The AFC North, to me, is a hot bed of fantasy talent. Unless you’re looking for your starting quarterback, in which case I would look elsewhere.
With the way the two powerhouse teams have pretty much dominated the division over the last decade, it’s a wonder the Baltimore Ravens or the Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t produced at least one quarterback worthy of starting for your fantasy team. Each team has a great NFL quarterback, yet neither have a good fantasy quarterback. Running backs are all over the division and just waiting to lead you to the promised land. Then you have the paradox of paradoxes. This division has some of the worst fantasy quarterbacks, but I think this division is inundated with fantasy wide receiver talent. Oh my, that bed is heating up just thinking about it.
At the quarterback position in the division,
Andy Dalton shines to me, mostly because he has the best receiver in the division. However, he is the only one in the division who has the upside to really breakout this year. I feel with your next best option,
Ben Roethlisberger, you should by now know what you’re going to get. He’ll either toss you three or four touchdown passes and 350-plus yards, and then the next week you’ll wonder how he even makes a roster. Then you’ve got
Joe Flacco. A friend of mine made a good point about him that almost makes me want to push him up this list. Flacco just got paid, and there’s no reason they’re going to pay him that much money to hand the ball off. Flacco could end up flinging that thing all over the place. Which is really all fantasy football players want, sure it’ll mean more interceptions, but oh how quickly I forget about an interception when my quarterback chucks a 60-plus yard touchdown pass, am I right? Finally there is
Brandon Weeden, who needs to really get moving if he hopes to ever break the fantasy relevance radar.
The AFC North running back position has been dominated for almost half a decade by
Ray Rice. It will continue this year, as well as conclude this year with a passing of the torch to Cleveland running back Trent Richardson. In almost all formats (unless you get bonus points for a player wearing brown during their game),
Ray Rice should go before Richardson in your draft. After these two work horses, you’ll have your choice of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and likely Pittsburgh starter
Le’Veon Bell. I like Bell more, simply because I feel Green-Ellis will have more competition for carries from rookie
Giovani Bernard. One more running back I suggest you keep your focus on is Baltimore Ravens backup,
Bernard Pierce. If Rice finally suffers a bite from the injury bug, Pierce will be right there and ready.
Now it’s time for the bread and butter of this division, the wide receivers. Oh my, oh my. Talk about a source of talent. The top overall receiver from the division is easily Cincinnati’s A.J. Green. He’ll be entering the coveted third year, and has already proven to be a force over the last two years.
Torrey Smith is one of my favorite players this year. He has tremendous vertical speed and a quarterback with a big arm. He’ll be in his third year, and he got better from his first to his second year. If he trends up again, he could crack the top-15 at the position at by the end of the season with no problem.
Antonio Brown will be someone’s favorite draft pick by the end of the season. He will slide in to that No. 1 receiver spot easily, and the way he plays just matches Pittsburgh football. The other reason I see Brown having a good year is the fact he has the best partner on the other side of the field in
Emmanuel Sanders. He’ll be a solid flex, if you’re in need of one, all year. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he matches or surpasses Brown’s production and I will tell you why. Earlier in the year I saw the red flag get raised on his talent. New England tried to swoop in and grab him, and Pittsburgh did what they needed to, to keep him. That tells me something is there waiting to be revealed. Maybe you didn’t hear it here first, but I will still act like you did.