With the preseason beginning and many fantasy drafts planned for the next few weekends, it’s time to prep for your 2016 Fantasy Football team.  Here is my advice/predictions as it relates to tight ends, kickers, and defenses:


  • GRONK – There is no better tight end than Rob Gronkowski, at least as far as fantasy football goes.  He’s head & shoulders above the next TE and probably won’t be matched this year, yet again.  Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension hurts his royalty status a little bit, but not much, as Garrapollo ought to throw to him just as much as Brady would have; a more-trusted option does not exist.  So, the only real question is when to draft him, and the answer is right before you think your league mates are starting to think about TEs.  You want to be the first team to nab one, start the trend, get everyone else thinking tight end when you already have the undoubted best.
  • Unfortunate – I might be Olie Coen, but I happen to like my name, and it can’t possibly be worse than Coby Fleener.  It’s like something from a Meatballs movie, and I’m not sure why someone would name their child that.  Anyway, putting that aside, I think Fleenie Wienie has a career season this year, and if you missed out on Gronk or want to go for a pseudo-sleeper, Coby is your man.  He was never utilized in Indy, goes over to New Orleans, they are desperate to fill Jimmy Graham’s role, and he ought to flourish immediately.  Why the Saints ever traded Graham is beyond me, and he’s completely wasted in Seattle, but that’s whatever.  Get Fleener if you can, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
  • Orange Julius – Well, he’s Teal Julius now, but Thomas deserves to be owned and could be a tremendous boon to the team that gets him.  After his crazy-good seasons in Denver, Thomas suffered in Jacksonville, predictably.  But since his injury, the team has really taken a step forward, especially under Blake Bortles.  The Jags actually score points now, which is odd, and they should have a good defense as well, which is odder.  If Julius can stay healthy, he’s a candidate for a bounce-back year, which could be great for you if your league-mates let him slide a few rounds.
  • Two End England – Remember when the Patriots ran with two TEs, Gronk & Hernandez, scoring points at will?  Defenses never knew who to cover, and so NE TEs scored at will.  Well, get ready for a flashback.  I think Martellus Bennett can fill that role, can score alongside Gronkowski, and could bring back that very successful style.  I doubt Bennett does as well with Brady gone, so taking him will be a bit more of an investment than an immediate return, but stash him and wait for the payments.
  • Super Sleeper – One of the low-down tight ends on my list but someone I think has the potential to be a big surprise is Virgil Green.  I know I might sound like a homer, but this Bronco has a ton of upside.  Get him late in the draft as a backup, stash him, and then pull him out & say I told you so when he begins to produce.  This preseason Denver’s passing game has been all about the tight end.  Thomas & Sanders might have sub-par seasons due to the Broncos’ QB issues, but I think Green has the skills & will be used frequently.  If I’m right, you can thank me later.


  • Boring – I know, I know, kickers aren’t exciting, but think back on your days playing fantasy football.  Remember the time your kicker got zero points and you lost by two.  Remember the time he scored a dozen and you won an improbable victory.  Point is, kickers are people too, and they give your team that boost that just might make the difference.  Consistent kickers can make or break your season, so don’t be stingy.  You don’t have to be the very first person to pick one, but don’t pretend that it’s a worthless roster spot.
  • Points – Grab a top name that plays for a team that scores consistently.  Extras points seem so tiny, but they add up.  Gostkowski, Gano, Hauschka, Crosby, Vinatieri; these guys almost never let you down.  Count yourself lucky if you can get one of these names late in the draft; they just might come through for you in a big way.
  • Flyers – And then there’s the opposite strategy, one that takes balls, but could pay off.  Some teams can’t seem to find the endzone, and so set their kickers up for a ton of field goal attempts.  Tucker, Walsh, McManus, Santos; these guys could see field goal opportunities galore as their mediocre offenses stall in the red zone.  The only danger here is a bad game from the team, then you’re looking at one of those zero point showings.  You don’t want that, so be careful how much risk you take.
  • Fired – Be careful picking a kicker in any slot other than the free agency period who might not even make the team, or who might be cut the first time he struggles.  You don’t want to waste a pick on an expendable kicker when you could have stashed that rookie wideout who just might have a break out season.  Josh Brown, Mike Nugent, Matt Prater, Matt Bryant, Nick Folk, Dan Carpenter; I feel like any of this group could be cut in the preseason.  So keep an eye out, and don’t pay too much for a lack of current success.
  • Jags – I’m big on Jacksonville this year.  Not that I think they’re headed to the Super Bowl, but I like what this team is doing, and if Indy struggles at all they might find the Jags knocking on their door.  What  does that have to do with kickers?  Jason Myers, that’s what.  Or who.  Whatever.  Anyway, the point is this guy is going to get points.  Not only that, but perhaps others in your league completely ignore him, as well as his JAX teammates.  If so, that’s their loss, don’t let it be yours as well.


  • 12th Man – Not that this is anything new, but Seattle ought to have the best fantasy defense in football this season.  They ought to allow the fewest points and score among the most touchdowns; they’re just that good.  As with TEs, I recommending nabbing the #1 ranked team before anyone else in your league has even though about it.  That assures you the best and some rounds where your competitors are scrambling to catch up to what you’re doing while you’re stealing position talent.
  • Super Bowl – If you miss out on Seattle, make sure to grab Carolina or Denver.  The Super Bowl teams ought to go right back to their winning ways, Carolina with offense & defense, Denver perhaps with only defense, but having them on your roster is all you need to worry about.  The Orange Crush should be in full force this year; don’t let quarterback problems scare you off.
  • NFC Contenders – Need a solid later round option?  Look no further than the best teams in the NFC.  Minnesota, Arizona, Green Bay; these teams aren’t just about offense, which is why they have legitimate championship hopes.  Grab one of these solid cities to sit in our starting slot; you won’t have to think about it the rest of the year except for the lone bye week, you’ll feel confident with your club.
  • AFC Contenders – Same goes for the AFC really, look at some of the best teams, there’s a reason why they’ll have a winning record.  Kansas City, Houston, New England, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh; you want a defense that’s playing for something & with pride.  I’m an AFC man myself; love the Broncos, live in Bengal territory.  So I’d go with one of this group if you miss out on the big boys, especially the Patriots, they’re going to have a great year.
  • Avoidance – Don’t get cute and bet on a bad defense having a rebound year, that’s not worth your money.  New Orleans, San Francisco, Chicago, San Diego; these teams will have the score run up on them more often than not, and you don’t need that sort of stress in your life.