Quarterback—Andy Dalton and Big Ben
This division has been chaotic to say the least this past couple weeks, but let’s start with the quarterback race. Big Ben seems to have faded off everyone’s radar since he thought about retirement this off-season. I can’t blame the guy…No team in the AFC stands a chance against the Patriots. Andy Dalton has A.J. green back and healthy, which makes him relevant. I gave these two a tie for this coming season. I know most people would chose Big Ben because he’s got Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and now Martavis Bryant returning, but I’m convince Dalton with have QB1 numbers as well.
Both of these teams have extremely easy schedules, but Dalton and Green were on pace to have monster seasons last year until Green got hurt. His touchdowns were low at 18, but still he still managed to throw for 4,206 yards with a sub-par wide receiver corps. I think both Marvin Lewis and Dalton know that they have to make it out of the first round of the playoffs this year so the city, fan base, and ownership will stop viewing them as stagnant and complacent. Don’t forget that they drafted Joe Mixon and reports have come out stating that he’s something extremely special. If Lewis is considering handing him the reigns, then we should take it seriously since he never makes it easy for rookies to get playing time. Dalton’s ADP is currently around 138. If you’re the type of fantasy owner that likes to stack their team and draft a quarterback in the later rounds or stream quarterbacks, then I would highly recommend going with Dalton. With Green back, an easy schedule, and a better running game, Dalton should finish the year with 4,300 passing yards and 25 touchdowns.
I need Big Ben to get excited about football. It seems like he has lost the drive and passion to play the game. His heart doesn’t seem to be in it anymore, which concerns me a little bit. He has all the tools to have a fantastic season, the number one wide receiver, arguably the number one running back, and a pretty solid defense. I believe he definitely will score more touchdowns than Dalton. With this high powered offense he should have no problem throwing 30 plus touchdowns with 4,100 plus passing yards. Ben’s ADP is around 90. This is great value you for a quarterback that owners are able to draft later that will get 30 plus touchdowns. He’s only 35, he’s got at least 2-3 more productive seasons still in him. He just needs someone to light the fire under him once again.
Running Back- Le’Veon Bell
The talk of the town, Mr. Le’Veon Bell. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Bell failed to come to an agreement on a contract extension and now Bell hasn’t signed his franchise tender either. I have no doubt in my mind that Bell will report to camp eventually. My opinion? Pay the man. He deserves to be paid like the number one running back and a number two wide receiver. Bell had 1,884 total yards with 9 total touchdowns and that was in 12 games. I’m very biased with it comes to Bell since every championship I’ve won I’ve had the start running back. It’s an easy decision for everyone, take Bell with the first or second pick.
Wide Receiver- Antonio Brown
We continue with the Pittsburgh Steelers. You can probably figure out who will win the division by now… It was somewhat of a down year for Brown, but he still managed to pull out great numbers with 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns. With Martavis Bryant back it will help take some of the load off Brown. In all drafts Brown should be the number 3 pick especially since Zeke is having some off the field issues. Brown is a workhorse that is able to carry you far in all fantasy leagues. He will be producing 1,500 receiving yards and 12 plus touchdowns, which will make him the number one wide receiver once again.
Tight End- Question Mark
Not very great options here…Some believe that the Cleveland Browns new tight, David Njoku, would be the pick here, but I’m not sold on him having a great year with the Browns offense. They still don’t know who to start at quarterback, which has been their issue for the past decade, and that concerns me.
Another option people would say is Tyler Eifert, which I would pick too, but he just was medically cleared. He’s extremely injury prone and isn’t worth taking a draft pick around the 9th round. I would only take him if he fell to me in the 11 round or later.
Let’s not even get started with the Ravens tight end situation. Everyone who steps foot on that team at that position gets injured. All in All, stay away from all tight ends in this division.
Honorable Mention: Ravens Backfield
The Ravens backfield is slowly being determined due to the injury of Kenneth Dixon. This now leaves Danny Woodhead and Terrance West. West was a solid RB2 last season finishing with 774 yards and 5 touchdowns. He only started 13 games because Dixon was supposed to be the chosen one to bring this backfield back to its glory days.
I thought West out produced Dixon last year. West will show the Ravens that he should’ve been the guy chosen all along. West will get the full load of the early down work for the Ravens, and his only contender to steal touches is Woodhead. We all know what Woodhead’s capabilities are and he will certainly be a threat in the passing game. Both are great value and will complement each other well. Woodhead will dominate 3rd downs and all the passing plays, while West will get the early down work and the red zone touches. Fantasy owners will be able to get great value with these guys in the later rounds. Be comfortable taking either one as an option. They will be great Flex Plays with high upside.