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Chet Gresham Fantasy Rankings



Published 8/30/2016 12:00 AM

By Chet Gresham

Also, be sure to check out WalterFootball.com's 2016 Fantasy Football articles, which will include sleepers, busts, tons of 2017 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material.

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  • 1. Antonio Brown, (WR No. 1) WR, Steelers. Bye: 8.

    Brown has led ALL NFL players in PPR fantasy points in each of the last three years and still just turned 28 in July. Marvin Harrison broke the receptions record at 30, and Calvin Johnson broke the yardage record at 27. Brown is at a prime age to continue his incredible run of great play. Brown's 2015 numbers were absolutely crazy. He caught 136 passes for 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns and had Michael Vick and Landry Jones as his quarterback for four of those games. If you just take Brown's average numbers from when Ben Roethlisberger was able to play, and extrapolate them to 16 games, Brown could have reasonably finished with a line of 159/2,141/13. That's an average of 9.92 receptions, 133.8 receiving yards and .83 touchdowns per game with Roethlisberger as his quarterback. That's Brown's upside, so that's why he's the No. 1 fantasy receiver

  • 2. Odell Beckham Jr., (WR No. 2) WR, Giants. Bye: 8.

    The Giants turned Ben McAdoo, their offensive coordinator from 2015, into their new head coach. This is great news for Beckham Jr. as McAdoo loves to run the no-huddle offense and keep teams on their heels, which in turn gives Beckham Jr. more opportunities to score, catch passes and all that fun stuff he's good at. Beckham Jr. has been a full-go fantasy stud from Day 1, and that didn't change in his sophomore season, as he caught 96 passes for 1,450 yards and 13 touchdowns, despite missing a game due to suspension. His ability is impossible to ignore, and with some continuity in the offense due to McAdoo's hiring, and the fact that their offense is up-tempo, I don't see Beckham Jr. slowing down

  • 3. Julio Jones, (WR No. 3) WR, Falcons. Bye: 11.

    Jones lacks in one area: quarterback. Matt Ryan is mediocre, but thankfully, he throws the ball to Jones a whole bunch, as Jones led all receivers with 204 targets this season and led in receiving yards with 1,871 and tied for the most receptions with 136. The only place he lagged was in touchdowns, with eight, which is good, but with 136 receptions, a player the caliber of Jones should at least hit double-digits. Unfortunately, he's only hit double-digits once in the four seasons in which he's played 13 or more games. Thankfully, Matt Ryan will continue throwing Jones the ball over and over again, and hopefully the touchdowns rise. There have been 48 times in which a quarterback has thrown for 4,500 or more yards, and Ryan's 21 touchdowns in 2015 were the second-worst total next to Matthew Stafford's 20 in 2012. Ryan has consistently been higher than that though, with 28, 26, 32, 29 and 28 touchdowns in each of his last five seasons, so the law of averages points to more touchdowns in 2016, so Jones should be able to up his total


  • 4. David Johnson, (RB No. 1) RB, Cardinals. Bye: 9.

    This is a scary place for the second-year player, but his upside in this Cardinals' offense is extreme. We often seem to get trapped by a player putting up huge numbers in limited work one season and then not being able to then keep those numbers going as a starter, but Johnson was able to take on the starting job and a full workload toward the end of last season after Chris Johnson got hurt and put up strong numbers. Unlike Andre Ellington's 5-foot-9, 199-pound frame, Johnson is 6-foot-1, 224 pounds and more capable of handling a 20-plus touches per game. For the season, Johnson put up some crazy numbers. On just 161 touches, he totaled 1,038 yards and nine touchdowns. Long term, he is most likely going to be a better receiver than between-the-tackles back, but he has the frame to handle that work and the speed to break long-gainers when he's given a crease. The Cardinals' offense will continue to give him room to run, as their passing game is one of the best, if not the best, in the league, and his receiving ability puts him in rarified company, as he'll be hard to sit on third and long

  • 5. Todd Gurley, (RB No. 2) RB, Rams. Bye: 8.

    Gurley is close to Bell, but the Rams' offense is painful to watch, and in turn, painful for him as he plows into stacked fronts. But thankfully, Gurley's just too good not to pile up fantasy stats, especially on a team with a strong defense that is willing to run him often. He averaged 20 touches per game in 2015 - not counting his first game when he was being eased back -, and that includes a couple odd games when the Rams were blown out and he averaged nine touches. They were still figuring out how to use him, and after those two especially bad games, he scored four touchdowns in the final three games, finishing the season with 10 in 12 full games. Gurley's going to be a touchdown machine and should improve as a receiver. Even at their most mediocre, the Los Angeles Rams should be able to give him enough work that his natural ability will make him a top running back from here on out

  • 6. Ezekiel Elliott, (RB No. 3) RB, Cowboys. Bye: 7.

    Elliott landed in the best position of any rookie. The Dallas offensive line is arguably the best in the league, and the Cowboys have shown a commitment to the run lately. Dez Bryant will help soften the defense, and Elliott should get plenty of work, and he's good enough to be an every-down back in the NFL from Day 1. His blocking is the best out of all the rookie running backs, and you've seen what he can do with the ball in his hands. Plus, he is a great pass catcher. The sky truly is the limit for Elliott this season


  • 7. A.J. Green, (WR No. 4) WR, Bengals. Bye: 9.

