SB Nation’s full guide to fantasy football can he be found here. If you’re playing in a league this year, you will want to take a look.
Week two of the NFL preseason will get underway Thursday night, meaning that the regular season will be here before we know it. Players all over the roster are battling for a spot on both the 53-man roster and on a team’s practice squad. But, who are the guys that can help you win your fantasy league against your friends?
Dez Bryant is an option at wide receiver.
In SB Nation’s fantasy football positional rankings, the Cowboys star wideout is considered among the ten best options at his position in a PPR league. Below are the top twelve at the wide receiver position, according to SB Nation’s team of writers:
The top three are the three best at their position both in the fantasy football world and in reality. Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham Jr. are in a tier of their own when discussing the best pass catchers in the National Football League.
The team of writers breaks down the fantasy outlook of each of the three most elite wideouts in the game. On Brown:
Once again, and unanimously so, Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown is our selection as the top PPR wide receiver in the 2017 draft pool. Shocking, we know.
After a bit of a hiccup at the end of last season, when his Facebook Live choices drew harsh criticism, Brown scored again this offseason with a five-year contract. All that off-field stuff behind him, Brown should continue to torture defenses as he has throughout his career.
Even in what was somewhat of a down year statistically in 2016, Brown still topped 100 receptions and hauled in double-digit touchdowns. Not just the first receiver off the board, he is very much in the mix as the third pick overall, after Johnson and Bell.
But the gap at the wide receiver position is definitely closing. Atlanta’s Julio Jones was a near-consensus choice as the No. 2 PPR wide receiver, over the Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr.
Jones, who was hobbled by injuries all season, still retained his ability to make big plays and dominate games, as we saw in the Super Bowl against the Patriots (it certainly wasn’t his fault). Jones had surgery on his troublesome toe this offseason, and he got great news when his new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, said the team needs to get Jones more looks in the red zone. Wow.
If finally healthy, Jones could be in for a 110-catch, 1,600-yard, double-digit touchdown season, which also makes him top-5 worthy in the first round of drafts.
Our unanimous No. 3 is Beckham, who overcame a shaky start to 2016 and probably single-handedly (see what I did there?) won his owners a championship with an 11-catch, 150-yard game in Week 16.
Now, with Brandon Marshall on his opposite side, Beckham is poised for perhaps his best season to date.
Dez doesn’t see his name on the rankings until number eight. Three writers have the Cowboys star as the eighth best wide receiver in a PPR fantasy football league — behind names such as Jordy Nelson, Michael Thomas, and T.Y. Hilton. Two other writers have Bryant as their ninth option at the position. The lowest he finds himself on the list is at 12. Dez and Odell Beckham are the only two wideouts from the NFC East in the top 12 at their position.
How does ESPN believe the Cowboys star will do? Here is his fantasy outlook from Matthew Berry and company:
Injuries have limited Bryant to 22 games during the past two regular seasons, so it's easy to forget that he finished as a top-seven fantasy receiver during the prior three seasons. He was pretty good during the 13 games he played last season as well, posting a top-20 fantasy week during 54 percent of his outings (seventh best). Bryant scored eight touchdowns in 2016 after averaging 13.7 per season from 2012 to 2014. Bryant is averaging 8.8 targets per game (27 percent target share) during the 53 games he's played at least three-quarters of the pass play snaps since the start of 2013. The 28-year-old's volume will be limited some by Dallas' run-heavy scheme, but he does enough damage to warrant second-round consideration.
Bryant is projected by ESPN to score 215.1 points in 2017 in a PPR standard ESPN league, a big boost from the 180 points he posted last season. Despite nagging injuries and a change at quarterback over the course of last fall, Bryant ended the fantasy season with 16.2 points in an eight-catch and 88 yard game versus the Buccaneers and a whopping 27.2 points in a huge four-catch, 70 yard, and three touchdown performance against the Lions.
While it is true that the Cowboys run a run-heavy offense designed to wear out defenses with Ezekiel Elliott and their monstrous offensive line, the Elliott suspension may change some things early on for Dallas. The Cowboys enter year two of the Dak Prescott era this season. Without Zeke, Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan may opt to throw the ball more early in the season — giving more opportunities for Dez to make an impact in fantasy scoring.
If Dez can stay healthy, he has the opportunity to have a huge season in 2017.
I ain't betting against him, especially if Zeke isn't on the field. https://t.co/TFt4vwRd2B— David Helman (@HelmanDC) August 16, 2017
The Cowboys play against three elite defenses in a row to open up the 2017 campaign, but the potential of Dak Prescott throwing the ball more and targeting Bryant gives Dez a chance to have a huge season, both on the football field and in your fantasy football league.