The Wayniac Nation Fantasy Football Preview: Busts, Breakthroughs, Sleepers and MVPs

People often ask me, “Wayniac, shouldn’t you be winning fantasy championships year in and year out if I am supposed to trust you as a fantasy expert?” My reply is often the same: “Are you that stupid?”

As a blogger and fantasy player, I give you weekly advice about the game of fantasy football. I don’t get to draft every player I discuss, nor do I have many of them on my teams. Plus, I have to square off against my fellow experts, three of which in this preview have single handedly prevented me from winning a championship the past two seasons.

People also ask me why I started a blog. The main reason was to voice my opinion. But along the way, I formed the Wayniac Nation team. My friends know sports, especially fantasy, and I knew if I gave them the platform to find their voice they would.

Last year, we did ok in our preview (relive the memories right HERE), but as the season grew on, our weekly Starts and Sits grew stronger and stronger. This year, I added my wife to the panel of fantasy experts, as she has become quite the fantasy geek under three years of my tutelage. This is long, but my crack team of experts really have thrown together a great Fantasy Football Preview that has me proud to think how far we have come. Read it. Live it. Draft it.

Saucy T (his trophy closet has already surpassed other legendary NFL Masons: Derrick and Tre):

Fantasy MVP: CJ Anderson

For the final 8 weeks of the season CJ averaged almost 20 points a game in standard scoring and 24 points a game in PPR, and now he gets the Kubiak/Shannahan offense that produced great seasons from backs like Steve Slaton, Olandis Gary, and Mike Anderson.

Fantasy Rookie of the Year: Davante Parker- looking for this year’s Odell Beckham Jr? Parker will likely miss the first few weeks and be available on waivers. Do yourself a favor and pick him up. He will spark life into a stagnant dink and dunk offense in Miami

Comeback Player: Carson Palmer

I’ll stay away from the easy choice of AP since he ruined my fantasy year last year. Carson Palmer will join a Bruce Arians offense that likes to air it out, if he stays healthy he could easily be a top 5 QB

Breakthrough Player: Joseph Randle. I think The Wayniac could run for 500 yards behind the Cowboys O Line. If he can stay healthy, Joseph Randle will become a top 5 fantasy back and possibly the number 1 RB.

Biggest bust: Marshawn Lynch – I predicted Lynch to go over the proverbial RB cliff last year, so I’ll beat that drum again. Add to that the loss of Max Unger and an O Line that will be a work in progress, and I’ll stay away from Beast Mode at his top 6 price.

Sleeper: I don’t want to make an easy pick that I’ve seen everywhere else, so I’ll go off the board and say Justin Hardy. Roddy White is getting old, and Julio Jones may end up triple teamed most games, leaving Hardy to roam free in the underneath patterns where Tony Gonzalez thrived.

Photo courtesy of The Boston Herald
Photo courtesy of The Boston Herald

JD (the San Francisco Giants of Fantasy Football: crushes in even years, disappears in odd years… proceed with caution!):

Fantasy MVP: Andrew Luck. About as safe of a play as you could make here. He turns 26 next month and is surrounded by talented ball-catchers. Andre Johnson should flourish in this new role and the Colts will keep the ball in the air alot and put up loads of points. As the Brady/Manning/Brees era wanes, enter Mr. Luck to become the new pinnacle for NFL QB’s for years to come.

Fantasy Rookie of the Year: Duke Johnson. Amari Cooper is the obvious choice here, but the latest product from “Running Back U” should really make an impact in his first year in Cleveland, assuming he gets back on the field shortly. The Browns were able to make Isiah Crowell and Terrance West fantasy relevant last year and Duke should keep the chains moving and rack up RB2 fantasy points after he becomes the feature back.

Comeback Player: Jordan Cameron. Or is it Cameron Jordan? I can never get it right! I do know that which ever one is the TE is one of the most athletic and reliable tight ends in the league, when healthy. After a Pro Bowl 2013 season, Cameron couldn’t stay away from the concussion bug last year. Only 27 and in Miami, Cameron should jump back into the elite TE category since Ryan Tannehill targeted tight ends 124 times last year. That figures to be alot of catches for Matt Leinart‘s uncle…kind of.

