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Must-have 2016 Fantasy Football Targets

Matthew Stafford

Considering how Stafford’s 2015 season started, it should be extraordinarily surprising that he finished with 32 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and completed 67 percent of his passes.

Once Jim Bob Cooter took over, it was all systems go for Matthew Stafford and the passing game. Over the course of his final seven games, Stafford threw for 17 touchdowns and only one interception.

The biggest question for Stafford, as we all know, is how he’ll deal with the loss of Calvin Johnson. Yes, Megatron was a special receiver, but I don’t think it will affect Stafford has much as people think.

Golden Tate is no slouch and should be Stafford’s reliable receiver in 2016, just like he was in 2015. Also, Marvin Jones is a receiver that has just been waiting to get out of the shadow of A.J. Green for the past few years, and should solid be big play receiver with some red zone value. Fingers crossed Eric Ebron takes the next step in year three.

Right now, it seems like Stafford is a quarterback being taken in the 15 to 20 range, that is a value I would pounce on.

Ryan Tannehill

It’s unlikely that owning Tannehill will let you sleep easy at night, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid him altogether. In my opinion, he and Matthew Stafford are two of the best quarterback bargains of 2016.

Overall, 2015 was just a horrible season for the Dolphins and their starting quarterback. There were obvious issues with Joe Philbin and the rest of the team that obviously affected the way everyone was playing.

Now, that isn’t to say Tannehill should get a pass just because no one liked his head coach. Often times, Tannehill looked lost and confused and I feel like every other week a snap was flying over his head and going out of the end zone.

As bad as 2015 was, that’s all in the past now and Tannehill has a new head coach in Adam Gase. I don’t know how good Gase will be, after all, he did get to coach Peyton Manning when he was actually good, but Jay Cutler also had success in his system last year.

The reasons to draft Tannehill are obvious, he’s a quarterback that should put up decent numbers, especially considering their running back situation isn’t exactly set, and he’s likely going outside of the top-20 quarterbacks.

He’s got plenty of weapons and a new coach, so hopefully 2016 breathes new life into Tannehill’s career and fantasy value.

Lamar Miller

Most of the running backs that are ranked in the top 10 I have major concerns about, Lamar Miller is not one of them.

I’ve spent a lot of time already writing about Lamar Miller, which you can reader here: Lamar Miller Will be a Top 5 Fantasy Running Back in 2016so I’ll keep this short.

Finally, after two years of being underutilized in Miami, Miller heads to Houston where the plan is for him to be the centerpiece of the Texans’ offense. Word is, he’ll be involved plenty running the ball and catching passes out of the backfield.

I have no qualms about drafting Miller as a top-five running in 2016 and fully expect him to get around 300 touches while consistently breaking off big runs.

Latavius Murray

Latavius Murray was supposed to do big things in 2015 but after a disappointing season it seemed like initially some of the Raiders coaches soured on him, but guess what? The only upgrade to their stable of running backs was drafting DeAndre Washington in the fifth round of the draft, so I think it’s safe to say Murray will once again be leading the Raiders rushing attack.

Like I said, 2015 was disappointing for Murray considering he only averaged 4 yards per carry, and only had six touchdowns on 307 touches. While you’d obviously like more out of your running back, considering the way 2015 panned out for a lot of other backs, it really wasn’t so bad.

You have to like Murray simply because the Raiders have arguably the best offensive line in football and his price tag isn’t likely going to be so high that you have to reach for him. It’s likely he’ll be one of the first 17 to 20 running backs off the board, which makes for a nice value for someone hoping to strike big on a freakish athlete with big potential.

Jay Ajayi

Thanks to Lamar Miller finding greener pastures in Houston, the door swung open for Jay Ajayi to snag Miami’s starting running back role.

Right now, we don’t know much about how successful Ajayi is going to be, he’s only entering his second season, but he had a prolific career running the ball at Boise State.

In three years there, he ran the ball 678 times for 3,796 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns. Keep in mind, most of those numbers were accumulated in his final two years after only 82 rushing attempts in his first season. So, yeah, he was pretty good.

Like Murray, the Dolphins didn’t exactly address their running back situation in a way that is going to necessarily affect Ajayi. They drafted Kenyan Drake in the third round but right now he doesn’t necessarily profile as much more than a pass-catcher.

Without anyone to take carries from him, Ajayi has all the makings of a potential fantasy steal that is going around the fifth or sixth round.

A.J. Green

Green has really become a younger version of Larry Fitzgerald over the past two years. He kinda just goes out, takes care of business, but just sorta stays behind the scenes amongst the more attention hungry NFL receivers. in 2016, Green is a player that fantasy owners need to make sure they target. As it stands, according to Fantasypros.com, Green and Allen Robinson are in a close battle for the consensus seventh-ranked receiver. Don’t get me started on Robinson just yet but I will surely be letting someone else snag him in 2016.

