10 Players Getting No Respect by Utter-Fantasy Football Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
In less than a month, NFL fans will finally get to see some action when the 2016 preseason kicks off on Sunday, Aug. 7, in Canton, Ohio…the Green Bay Packers face the Indianapolis Colts in the Hall of Fame Game. Fantasy football fanatics are getting excited, and mock drafts and rankings are as abundant as campaign yard signs. Many people, including myself, have already participated in actually drafts, and are looking forward to more. With completed drafts, mock drafts and rankings, one can already get an idea who is expected to do well this upcoming season, and who is not.
This article showcases 10 NFL players that are currently getting little RESPECT from the NFL and fantasy community. They may end up being strong ‘sleepers” in 2016, so perhaps fantasy football owners should revisit their preconceived opinions on these players.
#1- WR Anquan Boldin– “Oo Baby…What you want”…if not this sure-handed receiver on your team, especially if you have young wide outs who need mentoring. Why this guy is still a free agent is a mystery to me. Like his former teammate WR Larry Fitzgerald, Boldin is the consummate professional. In 2014, Boldin was the #23 wide receiver in the NFL, and in 2015, he was #43. His stats for 2015 were better than MINN Stefon Diggs, PHIL Rishad Matthews, NE Danny Amendola and WASH DeSean Jackson (who all currently have jobs).
#2- WR Doug Baldwin– From Week 10 of 2015, to the end of the season, the only thing WR Doug Baldwin did was catch 60 passes for 848 yards and 13 touchdowns. He ended 2015 as the #7 among all NFL wide outs, but is currently having 24 wide receivers drafted before him. Nothing has changed in Seattle! TE Jimmy Graham is a shell of his early self, WR Tyler Lockett is emerging, but QB Russell Wilson trusts Baldwin.
#3- QB Blake Bortles– This Jacksonville leader quietly was the #3 quarterback for the 2015 NFL season, with 4428 passing yards, 310 rushing yards and 37 total touchdowns. You’d never know it, however, by the way the mock drafts are going. 10 quarterbacks are being selected before Bortles and in many standard league drafts Bortles can be stolen as late as Round 10.
#4- RB Chris Ivory– In the 2015 NFL Draft the Jaguars selected Alabama’s TJ Yeldon with their 2nd round pick. He was to be their workhorse and every down back for the future. The signing of RB Chris Ivory on March 10, 2016 to a three-year deal should give you a clue how they feel about Yeldon today. RB Chris Ivory is tough runner in the same mold as a Frank Gore, who wants the ball and wants to pound it for 4 quarters. In 2015 Ivory rushed for over 1000 yards as a Jet, and recorded 8 TDs. He is a massive upgrade over Yeldon, and his current RB ADP #26 is too low.
#5- WR Eric Decker– Even though the quarterback situation is currently unresolved, one has to assume that QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to come to his senses, and sign with the team. It’s the only time in Fitz’s career that he’s ever had any success for crying out loud. When he does, Decker should be drafted with confidence in the top 15 wide outs for 2016, rather than #30 where his ADP is today. In 2015, Decker was the #11 wide receiver in the NFL with 1027 receiving yards and 12 touchdown receptions. (If Fitz never signs, drafting Decker at #30 may be actually too high)
#6- RB Rashad Jennings– When the Raiders decided to let Jennings go after the 2013 NFL season, I was excited for him to get a starting job with the Giants. On March 12, 2014, Jennings signed a four-year, $14 million contract with New York. But Tom Coughlin was the head coach, and it wasn’t until Week 14 that the numbskull Coughlin, let RB Jennings have more than 13 carries in one game. The Giants won that game 31-24 in Miami. Ben McAdoo is the new head coach, so it remains to be seen if Jennings can get enough carries consistently to be a running back fantasy owners can rely on, but the potential is definitely there.
#7- WR Kamar Aiken– If WR Breshad Perriman did not get injured (again), I wouldn’t be writing this, but Perriman did, so I am. If you believe that WR Mike Wallace still has plenty left in the gas tank, then you and I will have to agree to disagree. So for me, that leaves Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken as the primary receivers in Baltimore. (Wallace will get some targets, just not a lot) Smith will wear down even quicker than he did last year, and has a bye in Week 8. Expect Aiken’s numbers to be good for the 1st 7 weeks, and take off after that.
#8- RB James Starks– Guess who had more total yards in 2015 than RB’s DeMarco Murray, Jeremy Hill, Eddie Lacy and CJ Anderson? Since his name is in bold type, and right before the question, so please tell me that everyone got this right! In a back up role mind you, RB James Starks was the #23 running back for 2015, and he may be the best suited running back for the Packer offense. I am not saying draft Starks before Lacy, but he may be the #1 RB handcuff to have in fantasy football, and should be drafted before the 51st RB off the boards, where he is currently going.
#9- QB Brock Osweiler– It is not uncommon to see a back up quarterback, who is suddenly thrusted into the starting job late in the season, to fall flat on his face. It’s almost expected. He hasn’t worked with the 1st team all year afterall, and is facing NFL defenses in real games for the first time. But QB Brock Osweiler did not fall on his face. Of the 7 games that he started in the final games of the 2015 season, the Broncos won 5, and Osweiler was a big reason why. Fantasy football owners are sleeping on this guy, and with his weapons in Houston, he is a steal in the later rounds.
#10- Tim Hightower– RB Mark Ingram was drafted by the Saints in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and 2012 was the only year that he was able to play in all 16 games of a regular season. In 2013, Ingram only played in 11 games, in 2014 only 13, and in 2015 only 12 games. Last year when Ingram was out (again) with injuries, RB Tim Hightower stepped in and started the final 4 games. In that short span, Hightower racked up 456 total yards and 4 touchdowns. Hightower spent nearly four years out of the league before returning in strong fashion last year, and showed fresh legs and an eagerness to play football. Must add for Ingram owners.
(NOTE: CLEV RB Isaiah Crowell was #10, before his ill-advised instagram post. We’ll see how that one ends up playing out.)
Maybe I’ll be singing a different tune by Week 6 on some of these players, but this is what I think right now. If you disagree, “Break It to Me Gently” (another great Aretha Franklin tune)…or not gently, I can take it!