One Man’s Fantasy Football Take

The NFL season kicked off Thursday night with all eyes on Tom Brady in his return to the field and Rob Gronkowski doing Gronk things. But tomorrow, Sunday, that’s when most teams open their seasons.

Sunday is the day fantasy football fans live for. Go to a local bar or restaurant that has NFL Sunday Ticket, and if you’re like me, it’s hard to keep your focus on one game for more than five minutes. I know. My already short attention span faces even more challenges Sunday afternoons.

While I haven’t had as much time to blog anymore at work, I still felt like tossing out a few fantasy football thoughts before the season gets underway, if at the very least just to remind myself how little I really know. Last year I went out on a limb in a very bad way for guys like Jay Cutler, Shane Vereen and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. But I did pretty well with

Aug 29, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running back Matt Jones (31) runs past Baltimore Ravens defensive back Kyle Arrington (24) during the third quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Redskins rookie running back Matt Jones has enjoyed an impressive preseason and should carve out a role right away in Week 1. USA Today Sports

my calls on Emmanuel Sanders, Golden Tate, Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce. 

So even though your drafts and my drafts are down, here are a few guys I like better than their ADPs (average draft positions) this year:

Quarterbacks

Sam Bradford: I picked up as much Mark Sanchez as I could last year when he took over as the starter. Bradford is probably better than Sanchez, and any QB playing for the Eagles is worth owning if not starting. We’ve never seen what Bradford can do with this many weapons. And a lot of those weapons – Darren Sproles, Nelson Agholar, etc. – are great run-after-the-catch guys. Like Bradford a lot this year.

Carson Palmer: Like Bradford, Palmer has an injury-plagued past. But he’s got a pretty good receiving corps in John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Plus, this team struggled to run the football last year, and the personnel changes in the offseason haven’t convinced me that will change. Palmer threw for multiple TDs in 5 of 6 starts last year, and in the game he didn’t, he got injured.

Running backs

Lamar Miller: I wasn’t able to land Miller in any meaningful leagues, which was disappointing. Last year he had 1,110 rushing yards and averaged over 5 yards per carry, doing all of this despite backing up Knowshon Moreno for a good portion of the season. There isn’t anyone in his way this year, and the coaching staff is talking him up as an every-down back. I like Miller better than LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore and Melvin Gordon (guys who Yahoo had ranked higher than Miller when my league drafted) to name a few.

Ameer Abdullah: The hype train on Abdullah really took off when he had a couple of big runs in the preseason. I had to pay a hefty price in some leagues to make sure I got him. Joique Bell has been practicing recently, but he struggled the last couple of years and missed all of the team’s preseason games after offseason surgery. I really liked Abdullah in college. I think he can be an every-down guy. I’m banking the talent will create the opportunity.

LeGarrette Blount: With Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley and Jonas Gray gone, Blount seems assured of early-down duty every game. As always with the Patriots, his role will be game-plan dependent. But it’s obvious Bill Belichick likes him and trusts him.

Duke Johnson: The rookie running back has a pretty fun highlight tape on YouTube. The only other meaningful running back on the Browns is Isaiah Crowell, who had some impressive runs last year, but it just doesn’t seem like the coaching staff likes Crowell, who has had ball security issues. I think they will be going to The Duke very soon.

Matt Jones: Only player I own in all of my leagues. The rookie thrived in the preseason for Washington. Yes, Alfred Morris is in his way. But Morris is a free agent at year’s end. Morris has struggled when Robert Griffin III hasn’t started (RG3 was benched a couple weeks ago). Already talk that Jones will get 10 touches in Week 1. It’s only a matter of time before it’s his job, although his violent running style does make you wonder if he can hold up for a whole season.

Wide receivers

Allen Robinson: Look past the Jacksonville Jaguars and you’re missing out on this guy. Robinson had a very strong rookie season before injury cut it short. I really liked this guy coming into last season, and there’s no reason to think he won’t blow up in Year 2.

Steve Smith Sr.: Yes, he’s 36 years old. But as a Chicago Bears fan, I know what the Marc Trestman offense can mean for a passing game. Trestman, the former Bears head coach, is now the Ravens offensive coordinator. I’m not sure how other roles will shake out, but I’m convinced Smith is due for a big year. Wish I had him in more leagues.

Nelson Agholor: The rookie for Philadelphia will likely find himself filling the shoes of Jeremy Maclin, who went to Kansas City in the offseason. Again, this is a great offense to have players tied to.

Phillip Dorsett: Another rookie receiver, but remember what rookie receivers did last year. Dorsett is currently stuck behind TY Hilton and Andre Johnson, and that won’t change as long as they’re both healthy. But Hilton has already suffered a concussion in the preseason, and Johnson is 34 years old. If Dorsett, who is the third receiver, lands a starting spot in any week, he’s got plenty of potential with Andrew Luck throwing to him.

Tight end

Richard Rodgers: If you’re looking for a DEEP sleeper at the position, look no further. Jordy Nelson is out for the season, and Aaron Rodgers will be looking for someone to give those targets too. You can pay heavily for Davante Adams, or get this guy, who is largely going undrafted. He’s the starting tight end now in Green Bay, and I kind of feel like he could have a nice year. Maybe not many yards, but eight touchdowns?