Breakthrough Player: Latavius Murray. BEAST. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve watched a Raiders game since Super Bowl XXXVII, but I do remember seeing highlights of this dude sprinting in open field alot late last season. He and Derek Carr should lead a more productive offense with the addition of Cooper and I don’t see Roy Helu or Trent Richardson vulturing too many carries from Murray. I expect Latavius to be the No. 1 RB named Murray this season and a top 10 back for the next few seasons.

Biggest bust: Matt Ryan. I hate this as a Falcons fan, but Matty Ice lost his Hall-of-Famer and safety net, Tony Gonzalez, his reliable slot receiver, Harry Douglass, and still has major concerns at offensive line. Combined with an unproven running game and a new OC (I don’t trust Kyle Shanahan a lick), this could be a another long season for the Falcons and even worse for Ryan. The fact he has dodged injuries with all of the hits he has taken is pure luck. It’s just a matter of time until we see T.J. Yates. Eli Manning is a better choice if you decide to wait until the middle rounds for a QB.

Sleeper: Jonathan Stewart. Quick, how old is Jonathan Stewart? If you guessed somewhere in the 30’s, you’re with me. Dude is only 28 and has split carries his entire career with now departed DeAngelo Williams. He showed late last year that he has plenty in the tank and the newly balanced Panthers offense should feature Stewart alot this season. This 4th round investment won’t be your sexiest pick, but might be your most valuable. Chris Ivory also fits this description, but he is on the Jets.

No. 1 Overall Pick: Andrew Luck. Can’t use this pick on the uncertainty of AP and I keep getting burned on taking the consensus No. 1 RB when I’ve had the opportunity (see LeSean McCoy last year). Get Luck on your team early if you can and build depth at WR and RB in the later rounds.

Kordell

Benny Smalls (will forever be remembered as the guy who made Kordell Stewart Nitro’s first ever pick):

Fantasy MVPEddie Lacy — a true first through fourth down back, good hands, no one wants to tackle him and you cannot stack the box.

Fantasy Rookie of the Year – Melvin Gordon, he’s extremely talented and has a canvas to demonstrate his skills, he will shine

Comeback Player – AP, something to prove…

Breakthrough PlayerEddie Royal – will compliment the double coverage Alshon demands

Biggest bustDoug Martin (I just hate him)

SleeperCarlos Hyde (now with Gore gone, its all him) / Allen Robinson – brutal team, but he has skillz / Kai Forbath – never disappoints

Fee (used to wear so many necklaces, Mr. T sued for copyright infringement):

NO.1 OVERALL – I couldn’t disagree more with The Wayniac’s assessment of the first pick (click HERE if you forgot). Yes RB is getting more and more devalued, however there’s no reason that top tier RB’s shouldn’t be drafted at the top of the draft. And this year, I believe that RB should be Adrian Peterson. I just believe that he’s the best RB in the league and being off a year I think helps him be fresh rather than hurts him from being away from the game. He wasn’t hurt and he’s got something to prove.. So he’s my guy this year.

MVP – This one is easy. It’s Andrew Luck. They’re still going to have to throw the ball even with Gore in the backfield. I’m not sure about their defense this year either, so with the stable of WR’s Luck has to throw to, look out.

ROY – Gurley’s injury scares me. I know he won’t be ready for the start of the season, and I just think he won’t be full speed until it’s too late. That and he’ll be sharing carries with Tre Mason. I’m going with Melvin Gordon. He’s the guy in SD and Rivers is perennially a good QB who can stretch the D. Gordon should get plenty of opportunity this year.

COMEBACK – There’s a lot of guys to choose from this year, and since I already chose AP for the No.1 overall pick, I’m going to go with AJ Green. The guy has been going off the board as the 9th WR taken, but if he’s back to being 100% healthy this year, there’s no reason why he can’t be the guy he was 2 and 3 years ago.

BREAKTHROUGH – I’ve got a guy for this one, but I can’t reveal who it is….too many guys from the Nitro league read this blog.

