As the NFL season is just weeks away, fantasy football owners begin to prepare for their 2016 fantasy football drafts. Normally, a new season opens the path for new players to exceed expectations and shock the fantasy football world. Each year, fantasy football owners try to find those one or two players in the mid to late rounds of their fantasy football draft. These under-the-radar players are known as fantasy football sleepers. Sleeper picks can provide great value to fantasy teams, creating the discrepancy in winning or losing in your fantasy football league.
With injuries occurring every week in the NFL, it's vital your fantasy football team has the depth to maintain a successful fantasy season. These sleeper picks are usually players ready to take the next step in their NFL career or primed for a rebound season. Rookies begin another group of fantasy sleepers. Most players named here may be unknown for some fantasy owners, but they are all players in line for a prolific season. Plan to target these fantasy football sleepers after the big name fantasy players come off the board.
This list consists of the 2016 top fantasy football sleepers from each NFL team. This list serves as a useful fantasy football draft prep or fantasy cheat sheet for your fantasy draft.
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32 Arizona Cardinals: J.J. Nelson WR
J.J. Nelson, a second-year player out of UAB, saw limited playing time last year behind Arizona Cardinals wideouts Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and John Brown. In spite of his lack of time on the field, Nelson took full advantage of his opportunities, including a 142 yard performance on four catches and a touchdown in Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Nelson finished his rookie season with 11 receptions for 299 yards and two touchdowns.
Nelson averaged a staggering 27.2 yards per catch during the regular season, proving his deep threat ability and remarkable speed. Anticipate Nelson's workload to increase in his second season with the Cardinals, especially if one of the receivers ahead of him ends up missing time. With Nelson ultimately the fourth receiver on the Cardinals depth chart, he's not worth drafting until the last few rounds of your fantasy football draft. Bottom line, watch him carefully throughout the season as he could quickly become a valuable fantasy wide receiver.
31 Atlanta Falcons: Justin Hardy WR
The second-year wide receiver out of East Carolina Justin Hardy was inactive for the first seven games of his career last season. Hardy then appeared in each of the Falcons last nine games and ended his rookie campaign with 21 receptions for 194 yards and averaged 9.2 yards per catch. However, Hardy has yet to record his first NFL touchdown, but that likely will change this season.
The Falcons signed Mohamed Sanu this offseason to line up across starter Julio Jones, but don't expect it to bring down Hardy's targets this season. Hardy will get his chances to compete with Sanu for the second slot in the Falcons wide receiver depth chart. If Hardy can beat out Sanu for the starting spot, he could have a breakout season. Overall, Hardy is a trustworthy pick in the later rounds and someone that could add depth to your fantasy lineup.
30 Baltimore Ravens: Kamar Aiken WR
Flying under the radar during his NFL career, Kamar Aiken is the definition of a fantasy football sleeper. Aiken continued to exceed expectations last season and put up solid numbers during the second half. Following the Ravens bye week, Aiken pulled in 50 receptions for 611 yards in the Ravens last eight games including three touchdowns.
Aiken has proven to be a reliable player in an oft-injury wide receiving corp that includes a recovering Steve Smith Sr. from Achilles surgery and Breshad Perriman out with a knee injury. Even with the signing of Mike Wallace, Aiken should see a notable workload and continue to build chemistry with quarterback Joe Flacco.
Aiken doesn't receive the recognition he deserves, but that may change this year. Look forward to Aiken winning the starting job over Mike Wallace, making him a valuable fantasy player and surpass expectations once again. Follow Aiken carefully throughout your fantasy draft as he's a solid pick in the mid-rounds.
29 Buffalo Bills: Karlos Williams RB
Buffalo Bills running back, Karlos Williams made a name for himself last season, serving as a backup behind veteran LeSean McCoy. The Bills continue to be invested with McCoy as their starting running back heading into 2016. However, expect Williams to take on a heavier workload this season and he could exceed expectations which make him a 2016 fantasy football sleeper.
