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June 28, 2016

Doug Baldwin, Seahawks agree to 4-year extension

The Seattle Seahawks and receiver Doug Baldwin have agreed to a four-year extension that will keep him under contract through the 2020 season.

Baldwin set career highs across the board last season with 78 catches for 1,069 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Especially productive over the second half of the season, Baldwin racked up 47 catches for 724 yards and 12 touchdowns in his final eight games. During that span, no receiver scored more fantasy points than Baldwin, who averaged more than 18 fantasy points per game over that stretch.

Tied with Allen Robinson and Brandon Marshall, Baldwin's 14 touchdowns in 2015 led the NFL. Before last season, however, Baldwin had a total of 15 touchdowns in his first four seasons combined.

During his eight-game stretch as fantasy's top-scoring receiver, the 5-foot-10 wideout ranked 18th in the NFL in targets (63), scoring a touchdown on an insane 19.05 percent of his targets over that span.

As a comparison, Baldwin averaged a touchdown on 4.93 percent of his targets in his first 70 regular-season games. Meanwhile, Baldwin only reached 10 targets in two of 16 games last season.

Lower than most on Baldwin, I have him ranked as my fantasy WR31 going into the 2016 season.

Continue reading "Doug Baldwin, Seahawks agree to 4-year extension" »


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2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 teams, No. 4 pick

Practice is the key to doing anything well and that applies to drafting fantasy football teams as well.

Starting on May 31st, we began the process of drafting one fantasy football team per day using the 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator and we will continue to do so up until the start of the 2016 NFL season.

Each day, we will switch things up -- e.g., PPR vs. standard scoring, the number of teams, draft slot, 2-QB leagues, etc. For an easy way to keep track of our mocks, we will centralize the links to all of our daily fantasy football mock drafts here.


Details of today's mock draft:
  • Scoring: Standard scoring (i.e., not PPR scoring)
  • # of Teams: 12
  • Draft Slot: 4
  • Roster Setup: QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, Flex (RB/WR/TE), K, D/ST, 6 Bench

With that said, here are the results of today's mock draft:

1.04 - Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: Following up a 104/1,593/6 season, Jones posted league and career highs of 136 catches and 1,871 yards in 2015. Provided he stays healthy, Jones is a lock for a 100/1,500 season.

2.09 - Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers: Lacy racked up 3,001 yards from scrimmage and 24 touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons, but he was a huge disappointment last year. Entering 2016 in much better shape, Lacy should bounce back in a contract year.

3.04 - Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets: Marshall set a career high in touchdowns (14) and nearly set another with 1,502 yards (career high: 1,508). Especially if the Jets re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, which I expect will happen at some point, Marshall is a high-upside WR2 for this team.

4.09 - Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers: Olsen is about as steady as it gets -- no missed games since 2007 rookie season, back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and more than 70 catches in three consecutive seasons.

5.04 - Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions: Tate has posted 90-plus receptions in each of his seasons in Detroit and could reach the 100-catch milestone with Calvin Johnson now retired.

6.09 - Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: Brees has averaged more than 320 passing yards per game in four of the past five seasons and has finished as a top-six fantasy quarterback for 10 consecutive seasons.

7.04 - Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots: Before his ACL injury, Lewis had 622 YFS and four TDs through seven games -- a full-season pace of 1,422 YFS and 11 TDs.

8.09 - Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers: It was a disappointing rookie season for Gordon -- 3.5 YPC and no TDs on 217 touches. Things should be better in 2016 -- can't be much worse -- and certainly worth an eighth-round pick as my RB3.

9.04 - Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco 49ers: As Chip Kelly takes over, Smith also moves into the No. 1 receiver role for the Niners. In other words, I expect a bounce-back season after last year's disappointment.

10.09 - Laquon Treadwell, WR, Minnesota Vikings: While no team threw it less than Minnesota, Treadwell should lead the team's receivers in fantasy production as a rookie.

11.04 - Kenneth Dixon, RB, Baltimore Ravens: Justin Forsett should open the season as the starter, but Dixon is a talented running back that fell to the Ravens in the fourth round. It wouldn't surprise me if he becomes the team's most productive running back at some point during his rookie campaign.

12.09 - Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears: Based on value, I'd much rather have Howard in Round 12 over teammate Jeremy Langford in an early round.

13.04 - C.J. Prosise, RB, Seattle Seahawks: With Marshawn Lynch retired and Thomas Rawls returning from a serious leg injury, Prosise may be more involved as a rookie than expected. Either way, he should take over the Fred Jackson role at a minimum.

14.09 - Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans: Especially due to his dual-threat abilities, Mariota is a high-upside QB2 entering 2016.

15.04 - Los Angeles Rams D/ST

16.09 - Adam Vinatieri, K, Indianapolis Colts

- View full mock draft results here

Complete your own mock drafts for free on our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator page.

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June 27, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 12 teams, No. 10 pick, 2-QB league

Practice is the key to doing anything well and that applies to drafting fantasy football teams as well.

Starting on May 31st, we began the process of drafting one fantasy football team per day using the 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator and we will continue to do so up until the start of the 2016 NFL season.

Each day, we will switch things up -- e.g., PPR vs. standard scoring, the number of teams, draft slot, 2-QB leagues, etc. For an easy way to keep track of our mocks, we will centralize the links to all of our daily fantasy football mock drafts here.


Details of today's mock draft:
  • Scoring: Point-per-reception (PPR) scoring, 2-QB league
  • # of Teams: 12
  • Draft Slot: 10
  • Roster Setup: 2 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, Flex (RB/WR/TE), K, D/ST, 6 Bench

With that said, here are the results of today's mock draft:

1.10 - Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks: There were a number of non-QB options -- DeAndre Hopkins, Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, etc. -- that I considered here, but I also felt that (at least) one would be available in five picks when I was on the clock again. Wilson has now finished as a top-three fantasy QB two years in a row and he gives me an elite option early that allows me to be more flexible in filling my QB2 spot.

2.03 - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans: Targeted a massive 192 times, Hopkins shattered previous career highs with 111 catches for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns in his age-23 season.

3.10 - Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Martin exceeded expectations in 2015 as he rushed for 1,402 yards, second to only Adrian Peterson, and scored the fifth-most fantasy points among PPR running backs. Re-signing with the Bucs, Martin should produce as a solid RB1 provided he can stay healthy.

4.03 - Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders: Cooper, who turned 22 earlier this month, finished his rookie season with 72/1,070/6 despite battling a foot injury for much of the second half. Cooper gives this squad a high-upside WR2 that should take a big step forward in his second season.

5.10 - Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions: With Calvin Johnson hanging up his cleats, Tate will take over as the team's top receiver. Tate has 90-plus catches in each of his two seasons with the Lions and could reach triple digits with Megatron retired.

6.03 - Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins: Breaking out last season, Reed finished as fantasy's TE1 in all three weeks of the fantasy playoffs last year with 25/333/5 over that span. Only Rob Gronkowski and Delanie Walker scored more fantasy points than Reed in PPR last year and he should finish as a top-three scorer in 2016 provided he can stay healthy.

7.10 - Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers: Devonta Freeman. Adrian Peterson. End of list. Those are the only RBs that scored more PPR fantasy points than Woodhead last season.

8.03 - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins: While I'm not excited to draft Tannehill as my QB2, he finished as fantasy's QB17 last season and that was his worst finish in the past three seasons. With Gase taking over as coach and DeVante Parker ready to break out, he is a solid QB2 at this spot in the draft.

9.10 - Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Like Woodhead, Gio is much better in PPR formats and he finished as the RB16 in PPR last season. Bernard has a total of 148 catches over three seasons and no fewer than 154 carries each year.

10.03 - Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers: MG3 disappointed as a rookie and offseason microfracture surgery, but there is plenty of upside this late as my RB4.

11.10 - Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco 49ers: The transition from Baltimore to San Francisco was not smooth, at least in terms of fantasy production, but things are looking up for Smith as he moves into the No. 1 receiver role and with Chip Kelly taking over the offense.

12.03 - Robert Griffin III, QB, Cleveland Browns: Not relying on RG3, there are few options with as much upside as a QB3.

13.10 - DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Especially if Le'Veon Bell (MCL, PCL) misses any time, Williams showed how productive he can be in his absence as he scored the fourth-most fantasy points among RBs last season.

14.03 - Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans: Wright is low-upside WR5, but he provides some depth.

15.10 - Los Angeles Rams D/ST

16.03 - C.J. Spiller, RB, New Orleans Saints: There was lots of hype before the season; lots of disappointment during the season. Call me an idiot (I've been called worse), but I'm comfortable using (wasting?) a pick on some of that potentail upside panning out in year two.

17.10 - Brandon McManus, K, Denver Broncos

- View full mock draft results here

Complete your own mock drafts for free on our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator page.

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June 26, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Average Draft Position (ADP) Weekly Movement: June 26th Update

Every Sunday this offseason, we will post an update in players that have had the biggest moves — both up and down — in fantasy football average draft position (ADP) from the previous week.

With this information, we can get a better sense of changes in the collective perceptions of fantasy football owners (mock drafters); in essence, it's a version of fantasy stock up/down for players. If a player is moving up the ADP chart, it may lead us to using a higher pick than his current ADP to make sure we secure a targeted player.

Of course, a player's ADP (and movement) is just one (small) piece in determining who to draft and our strategy used to assemble a fantasy roster.

For purposes of our weekly comparison(s), we use ADP data from 12-team mock drafts from Fantasy Football Calculator.


Note: This week's update covers the two-week period from June 12 to June 26.


Biggest Risers (Absolute Terms)
Pos.PlayerADP change
QBRobert Griffin III, Cleveland Browns-4.8 (164.2 on 6/12; 159.4 on 6/26)
RBChris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals-2.6 (118.4 on 6/12; 115.8 on 6/26)
WRSterling Shepard, New York Giants-8.7 (145.4 on 6/12; 136.7 on 6/26)
TEZach Miller, Chicago Bears-2.4 (156.7 on 6/12; 154.3 on 6/26)

[Note: Negative numbers mean the player's ADP is improving (i.e., being drafted earlier) and vice versa.]

Biggest Risers (Percentage)
Pos.PlayerADP change
QBRobert Griffin III, Cleveland Browns-2.92% (164.2 on 6/12; 159.4 on 6/26)
RBLe'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers-11.76% (3.4 on 6/12; 3.0 on 6/26)
WROdell Beckham, New York Giants-17.78% (4.5 on 6/12; 3.7 on 6/26)
TELadarius Green, Pittsburgh Steelers-2.31% (86.7 on 6/12; 84.7 on 6/26)
Biggest Fallers (Absolute Terms)
Pos.PlayerADP change
QBJoe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens+2.4 (160.6 on 6/12; 163.0 on 6/26)
RBRonnie Hillman, Denver Broncos+3.0 (146.5 on 6/12; 149.5 on 6/26)
WRVictor Cruz, New York Giants+4.7 (133.1 on 6/12; 137.8 on 6/26)
TEClive Walford, Oakland Raiders+8.6 (149.3 on 6/12; 157.9 on 6/26)
Biggest Fallers (Percentage)
Pos.PlayerADP change
QBBlake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars+1.61% (74.5 on 6/12; 75.7 on 6/26)
RBTodd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams+5.26% (3.8 on 6/12; 4.0 on 6/26)
WRJulio Jones, Atlanta Falcons+6.25% (4.8 on 6/12; 5.1 on 6/26)
TEClive Walford, Oakland Raiders+5.76% (149.3 on 6/12; 157.9 on 6/26)

- Fantasy Football ADP Risers/Fallers: See full grid of player changes in ADP over past week

Our 2016 fantasy football rankings:

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June 25, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 12 teams, No. 11 pick

Practice is the key to doing anything well and that applies to drafting fantasy football teams as well.

Starting on May 31st, we began the process of drafting one fantasy football team per day using the 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator and we will continue to do so up until the start of the 2016 NFL season.

Each day, we will switch things up -- e.g., PPR vs. standard scoring, the number of teams, draft slot, 2-QB leagues, etc. For an easy way to keep track of our mocks, we will centralize the links to all of our daily fantasy football mock drafts here.


Details of today's mock draft:
  • Scoring: Point-per-reception (PPR) scoring
  • # of Teams: 12
  • Draft Slot: 11
  • Roster Setup: QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, Flex (RB/WR/TE), K, D/ST, 6 Bench

With that said, here are the results of today's mock draft:

1.11 - David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Even before taking over as lead back late last season, Johnson made the most of his limited offensive touches. Entering 2016 as the team's workhorse back, Johnson scored once per every 13.42 touches last season.

2.02 - Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots: No player is more dominant atop his position than Gronk, who has scored 66 touchdowns in 80 career regular-season games.

3.11 - LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills: McCoy averaged nearly 20 touches per game (19.58/G) and should rank near the league lead in usage in 2016.

4.02 - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs: Typically, I'd prefer to draft my first WR in a PPR league before Round 4, but Maclin is the first of three consecutive WRs for this team.

5.11 - Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Fitz posted a career-high 109 receptions in 2015 and reached the 1,000-yard milestone (1,215 yards) for the first time in four seasons. I don't expect a repeat of that production, but 80-90 catches and 1,000 yards are reasonable expectations.

6.02 - DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins: Parker closed the season with a bang (22 catches for 445 yards and three TDs in final six games) and is a high-upside WR3 for this team.

- Related: My DeVante Parker 2016 fantasy outlook

7.11 - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: It was a hugely disappointing season for Hill in 2015, but he led the NFL in rushing TDs (11) and has a total of 21 TDs through his first two NFL seasons.

8.02 - Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals: Finishing as a top-five fantasy quarterback, Palmer posted career highs in yards (4,671) and touchdowns (35) for the league's top-ranked offense in 2015.

9.11 - Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco 49ers: It was a season to forget for Smith and the Niners, but he should bounce back as the team's No. 1 WR in the up-tempo Chip Kelly offense.

10.02 - Chris Ivory, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Ivory finished as a top-12 PPR running back last season as he exceeded 1,000 rushing yards for the first time in his career. While he will split the workload with second-year back T.J. Yeldon, Ivory could see the larger share of the split considering the sizable free-agent contract the team gave him.

11.11 - Tavon Austin, WR, Los Angeles Rams: Austin finished as the WR27 in PPR leagues last season and coach Fisher has suggested that Austin could get 100 catches in 2015. As unlikely as 100 catches may be for Austin, it wouldn't be hard for the WR-deficient Rams to manufacture more touches for Austin.

12.02 - Travis Benjamin, WR, San Diego Chargers: Keenan Allen will dominate targets for the Bolts, but Benjamin gives them the deep threat they have lacked and this team some depth as its WR5.

13.11 - Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans: Mariota is a high-upside QB2 for this team.

14.02 - Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears: As much as I dislike Jeremy Langford early in drafts, I really like Howard this late.

15.11 - Cincinnati Bengals D/ST

16.02 - Steven Hauschka, K, Seattle Seahawks

- View full mock draft results here

Complete your own mock drafts for free on our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator page.

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June 20, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 teams, No. 6 pick

Practice is the key to doing anything well and that applies to drafting fantasy football teams as well.

Starting on May 31st, we began the process of drafting one fantasy football team per day using the 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator and we will continue to do so up until the start of the 2016 NFL season.

Each day, we will switch things up -- e.g., PPR vs. standard scoring, the number of teams, draft slot, 2-QB leagues, etc. For an easy way to keep track of our mocks, we will centralize the links to all of our daily fantasy football mock drafts here.


Details of today's mock draft:
  • Scoring: Standard scoring (i.e., not PPR scoring)
  • # of Teams: 12
  • Draft Slot: 6
  • Roster Setup: QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, Flex (RB/WR/TE), K, D/ST, 6 Bench

With that said, here are the results of today's mock draft:

1.06 - Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams: Despite missing the first three games of the season, Gurley finished third in the NFL with 1,106 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Despite running behind a poor offensive line and with a rookie quarterback under center, Gurley will be one more year removed from his torn ACL and could potentially lead the league in rush attempts in 2016.

2.07 - Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: Rehabbing a torn ACL and the presence of other capable backs on the roster pose a threat to Charles' outlook, but I really like the value here in the middle of the second round. And the next time the versatile eight-year veteran averages less than 5.0 yards per carry for a season, it will be his first.

3.06 - T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts: A top-10 fantasy receiver in 2014, Hilton disappointed fantasy owners with only 1,124 yards and five touchdowns, but Andrew Luck missed nine games. Through the first seven games, Hilton had 606 receiving yards -- only five wideouts had more. Provided Luck stays healthy, Hilton is poised for a bounce-back season and has top-10 upside.

4.07 - Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots: Edelman set a career highs with seven receiving touchdowns and averaged 6.8 receptions and 76.9 yards per game, both of which were career highs. While he has missed multiple games each of the past two seasons, Edelman is a high-volume receiver in a Tom Brady-led offense.

5.06 - Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: Brees has averaged more than 320 passing yards in four of the past five seasons and thrown at least 32-plus touchdowns in eight consecutive seasons. Brees has finished as a top-six fantasy quarterback for 10 consecutive seasons.

6.07 - DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins: With 80-plus yards in four of the final six games of the season, Parker amassed a total of 22 catches for 445 yards and three touchdowns during that six-game stretch. There is plenty of breakout potential for Parker heading into 2016.

- Related: DeVante Parker 2016 Fantasy Football Profile

7.06 - Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers: MG3 failed to score on 217 touches, averaged just 3.48 yards per carry and had microfracture surgery in January. That said, things should only be better for last year's first-round pick.

8.07 - Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers: No running back had more receptions (80) or receiving yards (755) than Woodhead, who totalled 1,091 YFS and nine touchdowns last season. Woodhead played just three games in 2014, but Woodhead has finished as a top-24 fantasy running back in each of his past three full seasons. In fact, he finished as a top-10 fantasy running back (RB3 in PPR) in 2015.

9.06 - Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears: White missed all of his rookie season due to a stress fracture in his shin. Recovered from last year's injury, White has all of the physical tools to develop into a dominant receiver in the league and should finish second on the team in targets behind Alshon Jeffery in 2016.

10.07 - Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers: Gates missed five games, but still finished as a top-12 fantasy tight end in 2015 at 35 years old. In fact, his 57.3 yards per game was a four-year high. If Keenan Allen stays healthy for a full season, he may average fewer yards, but he remains the favorite red-zone target of Philip Rivers and a top-12 option at the position heading into his age-36 season.

11.06 - Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens: Postponing his retirement by one year, the obvious concerns with Smith is that he is now 37 years old and coming off a torn Achilles injury. That said, Smith had 46 catches for 670 yards and three scores in his seven games played last season. His 95.7 YPG average was the third-highest of his career and his most in nearly a decade (2008).

12.07 - Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks: While it's unclear if Graham will be ready for the start of the season, the team at least is hopeful that he will be ready for Week 1.

13.06 - Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans: Especially if he runs more often, the second-year quarterback has plenty of upside in 2016. Finishing as a top-six weekly fantasy quarterback in four of his 12 games, Mariota had his share of big games.

14.07 - Los Angeles Rams D/ST

15.06 - Brandon McManus, K, Denver Broncos

- View full mock draft results here

Complete your own mock drafts for free on our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator page.

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June 15, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 teams, No. 5 pick

Practice is the key to doing anything well and that applies to drafting fantasy football teams as well.

Starting on May 31st, we began the process of drafting one fantasy football team per day using the 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator and we will continue to do so up until the start of the 2016 NFL season.

Each day, we will switch things up -- e.g., PPR vs. standard scoring, the number of teams, draft slot, 2-QB leagues, etc. For an easy way to keep track of our mocks, we will centralize the links to all of our daily fantasy football mock drafts here.


Details of today's mock draft:
  • Scoring: Standard scoring (i.e., not PPR scoring)
  • # of Teams: 12
  • Draft Slot: 5
  • Roster Setup: QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, Flex (RB/WR/TE), K, DST, 8 Bench

With that said, here are the results of today's mock draft:

1.05 - Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: Tied with Antonio Brown for the league lead in receptions (136), Jones finished with more receiving yards (1,871) than any receiver not named Calvin Johnson in his record-breaking season. Jones now has back-to-back seasons with 100-plus catches and 1,500-plus yards.

2.08 - Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers: After racking up 3,001 YFS and 24 TDs in his first two seasons combined, Fat Eddie was a huge disappointment in 2015. A fitter version of Lacy should bounce back in a contract year.

3.05 - Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints: Cooks finished with 84/1,138/9 in his second season and should continue to improve upon those numbers in his age-23 season.

4.08 - Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders: Finishing fourth in touches (307) and sixth in rushing (1,066 yards), Murray was the only NFL player to have 15-plus touches in 15 games last season. My plan was to get DeAndre Washington later in this draft, but unfortunately he went a few picks before when I was hoping to grab him.

5.05 - Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions: With Megatron out of the lineup, Tate has had some highly productive games for the Lions. Now that Johnson has retired, Tate will have an opportunity to lead the Lions in receiving on a weekly basis as this team's WR3.

6.08 - Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: Brees has averaged more than 320 passing yards per game in four of his past five seasons and has thrown 32-plus TDs in eight consecutive seasons. Brees has finished as a top-six fantasy quarterback for 10 consecutive seasons.

7.05 - Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: Along with teammate Allen Robinson, Hurns (and Robinson) became the first players in Jaguars history to reach the 1,000-yard/10-touchdown receiving mark. Passing-game volume should decrease overall due to the team's improved outlook, but Hurns should be a productive WR4 for this team.

8.08 - Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles: With career highs of 75 catches for 853 yards, Ertz was especially good over the final four games (35/450/1). Obviously, he'll slow from his end-of-season pace, but hopefully he can build upon last year's momentum.

9.05 - Charles Sims, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Even with Doug Martin rushing for more than 1,400 yards, Sims finished as fantasy's RB22 (RB17 in PPR) in 2015. While his ceiling is capped if Martin stays healthy all year, it wouldn't surprise me if me duplicates last year's production -- 1,090 YFS, 51 receptions and four TDs.

10.08 - Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Devonta Freeman was outstanding finishing as fantasy's top-scoring running back in 2015, but Coleman has big-play upside and should be more involved in his second season assuming good health.

11.05 - C.J. Prosise, RB, Seattle Seahawks: Depending on the health of Thomas Rawls, Prosise has some upside. Either way, he should get plenty of work as the team's third-down back.

12.08 - Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks: There are plenty of injury concerns with Graham (patellar tendon), but I won't need to rely on him early in the year as my TE2.

13.05 - Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys: In most one-QB leagues, I don't draft a second quarterback, but Romo is a nice value in the 13th round (current ADP is early 10th) and there are two extra bench spots in this league.

14.08 - Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: A disappointing rookie season on the field has been followed by recent off-the-field concerns. That said, Agholor should be much more productive on the field in 2016.

15.05 - Phillip Dorsett, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Third in line for targets behind T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief, Dorsett's weekly production could be volatile, but the speedster should significantly improve upon his 18/225/1 rookie stat line.

16.08 - New England Patriots D/ST

17.05 - Zach Zenner, RB, Detroit Lions: While Ameer Abdullah will lead the team's committee backfield, Zenner has some upside this late. In addition, Abdullah is coming off shoulder surgery although he is expected to ready for training camp.

18.08 - Chandler Catanzaro, K, Arizona Cardinals

- View full mock draft results here

Complete your own mock drafts for free on our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator page.

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June 14, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 10 teams, No. 4 pick, 2-QB league

Practice is the key to doing anything well and that applies to drafting fantasy football teams as well.

Starting on May 31st, we began the process of drafting one fantasy football team per day using the 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator and we will continue to do so up until the start of the 2016 NFL season.

Each day, we will switch things up -- e.g., PPR vs. standard scoring, the number of teams, draft slot, 2-QB leagues, etc. For an easy way to keep track of our mocks, we will centralize the links to all of our daily fantasy football mock drafts here.


Details of today's mock draft:
  • Scoring: Point-per-reception (PPR) scoring, 2-QB league
  • # of Teams: 10
  • Draft Slot: 4
  • Roster Setup: 2 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, Flex (RB/WR/TE), K, DST, 6 Bench

With that said, here are the results of today's mock draft:

1.04 - Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: With two QBs -- Cam Newton (1.01) and Aaron Rodgers (1.02) -- off the board, I get my top-ranked player going into 2016. Setting career highs of 136 catches and 1,834 yards last year, Brown's numbers may have been even better had Ben Roethlisberger not missed time last season.

2.07 - Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots: After taking Brown at 1.04, the plan was that I would take the best available QB here, but Gronk gives me two players atop their respective positions. Except for his injury-shortened 2013 season (seven games), Gronk has scored double-digit touchdowns every year.

3.04 - Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals: Palmer finished as a top-five fantasy QB last season as he threw for 4,671 yards and 35 touchdowns, both of which were career highs. Being able to get Palmer here makes me feel better about going Brown/Gronk with my first two picks.

4.07 - Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos: The loss of Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler puts a damper on the outlook for Thomas, but neither QB had a great season last year as Thomas finished with 105 catches for 1,304 yards and six touchdowns in 2016.

5.04 - Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys: I expect the Cowboys to rely heavily on Ezekiel Elliott, the fourth-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but Romo is a high-end QB2 for this team as long as he stays healthy.

6.07 - Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks: Coming off a gruesome leg injury, Rawls has some injury concern, but we have seen what he can do with Marshawn Lynch sidelined. With Beast Mode hanging up his cleats, Rawls has plenty of upside here if he stays healthy.

7.04 - John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals: In his second season, Brown eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark and the arrow is pointing upward for the speedy receiver.

8.07 - Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers: Devonta Freeman. Adrian Peterson. End of list. Those are the running backs that outscored Woodhead in PPR scoring last season. In his two full seasons in San Diego, Woodhead has at least 76 catches, 1,034 YFS and eight TDs in both seasons.

9.04 - T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Signing Chris Ivory diminishes the outlook for Yeldon, but the Jags should be better as a team, which should lead to more of a commitment to the run. Yeldon provides some depth as my RB4.

10.07 - Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions: Considering the injury risk with Romo and that there is little depth on the waiver wire (30 QBs were drafted), Stafford gives me insurance. In addition, Stafford and Romo have the top-two fantasy football strength of schedules.

11.04 - DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins: Over the final six weeks of the season, Jackson had 25 catches for 469 yards, 11th-most among wide receivers during that span, and all four of his touchdowns. If he stays healthy, he's a high-upside WR4 for this team.

12.07 - Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants: Durability and age (31) are a concern for Jennings, but he played his first full 16-game season last year and closed the season with a bang (419 YFS over final three games).

13.04 - WIllie Snead, WR, New Orleans Saints: Snead nearly reached 1,000 yards in his first season playing in the high-powered Saints offense.

14.07 - Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns: Crowell provides more depth and he finished as the RB33 in PPR formats last year.

15.04 - New England Patriots D/ST

16.07 - Mason Crosby, K, Green Bay Packers

- View full mock draft results here

Complete your own mock drafts for free on our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator page.

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June 12, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Average Draft Position (ADP): Torrey Smith Biggest Weekly Riser

Every Sunday this offseason, we will post an update in players that have had the biggest moves — both up and down — in fantasy football average draft position (ADP) from the previous week.

With this information, we can get a better sense of changes in the collective perceptions of fantasy football owners (mock drafters); in essence, it's a version of fantasy stock up/down for players. If a player is moving up the ADP chart, it may lead us to using a higher pick than his current ADP to make sure we secure a targeted player.

Of course, a player's ADP (and movement) is just one (small) piece in determining who to draft and our strategy used to assemble a fantasy roster.

For purposes of our weekly comparison(s), we use ADP data from 12-team mock drafts from Fantasy Football Calculator.


Biggest Risers (Absolute Terms)
Pos.PlayerADP change
QBRyan Fitzpatrick, Free Agent-4.4 (162.0 on 6/5; 157.6 on 6/12)
RBChris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals-6.1 (124.5 on 6/5; 118.4 on 6/12)
WRTorrey Smith, San Francisco 49ers-12.5 (139.6 on 6/5; 127.1 on 6/12)
TEMartellus Bennett, New England Patriots-5.5 (137.5 on 6/5; 132.0 on 6/12)

[Note: Negative numbers mean the player's ADP is improving (i.e., being drafted earlier) and vice versa.]

Biggest Risers (Percentage)
Pos.PlayerADP change
QBAndrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts-3.51% (48.5 on 6/5; 46.8 on 6/12)
RBLamar Miller, Houston Texans-9.80% (15.3 on 6/5; 13.8 on 6/12)
WRTorrey Smith, San Francisco 49ers-8.95% (139.6 on 6/5; 127.1 on 6/12)
TEMartellus Bennett, New England Patriots-4.00% (137.5 on 6/5; 132.0 on 6/12)

Biggest Fallers (Absolute Terms)
Pos.PlayerADP change
QBRobert Griffin III, Cleveland Browns+6.4 (157.8 on 6/5; 164.2 on 6/12)
RBAlfred Morris, Dallas Cowboys+12.0 (118.1 on 6/5; 130.1 on 6/12)
WRSteve Smith, Baltimore Ravens+9.6 (77.0 on 6/5; 86.6 on 6/12)
TETyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals+6.0 (49.5 on 6/5; 55.5 on 6/12)

Biggest Fallers (Percentage)
Pos.PlayerADP change
QBRobert Griffin III, Cleveland Browns+4.06% (157.8 on 6/5; 164.2 on 6/12)
RBLe'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers+17.24% (2.9 on 6/5; 3.4 on 6/12)
WRSteve Smith, Baltimore Ravens+12.47% (77.0 on 6/5; 86.6 on 6/12)
TETyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals+12.12% (49.5 on 6/5; 55.5 on 6/12)

- Fantasy Football ADP Risers/Fallers: See full grid of player changes in ADP over past week

Our 2016 fantasy football rankings:

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June 09, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 teams, No. 11 pick

Practice is the key to doing anything well and that applies to drafting fantasy football teams as well.

Starting on May 31st, we began the process of drafting one fantasy football team per day using the 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator and we will continue to do so up until the start of the 2016 NFL season.

Each day, we will switch things up -- e.g., PPR vs. standard scoring, the number of teams, draft slot, 2-QB leagues, etc. For an easy way to keep track of our mocks, we will centralize the links to all of our daily fantasy football mock drafts here.


Details of today's mock draft:
  • Scoring: Standard scoring (i.e., not PPR)
  • # of Teams: 12
  • Draft Slot: 11
  • Roster Setup: QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, Flex (RB/WR/TE), K, DST, 6 Bench

With that said, here are the results of today's mock draft:

1.11 - Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys: Injuries (to himself and Tony Romo) derailed his 2015 season, but only Rob Gronkowski (55) has more receiving TDs than Bryant (53) over the past five seasons combined.

2.02 - Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans: Productive on a per-touch basis (top-10 fantasy running back in back-to-back seasons), Miller joins a Texans team that ranks second only to the Seahawks in rush attempts over the past two seasons combined.

3.11 - Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets: Forte changed teams this offseason and turns 31 in December, but full-season production should be in the neighborhood of 1,300-1,500 YFS and eight or so TDs.

4.02 - T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts: With the injuries to Andrew Luck, Hilton's per-game production dropped from 5.5/89.7/0.47 to 4.3/70.3/0.31. Provided Luck stays healthy, Hilton's numbers should be closer to his 2014 production.

5.11 - Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets: Despite the addition of Brandon Marshall as the team's No. 1 receiver, Decker's 2015 was remarkably consistent scoring within a range of 8.1 to 15.7 fantasy points in every game played last season.

6.02 - Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: With 32 passing scores in eight consecutive seasons and four 5,000-yard seasons during that span, Brees averaged the second-most passing yards (324.7/G) of his career last season.

7.11 - DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins: With a strong finish (22/445/3 over final 6G) to his rookie season, Parker is a breakout candidate heading into 2016.

- Related: DeVante Parker 2016 Fantasy Football Profile

8.02 - Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers: An underrated fantasy option, Woodhead has finished as fantasy's RB24, RB19 and RB10 in his last three full seasons, respectively. (That is standard scoring formats as he finished as the PPR RB3 last season.) In his two full seasons with the Chargers, he has 1,000-plus YFS and eight-plus TDs.

9.11 - Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens: Smith is old (relatively speaking) and coming off a torn Achilles, but he was having a productive season before the injury — career-high 6.6 catches for 95.7 yards per game.

10.02 - Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Devonta Freeman is clearly the top back in Atlanta, but Coleman could have a significant role with good health.

11.11 - Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks: Graham is a health risk and I may need to add another TE to this roster if he's not ready for the start of the season. Either way, there is definitely concern that he won't be productive coming off his patellar tendon injury.

12.02 - Tavon Austin, WR, Los Angeles Rams: While he's a gadget player, Austin finished as a top-20 fantasy receiver in 2015 and the Rams have talked up his volume of targets (potential receptions) this offseason.

13.11 - Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami Dolphins: Drake is a change-of-pace back, but there is some upside with limited talent beyond unproven starter Jay Ajayi.

14.02 - Los Angeles Rams D/ST

15.11 - Cairo Santos, K, Kansas City Chiefs

- View full mock draft results here

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June 06, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 teams, No. 2 pick

Practice is the key to doing anything well and that applies to drafting fantasy football teams as well.

Starting on May 31st, we began the process of drafting one fantasy football team per day using the 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator and we will continue to do so up until the start of the 2016 NFL season.

Each day, we will switch things up -- e.g., PPR vs. standard scoring, the number of teams, draft slot, 2-QB leagues, etc. For an easy way to keep track of our mocks, we will centralize the links to all of our daily fantasy football mock drafts here.


Details of today's mock draft:
  • Scoring: Standard scoring (i.e., not PPR scoring)
  • # of Teams: 12
  • Draft Slot: 2
  • Roster Setup: QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, Flex (RB/WR/TE), K, DST, 6 Bench

With that said, here are the results of today's mock draft:

1.02 - Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: My plan was to take either Brown or Le'Veon Bell, whichever was left for me here, but Todd Gurley was the first pick. The top-ranked player in overall rankings, Brown is as consistent and productive as it gets -- 375/5,031/31 over past three seasons.

2.11 - Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers: Lacy totalled 3,001 yards from scrimmage and 24 touchdowns in his first two seasons, but he was a major disappointment in 2015. Slimming down this offseason, Lacy is poised for a rebound at a cheaper cost.

3.02 - Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders: Cooper had 72/1,070/6 as a rookie and the soon-to-be 22-year-old should build upon that success in year two.

4.11 - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Like Lacy, Hill disappointed fantasy owners as his YPC average dropped from 5.1 to 3.6. With 21 total touchdowns over two seasons, he'll need to improve upon last year's 3.6 YPC to be more than a TD-dependent RB2 for this team, but I think he bounces back some.

5.02 - Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks: Wilson once again finished as a top-three fantasy quarterback. Not only did he rush for 553 yards, but he set passing career highs in both yards (4,024) and touchdowns (34).

6.11 - DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins: Closing the season with 22/445/3 over his final six games, Parker was the WR18 during that span and is poised for a breakout in his sophomore campaign, assuming good health.

7.02 - Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts: Gore failed to reach the 1,000-yard mark (967 rushing yards) in his first season with Indy, but Andrew Luck missed nine games. With Luck healthy and an upgraded offensive line through the draft, Gore could hit that mark this season despite turning 33 last month.

8.11 - Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans: DeMarco Murray is the starter, but Henry will be plenty involved as part of the 1-2 rushing attack and could see his role expand as the season progresses.

9.02 - Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears: White missed all of last season, but he was the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and has rare physical tools. Especially if Alshon Jeffery struggles with durability at all, White could have a huge year, but he's a high-upside WR4.

10.11 - Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Smith will be the No. 1 WR in the up-tempo Chip Kelly offense.

11.02 - Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions: With Calvin Johnson retiring, Ebron has the potential to be a bigger part of the offense.

12.11 - Dwayne Allen, TE, Indianapolis Colts: Allen has struggled with durability -- 27 games over past three seasons -- but has some upside with Coby Fleener leaving via free agency.

13.02 - James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers: In case Lacy struggles again or misses time, Starks is a handcuff for my RB1.

14.11 - Minnesota Vikings D/ST

15.02 - Steven Hauschka, K, Seattle Seahawks

- View full mock draft results here

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June 05, 2016

POLL: Will Doug Baldwin outperform his current ADP?

Especially after trading for tight end Jimmy Graham, nobody expected Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin to finish as a top-10 fantasy wide receiver in 2015.

But that's exactly what he did; only six receivers scored more fantasy points than Baldwin.

After a relatively slow start by Baldwin, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in general, Seattle's offense racked up points in bunches in the second half of the season.

On the year, Baldwin finished with a stat line of 78/1,069/14. His per-game production over the final eight games was 5.88/90.5/1.5. As a comparison, he averaged 3.88/43.13/0.25 over the first eight games of the season.

While Baldwin led the NFL in touchdown receptions (tied with Brandon Marshall and Allen Robinson), it was only one less than he had in his first four NFL seasons combined. At 5-10 and 189 pounds, it would be reasonable to project Baldwin to score half as many touchdowns in 2016. Even so, it would be the second-highest total of his career.

