Pros and Cons for the consensus Top 12 fantasy football players
Unless some of you have had an early draft already (which is baffling to me) we are weeks away until we kick off Christmas in summer for fantasy fans. Four to six months straight we all put our friendships aside and compete against one another, studying drafts and waivers with the hopes of adding a championship to our resumes. What’s more prestigious to us fantasy geeks? An employee of the year plaque at some crappy job we don’t want or a Championship belt/trophy that we can carry around like we’re Ric Flair and brag about for an entire year? That’s what I thought. Here are the pros and cons of the consensus top 12 picks by order. (Just to clarify I compared several sites such as Football Guys, Bleacher Report, NFL, ESPN etc and went with what the majority of polls had).
Pros: Johnson is in his prime and just getting started in his NFL career. Undoubtedly Johnson will be guaranteed for 22 carries or more per week, and will likely record a top-10 fantasy performance week in and week out. After racking up 2,118 yards and 20 touchdowns in his 2016 campaign there’s no reason why you should even think twice about looking Johnson over.
Cons: Carson Palmer. What I mean by this is his QB’s health. Sure he can just hand the ball off to a Johnson all game and that’ll work for most of the time, but Johnson’s productivity will also benefit from the passing game. Palmer is getting older and more fragile now than before and for whatever reason if he were to go down, Drew Stanton would take the field, Johnson would be facing repeatedly stacked boxes.
Pros: For the first time in a while it looks like Bell will start week one healthy and without serving a suspension. Hell there are arguments being made currently that he should be the #1 overall player with Johnson at number two, and it’s because after serving his four-game suspension, Bell still finished top five in his position.
Cons: Bell has reportedly been upset with the organization for not getting a long-term deal. He’ll play the 2017 season under the franchise tag, and there’s no telling what’s going to happen. His off-field antics also play a factor when it comes to concern, but it would still be foolish to pass up on Bell in the first round.
Ezekiel Elliott *
Pros: For starters he was an absolute stud last season rushing for 1,631 yards and 16 touchdowns in his rookie season. Zeke also set the rookie record last season with 322 carries. There are too many pros to list including in PPR formats, and the fact that he’s still running behind one of the best offensive units in the NFL today. If 1,631 was his ceiling in 2016, there’s no doubt he can surpass that in 2017.
Cons: The bad news here is that Zeke can’t stay out of the headlines for all the wrong reasons. I put the asterisk next to his name, because if Zeke is slapped with a suspension to open the season he could be dropped down further in leagues. Just recently he was caught up in a situation in a bar with a man saying he was knocked out by Zeke. This is the latest incident following his domestic case, and speeding at 100 MPH in 70 MPH zone.
Pros: There have been numerous leagues in which drafters don’t believe in taking RB’s early and are still drafting Brown number one overall. It’s hard to imagine that he doesn’t finish as the WR1 yet again this year. His 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns were seen as a let down to a lot of people, but he still managed to finish in the top five, and topped everybody in the WR position in fantasy points.
Cons: Brown is turning 29 this season, so who knows how much longer he can keep dominating his position. Also the home/road splits are frustrating for his owners. We all know how Big Ben is on the road, and this greatly affects Browns play, especially if Ben misses some time as we’ve seen in the past leaving Brown a non factor without Roethlisberger.
Pros: Although Jones has only scored eight touchdowns in a season once in his career, he’s managed to always finish within the top-12 in four of his last six seasons. Jones benefits from a high-flying offense, and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has stated that he wants to get Julio more red zone looks.
Cons: A Super Bowl hangover? Possibly, but it’s hard to imagine that this team doesn’t take a dip back into reality, and could continue their hot streak from last season. Even if Atlanta takes a backseat to Tampa Bay or Carolina, durability is a real concern here, and the fact that had five games last season with four or fewer catches in a game.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Pros: OBJ is a touchdown monster, and has managed at least 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns during each of his first three seasons. He’s guaranteed to get you a highlight reel catch if you’re into that, and the 24 year-old could easily surpass the other WR’s in his position to top the records.
Cons: We’ve seen Odell lose his temper and be a hot head in games whether he’s fighting Josh Norman, or a kicking net… Also the Giants added Brandon Marshall, and stacked themselves at the WR spot, so it is a concern when thinking about if his reception totals could drop this season.
Pros: He’s playing on a team that has a pretty solid chance of making the playoffs this season, and although his first two seasons were good he broke out in 2016 catching 96 of his 170 targets.
Cons: After posting 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns last season it’s concerning when seeing it as if that was his ceiling. The Bucs are stacked with offensive weapons, and the teams looks to balance itself with more of a running attack, so expecting Evans to surpass his production last year could come up short.
Pros: McCoy is an explosive back, and has ranked top six in rushing yards in four of his last six seasons. Nobody saw this coming, and drafters were excited for the value returned after taking him in the mid-rounds last year. Even without the Bills employing a run-heavy offense with Rex Ryan gone, McCoy is too good to ignore on the field and on our fantasy teams.
Cons: It feels like McCoy has been in the league forever, but he just turned 29. Injuries are a huge concern for McCoy and the fact that last season could easily have been an anomaly and hard to repeat for the veteran this season. Expect a dip in McCoy’s production this season, especially if you’re taking him in the first.
Pros: Gordon enjoyed a breakout season and was well on his way to surpassing 1,000 yards if it wasn’t for a stingy hip injury that derailed his season. After a poor rookie campaign it’s safe to say that the future is bright for Melvin Gordon and without Danny Woodhead in the picture anymore Gordon doesn’t find himself in a committee.
Cons: Consistency to where he can remain a fantasy asset, and to his team. Gordon didn’t necessarily have high yardage games last season, but the carries are definitely going to be there.
Pros: So much for being injury prone–Murray has only missed one game in the past three seasons. Just like LeSean McCoy, not many people predicted that Murray would have a monster season after his disastrous outing in Philadelphia in 2015. As long as Murray stays healthy he’ll remain the three down back for Tennessee.
Cons: Can Murray give us another healthy season before the age of 30? If not and Murray sustains an injury, or can’t produce similar numbers from last season, don’t be surprised to see Derrick Henry find his way into Murray’s carries and production.
Pros: When he’s on the field and starting for your team more than likely Green is going to shine and put on a show. Even after missing seven games, Green was less than 40 yards shy away another 1,000 yard season. Andy Dalton always has his eyes on Green making him heavily targeted every time he’s on the field.
Cons: Injuries, injuries, injuries. That was the story line for Cincy last season, so that explains why Green is going late in the first, or early in the second round. You always have to wonder if his toe, ankle and now hip will keep him out certain weeks, or slow him down making it hard to rely on him consistently.
Pros: For not being drafted high last season Ajayi finished as a stud, and helped numerous teams make the playoffs. He also came up big on Championship day posting nearly 30 points in week 16 last season. With Adrian Foster retired, Ajayi is looking like the main back on the squad, and not in a RBBC.
Cons: His offensive line has downgraded, not that it was great last year to begin with, which causes concern. Also if you’re banking on those 200 yard games look elsewhere. Ajayi had a phenomenal season last year, but he struggled time to time last season, and only hit the 100-yard mark 4-for-11 times in the games he started after Foster’s departure.
If you feel anybody was snubbed from this list, or don’t belong in the first round submit your questions or debate to me on Twitter @itslandoyo so I can address it on our weekly My Fantasy Sports Talk Podcast, or I can answer some mailbag questions for you guys. I also went with the consensus as of now, so things can easily change.