2017 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings

Crying Tiers of Joy: 2017 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings

From Eddie Mathews to Ron Santo, from Mike Schmidt to Wade Boggs, from Chipper Jones to Adrian Beltre; the hot corner has remained a staple of power and production for centuries. Third basemen made up ten of the top 50 fantasy hitters in 2016, including the 2015 AL and 2016 NL MVP’s. With so many options to choose from, third base is one of, if not, the deepest position in fantasy baseball.

 

The top 30 third basemen have been grouped into six tiers, with the top and bottom player of each tier profiled below.

Honorable mentions include: Brandon Drury (ARI), Yulieski Gurriel (HOU), Jose Reyes (NYM), Jedd Gyorko (STL), Ryan Schimpf (SD), Hernan Perez (MIL), Matt Duffy (TB), and Johnny Peralta (STL).

 

Tier 1

2017 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings

Can Kris Bryant be the first to win back to back MVP’s since Miguel Cabrera? (Courtesy of Chicagostylesports.com)

1. Kris Bryant CHC

2. Nolan Arenado COL

3. Josh Donaldson TOR

4. Manny Machado BAL

 

The reigning NL MVP, Kris Bryant, should be the first third basemen taken in 2017. Bryant was called up in 2015 after mashing 43 home runs at the AA and AAA levels. The minor-league player of the year impressed immediately in the majors, as he hit 26 home runs and drove in 99 RBI’s, resulting in him winning the Rookie of the Year.

The 24-year-old crushed 39 bombs with over 100 runs and RBI’s, which is easily repeatable for many years to come.

Two main reasons why Bryant lands atop this list is because of his steal upside and the lineup in which he plays in. Bryant is athletic for his 6-foot-5 230-pound stature. He stole 13 bases in 2015, and eight in 2016, which gives him a good floor of steals compared to Arenado, Donaldson, and Machado, who combined for nine.

Also, batting ahead of Anthony Rizzo and other elite hitters in the Chicago Cubs offense will give Bryant a great chance to, once again, lead the league in runs. These two factors will help propel him ahead of the other elite third base options.

 

Manny Machado has all of the potential in the world. After having back to back 35 plus home run and 100 run seasons, he remains in the elite category of third basemen.

Machado has batted primarily third in 2016, and still failed to reach the 100 RBI plateau, which is unnerving, as he is set to primarily bat second in 2017. Don’t get me wrong, Machado still has elite value in the two hole, as he will bat around .300, while being a great source of runs, but if you’re looking for 100 RBI’s, Machado may fall short once again.

Machado also failed to steal a base in 2016, after stealing 20 bags in 2015. This may have been a way to limit the stress on his surgically repaired knee, or may have been due to the fact that the Baltimore Orioles were last in stolen base attempts per game, with .2.

The lack of stolen bases and RBI’s compared to Bryant, Donaldson, and Arenado forces me place Machado at the bottom of tier 1.

 

Tier 2

2017 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings

Will 2017 be a breakout season for veteran Kyle Seager? (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

5. Kyle Seager SEA

6. Jonathon Villar MIL

7. Adrian Beltre TEX

8. Matt Carpenter STL

9. Todd Frazier CWS

10. Evan Longoria TB

11. Anthony Rendon WAS

12. Justin Turner LAD

 

Kyle Seager has been a consistent source of 160 hits, .270 average, and 24 home runs per season, but 2017 will be the year he breaks out.

Seager will bat behind Jean Segura, Robinson Cano, and Nelson Cruz, which will give him a great chance to finally surpass the 100 RBI mark.

The 29-year-old’s isolated power numbers have jumped from .185 to .221, showing that he has the potential to increase his power numbers as he continues through his prime years.

According to fantasypros.com, he is being selected as the 59th player off the board, and the 6th third basemen. Although Seager’s value does warrant a pick at this position, there are many other third basemen that offer similar value at a much lesser cost.

 

Justin Turner exploded onto the scene in 2016, having a career year, batting .275 with 27 home runs, 79 runs, and 90 RBI’s. The 32-year-old inked a 4-year, $64 million deal, that will lock him in as the everyday third basemen and three-hitter of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the near and distant and future.

Turner provides a great floor of value, as he has a career batting average of .282, while managing to have respectable strikeout and walk rates. I believe Turner is more than likely to repeat his power numbers, and could be a sneaky source of 100 RBI’s come 2017.

 

Tier 3

2017 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings

Can Jake Lamb recover from his atrocious second half n 2016? (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

13. Jake Lamb ARI

14. Maikel Franco PHI

15. Alex Bregman HOU

16. Jose Ramirez CLE

 

Jake Lamb is currently being severally overlooked, as he is being selected as the 19th third basemen, and 165th overall player in drafts.

Lamb finished 2016 with a .249 batting average, 29 home runs, and 91 RBI’s. This stat line may seem underwhelming, but Lambs first half of .291, 20 home runs, and 61 RBI’s suggests that there is elite potential here.

The 26-year-old will join a healthy Arizona Diamondbacks lineup that includes A.J. Pollock, Paul Goldschmidt, and David Peralta, which will give him the opportunity to repeat or surpass his career high RBI total. Lamb will end up on the majority of my teams in 2017, as his ADP is much too low for his potential.

 

The sneaky top 20 MVP candidate in 2016, Jose Ramirez, will be another cheap source of production at third base in 2017. Ramirez is being selected as the 14th third basemen, which I believe is fairly high, although his ADP of 124 gives him significant value.

The 24-year-old will bat in the middle of the Cleveland Indians lineup, and depending on Michael Brantley’s health, may be behind Edwin Encarnacion, Francisco Lindor, and Jason Kipnis, which will give him an incredible opportunity to drive in runs.

