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The Worksheet

32 Bold Calls for 2016

by Rich Hribar
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Whether you like to refer to them as bold calls or hot takes, going out on the ledge for a player, team or event shouldn’t be done just for the sake of doing it. Sure, you want to let loose like Cersei under the Sept with wildfire, but bold calls should still have evidence-based roots even though they are in the lower probability when hashing out a range of outcomes. In the spirit of discussing some of those lower-end probabilities, here’s a bold call for every team in the league graded by the level of heat.

 

Editor's Note: For updated rankings, projections, player profiles, positional tiers, mock drafts, sleepers and busts, exclusive columns and plenty more, check out our Draft Guide!

 

 

Mild Takes


Allen Robinson Leads the League in Receiving Yardage


I wish I could be contrarian and support Robinson possibly catching more touchdowns in 2016, but like many have stated, seeing that type of volume near the goal line again hasn’t proven to be repeatable. But outside of being a dominant target near the paint, Robinson was also the league’s best splash play producer, catching 31 passes that gained 20 or more yards, most in the league. Catching nearly two passes per game of 20 or more yards, Robinson’s 17.5 yards per reception were 12th highest by any receiver with 80 or more receptions in a season since 1970. This was all while Robinson caught just 53 percent of his passes. While the touchdowns will surely drop, his receptions and yardage still have room to blossom.

 

Frank Gore Rushes for 1,000 Yards


Considering that Gore had 967 yards on the ground last year, this doesn't seem bold at first blush, but the last time that a back 33 years or older has rushed for 1,000 yards was John Riggins in 1984. In fact, the last running back 33-years plus to rush for at least 900 yards was Emmitt Smith back in 2004. The Colts brought virtually nothing in behind Gore to threaten his touches and added Ryan Kelly to their offensive line, a player that popped on nearly every big run that Derrick Henry had at Alabama. The Colts trailed for 60 percent of their second half snaps last season, resulting in the 10th fewest rushing plays run in the second half of games, something that should rise on some level with the return of Andrew Luck, giving Gore even more of an avenue to rushing touches.

 

Lamar Miller Will be the Highest Scoring Running Back


Miller is still in the prime of his career at age 25, heading to a team that paid him as a top player at his position and has shown they are committed to heavily utilizing backs in the offense, which should see Miller blow past his career output in terms of usage he set last season with just 241 touches. With the volume spike and the fact that Miller has consistently improved in the receiving game, catching more passes every year of his career, there’s a perfect cocktail in place for Miller to post a career season.

 

Denver Scores the Fewest Touchdowns in the NFL This Season


Not an extreme stretch since the Broncos were 6th from the bottom in 2015, scoring fewer touchdowns than the Titans, Bears, Vikings and Buccaneers. Denver was 24th in points per drive and 21st in yards per drive while being tied for the fourth most turnovers in the league. Because the Denver offense was so inefficient, they had a really hard time setting up cheap rushing scores. The average length of rushing score for the Broncos was 20.8 yards, the highest in the league as just five of their 13 rushing TDs came from the 10-yard line and in. As bad as their quarterback play already was last year, there is actually room for it to get worse. Rookie Paxton Lynch will very likely end up finding the field because of the quarterbacks that surround him on the depth chart.  Mark Sanchez has thrown an interception in 20 of his past 27 appearances and Trevor Siemian had just one full college season averaging over 7.0 adjusted yards per attempt.

 

Tavon Austin finishes Outside of the Top-40 Scoring Wide Receivers


Austin was the WR28 in PPR leagues last year and 32nd in points per game (8.8), but he had nine weeks at WR40 or lower. He had more than seven targets in a game just once, more than four receptions just four times (and no games with more than six), and had more than 50 receiving yards just twice.  Austin was also extremely fortuitous with his red zone touches, scoring on all seven of his red zone touches. For a guy of his ilk, that’s not sustainable. With possible scoring regression and without a consistent receiving floor, you’re left banking on the rushing output from a wide receiver, something that is extremely fragile.

