Mike Lopatin is a newcomer to the league. The Boston Native will be competing in his first year in the Couches league as the general manager of one of the two expansion teams: the Grand Rapids Skunk Titties. When asked about the opportunity, Lopatin eloquently responded with “Huyahhhhh”… safe to say that he feels confident in his team’s ability. The skunk spirit is contagious. When asked what it’s like to have a new Couches Elite team in town, a young fan couldn’t contain his enthusiasm. “I just want to see hu–, what this team can huy–, bring to the table and see if they can bring home a league champi– HUYAHHHHHHH”.
Lopatin brings two Quarterbacks who had career years in 2015. Cam Newton had a dream season with the Carolina Panthers as he lead them to 15-1 and a Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos. He helped fantasy owners in a similar fashion. He was the number one quarterback in Fantasy football last year, and by healthy margin. The difference between Newton and the next closest quarterback (Tom Brady), was almost equal to the difference between #2 and #7. Newton also had the same amount of games with more than 30 Fantasy Points as games with less than 20. Even if you account for a small regression of his production, he is still one of the best QB’s in the league. The Skunks’ second quarterback had quite the year himself. Kirk Cousins became famous for his famous “You like that?!” rant, but he should have gotten a name for himself because of his production. In his last 8 games, he had weeks of 37, 34, 31, 24, 23, and 19 fantasy points. The only question is if that production can continue, or if the short sample size proves to be more of a fluke. It is highly likely that this duo is in the upper echelon of quarterbacks during the 2016 Couches Season.
Adrian Peterson has been the best running back in the league for the majority of a decade. At age 31, he will have to show one of his best seasons if he has a chance to provide the productivity that his fantasy owners expect of him. Since Teddy Bridgewater is out for the season with a torn ACL, Peterson will have to run against many stacked boxes. He will have success, but I expect his age and bad offense will contribute to a relative down year, but still end up a top 10 running back. Jeremy Langford and Danny Woodhead will be the other running backs that are heavily relied on for the Marsupial Breasts. Both had high levels of production, largely due to being the only guys in town. For Langford, he had his best games when Matt Forte was injured and Langford was the feature back. In those 3 games, Langford averaged 25.5 FPPG. Woodhead benefited from Injury as well. Due to season ending injuries to Wide Receivers Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd, as well as major injuries on the OL that contributed to an inept running game, Woodhead was forced into a featured role that he had never experienced prior to the year. Because of concerns about Langford’s efficiency and the rise of the rest of the Chargers offense, there are concerns that the two running backs may not live up to their Average Draft Position (ADP). Both will have value, and paired with Peterson, lead a formidable trio. Add in fill in work with Spencer Ware and Charles Sims who are two backups with stand-alone value, and Lopatin finds himself with a very solid corp of running backs.
The health of star receiver Alshon Jeffery will be the key to the Skunks’ receivers’ success. When he is on the field and healthy, Jeffery is one of the best pass catchers in the NFL. But after missing time in 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2012 with hamstring issues, there are questions if he can remain healthy for a full 16 game slate. If he cannot, the load might shift over to Jets receiver Eric Decker, who was able to reel in a touchdown in 12 of 16 games last year, and Broncos star, Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders had a down year last year largely due to lessened Quarterback play in Denver. With Trevor Simeon taking command this year, that does not expect to improve. Tavon Austin could be able to help Lopatin’s team if he is able to properly predict what games he will breakout. Austin had games of 29, 25, 22, and 21 points last year, but also had games of 1,4,4,5,5,8, and 8. The Skunks should not expect much help to come from Terrance Williams until Tony Romo returns from injury in Dallas.
The Boston native needed to get one Patriot on his team, and this year, it is newcomer Martellus Bennett. If New England choses to use Bennett in the Aaron Hernandez role, he will be a steal as a late round draft pick. Hopefully Bennett doesn’t follow the same off-the-field path as Hernandez who murdered several people. Add in 2015 breakout star Gary Barnidge who hopes to sync with the human broken bone RGIII and continue on his success from last year, and Lopatin has the potential for an elite group at TE. It is more likely that he simply receives solid production from one of his Tight Ends on a weekly basis.