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One Player, Each Team - NFL Edition


Its the most, wonderful time, of the year! 
No, its not Christmas, albeit for some, football season is better than Christmas. The hot humid summer air, is slowly turning to cool, crisp, and dry and helmet straps are being buckled. Football is back, which means one thing, fantasy football is back.  I am here to tell you that if you could take just one player from each team, these are the guys you need to target.
(NFC Edition)

Dallas Cowboys - Two years ago as a rookie, A ROOKIE, Ezekiel Elliott lead the entire league in rushing, as a ROOKIE. He totaled over 1600 yards and punched in 15 scores on the ground and 16 total. Last year, with legal issues constantly hanging over his head, missing practices because of it, and eventually losing out on 6 games, he still nearly hit the 1000 yard mark checking out with 983 yards. This year, he his fresh, cut down, and has a clear eye view. The Cowboys also plan to include him much more in the passing game. This entire team goes through Zeke and he will repeatedly pound that rock. If Zeke is on the field for all 16, he may be your overall fantasy player of the year. Feel free to reach for him.


New York Giants - This is tough, so I am going to cheat a little. If you are in a dynasty/keeper league, I lean more towards Saquon Barkley. I truly believe he is the real deal and will burst onto the scene much like Zeke did two years ago. The Giants have had serious offense line issues in the past but they strengthened it up with the signing of Nate Solder and getting an absolute steal in the draft with LG Will Hernandez. Barkley has a very bright future. In a one year league I would lean just a little more to Odell Beckham Jr. Healthy, he will put up the numbers. He has the constant ability to catch a 4 yard slant and go 80 yards to the house. He is completely worth it this year, but future years, things begin to get hairy with Eli inching towards retirement, and a great unknown of who will be throwing him the ball in the near future.

Philadelphia Eagles - For a Super Bowl winning team there sure is a lot of risk fantasy wise. Alshon Jeffrey is still recovering from shoulder surgery. The running game is constantly rotating from Ajayi, to Smallwood, to Clement, and now Sproles is healthy and back for one final season. Foles was a flash in the pan and clearly going to hand the job back to Wentz once he is deemed fully healthy. That leads us to Wentz. If there is someone from the Eagles you take, you roll the dice on Wentz. ACL surgeries are as common as breathing nowadays. Draft him and hope its the stretch run you have him healthy and firing on all cylinders for.

Washington Redskins - So you know what the Redskins did this off-season? They never wanted to give Cousins a long term deal and pay him a load of money. So instead of just doing that, they traded away a third round pick and promising cornerback Kendall Fuller to Kansas city in exchange for Alex Smith. You know who Alex Smith is? HE'S KIRK COUSINS IN 5 YEARS. This team man. I tell ya, as a Cowboys fan, you love to see it. Anyway, Derrius Guice, promising rookie running back blew his ACL out in the first preseason game. Enter 52 year old Adrian Peterson. He is a shell of himself. For the 40th straight season the Redskins will have a cruddy running game, putting it all on a passer, who is not known for passing. Sounds promising. In my mind the best thing I think to come out of this is Jamison Crowder, as long as he stays healthy. Smith likes to throw outs and underneath. Crowder is your man. In a PPR league, he is a no brainer, especially at his 10 round ADP.

Atlanta Falcons - Can we take about this franchise? First things first, I need to get something off my chest. RUN THE DAMN BALL! Okay, now that, that is out of the way lets back up a bit. The year is 2015 and the Falcons have hired Kyle Shanahan as their offensive coordinator. Matt Ryan struggles greatly. 2016. Matt Ryan has now learned the offense and has an MVP caliber year. He gets his team all the way up 28-3 on the Patriots, then they run the ball only 5 times after that. FIVE. Oh lawd. RUN THE DAMN BALL! Sorry, I had to say it again. Now its the off-season. Kyle Shanahan becomes the 49ers head coach. Now this is where the joke of the Atlanta Falcons franchise shows its true colors. How many OC's has Tom Brady had and lost in his career? Yet he never misses a beat. Why? because they hire from within and keep the system the same. Not Atlanta though, they bring in college boy Steve Sarkisian and make Matt Ryan, who JUST LEARNED SHANAHAN'S OFFENSE FINALLY AND HAD AN MVP YEAR learn a new offense all over again. What ensued? A terrible year from Matt Ryan and of course that parlays into Julio Jones. Draft Devonte Freeman. I'm done here.

Carolina Panthers - This one is a tough one for me. I do believe Carolina is good enough to be a playoff team, which means they should have a solid chunk of good players, yet individually there is no one I love. I have never been a big Cam Newton fan and that is not a secret. He is reckless, a constant injury threat, a terrible dresser, and not that great of a passer. His career completion percentage is only 58%. If you watch him closely, he never steps into a throw and always throws off his back foot. How that has never been corrected is beyond me. Moving beyond him, that sound you hear is the Christian McCaffrey hype train pulling into the station. The only thing is, it is missing one passenger. Me. In PPR, take McCaffrey. You would in fact be foolish not to. But that is what he is going to do, catch the ball. You know what he is not going to do? Score touchdowns. Those will be vultured by Cam himself and CJ Anderson. He was brought in from Denver and surely will be looked to for short downs and goal line work. Ultimately, the answer is McCaffrey, I just don't love it. At least not as much as everyone else.

