Ten lists to check before you draft
If I've learned one thing about the Internet, it's that the people, they love the lists. So back with our yearly tradition, here are 10 lists. Of 10.
List One: 10 things you should have changed your mind about over the course of the preseason
1. That Terrance West is going to hamper Ben Tate's fantasy value. Tate is still an injury risk, and I like West's talent should anything happen to Tate, but as long as he is healthy, Tate will be more of a workhorse than initially thought.
2. That the Cardinals' defense should be feared and/or drafted. Decimated by injuries, this is no longer a team I would be concerned with my players facing. And they certainly shouldn't be drafted as high as they are (fifth among defenses). I won't have them in my top 10.
3. That Sammy Watkins is the first rookie wide receiver you should draft. Watkins' getting banged up, EJ Manuel being the one throwing him the ball and the emergence of Brandin Cooks in New Orleans put Watkins as my No. 2 rookie wideout this year.
4. That Ray Rice is done. Think he looks good, think the offensive line looks good and love his current ADP, in the sixth round.
5. That Robert Griffin III is a good bet to have a huge season. I still love him as a player and as a fantasy QB this season -- I stand by my statement that if he plays all 16 games, he is top-5 -- but that preseason game against Cleveland definitely gave me pause about his prospects of playing those 16 games. Slide, Robert! For the love of all that is good and pure in this world, slide! If you draft RG III, you need a backup.
7. That Michael Crabtree is a WR3. His current ADP puts him at 21st among wideouts and going in the sixth round. Have always loved his talent, but concerns over focus of San Francisco's offense and additions of Stevie Johnson are overblown. The guy is fully healthy and ready to have a top-15 season, with a legit shot to creep into the top 10.
8. That Jeremy Hill will cut into Giovani Bernard's production. I've no doubt that Hill will get some work, but five of Bernard's rushing touchdowns last year came from inside an opponent's 10-yard line. Gio is going to get the ball early and often. He's going to get the ball in space and between the tackles. He's the guy.
9. That Josh Gordon is undraftable this year. Realize this might truly blow up in my face as early as five seconds after this column is published, but -- total gut call here -- I think Gordon plays this year. How much and when, no idea, but I feel like they make some sort of deal and he's not out for the entire year. Based on upside alone, very much worth a flier in the 10th round or later.
10. That Cam Newton won't have anyone to throw to. Kelvin Benjamin has been better than advertised, and while I don't think anyone is going to mistake the Panthers' receiving corps for the Falcons, Packers or Bears, they are at least as good a group as they had last year, when Cam was once again a top-5 fantasy quarterback.
List Two: 10 guys who show up the most on my rosters this year when I draft or mock-draft.
1. Montee Ball, Broncos
2. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
3. Jordy Nelson, Packers
4. Andre Ellington, Cardinals
5. Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings
6. Rashad Jennings, Giants
7. Pierre Thomas, Saints
8. Kendall Wright, Titans
9. Jordan Reed, Washington, or Zach Ertz, Eagles
10. Jay Cutler, Bears
List Three: 10 players who will benefit the most from coaching changes.
3. Matthew Stafford, Lions. Joe Lombardi gets a lot of credit for helping take Drew Brees' game to its current lofty heights, and I expect the same for Stafford, who will clean up the footwork, mechanics and turnovers that have plagued him in the past. Adding Golden Tate doesn't hurt, either.
4. Victor Cruz, Giants. A lot of quick slants and yards after the catch coming in Ben McAdoo's offense.
5. Lance Dunbar, Cowboys. Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and Terrance Williams also benefit from Scott Linehan's game plan of throwing it all over the place, but Dunbar goes from undraftable in standard leagues to potentially this year's Joique Bell in deeper PPR leagues, although without the goal-line carries.
7. Mike Wallace, Dolphins. Going to play the DeSean Jackson role in Bill Lazor's "Eagles South" offense.
8. Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter, Titans. Ken Whisenhunt made Eddie Royal fantasy-relevant for a month or so last year. I repeat: Eddie Royal. He'll improve the entire Titans offense, but these two are the main beneficiaries.
9. Ben Tate, Browns. Now gets to be a full-time back in Kyle Shanahan's one-cut zone-blocking scheme, the same one he ran so well in Houston.
10. Bobby Rainey and Mike James, Buccaneers. Getting Jeff Tedford as their offensive coordinator means they have a shot to see the field even if Doug Martin is fully healthy. Tedford wants multiple backs to handle the ball, and while they don't love these guys as much as they loved Charles Sims, they don't believe that Martin (or any running back) should handle the load full time.
List Four: 10 best fantasy team names (that I can print) that were suggested to me on Twitter.
A lot of team names turn out to be puns on players' names (and often about players who will never actually be on a fantasy roster), so I try to set the bar high for those. There are definitely some name-based team names in here, but I also tried to include more names that I just like. For what it's worth, Zach Ertz, Tyler Eifert and Rob Gronkowski were among the more popular inspiration for team names, some of which did make the cut.
1. Follow me on Instagraham - @crushlikegrape
2. I am Gronk - Many "Guardians of the Galaxy" fans.
3. Leather & Lacy - Many more Stevie Nicks fans than I would have thought.
4. Kenny Stills Nash & Young - @the_real_fugly
5. Kelce Lately - @juxdux
6. Cow Tipping Mafia - @briansigmon
7. This is gonna Ertz - @p_runyon
8. Ladies & Edelman - @jaredramos22
9. Swoons over My Sammy - @juxdux
10. Kaepernet Sauvignon - Mack. (Like I said, names -- and handles -- I can print.)
List Five: 10 leftover facts from my '100 Facts' column
1. Since Andrew Luck came into the league, only Cam Newton has more rushing touchdowns among quarterbacks. He's sixth in rushing yards among QBs and has three more red zone rushing attempts than ... RG III.
