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Oklahoma Sooners Football: The 2017 Boomer Sooner Guide to Fantasy Football

Fill your roster with some former Oklahoma Sooners while avoiding former Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma State Cowboys.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back everyone to this year’s edition of Crimson and Cream Machine’s official Boomer Sooner Guide to Fantasy Football!

There have almost been too many headlines coming out of Norman to count this offseason, most notably Stoops’ departure and the beginning of the Riley Era. I am hopefully and fairly confident this replacement of a legendary coach will go better than the last one. New coaches, new facilities, and some young new players have got me foaming at the mouth for kickoff this weekend. Chances are if you are a regular on this site, college football comes first. Yet fantasy football is another common activity/lifestyle/platform-for-trash-talk among all sports fans. This is a guide to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to fantasy football. Those of you in the Sooner Nation can make some selections that make it easier to root on your fantasy team while avoiding having to hope former Sooner enemies do well. This year in particular, there are several exciting new rookies to watch out for, and I’m sure we are all nervous but confident their production can be matched at the skill positions by the ’17 Sooners. Enjoy!!

*Note: All rankings appear for Standard Scoring Leagues

Veterans

Adrian Peterson (Saints): The Vikings’ dance with All Day finally came to end over the offseason, with Adrian signing a two-year deal with the Saints. While nothing he does will likely ever touch his 2012 MVP season, AD could be in a prime position to have another great comeback. There are a few question marks as well including how carries will be split with the Saint’s reliable bell cow in Mark Ingram and how his body will physically hold up after so many injuries. Peterson could have some excellent value if scooped up as a third running back in the middle rounds, something which most fantasy enthusiasts are not used to being associated with Peterson.

ESPN Top 200 Ranking: 60

ESPN Position Ranking: 25 RB

Fantasy Index Position Ranking: 32 RB

Yahoo Position Ranking: 26 RB

DeMarco Murray (Titans): In the first year after the Philly/Chip Kelly disaster of a season, DeMarco had a wonderful first year with the Titans. While technically in another running-back-by-committee system (with Murray sharing carries with another former Alabama back), Murray received the bulk of the load and provided some excellent fantasy production last season. I picked him up in the SIXTH round of my fantasy draft last season and overall Murray was the 5th most productive fantasy running back in the entire league. He was a godsend to my team and was the most consistent force from week to week. Don’t expect Murray to be around after the early rounds this year, especially in a league with a bunch of Sooner buddies.

ESPN Top 200 Ranking: 15

ESPN Position Ranking: 8 RB

Fantasy Index Position Ranking: 14 RB

RB Yahoo Position Ranking: 8 RB

Sam Bradford (Vikings): When I wrote this piece last season, Bradford was still on the Eagles’ disaster of a roster. Then came Teddy Bridgewater’s disastrous knee injury, and Sammy B was acquired in a blockbuster trade before the start of the season. Once again, even as a massive Packers fan, I was SO FIRED UP to see SAM FREAKIN’ BRADFORD hand the ball of to ADRIAN FREAKIN’ PETERSON only to have that once again ruined (see above). Anyway, Bradford has the starting QB job locked up and has some weapons around him. Stefon Diggs had a nice season last year and should continue to be Bradford’s go to guy, and tight end Kyle Rudolph has also been a nice piece to toss some touchdowns to. The Vikings have also significantly upgraded the running back position from last year (given Peterson’s injury) by drafting Dalvin Cook and acquiring Latavius Murray. Both should help open up the passing game significantly, and Cook has been known to grab some catches out of the backfield. Hopefully Sam can end up having a productive year. As far as fantasy goes, I would save him for a serviceable backup or a good waiver pick up for a starting QB bye week. Hopefully this is the year he proves he is worth much more than that.

