The NFL Ruins Another Fantasy Receiver’s Day

The NFL changed its replay rules this year to create a decision-making Czar who is defined as: “a designated member of the Officiating department at the League office.”  That particular nerd in front of a TV-official is located at a desk in New York City and is in charge of communicating the dumb-fuckery he sees in a monitor from hundreds to thousands of miles away directly with the referee on the field.  The referee on the field then  consults with the round-table of zebras on the field and regurgitates the NYC decision to the rest of the world.

While every fantasy football owner and general fan of the team/player in question sits on pins and needles (literally if you live in Buffalo), inevitably the ref on the field with the microphone clicks onto public-mode and crushes dreams in real time.

It gets even worse when the refs on the field don’t understand why a catch was ruled NOT a catch:

NFL rule 15-2-3 states this: “A decision will be reversed only when there is clear and obvious visual evidence available that warrants the change.”

“Clear and Obvious” sounds like the title for the inevitable biopic film based on Caitlyn Jenner starring the “Going Clear” mega-star, Tom Cruise.

During the game, CBS aired replays from several angles, you be the judge:

Rarely do I agree with anything that CBS’s officiating studio-stooge and Dean Cain stand-in candidate, Dean Blandino says but…..

Even FOX Sports’ own version of Dean Blandino seemed to agree with his network-nemesis of truth and fake news on this matter:

For a league that places 100% of it’s own financial success on a Quarterback’s health and ability to throw it deep, they sure do manage to take away valid catches and scores on a VERY consistent basis.  This catch-non catch rule is a tidal wave of contradiction and inconsistency, which is pretty much on-par for the rest of the NFL’s dealings in general.  So by that standard, the league’s officials and NYC office are right on track for another jelly-of-the-month club kind of season.

Can’t wait to see what kind of rule the NFL puts into place this off-season to take this sinking battleship further into the abyss.  There’s already talk of microchips inside the footballs, drone cameras hovering over the field like a plague of tech-locusts and a reward for kickers who boot the ball between the uprights on a kick-off.

Like, maybe a cookie or something.  By the way, I hate fantasy football and it’s slowly killing me inside.  When I die, I want my headstone to read: “He should’ve just played Tyreek Hill”.

 

 

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The Denver Broncos Are…..Bad

After starting the season 3-1 and demolishing the Dallas Cowboys in the process, the Broncos looked on their way to a competitive, possibly playoff-filled season in 2017.  Fast-forward to Week 6, the one-win New York football Giants come to town and EVERY SINGLE wheel on the wagon flies off, barreling down the road, spontaneously catching fire eventually murdering puppies and setting ablaze anything you hold dear in your life.

Now after yesterday’s beyond-frustrating loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, we sit at 3-7 and firmly in last place in the AFC West.  If there was ever a must-win game this season, it was on Sunday.  Here we sit, two years removed from a Super Bowl victory, third degree burns on our body, and our faces stuck in “The Ring” position:

But who’s to blame?

As taboo as it may sound, I blame John Elway.

When Peyton Manning came to Denver in 2012, everyone knew it was his last hurrah.  Four neck surgeries under his belt, but with a little gas left in the tank was the word floating around Manning’s third and final act to his career.  Two Super Bowl appearances with the Broncos, one devastating loss to Seattle and one GREAT win over Cam Newton’s Carolina Panthers helped put an exclamation point on his greatness and HOF career while also procuring Denver’s Papa John’s pizza sales to an all-time high.

Here’s where Elway fits in, when Manning limped his way through the 2015 season with a Super Bowl caliber defense leading the way, Elway had to of seen that the future of the franchise was based on one simple truth: We need a QB for the future worse than Cleveland needs a……well, everything I guess.

Two seasons later we have no actual QB and yet somehow Brock Osweiler is starting games for us after we ran him outta town and he got dumped by two other teams, one of which was the aforementioned Cleveland Frowns.  We’re wasting away our top 5 defense, the prime Von Miller years and any and every opportunity to get back to a Super Bowl.  I mean, Elway couldn’t possibly believe that Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch or Brock Osweiler were REALLY going to be the follow-up to Manning, right??  Without opening a whole new can of worms here, Colin Kaepernick is available……I’m just saying.

