Sparknotes: AFC South
Over the next few days, we’ll publish a series entitled Sparknotes, each article will take a birds eye view into each NFL division and it’s most important fantasy players.
The 2016 season was a mess for the AFC South as the sole representative in the playoffs was the underwhelming Houston Texans. Another year of heavy turnover and all four teams are hoping for a change in fortunes in 2017.
Notable Fantasy Stars: Leonard Fournette (RB13), Allen Robinson (WR14), Blake Bortles (QB18), Marcedes Lewis (TE48), Marquise Lee (WR66), Allen Hurns (WR70), T.J. Yeldon (RB74)
Synopsis: Trying to predict where Bortles likely 600+ pass attempts will be headed is enough to give anyone a headache. Allen Robinson is a shoe in for 125-150 targets, but Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns are going to have to fight it out to be the #2. Hurns defenitely has the history but Lee’s pedigree is hard to ignore. In the backfield, Leonard Fournette adds the element of a battering ram who can scorch you in the open field as well. His presence should limit Yeldon’s fantasy yield while opening up space for Bortles to bounce back.
Notable Fantasy Stars: Lamar Miller (RB11, DeAndre Hopkins (WR12), C.J. Fiedorowicz (TE15, Deshaun Watson (QB25), Will Fuller (WR67).
Synopsis: Houston struggled last year with injuries and the inconsistent play of newly-departed Brock Osweiler, prompting them to add Clemson QB Deshaun Watson at the draft. It’s worth noting that while Savage may occupy the #1 spot on the depth chart, this team will be Watson’s sooner rather than later. His arrival should mean a return to the top 10 for both Lamar Miller and DeAndre Hopkins, while Will Fuller and Fiedorowicz remain just outside of the circle of fantasy relevance.
Notable Fantasy Stars: Andrew Luck (QB5), T.Y. Hilton (WR5), Jack Doyle (TE13) Frank Gore (RB25), Donte Moncrief (WR27), Erik Swoope (TE37)
Synopsis: There are major concerns at the moment that Luck will be 100% at the start of the season, and this casts doubt on every major player on this offense. Hilton would suffer the least, as his role is clearly defined and any QB under center would likely look his way often, but Moncrief was dismal even with Luck on the field. It’s been common practice to write Frank Gore off over the last few years, but I think he has enough in the tank to remain relevant, especially as the 25th RB selected. While those positions are set in stone, Jack Doyle continues to lead the TE column despite the buzzy off season that Erik Swoope is having.
Notable Fantasy Stars: DeMarco Murray (RB 7), Delanie Walker (TE7), Marcus Mariota (QB15), Corey Davis (WR37), Derrick Henry (RB38), Rishard Mathews (WR38)
Synopsis: Assuming Mariota returns at close to 100%, he should be in line to have his breakout season with newly aquired Corey Davis providing a transendent pass catching weapon to this offense. Rishard Matthews may have fewer opportunities but will still command a large portion of the offense. DeMarco Murray is the day one starter but with Henry looming in the background he’ll have to stay healthy and effective to stave off the talented 2nd year player. Probably the most consistent member of the offense is the consistent, if not un-sexy, Delanie Walker. His production as a TE1 is a bargain as he generally falls in early drafts.