49ers RB Carlos Hyde
Carlos Hyde is an injury risk, but the volume is ever so enticing. A Chip Kelly offense loves to run the football. Their quarterback concerns help the cause even more. Coach Kelly believes that Hyde is a 3-down running back. Although he hasn’t been used much in the passing game, simply look at the amount of drops that Ryan Mathews and DeMarco Murray committed a year ago. They did make some plays through the air, but they weren’t very good in that aspect.Hyde will certainly get his chances to touch the ball as much as possible in a punishing division. The volume will be there, just not sure about the health. He’s someone you may have to fallback on as RB2 if you go for QB/WR early in your fantasy football draft.
Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi
I liked this guy a lot coming into the draft. He slipped to the 5th round with a knee injury, but I did see him replacing Lamar Miller and now that is the case. Well, head coach Adam Gase is in favor of a 3-down running back, and who’s to blame him after getting to work with Matt Forte for a season. Gase protects his QBs by involving running backs heavily: handing the ball off a lot, throwing to the running back, and not just as a safety outlet or last resort, but designed short throws with the occasional wheel route against a slower linebacker. Ajayi is the best back on the roster and Miami is in a tough defensive division.Here is another fallback option for RB2.
Saints WR Michael Thomas
The 2nd round draft pick joins a so-so receiving group. With Sean Payton and Drew Brees looking to bounce back into the playoff picture, they are well aware that they need a target to step up. Marques Colston had some good years, but he is closer to the end and his body shows it. Nobody else has taken advantage of running routes for Brees. A 2nd round pick is a high investment and a hopefuly expectation. Supposedly, he’s in a battle with Brandon Coleman for #3 on the depth chart. If Thomas can pick up the playbook and gain separation, then I don’t see why he couldn’t emerge as a core target along with Brandin Cooks. This is a rookie situation worth monitoring because you know the Saints can’t help but to air the ball out. This is more of a bench receiver to add, knowing that it’s a situation to keep an eye on, not necessarily something to bank on.
Packers TE Jared Cook
It may take Jordy Nelson some time to get back into the flow of things, coming back from injury and all. It may not, but I see the best receiving tight end that Aaron Rodgers has ever been paired with. Cook is prone to drops, that sort of thing happens when you catch footballs for a living. You might pull your hair out if he drops a would-be touchdown, but maybe playing with a QB like Rodgers will help him to be more consistent. Maybe that will help him flourish in the Packers’ elite offense. Defenses can’t game plan for Cook or double team him, right now he’s the lesser of all the poisons that they have to stop or contain. The 6’5 target averages over a first down per catch. His career highs are 52 receptions, 759 yards, and 5 touchdowns. The yards and touchdowns would have ranked in the top 10 if he had tallied those numbers last season. With Nelson and Randall Cobb out wide, the middle of the field could be his for new career highs.