Ramirez, a career .275 hitter, is continuously improving, as he batted .312 with 11 home runs, 76 RBI’s, and 22 stolen bases in 2016. Investing in the young Indian will be highly beneficial come 2017.

 

Tier 4

2017 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings

Miguel Sano’s strikeout rate is a red flag heading into 2017. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

17. Miguel Sano MIN

18. Jung-Ho Kang PIT

19. Eduardo Nunez SFG

20. Ryon Healy OAK

21. Yangervis Solarte SD

 

Miguel Sano is currently being selected as the 128th player, and 15th third basemen in 2017. After hitting 18 home runs in 80 games in 2015, Sano increased his totals to 25 in 116 games in 2016. Miguel Sano’s power potential is juicy, although his 2016 strike out rate of 36% is a huge red flag.

Sano’s strikeout rates have continuously increased, which suggests that Sano may strikeout at an obnoxious rate again in 2017. Sano, who has already had a problem finding a position, may experience serious issues if his bat continues to struggle. I believe Sano is being drafted to high, as you can draft safer options in Maikel Franco or Jake Lamb later in drafts.

 

Yangervis Solarte is my sleeper of the year. The 29-year-old is primed for a breakout season, as he will have an everyday role for the first time in his career. He totaled 15 home runs and 71 RBI’s in just 109 games, which would have put him on pace for 22 home runs and 105 RBI’s.

Solarte will be the starting third basemen and cleanup hitter for the San Diego Padres in 2017. This will give him plenty of opportunity for RBI’s and runs, as this young Padres lineup could surprise people.

The ascension of young studs Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe, and Manny Margot, can immensely improve the Friars underwhelming offense, which will positively impact Solarte’s stats.

His ADP of 319 makes him the 32nd third basemen taken off the board, which means he is currently going undrafted in majority of leagues. Solarte will make an incredible late round pick if you miss early on a third basemen.

 

Tier 5

2017 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings

Nick Castellanos’ fractured hand held him back in 2016, so will he improve in 2017? (Courtesy MLive.com)

22. Nick Castellanos DET

23. Mike Moustakas KAN

24. Adonis Garcia ATL

25. Eugenio Suarez CIN

26. Pablo Sandoval BOS

27. Travis Shaw MIL

28. Martin Prado MIA

29. Danny Valencia SEA

30. Yunel Escobar LAA

 

Nick Castellanos had his 2016 cut short due to a fractured left hand, although in 110 games, he managed to hit 18 home runs, while scoring 54 runs, and driving in 58 RBI’s. The Tigers six-hitter remains a solid source of runs and RBI’s while sporting a respectable career average of .265.

Castellanos is very safe option for later in the draft, and if he continues to progress, could be a top 15 third basemen. His current ADP of 239 makes his the 25th third basemen selected, which would be a price well worth paying.

 

Yunel Escobar has quietly been a solid fantasy producer his entire career, as he has a career batting average of .283, and has batted .314 and .304 in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Escobar hasn’t managed to play over 140 games since 2013, but if he can make that happen in 2017, he will be a great fantasy asset.

The 34-year-old will bat leadoff for the Mike Trout lead Los Angeles Angels. The talent behind him along with his great batting average gives him a chance to be an above average run scorer in 2017.

His ADP of 366 makes him the 37th third basemen being selected, which in my mind is astronomical. He will go undrafted in almost all leagues, although he offers great value in deeper leagues with large rosters.

 

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2017 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings

Crying Tiers of Joy: 2017 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings

The catcher position is arguably the toughest and most important position on the diamond. Not only is catcher the most demanding position physically, but mentally as well. Catchers must know everything about everyone at all times.

The most important responsibilities of a catcher are on the defensive side of the ball. They need to block, pick, receive, call pitches and throw out runners, among other things. The importance of defense commonly results in catchers being worse offensively than other positions.

In fantasy terms, the catcher can be compared to the tight end in football. The tight end position is focused on blocking as much as it is receiving, resulting in them having a lower average fantasy value than other skill positions.

The top 25 catchers have been grouped into five tiers. The top and bottom catcher in each tier have been profiled below.

Exceptions include Matt Wieters, who is still an unsigned free agent and Wilson Ramos, who is recovering from a torn ACL, and should return to the Tampa Bay Rays as a designated hitter at some point in May.

Honorable mentions include: Jorge Alfaro (PHI), Nick Hundley (SF), Miguel Montero (CHC), Roberto Perez (CLE), Jeff Bandy (MIL), Tucker Barnhart (CIN), Carlos Ruiz (SEA), Tom Murphy (COL), and Tyler Flowers (ATL).

Tier 1

2017 fantasy baseball catcher rankings

Buster Posey could retire right now and be inducted into the Hall of Fame. (Courtesy of MLBtraderumors.com)

Catchers in this tier are elite fantasy options. They will play every day, whether it is behind the plate or at first base, and have offered consistently great offensive value in the past.

1. Buster Posey SF

2. Jonathan Lucroy TEX

Buster Posey has been the standard of excellence at catcher for the past five seasons. The former MVP is coming off of his worst career season (disregarding his 2011 campaign). An off year for Posey included batting .288 with 14 home runs and 80 RBIs. He managed to be top-15 MVP finalist, win his first Gold Glove and was named an All-Star for the fourth time.

The 29-year-old will remain the three-hole hitter for the always competitive San Francisco Giants, and should be selected as the first catcher off the board in 2017.

A two time All-Star, Jonathan Lucroy, will play his first full season for the Texas Rangers in 2017. He projects to bat sixth in a deep Rangers lineup that features young stud stars Rougned Odor and Nomar Mazara, as well as veterans Carlos Gomez, Adrain Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo and recently acquired Mike Napoli.