In his rookie season, Williams rushed for 517 yards on 93 attempts with seven touchdowns. Those numbers would've likely been higher if it wasn't for a shoulder injury and a concussion that caused him to miss five games. Williams started the first four games of the regular season last year as McCoy battled from a knee injury. If McCoy misses any time this year, anticipate Williams to take full advantage of the opportunity. Regardless if McCoy misses time or not, Williams will receive plenty of carries, making him a mid-round pick in your fantasy draft, despite his four-game suspension to begin the year.
28 Carolina Panthers: Devin Funchess WR
In his rookie season with the Carolina Panthers, wide receiver Kevin Funchess posted some respectable numbers with 31 receptions for 473 yards and five touchdowns. Also, Funchess yards per catch average was 15.3 with only one fumble. It's likely Funchess will see a bump in his targets and touchdowns this season. The return of Kelvin Benjamin shouldn't hinder Funchess' production in 2016, but it's something to watch.
Many believe that the former Michigan wideout didn't live up to his expectations last season, at least during the first half of the season when Kelvin Benjamin went down with a season-ending injury. In spite of a slow start, Funchess revealed his playmaking abilities in Week 9 against the Green Bay Packers where he caught three passes for 71 yards and scored his first NFL touchdown. As Funchess improves throughout the season, he could suddenly become a WR2 value. The second year wide receiver is a great selection and a steal in rounds 10-13 in your fantasy draft.
27 Chicago Bears: Jordan Howard RB
Chicago Bears rookie running back, Jordan Howard, who started his college football career at UAB, then transferred to Indiana, rushed for 1,213 yards on 196 rushing attempts last season. At six feet tall and 225 pounds, Howard turned heads at his pro day after running a 4.59 second 40. Howard, who averaged 6.2 yards per carry in his last season at Indiana, is a physical back that could wreak havoc for defenses late in games.
With running back, Matt Forte parting ways to sign with the New York Jets this past offseason, Jeremy Langford is projected to start the season as the Bears top running back. However, if Langford doesn't get off to a solid start, Howard may quickly become the Bears primary back. Expect Howard to have an impactful rookie season as he pushes Langford out of the starting running back role in Chicago.
26 Cincinnati Bengals: Giovani Bernard RB
With two big valued fantasy running backs both coming from the Cincinnati Bengals, Giovani Bernard is the back to select over Jeremy Hill this season. One advantage Bernard has over Hill is his amount of receptions. Bernard caught 49 passes last season for 472 yards and averaged 9.6 yards per catch. Bernard also had 21 rushing attempts where he ran for 10 yards or more.
The Bengals may place Bernard in the slot at times this season, making him even more of a receiving threat, which may translate to more touchdowns. With the likelihood of Bernard's receptions and touchdowns increasing this season, he may evolve into a fantasy freak, especially if Hill were to go down with an injury. Bernard makes a fantastic fifth or sixth-round fantasy pick this year. If you're in a situation in your fantasy football draft where you're deciding to draft Bernard or Hill, your best bet is to pick Bernard.
25 Cleveland Browns: Duke Johnson RB
In Duke Johnson's rookie season, he rushed for only 379 yards, but hauled in 61 receptions for 534 years and two touchdowns which ranked fourth among running backs in 2015. The second-year running back out of the University of Miami, Duke Johnson should benefit and see his numbers improve with new head coach, Hue Jackson. In his two-year stint with the Cincinnati Bengals, Jackson conducted a split backfield with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard.
Although Johnson isn't expected to take over the majority of the Browns running game, he's projected to see much more rushing attempts this season as he pairs up with Isaiah Crowell in a two-back system. With his involvement in the passing game, the Browns running back may be a difference maker this year for Cleveland. Johnson can flourish in 2016 and could be a valuable pick in the later rounds of your fantasy draft.
