Maclin the Main Man in Baltimore
Jeremy Maclin is poised to lead the Ravens in targets this year after coming over from Kansas City, which could be a very profitable position in 2017. The Ravens led the NFL in pass attempts in 2016, averaging more than 42 a game.
While it’s true that Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman will stretch the field for the Ravens, Maclin is a lock to be the primary slot receiver. He is coming off a disappointing campaign in Kansas City, but it was revealed that he played last season with a torn groin, which would certainly explain why he lost a step. Given his role and full health, Maclin will be an every-week WR3 with upside for more.
Unleash the Freak
Tyreek Hill lit up the fantasy landscape in 2016 with 12 all-purpose touchdowns, but was especially impressive returning kicks. The Chiefs have now announced that Hill will be giving up a large part of his duties as a kick returner and for good reason. The dynamic sophomore is now the clear-cut WR1 in the Kansas City offense, and all reports out of Chiefs camp are that Hill and Alex Smith have a ton of chemistry.
He really only has Travis Kelce to compete for targets with, and while expecting another 12 touchdowns might be optimistic, you can reasonably expect Hill to catch at least 75 passes in 2017. He could be a steal in the fifth round and should be on your fantasy radar.
Abdullah is Not Alone
Ameer Abdullah is certainly multi-talented, but to me, he is more of a “jack of all trades, master of none” coming into 2017. The Lions do not seem ready to feature Abdullah despite some reports to the contrary, and it’s hard to trust a running back who is part of a committee to return the value you want for a player with his ADP (fifth/sixth round).
Zach Zenner is still going to take many short-yardage carries, particularly in the red zone, and Theo Riddick has proven himself to be a go-to, pass-catching third-down back. You can let someone else deal with the headache that will be Abdullah in 2017 and target someone with much higher potential.
NFL Draft Sleepers of the Week
Robby Anderson, WR, NYJ
With Quincy Enunwa out for the foreseeable future with a bulging disc in his neck, Anderson is the WR1 by default in New York. It’s not going to be a productive role given the QB situation, but he’s worth a flier late in your draft.
Jesse James, TE, PIT
Ben Roethlisberger has been working directly with James to improve their chemistry in the red zone at camp. James could be a very cheap source of touchdowns in the explosive Pittsburgh offense.
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, TB
Doug Martin is suspended for the first three games of the season, which will allow Rodgers to audition for the starting job. With his ADP in the double-digits, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by snagging him.