Fantasy football drafts are upon us. With many people’s first drafts (oh come on, you know you have more than one team) commencing this weekend, it is time for Wayniac Nation’s Third Annual Busts, Breakouts, Sleepers and MVPs Spectacular!
This year, we go in two parts. Part I will take a look at the MVP choices of our panel, the breakout candidates as well as the top rookies to choose from in 2016. Be sure to come back tomorrow for Part II, featuring the top comeback candidates, biggest busts and everyone’s favorite, sleeper central!
Most of the experts agreed on who the 2016 Fantasy Football MVP will be. Nearly everyone of the Wayniac Nation Fantasy Football experts see the Pittsburgh Steelers Antonio Brown — who is the consensus No. 1 overall pick amongst our experts as well — will walk away as the single most valuable fantasy baller this season.
All except Dunton and Teddy Ballgame, that is.
Dunton: I am going to break my normal trend of going with the QB and think a bit outside of the box, not too far if you pay attention to fantasy football and recent trends. I think this year is a huge year for Odell Beckham Jr. Yes, I know that he is not even the number one ranked player at his position and he is on a team that is going through a transition but this guy has it all. A lot of this is relying on Eli but being the only Manning in football may be good for him.
Teddy Ballgame: David Johnson could have been last year’s MVP given a full workload. At the end of the season when he became the featured back he flourished. This kid is the real deal. I think he is going to have an amazing year.
Saucy T: Lamar Miller . It would be too easy to just say Antonio Brown will be the MVP, but to get him you have to luck out and get the number 1 pick, so I’ll say Lamar Miller will be the MVP. Miller goes from a dysfunctional Miami team that refused to use him as a workhorse back, to Houston where under Bill O Brien the Texans have ranked 1st and 5th in rush attempts the last two seasons. Miller will finally get the opportunity he has long deserved to be a true workhorse running back. I expect Miller to get very close to 2000 all purpose yards and carry quite a few teams to fantasy glory.
The Wayniac: It’s hard to argue against Antonio Brown, and I can see OBJ making a case, although I will admit I am not sold on Johnson just yet. Here’s the thing. If the Falcons are improved on the offensive line (which they have not yet exactly shown in preseason) and stay healthy, Saucy T may be on to something:
Saucy T: As a Falcons fan I feel like I should be able to make a case for Julio in the 1.1 spot. After a year where Julio almost broke single season records for receptions AND yards it’s really close, but Antonio is just a half step ahead.
So, while I think Brown wins MVP, I think there is some merit in making a huge case for Julio.
There was a mixed bag when it came to breakthroughs. Some saw older stars who many thought lost a step would return to glory, while other see people who were just waiting for their time to shine.
Dunton: Eddie Lacy has committed to dropping his weight and seems to be really fit. He is also in a contract year and do we honestly think he wants to leave the friendly confines of Lambeau field in a backfield behind Aaron. Of course not. I expect a return to first round point production from Eddie Lacy this year but he will not be taken there so that will make him even more of a breakthrough to those owners who were willing to forget last year.
The Wifeyiac: Thomas Rawls. Pre injury he was doing big moves and I think he’s going to be making even bigger ones on this upcoming season.
Nomi the Greek: The Houston Texans and the Miami Dolphins pretty much swapped RBs. One of them has already seen his best days and the other one is Lamar Miller. I don’t think he really got an opportunity to be “the guy” in Miami but B.O.B. is going to give him that chance in Houston. He is going to get a lot of touches, both rushing and receiving. In fantasy points, Miller will be a top five RB at season’s end.
Teddy Ballgame: I think Tyler Lockett has the potential to do really big things in Seattle’s offense this year. With the departure of Marshawn Lynch he will see a lot of targets in an offense that will throw the ball more.
FanDuel Fee: Amari Cooper is my guy here. He did have 1000 yards last year, but I believe with Derek Carr getting significantly better in his second year, the sky is the limit for Cooper. I think the Raiders will be a good team, and the amount of red zone opportunities will increase significantly for Cooper and this team.
Saucy T: I hate picking a Buccaneer for this spot, especially one that let me down in multiple fantasy leagues last year, but Mike Evans has everything you look for in a WR, both for real games and fantasy. Evans is big and fast, playing in an emerging offense with an emerging QB in Jameis Winston, and is a target MONSTER which is what should be important to fantasy owners. Jameis looks for Evans on over 25% of his passes and if Jameis and this offense take even a small step forward, Evans targets could see a big uptick(he finished 8th with 148 last year in 15 games). I also expect Evans touchdown catches to normalize and end up somewhere between the 12 he had his rookie year and the 4 he had last year. If Evans can up his TD total from last year to 8 while cutting out a few drops and getting a few more targets, all of which I expect from him, expect him to take a Deandre Hopkins type leap into fantasy superstardom!!
The Wayniac: I see a couple running backs breaking out this season. Almost everybody has converted to PPR leagues by now, and that makes Charles Sims an absolute beast, even with a healthy Doug Martin. He had 158 touches last season, including 70 targets out of the backfield. That’s what also make Duke Johnson very enticing. He is a lot of upside right now, and the Browns are a huge question mark on the offensive line, and well, everywhere. He had 74 targets last season and there may be a whole lot more check downs this season!
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Most of the team is behind the much hyped Ezekiel Elliott and it is a fair assessment. As Teddy Ballgame points out, This is an offensive line that helped DeMarco Murray have a career year and was even able to keep Darren McFadden upright last year with Nomi the Greek adding that he may be the next Emmitt Smith.
But there are some other choices out there.
The Wifeyiac: Going to go with the sexiest QB out there and since we know that is Tom Brady and he’s NOT a rookie then who else could it be? Well yes, his backup could be even better looking and Jimmy Garoppolo will come out with a four game shine, with talent and not just his stunning looks. I know he saw snaps last year, but come on, this is his first test.
FanDuel Fee: I think the obvious choice here is Ezekiel Elliot, and he is definitely going to have a great year, but I want to be a bit contrarian here and go with Michael Thomas. I just think with Colston gone, and Brees even now still not getting the love he deserves, the Saints should still have a great offense and put up big numbers even if the Saints as a team might not be that great. Thomas has been great in camp and with Snead as the only other WR for Brees to sling it to, I see him getting a ton of volume as long as he can keep up with the pace of the Saints offense.
The Wayniac: I’m going to go against the grain, primarily because I was burned by last year’s “can’t miss” running back. Now, I know wide receivers don’t generally fare well in their rookie seasons, but Tyler Boyd has every opportunity to shine in Cincinnati. Marvin Jones is gone, Mohamed Sanu is as well. Tyler Eifert is a walking injury and the player they brought in to solve the problem was Brandon LaFell? You know, the same Brandon LaFell that is annually in the top 15 in dropped passes, finishing 12th last season in just seven starts? Yea, that guy. Boyd is going to have a nice season.
Remember to come back tomorrow for Draft Prep Part II: Comebacks, Busts and Sleepers!