Welcome to the First Annual Fantasy Fusion Football Draft Kit! In the first piece of the installment, I will be discussing the potential sleepers of 2016. As always, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of my claims, but I’ll still do my best to prove each player’s potential for the upcoming season. Let’s begin!
Ryan Fitzpatrick: You have no idea how hard it was for me not to choose Andy Dalton. I don’t particularly like the Red Rocket, but he was just so good last year. I chose Fitzmagic because, even though he finished as the 11th overall QB, he was only owned in 56.9% of ESPN leagues by season’s end. He threw for 31 TDs and 3905 yards, plus an additional 270 yards and 2 TDs on the ground. The only offensive weapon missing from last year is Chris Ivory (now with the Jaguars), and he was eventually replaced by Bilal Powell anyway. Fitzpatrick is ranked as QB20, and I just don’t see why. I think Fitzpatrick has another productive year, finishing a little higher than last year at QB10.
Tevin Coleman: “Devonta Freeman is the man, Devonta Freeman is a sure-pick in the first” blah blah blah. Freeman is really good and Atlanta probably knows that better than any of us. That is why Coleman is expected to get much more work than he did last year. After getting injured, Coleman saw his starting role diminish into a mere 87 rushing attempts for 392 yards (4.5 avg).
If you don’t believe me when I say Coleman is going to get more work than what he’s projected (123rd overall pick), look at the facts. Atlanta’s coaching staff has publicly stated that Freeman’s role will diminish quite a bit. Freeman started his campaign with incredible statistics, but later wore down as the season went on. Atlanta doesn’t want this to happen again, hence more touches for Coleman. Also, Coleman was drafted by Atlanta’s current GM in replace of Freeman, who was drafted a year prior. If there’s anything to know about GMs, it’s that they want their guy to succeed.
Finally, Coleman is much more explosive than Freeman. What he lacks in size he makes up in quickness and elusiveness. Even if Coleman doesn’t see 10-12 carries a game, I still expect him to catch 3-5 a game, making him more PPR dependent. Just draft him, he’ll return more than his projected value.
Kevin White: As a nation of football-watching and fantasy-obsessing dweebs, we were robbed of watching White’s incredible athleticism in his rookie campaign. He may have burned you last year depending on how early your draft was too, but don’t let that prevent you from at least looking at him. White is currently ADP 84 which could be a HUGE steal. He’s 6’3, 216 pounds of pure freak!
Now you may be saying to yourself: “Alshon is the clear number one in Chicago when he’s healthy, and Smokin’ Jay Cutler isn’t very good, so why take a flier on the second year rookie?” Well this is why you big dumb idiot: From 2012 until 2014, Brandon Marshall was the man in town. Alshon came around in 2012 but wasn’t slotted as the number 2 wide-out until 2013 when he put up 89 receptions, 1,421 yards, and 7 TDs. No big deal, right?
My thinking is that Chicago wouldn’t have used a first round pick on White last year if they didn’t intend him to start from day one. White has the potential to replicate Jeffrey’s 2013 numbers in his first year of playing. Don’t forget that Alshon was also banged up last year, White has the potential to be the number one wide receiver in Chicago next year. Don’t you think ADP 84 is a little too low?
Sammie Coates: I know, this one may be a little “out there”, but Coates is a viable candidate to replace the suspended Martavis Bryant, mostly because he’s the biggest target available. Markus Wheaton is considered to be the automatic replacement for Bryant, but Wheaton is a smaller, shiftier type receiver. He’s more similar to Antonio Brown in style and size than Bryant. While Wheaton may be featured in the slot frequently on the Steeler’s three-wide sets, he’s not the replacement. Coates is the only guy who can go up and get the ball and I think he’ll be able to build on his incredibly disappointing and boring season in 2015 (1 reception, 11 yards). I understand if this pick turns this incredibly satisfying article a little sour for you, but I’d hate to say I told you so.
Eric Ebron: Ebron was projected by many to take a major step in his second season in 2015. He totaled 47 receptions for 537 yards and 5 TDs last year which was a significant upgrade from his rookie year. With Megatron gone and Golden Tate or Marvin Jones as the primary targets, Stafford will be looking for his biggest target in key situations and definitely in the redzone. The Lions have publicly stated that they want Ebron to see more targets. Expect about 90 targets, 65 catches, 8TDs. Not too bad for the tight end currently projected 17th among TEs for the upcoming season.