Terrelle Pryor, NYJ: When owners drafted Pryor last year with one of their first 4 picks, they expected performances similar to what he did in Cleveland, if not even better. Instead of the 77 catches for 1,000 yards, they watched as he squandered their faith to the tune of 240 total yards and only 20 catches.
But this year he’s reunited with Josh McCown, one of the several QB’s who were responsible for his big season in Cleveland, and he’s no longer buried on a depth chart bursting with quality wide receivers. With Robby Anderson currently embroiled in off the field issues, Pryor will have every opportunity to success in an offense that will have to throw often to try and stay in games.
John Brown, BAL: This one might feel like a bit of a reach given the player’s recent history and the team he’s signed with, but the truth is it was never a talent issue with Brown. When he hit the 1,000 yard mark in 2015, he was anointed as one of the up and coming superstars, only to watch as his stock plummeted due to poor performances and a sickle-cell issue that threatened his health.
Now he finds himself as the #2 receiver for a Baltimore team that seems committed to improving the passing game this year. While the addition of Lamar Jackson may scare owners away from this offense, the added motivation should get Flacco playing a better brand of football, which will only benefit Brown as he attempts to bounce back in a Ravens uniform.
DeSean Jackson, TB: This one may be a bit polarizing, as Jackson was considered a boom or bust player prior to last year as well, but after spending most of the season struggling to sync up with Jameis Winston, the fantasy community has soured on the aging speedster. Not Dr. Fantasy, though.
While he posted his worst YPC number since his rookie year (13.4), it was more of a sideffect of an inefficient passing game that saw too many deep balls not connect. Jackson still possesses elite speed, and Winston has an elite arm. With Evans expected to bounce back as well, Jackson should see the space he needs to perform at a level well above his current ADP of 143.
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.
Last season saw the rookie duo of Zeke Elliot and Dak Prescott carry the Dallas Cowboys to a division championship and an 8-2 run to close the season pushed the Giants into the wild card round in what looks to be one of the most stacked divisions in football once again. Both teams have plenty to be concerned with as Philly and Washington both closed the gap in the offseason.
Notable Fantasy Stars: Carson Wentz (QB21), LeGarrett Blount (RB28), Darren Sproles (RB55), Alshon Jeffrey (WR13), Jordan Matthews (WR45), Zach Ertz (TE10)
Synopsis – While the Eagles managed a 3-0 start to the season, by the end of the year it was painfully obvious that young QB Carson Wentz needed more reliable weapons. He receives those in the form of jump ball specialist Alshon Jeffrey and bruising running back LeGarrett Blount to complement an improving Zach Ertz. Nelson Agholor falls off the radar completely, but Jordan Matthews figures to man the slot and Darren Sproles should reprise his role as the primary passing down back.
Notable Fantasy Stars: Kirk Cousins (QB7), Robert Kelley (RB31), Samaje Perine (RB35), Terrelle Pryor (WR20), Jamison Crowder (WR32), Josh Doctson (WR55), Jordan Reed (TE5)
Synopsis – One massive franchise tag later and the Washington Redskins return their wildly successful QB under center, and as the fates would have it Cousins has a new toy to play with. Converted QB Terrelle Pryor has elevated himself to WR2 status after a monster year in Cleveland and expects even better this year in Washington. Still, there are plenty of targets to go around for Crowder and a healthy Doctson. In the backfield, Kelley is expected to reprise the starting role, but rumors persist that Perine may be in line for some work should he falter.
Notable Fantasy Stars: Dak Prescott (QB9), Ezekiel Elliott (RB3), Dez Bryant (WR9) Cole Beasley (WR71), Jason Witten (TE16)
Synopsis – Prior to last year we had no idea Dak Prescott would push Elliott for the rookie of the year. This year, there are no such misconceptions as Dallas returns its potent two headed monster and hopes for a healthy year out of Dez Bryant. Under appreciated slot man Cole Beasley expects to far outperform his draft position with another 70 receptions, and the ageless Jason Witten is a safe TE2 who could score a bunch of TDs.
New York Giants
Notable Fantasy Stars: Eli Manning (QB19) Paul Perkins (RB30), Shane Vereen (RB72), Odell Beckham Jr. (WR4), Brandon Marshall (WR34), Sterling Shephard (WR54)
Synopsis – Not to be outdone by the rest of the East, the Giants went out and added former WR1 in Brandon Marshall, pointing towards a year in which Eli Manning does most of the offensive work. Paul Perkins should still see plenty of work on the ground (and Vereen on third downs) but this team is going to pass first and pass often. OBJ will still be the teams #1 but Sterling Shephard may take a bit of a hit with attention being given elsewhere.