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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Football

Fantasy football cheat sheet: Top ten draft picks


David Johnson is coming off of a breakout season. With over two thousand all purpose yards last year the sky is the limit this season.|Photo courtesy Arizona Cardinals media

Thank the football gods, fantasy football is back and could be better than ever this year.

After focusing on running backs for so many years people have finally decided to come around and put attention on the true stars of fantasy football-wide receivers. Thanks to rule changes, it has become a passing league, and the days of the bell cow running back have mostly come to an end.

Not ignoring running backs that deserve to be taken in the top of the draft like David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell. But those are the only two players in their tier because of the special ability they have to be an every down back.

Here are my top ten fantasy football players to draft this year.

1. David Johnson

If you have the number one pick in the draft and you don’t take David Johnson you have probably been dead or asleep for the last year. Johnson’s second season with the Cardinals saw him total 2,118 all purpose yards with over 1,200 rushing yards and 873 passing yards. Johnson is the definition of a workhorse running back with 373 total touches. Head coach Bruce Arians basically tried to get the ball in his hands on almost every play, and looks to do the same this year. Don’t miss out on one of only two true duel threats in the league that will get you consistent points all year long.

2. Le’Veon Bell

Another player that is a no-brainer at number two. Don’t miss out on Le’veon Bell because you want to get flashy in the first round and pick up a random QB while calling it all a part of your plan. Bell missed four games last year and still managed to garner 1,268 rushing yards and 616 passing yards. Not only this, but he has averaged almost 130 yards from scrimmage per game in his career. Although he was lacking in the touchdown department with just nine total, he still never left the field.

3. Antonio Brown

The three pump champ is back and leading the crop of this years star wide receivers. Although he did have a down year with his production, I believe he will bounce back to his 2015 form and become the 1,800 yard receiver he once was. Ben Roethlisberger has proven that he still has an arm and is willing to throw it down field. With defenders stacking the box against Bell there is not much opposing teams can do this year against Brown.

4. Julio Jones

I have a feeling this is the year Jones truly breaks out. Yes, I know he has had three thousand-yard seasons in a row including an 1,800 campaign in 2015. This is the year that he will not just show up in yardage but also in touchdowns. He may even come close to the coveted 2,000-yard season that has alluded both him and Brown. With Matt Ryan slinging him the rock again this year, they will both be motivated to show the league they aren’t the chumps the patriots made them out to be last season.

5. Odell Beckham Jr.

The man who everyone thinks can be the best player in the NFL has yet to show it in the stat book. Of course his first three years have been some of the best of any wide receiver in NFL history, but Beckham needs to be more than just a highlight real. The best part about him is that he can not only live up to the hype, but also exceed it. The only thing holding him  back is the giants acquisition of  red zone monster Brandon Marshall and an aging Eli Manning at the helm.

6. Mike Evans

This young wide receiver is dying to climb to the top. The Texas A&M product who used to catch hail marry passes from Johnny Manziel is now catching passes from Jameis Winston. Evans’ huge frame and speed are only topped by his physicality in the red zone. The addition of DeSean Jackson will leave defenses confused about what side to send safety help to and open the door to at least a 1,500 yard season.

7. A.J. Green

I still believe in Green’s ability to be a top tier wide receiver. He may have only had 964 yards receiving last year and been injured one too many times in the last few seasons, but he can definitely return to form this year. Although the Bengals can’t ever seem to get him help on the other side of the field, Green has proven that he can create his own production year after year. If you are lucky enough to snatch him up in the first round be glad because I expect huge things out of him this year.

8. Devonta Freeman

Freeman has proven in the last two years that he can be a duel threat in the backfield. With over a thousand yards rushing and over 400 yards receiving in both seasons,  he has become a sneaky threat to being a full fledged workhorse running back. With Julio Jones on the outside, it helps that most teams will have to dedicate at least two defensive backs to the flashy wide receiver. This will open lanes for Freeman all season and make way for a huge payoff if you draft him.

9. LeSean McCoy

The Bills seemed like an odd fit for the former Eagles star when he first came to the team in 2015, but after last year he seems just as comfortable as he was with Andy Read. Despite not eclipsing one thousand yards in his first season at Buffalo, McCoy eclipsed that margin and then some with 1,267 yards rushing in 2016. What was more surprising was his ability to find the end zone last year with 13 rushing touchdowns. With his new found rejuvenation, and his coach trusting him in the red zone, McCoy will be a great addition to your team this season.

10. Jordy Nelson

It feels weird finishing off my top ten with yet another wide receiver, but like the rest of the players, Jordy Nelson deserves the recognition because of his performance on the field.  Aaron Rodgers didn’t have his  best year in 2016, but Nelson still managed to catch 1,257 yards and score 14 touchdowns last season. I expect him to continue this production because Aaron Rodgers seems ready to take back the spotlight from Tom Brady as the best quarterback in the league.

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