Going into the 2016 NFL season, Baldwin is being drafted as the 23rd fantasy wide receiver at the end of Round 4 (ADP: 4.10) and currently sits at WR30 in my 2016 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings. Based on my rankings and his current ADP, Baldwin is unlikely to end up on many of my fantasy teams in 2016.

Before finishing as fantasy's WR7, Baldwin finished as the WR40, WR80, WR35 and WR40 in his first four seasons, respectively.

At the end of 2016, where will Baldwin finish in terms of fantasy production?

Continue reading "POLL: Will Doug Baldwin outperform his current ADP?" »


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2016 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 12 teams, No. 3 pick, QB-Eligible Flex

Practice is the key to doing anything well and that applies to drafting fantasy football teams as well.

Starting on May 31st, we began the process of drafting one fantasy football team per day using the 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator and we will continue to do so up until the start of the 2016 NFL season.

Each day, we will switch things up -- e.g., PPR vs. standard scoring, the number of teams, draft slot, 2-QB leagues, etc. For an easy way to keep track of our mocks, we will centralize the links to all of our daily fantasy football mock drafts here.


Details of today's mock draft:
  • Scoring: Super Flex (i.e., QB-eligible flex), point per reception (PPR) scoring
  • # of Teams: 12
  • Draft Slot: 3
  • Roster Setup: QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, Super Flex (QB/RB/WR/TE), K, DST, 6 Bench

With that said, here are the results of today's mock draft:

1.03 - Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: With Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers off the board with the top-two picks, it left my top-ranked player for PPR leagues available here at 1.03. With a QB-eligible flex, it elevates the value of elite QBs, but I was happy to start with Brown and Drew Brees (next pick). The alternative would have been to go with Andrew Luck, who went at 1.05, and someone like Allen Robinson (3.01) or Jordy Nelson (3.04) at 2.10. In that scenario, I prefer the Brown/Brees combo.

2.10 - Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: With four career 5,000-yard seasons, Brees fell short of a fifth 5,000-yard campaign but he actually averaged 324.7 yards per game, the second-highest of his NFL career. Brees has finished as a top-six fantasy quarterback for 10 consecutive seasons and he was the QB7 in this mock.

3.03 - Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans: Highly productive on a per-touch basis, Miller finished as a top-10 fantasy running back in each of the past two seasons in Miami. Only the Russell Wilson-led Seahawks (1,025) have more rush attempts than the Texans (1,023) over the past two seasons combined.

4.10 - Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots: There are a couple of concerns with Edelman -- durability and a four-game reinstated suspension for Tom Brady -- but Edelman is an elite PPR wide receiver, when healthy.

5.03 - Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins: Cousins parlayed strong play down the stretch into a franchise tag, but he's a high-upside flex option for this team as his weapons could be even better. Not only did DeSean Jackson miss seven games last season, but the team used its first-round pick on Josh Doctson, who some believe was the best receiver in this year's draft class.

6.10 - Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers: Before an injury ended his regular season, Stewart had eight consecutive games with 20-plus carries. Durability and Cam-vultured rushing TDs are a concern, but heavy workloads are there when he is healthy.

7.03 - Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers: Only Devonta Freeman and Adrian Peterson scored more PPR fantasy points among running backs last season than Woodhead (PPR's RB3). In both of his two full seasons in San Diego, Woodhead has 1,000-plus YFS, 75-plus receptions and eight-plus TDs.

8.10 - Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets: Decker finished as a top-14 fantasy receiver in PPR formats in 2015 due to his success in the red zone (12 TDs) and consistency (11.7+ PPR points in every game).

9.03 - DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins: A high-upside WR4 for this team, Parker finished his rookie campaign strong with 22/445/3 over the final six games. One of the top breakout candidates, Parker is worthy of going a few rounds earlier so I love the value here.

10.10 - Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers: Nearing the end of his career, Gates still played well in his age-35 campaign -- his 57.3 yards-per-game average was his highest over the past four seasons -- and he remains an elite red-zone option for Philip Rivers.

11.03 - C.J. Prosise, RB, Seattle Seahawks: There is upside with Prosise considering Marshawn Lynch's retirement and the injury to Thomas Rawls. At a minimum, however, Prosise, who began his Notre Dame career as a receiver, will be used as a third-down change-of-pace option for the Seahawks.

12.10 - Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco 49ers: With Anquan Boldin no longer in San Francisco and Chip Kelly in San Francisco, Smith is a bounce-back candidate as the No. 1 receiver in an up-tempo offense.

13.03 - Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears: While I'm not a fan of Jeremy Langford, at least at his current ADP, Howard is someone that I will own quite a bit at his current ADP as the Bears will likely favor a "hot-hand" approach.

14.10 - New England Patriots D/ST

15.03 - Justin Tucker, K, Baltimore Ravens

- View full mock draft results here

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June 04, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 teams, No. 6 pick, 2-QB league

Practice is the key to doing anything well and that applies to drafting fantasy football teams as well.

Starting on May 31st, we began the process of drafting one fantasy football team per day using the 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator and we will continue to do so up until the start of the 2016 NFL season.

Each day, we will switch things up -- e.g., PPR vs. standard scoring, the number of teams, draft slot, 2-QB leagues, etc. For an easy way to keep track of our mocks, we will centralize the links to all of our daily fantasy football mock drafts here.


Details of today's mock draft:
  • Scoring: 2-QB league, Standard scoring (i.e., not PPR)
  • # of Teams: 12
  • Draft Slot: 6
  • Roster Setup: 2 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, Flex (RB/WR/TE), K, DST, 6 Bench

With that said, here are the results of today's mock draft:

1.06 - Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts: In one-QB leagues, it makes sense to wait on a QB. In two-QB leagues, however, things become a little more urgent. Luck is the fourth QB off the board in this mock: Cam Newton (1.01), Aaron Rodgers (1.03) and Russell Wilson (1.05). Provided Luck stays healthy for a full season, there is a good chance that he finishes as a top-four fantasy QB in 2016.

2.07 - A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: With free-agency departures among wide receivers and Tyler Eifert having ankle surgery that could jeopardize his availability for the start of the season, Green should see an uptick in targets from the 132 he had last year. Even with a relatively low volume of targets compared to other elite receivers, Green still posted an 86/1,297/10 stat line last season.

3.06 - Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers: Missing all of 2015 with a torn ACL, Nelson will help revive a Packers offense that struggled more than expected last season. In his last full season, Nelson finished with 98 catches for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns.

4.07 - Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers: Losing plenty of weight this offseason, Lacy goes into a contract year with better fitness and he should bounce back after a disappointing 2015 campaign. In his first two seasons, Lacy had 3,001 yards from scrimmage and 24 touchdowns.

5.06 - Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins: Playing under the franchise tag (unless both sides can agree to a long-term deal before July 15th), Cousins is coming off an impressive first season as the club's starter. Over his final 10 games, Cousins finished as the weekly QB1 three times and as a top-10 weekly option seven times. During that span, he posted a 23:3 TD-INT ratio with four more rushing touchdowns.

6.07 - Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers: Durability and Cam vultured touchdowns are a concern for The Daily Show, but Stewart had 20-plus carries in eight straight games before a Week 14 injury. Stewart may lead the NFL in rush attempts if he can stay healthy for a full 16-game season.

7.06 - DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins: One of the most popular breakout candidates heading into 2016, the 14th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft closed the season strong — 22/445/3 over the final six games. Generating plenty of offseason buzz, Parker is a high-upside WR3 for this squad.

8.07 - Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos: With Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler no longer in Denver, there are quarterback concerns for the defending Super Bowl champs, but Sanders provides solid value as my WR4/flex.

9.06 - Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers: A PPR monster, Woodhead is an undervalued standard-scoring running back option as well. In his past three seasons playing at least four games, Woodhead has finished as fantasy's RB24 (2012), RB19 (2013) and RB11 (2015).

10.07 - Charles Sims, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Even with Doug Martin finished second in the NFL in rushing, Sims still finished as the RB22 (RB17 in PPR) last season. A solid option as my RB4 with some upside if Martin misses time.

11.06 - Robert Griffin III, QB, Cleveland Browns: RG3 enters 2016 as Cleveland's starting quarterback and a change of scenery should do him well. Playing for Hue Jackson, RG3 has plenty of upside as my QB3.

12.07 - Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks: It appears that Graham will be available for Week 1, but it's a difficult injury from which to return so there are plenty of question marks even if is on the field in early September.

13.06 - Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens: His age and injury are a concern, but Smith has made a career out of proving doubters wrong. Before the Achilles injury, Smith was averaging 95.7 YPG (the third-highest of his career).

14.07 - Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions: In his second season, Ebron finished with 47 catches for 537 yards and five touchdowns. It was an up-and-down year, but he finished as a top-12 fantasy tight end in half of his 14 games played. Following Megatron's retirement, the former top-10 pick should be more involved and could be the No. 2 option in the passing game behind Golden Tate.

15.06 - Los Angeles Rams D/ST:

16.07 - Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: Agholor had a disappointing rookie season, but he is worth a flyer in Round 16 as my WR6.

17.06 - Brandon McManus, K, Denver Broncos

- View full mock draft results here

Complete your own mock drafts for free on our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator page.

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June 03, 2016

Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 12 teams, No. 12 pick

Practice is the key to doing anything well and that applies to drafting fantasy football teams as well.

Starting on May 31st, we have begun the process of drafting one fantasy football team per day using the 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator and we will do so up to the start of the 2016 NFL season.

Each day, we will switch things up -- e.g., PPR vs. standard scoring, the number of teams, draft slot, etc. -- and we will centralize the links to all of our daily fantasy football mock drafts.


Details of today's mock draft:
  • Scoring: Point per reception (PPR) scoring
  • # of Teams: 12
  • Draft Slot: 12
  • Roster Setup: QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, Flex (RB/WR/TE), 6 Bench

With that said, here are the results of today's mock draft:

1.12 - A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Targeted 10-plus times in only four games in 2015, Green should see a significant increase in targets with several free-agent departures at the position this offseason. Green has exceeded the 1,000-yard mark in all five of his NFL seasons and scored double-digit touchdowns three times.

2.01 - Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys: It was a disappointing season for Dez and the Cowboys. Not only was Bryant sidelined for nearly half the season with a broken foot, but Tony Romo broke his collarbone (two times). When healthy, however, Bryant is one of the most dominant receivers in the league and only Rob Gronkowski has more receiving touchdowns than Bryant (53) since 2011.

3.12 - Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers: A stress fracture in his foot limited Hyde to just seven games last season, but he should benefit from playing in an up-tempo, run-heavy Chip Kelly offense. The Eagles have ranked in the top-11 in rush attempts in all three of his seasons in Philadelphia. Provided he stays healthy, Hyde has a lot of upside in 2016.

4.01 - Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots: Tearing his ACL only seven games into the season, Lewis was on pace for 1,422 yards from scrimmage, 82 receptions and nine total touchdowns. (Only four running backs had 1,400-plus YFS in 2015.)

5.12 - Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers: Before a Week 14 injury, Stewart had eight consecutive games with 20-plus carries so the workload is there when healthy even though he has missed at least three games in four consecutive seasons.

6.01 - Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks: After a slow start, Wilson's production spiked down the stretch as he once again finished the full season as fantasy's QB3. Not only did Wilson rush for 500-plus yards for a third consecutive season, he finished with career-best passing numbers — 4,024 yards, 34 touchdowns, 68.1 completion percentage and 110.1 passer rating. Wilson should once again finish as a top-five fantasy quarterback.

7.12 - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Hill's rushing yards dropped from 1,124 (5.1 YPC) in 2014 to 794 (3.6 YPC) in 2015, but he did score a total of 12 touchdowns. He has some upside as my RB4.

8.01 - John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Brown finished his second season with 65 catches for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns as he scored the 25th-most PPR fantasy points among wide receivers.

9.12 - Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers: Gates missed five games, but still finished as a top-12 fantasy tight end in 2015 at 35 years old. In fact, his 57.3 yards per game was a four-year high. If Keenan Allen stays healthy for a full season, he may average fewer yards, but he remains the favorite red-zone target of Philip Rivers and a top-12 option at the position heading into his age-36 season.

10.01 - Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks: Dangerous as a returner, Lockett became more involved in the team's offense in the second half of his rookie season. While he had a couple of return scores early in the season, all six of his receiving scores occurred in the final 10 games of the season. Lockett should improve upon his rookie receiving numbers (51/664/6) in 2016.

11.12 - Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears: It wouldn't surprise me if Howard ends up scoring more fantasy points than presumed starter Jeremy Langford. While I have Langford ranked higher than Howard, I'd much rather draft Howard here than Langford early.

12.01 - Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings: Diggs provides some depth as my WR5, but the team used their first-rounder on Laquon Treadwell and no team threw it less than Minnesota last season.

13.12 - Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: Starting opposite Jordan Matthews, Agholor should see dramatically improved numbers in his second season and is worth a flyer as my WR6.

14.01 - Houston Texans D/ST

15.12 - Matt Prater, K, Detroit Lions

- View full mock draft results here

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May 29, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 12

We have completed our latest 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft.

Four of our contributors -- Kevin Hanson, Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley and Dan Yanotchko -- each drafted for three (of 12) teams. The draft used standard scoring -- i.e., not point-per-reception (PPR) scoring.

With that said, here are Round 12 results from our 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

12.01 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys

What's worse than breaking your collar bone? Breaking it twice. Not only did Romo break his collar bone twice last season, but he had surgery in March. That said, he has been participating in the team's OTAs. If he (and Dez Bryant) can stay healthy, Romo could finish as a top-12 fantasy quarterback.

But it wouldn't surprise me if the Cowboys went with a run-heavy attack similar to two seasons ago, when Romo finished as only fantasy's QB11 despite having an incredibly efficient season (69.9 completion percentage and 34:9 TD-to-INT ratio). On a positive note, Romo has a favorable fantasy strength of schedule -- 2nd-most favorable to only Matthew Stafford and the Lions.

12.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks

Graham failed to make the impact that many expected. In fact, Russell Wilson's strong performance in the second half of the season mostly occurred with Graham injured. While it's unclear if Graham will be ready for the start of the season, the team at least is hopeful that he will be ready for Week 1.

12.03 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Darren McFadden, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Despite injuries to Romo and Bryant and not starting at the beginning of the season, McFadden scored the 13th-most fantasy points among running backs in 2015. Not only did McFadden play a full 16-game season for a second year in a row, but he reached the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second time in his career as well. Unfortunately for McFadden, the Cowboys used the No. 4 overall pick on Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, so his workload is set to drop considerably.

12.04 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Kamar Aiken, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Aiken had a nice 2015 season with 75 catches for 944 yards, but that production should decline with the addition of Mike Wallace and returns of Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman.

12.05 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers

With Kelvin Benjamin (ACL) out for the season, Funchess underperformed expectations with a stat line of 31/473/5 in 2015. On a positive note, all five of his touchdowns came in the final nine games and his best performance (7/120/1) happened in Week 17. With Benjamin healthy, however, Funchess is no better than third (and possibly fourth) in line for targets.

12.06 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

Underutilized at Ohio State, Thomas will step into a prominent role in one of the most prolific passing offenses in the NFL, which will give him an opportunity to make a significnat contribution as a rookie.

12.07 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins used a third-round pick on Drake, who was a change-of-pace back to Derrick Henry at Alabama last season. While he's not a threat to Jay Ajayi's lead-back role, Drake should get plenty of work on third downs and could finish as a top-50 back in 2016.

12.08 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets

Powell was a PPR machine down the stretch as he finished as a top-25 weekly PPR performer in five of his final six games, which included three top-eight finishes. While Chris Ivory is no longer on the roster, signing Matt Forte, one of the best receiving backs in the NFL, was not a positive for Powell's outlook. That said, he's still a top-50 back for 2016 with more upside in PPR formats.

12.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Agholor's rookie season went much worse than anyone anticipated, but he apparently dealt with a high-ankle sprain during the middle of the season. The first-round draft pick finished 2015 with only 23 catches for 283 yards and one touchdown in 13 games and had 35 yards or less in all but two games. Starting opposite Jordan Matthews, Agholor should see dramatically improved numbers in his second season and could exceed value at his current draft slot.

12.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans

With Tom Brady as the starter for this team, it's possible that Mariota will need to start the first four games with Brady's four-game suspension reinstated. Especially if he runs more often, the second-year quarterback has plenty of upside in 2016.

Finishing as a top-six weekly fantasy quarterback in four of his 12 games, Mariota had his share of big games. Typical for a rookie, however, Mariota's performance was up and down, but he had one of the league's worst supporting casts around him as well. No team allowed more sacks (54), but the Titans improved both their offensive line and skill-position options this offseason as well. Even so, the Titans should find themselves in catchup mode often, which is a positive for Mariota's fantasy value.

12.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Phillip Dorsett, WR, Indianapolis Colts

One of the fastest players in the league, Dorsett, the team's first-round pick in 2015, had more than two receptions in only one of 11 games played last season. While his production should improve in his second season, he's clearly behind T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief on the depth chart.

12.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Shane Vereen, RB, New York Giants

The bulk of Vereen's production comes as a receiver (59/495/4, all of which were receiving career highs), but he still finished as the RB38 in standard-scoring formats (RB27 in PPR). In other words, he's a solid RB5 for Dan's team.

> Go back to Round 11 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

> Go back to Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Our 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Fantasy Football Rankings (Standard scoring)
- PPR Fantasy Football Rankings
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

Check out more of our content:
- 2017 NFL Mock Draft
- NFL Mock Draft Database
- NFL Power Rankings
- 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)
- 2016 Fantasy Football Profiles
- Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

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2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 11

In our latest 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft, four of our contributors -- Kevin Hanson, Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley and Dan Yanotchko -- will each draft for three (of 12) teams.

This mock draft will run 12 rounds and will use standard scoring -- i.e., not point-per-reception (PPR) scoring -- and we are down to the final round.

Here are the Round 11 results in our 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

11.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): C.J. Prosise, RB, Seattle Seahawks

With the retirement of Marshawn Lynch and injury (broken ankle) to Thomas Rawls, the Seahawks used multiple draft picks on running backs with Prosise being the earliest (Round 3). At a minimum, however, the team plans to use Prosise as their third-down/passing-down back. In fact, Prosise began his Notre Dame career as a wide receiver.

Coach Pete Carroll recently said the following of Prosise (via the Seattle Times): "He’s going to do things that he’s really good at and then we’re going to expand his role as he can handle it. There’s no reason he can’t be a first-down back, too. We just know what we’re going to attempt to do with him on third down."

11.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Filling in for Le'Veon Bell due to suspension and then injury, Williams finished as fantasy's RB4 in 2015. Williams racked up a total of 1,274 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns last year. If Bell plays a full season, Williams obviously won't come anywhere close to his 2015 numbers, but he is a must-own for any Bell owner, like Brendan.

11.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Ladarius Green, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers gave Green a large contract this offseason to take over for retired Heath Miller, but Green recently underwent ankle surgery. Assuming that he is healthy before the start of the season, Green should shatter previous career highs and he has top-10 upside.

11.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Devontae Booker, RB, Denver Broncos

The Broncos used a fourth-round pick on Booker and the rookie brings plenty of confidence to the team's backfield. "I’m not there to carry pads, I’m there to take someone’s job," Booker said. While he may not "take" C.J. Anderson's job, Booker is the Broncos running back to own (after CJA) and should challenge for early-down snaps.

11.05 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers

With 662 pass attempts (previous career high: 582), Rivers averaged a career-high 299.6 yards per game and threw 29 touchdowns despite multi-game absences by his top-two pass-catchers -- Keenan Allen (played eight games) and Antonio Gates (11 games). In fact, Rivers averaged 21.05 fantasy points per game with Allen; only 14.52/G without him.

Sean drafted Ben Roethlisberger in the eighth round, but Rivers gives Sean some protection if Big Ben misses time. Roethlisberger missed four games last season and has missed at least three games in three of the past six seasons.

11.06 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Paul Perkins, RB, New York Giants

Over the past couple of seasons at UCLA, Perkins ran for 2,918 yards, hauled in 56 receptions for 443 yards and scored a total of 26 touchdowns. With Rashad Jennings having a shaky durability track record and turning 31 this offseason, Perkins could find himself with a relatively large role as a rookie.

Given that Sean waited until Round 5 to select his first running back, none of his team's running backs rank inside my top-24 backs. So with a team full of "flex" running backs, Perkins gives Sean some insurance with Jennings as one of his top-three backs.

11.07 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Javorius Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens

With Justin Forsett healthy and the team drafting Kenneth Dixon in the fourth round, it's unclear how 2016 touches will be allocated, but Allen has shown an ability to be productive when given the opportunity. With Forsett sidelined over the final seven games of the season, Allen totalled 629 yards from scrimmage on 133 touches (including 37 receptions).

11.08 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings

In limited opportunities, McKinnon has been productive -- 4.9 yards per carry in 165 career rush attempts. And Adrian Peterson is clearly the team's workhorse, but McKinnon should see a larger workload than he had last year (73 touches).

11.09 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants

The Giants used a top-40 pick on Shepard, who should be the No. 2 option behind Odell Beckham with Rueben Randle signing with the Eagles and the uncertainty of what Victor Cruz will be able to provide. I could see Shepard finishing with 60-plus catches as a rookie.

11.10 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions

Riddick had 80 catches for 697 yards plus 133 rushing yards and three total touchdowns last season. While he's much better in PPR formats (RB18 last year), he finished as a top-40 option in standard-scoring leagues as well.

11.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers

Gates missed five games, but still finished as a top-12 fantasy tight end in 2015 at 35 years old. In fact, his 57.3 yards per game was a four-year high. If Keenan Allen stays healthy for a full season, he may average fewer yards, but he remains the favorite red-zone target of Philip Rivers and a top-12 option at the position heading into his age-36 season.

11.12 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Travis Benjamin, WR, San Diego Chargers

In spite of poor quarterback play in Cleveland, Benjamin broke out with a 68/966/5 season. With better weapons on San Diego's roster, Benjamin may be third in line behind Keenan Allen and Antonio Gates, but the improvement in quarterback play should allow Benjamin to come close to his 2015 numbers even if he falls a little short.

> Continue to Round 12 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

> Go back to Round 10 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Our 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Fantasy Football Rankings (Standard scoring)
- PPR Fantasy Football Rankings
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

Check out more of our content:
- 2017 NFL Mock Draft
- NFL Mock Draft Database
- NFL Power Rankings
- 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)
- 2016 Fantasy Football Profiles
- Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

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May 28, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 10

In our latest 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft, four of our contributors -- Kevin Hanson, Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley and Dan Yanotchko -- will each draft for three (of 12) teams.

This mock draft will run 12 rounds and will use standard scoring -- i.e., not point-per-reception (PPR) scoring -- and we are now down to the final two rounds.

Here are the Round 10 results in our 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

10.01 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins

Many believed that Doctson was the best receiver in this year's rookie class, but it may be a season before his true impact is felt as DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are still on the team's roster. It would make sense for the team to part ways with Garcon, but it sounds unlikely at this point, but both Garcon and D-Jax will become free agents next offseason. While Doctson's 2017 season should be much better than his 2016 season, his role in the offense should expand as the season progresses.

10.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Karlos Williams, RB, Buffalo Bills

When given touches, Williams was highly productive -- 93 carries for 517 yards (5.6 YPC), 11 catches for 96 yards and nine total touchdowns -- in 11 games last season. For this team, he's a high-upside RB5 if LeSean McCoy misses any time.

10.03 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars

Missing much of training camp and the first four games of the season, Thomas did not make the impact that he or the team expected when they signed him to a lucrative free-agent contract. Thomas should establish better chemistry with Blake Bortles this season provided he can stay healthy, but he has missed multiple games in each of the past three seasons as a starter with the Broncos and the Jags.

10.04 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Injuries slowed Coleman, who missed four games as a rookie. While he lost three fumbles on just 87 carries, he did average 4.5 yards per carry and he has plenty of big-play ability. Assuming he stays healthy and does a better job of protecting the football, Coleman could wind up getting in the neighborhood of 10 touches per game in 2016. Plus, Dan's team owns Devonta Freeman as well so this pick provides him some insurance.

10.05 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Breshad Perriman, WR, Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens used their 2015 first-round draft pick on Perriman, but the big-play wideout missed all of 2015 due to a PCL injury. With the Ravens adding Mike Wallace, however, both receivers will compete for the same role within the offense.

10.06 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Mohamed Sanu, WR, Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons gave Sanu a big free-agent deal to become Atlanta's No. 2 receiver behind stud Julio Jones. Based on his contract and role more so than talent, Sanu should have an opportunity to put up numbers similar to his 2014 season (56/790/5), a year in which he also led the league in drops.

10.07 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Coby Fleener, TE, New Orleans Saints

With 50-plus catches in each of the past three seasons, Fleener should have an opportunity to exceed that production by a considerable amount. In the team's first season without Jimmy Graham, Ben Watson essentially came out of nowhere to finish as a top-eight fantasy tight end in 2015. Playing with Drew Brees and with Watson gone, Fleener could not have landed in a better spot as a free agent.

10.08 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Willie Snead, WR, New Orleans Saints

Starting opposite Brandin Cooks, Snead nearly reached the 1,000-yard mark with a 69/984/3 stat line. Snead didn't have many big games, but he had at least four receptions in 11 of 16 games.

10.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

Ertz set career highs in 2015 with 75 catches for 853 yards, but he had just two touchdowns. Ertz was especially good over the final four games of the season with a 35/450/1 line during that span. Obviously, he'll slow from his end-of-season torrid pace, but hopefully Ertz can build upon last year's positive momentum.

10.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears

The Bears used a fifth-round pick on Howard and it wouldn't surprise me if the 230-pound back ends up scoring more fantasy points than Jeremy Langford. To be clear, I have Langford ranked higher than Howard, but I'd much rather draft Howard late than Langford early. One AFC running backs coach called Howard the "best runner in this year's draft" (via NFL.com) and while I wouldn't go that far, Howard will be a back that I target late in virtually all of my drafts.

10.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Laquon Treadwell, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Some will knock Treadwell for his (lack of) speed, but the Vikings first-round pick is a big-bodied (6-2, 221), physical receiver with strong hands that runs good routes. Perhaps a bigger problem than his speed is Minnesota's offense, as no team threw it less than the Vikings in 2015, but Treadwell should make his presence felt in the red zone.

10.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Gary Barnidge, TE, Cleveland Browns

It was the atypical 30-year-old breakout for Barnidge last season as he finished with 79 catches for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns, all of which exceeded his NFL production from 2008 to 2014 combined. In fact, only Rob Gronkowski scored more fantasy points than Barnidge in standard-scoring formats (TE4 in PPR) last season. While he may not finish as a top-five producer once again, he enters the season as a viable starting tight end despite a change in coaching staff and quarterback.

> Continue to Round 11 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 9 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Our 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Fantasy Football Rankings (Standard scoring)
- PPR Fantasy Football Rankings
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

Check out more of our content:
- 2017 NFL Mock Draft
- NFL Mock Draft Database
- NFL Power Rankings
- 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)
- 2016 Fantasy Football Profiles
- Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Continue reading "2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 10" »


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2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 9

In our latest 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft, four of our contributors -- Kevin Hanson, Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley and Dan Yanotchko -- will each draft for three (of 12) teams.

This mock draft will run 12 rounds and will use standard scoring -- i.e., not point-per-reception (PPR) scoring -- and ROund 9 is now complete.

Here are the Round 9 results in our 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

9.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

In his second season, Bortles threw for 4,428 yards, 35 touchdowns and 18 interceptions and ran for 310 yards and two more scores. Bortles needs to cut down on the turnovers and he's unlikely to repeat the 35 touchdowns, but he was consistent in terms of fantasy production last year. Finishing with the fourth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks, Bortles was a top-10 weekly performer 10 times last season.

9.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Tennessee Titans

The Titans have a number of receivers on their roster, but Green-Beckham is the most talented and the second-year wideout certainly has the most upside out of the group. The 6-foot-5 receiver had both of his 100-yard games in December so he will look to build upon his late-season momentum.

9.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Arian Foster, RB, Free Agent

A ruptured Achilles ended his 2015 season prematurely and he will turn 30 prior to the start of the 2016 NFL season as Foster currently remains an unsigned free agent. A couple of potential landing spots, such as Miami or Washington, could lead to a sizable workload for Foster, which makes him a high-upside, low-floor option at his current eighth-round ADP.

Using the first three of this team's picks on receivers, I've loaded up on running backs since then as Foster would be this team's RB5. Considering Jay Ajayi, my fifth-round pick, projects as the team's RB2, Foster provides some insurance in the event that he signs with the Dolphins.

9.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins

Taking this team's starting wide receivers -- Julio Jones and Keenan Allen -- in the first three rounds, Jackson is a high-upside weekly option as my WR3. And even though Washington used a first-round pick on Josh Doctson, D-Jax remains a boom-or-bust weekly option that should finish with 1,000 yards or so provided he remains healthy.

A hamstring injury limited Jackson to just nine games last season so his overall numbers dropped to 30/528/4 after finishing with 56/1,169/6 in 2014. Over the final six weeks of the season, Jackson had 25 catches for 469 yards, 11th-most among wide receivers during that span, and all four of his touchdowns.

9.05 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

With Martavis Bryant suspended for the season, it should lead to a higher volume of targets and production for Wheaton, who finished with 44 catches for 749 yards and five touchdowns last season. Over the first 10 games of the season, five of which Bryant missed last year, Wheaton had less than 20 yards seven times. Over the final six games, however, Wheaton had a total of 476 yards and four touchdowns.

9.06 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans

Missing six games last season, Wright finished with 36 catches for 408 yards, both of which were career lows in terms of absolute numbers and per-game production. With the team signing Rishard Matthews this offseason, it's possible that Wright is off the field in two-WR sets, which makes him a low-upside WR4/5.

9.07 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions

Jones set career highs in receptions (65) and yards (816) in his final season with the Bengals last year. While the Lions should be more balanced this year, no team threw the ball on a higher percentage of their plays than Detroit last year. And while Golden Tate should lead the receiving corps in targets and production, the retirement of Calvin Johnson and lack of depth beyond Tate and Jones should lead to new career highs in catches and yards for Jones.

9.08 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns

Finishing in the top 25 in both categories, Crowell carried the ball 185 times for 706 yards last season. He also added 19 catches for 182 yards and scored a total of five touchdowns. New coach Hue Jackson has talked up Crowell (and backfield mate Duke Johnson) and he could once again finish as a top-25 rusher once again.

9.09 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

For a second consecutive season, Manning finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback. In both seasons, Manning threw 600-plus times and exceeded 4,400-plus yards while throwing a total of 65 touchdowns. With one of the league's most dynamic players as his go-to receiver, there's no reason Eli shouldn't finish as a top-10 fantasy quarterback once again. And coincidentally, Manning is the 10th quarterback off the board in this mock.

9.10 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders

Slumping down the stretch, Carr averaged 18.33 fantasy points (263.18 Y/G and 24:6 TD-to-INT ratio) through Week 12, but he averaged only 14.34 (218.4 Y/G and 8:7 TD-to-INT ratio) over his final five games. That said, Carr still finished as fantasy's QB14 overall in 2016 and he's a low-end QB1/high-end QB2 going into the 2016 season.

9.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Smith is coming off a career-worst season -- 33 catches, 663 yards and four touchdowns all set or tied career lows. With Anquan Boldin no longer in San Francisco and Chip Kelly taking over as coach, Smith is the No. 1 receiver in an offense that should rank in the top 10 in the league in number of plays.

9.12 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins

Over the final 10 games of the season, few quarterbacks were as productive as Cousins, who threw 23 touchdowns, rushed for four more and threw only three interceptions. During that 10-game span, Cousins finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback seven times and as fantasy's weekly QB1 three times.

Whether Cousins plays out this season under the franchise tag or both sides agree to a long-term deal before the July 15th deadline, he is set up for success with a talented supporting cast that drafted TCU's Josh Doctson in the first round and a favorable fantasy strength of schedule (ninth-best).

> Continue to Round 10 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

> Go back to Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 2 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 3 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 4 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 5 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 6 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 7 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 8 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Our 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Fantasy Football Rankings (Standard scoring)
- PPR Fantasy Football Rankings
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

Check out more of our content:
- 2017 NFL Mock Draft
- NFL Mock Draft Database
- NFL Power Rankings
- 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)
- 2016 Fantasy Football Profiles
- Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Continue reading "2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 9" »


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May 25, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 8

In our latest 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft, four of our contributors -- Kevin Hanson, Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley and Dan Yanotchko -- will each draft for three (of 12) teams.

This mock draft will run 12 rounds and will use standard scoring -- i.e., not point-per-reception (PPR) scoring -- and we are now through Round 8.

Here are the Round 8 results in our 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

8.01 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Kenneth Dixon, RB, Baltimore Ravens

At the turn, Sean took Justin Forsett with the pick immediately preceeding this one. A talented rookie that slipped to the Ravens in the fourth round, Dixon could quickly emerge as the lead back in the team's crowded backfield. While Buck Allen will get work as well, doubling up here gives Sean a better chance of securing the team's best fantasy back.

8.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Charles Sims, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Even with Doug Martin rushing for more than 1,400 yards, Sims finished as fantasy's RB22 (RB17 in PPR) in 2015. While his ceiling is capped if Martin stays healthy for a full season once again, it wouldn't surprise me if me duplicates last year's production -- 1,090 YFS, 51 receptions and four TDs.

8.03 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Chris Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Before breaking his leg, Johnson ranked near the top of the league in rush attempts and yards last season. In 11 games, CJ2K finished with 196 carries for 814 yards. That said, he averaged 3.6 YPC or less in his final four games before the injury and David Johnson should dominate backfield touches in 2016 as long as he remains healthy.

- Related: 2016 Arizona Cardinals Fantasy Football Projections

8.04 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With CJ2K and V-Jax, Dan has taken players with 11th-round ADPs three rounds early. Neither of these guys are guys that I would take earlier than their ADPs, however.

Missing six games last season, Jackson had his worst season since signing with the Bucs both in absolute and per-game numbers. V-Jax finished with just 33 catches for 543 yards (54.3/G) and three touchdowns in his age-32 season. Jackson had just one or two catches in four of his 10 games last year.

8.05 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans

In his third season with the Titans, Walker blew away previous career highs in receptions (94) and yards (1,088) and tied a previous career high in touchdowns (six). Walker had 52-plus yards in his final 12 games of the season and due to that level of consistency, he finished as a top-12 fantasy tight end in 11 of 16 weeks.

8.06 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

The 2015 Heisman Trophy winner, Henry has great speed for his size (6-3, 247) and he should challenge DeMarco Murray early on for work as part of their backfield committee. Perhaps early in the season, we could see Murray getting 15-18 touches and Henry getting 10-12 touches per game.

8.07 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants

For the first time in his career, Jennings played all 16 games and posted career highs in both carries (195) and rushing yards (863). Racking up 419 YFS in the final three games of the season, Jennings ended the season on a positive note and he should enter the season as the lead back. That said, he turned 31 in March, has struggled with durability and the Giants drafted Paul Perkins in the fifth round of this year's draft.

8.08 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

For a second consecutive season, Big Ben has led the NFL in passing yards per game (328.2/G in 2015). Even with the full-season suspension of Martavis Bryant, Roethlisberger has top-five upside provided he can stay healthy for 16 games.

8.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

Even without Jimmy Graham last year, Brees averaged 324.7 yards per game, which was the second-highest of his career. Over the past five seasons, Brees has averaged no less than 309.5 YPG with at least 32 touchdowns per year. During that five-year stretch, no quarterback has more passing yards (25,637), passing touchdowns (193) or 300-yard games (52).

8.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

It's déjà vu all over again with the four-game suspension for Brady, who appears as determined as ever to fight the suspension. Perhaps Brady won't have to serve the suspension in 2016, but even if he does, he should easily finish as a top-five (or better) quarterback in terms of fantasy points per game. Scoring more fantasy points than every quarterback not named Cam last season, Brady threw for 4,770 yards and a league-high 36 touchdowns in 2015.

8.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Palmer set career highs in passing yards (4,671, fourth-most in the NFL) and passing touchdowns (35, second-most) in 2015 as the Cardinals led the NFL in total offense and finished second in scoring offense. With a talented trio of wide receivers in addition to one of the league's best young running backs, Palmer has a chance to once again finish as a top-five fantasy quarterback in 2016. Excluding Week 17, Palmer threw for 300-plus yards and/or multiple touchdowns in all but two games last season.

8.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Diggs got off to a great start with six-plus catches and 87-plus yards in each of his first four games played and he was clearly the most productive of Minnesota's wide receivers. After the first four games, however, he exceeded 50 yards only twice and he closed the season with 22 yards or less in four of his final five games.

No team threw it less than Minnesota (454 pass attempts) and they drafted Laquon Treadwell in the first round. In other words, Diggs is a solid receiver at this spot, but the upside is limited.

