The 2015 NFL regular season has come to a close and the playoffs are getting underway. It might be a little early, but this isn’t a bad time to cast your eye to the future and start thinking about the 2016 season. Fantasy football fans love to be prepared, so today we’ll be taking a look at how the 2016 fantasy draft might play out. Naturally, many months still separate us from the real thing and all sorts of events and surprises could happen between now and then. This draft will cover the first six rounds of a 12-team league.
2016 Round 1 Fantasy Draft Predictions
We can expect the first round to feature a good mixture of backs and receivers. The number one pick is Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown. The WR put up some incredible, career-best numbers in 2015 and broke several records in the process. Other big names like Le’Veon Bell, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., and the excellent Todd Gurley, who could turn out to be a No. 1 pick in many leagues. The Vikings’ star man Adrian Peterson also makes the first round of picks, as does DeAndre Hopkins, Devonta Freeman, Dez Bryant and LeSean McCoy.
The best tight end in the game, Rob Gronkowski, will also surely be a top frame selection and we round things off with the Cardinals’ David Johnson. Johnson proved himself as an incredibly reliable man for Arizona this season and should be favored by fantasy fans in the new year. Injuries interfered with many WR and RB players in 2015, but they’re too important to ignore. Right now, following league trends, we can only estimate that these players will be the most valuable in fantasy leagues and contests.
2016 Round 2 Fantasy Draft Predictions
As expected, the next round is also dominated by wideouts. Brandon Marshall, Allen Robinson, Alshon Jeffery and Demaryius Thomas being some of the big names that should be going in the second round. Jeffery should be entering free agency alongside teammate Matt Forte, who also appears in our second round selections. Jeffery did very well last season, particularly in PPR leagues, but will probably remain in Chicago. Forte is likely to move on and, despite having a rough time in 2015, he could be a great pick for next season.
This is also the round where we mention our first quarterback: Cam Newton. Obviously, Newton had an incredible year in 2015 and fans will be hoping he can repeat those sort of performances in 2016. He’s been one of the best QBs since arriving in the league, with only Andrew Luck outperforming her in times of fantasy points in 2015. Rounding out the list are Doug Martin, A.J. Green, Mark Ingram, Keenan Allen, Julian Edelman and finally Thomas Rawls. Rawls is a player to watch as the Seahawks look to him to start filling in for Marshawn Lynch on a more regular basis.
2016 Round 3 Fantasy Draft Predictions
A mixture of old and young stars fill out round 3, which includes names like Jeremy Langford, Mike Evans, Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson and T.J. Yeldon. We also have to give a special mention to Sammy Watkins, currently ranked 21st among skill players for per-game fantasy points and also classed as the 10th best WR for fantasy leagues. He managed to outperform some bigger names in 2015 and could build a good understanding with QB Tyrod Taylor.
Speaking of quarterbacks, this round also features Aaron Rodgers. The Green Bay man continues to assert himself as one of the best signal callers in the game and should be a top pick in many leagues. To round out the list, we have Eddie Lacy, Martavis Bryant, Brandin Cooks, Chris Ivory and Calvin Johnson. Megatron is clearly approaching the end of his glory days and might not even be playing with the Lions next season.
2016 Round 4 Fantasy Draft Predictions
Tom Brady and Andrew Luck make their appearance in this round, alongside a few interesting tight ends: Greg Olsen, Tyler Eifert and Jordan Reed. These guys have managed to show that Gronkowski’s title as the best TE isn’t as safe as it once was. The rest of the list for this round is comprised of backs and receivers who could rise or drop in value depending on how things unfold in the months to come.
Marshawn Lynch is one example; with Rawls on the rise, Lynch may move on. Lamar Miller is another interesting pick. He isn’t used to full effect by the Dolphins but has all the skills necessary to put up big numbers. Kelvin Benjamin, Jeremy Maclin, Eric Decker, Allen Hurns and T.Y. Hilton finish the list.
2016 Round 5 Fantasy Draft Predictions
Josh Gordon appears here, with his return surely set to be an intriguing moment for the Browns. If he can stay clear of suspensions and be ready for Week 1, he could be placed higher in the draft. Larry Fitzgerald is also in this round after a very mixed season. He started brilliantly and faded towards the end. Other wide receivers featuring in this round are Randall Cobb, Doug Baldwin, Emmanuel Sanders, and Jarvis Landry.
Jamaal Charles is another player to keep an eye on. An injury curtailed his season and we don’t quite know when to expect Charles back, but he’s an incredible player when he gets out on the field. Fantasy fans should also look out for Matt Jones. If he can avoid the fumbles and find his feet, Jones can be a big player for the Redskins next season. Latavius Murray, Carson Palmer, Jeremy Hill and Ben Roethlisberger round out the list.
2016 Round 6 Fantasy Draft Predictions
Round 6 is filled with risk/reward players like Charcandrick West, Carlos Hyde and Melvin Gordon. All of these guys are capable of big things but might also have disappointing campaigns, depending on how they’re used. DeMarco Murray and Jay Ajayi also fall into this category. Our other round 6 players are John Brown, Dion Lewis, Danny Woodhead, Delanie Walker, Stefon Diggs, Michael Floyd and QB Russell Wilson.