This time of year, no one is more excited than fantasy football owners ready to shock their leagues and show their leagues who the real winner is.
Fantasy footballers: it’s time to put all the hard work, number crunching and sleeper finding over the offseason to work. The 2016 NFL regular season is only a few short weeks away with teams coming into their third preseason game of the year.
Depending on the type of league you are involved with, whether it be your standard or auction draft, player rankings should not vary too much when it comes down to the top players in the NFL. The same goes for leagues running under the PPR (points per reception) or dynasty formats.
Of the top-10 fantasy players coming into the 2016 season, five are wide receivers. Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants, Julio Jones from the Atlanta Falcons, DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys’ Dez Bryant are among them. Mixed in with them and rounding off the top-10 list is a group of five highly talented running backs in Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings, Todd Gurley from the Los Angeles Rams, Ezekiel Elliott from the Dallas Cowboys, David Johnson from the Arizona Cardinals and Devonta Freeman of the Atlanta Falcons, according to ESPN’s Top 300 Overall list.
The main idea this season is the overarching value of wide receivers in the draft. There is not even a quarterback within the top 15 this year, as that provide a better idea of the value these position players have. The first quarterback on the board is Carolina Panther and 2015 league MVP, Cam Newton at the 35th pick overall.
Now that the NFL has been progressing into an extremely pass-friendly league, wide receivers are finally starting to get the recognition they deserve. No matter what kind of league you are in, whether it be standard, auction, PPR, dynasty or a combination of sorts- pick a receiver. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have solid receiving on your fantasy team for the upcoming season.
Making a decision with a top pick in the draft, it would be wise to choose a wide receiver. No running back in any standard league put up more points than Antonio Brown last season. Brown eclipsed 136 receptions while totaling 1,834 and 10 touchdowns, giving him an average of 15.4 points per week according to fantasydata.com. By the way, those are standard league numbers. In a PPR league Brown easily clears 300 points, making him the clear-cut number one pick for any fantasy owner with the first pick.
After you get out of the top five picks, things should start to get very interesting. After Todd Gurley goes at the five spot, players like Elliott, Johnson and Hopkins should still remain. Hopkins put up monster numbers last season, making him a top-tier wide receiver. With Brock Osweiler coming in as his new quarterback, Hopkins’ numbers look like they will only be getting better.
In leagues with 10 or more owners, the preceding rounds can be make or break. In round two you will see players like tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back Le’Veon Bell leave the board with maybe a quarterback or two to follow.
After the first two rounds, it is up to you and your fantasy football knowledge to carry you the rest of the way. Just keep in mind 15 of the top 30 players on ESPN’s Top 300 rankings are wide receivers which means the high value options will be taken off the board fast, so draft wisely and good luck to you on the season ahead.