Le'Veon Bell or Todd Gurley. That's going to be a decision many Fantasy owners deal with this season once it comes time to draft a running back in the middle of the first round. And it's tough to determine who will be the better player this year because both offer so much upside.
We answered a question on video for #fantasymail (see above) on this topic from @EJFootball. I like Bell better, and my colleague Dave Richard would take Gurley, who he has ranked as the No. 1 overall player this year. I'd rather take a receiver first overall in Antonio Brown, and I would draft Odell Beckham, Julio Jones and Rob Gronkowski before Bell at No. 5 overall, with Gurley at No. 6.
As long as both stay healthy, Bell and Gurley should be elite Fantasy options. I'd take Bell first because of his receiving ability (24 catches in just six games last year compared to 21 for Gurley in 13 outings), and his offense is much better. Heading into free agency, the Rams have questions at quarterback, receiver and tight end, while the Steelers should again be explosive. Bell also has the edge with the much easier division.
Now, both have flaws, and Bell is dealing with a knee injury for the second offseason in a row. And Gurley, despite poor talent around him in 2015, was still dominant as a rookie once he overcame the ACL tear he suffered in college.
Ideally, both running backs will play 16 games and compete for the top spot at the position. We hope that happens and they post outstanding stats in 2016. But heading into the offseason, if you had to pick one, go with Bell because he has the higher ceiling based on his receiving ability and the intangibles around him.
We had another question from @standyman22 about Bell and Gurley as keeper options in a 10-team PPR league. He has to choose two from those two running backs, Gronkowski or DeAndre Hopkins. Based on my rankings, I would keep Gronkowski and Bell. It's hard to throw back Gurley and Hopkins, but you now go into the season with the No. 1 running back and tight end, which is a huge advantage.
This week, we'll cover the following topics:
- What advantage do you have with Gronkowski?
- Keepers: A.J. Green vs. Eddie Lacy vs. Mark Ingram vs. Lamar Miller
- Who is the better dynasty option, Allen Robinson or Kelvin Benjamin?
- Is it worth it to keep Jimmy Graham?
- Are Thomas Rawls and Carlos Hyde great dynasty options?
- How to spend in your auction when you have great keepers
From Twitter ...
Thankfully, Gronkowski made it through the Gronk Cruise without an injury from too much dancing, and he enters this season as the No. 1 tight end once again. You know what you're getting in Gronkowski, which is at least 72 catches, 1,120 yards and 11 touchdowns in every season when he plays at least 15 games, and he's done that three times in the past five years. There are a handful of tight ends who might close the gap on him as the best player at his position, notably Jordan Reed, but he dominates tight end more than any player at another position. He's more of a given to produce than any running back, and he should be considered like the upper echelon receivers in Brown, Beckham and Jones. I would draft him in the top five without hesitation.
You didn't indicate how many you can keep or for how long, so we'll rank them on the notion this is just for 2016. I would lean toward Green over the running backs even though that is a solid group with Lacy expected to bounce back in Green Bay, Ingram the lead back for the Saints and Miller hopefully ending up with a team that will use him as a featured back. But Green has at least 86 catches, 1,295 yards and 10 touchdowns in three of the past four years. He could see more targets with Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu potentially gone as free agents, and Andy Dalton should continue to lean on him as a dominant threat. I would keep Green and then try to draft another receiver in Round 1. Then you could have the chance at going after this same trio of running backs beginning in Round 2 since they should all be available then.
This might be more of a keeper question than a dynasty league since it appears like you are only allowed to keep one, but we'll help you out. All three are young standouts with the chance to be great for many years, but you have to consider value here as well as long-term upside. Robinson is the best talent and is good value in Round 7, but not compared to Eifert in Round 16 or Benjamin in Round 17. And as much as Eifert was my guy in 2015 and should again be stellar in 2016, I expect Benjamin to come back from last year's torn ACL and play at a high level with MVP Cam Newton. He has the chance to be a top-15 Fantasy receiver this season, and I would take him as my keeper in this scenario. He has the chance for 75 catches, 1,100 yards and 1o touchdowns in 2016.
Graham is the easy player to rule out here. I hope he comes back at 100 percent from last year's torn patellar tendon in his right knee, but that's a tough injury to overcome. Some examples of players with patellar tendon injuries are Cadillac Williams and Victor Cruz, and we hope Graham can return at close to his previous form, especially for Week 1. Lacy could be an option if we get word he's in shape for offseason workouts, but that's being overly optimistic. I'm keeping two of these receivers as of now, and I have all four ranked in a row in this order: Bryant, Allen, Cobb and Floyd. I love Bryant's upside, and I might move Cobb ahead of Allen depending on what the Chargers do this offseason. Cobb is one of the best rebound candidates after last year's bust season with Jordy Nelson (knee) out. Allen should also be solid if he returns, as expected, as the No. 1 receiver in San Diego. And I like Floyd, but there are too many mouths to feed in Arizona to put him ahead of those other three options.
Rawls is the easy keeper of this group, and you can read about his upside here. He could be Seattle's starter for the next couple of seasons, which is awesome. I would lean toward Hyde as the No. 2 option in a dynasty league given his age (24) and potential upside in Chip Kelly's offense. If his foot injury from last season is fine, he should have a chance for a big 2016. The third choice is tough because you don't want to give up on Abdullah just yet, but he might not have what it takes to be a featured back in the NFL. If Miller signs with a team where he can be a featured back, he could be an elite Fantasy option, and I would speculate on that happening as of now. He wasn't used the right way in Miami despite averaging 4.59 yards per carry in four seasons, and he's also just 24. Ingram isn't old at 26, but he's battled a good share of injuries in five seasons and might bring the most back in return from a trade. Hopefully you can get something valuable for Abdullah as well.
From Facebook ...
#fantasymail I am in a 12-team standard keeper league with an auction draft budget of $200. I tanked last year after a bad start and got luck with a late draft buy and now have OBJ. Deandre Hopkins and David Johnson for a combined $18. What would your overall strategy be for the draft next year, knowing that player ranking me will obviously change, assuming 4 of the top 10 rbs will be kept and 5 of the top wrs will be kept. My thinking would be to grab my number 1 RB no matter the cost, but I don't know what to do next. Grab gronk? Another top ten wr? Go for depth? A great qb? Not sure what to do. Thanks! EricPosted by Eric Moerdler on Monday, February 22, 2016
That's amazing, so nice job to recognize your season last year was going nowhere and load up for this season. I would absolutely go big for Gronkowski and an elite running back since you can afford both while still having Beckham, Hopkins and Johnson already in the fold. You don't want to overlook bargains, so clearly plan for depth, but don't be afraid to be aggressive for Gronkowski and then whatever running back you want to target. I don't know if you need to spend big on a receiver based on who you already have, and instead I would try to add depth at that position with some mid-level guys with upside like John Brown, Golden Tate or Jarvis Landry. Someone in that group, and you can use our rankings as a guide.