Lucroy led the league in doubles while finishing fourth in MVP voting in 2014. His 2015 season was cut short to a broken toe and concussion. In 2016, Lucroy rebounded, reaching career high in home runs, walks and slugging percentage. After being traded by the Milwaukee Brewers to the Rangers in 2016, He managed to mash 11 home runs in 47 games. Lucroy is guaranteed to be a top catcher in 2017.

Tier 2

2017 fantasy baseball catcher rankings.

Gary Sanchez is no longer the future of the New York Yankees, but rather the present. (Courtesy of NJ.com)

This tier consists of catchers who will play nearly every day, hit in the heart of the order, and offer great offensive value.

3. Gary Sanchez NYY

4. Willson Contreras CHC

5. Yasmani Grandal LAD

Everybody remembers Gary Sanchez for hitting 20 home runs in 53 games in 2016, but they forget that he batted .225 in September and October. Sanchez has huge upside as he will bat third for a sneaky talented Yankees lineup featuring veteran speedsters Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner.

With the 24-year-old batting third, Sanchez is in a prime spot to rack up RBIs if he can continue to put the bat on the ball. The Sanchise should not be overlooked because of his great opportunity in 2017.

Yasmani Grandal had his best career year in 2016, finishing 22nd in MVP voting. He hit 27 bombs while slashing .228/.339/.477 in 126 games. The Dodger’s everyday catcher will bat fifth behind Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner and Corey Seager, which will give him ample RBI opportunities.

Grandal will be a great fantasy asset in 2017.

Tier 3

2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings

Russell Martin’s continued success is remarkable at 34-years-old. (Courtesy of www.whatproswear.com)

Catchers in this tier offer above average fantasy value as they will play nearly every day, hit in productive spots in the order, and have proven their worth in the past.

6. Russell Martin

7. Brian McCann

8. Salvador Perez

9. Yadier Molina

10. Wellington Castillo

11. Stephen Vogt

Russell Martin, the MLB’s journey man, has found success everywhere he goes. He has reached the 20 home run, 60 run, 70 RBI plateau in his last two consecutive seasons. The 34-year-old will be entering his 12th season as the everyday catcher and six hitter of the Toronto Blue Jays.

He will have the same opportunity he has had in the past two seasons to be a key contributor in the Blue Jays offense.

Stephen Vogt has finished his second consecutive season of 500 plate appearances and over a .250 average. He has hit a total of 32 home runs in his last two seasons, suggesting that he has above average power for a catcher. The 32-year-old will be the Oakland Athletics primary catcher and two-hitter in 2017, which will give him plenty of opportunities to produce runs.

The two-time All-Star will continue to have the chance to shine as a key part of the Athletics roster.

Tier 4

2017 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings

Where does Evan Gattis fit into the Houston Astros puzzle? (Courtesy of The Houston Chronicle)

Players in this tier will come at a cheap price, but will provide above average value.

12. Evan Gattis

13. J.T. Realmuto

14. Mike Zunino

15. Austin Hedges

16. Francisco Cervelli

17. Derek Norris

Evan Gattis, the former janitor, has managed to amass 20 or more home runs in all four of his MLB seasons while averaging only 122 games per season. Gattis will play a utility role for the Houston Astros in 2017, who have signed Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann this offseason.

Gattis will find time behind home plate when veteran McCann’s legs need a rest, at designated hitter when Beltran starts in the outfield or is out of the lineup, and at first base when Yulieski Gurriel sits or struggles.

The 30-year-old has too much talent to not be in the lineup, and will be a cheap source of power in the middle or late rounds of your draft.

Derek Norris, who batted .186 in 2016, was traded to the Washington Nationals in December of 2016 for a minor-league pitcher. He will hold the primary catchers position relinquishing the occasional at bat to Jose Lobaton. The 28-year-old will bat at the bottom of a loaded Nationals lineup, giving him more RBI opportunities than the average eight hitter. A lot of people forget that Derek Norris batted .250 in 2015, and .270 in 2014, showing that he has the potential to be a valuable fantasy asset for a cheap price.

Tier 5

2017 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings

Travis d’Arnaud looks forward to a healthy 2017. (Courtesy of Getty Images)

These catchers all offer average levels of production but will be playing in platoon roles, so playing time may be staggered until injuries or performance dictate otherwise.

18. Travis d’Arnaud

19. Sandy Leon

20. Devin Mesoraco

21. Yan Gomes

22. Cameron Rupp

23. Tony Wolters

24. James McCann

25. Jason Castro

Travis d’Arnaud will be the primary catcher for the New York Mets, occasionally relinquishing at-bats to backups Rene Rivera and Kevin Plawecki. Although he has only totaled 100 games played once in his career (108 games played in 2014), he is healthy and confident heading into 2017.

The Mets have also hired Glenn Sherlock as their new third base coach and catching instructor which will help d’Arnaud maintain his confidence behind the plate and at the dish. He offers average value for low cost, as he is commonly going undrafted.

Jason Castro, also going undrafted, will be the starting catcher for the Minnesota Twins after signing a three year, $24.5 million contract. He will bat at the bottom of a young Twins lineup that is sure to produce its fair share of runs in 2017. Castro batted .210 with 11 home runs in 2016, although it was only four seasons ago when the 29-year-old was an All-Star who batted .270 with 18 home runs. Castro is a good sleeper for deep or two catcher leagues.

 

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Fluke or For Real – Rostering Players the Week After

Whether it’s DFS or season long leagues, everyone has been burned by that fantasy fluke or flop. If you played against Le’Veon Bell last week, you have my most sincere condolences. He posted the best fantasy performance of the year; however, you can’t be angry. Everyone knows that any given week, Bell can accumulate upwards of 25 points. On the other hand, if you played against Bilal Powell, you have every right to complain. The perfect storm of circumstances came together to create a career fantasy day for Powell. Given their performances, you’ll likely consider them for your lineups this week. The trick is to know when someone’s production is sustainable or fluky. Here are two ways you can determine if a player’s increased or lack of production was fleeting or for real.

