The 2016 season has begun and so has fantasy football. Check out our writers’ players to watch to help you win your league this year.
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
Many fantasy owners would consider Watkins a risk because of his inability to stay on the field during his brief career, but he is worth the risk. When healthy, he can be explosive as a dominant WR1.
Jamies Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winston had a quietly impressive rookie campaign. He threw for 4,000 yards with 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions as a rookie. Another year of experience this season could contribute to fewer turnovers, more touchdowns and make Winston one of the better young QBs in the NFL.
Sleeper: Chris Ivory, Jacksonville Jaguars
His power running style makes him perfect for goal line and short yard opportunities. Ivory rushed for over 1,000 yards with 7 TDs for the Jets in 2015, and should be just as productive this year.
Buyer Beware: Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
Ingram has been in the NFL for five seasons and has yet to rush for 1,000 yards. His closest season came in 2014 as he rushed for a career-high 964 yards. Ingram’s power running style is tempting because of his ability to get into the endzone in goal-line situations, but at this point in his career, he may be an all or nothing type of running back.
Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
Ebron has been disappointing during his two seasons with the Lions, but that will likely change in 2016. Calvin Johnson’s retirement will open up the Lions’ offense, and he will likely see his production increase. He’s still available in about 55 percent of ESPN leagues.
Matt Jones, Washington
Jones split time with Alfred Morris throughout his rookie year, but surprised people with his big games in 2015. With Morris leaving for the Cowboys, Jones takes over as the No. 1 RB for Washington. His explosiveness and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield will make him a productive dual-threat RB for PPR and standard leagues.
Sleeper: Matt Forte, New York Jets
30-year-old running backs don’t get much love in the NFL, but Forte deserves some. One of the most consistent backs in the league since 2008, Forte has had at least 800 rushing yards and 44 receptions every year in his career. The Jets’ balanced offensive attack should benefit Forte, who can change the game with his pass catching and running ability.
Buyer Beware: Alshon Jeffrey, Chicago Bears
There’s no denying the South Carolina product is a great receiver when healthy, but that’s the problem. Jeffrey hasn’t been able to stay healthy. It’s hard to break away from defenses when quad/hamstring injuries are slowing him down. Jeffrey is a stud, but can he be counted on all season?
Rashad Jennings, New York Giants
Jennings, out of Liberty University, has never been a big name guy, but look for him to put up big time numbers in 2016. Since nobody is challenging his playing time this season, his RB2 value (863 yds in 2015) could turn into RB1 production. People are ignoring him, but they’ll know the name soon enough.
Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns
Barnidge is a premium athlete, and if he didn’t have a bum throwing to him last year, he would be a top-tier tight end. If you grabbed Barnidge in the sixth round or later, you got a steal. Since the Browns don’t have a true No. 1 receiver, 1,000 yards and 8 touchdowns shouldn’t be hard for him to reach.
Sleeper: Dak Prescott, Dalllas Cowboys
Dak will get the nod Week 1, with Tony Romo out for 6-10 weeks. He looked phenomenal in the preseason and has all the ingredients to succeed. Dak is drenched in athleticism, and while his arm has been criticized, you can’t go wrong throwing it up to No. 88.
Buyer Beware: Ezekiel Elliot, Dallas Cowboys
This guy has a lot of talent, but comes with a lot of risk. He’s a good pass blocker, runs behind a great O-Line ,and showed his durability at Ohio State carrying the ball over 500 times. However, the Cowboys have a plethora of quality backs, and there are concerns about his behavior off the field. Is he too risky? We’ll find out soon enough