24 Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo QB
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has fantasy owners concerned due to his collarbone, which he broke not once, but twice last season. Romo's collarbone injuries limited him to just four games in 2015 in which he threw for 884 yards with five touchdowns and a hefty seven interceptions. His best game of the season came Week 1 against the New York Giants, which he completed 80% of his passes with three touchdowns and 356 passing yards.
Before last season, Romo ranked in the top-10 for fantasy quarterbacks for eight straight seasons. Romo is now 36 years old and many wonder if he can stay healthy throughout the season. With a full offseason to recover, Romo should be 100% for Week 1. With the offensive weapons of Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Ezekiel Elliot, expect Romo to have a productive season. With many seeing Romo as a QB2 value fantasy player, he would be a great steal in rounds 10-15 in your fantasy draft.
23 Denver Broncos: Cody Latimer WR
As the post-Manning era gets underway, the Denver Broncos have two superstar wide receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Behind their two starting wideouts, the Broncos are looking for someone else to step up to join Thomas and Sanders as primary targets for whoever is the next starting quarterback in Denver. That one player to watch for is wideout Cody Latimer.
The former Indiana standout will compete against Bennie Fowler, Jordan Norwood, and Jordan Taylor for the third spot on the Broncos wide receiver depth chart. Latimer needs to have a breakout season in 2016 after just tallying eight catches and one touchdown in his first two years. Don't expect Latimer to put up big numbers to start the season, but possibly he can prove his talent mid-season if he improves. If Latimer is available in the later rounds of your draft, grab him.
22 Detriot Lions: Eric Ebron TE
We'll see how the Detriot Lions handle the shocking retirement of wide receiver Calvin Johnson. One player that could help out Matthew Stafford this season is the tight end, Eric Ebron. As the third option following Johnson and Golden Tate last season, Ebron had a quick start to the season and showed signs of taking his game to the next level. After scoring two touchdowns in the first two weeks, Ebron didn't locate the end zone again until week seven.
Stafford and Ebron's chemistry should continue to progress this season which could translate to a breakout season for the former Tar Heel. If Ebron proceeds to elevate his game, he could quickly become a top 10 fantasy tight end. After the first-tier tight ends like Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, Greg Olsen, and others come off the board, the remaining tight ends remain cluttered. Ebron presents a unique upside and is a viable selection at the beginning of the later rounds of your fantasy draft.
21 Green Bay Packers: Jeff Janis WR
In his sophomore season with the Packers, Jeff Janis was targeted just 11 times and completed the regular season with two catches for 79 yards. All of his receptions and receiving yards for the season occurred Week 6 in a 27-20 victory against the San Diego Chargers. Nonetheless, Janis had himself a tremendous game in last year's NFC divisional game versus the Cardinals. He scored his first two career touchdowns including a historic 41-yard touchdown catch on a Hail Mary throw from Aaron Rodgers as time expired to send the game into overtime.
Janis comes into the 2016 season competing with the likes of Ty Montgomery and others for the Packers third wideout spot. Also to note, Janis will receive passes from one of the league's best quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers, who has continually made wide receivers relevant. If Janis grabs the third receiving spot, look for his targets to increase dramatically. Plan on drafting the fantasy sleeper in the last few rounds.
20 Houston Texans: Brock Osweiler QB
A former second-round draft selection from Arizona State, quarterback Brock Osweiler starts a new chapter of his NFL career with the Houston Texans. Osweiler took full advantage of his opportunity in Denver last season while eventual Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning sat out with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot. In the final eight games last season, Osweiler threw 170 completions for 1,967 yards with ten touchdowns. He also threw for at least 270 yards in four of his eight games in 2015.
Osweiler moves to a playoff hungry team in Houston with superstar wide receiver DeAdre Hopkins and an established wideout in Cecil Shorts. Also, don't forget running back Lamar Miller, who will open up the passing game for Osweiler. Put all those pieces together and you have one mighty fantasy football sleeper. Right now, Osweiler is a steal in the late rounds and could become a valuable player on your fantasy football team later in the season.