> Continue to Round 9 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

> Go back to Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 2 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 3 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 4 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 5 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 6 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 7 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Our 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Fantasy Football Rankings (Standard scoring)
- PPR Fantasy Football Rankings
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

Check out more of our content:
- 2017 NFL Mock Draft
- NFL Mock Draft Database
- NFL Power Rankings
- 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)
- 2016 Fantasy Football Profiles
- Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Continue reading "2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 8" »


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May 24, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 7

In our latest 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft, four of our contributors -- Kevin Hanson (yours truly), Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley and Dan Yanotchko -- will each draft for three (of 12) teams.

This mock draft will run 12 rounds and will use standard scoring -- i.e., not point-per-reception (PPR) scoring -- and we are now through Round 7.

Here are the Round 7 results in our 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

7.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Tim Hightower, RB, New Orleans Saints

If we were assigning mock draft superlatives, this would certainly earn the title of Most Surprising Pick. Based on early ADP data from Fantasy Football Calculator, Hightower has an average draft position of 180 (14th round).

I have to admit I have no idea what Dan was thinking when he made this pick, as he could have waited until the last round of this mock (Round 12) for Hightower. My guess is Dan worries about Mark Ingram's durability and is basing this pick on what Hightower did last season as Ingram's injury replacement — and could do in that role again this year. In the final four games of the season (with Ingram sidelined), Hightower finished as a top-seven fantasy running back three times and averaged 24.0 touches and 17.4 fantasy points per game over that stretch.

And even though Ingram has missed at least three games in four of his five NFL seasons, Hightower will have little weekly value when Ingram is healthy. With only LeSean McCoy (2.12) and Jeremy Langford (4.12) as starting running backs on Dan's team, I'd prefer a running back in this spot that could provide more weekly production, such as Giovani Bernard or Chris Ivory.

7.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

Kelce's 2015 numbers (875 yards and five touchdowns) were very similar to his 2014 numbers (862 yards and five touchdowns). Among tight ends, only Rob Gronkowski (2,300), Greg Olsen (2,112) and Delanie Walker (1,978) have more receiving yards than Kelce (1,737) over the past two seasons.

7.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Part of a platoon with Jeremy Hill, Bernard still finished as a top-21 fantasy running back in standard-scoring formats (RB16 in PPR) last season despite scoring just two touchdowns. In fact, RB21 was the worst finish of his young three-year career.

In his three seasons, Bernard has averaged 213.33 touches (including 49.33 receptions) and 1,146.67 YFS per season. Another season with 200 touches, 50 receptions and 1,000-plus YFS is likely for Bernard, who should easily reach value at his current ADP (RB30) even if his ceiling is limited by Hill's presence.

7.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Chris Ivory, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

One year after finishing as a top-20 fantasy running back, Ivory finished 2015 as a top-10 fantasy back while recording his first-ever 1,000-yard season (1,070 yards on 247 carries). Signing a free-agent deal with the Jaguars, however, Ivory will be part of a 1-2 punch with second-year back T.J. Yeldon in 2016. Only the Lions ran the ball on a lower percentage of their plays than the Jaguars last season, but the team should run the ball more often in 2016 with an improved outlook.

7.05 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions

Atop the team's depth chart, Abdullah has some breakout potential in 2016. No team ran the ball on a lower percentage of their plays last season, but the retirement of Calvin Johnson should lead to more play-calling balance. Abdullah rushed for 597 yards on 143 carries, added 25 catches for 183 yards and scored three total touchdowns as a rookie.

7.06 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Donte Moncrief, WR, Indianapolis Colts

In his sophomore campaign, Moncrief doubled his reception total from 32 to 64 catches for 733 yards and six touchdowns. Moncrief had turf toe surgery earlier this offseason, but he should be ready for training camp. With an ideal combination of great size (6-2, 222) and athleticism (4.40 forty, 39.5-inch vertical), the 22-year-old (turns 23 in August) Moncrief has plenty of breakout appeal heading into his third season.

7.07 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks

Dangerous as a returner, Lockett became more involved in the team's offense in the second half of his rookie season. While he had a couple of return scores early in the season, all six of his receiving scores occurred in the final 10 games of the season. Lockett should improve upon his rookie receiving numbers (51/664/6) in 2016.

7.08 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears

White missed all of his rookie season due to a stress fracture in his shin. Recovered from last year's injury, White has all of the physical tools to develop into a dominant receiver in the league and should finish second on the team in targets behind Alshon Jeffery in 2016.

7.09 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): LeGarrette Blount, RB, New England Patriots

In his 38 games (regular season and playoffs) as a Patriot, Blount has a total of 24 touchdowns. The biggest challenge with owning Blount — or any Patriots running back — is that he could go from 30 carries and three touchdowns one week to two carries the next week.

7.10 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Postponing his retirement by one year, the obvious concerns with Smith is that he is now 37 years old and coming off a torn Achilles injury. That said, Smith had 46 catches for 670 yards and three scores in his seven games played last season. His 95.7 YPG average was the third-highest of his career and his most in nearly a decade (2008).

7.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Duke Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns

Only four running backs had more receptions than Johnson (61) had as a rookie last season. Better in PPR formats (RB23 in 2015), Johnson still managed to finish as a top-35 fantasy running back in standard-scoring formats as well. Coincidentally, Johnson is the 35th running back off the board in this mock.

7.12 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Forsett broke his arm in the team's 10th game and he missed the final six games of the season. In the first nine games, however, he averaged 16.33 touches per game in the first nine games of the season. Forsett will open camp atop the team's depth chart, but he turns 31 this year and Buck Allen and rookie Kenneth Dixon will push him for snaps early on.

> Continue to Round 8 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

> Go back to Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 2 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 3 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 4 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 5 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 6 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Our 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Fantasy Football Rankings (Standard scoring)
- PPR Fantasy Football Rankings
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

Check out more of our content:
- 2017 NFL Mock Draft
- NFL Mock Draft Database
- NFL Power Rankings
- 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)
- 2016 Fantasy Football Profiles
- Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Continue reading "2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 7" »


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May 22, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 6

In our latest 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft, four of our contributors -- Kevin Hanson, Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley and Dan Yanotchko -- will each draft for three (of 12) teams.

This mock draft will run 12 rounds and will use standard scoring -- i.e., not point-per-reception (PPR) scoring -- and we are now halfway through our 12-round mock draft.

Here are the Round 6 results in our 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

6.01 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots

Perhaps my favorite pick in this mock so far, I was hoping Lewis would last one more pick. Tearing his ACL only seven games into the season, Lewis was on pace for 1,422 yards from scrimmage, 82 receptions and nine total touchdowns. (Only four running backs had 1,400-plus YFS in 2015 although injuries played a part in that as well.) Still only 25 years old, there's a good chance that Lewis will be ready for the start of the season.

6.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

It was a lost season for Luck, who missed more games (nine) than he played (seven) in 2015. And when he was on the field, he was (much) less than 100 percent for much of those games. Like Cam, Luck benefits from his dual-threat abilities as he rushed for 255-plus yards per year with a total of 12 touchdowns in his first three seasons. With better health in 2016, I expect a bounce-back season a top-three fantasy finish from the Colts' franchise quarterback.

6.03 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers

No running back had more receptions (80) or receiving yards (755) than Woodhead, who totalled 1,091 YFS and nine touchdowns last season. Woodhead played just three games in 2014, but Woodhead has finished as a top-24 fantasy running back in each of his past three full seasons. In fact, he finished as a top-10 fantasy running back (RB3 in PPR) in 2015.

6.04 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland Raiders

Crabtree tied previous career highs of 85 receptions and nine touchdowns last season and finished with 922 receiving yards, his most since 2012. Crabtree exceeded 55 yards only once in his final eight games after doing so five times in his first eight games, but he had a minimum of four receptions in 15 of 16 games.

6.05 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins

The 2015 first-round pick out of Louisville, Parker closed the season strong with 80-plus yards in four of the final six games of the season. During that six-game span, Parker amassed a total of 22 catches for 445 yards and three touchdowns. There is plenty of breakout potential for Parker heading into 2016.

6.06 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

After a slow start, Wilson's production spiked down the stretch as he once again finished the full season as fantasy's QB3. Not only did Wilson rush for 500-plus yards for a third consecutive season, he finished with career-best passing numbers — 4,024 yards, 34 touchdowns, 68.1 completion percentage and 110.1 passer rating. Wilson should once again finish as a top-five fantasy quarterback.

6.07 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers

Failing to score a touchdown on 217 touches and averaging just 3.48 YPC, Gordon disappointed fantasy owners as a rookie. While his January microfracture surgery isn't a positive, the Chargers don't seem too concerned based on both their words and actions (no tailbacks drafted or added via free agency). Provided he stays healthy, it shouldn't be difficult for things to go better for MG3 and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt has talked about how reviving the team's rushing attack is his priority.

6.08 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns

The first receiver off the board in April's draft, Coleman has a few things working in his favor. Not only is he an explosive athlete, few teams have a worse receiving corps than the Browns, who should also find themselves trailing and needing to throw. Especially if Josh Gordon isn't reinstated, it wouldn't surprise me if Coleman finishes with 70-80 receptions and roughly 1,000 yards as a rookie.

6.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Missing four games as a rookie, Yeldon averaged more than 18 touches per game but finished with just two rushing touchdowns. With the team signing free-agent Chris Ivory in the offseason, Yeldon's workload should decline on a per-game basis. On a positive note, the team should be much more competitive in 2016 and that should lead to an improved run-play percentage (34.98 percent). Only the Lions had a lower run-play ratio in 2015.

6.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts

With the exception of an 11-game 2010 season, Gore rushed for 1,000-plus yards every other season from 2006 to 2014. In his first season with the Colts, however, Gore fell just shy of the 1,000-yard milestone with 967 yards on 260 carries and a career-low 3.7 YPC.

While Gore turned 33 years old earlier this month, the team used four draft picks on their offensive line, which should help both the running game and Andrew Luck, who missed nine games last season. Based on the team's depth chart behind him, Gore should get 250-plus carries once again if he can stay healthy.

6.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos

In two seasons with the Broncos, Sanders finished with 101/1,404/7 (2014) and 76/1,135/4 (2015). Given the team's quarterback situation, however, it's likely that the Broncos rely heavily on their running game and defense and Sanders sets three-year lows as a Bronco. That said, he's a strong WR3 for Brendan's team especially given the strength of his running backs (Le'Veon Bell, Mark Ingram and Carlos Hyde).

6.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals

Averaging a touchdown per game, Eifert finished 2015 with 52 catches for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns over 13 games and the sixth-most fantasy points among tight ends in 2016. Exceeding 53 yards in only three games, all of which occurred by Week 5, Eifert averaged only 37.88 YPG over his final eight games played. Given the team's free-agent losses in the passing game, Eifert should see a bump in targets in 2016, which will hopefully make his weekly production less TD-dependent.

> Continue to Round 7 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Go back to previous rounds:
> Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Round 2 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Round 3 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Round 4 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Round 5 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Our 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Fantasy Football Rankings (Standard scoring)
- PPR Fantasy Football Rankings
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

Check out more of our content:
- 2017 NFL Mock Draft
- NFL Mock Draft Database
- NFL Power Rankings
- 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)
- 2016 Fantasy Football Profiles
- Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Continue reading "2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 6" »


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May 19, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 5

In our latest 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft, four of our contributors -- Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley, Dan Yanotchko and yours truly -- will each draft for three (of 12) teams.

This mock draft will run 12 rounds and will use standard scoring -- i.e., not point-per-reception (PPR) scoring -- and we are now through Round 5.

Here are the Round 5 results in our 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

5.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

In a breakout second season, Hurns finished with 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns. Along with teammate Allen Robinson, the two Allens were among only nine wide receivers to post 1,000/10 lines in 2015. With an improved team outlook, the Jaguars are unlikely to rank second pass-play percentage (65.02%) once again, but Hurns is a solid WR3 in 2016.

5.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers

A stress fracture in his foot limited Hyde to just seven games last season, but he should benefit from playing in an up-tempo, run-heavy Chip Kelly offense. The Eagles have ranked in the top-11 in rush attempts in all three of his seasons in Philadelphia. Provided he stays healthy, Hyde has a lot of upside in 2016.

5.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins

With Lamar Miller in Houston and the Dolphins only using a third-round pick on Alabama's Kenyan Drake, Ajayi's workload is certain to jump in his sophomore campaign. Beginning last season on short-term IR, Ajayi plans to shed about 10 pounds to be shiftier after averaging just 3.8 YPC as a rookie.

5.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Ryan Mathews, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Earlier this offseason, Mathews was reportedly available for trade, but he enters the season as Philadelphia's lead back. The Eagles drafted Wendell Smallwood in the fifth round and still have the versatile Darren Sproles, but Mathews should get close to 250 touches if he stay healthy for a full season.

5.05 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Matthews improved on his rookie numbers with 85 receptions (67 as a rookie) and 997 yards (872 as a rookie) and once again hauled in eight touchdown receptions, but fantasy owners had bigger expectations from Matthews. On a positive note, six of his eight touchdowns came in his final six games and he finished with 100-plus yards in two of his final three games.

5.06 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins

Impressive during the preseason (7.0 YPC), Jones had a couple of big games in the regular season -- 19/123/2 rushing in Week 2 and 187 YFS in Week 10. That said, Jones averaged just 3.4 YPC on the season, fumbled five times on 163 touches and missed three games last season. The good news, though, is Jones will get a large workload as the Redskins have limited depth behind Jones.

5.07 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers

Olsen followed up his first career 1,000-yard season with another (77/1,104/7) and scored fourth-most fantasy points among tight ends in 2015. The durable and consistent tight end enters 2016 as a top-three tight end.

5.08 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

The loss of Jordy Nelson (ACL) for the season hurt the offense in general and Rodgers production in particular. Rodgers completed 60.7 percent of his attempts for just 6.7 Y/A, both of which were lows since becoming a starter (2008). Before this season, however, Rodgers finished as the QB1 or QB2 in all full seasons as a starter and I'd be comfortable drafting him after Cam Newton (and perhaps Andrew Luck).

5.09 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals

In Year 2, Brown finished with 65 catches for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns as he scored the 22nd-most fantasy points among wide receivers. All three of the team's top-three receivers, however, are limited some by the presence of the other two, but the arrow is certainly pointing up for the speedy third-year receiver.

5.10 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams

Even though Austin had just 473 receiving yards, the versatile receiver had a total of 907 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns including a punt return touchdown. Even though Austin finished as a top-20 fantasy wide receiver in 2015, I don't expect a repeat performance in 2016 and there are several receivers still on the board (Golden Tate, Michael Floyd, etc. to name a few) that I'd prefer over Austin.

5.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions

Tate followed up a career-best season (99/1,331/4 in 2014) with another 90-catch season although he averaged just 9.0 Y/R in 2015. With the retirement of Calvin Johnson, however, Tate should lead the team in targets and he's been productive in the games that Megatron has missed. Tate should easily exceed his WR30 draft slot in this mock.

5.12 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals

While Floyd once again failed to exceed 1,000 yards, he finished the season strong after a slow start. A nice value here, Floyd exceeded the 100-yard mark in five of his final eight regular-season games in 2015.

> Continue to Round 6 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

- Go back to Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
- Go back to Round 2 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
- Go back to Round 3 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
- Go back to Round 4 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Our 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Fantasy Football Rankings (Standard scoring)
- PPR Fantasy Football Rankings
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

Check out more of our content:
- 2017 NFL Mock Draft
- NFL Mock Draft Database
- NFL Power Rankings
- 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)
- 2016 Fantasy Football Profiles
- Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

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May 18, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 4

In our latest 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft, four of our contributors -- Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley, Dan Yanotchko and yours truly -- will each draft for three (of 12) teams.

This mock draft will run 12 rounds and will use standard scoring -- i.e., not point-per-reception (PPR) scoring -- and we now through Round 4 of our "slow" mock draft.

Here are the Round 4 results in our 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

4.01 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans

After leading the NFL in rushing (1,845 yards) in 2014 and signing a large free-agent deal with the Eagles, Murray rushed for only 702 yards in 2015 and set career lows in YPG (46.8) and YPC (3.6). Murray's outlook isn't as positive after the team drafted Derrick Henry in the second round, but he should is a solid mid-RB2 going into 2016.

4.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

Missing seven games with a broken foot, Edelman set a career high with seven receiving touchdowns and averaged 6.8 receptions and 76.9 yards per game, both of which were career highs. Edelman has missed multiple games in each of the past two seasons, but he's a high-volume receiver playing with one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Two concerns heading into 2016, however, are another recent foot surgery for Edelman and the reinstatement of Tom Brady's four-game suspension.

4.03 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Reunited with Andy Reid, Maclin had his second consecutive 1,000-yard season as he finished with a career-high 87 receptions for 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns. Finishing as a mid-tier WR2 (WR17 in 2015), Maclin remains a solid WR2 heading into 2016 and he's the WR19 in this mock.

4.04 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Fitzgerald got off to a phenomenal four-game start: 30/432/5. Naturally, his pace slowed from that torrid start, but he finished the year with a career-high 109 receptions for 1,215 yards, his first 1,000-yard campaign in four years, and nine touchdowns. I still expect Fitzgerald to be the most productive of the team's receivers in 2016, but Michael Floyd and John Brown will be right behind him.

4.05 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers

As a rookie in 2014, Benjamin finished with 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns. Unfortunately he missed all of 2015, but he's clearly the team's top wide receiver for last year's highest-scoring offense.

4.06 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks

Not only did he set career highs of 78 receptions, 1,069 yards and (a league-high) 14 touchdowns last season, but Baldwin scored 11 of those touchdowns during the five-game span from Weeks 12 to 16. It's possible that Baldwin reaches the 1,000-yard milestone again, but the 5-foot-10 receiver had a total of 15 touchdowns in his first four seasons combined.

4.07 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers

Through the first three games of the season, it was so far, so good with Cobb, who had hauled in 20 receptions for 245 and four touchdowns. From there on out, however, Cobb disappointed his fantasy owners. Over the final 13 games, Cobb averaged 47.85 YFS per game and scored only two touchdowns. With Jordy Nelson (ACL) back as the team's No. 1 receiver, however, it should take pressure off Cobb and lead to improved 2016 production.

4.08 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets

Scoring a touchdown in 12 of 15 games, Decker's weekly production was extremely consistent: 8.1 to 15.7 fantasy points every week. While he finished as a weekly top-12 fantasy wide receiver only twice, he never finished worse than WR31 last season. That consistency led to a top-10 full-season finish in fantasy points scored among wide receivers. The quarterback situation for the Jets is still unsettled, but I ultimately think we will see Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets work out a short-term deal for his return.

4.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets

One of the most versatile running backs in the league, Forte turned 30 in December and signed as a free agent with the Jets this offseason. Even though he missed three games last season, Forte averaged close to 100 yards -- 69.1 rushing and 29.9 receiving -- per game in 2015. Forte won't dominate touches in the Jets' backfield the way he did in Chicago, but he's a solid RB2 in 2016.

4.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Admittedly, I was high, too high, on Hill going into the 2015 season and he was a disappointment. With one more carry than he had as a rookie, Hill's rushing yards dropped from 1,124 (5.1 YPC) in 2014 to 794 (3.6 YPC) in 2015. That said, he did score a total of 12 touchdowns. Perhaps we shouldn't expect similar efficiency as his rookie season, but I do expect to see a bit of a bounce-back from the 235-pound Hill and I'm more than willing to gamble on him at the end of Round 4 as my RB2.

4.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins

Setting a franchise record with 111 receptions last season, Landry had 1,159 receiving yards, 111 rushing yards and a total of six touchdowns. Even though he is/was better in PPR formats (WR8 in 2015), Landry finished as the the WR13 in standard-scoring formats last season.

4.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago Bears

Filling in as a starter for Matt Forte in Weeks 9 to 11, Langford racked up 366 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns in his three starts. While he averaged more than 20 fantasy points per game in his three starts, Langford averaged only 3.63 yards per carry on the season. If Langford doesn't improve his efficiency, it wouldn't surprise me if Jordan Howard carves out an expanded role as the season progresses.

> Continue to Round 5 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 3 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Our 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Fantasy Football Rankings (Standard scoring)
- PPR Fantasy Football Rankings
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

Check out more of our content:
- 2017 NFL Mock Draft
- NFL Mock Draft Database
- NFL Power Rankings
- 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)
- 2016 Fantasy Football Profiles
- Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Continue reading "2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 4" »


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May 17, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 3

In our latest 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft, four of our contributors -- Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley, Dan Yanotchko and yours truly -- will each draft for three (of 12) teams.

This mock draft will run 12 rounds and will use standard scoring -- i.e., not point-per-reception (PPR) scoring -- and we are now through one quarter of our "slow" mock.

Here are the Round 3 results in our 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

3.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Although he set career highs of 74 catches for 1,206 yards, Evans had just three touchdowns (after 12 as a rookie) and led the league in drops. Only 22 years old (turns 23 in August) and with the continued development of Jameis Winston, Evans has a chance to post markedly better numbers in 2016.

3.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets

In all but two games last season, Marshall had either 100 yards and/or a touchdown (or more) as he set a career high in touchdowns (14) and nearly missed a career high with 1,502 yards. In fact, it was the first time since Randy Moss (2003) that a receiver had at least 109/1,502/14 and only the fifth time in NFL history. While I don't expect a repeat of his historic numbers, 1,200-plus yards and 8-10 touchdowns would be a reasonable projection for his second season with the Jets.

3.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos

With 1,400-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in each of the previous three seasons, Thomas had 105 catches for 1,304 yards and six touchdowns in 2015. With Peyton Manning (retirement) and Brock Osweiler (free agency) now longer in Denver, Thomas may still approach last year's stat line but his upside is a bit capped due to the team's quarterback situation for 2016.

3.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers

Playing only eight games last season, Allen hauled in 67 catches for 725 yards and four touchdowns -- or a full-season pace of 134/1,450/8. Before sustaining the injury, only Julio Jones (70) had more catches and only Jones (892) and DeAndre Hopkins (870) had more receiving yards. If he can stay healthy, the 24-year-old receiver should rank near the top of the league in targets in 2016.

3.05 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills

Trading up to select Watkins with a top-four pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Bills finally started to use Watkins the way fantasy owners wanted. Of course, it took some public complaints by Watkins for that to happen. Not only did Watkins have at least 80 yards in his final six games, but he exceeded 100 yards in four of those games and he scored a total of six touchdowns during that stretch. One concern with Watkins, however, is that he had foot surgery recently, which could keep him out of the preseason and foot injuries are always a concern with receivers.

3.06 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

The top-scoring fantasy quarterback in 2015, Newton threw for 3,837 yards and 35 touchdowns while rushing for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns. Newton has now finished as a top-four fantasy quarterback in four of his five NFL seasons. No quarterback has more weekly upside than the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player as he finished as the weekly QB1 in five of his final nine games in 2015.

3.07 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints

The breakout may not have been as great as many had expected, but Cooks finished the season with a productive stat line of 84/1,138/9. Eight of those touchdowns came in the final nine games and three of his four 100-yard games happened in December so he carries momentum into 2016.

3.08 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Disappointing fantasy owners, Hilton still finished with 1,124 yards but just five touchdowns. With 67-plus yards in six of his first seven games, Hilton had more receiving yards (606) than all but five receivers through Week 7. Given that Andrew Luck played just seven games all season including a few at less than 100 percent, Hilton's numbers should bounce back in 2016 assuming a healthier version of Luck under center.

3.09 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders

Scoring the 11th-most fantasy points among running backs, Murray finished fourth in the NFL in touches (307) and sixth in rushing (1,066 yards). Not only did he have a large workload overall, Murray had 15-plus touches in 15 of 16 games with 13 being the lone exception. Here is the list of players with 15 15-touch games in 2015: Murray. End of list. Comments by the coaching staff about Murray this offseason are a bit of a concern, but the good news is they waited until the fifth round to draft a running back (DeAndre Washington).

3.10 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos

Drafted as a late first-round pick in many 2015 fantasy drafts, Anderson started slowly and spent much of the season in a timeshare with Ronnie Hillman. In the second half of the season, however, CJA was much better than both his first half and Hillman. Starting with Week 8, Anderson carried the ball 85 times for 540 yards (6.35 YPC) and five touchdowns and hopefully that momentum will carry over into 2016. The Broncos brought back Hillman on a one-year deal, but the bigger concern is fourth-rounder Devontae Booker becoming more involved as the season progresses.

3.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers

There are a couple of concerns with Stewart: (1) durability and (2) Cam Newton-vultured touchdowns. After all, Newton has the third-most rushing touchdowns since entering the league in 2011. Before a Week 14 injury, however, Stewart had eight consecutive games with 20-plus carries so the workload is there when healthy even though he has missed at least three games in four consecutive seasons.

3.12 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins

Dominant in the 2015 fantasy playoffs, Reed finished as the weekly TE1 in Weeks 14, 15 and 16 as he hauled in a total of 25 catches for 333 yards and five touchdowns during that three-game stretch. On the year, only Rob Gronkowski and Gary Barnidge scored more fantasy points than Reed. The only concern is durability; Reed has played only 34 games through three seasons.

> Continue to Round 4 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 2 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Our 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Fantasy Football Rankings (Standard scoring)
- PPR Fantasy Football Rankings
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

Check out more of our content:
- 2017 NFL Mock Draft
- NFL Mock Draft Database
- NFL Power Rankings
- 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)
- 2016 Fantasy Football Profiles
- Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Continue reading "2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 3" »


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May 16, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 2

In our latest 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft, four of our contributors -- Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley, Dan Yanotchko and yours truly -- will each draft for three (of 12) teams.

This mock draft will run 12 rounds and will use standard scoring -- i.e., not point-per-reception (PPR) scoring -- and we are now through Round 2.

Since this is a "slow" mock draft, we will post picks/rounds as they are complete.

Here are the Round 2 results in our 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

2.01 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers

There are a few receivers that most would take ahead of Nelson, who is the WR6 in this mock, but I have no issues with Sean taking Nelson here. Not only was his ACL injury sustained relatively early (last preseason), but reports so far have shown him to be ahead of schedule throughout the rehab process. In other words, he should be a full participant once training camp begins.

Set to turn 31 at the end of May, Nelson had stat lines of 98/1,519/13 (2014) and 85/1,314/8 (2013) in his previous two seasons prior to the injury. Being the go-to receiver of Aaron Rodgers, Nelson should finish in the neighborhood of 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns with good health in 2016.

2.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Breaking out in his second season, the 22-year-old Robinson finished with 80 catches for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015 and scored the fourth-most fantasy points among wide receivers. In his final 12 games of the season, Robinson finished with 100-plus yards and/or a touchdown (or more) in every game. Robinson is one of only five players in the past decade to have a 1,400/14 season.

2.03 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders

This is a little earlier than I'd take Cooper, especially with receivers such as A.J. Green, Alshon Jeffery and Mike Evans still on the board. Still just 21 years old (turns 22 in June), however, Cooper had 72 catches for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie and battled a foot injury down the stretch. In other words, 2015 could have been even better for Cooper and he should take a big leap in his sophomore season.

2.04 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

The top-scoring fantasy running back in 2015, Freeman rushed for 1,056 yards and hauled in 73 catches, third-most among running backs, for 578 yards as he scored a total of 14 touchdowns last season. Perhaps he won't lead the NFL in touchdowns once again, but the versatile back has upside from his RB7 draft slot.

2.05 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

As a rookie, Martin exploded onto the scene with 1,926 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns. After two injury-plagued disappointing campaigns, Martin exceeded the value of his 2015 draft slot with 1,673 YFS and seven touchdowns last season. After re-signing with the Bucs this offseason, Martin should rank near the top of the league in workload and production provided he can stay healthy.

2.06 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans

Perennially under-involved in Miami's offense, Miller has been highly productive on a per-touch basis. Despite his modest workload (194 carries, 18th-most in 2015), Miller scored the sixth-most fantasy points last year and has now finished as a top-10 fantasy running back in back-to-back seasons.

Given the change of scenery, Miller is poised for a jump in workload as the new lead back in Houston. Since Bill O'Brien has taken over as coach, the Texans have ranked third in the NFL in offensive plays and second in rushing attempts.

2.07 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

With only 132 targets last season, Green was targeted 10-plus times in only four of 16 games in 2015. While he may not have as much upside as some of the receivers selected ahead of him, Green has exceeded the 1,000-yard mark in all five of his NFL seasons and scored double-digit touchdowns three times.

2.08 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks

It's been an impressive run for Marshawn Lynch in Seattle, however, he has decided to hang up his cleats. The Seahawks and fantasy owners have seen a glimpse of what life could be like with Rawls as the full-time starter. In the six games that he started and finished, Rawls had four 100-yard rushing games and averaged 118.67 rushing yards per game.

There is risk with Rawls, however, as the Seahawks have been less than clear about the recovery and timeline following last year's broken ankle. In addition, the Seahawks drafted three running backs including Notre Dame's C.J. Prosise in the third round.

2.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers

Following back-to-back 1,100-yard rushing seasons with 24 total touchdowns in his first two seasons, Lacy disappointed fantasy owners with only 758 rushing yards and five total touchdowns. Benched for a stint during the season and called out by his coach after the season for his weight, Lacy has shed plenty of pounds as he plays for a new contract following the 2016 season.

2.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears

Designated with the franchise tag, Jeffery could be playing for a new contract in 2016 if the two sides don't agree to a long-term deal by July 15th. In an injury-marred 2015 season, Jeffery averaged 6.0 catches and 89.7 yards per game, both of which were career highs. With better health in 2016, Jeffery should finish as a top-10 fantasy receiver.

2.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints

The biggest issue with Ingram has been durability. The 26-year-old back has missed three or more games in four of five seasons including four games in 2015. Over the past two seasons, however, Ingram has averaged 18.84 touches, 91.32 yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game. Despite playing just 12 games, Ingram still finished as fantasy's RB15 in 2015.

2.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills

Missing four games in his first season with the Bills, McCoy averaged nearly 20 touches (19.58/G) and 100 YFS (98.92/G) per game. Assuming good health, McCoy should rank near the top of the league leaders in usage and YFS in 2016.

> Continue to Round 3 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Our 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Fantasy Football Rankings (Standard scoring)
- PPR Fantasy Football Rankings
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

Check out more of our content:
- 2017 NFL Mock Draft
- NFL Mock Draft Database
- NFL Power Rankings
- 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)
- 2016 Fantasy Football Profiles
- Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Continue reading "2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 2" »


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May 15, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 1

In our latest 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft, four of our contributors -- Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley, Dan Yanotchko and yours truly (Kevin Hanson) -- will each draft for three (of 12) teams.

This mock draft will run 12 rounds and will use standard scoring -- i.e., not point-per-reception (PPR) scoring.

Note: This is a "slow" mock, but picks will be added once they are made and I will include comments for all picks as well.

Here are the Round 1 results in our 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

1.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Perhaps the consensus top pick in 2016 fantasy football drafts, Dan gets a player that is as safe and productive as it gets. As the saying goes, you can't win -- but you can lose -- your league in Round 1.

While Brown set career highs of 136 catches and 1,834 yards, his numbers may have been even better had Ben Roethlisberger not missed time last season. Over his past three seasons combined, Brown has a total of 375 receptions for 5,031 yards and 31 touchdowns with a minimum of 110 catches and 1,499 yards per season.

The full-year suspension of Martavis Bryant will benefit the rest of the team's pass catchers more than Brown, but it's another reason that Brown could once again be in store for a career-best season. My top-ranked fantasy wide receiver for 2016, Brown has led all wide receivers in fantasy points in both of the previous two seasons.

1.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Injuries at running back are obviously a huge risk with any running back and Bell missed a huge chunk of last season, but he's a highly productive, true three-down back when he's on the field. In 22 games over the past two seasons, Bell has 510 touches -- 403 carries and 107 receptions -- for 2,907 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns. That averages out to 23.18 touches, 132.14 YFS and 0.64 touchdowns -- or more than 17 (standard) fantasy points -- per game.

Last season, only two running backs exceeded 200 fantasy pointsDevonta Freeman (243.9) and Adrian Peterson (230.7). With Bell missing 10 games due to suspension or injury last season, DeAngelo Williams stepped up big time as he finished as fantasy's RB4 (193.4 fantasy points) last year.

If we used Bell's fantasy points scored in the games he played and Williams' fantasy points in the games he did not, the featured back in those 16 games scored 265.3 fantasy points (or more than Freeman or Peterson) . There is obviously some injury concern with Bell (MCL, PCL) going into 2016, but he's my top-ranked fantasy running back and worthy of a top-two pick after Brown.

1.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants

Three of the top four players in my overall 2016 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet are wide receivers. With the next two picks in this mock, I've stuck to my board with a pair of wide receivers, but I at least considered drafting a stud running back here given there are so few true workhorse backs in the league these days.

In his young career, Beckham has averaged more than 100 yards per game (2,755 yards in 27 career games). Even though he has missed five games over his first two seasons, OBJ has 15 100-yard games during that span. Only Brown (17) and Julio Jones (16) have more. In addition, no player has more receiving touchdowns than Beckham (25) during his two NFL seasons.

1.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Not only did Jones lead the NFL in receiving yards (1,871), but it was second-most of any season in NFL history. Despite having more than 100 catches and 1,500 yards in back-to-back seasons, Jones has only 14 touchdowns in those two seasons. Based on his volume of targets as well as his combination of size and speed, Jones should be more productive in the red zone.

1.05 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Injuries finally led to Johnson getting a shot at the featured role, but the third-rounder out of Northern Iowa had been productive in limited opportunities before that. Johnson scored a total of 13 touchdowns -- eight rushing, four receiving and one return -- on only 161 touches last season. Finishing as a top-five weekly performer in three of his five starts, Johnson will spend all of 2016 as the team's featured back.

1.06 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

One of the best young talents in the NFL, Hopkins took another big step forward in his age-23 season. Even with a less-than-ideal quarterback situation, Hopkins set career highs across the board with 111 receptions, 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015.

1.07 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

Despite missing the first three games of the season, Gurley finished third in the NFL with 1,106 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Gurley exceeded the 100-yard mark only once in his final eight games, but he still averaged 4.8 yards per carry over his rookie campaign. Despite running behind a poor offensive line and with a rookie quarterback under center, Gurley will be one more year removed from his torn ACL and could lead the league in rush attempts in 2016.

1.08 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

After sitting out virtually all of the 2014 season, Peterson led the NFL in carries (327), rushing yards (1,485) and rushing touchdowns (11). The Vikings will continue to ride AP as their workhorse. Despite his superhuman physical traits, the only concern is that he turned 31 years old in March.

1.09 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

Counting 10 playoff games, Gronkowski has a total of 75 touchdowns in 90 career games. And with the exception of his seven-game 2013 season, Gronk has double-digit touchdowns in five of his six NFL seasons. Gronk is one of the league's biggest mismatches and the clear-cut top option at his position. If there's any concern, it's a potential slow start if Tom Brady's four-game suspension is upheld, but I would have taken him if he had slipped two more spots to me at 1.11.

1.10 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Coming off a torn ACL, there's obviously concerns with Charles from a health perspective, but the good news is the injury happened reasonably early in the season so he remains on track for Week 1. The next time the versatile eight-year veteran averages less than 5.0 yards per carry for a season, it will be his first. In his five games last season, he averaged 18.4 touches, 108.2 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown per game.

In addition to returning from the injury, the other concern with Charles is that the Chiefs will scale back his workload with the presence of other capable backs. Before his injury-shortened 2015 season, Charles' workload dropped from 285 carries (2013) to 259 (2014) to 206 (2015).

1.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Ezekial Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

As a Cowboys fan, I still wish the team used the fourth-overall pick on Jalen Ramsey instead of Elliott. With that said, however, Elliott is a complete back with the vision, power and speed to excel as a runner. Possessing soft hands as a receiver, Elliott is also outstanding in pass protection, which can often limit rookie playing time.

From a fantasy football perspective, Elliott could not have ended up in a better situation. With the skill set to be a true three-down back, Elliott gets to run behind the NFL's best offensive line. Provided Tony Romo and Dez Bryant stay healthy to keep opposing defenses honest, Elliott has the upside to finish as the RB1 in 2016.

1.12 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

It was a disappointing season for Dez and the Cowboys. Not only was Bryant sidelined for nearly half the season with a broken foot, but Tony Romo broke his collarbone (two times). When healthy, however, Bryant is one of the most dominant receivers in the league and only Rob Gronkowski has more receiving touchdowns than Bryant (53) since 2011.

> Continue to Round 2 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Our 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Fantasy Football Rankings (Standard scoring)
- PPR Fantasy Football Rankings
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

Check out more of our content:
- 2017 NFL Mock Draft
- NFL Mock Draft Database
- NFL Power Rankings
- 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule (SOS)
- 2016 Fantasy Football Profiles
- Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Continue reading "2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 1" »


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May 09, 2016

2017 NFL Mock Draft: DeShaun Watson to Browns, Leonard Fournette to Lions

With the 2016 NFL Draft only one week behind us, I've already begun the process of looking ahead to the 2017 NFL Draft.

