As camps get ready to open, here are a few story lines that we're watching.
Even though Andre Johnson would like a trade out of Houston, it's unlikely that the Texans will let him go. Johnson has said that he'll report to camp which is good news. He'll need some time with the new offense and QB. Johnson is on the back-9 of his career, but with his Top 15 FFN ranking and a 4th-round ADP, he should still be a fine fantasy WR.
The bad news first: Newton is not yet fully healed from his off-season ankle surgery. The good news: he'll be spending quality time with his receiving corp shortly, and he'll need to devote a ton of time because not a single one of his receivers has caught a pass from him yet. The receiving corp in Charlotte will need time to come together and develop some chemistry. We'll keep an eye on their progression along with Newton's fantasy rank. Currently he's at #8 among all QB's on FFN.
With a healthy Aaron Rodgers, the Packers won't have to lean on Lacy as much which is great news for fantasy owners. Without defenses stacking the box, Lacy should get some much-needed breathing room. As far as we're concerned, there's nowhere for Lacy to go but up, which is why he's sitting in the FFN Top 5.
Robert Griffin III
So far, RGIII looks like he may be fully recovered from his knee injury. This is great news for fantasy owners, particularly with the addition of ex-Philly's receiver DeSean Jackson. Griffin disappointed many owners last year when he failed to see a single rushing TD after legging in seven during his rookie year. While we don't expect to see a return to rookie-year rushing stats, we do expect RGIII to excel in Jay Gruden's offense. He's currently ranked #9 on FFN and it wouldn't surprise us to see him finish the season there or slightly better.
If you are not willing to spend a premium on guys like Manning, Rodgers, or Brees, hang back a bit and grab Nick Foles. His #6 FFN ranking shows what the industry thinks of him, but he's going in the 6th or 7th rounds of most drafts right now making him an excellent value. We'd feel very confident with Foles under center of our fantasy team.
Fool me once - shame on you. Fool me twice - shame on me. Doug Martin was the first round pick for thousands of players last year and easily earned the 2013 FFN Bust of the Year Award. Martin appears to be healthy, but with the strong showings from both Mike James and Bobby Rainey in his absence, any expectation of Martin returning to fantasy glory from two years ago should be immediately removed from your mind in our opinion. The industry disagrees with us as Martin is ranked #12 among RB's on FFN.
Look, we don't have a crystal ball on when or if Gronk will miss time again this year. He's currently ranked #3 among TE's on FFN with both Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas safer picks; however, we have seen Gronk as the 2nd-taken TE in several drafts so far. Until we know for sure how his rehab has gone, Gronk remains a risk/reward player. You're likely taking some risk by drafting him as your starter, but when he's healthy and on, he's a monster. We'll know more next month.
Jones was the WR1 for many fantasy owners in drafts last year. He missed two-thirds of the season and the Falcons didn't seem like the same team. Roddy White appears to be back to 100% and so does Jones. With future HOF Tony Gonzalez officially retired, we expect Matt Ryan to be able to spread around the targets, and the industry apparently agrees as Julio Jones is ranked 6th among WR's on FFN.
We'll obviously keep an eye on all players as the preseason approaches.
Don't forget to check out FFN for all of our fantasy football draft rankings.
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