Fantasy Football breakout players to keep in mind

Kenneth Dixon – RB Baltimore Ravens

Dixon’s 2017 was one definitely disastrous as he missed the entire season with a knee injury while also being suspended twice for violations of the PED and substance abuse policies. Dixon now enters 2018 with a clear path to a job. The 2016 fourth-round pick will need to emerge in a backfield that includes Alex Collins who broke out after coming across from Seattle, and Javorius  “Buck” Allen. Danny Woodhead has retired leaving a spot for Dixon to come in and make some headway on getting some playing time. Dixon has some speed, and play making ability. Look at him for flex consideration with an upside as a running back two on your team as a late round draft pick.

Zay Jones- WR Buffalo Bills 

Jones was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft. Buffalo doesn’t have one of the strongest wide receiver units in the league. Last season Jones was forced into a massive rookie-season role. He was on the field for 79 percent of the team’s offensive plays and handled 4.5 targets per game. The downside however was that Jones only caught 27 of 68 targets for 316 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the season. That 40 percent catch rate is shocking when you consider that he set an NCAA record with 158 catches (72 percent catch rate) at East Carolina in 2016. Buffalo’s quarterback situation is up in the air for 2018 as Tyrod Taylor has left for Cleveland, leaving Nate Peterman as the potential starting quarterback. There could be a lot of passing going on as Buffalo could be trailing often. Yes they have Lesean McCoy in the backfield and Kelvin Benjamin opposite Jones, but Zay could be the way to go for the Bills. Look at him as a wide receiver three with upside to a number two.

David Njoku- TE Cleveland Browns

Njoku was one of the most intriguing offensive weapons in the 2016 draft and Cleveland bought into the hype. The Browns scooped him up with the 29th overall pick in the first round. A draft where they had three first round picks. The Miami Hurricanes product is 6-foot-4, 246 pounds with 35.3-inch arms and terrific speed, athleticism and versatility. Njoku was one of the league’s youngest players as a rookie, but still played a relatively significant role. He was on the field for 47 percent of Cleveland’s snaps and caught 32 of 58 targets for 386 yards and four touchdowns. Njoku will continue to be a solid option for the Browns as a strong weapon near the goal line, helping his fantasy value. Njoku is only 21 years old and has a long way to go as a blocker, but he’s a strong bet for a 2018 breakout, especially since Cleveland found  a competent quarterback in Tyrod Taylor who likes throwing to the tight end position (i.e Charles Clay).

Kenny Golladay- WR Detroit Lions

Golladay entered the league last season as a rookie with great height, weight, speed prospects. Detroit liked the 6-foot-4, 218 pounder with 4.50 speed for legs. Detroit liked him enough to invest a third-round pick. Though he missed six games with an injury, Golladay’s rookie season was a success. He was on the field for 69 percent of the team’s pass plays, and caught 28 of 47 targets for 477 yards and three touchdowns. Golladay will enter his second season behind Marvin Jones, and Golden Tate, however with Matt Stafford as the quarterback there will be plenty of opportunities to catch footballs in Detroit. Expect Kenny to be more active and useful this season in fantasy and for the Lions. You can use him as a wide receiver three with number two upside or a flex option if your deep at the wide receiver position.

Marlon Mack- RB Indianapolis Colt

I was not particularly high on Mack looking at this season early on. I was one of the guys hyped up on Mack taking the job from Gore last season but it just never happened. Mack did show flashes of what he could be with a starting role, but it’s pretty clear that he’s the best bet to make a 2018 leap among Indianapolis offensive skill position players this year rather then last. Frank Gore is 34 years of age and is currently signed with the Miami Dolphins, leaving Mack clearly atop the depth chart on a team that is expected to have Andrew Luck back this season. Mack did touch the ball 114 times as a rookie. He was limited to 3.8 yards per carry on 93 rushing attempts, but 2.25 came after initial contact (ninth best among backs with 50-plus carries). Mack was better than anticipated as a rookie while showing some flash, and is positioned for a promotion in 2018. Turbin, Ferguson, and Hines are the other names in Indy, none of which really scare you off Mack. Expect Mack to be a running back two with some decent upside if Andrew Luck is back under center the entire season.


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