BUSTCalvin Johnson. The Lions will not be good. He’s getting up in age, and I can’t get on the Stafford bus. Calvin goes as Stafford goes, and I don’t see it working out this year.

SLEEPER – See my Breakthrough prediction? Same thing! I would draft Steve Weatherford however, just based on the fact that he’s a punter and looks like a WWE wrestler. Now that’s cool.

Photo Cred: Men's Health
Photo Cred: Men’s Health

Nomi the Greek (could give Brett Keisel a run for the money in the Fear the Beard department):

Fantasy MVP: Adrian Peterson. Why? Because he’s Adrian Peterson. Duhhhh

Fantasy ROY: Ameer Abdullah. He’s going to be a work horse RB in a passing offense that features Calvin Johnson. With the shear number of carries he is going to receive he won’t be able to help but to put up good numbers.

Comeback Player of the Year: Same as the MVP. “All Day” Peterson. Why? You already know why.

Breakthrough Player: Jeremy Hill already made people aware of his talents in his rookie year. He’s a big, fast and physical back who will enter 2016 as a top 3 fantasy back.

Biggest Bust: This is so easy! Julius Thomas! Peyton Manning > Blake Bortles.

Sleeper: Joe Randle will be running behind the biggest, baddest offensive line in the NFL. Randle may not be as good as Demarco but he is going to put up very respectable numbers this season. Ohhhhh….. and because Darren McFadden will be hurt all season long.

Photo Cred: Steelers.com
Photo Cred: Steelers.com

Ted Reed (being a Detroit Tigers fan gives him ample time to study fantasy football in the summer):

1st overall– L. Bell

Fantasy MVP– L. Bell

Comeback player-T.Eifert

Breakthrough Player-E.Ebron

BustBishop Sankey

Sleeper– Stevie Johnson

JayCutler1

Dunton (Positive: he’s a Bucs fan through thick and thin. Negative: he’s a Bucs fan, which makes his knowledge of football questionable at best):

Fantasy MVP: So year in and year out we look for the stud. The guy who teams love to watch put on their backs and carry them to the playoffs. This year I am looking no further than Indianapolis. I see Andrew Luck having a monster year. The addition of Andre Johnson will only improve Andrew’s passing numbers and he can still use his legs to get out of trouble. It is tough to imagine someone beating Aaron Rodgers’ numbers from last year but if anyone can do it Mr.Luck is your guy.

Fantasy Rookie of the Year: Amari Cooper. The speedy WR from Alabama is heading to the Black Hole with a QB coming off of a decent rookie campaign. The Raiders are still a team in transition but they are making steps in the right direction and Amari is going to help them get there faster. The Raiders are going to have to throw to stay in games so Amari’s targets will increase as games get deep in the 3rd and 4th quarter. I think Amari is going to have a few weeks of growing pains but once those are figured out watch out. You may wait on him and in some leagues he may even be on the waiver wire after week 1. Don’t let him stay there too long, he won’t last.

Comeback Player: So this is going to be a stretch for me but for some reason I think this is the make or break year for this guy. Jay Cutler is my comeback player this season. He can’t be that bad right? Or is he? This is the year. Jay has to prove himself to John Fox or the Bears will be on QB search 2016 for sure. Jay has the tools to be a top 10 fantasy QB but for some reason his head gets in the way. Gone is Brandon Marshall but Alshon Jeffrey is still there and the Bears welcome in their new toy in Kevin White who may be the reason Jay ascends up the fantasy QB charts. Like I said earlier, this is it for Jay. Another bad year and he is packing his bags and he may not land anywhere softly.

Breakthrough Player: A breakthrough player is a player who breaks on the scene fantasy wise and has owners who drafted them boasting of their smarts while if undrafted become hot commodities on the waiver wire. This year I am giving this honor to Travis Kelce (TE-KC). Kelce is coming off a 67 yard,5 TD, 867 yard season but I see him having more this year. The Chiefs threw zero, yes you read that right, zero TD’s to Wr’s last season. I don’t see that happening again with the addition of Jeremy McLain but let’s remember TE’s are a QB best friend and Kelce will be Alex Smith’s security blanket. I can see 7 TD’s and over 900 yards from Kelce this year. That is a solid performance from a TE not named Gronk or Graham.

