AFC Preseason Predictions
As a society, we love football so much that everyone reading this is super excited for 4 weeks of over-priced practice football. If you drafted early, you will spend this month hoping your guys survive. If you haven’t drafted yet, you will be moving guys up and down your boards like it’s the stock market. What do you say we have some fun? Let me give you one thing to watch out for this preseason for each team in the AFC. Don’t worry NFC fans, I got you covered, too!
Pittsburgh Steelers: Markus Wheaton will stun the fantasy world in 2016. It will begin with an excellent preseason. I actually expect Sammie Coates to win the outside starting job, but Wheaton is made for the slot role and will look like a PPR stud this preseason.
Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Boyd will run right onto your fantasy team. He will soak up the targets left behind by Sanu and Jones, especially with TE Tyler Eifert being out for a while and Brandon LaFell being Brandon LaFell. Boyd will torch the less talented corners he gets to face and will win the starting job for the Bengals.
Baltimore Ravens: The offense will look very TE-centric. With the team having Kamar Aiken and not much else at WR, they will lean on their excellent TE depth. All 4 guys–Ben Watson, Dennis Pitta, Crockett Gilmore, and Maxx Williams–will score a TD. The winner of this starting job will have some value on a team that led the league in passing attempts last year.
Cleveland Browns: Duke Johnson will be a sleeper no more. With the controversy surrounding Isaiah Crowell and new head coach Hue Jackson’s way with RBs, Duke will look like a 3 down back this preseason. He catches the ball well and will slide perfectly into the role that Gio Bernard played for Jackson during his time in Cincinnati.
Houston Texans: Despite a mediocre first year, Jaelen Strong will beat out rookies Will Fuller and Braxton Miller to land the WR2 spot for the Texans. He knows the offense better than any returning player not named Hopkins and should benefit from improved QB play.
Indianapolis Colts: Dwayne Allen will show the world why the Colts let Fleener walk. He is going to catch multiple preseason TDs and his ADP will rise. Now that he is the team’s full-time TE1, he will prove that his 8 TDs in 2014 were just the tip of the iceberg.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Rashad Greene will outplay both Allens and make you question everything you “know” about fantasy football. While the yardage was a joke, Greene outperformed both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns in the Jaguars Week 1 game last year before getting hurt. He will excel in the slot role.
Tennessee Titans: Derrick Henry will look terrible. There are not many running backs in the NFL as big as Derrick Henry. The ones who are as big are full backs. Henry will not get enough carries to wear down defenses that are constantly being subbed during the preseason. His value will increase as the regular season progresses.
New England Patriots: Martellus Bennett will look like a stud. Bennett is one of the most talented TEs in the league and is now the backup in New England. As the backup TE, he will see playing time against guys who won’t have a job in September and he will dominate.
Miami Dolphins: DeVante Parker is going to be good, great even. He is going to be the focus of the starting offense and he will deliver. He is the best deep threat on this offense and I expect multiple preseason TDs.
Buffalo Bills: Karlos Williams is going to run wild. With Williams suspended for the 1st 4 regular season games and the Bills not wanting to risk injury to LeSean McCoy, the team will use the preseason to get Williams game ready, and he will look to dominate. He has to prove he still belongs on the team and will get the volume to do so.
New York Jets: Bilal Powell will show the world why he is draftable. The Jets will rest Matt Forte and Powell needs to prove he deserved that contract to be the team’s 2nd best passing down RB. He will look good in the preseason, but don’t be fooled, Forte will dominate the passing down snaps come the regular season. Powell needs to prove he can do it as a runner to have any 2016 fantasy relevance.
Denver Broncos: Expect C.J. Anderson, and the run game as a whole, to control the offense. Gary Kubiak produces good fantasy RBs. He will use this preseason to find out if Anderson can be the man in this Manning-less offense. I think Anderson is up to the task, and we will see his ADP rise.
Kansas City Chiefs: While I expect to see the Chiefs run the ball a ton come the regular season, in the preseason they will throw it everywhere. They have got to figure out who will win that WR2 spot. Spoiler Alert: Whoever wins, don’t draft them.
San Diego Chargers: Melvin Gordon will finally score a TD. This only sounds bold because of his putrid rookie year, but I do expect Gordon to come out fighting. He has a lot to prove and it begins with this preseason.
Oakland Raiders: DeAndre Washington will use these 4 weeks to turn the Oakland backfield into a full RBBC. Latavius Murray did less with more touches last year than almost anyone in league history, and Washington is primed to steal the passing down role.
Keep in mind, it’s the preseason. Anything can happen and will happen. Your players will get hurt. Players will look good these 4 weeks and never add a bit of value to your fantasy team. Some guys will win jobs now and lose them by Week 4. Fantasy football is an ever-changing playing field. Stay on top of things with the Ultimate Draft Kit.