Fantasy Rankings Reaction: The Highs and The Lows

I understand Fantasy Football Rankings don’t matter as much in the month of May to some people, but let me make this point clear. It is extremely important to see how the fantasy value of players increases or decreases the closer and closer you get to your draft.  With that being said I encourage everyone reading this to check out Gridiron Experts Staff Top 100 Rankings.

This article is a reflection of The Empire EP7: Fantasy Rankings and Twitter Q&A podcast, so if you are a podcast junkie like me then please give it a listen.  If you enjoy what you hear and want your questions asked and answered on the podcast then you should subscribe to our show on iTunes and SoundCloud.

You can also just listen to the show here by hitting play.

The players that are highlighted in this article are guys that I am higher and lower on in consideration to the industry average or the rest my fellow colleagues at Gridiron Experts.

 

Quarterback, I’m Higher On

Philip Rivers

Los Angeles Chargers 

[the_ad id=”63198″]The first guy who made my list is the always unappreciated Philip Rivers.  Rivers is ranked 6th in my Gridiron Experts Quarterback Rankings.  I know people will think that is high but let’s not forget all the obstacles Rivers faced in 2016 and still threw for 33 touchdowns.  He lost his best wide receiver in Keenan Allen, he lost Danny Woodhead out of the backfield, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin and Hunter Henry were all dealing with injuries at the end of the season, on top of the fact he was behind a bad offensive line.

So looking at Rivers for 2017 let’s see where he improved. Offensive weapons, check, the Chargers went and drafted Mike Williams in the first round at pick seven of the NFL Draft. Then they addressed their offensive line issues with two stud lineman in Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney.

With the value Rivers has every year combined with his offensive upgrades is why Rivers is a guy I am high on and targeting in my leagues.

Quarterback, I’m Lower On

Cam Newton

Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton optimizedThis one could easily change the closer we get to the start of the season.  My ranking of Newton as my quarterback 12 is due to his shoulder concerns this offseason. If he looks healthy in preseason and training camp, then he may creep into the top 10. The Panthers made some moves in the draft to perhaps take some of the load off Newton’s shoulders.  Yes, this is a good move for real life football but it will hurt his fantasy value. If Cam’s numbers on the ground decrease, I am not confident in saying he will be a reliable fantasy option considering. I don’t want to trust a running quarterback whose yards per carry has decreased every season since 2012 and he has passed for more than 20 touchdowns three times in six years and has thrown for 4,000 yards in a season only once.

Tight End I’m Higher On

Jimmy Graham

Seattle Seahawks

A dependable tight end isn’t easy to find in fantasy football but Graham has been for the last seven years.  In six of his seven years in the NFL Graham has played in 15 or more games. Even though he isn’t putting up elite numbers like he was with the Saints, he still has been a solid tight end.  Last year he finished with 65 catches for 923 yards and six touchdowns.

This season Graham is my tight end five in my Gridiron Experts Tight End Rankings.  My reasoning is because I have more confidence in him than I do the next four players I have him ranked ahead of.  Tyler Eifert can never stay healthy, Delanie Walker will lose receptions to incoming rookies Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor, Zach Ertz will lose his target share with all the additions the Eagles made to their receiving corps this offseason and Hunter Henry will struggle to find targets in a crowded Chargers passing attack.

At the end of the day, I’d rather take Graham because I trust his floor much more than the other players.

Tight End I’m Lower On

Travis Kelce

Kansas City Chiefs 
Before people curse me out, Kelce is my tight end three this season. Kelce is on my Gridiron Experts Dynasty League team but for the people who have him ranked as tight end one, I’m not mad but I’m disappointed. I understand he finished as tight end one but as I have stated before in my previous article 7 Fantasy Football Fools Gold Candidates for 2017, 2016 was a down year for tight ends.

Kelce scored 138 points last year which would have made him tight end seven in 2015, and tight end four in 2014 and 2013. So the fact that he is currently being drafted in the third round is simply too high for me. Plus he plays with Alex Smith and it’s hard to get excited about Smith.  I’m pretty sure on the back of all Chief tickets is a warning that says ” Please call a doctor if you’re experiencing excitement for Alex Smith after four quarters.”
Wide Receiver I’m Higher On

Brandon Marshall

New York Giants

Brandon Marshall to GiantsI will be the first to admit that I have a man-crush on Marshall since he was the first player I ever wrote about but that’s not why he is my wide receiver 21 in my Gridiron Experts Wide Receiver Rankings.  My reason is because he has been an absolute stud his entire career minus last year.  Jets quarterbacks last season had 16 touchdowns and 25 interceptions which by far was the worst touchdown to interception ratio in the NFL.

Let me hit you with some knowledge about Marshall.  He has never played in less than 13 games in a single NFL season.  Before last season he has had five 100 reception seasons since 2007 and eight of those nine years he had more than 1,000 receiving yards. In the five seasons where Marshall has played in all 16 games, his numbers average out to 102 catches for 1,369 yards and 10 touchdowns.

I understand he is getting older at age 33 but he stays in great shape. The main reason why he stays in shape is because he has never made the playoffs in his amazing career and if you draft Marshall he will take you to your fantasy playoffs.

Wide Receiver I’m Lower On

Kelvin Benjamin

Carolina Panthers
Benjamin finds himself as my wide receiver 39 in my rankings. Not only is he going to be a bad fit in the Panthers offense this season, but judging by the offseason rumors, he might not be able to fit in his jersey from last season. Benjamin is reportedly at around 280 pounds which is heavy for a wide receiver especially one listed at 245 pounds.

The Panthers have added playmakers in the draft like Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel, trying to change the style of their offense to be more exciting.  Benjamin just isn’t an exciting player who will be a bad fit in the new offense Carolina wants to run.
Running Back I’m Higher On

Derrick Henry

Tennessee Titans

A video game cheat code is what Derrick Henry looks like when he runs the football. How can a man be so massive and powerful yet so fast and agile? His unique combination of skills is why he is ranked running back 26 in my Gridiron Experts Running Back Rankings.  Personally, I don’t think I am very high on him, rather I think the rest of my team here at Gridiron Experts is too low on him.

Henry averaged 4.5 yards per carry and the Titans starting integrating him into the offense at the end of the year.  In fact, four of his five touchdowns came in the last five games. He is just too physically gifted to not get playing time.

On a side note, if you would like a good laugh please look at his high school stats.

These numbers would be hard to put up on skill level rookie in Madden.

 

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https://twitter.com/MitchellRenz365/status/864443587836219394

Running Back I’m Lower On

Jordan Howard

Chicago Bears
The Jordan Howard hype train needs to relax a little.  Do I think Howard is a talented running back, yes but the Bears this season will have a bottom five offense.  Each week that goes by NFL teams will try and stop one player and that will be Howard.  When coaches and teams get an entire year of film to study yours, it makes it harder to improve or even stay the same in year two.

I wanted to see the success rookie running backs had the next season following a year where they produced 180 fantasy points. The last three names to do are Doug Martin in 2012, Jeremy Hill in 2015 and Todd Gurley in 2016.  The year after their breakout rookie campaigns every running experienced a decrease in yards per carry . Martin went from 4.6 to 3.6, Hill went from 5.1 to 3.6 and Gurley went from 4.8 to 3.2 yards per carry.

The Sophmore Slump for running backs is real so do sleep on the fact that Howard may go into hibernation this season with the Bears.

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