2016 Outlook: Brown was the top-scoring wide receiver in each of the past two years and has made a strong case that he is the most valuable asset in all of fantasy football. He trailed only Julio Jones in both targets (194) and receiving yards (1,834) last season and tied Jones for the league lead in receptions (136). Incredibly, Brown has finished a week among the top 10 WRs in fantasy points in nearly half of his outings over the past two seasons. As long as Ben Roethlisberger stays healthy, Pittsburgh's offense will be pass-heavy and among the best in the league. Brown is in his prime and has the highest floor at the position.
2016 Outlook: Beckham proved his rookie season was no fluke, ranking seventh in the league in targets (157), eighth in receptions (96), fifth in receiving yards (1,450) and tied for fourth in touchdowns (13) last season. That left him fifth in the league in fantasy points, and he might have placed second had it not been for the one-game suspension he earned after his contentious matchup with Josh Norman. Beckham is still only 23, but he is as heavily targeted and as dangerous after the catch as anyone in the league. He should be off the board early in the first round of your draft.
2016 Outlook: Considering that he missed nearly all of 2014, Peterson was polarizing in fantasy drafts last year. Would he be fresh or rusty after the year off? It turned out to be the former: Last season Peterson led the NFL in carries and rushing yards and tied for first in rushing TDs. He posted a league-high 12 top-20 weeks at RB, which included seven top-10 finishes. The one thing that continues to hold Peterson back is his lack of usage as a pass catcher: He had just 30 receptions for 222 yards in 2015. At 31, Peterson's days as a fantasy superstar are dwindling, but he's still the workhorse in Minnesota's run-first scheme.
2016 Outlook: The addition of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan worked wonders for Jones last season. A third of the Falcons' passes went his way, enabling him to lead the NFL with 203 targets and 1,871 receiving yards and tie Antonio Brown with an NFL-high 136 receptions. All that's left is for Jones to find the end zone more often--he scored eight times last season. Durability remains somewhat of a concern for Jones, with 2015 marking only the second time in five seasons that he appeared in all 16 games. But that is a minor issue, as Jones remains a tremendous fantasy asset.
2016 Outlook: Although the Rams took Gurley with the 10th pick in the 2015 draft, there were legitimate concerns that he wouldn't produce much as a rookie because of the torn ACL he suffered at Georgia. But Gurley was active by Week 3 and played a significant role in Week 4. From that point on, only Devonta Freeman scored more fantasy points among running backs. Gurley has already proved that he can be an early-down workhorse, and he has 10-plus-TD upside in the Rams' run-heavy attack. One concern: Rams QBs targeted Gurley only 27 times in 13 games; that lack of impact in the passing game limits his upside.
2016 Outlook: The fourth pick in April's draft, Elliott should step in immediately as the Cowboys' lead back. He is a terrific rusher, a solid pass catcher and a close-to-elite pass blocker. At 6 feet, 225 pounds, Elliott has plenty of size and runs with enough power that he's assured heavy work near the goal line. There aren't many pro backs who push for 20 touches every week, but Elliott figures to join that list, and he'll do it behind the Cowboys' outstanding offensive line. At just 21, Elliott has major fantasy upside, making him well worth consideration in the middle of the first round.
2016 Outlook: Hopkins became a full-fledged fantasy star in 2015, his third season in the league, ranking third in the NFL in targets (190), receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,521). He has excellent hands and is a threat on all levels of the field, but he simply doesn't offer much with the ball in his hands, averaging a position-low 1.8 yards after the catch. Brock Osweiler provides Houston with the quarterback upgrade it badly needed, so as long as Hopkins continues to flirt with a 30 percent target share, he will remain a strong WR1 option.
2016 Outlook: A 2015 third-round pick, Johnson began his career pushing Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington for snaps before taking a star turn in the fantasy playoffs. In Weeks 13 through 17, Johnson racked up 658 yards and five TDs on 107 touches, which easily made him fantasy's top-scoring RB during that stretch. He averaged a healthy 4.6 ypc, including 2.3 after contact (fifth best among RBs). He also has great value in PPR leagues--Johnson caught 15 passes in Arizona's two playoff games. Now the clear lead back in Arizona's high-scoring attack, he carries the high floor and high ceiling you want in a first-round pick.