This should be obvious to everyone, but I'll state it anyways, this preliminary projection of my 2017 NFL Mock Draft will likely change significantly between now and end of the April 2017. Therefore, the goal is primarily to highlight players who could hear their names called on Day 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft and match up some possible fits.

For the draft order, I've used the inverse of my 2016 NFL Power Rankings. And I'll continue to use them for future updates until we know the draft order for certain.

With that said, here is my very early projection of how Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft could play out next April:

1. Cleveland Browns (Draft History: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Since professional football has returned to Cleveland, the Browns have had nothing but question marks under center. While RG3 will enter 2016 as Cleveland's starting quarterback and the team drafted USC's Cody Kessler in the third round, it would be difficult for Hue Jackson and the front office to pass up an opportunity to select a franchise quarterback here.

Despite losing their top receiver in the season opener, Watson went on to finish in the top three among Heisman voting as he led the Tigers to the national championship game against Alabama as a true sophomore. Watson threw for 4,104 yards, 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while also rushing for 1,105 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Watson threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns against Alabama in the championship game and rushed for another 73 yards. Per Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports, one NFL quarterbacks coach said of Watson: “Those are NFL players he was going against. He threw with anticipation. He was very accurate. He responded well to adversity. He’s a smooth athlete, and he showed he’s tough.”

2. San Francisco 49ers (Draft History: Myles Garrett, DE/OLB, Texas A&M

If the 49ers are selecting second overall in 2017, it's more than possible that they consider a quarterback prospect, such as Miami's Brad Kaaya, in this spot. That said, Garrett has as good of a chance as any other prospect to be the first non-quarterback prospect selected next April. Averaging nearly a sack per game over his first two seasons in College Station, Garrett racked up 11.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss as a true sophomore in 2015. The 49ers ranked 29th in the NFL in sacks (28) in 2015.

3. San Diego Chargers (Draft History: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

There was some speculation that the Chargers would take either Ronnie Stanley or Laremy Tunsil (pre-social media hack), but it wouldn't surprise me if they draft a tackle here in 2017. PFF graded San Diego's offensive line 32nd of 32 teams in 2015. Starting at left tackle since stepping on campus as a freshman, the former five-star recruit and 2015 All-SEC selection would be a long-term upgrade over either King Dunlap or Joe Barksdale at either tackle spot.

4. Tennessee Titans (Draft History: Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida

Only three teams -- 49ers (8.0 Y/A), Browns (8.2) and Saints (8.7) -- allowed more yards per attempt than the Titans (7.9) last season. The Titans used a couple of Day 3 picks on corners, but the 6-foot-1 Tabor has the talent to become the team's true No. 1 corner. Vernon Hargreaves III was a top-11 pick in this year's draft and it's possible that his Gator teammate gets selected even higher than VH3.

5. Detroit Lions (Draft History: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

With Todd Gurley and Ezekial Elliott both going within the first 10 picks of the draft, Fournette should extend that streak for a third consecutive year. The dominant 230-pound sophomore rushed for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns despite the lack of a passing attack to keep defenses honest.

6. Tennessee Titans, via LA, (Draft History: Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, USC

By trading the No. 1 overall pick last year, the Titans have a pair of first-rounders and based on my post-draft 2016 NFL Power Rankings, the Titans have a pair of top-six selections as a result. Last year, they added DeMarco Murray, Heisman winner Derrick Henry and Jack Conklin to improve their rushing attack.

With the pick of Smith-Schuster, who finished with 89/1,454/10 as a sophomore, Marcus Mariota get a potential No. 1 wideout. Perhaps Dorial Green-Beckham will take a step forward in his second season and beyond, but Kendall Wright will be a free agent after the 2016 season.

7. Cleveland Browns, via PHI, (Draft History: Carl Lawson, DE/OLB, Auburn

Playing only seven games over the past two seasons due to injury, Lawson is an explosive edge rusher with the potential to be a top-five selection next April provided he stays healthy. Ranking in the bottom five in the league in sacks (29) last season, the Browns added some pass-rushers through the draft -- Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib, etc., but they declined the fifth-year option on Barkevious Mingo, who has been a disappointment, and Paul Kruger and Desmond Bryant will be free agents after the 2017 season.

8. New Orleans Saints (Draft History: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama

The Saints improved their defensive line by drafting Louisville's Sheldon Rankings, a disruptive interior defensive lineman, and continue to rebuild the unit by selecting Allen here. After allowing the most points and second-most yards in 2015, however, the team's defense has a long way to go. Despite playing fewer than half of the team's defensive snaps, Allen led the team with 12 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss in 2015.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Draft History: Jabrill Peppers, DB, Michigan

In addition to having made contributions on offense and in the return game, the versatile Peppers has played safety, cornerback and will play SAM linebacker this season. While the Bucs added VH3 at cornerback in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Peppers would provide the Bucs with an upgrade at safety.

10. Chicago Bears (Draft History: Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami (FL)

With Jay Cutler's guaranteed money set to run out after this season, it's possible that the Bears find a long-term replacement for their turnover-prone quarterback if Kaaya is still on the board here. The son of Angela Means, who played Felisha in the movie Friday, the 6-foot-4 signal-caller has all of the tools to develop into a franchise quarterback.

11. Miami Dolphins (Draft History: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

Only five teams recorded fewer sacks than the Dolphins (31) last season. In addition, the Dolphins gave Cameron Wake a two-year extension, but both of their starting defensive ends -- Wake (turns 35 in January) and Mario Williams (turns 32 in January) -- are on the wrong side of 30. Over 26 games in his two seasons with the Vols, Barnett has racked up a total of 20.0 sacks and 32.5 tackles for loss.

12. Atlanta Falcons (Draft History: Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State

As a 19-year-old sophomore, McDowell recorded 4.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles as the team's starting nose tackle. Going into the 2016 season, however, the confident McDowell (6-6, 280 pounds) will line up all over the defensive line including defensive end.

Who's the best defensive lineman in the country? It's McDowell, if you ask McDowell.

"I think I'm the best D-lineman in the country, I can't lie," McDowell said, per Mike Griffith of MLive.com. "So if you want it and you ask for it, you've got to be willing to take on the pressure."

13. New York Jets (Draft History: Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State

With the retirement of D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the Jets signed Ryan Clady to a two-year deal. Based on the deal, the Jets hold an option for 2017 that would pay Clady $10 million (or up to $13 million based on 2016 playing time). Florida State's starting left tackle last season, Johnson won the 2015 ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy, which is awarded to the conference's best blocker.

14. Buffalo Bills (Draft History: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU

Stud cornerback Stephon Gilmore is due to hit unrestricted free agency next offseason. If they are unable to sign Gilmore to a long-term deal or they use their franchise tag on him, White gives them some insurance. Either way, you can never have too many talented cornerbacks and White would have likely been a first-round pick had he not decided to return to Baton Rouge this fall.

15. New York Giants (Draft History: Zach Banner, OT, USC

The son of former Pro Bowl offensive tackle Lincoln Kennedy, Banner is one of the biggest college football players in the country at 6-foot-9 and 360 pounds and he has played basketball for USC as well. With 25 of his 27 starts at right tackle, Banner will move to the left side this season.

16. Houston Texans (Draft History: Jamal Adams, S, LSU

All three of Houston's qualified safeties (out of 89), Quintin Demps (47th), Andre Hal (51st) and Eddie Pleasant (66th) graded out in the bottom half of PFF's 2015 grades for the position. A confident, hard-hitting, playmaking safety, Adams (6-1, 211) is the son of George Adams, who played for the Giants and Patriots. Adams had a team-high four interceptions and finished third on the team in tackles (67) last season.

- Continue to picks 17-32 in our 2017 NFL Mock Draft

- For more mocks, check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

Continue reading "2017 NFL Mock Draft: DeShaun Watson to Browns, Leonard Fournette to Lions" »


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May 08, 2016

2016 NFL Power Rankings: Post-Draft Power Rankings

Here are my post-draft NFL Power Rankings:

1. Arizona Cardinals (Record: 0-0; Last: 1)More talented than the 29th player overall, Robert Nkemdiche was a nice value for the Cardinals, who also added Chandler Jones before the draft in exchange for their second-round pick (and Jonathan Cooper). The addition of both significantly boosts their defensive line talent and rotation.

2. New England Patriots (Record: 0-0; Last: 2)Without a first-round pick, the Patriots had some solid value picks in the draft. Even though Tom Brady is suspended for the first four games, at least currently, the Pats remain the favorite (15/2) in Vegas (via Sportsbook.ag) to win Super Bowl LI.

3. Seattle Seahawks (Record: 0-0; Last: 6)For the first time since 2012 (Bruce Irvin), the Seahawks actually made a first-round selection in the draft (Germain Ifedi). The Seahawks need reinforcements on their offensive line so Ifedi addresses one of their bigger needs and they got excellent value with their next two picks -- Jarran Reed (Round 2) and C.J. Prosise (Round 3) -- as well.

4. Carolina Panthers (Record: 0-0; Last: 3)Typical for Dave Gettleman, the Panthers drafted a defensive lineman -- Louisana Tech's Vernon Butler -- in the first round. Then the team proceeded to draft cornerbacks with their next three picks -- James Bradberry (Round 2), Daryl Worley (Round 3) and Zack Sanchez (Round 5).

5. Denver Broncos (Record: 0-0; Last: 4)While he may not start any games this season, the Broncos got their long-term replacement for Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler in the draft as they traded up for Paxton Lynch. You could argue that Lynch has as much upside as any quarterback prospect in this draft class based on his tools and he is an excellent system fit for Denver's offense.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (Record: 0-0; Last: 5)The Steelers double-dipped by selecting defensive backs -- Artie Burns and Sean Davis -- with their first- and second-round picks. Both are a bit raw, but possess outstanding athleticism, length and upside.

7. Green Bay Packers (Record: 0-0; Last: 7)The Packers addressed several needs in the draft with two defensive linemen and two linebackers among their first five picks. They also traded up to get athletic left tackle Jason Spriggs in the second round.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (Record: 0-0; Last: 8)The Bengals stayed put with each of their draft pick slots and got some good values throughout including Baylor's Andrew Billings in the fourth round and Arizona State's Christian Westerman in the fifth round. Pitt's Tyler Boyd will help fill the void at receiver left by free-agent departures from Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones.

9. Minnesota Vikings (Record: 0-0; Last: 10)Not only did the Vikings arguably add the best receiver in this year's draft class with Laquon Treadwell, but Mackensie Alexander was a nice value with the 54th overall pick as well. And Moritz Boehringer, the first-ever player drafted out of Europe, joins his favorite team after taking up the sport as a 17-year-old impressed by an Adrian Peterson YouTube video.

10. Kansas City Chiefs (Record: 0-0; Last: 9)With their first pick (a second-rounder), the Chiefs selected Mississippi State's Chris Jones, who has first-round talent if he can play with consistent effort and technique. The Chiefs lost Sean Smith in free agency, but they drafted three cornerbacks, and they also selected Stanford's Kevin Hogan to replace Chase Daniel as the team's backup quarterback.

11. Baltimore Ravens (Record: 0-0; Last: 12)The Ravens passed on Laremy Tunsil for Ronnie Stanley, but their grades are very similar, and the Ravens loaded up on positions of need throughout the draft -- two offensive tackles, three defensive ends/edge rushers, two cornerbacks and a pair of running backs including one of my favorite prospects in this class, LA Tech's Kenneth Dixon.

12. Indianapolis Colts (Record: 0-0; Last: 13)In a season where Andrew Luck played only seven games, the Colts offensive line allowed a total of 118 QB Hits, second-most after the Browns. Using the draft to reinforce their offensive line, the Colts drafted four offensive linemen including center Ryan Kelly with the 18th overall pick.

13. Oakland Raiders (Record: 0-0; Last: 14)Continuing the momentum they built in free agency, the Raiders added safety Karl Joseph and a pair of pass-rushers with their first three picks. They should have four newcomers as starters on the defensive side of the ball in 2016. The Raiders last winning season was the 2002 season when they lost in the Super Bowl, but this is their most talented roster since that point.

14. Jacksonville Jaguars (Record: 0-0; Last: 17)Their strong offseason continued into the draft as the Jags were able to land Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack, both of whom are top-five prospects when healthy. Of course, there are concerns with Jack's knee, but the their defense should be much improved in 2016.

15. Dallas Cowboys (Record: 0-0; Last: 11)Clearly, Ezekial Elliott is the best running back prospect in this year's draft class, but the Cowboys would have been better off drafting Jalen Ramsey in the first round. Meanwhile, Jaylon Smith was a top-five prospect before his knee injury, but he's expected to miss all of 2016.

16. Washington Redskins (Record: 0-0; Last: 16)Washington had only three top-150 picks in the NFL Draft and they got value with each of them: Josh Doctson (Round 1), Su'a Cravens (Round 2) and Kendall Fuller (Round 3).

17. Houston Texans (Record: 0-0; Last: 15)Not only did the Texans sign Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller in free agency, but they continued to re-make themselves on offense by drafting WR Will Fuller, G/C Nick Martin, WR Braxton Miller and RB Tyler Ervin with their first four picks.

18. New York Giants (Record: 0-0; Last: 18)Perhaps a little early with their first-round pick, Eli Apple, as the Bears jumped ahead of them to take Leonard Floyd, the Giants made several value picks later in the draft.

19. Buffalo Bills (Record: 0-0; Last: 19)The Bills made a few value picks on the defensive side of the ball early as Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland slipped to them in the first and second rounds, respectively. Given their lukewarm commitment to Tyrod Taylor, fourth-rounder Cardale Jones could be the team's quarterback of the future.

20. New York Jets (Record: 0-0; Last: 21)The Jets drafted a quarterback, Christian Hackenberg, in the second round, but unless (or until) they re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, their quarterback situation remains shaky at best with Geno Smith currently the projected starter.

21. Atlanta Falcons (Record: 0-0; Last: 20)Selecting prospects in the draft that address some of their team needs, the Falcons did not add much pass-rush help and they ranked last in the NFL in sacks (19) last season.

22. Miami Dolphins (Record: 0-0; Last: 26)Arguably the most talented prospect of this year's draft class, Laremy Tunsil fell to the Dolphins at No. 13 after his Twitter account was hacked. In addition, the Dolphins also addressed some other needs with early picks as well -- Xavien Howard at cornerback and Kenyan Drake at running back.

23. Chicago Bears (Record: 0-0; Last: 25)The Bears traded up two spots to get in front of the Giants and take Leonard Floyd, who has a lot of potential as a pass-rusher, but I really liked their Day 2 value picks -- Cody Whitehair, a left tackle in college that will move inside to guard, and Jonathan Bullard, a versatile defensive lineman from Florida.

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Record: 0-0; Last: 28)With Vernon Hargreaves and Noah Spence as their first two picks, the Buccaneers addressed some needs. And while they upgraded their placekicking, the Bucs gave up a third- and fourth-round pick to trade up to take Roberto Aguayo in the second round. Aguayo is only the fourth kicker selected in the first two rounds in the past 25 years.

25. New Orleans Saints (Record: 0-0; Last: 22)The Saints had only five picks in this year's draft and Sheldon Rankins and Vonn Bell should help improve a defense that ranked last in the NFL. In addition, they drafted receiver Michael Thomas, who will likely assume Marques Colston's old role. That said, it's possible that the Saints will be picking within the top 5-10 picks in 2017.

26. Philadelphia Eagles (Record: 0-0; Last: 23)Given the amount of compensation given to move up to No. 2, Philadelphia's draft class will be evaluated almost exclusively on Carson Wentz' development. At least at the moment, Wentz will sit behind a quarterback that doesn't want to be on the team.

27. Los Angeles Rams (Record: 0-0; Last: 24)The good news is that the Rams now have their quarterback of the future. The bad news is the amount of draft-pick compensation surrendered to move up 14 spots. If Jared Goff turns into a true franchise quarterback, however, it will be all worth it.

28. Detroit Lions (Record: 0-0; Last: 27)For a second consecutive draft and the third in five drafts, the Lions used their first-round pick on an offensive lineman -- this year, Ohio State left tackle Taylor Decker. Whether they use Decker at left or right tackle, he instantly makes the offensive line better. But the retirement this offseason of Calvin Johnson will make this a much less dynamic offense in 2016 and beyond.

29. Tennessee Titans (Record: 0-0; Last: 30)Using the second overall pick last season, the Titans have their franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota. This offseason, however, they added some significant pieces to improve their rushing attack -- DeMarco Murray before the draft as well as Jack Conklin and Derrick Henry in the draft. In addition, they added some key contributors to their defensive line rotation with Kevin Dodd and Austin Johnson in Round 2.

30. San Diego Chargers (Record: 0-0; Last: 29)Adding Joey Bosa will help improve a pass rush that ranked in the bottom 10 in the league last season and Hunter Henry, the top tight end prospect in this year's draft class, gives the Chargers a long-term replacement for Antonio Gates. That said, the Chargers are now the least talented team in the AFC West despite having the best quarterback.

31. San Francisco 49ers (Record: 0-0; Last: 31)One of the least surprising picks of the weekend, Chip Kelly reunited with Oregon's DeForest Buckner with the seventh overall pick and he represented good value. But one of the biggest surprises of the draft was the team trading back into the first round for Stanford guard Joshua Garnett.

32. Cleveland Browns (Record: 0-0; Last: 32)Tying a seven-round record with 14 draft picks, the Browns added a total of four receivers including Corey Coleman with the 15th-overall pick and used three top-99 picks on edge rushers. They also drafted USC's Cody Kessler in the third round, but it's possible (likely) that they draft a franchise quarterback should they finish with the first overall pick in 2016.

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April 26, 2016

2016 NFL Power Rankings: Pre-Draft Power Rankings

Here are our initial 2016 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Arizona Cardinals (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)The Cardinals led the NFL in scoring offense and Carson Palmer had a career season — 4,671 passing yards, 35 touchdowns, 104.6 passer rating, etc. were all career highs — even though he comitted six turnovers in the NFC Championship Game. And going into the 2016 NFL season, you could argue that the Cardinals are the league's most balanced team.

2. New England Patriots (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Over the past six seasons, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick & Co. have posted a 75-21 regular-season record with a minimum of 12 wins every year. Only the Colts (7, 2003-2009) have a longer streak of seasons with 12-plus victories. Even with Brady's four-game suspension reinstated, Vegas still has the Pats as Super Bowl LI favorites (15/2).

3. Carolina Panthers (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Coming off a career-best season, Cam Newton became the ninth Heisman Trophy winner to also win an NFL MVP award and the first to do since Barry Sanders (1997). On defense, the Panthers have one of the league's best front-sevens, but they rescinded their franchise tag on shutdown corner Josh Norman, who signed a free-agent deal with Washington.

4. Denver Broncos (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Although they field last year's top-ranked defense, the defending champs go into the draft without either first-ballot Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning or presumed 2016 starter Brock Osweiler, who signed a free-agent deal with Houston. Perhaps they will be able to work out a deal for Colin Kaepernick; otherwise, Mark Sanchez currently tops their quarterback depth chart.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)While it hurts that Martavis Bryant (suspension) will miss all of 2016, the Steelers were without Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell for multiple games in 2015 yet finished third in total offense (395.4 YPG) and tied for fourth in scoring offense (26.4 PPG). Adding upgrades and reinforcements to a leaky pass defense will be key area of emphasis in the draft.

6. Seattle Seahawks (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)While he and the team (4-5 in first nine games) started slowly, Russell Wilson compiled a 24-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio over the team's final seven regular-season games. Oddly enough, Wilson's passing-game success happened primarily with Jimmy Graham (knee) out of the lineup.

7. Green Bay Packers (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)The loss of Jordy Nelson (ACL) hurt the team's offense as Aaron Rodgers averaged just 238.8 YPG and 6.7 Y/A with a 60.7 completion percentage, all of which were career lows as a starter. With the return of Nelson and a fitter Eddie Lacy, the Packers offense, which ranked 23rd in 2015, should bounce back in 2016.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)The good news is that the Bengals have made the postseason in five consecutive seasons. While Andy Dalton (thumb) missed the playoff game, the Bengals have now lost all seven of Marvin Lewis' playoff games.

9. Kansas City Chiefs (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)While the Chiefs got off to a horrible start (1-5 and an ACL injury to Jamaal Charles), Andy Reid is now 3-for-3 in winning seasons in Kansas City as the Chiefs won their final 10 regular-season games.

10. Minnesota Vikings (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Minnesota's Adrian Peterson led the NFL in rushing with 1,485 yards and he rushed for 11 touchdowns. Excluding his one-game 2014 season, Peterson has rushed for double-digit touchdowns in all eight of his other nine seasons. Currently 10th all-time in rushing touchdowns (97), AP is currently 13 rushing scores behind Walter Payton (110, fourth all-time).

11. Dallas Cowboys (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)While the Cowboys have a top-four pick in this month's NFL Draft, they also have the best odds (among NFC East teams) to win Super Bowl LI at 20/1, per sportsbook.ag. Of course, the key to their success will be the health of quarterback Tony Romo, as he played in just four games (3-1) last season. They were 1-11 in their other 12 games.

12. Baltimore Ravens (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)For the first time in the eight seasons that John Harbaugh has been head coach, the Ravens finished with a losing record (5-11). The team suffered numerous season-ending injuries -- Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett, Steve Smith, etc. -- but you could argue this is the least talented roster that Harbaugh has had.

13. Indianapolis Colts (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)In four seasons as quarterback, Andrew Luck has lost exactly five games every season. The bad news is that he played only seven games last year. Clearly the franchise needs to surround him with better talent, but Luck, who turned the ball over 15 times in seven games, needs to take better care of the football.

14. Oakland Raiders (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Few teams made as significant of an improvement to their roster in free agency as the Raiders. Not only did Oakland re-sign Donald Penn and Aldon Smith, but they signed Kelechi Osemele, Bruce Irvin, Sean Smith and Reggie Nelson as well.

15. Houston Texans (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)The Texans gave Brock Osweiler a four-year, $72 million contract to replace Brian Hoyer as their starter and signed free-agent running back Lamar Miller to take over for Arian Foster. Underutilized in Miami, Miller has been highly productive on a per-touch basis (4.59 YPC and 7.58 Y/R). Since entering the league in 2012, Miller is one of just five backs to average 4.5 YPC (min: 500 carries) and 7.5 Y/R (min: 100 catches).

16. Washington Redskins (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)In a division where they were expected, by most, to finish in last place, Washington won the NFC East with strong quarterback play from full-time starter Kirk Cousins. Designated with the franchise tag, Cousins is under contract for at least one more season provided a long-term deal isn't reached prior to the July 15th cutoff. Not only did Cousins lead the NFL in completion percentage (69.8), he posted a 23:3 TD-to-INT ratio over his final 10 games of the regular season.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Since the 2000 NFL season, the Jaguars had made the playoffs twice (2005 and 2007). Since their last playoff berth, the Jags have gone eight seasons without a winning record and five consecutive seasons with five or fewer wins. Third-year quarterback Blake Bortles will need to limit the turnovers, but the team should be better on defense with free-agent additions Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson and last year's first-rounder Dante Fowler (ACL) set to make his NFL debut. They may be a year away from finishing above .500, but they are a team poised to take a step (or two) forward in 2016.

18. New York Giants (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)With Tom Coughlin no longer the coach, Eli Manning and the offense have continuity as Ben McAdoo takes over. The Giants made a number of signings on the defensive side of the ball in free agency, and that side of the ball should determine how much success they will have in 2016.

19. Buffalo Bills (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Since Rex Ryan became Baltimore's defensive coordinator in 2005, he had never finished worse than 11th in total defense -- until last year, that is. In his first season in Buffalo, the Bills ranked 19th in total defense. The G-Men ranked 32nd in total defense and 30th in scoring defense in 2015.

20. Atlanta Falcons (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Julio Jones led the NFL with 1,871 receiving yards, which was the second-most all-time to Calvin Johnson's 1,964 in 2012. Over the past two seasons, Jones has 240 catches for 3,464 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Falcons signed, or overpaid, free-agent receiver Mohamed Sanu, but they could still use an upgrade as a No. 2 option to Jones.

21. New York Jets (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)In his lone season as Jets starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 31 touchdowns, a single-season franchise record. Still a free agent, Fitzpatrick appears unlikely to agree to a new contract with the Jets prior to the draft although GM Dave Maccagnan has said re-signing Fitzpatrick is a priority.

22. New Orleans Saints (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)For the fourth time in five seasons, Drew Brees led the NFL in passing yards although his 4,870 yards was a five-year low. In addition, his 32 touchdowns were an eight-year low. Only 458 passing yards behind Dan Marino, Brees should move into third place all-time by Week 2.

23. Philadelphia Eagles (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)The Eagles re-signed Sam Bradford and signed free agent Chase Daniel, but their quarterback of the future won't be on their roster until Thursday evening. The Eagles gave up a lot to move from No. 8 to No. 2 in the 2016 NFL Draft, but they are expected to use the pick on North Dakota State quarterback prospect Carson Wentz.

24. Los Angeles Rams (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)The Rams are back in L.A., but they still lack the most important "star" power as Case Keenum currently tops the quarterback depth chart. But that will change in the coming days with the club trading up to the No. 1 pick for the right to select a franchise quarterback (expected to be Jared Goff).

25. Chicago Bears (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Since entering the league in 2008, no player has more yards from scrimmage than Matt Forte (12,718). With Forte signing a free-agent deal with the Jets, the Bears will rely on Jeremy Langford to lead the backfield barring a high pick on a running back in the 2016 NFL Draft. Langford averaged just 3.6 yards per carry as a rookie.

26. Miami Dolphins (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)High-priced free agents don't always pay off and it was a disappointing season for Ndamukong Suh and Byron Maxwell, who was acquired via trade with Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the Dolphins lost Olivier Vernon in free agency as the Giants gave him an $85 million contract.

27. Detroit Lions (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Closing the season with strong momentum, Detroit won six of their final eight regular-season games. The Lions signed Marvin Jones, the top available 2016 free-agent wide receiver, but they lost Megatron to early retirement. Or in other words, they lost much more than they received.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Tied for a league-high 4.8 yards per carry, the Buccaneers ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing offense (135.1 yards per game) and they re-signed Doug Martin in free agency. Meanwhile, Jameis Winston threw 16 touchdowns to only eight interceptions over his final 12 games as a rookie.

29. San Diego Chargers (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)The Chargers agreed to a long-term contract with Philip Rivers, but their offensive line remains among the worst in the NFL. In fact, PFF graded San Diego's line the worst in the league. With quarterbacks the presumed first and second pick in the draft, the Chargers have an opportunity to draft one of the best left tackle prospects in years, which I project in 2016 NFL Mock Draft.

30. Tennessee Titans (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)By trading back in this year's draft, the Titans now have a total of 11 draft picks in the first three rounds of the 2016 and 2017 NFL Draft. Considering they drafted a franchise quarterback (Marcus Mariota), they are in position to turn their franchise around over the next couple of years.

31. San Francisco 49ers (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Only the Texans and Colts averaged fewer yards per play than the 49ers last season. Only the Rams and Vikings averaged fewer offensive plays per game than the 49ers in 2015. At a minimum, the Chip Kelly-led 49ers should rank near the top of the league in terms of plays per game, but the roster has been significantly stripped of talent compared to their recent NFC Championship Game appearances.

32. Cleveland Browns (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Quarterback. The most important position in football. Correction: The most important position in sports. With 24 quarterbacks to start since professional football returned to Cleveland, the Browns signed RG3 to a two-year deal and there's a decent chance that they will draft a quarterback at some point as well. By trading down from the second overall pick, the Browns now have six top-100 selections in this year's draft.

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April 23, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 1 to 16

Now that the NFL has released the 2016 NFL Schedule, we have updated our 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule pages.

Our fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) rankings for each position are based on last year's production. In other words, we average the fantasy points allowed per game (in 2015) for every team's set of 2016 opponents. The higher the number listed below, the more cumulative fantasy points their 2016 opponents allowed in 2015.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable Fantasy SOS for QBs (Weeks 1-16):

1. Detroit Lions (Matthew Stafford): 18.21
2. Dallas Cowboys (Tony Romo): 17.99
3. New York Giants (Eli Manning): 17.86
4. Baltimore Ravens (Joe Flacco): 17.73
5. Chicago Bears (Jay Cutler): 17.66

Five least favorable Fantasy SOS for QBs (Weeks 1-16):

28. Atlanta Falcons (Matt Ryan): 16.40
29. New York Jets (Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick?): 16.37
30. Miami Dolphins (Ryan Tannehill): 16.36
31. New Orleans Saints (Drew Brees): 15.99
32. New England Patriots (Tom Brady): 15.92

View Full 2016 Fantasy Football QB SOS

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2016 Fantasy Football RB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 1 to 16

Now that the NFL has released the 2016 NFL Schedule, we have updated our 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule pages.

Our fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) rankings for each position are based on last year's production. In other words, we average the fantasy points allowed per game (in 2015) for every team's set of 2016 opponents. The higher the number listed below, the more cumulative fantasy points their 2016 opponents allowed in 2015.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable Fantasy SOS for RBs (Weeks 1-16):

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Doug Martin, Charles Sims): 19.06
2. Detroit Lions (Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick): 18.82
3. New York Giants (Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen): 18.73
4. Chicago Bears (Jeremy Langford): 18.72
5. Tennessee Titans (DeMarco Murray): 18.64

Five least favorable Fantasy SOS for RBs (Weeks 1-16):

28. New York Jets (Matt Forte, Bilal Powell): 17.59
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (T.J. Yeldon, Chris Ivory): 17.13
30. Indianapolis Colts (Frank Gore): 16.83
31. New England Patriots (Dion Lewis, LeGarrette Blount): 16.81
32. Miami Dolphins (Jay Ajayi): 16.59

View Full 2016 Fantasy Football RB SOS

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2016 Fantasy Football WR Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 1 to 16

Now that the NFL has released the 2016 NFL Schedule, we have updated our 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule pages.

Our fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) rankings for each position are based on last year's production. In other words, we average the fantasy points allowed per game (in 2015) for every team's set of 2016 opponents. The higher the number listed below, the more cumulative fantasy points their 2016 opponents allowed in 2015.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable Fantasy SOS for WRs (Weeks 1-16):

1. Baltimore Ravens (Steve Smith, Mike Wallace): 24.74
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton): 24.70
3. Cincinnati Bengals (A.J. Green): 24.59
4. Dallas Cowboys (Dez Bryant): 24.43
5. Cleveland Browns (Josh Gordon): 24.15

Five least favorable Fantasy SOS for WRs (Weeks 1-16):

28. Kansas City Chiefs (Jeremy Maclin): 21.61
29. San Francisco 49ers (Torrey Smith): 21.59
30. Carolina Panthers (Kelvin Benjamin, Ted Ginn): 21.22
31. New Orleans Saints (Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead): 21.03
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson): 20.43

View Full 2016 Fantasy Football WR SOS

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2016 Fantasy Football TE Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 1 to 16

Now that the NFL has released the 2016 NFL Schedule, we have updated our 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule pages.

Our fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) rankings for each position are based on last year's production. In other words, we average the fantasy points allowed per game (in 2015) for every team's set of 2016 opponents. The higher the number listed below, the more cumulative fantasy points their 2016 opponents allowed in 2015.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable Fantasy SOS for TEs (Weeks 1-16):

1. Kansas City Chiefs (Travis Kelce): 8.57
2. Carolina Panthers (Greg Olsen): 8.47
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Austin Seferian-Jenkins): 8.36
4. San Diego Chargers (Antonio Gates): 8.35
5. Detroit Lions (Eric Ebron): 8.21

Five least favorable Fantasy SOS for TEs (Weeks 1-16):

28. Miami Dolphins (Jordan Cameron): 7.26
29. Cleveland Browns (Gary Barnidge): 7.15
30. New England Patriots (Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett): 7.14
31. New York Jets (Jace Amaro): 7.10
32. Pittsburgh Steelers (Ladarius Green): 6.81

View Full 2016 Fantasy Football TE SOS

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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April 09, 2016

2016 NFL Mock Draft Update: Carson Wentz to Browns, Joey Bosa to Cowboys

It's nearly impossible to nail a mock draft minutes before it starts — let alone three weeks beforehand.

Over the next three weeks, I will update my 2016 NFL Mock Draft on a weekly basis and additional rounds will be added as well.

It's fair to say that this mock will change, perhaps quite a bit, leading up to my final version, but here is my updated 2016 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Tennessee Titans (team draft history): Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi

Perhaps a team trades up into this spot as the Titans have made it clear that they are willing to trade down. If they stay put, however, Tunsil appears to be the most likely selection.

No team allowed more sacks last season than the Titans (54). Given their investment in franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick in last year's draft, the Titans should make improving their leaky pass protection an offseason priority.

A three-year starter at left tackle, Tunsil has allowed only two sacks — and none last season — over his career at Ole Miss. With unique athletic traits for the position, the former five-star recruit has drawn comparisons to Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein recently wrote that "Tunsil to me is going to be the best left tackle in the league, or one of the top two, within three years."

Zierlein went on to write, "With Tunsil, he's got all that athleticism, but he's a three-year starter in a major conference who has played left tackle the entire time and has some of the cleanest technique you're going to find at the position. He's ahead of Tyron Smith in terms of his knowledge, technique and ability at the position right now, coming into the league. Laremy Tunsil comes in and has a shot at being a Pro Bowler as a rookie."

2. Cleveland Browns (team draft history): Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Despite signing RG3 to a two-year deal, it's certainly possible that the Browns still go with North Dakota State's Carson Wentz here and let him develop with Griffin potentially being the Week/Year 1 starter. Since professional football has returned to Cleveland, the Browns have had 24 different quarterbacks and it's nearly impossible to win with a question mark at the most important position in team sports.

The upside is that RG3 won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and led his team to the playoffs as a rookie in 2012. And a change of scenery in addition to working with Hue Jackson are both positives for rehabbing his career. Since his outstanding rookie campaign, however, he has played only 22 games, none last year, over the past three seasons due to injury and/or benching.

The biggest obstacle for Wentz will be his transition from the FCS level to the NFL, but he has experience playing in a pro-style system. With prototypical size (6-5, 235), a strong arm and excellent mobility, Wentz has all of the physical traits to develop into a franchise quarterback in the NFL.

3. San Diego Chargers (team draft history): Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

There is a lot to like about Ramsey -- elite size (6-1, 202), Olympic-caliber athleticism and positional versatility. A second-team All-American at safety in 2014, Ramsey was a first-team All-American at cornerback this past season. With Eric Weddle signing with the Ravens this offseason, Ramsey could either be an immediate starter at free safety or cornerback.

4. Dallas Cowboys (team draft history): Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Draft their quarterback of the future? Or an immediate difference-maker?

Unlike the other four teams with top-five selections, the Cowboys enter 2016 with 20/1 Super Bowl LI odds (via Sportsbook.ag). The other four teams are at 60/1, or worse. In other words, if it weren't for a twice-broken collar bone for Tony Romo, the Cowboys wouldn't have a top-five pick.

At a minimum, the Cowboys should consider Jared Goff here, but I think they will lean towards a player that will make more of a 2016 impact, especially given the four-game suspension to Randy Gregory. The Cowboys generated just 31 sacks, which ranked 25th in the NFL last season.

The son of a former first-round pick for the Dolphins, Bosa had 51.0 tackles for loss and 26.0 sacks in his three seasons with the Buckeyes. Not necessarily an explosive athlete, Bosa can become a double-digit sacks guy while also defending the run well.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars (team draft history): Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

A knee injury ended his season and collegiate career prematurely, but Jack is an ultra-athletic three-down linebacker that's custom-made for today's NFL. One of the most versatile players in this year's entire draft class, Jack was named the Pac-12's Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the year early in his UCLA career.

Including this pick, it is as though the Jags are adding a pair of top-five defensive selections as last year's first-rounder, Dante Fowler at No. 3, missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL. In addition, the Jags added Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson to their defense in free agency.

Only the Saints allowed more points last season, but the new-look Jags should be much improved on that side of the ball in 2016. With continued development from third-year quarterback Blake Bortles, the 1-2 rushing attack of Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon and a true difference-maker with Allen Robinson at wideout, the Jaguars should be picking much higher in the 2017 NFL Draft.

6. Baltimore Ravens (team draft history): DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

Perhaps another team would trade with Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens to get in front of the 49ers for the potential to draft Jared Goff. If they don't trade down, however, I see the Ravens going with the best player still on the board. Drawing comparisons to Calais Campbell, Buckner (6-7, 290) has plenty of upside with the collegiate production to match. Named the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Buckner had 17.0 tackles for loss including 10.5 sacks and 83 tackles as a senior.

7. San Francsico 49ers (team draft history): Jared Goff, QB, California

At the moment, it's unclear whether Colin Kaepernick will eventually agree to a pay cut that would allow a deal with Denver to get done. While plenty of attention has been given to Goff's frame and hand size, his intelligence, accuracy and arm talent could make him Chip Kelly's long-term answer at the position.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (team draft history): Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

After signing a big free-agent deal last offseason, Byron Maxwell was a bust and traded after just one season in Philly. While he may lack ideal size, Hargreaves, a three-time All-SEC selection, is extremely fluid with outstanding ball skills as his 10 interceptions over three seasons would indicate.

