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Fantasy Football 2017: 1st-Round Mock Draft, Team Names and Sleepers

Fantasy Football
August 31, 2017

Few things are more important than team names and sleepers in fantasy football.  

That’s maybe a bit of hyperbole considering the importance of initial drafts, the waiver wire and actually playing productive lineups on a weekly basis.  

But fantasy owners get the idea: It is almost impossible to win anything in fantasy without hitting on a few sleepers. And winning with a terrible team name might as well be losing. Losing with a great name at least softens the blow. 

Below, let’s put together a digestible guide for owners based on a 12-team league in Yahoo standard leagues, hitting on the important angles ahead of drafts.

             

Mock Draft

        

Team Names to Consider

Hot Lockett

A quality fantasy draft snack and a breakout fantasy player balled into one name?  

That’s a winner, folks.

This deals with Seattle Seahawks wideout Tyler Lockett, of course, the 2015 third-round pick used as a returner in all facets, a rusher and a wideout. He’s climbing up the depth chart and has seven total receiving touchdowns over two years, perhaps a sign he’s ready to make the owner naming a team after him look like a genius. 

           

13 Reasons Ajayi

Popular show and a should-be-more-popular player?

Winner again.

Jay Ajayi broke onto the scene with the Miami Dolphins last year to the tune of 1,272 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on a 4.9 yard-per-carry average. He isn’t going to catch the ball often, but he’s a workhorse on a playoff hopeful sure to see touches.

          

Kizer Wide Shut

Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback, not to mention starting quarterback, DeShone Kizer is all the rage right now. 

It was only a matter of time before Kizer started popping up in team names. A name like this has plenty of opportunities for creative usage. Even better, the second-round pick seized a starting pro gig quickly and might have what it takes to lead a Cleveland turnaround. 

If that happens, this name is just the beginning. 

            

Make America Gronk Again

A phrase everyone knows infused with Rob Gronkowski is something everyone can get behind. 

For fantasy owners, getting Gronkowski on the field even more would be great. He hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2011 and missed half of last year. Funnily enough, few tight ends have still scored as many fantasy points as him in that span. 

            

Sleepers to Know 

Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns

Remember the note about Kizer above?

Corey Coleman might be the biggest name to capitalize on the improved play under center after a dud of a rookie year. 

Owners didn’t put a lot of stock into Coleman as a rookie to begin with, both because of his status and locale. He had all of 413 yards and three touchdowns over just 10 games, though the flashes of a big-play wideout were there. 

To say Coleman and Kizer already have a strong connection would be an understatement: 

For those keeping track: Coleman has a better quarterback situation this year, is fully healthy and the Browns are missing names from a year ago like Terrell Pryor and Gary Barnidge

Coleman sitting on an average draft position (ADP) of 10.01 is something owners should look to exploit. 

          

Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions

On paper, Detroit Lions rookie wideout Kenny Golladay doesn’t necessarily have a starting gig locked up. 

Then again, he hauled in two touchdowns in his preseason debut with the team and worked with the first team in training camp back in mid-August, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press

If Golladay can break through, he joins a spread-it-around attack orchestrated by Matthew Stafford, which essentially guarantees production. And with Golden Tate in the slot and Marvin Jones on the outside, unassuming defenses might let Golladay post big numbers right away. 

We’re not talking world-beating numbers here for a rookie, but we are saying Golladay can blow past his 12.06 ADP, a slotting close to other random names like Ted Ginn Jr. and Cooper Kupp.

            

Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons 

In terms of household-name status, Tevin Coleman falls behind Devonta Freeman in the Atlanta Falcons backfield. 

Makes sense as Coleman mostly functions as a change of pace, though he’s one heck of a role player in that regard considering he totaled 11 touchdowns a year ago thanks to his versatility. 

The Falcons don’t figure to change much when it comes to the roles of the committee members, though where this gets interesting is based on ADP. 

Long story short, Coleman sits with an ADP of 7.03, surrounded by unreliable names like Paul Perkins, Derrick Henry and Darren McFadden. Of those names, Coleman sits in the best offense and will see the most opportunities to score more touchdowns thanks to his versatile skill set. 

For owners willing to risk waiting a bit on running back or looking to overload, Coleman is a big sleeper to target.

