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7 Backfields to Avoid on Your Fantasy Team

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Drafting a running back in your fantasy pool would have been so much easier twenty years ago. Back then, there were a lot more “lead-backs” who were on the field regardless of the down, racking up at least 250 touches. The gap between the top rusher and the eighth back was not that drastic.

Today, we are faced with the daunting task of dissecting which ball carrier will get more carries in each “running back by committee” situation. The consistency is not there anymore either. We have become accustomed to running backs finding their way into the top-five, going away for a few years, and then emerging as relevant again (see Doug Martin).

Outside of about five names, you have no idea what you’re going to get, and even the top guys find themselves sidelined regularly (see Le’Veon Bell). Basically, if you don’t get your hands on one of the few remaining every-down backs, you better have done your research and hope luck is on your side.

I’m here to make your research a little easier. Here are seven backfields that I would steer clear of come draft day.

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Fantasy

Old Faces, New Places: Tight Ends

JaredCook

Finding yourself a consistent, reliable tight end in fantasy football can be quite difficult if you let the top tier, which consists of about six guys, slip away. Over the last three seasons, the top scorer at the position has been at least 25 points ahead of the competition. If you are not able to lock up a guy like Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, or Greg Olsen, then I certainly hope you have done your research.

In this series, I have been highlighting the top players at each position who are moving onto new teams in 2016, and what impact their new environs will have on their fantasy performance. Hopefully today’s look into tight ends will help you find this year’s Gay Barnidge and steer clear of 2016’s Julius Thomas.

If you missed the first three instalments of this series, here’s my take on quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers.

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Fantasy

Old Faces, New Places: Wide Receivers

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You often hear the phrase, “wide receivers are a dime a dozen” around the fantasy football watercooler. What it really means is that, once you get beyond the WR1-calibre pass-catchers, consistency is hard to find. (Positive consistency, anyway; Davante Adams had no problem sucking every week.) Often you see your WR2 put up 20-plus point one week, only to follow it with a stat line that looks eerily similar to your seven-year-old’s in his last mitey-mite game.

Instead of advising you to study your matchups a little harder, which far too often leads to starting the wrong guy, I’d like to provide you with some general guidance on receivers who have switched teams. There are a couple of players in this list who could turn into your very own Ted Ginn, while others who will only leave you disgruntled and hairless.

For the third entry in my Old Faces, New Places series, I breakdown how the top pass-catchers with new area codes will fare in their new homes. (In case you missed it, I got the quarterbacks and running backs out of the way last week.)

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Old Faces, New Places: Running Backs

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I recently began this series, which highlights the big-name players who will be wearing different uniforms in 2016. Changing teams occasionally results in an average fantasy player blossoming into a star (see Carson Palmer in Arizona). However, the grass is not always greener on the other side (see DeMarco Murray in Philadelphia).

When you’re put on the clock during your fantasy draft, you’ll want to have as much information on these transitioning players as possible. That’s where I come in! Herein, I decipher the year’s biggest moves, pointing out your Palmers, while warning you of your Murrays.

The first instalment focused on quarterbacks; next up, the ball carriers.

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Fantasy

Old Faces, New Places: Quarterbacks

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Back in 1947, the NFL came up with this crazy idea called “free agency,” where a player could pick and choose which team he wanted to play for. The idea was so mad that it took until 1962 for a player to actually take advantage of it.

Now, February, the opening of free agency, has become one of the most exciting times of the year in the NFL. Although it is rare to see an elite level player available in free agency, there are plenty of difference-makers out there to be bid on.

As distinguished fantasy football owners, it is our duty to not only follow where each free agent winds up, but also to blindly assess how well they fit with their new team.

I’ve taken it upon myself to do some of the work for you, hopefully saving you from being caught by your boss at work. Here I breakdown the top players who will be wearing different jerseys in 2016 and predict what their upcoming season will look like.

We start with the signal callers. Stay tuned for running backs, receivers, and tight ends.

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Fantasy

Your best late-round QB options

Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees: you’re going to see those names ticked off early in your fantasy draft. If you don’t get in on the initial run on QBs, don’t panic. You can focus on the rest of your roster and still nab a high-scoring pivot in the later rounds.

Who are your best bets among (what I’m calling) the second-tier?

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Five rookies who could boost your fantasy team

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Henry’s already walked you through 2016’s biggest potential fantasy busts. Today, I’m writing on a sunnier subject: rookies who are primed to stand out, both for their teams and for yours.

I’ll tell you straight off the hop that you won’t find any quarterbacks on this list. Jared Goff will spend the majority of his rookie season handing the rock to Todd Gurley, and Carson Wentz probably won’t start for the Eagles. But there are a handful of skill-position players who should step in and contribute in a big way in their rookie years, and your terrible fantasy team can reap the rewards!

Let’s have a look at the rookie playmakers who will be difference-makers in 2016.

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Bust Alert: Fantasy players to watch this summer

Sammy Watkins

The summer is a slow time for the NFL, but the money-making machine never truly shuts off. From OTAs to minicamps, all the way up to training camp at the end of July, reporters are always trying to keep the general public interested.

But you aren’t a member of the general public. You spend the summer searching for any ounce of information you can dig up so you aren’t going into your fantasy draft blind. (Hence why you’re reading this.)

It can be a frustrating endeavor because media coverage tends to be exclusively sunny during camp: no teams have had their hopes completely crushed yet. However useless the reports, though, here are a few fantasy players you absolutely need to include in your Google Alerts this offseason, and who you can replace them with if the prognosis is negative.

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Who is the number one pick in fantasy football?

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As we draw closer to the beginning of fantasy football season, you’ll no doubt be tempted to spend countless hours researching the “ultimate breakout candidates” and “deep-round sleepers.” But before you start diving way too deep and projecting which kickers will have bounce-back years, make sure you answer a glaringly obvious question: if you end up with the first-overall pick, who should you take?

Gone are the days when you just automatically grabbed Ladainian Tomlinson without giving it a second thought. The increase in passing in the NFL means quarterbacks and wide receivers are more prevalent at the top of fantasy leaderboards, while running backs have become more sparse.

With fewer dominant backs in the game, doesn’t that make it all the more important to get your hands on one? Then again, if you spend the first round getting a back, then you’ll miss out on a great QB.

Oh gosh, are the walls getting tighter in here? I think I’m just going to breathe into this paper bag for a bit.

Needless to say, the first-overall pick is a huge responsibility. So, to make sure you don’t royally screw it up, we’re here to lend a hand. These are the names you should be calling out first-overall this summer, for every type of draft.

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