The Broncos went 12-4 and won the Super Bowl just two seasons ago, and sure there are all sorts of fun, interesting ways to explain the fact that they are now 3-7 and done for the season.  The running game is garbage, our Special Teams looks like a 7th grade JV squad at best. Seriously, what’s going on with our special teams?  You fire Mike McCoy but somehow Brock Olivo (special teams coach) is still cashing checks?  Does he get paid per muffed punt and by opposing team’s Touchdowns?

But the biggest reason is also the most obvious one and the golden rule in the NFL: They don’t have a decent quarterback, and the blame for that rests entirely with Elway.

Firing Mike McCoy is a waste of time at this point in the season, without a QB who can complete a pass beyond 15 yards consistently, nothing else matters.  The Broncos STILL have incredible talent at the skill positions and on the defensive side of the ball, but with no captain at the helm, the blow-up raft of a football team is heading for a glacier the size of the Red Rocks Amphitheater.

 

Nate Boyer Dropped A Knowledge Bomb

Last year when President Frump was elected, I wrote a piece about our country’s momentary laps of human decency and the break-down of our country’s general ethos.  You can read it here.

Then recently the Colin Kaepernick protest became a twitter-fest of classic magician’s diversion tactics from our President, when he attacked every NFL football player who knelt during the national anthem.  In blustering “Great and Powerful Oz” – like form, the Orange Menace (Trump) quickly raised his tiny hand and spewed to the world, “PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN” as he waived his not-so-magic wand around the country drawing a line in the sand for us all.

On one side, the “Patriots” who honor the flag and what it stands for by arguing points that contradict the entire point of the flag and this country.  On the other side, “Sons of bitches” who kneel in order to stand for those who’s voice will not be heard, they kneel so that they can stand up against tyranny and unjust actions in this country.  The lost messages in this argument have become thicker than Trump’s dumb head.

Almost a year later, we’re further down the rabbit-hole and no red or blue pill is going to pull us out of the darkness and bring us towards the light.  Our country is in shambles, completely dis-jointed and the appointed “leader” is swinging the wrecking-ball.

But today, I read this article on ESPN and felt hope for a mere moment.  Hope for a better future, hope for a discussion and movement forward for EVERYONE.  If you’ve got half a brain, you’ll read it.  If you’re a Trumpian, I’ll warn you it’s a lot longer than 140 characters, so strap your self in.  And maybe, just maybe, you can be more open-minded than our President and think in terms of US instead of ME.


Ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer writes open letter to Trump, Kaepernick, NFL and America

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dear Every Single American,

Every. Single. American. Including President Trump, Colin Kaepernick, and my brothers in arms overseas who are wondering, “what in the hell is going on back there?” I’m sitting in the same chair, in the same apartment that I sat in almost a year ago when I wrote an open letter to Colin Kaepernick. I was hurt when I saw him sitting on the bench during the national anthem, but I’m much more hurt now. Not by him, not by where we’re at now with the protests, but by us.

Simply put, it seems like we just hate each other; and that is far more painful to me than any protest, or demonstration, or rally, or tweet. We’re told to pick a side, there’s a line drawn in the sand “are you with us or against us?” It’s just not who we are, or at least who we’re supposed to be; we’re supposed to be better than that, we’re Americans. This doesn’t even seem to be about right or wrong, but more about right or left.

Today it feels like this national divide isn’t even really about the anthem, or the flag, or kneeling, or sitting, or fists in the air. It’s not about President Donald Trump, it’s not about Colin Kaepernick, it’s not about the military, or even police brutality. It feels like it’s about winning. That’s what makes America so great, our sheer competitiveness. We’re winners, and we won’t quit until victory is ours.

We see it in sports everyday, we “live and die” by the outcomes of our teams. That desire to win at all cost is costing us greatly now among our neighbors. This winning mentality seems to have spilled over into an obsession with being right and not willing to admit that maybe, just maybe we were wrong. We repeat mantras to ourselves like, “no matter what I will never ever surrender.”

