Early Fantasy Football Rankings 2016: Cause for caution with Bortles, Allen
June has arrived and schools are unshackling students for the summer. But for you, Mr. and Mrs. Fantasy Football Aficionado, the heavy studying is just getting underway.
Below you'll find my preseason fantasy rankings, which will be updated every few days right up to the season opener in early September. (Ignore the posting date—the rankings will change but that date will remain the same.)
But first...throughout the summer I'll be writing about a lot of the players on which I'm a rankings outlier. I'll quickly touch on a half-dozen of them here:
Blake Bortles (QB18) — Jaguars fans will be consider this an affront, but my bearishness toward Bortles is largely driven by bullishness on the Jaguars. Improvements to the Jacksonville defense and running game will bring down Bortles's passing volume. And let's face it: He's still not a very good passer, as his completion percentage and yards per attempt illustrate.
Keenan Allen (WR17) — Yes, Allen was on pace to put up big numbers last year before a lacerated kidney ended his season prematurely, but it's the low yardage per catch and uninspiring TD rate that leave me cold, along with the lingering memory of his disappointing 2014 campaign.
Duke Johnson (RB26) — At worst he should catch 50-60 passes and get a handful of carries every game. The ceiling in an offense short on playmakers might be 1,500 yards from scrimmage.
Torrey Smith (WR38) — Jeremy Maclin put up big numbers as Chip Kelly's top receiver in Philadelphia in 2014, and Jordan Matthews was a solid fantasy contributor as Kelly's top wideout last year. The 49ers' QB situation is odious, but the Eagles' QB situation the past two years was no bed of roses. Smith is far and away Kelly's best receiver this year and should benefit from a volume boost.
Eric Ebron (TE12) — There are extra targets to go around in Detroit with the retirement of WR Calvin Johnson, and the Lions' passing offense became more efficient last season after Jim Bob Cooter (man, I love that name) took over as offensive coordinator. After having a couple of seasons to settle in, Ebron is ready for lift-off.
Now, onto the rankings: