Photo Essays  

 

Published: Feb. 13, 2017 at 04:01 p.m.
Updated: Feb. 14, 2017 at 05:03 p.m.

Dak Prescott leads 2017 fantasy football man crushes

"Love Song." "When it's Love." "Still Loving You." "Is This Love." "Love Walks In." If you're into old '80s hair bands like I am, these memorable ballads remind you of some of the best times in rock music. I bet some of you even used one to make a mix tape for a high school crush. While I won't be doing the same for Valentine's Day, it is time to take an early look at a few of the players I'm developing some fantasy love for in 2017. Hopefully these 14 players will produce "High Enough" to make your next fantasy football season feel like "Heaven."

14 Photos Total

  • Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys 14

    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys

    Come on, what would a fantasy man crush list (from me) be without Prescott? He proved a lot in his rookie season, showing the moxie and confidence of a veteran 10 years his senior. I'm not suggesting he's going to be better in the stat sheets in 2017, but I'm also not worried about a sophomore slump. Prescott needs to be considered a no-brainer No. 1 fantasy signal-caller, and he won't cost more than a mid- to late-rounder.

  • Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans 13

    Aaron M. Sprecher/Associated Press

    Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans

    Mariota's 2016 campaign was cut short due to a broken right fibula, but he showed off a lot of promise while he was on the field. He had an eight-game stretch where he scored 19.9-plus fantasy points seven times, averaging 24.1 points per game in those contests. With two full seasons of NFL experience under his belt, Mariota is on the edge of fantasy greatness. Like Prescott, he's a good bargain candidate.

  • Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears 12

    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears

    Much like Prescott, Howard broke out in the stat sheets during his rookie campaign. He posted 1,313 rushing yards with seven total touchdowns and finished an impressive ninth in fantasy points among running backs. I don't think Howard's numbers are a fluke either, so much so that I would argue he's well worth a late first-round selection in 2017 fantasy football drafts. At worst, he's a cinch top-20 selection.

  • Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams 11

    Peter Read Miller/Associated Press

    Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

    Gurley gave love a bad name last season, as he ranked 20th in fantasy points among running backs. (Yeah, I'm still beating myself up over that). I do have faith that the Rams will make it a priority to improve their offensive line, and new coach Sean McVay is a rising offensive mind. Gurley is still young, talented and will be seen as a No. 2 fantasy running back for next season. That alone makes him a potential bargain.

  • C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos 10

    Perry Knotts/NFL

    C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos

    The Broncos and fantasy owners alike sure did miss Anderson when he went down with an injured knee, due in large part to the fact that rookie Devontae Booker couldn't get things done in his absence. He should have no issues in his return from the ailment, and I can promise you that Anderson is motivated to be back on the gridiron and will make some noise in the stat sheets under new head coach Vance Joseph.

  • Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU 9

    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

    The 2017 rookie class has some impressive running backs, with Fournette and Dalvin Cook considered the two biggest talents. While it's hard to predict a player's true fantasy value until he's on an NFL roster, Fournette has the tools to make a massive impact both on the field and in fantasy football. Imagine him with the Jets, Panthers or Colts? That's a real dynasty drool-fest. Plus, you all know I love rookie runners.

  • Paul Perkins, RB, New York Giants 8

    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Paul Perkins, RB, New York Giants

    Perkins started his rookie season slowly, but he finished with double-digit carries in his last five games and is now seen as the lead back for the G-Men heading into 2017. Rashad Jennings was just released by the team, making Perkins an even more attractive breakout candidate in the fantasy world. This UCLA product has a boatload of upside for fantasy owners right now, so keep tabs on this backfield in the offseason.

  • Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots 7

    Logan Bowles/NFL

    Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots

    Lewis' value is tied to the fate of veteran LeGarrette Blount, who turned 30 in December and is slated to be a free agent. If the Patriots decide to let Blount walk in the coming months, Lewis would move up the fantasy rank lists quicker than you can say "Love Bites." In a best-case scenario, we could be looking at Lewis, 26, re-emerging into a high-end No. 2 fantasy running back in New England's backfield next season.

  • Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars 6

    Rick Wilson/Associated Press

    Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

    Robinson was a massive bust for fantasy owners last season, but there was a glimmer of his old self once Doug Marrone took over as the interim head coach in Jacksonville. In fact, Robinson had 14 catches for 229 yards in two games with Marrone (now the "real" coach) at the helm. The regression of Blake Bortles is a concern, but Robinson is still going to be a popular bounce-back candidate in 2017.

  • Donte Moncrief, WR, Indianapolis Colts 5

    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    Donte Moncrief, WR, Indianapolis Colts

    The potential for greatness oozes off Moncrief ... he has scored a combined 13 touchdowns over the last two seasons despite missing seven games due to injuries. Just 23, the Ole Miss product could be on the verge of his best season in the stat sheets. It doesn't hurt that he'll continue to catch passes from one of the league's best young quarterbacks in Andrew Luck, either. There's WR2 upside for Moncrief next season.

  • Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins 4

    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins

    The Redskins could lose both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon as free agents this offseason, which would make Crowder their top wideout both on the field and from a fantasy perspective. I would also keep tabs on the status of Josh Doctson, who has a ton of potential in the offense for coach Jay Gruden but needs to prove that injuries won't be a long-term concern for him after a lost rookie campaign.

  • J.J. Nelson, WR, Arizona Cardinals 3

    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    J.J. Nelson, WR, Arizona Cardinals

    The Cardinals cut ties with Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald will be 34 at the start of next season, Jaron Brown is coming off an injured knee and John Brown has major question marks due to his sickle cell concerns. Enter Nelson, who will be a very popular sleeper candidate in fantasy leagues due to what could be an increased number of targets in the Arizona pass attack. He's another potential draft bargain.

  • Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers 2

    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

    There are a ton of question marks with Bryant, who was suspended for the entire 2016 campaign due to off-field issues. No one can question his talent or Pittsburgh's passing attack, however, and Bryant won't cost more than a late-round flier (assuming he's reinstated). What I love here is the potential to get him late, and for him to produce at a higher level than expected. Let's just hope he keeps his head on straight.

  • Hunter Henry, TE, Los Angeles Chargers 1

    Ric Tapia/NFL

    Hunter Henry, TE, Los Angeles Chargers

    Antonio Gates is slated to return for his 15th NFL season, but I wouldn't be surprised if he takes on a lesser role behind Henry in the pass attack. While his yardage totals (478) were modest, Henry was a red-zone monster with eight touchdowns during what was a successful rookie campaign. He's going to be a low-end No. 1 fantasy tight end with upside next season, and he'll cost just a late-round selection.

Discuss ()