“To deploy overseas, train, live with, fight alongside, and ultimately defend foreigners that you have little in common with is truly a challenging task. But returning home to a country that is so divided, so judgmental, and so hateful of one another is almost as difficult to deal with as burying a fallen comrade.”

Nate Boyer on the pulse of America right now

Earlier this week I sat down with a group of five Combat Arms and Special Operations Veterans. The round table discussed our individual feelings on the flag, the anthem, and the players who knelt when it was played. We all had very different takes, but what surprised me most at the end of the discussion was that we all agreed on one thing. Colin Kaepernick and President Trump should be the ones uniting our country together. Wait…what? I know it sounds crazy, but maybe that’s exactly what we need to see. Maybe that’s how we start to heal. Two men sit in a room and talk, simple as that.

That’s how it all started with Colin and I, neither of us knew that kneeling would be the result of our conversation. Colin wanted to sit, I wanted him to stand, and so we found a common ground on a knee alongside his teammates. I believe that progress and real change happens in this world when you reach across the divide, you build a bridge, you swallow your pride, you open your mind, you embrace what you don’t understand, and ultimately you surrender.

Now I don’t pretend to speak for everyone who fought overseas, many veterans rightfully disagree with my position. But I do feel that I echo the sentiments of most war fighters when I say that what we hope for more than anything right now in America is unity. To deploy overseas, train, live with, fight alongside, and ultimately defend foreigners that you have little in common with is truly a challenging task. But returning home to a country that is so divided, so judgmental, and so hateful of one another is almost as difficult to deal with as burying a fallen comrade. In fact we’re still losing our brothers in arms overseas right now and it’s hardly mentioned it in the media; but that’s OK, we don’t risk our lives and sacrifice so much for fanfare or recognition. It’s not at all why we do what we do. We do what we do because you are worth it, because we love you.

I would love for those two leaders to have that conversation, but more than anything I just want us to love one another again. One great thing about freedom is that you get to choose everyday how you treat your neighbor. This IS the best country in the world, but we can always do better. I’m laying it all out there because I have to, I swore to defend this land and its people, and I will die trying. I know some people will hate this (we love to hate things these days), and I’ll get called a disgrace to the Green Beret once again. But I don’t care, the United States means more to me than any of that.

Over the past year I’ve come across veterans from various walks of life. We may actually be the most diverse sub-culture in the America. Since I myself am a Green Beret, I want to share with you a couple of messages that were sent to me from men in my former unit. One of them is white, and one of them is black:

“Hey brother. At first I was with you on the Kaepernick issue. However, I just stood in formation while one of our brothers was pulled off a plane with our nation’s flag draped over the coffin. I had to fight back tears as I saw the pain in the eyes of Staff Sergeant T’s wife and family. While I would like to sit here and tell you that I rose above it all, I have to be honest. My heart filled with rage. Rage for anyone who takes for granted the ideals and symbols that we fight and die for.”

“Hey Brother, this is J. I spent nearly 18 years in 10th Special Forces Group and wish I had an opportunity to meet a brother like yourself. I just want to say I appreciate your views on this national anthem and flag issue. I love our country, but at the same time I have to take the time to tell my sons to act a certain way out of fear for their lives when dealing with police officers. Most of my neighbors and friends here in MD are law enforcement personnel and will tell you they also have to act a certain way to avoid confrontation and situations that normally don’t occur for those that are not of color. Not all officers are bad, the majority I believe are good and poor training is attributed to some of these issues we hear of. I really just want to thank you for your taking the time out to understand and convincing him to take a knee and not sit out on what we have fought for. God Bless You Bro!”

Different backgrounds, different experiences, different colors, but at the end of the day they just want the same basic things for their families.