           

All scoring info, points-against info and ownership stats courtesy of Yahoo standard leagues. ADP courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator.

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Fantasy Football 2017: Top Team Names, PPR Rankings and Dynasty Advice

Fantasy Football
August 21, 2017

Fantasy football owners have more choices to make than ever.

This goes beyond the obvious decisions of which players to pick. Before even entering the draft room, gamers have an array of league formats and scoring systems. Most people still take the path of least resistance by creating standard snake drafts, and that’s just fine.

More participants, however, are traversing to the great beyond. Point-per-reception leagues have evolved from a fringe feature to the mainstream. With the industry rising in appeal, it’s easier than ever to find a group of committed guys and gals to form a dynasty league.

PPR gamers can’t abide by the traditional rankings, and dynasty managers must alter their strategy to ensure short- and long-term success. Here are some PPR rankings and dynasty tips to build a strong foundation.

And for those still stuck on the initial, least consequential choice of naming the fantasy squad, let’s start with some suggestions. 

       

Team Names

  • Benn the Knee
  • Flowers for Agholor
  • Little Red Fournette
  • Rudolph the Red-Zone Reindeer
  • Dak to the Future
  • Wentz Upon a Time
  • Hooked on a Thielen
  • A Van Down By the Rivers
  • Stairway to Evans
  • The Goulden Corral

Miami Dolphins. Minnesota Vikings. Or even the favorite team of Moe Szyslak (from The Simpsons fame), the Atlanta Falcons. These are some NFL team names.

Oh, you wanted names for your fantasy squad? Well in that case, definitely don’t pick an existing NFL moniker. Beyond that, it’s your team. Name it what you want.  

         

PPR Rankings (Redraft)

  1. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
  2. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
  4. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
  5. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
  6. LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
  7. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
  8. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  9. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
  10. Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons
  11. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
  12. DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans
  13. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
  14. Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears
  15. Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins
  16. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
  17. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
  18. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
  19. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
  20. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
  21. Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders
  22. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
  23. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
  24. Brandin Cooks, WR, New England Patriots
  25. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
  26. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
  27. Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
  28. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
  29. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
  30. Terrelle Pryor, WR, Washington
  31. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
  32. Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns
  33. Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland Raiders
  34. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
  35. Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
  36. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
  37. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
  38. Ty Montgomery, RB, Green Bay Packers
  39. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
  40. Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions
  41. Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers
  42. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
  43. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders
  44. Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins
  45. Danny Woodhead, RB, Baltimore Ravens
  46. Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers
  47. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
  48. Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots
  49. Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets
  50. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos

         

Biggest PPR Riser: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

The later the draft date, the tougher it will be to snag Christian McCaffrey at a reasonable price. 

Fantasy managers enter every preseason reminding themselves not to get carried away over exhibition buzz. This year, McCaffrey is the incoming star to wipe away all sensibility with dazzling game film.

Take a look at the rookie running back’s Week 2 preseason highlights, courtesy of the NFL:

Fans and fantasy fiends aren’t the only ones impressed. Per ESPN.com’s David Newton, Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera discussed his excitement watching the versatile newcomer.

“You always hold your breath when he’s got the football,” Rivera said, “especially when he’s got space.”

McCaffrey, who set the NCAA’s single-season record for all-purpose yards (with 3,601) in 2015, has the makings of a PPR stud. He’s the perfect backfield complement to Jonathan Stewart, who registered just eight catches last year and hasn’t played more than 13 games in a season since 2011.

The neophyte should at least play a major role as a pass-catching back, but don’t be surprised when he eats into the veteran’s carries as well.

Don’t overpay in standard formats, as Stewart and Cam Newton likely won’t leave him many red-zone rushing opportunities. In a PPR league, take the plunge late in the third round or early in the fourth. There’s an increasingly probable chance he won’t last that long.

        

Dynasty Advice 

Target Young, Post-Hype Players

It happens every year. Following underwhelming rookie and sophomore campaigns, formerly hyped talent falls by the wayside. The next batch of neophytes absorb all the buzz, starting the cycle anew.

