There are several dysfunctional franchises in the NFL and as an avid fantasy football fan and participant I believe there is some validity when drawing a correlation between a dysfunctional front office and the fantasy ceiling a respective team can reach. Consequently there are some teams that who are extremely buttoned up at the top, and that has a trickle down effect that positively impacts what happens on the field, the win column and for the sake of our best interest fantasy relevance. Good ownership equals well-run franchises, which equals success on the field and if they’re bad, it’s not long before the train is back on the tracks. Let’s take a look at who’s buttoned up and what the fantasy implications may be.
There’s some low hanging fruit here, so we probably need to focus a bit of attention on the New England Patriots who are arguably the best run franchise in all of professional sports. They win, they profit, they portray family and much like the weather, no matter how much people complain or criticize they stay on course and remain the same. On the field this team is an offensive juggernaut that will likely average 34 points per game, which means you have to invest in some Patriot stock on draft day. I have no earthly idea who will get the lion’s share of volume in the backfield between the four headed monster they will be rolling out including Super Bowl hero James White, Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis and Mike Gilllislee. I can’t possibly know because they don’t know. Nor can I decide who on given week will be the top WR between Julian Edleman or Brandin Cooks. Gronk is the alpha when healthy but Dwayne Allen is as competent in the red zone as anyone. These guys are all GPP gems on a given week, but if you’re looking for consistency, that’s going to be impossible to uncover preseason. Which brings me to TB12 who is the common denominator in this complicated offensive equation. He plays four quarters, and is the leader of the most potent offense in the NFL. He’s the guy you need to target, and he will be cheaper on than both Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees on draft day, yet he will out perform both in 6-7 weeks this season. Take the discount reap the rewards. As an aside, I think this defense will be worth rostering as well. On paper they have the best secondary in the NFL and though the pass rush will be an issue, look for the defense who gave up the fewest yards per game last year to get a boat load of coverage sacks and throw away INTs.
Honorable mention has to go to the Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants, all of whom are under reputable ownership and all of whom produce multiple relevant fantasy starts per season. They are seldom bad for multiple seasons and their ability to stay competitive on the field, means their starters are playing meaningful snaps resulting in better than projected fantasy production. I love where the Oakland Raiders are heading. They finally have a winning head coach in place, and ownership since Al Davis died has killed it in the draft. They have improved over the last three years on both sides of the football, and will undoubtedly improve again if Derek Carr can stay up right. In fantasy I love Derek Carr and with his shiny new contract tithed on and all. Good things are going to happen to this team so pick your spot, starting with Carr.
QUEEN CITY QUANDRY
The problem in Carolina is easy to identify, but also presents one of the greatest catch 22s in NFL upper level management in recent memory. This team is a dumpster fire right now that I am avoiding like the plague, and there are not enough words to cover the reasons. The recently fired Dave Gettleman’s philosophy was dead on, but his posture was that of a rattlesnake, which rubbed pretty much everyone the wrong way including team owner Jerry Richardson. Gettleman who drew the ire of players, fans and the media by the way handled the departures of Steve Smith Sr., Brandon LaFell, DeAngelo Williams and Josh Norman… leaving everyone everywhere second guessing these decisions. The problem is, after he didn’t sign Steve Smith, the Panthers remarkably made the Super Bowl, so as Panther nation collectively gasped, he knew the team was good, and Smith was more of a liability than an asset. New England Patriot fans gasp with ever player transaction, but time and again the fan base is exposed to a fresh new way that Bill Belichick and his staff have remarkably extracted value. Winning of course offsets the pain of losing fan favorites, most franchises the Panthers included don’t have the patience OR are too attached to their veterans to make the shrewd moves necessary to win. Greg Olsen the only TE to have three straight 1000-yard seasons and who is under contract through 2018 wants to renegotiate. Thomas Davis who is 34 years also wants a long-term deal. Gettleman was willing to let these guys walk, to sign more players who were also much younger. I love the shrewdness here, but you know who doesn’t? Jerry Richardson – so he axed Gettlemen and will likely pay both Olsen and Davis, making the Panthers just like every mediocre team in the NFL that overpays old players. This is seemingly good for a dumb fan base like Carolina, but eventually they will realizing that finishing 9-7 in a weak division is unacceptable, but at least they got to keep a guy who’s now closer to 40 than 30. Let’s just hope they don’t cry about the win/loss purgatory they are about to enter, because they essentially brought up themselves determined to cause a stink if they lost Olsen less than two years after letting Josh Norman go for free. Add in Kelvin Benjamin’s chunkiness, no Kony Ealy, Cam Newton’s emotional instability, Luke Keuchely’s scrambled eggs for brains, and a secondary that is below average and this team is truly a mess.
I encourage you to check out other teams like Seattle, Arizona, Green Bay, Baltimore, Kanasas City and Denver and dig a little deeper to figure out why and how they continue to produce fantasy goodness, while other teams like Washington, Detroit, and Cleveland continue to be fantasy wastelands (for the most part) You can do it gamers. Good Luck.