So please, no more lines in the sand, not at home, not among our people. No more choosing sides, no more “for or against.” I believe our Veterans will be called upon to lead the way in healing the world and solving its problems; right now our country needs that more than I can remember. So I’ll be here, standing in the radical middle, doing what I can to continue fighting for those that can’t fight for themselves. Let’s get this thing fixed together, you and me. I love you all with all my heart.

De Oppresso Liber

— Nate Boyer

Duck, Duck, Goose Reminds Bears Fans They Still Suck

The 1-4 Chicago Bears began the Trubisky-tour 2K17 last night with a loss to the walking Quarterback Injured Reserve List of a franchise, the Minnesota (flapjacks) Vikings.  Trubisky actually impressed in his first rookie start going 12-of-25 passing for 128 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  Not a bad first game for Bears fans, especially considering the previous choices in gun-slinger over the past 6 seasons were: Mike Glennon, Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, Jimmy Clausen, Josh McCown, Jason Campbell, Caleb Hanie and a zombie-parrot named Chico.

That’s a Cleveland Browns-ian list of QB’s starting and failing at an exceptional pace, so good for you Bears fans.  You might have a QB last more than one season in your lineup, slow clap initiated……..

Head Coach John Fox on Trubisky:

“Our guys feel it. They feel his presence,” I know he scrambled for a first down. I know they were able to do some different things with him as far as attacking the corner. For a first outing, I thought he was really good. I know his teammates feel the same way and he’ll just get better with time.”

And Yet, Colin Kaepernick Still Has No Job…..

originally posted on deadspin.com…..


Brandon Weeden? Brandon Weeden.

The Tennessee Titans have reportedly found a new quarterback to replace an injured Marcus Mariota, and it’s former 28-year-old rookie Brandon Weeden, a.k.a. the most hilarious Cleveland Browns draft pick ever, a.k.a. the guy last seen as a third-stringer behind Tom Savage and Brock Osweiler.

Mariota, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Texans, is questionable for Sunday afternoon’s game at Miami.

Weeden—and not, say, a younger quarterback who actually played or started last year, and whose skill set and scheme experience would be a closer match for the offense run by Mariota—will battle for the starting job against 35-year-old Matt Cassel, who is also old and who also sucks, but at least unlike Weeden, didn’t always suck.

Weeden, seen above getting sacked by the American flag, started 20 games for the Browns in 2012 and 2013, eventually losing the starting role to Jason Campbell. Now 33 years old, he reportedly won a Titans contract over such luminaries as Matt Barkley, Matt McGloin, and T.J. Yates.

Who Will Lead?

Three thoughts I never imagined I’d ponder on a Monday in September:

1.  The NFL and it’s players are under attack, not by worried mothers, not by CTE or brain damage and not by a league-wide plague of herpes….but from our own President of the United States.

Donald Trump:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,'” Trump said. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”

2.  According to near-sighted people, kneeling is the most disrespectful act a person can demonstrate towards the American flag.

“The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.”

“The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.”

“It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.”

“The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.”

“No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.”

3.  The country is being divided and bred to harbor anger towards fellow Americans by our own President.

The main question I have at this point, is how did we get here?  How did we go from Colin Kaepernick kneeling to protest the injustice and killing of African American citizens due to a systematic problem with the police department, to Donald Trump calling NFL players “sons of bitches” and creating a false-narrative about patriotism?

The NFL timeline since Colin Kaepernick’s protest, a post-Kaepernick era:

