Looking for players to keep/stash for your Fantasy Football keeper leagues next year? It’s well know here at So-Called Fantasy Experts that every league has different keeper rules and considerations, so for simplicity purposes we have broken up keeper suggestions into essentially three tiers of players.
Tier 1 Fantasy Football keeper options are obvious young studs that have produced and will continue to produce. They are worth keeping for those of you with “zero cost consideration.” In these leagues you typically should keep your best players, period. These players are the ones that had you started in a league this past year, it probably would have cost you an early pick but given that there is no cost consideration, these are the keepers at the top of the list.
Tier 2 might be obvious studs as well, but they are keepers for those of you with “cost consideration” in mind. Again, using the basis of a recent league start up, these are players you might have acquired late or for very little auction capital. However, they can now be found in the “elite” category but don’t have the high price tag of the Tier 1 players.
Tier 3 Fantasy Football keeper options are my favorite tier, as I am looking out for my fellow deep league owners. These are the players that might actually be in your free agent pool. Its a tier of Fantasy Football keeper options who are low risk, high reward. Of course the probability of that high reward is also low, but it’s often these fringe of the roster players that can be the difference between contender and pretender.
Below are 20 players worth Fantasy Football keeper consideration, including some notable omissions.
20 Fantasy Football Keeper Considerations
Tier 1 Keeper League Options
LeVeon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Averaged over 100 combined yards in the six games he played in this year and the year before had 80 (80!) receptions and nearly 1,700 yards in total offense. He should continue to be the focal point of the Steelers offense for the next few years. With the clock ticking on Adrian Peterson, there is no bigger lock at RB than Bell.
Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams
As a rookie, Gurley did what only four other backs did this year by rushing for double digit TDs. Unlike those other backs, he did it while being injured for three less games. He plowed for over 1,100 yards, but what I like about Gurley is how explosive he is. Take the example below where not only is Gurley untouched, but the gap actually widens between him and the futilely hustling defender.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
I’ll admit, the injury history scares me. But still just 26 years old, he has over 6,000 receiving yards in just five years. He’s a stud that you simply cannot throw back.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Clubhouse leader to be the top pick in 2016. ‘Nuff said.
Odell Beckham, New York Giants
Only entering his third year, he is likely to get even better. He now has 25 touchdowns in 27 games, proving his rookie year is the expectation not the hope. What else do you need?
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
In a PPR, I like Hopkins even more than Beckham. He’s a lock for 100 catches and his quarterbacks this year was Ryan Mallet, Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden, and T.J. Yates. Can you imagine how good he might be if the Texans actually get a good quarterback?
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
You know this, but it bears repeating: Gronk. A universe of wide space. And then all other TEs. That’s your TE rankings for next year (which look a whole lot like this past year too. Go figure). Other than his 2013 season (when he played only seven games), Gronk has broken through for double digits TDs every year. He has more TDs through six seasons than Tony Gonzalez had after his first six. That’s pretty telling.
Notable Omission: Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins
Not even 25 years old, with very little tread on his tires (not even 650 carries over four years) and coming off back-to-back eight-TD Top 10 RB performances, one would think he would be a great keeper.
I agree the coaching staff in Miami did not utilize him well, but it scares me that he basically became the back by default. Drafted four years ago, he has yet to beat out a healthy, quality back. He will probably be playing for a different team, but that doesn’t mean his situation will be much better than it was this year. I have zero shares of Lamar Miller and I’m not one bit upset about it.
Tier 2 Keeper League Options
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
I’ve already mentioned how year two seems to be the year that QBs make “the leap.” I expect Winston and Mariota to do exactly that next year. With Winston coming off a season of 28 total TDs, 30-plus this upcoming year should be within easy grasp, especially as his interception rate continues to decrease. Winston started off poorly with an INT rate of over six-percent his first game, bottoming out with an INT rate over nine-percent in Carolina in Week 4, but the last six weeks of the season he kept his INT rate under five-percent.
Mariota does not have the total raw numbers that Winston has due to four missed games but a 62-percent completion rate and the 12th best yard per attempt gives plenty of reason to expect a jump in production next year as well.
David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
All season I tried to pry him from my competitor’s clutches in my primary keeper league, and given what he did against Philly (three TDs while rushing for 187 yards plus another four receptions for 42 yards), it’s not hard to see why I wanted him or why my competitor held onto him with an iron grip. Johnson finished as a Top 10 RB and that was without having the starting gig most of the season. If Arians keeps him on a healthy diet of 25 carries a game, the sky’s the limit.
Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears
I originally wanted to bump Langford and Lockett into the next tier as their ADPs were practically non-existent, but given how high their ownership levels were, I felt I had to include them as keepers here. Let’s start with Langford’s negatives—his yards per carry (YPC) was a pedestrian 3.6 and he did not rush for more than 83 yards in a single game.
With Forte a free agent this year and likely gone, Langford looks like a three down starter next year. And if you’re in a PPR league, he could be extremely valuable keeper, like he was in Week 10 against the Rams when he caught seven passes for 109 yards and a TD, in addition to his 73 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.
Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Some might argue he should be in the tier above, but with an ADP of 78 this past year, his owners were usually grabbing him for bench depth. All the second year player did this year was tie for the lead in receiving TDs (14), along with 80 receptions for 1,400 yards. Given his age and that the Jaguars offense is on the rise, there are few low cost players I like more.
Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
Watch the three different plays below, showing you just what Lockett can do, as he a) finds the soft part of the zone and is wide open for an easy touchdown b) manages to hang onto the ball despite getting absolutely drilled and c) simply blows by his man coverage for the score.
But what I like about Lockett’s Fantasy Football keeper value is that not only did he have easily over 1,000 return yards as well but more than anything is that I know every time he touches the ball he’s a threat to take it to the house.
Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
I like a bunch of the other young TEs too, but given a) Eifert’s cost b) his TE-leading 13 TDs and c) he did that while missing three games this year, he’s my favorite TE keeper. With a potential void behind A.J. Green, that’s just one more reason to expect more of the same for multiple years.
Notable Omission: Devonta Freeman
I’ve seen Freeman mocked as a first round pick next year, but if I’m making a list of first rounders that make me queasy, he’s number one with a bullet. With 52-percent of his Fantasy points coming during the four week stretch of Week 3 to Week 6, including New Orleans and Dallas who gave up the third and fourth most points to RBs this year, there’s reason to believe we will see a regression.
Plus, using the “eye test,” Tevin Coleman, who should be healthier this year, far surpasses Freeman. But the numbers back it up: Coleman’s ProDay 40 was 4.39 compared to Freeman’s 4.58, or nearly .2 seconds faster. Don’t be surprised if Coleman wrestles the job away from Freeman next year. To be clear–you can’t throw Freeman back if you have him as a cheap keeper; but if you could trade him for Allen Robinson or other valuable draft capital, I would.
Tier 3 Keeper League Options
Hopefully and likely you have better keeper options on your team than those below. However, these players are all players whose situation at least should be better going into next season than it was this season.
This includes injured players who are often a great stash, so if for some reason you can get your hands on Tony Romo, Jordy Nelson, Kelvin Benjamin, Jamaal Charles etc., do so. However, I am guessing you cannot, so here are some of my favorite stashes, with not a single one owned in even 2% of leagues.
Chase Daniel, Kansas City Chiefs
Here is a mega-deep stash, pretty much for just 2-QB leagues. Remember, this section includes players who might be in your deep league’s free agent pool, so that pretty much excludes any Top 50 quarterback in a 2-QB keeper league. Plus, let’s not forget that I was the same guy that predicted Brock Osweiler would be a viable starter this year. Daniel is a free agent this coming season but likely to get a look from the many QB-needy teams.
Did anyone think Tyrod Taylor would become a viable option at this time last year? And with top QBs like Romo and Luck, and or even guys like Andy Dalton going down, Daniel could be a great asset. Even if he does stay in KC, it’s not like Alex Smith is the studliest QB there is. And Daniel does come with some pedigree, as he was a two-time Heisman finalist finishing fourth in the voting his junior year.
In his limited opportunities, he has shown he’s capable like last year’s win over the Chargers when he completed 16 of 27 passes for 291 yards and an overturned TD when Dwayne Bowe fumbled. When you’re fishing this deep, this could be a whopper of a stashable keeper.
Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins
Ajayi has averaged a solid nearly 4.5 yards per carry in limited time in the NFL in the dumpster fire offense that has been Miami this year. The even better news is that Lamar Miller is a free agent this year and given the number of needs that Miami has, I don’t foresee Miller coming back to Miami and the Dolphins are likely to hand the reigns over to Ajayi, who scouts loved as a three down back. And need I remind you how many backs play all three downs in today’s NFL?
Juwan Thompson, Denver Broncos
First off, any Denver RB needs to be on your radar. With Ronnie Hillman a free agent and C.J. Anderson a restricted free agent, Thompson might find himself atop the Denver RB depth chart next year. Thompson has seen his rushing totals drop this year, but last year he had 54 rushes for 272 yards or a YPC near five.
Marquess Wilson, Chicago Bears
Alshon Jeffery is a free agent at the end of this year. Eddie Royal has caught all of 37 passes for not even a quarter grand of receiving yards. Rookie Kevin White has yet to see the field and I’m always hesitant about an inexperienced receiver with leg injuries. Wilson needs foot surgery himself, but when pressed into action he has responded like he did against the Chiefs earlier this year when he hauled in six passes for 85 yards and a TD.
KC has actually been pretty generous to receivers Fantasy-wise, but Denver has allowed the second lowest Fantasy points to receivers, yet Wilson torched them for 102 receiving yards last month. There’s an injury risk here obviously, but tons of upside making him well worth the risk.
So here are my Top 20 Fantasy Football Keeper options that will help you kick off your planning for the 2016 season.
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