Skip to main content

10 Fantasy Football Breakout Candidates

Jun 1, 2016

Coby Fleener will be on the receiving  end of Drew Brees this year and that gives reason to believe he'll break out

Fleener will be on the receiving end of Drew Brees this year and that gives reason to believe he’ll break out

Another fantasy football season is on the horizon and every year, certain players break out and outperform their draft slots. Last season it was Devonta Freeman, Allen Robinson, and Gary Barnidge, among others. Who might those players be in 2016?

To dig into the topic, we reached out to our featured experts to look at each position to provide an in-depth look at who has the best shot at breaking out.

Test your draft strategy with our Free Draft Simulator >>

Q1. What RB has the best shot of having a breakout year in 2016?

Matt Jones (RB – WAS)
“For this exercise, I’m going to treat “breakout year” as someone outside the top 12 at each position that has a chance to challenge RB1 status. Matt Jones of the Washington Redskins has an outstanding shot at putting together a huge fantasy season in 2016. His 2015 competition is gone as Alfred Morris has moved on to division rival Dallas, and Chris Thompson (passing back) & Keith Marshall (too straight line) shouldn’t be threats at all. The Redskins offense should be even more prolific this season giving Jones more red zone opportunities, especially with the addition of WR Josh Doctson and a solid Bill Callahan-offensive line that’s expected to take another step moving forward.”
Tom Poisal

Thomas Rawls (RB – SEA)
“I think Rawls is being criminally underrated, and 2016 will be his breakout season if you don’t consider his impressive stats from a year ago “breakout” enough as he averaged 5.6 yards per carry in nearly 150 attempts! I’ll be comfortably snagging Rawls in the 2nd or early 3rd round of all drafts if he remains at his current ADP of 25.”
KJ (Fantasy Team Advice)

Jay Ajayi (RB – MIA)
“Is everyone going to answer Jay Ajayi? Probably. If not, he is the obvious choice. He’s got no real competition and is receiving rave reviews from the Dolphins’ staff. His predecessor might break out in an elite way in Houston, though.”
Alessandro Miglio (Footballguys)

Lamar Miller (RB – HOU)
“I’m looking for a breakout year from Lamar Miller now that he is the lead back for the Houston Texans. He’s scored 19 total touchdowns in the past two seasons and has averaged 4.6 yards per carry for his career. He was underutilized during his years in Miami and should average 18-20 touches per game for Houston. That will translate into excellent fantasy production.”
Walton Spurlin (Fantasy Sharks)

Q2. What WR has the best shot of having a breakout year in 2016?

Donte Moncrief (WR – IND)
“With a current expert consensus ranking of WR35, Donte Moncrief qualifies as both a big sleeper and one ready for a breakout year. In 2015, Moncrief put up a 64/733/6 receiving line which isn’t exactly special production until you remember he accrued the majority of that damage with Matt Hasselbeck and Josh Freeman as his QB. Moncrief caught a TD in Luck’s first 5 starts last year and that was as the WR3 with Andre Johnson hanging around as the WR2. Moncrief will now be the #2 option in a Colts offense that gets a healthy Luck back and spent the offseason adding to the offensive line. Pounce now on Moncrief before it’s too late.”
Tom Poisal

Nate Washington (WR – NE)
“I decided to get really sneaky with this one, but with Edelman returning from a tricky foot surgery, and question marks with pretty much every other WR on the roster (including Danny Amendola), I can see Nate Washington being the surprise breakout WR of 2016. This is a player who has averaged 15.2 YPC and 4.4 TD per season, all without Tom Brady at the helm. With Brandon Lafell out of town, Nate could surprise and catch 8 or more TD passes this season.”
KJ (Fantasy Team Advice)

Brandin Cooks (WR – NO)
“Cooks topped 100 receiving yards three times in the final five weeks of 2015 hauling in three touchdowns during that stretch. Now being utilized as a deep threat, Cooks is poised to pick up where he left off as one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets. The Saints love to throw the ball and Cooks is in line for a very big season.”
Walton Spurlin (Fantasy Sharks)

Breshad Perriman (WR – BAL)
“Which second-year receiver coming off a lost rookie year due to injury will have a bigger year—Kevin White or Breshad Perriman? My money is on Perriman, who has a better offense.”
Alessandro Miglio (Footballguys)

Q3. What TE has the best shot of having a breakout year in 2016?

Coby Fleener (TE – NO)
“I am heading back to New Orleans and their newly signed TE Coby Fleener as another breakout candidate for 2016. The Saints are not going to ask Fleener to block and will turn him loose in the passing game. Drew Brees loves a tall speedy TE that can split the seam and that is right in Fleener’s wheelhouse. If veteran Ben Watson can put up top 10 numbers catching passes from Brees, then Fleener will be able to crack the top 5.”
Walton Spurlin (Fantasy Sharks)

“This pick is more of the “chalk” as many pundits expect a breakout season from Coby Fleener. There has been a Jimmy Graham sized hole in the Saints offense, and Fleener has the athleticism and talent to fill it. Will the Saints call Fleener’s number as often as Graham? Obviously not, but with his current ADP just outside the top 10 TEs, Fleener seems like a terrific value pick in the later rounds on draft day.”
KJ (Fantasy Team Advice)

Jordan Cameron (TE – MIA)
“Tight ends have been really tough to forecast the past couple of years so this position is tricky for a breakout candidate. Currently the #23 TE among the experts, Jordan Cameron has a shot to revitalize his career in 2016. Cameron is still relatively young (turns 28 in August) and isn’t too far removed from his 2013 Pro Bowl year. In comes Adam Gase as the new Miami head coach and suddenly Cameron becomes relevant again at the position. Gase has routinely peppered his tight ends with 100+ targets annually and most of those should go to Cameron. The competition behind Cameron leaves a lot to be desired as Dion Sims has proven to be a bust, Jake Stoneburner is a former undrafted free agent and 2016 draft pick Thomas Duarte is a WR transitioning to TE. If Cameron can stay healthy, 2016 should be his 2nd breakout year of his career.”
Tom Poisal

“Back to Miami we go, where Jordan Cameron gets Adam Gase, quarterback and/or tight end whisperer. Julius Thomas and Zach Miller had huge years with Gase at the offensive helm, and Cameron is in a great spot with the Dolphins.”
Alessandro Miglio (Footballguys)

More Breakout Picks

Thank you to the experts for their picks and be sure to follow them on Twitter for more great advice.

What's your take? Leave a comment

Follow the Pros!

Follow us on Twitter @FantasyPros for exclusive advice and contests