Yahoo Sports has trendy wide-receiver sleepers Zay Jones (No. 143) and Kenny Golladay (No. 162) ranked higher than Breshad Perriman (No. 165), Will Fuller (No. 174) and Kevin White (No. 179), a highly popular trio with health hazards. While Perriman and White will try to stay on the field, Fuller will miss part of the season with a broken collarbone

Fuller teased drafters last year by opening his career with a pair of 100-yard outings, but he has the skills to make a major downfield impact alongside DeAndre Hopkins. Although investors may need to wait another year for a breakout, the Houston Texas drafting of DeShaun Watson boosted the 23-year-old wideout’s long-term value.

Corey Coleman (No. 121) is given more short-term respect despite recording 33 catches in 10 rookie games. Yet that’s still selling his ceiling short, especially from a dynasty standpoint. According to PlayerProfiler.com, last year’s No. 15 pick received a 22.6 percent target share when on the field, and now receptions leader Terrelle Pryor is now out of the picture.

Cleveland should give Coleman every chance to succeed, and he will likely be far easier to attain in dynasty formats than rookie receiver Corey Davis, whose unknown mystique will entice managers to overpay.

         

Balance Upside Picks with Consistent Performers

While chasing high-ceiling talent, be sure not to go overboard. Don’t be the dynasty manager who, blinded by potential, has spent the past decade overseeing a never-ending rebuild. Get some steady, boring contributors to support the lottery tickets.

This especially applies to gamers starting from scratch. Anyone who wants Dak Prescott or Carson Wentz will likely have to pay a premium for the second-year quarterbacks. The shrewd drafter will see if Kirk Cousins or Matthew Stafford, a pair of 29-year-old passers in their prime, slip instead.

Stafford won’t headline a juggernaut, but he will dutifully play his role. Once perceived as an injury liability, the Detroit Lions signal-caller has not missed a game since 2010. He has exceeded 4,250 passing yards in each of the past six seasons.

As a result, as noted by Nerdy Football’s Matt Camp, he joins Drew Brees and Russell Wilson as the only quarterbacks with an active five-year streak of top-15 position finishes in fantasy. Even though his peak is limited in a methodical passing offense that rarely stretched the field, not every selection should have a wide range of outcomes.

Pounce on steady contributors like C.J. Anderson, Michael Crabtree and Kyle Rudolph, who may slip in drafts or cost less in a trade. There will be plenty of opportunities to find the next star through the waiver wire and annual rookie drafts. It often pays to simply take the best value on the table.

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Fantasy Football 2017: 2-Round Mock Draft, Top Team Names and League Names

Fantasy Football
August 12, 2017

Although the NFL preseason hardly matters, its commencing serves as a wake-up call for fantasy football players to begin draft preparation.

The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs kick off the 2017 campaign on Sept. 7. Until then, fantasy contestants must keep track of all league happenings and practice with mock drafts.

Some major news unfolded on Friday, when the NFL officially suspended Ezekiel Elliott for six games after concluding its domestic violence investigation. The fantasy fallout is hardly the important element of this story, but it will alter the first round.

He consequently dropped to No. 17 in Yahoo Sports’ rankings, so let’s use that as a baseline for this two-round mock draft, simulated for a 12-team league with standard scoring. Then let’s examine the updated early strategy for someone drawing the No. 3 selection.

         

 

 

 

 

Mock Draft

1.1: David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

1.2: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

1.3: Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

1.4: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants

1.5: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

1.6: LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills

1.7: Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1.8: Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

1.9: Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

1.10: A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

1.11: Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers

1.12: Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

 

2.1: Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears

2.2: Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins

2.3: DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans

2.4: Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

2.5: Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

2.6: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

2.7: T.Y Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

2.8: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

2.9: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

2.10: Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

2.11: Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders

2.12: Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks

         

 

 

 

 

Round 1 Pick: Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio Brown joins David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell as an easy top-three choice in all formats.

There’s no safer wide receiver on the board than the Pittsburgh Steelers star, who has caught a combined 481 receptions over the past four seasons. Having notched double-digit touchdowns three years in a row, he doesn’t depend on point-per-reception scoring. Yet the stipulation gives him a Secretariat-sized lead over all other wideouts.

Investors should not fret Martavis Bryant’s return. When they shared the field for 11 games in 2015, Brown tallied 99 receptions, 1,311 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Playing alongside a deep threat opens up the field for Brown, who had 22 catches of 20 or more yards last season.