ESPN Top 200 Ranking: NR

ESPN Position Ranking: 22 QB

Fantasy Index Position Ranking: 23 QB

Yahoo Position Ranking: 24 QB

Jermaine Gresham (Cardinals): Another piece from the 2010 draft still making an impact on Sundays is Jermaine Gresham. Gresham has morphed into a more of a role player, serving a primary role as a blocking tight end. He’s still listed on top of the tight end depth charts for the Cardinals, yet his opportunities for catches have dwindled in the last few seasons. I would wait to pick Gresham up on waivers if needed.

ESPN Top 200 Ranking: NR

ESPN Position Ranking: 28 TE

Fantasy Index Position Ranking: NR

Yahoo Position Ranking: 34 TE

Not Quite Veterans Yet…

Sterling Shepard (Giants): Shep had a fantastic rookie season, hauling in eight TDs and playing a significant part in the Giant’s offense. The Giants acquired Brandon Marshall over the offseason to go along with Shepard and Beckham (can’t wait to see how those dudes get along…), which will make defending the pass a nightmare for most teams. It is going to be near impossible for most teams to cover all three of those guys (and Evan Engram), so Shep should get plenty of open looks. The downside is some dude named Paul Perkins (?) is listed on top of the RB depth chart. The Giants have significantly struggled in the run game the last few seasons (especially last year), which has allowed teams to load up in the defensive backfield to prevent the potent passing attack. It will be interesting to see if this gets corrected over the season, but I’m not holding my breath. Shepard should be a safe mid-round pick as a No. 3 receiver and could be valuable against teams that only have one standout corner.

ESPN Top 200 Ranking: 131

ESPN Position Ranking: 55 WR

Fantasy Index Position Ranking: 47 WR

Yahoo Position Ranking: 54 WR

Kenny Stills (Dolphins): K Stills had a quietly productive season in ’16 with 9 TDs and over 700 yards receiving. But that was with Ryan Tannehill, who won’t be joining us for this season. Instead…

Still makes me laugh every time. I still believe Smokin’ Jay Cutler has a ton of talent, he’s just never really been able to do the whole “caring about football” thing very well. Hopefully he can toss Stills some deep bombs into the end zone and we can get some more highlights with the horns down. I’d say Stills is another mid-to-late-round pick to be a third of fourth receiver.

ESPN Top 200 Ranking: 158

ESPN Position Ranking: 59 WR

Fantasy Index Position Ranking: 71 WR

Yahoo Position Ranking: 55 WR

Aaron Ripkowski (Packers): I’m throwing Ripkowski in here because of my huge Packer man-crush on this dude. While he might not light up your fantasy league, he is becoming the invaluable cult-type figure John Kuhn was with the Packers, and I freaking love it. Towards the end of the season he started to be a feature in short-yardage packages, including around the goal line. So hopefully Rip can get into the end zone a few times.

ESPN Top 200 Ranking: NR

ESPN Position Ranking: 89 RB

Fantasy Index Position Ranking: NR

Yahoo Position Ranking: NR

Rookies

Joe Mixon (Bengals): Mixon may well end up being the most productive guy on this list. Even though Joe looks awful in orange and black, he’s looked pretty good in the preseason so far, especially in Game 1. His touches were limited, but he showed some flashes of the shiftiness we all knew so well. He’s competing for a lead role in the committee with veterans Hill and Bernard, and I don’t think it will take too long for him to solidify that role. Mixon also offers a huge bonus in a PPR league with his ability to make big plays catching the football. For those of you in leagues with your Sooner buddies, don’t expect Mixon to stay on the board past the fifth round.

ESPN Top 200 Ranking: 40

ESPN Position Ranking: 20 RB

Fantasy Index Position Ranking: 24 RB

Yahoo Position Ranking: 20 RB

Dede Westbrook (Jaguars): OU’s (shockingly) first Biletnikoff Award winner and Heisman finalist is off to an absolute tear in the preseason. I know, I know it’s just the preseason and he is burning secondaries made up of mostly scrubs.