19 Indianapolis Colts: Phillip Dorsett WR
The sophomore wide receiver Phillip Dorsett showed flashes of his playmaking potential during the start of his rookie season. Dorsett caught the attention of many when he went up and pulled in an off-target pass from Andrew Luck to record his first NFL touchdown. Unfortunately, the first round draft pick's season came to a standstill when he sustained a broken fibula in Week 7 that sidelined him for several weeks. Dorsett returned for the last few games of the season and was able to end his first season on a high note, which two decent games.
With the departure of Coby Fleener and Andre Johnson, Dorsett is in line for a breakout season. He's entering the season as the Colts third receiver following wideouts T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. The Colts plan to install a three wide receiver set into their offense that will increase the targets significantly for Dorsett. With a healthy Andrew Luck, Dorsett becomes an outstanding late round selection for all fantasy football formats.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles QB
The former UCF standout and the third pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Blake Bortles will look to build off his sensational 2015 season. Bortles started in all 16 games for the Jaguars last season with 355 completions for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns. He also had six games where he threw for over 300 yards including a 381 passing yard game against the renowned New York Jets defense.
Despite the big offensive numbers, Bortles led the NFL in interceptions with 18 including five games with at least two interceptions. One reason for Bortles' interceptions issue is his lack of protection. No one was sacked last year more than Bortles, who endured 51 sacks. The Jaguars must find a way to improve their offensive line to protect their franchise quarterback. If Bortles' interceptions come down from last year, he may quickly become a top 10 fantasy football quarterback making him a solid starter on any fantasy team. He's already being selected as a top 10 QB, but he might be even better than that.
17 Kansas City Chiefs: Chris Conley WR
One fantasy football sleeper you shouldn't overlook this season is Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley, who will compete with Albert Wilson and Rod Streater for the starting job opposite of Jeremy Maclin. Last season, Conley caught 17 passes on 31 targets for 199 yards and one touchdown. His best game of the year came in Week 7 against the Steelers where he had six receptions for 63 yards with a touchdown. Conley also hauled in a postseason touchdown pass in a blowout win against the Texans.
As one of the lower value fantasy sleepers on the list, Conley is someone you want to watch throughout the season. If Conley can win the starting job, he becomes even a bigger fantasy player to watch throughout the season. It's important to note that even if Conley secures the starting wideout job, the majority of targets will still go to Maclin and tight end Travis Kelce. Until Conley can prove otherwise, he's nothing more than a draft pick in the last few rounds, but could quickly prove us otherwise.
16 Los Angeles Rams: Tyler Higbee TE
The Los Angeles Rams elected to go with the rookie out of Western Kentucky, Tyler Higbee in the fourth round. With the departure of former Rams starting tight end Jared Cook, Higbee will battle with Lance Kendricks for the starting tight end position in 2016. If Higbee can stay focused on and off the field this year, he may quickly find himself as the Rams top option in the red zone and targets.
The rookie tight end is someone you should target in the later rounds of your fantasy draft and is an excellent backup option. Higbee also has the potential for a prominent rookie season, especially if he's able to grab the starting job. Right now, Higbee is not worth anything more than a late-round fantasy draft pick, but if he has an impressive preseason leading up to the Week 1 or Kendricks goes down with an injury, he may be a tight end you want to draft.
15 Miami Dolphins: DeVante Parker WR
After missing five games last year with a foot injury, Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker enters training camp 100% healthy. Parker can emerge as a star playmaker in 2016 with improving quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, and a better offensive line. It doesn't hurt that Dolphins head coach Adam Gase's offensive scheme should open up the passing game and heighten Parker's playmaking abilities.
Parker showed serious potential in the final six games of the regular season after returning from injury. In those last six games, Parker was excellent as he caught 26 passes for 445 yards and three touchdowns. Tannehill and Parker seemed to get on the same page late in the season and likely will continue this season. As a serious down-field threat Parker could quickly become a top 20 fantasy wide receiver this season and experience a breakout year. Parker is a safe fantasy draft pick somewhere in rounds 5-8 with WR2 potential.
