- Jameis Winston- He has already achieved a firm grip on the offense and has endeared himself to teammates and coaches by consistently putting in extra time in the gym and on the practice field. Armed with three 6’5 targets in receivers Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a cannon for an arm, and the fourth easiest schedule in the league, it appears Winston is destined for great things right from the start. Look for his yardage numbers to be better than average, and his TDs to be off the charts.
- Melvin Gordon- I know it’s still preseason, but word on the street is that this kid has a great chance to win “Rookie of the Year” honors this season, and I don’t find that hard to believe at all. Since the moment he stepped on the field as a Wisconsin Badger, Gordon has been a human highlight reel, gashing through defenses like a knife through warm butter. As a Charger, he will be running behind one of the best offensive lines in the AFC, and for a unit that was just a running back away from being highly explosive. His numbers on the ground should be dynamic from the start, and if he can develop a rapport with Phillip Rivers, through the air, he could become a top fantasy back in his first year.
- Ameer Abdullah- The one knock on this guy coming out of college was his size, but we have seen plenty of smart, elusive, running backs with great vision, use a small frame to their advantage as they dart through the line. Abdullah has all of those skills and more, and should fit in nicely with a high powered offense that has been searching for a solid running game. He may start out the season in a committee with incumbent Joique Bell, but I have a feeling he will have a firm grip on the starting job not long into the season. Either way, he should be a solid producer for your fantasy team, and his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield should make him a great addition in PPR leagues.
- Nelson Agholor- Say what you will about Chip Kelly, he knows how to put together an offense, and he is great at matching athletes skills to his needs. When DeSean Jackson left Philadelphia last season, Kelly replicated his numbers almost exactly with Jeremy Maclin. Now that Maclin is gone why not recreate those numbers with a guy who was compared to J-Mac long before he was even drafted by the Eagles? Agholor is that guy, and he has all the skills and character necessary to do just that. He has a high football IQ, is ridiculously fast, very elusive, and fits perfectly into Kelly’s scheme and vision for the offense. If Agholor comes even close to Maclin’s numbers from last year, he will definitely be a top fantasy producer and a great asset to your team.
- Devin Funchess- Last year Kelvin Benjamin gave Cam Newton a much needed, tall and athletic target. This year Newton will have two as the 6’5, 230 pound converted tight end, Funchess comes to town. Newton isn’t know as the most accurate QB in the league, so he is going to love having a target that can consistently reel in his wild throws,and for once defenses are going to have to pick their poison instead of just focusing on one receiver. If they choose wrong too often, Funchess will be filling up fantasy scoresheets early and often with ridiculous numbers.
- Kevin White – I’m not a big fan of Jay Cutler as a Quarterback, but his receivers always seem to produce big fantasy numbers, and with Brandon Marshall departing and leaving a giant hole in the offense, the 6’3 White moves into an ideal position to succeed immediately. He had one of the highest ceilings of any receiver in the draft, and with a very physical style, great hands and 4.35 speed, should reach it sooner than later with the amount of targets he is bound to receive. When he does, he should be a great asset for any fantasy team.
- Clive Walford- He is the record holder for receptions at Miami, the university who has turned out a number of productive NFL receivers including Bubba Franks, Kellen Winslow, Jeremy Shockey, Greg Olsen, and Jimmy Graham. Now he is teaming up with Derek Carr, who very quietly had one of the top seasons of any rookie QB ever, to bring some much needed life to a Raiders offense who finished at the bottom of the pile last year. As the best overall tight end in this year’s draft, he should be a perfect safety net and red-zone target for a team and quarterback who are on the rise. He probably won’t be setting any major records in his rookie season, but could be a pleasant surprise as a fantasy starter in a tight end group that leaves much to be desired.