Westbrook’s preseason touchdown against the Patriots showed the wheels this guy has. He’s currently leading all receivers in the preseason with the most yards. The looks and numbers are all present, there is just one teeny tiny problem… He still plays on the Jaguars. This team, especially the quarterback position, is a complete disaster. The team lacks an established quarterback since Bortles’ job just became a competition again, and they are also relying on an unproven rookie to lead the backfield. Things can get really messy for Westbrook really quick in terms of fantasy production. The upsides are Bortles has been known for being a fantastic garbage time quarterback and his hilariously awful interceptions haven’t prevented receivers like Robinson and Hurns from having productive fantasy stats. I’m very hopeful Dede will make some noise as a rookie, however the Jaguars have never given a whole lot of reasons to instill confidence.

ESPN Top 200 Ranking: NR

ESPN Position Ranking: 104 WR

Fantasy Index Position Ranking: NR

Yahoo Position Ranking: NR

Semaje Perine (Redskins): The second monster out the Oklahoma backfield from the last few seasons started off the preseason slow but bounced back nicely in the second game. Robert Kelley is likely to get the majority of the carries to start the season, however Oklahoma fans are very familiar with Perine’s style and what that implies. Perine came to Oklahoma without much hype or expectation from the fans. However, his relentless work ethic, physical capabilities, and intelligence allowed him to burst on the scene in astounding fashion. I fully expect this trend to continue as coaches have raved about all of those attributes. Once Perine settles in, learns the offense, and gets a real feel for the NFL I expect great things from him. Most drafts will see Perine go late in the draft as a 4-5 running back.

ESPN Top 200 Ranking: 136

ESPN Position Ranking: 51 RB

Fantasy Index Position Ranking: 56 RB

Yahoo Position Ranking: 49 RB

DO NOT DRAFT!

Picking out which former Sooners will fit nicely on my team is one of my favorite fantasy rituals. Almost as fun is analyzing who I want no part of cheering for, no matter if they are putting up ridiculous fantasy numbers. Last year featured names such as Dez Bryant, OBJ, and Jamaal Charles. I would like to start the do-no-draft list by reminding all these names are still big no-no’s given their collegiate alliances. Having said that, it was an absolute pleasure watching Dez fall again to the Packers in the playoffs and watching OBJ terrorize a kicking net. It should also be noted that as a former Lafayette resident, I DO NOT LIKE LSU.

Leonard Fournette (Jaguars): Fournette is just a few months removed from Baton Rouge and obiously hasn’t had enough time to forget the annoying, arrogant ways of his Alma Mater. After the first pre-season game, the absurdly dubbed “next Adrian Peterson” was quoted as being surprised by the pace of the NFL and how easy it should be. Wow. We will see about this when the big boys come out during the real season with one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. He may be the projected starter, but he has a track record of giving up on his team (i.e. Citrus Bowl absence) and is already starting with a pretty bad attitude.

Jarvis Landry (Dolphins): Another LSU Tiger I would stay the hell away from this season. A few points I would like to make here:

First, LSU will always be the team I love to hate the most in college football and I’m sure there are many OU fans who agree with that sentiment. It will be a cold day in hell before I ever draft a former LSU Tiger. Second, how has LSU gone approximately seven years without completing a forward pass with all these receivers they’ve had?? Finally, on a more serious note, it’s going to be Cutler distributing for Landry this season which could be a disaster.

Tyreek Hill (Chiefs): Oh boy… this name still gives me fits after a certain infamous punting decision.

Hill burst onto the NFL scene last year doing it all. Kick returns, rushing, and receiving. As valuable as he can be in a PPR league, I’d like to post a couple of reminders. First, kick returns don’t count for points by drafting Hill so he might not be as valuable as a pick as he is projected. Second, by drafting him you are bound to be called a traitor and will be the focus of endless jokes and fantasy trash talk by your true Sooner friends. Hill simply isn’t worth it.


That wraps up this year’s edition of the Boomer Sooner Fantasy draft guide, and happy drafting to you all. Be sure to drink plenty of cold beer while drafting, as it is a proven way to ensure you draft more Sooners to fill up your team. Enjoy the 2017 Sooner football season. I know I sure will.

BOOMER!!!