2016 Outlook: Freeman might have been 2015's biggest surprise. He burst onto the scene during the first month and went on to lead all RBs in fantasy points. Although he did a significant chunk of his damage in Weeks 3 through 6, Freeman finished strong with three top-11 performances in Weeks 15 through 17. An every-down player, Freeman averaged a hefty 18.7 carries and 6.9 targets in 14 full games. His efficiency (4.0 ypc, 1.6 yac, 7.9 ypr, a position-high seven drops) wasn't quite as impressive, which figures to lead to an expanded role for Tevin Coleman. Still, Freeman will be busy enough as a rusher and receiver to remain in the RB1 mix.
2016 Outlook: You can pretty much write off Bryant's 2015 season. Injuries limited him to only nine games, and even when he was on the field, it was often as part of a Tony Romo'less offense. Bryant actually averaged 8.1 targets per game--almost as many as he had in 2014, when he caught a league-high 16 TDs and finished tied for third among WRs in fantasy points. In fact, Bryant entered the 2015 season having finished no worse than fourth at the position in TDs after his rookie season. With Romo back to full health, Bryant is a strong bet to regain elite status and is a borderline first-round pick.
2016 Outlook: Few players have put together a run of dominance like Gronkowski. He has finished as the No. 1 or No. 2 fantasy TE in four of the past five seasons and has posted a top-10 week at least 70 percent of the time in each of those years. For perspective, no other TE has managed to crack 69 percent even once in the past four years. Gronk lined up at wideout on 78 percent of his routes last season and ranked among the top two TEs in average depth of target, yards per reception and yards after the catch. He's easily fantasy's top TE and worth first-round consideration.
2016 Outlook: Bell topped draft boards heading into last season but went on to appear in only six games due to a two-game suspension and a torn MCL and PCL in his right knee. This season, he is at risk of missing the first four weeks due to a suspension. That's the bad news. The good news is that Bell is currently helathy and when that was the case last season, he was extremely productive. Bell posted a top-20 fantasy week in each of his five full games. That's after finishing as a top-22 back in all but one of his 2014 appearances. If not for the suspension and the injury concern that still linger, Bell's heavy workload as a runner and receiver in Pittsburgh's high-powered offense would make him fantasy's top RB.
2016 Outlook: Robinson was a popular breakout candidate in 2015, and boy did he live up to the hype. In just his second season, he tied for the league lead with 14 touchdowns, and his 1,400 receiving yards ranked sixth in the NFL. Blake Bortles looked for him often near the goal line, as Robinson caught an NFL-high 11 end zone targets. But he also proved to be a major deep threat--he posted the seventh-highest average depth of target (15.3 yards) among WRs and the sixth-highest yards per reception (17.5). TD regression should be expected, but Robinson is only 23 and a rising star in Jacksonville's emerging offense.
2016 Outlook: After being underused in four seasons with the Dolphins, Miller should get all the work he can handle in Houston. He averaged just 196 carries during his final three years in Miami and saw just 12.1 carries and 3.5 targets per game last year. Still, he ranked among the top nine fantasy RBs for the second straight season. The situation couldn't be more different with the Texans, who led the NFL in snaps last season and emphasize the running game. Miller has to prove he can handle a 20-plus-touch workload and can make a major contribution as a receiver, but added usage should make Miller a legit RB1.
2016 Outlook: Cincinnati's improvement on offense last season actually meant less work for Green. After averaging at least 30 percent of Cincinnati's targets in games he played over the previous three seasons, Green's share fell to 26.8 percent in 2015. The Bengals simply had more options in an offense that averaged three TDs per game. As a result, he ranked 12th among WRs in receptions, eighth in yards, tied for seventh in TDs and eighth in fantasy points. Green will face a heavier burden this season, as both Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones departed as free agents. Regardless, you're sitting pretty if Green is your No. 1 WR.