 

The Jets Will Lead the NFL in Pass Attempts in 2016


The 2015 Jets ranked 16th in passing plays called (39.1 per game) and 15th in overall attempts, but trailed for just 40.7 percent of their offensive plays, which was the 12th lowest rate in the league. Despite that better than average rate of playing ahead on the scoreboard, the Jets still were one of the fastest-paced teams, ranking 6th in plays per game (67.1). When they were trailing, they were more willing to sling it around the yard, throwing the ball 71.2 percent of the time (7th highest). The Jets went 6-2 last season versus the NFC East and AFC South and will trade those matchups for the NFC West and AFC North as they play one of the hardest projected schedules in the league. If they maintain a similar pace and just trail for the league average rate of 46 percent of their snaps, the Jets can gain close to two full games of passing volume. But if they fall into the bottom third range around 60 percent, we’re talking nearly 150 more pass calls for the season.

 

Stefon Diggs is a Top-36 Scoring Wide Receiver


Once he cracked the lineup in Week 4, Diggs had as many receptions (52) as Amari Cooper with just 60 fewer receiving yards (720) and one less touchdown (four). Diggs opened his career with five consecutive top-30 scoring games, showing us that he has a high ceiling in his repertoire and was a top-30 scorer in five of seven games in which he bested just five targets. The Minnesota offense itself may not be enough to vault Diggs there as he saw at least 20 percent of the team targets in eight of his 13 games last season, but with rookie Laquon Treadwell expected to make a slower transition playing behind Charles Johnson to start the season, Diggs has opportunity to be the focal point of the passing game. 

 

A.J. Green is the Highest Scoring Wide Receiver This Season


Green has finished 16th and 12th in points per game over the past two seasons. In 2014, Green battled injuries all season long while last year was a true drop in usage as his targets per route fell to a low point in his career outside of his rookie season. With the departure of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones paired with the unknown status of Tyler Eifert (ankle) and Brandon LaFell (hand) to start the season, Green should be littered with targets in the same context that we saw Julio Jones fed last season. While the Bengals will still likely be too good of a real team for Green to approach Jones’ 200 targets, Green getting close to the 164 and 178 targets that he had in 2012 and 2013 isn’t a stretch.  Green ranked third and 6th in points per game those seasons, but if he rolls over his career high efficiency from last season to some degree, he could vault up to the very top of the position. 

 

Medium Calls


DeAngelo Williams won’t be a top-15 Scoring Back in the Opening Three Weeks

 

In games without Le’Veon Bell active, Williams averaged 21.3 touches, 112.1 total yards and 17.6 fantasy points per game. In those 10 games, Williams finished outside of top-16 weekly scorers just twice. But Williams really lived off of just being on the field and getting layup scoring opportunities. Williams had just six games in which he averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry and caught more than two passes in just half of his games without Bell. Without Bell on the field, Williams averaged 87 percent of the team snaps and 10 of his 11 rushing touchdowns came from three yards and in. The playing time and volume will unlikely be affected while the 33-year-old running back is still fresh to start the season, which very well could be all Williams needs to float his fantasy output. But if the short scoring opportunities prove sparse while Pittsburgh re-adjusts to life without Martavis Bryant and Bell, then Williams may disappoint for those expecting a weekly repeat of 2015.

 

Rashad Jennings will be a Top-15 Running Back


Jennings is now 31 years old and has never reached 200 carries in an NFL season, but we got a good look at what can happen when the Giants abandoned their heinous running back rotation a year ago. Over the final four games, the Giants gave Jennings at least 60 percent of the team carries in each game after averaging 40 percent through the first 12 weeks. Jennings closed the season as the RB21, RB14, RB19 and RB1 in weekly scoring with two of those games coming against Carolina and Minnesota, so those totals weren’t just all from schedule lining up with volume. Even with Shane Vereen having a clear role in the passing game, Jennings still secured 29 grabs in his limited action as well. The Giants should have one the league’s highest scoring offenses again and have a light strength of schedule, giving Jennings an opportunity to make the most of finally being at the head of the Giants' backfield plans.