  • Aug 14, 2016- Colin Kaepernick sits for the national anthem…..and no one noticed.
  • Aug 20th, 2016- Colin again sits, and again, no one noticed.
  • Aug 26th, 2016- Colin sits and this time he is met with a monsoon of hatred unseen against an athlete in recent memory.  Even the future President (Trump) of the United States took shots at him while on the campaign trail.  Colin went on to explain his protest had NOTHING to with the military.
  • Aug 30th, 2016 Nate Boyer, a former Army Green Beret turned NFL long snapper, penned an open letter to Colin in the Army Times.  In it he expressed how Colin’s actions affected him.
-Excerpt from the letter:
“I’m not judging you for standing up for what you believe in. It’s your inalienable right. What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and I’d be lying if I said I knew what it was like to walk around in your shoes. I’ve never had to deal with prejudice because of the color of my skin, and for me to say I can relate to what you’ve gone through is as ignorant as someone who’s never been in a combat zone telling me they understand what it’s like to go to war.
Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you’re doing it.
There are already plenty people fighting fire with fire, and it’s just not helping anyone or anything. So I’m just going to keep listening, with an open mind.
I look forward to the day you’re inspired to once again stand during our national anthem. I’ll be standing right there next to you.  Keep on trying … De Oppresso Liber.”
“De Oppresso Liber” is Latin, a motto of U.S. Army Special Forces, which can be translated to meaning “To free the oppressed,” or possibly “Free from having been oppressed.” Or even “Free from the oppressed one.”
Nate Boyer expressed empathy, and Colin Kaepernick responded by inviting Nate to San Diego to speak with him about the topic.  In the 90-minute discussion between the two men, Nate Boyer suggested a compromise that few and proud among us could only HOPE to reach when in the midst of clashing philosophies.
Nate proposed Colin kneel instead of sit for the National Anthem.
But why kneel?
In a military funeral, after the flag is taken off the casket of the fallen military member, it is folded 13 times and then presented to the parents, spouse or child of the fallen soldier by a fellow service member while KNEELING.  The two decided that kneeling for the flag would symbolize his respect for those that paid the ultimate sacrifice while still allowing Colin to peacefully protest the injustices.
Empathy and understanding is what brought Kaepernick and Boyer to a compromise that both felt was a common ground.  The power of discussion, dialogue and listening overpowered the notion of hate or hubris between the two completely different men.
What can we learn from these two men that we obviously can not learn from our “Commander and Chief”?  We MUST look through the fine-brushed canvas painting portraying patriotism as division and really SEE the truth of ourselves and our country.  The toughest window to look out of is a mirror.
The divide in our country permeated by our country’s “leadership” can be mended, but this bitter argument about a man kneeling during the National Anthem has opened Pandora’s box of confused rhetoric.
A nation divided can not stand.
The truth is out there, but understanding the story without rushing to judgement is the key to any growth or compromise.  From this rubble and ash we need a leader to rise, someone to unify and lead.
  • Great leaders remain positive even when under pressure and scrutiny
  • Great leaders exhibit confidence but not arrogance or hubris
  • Great leaders have a sense of humor but also know when to be serious
  • Great leaders embrace failure and use it as a tool for learning and moving forward Great leaders manage setbacks and manage emotions
  • Great leaders listen intently to the opposition and respond articulately
  • Great leaders inspire and motivate
  • Great leaders take responsibility and never place blame
  • Great leaders make decisions based on experience and lessons learned
  • Great leaders lead by example and commit to doing what’s in the best interest of the group   

 Who will stand and lead?

“The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.”

 

NFL Off-Season: What People Do In Venice Beach For Fun

With the NFL season upon us like a plague of ice-breathing, zombie-dragons; I give you the greatest compilation of NFL-Offseason “bored to death” videos on youtube: “Stuck In Traffic”.

Proving once again that NO MATTER where you live: Venice Beach, California….Manhattan, New York….Richmond, Virginia….or Fort Collins, Colorado, drinking alcohol while filming traffic will always be the most interesting thing you do today.

Thank god it’s football season.