Previous Performance

It’s a simple idea. Examine a player’s history to determine their future. This process is different for each position. At wide receiver, you want to look at a player’s targets, specifically when they were productive. For example, Dontrelle Inman finished as the fifth best Wide Receiver in Week 4 as he posted 21.5 points against the Saints. As I said earlier, you’ll want to look at his targets to determine if the points he scored are worth chasing the following week. Leading up to that game, Inman was never targeted more than four times; he was targeted 11 times against the Saints. Inman’s performance can clearly be characterized as a fluke.

inman

Dontrelle Inman got off to a rocky start, but has proven to be a staple in this Chargers passing attack. (Courtesy of; Chargers.com)

This should automatically be a red flag. While you can keep him on your fantasy radar, the massive increase in targets is not sustainable. The week after his top-five performance, Inman scored less than one point and was only targeted three times. Other cases like Inman include Sammie Coates in Week 5, JJ Nelson in Week 8, and Rishard Matthews in Week 9.

There are players like Kenny Britt and Davante Adams who could be thrown into this group, but only at first glance. Britt exploded in Week 6, but it was not because of an unexplained increase in targets. Leading up to that game, he had been targeted at least six times in all but one of his games. That included a game where he was targeted 10 times.

Thus, playing Britt after his big game would be okay based on his track record. It would still be foolish to think he can post the same number of points. However, he received the same amount of targets the following week. The opportunities were there for Britt, he just didn’t make the most of them. Britt finding the end zone twice could be labeled as a fluke, but not the targets he received.

Game Flow

Also referred to as game script, game flow is when the play calling or game plan is altered based on what has already happened. For example, the Rams fumbled their opening kickoff and then threw an interception on their next possession. After quickly being down 14 points, the Rams would no longer be able to pound Todd Gurley 15-25 times. This kind of situation would obviously hurt running backs, but it would help quarterbacks and wide receivers.

Similar to examining previous production, look at the game flow of a player who over or underproduced. Did a running back have decreased attempts because of a blow out? Did a wide receiver or quarterback rack up points in garbage time? These are important questions that can help determine wether or not you should roster a player with irregular production.

Using Bell as an example, he tremendously benefited from game flow. With 5:28 left in the third quarter, the Steelers took a 21-7 lead. This was positive game flow for Bell, as the Steelers wanted to keep the clock running and the ball in Bell’s hands. This allowed Bell to fill up the stat sheet and rack up fantasy points. This week against the Bengals, I expect a more competitive game and better weather. Therefore, Bell won’t be able to duplicate his effort on the ground. As talented as Bell is, accumulating over 200 rushing yards was a fluke and should not be expected for the rest of the year.

Conversely, a large deficit in the third or fourth quarter is beneficial to wide receivers and quarterbacks. If the weather had been better, there’s no doubt Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins would have scored more points. Because of the snow, LeSean McCoy had a more involved role in the passing game.

One Step Ahead

Yes, I’m aware how simple both these strategies are. However, it must be talked about because inexperienced DFS players fall into this trap weekly. How do I know? Ownership percentages of a player increase the week after they do well. Sometimes it’s justified like Jamison Crowder, and other times it isn’t, like Cameron Meredith. As long as you do your homework, you won’t fall victim to a fluke performance by an unknown player. Now as the DFS season comes to a close, here are three players you can be a week early on, and take advantage of their great performance.

3. Alex Smith – $6,800

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks to pass against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. Kansas City won 23-13. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Alex Smith has one of the best Fantasy match ups of the week vs. Tennessee.(Courtesy of; Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

  • With only one game above 15 points in his last six starts, Smith is due for a big game.
  • He faces one of the worst pass defenses in Tennessee, who allowed Trevor Siemian to score 17.4 points.
  • For once, Smith has targets to throw to. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill have both scored at least eight points in their last four games.

2. Jermaine Gresham – $4,500 

  • Gresham has received an enlarged role in the Cardinals’ passing game, seeing at least six targets and scoring at least seven points in his last three games.
  • With Michael Floyd’s DUI, there will be more targets to go around, and no doubt Gresham will benefit in the intermediate passing game.
  • Gresham faces the Saints secondary at home this week, one that is in the bottom third in the NFL.

1. Sammy Watkins – $6,100

  • For those who have taken the wait and see approach, we’ve seen everything we’ve needed to, as Watkins was on the field for virtually every snap versus the Steelers.
  • The weather held Watkins back from breaking out last week, as he was only targeted six times.
  • Watkins gets to play the 0-13 Browns this Sunday…I’m predicting that Watkins will finish as a top five Wide Receiver this week and eclipse 15 points for the first time this season.

 

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Way-Too-Early 2016 NFL Fantasy Rankings

(Find out where all the stars are ranked, Photo Courtesy Fox Sports)

If there’s one thing I hate about writing, it’s going with the flow. I can’t stand the cheesy way-too-early rankings and how every single fantasy writer does it. It drives me bonkers when writers take overused topics and use cheesy titles and concepts that everyone has seen.

That being said, it’s time to reveal my rankings.

There’s no point in delaying, so I’ll start with quarterbacks, and we can all get on with our overly bland lives.

  1. Cam Newton- Take a journey with me, will you? Let’s travel back in time to August 19th. That was the date of Kelvin Benjamin’s (remember him?) injury, in which he tore his ACL running a route. His season-ender sparked in unison a groan from all Carolina Panther fans.

Coming into the season, there weren’t many Panther players who were on fantasy radars, due to the lack of talent within the offense. The only trusty weapons were Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen. I didn’t even trust Cam Newton.

