The offseason has officially come to a close with training camp now in full swing. Taking a look around the league, there are some things that jump right off the page in regards to our interest in fantasy value. Skimming through the 32 teams, there are 10 facts that seemingly stick out more than others. Let’s review the top 10 things to keep in mind heading into draft day.
1) The opportunity to score in close makes Frank Gore perhaps the most intriguing RB2 to target.
Ahmad Bradshaw last season was able to find the end zone eight times in his short stint on the field for the Indianapolis Colts. Gore is head and shoulders above Bradshaw, even at this stage of his career. Gore may not find another 1,000 yards rushing given how much Indianapolis loves to pass but he should be a lock to score double-digit touchdowns. His ability as a pass receiver out of the backfield will put him close to five receiving touchdowns alone. He’s not a fantasy bell cow to hitch your team’s full stock on, but he’ll prove to be an extremely valuable RB2 who you can sneak off the board as a steal in the third round.
2) Joseph Randle has a golden goose chance to become a yearly first-round selection.
With DeMarco Murray now sporting Philadelphia green, the door is wide open for Randle to become the next big Dallas Cowboys running back. Everything is working out in his favor as Dallas failed to bring in a big name like Adrian Peterson, and Darren McFadden is already missing valuable practice time. To say that the Dallas offensive line is the best in the league is like saying Calvin Johnson is tall. It’s an incredible understatement that doesn’t speak to how great the line really is. As long as Randle can knock off the Dez Bryant-type off-the-field antics and remains healthy, he should be able to walk for 1,000 yards.
3) Andre Johnson could have his second-best fantasy season to-date.
The days of 1,500-plus receiving yards are dead and gone. But that doesn’t mean that Johnson can’t set a career high in a different category. With Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks out of town, there are plenty of targets to be had in Indianapolis. This season with Andrew Luck will mark the first time that Johnson has ever had an elite talent at quarterback in his entire pro career. All of these factors add up to the notion that Andre Johnson could see a career high in touchdowns. Playing opposite of T.Y. Hilton will set him on single coverage more often than a player of his caliber should see, and at 6-foot-3 he’s the best wide receiver end zone target on the roster. He’ll perform as a WR1 more often than people are projecting.
4) DeMarco Murray’s value has been impacted more than people are suggesting.
Leaving the best offensive line in an offense that was specifically designed to limit the pass for an offense going through a transition has to be viewed as a negative. Going from Tony Romo under center to Sam Bradford or Mark Sanchez is clearly a negative. Having Dez Bryant force the secondary back is a luxury that Jordan Matthews will not provide. Having to share the ball with the capable duo of Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles was something that did not happen with Murray in 2014. A lot has changed and Philadelphia seems to be in a rebuilding limbo. The loss of touches added to the aforementioned negatives have Murray set to see a huge production hit.
5) Speaking of Philadelphia, the entire offense is a question mark.
Sam Bradford? Mark Sanchez? Tim Tebow?? A three-headed backfield of Pro Bowl talents? A rookie wide receiver starting opposite of Jordan Matthews? The same Matthews that looked to have a case of the dropsies last season? The Philadelphia Eagles have done a complete 180 as Nick Foles and Jeremy Maclin, the last remaining offensive pieces from the Andy Reid days, were sent packing. Coach Chip Kelly is an offensive mastermind but unfortunately sometimes a handyman is only as good as the tools he has at hand. Kelly could be turning a lug nut with a sledgehammer this year.