Jesse Pantuosco

Power Rankings

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Week 1 Power Rankings

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


This story doesn’t have much to do with Power Rankings, but I’m going to tell it anyway. Let the record show that on September 5, 2017, I had the worst fantasy draft of my life. I’m not being dramatic either. This team’s a real lemon. See for yourself.

 

Note: This is a 12-team PPR league with two keepers (mine were Antonio Brown and Michael Thomas) and an offensive player spot, which is usually reserved for a second quarterback.

 

QB: Carson Palmer

RB1: Danny Woodhead

RB2: Jacquizz Rodgers

WR1: Antonio Brown

WR2: Michael Thomas

TE: Jordan Reed

FLEX: Doug Baldwin

OP: Sam Bradford (ugh)

D/ST: Cardinals

K: Mason Crosby

BENCH: Michael Crabtree

BENCH: Doug Martin

BENCH: Theo Riddick

BENCH: Thomas Rawls

BENCH: Eric Ebron

 

Okay, so maybe it’s not thaaat awful, but this wasn’t quite what I had in mind before a thunderstorm knocked out my power an hour before the draft. With my iPhone low on battery and nowhere to plug it in, I did what any fast-thinking 27-year-old would do—I packed up my laptop and drove to my grandmother’s house two towns away. But if you’re familiar with my penchant for extreme bad luck, you’ll know that I never made it there. A fallen telephone pole on a main road put a wrench in that well-thought-out plan. So by the time I hustled to Panera Bread, whipped out my computer, and finally defeated Satan (that’s what I call Adobe Flash), the draft was already half over.

 

You’d think the computer in a two-quarterback league would have the sense to, oh I don’t know, draft a quarterback at some point, but no dice. I guess you could say I made lemonade out of lemons—the Martin/Rodgers pairing was a nice touch and I still don’t know how I poached Riddick at 99th overall. But let’s face it—I’m starting Sam Bradford (who, if you can bring yourself to imagine such a thing, may be more conservative than Alex Smith) with Michael Crabtree on my bench. Of course, what kind of fantasy season would it be without a few bumps in the road, or in my case, a telephone pole? If anyone can withstand a draft day debacle it should be the guy who writes about fantasy football for a living, right?

 

Anyway, I can’t think of a better segue into my first Power Rankings article of the year. Let’s start with the reigning world champs at No. 1.

 

1. New England Patriots

 

2016 Record: 14-2

 

The general consensus in the fantasy community is that Chris Hogan will benefit the most from Julian Edelman’s absence. But are we sure it’s not James White? He should see plenty of time in the slot and tied for the league-lead among running backs with five receiving touchdowns last year. Not to mention that he had the game of his life when the Patriots needed him most in Super Bowl LI.

 

2. Atlanta Falcons

 

2016 Record: 11-5

 

So how stacked are the Falcons on offense? Well let’s see—last year Devonta Freeman set a career-high in rushing yards, Julio Jones led the NFL in receiving yards per game and Matt Ryan finished with the fifth-highest passer rating of all-time. Oh yeah, and their backup running back (Tevin Coleman) scored 11 touchdowns. Say what you want about their collapse in Super Bowl LI, but the Falcons are a legit juggernaut.

 

Editor's Note: Looking for a weekly edge in your fantasy leagues? Get the Rotoworld Season Pass for projections, early-week rankings, WR & RB reports, exclusive columns and chats with our experts and much more for just $19.99.

 

3. Green Bay Packers

 

2016 Record: 10-6

 

We know the Packers are well-stocked offensively with Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery and this guy. But just imagine how dominant this offense could be if Randall Cobb got back to being Randall Cobb. Fantasy owners are rightfully down on Cobb after a lousy regular season last year (46.9 yards per game), but let’s not forget that he broke out for 86.7 yards per game with three touchdowns during the postseason.

 

4. Seattle Seahawks

 

2016 Record: 10-5-1

 

Maybe I’ve just had my head in the sand all summer but it feels like nobody (well except Mansion), is talking about Jimmy Graham. Jimmy G was brilliant in his return from a torn patellar tendon last year, finishing third among tight ends with 923 receiving yards. If Graham’s not in the same class as Travis Kelce or Rob Gronkowski, he’s only a small step down.

 

5. Oakland Raiders

 

2016 Record: 12-4

 

Which Amari Cooper will we see this year? The one who averaged 98.4 yards per game in the first half last season, or the one who limped to the finish line by averaging a mediocre 45.8 yards over his last eight contests? PPR enthusiasts, take note—Michael Crabtree’s 89 catches last year were a career-high.

 

6. Pittsburgh Steelers

 

2016 Record: 11-5

 

Get your calculators out. Never mind—I’ll do the math for you. When Martavis Bryant last played in 2015, he averaged 69.5 receiving yards per game. Multiply that by 16 games and you end up with 1,112 receiving yards, which would have ranked 13th in the NFL last season. Also of note, Ben Roethlisberger averaged a career-high 328.2 yards per game in 2015 compared to 272.8 with Bryant sidelined last year.

