Jibber Jabber: NFL 2017 – Fantasy 7.0

Opinion

Chad T. Jones, Public Affairs Officer

Sad news to report from the fantasy front.

The famed Copper League, which I’ve been part of for the better part of my adult life, is breaking up after almost two decades of fantasy bliss.

I can still remember when I stole former Chiefs running back Priest Holmes and rode him all the way to the first of three, regular season championships.

It was a great run, but all great things must come to an end. Besides, I still have my Yahoo league ran by none other than Commissioner Claw: A devious, cutthroat leader who always manages to have a top-three pick.

Handling owners/commissioners like Claw takes a lot of patience, foresight and skill.

Luckily, it’s time for my annual Fantasy Football preview — one of three columns dedicated to the upcoming NFL season.

Due to my busy summer (Camp Madina 2017 was nearly as awesome as Cedar Point), this year’s column is more needed than ever.

So let’s not waste time with idle chit-chat about ESPN folding to political correctness by removing an announcer from his scheduled game in Virginia because he happens to be named Robert Lee, or Kyrie Irving getting traded to the Celtics.

It’s football season, people. Per usual, I will not waste time with defense or kickers other than saying Browns rookie linebacker Myles Garrett may sack the world.

QB – Draft Day rule (DDR):

Wait, wait, wait, wait a minute. I say it every year, but let me be clearer. If you pick a QB before the 5th round, you are wasting a pick.

Only three QBs are in Yahoo’s current Top 150: Tom Brady No. 32, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is No. 35, and Drew Brees No. 46.

That’s it. The other 29 starting QBs are lumped in below them.

Best Bet: Matt Ryan, Atlanta

“Matty Ice” threw 38 TDs last year and still has receivers Julio Jones and Mohammed Sanu. He also has a big chip on his shoulder after the team blew the Super Bowl.

Ryan should put up similar numbers as Rodgers, but you can get him four rounds later.

Projected pick: Round 8.

Sleeper: Marcus Mariota, Tennessee

Mariota has been a solid QB his first two years in the league, and this could be the year he takes the next step toward being a superstar.

He could easily throw for 3,800 yards and toss 35 TDs. He’s also good for 500 rushing yards. Not bad for a 10th- or 11th-round pick.

Bust: Dak Prescott, Dallas

I love Dak, but he’s not necessarily a fantasy stud. People have him ranked the 10th-best fantasy QB; I’m thinking his numbers will make him a decent fantasy backup.

RB DDR:

There are two locks – Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell and Arizona’s David Johnson.

Then there are six or eight really good backs, then a lot of potential with a lot of questions. Get your studs early, and hopefully, you can trade one for a piece later in the season.

Best Bet: David Johnson, Arizona

The dude burst onto the scene last season with 2,100 total yards and 20 TDs.

This year, he’s going to be one of the first two players picked. Bell will be the other, but the Steelers back tends to miss a few games each year for one reason or another, so go with Johnson.

Sleeper: Dion Lewis, New England

Yes, the Patriots scat back is hurt a lot. Yes, the Patriots like to pass, but when Lewis played, he was consistently the third-best fantasy option on the best team in the AFC.

More importantly, Lewis has first-round talent, which is nice for someone you can pick up as a free agent.

Detroit’s Ameer Abdullah is a good get as well.

Bust: LeSean McCoy, Buffalo

I know “Shady” is great, but Buffalo is not, which means McCoy is probably going to be facing a lot of eight-man fronts all season.

Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott should be on this list for football and life.

WR DDR:

There are a lot of options here.

Get your top target early, and have your corps in the first six rounds.

Best Bet: Julio Jones

He is the best of a very good bunch, but you could also go for Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, ODB Jr. from the Giants or even Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson.

All should go in the first round.

Sleeper: Corey Davis, Tennessee

The first-round pick out of Western Michigan should quickly become Mariota’s top target in Tennessee.

You could easily see 1,200 yards, 10+ TDs and 80 catches, which would be a great catch for a 9th- or 10th-round pick.

Bust: Allen Robinson, Jacksonville

Robinson is really good, but like McCoy, the rest of his team (primarily QB Blake Bortles) is really bad.

Bortles will not get Robinson the ball enough for the wideout to earn a fifth-round pick, especially with all the other options that are out there.

TE DDR:

Watch your league rules. More leagues are not making TEs mandatory, so in some cases, you may want to pick a third receiver. Except for Gronk, of course.

Top Pick: Rob Gronkowski

Gronk is good. Gronk like touchdown. Gronk can’t dance. Gronk go in second round.

Sleeper: Jack Doyle, Indianapolis

Andrew Luck is still good. Indianapolis still likes to throw the ball and Doyle is good. He is an 11th-round pick with fifth- or sixth-round talent.

Bust: Jordan Reed, Washington

He plays for Washington. They’ll find a way to make him less valuable than what he is.

NFC preview next week.

Until then, …

If you want to talk about this or anything to do with sports, contact me at chad.t.jones.civ@mail.mil, or hit me up on Twitter @ctjibber.

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