Matt Ryan put up huge numbers last season in a career-year, and he was rewarded with being named the NFL’s MVP. Did Matty Ice turn a corner and show us what he’s capable of doing going forward? Or will he regress back to his career norms? Current drafting trends show that he’s being drafted as if he’ll have another MVP-type season. But can he really be trusted? Evan Silva has the answer inside our NFL Draft Guide. In fact, the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award-winning Silva breaks down his top 8 sleeper and bust candidates as well as his top 8 undervalued and overvalued players heading into draft season. To see all of the players you should target and avoid, get our NFL Draft Guide now.
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4. John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals
After exploding for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns as a 2015 second-year pro, Brown’s third NFL campaign was ruined by chronic leg pain and fatigue resulting from a sickle-cell complication Cardinals doctors now say is fixed. Brown also had a cyst removed from his spine after the season. “I was sleeping too much. I couldn’t eat right,” Brown said in May. “My body just wasn’t in it.” Both Carson Palmer and head coach Bruce Arians remarked at OTAs that Brown is back to his old self, describing him as “stronger” and “more explosive.” With Michael Floyd long gone, Brown has a great chance for upward mobility with an opening in Arizona’s No. 2 receiver role behind Larry Fitzgerald. Brown enters his contract year as the favorite for deep targets in Arians’ vertical passing attack.
5. Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants
Shepard was a prime regression candidate to start the offseason after flukily scoring eight touchdowns as a rookie. His outlook became even more bleak when the Giants signed Brandon Marshall and then drafted Evan Engram in the first round. Shepard’s target share is going to take a colossal hit, rendering him a better real-life player than fantasy player this year.
8. Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Carson Palmer’s 2016 is remembered as a disappointment, but it didn’t end that way. Palmer earned Pro Football Focus’ No. 4 overall passing grade from Weeks 8-17, posting a 19:9 TD-to-INT ratio and top-12 fantasy quarterback stats during that stretch. Arizona has one of the NFL’s most favorable pass-defense schedules in the first half of the year. Palmer should be on the radar of late-round QB drafters.
6. Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins
Doctson was a great prospect coming out of TCU in 2016, but he barely got on the field as a rookie due to injuries to both Achilles’ tendons. He now finds himself fourth on the target totem pole in Washington behind Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed and Terrelle Pryor. At OTAs and minicamp, Doctson hadn’t even passed Ryan Grant on the depth chart. Doctson is a late-round dart and nothing more.
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