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Written by Ben Pfeifer
With the NFL season coming fast, fantasy players need to begin thinking about who will be their signal caller this year.
Mr. Newton was the MVP of the league for a reason. He is an incredible talent with the strongest arm in the league and ability to run like a halfback. In 2016 Cam threw for 3,800 yards and 35 TDs and ran for 630 yards and 10 TDs. This year Cam has his number one target in Kelvin Benjamin back. Expect Cam to do even better this season than he did last season.
It feels like Big Ben has been around forever. Every year people say, “hes too old to produce”, and every year people are proven wrong. Ben is 34 years old, but don’t expect him to slow down. Big Ben has arguably the best offense in the National Football League with Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, Markus Wheaton, Ladarius Green, and many more. If the Steelers can stay healthy in 2016, expect big Ben and Co. to light up the league.
The Cardinals had one of the best offenses in the NFL last year, ranking first in yards per game and second in pass yards per game. A lot of this is due to signal caller Carson Palmer. Many said Palmer was done, but Bruce Arians proved to the world that Palmer can still play; and play he did racking up 4600 yards and 35 TDs. Expect Palmer, Michael Floyd, John Brown, and Larry Fitzgerald to have a great 2017 campaign.
Rodgers is probably the most talented quarterback in the NFL. He is just one of those guys who is expected to have a 350 yard game every week, and a lot of the time he does. Rodgers’ mobility is daunting to any defense he plays. In 2015 Rodgers threw for 3800 yards and 31 scores and hard to believe that this is a down year for him. For any other player, that is spectacular but Rodgers is on another level in part because of his prime target Jordy Nelson suffered a season-long knee injury. But with Jordy Nelson and many other weapons being available, look out if you are facing Rodgers in fantasy.
This is my surprise of the list. Many may have Bortles on this list, but not this high. The Jaguars loaded up their team this offseason, with numerous big signings and draft picks. In addition, the Jaguars schedule in 2016 is fairly weak with most of their match ups in the defense lacking AFC South. Bortles is maturing into a capable passer with a multitude of weapons. Expect Bortles to exceed his incredible 4,400 yards and 35 scores this season.
Wilson and the Seahawks are coming off a disappointing 2015 campaign, and have lost one of the best running backs in the league in Marshawn Lynch. Because of this expect the ‘Hawks to rely on the pass game more this season. Jimmy Graham should be able to break out this season, and Doug Baldwin alongside rookie standout Tyler Lockett should make the Seahawks pass game deadly. Wilson’s incredible mobility and accuracy will allow him to be highly productive on offense this season.
No matter how much you hate Tom Brady and think he is a lying scumbag, you cannot deny how talented he is. Every year he performs at a high level despite the fact that he his in his late thirties. Nothing really changes with New England year in and year out; every year they put up points. After Brady’s likely suspension, expect him to play like his usual self and put up big numbers.
Brees and the Saints always find a way to get it done, especially last year where Brees ranked sixth among quarterbacks in fantasy points. The Saints added tight end Coby Fleener and exciting rookie wide receiver Michael Thomas this offseason. Add this to Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead, and expect the Saints to be their usual pass-heavy selves.
Luck spent most of last season sitting on the sidelines, and that led to a lackluster season for the Colts whom many expected to go far. This offseason, the Colts invested heavily in the offensive line, spending 4 draft picks and developing the players they already have. If the Colts can stay healthy, look for Luck with his bolstered offensive line will return to his 4,000 yard 30 touchdown numbers
Eli Manning is one of the most underrated players in the league. He gets a lot of fault for the Giants lack of success, when the offensive line and defense should be equally to blame. Manning has one of the NFL’s best receivers in Odell Beckham, a returning Victor Cruz, Larry Donnell, and rookie wideout Sterling Shepard. Look out for Eli Manning and the New York Giants in the NFC East this year.