- Continue to picks 9-16 in our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

- For more mocks, check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.

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April 01, 2016

2016 NFL Mock Draft: Post-Free-Agency Update

It's nearly impossible to nail a mock draft minutes before it starts — let alone four weeks beforehand.

Over the next four weeks, I will update my 2016 NFL Mock Draft on a weekly basis while also adding additional rounds with the goal of all seven rounds being mocked.

It's fair to say that this mock will change, perhaps quite a bit, leading up to my final version, but here is my updated 2016 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Tennessee Titans (team draft history): Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi

No team allowed more sacks last season than the Titans (54). Given their investment in franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick in last year's draft, the Titans should make improving their leaky pass protection an offseason priority.

A three-year starter at left tackle, Tunsil has allowed only two sacks — and none last season — over his career at Ole Miss. With unique athletic traits for the position, the former five-star recruit has drawn comparisons to Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein recently wrote that "Tunsil to me is going to be the best left tackle in the league, or one of the top two, within three years."

Zierlein went on to write, "With Tunsil, he's got all that athleticism, but he's a three-year starter in a major conference who has played left tackle the entire time and has some of the cleanest technique you're going to find at the position. He's ahead of Tyron Smith in terms of his knowledge, technique and ability at the position right now, coming into the league. Laremy Tunsil comes in and has a shot at being a Pro Bowler as a rookie."

Even though the Titans may prefer to trade down from this spot, it's unlikely that another team will fork over the "king's ransom" they seek for this pick.

2. Cleveland Browns (team draft history): Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

Despite signing RG3 to a two-year deal, it's certainly possible that the Browns still go with North Dakota State's Carson Wentz here and let him develop with Griffin as the Week/Year 1 starter. Since professional football has returned to Cleveland, they have had 24 different quarterbacks and it's nearly impossible to win with a question mark at the most important position in team sports.

The upside is that RG3 won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and led his team to the playoffs as a rookie in 2012. And a change of scenery in addition to working with Hue Jackson are both positives. Since his outstanding rookie campaign, however, he has played only 22 games, none last year, over the past three seasons due to injury and/or benching.

If the Browns don't go with Wentz, the pick likely comes down to either Ohio State's Joey Bosa or Florida State's Ramsey. There is a lot to like about Ramsey -- elite size (6-1, 202), Olympic-caliber athleticism and positional versatility. A second-team All-American at safety in 2014, Ramsey was a first-team All-American at cornerback this past season.

Not only did the Browns lose free safety Tashaun Gipson in free agency, but there are some concerns whether or not Joe Haden will be ready for Week 1. In addition, former first-rounder Justin Gilbert has not panned out either.

3. San Diego Chargers (team draft history): DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

In previous updates, I had the Chargers taking Ramsey and I think he'd be the pick if he's still on the board at No. 3. Drawing comparisons to Calais Campbell, Buckner (6-7, 290) has plenty of upside with the collegiate production to match. Named the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Buckner had 17.0 tackles for loss including 10.5 sacks and 83 tackles as a senior.

4. Dallas Cowboys (team draft history): Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Draft their quarterback of the future? Or an immediate difference-maker?

Unlike the other four teams with top-five selections, the Cowboys enter 2016 with 20/1 Super Bowl LI odds (via Sportsbook.ag). The other four teams are at 60/1, or worse. In other words, if it weren't for a twice-broken collar bone for Tony Romo, the Cowboys wouldn't have a top-five pick.

At a minimum, the Cowboys should strongly consider Carson Wentz here, but I think they will lean towards a player that will make more of a 2016 impact, especially given the four-game suspension to Randy Gregory. The Cowboys generated just 31 sacks, which ranked 25th in the NFL last season.

The son of a former first-round pick for the Dolphins, Bosa had 51.0 tackles for loss and 26.0 sacks in his three seasons with the Buckeyes. Not necessarily an explosive athlete, Bosa can become a double-digit sacks guy while also defending the run well.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars (team draft history): Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

A knee injury ended his season and collegiate career prematurely, but Jack is an ultra-athletic three-down linebacker that's custom-made for today's NFL. One of the most versatile players in this year's entire draft class, Jack was named the Pac-12's Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the year early in his UCLA career.

Including this pick, it is as though the Jags are adding a pair of top-five defensive selections as last year's first-rounder, Dante Fowler at No. 3, missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL. In addition, the Jags added Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson to their defense in free agency.

Only the Saints allowed more points last season, but the new-look Jags should be much improved on that side of the ball in 2016. With continued development from third-year quarterback Blake Bortles, the 1-2 rushing attack of Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon and a true difference-maker with Allen Robinson at wideout, the Jaguars should be picking much higher in the 2017 NFL Draft.

6. Baltimore Ravens (team draft history): Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Going into the 2016 NFL season with Eugene Monroe as their starting left tackle, in addition to the free-agent loss of Kelechi Osemele, leaves plenty of question marks about the left side of the team's offensive line. Over the past two seasons, Monroe has played a total of 17 games and missed at least five games per season.

Passing up a chance to be a potential top-five pick in 2015, Stanley could go as high as No. 3 this year to the Chargers. While he has experience at right tackle as well, Stanley has the length (35 5/8-inch arms) and feet to allow him to excel as Joe Flacco's long-term blind-side protector.

7. San Francsico 49ers (team draft history): Jared Goff, QB, California

At the moment, it appears as likely that Colin Kaepernick will be a 49er going into the draft as it appears that he won't be. Depending on his status days prior to the draft, I may slot someone other than Goff here when it's time for the final version of this mock. While plenty of attention has been given to Goff's frame and hand size, his intelligence, accuracy and arm talent could make him Chip Kelly's long-term answer at the position.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (team draft history): Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

The Eagles have re-signed Sam Bradford to a two-year deal and signed free-agent Chase Daniel to a three-year deal to be his backup as well. Bradford has historically struggled with durability and Daniel has familiarity with Doug Pederson's offense so it wouldn't be a surprise if Daniel started a game or two (or more). With that said, the Eagles should at least consider Wentz if he's on the board here.

Obviously, the transition from the FCS level to the NFL is an enormous jump and that will be the biggest challenge for Wentz. That said, he has played in a pro-style system at North Dakota State and he has all of the physical traits to develop into a franchise quarterback in the NFL. Often compared to Jacksonville's Blake Bortles, the No. 3 pick two drafts ago, Wentz possesses prototypical size (6-5, 235), a strong arm and excellent mobility.

- Continue to picks 9-16 in our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

- For more mocks, check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.

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March 12, 2016

2016 NFL Mock Draft: Carson Wentz to Browns, Jared Goff to 49ers

It's nearly impossible to nail a mock draft minutes before it starts — let alone seven weeks beforehand.

With this update of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft, the NFL Scouting Combine is now behind us and the start of NFL Free Agency is upon us.

It's fair to say that this mock will change, perhaps quite a bit, leading up to my final version, but here is my updated 2016 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Tennessee Titans (team draft history): Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi

No team allowed more sacks last season than the Titans (54). Given their investment in second-year franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Titans should make improving their leaky pass protection an offseason priority.

A three-year starter at left tackle, Tunsil has allowed only two sacks — and none last season — over his career at Ole Miss. With unique athletic traits for the position, the former five-star recruit has drawn comparisons to Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, whose father is an offensive line coach with the Cardinals, recently said that "Tunsil to me is going to be the best left tackle in the league, or one of the top two, within three years."

Zierlein went on to say, "With Tunsil, he's got all that athleticism, but he's a three-year starter in a major conference who has played left tackle the entire time and has some of the cleanest technique you're going to find at the position. He's ahead of Tyron Smith in terms of his knowledge, technique and ability at the position right now, coming into the league. Laremy Tunsil comes in and has a shot at being a Pro Bowler as a rookie."

2. Cleveland Browns (team draft history): Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Since their return to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have had nothing but question marks at the most important position in sports. Unfortunately, the team has invested a number of first-round picks at the position, which have not panned out and the latest — Johnny Manziel — should be released any day now.

With prototypical size (6-5, 235), a strong arm and excellent mobility, Wentz has all of the physical traits to develop into a franchise quarterback in the NFL. And while he has experience playing in a pro-style system, the biggest obstacle for Wentz will be his transition from the FCS level to the NFL.

3. San Diego Chargers (team draft history): Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

There is a lot to like about Ramsey -- elite size (6-1, 202), Olympic-caliber athleticism and positional versatility. A second-team All-American at safety in 2014, Ramsey was a first-team All-American at cornerback this past season. With Eric Weddle being a free agent, Ramsey could either be an immediate starter at free safety or cornerback.

4. Dallas Cowboys (team draft history): Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

It was a highly disappointing season for the Cowboys after Tony Romo broke his clavicle (twice). Should the Cowboys brass use this opportunity to draft Romo's long-term replacement and upgrade the backup spot? Or should they look for a difference-making player that can help them make a run over the next year or two (provided Romo can stay healthy)? Granted, Jerry Jones has said they won't draft a quarterback, but pre-draft comments from a team's front office are meaningless anyways.

Last season, the Cowboys generated just 31 sacks, which ranked 25th in the NFL. The son of a former first-round pick for the Dolphins, Bosa had 51.0 tackles for loss and 26.0 sacks in his three seasons with the Buckeyes. Not an elite athlete, Bosa is also an outstanding run defender with the ability to consistently generate double-digit sacks as a pass-rusher.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars (team draft history): Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

A knee injury ended his season and collegiate career prematurely, but Jack is an ultra-athletic three-down linebacker that's custom-made for today's NFL. One of the most versatile players in this year's entire draft class, Jack was named the Pac-12's Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the year early in his UCLA career.

With this pick, the Jags will essentially be adding a pair of top-five defensive selections as last year's first-rounder, Dante Fowler at No. 3, missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL. In addition, the Jags added Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson to their defense in free agency. Only the Saints allowed more points last season, but the new-look Jags should be much improved on that side of the ball in 2016.

6. Baltimore Ravens (team draft history): Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

The Ravens signed Eugene Monroe to a five-year deal only two offseasons ago, but he has missed five-plus games in each of his two seasons with the club. Cutting him would save the team $6.5 million against the cap. In addition, the Ravens lost Kelechi Osemele to the Raiders in free agency. Stanley does have experience at right tackle as well, but he has the length and mobility to allow him to excel as Joe Flacco's blind-side protector.

7. San Francsico 49ers (team draft history): Jared Goff, QB, California

By the time the NFL Draft rolls around at the end of April, it is unlikely that Colin Kaepernick will still be on San Francisco's roster. With the loss of Peyton Manning (retirement) and Brock Osweiler (free agency), it seems possible that Kaepernick ends up in Denver. While plenty of attention has been given to Goff's frame and hand size, his intelligence, accuracy and arm talent could make him Chip Kelly's long-term answer at the position.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (team draft history): DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

The debate here came down to Buckner or Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves and I went back and forth. Even though the Eagles re-signed Vinny Curry to a five-year deal in February, Cedric Thornton departed to Dallas via free agency and Fletcher Cox is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2016 season.

Drawing comparisons to Calais Campbell, Buckner (6-7, 290) has plenty of upside, but he has the collegiate production to match. Named the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Buckner had 17.0 tackles for loss including 10.5 sacks and 83 tackles as a senior.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (team draft history): Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

While he lacks ideal size, Hargreaves was a three-time All-SEC selection with good fluidity and ball skills as his 10 interceptions in his three seasons in Gainesville would indicate. Per PFF, all five of Tampa's qualified corners (out of 111 total) in 2015 graded 64th or worse. And two of them, Sterling Moore (64th) and Mike Jenkins (94th) are free agents.

10. New York Giants (team draft history): Ezekial Elliott, RB, Ohio State

Before this update, all previous versions of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft slotted a defensive player to the G-Men. In the early part of free agency, however, the Giants have been big spenders, especially on the defensive side of the ball, so this turns out to be the best-player available here. That said, Rashad Jennings turns 31 later this month.

The top-ranked running back prospect in this year's draft class, Elliott is a do-it-all, three-down back with no holes in his game. Outstanding in pass protection, the 225-pound back was highly productive with the ball in his hands as he rushed for 3,699 yards and 41 touchdowns and added 55 catches for 446 yards over the past two seasons.

11. Chicago Bears (team draft history): A'Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama

The Bears ranked 23rd in rushing defense (120.9 yards per game) and allowed 4.5 yards per carry (25th). Robinson has the physical tools that give him the potential to develop into a dominant lineman in Vic Fangio's defense.

12. New Orleans Saints (team draft history): Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

Rankins has had an impressive offseason with a strong week of practice at the Senior Bowl and Combine workout. A scout told Yahoo's Charles Robinson that Rankins "could end up being the best defensive lineman taken in this draft, and could end up as a top-10 surprise on draft day," which says a lot considering how deep defensive line is this year.

13. Miami Dolphins (team draft history): Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

While the Dolphins lost Olivier Vernon in free agency, they added Mario Williams as the other starting defensive end opposite Cameron Wake. With both Wake (34) and Williams (31) on the wrong side of 30, Lawson would make sense here.

14. Oakland Raiders (team draft history): Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

Not only did the Raiders add Kelechi Osemele to the offensive line, but they have signed edge rusher Bruce Irvin and cornerback Sean Smith to their defense in free agency. While he may be a little undersized (6-1, 232), Lee possesses blazing speed and his 4.43 time in the 40-yard dash was the fastest within his position group in nearly a decade.

15. St. Louis Rams (team draft history): Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi

Perhaps the Rams go quarterback here with Paxton Lynch, as I had slotted in my previous update, but the Rams lack elite weapons in the passing game for whomever is under center as well. Treadwell isn't a burner, but he possesses excellent size, strength and hands to develop into a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the league.

16. Detroit Lions (team draft history): Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

A former walk-on at Michigan State, Conklin has the size, strength and demeanor to be a great right tackle, but he tested well at the combine and has long arms (35 inches) as well. One NFC North scout told NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, "That is a dude, right there. He was busting up Ohio State in the fourth quarter of that game not because he was more talented than those guys but because he just wanted it more. He's tougher than old beef jerky. He fits in our division."

- Continue to picks 17-32 in our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

- For more mocks, check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

- Also, check out a way-too-early 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft.

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.

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March 06, 2016

Fantasy Football Rankings: Pre-Free Agency 2016 Fantasy Quarterback Rankings

Even with the team's best receiver sidelined all season with a torn ACL, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had the best season of his young NFL career.

Not only did he score more fantasy points than all other quarterbacks, but Newton won the NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award as well.

While he had a strong overall season, Newton was especially dominant down the stretch. Over the final nine games of the NFL season, he finished as the weekly top-scoring fantasy quarterback in five of those nine weeks. With a couple other top-six weekly finishes, Newton scored an average of 27.95 fantasy points per game over that nine-game span.

Newton threw for 3,837 yards and a career-high 35 passing scores while also rushing for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Despite playing quarterback, only two players have more rushing touchdowns than Newton (43) since he entered the league as the top overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft: Marshawn Lynch (51) and Adrian Peterson (45).

No player at the position has a higher weekly ceiling than Newton, but his rushing abilities and opportunities also raise his weekly floor.

Newton has finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback in four of his first five NFL seasons and he should be a lock to do so once again with good health.

Some more notes about quarterbacks:

  • Missing more than half of the season due to a kidney laceration while also battling other injuries, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is reportedly fully recovered. Posting career-worst numbers in many categories — 4.1 interception rate, 6.4 Y/A and 74.9 passer rating — while on the field, Luck is two years removed from throwing for 4,761 yards and a league-best 40 touchdowns. With 1,101 rushing yards and 12 rushing scores in four seasons and talented core of young receivers, Luck should bounce back in 2016 provided he stays healthy and especially if the Colts upgrade their offensive line play in 2016.

  • Before 2015, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers had finished as the QB1 or QB2 in each of the six seasons he had played 15-plus games. Finishing 2015 as fantasy's QB7, however, Rodgers posted either career or multi-year lows in many passing categories — 238.8 passing yards per game (273.8 in 2014), 5.4 TD percentage (7.3 in 2014), 60.7 completion percentage (65.6 in 2014), etc. as Jordy Nelson (ACL) missed all of 2015. With good health for Nelson, Rodgers should once again finish as a top-three fantasy quarterback.

  • New England's Tom Brady finished with more fantasy points than all quarterbacks other than Newton. Injuries to his pass-catchers and interior line struggles led to lesser production down the stretch, but he has shown no signs of slowing down in general terms. One potential concern, however, is the not-so-favorable start to the Deflategate appeal.

  • Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed multiple games, but he averaged 328.2 passing yards per game (a 16-game pace of 5,251 yards). With the league's most talented trio of weapons, Big Ben could easily finish as a top-five fantasy producer in 2016.

  • Just like everyone had all expected, Jacksonville's Blake Bortles finished with the fourth-most fantasy points in 2016. In his breakout second season, Bortles threw for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns. Even though he threw a league-worst 18 interceptions, Bortles was consistent throughout 2015 with 10 top-10 weekly outings.

  • Unless a long-term deal can be reached by July 15th, Washington's Kirk Cousins will play 2016 out on his franchise tag tender. Over the final 10 weeks of the season, Cousins finished as the QB1 in three weeks and as a top-nine fantasy quarterback in all but three weeks. In those 10 games, Cousins accounted for 27 touchdowns — 23 passing and four rushing — with only three interceptions thrown.

Here are my early 2016 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings:

1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
2. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
5. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
6. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
7. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
8. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
9. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
10. Eli Manning, New York Giants
11. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
12. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
13. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
14. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
15. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
16. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
17. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
18. * Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets
19. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
20. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
21. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
22. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
23. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
24. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
25. * Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos

* Note: Both Fitzpatrick and Osweiler are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on March 9th. At this point, the most-likely scenario is that both players re-sign with their existing teams.

More 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings:

Also, check out my 2016 NFL Mock Draft.

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February 19, 2016

2016 NFL Mock Draft: Pre-Combine Edition

It's nearly impossible to nail a mock draft minutes before it starts -- let alone more than two months beforehand.

With this update of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft, the goal remains is to highlight some prospects and potential fits at this point. It's fair to say, this mock will likely look a lot different in the days leading up to the draft than it does today.

With that said, here is my 2016 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Tennessee Titans (team draft history): Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi

No team allowed more sacks last season than the Titans (54). Given their investment in second-year franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Titans should make improving their leaky pass protection an offseason priority.

A three-year starter at left tackle, Tunsil allowed just two sacks over his career and none this past season for Ole Miss. With unique athletic traits for the position, the former five-star recruit has drawn comparisons to Tyron Smith. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, whose father is an offensive line coach with the Cardinals, recently said that "Tunsil to me is going to be the best left tackle in the league, or one of the top two, within three years."

Zierlein went on to say, "With Tunsil, he's got all that athleticism, but he's a three-year starter in a major conference who has played left tackle the entire time and has some of the cleanest technique you're going to find at the position. He's ahead of Tyron Smith in terms of his knowledge, technique and ability at the position right now, coming into the league. Laremy Tunsil comes in and has a shot at being a Pro Bowler as a rookie."

2. Cleveland Browns (team draft history): Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Since their return to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have had nothing but question marks at the most important position in sports. Unfortunately, the team has invested a number of first-round picks at the position, which have not panned out and the latest -- Johnny Manziel -- will be released next month.

With prototypical size (6-5, 235), a strong arm and excellent mobility, Wentz has all of the physical traits to develop into a franchise quarterback in the NFL. And while he has experience playing in a pro-style system, the biggest question about Wentz is his transition from the FCS level to the NFL.

3. San Diego Chargers (team draft history): Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

There is a lot to like about Ramsey -- his elite size (6-1, 202), Olympic-caliber athleticism and positional versatility. A second-team All-American at safety last year, Ramsey was a first-team All-American at cornerback this year. Not only will Eric Weddle depart via free agency this offseason, but the team could use help at cornerback as well.

4. Dallas Cowboys (team draft history): Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

If it weren't for injuries -- or the same injury, multiple times -- to Tony Romo, the Cowboys wouldn't be picking this high. While the front office could view this as a rare opportunity to get a franchise quarterback as his long-term replacement and an upgrade to his backup, I think it's just as likely that the team goes with a prospect like Bosa that can make an immediate impact.

The son of a former first-round pick, Bosa had 51.0 tackles for loss and 26.0 sacks in his three seasons with the Buckeyes. Even with the high-profile and controversial signing of Greg Hardy, who becomes a free agent this offseason, the Cowboys generated only 31 sacks, tied for 25th in the NFL.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars (team draft history): Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

A knee injury ended his season and collegiate career prematurely, but the versatile and ultra-athletic linebacker was the Pac-12's Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the year. In essence, the Jags will be adding a pair of top-five defensive picks as last year's first-rounder, Dante Fowler at No. 3, missed all of last season with a torn ACL to a defense that allowed more points than every team except the Saints.

6. Baltimore Ravens (team draft history): DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

Drawing comparisons to Calais Campbell, Buckner (6-7, 290) has plenty of upside, but he has the collegiate production to match. Named the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Buckner had 17.0 tackles for loss including 10.5 sacks and 83 tackles as a senior.

7. San Francsico 49ers (team draft history): Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi

While the Niners gave Torrey Smith big money last offseason, Anquan Boldin turns 36 in October and will become a free agent in March. Treadwell may lack elite speed, but he has excellent size, strength and hands to develop into a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the league.

8. Miami Dolphins (team draft history): Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

Hargreaves helps fill what is arguably the team's biggest need. Among their top four corners last year, Brent Grimes turns 33 in July and is a pay-cut candidate with a $9.5 million salary, Brice McCain was released this month and Jamar Taylor could be on the way out too. While he lacks ideal size, the three-time All-SEC selection had 10 interceptions in his three seasons in Gainesville.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (team draft history): Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

In my previous update, I had Hargreaves slotted here and the Bucs will need to address a weak secondary in either free agency and/or the draft. Not only will Demar Dotson be a free agent after the 2016 season, Gosder Cherilus and rookie Donovan Smith -- bookend starters for most of the season -- both received negative grades from PFF. Stanley possesses an elite combination of athleticism and length among left tackle prospects.

10. New York Giants (team draft history): Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

Prior to the knee injury sustained in the Fiesta Bowl, Smith was a likely top-five pick in this year's draft. As Rotoworld's Evan Silva writes in his team needs column, the Giants' top need is "Every Position on Defense." Once healthy, Smith will give the Giants a true difference-maker on the defensive side of the ball.

11. Chicago Bears (team draft history): Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

Earning SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors, Ragland led Alabama in tackles and tackles for loss. While he may have some coverage limitations, he will help shore up a run defense that allowed 4.5 yards per carry last season while filling one of the team's bigger needs.

12. New Orleans Saints (team draft history): A'Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama

The Saints ranked second-to-last in total defense (413.8 yards per game) and last in scoring defense (29.8 points per game). Ranking 31st in both pass and run defense, the Saints allowed a league-worst 4.9 yards per carry last season. In other words, the Saints could use reinforcements across all levels of their defense.

13. Philadelphia Eagles (team draft history): Jared Goff, QB, California

Reports are the Eagles won't use the franchise tag on Sam Bradford and the only quarterback under contract for 2016 is Mark Sanchez, who has one year left on his deal. One free-agent target could be Chase Daniel as new coach Doug Pederson believes Daniel has potential as a starter. Pederson has also talked about developing a young quarterback as well. Most mocks have Goff off the board by this point and there are some concerns about his frame, but Goff has plenty of arm talent, accuracy and good anticipation.

14. Oakland Raiders (team draft history): Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

Even with the now-retired safety Charles Woodson having a strong season (five interceptions), the Raiders ranked 26th in pass defense and D.J. Hayden has not lived up to his (high) first-round expectations. A redshirt sophomore and top-five high school recruit, Alexander helps to fill one of the team's bigger needs.

15. St. Louis Rams (team draft history): Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

Making the move to Los Angeles with many talented players on its roster, quarterback remains a clear weakness for the Rams. With more interceptions thrown (10) than touchdowns (seven) last season, Nick Foles was eventually benched in favor of Case Keenum. While it may be better for him to sit and learn for a season, Lynch has an intriguing complement of physical traits and perhaps more upside than any quarterback prospect in this year's draft class.

16. Detroit Lions (team draft history): Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

There are a lot of reasons to like Rankins -- college production, quickness, motor, etc. -- even if he's a bit undersized. Over the past two seasons combined, Rankins has racked up 26.5 tackles for loss and 14.0 sacks. In addition, the Lions have a number of interior defensive linemen about to hit free agency -- Haloti Ngata (UFA), Tyrunn Walker (UFA) and Khyri Thornton (ERFA).

- Continue to picks 17-32 in our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

- For more mocks, check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

- Also, check out a way-too-early 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft.

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February 14, 2016

Way-Too-Early 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 5

Our way-too-early 2016 fantasy football mock draft is a one-man mock draft, but we will feature more mock drafts with more of our contributors and other scoring formats later this offseason.

Here is Round 5 of my one-man 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

5.01 - Team 1: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay PackersThe loss of Jordy Nelson (ACL) for the season hurt the offense in general and Rodgers production in particular. Rodgers completed 60.7 percent of his attempts for just 6.7 Y/A, both of which were lows since he became a starter (2008). Before this season, however, Rodgers finished as the QB1/QB2 in all full seasons as a starter and I'd be more than willing to draft him here as the QB3 in this mock.

5.02 - Team 2: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina PanthersAs a rookie in 2014, Benjamin finished with 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns. Unfortunately he missed all of 2015, but he's clearly the team's top wide receiver for last year's highest-scoring offense.

5.03 - Team 3: Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago BearsWith Matt Forte set to play somewhere else in 2016, Langford could move up in my rankings if the team doesn't add much competition via free agency and/or the draft. When Forte was sidelined, Langford was productive for fantasy football owners. Even though he averaged just 3.33 YPC from Weeks 9 to 11, Langford racked up 366 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns in his three starts.

5.04 - Team 4: Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay PackersCobb exceeded 100 yards in Week 2 against the Seahawks and finished with 91 yards and three touchdowns in Week 3 against the Chiefs. From there on out, Cobb disappointed his fantasy owners. Over the final 13 games, Cobb averaged 47.85 YFS per game and scored just two touchdowns. With Nelson back as the team's No. 1 receiver, however, it should benefit Cobb as well.

5.05 - Team 5: Tom Brady, QB, New England PatriotsDespite all the controversy leading into the season, Brady finished with the second-most fantasy points among quarterbacks behind Cam Newton, the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player. With better health from his receivers (and running backs), Brady could have posted even better numbers, but he threw for 4,770 yards, 36 touchdowns and only seven interceptions with three rushing scores as well.

5.06 - Team 6: Chris Ivory, RB, New York JetsSet to become an unrestricted free agent, it's unclear where Ivory will be playing his football in 2016, but it at least seems possible that it will be for someone other than the Jets. One year after finishing as a top-20 fantasy running back, Ivory finished the season as a top-10 fantasy back while recording his first-ever 1,000-yard season (1,070 yards on 247 carries).

5.07 - Team 7: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle SeahawksAfter a slow start, Wilson's production spiked down the stretch as he once again finished the full season as fantasy's QB3. Not only did Wilson rush for 500-plus yards for a third consecutive season, he finished with career-best passing numbers — 4,024 yards, 34 touchdowns, 68.1 completion percentage and 110.1 passer rating. With the depth of talent at the position including the guys already off the board in this mock and others (Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, etc.) still available, it once again makes sense to wait on a quarterback.

5.08 - Team 8: Arian Foster, RB, Houston TexansA ruptured Achilles ended his 2015 season prematurely, but it's unclear whether Foster will be back with Houston for the final year of his contract. Not only does Foster turn 30 in August, but he has played only 25 games over the past three seasons combined. A workhorse back when healthy, Foster would go much earlier than this if you could guarantee he'd play (close to) a full season.

5.09 - Team 9: Dion Lewis, RB, New England PatriotsTearing his ACL only seven games into the season, Lewis was on pace for 1,422 yards from scrimmage, 82 receptions and nine total touchdowns. Still only 25 years old, there's a good chance that Lewis will be ready for the start of the season.

5.10 - Team 10: Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami DolphinsSetting a franchise record with 111 receptions last season, Landry had 1,159 receiving yards, 111 rushing yards and a total of six touchdowns. Better in PPR leagues, you could certainly argue that this is too low for him even in a standard-scoring league like this mock.

5.11 - Team 11: John Brown, WR, Arizona CardinalsIn Year 2, Brown finished with 65 catches for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns as he scored the 22nd-most fantasy points among wide receivers. All three of the team's top-three receivers are limited some by the presence of the other two, but the arrow is pointing up for the speedy third-year receiver.

5.12 - Team 12: Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona CardinalsWhile Floyd once again failed to exceed 1,000 yards, he finished the season strong after a slow start. Floyd exceeded the 100-yard mark in five of his final eight regular-season games in 2015.

> Go back to Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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Way-Too-Early 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 4

Our way-too-early 2016 fantasy football mock draft is a one-man mock draft, but we will feature more mock drafts with more of our contributors and other scoring formats later this offseason.

Here is Round 4 of my one-man 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

4.01 - Team 12: Matt Forte, RB, Chicago BearsOne of the most versatile running backs in the league, Forte turned 30 in December and will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Forte won't be back with the Bears so there is plenty of uncertainty about his 2016 outlook. Even though he missed three games last season, Forte averaged close to 100 yards -- 69.1 rushing and 29.9 receiving -- per game in 2015.

4.02 - Team 11: Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo BillsTrading up to select Watkins with a top-four pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Bills finally started to use Watkins the way fantasy owners wanted. Of course, it took some public complaints by Watkins for that to happen. Not only did Watkins have at least 80 yards in his final six games, but he exceeded 100 yards in four of those games and he scored a total of six touchdowns during that stretch. Based on his talent and late-season production, you could easily argue that this is too low for Watkins.

4.03 - Team 10: Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ersA stress fracture in his foot limited Hyde to just seven games last season, but he should benefit from playing in an up-tempo, run-heavy Chip Kelly offense. The Eagles have ranked in the top-11 in rush attempts in all three of his seasons in Philadelphia.

4.04 - Team 9: Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh SteelersA big-play receiver in Pittsburgh's high-powered offense, Bryant has averaged 17.3 yards per reception and scored a total of 15 touchdowns in 21 games played. Suspended for the first four games of last season, there is the potential of a full-season ban if he violates the league's substance-abuse policy again, but he's a high-upside WR2 for this team with Alshon Jeffery as its WR1.

4.05 - Team 8: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis ColtsDisappointing fantasy owners, Hilton still finished with 1,124 yards but just five touchdowns. With 67-plus yards in six of his first seven games, Hilton had more receiving yards (606) than all but five receivers through Week 7. Given that Andrew Luck played just seven games all season including a few at much less than 100 percent, Hilton's numbers should improve in 2016 assuming a healthier version of Luck under center.

4.06 - Team 7: C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver BroncosDrafted as a late first-round pick in many 2015 fantasy drafts, Anderson started slowly and spent much of the season in a timeshare with Ronnie Hillman. In the second half of the season, however, CJA was much better. Starting with Week 8, Anderson carried the ball 85 times for 540 yards (6.35 YPC) and five touchdowns and hopefully that momentum will carry over into 2016. In addition, Hillman will be a free agent this offseason.

4.07 - Team 6: Jermy Maclin, WR, Kansas City ChiefsReunited with Andy Reid, Maclin had his second consecutive 1,000-yard season as he finished with a career-high 87 receptions for 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns. Finishing as a mid-tier WR2 (WR17 in 2015), Maclin will be a solid WR2 to Demaryius Thomas on this team heading into 2016.

4.08 - Team 5: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona CardinalsFitzgerald got off to a phenomenal four-game start: 30/432/5. Naturally, his pace slowed from that torrid start, but he finished the year with a career-high 109 receptions for 1,215 yards, his first 1,000-yard campaign in four years, and nine touchdowns. I still expect Fitzgerald to be the most productive of the team's receivers in 2016, but Michael Floyd and John Brown will be right behind him.

4.09 - Team 4: Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina PanthersOlsen followed up with his first career 1,000-yard season with a 77/1,104/7 campaign in 2015 and the fourth-most fantasy points among tight ends. The (soon-to-be) 31-year-old durable and consistent tight end should post similar numbers in 2016.

4.10 - Team 3: Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego ChargersMG3 disappointed fantasy owners in his rookie season as he failed to score a touchdown on 217 touches and averaged just 3.5 YPC. Bigger and better things should be expected for Gordon in his second season, however.

4.11 - Team 2: Eric Decker, WR, New York JetsScoring a touchdown in 12 of 15 games, Decker's weekly production was extremely consistent: 8.1 to 15.7 fantasy points every week. While he finished as a weekly top-12 fantasy wide receiver only twice, he never finished worse than WR31 last season. That consistency led to a top-10 full-season finish in fantasy points scored among wide receivers.

4.12 - Team 1: Jordan Reed, TE, Washington RedskinsDominant in the fantasy playoffs, Reed finished as the weekly TE1 in Weeks 14, 15 and 16 as he hauled in 25 catches for 333 yards and five touchdowns during that three-game stretch. On the year, only Rob Gronkowski and Gary Barnidge scored more fantasy points than Reed. If we knew he would play 16 games in 2016, he'd be my second-ranked TE heading into 2016, but his next 16-game season will be his first.

> Continue to Round 5 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 3 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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Way-Too-Early 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 3

While our way-too-early 2016 fantasy football mock draft is a one-man mock draft, we will feature more mock drafts with more of our contributors and other scoring formats later in the year.

Here is Round 3 of my one-man 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

3.01 - Team 1: Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland RaidersScoring the 11th-most fantasy points among running backs, Murray finished fourth in the NFL in touches (307) and sixth in rushing (1,066 yards). Not only did he have a large workload overall, Murray had 15-plus touches in 15 of 16 games with 13 being the lone exception. Here is the list of players with 15 15-touch games in 2015: Murray. End of list.

3.02 - Team 2: T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville JaguarsYeldon missed four games as a rookie, but he averaged more than 18 touches per game. While it was disappointing that he had only two rushing touchdowns and just four carries from inside the 5-yard line, I'd expect more scoring opportunities in 2016.

3.03 - Team 3: Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego ChargersPlaying only eight games, Allen hauled in 67 catches for 725 yards and four touchdowns -- or a full-season pace of 134/1,450/8. The 23-year-old (turns 24 in April) receiver enters 2016 as the team's clear-cut top pass-catching option.

3.04 - Team 4: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina PanthersThere are a couple of concerns with Stewart: (1) durability and (2) Cam Newton-vultured touchdowns. After all, Newton has the third-most rushing touchdowns since entering the league in 2011. Before a Week 14 injury, Stewart had eight consecutive games with 20-plus carries so the workload is there when healthy. That said, he has missed at least three games in four consecutive seasons.

3.05 - Team 5: Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans SaintsThe breakout may not have been as great as many had expected, but Cooks finished the season with a productive stat line of 84/1,138/9. Eight of those touchdowns came in the final nine games and three of his four 100-yard games happened in December so he carries momentum into 2016.

3.06 - Team 6: Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati BengalsAdmittedly, I was high, too high, on Hill going into the 2015 season and he was a disappointment. With one more carry than he had as a rookie, Hill's rushing yards dropped from 1,124 (5.1 YPC) in 2014 to 794 (3.6 YPC) in 2015. That said, he did score a total of 12 touchdowns. Perhaps we shouldn't expect similar efficiency as his rookie season, but I do expect to see a bit of a bounce-back from the 235-pound Hill.

3.07 - Team 7: Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay PackersBased on early reports, Nelson's rehab from a torn ACL last preseason is progressing well as he's started to run full speed. Turning 31 in May, Nelson had stat lines of 98/1,519/13 (2014) and 85/1,314/8 (2013) in his previous two seasons.

3.08 - Team 8: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina PanthersThe top-scoring fantasy quarterback in 2015, Newton threw for 3,837 yards and 35 touchdowns while rushing for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns. Newton has now finished as a top-four fantasy quarterback in four of his five NFL seasons. No quarterback has more weekly upside than the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player as he finished as the weekly QB1 in five of his final nine games in 2015.

3.09 - Team 9: Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis ColtsIt was a lost season for Luck, who missed more games (nine) than he played (seven) in 2015. And when he was on the field, he was (much) less than 100 percent for much of the year. Like Cam, Luck benefits from his dual-threat abilities as he rushed for 255-plus yards per year with a total of 12 touchdowns in his first three seasons. With better health in 2016, I expect a bounce-back season from the Colts' franchise quarterback.

3.10 - Team 10: Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland RaidersStill just 21 years old, Cooper had 72 catches for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie and battled a foot injury down the stretch. With 20 yards or less in four of his past seven games, his rookie campaign could have been even better, but I expect a stronger performance throughout all of 2016 for the talented second-year receiver.