ESPN’s NFL Fantasy Football TOP 15 Overall Projections

PROJECTED 2017 SEASON STATS
1. Le’Veon Bell, Pit RB YEAR RUSH YDS AVG TD REC YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 261 1268 4.9 7 75 616 2 317.4
2017 Projections 303.6 1398.6 4.6 9.8 81.3 669.4 3.8 368.6
2017 Outlook: Bell was suspended for four games to start the 2016 season but still managed to finish fifth at the position in rushing yards, as well as second in targets, receptions and receiving yards. Bell has been on the field for at least 86 percent of the team’s offensive snaps during 25 consecutive games in which he wasn’t injured or limited (25 of his past 28 total). During those 25 games, he was on the field for 95 percent of the snaps and handled 22.2 carries and 6.7 targets per game. The heavy usage allowed him a top-14 fantasy week during all 12 of his outings last season. There’s little reason to expect the 25-year-old to play a reduced role in 2017. His off-field antics are a concern, but Bell is too good to pass on early in the first round of your draft.
2. David Johnson, Ari RB YEAR RUSH YDS AVG TD REC YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 293 1239 4.2 16 80 879 4 407.8
2017 Projections 307.1 1229.7 4.0 11.6 77.8 782.2 4.1 368.5
2017 Outlook: Johnson’s breakout 2016 campaign was the highlight of a comeback year at the running back position. Fantasy’s top-scoring running back accrued 2,118 yards and 20 touchdowns on 373 touches. Johnson paced all backs in targets, receptions, receiving yards and end-zone targets (four). He carried the ball inside the opponent’s 5-yard line 22 times (second most). Johnson’s pedestrian rushing efficiency (4.2 YPC, including 1.6 after contact) is far from ideal, but he more than made up for it with volume; Johnson registered a top-10 fantasy week during a position-best 75 percent of his outings. Johnson is in his prime at age 25 and positioned well to again see 22-24 touches every week.
3. Antonio Brown, Pit WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 155 106 1284 12.1 12 3 9 0 307.3
2017 Projections 159.3 107.7 1420.1 13.2 7.6 4 22.3 0.1 302.2
2017 Outlook: How high were expectations for Brown last season? His 106-catch, 1,284-yard, 12-touchdown season was widely regarded as a letdown. Brown missed a game, but still topped wide receivers in fantasy points for the third consecutive season. He finished top-five in targets, receptions and receiving yards for the fourth straight year. Brown turns 29 this year, so he still figures to have a few years of top-end production left in the tank. Ben Roethlisberger’s top target and fantasy’s most consistently dominant wide receiver should be off the board early in the first round of your draft.
4. Julio Jones, Atl WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 129 83 1409 17.0 6 0 0 0 259.9
2017 Projections 142.2 95.7 1434.4 15.0 7.4 0 0 0 284.1
2017 Outlook: Jones missed two games with a toe injury, but still managed to finish sixth among wide receivers in fantasy points last season. Jones’ target share dipped a bit, but Matt Ryan’s top target thrived in the breakout offense of the year. Despite eclipsing eight touchdowns in a season just once in his career, Jones has finished as a top-11 fantasy receiver during four of the past five seasons. Durability continues to be an issue for Jones, as he’s missed at least one game during four of his six NFL seasons. The Atlanta offense will surely come back to earth a bit this season, but 28-year-old Jones is arguably the game’s best talent at the position. Select him in the middle of the first round.
5. Odell Beckham Jr., NYG WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 169 101 1367 13.5 10 1 9 0 296.6
2017 Projections 159.8 97.4 1312.4 13.5 8.1 0 0 0 276.5
2017 Outlook: Beckham’s 2016 season started slowly, but he ended up posting career bests in both targets (167) and receptions (101). Beckham has now managed at least 91 receptions, 1,305 yards and 10 touchdowns during each of his first three pro seasons. He’s finished as a top-seven fantasy wide receiver each of those years. Beckham is known more for his highlight reel catches, but he also ranked seventh in the NFL with 15 end zone targets last season (up from 11 in 2015). The 24-year-old superstar is just getting started and should only benefit from New York’s offseason addition of Brandon Marshall and first-round pick Evan Engram. Beckham is a low-risk, high-ceiling pick early in the first round of fantasy drafts.
