Well, that game certain Fubar yesterday wasn't it? I wonder how teams that have lost player to Fed Ex field feel about a game not being played "because the field wasn't playable." Or the Steelers who lost their kicker to a torn ACL on that same field last year feel. Beyond the games played on Sunday and Monday, the NFL is a joke. Even some of those games are a joke. I don't mention Thursday because I think Thursday night football is a joke and shouldn't be played. But the NFL for many of us is Heroin, we need it. It's bad, it's almost like there's two times of year; Football season and Waiting for Football season. You can really follow the NFL year round now, which makes it hard to believe there will be breakout player, but here are my breakout players for the AFC.
Colts: Donte Moncrief Wide Receiver: I said last year that Donte Moncrief is the Colts best WR and I stand by that statement. Standing at 6'2 he's a bigger body than T.Y. Hilton and he runs better routes. His numbers from his rookie year to last year doubled, and this was with unstable play at QB. Due to the Colts Offensive Coordinator calling "Shot" plays while Andrew Luck was at QB Moncrief (and the Colts in general) struggled. They don't have the offensive line for 7-Step drops. Hamilton was fired, in came Rob Chudzinski who stabled the offense and the Colts got better. With a healthy Andrew Luck, who will probably throw for 40 TD's like he did in 2014, Moncrief should see his fair share of targets, and he will breakout. Moncrief is getting ready to have an 80 catch, 1,200 yard campaign and you'll wonder where he came from, unless you're reading this and trust me because I'm smart.
Jaguars: Aaron Colvin Corner Back: What do corner backs need to do to get recognition? Catch passes thrown by the QB, and give the ball to THEIR QB. What did Colvin not do last year? Catch passes. Colvin was far and away the teams best Corner, grading as the teams top defender (according to PFF). He also had 77 tackles, and 4 sacks. If you add 4-5 interceptions to that list and what do you have? A Pro-Bowl Corner, that's exactly what Colvin will be this year. With an improved pass rush, the Jaguars corner garner attention for intercepting passes.
Texans: Lamar Miller Running Back: It's almost criminal to call the 24 year old Running back a breakout candidate, but the way he was under used in Miami that's exactly what I'm going to do. Touted by future Hall of Famer Frank Gore as the "Best RB to ever come out of The U," expectations have always been high for Miller. The issue with Miller has never been his play, or his talent, it's been his use. Miller received over 15 carries only 8 times as a Dolphin. In those games he averaged 91 yards, and nearly a TD. Assuming he gets He does that in just 75% of his games this year (or 12 out of 16) he will put up 1,092 yards and 9 TD's. That's if he lays a egg the other 4 games, and this doesn't mention the threat of Miller as a receiver. Miller is going to breakout, FINALLY, and in a big way. I for one can't wait to watch.
Titans: Risard Matthews WR: Much like Lamar Miller in Miami, Matthews was under used. The former 7th RD pick out of Nevada caught 43 passes last year for 662 yards. That was on just 62 targets. The Titans will need to throw the ball, it's what they're going to do. The #1 option should be Delanie Walker, and who's the #2? Matthews is the only other player to produce at the NFL level worthy of the title, that alone should increase his targets which will increase his production. It's hard to break out when you play for a bad team, but fantasy football will make sure we know Matthews name this time next year.
Bengals: Darueze Denard CB: Stuck behind great Corners Leon Hall, and Adam Jones, Denard didn't play much the last two years. Add that he was injured last year, very few people really know who the former first round pick is. Gone is hall, which likely moves Denard into the starting line up. Again, how do CB's get recognition? Interceptions. Is there a more pass happy league than the AFC North? I really don't think so, that's going to give Denard the opportunity to pick off passes, and live up to the hype of being a #1 draft pick, and yes breakout.
Ravens: Maxx Williams TE: Williams as a rookie had a 66% catch rate with dog-shit QB's most the year. Catch rate isn't to be confused with him dropping 34% of passes that games his way. He actually didn't register a drop last year. Catch rate is how often a pass is completed when targeting Williams. Considering he was playing with QB's who were worse than Uncle Rico, that's an impressive number for any player, let alone a rookie TE. With the return of the Flacco Bomb, look for Williams to put up numbers to challenge for the #2 TE in the AFC with Eifert and Kelce. We all know #1 is GRONK GRONK GRONK and GRONK SMASH DEFENSES but #2 is up for grabs, Maxx will throw his name in the running and I can't wait to see wear it lands when he breaks out.