3.11 - Team 11: DeMarco Murray, RB, Philadelphia EaglesAfter leading the NFL in rushing (1,845 yards) in 2014, Murray had more than 1,100 yard less with the Eagles (702). In addition, he set career lows in YPG (46.8) and YPC (3.6). I'd like to think that things will only get better for Murray with a new coaching staff in place, but NFL Network's Ian Rapoport writes that the two sides are "not in a good place."

3.12 - Team 12: Julian Edelman, WR, New England PatriotsMissing seven games with a broken foot, Edelman set a career high with seven receiving touchdowns and averaged 6.8 receptions and 76.9 yards per game, both of which were career highs. Edelman has missed multiple games in each of the past two seasons, but he's a high-volume receiver playing with one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

> Continue to Round 4 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 2 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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Way-Too-Early 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 2

Our way-too-early 2016 fantasy football mock draft is a one-man mock draft, but we will feature more mock drafts with more of our contributors and other scoring formats later in the offseason.

Here is Round 2 of my one-man 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

2.01 - Team 12: Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville JaguarsBreaking out in his second season, the 22-year-old Robinson finished with 80 catches for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015 and scored the fourth-most fantasy points among wide receivers. In his final 12 games of the season, Robinson finished with 100-plus yards and/or a touchdown (or more) in every game. Robinson is one of only five players in the past decade to have a 1,400/14 season.

2.02 - Team 11: A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati BengalsWith only 132 targets last season, Green was targeted 10-plus times in only four of 16 games in 2015. While he may not have as much upside as the receivers off the board before him, Green has exceeded the 1,000-yard mark in all five of his NFL seasons and scored double-digit touchdowns three times.

2.03 - Team 10: Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay BuccaneersAs a rookie, Martin exploded onto the scene with 1,926 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns. After two injury-plagued disappointing campaigns, Martin exceeded the value of his 2015 draft slot with 1,673 YFS and seven touchdowns last season. Martin is scheduled to become a free agent this offseason, but the team appears intent on re-signing him.

2.04 - Team 9: Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago BearsLike Martin, Jeffery is scheduled to become a free agent, but it's highly unlikely that the (soon-to-be) 26-year-old receiver hits the free market. In an injury-marred 2015 season, Jeffery averaged 6.0 catches and 89.7 yards per game, both of which were career highs. With better health in 2016, Jeffery should easily finish as a top-10 fantasy receiver.

2.05 - Team 8: Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle SeahawksIt's been an impressive run for Marshawn Lynch in Seattle, however, he has decided to hang up the cleats. The Seahawks and fantasy owners have seen a glimpse of what life could be like with Rawls as the full-time starter. In the six games that he started and finished, Rawls had four 100-yard rushing games and averaged 118.67 rushing yards per game.

2.06 - Team 7: Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay BuccaneersAlthough he set career highs of 74 catches for 1,206 yards, Evans had just three touchdowns (after 12 as a rookie) and led the league in drops. Only 22 years old (turns 23 in August) and with the continued development of Jameis Winston, Evans has a chance to post markedly better numbers in 2016.

2.07 - Team 6: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver BroncosWith 1,400-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in each of the previous three seasons, Thomas had 105 catches for 1,304 yards and six touchdowns in 2015. Assuming that Peyton Manning is no longer under center next season, Thomas should at least post a stat line similar to last year's production with a full season of Brock Osweiler as starter.

2.08 - Team 5: LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo BillsMissing four games in his first season with the Bills, McCoy averaged nearly 20 touches (19.58/G) and 100 YFS (98.92/G) per game. Assuming good health, McCoy should rank near the top of the league leaders in usage and YFS in 2016. One major question mark, however, is the uncertainty pending the assault investigation at the Philadelphia night club with reports that an arrest warrant could be issued soon for McCoy.

2.09 - Team 4: Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay PackersFollowing back-to-back 1,100-yard rushing seasons with 24 total touchdowns in his first two seasons, Lacy disappointed fantasy owners with only 758 rushing yards and five total touchdowns. Benched for a stint during the season and called out by his coach after the season, the Packers would like Lacy to lose 30 pounds in the offseason. Assuming closer attention paid to his conditioning and fitness, Lacy should rebound in 2016.

2.10 - Team 3: Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans SaintsThe biggest issue with Ingram has been durability. The 26-year-old back has missed three or more games in four of five seasons including four games in 2015. Over the past two seasons, however, Ingram has averaged 18.84 touches per game.

2.11 - Team 2: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami DolphinsPerennially under-involved on offense, Miller has been highly productive on a per-touch basis. Scoring the sixth-most fantasy points among running backs, Miller had just 194 carries last season. Set to become an unrestricted free agent, Miller's outlook could change depending on his landing spot in free agency.

2.12 - Team 1: Brandon Marshall, WR, New York JetsIn all but two games this season, Marshall had either 100 yards and/or a touchdown (or more) as he set a career high in touchdowns (14) and nearly missed a career high with 1,502 yards. In fact, it was the first time since Randy Moss (2003) that a receiver had at least 109/1,502/14 and only the fifth time in NFL history. While I don't expect a repeat of his historic numbers, 1,200-plus yards and 8-10 touchdowns would be a reasonable projection.

> Continue to Round 3 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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February 13, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Way-too-early One-Man Mock

Earlier today, I posted a way-too-early 2016 fantasy football mock draft. It's a one-man mock draft (i.e., I made all the picks), but later in the year, we will feature more mock drafts with more of our contributors and other scoring formats.

Here is Round 1 of my one-man 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

1.01 - Team 1: Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh SteelersFor me, the decision comes down to Bell or his teammate, Antonio Brown. Many, perhaps most, would take Brown first overall and that wouldn't necessarily be the wrong choice. Injuries at running back are obviously a huge risk and Bell missed a huge chunk of the season, but he's a highly productive, true three-down back when he's on the field.In 22 games over the past two seasons, the (now) 23-year-old Bell has 510 touches -- 403 carries and 107 receptions -- for 2,907 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns. That averages out to 23.18 touches, 132.14 YFS and 0.64 touchdowns -- or more than 17 (standard) fantasy points -- per game.

1.02 - Team 2: Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh SteelersLikely the consensus top pick in 2016 fantasy football drafts, Brown is as safe and productive as it gets. While Brown set career highs of 136 catches and 1,834 yards, his numbers would have been even better had Ben Roethlisberger not missed time. Over his past three seasons combined, Brown has a total of 375 receptions for 5,031 yards and 31 touchdowns.

1.03 - Team 3: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York GiantsIn his young career, Beckham has averaged more than 100 yards per game (2,755 yards in 27 career games). Even though he has missed five games over his first two seasons, OBJ has 15 100-yard games during that span. Only Brown (17) and Julio Jones (16) have more. In addition, no player has more receiving touchdowns than Beckham (25) over the past two seasons.

1.04 - Team 4: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta FalconsNot only did Jones lead the NFL in receiving yards (1,871), but it was the second-most of any season in NFL history. Jones has more than 100 catches and 1,500 yards in back-to-back seasons, but he has only 14 touchdowns in those two seasons. Based on his volume of targets as well as his combination of size and speed, Jones should be more productive in the red zone.

1.05 - Team 5: Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles RamsDespite missing the first three games of the season, Gurley finished third in the NFL with 1,106 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Gurley exceeded the 100-yard mark only once in his final eight games, but he still averaged 4.8 yards per carry over his rookie campaign. There remains concerns about the weakness of the team's passing attack (and in turn, the eight-men boxes in Gurley's future), but he will be one more year removed from his torn ACL and should rank near the top of the league in rush attempts in 2016.

1.06 - Team 6: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England PatriotsCounting 10 playoff games, Gronkowski has a total of 75 touchdowns in career 90 games. And with the exception of his seven-game 2013 season, Gronk has double-digit touchdowns in five of his six NFL seasons. Still 26 years old (turns 27 in May), Gronk is one of the league's biggest mismatches and the clear-cut top option at his position.

1.07 - Team 7: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota VikingsAfter sitting out virtually all of the 2014 season, Peterson led the NFL in carries (327), rushing yards (1,485) and rushing touchdowns (11). The Vikings will continue to ride AP as their workhorse. Despite his superhuman physical traits, the only concern is that he turns 31 years old in March.

1.08 - Team 8: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston TexansOne of the best young talents in the NFL, Hopkins took another big step forward in his age-23 season. Even with a less than ideal quarterback situation, Hopkins set career highs across the board with 111 receptions, 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015.

1.09 - Team 9: Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta FalconsJust like we had all expected, no running back scored more fantasy points in 2015 than Freeman. Not only did Freeman rush for more than 1,000 yards, but he hauled in 73 catches, third-most among running backs, for 578 yards. In addition, he scored a total of 14 touchdowns last season. While he may not score 14 touchdowns again, he's developed into a true three-down back for the Falcons.

1.10 - Team 10: Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas CowboysIt was a disappointing season for Dez and the Cowboys. Not only was Bryant sidelined for nearly half the season with a broken foot, but Tony Romo broke his collarbone (two times). When healthy, however, Bryant is one of the most dominant receivers in the league and only Gronk has more receiving touchdowns than Bryant (53) since 2011.

1.11 - Team 11: Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City ChiefsComing off a torn ACL, there's obviously concerns with Charles from a health perspective, but the good news is the injury happened reasonably early in the season and reports suggest that his recovery is going well. The next time the versatile eight-year veteran averages less than 5.0 yards per carry will be his first. In his five games last season, he averaged 18.4 touches, 108.2 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown per game.

1.12 - Team 12: David Johnson, RB, Arizona CardinalsInjuries finally led to Johnson getting a shot at the featured role, but the third-rounder out of Northern Iowa had been productive in limited opportunities before that. Johnson scored a total of 13 touchdowns -- eight rushing, four receiving and one return -- on only 161 touches. Finishing as a top-five weekly performer in three of his five starts, Johnson has a legitimate shot at finishing as a top-five running back for all of 2016.

> Continue to Round 2 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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February 07, 2016

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has "told people close to him" that he plans to retire this offseason.

There were reports last offseason that he was strongly considering retirement so it comes as little surprise that he plans to do so after an injury-marred 2015 season.

Battling hamstring injury early and having abdominal surgery later in the season, Lynch was anything but Beast Mode. Lynch missed more games (nine) than he played (seven) and averaged just 3.8 yards per carry, his lowest average since 2010 when he was traded by Buffalo to Seattle.

Lynch finished the year with 111 carries for 417 yards and three touchdowns plus 13 catches for 80 yards. Meanwhile, undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls rushed for nearly twice as many yards (830) and averaged a league-best 5.6 YPC.

Since 2011, Lynch's first full season in Seattle, he ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards (5,774) behind LeSean McCoy (5,970) and Adrian Peterson (5,893) and first in rushing touchdowns (51).

Going into 2016, Rawls will be a top-10 fantasy running back and a solid second-round pick in 2016 fantasy football drafts.

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January 23, 2016

2016 NFL Mock Draft: Joey Bosa to the Titans, Jared Goff to the Browns

It's nearly impossible to nail a mock draft minutes before it starts -- let alone more than three months beforehand.

With this update of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft, the goal is to highlight some prospects and potential fits at this point. It's fair to say, this mock will likely look a lot different in the days leading up to the draft than it does today.

With that said, here is my (still) way-too-early 2016 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Tennessee Titans (team draft history): Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

It's certainly possible that the Titans go with Laremy Tunsil here to better protect second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota as no team surrendered more sacks than the Titans last season. With this pick, however, Bosa gives them someone that can get after opposing quarterbacks. Over his three seasons in Columbus, Bosa had 51.0 tackles for loss and 26.0 sacks.

2. Cleveland Browns (team draft history): Jared Goff, QB, California

Here are the final four quarterbacks still playing football this season: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton and Carson Palmer. Granted, Manning is not playing like the five-time MVP Manning, but it's no secret that it's virtually impossible to win a Super Bowl with a question mark at the most important position in sports. Since their return in 1999, the Browns have had nothing but question marks at the position. With a new coaching staff and front office, it would make sense to start over and try to fix their biggest problem.

3. San Diego Chargers (team draft history): Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi

Injuries were a huge issue last season, but the Chargers offensive line ranked 32nd by PFF. Perhaps the top prospect overall in this year's draft class, Tunsil allowed only two sacks over 29 games at Ole Miss and none in his six games this season. This would surely be a welcome selection by Philip Rivers.

4. Dallas Cowboys (team draft history): DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

Former Cowboys VP Gil Brandt suggested that the Cowboys pick could come down to Bosa, who's off the board in this mock, and Buckner. Even with the high-profile and controversial signing of Greg Hardy, who becomes a free agent this offseason, the Cowboys generated only 31 sacks, tied for 25th in the NFL.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars (team draft history): Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

There is a lot to like about Ramsey -- his elite size (6-1, 202), athleticism (potential Olympian?) and positional versatility. Jacksonville ranked 29th in pass defense and only three teams intercepted fewer passes last season.

6. Baltimore Ravens (team draft history): Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

The Ravens signed Eugene Monroe to a five-year deal only two offseasons ago, but he has missed five-plus games in each of his two seasons with the club. Cutting him would save the team $6.5 million against the cap.

7. San Francsico 49ers (team draft history): Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi

While the Niners gave Torrey Smith big money last offseason, Anquan Boldin turns 36 in October and will become a free agent in March. Treadwell may lack elite speed, but he has excellent size, strength and hands.

8. Miami Dolphins (team draft history): Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

A knee injury ended his season and collegiate career prematurely, but the versatile and ultra-athletic linebacker was the Pac-12's Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the year. Despite some splash free-agent moves, the Dolphins defense ranked near the bottom of the league in 2015.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (team draft history): Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

No defense allowed a higher completion percentage (70.0) than Tampa Bay and despite facing the seventh-fewest pass attempts (540), they allowed the fifth-most passing touchdowns (31). While he lacks ideal size, the three-time All-SEC selection had 10 interceptions in his three seasons in Gainesville.

10. New York Giants (team draft history): Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

The Giants have a number of defensive ends set to hit free agency including Jason Pierre-Paul. Lawson led college football with 25.5 tackles for loss last season.

11. Chicago Bears (team draft history): Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

Earning SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors, Ragland led Alabama in tackles and tackles for loss. While he may have some coverage limitations, he will help shore up a run defense that allowed 4.5 yards per carry last season.

12. New Orleans Saints (team draft history): A'Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama

The Saints ranked second-to-last in total defense (413.8 yards per game) and last in scoring defense (29.8 points per game). Ranking 31st in both pass and run defense, the Saints allowed a league-worst 4.9 yards per carry last season. Robinson will help shore up the Saints leaky run defense.

13. Philadelphia Eagles (team draft history): Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

With prototypical size (6-5, 235) and playing in pro-style system, FCS to the NFL is a big jump for Wentz, but it also wouldn't be a shock if he were the first quarterback off the board. Or at least, off the board by this point in the draft. With Sam Bradford about to become a free agent and Chip Kelly out, the Eagles could find their quarterback of the future in Wentz.

14. Oakland Raiders (team draft history): Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

A redshirt sophomore and top-five high school recruit, Alexander helps to fill one of the team's bigger needs. Even with the now-retired safety Charles Woodson having a strong season (five interceptions), the Raiders ranked 26th in pass defense and D.J. Hayden has not lived up to his (high) first-round expectations.

15. St. Louis Rams (team draft history): Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

The Rams make the move from St. Louis to Los Angeles with many talented players on their roster, but quarterback is a clear weakness. The team traded oft-injured Sam Bradford for Nick Foles, but he isn't the long-term answer. With more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (seven) last season, Foles was eventually benched in favor of Case Keenum. While it may be better for him to sit and learn for a season, Lynch has an intriguing complement of physical traits.

16. Detroit Lions (team draft history): Robert Nkemdiche, DT/DE, Mississippi

With a number of their defensive linemen about to enter free agency, the Lions could look to add reinforcements to their defensive front. The nation's top recruit coming out of high school, perhaps his on-field production did not entirely live up to the hype. And while there are the obvious off-field concerns, there is no denying the physical tools.

- Continue to picks 17-32 in our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

- For more mocks, check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

- Fantasy Football Rankings for the Conference Championship Games

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January 16, 2016

Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings for Divisional Round of Playoffs

There are a number of key injuries at running back heading into this weekend's game.

While DeAngelo Williams has been ruled out, two of my top-three running backs return after an extended absence this weekend. The most (injury) uncertainty at the position is in Kansas City with Spencer Ware listed as questionable, but the Chiefs and Patriots kick off the weekend's slate of games so fantasy owners will know his availability early.

Here are my Divisional Round Running Back rankings:

1. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB)

Excluding Week 17, Johnson finished as a weekly top-five fantasy running back in three of his four other starts to close the season. One of those games was against the Packers in Week 16 when Johnson carried the ball nine times for 39 yards and a touchdown and added three catches for 88 yards in the 30-point blowout. Even though this game should be closer, no team is projected to score more points than the Cardinals this weekend based on Vegas odds. Assuming it's closer and the Cardinals don't score a pair of defensive touchdowns again, Johnson should get roughly 20 touches this time around and is my clear top-ranked fantasy running back for the week.

2. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (at CAR)

Trying to figure out Beast Mode is not easy and after practicing fully before the Wild Card round, he decided to not fly to Minnesota for the team's matchup against the Vikings. Going into this weekend's games, Lynch has said that he's "ready" and he was on the team's flight to Carolina.

With Lynch declaring himself ready, he should get approach 20 touches against the Panthers. In his first matchup against Carolina, Lynch had 17 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown.

3. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (vs. SEA)

Before leaving Week 14 early, Stewart had eight consecutive games with 20-plus carries, a streak that began in Week 6 in Seattle. The matchup against the Seahawks is a difficult one as no team allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs, but Stewart had success in their first matchup. In that game, The Daily Show carried the ball 20 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns.

4. Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs (at NE)

Returning to practice on Thursday, it appears that Ware will be ready to go on Saturday in Foxboro. With a total of 143 rushing yards and two touchdowns, Ware has exactly 16 carries in each of his past two games. Given the uncertain status of Jeremy Maclin (high-ankle sprain), the Chiefs will likely rely heavily on their ground attack with Ware getting the largest share of the workload.

5. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (vs. PIT)

Anderson had 15 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown in Week 17 against San Diego and has now scored a touchdown in back-to-back games. Since November 1st, CJA has carried the ball 85 times for 540 yards (6.35 yards per carry) and five touchdowns over nine games. With Peyton Manning under center, I'd expect the Broncos to rely heavily on their rushing attack even though it's easier to exploit the Steelers through the air than on the ground.

6. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (at ARI)

In their first matchup against the Cardinals, the Packers scored a season-low eight points in a 30-point blowout. And in general, the Cardinals have been stingy in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs (fifth-fewest this season). That said, Lacy was one of the team's few bright spots in their first matchup as he rushed for 60 yards on 12 carries and added a 28-yard touchdown reception.

7. Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (vs. PIT)

Against the Chargers last week, Hillman carried the ball 15 times for 117 yards and a touchdown and added two receptions for 10 yards. While I prefer CJA, Hillman has a minimum of 13 touches in eight consecutive games.

8. James White, New England Patriots (vs. KC)

More valuable in PPR formats, White has a total of 28 receptions over his final five games of the season. With a total of 336 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns during that span, White averaged 11.52 fantasy points per game in standard-scoring formats and 17.12 in (full) PPR formats.

9. Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (at NE)

Last week, West had just eight carries for 26 yards and one catch for nine yards in the team's 30-0 shutout over the Texans. His eight carries were his lowest since October 11th when he had seven carries against the Bears. West is more involved as a receiver than Ware, but Ware figures to get the larger share of the workload and goal-line opportunities. If the team falls behind early, however, it wouldn't surprise me to see West have a productive week (especially in PPR formats) and get five-plus receptions.

10. Fitzgerald Toussaint, Pittsburgh Steelers (at DEN)

As noted above, DeAngelo Williams (foot) will miss another game. Toussaint wasn't efficient in Saturday's win over the Bengals as he gained only 58 yards on his 17 carries, but he had a total of 21 touches for 118 yards. Once again, Toussaint should get the most opportunities among the team's backs.

11. James Starks, Green Bay Packers (at ARI)

Starks gained 65 yards on 14 touches and scored a touchdown last week against Washington. Compared to his first matchup against the Cardinals (three carries for 11 yards), Starks should have more opportunities this time around.

12. Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks (at CAR)

Michael carried the ball 17 times for 102 yards against the Cardinals in Week 17 and he added 21 carries for 70 yards last week in Minnesota. With Lynch expected to play, however, Michael's workload should be significantly reduced against the Panthers.

13. Steven Jackson, New England Patriots (vs. KC)

In two games with the Patriots, Jackson has 21 carries for 50 yards (2.4 YPC) and a touchdown plus one 20-yard reception. It's possible that he gets a goal-line opportunity, or two, and the largest share of the early-down carries, but it wouldn't surprise me if those touches/opportunities went to Brandon Bolden.

14. Jordan Todman, Pittsburgh Steelers (at DEN)

Todman actually rushed for more yards (65 yards on 11 carries) than Toussaint and looked more explosive despite getting roughly half the touches. With Williams sidelined, however, Todman could still see double-digit touches once again.

15. Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots (vs. KC)

Bolden has double-digit touches in four consecutive games with a total of 201 yards from scrimmage on his 53 touches including nine receptions. It's hard to trust any Patriots running back, but Bolden and Jackson should both get some early-down work on Saturday.

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January 13, 2016

Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings for Divisional Round of Playoffs

Going into the best (football) weekend of the year, there are a number of injuries among the top tier of fantasy positions. And although a couple of quarterbacks are dealing with injuries themselves, it appears that all of the team's normal starters will be ready to go on Saturday or Sunday.

Five of the quarterbacks playing this weekend finished among the top-seven fantasy quarterbacks in 2015. Two of the other three quarterbacks -- Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger -- missed multiple games.

Big Ben actually led the NFL in passing yards per game (328.2), but he may be without his best weapon and Manning is the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns. Yet both are ranked in the bottom-half of my fantasy quarterback rankings for the weekend.

Here are my Divisional Round Quarterback rankings:

1. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB)

Not only did he score the fifth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks in 2015, Palmer was remarkably consistent throughout the season. Excluding Week 17 when Palmer sat the second half, Palmer threw for 300-plus yards and/or multiple touchdowns in 13 of 15 games including Week 16 against the Packers (265 yards and two touchdowns).

In addition, Palmer and the Cardinals are the biggest favorites of the weekend in the game with the highest over/under. Therefore, no team (obviously) is projected to score more points than the Cardinals (28.5) based on Vegas odds.

2. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (vs. SEA)

Not only did he score the most fantasy points in 2015, but Newton finished as the weekly top-scoring fantasy quarterback in five of the past nine weeks. In fact, he has finished as a top-six weekly fantasy quarterback nine times this season. Newton threw for 3,837 yards and a career-high 35 touchdowns while rushing for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns as well.

Only the Broncos have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Seahawks this season, but Newton had a solid fantasy outing (19.76 fantasy points, QB11) in his first matchup this year. In Week 6, he threw for 269 yards and a touchdown and ran for 30 yards and another score although he threw two interceptions.

3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (at CAR)

Over the final seven regular-season games, Wilson averaged 272.29 passing yards and 3.43 touchdowns per game, but he completed just 13-of-26 attempts for 142 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's Wild Card win over Minnesota. On a positive note, the weather should be much warmer in Carolina this weekend. That said, the Panthers have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

4. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (vs. KC)

Sustaining a high-ankle sprain in the regular-season finale, Brady is expected to be ready for Saturday's matchup against the Chiefs. In addition, the offensive line will certainly have their hands full with one of the top pass rushes in the NFL. On a positive note, however, Brady should have healthier offensive linemen this week in addition to getting back trusted target Julian Edelman. Before shutting out the Texans on Saturday, the Chiefs closed the regular season allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

5. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (at ARI)

It was only the second time this season that the Packers scored at least 35 points and Rodgers threw multiple touchdown passes for the first time since Week 14. That said, he threw for only 210 yards in a relatively favorable matchup against Washington, who had allowed 341.25 passing yards per game over their past four games.

Counting Sunday's win, Rodgers has averaged 220.13 passing yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game over his past eight games. Only a couple of weeks ago, Rodgers and the Packers were blown out in Arizona as he threw for 151 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

6. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos (vs. PIT)

It was a year to forget for Manning, but he had an opportunity to take over for Brock Osweiler in Week 17 and help lead the Broncos to a win. (That said, I don't think the problem was Osweiler.) Going forward, Manning begins the postseason as the starter and he gets the most favorable matchup on the board. Only the Giants and Saints allowed more passing yards than the Steelers this season.

While the way to exploit the Steelers defense is through the air, the Broncos should rely heavily on their rushing attack and defense this weekend. Despite missing much of the season, Manning threw 17 interceptions (second-most behind Blake Bortles, 18) and only nine touchdowns this season.

7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (at DEN)

First things first, it appears that Big Ben will be under center for the Steelers on Sunday. As virtually every player is fighting through some ailment this late in the season, an injury to a quarterback's throwing shoulder is obviously a big concern.

The matchup itself is challenging as the Broncos have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but Antonio Brown is currently in the concussion protocol as well. His absence would significantly damper Roethlisberger's outlook. On a positive note, however, Big Ben threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns against the Broncos in Week 15.

8. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (at NE)

In Saturday's 30-0 win over the Texans, Smith led the Chiefs to an 11th consecutive win. Smith extended another streak as he threw for less than 200 yards for the sixth consecutive week. During that six-game span, Smith has thrown 25 pass attempts or less each week.

Facing stiffer competition this week, the Chiefs are unlikely to play most of the game with the lead. So, perhaps that leads to more pass attempts. That said, Jeremy Maclin is dealing with a high-ankle sprain, which puts his status for Saturday's game in serious jeopardy. And if he is able to go, how effective will he be?

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January 09, 2016

Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings for Wild Card Round of Playoffs

It's a weekend of a potentially low-scoring games -- no game has a higher over/under than 46.0. And two of the four games have over/unders set a 40.0 (or less).

Of the teams playing this weekend, only Washington and Pittsburgh rank in the top half of the league in most fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. On the other hand, five of the eight defenses playing this weekend ranked among the 10 stingiest defenses to fantasy quarterbacks.

With that said, here are my fantasy quarterback rankings for the Wild Card Round of the playoffs:

1. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CIN)

Since returning from injury in Week 8, Big Ben has scored 21-plus fantasy points in six of nine games. During that nine-game span, Roethlisberger has averaged 335.67 passing yards per game with a total of 17 touchdowns. In addition, he has 334-plus yards in six of his past eight games.

Two of Roethlisberger's worst games during that stretch have come against the Bengals: 8.48 and 9.88 fantasy points. In those two games, he threw only one touchdown and four interceptions. It's certainly possible that Roethlisberger has another dud against the Bengals, but I would expect the Steelers to be more pass-happy than usual with DeAngelo Williams sidelined for this week's game.

2. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (vs. GB)

Full of confidence heading into the postseason, Cousins has the team's offense firing on all cylinders at the right time. Even with Cousins sitting in the second half of last week, he has thrown 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in his past three games.

Dating back to Week 7, he has posted an impressive 23:3 TD-to-INT ratio and he actually has more rushing scores (four) than interceptions thrown over that stretch. During that 10-game span, Cousins has finished as fantasy's QB1 three times and QB2 once. Moreover, he has finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in seven of those 10 weeks including each of his past four games.

Like the team itself, Cousins has been even better at home than on the road. Excluding Week 1, Cousins has accounted for 19 touchdowns -- 15 passing and four rushing -- with no interceptions at FedEx Field. It feels weird to write, but I have much more confidence in Cousins than the other quarterback in this game.

3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (at MIN)

With multiple touchdowns in only one of his first nine games this season, Wilson has thrown multiple touchdowns in seven consecutive games going into the postseason. During that seven-game span, he has thrown at least three touchdowns six times and has averaged 3.43 touchdowns per contest.

Even though the Vikings were middle of the road in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, five of the other seven teams playing this weekend have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. In his first matchup against the Vikings, Wilson threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns.

4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (at WAS)

Especially on offense, the Packers haven't looked like the Packers this season. Even though he played a full 16-game season, Rodgers scored the seventh-most fantasy points in 2015. The other six times that he played a full season (15 or 16 games), Rodgers finished as fantasy's QB1 or QB2. In his tenure as the team's starting quarterback, Rodgers set career lows in completion percentage (60.7), Y/A (6.7) and QB rating (92.7) and his TD% (5.4) was his lowest since his first year (2008) as a starter.

It is a favorable matchup for Rodgers, however, as Washington has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. And among playoff teams, no team has allowed more. That said, Rodgers has no 300-yard games in his past seven games, a span during which he has averaged only 221.6 passing yards per game.

5. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (at HOU)

Steady, but with little upside, Smith has thrown for less than 200 yards in five consecutive games. In addition, he has thrown for under 200 yards in half of his games this season. That said, he has multiple touchdown passes in four of his last six games and he threw for a season-high three touchdowns against the Texans in Week 1. Most of Smith's upside comes from his rushing ability as he ran for 498 yards this season.

6. Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans (vs. KC)

It's been a crazy season for the Texans as four different starting quarterbacks have won games for them this season. It's been an up-and-down season for Hoyer, who was benched in Week 1 against the Chiefs. Among teams playing this weekend, no team threw it more than the Texans (619 attempts). Since Week 5, however, the Chiefs have allowed just one weekly top-12 fantasy quarterback (Tyrod Taylor, QB5 in Week 12).

7. AJ McCarron, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. PIT)

For at least one more week, McCarron will get the start over Andy Dalton (thumb). With modest production, McCarron has thrown for 200 yards or less in his final three regular-season games. He did, however, throw for a season-high 280 yards in his first start, which was against the Steelers. In his four starts, McCarron has compiled a 6:2 TD-to-INT ratio.

8. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings (vs. SEA)

Coming off a 99-yard performance against the Packers, Bridgewater has barely averaged 200 passing yards this season (201.94/G). In addition, he has thrown multiple touchdowns in only two of 16 games. Due to Seattle allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season and the Minnesota's run-heavy play calling, his upside is limited. In fact, he threw for 118 yards, no touchdowns and one interception against the Seahawks in Week 13 for 2.92 fantasy points even though they were blown out.

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January 03, 2016

Week 17 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Martavis Bryant is listed below as a "start" for Week 17. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 17 with him as my starting one of my starting wide receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Antonio Brown, Allen Robinson and Bryant and started only two receivers, you should start Brown and Robinson -- and in turn, bench Bryant.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 17:

WR - Eric Decker, New York Jets (at BUF)

Few players, at any position, have been as consistent as Decker this season. With a minimum of 80 yards and/or a touchdown in every game this season, Decker has scored at least 8.1 fantasy points every week and he has scored the 10th-most fantasy points among receivers through Week 16.

Interestingly enough, Decker has finished as a top-10 weekly fantasy wide receiver in only one game this season. Coincidentally though, it was Week 10 against the Bills.

WR - Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (vs. SEA)

In his first seven games, Floyd never reached 60 receiving yards in any game. Since then, however, Floyd has five 100-yard outings in his past seven games played. The matchup against the Seahawks is poor on paper as the Seahawks have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to the position, but Floyd had his best game of the season in his first matchup against Seattle (7/113/2).

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CLE)

Across the board, the Steelers passing attack disappointed fantasy owners in a prime Week 16 matchup against the Ravens. Bryant himself had just one catch for six yards on three targets. In fact, Bryant has now finished outside the top-36 fantasy receivers in three consecutive weeks: WR50, WR39 and WR92, respectively.

Before his three-game rough patch, however, Bryant had 623 yards and six touchdowns in his previous seven games. Not only have the Browns allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, but Bryant had six catches for a season-high 178 yards and a touchdown against them in Week 10.

WR - Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)

Cooks started the season slowly, but his breakout has occurred over the second half. Not only does Cooks have 100-plus yards and a touchdown in three of his past four games, but he has a total of eight touchdowns in his past eight games. (Cooks scored only once in his first seven games this season.) During that eight-game span, Cooks has finished as a top-15 fantasy wide receiver six times.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 17:

WR - Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)

Three targets. Fifteen yards. 1.7 fantasy points. While that was what fantasy owners got from Cobb in Week 16 and all of those were season lows, it's been a terribly disappointing season for Cobb's fantasy owners. Since Week 4, Cobb has scored double-digit fantasy points only once (Week 9) and that was his only top-24 weekly performance. Also since Week 4, Cobb has finished as the weekly WR50 (or worse) in seven of 12 games.

WR - DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins (at DAL)

Typically a boom-or-bust fantasy option, D-Jax has scored 12-plus or less than five fantasy points in every game this season. Listed as questionable on the injury report, Jackson (knee) is likely to have his snaps limited in a meaningless game. Regardless of the game's outcome, Washington is locked into the No. 4 seed in the NFC.

WR - T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (vs. TEN)

Although his final numbers will be solid, it has been an up-and-down season for Hilton as Andrew Luck has missed the majority of the season. Or has been dealing with injury when on the field. With Luck and Matt Hasselbeck ruled out for Week 17, the starting quarterback will be Ryan Lindley or Josh Freeman, both of whom signed with the Colts on Tuesday. Enough said.

WR - Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots (at MIA)

Although LaFell has 35 more receptions than I do, he and I are tied with zero touchdown receptions on the season. LaFell had just one catch for 19 yards last week and now has 36 yards or less in four of his last five games.

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January 02, 2016

Week 17 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Rashad Jennings is listed below as a "start" for Week 17. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 17 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams and Jennings and started only two running backs, you should start Peterson and Williams -- and in turn, bench Jennings.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 17:

RB - Tim Hightower, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)

Hightower carried the ball 27 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns and added three catches for 47 yards as he scored the most fantasy points in Week 16. Hightower now has 29-plus touches in two of three games and he has finished as a top-24 fantasy running back in each of those weeks: RB7, RB24 and RB1, respectively.

The Saints are 5.5-point underdogs, but no game has a higher over/under than this one (53.0). In addition, the matchup is favorable as the Falcons have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (vs. PHI)

Since getting single-digit touches in Weeks 12 and 13, Jennings has a minimum of 16 touches in three consecutive games with an average of 19 per contest over that stretch. Exceeding 100 yards from scrimmage in each of those three games, Jennings has averaged 12.83 fantasy points per game and he has finished as the RB20, RB6 and RB17, respectively, in those games.

Jennings closes the season with a favorable matchup against the Eagles, who have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Since Week 10, the Eagles have allowed five top-10 fantasy running backs and 10 top-24 weekly running backs.

RB - Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens (at CIN)

After a pair of dud performances, Allen rushed 18 times for 79 yards and a touchdown and added five catches for 35 yards last week. Since taking over as starter for the injured Justin Forsett, Allen has finished as a top-15 fantasy running back in four weeks and outside the top-50 in the other two weeks. With 31 receptions over those six games, Allen has been even better in PPR formats, but he is a solid RB2 this week in either format given his expected volume.
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RB - Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams (at SF)

In 12 games this season, Mason has a total of 57 carries for 163 yards (2.86 YPC) and no touchdowns. So, why is he listed as a start? Todd Gurley is listed as doubtful, which opens the door for Mason to get a sizable workload in a favorable matchup. Mason had 163 touches (18.11/G) over his final nine games last season. While he may not get 18 touches, it's certainly reasonable for him to get 12 to 15 touches (or more) and the 49ers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 17:

RB - DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles (at NYG)

The good news is that Chip Kelly has been fired. Murray, who has seven carries in his last two games combined, should see a larger workload in Week 17. That said, it's unclear by how much his usage will increrase. With a favorable matchup against the Giants, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs, Murray is worth a dart throw in large tournaments in daily, but I'm not sure I'd trust in a head-to-head matchup for a title in Week 17.

RB - Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks (at ARI)

Just a couple of weeks ago, Michael was the most-coveted waiver-wire fantasy running back. Unfortunately, he followed up his 16-carry week with six carries for six yards and two catches for 14 yards in Week 16. Technically, Michael's eight touches led the backfield, but Bryce Brown and Fred Jackson both had seven touches apiece. In an unfavorable matchup -- Arizona allows the fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs -- and with an uncertain workload, Michael should remain on your bench.

RB - Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (at DAL)

Last week, Morris had 17 carries, which was a four-week high, but he managed to turn them into only 49 yards. Alf had finished as a top-26 fantasy running back in three of his previous four games, but it's unclear how much work he'll get in Week 17 as Washington locked up the division (and their playoff seeding) with a win last week.

RB - Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions (at CHI)

Abdullah has a minimum of nine touches in each of his past six games with an average of 12.5 per game over that span. That said, he has exceeded 13 touches only once during that span. With some terrific matchups during that stretch (e.g., 49ers, Saints, Eagles, etc.), Abdullah has finished as a top-24 weekly fantasy running back only once during that six-game span. The Bears have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, but Abdullah is more of a flex option this week given his steady, but not heavy, workloads.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 17

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Week 17 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Matt Ryan is listed below as a "start" for Week 17. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 17 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Ben Roethlisberger and Ryan, you should start Big Ben -- and in turn, bench Ryan.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 17:

QB - Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. PHI)

With Odell Beckham Jr. suspended for Week 16, Manning and the Giants offense in general struggled against the Vikings. With the return of OBJ this week and the favorable matchup against the Eagles, however, Eli has the perfect opportunity to bounce back for fantasy owners -- provided your league extends into Week 17 and you're still alive after his dud last week.

