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Five Instant Impact NFL Fantasy Players for 2016


Ezekiel Elliot transitions from one of the best teams in college football to one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.

It’s the beginning of May and life in the NFL is boring. The draft is over, OTA’s don’t start until late May (as if anyone cares), and I’m left rooting for my sorry baseball team that’s worse at baseball than Johnny Manziel is at staying sober.

It’s never too early to look ahead to the 2016 season (those rankings were published in the beginning of January, so they don’t reflect my feelings now). If you’re looking for some rookies to draft for your fantasy team next season, take a peek at these five future stars.

For the record, you won’t see a quarterback on this list, as I feel as comfortable with any rookie quarterback as I do going to a pool party hosted by Jerry Sandusky. As I sit at my computer listening to the rain fall, I can only assume it’s Joe Paterno crying profusely at my terrible joke.

Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott is the most obvious choice out of all rookies. The best running back in the draft will go run behind the best offensive line in the NFL. Elliott can run, catch, and block, proving he’s a three-down back. The OSU product can be a huge find in PPR leagues, as he could catch three balls a game or so.

This is a no brainer pick, but since he’s a rookie, I don’t want him until round two at the earliest. If you can grab Elliott in the third round, he’ll be a great value and a great starter for your fantasy team.

Laquon Treadwell

Dubbed the most NFL-ready receiver in the draft, Laquon Treadwell has a chance to be a true number one receiver in his first NFL season. Stefon Diggs will be the the other starting wide receiver for the Vikings, so Treadwell could easily become the best receiver on the team. Questions about Treadwell’s explosiveness, speed, and durability caused Treadwell to fall to the 23rd pick of the draft, but I’m not concerned about that. Don’t expect Treadwell to take the top off defenses. Treadwell will make his money running quick slants and other double move patterns.

You have to make sure you get a top wide receiver before drafting Treadwell. I’m not confident that Treadwell will break out as a star this season, but he’ll be a quality WR3 at the worst. A team with Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, and Laquon Treadwell won’t have to worry about the position all season.

Michael Thomas

The second player out of #THE Ohio State University, Michael Thomas should be a solid find in fantasy world this season. Thomas is a great all-around player, who really doesn’t lack any skill sets. The one knock against him is that he isn’t the biggest vertical threat around, but that has never kept him from being successful. Thomas is a great route runner, has spectacular hands, and has the tools to be an elite receiver to just about anyone who watches him (Our very own Dan Taylor has a different opinion, go to 2:56:25 to hear him and myself get #heated. It gets better as it goes on, trust me.). It’s Thomas’ time to take over and lead the New Orleans wide receivers, and he’s more than capable.

I trust Thomas more than I trust Treadwell when it comes down to just skill and potential, but Thomas has more competition in New Orleans. With a talented third-year receiver in Brandin Cooks, Thomas will compete to be the number one threat on a rebuilding Saints team. I’m taking Thomas as my number three wideout, but Thomas has more upside yet more risk than Treadwell.

Will Fuller

Easily the most enticing deep threat in the draft, Will Fuller is capable of putting up huge numbers in any game. Fuller’s only disadvantage is his small frame, but Steve Smith and Wes Welker (in his prime, of course) scoff at silly scouts who think small receivers can’t be true threats in the NFL. Fuller joins forces with DeAndre Hopkins in Houston, which could be the makeup of an elite one-two punch of wide receiving for years to come.

Fuller reminds me of DeSean Jackson, as he could put up 10 or 100 yards in any game. I’d only use the Notre Dame product as a spot starter for the first half of the season before I trust him fully as a starter for my team.

Roberto Aguayo

Here lies Tim Miller, who demanded that #SpecialistsArePeopleToo be etched into his tombstone.

Maybe my death will bring justice, but until the day I die, I will go to bat for long snappers, punters, and kickers. Roberto Aguayo has been the highest graded kicker in 20 years according to some scouts, and he was the most accurate kicker in college football history. I’m no kicking expert, but it shouldn’t be hard to translate the success he’s had in college to some 1o-plus point performances in the NFL.

Although I love specialists, I believe kickers are basically interchangeable in fantasy football. I’ll never draft a kicker before I draft my second tight end, but Aguayo will be a starting kicker in fantasy football until he turns 40. If you must reach for Aguayo, reconsider your life choices and cross your fingers. Either way, Aguayo could become the next Stephen Gostkowski.

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