Congratulations, you own a fantasy football team. Now it is time to draft. We understand that you don’t have time to create your own cheat sheet so here are a few players that we think will be sleepers, busts and breakout stars in 2016.
Here is how we define each:
Sleeper: A player not being drafted as a starter but should be.
Bust: A player drafted as a starter but will disappoint.
Breakout Star: A player projected to finish in the top five at their position but are not currently being drafted like a superstar.
To create these rankings we used a combination of FantasyPros experts and then compared those rankings to the average draft position (ADP), which is a composite of rankings from ESPN and Yahoo, of each player. The draft rankings are based on a standard league.
In case you missed it, here are the 2016 sleepers.
Now the busts.
2016 ADP: 7th quarterback, 67th overall
2016 Projected Rankings: 15th quarterback
Palmer scored 15 or more fantasy points in 14 of 16 regular season games last season (most in the NFL). However, he only had a top ten fantasy week in 44% of his starts (per ESPN). The Cardinals quarterback is consistent but not elite. Given his low ceiling, his age (36 years old) and his injury history (missed 17 games over the last five years) Palmer is being over drafted.
2016 ADP: 13th quarterback, 126th overall
2016 Projected Rankings: 20th quarterback
Remember when Mariota threw for four touchdowns in his professional debut? Or when the former second overall pick was the quarterback on the winning Millionaire Maker lineup in Week 9? Apparently you do given where Mariota is being drafted. Tennessee wants to be a run-heavy offense. Bad teams that try to ground-and-pound don’t have a stellar record of producing quality fantasy quarterbacks. Mariota has the skill but might not have the opportunity to produce this season.
2016 ADP: 14th running back, 33rd overall
2016 Projected Rankings: 23rd running back
Hyde has the potential to be an RB1, especially in a Chip Kelly running back-friendly offense. Sounds like a big but coming and there is…BUT he can’t stay healthy. Hyde has missed 11 games in the last two years. Health is a skill, one that the 49ers running back has not displayed.
2016 ADP: 17th running back, 40th overall
2016 Projected Rankings: 28th running back
The Jets new running back is old. Forte turned 30 last season, traditionally a tipping point in production for running backs in the NFL. Forte already has over 2,500 touches in his eight-year career, how many more carries does he have left in him? If he can be productive at his advanced age then the Jets and fantasy owners will get a bargain, but I wouldn’t count on it.
2016 ADP: 7th receiver, 13th overall
2016 Projected Rankings: 15th receiver
In 2014, Jordy was the third best receiver in fantasy finishing in the top five in targets, yards and touchdowns. Then he missed all of last season with a torn ACL. Coming off a serious injury, Nelson just began practicing this week. You don’t win your fantasy league in the first few rounds but you can lose it. There is too much risk with Nelson, even if he has top five receiver upside.
2016 ADP: 21st receiver, 42nd overall
2016 Projected Rankings: 30th receiver
They like to chuck the ball in Detroit. Last season, with Calvin Johnson still on the team, Tate was targeted 128 times and caught 90 balls. The receiver should produce at a similar level in 2016; however, he is not the Lions pass catcher you want on your fantasy team. Tate is going over drafted, take Marvin Jones instead.
2016 ADP: 10th tight end, 109th overall
2016 Projected Rankings: 15h tight end
Gates only had two games last season where he scored more than 9 fantasy points. He is 36-years old and has to compete with a healthy Keenan Allen, the newly acquired Travis Benjamin and Danny Woodhead for targets. The end is near for Gates.