Before last week, Manning had thrown four touchdown passes in back-to-back games and multiple touchdowns in six of his past seven outings. In fact, he has thrown a total of 22 touchdowns over his past eight games.

His first game against the Eagles (189 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions) was a disappointment, but the Eagles have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. In their past eight games, the Eagles have surrendered 24 touchdowns through the air plus one QB rushing touchdown (Tom Brady).

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at HOU)

Just as we had all expected, Bortles finished Week 16 as the fourth-best fantasy quarterback in 2015. While he turned the ball over 20 times (16 interceptions and four lost fumbles), Bortles was a consistent weekly fantasy producer this season. Entering Week 17 with five consecutive top-eight weekly outings including three top-five finishes, Bortles has finished inside the top-10 weekly quarterbacks in 10 of 15 games.

It's not a plus matchup on paper, but Bortles threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns against the Texans in Week 6. And despite his three interceptions in that game, he finished with 22.94 fantasy points, the sixth-most that week. Seventh in my Week 17 rankings, I expect Bortles to close the season with a sixth consecutive top-eight outing.

QB - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO)

Never a stud performer, Ryan had been a consistently solid mid-QB1 type of fantasy quarterback. From 2010 to 2014, Ryan had finished as the QB7 or QB8 in four of five seasons. Even though Julio Jones leads the NFL in both receptions and yards with an outside chance at breaking Megatron's single-season receiving yards record, Ryan has been a huge disappointment. Entering the final week of the regular season, he sits at QB19 in fantasy points scored.

Fortunately for Ryan, he has a chance to end the season on a positive note with a matchup against the Saints. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than New Orleans this year. In his first matchup against the Saints, Ryan threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns. It's possible that Ryan gets his second game of the season with 300-plus passing yards and multiple touchdowns this week.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (at BUF)

Against the Patriots on Sunday, Fitzpatrick threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns as he scored 23.14 fantasy points, fourth-most in Week 16. It was his third top-four outing in five games and fourth top-eight performance over that same span.

With one more touchdown pass, Fitzpatrick will take sole possession of the single-season franchise record for passing touchdowns. Over his past eight games, Fitzpatrick has compiled an 18:5 TD-to-INT ratio and has averaged 276 passing yards per game. In addition, he has 134 rushing yards and a score during that stretch.

Given that the Steelers lost to the Ravens last week, the Jets now maintain control of their playoff destiny. If they win, they are in the playoffs. While there are plenty of games with postseason intrigue, there's even more incentive for the Jets to play their starters with their playoff berth not yet clinched -- as opposed to several other teams playing for seeding only.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 17:

QB - Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (at DEN)

Kudos to Rivers for managing to score the 11th-most fantasy points among quarterbacks through this point of the season given how poorly he (and the team's offense) has played lately. The anti-Russell Wilson, if you will, Rivers started the season strong with multiple passing touchdowns in all but one of his first eight games.

In his seven games since that point, however, he has thrown zero touchdowns three times and one touchdown twice. Stated differently, he has thrown multiple touchdowns in just two of his past seven games. To be fair, a significant portion of his struggles has to do with the lack of (healthy) offensive talent around him.

With a matchup against the Broncos, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, it's unlikely that Rivers bounces back enough from his last matchup against Denver (6.08 fantasy points) to have a top-12 performance.

QB - Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (at KC)

Carr has just one top-12 weekly finish since Week 11. In those six games, Carr has scored 15.16 fantasy points or less four times. One of those six matchups was the first time he faced the Chiefs this season (13.32 points, QB20). Not only have the Chiefs allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points this season, but they have allowed only one top-12 weekly finish (Tyrod Taylor, Week 12) from Weeks 5 to 16.

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (at DAL)

In his past nine games, Cousins has finished as fantasy's QB1 in three weeks and the QB2 in another. With 300-plus yards and four passing touchdowns in each of his past two games, Cousins has helped Washington clinch the NFC East division with an 8-7 record. That is part of the problem — at least in terms of Cousins' fantasy outlook for this week.

With their playoff seeding already cemented, Cousins is unlikely to play the full game especially given that the Redskins do not have a first-round bye. Coach Gruden has even said that his snaps are "still to be determined" even though he will start. Even with a full allotment of snaps, however, the matchup wouldn't be favorable for Cousins as the Cowboys have limited opposing quarterbacks to the eighth-fewest fantasy points this season.

QB - Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)

After a breakout 2014 season, 2015 has been an utter disappointment for Tannehill and the Dolphins in general. Tannehill enters Week 17 having thrown zero touchdowns in back-to-back games and only two touchdowns in his past four games combined. (Granted, he does have a rushing touchdown over that stretch as well.) The Patriots have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 17

Week 17 Fantasy Football Rankings:

Week 17 DFS Cheat Sheets:

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January 01, 2016

2015 Fantasy Football: Week 17 Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings

Prior to serving his one-game suspension in Week 16, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham. Jr. had scored double-digit fantasy points in seven consecutive games with an average of 20.17 (standard scoring) per game.

Even though his 100-yard game streak ended at a franchise-record six games, Beckham extended his scoring streak to five games. Over his past seven games played, Beckham has 49 catches for 872 yards and nine touchdowns.

While most fantasy leagues end in Week 16, Beckham will look to redeem himself with a strong outing to close the season.

Fortunately for fantasy owners, the matchup is about as good as it gets. Heading into the final week of the season, only the cross-state Steelers have allowed more fantasy points to opposing receivers than the Eagles.

With 25/26 yards on Sunday, Beckham (2,701) will tie/pass Randy Moss (2,726) for most receiving yards over a player's first two NFL seasons. That said, Moss played all 32 games in his first two seasons; OBJ has missed five games.

[Coincidentally, Beckham is second for most receptions (182) over the first two seasons; ex-LSU teammate Jarvis Landry (188) ranks first.]

Julio. Jones: 78 yards shy of becoming 3rd NFL 1,800-yard receiver

With nine catches for a season-high 178 yards and a touchdown, Atlanta's Julio Jones was the top-scoring fantasy receiver last week despite the difficult matchup against the Panthers.

Going into Week 17, Jones has a total of 193 targets and double-digit targets in 13 of 15 games.

Not only does Jones lead the NFL in targets, but he also leads the league in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,722), both of which have shattered his previous career highs of 104 and 1,593, respectively.

If Jones finishes with at least 78 yards in Week 17, he'll become one of only three NFL players to ever have an 1,800-yard season along with Calvin Johnson (1,964 in 2012) and Jerry Rice (1,848 in 1995).

Trailing Megatron by 243 yards, it's obviously highly unlikely that Jones catches his single-season record. That said, Jones' career high (259 yards) is greater than the amount needed so it's not impossible.

Jones closes the season against the Saints, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

Here are some more fantasy football notes on wide receivers:

  • After failing to exceed 100 yards in four consecutive games, Houston's DeAndre Hopkins finished with seven catches for 117 yards and a touchdown against the Titans last week. Shattering his previous career highs across the board, Hopkins has 104 catches for 1,432 yards and 11 touchdowns. The first time Hopkins faced the Jaguars this season, he led all receivers in fantasy points with a 10/148/2 slash line.

  • Jacksonville second-year receiver Allen Robinson continued his scoring streak with a 6/151/1 performance against the Saints on Sunday. Not only has Robinson scored in five consecutive games, but he is tied with Doug Baldwin for the league lead in touchdowns (14) this season. Robinson has exceeded 50 receiving yards and/or scored a touchdown in every game since Week 2. Meanwhile, the other Allen (Hurns) scored twice last week and he now has 10 scores on the season.

  • Speaking of receivers that have scored in five consecutive games, Seattle's Doug Baldwin scored only once last week, but he extended his touchdown streak to five games. With a season-high eight catches for 118 yards and a touchdown, Baldwin now has 29 catches for 484 yards and 11 touchdowns over his past five games. The matchup against the Cardinals is difficult, but Baldwin had 7/134/1 in his first matchup against them in Week 10.

  • Arizona's Michael Floyd has come on strong with five 100-yard games in his past seven games. Floyd has a minimum of eight targets in all but one of those games. Even though the Seahawks have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, Floyd had his best fantasy performance (7/113/2, 23.3 fantasy points, WR2) in his first matchup against the Seattle.

  • After seeing his seven-game scoring streak end in Week 15, Jets receiver Brandon Marshall had eight catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Patriots. Marshall has a franchise-record 101 catches for 1,376 yards and a career-high 13 touchdowns. In a win-and-you're-in scenario, Marshall should see plenty of targets in Week 17.

  • Saints second-year wide receiver Brandin Cooks started the season slowly, but the breakout has occurred over the second half. Not only does Cooks have 100-plus yards and a touchdown in three of his past four games, but he has a total of eight touchdowns in his eight most recent games. (Cooks scored only once in his first seven games this season.) Will the momentum continue? The Falcons have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points this season and Cooks had just four catches for 41 yards in his first matchup this season, but I have Cooks ranked inside my top-10 receivers for Week 17.

Below you find my Week 17 Fantasy Football WR Rankings:

1. Odell Beckham, New York Giants (vs. PHI)
2. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO)
3. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CLE)
4. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (vs. JAX)
5. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (at BUF)
6. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (at HOU)
7. Eric Decker, New York Jets (at BUF)
8. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. BAL)
9. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)
10. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (at CHI)
11. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (at ARI)
12. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CLE)
13. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (vs. SD)
14. Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. OAK)
15. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CAR)
16. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (vs. SEA)
17. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (vs. NYJ)
18. Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles (at NYG)
19. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)
20. Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars (at HOU)
21. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (vs. SEA)
22. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (vs. SD)
23. John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (vs. SEA)
24. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders (at KC)
25. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (at CHI)
26. Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens (at CIN)
27. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (vs. TEN)
28. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)
29. Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)
30. Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (at KC)
31. DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins (at DAL)
32. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (at ARI)
33. Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams (at SF)
34. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (at GB)
35. Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns (vs. PIT)
36. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)
37. Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CLE)
38. Rueben Randle, New York Giants (vs. PHI)
39. Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. BAL)
40. Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers (vs. STL)
41. James Jones, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)
42. Dorial Green-Beckham, Tennessee Titans (at IND)
43. Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts (vs. TEN)
44. Nate Washington, Houston Texans (vs. JAX)
45. Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots (at MIA)
46. Jermaine Kearse, Seattle Seahawks (at ARI)
47. Keshawn Martin, New England Patriots (at MIA)
48. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins (at DAL)
49. Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers (vs. TB)
50. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots (at MIA)

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Week 17 DFS Cheat Sheets:

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2015 Fantasy Football: Week 17 Fantasy Running Back Rankings

Despite starting only nine games this season, Pittsburgh's DeAngelo Williams enters Week 17 with the third-most fantasy points among running backs, trailing only Atlanta's Devonta Freeman and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson.

With 17 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns plus six catches for 53 yards last week, Williams scored 27.3 fantasy points, the second-most of the week. Last week marked the fifth time this season that Williams has finished as a top-four weekly fantasy running back.

In his nine starts, Williams has a total of 173 carries for 793 yards (4.58 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns plus 33 catches for 307 yards. In fact, his 11 rushing touchdowns on the season is tied for the NFL lead with Freeman.

Going into the final week of the regular season, Williams is within striking distance -- only 101 yards shy -- of his third 1,000-yard season and his first since 2009.

Extremely consistent, Williams has either exceeded 100 rushing yards and/or scored a touchdown (or two) in all but one start. In other words, he has scored double-digit fantasy points in eight of nine games as a starter with an average of nearly 20 fantasy points (19.56) over that stretch.

My top-ranked fantasy running back for Week 17, Williams has a great matchup against the Browns. Not only have they allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, the Browns rank last in the NFL in rushing defense (135.0 YPG allowed).

That said, Williams only start with single-digit fantasy points was his first matchup against the Browns in Week 10.

Here are some more fantasy football notes on running backs:

  • The player that scored more fantasy points than DeAngelo last week: Saints running back Tim Hightower (28.9). Hightower carried the ball 27 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns and added three catches for 47 yards. Hightower now has 29-plus touches in two of three games and he has finished as a top-24 fantasy running back in each of those weeks: RB7, RB24 and RB1, respectively. This week, he faces the Falcons, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this year.

  • On Thursday, St. Louis Rams rookie Todd Gurley sat out another practice and was in a walking boot, which obviously puts his Week 17 availability in jeopardy. In 13 games, Gurley has rushed for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns, both of which are third-most in the NFL. Gurley has scored in three consecutive games and eight of his past 10 games. The 49ers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season and Gurley posted a 20/133/1 line against them in Week 8.

  • Oakland's Latavius Murray gained 117 yards with a touchdown on 24 touches last week against the Chargers. Murray has averaged 19.53 touches per game and has a minimum of 16 touches in all but one game this season. While he doesn't have a great matchup against the Chiefs, who have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, Murray gained 97 yards with a touchdown against them in Week 13.

  • Arizona's David Johnson had just nine carries, and 12 touches, against the Packers in Week 16, but he once again finished as a top-five weekly running back. Johnson has finished as a top-five running back in three of the past four weeks and as a top-24 fantasy running back in six consecutive weeks. Even though he has only 147 touches this season, Johnson has scored the seventh-most fantasy points among running backs and a total of 13 touchdowns -- eight rushing, four receiving and one return.

  • Over his past nine games, Green Bay's Eddie Lacy has finished as a top-16 fantasy running back five times and outside the top-50 weekly running backs four times. Which one will fantasy owners get this week? The Vikings have limited opposing running backs to the eighth-fewest fantasy points this season. Against the Vikings in Week 11, however, Lacy had his first 100-yard game of the season on 22 carries.

Below you find my Week 17 Fantasy Football RB Rankings:

1. DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CLE)
2. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO)
3. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (at GB)
4. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (vs. SEA)
5. Tim Hightower, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)
6. Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams (at SF)
7. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CAR)
8. Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys (vs. WAS)
9. Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (at KC)
10. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (vs. TEN)
11. Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. OAK)
12. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)
13. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (vs. DET)
14. Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (vs. PHI)
15. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)
16. Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens (at CIN)
17. Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills (vs. NYJ)
18. James White, New England Patriots (at MIA)
19. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. BAL)
20. Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears (vs. DET)
21. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (at DEN)
22. Chris Ivory, New York Jets (at BUF)
23. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (vs. SD)
24. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (at BUF)
25. Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (at HOU)
26. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. BAL)
27. Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (vs. SD)
28. Cameron Artis-Payne, Carolina Panthers (vs. TB)
29. Alfred Blue, Washington Redskins (at DAL)
30. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles (at NYG)
31. Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia Eagles (at NYG)
32. Mike Gillislee, Buffalo Bills (vs. NYJ)
33. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions (at CHI)
34. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (vs. PIT)
35. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles (at NYG)
36. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (at DAL)
37. Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks (at ARI)
38. Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CAR)
39. Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions (at CHI)
40. James Starks, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)
41. Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. OAK)
42. Steven Jackson, New England Patriots (at MIA)
43. Donald Brown, San Diego Chargers (at DEN)
44. Antonio Andrews, Tennessee Titans (at IND)
45. Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)
46. Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots (at MIA)
47. DuJuan Harris, San Francisco 49ers (vs. STL)
48. Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns (vs. PIT)
49. Shane Vereen, New York Giants (vs. PHI)
50. Joique Bell, Detroit Lions (at CHI)

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December 31, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: Week 17 Fantasy Quarterback Rankings

Despite their 14-0 start to the 2015 NFL season, the Carolina Panthers still have something for which play in Week 17. Only one game ahead of the Arizona Cardinals, who will host the Seattle Seahawks, the Panthers need a win (or a Cardinals loss) to secure home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

With a first-round bye in either case, that scenario should lead to Cam Newton playing a full game -- or close to it.

For players in leagues that conclude in Week 16, Newton finished the year as fantasy's top-scoring quarterback with 356.36 fantasy points -- nearly 20 more than New England's Tom Brady (338.44).

Newton has thrown for 3,544 yards with a career-high 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and has rushed for 626 yards and eight touchdowns, tied for the second-most of his career.

Owners that needed a strong performance from Newton in Championship Week were disappointed with his 142 passing yards and no touchdowns against the Falcons although he rushed for 46 yards and a score. Finishing with 14.28 fantasy points, Newton was outscored by 17 other quarterbacks last week.

Before last week's game, however, Newton had finished as the top-scoring weekly fantasy quarterback in four of seven weeks. In two of those three weeks where he wasn't the top scorer, he finished as a top-six fantasy quarterback.

The Buccaneers are middle of the road in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks and Newton threw for a season-low 124 yards against them in Week 4. As well as he's been playing (last week excluded), however, Newton is still my top-ranked fantasy quarterback for Week 17.

Big Ben: Worst Game at Worst Time

In an exploitable matchup, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger laid an egg in Week 16 against the Baltimore Ravens.

Excluding Week 3 when he left the game early due to injury, Big Ben's 215 passing yards were a season low. Not only did he throw no touchdowns, but he threw a pair of interceptions and scored just 3.8 fantasy points on the week.

Including last week's dud, however, Roethlisberger has averaged 344.29 passing yards per game with 13 passing scores over his past seven games.

If your league plays in Week 17 and his poor performance last week didn't knock you out of the playoffs, he has a chance for redemption this week with a favorable matchup against the Browns.

The Browns have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. And in his first matchup against Cleveland, Roethlisberger threw for 379 yards, three touchdowns and one interception to score nearly 27 fantasy points.

Here are some more fantasy football notes on quarterbacks:

  • The biggest (positive) surprise among fantasy quarterbacks this season, Jacksonville's Blake Bortles has scored the fourth-most fantasy points this season. Scoring a minimum of 22 fantasy points in five consecutive games, he has averaged 313.2 passing yards per game with 17 touchdowns -- 15 passing and two rushing -- over that stretch. Bortles has finished as a top-10 weekly fantasy quarterback in 10 of 15 games this season.

  • For the second week in a row, Washington's Kirk Cousins threw for 300-plus yards and four touchdowns. You like that?! Over his past nine games, he has finished as the top-scoring weekly quarterback three times and he has three other top-10 finishes during that span as well. On paper, the matchup isn't great as the Cowboys have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and it's possible that Cousins gets pulled early given the fact that Washington has their playoff seeding wrapped up with no bye.

  • Throwing a game-winning touchdown in OT last week, Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns against the Patriots. Over his past five games, The Amish Rifle has averaged 305 passing yards per game with a 13:1 TD-to-INT ratio. Playing in a win-and-you're-in scenario, Fitzpatrick is a top-10 quarterback for me in Week 17.

  • It's been a season to forget for Atlanta's Matt Ryan, but he had a solid performance against the Panthers last week -- 306 yards and a touchdown. It was only the second 300-yard game against the Panthers since Week 4. With a matchup against the Saints, who have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, Ryan has a golden opportunity to close the season with back-to-back strong performances.

  • After throwing multiple touchdowns in only one of his first nine games, Wilson has thrown multiple touchdowns in six consecutive weeks. Wilson has compiled an impressive 21:1 TD-to-INT ratio during that stretch. His last single-TD game was against this week's opponent and the Cardinals have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. That said, Wilson still finished as the QB11 that week and he's projected for a back-end QB1 performance in my Week 17 rankings.

  • With a strong start to the season, San Diego's Philip Rivers is currently the QB11 on the year, but he has disappointed fantasy owners over the past half of a season. Since Week 9, Rivers has finished as the weekly QB15 (or worse) in five of seven games, which include three single-digit fantasy outings. One of those games was his first matchup against the Broncos, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. There is little reason for optimism in this week's re-match as the Broncos play for a first-round bye.

Below you find my Week 17 Fantasy Football QB Rankings:

1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (vs. TB)
2. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CLE)
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (at MIA)
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)
5. Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. PHI)
6. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (vs. SEA)
7. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at HOU)
8. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (at ARI)
9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO)
10. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (at BUF)
11. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)
12. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at CHI)
13. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (at DAL)
14. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (at NYG)
15. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (vs. NYJ)
16. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (at KC)
17. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. OAK)
18. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (vs. DET)
19. Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans (vs. JAX)
20. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (at DEN)
21. AJ McCarron, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. BAL)
22. Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos (vs. SD)
23. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings (at GB)
24. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)
25. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CAR)

More Week 17 Fantasy Football Rankings:

Week 17 DFS Cheat Sheets:

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December 30, 2015

2015 NFL Power Rankings: Week 17

Here are our Week 17 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Arizona Cardinals (Record: 13-2; Last: 2)No team is more complete than the Cardinals, who have won nine consecutive games and own the league's best scoring differential (+206). Not only do Carson Palmer and the Cardinals lead the NFL in total offense (420.1 yards per game), but they rank fifth in total defense (319.5 YPG allowed).

2. Carolina Panthers (Record: 14-1; Last: 1)The Panthers first loss of the season may turn out to be a blessing in disguise as they play for a championship without the added pressure (distraction) of trying to play for perfection. Going into the final week of the season, Cam Newton has to be the favorite for league MVP. Despite a lack of skill-position talent around him, Newton has thrown for 3,544 yards and a career-high 33 touchdowns and rushed for 626 yards and eight touchdowns.

3. New England Patriots (Record: 12-3; Last: 3)With a win on Sunday, the AFC playoffs will run through Foxboro. The Patriots continue to lose players to injuries, but as long as they have a healthy Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski with Bill Belichick on the sideline (coin-toss decisions aside), they will be the prohibitive favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

4. Seattle Seahawks (Record: 9-6; Last: 4)Extending his touchdown streak to five games, Doug Baldwin finished with a season-high eight catches and exceeded 100 yards for the third time in seven games. His 14 receiving touchdowns this season have set a franchise record.

5. Cincinnati Bengals (Record: 11-4; Last: 5)With Andy Dalton (thumb) not expected to be ready for the Wild Card round, the Bengals are perhaps fortunate that A.J. McCarron (wrist) is considered "day to day." After losing to Denver on Monday Night Football, the Bengals could still earn a first-round bye with a win (and Denver loss) on Sunday.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (Record: 10-5; Last: 6)After starting the season with a 1-5 record, the Chiefs extended their winning streak to nine games with a win over the Browns. If the Chiefs beat the Raiders (and the Broncos lose), they would win the AFC West.

7. Denver Broncos (Record: 11-4; Last: 8)With Brock Osweiler leading the Broncos to a come-from-behind win over the Bengals on Monday Night Football, he has already been confirmed the Week 17 starter. Clinching a playoff berth, the MNF win puts the Broncos in the driver's seat for a first-round bye with an outside chance at the No. 1 seed.

8. New York Jets (Record: 10-5; Last: 10)Brandon Marshall exceeded 100 yards for the fourth time in five games and he caught a pair of touchdowns in Sunday's OT win over the Patriots. In the process, Marshall set the franchise's single-season record for receptions (101) and set a career high in touchdowns (13).

9. Pittsburgh Steelers (Record: 9-6; Last: 7)The Steelers laid an egg against the Ravens in Week 16. Favored by double digits against a leaky secondary, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 215 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Not only do they need a Week 17 win, but they need help from the Chiefs and/or Jets to get into the playoffs.

10. Minnesota Vikings (Record: 10-5; Last: 11)Not only did Adrian Peterson rush for 104 yards and a touchdown, but Jerick McKinnon ran for 89 yards and two late touchdowns as the Vikings scored a season-high 49 points in Week 16. The Vikings head to Lambeau Field in Week 17 for the division. In 15 regular-season games against Green Bay, AP has 1,911 yards from scrimmage, 5.37 YPC and 13 total touchdowns.

Here are the best of the rest:

11. Washington Redskins (Record: 8-7; Last: 12)
12. Green Bay Packers (Record: 10-5; Last: 9)
13. Houston Texans (Record: 8-7; Last: 13)
14. Atlanta Falcons (Record: 8-7; Last: 20)
15. Oakland Raiders (Record: 7-8; Last: 18)
16. Buffalo Bills (Record: 7-8; Last: 14)
17. New York Giants (Record: 6-9; Last: 15)
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Record: 6-9; Last: 16)
19. St. Louis Rams (Record: 7-8; Last: 22)
20. Detroit Lions (Record: 6-9; Last: 19)
21. Indianapolis Colts (Record: 7-8; Last: 17)
22. New Orleans Saints (Record: 6-9; Last: 25)
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (Record: 5-10; Last: 23)
24. Philadelphia Eagles (Record: 6-9; Last: 21)
25. Chicago Bears (Record: 6-9; Last: 24)
26. Miami Dolphins (Record: 5-10; Last: 28)
27. Baltimore Ravens (Record: 5-10; Last: 30)
28. Dallas Cowboys (Record: 4-11; Last: 29)
29. San Francisco 49ers (Record: 4-11; Last: 26)
30. San Diego Chargers (Record: 4-11; Last: 27)
31. Cleveland Browns (Record: 3-12; Last: 31)
32. Tennessee Titans (Record: 3-12; Last: 32)

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December 27, 2015

Week 16 Fantasy Football: Updated WR Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Golden Tate is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as one of my starting receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned DeAndre Hopkins, Jeremy Maclin and Tate and started only two wide receivers, you should start Hopkins and Maclin -- and in turn, bench Tate.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL)

Without question, Bryant's teammate, Antonio Brown, is the clear-cut top fantasy receiver for Week 16. That said, few receivers (on other teams) have a better outlook than Bryant. After all, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense have scored 30-plus points in six consecutive games, which is tied for the sixth-longest streak in NFL history.

Held without a touchdown in back-to-back games, Bryant had a total of six touchdowns in his first seven games this season. Not only does the second-year wideout currently have the longest reception of 2014 (94 yards) and 2015 (88 yards), but the volume has been there as well. Bryant has double-digit targets in three of five games and is averaging 9.56 targets per game this year.

Posting a respectable 5.3/84.3/0.7 average stat line this season, Bryant, Brown and the Steelers receivers have the best matchup of the week. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing receivers this season than the Ravens. Over their past nine games, Baltimore has allowed opposing receivers to haul in 18 touchdowns.

WR - Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (vs. STL)

It's been a phenomenal four-game stretch for Baldwin, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks passing offense, in general. Nearly half of Baldwin's 21 receptions over that four-game span have gone for touchdowns (10). In fact, Baldwin's four-game, multi-TD streak is tied for the longest in NFL history with Calvin Johnson (2011) and Cris Carter (1995). With his recent production catapulting him into the top-seven fantasy wide receivers through Week 15, Baldwin has 65 catches for a career-high 905 yards and a league-leading 13 touchdowns.

The matchup isn't great on paper as the Rams have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. Even though he is considered a game-time decision, it appears that he will be ready to go later today.

WR - Eric Decker, New York Jets (vs. NE)

Decker may be second on his own team in terms of fantasy points scored among wide receivers, but he's still been a top-10 producer going into Week 16. With 72 catches for 930 yards and 10 touchdowns, Decker has exceeded 80 yards and/or scored a touchdown in every game he's played this season. In his first matchup against the Patriots, Decker finished with six catches for 94 yards on 12 targets.

WR - Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)

Tate has not reached 75 receiving yards in any of his past 12 games, but he has pulled off a mini-Baldwin, if you will. Tate has scored multiple touchdowns in back-to-back games. In fact, Tate has twice as many receiving touchdowns as Megatron has catches over the past two weeks. With Johnson dealing with an ankle injury, Tate is ranked inside my top-24 receivers this week.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

WR - T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (at MIA)

Perhaps he's due if the pattern of his recent performances are any indication: 2.1 fantasy points (weekly WR65), 21.5 (WR9), 3.6 (WR64), 13.2 (WR16) and 2.9 (WR78), respectively. In his past nine games, Hilton has finished as a top-16 receiver four times and outside the top-60 weekly receivers four times.

The matchup is favorable with the Dolphins allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, but Andrew Luck is out for another week and Hilton has complained about the team's reluctance to take shots down the field. Given the inconsistent production, Hilton is more of a WR3/flex for me this week.

WR - Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots (at NYJ)

Even though the Patriots will be without the services of both Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman and I expect Tom Brady to throw it close to 50 times today, LaFell is still a sit for me. After hauling in four catches for 88 yards last week, LaFell had a total of 95 receiving yards in his previous three games. LaFell has dealt with plenty of drops this season and it wouldn't surprise me if he spend some time on Revis Island. In his last matchup against the Jets, LaFell finished with two catches and 25 yards on eight targets.

WR - Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (at ARI)

Since Week 4, Cobb has scored single-digit fantasy points in all but one of his 11 games. That also means that he has finished outside of the top-24 fantasy receivers in 10 of his past 11 games as well.

Among healthy wide receivers, there hasn't been a bigger disappointment than Cobb (WR29 through Week 15). While the season-ending injury to Tyrann Mathieu is a devastating blow to Arizona's pass defense, the Cardinals have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

WR - Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams (at SEA)

A boom-or-bust fantasy option, Austin has finished as a top-10 weekly fantasy wide receiver four times this season including last week against the Buccaneers and in Week 1 against the Seahawks. With nearly as many rushing yards (390) as receiving yards (427), Austin has scored 10 touchdowns this season -- four rushing, five receiving and one return. And even though he had two scores against the Seahawks in Week 1, he had only 15 YFS (and minus two receiving yards) in that game.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 16

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Week 16 Fantasy Football: Updated RB Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Denard Robinson is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams and Robinson and start only two running backs, you should start AP and Williams -- and in turn, bench Shoelace.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

RB - Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO)

Starting for injured rookie running back T.J. Yeldon, Robinson was less effective against the Falcons (2.0 yards per carry) than he was in an expanded role in Week 14, but he racked up a season-high 22 touches. With only 0.34 fantasy points per touch, his third-lowest of the season, Robinson still finished the week as a top-30 fantasy running back.

With Yeldon expected to miss another game, Robinson should get a large workload in one of the best matchups of the week. Only Frank Gore and the Colts have a (slightly) better matchup as the Saints have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE)

Since leaving the San Diego game (Week 11) early with an injury, West saw his largest workload last week with 18 touches against the Ravens. West finished the game with 76 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and added two catches for nine yards. Before Week 11, West had three consecutive games with 24-plus touches.

It's unlikely that West gets 24-plus touches this week, but if he gets the 18 he had last week, he should produce as a top-eight fantasy running back once again. The Browns have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills (vs. DAL)

With LeSean McCoy (MCL) expected to miss this week's game, it will be a combination of Williams and Mike Gillislee that carries the load for the Bills rushing attack. When given the opportunity, Williams has been highly productive. Averaging 6.0 yards per carry this season, Williams has a total of seven touchdowns on only 76 touches this season. And this week's matchup is favorable as the Cowboys have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Bilal Powell, New York Jets (vs. NE)

Over the past three weeks, Powell has been extremely productive -- perhaps more so than most have realized. In fact, he's been a top-12 fantasy running back each week in standard-scoring formats. Here's the list of running backs with three top-12 weekly finishes over the past three weeks: Bilal Powell.

End of list.

With 20 receptions on 25 targets for 191 yards during that span, Powell has been even better in PPR scoring. Powell has a minimum of five catches and 19.2 PPR points in each of those three games. While he may not continue his streak of 20-point PPR games, he's ranked inside my top-20 fantasy running backs (standard scoring) for the week.

- Related Poll: Will Powell finish as a top-24 RB (standard scoring) in Week 16?

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

RB - C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (vs. CIN)

What a disappointing season it has been for Anderson! Drafted as a mid-to-late first-rounder, Anderson has had a couple of big games this season, but he has struggled to string together multiple productive outings. Over his past five games played, CJA has scored 0.9, 7.2, 27.3, 5.4 and 2.0 fantasy points, respectively.

I am actually in a league where I drafted CJA with the last pick in Round 1 and I'm in the league's Championship Game. That said, I've managed to pick up guys like West, Thomas Rawls (before IR) and others to pick up his slack along the way. Given Anderson's lack of consistency this season, there's no way that I could trust him in a less-than-favorable matchup.

RB - Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (at KC)

One week after leading all running backs in fantasy points scored, Crowell gained just 23 yards on nine carries and added three catches for seven yards. Crowell has 3.0 or fewer fantasy points in five of his past eight games and he doesn't have a favorable matchup this week either. The Chiefs have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. In addition, only the Rams (14.0) are projected to score fewer points than the Browns (15.5) based on Vegas odds this week.

RB - Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots (at NYJ)

With Joey Iosefa (yes, Joey Iosefa) getting more carries than "starter" Brandon Bolden last week, it's hard to trust Bolden this week -- or any week. Added to the mix will be Steven Jackson, who hasn't played all season. In fact, LeGarrette Blount had just three carries for MINUS three yards in Week 7 against the Jets. This week's game plan should be pass-heavy so I wouldn't trust any Patriots running back not named James White. Not only do the Jets rank second in the NFL in rushing defense (82.8 YPG allowed), but they have allowed a league-low two rushing touchdowns this season.

RB - C.J. Spiller, New Orleans Saints (vs. JAX)

I get that you wouldn't even consider starting Spiller as bad and fantasy-irrelevant as he's been. A spike in Spiller's offensive involvement at least seemed reasonable following Mark Ingram's injury. Silly me.

With both Ingram and Khiry Robinson landing on IR, Tim Hightower has dominated touches over Spiller -- 45 to 10 in the past two games combined. As another comparison, Hightower had 8.5 fantasy points last week alone; Spiller has a total of 7.7 fantasy points in his past six games combined. Ugh!

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 16

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December 26, 2015

Week 16 Fantasy Football: Updated QB Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Kirk Cousins is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Ben Roethlisberger and Cousins, you should start Big Ben -- and in turn, bench Cousins.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO)

One of the biggest surprises in fantasy football this season, Bortles enters Championship Week with the fifth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks -- just ahead of Aaron Rodgers (QB6). Even better, Bortles has been a consistent producer; in other words, his unexpected production isn't due to only a few big games.

Since Week 2, Bortles has finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in nine weeks. Over the past four weeks, he's finished as a top-eight performer with a minimum of 22 fantasy points in each of those games. During that four-game span, Bortles has averaged a tad shy of 300 passing yards (299.5/G) and he's thrown 11 touchdowns to only two interceptions. In addition, he has 93 rushing yards and two more scores over that stretch.

The good times should continue to roll for Bortles and the Jags passing offense. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Saints. The Saints have allowed a top-three weekly finish in six of their 14 games this season and Bortles is my third-ranked quarterback for the week behind only Big Ben and Cam Newton.

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (at PHI)

As I tweeted earlier this week, Cam Newton (four times), Russell Wilson (twice) and Cousins (twice) have finished as the top-scoring fantasy quarterback in eight of the past nine weeks. (Saints QB Drew Brees was the exception in Week 8.)

Someone else may finish as this week's top-scoring quarterback, after all I have Big Ben in the top spot of my rankings, but Cousins at least has QB1 upside given this week's matchup against the Eagles. Only the Saints and Giants have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and the Eagles have surrendered 21 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in their past seven games. In addition, the Eagles are dealing with a number of key injuries in their secondary.

Including his two QB1 performances, Cousins has five top-10 outings in his past eight games. During that eight-game span, he has averaged slightly more than 275 passing yards per game with 20 touchdowns (16 passing and four rushing) and only three interceptions.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (vs. NE)

Before last week's relatively disappointing (fantasy) performance, Fitzpatrick had finished as the weekly QB3, QB8 and QB4, respectively, in his previous three games. Going into the final week of the fantasy season, Fitzpatrick has scored the 10th-most fantasy points among quarterbacks.

In the games that Fitzpatrick did not leave early due to injury, he has accounted for multiple touchdowns in 11 of 13 games. One of those multi-TD games was his Week 7 matchup against the Patriots when he scored 20.7 fantasy points and finished as fantasy's QB8.

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)

In the first five games of the season, Stafford finished outside the top-15 fantasy quarterbacks in every game. Since then, however, Stafford has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in five of nine games and has averaged 20.9 fantasy points per game over that stretch.

With multiple touchdowns in four consecutive games, Stafford has compiled an impressive 12:1 TD-to-INT ratio during that span. The 49ers have been middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks and have allowed only two passing scores in their past four games, but Stafford is still a back-end QB1 for Week 16.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

QB - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR)

We only have to look back two weeks for a glimpse of how Week 16 may play out for Ryan. In his first matchup against the Panthers (Week 14), Ryan threw for 224 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. In addition, he lost a fumble and finished with 4.86 fantasy points, 29th-most among Week 14 quarterbacks.

Allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, Eli Manning's QB9 performance last week was only the second time the Panthers have allowed a top-12 outing this season. The other time was to Aaron Rodgers in Week 9.

QB - Eli Manning, New York Giants (at MIN)

Despite a difficult matchup on paper, Eli threw four pass touchdowns for a second consecutive game. Over his past six games, he has thrown multiple touchdowns five times and a total of 21 scores. One big problem this week is the absence of Odell Beckham Jr., who was suspended for this week's game. With the loss of OBJ and in a less-than-average matchup, Eli and the Giants are only projected to score 19.75 (25th-most) based on Vegas odds.

