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Jack Stats

Sports news, analysis, and rankings

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    Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

In my second fantasy football article of the year, I'll be focusing on individual position rankings. Each position should be targeted differently in the draft, so this is mainly for you to compare one player over another at the same position while drafting. This article will focus on the running back player rankings.

#1) Todd Gurley- As I said in my previous article, Gurley is in an ideal situation which should lead to him becoming the #1 fantasy running back at years end.

#2) David Johnson- While Johnson isn't one of my favorite options to play at running back this year, he is still the clear-cut choice for second.

#3) Ezekiel Elliott- While Elliott may not be 100% by week one, his season long potential is appealing. With the league's premier offensive line in front of him, Elliott could have a special season en route to winning rookie of the year.

#4) Adrian Peterson- Even though he is starting to get up there in age, you can't quite write him off just yet. Another solid season should be in the works for Peterson.

#5) Devonta Freeman- Last year's season may have been a fluke, but if he comes anywhere near his numbers from last year, he will have deserved this ranking.

#6) Le'Veon Bell- Since Bell is suspended for the first three games of the regular season, he isn't up higher on this list. Nevertheless, once Bell's suspension is over, he should be one of the league's best running backs week-by-week.

#7) Mark Ingram- Since the Saints are looking to run more this season, Ingram will be a very good RB1 to have. He should get plenty of touchdown opportunities with the Saints this year.

#8) Lamar Miller- Following his trade to Houston, Miller should have a breakout year. After being misused in Miami, Miller should give you above-average yardage numbers if you were to pick him up.

#9) Doug Martin- He could slightly regress this year after signing a new contract, but Martin is still RB1 material.

#10) Carlos Hyde- Hyde broke out last year, but this year could be even better as he will be the focal point in the 49ers offense.

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    Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Most fantasy leagues are conducting their drafts right about now, so now is a good time to give you a list of players to draft and players not to draft. Most of the players that will be highlighted under the "draft" section will either be sleepers, breakout candidates, or consistent players. On the other hand, players under the "do not draft" section will be players who are starting to age, players who aren't in ideal situations, or players that are overrated/overhyped.

Players to draft:

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley- Gurley is the player who I believe will end the season out as fantasy's top running back. He uses a combo of speed and power which makes him a nightmare for opposing defenses. Gurley is also in an ideal situation as he is projected to get the most touches out of any player this year. If you are picking anywhere with the third, fourth, or fifth pick in the draft, you should give Gurley a look.

Oakland Raiders WR Amari Cooper- Last year Cooper entered the season with lofty expectations, but not many predicted the success he had in his inaugural season. Cooper has all the tools you want in a prototypical wideout, and that should lead to success this year. In order to grab Cooper in your draft, you will have to pick him no later than the third round.

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate- Once a top prospect, Tate hasn't enjoyed most of the success people had predicted for him. However, this year can be his breakout campaign. With Calvin Johnson retired, Tate will be the primary receiver in one of the leagues most pass-heavy offenses. Tate will likely be going in around the fifth or sixth round.

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin- After tearing his ACL during preseason play last year, Benjamin had to miss the entire season. Benjamin will be Cam Newton's main target, which will lead to Benjamin ending the year as one of the league leaders in touchdowns. Benjamin would be a smart pick in either the sixth or seventh round.

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr- The quarterback who will be throwing his passes to Amari Cooper also deserves a spot on this list. In his debut season last year, Carr shattered expectations en route to becoming one of the favorites to win rookie of the year. This year he will look to improve on last year's season and launch himself into the top third of fantasy quarterbacks. Carr will be available in most drafts up until the tenth or eleventh round.

New Orleans Saints TE Coby Fleener- After leaving Indianapolis, Fleener finds himself in an ideal situation with New Orleans. After not being properly utilized by the Colts, the exact opposite of that should happen in New Orleans. The Saints' offensive playbook includes many plays featuring the tight end. Because of this, Fleener could see some of the same success Jimmy Graham and Benjamin Watson saw the the past few years with the Saints. Fleecer could possibly finish the year out as the second best fantasy tight end, behind only Rob Gronkowski. Fleener should be taken in either the seventh or eighth round in drafts.

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount- With Dion Lewis out for the foreseeable future, Blount will be the Patriots' showcase back for much of the season. This increases Blount's fantasy appeal exponentially as he will be the premier running back in one of the league's best offenses. Blount is a ground and pound running back who is built for goal-line and short yardage situations which should lead to plenty of touchdowns. Blount is being drafted pretty late in drafts, going in the tenth or eleventh round.

Players not to draft:

Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles- Charles was already one of the most injury prone players in the league before he started to get up there in age, but now the risk isn't worth the reward. Kniles Davis has shown he is a perfectly capable handcuff to Charles, so if you want to pick up a Chiefs running back, I would go for Davis.

Chicago Bears RB Jeremy Langford- Before his rookie year last year, many people expected great things out of Langford. What they got was far from it. Even though Matt Forte is out of Chicago, Langford can't be trusted to be a consistent fantasy running back.

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas- None of this is a knock on Thomas' skills, I'm mainly worried about who will be throwing him his passes. Because of the shaky quarterback situation in Denver, I would advise against drafting Thomas.

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What does the future hold for JJ Schwarz?

JJ Schwarz is arguably the top college baseball talent in the nation and has a very high chance of going first overall in the MLB draft. The catcher from the University of Florida broke onto the scene with an outstanding freshman year. He continued that will another solid campaign in his sophomore season. Raved about for both his contact skills and his power, Schwarz is currently spending his summering Cape Cod, playing for the Y-D Red Sox.Y-D is currently looking to three-peat this season after Ben Bowden and Donnie Walton led them to a title last year.

After his freshman season, Schwarz was the front runner to be the first overall pick in the 2017 draft. However, his numbers slightly regressed in his sophomore season causing his draft stock to slide a bit. He is still in good shape to be a top-3 draft pick, but a strong summer on the Cape could allow him to separate himself from the rest of the pack. Schwarz also starred for the USA Baseball Collegiate team, helping them to secure a gold medal.

At Florida, Schwarz showed the baseball world his abilities by slugging 18 home runs and hitting at a .332 clip his freshman year. Then next year before his sophmore season, Schwarz was named to the Preseason All-American team. His numbers were slightly down to 8 home runs and a .290 batting average that year.

Now, on the Cape, Schwarz has the opportunity to show scouts his immense talent and potential and be launched back into the conversation to be the first player selected in next year's draft. When he is drafted though, Schwarz has the arm strength to stay at catcher throughout his professional career: something not many players are capable of doing. 

It seems as if Schwarz is following in Buster Posey's footsteps. Posey, a MVP winner in 2012 and a three-time World Series champion, also played on the Cape for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. The similarities don't stop there as they both play the same position and both went to college in the state of Florida. Schwarz also uses the same routine when he steps into the box before an at-bat. It will be interesting to see if Schwarz is able to reach the same level of greatness as Posey, but if any player could do it in this draft class, it is Schwarz.

Schwarz is the player with arguably the highest floor, and possibly even the player with the highest ceiling in the entire draft. If all goes well, Schwarz could be a perennial All-Star in the MLB. Towards the end of his career Schwarz may have to switch positions, but until then the future is looking bright for him at catcher. He definitely has the tools to become a star, but whether he is able to utilize them is the real question.

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