Now, Newton is in a three-headed race for MVP, and is probably the frontrunner. He’s helped Ten Ginn finally establish his career, and he’s managed to make his other newbie/somewhat washed up receivers look like ball players.

Newton is only entering his prime, and with a healthy Kelvin Benjamin, a steady Greg Olsen, and an established running game, have no fear of drafting the Auburn product next season.

  1. Ben Roethlisberger- Big Ben has the most dangerous weapons in the league with Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and Martavis Bryant. With Bell back and healthy, and a more than formidable receiving group, Roethlisberger will have no shortage of talent to use next season.

The Miami (OH) product was one of the best in the business this season when healthy this season. The problem with Roethlisberger, however, is that he has trouble staying healthy. I trust that as long as he’s on the field, he’ll put up reliable numbers next season with revamped stars to play with.

  1.  Tom Brady- Brady will be 39 by the time the 2016 season begins, but that shouldn’t stop him from performing well enough to be an elite quarterback. The veteran always does a great job of utilizing his weapons, whether they be stars like Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, or lesser known players like Brandon LaFell and the likes.

This season put Brady near the top of the quarterback pecking order thanks to his 343.70 points. It’s arguably been the best season for New England’s quarterback since 2012. Brady is aging indeed, but he’s still a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and will be able to put up numbers that will suffice for any fantasy team.

  1. Russell Wilson- Ah, finally some youth. Wilson is by no means aged or even old enough to be in the middle of his prime. That, along with his mobility, gives Wilson some of the most consistent fantasy stock of many quarterbacks.

For some reason, Wilson’s numbers rose when Jimmy Graham suffered a season-ending injury. Graham will be back in full force to start 2016, but I suspect a new year will help Wilson and Graham mesh. Nevertheless, Wilson’s ability to gain yards on the ground and find paydirt with his legs provide ample reason to use him as your starter for next season.

  1. Carson Palmer- With so many injuries to star players this season, somehow Carson Palmer was able to piece his mangled body together to provide his best season since 2005.

(Palmer should be a great pick for owners next season, Courtesy www.adamjw84.sportsblog.com/)

The quarterback position is the most important on the field, and having capable players to throw to can only help a passer’s potential skyrocket. Palmer threw to Larry Fitzgerald primarily, and found David Johnson to be a running back who could catch sufficiently out of the backfield towards the end of the season. Look for Arizona to add another receiver either via the draft of free agency to further boost Palmer’s potential
.

The USC product’s age keeps me from ranking him any higher, but Palmer should be good enough to be a QB1 next season.

  1. Aaron Rodgers- Green Bay’s reincarnation of Brett Favre had a down season statistically, and that can largely be blamed on losing Jordy Nelson before the season began. Teams were able to play man defense in the secondary and stack the box against Rodgers, due to there being no respectable receiving threat for the entire year.

Rejoice, Packer fans. Jordy Nelson will be back in 2016. Nelson will vastly improve the entire offense, but this season clearly exposed Green Bay’s lack of depth. Although the Packers get Nelson back next season, I still can’t quite put Rodgers into an elite ranking for the time being.

  1. Andrew Luck- It was an interesting year for Andrew Luck. After coming in ranked no worse than second in quarterback pre-draft rankings, Luck played in just seven games this season. To make matters worse, Luck was less than impressive in his time in the game.

The Colts failed to protect whichever quarterback was under center this season, leading to a one dimensional attack on offense for the entire season. Luck will continue to get battered next season.

Although it seemed as if the Indy wideouts would be more than helpful this season, they did fail for chunks of the season. T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, and Donte Moncrief, when healthy, can take some of the load off of Luck, and provided a chance to recharge for next season.

  1. Philip Rivers- Philip Rivers seems to put up good numbers each year, but his team is yet to take the leap into being playoff contenders each season. Rivers had a great first half of the season, drawing faint MVP support early in the season.

That all changed with the injury of Keenan Allen. Allen was have a breakout year, and was on his way to a Pro Bowl. Immediately after Allen’s injury, Rivers’ play began to decimate.

There’s plenty of talent in San Diego’s offense. Youth and established veterans are sprinkled into the Charger passing attack, so Rivers should be a low end QB1 next season.

  1. Blake Bortles- Bortles just finished his second season in the NFL, yet he’s already fourth in passing touchdowns and passing yards in Jacksonville team history. Bortles’ 2015 was worlds better than his rookie campaign.

Suddenly, the Jags seem to have a bright future. Bortles, T.J. Yeldon, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Julius Thomas are all respectable fantasy options and are all on the same youthful offense.

The future is bright in Jacksonville, and Blake Bortles may be part of the next generation of great quarterbacks. Bortles is a great pick in dynasty leagues, especially with the changing of the guards in generations of quarterbacks. The Central Florida product will only get better in years to come.

  1. Drew Brees- There’s so much uncertainty in New Orleans right now around Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton. This causes me to be leery on Brees for 2016. The Saints announced Payton will stick around for next season, but I’m still not confident in what New Orleans can do next season.

There’s really no high-value passing threats, and Brees seems to be aging quickly. I could see Brees returning to mid QB1 status, but the upside isn’t as loud as the concerns elsewhere. Temper your expectations on Brees in 2016.

Just missed the cut: Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor, Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr

After the entire running back position was slaughtered in 2015, 2016 is a shot in the dark.

  1. Le’Veon Bell- Le’Veon Bell is the best running back in the NFL as long as he isn’t being injured by the Cincinnati Bengals. Bell is just 23 years old, and he’s a monster in PPR formats.

I’ve owned Bell for three seasons, and I know first hand how good and reliable he really is. Barring a setback from his latest knee injury, expect Bell to be the best of the best at any position.

