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2016 NFL DFS and Season-long Preview Series



Here at, we want to give you the information you need to draft your winning DFS and championship season-long rosters. This year, that begins with our 2016 Fantasy Preview Series. Each week leading up to the start of the regular season we will provide you analysis and information you need to succeed and bring home that BACON! For even more insight and access to our NFL Optimal Lineups, check out our membership options for daily, monthy subscriptions!

Without a lot of DFS contests really kicking off until September, and a lot of season-long drafts coming up, this week’s preview looks at season-long format draft strategy: who we like, who we don’t, and who we recommend avoiding at all costs. We’ve run thousands of mock drafts to generate ADP (average draft positions) and strategies to help you lock up those 2016 daily and season-long championships.

In this edition, we take a look at who you need to target and who you need to avoid for the 2016 season

Positional Breakdown: Wide Receivers

Tier 1:

Antonio Brown – Hands down the number 1 overall player in fantasy football going into 2016, Brown has strung together back to back seasons of elite WR numbers. His rare combination of speed, quickness, route-running ability and hands has him firmly seated on the fantasy football throne. He trailed only Julio Jones in targets and yards and tied for the league lead in catches. He eclipsed 100 yards in 9 games, including a 17-284 game against the Raiders. The Steelers will be without their #2 in Martavis Bryant due to suspension, so expect another monster workload for Brown.

Odell Beckham Jr. – ODB is the most exciting receiver in football. He makes the most spectacular catches I’ve personally ever seen and knows how to have a good time in the end zone. He finished last season as the #4 overall WR in PPR formats even though he missed 1 game due to suspension. He had 8 games over 100 yards and looks primed to repeat as the #1 option in the high-power Giants offense. Incoming rookie Sterling Shephard looks talented enough to draw some double teams away from Beckham. He should have another fantastic season.

Julio Jones – My personal favorite in the elite class of WR’s is Julio Jones. Coming off offseason foot surgery in 2015, Jones owned opposing defenses to the tune of 136 catches for a ridiculous 1871 yards and 8 touchdowns. Roddy White and Leonard Hankerson are gone so Julio can definitely expect teams to roll two defenders to his side, limiting his upside. Health is a slight concern here as he has dealt with numerous foot and ankle issues in the past. Regardless, he’s still a matchup nightmare and should have another incredible season.

DeAndre Hopkins – Hopkins became a household fantasy  name last year as he finished in the top 5 of all receivers and owned opposing defenses with an awful quarterback. He finished the season in the top 3 in targets, catches and yards in 2016.  The Texans are bringing in former Broncos QB, Brock Osweiler. I’m not advocating for Osweiler here, but he’s an upgrade from the garbage the Texans trotted out last season (I’m looking at you, Weeden!). The Texans have also brought in a slew of young, talented receivers easing some of the pressure on Hopkins.

Tier 2

Brandon Marshall – Age is nothing but a number, apparently. At 32, Marshall tied for the league lead in touchdowns (14) with Allen Robinson and finished with 10 games of 100+ receiving yards. Receivers are usually on the decline at this point in their careers, but Marshall finished 2015 as the #3 overall receiver. He and Eric Decker have developed an incredible relationship with Ryan Fitzpatrick, who resigned with the Jets this offseason.

Allen Robinson – Breakout WR of the Year award in 2015 easily went to Allen Robinson. The Jaguars were playing from behind a lot in 2015, allowing Blake Bortles to air it out to the young stud. Robinson finished tied for the league lead in touchdowns at 14 and gained over 1,400 yards. The Jags defense has improved so I wouldn’t expect the Jags to be forced to throw late into games. However, Bortles has looked fantastic so far this off and preseason and Robinson appears primed to light it up again in 2016.

Dez Bryant – What can you say, the guy is a monster. The only reason he’s fallen into the 2nd tier: the foot injury that effectively sank his 2015 campaign. All reports out of Dallas are positive and he has looked like a stud in the first 2 preseason games, running and cutting hard and collecting TDs in each. The Romo injury factor could come into play, but Cowboys backup, Dak Prescott, looks like a future star. Dez is bouncing back in a big way this year.

AJ Green – Very similar to Dez, AJ Green found himself on the fringe between the best and the rest. The Bengals have moved on from Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, and Tyler Eiffert, last year’s breakout TE, is dealing with a lingering Pro Bowl ankle issue and subsequent surgeries and may not be available. Two things could develop here: defenses key on Green and attempt to shut him down, or Green eats up 15 targets a game and the Bengals are forced to feed him. If the latter develops, Green could finish as the top WR in the 2016 season.

Brandin Cooks – No receiver in the NFL finished 2015 hotter than Cooks. He’s the number one receiver option on a high-powered offense led by one of the best QBs in the league. After a slow start to 2015 with no TDs through the first 4 weeks, Cooks caught fire scoring 9 TDs over the next 12 games. He’s young, quick and aggressive. He’ll have a great 2016.