His target share dropped all the way to 26 percent in 2016, but the 29-year-old would have led or tied the NFL in receptions for the third straight year if not for sitting out Week 17 with playoff seeding solidified. 

Business is still booming for Brown, so don’t pass up a sure thing with pick No. 3.

        

 

 

 

 

Round 2 Pick: Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

Todd Gurley possesses a far lighter track record. Taken as an early first-round pick in 2015, the running back averaged a bleak 3.2 yards per carry and scored just six touchdowns last year. Don’t expect to buy a bounce-back campaign at a discount. 

On individual talent, the 23-year-old remains a premier rusher. The Los Angeles Rams’ NFL-worst offense dragged him down last season, but a horrible unit couldn’t prevent him from averaging 99.5 yards per game.

With the Jeff Fisher era finally over, perhaps the Rams will resemble a 21st century offense. New head coach Sean McVay oversaw Washington’s No. 3-ranked unit as the offensive coordinator last year. Filling that role for the Rams is Matt LaFleur, who helped turn the Atlanta Falcons offense into a juggernaut.

Only four backs received more handoffs than Gurley’s 278. While he will stay a focal point of the offense, McVay expressed the importance of establishing a better balance to ESPN.com’s Alden Gonzalez.

“When you have a special player like Todd, you want to continue to find ways to get him involved but also be mindful of, ‘What is that fine balance between him being at his best and not wearing him out?'” McVay said. “That is something that we’re continuing to find out.”

Per the Ventura County Star‘s Joe Curley, McVay spoke fondly his young star’s offseason progress:

The Rams found some much-needed help. On Friday, as confirmed via Twitter, they enhanced their passing game by acquiring Sammy Watkins from the Buffalo Bills:

Drafters should gladly exchange some touches for fewer stuffed boxes and more red-zone visits. Beside, there’s no threat of Gurley splitting carries, and his overall volume won’t suffer too much if the Rams stay on the field longer.

Marshawn Lynch plays for a far superior Oakland Raiders offensive line, but he’s eight years older and slated for a smaller workload. He also averaged 3.8 yards per rush when last seen, in 2015, so a second-round investment is too steep a gamble.

Rather than hoping the 2014 version of Beast Mode returns, let’s see whether the 2015 Gurley resurfaces. Although he comes with more risk (and reward) than the typical Round 2 selection, the high volume raises his floor enough to warrant the wager.

         

 

 

 

 

Team Names

  • Pickle Fitzpatrick
  • Les Kirk Cousins Dangereux
  • Any Pun on Dak Prescott (“Dak To the Future”) or Adam Thielen (“Hooked on a Thielen”)
  • King of Jaelen Strong Style
  • Jeremy Maclin, FBI
  • Doyle Rules
  • The Be Tajae Sharpes
  • The Gurley Show with Lacy and Jordan
  • Ajayi Another Day

Anyone searching online for a clever team name is missing the point. Where’s the fun in lifting someone else’s idea?

Picking “Gronky Kong” or “Demaryius Targaryen” is the equivalent to naming a child “John.” That’s fine, but don’t be surprised when other classmates have the same name. 

Puns on player names are often fun but not always necessary. Choosing one from a random internet list is like a getting a butterfly tattoo. Find something that’s meaningful to you, but don’t force it. 

Also on the avoid list: middle-school jokes and an actual NFL team name. At least make an effort.

        

 

 

 

 

League Names

  • The Goulden Company (only works for this author and fellow Goulds)
  • The Jeff Fisher League of Mediocrity
  • 12 Angry Men (try deeper leagues with diversity)
  • Dirty Dozen (shower on Sunday morning?)
  • A League of Their Own
  • A League Has No Name
  • A Song of Matty Ice and Fire (are the Game of Thrones references getting old yet?)
  • The Bullock Club

League names, meanwhile, are best reserved for inside jokes or generic group descriptions. Honestly, who even pays attention to the league’s title? This writer can’t recall the name of the intact league he joined back when Maurice Jones-Drew and Andre Johnson were first-round talents.

A league by any other name will still stink unless it consists of active and informed participants who understand that fantasy football is a fun diversion. Spend more energy on winning the league than naming it.

       

Note: All statistics obtained and calculated using data from Pro Football Reference.

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