Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football 2016: The Best of the AFC

I hope everybody enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend. In light of this holiday I’ll be writing an article on some players that will be memorialized this season (kind of). Yes, I’m aware this concept is a bit of stretch, no need to tell me about it. Anyway, these are the players in the AFC that will win some fantasy hardware in 2016.

Top QB
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Luck’s 2015 season was ravaged by injury and he was less than impressive when he was healthy or at least healthy-ish. He will bounce back this season and take the reins as the AFC’s top quarterback. As of this moment he has a very slight edge over Ben Roethlisberger now that Martavis Bryant has been suspended for the season. Look for Luck to be healthy and look like they guy we had become accustomed to seeing following the 2014 season. The lack of rushing attack and improved offensive line will lead to the offense being on his shoulders. In the past he has proven he’s capable of handling the load and putting up monster numbers. Last time he was healthy he threw for 4,761 yards, added 273 more on the ground and totaled 43 TDs.

Top RB
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
With Bell and Jamaal Charles out last season, the AFC running backs were very weak. Chris Ivory and Latavius Murray were the top two rushers. Bell will bounce back and be other-worldly like he has been in the past. In 2014 he totaled over 2,200 yards and had 11 touchdowns. He’ll top those numbers this season.

Top WR
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Just when you think Brown has peaked, he gets even better. I was one of the first on the Brown bandwagon heading into 2013. He put up a line of 110-1,499-8 that year. The narrative was he had topped out. Not the case. In 2014 he went for 129-1,698-13. Surely that was his best. Not the case. Last year he upped the ante in both receptions and yards. He racked up 136 receptions for 1,834 yards and 10 TDs. Perhaps he aims for 150 receptions and 2,000 yards in 2016.

Top TE
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
This pretty much goes without saying. Gronk is a monster. If healthy no one is even close to his level. That applies to right now and he may even be the most dominant TE of all-time. Even if he misses a game or two, his floor is 70 receptions, 1,100 yards and 10 TDs. It would be silly to go with any other AFC TE.

Top DEF
Denver Broncos
The Broncos took a hit this offseason losing Danny Trevathan and Malik Jackson. I expect them to take a small step back, but they will still be a top five defense, probably even top three. However, all the other defenses that may bypass them are all in the NFC. I really like defenses like the Seahawks, Cardinals, Vikings and Panthers. However, in the AFC I don’t see the Chiefs, Texans or Bengals surpassing the Broncos.

Offensive Rookie of the Year
Paxton Lynch, Denver Broncos
The majority of the top options at O-ROY were in the NFC. I don’t trust the Browns or the Titans, so I’m not going with Corey Coleman or Derrick Henry. Lynch it is. I fully expect him to take Mark Sanchez’s job sooner rather than later as Sanchez will be on a very short leash. I graded Lynch out as the best QB in the draft and he’ll be gifted Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to target. It’s a weak class, but Lynch will be the standout.

Comeback Player
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
This is Bell’s second appearance on this list. Bell only managed to suit up for six games last season thanks to suspension and injury. In those six games he totaled 24 receptions, just under 700 yards from scrimmage and three TDs. He’ll beat out Luck for this award.

Breakout Player
Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins
Ajayi is a star in the making. It’s incredible how many people are overlooking him and how many people thought the Dolphins should have tried to draft Ezekiel Elliott, which was pure foolishness. Ajayi has all the ability to be every bit as good as Lamar Miller. He’s actually a much better pass-catcher and goal-line back. I’m predicting 1,200 rushing yards and 10 TDs this season.

MVP
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell is now making his third appearance in this article. Not only is he the top back and comeback player of the year, but he’ll also be the MVP of the AFC. Look for him to put up career best numbers in 2016. The lack of strong RBs makes him all the more valuable.

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