Top 5 Player Picks From Each Team: AFC South
If I was drafting today, These are the guys I prioritize, in order, from each AFC South team.
. . .
- Lamar Miller – Although he didn’t have the year I envisioned in 2016, Miller was able to top 1,000 yards on a stagnant offense. With no Brock Osweiler to not worry about, defenses might actually have to pay attention to the passing game this season, giving Miller a little more breathing room. He’ll lose carries to D’Onta Foreman, but Miller never needed a lot of volume to produce – it might even do him some good.
- DeAndre Hopkins – Hopkins had a “down” year in 2016 in which he flirted with 1,000 yards and only 4 TDs. I attribute this performance almost entirely to Brock Osweiler and his poison dart of an arm. With Tom Savage and eventually DeShaun Watson under center, he’ll have a bounce back year we can smile about.
- Will Fuller – After a first quarter boom in his rookie year, Fuller swooned under Osweiler’s incessant check downs. The Texans are taking kick-return duties off of Fuller’s plate this year, so he can focus more on the receiver position.
- DeShaun Watson – It’s not even a certainty Watson will start this season, but his potential upside, and the relatively unspectacular outlook for Tom Savage, makes him well worth a gamble.
- Braxton Miller – I was tempted to go with Fiedorowicz here, but Miller poses a serious threat for defenses as a big and incredibly fast slot-receiver. Don’t be surprised if he uses his experience as a QB to make a big splash in his second year.
- T.Y. Hilton – Hilton led the NFL in receiving yards (1448) in 2016, and there’s little reason to suggest that he won’t be at the top of the heap this season as well. He’s dealing a minor hamstring injury, if there is such a thing for a receiver, but Hilton has only missed two games in five years, so he should be fine.
- Andrew Luck – Any sort of surgery should be considered major in my book, but the type of labrum surgery that Luck underwent has been labeled as a simple procedure. That being said, Luck hasn’t done anything worth mentioning in the way of practice as of yet. Barring a major setback, he should be good to go for week 1, and if that is indeed the case, we can expect Luck to build off of his 4,000+ yard 31 TD 2016 season.
- Jack Doyle – Doyle has the benefit this year of not having to contend with Dwayne Allen, who if you combine his yards and TDs for 2016 would make for an almost 1,000 yard, 11 TD season. Doyle led all TEs in catch rate with over 78% last season, so he’s reliable if nothing else. Be prepared for an amazing 2017 from him.
- Donte Moncrief – More a redzone asset than much else in 2016, Moncrief will look to improve his underwhelming YAC(2.1 yards in 2016) under the tutelage of new WRs coach Sanjay Lal. Moncrief doesn’t have many places to go but up in that department, and his knack for catching TDs should keep him relevant even if his yardage doesn’t improve.
- Frank Gore – As long as Frank Gore has two working legs, it’s impossible to neglect him as a fantasy asset. Yes Robert Turbin and Marlon Mack will be involved, but all indications point to Gore leading this backfield in 2017.
- Leonard Fournette – The only real question about Fournette being a 3-down back coming in was his lack of pass catching experience during his college career. He’s quickly assuaging any fears concerning that issue during practices, catching almost everything that comes his way. (We’ve been telling you from Jump Street not to listen to detractors regarding this issue). The Jags receivers are enough of a threat to keep defenses honest, so we shouldn’t see any Todd Gurley like disappointment in Jacksonville.
- Allen Robinson – Sure, Robinson had a BIG drop-off in performance in 2016 compared to his breakout season in 2015, but 883 yards and 6 TDs is nothing to sniff at. In his last two games of last season under then interim, and now Head Coach Doug Marrone, Robinson averaged over 100 Yards, so he is ripe for a considerable bounce back in a contract year.
- Blake Bortles – Bortles now has every base covered on offense. If he can manage to limit his turnovers in 2017, he’ll be a top 10 fantasy QB. The Jags plan on having a more balanced attack this season, so he’ll likely have fewer INTs.
- Marqise Lee – Lee was Jacksonville’s most consistent pass catcher in 2016, having at least four receptions in 11 games that season. He’ll continue to be a productive player in PPR leagues.
- Allen Hurns – Hurns had a bust of a 2016 season that was plagued with nagging hamstring injuries. He’s bulked up in the offseason in an attempt to mitigate the issue, and he’s a full go in OTAs. He’s a low risk, high reward player in fantasy this year.
- DeMarco Murray – Derrick Henry may be the more talented back, but you don’t fix what isn’t broken in the NFL, and Murray is firing on all cylinders, aside from a currently healing finger issue -he hasn’t missed a game in three seasons.
- Corey Davis – Considering that he’s all-time NCAA leader in receiving yards, I’d be remiss to not give Davis the benefit of the doubt as the present and future of the Titans’ passing attack. a big WR with excellent feet, Davis has drawn comparisons to a young Brandon Marshall. Get your popcorn ready.
- Eric Decker – Davis has the upside, but Decker has the track-record. Though 2016 was not kind to Decker in his final year as a Jet, he’ll rival Davis for the team lead in receptions and yards. He’s a plug and forget kind of cog in your fantasy lineups.
- Marcus Mariota – With all of these capable Pass catchers, and one of the strongest backfields in the league, you have to imagine Mariota is going to start putting up monster numbers, especially considering his prowess as a runner – if he can regain trust in his broken leg.
- Rishard Matthews – I tortured myself for awhile deciding to put either Matthews or Henry in this spot, but it became mush easier a choice when I realized that it is well within the realm of possibilities that Matthews beats out Decker or Davis for the no.1 option in the passing game. Such is not the case for Henry, who is relegated to backup duties behind Murray when Murray is healthy, whether we like it or not.