14 Minnesota Vikings: Jerick McKinnon RB
Jerick McKinnon's fantasy value depends on star running back Adrian Peterson. When Peterson is out, the running back has shown the potential to be a solid running back for the Vikings. Last season, McKinnon rushed 52 times for 271 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. His biggest game of the year came against the New York Giants in Week 16 where he rushed for 89 yards on just seven carries and two touchdowns.
With his dangerously good athleticism, McKinnon brings one of the biggest upsides in the world of fantasy football. As Peterson enters his tenth season, McKinnon should see his workload increase enough to make him a viable flex option throughout the fantasy football season. Not only can McKinnon run the football, but he's also one of the NFL's best receiving backs. During his two years in the NFL, McKinnon has 48 receptions for 308 yards and a touchdown. McKinnon is a great addition to your fantasy football team and someone to draft around the tenth round of your fantasy draft. If Peterson goes down with an injury this season, he could quickly become an RB1 value player.
13 New England Patriots: Dion Lewis RB
Last year, New England Patriots Dion Lewis was the team's top fantasy running back through the first half of the season before suffering an ACL injury in Week 9. Lewis was not only a threat running the football but also is an active receiving running back as well. Before Lewis injured his knee, he had 36 receptions out of 50 targets for 388 yards and two touchdowns. His rushing stats were also solid as he rushed for 234 yards on 49 attempts with two touchdowns.
According to the Boston Herald, Dion Lewis hasn't endured any setbacks from his ACL surgery in November. However, since the Patriots don't want to rush Lewis back, he will start training camp on the PUP list. Lewis is expected to be ready for the onset of the regular season, and he could see his workload increase at least during the first four weeks of the season with the inexperienced quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo starting in place for suspended Tom Brady.
12 New Orleans Saints: Coby Fleener TE
Standing at 6'6" and weighing 250 pounds, tight end Coby Fleener has a prominent chance to post tremendous numbers in New Orleans with Drew Brees under center and Sean Payton calling the plays. Fleener possesses the stature and athleticism to excel in a tight end happy offense in New Orleans where tight ends saw a sturdy 146 targets in 2015.
Just last year, the 35-year-old veteran Benjamin Watson had career-highs for both receptions (74) and receiving yards (825), along with six touchdowns. There's no reason Fleener shouldn't experience the same success as Watson or even better in 2016. Fleener is coming off a solid 15.2 yards-per-catch with the Colts in 2014, which likely will increase in 2016. Plan to draft Fleener throughout the early to middle rounds of your fantasy football draft. If Fleener is available between the fifth through seventh rounds, pick him.
11 New York Giants: Shepard Sterling WR
The Giants second-round draft pick and former Oklahoma Sooner Sterling Shepard has high expectations entering his rookie season. The Giants plan to give Shepard the starting job alongside Odell Beckham to start the season. With defenses putting a heavy focus on Beckham, Shepard may quickly become a serious playmaker and receive numerous targets from quarterback Eli Manning.
Since Shepard is almost a lock for the starting job and he may be the most successful fantasy football sleeper this season. Expect Shepard to make a significant impact his rookie season in a Giants pass heavy offense. The Giants rookie wide receiver should see over 100 targets which make him a valuable fantasy football pick. With such a prominent upside, take him in the mid-rounds of your fantasy draft.
10 New York Jets: Bilal Powell RB
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell started the 2015 season with a healthy workload as he carried the football 34 times for 131 yards from the first three weeks of the season. However, in the Jets' last eight weeks, Powell had just 36 rushing attempts for 182 yards. Although Powell's rushing attempts declined, he was very efficient in the passing game with 47 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns.
