2016 Fantasy Football Early Sleepers and Buy Low Players
February is typically a quiet period in the NFL. We might get some veteran cuts and free agency rumors, but the NFL Draft comes more into focus as we learn about the crop of 2016 Fantasy Football prospects to enter the league. Before we get to that coverage on The Playlist, we are going to take a look at players that could see their value change significantly next season, be it through a change of necessity or opportunity.
Slippin’ by DMX
[caption id="attachment_101336" align="alignright" width="300" class=" "] Ameer Abdullah is in line to be the Lions lead back in 2016, making him a Fantasy breakout candidate. Photo Credit: Twitter[/caption]
Robert Griffin III (QB, Redskins) – “Ay yo I'm slippin' I'm fallin' I can't get up. Ay yo I'm slippin' I'm fallin' I gots to get up. Get me back on my feet so I can tear sh** up!” It is a forgone conclusion that Griffin III will be cut by the Redskins once the new league year starts. They have found their starter in Kirk Cousins and will move on from the second overall pick in the 2012 Draft. RGIII fell out of favor in Washington after an injury-filled 2014 season, but things had been percolating before that. It all started out so well with a phenomenal rookie season that had Griffin III mentioned as potentially better than Andrew Luck and Cam Newton. The Fantasy community showed similar love, but the comparisons to Mike Vick from a size and injury risk standpoint were a concern. When tasked with being more of a pocket passer, he struggled and it clearly affected the other aspects of his game. He will need a coach and a team that will let him play his game. Where he lands will be crucial in determining how much value he has in 2016, but he should get a shot to start somewhere with plenty of teams needing a QB. It was only a few years ago, he was viewed as a franchise caliber player. If you can buy him on the cheap, his talent is worth the risk. Imagine his potential leading the Broncos offense next season? Exactly, and that is not a far-fetched thought.
Purple Haze by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Vikings) - “Purple haze all around. Don't know if I'm comin' up or down. Am I happy or in misery?” There was a lot to like about Bridgewater heading into last season. His play improved as his rookie season wore on and that was without Adrian Peterson. There was no step forward, though, as Bridgewater stagnated while watching fellow sophomore signal callers Derek Carr and Blake Bortles take massive leaps ahead. His passing game weapons are certainly lagging behind those two, but Stefon Diggs was a nice find for both the Vikings and Bridgewater. It is likely that Mike Wallace will be looking for work somewhere outside of Minnesota and Charles Johnson showed to be nothing more than wide receiver depth. There is plenty to like about Bridgewater and his situation, though, and an improved line in 2016 and beyond is likely. He is an ideal back-up QB option in standard leagues and a decent second starter in two-QB and Super Flex leagues. I’m buying him this offseason at a discounted price compared to this time last year.
I Got Dreams To Remember by Otis Redding
Ameer Abdullah (RB, Lions) – “I've got dreams Dreams to remember Listen to me (I've got dreams) rough dreams (dreams to remember).” Abdullah was the toast of the Fantasy world in the offseason and that extended into Week 1 before completely losing all steam rather quickly thereafter. The most reliable RB for the Lions last season ended up being Theo Riddick in PPR formats. Joique Bell was just released and that clears a path for Abdullah to become the lead back. His value is hurt by Riddick’s receiving skills because that is one of his strong suits as well. He can be a very solid RB2 regardless, as long as he can get himself 200-plus touches in his second season. You may be able to buy him in Dynasty at a price not quite as high as last summer, which would be solid value for the talented back. Also, keep an eye on Draft Twitter favorite Zach Zenner this summer as well. He could end up being a nice power back complement and goal line vulture.
New Day by Patti LaBelle
Melvin Gordon (RB, Chargers) – “Seems my life is finally coming together. Feel so good, don't think I've ever been better. It's clear to me my future will bring.” Gordon had 217 touches as a rookie and failed to score a TD. He also averaged only 3.5 yards per carry, lost four fumbles and had a long run of just 27 yards. All in all, there was not much to like from a highly anticipated back that was supposed to make a huge impact. Danny Woodhead took advantage and turned in an RB2 season while Gordon plodded along unspectacularly. The upside is still there for Gordon to bounce back in 2016. He is capable of being a workhorse back that should see similar if not more touches next season. Consider Gordon a Top 12 RB property and intriguing buy low candidate.
Through The Wire by Kanye West
Anquan Boldin (WR, Niners) – “Through the fire, to the limit, to the wall. For a chance to be with you, I'd gladly risk it all. Through the fire, through whatever come what may.” For a player that had arguably his best season as a rookie, Boldin has had quite the staying power in the NFL. Now 35 and looking for work after being released by the Niners, Boldin is not short on options if he intends to play another year or two. He is a tough as nails possession receiver with enviable ball skills. Despite losing speed and playmaking ability, he is still an effective player. For dynasty purposes, he is a bench asset at best and one that clearly lacks long-term appeal in any regard. More importantly, Boldin’s exit leaves the door wide open for DeAndre Smelter, drafted in the fourth round last May. Smelter is an impressive athlete with the size and speed to be a dangerous weapon in Chip Kelly’s offense. He tore his ACL in December of 2014, and did not see game action as a rookie. He is already 24 years old, but there is plenty of appeal in long-term leagues.
Someone Like You by Adele
Brandon Coleman (WR, Saints) “Never mind, I'll find someone like you. I wish nothing but the best for you too. Don't forget me, I beg.” With Marques Colston on his last NFL legs, Coleman could be ready to step in and become a go-to target for Drew Brees. While they share similar measurables, Colston is much more of a natural receiver. Even with Brees spreading the ball around, Coleman will be an inconsistent option behind Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead. His size makes him an interesting red zone target and that could lead to some DFS spot starts. Coleman is still somewhat raw and while his ceiling makes him an interesting prospect, he is at risk of being overvalued as we get closer to the start of the 2016 season. Do not expect a breakout season just yet, but additional playing time should have him on your Fantasy radar. Grab him on the cheap if you can before the hype train starts to pick up steam.
Pack It Up by The Pretenders
Jordan Cameron (TE, Dolphins) – “Pack it up or throw it away. What I can't carry, bury. Oh you remember me, I remember you. But that was a long, long time ago. When I was passin' through.” Since his breakout 2013 season, Cameron has been nothing short of disappointing. The former basketball player turned tight end was looking like the next Jimmy Graham and now he looks like just another guy. Perhaps he was not used enough in Miami, but on paper it seemed like a great fit. Now he is at risk of being cut by the Dolphins after just one season. He will turn 28 years old this offseason and is at a crossroads of his career as far as Fantasy relevance goes. Cameron needs to turn things around, whether it’s in Miami or somewhere else.
Write Me Down (Don’t Forget My Name) by Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
Clive Walford (TE, Raiders) – “Write me down. Don't forget my name. Write me down. Don't forget my name.” With a role that expanded down the stretch and a spot in a high-powered blossoming offense, Walford is a name to remember for 2016. He is a physical player with the potential to overpower opposing defenders in the secondary and make plays in the passing game. His ability to block will keep him on the field and a full offseason of work with Derek Carr will only help things. The time to acquire him in dynasty leagues is right now. Make a move to get him as your backup TE, with upside to finish as a Top 10 player.
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