A list of the top players to draft for the 2016 fantasy football season.
1. David Johnson (ARZ)
|Rushing Stats||Receiving Stats|
|2016 Projections||View David Johnson's 2016 projected stats.|
After a splashy combine and a third-round selection in the spring draft, Johnson's rookie year stumbled from the gate. A balky hamstring held him down in August, and two ball-security issues from Johnson in Week 4 (one fumble, one dropped touchdown pass) sparked a stunning Rams victory in Arizona. Johnson resided in the Bruce Arians doghouse for the next seven games, limited to 30 inconsequential touches, but when the Cardinals needed the rookie for the stretch run, everything exploded. Johnson racked up 599 total yards and five TDs over the next four weeks, averaging 5.3 yards a carry and securing 14 of 20 targets. His signature performance came in front of a national TV audience — a 187-yard, three-touchdown trampling at Philadelphia. Arians confirmed in spring Johnson will be the team's No. 1 back entering camp, with veterans Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington clearly in the background. Johnson is the rare combination of a home-run hitter and a grinder—someone who can score from anywhere on the field, but also a physical back who finishes runs. He's capable of being an electric receiver. The Cardinals finished the season with a stinker, but they had one of the NFL's best offenses. This is a team you want to invest in, and you need to consider Johnson at any point of the first round.
2. Todd Gurley (LA)
|Rushing Stats||Receiving Stats|
|2016 Projections||View Todd Gurley's 2016 projected stats.|
Gurley was a wait-and-see pick for fantasy last year, but the patient were rewarded — if you grade all the running backs in PPR value for the segment of games Gurley played, he finishes as the No. 3 player. A splashy comeback from someone who tore his ACL as recently as November 2014. In-game, patience was often the key to Gurley, as he went for a modest 3.5 YPC in the first half of games, then spiked it up to 6.2 YPC in the second half. Given the style of coach Jeff Fisher, it's not surprising the Rams remained committed to the running game consistently. Gurley went for 100 total yards or a TD in 10 of his 13 games, the type of consistency we pray for at this position. We'd like to see more work as a receiver, though — Gurley had 16 receptions in his first six games, but just five catches in his last six. While Gurley doesn't have the same outside-the-numbers wiggle as some of the other pass-catching backs, there's something to be said for unleashing him on a defense in different ways. And just getting him away from the mass of humanity between the tackles is a good thing; it's a sneaky way to protect wear and tear on your bell cow. And ring the bell the Rams will, over and over. They're in a new city, but the blueprint is the same — plus defense, rookie quarterback, so-so offensive line.
3. Antonio Brown (PIT)
|Receiving Stats||Rushing Stats|
|2016 Projections||View Antonio Brown's 2016 projected stats.|
As great as Brown was in 2014, he was even better last year. While his streak of 21 straight games of at least 70 yards expired in Week 4 with Ben Roethlisberger out with a knee injury, Brown more than made up for it with four games of 187 yards or more. By season's end, he topped 2014's historic performance by seven catches and 136 yards - despite playing four games with Michael Vick and Landry Jones under center. Brown's 136 catches tied Julio Jones for No. 2 all time, and his 1,848 yards were fourth, behind only Calvin Johnson, Jones and Jerry Rice. Brown's upside is as high as ever. With Roethlisberger healthy and Martavis Bryant suspended for the year, Brown's target volume is likely to approach 200. At 5-10, 186, Brown does not cut an imposing figure, and his 4.47 speed is above average, though nothing special. But Brown is among the league's quickest and most sure-handed targets, nearly impossible to stay with and dangerous in space. He had eight catches of 40-plus (11st) and managed 9.5 YPT (6th) despite a massive workload and bottom-of-the-barrel QB play for four games. Brown's TD output dropped to 10 last year from 13 in 2014, but chalk that up to Roethlisberger's absence and variance - his 24 red-zone targets ranked fourth in the league, and his 11 targets inside the 10 were sixth.
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2016 Positional Rankings
Find out where Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and other quarterbacks are ranked going into your fantasy draft.
Find out where Todd Gurley, Eddie Lacy, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and other running backs are ranked going into your fantasy draft.
Find out where A.J. Green, Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham and other wide receivers are ranked going into your fantasy draft.
Find out where Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen and other tight ends are ranked going into your fantasy draft.
Find out where Justin Tucker, Adam Vinatieri, Blair Walsh, Graham Gano and other kickers are ranked going into your fantasy draft.
Which team will stand out on defense this year? Our team defense rankings will help you find the right defense to draft this season.
Find out where J.J. Watt, Lavonte David, Luke Kuechly, Bobby Wagner and other defensive players are ranked going into your fantasy draft.
A team's offensive line can have a tremendous impact on how its quarterback, running backs, and wide receivers perform. Consult our rankings for help.