Stud: Tom Brady – New England Patriots: This was an obvious pick after the additions the Patriots made on the offensive side of the ball in wide receiver Brandin Cooks, tight end Dwayne Allen, and running backs Mike Gilislee, and Rex Burkhead. With a healthy Rob Gronkowski, this is arguably the best cast of characters Brady has had at his disposal since 2007. The injury to his favorite target Julian Edelman is not favorable at all, but Brady is still at his best at age 40 and I don’t see him slowing down just yet. 40 touchdowns in 2017-18 is certainly within reach.
Honorable Mention: Aaron Rodgers– Green Bay Packers
Dud: Andrew Luck– Indianapolis Colts: It’s still a big unknown on when Luck will be able to return from offseason shoulder surgery. Coach Chuck Pagano said in an interview recently that he hasn’t seen him throw yet. That is unbelievable, but believable at the same time since the vibes have been so bad in Indianapolis all offseason. He’s worth a flier in drafts in the double digit rounds as a stash for a late season lottery ticket if he can return, but going off what we know right now, it doesn’t look good.
Honorable Mention: Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo Bills
Breakout: Dak Prescott– Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliot, as of right now, is slated to miss the first six games of the season which will mean Dallas will have to rely on their quarterback to lead their team early on. Everything lines up for Prescott to have a true breakout season after a very solid rookie season. They still have a great offensive line and he’ll have a healthy Dez Bryant, which he didn’t have most of 2016-17. Look for Prescott to hover around 30 passing touchdowns and at least a top-10 finish in fantasy at the position.
Honorable Mention: Jameis Winston– Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Stud- David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals: Not much to say here. He’s one of the best 3 backs in the league, and the other two elite options come with some baggage. Ezekiel Elliot is suspended for six games and Le’Veon Bell hasn’t reported to training camp (He will). Both of the latter are one off the field mistake away from being suspended for the year or more. DJ carries much less risk, is a bonafide stud, and has said himself he is ready to touch the ball 30 times per game and absolutely dominate again. He should be the first overall pick in all fantasy drafts.
Honorable Mention: Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers
Dud- Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears: This isn’t to say Howard is a bad player, but the situation he finds himself in is not ideal for fantasy success. The Bears have a decent offensive line, but have terrible passing weapons and a rookie quarterback. Defenses will be stacking the box to stop the run, which will make it pretty difficult for Howard to return the RB1 value that he was drafted as.
Honorable Mention: Ty Montgomery– Green Bay Packers
Breakout-Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs: This is obvious since we have a talented rookie stepping into one of the most favorable running back situations possible. Hunt was already a threat to overtake Spencer Ware for starting running back duties in Kansas City. Now that Ware is out for the season, Hunt is going to be the bell cow. Coach Andy Reid loves his “feature back” and has produced a top-10 running back in 7 of the last 10 seasons. 2017-18 will make it 8 out of 11.
Honorable Mention: Carlos Hyde– San Francisco 49ers
Stud-Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons: The Steelers’ Antonio Brown has sat upon the WR throne for three years running, and this is the year he is unseated. The Steelers added a massive deep threat in Martavis Bryant, and a solid play making tight end in Vance McDonald which will cut into Brown’s targets. Jones will continue to be a target monster in Atlanta. He’s been a top-6 or better fantasy receiver each of the last four seasons, but strangely has never topped 10 touchdowns. If he can stay on the field for all 16 games, and get into the end zone more often, he could have a historic fantasy season.
Honorable Mention: Mike Evans– Tampa Bay Bucanneers
Dud- T.Y. Hilton– Indianapolis Colts –This goes hand and hand with the Luck injury situation. Hilton is an elite player, but it’s hard to get behind him as a first round pick if he’s catching passes from Scott Tolzien. This all changes if Luck returns, but again, it doesn’t look good at the moment.
Honorable Mention: DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans
Breakout-Devante Parker – Miami Dolphins: Jay Cutler replacing the injured Ryan Tannehill at quarterback is the best thing that could have happened to Parker. Cutler will always try to make the big play rather than dink and dunk to his running backs or slot receiver. He’s in a contract year, he’s healthy, and he looks to be getting more targets than ever. Parker could win you a fantasy championship.
Honorable Mention: Chris Hogan – New England Patriots
Stud- Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots: I don’t need to say much about this pick. As far as we know, he’s healthy. When he’s healthy he’s the greatest tight end of all time catching passes from the greatest quarterback of all time.
Honorable Mention: Jordan Reed– Washington Redskins
Dud- Martellus Bennett– Green Bay Packers: Bennett was solid last year for New England in a contract year. This has the feel of the Patriots cutting bait while they are still ahead. Bennett got his money, and has brought his big personality to Green Bay. It just has the feel that he may have peaked, not to mention the Packers have never really utilized their tight ends consistently enough to warrant great fantasy production.
Honorable Mention: Jared Cook – Oakland Raiders
Breakout –Eric Ebron– Detroit Lions: This is probably Ebron’s last chance to shine the way everyone haswanted him to for years. The Lions let go of Anquan Boldin, their top red zone target last season, and didn’t replace him. Ebron always seems to manage 4 or 5 catches a game and posts respectable season long yards totals. If he can get hose red zone targets that Boldin left behind, he could have a huge breakout season.
Honorable Mention: O.J. Howard– Tampa Bay Buccaneers