This Fantasy Football piece isn’t for the weak willed or faint of heart. If you’re a smart owner, you know boldness is how you win Fantasy Football leagues. Doing what everyone else does or using the same ol’ rankings as the rest just means you have to win by luck. No one wants that. Now, I won’t go 32-for-32 in my bold predictions… otherwise, I would be in Vegas and not writing articles like this… but plenty of these will come to fruition and help you win your 2016 Fantasy Football league.
Arizona Cardinals – Michael Floyd finally has his breakout season and is the Cardinals best receiver.
Reason: Since the NFL merger, only 53 receivers at age 33 or older have finished with at least 1,000 receiving yards… or about 1.15 per year. Of those, another 13 would have fallen short of WR2 status last year. Larry Fitzgerald has the ability to be a success story, but the odds are against him, and Floyd is emerging. From Weeks 6-17, Floyd had fewer targets and receptions but more yards and touchdowns than Fitzgerald (745/6 to 725/3). In addition, over the last four weeks, Floyd saw the most targets and led the Cardinals in receiving yards (299) with 104 more than second place David Johnson.
Atlanta Falcons – You will wish that you drafted Mohamed Sanu.
Reason: This is fairly simple. Who else is Matt Ryan going to throw to? Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman… and… Sanu! Jacob Tamme is a middling tight end and Justin Hardy is purely a slot receiver, and one that has yet to improve significantly at the NFL level. Two years ago, when A.J. Green missed time in Cincinnati, Sanu was able to see 99 targets on his way to 790 yards, five TDs and a WR34 finish. Sanu had six double-digit games that season and could easily repeat those numbers in Atlanta. With Roddy White gone, Sanu fits the Falcon’s need alongside Jones and will see plenty of opportunities, as Matt Ryan threw for 4,591 yards and 21 touchdowns in a down year.
Baltimore Ravens – You’ll rue the day that you left Steve Smith for dead.
Reason: Currently, Smith is flirting with undrafted status. He’s in the 140s overall, which if you included DSTs and kickers (God help you) means Smith doesn’t make the cut in half of the leagues. Smith is actually 178th overall on NFL.com, which is well out of the drafted range for your normal league. I understand he’s old and coming of a devastating injury, but we’re talking about Steve freakin’ Smith here. He’s the Adrian Peterson of receivers… a cyborg… a beast… downright inhuman. I’m not counting him out, nor should you. Smith has worked his tail off to return from injury, and if he’s even 90 percent of his former self, I want a share of him in all of my leagues. We’ve seen the chemistry he and Joe Flacco have, and Smith started the last two years on fire. Even if he’s just 90 percent of his former self, you would have a WR2/3 on your hands. People wrote Smith off when he left Carolina, and they’re doing it again now. Just as with last time, you’re going to regret it if you’re one of those people.
(Original Prediction: Kenneth Dixon would be the Ravens best RB. He still is the most-talented option, but the team hasn’t given him enough opportunities to showcase his skill, and now he’s injured.)
Buffalo Bills – Tyrod Taylor barely misses out on QB1 status.
Reason: Taylor was actually the ninth best quarterback in Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG) last year. In 14 games, he threw for 3,035 yards and 20 touchdowns, but it’s his legs that carried most of his value. Taylor also rushed for 568 yards and four TDs on 104 rushing attempts. The man is going to run. Unlike Jameis Winston who had six TDs on just 210 yards, Taylor’s rushing upside means he doesn’t need to score to boost his Fantasy output. In fact, Taylor had nine games with 40-plus rushing yards, including the last four games of the season. That’s four or more “free” points for your quarterback more often than not (just 14 games). Sure, there is Robert Griffin-like worry when you rush that much that an injury is coming, but that didn’t scare off drafters coming off his rookie season. Don’t worry too much about Taylor and instead focus on his potential.