Doug Baldwin – Baldwin broke out in 2015 for a share of the league lead in TDs at 14. Baldwin emerged as Russel Wilson’s primary option and exploded for 12 TDs over the last 8 games. Expect a slight drop in production from those numbers, but Baldwin should still be heavily targeted in an offense that’s looking for a post-Marshawn Lynch identity.

Amari Cooper – Cooper was the best overall rookie WR last season with 1080 yards
and 6 touchdowns. The Raiders offense appears to be trending the right direction with David Carr and a revamped offensive line. Cooper should avoid the sophomore slump and, with Michael Crabtree on the other side, will avoid double teams and safeties over the top.
Alshon Jeffrey – Jeffrey should probably be in the 3rd tier, but the guy has soooo much potential. Jeffrey’s problem is that he can’t stay on the field. When he’s healthy, he’s as close to unstoppable as you get. Unfortunately, I can’t be convinced of his ability to stay healthy and we will be avoiding him this season.

Tier 3

Mike Evans – After an impressive rookie season in 2014, Evans’ stock sank in 2015 due to drops and inefficient redzone trips. He led the league in drops and only converted 2 of 15 redzone targets. He did have 5 games over 100 yards in 2015 and, if he gets the drops under control, has the ability to be a top 10 WR.

T.Y. Hilton – There’s no doubt about it, as Andrew Luck goes, the Colts offense goes. That was never more apparent than the production drop Hilton saw as Luck was out with injuries. Luck is back and healthy. All reports from Colts camp have been extremely positive for Hilton with Luck labeling him the MVP of camp.

Randall Cobb – Cobb, like the rest of the Packers offense, struggled with Jordy Nelson out with a torn ACL. Cobb is a young, talented receiver that, unfortunately, didn’t embrace the #1 role. He only had 1 game over 100 yards and 6 touchdowns. However, 3 of those came in one contest, severely limiting his impact on the rest of the season. Nelson is back, taking some pressure off of Cobb.

Eric Decker – Decker keeps being undervalued and he keeps proving us wrong. He’s probably going to make me eat my 3rd Tier projection for him and light up the league for another 12 TDs like 2015. He, Brandon Marshall and Ryan Fitzpatrick have developed a really nice chemistry and they’re all back in action in 2016.
Jeremy Maclin – The Chiefs offense limits Maclin’s true potential. Maclin is easily the number one option in the Chiefs passing attack. Unfortunately, the Chiefs passing attack is pretty weak. Alex Smith is serviceable and Travis Kelce is a top-10 TE option. Maclin possess the size and speed to be productive, but the offense limits his stats. He still finished 2015 with 8 TDs and 1088 yards. He’s firmly on the WR 2-3 bubble.

Golden Tate – Calvin Johnson has retired and Golden Tate has some big shoes to fill. He’s capable and has the tools to succeed. The Lions is young and should feature a high-octane passing scheme with plenty of target for Tate and, free agent acquisition, Marvin Jones. Stafford and the Lions will likely be playing from behind in 2016, opening the door for a big increase in targets.

Michael Crabtree – People keep counting Crabtree out, and he keeps proving them wrong. The former top-10 overall pick was drafted by the 49ers and had several mediocre season in the Bay. He then signed a free agent deal in 2015 for the Raiders across the Bay, and had one of his best seasons as a pro. He’s developed a nice chemistry with Derek Carr and has an up-and-coming superstar on the opposite side in Amari Cooper.

PPR Beasts

Julian Edelman – In PPR formats, Edelman is a top 5 WR. In standard formats, not so much. Edelman is Tom Brady’s #1 WR option in a Patriots offense built on quick, underneath throws and a power running game. Edelman averages nearly 9 targets per game and has great hands. His biggest area of concern is his injury history. If he can stay healthy, the sky is the limit for Edelman in PPR formats.

Keenan Allen – Allen is, in my opinion, a Tier 2 WR. In PPR formats, he’s easily Tier 1. Injuries ended his 2015 prematurely, but not before he collected 53 catches through the first 6 weeks of the season. Average that out over the year and you’ve got a 141 catch season, 2 behind the all-time NFL record.

Jarvis Landry – Landry is the epitome of a PPR beast. His 110 catches, 4th in the league, came underneath as his average catch was 7.2 yards from the line of scrimmage. He’s only 22 and just getting better and better. Youngster Devante Parker is the deep threat and his ability will dictate safety help over the top.   This should again open up the underneath for Landry to operate in 2016.


Devante Parker

Sterling Shepard

Devin Funchess

Josh Gordon

Kevin White

Tajae Sharpe

Marvin Jones

Tread Cautiously

Injuries, age or offensive decline are raising red flag

Demaryius Thomas/ Emmanuel Sanders

Sammy Watkins

Kelvin Benjamin

Desean Jackson

Steve Smith

Jordy Nelson

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