 

Joe Flacco is the Highest Scoring Fantasy Quarterback in the AFC North


Flacco was on pace for a career-high 661 pass attempts last season due to the conditions in which the Ravens were forced to play. Flacco took advantage of that volume with a career-high 64 percent completion rate and 16.0 fantasy points per game, the second highest total of his career. With a healthy and deep roster at every offensive skill position, the Ravens should reel in their pass attempts close to the 572 attempt average for a Marc Trestman-led offense prior to last season. But this call has just as much to do with the other quarterbacks in the AFC North.  Robert Griffin III is getting a chance at reviving his career and has an intriguing set of skill players around him, but Cleveland is young and still likely to be in the bottom half to third in the league in scoring. Andy Dalton is coming off of a career season, which I don’t believe was a coincidence when he spread the ball around the most of any point in his career. As the Bengals revert to force feeding A.J. Green targets, I believe we see Dalton’s efficiency follow suit to earlier in his career. Ben Roethlisberger is being drafted higher than Drew Brees, so he’ll be the hardest to topple, but Ben has jarring splits without Martavis Bryant active, has been a down performer on the road and with no Bryant, Le’Veon Bell or Ladarius Green to start the season, the Steelers' skill player cupboard is leaner than the one that had us so excited early in the offseason.

 

Tyrod Taylor Will be a Top-6 Scoring Quarterback


In his first year as a starter on a new team, Taylor was already tied for 6th in points per game last year with Carson Palmer in a season where Taylor was dead last in pass attempts per drive (2.5). Even in Buffalo, that volume has nowhere to go but up and despite their reluctance to air out the ball, Taylor still held that fantasy floor because only Cam Newton averaged more rushing points per game than Taylor’s 5.8. Taylor led all quarterbacks in rushing yards per game (40.6), running for 40 or more yards in 9-of-14 weeks. Only 30 percent of his rushing points were off of rushing touchdowns, so Taylor's points weren’t inflated. The Bills are a blind faith bet to score more in 2016. Just 45.2 percent (19 of 42) of the Bills' offensive touchdowns came from reaching the red zone, the second lowest total for any team since 1999. Teams that scored fewer than 55 percent of their touchdowns in the red zone have come back the following season and seen their red zone play totals increase on average 30 percent and their red zone touchdown total increase 46 percent (with a seven percent increase in touchdowns scored overall).

 

Marcus Mariota is a Top-12 Scoring Quarterback


I actually believe the Titans are going to play more shootouts than grinding games this season and Mariota showed us that he can have a high weekly ceiling as he was a top-6 weekly scorer in four weeks as a rookie. That was the same amount as Ben Roethlisberger, more than Carson Palmer and three more than fellow rookie Jameis Winston. Mariota threw three or more passing touchdowns in four games, tying Peyton Manning for the most ever in a rookie season since the 1970 merger. The whispers of Mariota running more this season may also have some merit as Mariota averaged 3.4 rushing attempts per game after Mike Mularkey took over as head coach as opposed to 2.0 per game prior.  Also, you may not like the Titans' receivers, but they were down to a skeleton crew last season while force feeding Delanie Walker. Rishard Matthews and a healthy Kendall Wright to go with rookie Tajae Sharpe and the ghost of Andre Johnson are an upgrade to what Mariota had at his disposal a year ago and his run game is exponentially expected to be better than the Antonio Andrews, Bishop Sankey, David Cobb Hydra.  The ceiling was already on display for Mariota as a rookie. He now needs health and consistency in year two.