QB - Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. IND)

Tannehill has thrown for 236 yards or less, in some cases much less, and a total of two passing touchdowns over the past three weeks. To make matters worse, two of those games were elite matchups against the Ravens and Giants, both of whom rank among the seven friendliest defenses to fantasy quarterbacks. Indianapolis hasn't been much better than Baltimore or New York, but can you trust that Tannehill will exploit the matchup?

QB - Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)

Since Week 6, Bradford has failed to finish as a top-15 quarterback in any of his games. The good news is that he threw for 361 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinals last week, but he turned the ball over three times as well. More good news is that facing Washington is obviously a more favorable proposition than facing Arizona's defense. That said, now isn't the time to start trusting Bradford or the Eagles offense.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 16

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 16 (Hanson)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 16 of the 2015 NFL season:

Seattle Seahawks -13 over St. Louis Rams (2 units)

Looking back at the past eight times these two teams have met in Seattle (all Seattle wins), the Seahawks have won seven of those games by double-digit points. In addition, the Rams have not scored more than 13 points in Seattle in any of their past eight games. In fact, they have scored a total of just four touchdowns in their past eight games there. (Granted, the Rams won their OT matchup in Week 1 in St. Louis.)

The Seahawks have lost Marshawn Lynch, and then Thomas Rawls, and have turned the rushing attack over to Christine Michael, 2.0, with some Bryce Brown and Fred Jackson mixed in. That said, Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin and the passing offense is firing on all cylinders. In his past five games, Wilson has 20 touchdowns -- 19 passing and one rushing -- and no interceptions.

[Related Poll: How many TDs will Baldwin score in Week 16?]

Since averaging 6.12 yards per carry in his first five NFL games, Rams rookie running back Todd Gurley has averaged just 3.86 YPC over his past seven games. And those numbers would look a lot worse if it weren't for a 16/140/2 game against the Lions. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have allowed only three 50-yard rushers since Week 7: Darren McFadden (20 carries for 64 yards), Andre Ellington (five for 61) and Chris Johnson (25 for 58).

The size of the point spread is a small (or I guess large, depending on your perspective) concern, but I expect the Seahawks to win this one going away as they are playing their best football of the season at the right time.

Redskins vs. Eagles -- Over 49.0 (2 units)

With an ability to clinch the division on the road, Washington has had much less success outside of FedEx Field this season. Only 1-5 on the road this season, they close the regular season out in Philadelphia (tonight) and Dallas (next week).

One of the biggest reasons for their ability to clinch the division tonight has been the play of Kirk Cousins. Whether they should show him the money is another question, but Cousins has compiled a 16:3 TD-to-INT ratio over his past eight games. In fact, he has accounted for 20 touchdowns with four rushing scores over that span as well. Not only will DeSean Jackson get a chance to face his former team, but Jordan Reed is having a breakout season (74/778/9).

Meanwhile, the Eagles defense ranks 29th in the NFL (393.3 yards per game allowed). In addition, the Redskins defense hasn't been all that much better (25th, 370.0 YPG). With an over/under of 49, I could easily see this game turn out to be a 27-24 contest.

- Note: We will track all of our 2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread here.

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Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): Week 16 Values for DraftKings Contests

In a salary-cap format, finding players that give you a bang for the buck is key to constructing a profitable lineup.

Looking ahead to Sunday, I've identified some players that I believe are undervalued based on their DraftKings price tag. In some cases, they are cheap in absolute terms, but the focus here is on relative values -- projected output versus current salary.

With that said, here are some of my favorite value plays for Week 16 (Sunday/Monday games only):

QB - Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL), $6,800

While not necessarily a bargain-bin quarterback for the week, there is plenty of value with Big Ben this week. Ranked first overall in my Week 16 rankings, Roethlisberger is tied with Drew Brees as the sixth-most expensive DraftKings quarterback this week.

With the Steelers scoring 30-plus (real-life) points in six consecutive games, Roethlisberger has scored a minimum of 25 DraftKings points in five of those six games. In each of those 25-point outings, he has thrown for 300-plus yards, which is a three-point bonus with DK scoring. Over that six-game span, Big Ben has averaged 365.8 passing yards per game and thrown a total of 13 touchdowns.

Baltimore has allowed the eighth-most DraftKings points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Roethlisberger is as safe as can be for cash games and he has tremendous upside in tournaments as well.

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO), $6,500

Finishing with a minimum of 25.28 DK points in each of his past four games, Bortles has averaged a tad shy of 300 passing yards (299.5/G) and has thrown 11 touchdowns to only two interceptions. In addition, he has 93 rushing yards and two more scores over that stretch.

Bortles faces a Saints team that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. In addition, the Saints have allowed a top-three weekly finish in six of their 14 games this season.

There are seven quarterbacks priced higher than Bortles this week, but he's third in my Week 16 rankings behind only Big Ben and Cam Newton. And the fact that he's priced so closely to Roethlisberger, Bortles ownership levels may not as high as would otherwise be the case.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (vs. NE), $5,200

Priced only $200 above the position-minimum salary, Fitzpatrick offers plenty of bang for the buck. Excluding the game he left early due to injury, Fitzpatrick has accounted for multiple touchdowns in 11 of 13 games this season including the first time he faced the Patriots. In that game, Fitzpatrick threw for 295 yards and two scores and ran for another 29 yards.

Over his past four games, Fitzpatrick has thrown 10 touchdowns and only one interception with an average of 307.25 passing yards per game. In addition, he's averaged roughly 20 (19.75) rushing yards per game as well. With the exception of the game left early, Fitzpatrick has scored a minimum of 14 fantasy points in every game this season.

RB - David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB), $5,800

Scoring a league-most 47.9 DraftKings points in Week 15, Johnson rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns and added four catches for 42 yards as well. It would be unreasonable to expect a repeat performance, but he has been consistently productive since taking over as the team's lead back three weeks ago.

Over his past three games, Johnson has a minimum of 24 touches and 110 yards from scrimmage in each of those games. And despite a limited number of touches (135) this season, Johnson has scored a total of 12 touchdowns -- seven rushing, four receiving and one return.

There are 10 running backs with a higher salary than Johnson, but three of them won't play this weekend. That said, there are not seven running backs better than DJ this weekend.

RB - Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE), $5,700

Against the Ravens on Sunday, West carried the ball 16 times for 76 yards and a touchdown plus he added two catches for nine yards. It was his best performance and largest workload since departing early in a Week 11 matchup against the Chargers.

Before his injury, West had a minimum of 24 touches and 22 DK points in three straight games. It's unlikely that he gets 24 or more touches this week, but the matchup against the Browns is favorable. In addition, the Chiefs are favored by double digits so they should be playing with a lead for much of the game.

RB - Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (at MIA), $4,000

While I wouldn't roll Gore out in my cash lineups, Gore has a favorable matchup as he returns home to Miami. Only the Saints and 49ers have allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Dolphins, who have allowed 132.1 rushing yards per game and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Averaging only 2.81 yards per carry over his past seven games, the good news is that Gore has a minimum of 16 touches in each of those games with an average of 20.57/G during that stretch. With his consistent usage rate and favorable matchup, Gore is worth a flier in tournaments.

RB - Bilal Powell, New York Jets (vs. NE), $3,900

Over the past three weeks, Powell has been extremely productive -- perhaps more so than you have realized. In fact, he's been a top-12 fantasy running back each week in standard-scoring formats. Here's the list of running backs with three top-12 weekly finishes over the past three weeks: Bilal Powell.

End of list.

With 20 receptions on 25 targets for 191 yards during that span, Powell has been even better in PPR (DraftKings) scoring. Powell has a minimum of five catches and 19.2 DraftKings points in each of those three games. While he may not continue his streak of 20-point games, it's highly likely that he exceeds value on his below-$4,000 salary, offering salary-cap relief to load up elsewhere.

- Related Poll: Will Powell finish as a top-24 RB (standard scoring) in Week 16?

RB - Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (at MIN), $3,500

Another NY (or NJ) running back should provide DFSers with plenty of production and salary-cap relief this week. Spending most of the season as part of a four-man rotation, Jennings has seen a spike in workload over the past two weeks. In those two games, he has a minimum of 17 touches each week and a total of 41.

Although he lost a fumble last week against the Panthers, it was his most productive outing of the season. Jennings rushed 16 times for 107 yards and a touchdown to score 19.7 DK points. It's not too often that a 20-touch back is available for the discounted salary of $3,500 even though the matchup isn't necessarily favorable.

WR - Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE), $6,000

Maclin has a minimum of six catches and 50 yards in four consecutive games and he has scored a total of four touchdowns during that span. During that four-game span, Maclin has averaged 23.53 DraftKings points per contest with a minimum of 12.6 in each of those games. Ranked as a top-10 wideout for Week 16, Maclin is priced lower than 16 other wide receivers on DraftKings this week. The Browns have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points (DK scoring) to opposing receivers this season.

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL), $5,600

Without question, Bryant's teammate, Antonio Brown, is the clear-cut top fantasy receiver for Week 16. That said, few receivers (on other teams) have a better outlook than Bryant. The Ravens have allowed third-most DraftKings points to opposing receivers this season. Over their past nine games, Baltimore has allowed opposing receivers to haul in 18 touchdowns.

Held without a touchdown in back-to-back games, Bryant had a total of six touchdowns in his first seven games this season. In addition, the second-year wideout has the longest reception of 2014 (94 yards) and 2015 (88 yards). While he's one of the best big-play receivers in the NFL, Bryant has double-digit targets in three of five games and is averaging 9.56 targets per game on the year. While Bryant is my ninth-ranked receiver this week, there are 23 with a lower salary.

WR - Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens (vs. PIT), $5,400

It's not only Bryant and the Steelers receivers that have a favorable matchup in this game. In fact, the Steelers have allowed the most DraftKings points to the position this season. Coming off an 8/128/1 performance against the Chiefs last week, Aiken has a minimum of five catches and has scored double-digit fantasy points in seven consecutive games.

WR - Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL), $4,100

With teammates Brown and Bryant such strong plays this week, Wheaton will be relatively overlooked, but he's certainly a fine option in his own right. Kicking off a four-game stretch with a career-best 201-yard performance against the Seahawks, Wheaton has a total of 22 catches, 378 yards and three touchdowns over that span. Not only does he have a minimum of 50 yards in each of those games, but he has scored in three of the four and he's averaging 9.25 targets over that stretch.

WR - Rueben Randle, New York Giants (at MIN), $3,500

Randle has scored and finished with double-digit fantasy points in back-to-back games and in four of his past six games. Averaging only 5.57 targets per game, Randle should see that volume spike with the one-game suspension of Odell Beckham Jr. Priced only $500 above minimum salary, Randle should easily exceed value this week.

TE - Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO), $5,100

Thomas has the best matchup on the board as no team has allowed more fantasy points to the position than the Saints. Over his past five games, Thomas has scored more than 13 fantasy points in four of five weeks and has a total of 27 catches for 292 yards and four touchdowns over that stretch.

TE - Will Tye, New York Giants (at MIN), $3,500

Tye has finished as a top-10 weekly tight end in three consecutive games. In addition, Tye has five-plus catches in four of five games and he has either 50-plus yards or a score in all five consecutive games. He has scored double-digit fantasy points in five consecutive games. With OBJ sidelined this week, Tye should see a bump in targets and extend his streak of games with at least 10 DraftKings points.

- Week 16 DFS DraftKings Cheat Sheet

Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings:

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December 24, 2015

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): Week 16 Values for FanDuel Contests

In a salary-cap format like FanDuel, the key to long-term profitability is finding players that are undervalued compared to their salaries.

Most of the players that I've listed in this post will be values in both absolute and relative terms, but the focus is on relative values. In other words, the players listed may not carry bargain-bin price tags, but my ranking for all players on this list is more favorable than their corresponding FanDuel price tag.

With that said, here are some of my favorite value plays for Week 16:

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO), $8,200

Finishing with a minimum of 23.46 FanDuel points in each of his past four games, Bortles has averaged a tad shy of 300 passing yards (299.5/G) and has thrown 11 touchdowns to only two interceptions. In addition, he has 93 rushing yards and two more scores over that stretch. Heading into Week 16, Bortles has scored the fifth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks -- just ahead of Aaron Rodgers (QB6).

With the top matchup on the board, Bortles gets a Saints team that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. In addition, the Saints have allowed a top-three weekly finish in six of their 14 games this season. While there are six quarterbacks with a higher price tag than Bortles ($8,200), only Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton are ranked higher in my Week 16 rankings.

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (at PHI), $7,500

Not only does he have six top-nine weekly finishes over his past 11 games, Cousins has finished as the QB1 or QB2 in three of those games. Over his past eight games, Cousins has averaged slightly more than 275 passing yards per game with 20 touchdowns (16 passing and four rushing) and only three interceptions. As Cousins would say, "you like that?"

Given his elite matchup against the Eagles, who have surrendered the third-most fantasy points to the position, Cousins has legitimate QB1 upside this week. In their past seven games, the Eagles have surrendered 21 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks.

RB - David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB), $7,400

Scoring a league-most 42.9 FanDuel points in Week 15, Johnson rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns and added four catches for 42 yards as well. It would be unreasonable to expect another 40-pointer from the rookie out of Northern Iowa, but he has been consistent since taking over as the team's lead back three weeks ago.

Over his past three games, Johnson has a minimum of 24 touches and 110 yards from scrimmage in each of those games. And despite a limited number of touches (135) this season, Johnson has scored a total of 12 touchdowns -- seven rushing, four receiving and one return. With only the seventh-highest FanDuel salary among running backs, Johnson is my second-ranked option this week.

RB - Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (vs. SD), $6,100

Few running backs have received a larger and more consistent workload than Murray this season. Averaging 19.14 touches per game, Murray's 268 touches ranks fourth in the NFL. Not only does he have 22-plus touches in three of his past four games, but he has at least 16 touches in all but one game this season.

The fifth-leading rusher in the NFL (956 yards), Murray has not run the ball as well recently -- 3.02 yards per carry over his past five games compared to 4.71 YPC in his first nine. That said, he had success against the Chargers in his first matchup (15/85/1 rushing) and the Bolts currently allow the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.
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RB - Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (at OAK), $5,900

It's unlikely that Woodhead repeats last week's monster 33.0-point performance, but then again, he racked up a total of 27.6 against the Raiders earlier this season. In that game, Woodhead had only eight rushing yards, but he was a huge part of the passing game with 11 catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns.

Earlier this week, the Chargers placed MG3 on IR and perhaps that leads to a few extra early-down carries. But Woodhead derives his fantasy value from his role in the passing game -- 64 catches for a position-high 651 yards -- and the trust he has from Philip Rivers in the red zone.

RB - Bilal Powell, New York Jets (vs. NE), $5,900

In our DFS Roundtable post for Week 16, Powell was my choice as my favorite DraftKings play for Week 16. While his salary isn't as low on FanDuel and there isn't full PPR scoring (like on DraftKings), Powell is one of my favorite running back plays for Week 16 here as well. Scoring in three consecutive games, Powell has scored a minimum of 16.7 fantasy points (FanDuel scoring) per game. Over that three-game stretch, Powell has 20 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 25 targets.

- Related Poll: Will Powell finish as a top-24 RB (standard scoring) in Week 16?

RB - Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills (vs. DAL), $5,400

After sitting out two games, Williams carried the ball four times for 41 yards on Sunday. In nine games this season, Williams has averaged 6.0 yards per carry and scored a total of seven touchdowns on just 76 touches this year. With a torn MCL, LeSean McCoy is "week to week" and likely done for the season with the Bills eliminated from playoff contention.

Teammate Mike Gillislee has been productive in his three games with Buffalo and he should get plenty of work as well, but Williams is a great tournament play for Week 16. The Cowboys have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season and 37 running backs that carry a higher price tag than Williams on FanDuel this week.

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL), $7,200

Without question, Bryant's teammate, Antonio Brown, is the clear-cut top fantasy receiver for Week 16. That said, few receivers (on other teams) have a better outlook than Bryant. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing receivers this season than the Ravens. Over their past nine games, Baltimore has allowed opposing receivers to haul in 18 touchdowns.

Held without a touchdown in back-to-back games, Bryant had a total of six touchdowns in his first seven games this season. In addition, the second-year wideout has the longest reception of 2014 (94 yards) and 2015 (88 yards). While he's one of the best big-play receivers in the NFL, Bryant has double-digit targets in three of five games and is averaging 9.56 targets per game on the year.

WR - Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE), $6,900

Maclin has a minimum of six catches and 50 yards in four consecutive games and he has scored a total of four touchdowns during that span. During that four-game span, Maclin has averaged 18.65 FanDuel points per contest with a minimum of 9.6 in each of those games. Ranked as a top-10 wideout for Week 16, Maclin is priced lower than 22 other wide receivers on FanDuel this week. The Browns have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

WR - Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens (vs. PIT), $6,600

It's not only Bryant and the Steelers receivers that have a favorable matchup in this game. The Steelers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position this season. Coming off an 8/128/1 performance against the Chiefs last week, Aiken has a minimum of five catches in seven consecutive games. In addition, Aiken has scored double-digit fantasy points in five of his past six games.

WR - Rueben Randle, New York Giants (at MIN), $5,700

Randle has scored and finished with double-digit fantasy points in back-to-back games and in four of his past six games. Averaging only 5.57 targets per game, Randle should see that volume spike with the one-game suspension of Odell Beckham Jr. With a salary lower than 45 other receivers, Randle should easily exceed value this week.

TE - Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (at OAK), $6,400

The Raiders have been a lightly better at defending tight ends recently, but they have still allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position in 2015. The first time that the Chargers faced the Raiders, Gates sat out. That said, fellow tight end Ladarius Green scored a touchdown and had a pair of two-point conversions against them.

Gates hasn't scored since Week 12, but he has exactly six catches in three consecutive weeks. It wouldn't surprise me if Philip Rivers and Gates connected for a touchdown, or two, this week. Gates has a total of 21 multi-touchdown games in his career, the most of any active player since he entered the league.

TE - Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints (vs. JAX), $6,400

With double-digit targets in back-to-back games, Watson has now finished as a top-12 weekly tight end in three consecutive weeks. On the season, Watson has 67 catches for 761 yards and five touchdowns and the eighth-most fantasy points among tight ends. Watson gets a great matchup this week as the Jags have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position this season. The only concern for him this week is the availability of Drew Brees (foot) although Brees says that he will play.

TE - Will Tye, New York Giants (at MIN), $5,100

Tye has finished as a top-10 weekly tight end in three consecutive games. In addition, Tye has five-plus catches in four of five games and he has either 50-plus yards or a score in all five consecutive games. With OBJ sidelined this week, Tye should see a bump in targets and extend his streak of games with at least eight FanDuel points.

- Week 16 DFS FanDuel Cheat Sheet

Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings:

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Poll: How many touchdowns will Doug Baldwin score in Week 16?

It's been a historic four-game stretch for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin. Nearly half of Baldwin's 21 receptions have gone for touchdowns (10).

With a minimum of two touchdowns in each of those four games, Baldwin joins Cris Carter and Calvin Johnson as the only three players in NFL history with a minimum of two receiving touchdowns in four consecutive games.

A two-TD performance this weekend will give him sole possession of that record/distinction.

Here's another way to look at Baldwin's four-game run: only eight other players -- six receivers and two tight ends -- have at least 10 touchdowns for the entire season.

Tied with Odell Beckham Jr. and Allen Robinson for the league lead in touchdowns (13), Baldwin has a total of 65 catches for a career-high 905 yards.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has his own impressive streak going with five consecutive games with three-plus touchdowns including a pair of five-TD games during that stretch. But Baldwin has caught 10 of 16 touchdowns over the past four weeks.

Primarily due to his last four to six games, Baldwin has moved into the top-seven fantasy wide receivers through Week 15. Going into Week 16, Baldwin is among my top-10 fantasy wide receivers (standard scoring).

St. Louis has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season, but a hamstring injury may be a bigger problem for Baldwin.

Assuming he plays, however, will Baldwin extend his touchdown streak this week? Will he score more than once?

More Week 16 polls:

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Week 16 Fantasy Football: Tight Ends Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Julius Thomas is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 16 with him as my starting tight end.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Rob Gronkowski and Thomas, you should start Gronk -- and in turn, bench Thomas.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

TE - Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (at OAK)

Providing Gates fantasy owners with an early Christmas present, the Raiders defense has been awfully generous to the position throughout the year. Granted, they have been a little better defending the position recently, but they have still allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position in 2015.

The first time that the Chargers faced the Raiders, Gates sat out. That said, fellow tight end Ladarius Green did score a touchdown and a pair of two-point conversions against them. Gates hasn't scored since Week 12, but he has exactly six catches in three consecutive weeks. It wouldn't surprise me if Philip Rivers and Gates connected for a touchdown, or two, this week.

TE - Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO)

As noted above, Thomas and the Jags tight ends have the most favorable matchup of the week as no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the Saints. Eight different tight ends facing the Saints have finished as a weekly top-eight fantasy tight end this season and I expect Thomas to be the ninth.

Over his past five games, Thomas has scored a minimum of 7.5 fantasy points every week and has a total of 27 catches for 292 yards and four touchdowns over that stretch. During that five-game stretch, Thomas has averaged 7.8 targets per game and has finished as a top-10 fantasy tight end four times.

TE - Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (at PHI)

Reed has now finished as the top-scoring fantasy tight end in back-to-back weeks and he has done so in three of the past nine weeks. In his past two games combined, Reed has 16 catches for 204 yards and three touchdowns and has finished with at least 18 fantasy points in each game. On the season, Reed is averaging 6.17 catches, 64.83 yards and 0.75 touchdowns on 8.25 targets per game. This week, Reed will face the Eagles, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, but he's still my top-ranked tight end not named Gronk.

TE - Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints (vs. JAX)

With double-digit targets in back-to-back games, Watson has now finished as a top-12 weekly tight end in three consecutive weeks. On the season, Watson has 67 catches for 761 yards and five touchdowns and the eighth-most fantasy points among tight ends.

Watson gets a great matchup this week as the Jags have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position this season. The only concern for him this week is the availability of Drew Brees (foot).

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

TE - Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL)

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense has been firing on all cylinders lately with 30-plus points in six consecutive games. While Miller has plenty of receptions (35) and targets (47) during that span, he's averaging only 8.57 Y/A over that stretch and he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 2. The wide receivers have a tremendous matchup against a Ravens secondary that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing receivers, but they haven't been as fantasy-friendly (third-fewest) to opposing tight ends.

TE - Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (at BUF)

Since scoring a pair of touchdowns in the opener, Witten has been kept out of the end zone for 13 consecutive games. In addition, Witten has less than 50 receiving yards in eight consecutive games with an average of 37.25/G over that stretch. Perhaps things will be different this week with Kellen Moore getting the starting nod, but there is little upside for Witten in an average matchup.

TE - Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (vs. DAL)

Clay missed last week's game with a back injury, but the Bills are "hoping" that he'll be good for Week 16. Highly productive in the first four games of the season (9.38 fantasy points per game), Clay has finished as a top-15 fantasy tight end only once over his past nine games. Considering the recent play and volume for Sammy Watkins and the less than favorable matchup against the Cowboys, who have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, Clay deserves to remain on your bench should he be active this week.

TE - Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins (vs. IND)

What a disappointing season it has been for Cameron and his fantasy owners. Drafted as a starting (top-12) fantasy tight end, Cameron has been anything but for the vast majority of the season. In his past 12 games, he's finished as a top-20 fantasy tight end only three times: TE11 (Week 6), TE20 (Week 8) and TE10 (Week 11). For some reason, he's still owned in 49 percent of Yahoo! leagues as of Christmas Eve (morning), but he shouldn't even be worthy of a spot at the end of your bench.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 16

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Week 16 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Doug Baldwin is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as one of my starting receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned Antonio Brown, Allen Robinson and Baldwin and started only two wide receivers, you should start Brown and Robinson -- and in turn, bench Baldwin.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL)

Without question, Bryant's teammate, Antonio Brown, is the clear-cut top fantasy receiver for Week 16. That said, few receivers (on other teams) have a better outlook than Bryant. After all, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense have scored 30-plus points in six consecutive games, which is tied for the sixth-longest streak in NFL history.

Held without a touchdown in back-to-back games, Bryant had a total of six touchdowns in his first seven games this season. Not only does the second-year wideout currently have the longest reception of 2014 (94 yards) and 2015 (88 yards), but the volume has been there as well. Bryant has double-digit targets in three of five games and is averaging 9.56 targets per game this year.

Posting a respectable 5.3/84.3/0.7 average stat line this season, Bryant, Brown and the Steelers receivers have the best matchup of the week. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing receivers this season than the Ravens. Over their past nine games, Baltimore has allowed opposing receivers to haul in 18 touchdowns.

WR - Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (vs. STL)

It's been a phenomenal four-game stretch for Baldwin, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks passing offense, in general. Nearly half of Baldwin's 21 receptions over that four-game span have gone for touchdowns (10). In fact, Baldwin's four-game, multi-TD streak is tied for the longest in NFL history with Calvin Johnson (2011) and Cris Carter (1995). With his recent production catapulting him into the top-seven fantasy wide receivers through Week 15, Baldwin has 65 catches for a career-high 905 yards and a league-leading 13 touchdowns.

The matchup isn't great on paper as the Rams have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. More concerning may be Baldwin's hamstring as it kept him off the practice field on Wednesday, but as long as he's active on Sunday, he's become a must-start at this point.

WR - Eric Decker, New York Jets (vs. NE)

Decker may be second on his own team in terms of fantasy points scored among wide receivers, but he's still been a top-10 producer going into Week 16. With 72 catches for 930 yards and 10 touchdowns, Decker has exceeded 80 yards and/or scored a touchdown in every game he's played this season. In his first matchup against the Patriots, Decker finished with six catches for 94 yards on 12 targets.

WR - Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)

Tate has not reached 75 receiving yards in any of his past 12 games, but he has pulled off a mini-Baldwin, if you will. Tate has scored multiple touchdowns in back-to-back games. In fact, Tate has twice as many receiving touchdowns as Megatron has catches over the past two weeks. With Johnson dealing with an ankle injury, Tate is ranked inside my top-24 receivers this week.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

WR - T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (at MIA)

Perhaps he's due if the pattern of his recent performances are any indication: 2.1 fantasy points (weekly WR65), 21.5 (WR9), 3.6 (WR64), 13.2 (WR16) and 2.9 (WR78), respectively. In his past nine games, Hilton has finished as a top-16 receiver four times and outside the top-60 weekly receivers four times.

The matchup is favorable with the Dolphins allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, but Andrew Luck is out for another week and Hilton has complained about the team's reluctance to take shots down the field. Given the inconsistent production, Hilton is more of a WR3/flex for me this week.

WR - Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (at BUF)

With a healthy Tony Romo, Bryant is virtually unstoppable. Since coming back from his foot injury, Dez has not been anything close to his once dominant self. In his past six games, Bryant has finished no better than the weekly WR20. During that six-game span, Bryant has had 62 yards or less in every game with an average of 39.5 per week.

Next season, Bryant will be a top-five fantasy receiver once again, but it's time for fantasy owners to shut him down this season even if Jerry Jones says the team will go "balls out" with Dez.

WR - Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (at ARI)

Since Week 4, Cobb has scored single-digit fantasy points in all but one of his 11 games. That also means that he has finished outside of the top-24 fantasy receivers in 10 of his past 11 games as well.

Among healthy wide receivers, there hasn't been a bigger disappointment than Cobb (WR29 through Week 15). While the season-ending injury to Tyrann Mathieu is a devastating blow to Arizona's pass defense, the Cardinals have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

WR - Danny Amendola, New England Patriots (at NYJ)

Amendola had one catch for three yards before exiting Sunday's game with a knee injury. Limited in practice so far this week, it's unclear if Amendola will be able to go in Week 16. If he is active, he'll be at less than 100 percent and he always seems to be banged up.

Even though he had 8/86/1 in his first matchup against the Jets and I expect the Patriots to use a pass-heavy game plan (Tom Brady threw 54 pass attempts in Week 7), the risk of aggravating the injury puts him outside of my top-24 receivers for the week.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 16

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Week 16 DFS Cheat Sheets:

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December 23, 2015

Week 16 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Danny Woodhead is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams and Woodhead and start only two running backs, you should start AP and Williams -- and in turn, bench Woodhead.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

RB - Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (vs. SD)

Heading into Championship Week for most fantasy leagues, Murray ranks 14th in fantasy points scored among running backs. Scoring more than 15.7 fantasy points only once this season, Murray has been consistent -- 7.5-plus fantasy points in 11 of 14 games.

Few running backs have received a larger and more consistent workload than Murray. Averaging 19.14 touches per game, Murray's 268 touches ranks fourth in the NFL. Not only does he have 22-plus touches in three of his past four games, but he has at least 16 touches in all but one game this season.

The fifth-leading rusher in the NFL (956 yards), Murray has not run the ball as well recently -- 3.02 yards per carry over his past five games compared to 4.71 YPC in his first nine. That said, he had success against the Chargers in his first matchup (15/85/1 rushing) and the Bolts currently allow the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

RB - Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE)

Since leaving the San Diego game (Week 11) early with an injury, West saw his largest workload last week with 18 touches against the Ravens. West finished the game with 76 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and added two catches for nine yards. Before Week 11, West had three consecutive games with 24-plus touches.

It's highly unlikely that West gets 24 or more touches this week, but if he gets the 18 he had last week, he should produce as a top-eight fantasy running back once again. The Browns have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB)

Not only did Johnson finish as the highest-scoring fantasy running back in Week 15, but it was actually the only 40-point fantasy performance this season. Johnson carried the ball 29 times for 187 yards and three touchdowns and added four catches for 42 yards as well.

Since taking over as the team's lead back (by necessity), Johnson has exceeded 110 yards from scrimmage in three consecutive games. In addition, he has a minimum of 24 touches in each of those games. During that three-game span, Johnson has 378 rushing yards, 11 catches for 94 yards and four total touchdowns.

Even though he has only 135 touches on the season, Johnson has scored a total of 12 touchdowns -- seven rushing, four receiving and one return. Johnson is a top-three option this week whether Andre Ellington returns or not.

RB - Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (at OAK)

While Johnson scored the most fantasy points last week, Woodhead scored the second-most (30.0). Last week's monster performance catapulted him into the top-12 fantasy running backs (standard scoring) through Week 15. There's no way that he repeats last week's four-TD performance, but he's a viable RB2 type this week against the Raiders. (Then again, he did score two TDs against the Raiders the first time around.)

Perhaps he gets a few more early-down carries with MG3 placed on IR, but his fantasy value is largely derived from his ability in the passing game and the trust he has from Philip Rivers in the red zone. Woodhead has the third-most receptions (64) among running backs and none have more receiving yards (651) than he has. In addition, only Devonta Freeman and Adrian Peterson have more PPR fantasy points than Woodhead this season.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

RB - C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (vs. CIN)

What a disappointing season it has been for Anderson! Drafted as a mid-to-late first-rounder, Anderson has had a couple of big games this season, but he has struggled to string together multiple productive outings. Over his past five games played, CJA has scored 0.9, 7.2, 27.3, 5.4 and 2.0 fantasy points, respectively.

I am actually in a league where I drafted CJA with the last pick in Round 1 and I'm in the league's Championship Game. That said, I've managed to pick up guys like West, Thomas Rawls (before IR) and others to pick up his slack along the way. Given Anderson's lack of consistency this season, there's no way that I could trust him in a less-than-favorable matchup.

RB - DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)

Speaking of disappointments, what string is Murray currently on Philadelphia's depth chart? While he still officially tops the list (I just checked), he had only two carries for three yards last week against the Cardinals. Murray now has 34 rushing yards or less in four consecutive games. During that four-game span, he has a total of 35 carries for 91 yards (2.60 YPC).

RB - Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots (at NYJ)

With Steven Jackson back in the league, Montee Ball activated from the practice squad and Joey Iosefa (yes, Joey Iosefa) getting 14 carries -- four more than Bolden -- last week, it's anyone's guess how the workload will get allocated. In fact, LeGarrette Blount had just three carries for MINUS three yards in Week 7 against the Jets. This week's game plan should be pass-heavy so I wouldn't trust any Patriots running back not named James White.

RB - C.J. Spiller, New Orleans Saints (vs. JAX)

I get that you wouldn't even consider starting Spiller as bad and fantasy-irrelevant as he's been. A spike in Spiller's offensive involvement at least seemed reasonable following Mark Ingram's injury. Silly me.

With both Ingram and Khiry Robinson landing on IR, Tim Hightower has dominated touches over Spiller -- 45 to 10 in the past two games combined. As another comparison, Hightower had 8.5 fantasy points last week alone; Spiller has a total of 7.7 fantasy points in his past six games combined. Ugh!

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 16

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Continue reading "Week 16 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em" »


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Week 16 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Kirk Cousins is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Ben Roethlisberger and Cousins, you should start Big Ben -- and in turn, bench Cousins.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO)

One of the biggest surprises in fantasy football this season, Bortles enters Championship Week with the fifth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks -- just ahead of Aaron Rodgers (QB6). Even better, Bortles has been a consistent producer; in other words, his unexpected production isn't due to only a few big games.

Since Week 2, Bortles has finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in nine weeks. Over the past four weeks, he's finished as a top-eight performer with a minimum of 22 fantasy points in each of those games. During that four-game span, Bortles has averaged a tad shy of 300 passing yards (299.5/G) and he's thrown 11 touchdowns to only two interceptions. In addition, he has 93 rushing yards and two more scores over that stretch.

The good times should continue to roll for Bortles and the Jags passing offense. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Saints. The Saints have allowed a top-three weekly finish in six of their 14 games this season and Bortles is my third-ranked quarterback for the week behind only Big Ben and Cam Newton.

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (at PHI)

As I tweeted earlier this week, Cam Newton (four times), Russell Wilson (twice) and Cousins (twice) have finished as the top-scoring fantasy quarterback in eight of the past nine weeks. (Saints QB Drew Brees was the exception in Week 8.)

Someone else may finish as this week's top-scoring quarterback, after all I have Big Ben in the top spot of my rankings, but Cousins at least has QB1 upside given this week's matchup against the Eagles. Only the Saints and Giants have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and the Eagles have surrendered 21 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in their past seven games.

Including his two QB1 performances, Cousins has five top-10 outings in his past eight games. During that eight-game span, he has averaged slightly more than 275 passing yards per game with 20 touchdowns (16 passing and four rushing) and only three interceptions.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (vs. NE)

Before last week's relatively disappointing (fantasy) performance, Fitzpatrick had finished as the weekly QB3, QB8 and QB4, respectively, in his previous three games. Going into the final week of the fantasy season, Fitzpatrick has scored the 10th-most fantasy points among quarterbacks.

In the games that Fitzpatrick did not leave early due to injury, he has accounted for multiple touchdowns in 11 of 13 games. One of those multi-TD games was his Week 7 matchup against the Patriots when he scored 20.7 fantasy points and finished as fantasy's QB8.

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)

In the first five games of the season, Stafford finished outside the top-15 fantasy quarterbacks in every game. Since then, however, Stafford has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in five of nine games and has averaged 20.9 fantasy points per game over that stretch.

With multiple touchdowns in four consecutive games, Stafford has compiled an impressive 12:1 TD-to-INT ratio during that span. The 49ers have been middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks and have allowed only two passing scores in their past four games, but Stafford is still a back-end QB1 for Week 16.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

QB - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR)

We only have to look back two weeks for a glimpse of how Week 16 may play out for Ryan. In his first matchup against the Panthers (Week 14), Ryan threw for 224 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. In addition, he lost a fumble and finished with 4.86 fantasy points, 29th-most among Week 14 quarterbacks.

Allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, Eli Manning's QB9 performance last week was only the second time the Panthers have allowed a top-12 outing this season. The other time was to Aaron Rodgers in Week 9.

QB - Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (vs. SD)

Carr has thrown multiple touchdowns in four consecutive games and isn't necessarily a bad option for Week 16. That said, he has finished outside of the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks in three consecutive games and he's just outside my top-12 quarterbacks for this week as well. The other factor that could limit his production is the favorable matchup that Latavius Murray has against San Diego's rush defense, but Carr had a strong performance in his first matchup against the Chargers this season.

QB - Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. IND)

Tannehill has thrown for 236 yards or less, in some cases much less, and a total of two passing touchdowns over the past three weeks. To make matters worse, two of those games were elite matchups against the Ravens and Giants, both of whom rank among the seven friendliest defenses to fantasy quarterbacks. Indianapolis hasn't been much better than Baltimore or New York, but can you trust that Tannehill will exploit the matchup?

QB - Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)

Since Week 6, Bradford has failed to finish as a top-15 quarterback in any of his games. The good news is that he threw for 361 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinals last week, but he turned the ball over three times as well. More good news is that facing Washington is obviously a more favorable proposition than facing Arizona's defense. That said, now isn't the time to start trusting Bradford or the Eagles offense.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 16

Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings:

Week 16 DFS Cheat Sheets:

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Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Continue reading "Week 16 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em" »


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