2. While Gary Kubiak was running the Texans, they had the 12th-most rushing attempts per game in the NFL, and while he was with the Broncos, Denver had the most rushing plays in the league.
4. Stole this from Rotoworld writer Adam Levitan: In preseason and NFL games, Justin Hunter has caught a total of 30 balls. Eight of them have gone for touchdowns.
6. Only three running backs had more rushing yards after contact than ... Matt Forte.
7. Among running backs with at least 100 rushing attempts, no running back had a better yards-after-contact average than ... Donald Brown.
8. Last year, Jamaal Charles had 672 yards after the catch, the second-most YAC among players in the NFL. Pierre Thomas had 671.
9. There was only one wide receiver in the NFL last year to be top-four in targets, yards and receptions: Antonio Brown.
10. From Week 13 to Week 17 last season -- the weeks Michael Crabtree played -- Colin Kaepernick had the fifth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks, averaging just 1.8 points per game fewer than Drew Brees. From Week 13 until the NFC Championship Game, Kaepernick averaged 18.50 fantasy points per game, which would have been fourth-highest last season. Or half a point better than Aaron Rodgers' per-game average. Only Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Nick Foles averaged more per game.
List Six: 10 OBPTNWLBWHYWYL
1. Roddy White*
2. Steven Jackson, Falcons
3. Reggie Wayne, Colts
4. Marques Colston, Saints
5. Fred Jackson, Bills
6. Donald Brown, Chargers
7. Carson Palmer, Cardinals**
8. Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts
9. Greg Jennings, Vikings***
10. Matthew Berry
* I know, I gave a bad stat on him above. He's not a No. 1. But as a low-end No. 2 going in the sixth?
**As a backup quarterback.
***As long as Matt Cassel is the QB.
List Seven: More team names.
1. Control + Alt + Delete - @seanbannon5
2. The Hipster Llamas - @casl1976
3. Do what I do not what I Irsay - @moochaud
4. Casual Champs - @zachman285
5. Turn down for Watt - many
6. Kelvin & Cobbs - @zach_shaheen
7. Springtime for Cutler - @tacosmodernlife
8. The Walking Dez - @vincentcampbvin
9. Brees-ure suit Larry - @altequila
10. Bed, Bath and Ebron - @emmitt_smith30
List Eight: 10 players with significantly higher values in PPR formats
1. Antonio Brown, Steelers. A legit WR1 in PPR.
2. Giovani Bernard, Bengals. A legit RB1 in PPR.
3. Reggie Bush, Lions. Only in PPR do I consider him an equal to Joique Bell.
4. Andre Ellington, Cardinals. Monster year coming.
5. Shane Vereen, Patriots. On 16-game pace for 126 targets last year.
6. Rashad Jennings, Giants. A nice pass-catcher for Eli Manning, who is going to be Lord of the Dump-Off this year.
7. Pierre Thomas, Saints. Caught 77 balls last year. Meanwhile, Darren Sproles and his 89 targets are now in Philly.
8. Kendall Wright, Titans. If Ken Whisenhunt can make Eddie Royal somewhat fantasy-relevant from the slot, imagine what he can do with Wright.
10. Danny Woodhead, Chargers. Speaking of Woodhead, did you know he was a top-12 running back in PPR leagues last year?
List Nine: 10 rookies ranked in the order I would draft them in a dynasty league.
'Fantasy Life - The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who's Lived It'
Between celebrating every aspect of fantasy -- the trash talk, the trophies, the insane draft-day locations, the punishments, the clever attempts at cheating and surprisingly uplifting stories -- Matthew Berry chronicles his journey from a 14-year-old player to ESPN's senior fantasy analyst.
In other words, this is how I'd rank them if I were more concerned about their entire career than their playing time this year.
1. Sammy Watkins, Bills
2. Brandin Cooks, Saints
3. Mike Evans, Buccaneers
4. Carlos Hyde, 49ers
5. Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers
6. Johnny Manziel, Browns
7. Odell Beckham, Giants
8. Andre Williams, Giants
9. Devonta Freeman, Falcons
10. Bishop Sankey, Titans; Eric Ebron, Lions; Terrance West, Browns; Blake Bortles, Jaguars; Jordan Matthews, Eagles; Cody Latimer, Broncos; Marqise Lee, Jaguars; Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings; Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Buccaneers; Jace Amaro, Jets; Davante Adams, Packers; Tre Mason, Rams; Jeremy Hill, Bengals; James White; Patriots; Bruce Ellington, 49ers.
List 10: Even more fantasy football team names.
Golly, must be a lot of IDP leagues out there. Many team names using Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in some form or fashion. By the way, if you want to see more, you can search #tmrteamname on Twitter. Thanks for making that hashtag trend!
1. U Madden or Naw? - @weezydachamp
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Bortles and 99 Bortles of Beer - many
3. Heavy Pettine - @andythebearded
4. The Full Montee - many
5. Dumpster Fire (It was a rough year) - @D_King22
6. The Farmer in Odell - @relativelyfunny
7. Better than a Manning rap - @pigskinplayers
8. This team looked better on Madden - @BUCN_Jeep
9. CordarElle McPherson, supermodel - @Bruvydsb10
10. Matthew Berry-ing you. - @lopez8687
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- almost ran a list of 10 rejected list ideas, but thought that might be cheating. He is the creator of RotoPass.com, a website that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. You may also have heard: He has written a book.
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