 

DeVante Parker Leads the Dolphins in Receiving Yards


Adam Gase has swerved into the short passing game narrative this summer and there’s no doubt Jarvis Landry is the front runner to lead the Dolphins in targets, but Parker still remains the Miami receiver with the highest ceiling in terms of yardage. Parker had just 61 fewer receiving yards than Landry over the final six weeks of 2015 despite seeing 29 fewer targets and catching 25 fewer passes. That came while seeing just 19 percent of the Miami targets over that span and catching just 51 percent of those looks, numbers that have room for improvement in his sophomore season.

 

Mohamed Sanu will Finish as a Top-36 Wide Receiver


Atlanta has 116 targets gone from their 2015 roster in Roddy White and Leonard Hankerson and gave Sanu $14M guaranteed this offseason to play alongside Julio Jones. The only time Sanu approached triple digit targets in a season was in 2014 when Cincinnati had injuries to A.J. GreenMarvin Jones and Tyler Eifert. That year, Sanu turned 98 targets into 56 catches for 790 yards and five scores while ranking 42nd in points per game. Sanu also is just one play away from being the Falcons’ lead receiver. When Green missed time in 2014, Sanu had 10.7 targets per game and averaged 99.9 yards receiving.  While banking on those types of numbers is lofty, a Julio Jones injury opens Sanu up to a truckload of targets and there’s little on Atlanta’s roster to get in Sanu’s way from seeing triple digit targets regardless if anything happens to Jones or not.

 

Ameer Abdullah is the Third Highest Scorer in the Detroit Backfield


Abdullah is a potential problem for fantasy because he could still stand to not hold two important roles. We already know Theo Riddick is the receiving back in Detroit and if either Stevan Ridley or Zach Zenner pillages the goal line work that leaves Abdullah in similar rotation to the one he had a season ago. Even if he carves out some more attempts in his second season, carries aren’t entirely the issue. Abdullah led the Lions in carries in 12 games, but never had more than four receptions in a game and had just three touches inside the 5-yard line all season. Abdullah was outscored by non-Theo Riddick backs in 10 of 16 weeks last season because he lacked fantasy money touches and may not have a clear line to them again if Zenner or Ridley takes those opportunities in 2016. 

 

Hot Calls


LeGarrette Blount Leads the NFL in Rushing Touchdowns


Blount has scored 23 rushing touchdowns now over his past 38 games with the Patriots ( a 10 TD pace for 16 games) and 12, 13 and 11 rushing touchdowns have led league over the past three seasons.  New England is the only franchise in the NFL to rank in the top-10 in rushing attempts from the 5-yard line and in during each of the five past seasons and in the five games in which both Blount and Lewis were active, Blount out carried Lewis eight to one from the 5-yard and in.  Labeled as a poor short yardage performer, Blount has also converted 10 of his 19 regular season attempts on such carries for touchdowns.

 

Chris Thompson will lead all Running Backs in Receptions


Like most backs of Thompson’s ilk, his role is largely tied to game conditions. In games he was active last season, Thompson had 14.6 percent of the team targets while Washington was trailing on the scoreboard compared to just a 7.3 percent share tied or ahead. Washington was extremely fortunate last season, trailing for just 33.5 percent of their offensive snaps a season ago, which was the 8th fewest in the league. Even though Washington may be extremely pass heavy regardless, in 2016, they face the second roughest schedule per Warren Sharp, making Thompson this season’s version of Theo Riddick.

 

Tyler Lockett is Outside of the Top-36 Scoring Wide Receivers

Lockett had at least seven targets in every game except for one once Jimmy Graham went down for the season, averaging 63.6 yards receiving per game those weeks, but also never eclipsed more than those seven targets any week. That was also over a span where Russell Wilson went absolutely nuclear, tossing scores on 11 percent of his passes. Seattle extended both Doug Baldwin and Jermain Kearse and Graham himself looks like he’ll be back sooner than later. Even with Russell Wilson attempting more passes in every season of his career, this is a team that will still likely be splitting up 525 or less targets on the season.  Lockett has also been playing almost exclusively in three wide receiver sets this summer behind Jermaine Kearse.

