With under a week until kickoff, I’ll be breaking down all the divisions in the NFL to tell you who you want and who you want and who you want to avoid for your fantasy team.
Click here to see the AFC North
Click here to see the AFC West
Click here to see the AFC South
QB: If EJ Manuel recovers nicely, he could be a pleasant surprise, especially with good rushing numbers. In a standard league he’s more of a high upside backup but if you don’t like the high floor options such as Big Ben, Flacco, etc then you could take a chance with him as a starter.
RB: CJ Spiller is being drafted as a top 5 RB and that’s a worthy spot. He and Adrian Peterson were the only players in the league last year (of those who qualified) who averaged 6 yard per carry and the Bills have said they plan to give the ball to Spiller until he throws up. Fred Jackson will obviously not be as big a part of the timeshare as he was last year but there is still plenty of room for value with him. A fantastic handcuff option and a RB4 pick otherwise, don’t go for the sexy pick when you can get someone reliable.
WR: Stevie Johnson has looked like a top WR at times but he’s been too inconsistent and now seems injured to boot. He may still make a low end WR2 but I’d feel better having him as a flex play, especially with a team that looks to run into the ground. Otherwise, there isn’t much to look at for Bills receivers.
TE: Scott Chandler is returning from an injury and his value is somewhat limited but could be a great backup option.
QB: Ryan Tannehill was better than expected but still the weakest of the “big” rookie QBs last year. That being said, he has new toys to play with in Mike Wallace and could improve in his second year. He’s a high upside QB2.
RB: The preseason was riddled with talks about how Daniel Thomas was competing with Lamar Miller for the starting spot even though any one outside of Miami thought Miller was far more talented. As we prepare to start the season, Miller has won the job. Some people think Miller may have RB1 upside, I think he’s much safer as a RB3 but if you want him, you’ll have to take him as a RB2. Thomas may get some goal line carries but has little value above a Miller handcuff.
WR: Mike Wallace was basically only a deep threat in Pittsburgh but the Dolphins plan to use him in a wider variety of ways. People seem to be avoiding him like the plague this year so he could be a steal and make a decent WR2. Brian Hartline is a great PPR flex play and has some value in standard leagues as well.
TE: Dustin Keller went down for the season and it leaves the Dolphins without a good fantasy TE option.
New England Patriots
QB: After losing a huge amount of Talent in Welker, Lloyd, and Hernandez, there was some speculation that Tom Brady may not be able to put up his usual numbers. This is a QB who won a Super Bowl with Deion Branch as his best WR. The amount of QBs who are able to use their legs might keep Brady out of the top 5 but he has one of the highest floors in the game. If people in your league are willing to pass on Brady, be happy to scoop him up.
RB: The Patriots have looked like they can run the ball with ease and Stevan Ridley is going to be the main benefactor from this. He’s a solid RB2 in any format. Shane Vereen may be called upon to fill the role Danny Woodhead had with the team and definitely has value in PPR leagues. He’s got potential to be a RB3 in even standard leagues and is one of the best back up RBs in the league.
WR: If Danny Amendola can finally avoid getting injured, I wouldn’t be even a little bit shocked to see him as a top 5 WR. So many people are not taking the risk but with the HUGE upside he possesses, you should draft him as a top 10 WR and just plan your team by avoiding other risky players. Kembrell Thompkins is next in line as far as WRs are concerned but he’s still behind Amendola, Gronk, and Ridley/Vereen for touches. He’s definitely draftable but being the Patriot’s #2 WR does not mean he’s more than a bye week flex play.
TE: Rob Gronkowski is firmly established as the 2nd best TE in the league but there is a little bit of risk since his injury seems to be hanging around. The Patriots have shown that they can use 2 TEs and both will put up fantasy numbers and there’s no surprise that Zach Sudfeld is generating a ton of hype. With TE so shallow he should definitely be drafted inside the top 10 as it seems a foregone conclusion that he will be leaned on heavily. If Gronk cannot stay on the field, look for Sudfeld in the top 5 TEs.
New York Jets
QB: It appears Geno Smith will start the year for the Jets but he’s looked completely incompetent in the preseason. I am not saying it will work out the same, but in Cam Newton’s rookie season, he also looked awful in the preseason and figured it out. That said, I’m avoiding Smith and Mark Sanchez at all costs.
RB: Chris Ivory is a bit better than Shonn Greene but the Jets have no passing attack to take the focus off the run and he likely won’t have too many big games. Taking him as anything ahead of a flex play is a mistake. Bilel Powell is a good backup option and doesn’t have a ton of upside but is fairly safe.
WR: The only WR worth drafting on the Jets is Jeremy Kerley who is a high floor, low ceiling flex play.
TE: Stay. Away.