4. JR, Overall Grade: B+
Projected Starters: A-
QB: A- [Russell Wilson]
RBs: B+ [Jordan Howard, Christian McCaffrey]
WRs: B- [DeAndre Hopkins, Willie Snead, Eric Decker]
TE: A [Jordan Reed]
K: A [Stephen Gostokowski]
DEF: C [Atlanta Falcons]
QB: B- [Jay Cutler]
RB: B+ [Paul Perkins]
WRs: B- [Kenny Stills, JJ Nelson]
TE: B- [Dwayne Allen]
Strengths: QB, TE
Russell Wilson has looked healthy and sharp this preseason and should be set to return to his 2015 form in which he threw 34 TDs vs 8 INTs. 2017 rankings think so as well, as he’s the 4th ranked starter among D|League QBs. Jordan Reed’s talent has never been a question and is always a threat to be the TE 1 overall provided he stays healthy. RB/RB depth is almost a strength, but the rankings are rightly approaching with caution on a rookie and pair of sophomores.
Weaknesses: WR, WR depth
Receiver could prove an issue for JR, especially if DeAndre Hopkins struggles again. He’s ranked WR 13 right now despite a WR 24 finish in 2016. Even though Osweiler carries plenty of blame for the lackluster performance, Savage isn’t much of an upgrade and Watson will likely be erratic as a rookie.
Snead should be in line for a bump in production after Cooks departure, but consistency could be an issue for the young receiver who’s been a boom-bust option thus far in his career. As for Decker, I praised his consistency a year ago after our draft, but there are now concerns for the 30 year old coming off shoulder surgery.
X-Factor: High Risk/Reward Players
JR has a team with plenty of good players. On the other hand, his team is fresh off scoring the least fantasy points in the league last season. That risk has been mentioned multiple times in the preview. Jordan Reed: health, Hopkins: QB situation, Howard: sophomore slump. Almost every player on his roster has both a high ceiling and a legitimate reason why they could struggle. Yes, that could be said about most players, but it feels like this applies to a greater degree with JR’s roster.
Prediction: 4th, 8–5 record
Because JR’s team does have a high ceiling, I’ll trend towards that angle and predict that fantasy karma will come through for him this year after his rough 2016. However, come playoff time, that risk will come back to bite him, resulting in a 4th place finish.