  1. Todd Gurley- If Todd Gurley can score double-digit points in all but three of his games this season with a murky quarterback situation, imagine what he could do with an actual NFL quarterback. 

There’s no doubt in my mind that Gurley is part of the future of the NFL. He’s been a great find for St. Louis, and as long as the Rams can find a quarterback, his numbers will rise.

(Todd Gurley looks to build off an extraordinary rookie season, Courtesy AP)

If you miss out on Bell, draft Gurley. He’ll be one of the best options in 2016, period.

  1. Devonta Freeman- After being the number one rusher in 2015, Freeman should stay at the top of your draft board for next season. He’s taken the Atlanta starting job and ran with it (literally), and he’s a young runner who can excel in the offense.

Matt Ryan must find a way to be a threat so the Falcon offense isn’t one dimensional. Throwing to Julio Jones and using Freeman as a runner and pass-catcher provides no excuse for Ryan.

Freeman will be great, no doubt. He still won’t be quite good enough to be a surefire number one pick in any draft.

  1. Adrian Peterson- Entering his tenth season in the NFL next season worries me a little with Peterson. He’s maintained a pretty healthy career, as he’s played in no less than 12 games excluding last season.

Peterson will be the workhorse yet again for the Vikings. He’s also a part of a growing passing offense, which may take some attention away from him.

Peterson will do what he’s always done. Expect a 1,200 yard, 12 touchdown season from the Oklahoma product.

  1. Doug Martin- Doug Martin was healthy this season. When Doug Martin is healthy, Doug Martin is good (see 2012 season.)

Martin rushed for the most yards per carry in his career this season, proving his efficiency. If only he could’ve found the end zone more than just six times.

Martin finished third in scoring this season, and Devonta Freeman and Adrian Peterson beat him out in large part thanks to his lack of touchdown scoring. If Martin can score around nine times next season and stay healthy, he could carry you to a championship.

  1. David Johnson- Johnson is the final running back that I will trust as my RB1. He’s taken Arizona’s lead role down the stretch of this season, scoring 107.4 points in the final six games in

which he’s been an integral part of the offense.

I’m concerned however that Johnson could be next season’s Jeremy Hill. Johnson and Hill both broke out during the latter halves of their rookie years, causing me to be very cautionate with Johnson.

  1. Matt Forte- Here’s a fun fact: In each of Matt Forte’s eight NFL seasons, he’s finished as a RB1. However, the Bears have hinted that they’re open to giving increased looks to Jeremy Langford next season, limiting Forte’s potential.

That of course is unfortunate unless Forte signs elsewhere this offseason. The Tulane product is a free agent this offseason, so his landing spot can drastically change his stock. Make sure to stay tuned to Forte’s off season before you make a choice on him.

  1. Mark Ingram- Saints’ running back Mark Ingram is dealing with the same problems as aforementioned Drew Brees. There’s little stability in the offense, and until we see what happens during the offseason, Ingram is a risk as your RB1.

Even so, Ingram was able to be a top running back in fantasy before his season-ending shoulder injury. I think Ingram has the potential to be a RB1, but I am not confident in having him as my top rusher next season.

  1. Jamaal Charles- Charles is going to be 30 during the 2016 season, and he’s coming off his second ACL tear in five years. The Texas product has been injury prone, but elite when healthy.

This provides a serious conundrum for fantasy owners. Do you take the upside of the healthy Charles, or back away due to his injury history? This season, I won’t be jumping after Charles. However, if you can grab him as your RB2, you’ll be in great shape.

  1. LeSean McCoy- Fantasy owners have been frustrated with McCoy in his last two seasons. His production has left owners upset, and he’s been very inconsistent.

McCoy still could be a steal in the draft if picked at the right time. There’s a lot of upside with him, but he’s got two capable running backs on his own team to watch out for.

McCoy could lose some goal line work, and he could have another disappointing year. Despite that, I still like McCoy has a high-end RB2.

Just missed the cut: DeMarco Murray, Lamar Miller

Wide receivers were rather steady this season, and probably provided the least amount of headaches in 2015.

  1. Antonio Brown- If there’s a more dominant player in the NFL, I’m yet to see him. In his ten games with Ben Roethlisberger this season, Brown racked up 98 catches, 1,351 yards, and nine touchdowns.

If Brown would’ve had Big Ben for all 16 games, he would’ve tallied an unreal 157 catches for 2,162 yards and 14 scores.

That’s all you need to know. There is no better player to have in fantasy football, and you could justify taking him as your number one pick in 2016.

  1. Julio Jones- Julio Jones was on a record-breaking tear for most of the season, and especially in the early part. As Matt Ryan began to implode, so did the Falcons’ chances of making the playoffs.

Even with inconsistent play from Matt Ryan, Jones still had an uncanny 136 catches for 1,871 yards and eight touchdowns. Jones was able to stay healthy for the entire year, which clearly proved his elite WR1 status.

Drafting the Alabama product will give you an easy start at WR1, especially in PPR formats.

  1. Odell Beckham- I warned owners of drafting Beckham last season (although I was right about Lacy, Anderson, and Hill being busts), yet he had an amazing sophomore campaign. He was a great find for those who bought him, scoring 223.30 points.

If you are in a PPR league, Jones and Brown are certainly better options, but in standard scoring, rolling with either of the top three will do.

If it wasn’t for Beckham’s 13 touchdowns, his production would’ve been a little less, but grabbing him early won’t hurt your fantasy chances.

  1. Demaryius Thomas- Thomas turned in a lesser season than many expected, and that could be attributed to the lack of a concrete quarterback in Denver. Nevertheless, Thomas still finished as a high-end WR2.