6. Mike Evans, TB WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 175 96 1321 13.8 12 0 0 0 304.1
2017 Projections 159.5 86.8 1202.1 13.8 8.7 0 0 0 260.2
2017 Outlook: Evans was terrific during his first two years in the NFL, but he took his game to a new level in 2016. Evans paced the NFL with 170 targets, a league-high 20 of which came in the end zone, and ranked top-six in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. A 6-foot-5 downfield weapon, Evans has ranked top-10 at the position in average depth of target each of his first three seasons in the NFL, which justifies his substandard 54 percent catch rate. Fantasy’s No. 4-scoring wideout was consistent but not dominant, posting only four top-10 fantasy weeks, which tied for ninth. The additions of DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard will take some heat off of Evans and won’t cost him many targets and scoring opportunities. Evans is a solid WR1.
7. LeSean McCoy, Buf RB YEAR RUSH YDS AVG TD REC YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 234 1267 5.4 13 50 356 1 298.3
2017 Projections 240.8 1191.6 4.9 7.4 51.7 416.5 1.7 264.4
2017 Outlook: McCoy turns 29 this summer, but his age and hefty career volume of work didn’t seem to slow him in 2016. Far from it, in fact. McCoy ranked in the top six in rushing yards for the fourth time in six years and, thanks in part to elite run blocking, his 5.4 YPC ranked fifth among backs. McCoy posted a top-10 fantasy week during 53 percent of his 15 outings (sixth best) and finished fourth at the position in fantasy points. McCoy also caught an incredible 50 of 55 targets (91 percent). Buffalo won’t be quite as run heavy with Rex Ryan gone, but McCoy is an explosive lead back in an offense that ranked seventh in touchdowns per game last year. He’s a quality RB1 option.
8. A.J. Green, Cin WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 100 66 964 14.6 4 0 0 0 186.4
2017 Projections 151.6 96.1 1312.7 13.7 7.6 0 0 0 273.1
2017 Outlook: The Bengals’ 2016 season was marred by injuries and Green was caught up in the onslaught. After posting at least 1,000 receiving yards during his first six seasons, Green caught 66 passes for 964 yards and four scores in 10 games in 2016. He finished an NFL-best 70 percent of his 10 starts as a top-30 non-PPR fantasy receiver. He’s finished top-nine at the position in PPR during three of the past five seasons, but has missed a total of nine games due to injury over the past three seasons. Green turns 29 years old this year and remains one of the best and most heavily targeted wideouts in the league.
9. Jordy Nelson, GB WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 152 97 1257 13.0 14 0 0 0 304.7
2017 Projections 140.5 92.2 1276.5 13.8 9.9 0 0 0 279.4
2017 Outlook: Considering that he missed his entire age-30 season with a torn ACL, it was fair to wonder just how effective Nelson would be in 2016. It turns out the answer was ‘very,’ as Nelson caught 97 passes for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns en route to finishing second among wide receivers in fantasy points. Nelson’s seven top-10 fantasy weeks were second-most at the position and he finished 35th or better during all but two of his 16 outings. Nelson has finished second, third, 13th and fourth during the past four seasons in which he’s appeared in all 16 games. He scored 13-plus touchdowns during three of those campaigns. Nelson’s age (32) is enough to knock him down a few spots, but he’s still a quality target near the first/second-round turn.
10. Devonta Freeman, Atl RB YEAR RUSH YDS AVG TD REC YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 227 1079 4.8 11 54 462 2 284.1
2017 Projections 202.3 858.9 4.2 9.5 52.2 446.9 3.3 259.6
2017 Outlook: Freeman registered 57 fewer touches in 2016 than he did when he led all running backs in fantasy points in 2015, but the dynamic young back produced only 32 fewer fantasy points. Freeman posted a healthy 4.8 YPC, thanks, in part, to terrific blocking (3.2 yards before contact per attempt ranked seventh) and high-value carries (his 16 carries inside the opponent’s 5-yard line ranked fifth). Freeman ranked ninth in rushing yards and fifth in receiving yards at the position. He posted seven top-10 fantasy weeks. The presence of Tevin Coleman, departure of Kyle Shanahan and some offensive regression to the mean will lead to a statistical step back for Freeman, but he’s still a back-end RB1 option in all formats.
