Last year, a lot of top-tier running backs busted while the rookie wideout class proved to be the greatest ever. That’s going to lead to a lot of recency bias in this year’s fantasy drafts.
We always want to be zigging when our opponents are zagging, which means hammering the running back position early on and avoiding first-year receivers. It’s easy to do that with so many quality young (but not rookie) mid-round wideout targets. The next Josh Gordon, DeAndre Hopkins or Alshon Jeffery is in our midst.
DeSean Jackson posted a career-outlier 82-1,332-9 line in his lone year as Chip Kelly’s No. 1 wideout. Next up was Jeremy Maclin, who parlayed the role into 85-1,318-10 and a $55M contract from the Chiefs. This year’s top dog in the pass game will be “big slot” receiver Jordan Matthews, who caught 35 passes for 559 yards and five touchdowns over the final eight games of his rookie year. A unique mismatch creator who is too big for corners at 6’3/212 and too fast for safeties at 4.46, Matthews projects to lead the fast-breaking Eagles in all receiving categories.
Here’s to you Mr. Robinson
The Jags took Allen Robinson 22 picks after they selected Marqise Lee in the 2014 draft. But it’s already clear who the No. 1 wideout is. While the unimpressive Lee has scuffled, Robinson emerged as a potential team-carrying wideout during last year’s injury-shortened season and this year’s OTAs. The prototypical X receiver was reportedly “unbelievable” this spring, operating as the team’s “most impressive offensive player” and posting numerous “wow” catches. If Blake Bortles can take just a small step forward, Robinson will eclipse last year’s 86-946-4 pace as a starter. He’ll be available in the sixth or seventh round of your draft.
The other Bryant
Martavis Bryant is not related to Dez Bryant. He’s also available about six rounds later in drafts. We saw the Steelers’ offense flick on once they unleashed Martavis last season, as they went 8-2 with him active and 3-3 while he watched. Now Markus Wheaton has moved into the slot, leaving Bryant to play something near the 81.6 percent of the snaps he played in the playoff loss to Baltimore. With Ben Roethlisberger operating at elite levels, there’s more than enough room for both Martavis and Antonio Brown to eat.
MLB Pickups of the Week
1. Randal Grichuk, OF, Cardinals – Matt Holliday’s quad injury has widened the door for Grichuk. It may never close back up.
2. Mike Montgomery, SP, Mariners – A former Royals prospect that won’t strike out 12 in a game again but will stick in the rotation.
3. Roberto Osuna, RP, Blue Jays – Brett Cecil has pitched his way out of the closer’s role, leaving the 20-year-old Osuna with a shot.
A few months ago, Doug Martin was on the trade block and seemingly losing his job to Charles Sims. Not anymore. Thanks to a healthy and impressive offseason, Martin has not only stuck with the Bucs but will enter camp as the clear-cut feature back. Sims, who averaged a pathetic 2.8 YPC last season and looked inept between the tackles, will stick in his natural passing back role. Martin’s current average draft position is in the eighth round.