Fantasy football is just around the corner. Be sure to check back frequently for up-to-date fantasy football rankings. Keep those rankings in mind as we take a look at each division’s players on the rise, on the decline and ones to watch for all 32 teams. Here’s a look at the AFC South.
Lamar Miller, RB—I tweeted in July that I’m starting to like the Lamar Miller discount. Miller doesn’t excite anyone and if D’Onta Foreman were fully healthy, the second-year player out of Texas would possibly be the new starter. But Foreman might not be ready for the start of the season, making Miller a nice RB2 option. If Foreman misses time, the touches will be there for Miller. Keep an eye on Foreman’s status before taking Miller around the fifth round.
D’Onta Foreman, RB—Foreman’s average draft position is falling fast. If he can’t recover from last season’s torn Achilles’ by Week 1, it doesn’t make sense to draft him very high. He’s being taken in the 10th round at this point. Don’t pull the trigger before that. On the bright side, he could end up being a nice value if he comes back fully healthy, although later than initially expected.
One to watch
Will Fuller, WR—Fuller’s efficiency last season was insane, as was the efficiency of his quarterback Deshaun Watson. A quarter of Fuller’s receptions went for touchdowns, which is pretty unheard of. He finished with 28 catches, 423 yards and seven touchdowns in 10 games. Fuller’s numbers fell off when Watson got hurt in October. The third-year receiver also missed time due to cracked ribs.
Marcus Mariota, QB—After a solid first two seasons, you don’t hear Mariota come up as a possible QB1 often. He’s starting his fourth season with a third head coach which isn’t very stabilizing. Last season he tossed just 13 touchdowns to 15 interceptions. That means he’ll come at a tremendous discount this year. His offensive coordinator was the quarterbacks coach in Atlanta when Matt Ryan put up a career year, however. Mariota has weapons in Corey Davis, ever-reliable Delanie Walker and newly acquired Dion Lewis catching out of the backfield. Add to that, Mariota has running ability that could help sneak him into the top 12.
Derrick Henry, RB—When DeMarco Murray left town, fantasy owners were excited about the Henry era beginning in Tennessee. It’s important to note he rushed for over 100 yards just twice last season. In one of those games he rushed 11 times for 109 yards, but one of those carries went for 75 yards. In his other 100-yard game he rushed 19 times for 131 yards, one carry going for 72 yards. That means in his best games he rushed for less than 3.4 yards per carry if you eliminate those big plays. Outside those two games he rushed for more than 54 yards just twice.
One to watch
Dion Lewis, RB—Another reason I see Henry as falling is the arrival of Lewis. He’s the smaller man by a lot, but he’s skilled and has had a more efficient career so far. Lewis rushed 180 times last season, no small feat with a Patriots team that doesn’t go with just one back, for 896 yards and six touchdowns. He caught 32 passes and scored three more touchdowns through the air. Henry won’t be the only game in town.
T.Y. Hilton, WR—Hilton is being taken in the third round and is on the edge of WR1 status. He finished last season as a WR3 and it’s no secret why. With Andrew Luck looking like he’ll return to action without limitation, Hilton should be back to his status as a WR1. Just make sure Luck doesn’t suffer any setbacks before you scoop up the receiver.
Marlon Mack, RB—I haven’t been a believer in Mack and with the Colts drafting two running backs in the offseason, it looks like they may have their doubts as well. Mack is currently being drafted in the early sixth round of fantasy drafts. He’s going ahead of guys like Kerryon Johnson and Rex Burkhead, who I think I like better.
One to watch
Jordan Wilkins, RB—The Colts selected Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins in the NFL draft and I think one of them takes over the lead role from Mack. I would put my money on Wilkins, however. Hines can be useful, but Wilkins can do it all and had six 100-yard games in the SEC last year, including 101 yards on 12 carries against Alabama. The best news is he’s practically free in drafts, going in the 14th round on average.
Marquise Lee, WR—I see him as a riser because he should turn into the team’s No. 1 target. Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are in Chicago and Dallas now, so someone will inherit those targets. With Robinson out for most of last season, Lee was targeted 96 times. Hurns’ 56 targets will have to go somewhere. I don’t see the addition of Donte Moncrief and the development of Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook as hurting Lee’s No. 1 status. He’s being drafted in the 11th round which is a great spot to draft a No. 1 target.
T.J. Yeldon, RB—Yeldon’s being drafted in the 14th round and I’d much rather take a chance on a guy like Wilkins, Kalen Balage or even Spencer Ware. He won’t take Leonard Fournette’s job and I’m not sure he’d do that well if Fournette went down with injury.
One(s) to watch
Wide receivers—With Lee expected to be the No. 1 wideout, it will be interesting to see which talented receiver takes over the No. 2 spot. Moncrief has the talent, but has an injury past. Cole and Westbrook both flashed in their rookie seasons. Westbrook caught 27 passes for 339 yards and a touchdown while Cole caught 42 balls for 748 yards and three scores. While Cole had the better debut, I wouldn’t be surprised if Westbrook was more productive this season. They’re virtually tied in average draft position in the 14th round.