During the offseason, the Jets acquired former Bears running back Matt Forte after losing Chris Ivory to free agency. However, the Jets are expected to run a "time-share system" with both Forte and Powell included. Another issue that fantasy owners face with Powell is his lack of touchdowns. In his career, Powell has only seven touchdowns. At the moment, Powell's fantasy value is trending upwards, but he's nothing more than a late-round draft pick for your fantasy football team. If Powell can prove that he's a primary running back for the Jets this season, he could become an RB2 value.
9 Oakland Raiders: Clive Walford TE
The Oakland Raiders have high hopes for Clive Walford, but the tight end endured a knee injury in an ATV accident during the offseason. Even though he won't be 100% at the start of training camp, Walford is expected to be ready for the outset of the regular season and has already started practicing. Last season, Walford caught just 28 passes for 329 yards for three touchdowns.
Injuries continue to slow the third round draft pick out of Miami, but will look to work his way to the Raiders top tight end in his second season. Walford should get his chances to make big plays down the middle with defenses focusing on wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back Latavius Murray. His 6' 4" wide frame is a nightmare to cover for linebackers and safeties. Raiders may be cautious with him the first few weeks of the season, but expect to see his workload increase rather quickly, making him at the worst a top-15 fantasy tight end.
8 Philadelphia Eagles: Ryan Mathews RB
The former Fresno State running back is entering the 2016 season as the Eagles' starting running back. Many fantasy football owners view Mathews as a risk due to his injury prone career. In his six-year NFL career, Mathews has only played an entire season once. To make matters worse, Mathews will begin the first day of Eagles training camp on the Active/Non-football injury list due to an ankle injury.
The good news is that Mathews has shown signs of being a top-10 fantasy football running back throughout his career. With the departure of running back DeMarco Murray, Mathews expects to lead the Eagles running attack with Darren Sproles and rookie Wendell Smallwood behind him. Mathews is a viable RB2 on your fantasy football team if he can stay healthy. Look to draft him in the fifth or sixth rounds.
7 Pittsburgh Steelers: Markus Wheaton WR
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton showed signs of becoming an elite wideout, especially near the end of the season last year. In the final six games last year, Wheaton caught 28 passes for 476 yards and four touchdowns including an impressive game in Seattle where he hauled in 9 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown. Wheaton will get the chance to build on his compelling play last season with teammate Martavis Bryant suspended for the season.
The former Oregon State Beaver comes into the season as the Steelers second starting wideout behind one of the league's top receivers, Antonio Brown. Wheaton showed his explosiveness last season where he averaged 17 yards per catch. With defenses locking down on Brown, it could open up the chance to connect with Roethlisberger for some big yardage plays. Wheaton is a valuable pickup in rounds seven through ten of your fantasy football draft.
6 San Diego Chargers: Travis Benjamin, WR
After spending four years with a carousel of quarterbacks in Cleveland, Travis Benjamin split ways and signed with the San Diego Chargers this offseason. Despite dealing with three different starting quarterbacks, Benjamin finished last season with 68 receptions for 966 yards and five touchdowns, just shy of a 1,000-yard receiving season. Benjamin started off the season with four touchdowns in the first three games but didn't score again until Week 12. However, he still was very effective throughout the season with three 100+ yards receiving games and averaged 14.2 yards per catch.
The biggest factor in Benjamin's decision to leave the Browns was the lack of talent at their quarterback position. Ultimately he desired a reliable quarterback and has one now in San Diego with proven veteran Philip Rivers. Benjamin will get plenty of passes thrown his way this season as Rivers led all quarterbacks in passing attempts (661) in 2015. Expect Benjamin to be a worthy WR2 fantasy wide receiver and is a steal in the middle rounds of your fantasy football draft.
5 San Francisco 49ers: Torrey Smith WR
San Fransico 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith is coming off a disappointing 2015, where he experienced career lows in receptions (33), receiving yards (663), and yards per game (41.4). Now with free agent receiver Anquan Boldin no longer with the team, this puts Smith as the 49ers top receiver. Not only is Smith the number one receiver heading into the 2016 season, but the other players behind him on the depth chart have just 12 career touchdowns combined. The wideouts behind Smith include names like Jerome Simpson, DiAndre Campbell, Quinton Patton, and Bruce Ellington.
