My definition of an exploder is someone who is drafted after the fifth round who could greatly exceed their ADP value i.e. Devonta Freeman of 2015. These players are always a key to your success in the draft process. Finding the diamond in the rough is always a fun process and a lot of it comes down to personal beliefs and takes on players and teams. These are my opinions of who I believe will be the exploders of 2016 and in no particular order.
As you can see in the above link Derek Carr made quite the jump from year one to two. A 4,000 yard, 32 TD season normally cements you as a top 10 QB in fantasy but at this time Carr’s ADP is currently in the 12th round in ten team mocks. Carr has the upside to greatly exceed his current QB15 price tag. A revamped offensive line and defense is a great start for Carr to be better protected and see the field on offense more. Young players like Amari Cooper and Clive Walford will only get better as they learn the nuances of the offense and hone their talents. Carr also has capable talent in Michael Crabtree and Latavius Murray around him. He is set up for success in year three and is a great option if you chose to wait on a QB.
Talk about a strong finish to the season for Cousins! 11 TD passes over his last three games won people championships last year. Cousins lead the NFL in completion percentage and cut down on the turnovers that have plagued him until this year. All signs point to Cousins being able to sustain his success with a group that hasn’t changed that much in the offseason. The addition of Josh Doctson is intriguing and gives Cousins a big playmaker on the outside to go with Reed, Jackson, Garcon and Crowder. I personally like Matt Jones but if the run game doesn’t get off the ground Cousins will be throwing the ball a ton and against those weak NFC East secondaries. Cousins can currently be had in round 10/11 in the mocks I have done on yahoo thus far. Load up on WR and RB and let Cousins land in your lap late.
Charles Sims is one of my main “handcuff” targets this year. Doug Martin isn’t exactly a picture of health and if he were to go down Sims would vault into fringe RB1 territory for me. He has a three down skill set and caught 50 balls last year. He was one of only a few players to achieve 500 yards rushing (4.9 YPC) and 500 yards receiving and looked explosive with the ball in his hands. Sims is a perfect “Zero RB” depth target who is currently being drafted in round 11.
Normally a 31 year old scat back doesn’t offer much value in the NFL but Danny Woodhead is an elite third down option in today’s game. Im a bit scared off of Melvin Gordon and Brendan Oliver doesn’t really rev my engine. The opportunities for Woodhead in a Ken Whisehunt offense should be plentiful. He obviously has great value in PPR leagues but people in standard scoring seem to ignore him at his current ADP in round nine. Woodhead totaled 9 TD’s last year and over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and I expect the yardage to increase although some TD regression should be expected. He’s a great RB3/Flex option for your bye weeks. Somehow he always seem to finish in the top 20 running backs at a discount price.
One of the more baffling things this offseason has been the fading of Sanders in the fantasy community. I get it, no Peyton Manning and question marks at QB can do that. Sanders is one of the best number two options in the league and I think he can greatly exceed his seventh round ADP in Yahoo even with Sanchez or Lynch under center. 136 targets last year was very healthy and a low catch rate (Manning rainbows) suppressed his 2015 potential. He still had 1,135 yards and six TD’s. He looked like the superior player in the passing game in the second half of the season (I’m looking at you Demariyus). Sanders was being drafted as a low end WR1 in 2015 and you can now draft him as a WR3/4. It would not surprise me if his ADP started to shift closer to round five or six as we get closer to draft season but if it doesn’t take advantage!
I’m planting my flag on Moncrief this year as one of “my guys”. Third year breakout incoming! Moncrief was looking like a redzone stud over the first seven games of 2015 with 5 TD’s. A couple of duds in yardage didn’t really help but he also had Andre Johnson getting 5 targets a game in front of him. Old man balls Johnson is long gone and it looks like Moncrief will take on the possession role in the Colts offense. I’m a believer that the offense will bounce back in a big way and Moncrief will be the biggest beneficiary due to his skill set and versatility. Hilton and Dorsett are more of the field stretching type so there should be plenty of work underneath for him and he’s a larger target in the redzone as well at 6’2”. Moncrief is criminally ranked at 108 in yahoo right now so there will be a market adjustment at some point I believe. I’m smiling from ear to ear when I get him in round 8 or later at the moment. I see top 15 WR upside for Donte’s Inferno in 2016.
I have always found the unknown to be sexy in fantasy football. Its why people draft Josh Gordon in the last round because IF he comes back he should greatly exceed that value and make you feel awesome and just plain smarter than the other managers. Kevin White is that kind of player this year. His current ADP is in round 7/8 so the opportunity to cash in is there. The Bears have shown in the past that they can feed multiple receivers and with a questionable run game the targets for White should be there. I would not be surprised to see White crack 1,000 yards and score between 6-8 TD’s. WR2 upside at a WR5 price. Too good to pass up!
The intrigue with Torrey Smith is really based on Chip Kelly’s offense and his ability to stretch the field. Another factor is Smith is the crystal clear #1 pass catcher with Anquan Boldin out of the picture so on sheer volume alone Smith offers great value at his round 12/13 ADP. A perfect depth pick in case you have an injury or some tricky bye weeks this season. 900 yards and 6 TD’s at pick 120 or later is how you win your league.
If you listened to our last podcast Dwayne Allen was shown quite a bit of love from myself and Christopher. If you’re reading this and haven’t listened, what are you waiting for? Allen seems to really hit every other year as I looked at his career metrics. He was used mostly as a blocker in the 12 games he played in last year. Coby Fleener is now a New Orleans Saint so now Allen has the keys to the car all by himself in what should be a high powered offense. A big target with sure hands should be able to absorb over 100 targets as that offense gets back on track and I think they get involved in a handful of shootouts as their defense is still rather putrid. 750 yards and 10 TD upside feels about right to me this season. A lot like Eifert last year he can be a TE2 that has big time TE1 upside late in your draft. If you end up having two solid TE’s on your roster always look to trade one for a position of need when one breaks out.
My logic is pretty simple with Eric Ebron. Calvin Johnson retired thus leaving a massive amount of targets on the table for Detroit. Yes, they signed Marvin Jones whom will eat into some of that but Ebron should be able to build on the 70 targets he had in 2015. Jim Bob Cooter absolutely transformed the Detroit offense and Ebron should be able to make a leap to fringe TE1 status, he’s currently being picked around the 13th round. A former top 10 pick in his third year in a pass heavy offense is very intriguing at his current ADP.