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Top Eight Fantasy Football Draft “Reaches” for 2016

 

Alright Fantasy Football fans!  Here is the article I promised you last week.  My list of players who were drafted in your fantasy leagues WAY too early.  Now this list is just MY opinion as one analyst.  Some of you may disagree and some of these I could end up being entirely way off base, but I don’t care.  You are more than welcome to leave your comments at the bottom or send some disgruntled incoherent babble to us on Twitter (@sportsstuffhub).  So without further ado, here we go…

 

Why draft a QB so high?

For QB, this is a different type of list because depending on your league scoring setup, QBs get drafted completely different so we are going to refer to where they were drafted compared to other Quarterbacks.

 

Russell Wilson, QB – Seattle Seahawks

I want to clear the air before you all think I’m saying “DangeRuss” isn’t a very good QB…this is FANTASY FOOTBALL and I am only referring to where they were drafted in FANTASY FOOTBALL.  Wilson was drafted in the 1-3 rank for QB in a lot of leagues this year.  Mostly in part to his HUGE finish to 2015 (last 7 games he threw 24 TDs which is awesome) but most people forgot about the first 9 games where Wilson threw for a combined 10 TDs.  4,024 yds & 34 TDs doesn’t exactly scream “draft me as the first QB.”  People reached for him significantly considering he really only outscored guys like Kirk Cousins by just 100 yards and 5 TDs.  The other argument for Wilson’s high draft position is his running ability.  That’s a great reason except for one stat from 2015 again that is overlooked.  Wilson scored just ONE TD with his legs in all of 2015. His rushing yards actually dropped considerably during his hot streak of throwing TD passes.  Why waste such a high pick when you could have gotten a top 10 WR or RB and still picked up a QB who will get you about the same points later in the draft?

 

Non-QB reaches:

Rob Gronkowski, TE – New England Patriots

Rob is, without a doubt, the best Tight End in the NFL.  When he gets the ball, he can drag defenders for extra yards with ease.  He’s tall, he’s strong and he is extremely athletic.  So why, being the best TE, would he make our list?  Because Gronk is being drafted in the 1st round of most fantasy drafts.  At the end of the 2015 season Gronk ranked 12th in receiving yards and was tied for 7th in TDs.  Again, that is #1 at the TE position in yards and #2 in TD.  So why draft a TE so high if you can draft a WR or RB who will score you more points overall?  People seem to feel the need to find the top scorer for that single position instead of grabbing higher value at WR or RB.  When you are outscored by more than 15 other people in the same statistical categories, it doesn’t seem worth the pick to me.

 

Ezekiel Elliott, RB – Dallas Cowboys

This pick really is about as “head-scratching” as it gets for me.  Elliott was touted as a top RB pick in fantasy leagues for a month before the season started.  Why?  He is a ROOKIE! He is an unproven rookie who is in a timeshare with 2 other starting caliber running backs (Darren McFadden & Alfred Morris).  Everyone thinks he is going to just tear things up running behind Dallas’ very solid O-line but let us be real here…McFadden put up solid numbers last season (1,089 yards) and also is a PROVEN receiver out of the backfield (40 rec/328 yds). Morris is going to be the plow on short yard runs. So you want to draft a rookie running back in the first round that is going to lose carries to two veterans who can easily replace him if he stumbles at all?  That’s foolish in my book.  That’s an extreme waste of a high draft pick to gamble that much on.

 

Devonta Freeman, RB – Atlanta Falcons

Yes Devonta made our list even after being the most added person in fantasy football after week 2 in 2015.  Tevin Coleman went down to injury which opened the door for Freeman.  He ran like someone was controlling him while playing Madden for 5 weeks and then went ice cold after that. Freeman scored 11 TDs in 2015.  That’s good right?  Well, 9 of those were scored during weeks 2 through 6.  After week 7 of the NFL season, Freeman never saw 100 yards again. Why would you throw away a first or second round pick here?

 

Demaryius Thomas, WR – Denver Broncos

It seems like just last season D.T. was a “duh” first round pick. Oh wait, he was!  So, why does that change this year after he had 1,300 yards in 2015?  Well the Quarterback situation in Denver is the main reason.  Even with Peyton the main starter last year he couldn’t utilize Thomas like previous years.  Thomas had his lowest TD total (6) since 2011.  No Peyton & no Brock.  The Broncos receivers have to rely on former 7th rounder Trevor Siemian to get them the ball.  Siemian had never attempted a single pass in the NFL prior to this season. So putting a first year starter behind a shaky offensive line doesn’t bode well for any receiver in Denver, let alone their big play-maker.

 

Thomas Rawls, RB – Seattle Seahawks

This is another head scratcher for me.  Rawls was a good fill-in runner when Lynch was injured in 2015.  The reality is Rawls only had 4 or 5 solid games all season in which he topped 100 yards.  He also only caught 9 passes all season.  NINE passes for a running back that was in the majority of Russell Wilson’s monster TD party for the last 7 games last year.  Rawls did rack up 830 rushing yards on the season.  Another stat people tend to forget is that 209 of those yards were from one game.  The other factor that is scary about drafting him high is the fact that the Seahawks resigned Christine Michael (yes the same Michael that they drafted, traded to Dallas & later resigned after he cleared Waivers being cut from the Redskins practice squad) and it looks as though Michael will be the lead back after all of this.  The Seahawks coaching staff has admitted to being extremely impressed with Michael through training camp and preseason. So after the hype of Rawls being “Mini Beast-Mode”, it seems he lost his job to a free-agent pickup from the end of last season.

 

Julian Edelman, WR – New England Patriots

Yes a second Patriot made our list.  Edelman is a “Buyer Beware” type of player in my book.  Last year he missed 7 games due to injury and didn’t even reach 700 yards in the 9 games he did play.  Add in the fact that Tom Brady will miss the first 4 games of the regular season in 2016 and you’ve got a recipe for a letdown.  Edelman has only had ONE season with at least 1,000 yards (2013) in his 7 years.  Maybe in some leagues he went later that the 4th round, but that’s not likely.  Too many people salivate over Tom Brady targets and overpay for them.  If you drafted him in the first 4 rounds, temper your expectations as Edelman won’t single handedly win your league for you.

 

Lamar Miller, RB – Houston Texans

This is a tough call for me because I am high on Lamar Miller but I do think his ADP was too high for what you’ll get in return.  Miller went in the second round in most drafts which I think is a little rich for a guy who has only seen 1,000 yards one time in four seasons.  Yes I am aware that he changed teams in order to become a three down feature back.  But the question in my mind is, do you trust a back with 300 carries that has only had a season high of 216 carries? Add in additional touches as a receiver out of the backfield and he may have the wheels fall off when you need him most (weeks 15-17). Miller is a huge gamble with major upside.  I just wouldn’t justify his high draft position.

 

-Ryan Samuelson