 

Travis Kelce isn’t a Top-8 Scoring Tight End


Kelce has shown he has the talent to be a top tight end in the league, but his offense has placed a ceiling on our expected return in fantasy. Kelce seen 22.5 percent of the Chiefs’ targets in 2015 and had over 20 percent of the looks in 10 of his 16 games. Those 10 games with a 20 plus percent target share were tied with Delanie Walker for second in the league behind Greg Olsen’s 11. Despite getting his hands on a large piece of his team’s passing game, Kelce ranked just 13th at the position in targets per game (6.4) with receiving back Jamaal Charles missing two thirds of the year. With that increased grip on the Kansas City offense, Kelce managed just three top-six scoring weeks all of 2015 with eight at TE14 or lower in PPR leagues. He also has yet to be utilized near the paint, seeing just 10 total targets from the 10 and in over the past two seasons.

 

Danny Woodhead isn’t a top-24 Scoring Running Back


Last season’s third highest scorer overall in PPR leagues ranked 20th in points per game and we already know that Woodhead is reliant on one component of his game that also is elevated and deflated as game scripts go. Woodhead accounted for 24 percent of the Chargers second half touches in games after seeing 19 percent in the first half of games all season. San Diego should throw much less in 2016 as Phillip Rivers attempted a career high 661 passes in 2015, 79 more than his previous career high and 91 more than he had the season prior. Woodhead also had a significant reduction in the offense before first round pick Melvin Gordon was lost for the season. In the six weeks prior to Gordon’s injury, Woodhead totaled just 46 touches, nearly a full four touches per game drop off from the first seven weeks of the season.

 

Coby Fleener finishes as the TE1


Fleener isn’t perceived as a great football player, but finds himself in a great opportunity this season. Ben Watson and his 110 targets are gone and Drew Brees is coming off of a season in which he made Watson, Willie Snead and Tim Hightower all relevant, so Fleener being an elite talent shouldn’t get in your way of feeling good about him. Only Gary Barnidge ran more routes last season than the 32.4 per game that Watson ran last season and Fleener already has a TE6 scoring finish on his resume from 2014 in which he was TE1 overall in more weeks than any TE in the NFL.

 

QB 49ers will be a Top-15 Fantasy Option


I don’t believe that the 49ers will be a good enough real team for either quarterback to start 16 games so we're making this a team call. I’m also not going to say that either Colin Kaepernick or Blaine Gabbert will be good real life quarterbacks. But whoever is under center will have fantasy viability and it starts with increased tempo and opportunity. The 49ers have run 7.2 fewer offensive plays per game than Kelly’s Eagles over the past three years, close to two full games worth of plays per season.  Both quarterbacks are also very active on the ground, something Kelly hasn’t had in the NFL outside of a short run with Mike Vick. Kaepernick tallied a rushing attempt once every 6.6 drop backs (4th) last year while Gabbert had one per 10.3 drop backs (10th). Even last season is the 49ers stale and slow offense, once Gabbert took over as the starter, he outscored Alex SmithMatt Ryan and Philip Rivers in fantasy on a per game basis. We’ve seen tangible fantasy stats in small samples from subpar career passers in Mike Vick, Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez in Chip Kelly's offense before. So at worst, whoever is the 49ers' quarterback will be a volatile volume play with rushing upside.

 

Randall Cobb Outscores Jordy Nelson


Cobb is just turning 26 years old this season, placing him and the 31-year old Nelson in opposite points when comes to the apex of production for receivers. Cobb has been discounted among many leagues due to his 2015 campaign in which his numbers are almost all universal outliers. Even coming off of an ACL injury and some back and forth knee ailments this summer,  I don’t expect Nelson to struggle to any point where he's not useful for fantasy, but what his return does do is make Cobb’s exponentially easier as he’ll now avoid interior bracket coverage and have more room to operate in space in the middle of the field.  Cobb is also has underlying touchdown upside as he has 28 targets from the 10-yard and in over the past two seasons, trailing only Antonio Brown. That’s not inflated by 2014 either as Cobb ranked 5th in the league last season with an identical 14 targets there as he did in 2014. 

