Fantasy football season excites us, disappoints us and takes over our lives throughout the course of the fall. Football fans would not have it any other way. Fantasy season makes NFL games that much more intriguing to watch as we sink into our couches on Monday and Thursday nights, as well as all day Sunday.
Heading into this NFL season, there are a few marquee Cal alumni in fantasy football as well as some Bear fantasy sleepers to keep on your radar. These players may be the lead talent to help carry your team or the addition that can offer depth to your fantasy roster.
Most relevant Cal alumni in Fantasy Football:
Week 1 stats: 199 pass yards, 2 pass touchdowns, 16 rush yards, rushing touchdown
Rodgers is one of the NFL’s great quarterbacks, and he has a knack for getting it done with his arm and legs. Against the Jaguars in Week 1, he reaffirmed these abilities. He has a talented receiving corps and running back that collectively form one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses, not to mention his favorite target, Jordy Nelson, is back and healthy for the season. Rodgers should continue to be of great fantasy value. He could very well be one of the fantasy football MVPs that carry many fantasy owners’ teams to success this season.
Week 1 stats: 92 rush yards, rush touchdown, 4 receptions, 47 receiving yards, receiving touchdown
Anderson comes into this season as Denver’s workhorse running back. In his Week 1 matchup against the Carolina Panthers, he showcased why the Broncos paid him so handsomely in the offseason. He looked healthy, in shape and ready to embrace his expanded role. Anderson has the potential to have the best season of his career in a run-heavy offense because of unproven quarterback play with Trevor Siemian and possibly Paxton Lynch. It is up to Anderson to seize this opportunity.
Week 1 stats: 6 receptions, 102 yards
Though Jackson frustrates fantasy owners with his up-and-down play, he is still worth carrying on your roster. He is one of the NFL’s most dynamic playmakers, who at any moment can break out for an explosive play. Hauling in more than 100 receiving yards in Week 1, he looked like the DeSean Jackson of old. In a pass-heavy Redskins offense, he is a wide receiver to keep your eyes on throughout the course of the 2016 season. The stage is set for Jackson to be a major player in fantasy once again.
Week 1 stats: 4 receptions, 85 yards
Jones begins the 2016 season with a new team. In the offseason, he signed with the Detroit Lions, who lost Calvin Johnson to retirement. In Week 1, Jones put up better numbers than the Lions’ proclaimed number one receiver Golden Tate. Also, he is now in an offense that is extremely pass-happy with Matthew Stafford. This bodes well for Jones’ fantasy value in 2016. He is definitely a player due to break out this season and potentially emerge as the Lions’ lead receiver. Time will tell, but Jones is absolutely in a position to excel.
Weeks 1 stats: 38 rush yards, 3 receptions, 23 yards
Vereen is a key cog in the Giants’ offensive machine. His Week 1 stats do not jump off the page, but he is the change of pace back that complements starter Rashad Jennings so well. Vereen’s ability to catch passes out of the backfield is what makes him so lethal. In fantasy, he will not necessarily be a star for your roster, but he is a player that is bound to have some big games this year with his playmaking ability. Additionally, it is well documented that Rashad Jennings has battled injury problems. With that in mind, Vereen is a player fantasy owners need to keep in mind during the NFL season.
Cal alumni Fantasy Football sleepers:
Week 1 stats: 1 reception, 22 yards
Rodgers assumes the starting tight end role for Green Bay in 2016. In Week 1, he was not heavily involved in the Packers’ passing attack. Last season, however, he formed a great rapport in the offense with Aaron Rodgers, who loves to spread the ball around. In his larger offensive role, he has a chance to transcend last season’s performance. Fantasy owners should feel obliged to give Rodgers a shot because tight end is such an unpredictable position play on a weekly basis.
Week 1 stats: 41 rush yards, 3 receptions, 15 yards
Justin Forsett, a fantasy sleeper? Sounds pretty interesting. He was cut by the Ravens this offseason, then re-signed soon after. Though Forsett is listed as Baltimore’s starter, he is clearly in a running back committee along with Terrance West and Buck Allen. This adds murkiness to his fantasy value. Yet Forsett is clearly the most experienced of the three running backs. Forsett and West will continue to split lead back duties, and the hope is that eventually a starter will emerge. He is not as valuable as he was in years past, but he is no doubt a player to monitor, especially if he rises to the top as the sole lead back.
Week 1 stats: 3 receptions, 25 yards
Anderson is a deep fantasy sleeper to keep tabs on. He is listed as the third string tight end on the the Texans depth chart. Still, Anderson hauled in three receptions in Week 1. His ability to be a factor in the passing game should give him opportunities to be part of the offense on a weekly basis. In addition, it is possible that Anderson’s role could expand as he becomes more acclimated to the Texans’ offense and the NFL game. He is by no means going to be a fantasy starter at this point, but he is one of those surprise players that could emerge as the season progresses.
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