As the NFL regular season approaches, preseason games are being played, experts are moving players up and down their draft boards and fantasy drafts are starting up. Below are my top 10 sleeper picks for 2016.
1. Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit
When: Rounds 10-12
Why: It seems Ebron is on this list every year. With wide receiver Calvin Johnson now gone, the offense is in need of a new look and a new weapon. Let's just hope Ebron is finally up to the task.
Advice: After the first five or so (Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Jordan Reed, Travis Kelce and Delanie Walker), tight ends are pretty much all the same in potential. So why not wait and see if Ebron can finally live up to his lofty expectations.
2. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta
When: Rounds 12-14 or undrafted free agent
Why: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Ryan only had 21 touchdowns last year while throwing 16 interceptions, but he did have more than 4,500 yards through the air. The previous five years, he averaged more than 4,300 yards and 28 touchdowns. You can get him for almost nothing this year, and he still has wide receiver Julio Jones to throw to.
Advice: Wait, wait and wait on a quarterback. Ryan is an excellent quarterback No. 2 target who you can get very late in most drafts.
3. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit
When: Rounds 12-14
Why: Yes, I know, I know ... Johnson is gone. Stafford is going to throw 600 times in 2016, as his running game is still not very good. Golden Tate is a solid receiver; Marvin Jones was brought in, and Anquan Boldin was just signed. Fantasy is about numbers, and the numbers say Stafford could be a top 10 quarterback in 2016.
Advice: Once again a forgotten quarterback. Any quarterback who will throw 600 times a year is, by accident, going to put up solid numbers.
4. Sammie Coates, WR, Pittsburgh
When: Rounds 12-14
Why: The Steelers offense is stacked. Antonio Brown is one of, if not the best, wide receivers in the game right now. Pittsburgh's No. 2 receiver, Markus Wheaton, has been up and down during his career. Coates has a chance to be the “big” receiver for Pittsburgh, and he reportedly looks great.
Advice: Could he be a replacement for Martavis Bryant? He's totally worth a flyer in all formats. Pittsburgh has a great offense.
5. Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati
When: Rounds 10-12
Why: The No. 2 WR in Cincinnati has done well traditionally. With Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu gone via free agency, Boyd should step right in.
Advice: Boyd may have been drafted into the perfect situation in Cincinnati. He runs solid routes and has nice hands. Other rookies are getting more attention, but Boyd could outperform them all in 2016.
6. DeAndre Washington,
When: Rounds 12-13
Why: Oakland running back Latavius Murray was disappointing in 2015, and his yards per carry diminished as the year went on. If he struggles again, he may be on a short leash.
Advice: Washington may be my favorite sleeper of all. He has great vision and does a nice job as a receiver.
7. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee
When: Rounds 11-13
Why: The Titans paid a bunch of money to get DeMarco Murray, but he has a long injury history and should he go down, Henry would be in line for a huge workload.
Advice: Henry had a highly productive college career, but he's listed as No. 2 on the depth chart. The Titans claim they will run the ball 40 times a game, that means Henry will see action early and often.
8. Spencer Ware/Charcandrick West,
RB, Kansas City
When: Rounds 11-14
Why: Jamaal Charles is hurt and coming off a major injury in 2015. Plus, Ware and West were very good when given the chance last season.
Advice: If you draft Charles, you must get one or the other or both if you can. I expect both to get work throughout the season.
9. Willie Snead, WR, New Orleans
When: Rounds 7-8
Why: Saints quarterback Drew Brees throws 600 times a year, approaches 5,000 yards a year and throws 40 touchdowns. I want a wide receiver from that team.
Advice: Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks will get most of the attention, but Snead will approach 75 catches and 1,000 yards in 2016.
10. Will Tye, TE, New York Giants
When: Rounds 14-15
Why: The Giants' offense loves to throw the ball. Once Tye was the starting tight end, he averaged five catches a week and scored a touchdown in three of his last four games in 2015.
Advice: Tight ends are weird and inconsistent, so if you miss early on, Tye is a nice fallback option.
1. Josh Ferguson, RB, Indianapolis
2. Tim Hightower, RB, New Orleans
3. Chris Thompson, RB, Washington (PPR only)
4. Phillip Dorsett, WR, Indianapolis
5. Chris Moore, WR, Baltimore
6. Travis Benjamin, WR, San Diego
7. Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco
8. Oakland Raiders Defense
9. Duke Johnson, RB, Cleveland