 

Fire Calls


Amari Cooper won’t be a top-20 Scoring Wide Receiver


Cooper is being drafted as a WR1 despite having just three top-12 scoring weeks, six top-20 ones and eight games with less than 50 yards receiving.  It’s worth mentioning that Cooper got nicked up over the latter third of the season, but he also had his best game of the season during that time and accounted for 26.8 percent of Carr’s passing points over the final eight weeks compared to 27.9 percent in the front half, so being hobbled isn’t a complete out for his output. On top of that, Cooper also had zero of the Raiders 22 targets from the 10-yard line and in as he averaged 34.3 yards per touchdown reception, the 6th highest total for all receivers with five or more scores on the season. While those “money targets” can surely go up, Oakland also stands to see some more passing volume skimmed from their totals, which may create an overall volume issue on top of any potential scoring one. The Raiders trailed for 55 percent of their offensive plays (23rd), 61.5 percent of their second half plays (23rd), and 69.6 percent of their 4th quarter plays (25th). They were down by two or more scores in the 4th quarter on 33.7 percent of their plays (21st) and Derek Carr still lost an entire game’s worth of volume off of his rookie season.

 

Duke Johnson Catches Fewer Passes than his Rookie Year


Johnson caught 61 passes last year, the 8th rookie running back to catch 60 passes ever and the first since Matt Forte in 2008. Last year the Browns ran 41.5 pass plays per game (6th), as Johnson was fourth in the NFL in routes run for backs. He caught just six more passes than Darren Sproles and ran 85 more routes and caught 19 fewer passes than Theo Riddick while running 38 more snaps in route. Cleveland ran 664 passing plays with 606 attempts in 2015, and while it’s likely they’ll still face loads of negative game script, Hue Jackson also will likely slow down the offensive pace a the highs for a Jackson-led offense have been 602 pass plays with a high of 555 attempts with the 2007 Falcons. Add in Corey Coleman, the return of Gordon after the quarter turn to join Gary Barnidge in line with that expected volume reduction and Johnson may not quite reach the reception bar many have in place for him.

 

Zach Ertz Won’t Finish as a Top-12 Tight End


Eagles offensive players could stand to lose in the neighborhood of 100 plus total plays with two to three games worth of passing volume with the departure of Chip Kelly and transition to Doug Pederson.  In Pederson’s offense a year ago, Travis Kelce slid in just below Ertz in total targets (103) with over one fewer target per game (6.4). That level of similar per game volume isn’t damaging, but Ertz has been nowhere near as good after the catch as Kelce, averaging just 4.4 yards after the catch compared to Kelce’s 7.5 for their careers.  Also, Ertz has shown over the past two seasons to have trouble finding the end zone regularly. He scored on just two of his 75 catches a season ago and on just seven of 94 receptions over his first two seasons prior. In the history of the NFL, there have been 36 tight ends with a sub 5.0 percent touchdown rate on 60 or more catches. Those tight ends have only seen an average increase of 1.6 touchdowns the following year. The tight end position is driven by touchdowns or inflated volume, things that may be still be elusive to Ertz in 2016.

 

Carson Palmer Finishes Outside of the Top-10 Quarterbacks


Palmer was 6th in points per game last season and is coming off of a season in which he notched career highs in passing yardage (4,671) and touchdowns (35), but in that career season was still more of a floor play for fantasy purposes. Palmer had just one week under 15 fantasy points as he finished lower than QB17 just twice, but also had just five weeks scoring inside of the top-10. That was fewer than Eli Manning, Tyrod Taylor, Andy Dalton and Ryan Fitzpatrick to name a few. Palmer’s situation is just as good as it was a year ago as the Cardinals didn’t lose any of his stellar offensive targets from 2015 and he will enter the season with David Johnson as a full season weapon out of the backfield, but it’s actually Johnson who may hurt him. Over the final six weeks of the season, the Cardinals carried a 1.1:1pass TD to rush TD ratio as opposed to the 3:1 ratio they held through 10 weeks.

