DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Miller are both considered top fantasy selections this season, and additional firepower on offense may have given the Texans more viable fantasy options* than ever before. It is not often that I sing the praises of our division rivals, but as the AFC South continues to stockpile talent, it also houses a significant amount of fantasy value. These are the top fantasy options for each team.
*For more information on the Texans' fantasy stars and potential sleepers, you can check out the Texans fantasy preview from last week.
WR: The Jaguars' wide receiving corps was exceptional last season, as the duo of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns both ranked in the top 25 fantasy receivers. Robinson had 1,400 yards and 14 TDs, while Hurns had 1,031 yards and 10 TDs. Robinson will remain a fantasy star as he heads into his third season, and Hurns, on the heels of a $40 million contract extension, will be looking to improve on his successful 2015. Sometimes having two receivers this talented limits both of their production, but Robinson and Hurns seem capable of succeeding together. While Robinson is the better bet for your roster, both receivers should have another solid fantasy season this year.
QB: Blake Bortles' job is only getting easier as Robinson and Hurns develop into stars and Chris Ivory comes in to shoulder the run game and provide options. Bortles was a top five fantasy QB by the end of last season (4,428 yards and 35 TDs) and is ranked in the top ten for 2016. Entering his third year with the Jaguars, the young QB has plenty of weapons and is primed for another successful fantasy run.
RB: Ivory was acquired this offseason from the NY Jets and joins T.J. Yeldon in Jacksonville, where they will compete for carries. In 2015, Ivory was the more productive of the two with 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns to Yeldon's 740 yards and two TDs. Ivory is the safer option between the two, but he will need to claim the bulk of the backfield work to be a reliable fantasy option. Personally, there are other RBs I would rather take a risk on than these two.
DEF: This is a reach, particularly this season, when most of the defensive talent is so young and inexperienced, but the eventual combination of Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson, Jalen Ramsey (who was probably my favorite player in the draft), Myles Jack, and Dante Fowler Jr. is absolutely insane on paper. If the pieces fall into place for Jacksonville, this could be a top fantasy defense. They are worth keeping an eye on as the season unfolds.
TE: Delanie Walker has been a bright spot in a league that suffers from a fantasy-relevant tight end shortage. He is consistently a top option at his position. Walker's value gets a boost due to the lack of viable receiving options in Tennessee, especially after the Titans' number one WR, Dorial Green-Beckham, was traded to Philadelphia earlier this week. Walker had his best season to date in 2015, (1,088 yards and six TDs) and continues to be a favorite target for the Titans. He is ranked as a top five TE and will be a reliable pick again this season.
RB: The Titans significantly improved their RB arsenal this offseason with the signing of DeMarco Murry and the drafting of Derrick Henry. While Murray struggled last season in Philadelphia (and burned me in my fantasy league), he has the experience and the start (for now). Honestly, I didn't love Henry going into the draft, but he still has potential for a breakout year. Murray is the safer bet for your fantasy roster, but in the majority of rankings both players are falling outside of the top 15 RB options.
QB: Marcus Mariota was a decent fill-in fantasy option last season. This year he receives the added help of a decent run game and additions to the offensive line that include Jack Conklin and former Texan Ben Jones. But Tennessee lacks firepower at the WR position, despite the additions of Rishard Matthews and another former Texan, Andre Johnson (cue boos, tears, etc). The DGB trade doesn't help either. Mariota is a risky option, and someone I'd be hesitant to rest my fantasy team on this season.
QB: Andrew Luck returns this season after missing most of last year due to injury. He has the potential to return to his former fantasy glory. The Colts invested heavily in QB protection this draft, selecting C Ryan Kelly in the first round and RT Le'Raven Clark in the third. Luck has been a top fantasy QB when healthy and should bounce back this season as a reliable option for your team. He's projected in the top five of his position for fantasy.
WR: T.Y. Hilton will benefit from the return of his starting QB this year as he looks to improve on his 2015 season (including maybe finding the end zone a little more often). The wideout finished outside the top 20 fantasy WRs last year (1,124 yard and five TDs), while fellow receiver Donte Montcrief finished outside the top 50 (773 yards and six TDs). Both should get a boost from Luck's return and have the potential for fantasy production, but I think Hilton is the better option.
RB: Frank Gore didn't make a huge splash last season (967 yards and six TDs), but the Colts still don't have many options at RB, so Gore has value based on number of carries alone. He will also benefit from the offseason improvements made to the offensive line. The veteran RB, who is 33 this year, falls below the top 25 fantasy RBs and has a lot of questions surrounding his fantasy value. He may be best served as a fill-in option in 2016.
The AFC South has impressive rosters and houses several top fantasy athletes. What do you think, Texans fans? Do you draft division rivals or steer clear of the AFC South talent pool? Let us know who you hope to draft this year in the comments, and remember that you can go here if you want to join or start a league of your own with Yahoo!
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