By: Ryan VanWyck (Twitter: @RyAmbition)
Updated: 5/18/2017

Take It To The Bank

Fantasy football has become overwhelmingly popular over the last 10 or so years for so many different reasons. My reason for playing is to give the games a little more meaning. Nothing is better than watching the Chargers-Raiders game on a Sunday afternoon. I’m a Lions fan and I have no real reason to watch this game. I’m tuning in because I started Rivers this week and if he throws one more touchdown to Gates I’m going to be able to feel good about myself for a week because I won my fantasy football game. That’s never how it goes though, right? Let’s be honest about what happens, Rivers throws a pick 6 and my opponent started the Raiders defense against the Chargers, now I get to spend all day Monday upset at myself for not just playing Kirk Cousins instead. Fantasy football, like many other things, is absolutely unpredictable.

When you’re drafting a team, or making a trade for a player in the off season, you need something to go off of. We rummage through cheat sheets on different websites and check projections all offseason. We read predictions from analysts we trust and we start to form different values on different players. We use these values to build our teams and try to put ourselves in the best possible position to win. These values are not always correct though and there is not a lot of room for error in Fantasy. My day job is Banking. I know how important people’s money is to them. If they’re going to invest, they want to know they are going to get a good return back if not a great return. We should consider our players as investments. We want the best possible returns, especially when we pay a high price.

In Fantasy, and while investing, we need at least a few sure things. This lets us take greater risks in other places on our rosters. I’m going to give you what I consider my “sure things” this year. I’m basing my predictions purely on talent, opportunity, and past performance. I do not account for injuries while projecting out players. I do, indeed, account for them while drafting and if I’m decided between two guys that I have projected out about the same I’m going to take the guy I view less injury prone. I advise you do the same. Let’s get started on the guys you can count on in 2017.

Donte Moncrief
It wouldn’t be a Fantasy Football offseason without a little bit of Donte Hypecrief. I’ve never really got onboard with this hype train that runs every year from March to about September. This year I’m screaming “All aboard!” It makes sense to have doubts about the guy, he’s never really been spectacular and he is very touchdown dependent. This is the year you want this guy. It’s a contract year for him and his price is dropping in leagues. I see a lot of negativity towards him all over the Fantasy world. You can probably find a lot of owners willing to sell him and looking to sell him.

The Colts offense runs through Andrew Luck and he runs the offense through his receivers. They really didn’t add anyone that is going to challenge Moncrief for the starting role opposite TY Hilton. Every game in 2016 that he played, he received a healthy amount of targets. During the games that Moncrief played, the entire game they really only differed by a few targets per game. I’m not saying that he’s going to be your WR1, because he is not but, this offense can easily support a WR1 in Hilton and a really good WR2 in Moncrief.
I trust Andrew Luck and I trust what Moncrief has shown us thus far.

He will be a great WR2 this year and we will see a lot of playoff teams with him on their rosters. Plus, we all know how wide receivers play during contract years. I don’t think the Colts did enough this offseason to fix their defense and they will continue to have to score points to keep up with the opposing teams. There will be plenty of opportunity for the Colt’s Fantasy relevant players this year. My advice is to draft this guy and don’t look back. He’ll get over 100 targets and he’ll be good for 85/1000/7.

Golden Tate

All I see is Fantasy Gold for Golden Tate this season. Being a Lions fan should make me a little bias on this one but, it really hasn’t. I’ve never really been a Golden Tate fan but last year changed When we get down to it, Stafford just likes to throw Tate the ball. He averages around 8 or 9 targets a game. That is low end WR1 targets. Tate is not viewed to be in that conversation for one huge reason: he doesn’t really score touch downs. Like, really at all. I think the targets equate to some more touchdowns this year. They used to lob it up to Calvin in the back of the end zone on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down when he was there. I think the Lions are still trying to do some of that with Ebron, and it just hasn’t really benefitted Tate all that much. I think that changes this year and he gets a few more looks in the red zone.

The Lions really have no options at receiver, other than Tate and Marvin Jones. Marvin literally disappeared about halfway through the season last year and I don’t really expect him to reappear in a big way this year. This puts Tate in the driver seat for possibly 150 targets. The Lions did help their defense a lot but, I still view them as a team that wants to put up a lot of points and win with their offense. Tate is also very motivated, he lost to his former team in the playoffs and he wants to get back there. He has a ton to prove. We will see the best version of Tate this year and he’ll end up being a top 20 WR. Take that to the bank.