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Top 10 2016 Fantasy Football Draft Picks

Jan 30, 2016

A healthy Le'Veon Bell could likely wind up being the most coveted fantasy football asset in 2016

A healthy Le’Veon Bell could likely wind up being the most coveted fantasy football asset in 2016

Obviously, we are just heading into Super Bowl week but it’s not too crazy to start thinking about next season and all the changes that we will need to be prepared for. As we all know, the league has transformed into being more pass heavy the last few years, and that trend will only continue to gain traction. Don’t be shocked to see receivers being targeted much higher in drafts next season than in recent years.

I have created my early first-round mock draft to demonstrate just how much change there may be for you to get ready for. I have always been a fan of the PPR or half-PPR formats because I feel those formats give more excitement and value to players throughout the season. However, I will go with just a standard format to give a general idea for most leagues.

1. Le’Veon Bell (PIT) – Even with the season-ending injury, this guy is ultra-talented when healthy. He is the best all-around back in the league and will come back stronger than ever to regain his status.

His running style and receiving ability in the high-scoring Pittsburgh offense will carry him into being the No. 1 running back by year’s end. Draft him confidently with the first overall pick and smile the rest of the season.

2. Antonio Brown (PIT) – Right out of the gate a wide receiver is taken high, and this is where he should be targeted in drafts. This guy has shown that he is the best receiver in the league and his numbers the last three seasons have shown why. The second Pittsburgh Steeler to go in as many picks for this mock draft could possibly even be the first overall pick if Roethlisberger stays healthy.

Brown has produced 375 catches for 5,031 yards and 31 touchdowns in the last three seasons. Those numbers are insane, and it doesn’t look like a drop off is coming for this guy.

The year of the receiver has come full circle, and he is the definition of why this is true. Target him very high in drafts and watch the titles roll in for you.

3. Todd Gurley (LAR) – Still weird writing “L.A.” but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. Gurley was a beast last year as a rookie and should continue his dominance in Year Two. With 1,100+ yards and 10 touchdowns he has already established himself as a first round running back, but his upside and ability as a runner will flourish in his sophomore season, and I will do whatever I can to have him on my team in all leagues next season.

I have him rated as my second overall running back as he should become the new face of L.A. and claim top-five fantasy numbers throughout the season. I will look to snag him with one of the top overall selections, and he surely will not disappoint.

4. Adrian Peterson (MIN) – Last year’s rushing title leader is an obvious top five selection for next season, but everyone including myself is worried about when he’ll finally decline. He’s a freak of nature as we all know, but he’s also human and has reached that dreadful age of 30 for running backs. If you have an opportunity to take Peterson you should consider him but be cautious because nobody can put up his type of production forever.

He has scored 10+ touchdowns in every season outside of 2014, and he’s also produces 1,200+ rushing yards when he played in 12+ games in a season, so he is a very intriguing option for sure. Just be careful, and if Bell or Gurley are available, I would look to snag those two before Peterson.

5. Julio Jones (ATL) – Two wide receivers in the top five? Yes, that is correct. Julio Jones is another freak who can’t be covered and will continue to put up monster numbers with Matt Ryan throwing him the ball.

With 136 catches, 1,871 yards and eight touchdowns last year, he is right in his prime and taking over the wide receiver position. He and Brown have entered into their own tier and are on another skill level. Pick Jones with a top-five selection and look for your running back later on, you will be much better off with the safer pick to start your draft.

6. Jamaal Charles (KC) – Hurt or not if this guy even comes back at least 75,% I am looking to have him on my fantasy roster. He is one of the better all-around backs and has found his place in Andy Reid’s offense. Look for him to rebound from his season ending injury and regain his No. 1 form once again. Kansas City had good production down the stretch from Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West, but Charles is a special running back so his team and your fantasy team will be pleased with him coming back.

7. Devonta Freeman (ATL) – Was there anyone else who surprised the fantasy world more last year than Freeman? The guy was a backup to start the season and took over in Week 3 and ran away as the No. 1 fantasy running back to end the year. He produced 1,600+ yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns so we will be hoping for a similar or more output from him for next season. Draft him with confidence because he should get even better with a full offseason as the starter.

8. Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG) – The trend is continuing with the wide receivers, and it’s so fitting that the next one up is the most exciting to watch. This guy produces big plays and unique catches that make him a very hard guy to cover. With him entering his third year look for him to get set in his ways and gather even more experience to exploit the cornerbacks in the league.

His 96 catches for 1,450 and 13 touchdowns are great numbers already, and it’s a scary thought that we may not have seen his full potential yet. Draft him next season and look for your fantasy team to become more exciting and entertaining while watching him make his plays.

9. David Johnson (ARI) – A star possibly in the making is what you get from Johnson. With limited snaps last year until the end of the season, we started seeing glimpses of the talent he has. With no other running back on the roster who should steal too many carries from him next year I would look to see Johnson get almost 300 touches and produce big time numbers in this Arizona offense. I see Johnson getting around 1,300 rushing yards with eight to 10 touchdowns next season, and it’s very likely he will outproduce even that. Snag him with your first round selection and you won’t be sorry.

10. Rob Gronkowski (NE) – The first tight end off the board is an obvious choice as none of the other players at his position have been able to match his totals or come even close. With 1,100+ yards and 11 touchdowns, he is the symbol for the trendy new tight ends every team in the NFL is looking for.

With Tom Brady still throwing him the ball, there is no reason to think (outside of an injury) Gronk can’t produce the same or better numbers heading into next season. I would draft him in the first round and have the edge at tight end over everyone throughout the year.

Matt Newton is a fantasy correspondent for FantasyPros.com. You can read his archive here catch him on Twitter under the handle @mattnewton90.