideout Kenny Golladay has been shining at OTAs, and he could earn a role in the offense this season. However, it is hard to believe that the rookie comes in right away and takes a big chunk out of Tate’s workload.

The other threats to Tate’s production all have injury concerns, either throughout their career or recently. Tight end Eric Ebron has not exactly been the model of health and consistency throughout his career thus far. Running back Ameer Abdullah is recovering from the dreaded Lisfranc injury to his foot that required him to have surgery last season. Pass-catching running back Theo Riddick (the biggest threat to Tate’s PPR production, in my opinion) is still recovering from offseason surgeries on both of his wrists and has been non-committal on his status for training camp.

It has been noted that Stafford has a bit of a tendency to lock onto one option, and sometimes seems like he decides where he is throwing before the ball is snapped. Tate and Stafford have shown superb chemistry, and I would think that Stafford would look his way more often than not. When you add the fact that Anquan Boldin’s 148 targets from last season are no longer in the picture, Tate should be even busier this season. I believe he has the potential to crush his current PPR league ADP, which currently sits at 53.3, according to Fantasy Football Calculator. That would put him in the top half of the fifth round in 12-team leagues. I would jump at the opportunity to take him at that current ADP, and would seriously consider drafting him a round or two earlier depending on my current roster construction.

Adam Strangis

Adam Strangis: Jamison Crowder: Washington let both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon leave the team this off-season, and Crowder is the man that will benefit most. Although new addition Terrelle Pryor will be a nice fit and Jordan Reed should have his normal work, I believe Crowder leads Washington in receptions and finds the end zone at least eight times.

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