    Green only had 132 targets in 2015, but also had A.J. McCarron as his quarterback for three and a half games. But when it comes down to it, Green has not been targeted like a stud receiver, which he is. After Hue Jackson took over as offensive coordinator, the team became more balanced, and the emergence of Tyler Eifert helped spread the ball around even more. With Jackson gone, I don't know if that will change much, since the Bengals were playing well, but any new offensive coordinator is going to have his own way of doing things, so there is a slight chance Green gets back to the 160-plus targets he saw in 2012 and 2013. But even if he doesn't, Green is still a Top-10 receiver. Under Dalton, he averaged close to six receptions, 90 yards and .62 touchdowns per game, while with McCarron, he averaged 3.3 receptions for 42.7 yards and .67 touchdowns. The touchdowns were still there, but the receptions sure weren't. He'll continue to be a solid receiver with upside for more as long as Dalton is healthy

  • 8. Lamar Miller, (RB No. 4) RB, Texans. Bye: 9.

    Miller, just 24 years old, had 638 carries for 2,930 yards and 19 touchdowns, and 117 receptions for 887 yards and three touchdowns in his four years with the Dolphins. He played in every game over the last three seasons, but topped out at 216 rushing attempts in 2014. There is plenty of tread left on those tires, as if he were a car or motorcycle or something. Head coach Bill O'Brien is all about defense and a strong running game. In his first two seasons as the Texans' head coach, his team has been first and fourth in rushing attempts for running backs, and last season, Houston's leading rushers were Alfred Blue, Chris Polk and Jonathan Grimes. Miller will move right into the every-down role and makes for a top running back in fantasy for 2016

  • 9. Allen Robinson, (WR No. 5) WR, Jaguars. Bye: 5.

    Robinson broke out in 2015 and was actually one of the receivers most pundits agreed on as a breakout candidate. He finished with the fourth-most fantasy points for receivers, but had the eighth-most targets. That's not a huge discrepancy, but 153 targets is not the number you usually want from your Top-5 receiver pick. But this was just his second year in the league, and he more than proved himself as the best and most talented receiver on the team. I think those targets rise up into the 170s or more in 2016


  • 10. Rob Gronkowski, (TE No. 1) TE, Patriots. Bye: 9.

    Gronkowski could play on one leg tied behind his back and still end up as the No. 1 fantasy tight end. His dominance over the rest of the field continues to give him value in the first round of drafts as well. The losses around him in the offense and his own injury, had defenses keying on him last year and made him miss a game, but he still dominated the position. You can expect more of the same going forward, as he will have just turned 27 years old going into the 2016 season

  • 11. DeAndre Hopkins, (WR No. 6) WR, Texans. Bye: 9.

    Hopkins would easily go ahead of Dez Bryant if he just had a quarterback to throw him the ball, so the Texans went out and signed Brock Osweiler, a quarterback, who at times has thrown the ball. Osweiler is not going to tip the scale much for me though. Is he better than Brian Hoyer? I would like to think Osweiler is, but he hasn't shown me enough yet. Last season, Hopkins had 100-yard receiving games from four different quarterbacks, which is obviously a record, but not one he wants. But even if Osweiler doesn't turn out to be the next Johnny Unitas, we know Hopkins can perform under any circumstances, and that's a great asset to have in a fantasy player

  • 12. Adrian Peterson, (RB No. 5) RB, Vikings. Bye: 6.

    Peterson, at times, didn't seem as explosive in 2015, but the 30-year-old back put up almost identical stats to his amazing career average. His 4.5 yards per carry tied for his second-lowest average, but that number was still fourth for all running backs with over 200 carries, and he led all running backs in carries with 327. Doug Martin was second with 288 and Latavius Murray was third with 266, just to show you how exceptional Peterson's total carries were last season. Peterson was also the no-doubt motor of the Vikings. Teddy Bridgewater ranked 22nd in total passing yards and 32nd in passing yards per game, while Peterson was first in rushing yards and averaged 92.8 rushing yards per game. Peterson will again be needed for 2016 to keep the offense going, but will probably continue to lose some work to Jerick McKinnon, who has been outstanding in limited work. But I almost see McKinnon's ability as a plus. The Vikings need offense to get them to the goal line, where much of Peterson's value comes from, and McKinnon adds a receiving dimension that Peterson just doesn't have


  • 13. LeVeon Bell, (RB No. 6) RB, Steelers. Bye: 8.

    Bell has been suspended for the first three games of the season due to missing a drug test. This kicks him down from the first running back off the board to around the 11th or 12th back off the board. He'll be a top back when he does play, so don't let him fall too far, but also be sure to have a warm body in there through Week 3

  • 14. Keenan Allen, (WR No. 7) WR, Chargers. Bye: 11.

    Allen is a tough player to get a good read on after his big sophomore slump and then a mid-season injury in 2015, but his 2015 campaign showed us that he is the player we thought he was after his big rookie year. In his eight games of 2015, Allen caught 67-of-89 targets for 725 yards and four touchdowns. With eight more games, all you have to do is double those numbers to extrapolate what a full season might have been for him. Allen is San Diego's No. 1 receiver by a wide margin as seen by his 11-plus targets per game, and there is nobody ready to usurp him anytime soon. He may be more valuable in PPR leagues, but I believe we'll see a nice bounce-back season from him and Philip Rivers, at least in fantasy, during 2016

  • 15. Dez Bryant, (WR No. 8) WR, Cowboys. Bye: 7.

    The loss of Tony Romo for half of the season hurts Bryant. Hopefully, Dak Prescott can keep Bryant's numbers afloat, as the rookie's preseason work has hinted at.


Quarterback Running Back Wide Receiver Tight End



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