 

Doug Martin Finishes Outside of the Top-15 Running Backs


Martin was second in the league in rushing yards (1,402) and attempts per game (18.0) while leading the league in runs of 20 or more yards with 14. Despite the high volume, yardage and explosive carries, Martin still lacked a big weekly ceiling due to lack of scoring with modest receiving work. He was a top-10 weekly scorer in just five games and was RB27 or lower in seven weeks. A big part of that is because in wins Martin averaged 5.7 more PPR points than losses as we know he doesn’t have a grip on the passing work in negative script or true passing situations.  He only had four 100-yard rushing games and they largely came against the schedule’s softest opponents versus the Philadelphia, Washington, Jacksonville and Carolina. Tampa Bay still plays their own lackluster division, but no longer do they get the AFC South and NFC East this year, trading that for the AFC and NFC West.

 

Dez Bryant Won’t Finish as a Top-10 Wide Receiver


Over the past five years, the average number of points it takes to be a top-10 WR is 300 and 300 point receivers have averaged 168 targets per season over the same span. Dez’s targets over his past three full seasons have been 138, 159 and 136 and he’s been a top-10 scorer all of those seasons, so he’s already casting major shade on this call. That’s because Dez is the premier touchdown pass catcher at his position. After the first two preseason games, it’s near lunacy to believe Bryant’s touchdowns could ever fall off, but if Dallas reverts to being as run oriented as they were in 2014 and Bryant’s touchdowns were to ever decline, even to the 7-9 range, then he doesn’t receive the necessary volume as other top-10 players. Since 2011, only Martavis Bryant has needed touchdowns more for fantasy scoring than the 26.4 percent dependency rate of Bryant and he has gone over 100-yards receiving just 15 times in 84 career games.

 

Greg Olsen Will Finish Outside of the Top-6 Scorers at Tight End


Olsen is the only tight end to rank in the top-5 in total targets in each of the past four seasons. Over that span he’s been as steady as they come, catching at least 65 passes for 800 yards and five touchdowns in each season. We could see this season with the return of Kelvin Benjamin, the growth of Devin Funchess and a sprinkling of targets still going to Ted Ginn.  That could turn Olsen’s 25 percent market share of targets into a 20 percent one this season. If that happens and Olsen’s targets fall into the 100-110 range and he still hits his average mark of 1.7 points per target while in Carolina, then that puts him on TE7-10 trajectory based on the past five years. Tacking on, Olsen has scored on just 5.3 percent of his targets since joining the Panthers, 35th at his position over that period.

 

Jeremy Langford is a Top-12 Scoring Running Back


Langford wasn’t efficient as a rookie, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry and catching just 52 percent of his targets while remaining under the league average success rates for runs of five yards or more, but he was a great example of how opportunity can trump all of those inefficiencies when it comes to running back production for fantasy. In the three games that Matt Forte missed, Langford was the RB4, RB1 and RB19 in terms of scoring those given weeks on 21.3 touches per game. The Bears were one of the most run centric offenses in 2015 for any game conditions, and that was with Adam Gase calling plays. Chicago also faces a run schedule expected to be favorable at face value, something advantageous for a workhorse back in fantasy and Langford has all but distanced himself completely from the field in the Chicago backfield this offseason and is line for the triumvirate of volume paired with receiving and goal line work. 

 

 

 

 

Rich Hribar
Rich Hribar is a husband, father, sports meteorologist and a slave to statistics. A lifelong sports fan and fantasy gamer. You can find him on Twitter @LordReebs.