It’s April 1, which means NFL teams and players will be trying their best to dupe fans into believing ridiculous stories that couldn’t possibly be true.
Don’t let yourself get fooled.
Fantasy owners should also avoid getting tricked into accepting some of the false narratives that have emerged after free agency.
Let’s take a look at five storylines that don’t reflect the reality of their situations.
Peterson is done
Sure, there hasn’t been much interest in the former 2,000-yard rusher, but don’t wipe Adrian Peterson off your draft board yet. The 32-year-old is coming off an injury-shortened season and didn’t look particularly great prior to getting hurt, but he’s just one year removed from a 1,485-yard, 11-touchdown campaign. Plus, we all know fantasy stats often have more to do with situation than skill.
Peterson is going to wait until a contender comes calling, which might not happen until after the draft, or even during the preseason when injury strikes another starter. Playing for a winning team means positive game scripts and plenty of scoring chances, even for a veteran rusher on the backside of his career.
While AP isn’t going to re-emerge as a fantasy star, he’s more than capable of putting up RB2 numbers in the right situation, like Tampa Bay, Oakland, or even New York.
Beckham/Marshall will improve each other’s value
Wouldn’t signing Peterson make sense for a Giants team that’s already loaded up by acquiring Brandon Marshall?
The Marshall signing created a wave of excitement for fantasy owners who saw it as an obvious move to help relieve some of the defensive attention Odell Beckham Jr. is faced with every week. It’s possible that Marshall’s presence will free up Beckham, but it’s more likely the two receivers eat into each other’s targets, especially in the red zone.
Beckham has scored double-digit TDs in all three of his NFL campaigns, but this is the first time he’ll face legitimate competition in that area of the field. Prior to a down year last season, Marshall had averaged 11.25 touchdowns per season from 2012-15. It’s also worth noting that both receivers will also have to deal with a potentially declining Eli Manning.
Beckham remains an elite fantasy option, but Marshall’s presence will shave a little off the top of his stats, dropping him below Antonio Brown and Julio Jones in the race for the WR crown.
Suspended Dixon should be avoided
A four-game suspension seems like a poison pill for fantasy owners. It means you’ll have to carry an unproven asset during the first month of the season, when roster spots are particularly valuable for grabbing breakout players on the waiver wire. That’s exactly what you’ll be facing if you draft Kenneth Dixon.
The sophomore was set up to take over the Ravens’ backfield before the team signed passing-down back and goal-line vulture Danny Woodhead. Then came news of the suspension, and Dixon’s stock immediately began to plummet. But Woodhead is on the wrong side of 30 and coming off a torn ACL, meaning there’s no guarantee he’ll be the same player. Terrance West is also on the roster, but lacks the talent to become a consistent starter in the NFL.
Dixon owners will be taking a risk, and the ultimate gratification will be delayed a month, but once he returns there’s still reason to believe he can be the lead back that Baltimore needs. Capitalize on the discount and enjoy the rewards in the second half of the season when it matters most.
Cooks will be better as a Patriot
The perception that the grass is always greener in New England may be true when it comes to Super Bowl victories, but isn’t always the case in fantasy.
The Patriots traded their first-round pick for the speedy receiver, making him the latest wrinkle in their offense. This should be excellent news for Tom Brady and may even help the club repeat as champion, but expecting Cooks to match or outproduce his numbers from New Orleans is a tall task.
Much like the Saints’ offense, New England spreads the ball around, finding the best matchups to exploit in any given week. Cooks was atop the pecking order in New Orleans, but now joins a club where Brady already has established connections with his pass-catchers, including stars Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman.
Cooks will certainly erupt for some big games, but consistency could be an issue. Topping 1,100 yards and eight or nine touchdowns won’t be as easy as some may think.
Woods will bust in L.A.
Everyone was shocked by the five-year, $39-million deal that Robert Woods inked in free agency, especially when compared to what some of the top wideouts on the market received. It doesn’t matter how good of a run blocker he is; that’s a lot of money for a player who’s yet to eclipse 700 yards in a season.
That big contract suggests the Rams envision Woods playing a significant role in their offense, and potentially stepping into the No. 1 receiver slot vacated by Kenny Britt. Let’s not forget, Britt finished as the WR26 in standard leagues last season, with his first 1,000-yard campaign and five touchdowns.
Woods isn’t suited to be a top target, but that’s likely the situation he’ll find himself in, lining up in a receiving corps lacking playmakers. Yes, Jared Goff will be throwing passes in Los Angeles this year, but with few quality options around him, Woods will see a career high in targets – and where there’s opportunity, there’s fantasy value.
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