2016 fantasy football depth charts
“Mise en place” is a French cooking term that means “everything in its place.” If you’re cooking, better to have the salt, the wine, the butter ready, instead of getting to where you need an ingredient and having to hunt it down. As we lead up to the fantasy football season, we’re putting “mise en place” into action for fantasy players. Over the next couple weeks, Director of PFF Fantasy Jeff Ratcliffe is running through the fantasy football depth charts for every team in the league.
He’ll highlight the big names fantasy owners will want to target in drafts, plus the next men down the line who could steal touches or find a role for themselves, at each offensive fantasy position, and he’ll visit with the IDP side of things as well.
Check back each weekday to see two new depth charts and their breakdowns. If you’re just starting your prep for the fantasy season, this will get everything in its place before your draft, and you can go from there.
Dallas Cowboys: If Ezekiel Elliott is everything we hope he can be, that’s a fantasy superstar in the making. Combine that with possible bouncebacks for Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, and it gets interesting.
Philadelphia Eagles: A new head coach, a new offense, a new running back, maybe a quarterback competition? There are a lot of question marks on the offensive side of the ball in Philadelphia.
New York Giants: Odell Beckham Jr. is the headliner, of course, but there are at least fringe-fantasy-starter options at every position across the offense.
Washington Redskins: If Washington’s leap on offense in 2015 is for real, this could be a very powerful unit for fantasy. If 2015 was a mirage, well, at least there’s Jordan Reed.
Buffalo Bills: In LeSean McCoy, Tyrod Taylor and especially Sammy Watkins, there is plenty of fantasy intrigue at the top of the roster. The handcuff running back situation, though, has been increasingly problematic this offseason.
New England Patriots: This is the one team in the league that could theoretically have two-plus players at every position — running back, wide receiver, tight end and quarterback — on fantasy rosters to start the season.
Miami Dolphins: Arian Foster in, Lamar Miller out. Rishard Matthews out, DeVante Parker … more in? There’s a big of flux in the Miami offense right now on the fantasy side of things, but there’s definite potential here.
New York Jets: From a fantasy perspective, the Jets offense took a big step forward in 2015 with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Now that Fitzpatrick is gone (for now at least), how will the offense do under Geno Smith?
Chicago Bears: It was a miserable 2015 for the Bears from a health perspective. If you assume they can stay on the field for 2016, there’s a lot of fantasy potential on the roster, particularly among the pass-catchers.
Detroit Lions: The way the Lions recover from the retirement of Calvin Johnson will be the story of the season no matter what. Between signing Marvin Jones, the possible development of Eric Ebron and an offense that improved down the stretch in 2015, there are some positive signs.
Green Bay Packers: It’s all going to be about bouncebacks in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb all have to be disappointed in their 2015 seasons, for various reasons. Can they collectively have a better year in 2016?
Minnesota Vikings: It was the All-Adrian Peterson Show with the Minnesota offense in 2015. With first-rounder Laquon Treadwell and possible further development for Teddy Bridgewater and Jerick McKinnon, can the attack be more balanced for fantasy in 2016?
Baltimore Ravens: After a disastrous 2015 from a health perspective, the Ravens can improve a lot this season just by staying healthy. With recent injury news about Breshad Perriman and some question over when Steve Smith might be available, though, they aren’t there yet.
Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals lost Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu to free agency, but kept their top weapons of Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert… at least once Eifert is recovered from offseason surgery, which is an unknown.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns have a new set of leaders at the top (again). If Robert Griffin III can somehow capture his old successes, there is plenty of fantasy potential in the offense.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers have the consensus No. 1 overall player in fantasy in WR Antonio Brown. They likely had No. 2 as well, with RB Le’Veon Bell, before news of a possible four-game suspension for Bell came down.
Atlanta Falcons: The top fantasy options on Atlanta are among the game’s best anywhere, but Jeff Ratcliffe wonders if there’s anything behind them.
Carolina Panthers: After a surprise Super Bowl run in 2015, Jeff Ratcliffe wonders if Cam Newton and the Panthers can continue their success.
New Orleans Saints: Much of the Saints’ success can be attributed to quarterback Drew Brees, who’s still a top-end fantasy option.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jeff Ratcliffe details how you should value Mike Evans, Doug Martin, Jameis Winston and the rest of the Bucs’ fantasy options.
Houston Texans: By adding Brock Osweiler, Lamar Miller and rookies Will Fuller and Braxton Miller, the Texans have added several pieces to the offense. How they all gel should tell the story of the Houston offensive and fantasy season, for better or worse.
Indianapolis Colts: A healthy and again-productive Andrew Luck should solve many of the problems that vexed the Colts in 2015. Add in a pair of ascending receivers in Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett, and there is fantasy potential up and down the roster.
Jacksonville Jaguars: If the Jacksonville defense shows the improvements that are expected, the team’s big-play offense of 2015 might not be as powerful. Still, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are a strong duo, and the team has two potentially productive running backs as well.
Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota showed flashes in his rookie season, and Delanie Walker is a big target. But with three mouths to feed at running back (DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry, Dexter McCluster) and maybe four wide receivers to talk about (Kendall Wright, Rishard Matthews, Tajae Sharpe, Dorial Green-Beckham), it’s hard to pick any one name from those groups for big numbers.
Arizona Cardinals: After having one of the best overall offenses for fantasy in 2015, the Cardinals have to hope regression doesn’t grab them too hard. Can a team with three competent receivers and a strong pass-catching running back produce enough for all the options to get their due?
Los Angeles Rams: As the Rams move to Los Angeles, there are serious questions everywhere but at running back in the offense. The receivers are underwhelming, the quarterbacks are unproven and the tight end position is largely anonymous.
San Francisco 49ers: Under new head coach Chip Kelly, there is every reason to believe the 49ers will be much more fast-paced in 2016 than they were in 2015. Will that result in bigger seasons from Torrey Smith, Carlos Hyde and others?
Seattle Seahawks: If the Seahawks’ offense is what it was from the second half of 2015, fantasy owners can feast on the roster. If there is real regression there, though, things might be a little bleaker.
Denver Broncos: Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler are gone now, but it’s not like either was performing at a star level in 2015. Can the new quarterback combination of Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch keep the Broncos’ skill players relevant for fantasy?
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs aren’t a high-octane offense, but there are several fantasy options there nonetheless, says Jeff Ratcliffe.
Oakland Raiders: The Raiders are on the upswing in several ways, says Jeff Ratcliffe. He breaks down the team’s fantasy prospects.
San Diego Chargers: Jeff Ratcliffe wonders if the Chargers can improve on what was a quasi-disaster season in 2015.