Fantasy Football: Don't let last year's success cloud new draft

Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) runs the ball against the New York Giants during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Buffalo, N.Y. (Gary Wiepert/AP)

Another long season of fantasy football is just around the corner, which means it is time to enter the gauntlet again. Want some average advice to take into your draft? You have come to the right place. As the guy who is basically the Houston Texans of my main league, I am uniquely qualified for that responsibility.

As always, a disclaimer: this stuff is unpredictable. Fantasy football analysis is a series of educated guesses, compounded by largely unpredictable factors like injuries. Those are all the excuses I have, so let’s get into it.

I’ve put together a brief list of sleepers and busts I am keeping an eye on in fantasy drafts. Sleepers are overlooked players that I’m looking to grab, and busts are players that I don’t think will live up to the expectations of where they are being drafted. When I refer to average draft position (ADP), 2015 final scoring rankings and fantasy points, I am referring to the numbers on ESPN.com.

SLEEPER: Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills

When it comes to quarterbacks, you know what you are going to get with most of the guys being drafted in the top 10. If you’re looking for a potential star outside that draft range, try Taylor. He had a quietly strong season in 2015 despite missing a pair of games, and he’ll have a fully healthy Sammy Watkins among his arsenal of weapons this year.

BUST: Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

Drafting Manning to put him in a starting role is a dangerous game, which makes it worrysome that he has a top 10 ADP among quarterbacks. Last year he had five games over 20 points, and another four games under 10 points. It’s a roller coaster you don’t want to ride, although it always makes it to the end unscathed. Going to knock on wood after that one.

SLEEPER: Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans

Last year, Miller was the sixth-highest scoring running back on a Miami Dolphins team that seemed to often forget he was even on the team. This year, he joins a Texans team that has historically loved to run the ball, with a quarterback that could certainly use a check down option. He is currently the seventh-highest running back drafted this year, on average, and I still think people are sleeping on him. He showed last year that he has elite talent, and this year he should receive the opportunities to use it.

BUST: Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

As the No. 1 scoring running back last season, Freeman is carrying a lot of warranted hype into this season. But his performance dropped significantly after an incredible first half of the season, which is worrying. I expect Tevin Coleman, who was expected to start at the position in Atlanta last season, to cut into Freeman’s production and limit his potential as a top-tier back.

SLEEPER: DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins

After struggling with injuries early in his rookie campaign last year, Parker finished strong with at least 60 receiving yards in five of his last six. While I think fellow pass catcher Jarvis Landry will eat up many of the potential targets from quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the talented Parker should offer far more value than his No. 102 average draft position during his sophomore season. His preseason performance has not been stellar, but don’t turn on him yet.

BUST: Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers 

Wide receiver is a tough position to hunt through for a potential disappointment, because of the sheer number of talented athletes in today’s pass-first NFL. Let’s go with Nelson, who is currently the eighth receiver drafted, on average, despite missing all of 2015 with a torn ACL. He returns to a crowded Green Bay offense this year at age 31, and although he has a great chance to be Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target, he’s a risk to trust as your No. 1 wide receiver. Several younger names below him carry far more upside.


Tyler Keating is associate sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at tyler.keating@uconn.edu.