It’s hard to tell what may happen with Denver’s quarterbacks, but I still trust Thomas can bounce back from a down season. Thomas was on the lower end of touchdown grabs, with six in 2015. That alone shows Thomas could very easily jump a few spots next season with more timely red zone grabs.

I prefer to take an elite running back and wide receiver with my first two picks. But if you are unable to do that, taking Thomas as your WR1 should suffice.

  1. Allen Robinson- It’s weird to rank any Jaguar in a top-ten list, but the Jags have a lot of potential to grab a playoff spot in the next few years. That chance hinges on what the young offensive skilled players can  do. Allen Robinson is front and center in Jacksonville, and I see him being a huge part of the success for the Jags.

A-Rob finished fourth in scoring this season, and either scored a touchdown or notched 80 receiving yards in all but two games this season.

Robinson could become one of the next elite wideouts in an age in which the position is loaded with talent.

  1. DeAndre Hopkins- I wasn’t too sure about drafting DeAndre Hopkins this year, as were many fantasy pundits. Hopkins silenced the critics with a season that eclipsed 1,500 receiving yards and ten touchdowns.

DeAndre also did this with four different quarterbacks. Think about Hopkins with a quarterback who can at least start 16 games. Case in point.

7. A.J. Green- After injuries were sprinkled in his lackluster 2014 season, Green was able to shake off ailments for most of 2015 and turned in a low WR1 finish.

(A.J. Green improved after an injury-filled 2014, Courtesy talk-sports.net)

In 2016, Green may continue to lose looks to Tyler Eifert towards the red zone. However, Eifert has proved to be injury prone, which could mean Green may snag a few touchdowns that could’ve been Eifert’s.

Although a new star as emerged in Cincinnati, using A.J. Green as a low WR1 or very high WR2 will be a breeze.

  1. Jordy Nelson- A torn ACL kept Jordy Nelson out for the entire season, and his impact off the field was heard loud and clear in Green Bay. The offense as a whole struggled for the entire regular season, due to the Cheeseheads’ top deep-threat being absent.

Nelson and aforementioned Aaron Rodgers have clear chemistry, and they will pick up where they left off from 2014.

The injury bug concerns me with Nelson, but I suspect the Packers will utilize Nelson to the fullest next season.

  1. Keenan Allen- A season-ending kidney injury is not something you see very often, but Keenan Allen drew the short stick in 2015.

Allen was on pace to score 189 fantasy points, which would’ve been good for seventh in scoring among wideouts this season.

  1. Calvin Johnson- Entering his age 31 season, Calvin Johnson seems to be in the last days of his prime. Johnson is still good enough to make an impact for your team, as he quietly finished as a low WR1 this season.

The pass offense in Detroit was at times tumultuous this season, but as the year got older, Matthew Stafford and Co. were able to be effective. Johnson finished with 88 catches for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns.

I didn’t like Johnson to be anything more than a high WR2 to enter 2015, and that’s about where he was. With Golden Tate in his second season in 2015, Johnson could’ve lost additional targets. In the end, Tate saw less targets than expected, paving way for what should be another dominant year for the Georgia Tech product in 2016.

Just missed the cut: Alshon Jeffery, Julian Edelman, Sammy Watkins,

There were several breakout tight ends this season. When the season began the tight end position looked as thin as ever. Now, there may be a plethora of top-level tight ends in 2016.

  1. Rob Gronkowski- 2015 was yet another season in which Rob Gronkowski turned in a stellar campaign. He scored 25 more points than the second-highest scorer among tight ends. His numbers could’ve been even higher had he not have missed the week 13 game against Philadelphia due to a violent knee sprain.

If there’s a better tight end to own in fantasy football, no one has seen him. If you see a ranking in which Gronk is not ranked first, that writer is simply trying to be too cute. Draft Gronk, and worry about your tight end position later.

  1. Tyler Eifert- I listed Tyler Eifert as a breakout candidate when the season began, and he didn’t disappoint. Eifert missed three games this season, and was limited in others, yet he still scored 13 touchdowns.

Eifert’s inability to stay healthy has plagued him many times in his young career. The only real concern with the Notre Dame product is whether or not he’ll be able to stay on the field, and off the injury report.

  1. Jordan Reed- Jordan Reed is a very similar tight end to Tyler Eifert. Reed is a young, talented tight end, but finds himself injured far more often than he’d like. He only missed two games this season, but was commonly listed on the Redskins’ injury report throughout the weeks.

As far as we know, the Redskins have a quarterback of the future.

(Jordan Reed’s ability to stretch defenses makes him an attractive pick in 2016, Courtesy Washington Post)

Kirk Cousins was successful this season, and Reed should be able to feed off that. Having the Florida product in your starting lineup should pay dividends in 2016.

  1. Greg Olsen- Greg Olsen is as reliable as any tight end in the NFL. As he gets older, he’s still able to stay on the field, all the while turning in solid fantasy games.

Olsen may lose targets next season to Kelvin Benjamin, but that doesn’t concern me too much. Drafting the Miami (FL) product will simply give you consistent and quality point totals each week.

  1. Julius Thomas- Although the beginning of the season was nonexistent for Thomas, once he got on the field, he showed spurts of being the Denver tight end we’ve come accustomed to enjoy.

Thomas enjoyed four straight games with a touchdown, but he turned in just one game over 80 yards receiving. It seemed there was still something missing in 2015 from Thomas, but he should string together a few games in which he topples 12 fantasy points in 2016.

  1. Gary Barnidge- The Barnyard Dog became a staple in Cleveland’s stale offense, as he recorded 1,043 yards and nine scores. He was able to do that with three different players under center, which in any realm is impressive.

Barnidge will be 31 in the 2016 season, which worries me somewhat. However, he should still be able to produce TE1 numbers throughout the 2016 season.