Steelers: Sammie Coates WR: Coates was a mid round pick out of Auburn. He fell to the mid rounds because of questions around his hands. Reports out of Steelers camp is he looks like a different player from last year, in a good way. Coates needs to step it up to help ease the loss of Martavis Bryant. Considering how often the Steelers throw the ball, he's going to get his chances. Big Ben throws his WR's open, and he does it 20+ yards down the field, no other QB did it nearly as well as him last year. With the Oline expected to be better, and Antonio Brown expected to be triple-teamed, look for Coates to put up 50-60 catches and 8-10 TD's and, you guessed it Breakout.
Browns: Duke Johnson RB: I yelled at the Browns last year; "Give Duke the fucking ball." Then I remembered that would be the smart thing to do, and I was yelling at the Browns...through a TV so it wouldn't work. Well, with the Browns it wouldn't work if I was starring them in the face, but now they have Hue Jackson who is a brilliant offensive mind. Look at what Hue did for Hill and Bernard in Cincy. When he does the same thing with Duke, we'll all be happy we drafted in the first round of fantasy football. Go Duke Go, Breakout young man, and do it for THE U.
San Diego Chargers: Denzel Perryman MLB: When you have a pretty successful rookie year on a 4 win team, it's hard to get noticed. When you play MLB on a 3-4 team, it's damn near impossible to get noticed. He also wasn't a full time player last year, making it harder to get noticed. Make no mistake about it though, Perryman is a really good LB, on a team that is going to surprise people. Gone is Donald Butler, and Perryman will step into the lineup as a full time starter. This time next year we will be saying "Pro-Bowl LB Denzel Perryman." He's going to breakout, probably with a big play against the Broncos too.
Oakland Raiders: Clive Walford TE: As a rookie last year, Walford caught 28 passes for 329 yards. He did this while mostly being the #2 TE, and learning the NFL game. That won't be the case this year, Walford will be the day 1 starter at TE, and he's going to be playing in a potent offense. Walford will never draw a tough match-up because the existence of Amari Cooper. He will work the seams of defenses and be a 3rd down conversion waiting to happen when he's wide open. I expect Walford to double his output from last year and breakout.
Denver Broncos: Sly Williams Nose Tackle: Is NT a sexy position? To most people, no. Is it an important position? In a 3-4 defense hell fucking yes it is. That's what the Broncos run, and that's a big deal here. Gone are some good players from Denver's Super Bowl defense, and that's the main reason Williams will breakout, he has a better chance to get noticed. The Broncos are built to stop the run, and run the football. Expect Williams to get some ink when they stop the run. Maybe he needs to give himself like Pot Roast did to get noticed. Even if he does, or he doesn't, expect him to breakout as the Broncos defense continues to be entertaining to NFL fans.
KC Chiefs: Dee Ford OLB: Justin Houston isn't playing this year, which is a damn shame because he's as talented as pass-rusher the game has, and he's fun too watch. But, this is going to give former first round pick Dee Ford to prove his worth. For the Chiefs to be good, he's going to have too, and I expect he will. Ford will mainly be rushing against questionable RT's in division play. If the Cheifs are up in as many games this year as they were the last 2, he should be in a "Always pass" mentality as a defender. This all creates the perfect equation for a 8-10 year for Ford, making him a breakout player people forgot existed.
Patriots: I got no one to put here. They are too hard to predict. Dion Lewis put up numbers last year. Then James white did. They just insert player, and do what they want. Tom and Bill are that damn good. I could say Jimmy G, but he's getting benched week 5. I can't qualify a player based on 4 games...
NY Jets: Leonard Williams DE: The best kept secret in the AFC east, Williams is a fucking stud. He had a great rookie season that went mostly over looked on the Jets for a few reasons. The over-hyped Ryan Fitzpatrick. The other really good defensive lineman he plays with, and a surprise 10 win season. The game where everyone finds out who Williams is? Week 4, 10 AM against the Seahawks. Media pundits, and idiots still list the Seahawks as a Super Bowl team, so they're a big matchup any time they play. Williams is going to destroy the Seahawks game plan, and you'll know the man they called "Big Cat Williams" at USC is a stud. Oh yeah, they called him "Big Cat" because how quick he is, good luck offensive lineman.
Miami Dolphins: DaVante Parker WR: Parker was a first round pick many expected to be better than he was. He is better than he was, but we didn't get to find out because the Dolphins did this thing where they didn't give good players the ball sometimes. See my previous Lamar Miller comments. Parker will breakout because he's in an Adam Gase offense. Think the 2013 Broncos where Peyton Manning threw 80 TD's or something like that, but on a Ryan Tannehill scale. I full expect the Dolphins to compete in games, and score points, Parker will benefit and breakout.