 

Editor's Note: Get our 2017 NFL Draft Guide + Season Pass for FREE with your first deposit on FanDuel and dominate your leagues! Claim now.

 

7. Dallas Cowboys

 

2016 Record: 13-3

 

I’ve had it with you guys. Dez is washed up. Dez is too inconsistent. Dez can’t beat shutdown cornerbacks. Enough already. Try this on for size. Bryant notched at least 70 receiving yards in six of his last seven regular season games (excluding a meaningless Week 17 contest against the Eagles when he logged just 18 snaps) with six touchdowns during that span. Not to mention he went ballistic against Green Bay in his only playoff game (132 yards, two touchdowns). So cool it with the bad Dez takes, would you?

 

8. Tennessee Titans

 

2016 Record: 9-7

 

For all you Tennessee diehards out there, there’s reason to be excited. Why? Because you have Eric Decker and no one else does. Sure he’s coming off two major surgeries, but do you have any idea how consistent this guy has been? Before his streak came to an end in Week 3 last year, Decker had gone 18 consecutive games with 80-plus yards or a touchdown. And that was with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. Trust me, Titans fans. You’re in good hands with No. 87.

 

9. Kansas City Chiefs

 

2016 Record: 12-4

 

Don’t kid yourself. Tyreek Hill isn’t the Chiefs’ No. 1 receiver—Travis Kelce is. Kelce topped 100 yards six times last season. Hill’s season-high in yards was 89. And don’t buy into Andy Reid’s bogus RRBC committee narrative either. Charcandrick West (3.3 yards per carry last year) is no threat to Kareem Hunt, who rushed for almost 5,000 yards in college.

 

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

2016 Record: 9-7

 

Jameis Winston set a franchise record by distributing 28 touchdown passes last season. Unfortunately he was also picked off 18 times, which tied him for second-most in the NFL. Harvard alum Cameron Brate led all tight ends with eight touchdowns a year ago but how will he fare with first-round rookie O.J. Howard nipping at his heels?

 

11. New York Giants

 

2016 Record: 11-5

 

Odell Beckham’s receiving totals last year were pretty much on par with his career numbers, though he didn’t take the most conventional route to get there. Last season was feast or famine for OBJ, who topped 100 yards receiving on four occasions but also fell short of 50 yards five times. Only three teams averaged fewer rushing yards per game than the Giants last year. Good thing they did nothing to improve in that area.

 

12. Denver Broncos

 

2016 Record: 9-7

 

Sure Demaryius Thomas is trending in the wrong direction—his 1,083 receiving yards last year were his fewest since 2011 (his quarterback that year is now a minor league outfielder for the Mets). But are we so jaded that we can’t appreciate what he’s done over the last five years? He’s gone for at least 1,000 yards and 90 catches in each of those seasons and hasn’t missed a game during that span.

 

13. Miami Dolphins

 

2016 Record: 10-6

 

Some people are crazy about Jay Ajayi (*cough RotoPat) but I’m not one of them. Don’t get me wrong—Ajayi put up monster numbers last year. But almost half of his rushing yards came over three games including a pair of 200-yard performances against lowly Buffalo. With gun-slinging nudist Jay Cutler at the helm, a breakout season could be in the offing for former first-round pick DeVante Parker.

 

14. Detroit Lions

 

2016 Record: 9-7

 

What a turnaround for Golden Tate. After averaging 26.8 yards over his first six games last year, Tate erupted for 85.7 yards per game over his last 11 contests while topping 1,000 yards for the second time in his career. The highest-paid player in NFL history, Matthew Stafford, dominated in the first half last season (16 TDs, 103.4 QB rating) but struggled while battling a finger injury down the stretch (8 TDs, 84.3 QB rating).  

 

15. Arizona Cardinals

 

2016 Record: 7-8-1

 

How automatic is David Johnson? He’s scored a touchdown for every game he’s been in the league (plus one more for good measure) and topped 100 yards from scrimmage in every game but one last year. The only time he didn’t was when he hurt his knee in the first quarter of Week 17 and didn’t return. If Johnson reaches his goal of 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in the same season, he’ll be the first player to accomplish that since Marshall Faulk in 1999.

 

16. Washington Redskins

 

2016 Record: 8-7-1

 

Rob Kelley did enough to maintain his starting job in camp but he’s far from a safe fantasy investment. Fat Rob had his moments last year but was useless down the stretch, averaging a mere 3.3 yards per carry over his final six outings. He was also a non-factor in the passing game, earning PFF’s No. 52 receiving grade out of 58 qualifiers at running back.

 


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Jesse Pantuosco is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld. He has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. Follow him on Twitter @JessePantuosco.
Email :Jesse Pantuosco



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