11. T.Y. Hilton, Ind WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 156 91 1448 15.9 6 0 0 0 273.8
2017 Projections 146.8 84.1 1292.6 15.4 7.4 0 0 0 258.2
2017 Outlook: Following four years as essentially a solid No. 2 fantasy receiver, Hilton took his game to a new level in 2016. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound playmaker caught 91 of 153 targets for 1,448 yards, all of which were career highs. Hilton averaged 9.5 yards per target (10th best) and finished as a top-10 fantasy receiver during 38 percent of his outings (sixth best). Hilton isn’t a great source of touchdowns, averaging exactly six per season since entering the league, but he makes up for it with heavy volume and high-end efficiency in the Colts’ pass-heavy, Andrew Luck-led offense.
12. Melvin Gordon, LAC RB YEAR RUSH YDS AVG TD REC YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 254 997 3.9 10 41 419 2 250.6
2017 Projections 295.7 1196.6 4.0 6.9 42.6 341.3 1.9 245.9
2017 Outlook: Gordon enjoyed a breakout 2016 season, but it would’ve been even better if not for a season-ending hip injury suffered in Week 14. Gordon entered that game with 12 touchdowns and third at the position in fantasy points. Gordon was limited to 3.9 YPC on the season but was good after contact (his 2.0 YAC ranked 16th). Gordon registered 17 carries inside the opponent’s 5-yard line (third most) and his 419 receiving yards ranked ninth. Gordon is entering his prime years at age 24 and will again be the clear feature back for an emerging Los Angeles franchise. Select him in the second round of your draft.
13. Michael Thomas, NO WR YEAR TAR REC YDS AVG TD RUSH YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 122 92 1137 12.4 9 0 0 0 255.7
2017 Projections 131.9 94.2 1171.6 12.4 8 0 0 0 258.7
2017 Outlook: Thomas was fantasy’s No. 7 wide receiver despite missing one game as a rookie. The Ohio State product caught 77 percent of his targets (third best among wideouts) and averaged 9.5 yards per target (ninth). He posted an impressive nine top-30 fantasy weeks during his final 13 games of the season. New Orleans’ second-round pick from 2016 is obviously in the WR1 mix, especially with Brandin Cooks gone, but keep in mind that a Saints wide receiver has exceeded a 20 percent target share only once during the Sean Payton/Drew Brees era (Thomas averaged a 20 percent share as a rookie). Nonetheless, Brees will back under center in 2017, so the 24-year-old Thomas is a great bet for a huge second season.
14. Jordan Howard, Chi RB YEAR RUSH YDS AVG TD REC YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 252 1313 5.2 6 29 298 1 230.1
2017 Projections 273.4 1245.5 4.6 8 31.8 258.8 1.4 236.7
2017 Outlook: Howard opened his rookie season third on Chicago’s depth chart, but it didn’t take the intriguing fifth-round pick long to work his way into workhorse duties. The big man ranked 11th in the league in carries, but his terrific effectiveness (5.2 YPC, 2.2 YAC) allowed him the second-most rushing yards. Howard’s hands (position-high eight drops) are a concern, but he still managed 48 targets and averaged a healthy 10.3 yards per reception. Touchdowns may elude Howard in Chicago’s underwhelming offense, but the 22-year-old emerging star will push for 20 touches every week. Upgrade him slightly in non-PPR.
15. DeMarco Murray, Ten RB YEAR RUSH YDS AVG TD REC YDS TD PTS
2016 Statistics 293 1287 4.4 9 53 377 3 293.8
2017 Projections 248.4 1088.6 4.4 8 43.5 310 1.8 239.7
2017 Outlook: Following a rough year in Philadelphia, Murray reassumed his spot as one of the game’s top tailbacks with 1,664 yards from scrimmage in Tennessee last year. Murray averaged a healthy 4.4 yards per carry despite facing an average of 8.1 in-box defenders (fourth highest). Murray ranked third at the position in carries and sixth in receptions, which helped him to his third top-six fantasy season in four years. Once labeled as injury prone, Murray has missed one game in the past three seasons. Murray is now 29, and Derrick Henry’s role only figures to expand, but the veteran remains the lead back and a three-down contributor in one of the game’s most run-heavy offenses.