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AFC South Off-Season Changes
The Colts are another team with too many wide receivers and most of them are startable on any team. However, that didn’t stop them from using their first round draft pick on ANOTHER receiver. After watching their defense get battered by quality offenses last year, one would have thought that all top picks would be spent of defense, but the Colts don’t roll that way. WR Philip Dorsett is a flat-out burner from Miami with 4.33 speed in the 40-yard dash, but how much will he factor into the gameplan this year with so many other options? Sure, they did go defense with their next 4 picks; CB D’Joun Smith from Florida Atlantic, DE Henry Anderson from Stanford and S Clayton Geathers from Central Florida, as well as LB Amarlo Herrea from Georgia, but these guys are going to have to outperform their draft location to justify taking another WR, albeit a very talented one, with their first pick.
The Colts did grab a veteran pass-catcher in Andre Johnson to help bring their talented youngsters up-to-speed in the NFL. He should help educate Dorsett and Donte Moncrief and make them better receivers for the foreseeable future. They added WR Vincert Brown from San Diego in free agency to further complicate matters. I have always thought that Brown is underrated but he sure can’t stay healthy to prove me right. After failing to find a complementary running game to go with their aerial assault, the Colts turned to free agency and brought in veteran back, Frank Gore. Most teams do rely on 30+ year old running backs, but the Colts hope that having Daniel “Boom” Herron and a healthy Vick Ballard will help shoulder the load and keep Gore fresh throughout the season. I do like the addition of LB Trent Cole from Philly via free agency as well.
Fantasy starters: QB Andrew Luck, RB Frank Gore, WR T.Y. Hilton, WR Andre Johnson
Fantasy bench: TE Dwayne Allen, TE Coby Fleener, RB Daniel Herron
Fantasy Sleeper: WR Philip Dorsett
The Titans were in an enviable spot in the draft due to an unenviable position with their roster this year. It sounds like they were offered multiple trades that could have benefited them in many more positions that the 2nd pick, but they turned them all down and decided that QB Marcus Mariota was their Franchise QB. This could be a decision that either catapults them back to respectability or further dooms them for years to come. If the trade rumors were true, they must have been high school sweetheart in love with Mariota to roll the dice like they are. To further demonstrate their love, they used their 2nd round pick on a WR gamble in the name of Dorial Green-Beckham. He is HUGE but troubled and unseasoned. His ceiling is tremendous but could easily be bounced out of the league in no time as well. You can safely say that Titans ownership is a group of risk-takers! The remaining 7 picks were scattered across most positions as a testimony to how poor the talent is on this team. After another under-achieving year of running backs, they make have actually found a Sleeper in RB David Cobb from Minnesota in the 5th round. He is the anti-Chris Johnson; not very fast but gets a lot of yards after contact. Expect him to be used in short-yardage situations at first as RB Bishop Sankey will get one last opportunity to impress.
In free agency, the Titans didn’t overwhelm, but I do like the addition of WR Harry Douglas from Atlanta. I think his speed in the slot will help Mariota a lot and will complement WR Kendall Wright nicely. They also added WR Hakeem Nicks but he has been on a steady decline since his breakout rookie season. On the defensive side of the ball, they smartly added LB Brian Arakpo from Washington. It was a smart move as their current linebackers are lost and it is a way to keep him busy learning a new playbook instead of entertaining ideas of more terrible commercials.
Fantasy starters: WR Kendall Wright, TE Delanie Walker
Fantasy bench: QB Marcus Mariota, RB Bishop Sankey, WR Dorial Green-Beckham, WR Harry Douglas
Fantasy Sleeper: RB David Cobb
Can J.J Watt QB as well as play TE and be the most dominant defensive player in the league? The Texans may be hoping so since they cannot get a quality signal caller under center. Bill O’Brien seriously has to choose between Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyr and Tom Savage to start the year. Looks like another year of giving the ball to Arian Foster 350 times!
It is going to be odd to see the Texans on the field but WR Andre Johnson playing for a division foe. Based on the outlook for this offense, I am happy for him. He deserves a shot at a Super Bowl. WR DeAndre Hopkins proved to be a worthy running mate last year and inherits the #1 WR spot. To help him out, the Texans added WR Cecil Shorts III and Nate Washington, but, more importantly, they picked up WR Jaelen Strong from Arizona St in the 3rd round. This kid can play and is a bit sturdier than Hopkins to pair them up nicely. Before him, the Texans filled two glaring holes by drafting CB Kevin Johnson from Wake Forest and LB Benardrick McKinney from Mississippi St.
As far as defense goes, it has a shot at being the top unit in the AFC. Aside from JJ and the draft picks, they could have a healthy Jadeveon Clowney (remember last year’s number 1 draft pick?) and added DT Vince Wilfork in free agency, plus S Rahim Moore from Denver.
Fantasy starters: RB Arian Foster, WR DeAndre Hopkins, Houston D
Fantasy bench: RB Alfred Blue, WR Jaelen Strong
Fantasy Sleeper: TE Garrett Graham
When you are the Jaguars, bad luck follows you. After scoring with their 1st round draft pick in DE Dante Fowler Jr, he promptly blew out his ACL in his first practice. This was clearly one area that needed addressed on the Jags D. Fortunately, they got a bit of a steal in the 6th round by nabbing DT Michael Bennett from Ohio State. Not much of a consolation prize at this point but he will contribute this season. On offense, they needed to upgrade their backfield after RB Toby Gerhart turned out to be an absolute bust. WR/RB Denard Robinson ended up filling in nicely last year, but they needed to think longer term. So, they grabbed Gamecock G A.J. Cann in the 3rd round to help block for RB T.J. Yeldon, who they grabbed in the 2nd round from Alabama. Yeldon doesn’t blow your socks off as an all-around back, but they needed help and they are hoping he provides it.
They nabbed a few later WR picks to add to their current stable of mediocre wideouts. No team in the league has a group of Nos 3-5 WRs like the Jaguars do. How they will be able to separate them and call any of them their #1 and #2 is beyond me. I do know that new free agent acquisition TE Julius Thomas will definitely be THE Go-To target.
Fantasy starters: TE Julius Thomas
Fantasy bench: RB T.J. Yeldon, RB Denard Robinson, WR Allen Hurns
Fantasy Sleeper: WR Marquis Lee
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