  1. Travis Kelce- Travis Kelce was labeled a breakout candidate coming into 2015, but he may not have put up the numbers many expected. His monster 22.60 point game in week one led many to predict he’d overtake Rob Gronkowski in 2015 as the number one tight end.

Kelce came crashing back down to earth as the season went on. His ability to gain yards after the catch made him a valuable asset in Kansas City, but his next best game was a 12-point performance in week 12.

Kelce’s upside is still there, but his lack of targets in an already stingy pass game in Kansas City keeps me from ranking Kelce any higher.

  1. Jimmy Graham- Torn patellar tendons suck, just ask Jimmy Graham. After suffering this injury against Pittsburgh in week 12, his season came to a crashing halt. Graham was just beginning to fit into the Seahawk offense when his injury came.

I labeled Graham as a bust coming into 2015, and I guess I was kind of sort of right. Next season, I’m a little more confident in him, but I still think if you can grab another player on this list with him you’ll be in great shape. Don’t reach for Graham next season.

  1. Zach Ertz- Although his first 13 games left more to be desired, Zach Ertz turned it on to close his third season in the league. In Ertz’s final three games, he tallied 35 receptions for 450 yards and one touchdown.

The final chunk of Ertz’s 2015 provided optimism for his 2016 season. He still has competition within his own team with fellow tight end Brent Celek. I’m not all that worried about Celek, and I think Ertz could turn in a very solid 2016.

If you do anything next season in fantasy football, make sure you play Ertz in week 16. In his past two week 16’s, Ertz has 28 catches for 237 yards. Bizarre as it is, it’s true.

  1. Delanie Walker- Delanie Walker turned back the clock to turn in his best season of his career in 2015. He caught 94 passes this season, and added 1,088 yards with six scores. Walker has consistently been a useable fantasy tight end, but hasn’t produced enough to warrant elite status.

If Walker ends up as your backup, you’ll be in great shape. Even if you draft him as your starting tight end, he should be consistent enough to be at least adequate. I don’t advise using him as your starting tight end unless you have a very solid starting lineup at other positions.

Just missed the cut: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Kyle Rudolph, Ladarius Green, Eric Ebron

So there you have it. There’s no need to do anymore research until your draft. Just pull up this article, and you’ll be good to go.
Make sure you let me know what you think about these rankings in the “Miller Time” and “Fantasy Football” forums.

Week 9 review/week 10 preview

(Raiders vs. Vikings, courtesy of vikingsdigitaldiaries.com)

(Raiders vs. Vikings, courtesy of vikingsdigitaldiaries.com)

W9 Review/W10 Predictions

Remember if you will, a division so bad last year that the division winner had only 7 WINS!  The total division wins for the NFC South were 22 at years end….well guess which division has the most wins of the NFL so far this year at 21 thru W9!

Hard to think that Eddie Lacy was picked Top 5 in most leagues, with just 10 yards this past week.

Tyrod Taylor will likely rush for 80 yards tonight and throw for 300/3.  Jets DEF plays a tight man coverage which it leaves vulnerable to the running QB.

With Dion Lewis now down for the Patriots as RB…what no-name, never-has-been, recent grocery-store clerk, mild-mannered, unknown quantity, secluded and surreptitious, masked, exotic, nameless RB will we all be fighting for to pick up next week?  Stay tuned….same bat time….same bat channel!

Drew Brees is now playing the part of Drew Brees, at least for the last two weeks,  but his stand-in (Brew Drees) is able and ready to show up if needed….

RB DeAngelo Williams is doing his best “Beast-Mode” impersonation to sold-out shows now, and it appears as though the show should continue until the final curtain call.

How does one put up 284 yards without a TD?  Asking for a friend.

STAT OF THE WEEK:  2.1%-  That is the ESPN FFL stat of how many owners have Blaine Gabbert on their roster!  (82%) is the percent of people who read this that will go check this stat out themselves!

Imagine M. Evans WR stats if he had great hands?

JPP was eager to give a “high 3.2” to the closest player he could find after his first tackle.

Unless FFL leagues change rules to “TEAM RB” stats, then the Philly situation is simply frustrating as both Murray and Mathews had good performances, but together they may a stud.  Hmmm…maybe some surgery to combine the two into one Frankenback?  We’ll call him Murrmat!

McFadden RB should now be considered a RB1 now that he is unencumbered by that pesky Rhandle.

Week 10

Vegas has the highest scoring prediction from the Patriots/Giants game, and second is the Saints/Redskins.  The latter being mostly saints points!

I kind of expect Green Bay to put on a clinic against rival Lions this week to get some respect back.  Rodgers will make up for his 77 yard outing with this game as they will be leaping in Lambo.

Carolina Def is a must start clash against the Titans.  Giggity.

Bears at Rams…snoozer alert…Jeffrey WR and Gurley RB  yes, maybe Bennett TE.

Brees should put up good numbers, value in weekly FFL.  (wink)

Dolphins and Eagles has playoff implications so expect a grind, but not much scoring.

Browns will throw everything but the sink at Pitt this week to keep relevant, and Landry QB will have hands full.  But with talent imbalance the Steelers will win.  The only 3 players from this game to play are Brown WR, Bryant WR and Williams RB.

The best game of the week might just be the Vikings/Raiders game…as the mascots might imply that there will be some plundering, thieving, groping and just plain anarchy goin on in that game!  Start ‘em if ya got ‘em!

Patriots vs Giants game will be normal 35-28 type of game with Brady winning and getting the girl in the end.  ( of the game)

Must play DEF of the week: Broncos at home vs rival Chiefs.  Sit all Chiefs.

Most curious game of the week:  Arizona at Seattle.  Should be a great game.

Bengals will look to avenge the Texans for 2 previous playoff losses by lop-sided win.  Play the usual suspects in this game.

-Commish