Biggest bust: It’s hard to call this guy a bust but I am losing confidence in Drew Brees and the departure of Jimmy Graham hurts his stock even more. Drew will still be one of the top 5 QB’s taken in most leagues but I don’t see the value there, especially when you may be able to wait a round or two and grab Tony Romo, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, or Ryan Tannehill. All of the later mentions are anywhere from 2 to 3 rounds later. Heck Tom Brady is three rounds later and it is probably only because he is going to miss 4 games (maybe, possibly, yet to be determined). I see a big drop off from Drew this year so that is why I am calling him a bust.

Sleeper: Davante Adams-WR GB. Three top WR’s on one team. Why not when you have Mr.Rodgers throwing you the ball. Jordy and Randall will get their looks but at some point in the redzone teams will have to defend them, enter Devante. I just think that the greatest show on turf may be replaced by the greatest show on tundra.

Number 1 Overall Pick: Le’Veon Bell. It’s weird to sit here and see multiple RB’s in the top 10 but maybe the league is due to have the pendulum swing back to some ball control. Nobody loves to control the ball more than Mike Tomlin and the Steelers and their bell cow is poised to see the ball a lot. Look at this team in their playoff loss to the Ravens, they were a shell of themselves without Bell. Yes, he is going to miss the first two games but you would rather have him miss those than week 14 and 15. Go get Bell and listen to it ring loud all year.

Jonathan: (brother of The Wayniac, father of the single greatest text of all time)

MVP – Andrew Luck

Rookie of the Year – Nelson Agholor

Comeback Player – Brandon Cooks

Breakthrough Player – Tavon Austin

Biggest bustRussell Wilson

Sleeper – Tyler Eiffert

1st pick – Jamaal Charles

pats shoes close up

The Wife-iac: (beat her husband in fantasy last year, which under deflated his balls)

MVP: Andrew Luck

Rookie of the Year: Justin Hardy. Purple and Gold!!!

Comeback Player: AP, duh.

Breakthrough: Jonas Gray

Bust: Drew Brees

Sleeper: Eli Manning. He gets a full season with ODB and of course Shane Vereen.

1st pick: Le’Veon Bell

Denver Broncos v Houston Texans

The Wayniac (nearly quit fantasy last year after suffering two of the most devastating playoff losses in the final minutes of the Falcons/Packers MNF game):

MVP: With the recent wave of injuries, I am a bit torn. I thought this would go to AA Rod, but Jordy Nelson’s ACL certainly hurts him. The Maurkice Pouncey injury hurts me a bit too, but I think that offense is sexy. I think Big Ben will put up a season that puts him in position to earn Fantasy MVP honors. Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and HEEEEEEATH Miller are a lot of weapons.

Rookie of the Year: Roddy White and Julio Jones are sure to miss a few games. Plus, my wife went to ECU and I need to have a little homer in me. I think Justin Hardy will surprise a lot of people this season.

Breakthrough: Fantasy Football is largely about which young stars progress or digress. That being said, Ryan Tannehill has gotten better each year, and so have the Dolphins. He has been a should I start him this week? kind of guy for two seasons now. By October, there won’t be any question.

Comeback: Of course it will be AP, but don’t sleep on AJ. Andre Johnson became fantasy irrelevant last season, but this year he joins one of the best offenses in the NFL and arguably has the best QB throwing to him. He’s 34, but he still has a lot of gas in the tank, and for the first time in his career he has a sick complementary receiver.

Bust: I don’t like all the hate on Brees. If anyone can turn a no name receiver into a star it’s him, and we all know how I feel about Brees (if you forgot read THIS). I am going with Eli Manning. He has some of the best weapons he has ever had, but if there is a QB that can find a way to miss those stud targets, it’s good ol’ Eli.

Sleeper: J-Stew was sick we he gained the Carolina backfield all for himself last year. Now that Kelvin Benjamin is out for the year, the Panthers will ground and pound it more, and Jonathan Stewart will be the sole beneficiary. I will also probably draft J.J. Watt in the last few rounds, just in case he becomes the full time tight end!

 

 

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