In 2016, Green is a player that fantasy owners need to make sure they target. As it stands, according to Fantasypros.com, Green and Allen Robinson are in a close battle for the consensus seventh-ranked receiver. Don’t get me started on Robinson just yet but I will surely be letting someone else snag him in 2016.

Anyway, the Bengals offense is going to look quite a bit different in 2016 with the loss of Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu. That’s 153 targets up for grabs that are going to go to who? Some will go to Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd, but I don’t see them making the impact that Jones and Sanu were making in 2015.

A lot of responsibility is going to be placed on Green’s shoulders, especially with Tyler Eifert’s status up in the air for week one, and we just don’t know the type of rapport that Andy Dalton is going to build with his new weapons.

Last year, A.J. Green only had 132 targets, which is low for a high-profile number one receiver these days, but I fully expect Green to get near 170 or so targets at least.

With fantasy drafts getting closer, I’m completely comfortable drafting Green has a top-five receiver at the end of the first round.

Sammy Watkins

It has not been a pretty offseason for the Buffalo Bills, and Sammy Watkins’ foot injury made it quite a bit worse.

The first part of 2015 was rough for Watkins as we saw him struggle for targets and eventually use the media to voice his concern about his lack of opportunities.

Fortunately for him, Tyrod Taylor started forcing the ball his way and Watkins looked like a man amongst boys. Over his last six games, Watkins averaged 113 yards per game and caught six touchdowns.

Despite having missed just three games in his career, Watkins does have an injury history, but his recent foot injury could make him a fantasy steal in 2016.

Right now, experts are ranking Watkins inside the top 30, but he could fall to the fourth or even fifth round depending upon how your competition feels about drafting injured players. If it’s me, I have no problem spending a fourth round pick on Sammy Watkins.

Behind Watkins, the Bills don’t have much besides Robert Woods and I expect the Bills to come out swinging on offense with Tyrod throwing the ball a lot more than he did in 2015. Even though you have to imagine the Bills defense is going to improve in 2016, I think Rex Ryan knows his job may be on the line if the Bills miss the playoffs,so, he’s going to want his offense scoring in droves.

Golden Tate & Marvin Jones

I am all in on the Lions offense in 2016 and that includes Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and tight end Eric Ebron.

Calvin Johnson is a once-in-a-lifetime receiver, but I don’t think his retiring is going to have horrific effects on the Lions offense.

With Johnson retiring there are going to be a lot of targets up for grabs, he accounted for 150 targets alone in 2015. Most of those targets are likely going to end up in the hands of Marvin Jones and Golden Tate.

Tate will likely account for more than the 128 targets he got in 2015 and be a reliable outlet for Matthew Stafford. Also, even though Tate’s 2015 was impressive, he only averaged 9 yards per carry after averaging 14.2 yards per carry the last three years. I think we’ll see him grab 80 to 90 catches but also pass the 1000-yard mark.

The only thing keeping Tate from a bonafide low-end WR2 is his lack of touchdown production, but that could change without Megatron in the fold.

Then there’s Marvin Jones, who figures to be the big play, red zone threat that Calvin Johnson was for the past nine years.

There’s not much to say about Jones other than he has made his fair share of big plays over the past two years and he’s jumping into an offense that really found it’s grove late in 2015. Go grab him or Golden Tate.

Donte Moncrief

There aren’t many receivers that will be drafted outside the top 20 overall receivers that have as much potential as Moncrief. The stage is set for a huge breakout season.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way, Andrew Luck will be back in 2016 and as long as he doesn’t get hurt, everything should go as planned for Moncrief.

Also, the Colts offense as a whole seems a little emaciated these days. Frank Gore isn’t what he used to be, Coby Fleener is gone and after Moncrief, their top two receivers are small speedsters. That’s not a knock on TY Hilton, but he just can’t be relied upon to do what Moncrief can do.

Like I said Moncrief is one of the few post top 20 receivers that could actually have WR1 value. Do not let anyone in your league draft him, even if his value does skyrocket between now and late August.

Ladarius Green

Heath Miller has been a staple on offense for the Steelers over the past 11 season and his retirement opens a huge opportunity for newly signed Ladarius Green.

In tandem with losing Miller, Martavis Bryant is also suspended for the season, creating an even bigger hole in the Steelers offensive game plan.

Fear not, however, the Steelers went out and roped in one of the most intriguing and athletic tight ends in the NFL in Green.

The fantasy community has been waiting for what seems like years for Green’s breakout season, but it never came thanks to Antonio Gates.

Now in Pittsburgh, and thanks to a bit of uncertainty behind Antonio Brown, Green enters 2016 with a decent shot at being a top 10 tight end.

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Written by Chris

Creator of Bigfoot Sports. When I'm not hunting for Bigfoot I'm usually checking my fantasy team.

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