Another advantage Smith has coming into the season is new head coach Chip Kelly. Wide receivers like DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Jordan Matthews all had spectacular years under Kelly's system. Expect Smith to bounce back and become a dangerous weapon in the 49ers offense. As the top option on the San Francisco's offense, Smith is a steal if available in mid to late rounds of your fantasy football draft.
4 Seattle Seahawks: Tyler Lockett WR
Second-year wide receiver Tyler Lockett performed in all 16 games in his rookie season with the Seattle Seahawks as he had 51 receptions for 664 yards and six touchdowns. However, Lockett was overshadowed at times by wideout Doug Baldwin as he put together a jaw-dropping season. Seattle's top receiver had 103 targets last season compared to Lockett's 69. Last year's stats doesn't mean Baldwin will once again dominate that majority of targets this season. Lockett has unmatched speed and change in direction ability that could put him up for a breakout season.
Lockett is a player you should carefully watch in your fantasy draft as he could quickly become a dominant deep threat scorer in Seattle. With his enormous upside, he could end up ranking close to the top 20 fantasy football wide receivers by the end of the season. His value could easily rise to a WR2 value. Plan on drafting Lockett in your fantasy football draft near the end of the middle rounds.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston QB
The 2015 first overall draft pick exceeded expectations last season, but it wasn't necessarily a great year for Winston. The Tampa Bay quarterback threw 15 interceptions, which ranked fifth among NFL Quarterbacks last season. Despite the interceptions, Winston finished seventh in the NFC in passing yards with 4,042 yards with 22 touchdowns in his rookie season. Last season, Winston best game came in Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles as he threw 19 completions for 246 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions.
Winston comes into his sophomore season looking to cut down on his interceptions and build off his rookie campaign. For Winston to take his game to the next level, he needs to work on his conditioning and continue to develop chemistry with Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans. If you're fantasy football owner that prefers to wait until the later rounds to draft your quarterback, Winston makes an excellent pick for you.
2 Tennessee Titans: Dorial Green-Beckham WR
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota showed flashes of a promising future in the NFL during his rookie campaign and 6'5", 225-pound wide receiver, Green-Beckham may be Mariota's favorite target in 2016. With Mariota's ability to efficiently move around the pocket and Green-Beckham's downfield ability, expect big plays from these two Titans. Green-Beckham's best game last year came Week 15 against the New England Patriots where he caught six passes for 113 years. In total, Green-Beckham hauled in just 32 receptions and reached the end zone four times, but expect those numbers to increase this season dramatically.
The Titans improved their backfield this offseason when they drafted Alabama running back, Derrick Henry and signed veteran DeMarco Murray. The new running back acquisitions should help balance their offense and open up the passing game for big play opportunities. With that said, Green-Beckham will be a nightmare for defenses to cover. Look for him to be a WR2-WR3 value.
1 Washington Redskins: Matt Jones RB
With Alfred Morris surprise signing to the rival Dallas Cowboys, second-year running back Matt Jones is now the primary running back in Washington. Apparently, Gruden saw enough from Jones during his rookie season to secure a starting role. Also, the former Florida Gator faces little to no competition for the top running back spot on the Redskins depth chart. On the Redskins depth chart behind Jones is third down specialist, Chris Thompson and seventh-round draft pick, Keith Marshall.
In 13 games, Jones completed his rookie season with 794 total years and four touchdowns. One thing that Jones has to improve is his ball security. Jones fumbled the football five times last year. If Jones can lower his fumbles this year, he could not only be a difference maker for the Redskins, but also for your fantasy football team. With his fantasy value trending upwards, expect the second-year running back to see a heavy workload in 2016 and on his way to an RB1 value fantasy player.
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