New Orleans Saints - I LOVE Michael Thomas. However, Alvin Kamara burst onto the scene last year and he can run and catch the ball. On top of that Mark Ingram is suspended the first four games of the season. Kamara has a chance to distance himself from Ingram early and Sean Payton is well known for keeping players in the doghouse. This may be the beginning of the end of Ingram and the beginning of a superstar for Kamara. Take Kamara.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers - I truly think the Buccaneers may win 1 or 2 games tops. I whole heartily feel that way. Jameis Winston is an absolute headcase. Coming out of college I said repeatedly that he was too immature and did not have the smarts for the NFL. He has proven me right time and time again. Off the field issues all the time and constant bone headed on field decisions where he will throw up a Hail Mary in the middle of the game. Doug Martin is gone and there is no clear cut starter at the running back position. By default it comes down to Mike Evans. His ability to go get the the ball will nullify the terrible passes he will be chasing from Fitzpatrick (Jameis is suspended to start the year) and Winston. Evans is a second round pick.

Chicago Bears - I feel like the Jordan Howard band wagon emptied out before it even filled up. Two years ago as a rookie, only Ezekiel Elliot ran for more yards than him as he totaled 1313. Last year, even with the entrance of Tarik Cohen, he still ran for over 1100 yards and 9 scores. There is nothing about those numbers that say he was a one hit wonder. Jordan Howard will remain the unquestioned starter and with the Bears bringing in Matt Nagy as the coach, they will have a pass-friendly offense that will help open running lanes for Howard. You could probably squeak by with him as an RB1, but if you can get him as an RB2, you are in tip top shape.

Detroit Lions - The Lions must still be in shock from Barry Sanders' abrupt retirement because they still have not had a running game since, and will not this year either. They brought in an aged LeGarrette Blount, while Theo Riddick, Amir Abdullah, and Zach Zenner are still rostered. They also drafted rookie Kerryon Johnson. Way to many sub-par mouths to feed. Golden Tate and Marvin Jones are both on the latter halves of their careers. That leads to my roll of the dice. A preseason sleeper a year ago, he failed to fulfill that notion. Kenny Golladay. He has been used far more than either Tate or Jones, and while I know the fact it being preseason has something to do with that, the Lions weak run game, and lack of a true tight end means there will be plenty of catches for all of them. Grab Galladay late when he is low risk, high reward.


Green Bay Packers - Oh lordy do I love me some Davante Adams this year. Jordy Nelson is gone. Aaron Rodgers is healthy. They have a putrid three headed running back in Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, and Ty Montgomery. Green Bay is going to need to throw. Adams is an easy WR1.

Minnesota Vikings - There is literally so much you could choose from in Minnesota, so I am not going to give you one. I am just not. You could take their defense. You could take either Adam Thielen or Stefon Diggs. Then there is Dalvin Cook coming off the torn ACL. Absolutely worth the risk. You could even get by with Kirk Cousins who will easily be quarterbacking the best team of his career. Drafting from Minnesota is like a kid in a candy store.

Arizona Cardinals - Sam Bradford. Just kidding. David Johnson and no one else.

Los Angeles Rams - A loaded team that will be great in real life, but less so for fantasy purposes. Goff is a good game manager unless he takes a giant leap forward this year. He is more of a QB2 for fantasy. Brandin Cooks isn't the best fit for an offense that definitely runs a West Coast style of play, and Kupp seems destined to be a fantasy PPR flex guy. Truly there is only one guy you want. Todd Gurley. Also, feel free to take their defense, just don't be the guy who reaches for it.

San Francisco 49ers - Listen, my answer is going to be Jimmy Garoppolo, but can we at least talk about him first and pump the breaks. The man just broke the bank for 7 career starts. 5 of those starts came at the tail end of last season. In those 5 starts he threw 5 interceptions. Averaging a pick a game is not exactly a solid ratio. Also in those 5 starts he had two games against teams with nothing to play for. I'm not saying he is going to be a bust, because I do think he has franchise quarterback potential. But lets just dial it back for a moment and see him play a full season before anointing him the next Tom Brady. And may I add, better looking...

Seattle Seahawks - The Legion of Boom is no more. Kam Chancellor has retired and Earl Thomas appears to be adamant on waiting to be paid or traded to Dallas. **FINGERS CROSSED**  Richard Sherman, or whats left of him, has departed for San Francisco, mainly because he wanted to play against Seattle twice a year. A few years ago this team had the look of a blossoming dynasty and now its left in rubble. Seattle never recovered from the goalline interception in Super Bowl 49. Have I mentioned this before? RUN THE BALL!! Holy moly do teams hand Patriots championships. LITERALLY. Anyway, Russell Wilson or Doug Baldwin. Those are your only logical fantasy choices. While Russell will spend the better half of this season running for his life again, he can do just that. Run. He will still be a worth fantasy quarterback. Just don't reach for him.


Follow Ryan on Twitter and ask your Fantasy Questions @RyTheFantasyGuy. 

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