News & Analysis

The Bracket: Which division can create the best fantasy roster?

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 25: Tom Brady #12 and Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots react after Gronkowski scored a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With the NCAA Tournament around the corner, we thought it’d be a good time to bust out our own bracket by creating fantasy super-teams from each NFL division.

The idea: Figure out which division could create the best fantasy football team.

It’s pretty straightforward. We created a fantasy “team” within each of the eight divisions consisting of 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 Flex, 1 K, and 1 D/ST. The teams were decided based on our early 2018 rankings (with kickers and defenses decided based on 2017 scoring).

A few players are pending free agents, but they were considered a part of their 2017 team for this exercise.

The “Dream Teams”

AFC East – The Patriots Onslaught
QB Tom Brady
RB1 LeSean McCoy
RB2 Kenyan Drake
WR1 Brandin Cooks
WR2 Jarvis Landry
TE Rob Gronkowski
FLEX Dion Lewis
K Stephen Gostkowski
DST Patriots

No surprise here: It’s almost all Patriots, with two Dolphins (Drake and Landry) and one Bills player (McCoy) making the squad. No Jets players made the cut.

This team features a ton of speed with McCoy, Drake, Lewis, Cooks, and Landry, and the best real-life red-zone duo in the league in Brady-Gronk.

AFC North – Pittsburgh’s Killer B’s
QB Ben Roethlisberger
RB1 Le'Veon Bell
RB2 Joe Mixon
WR1 Antonio Brown
WR2 A.J. Green
TE Tyler Eifert
FLEX Josh Gordon
K Justin Tucker
DST Ravens

With this fantasy dream team, you get to pair Le’Veon Bell with Antonio Brown (while adding in A.J. Green for good measure).

This is a top-heavy roster, but it does feature at least one player from all four teams. Will it be enough in the tournament?

AFC South – Deshaun Watson leads the charge
QB Deshaun Watson
RB1 Leonard Fournette
RB2 Derrick Henry
WR1 DeAndre Hopkins
WR2 T.Y. Hilton
TE Delanie Walker
FLEX Allen Robinson
K Ryan Succop
DST Jaguars

That’s right: Deshaun Watson leads the AFC South’s fantasy dream team, not Andrew Luck. How many touchdowns could he throw with DeAndre Hopkins and T.Y. Hilton on his team?

The low-key upside of this fantasy squad is the nice Fournette-Jaguars correlation. And Derrick Henry makes for a great RB2 after DeMarco Murray was released. This fantasy “dream team” features at least one player from all four teams.

AFC West – All Chargers and Chiefs … and one Raider
QB Philip Rivers
RB1 Kareem Hunt
RB2 Melvin Gordon
WR1 Keenan Allen
WR2 Tyreek Hill
TE Travis Kelce
FLEX Amari Cooper
K Harrison Butker
DST Chargers

This all-AFC West squad features no Broncos players and just one Raiders player (Cooper).

The core of Hunt-Gordon-Allen-Hill-Kelce is one of the strongest of all divisions.

NFC East – Elliott, OBJ headline the division
QB Carson Wentz
RB1 Ezekiel Elliott
RB2 Jay Ajayi
WR1 Odell Beckham Jr.
WR2 Alshon Jeffery
TE Zach Ertz
FLEX Dez Bryant
K Jake Elliott
DST Eagles

This roster features two of the biggest stars in fantasy at their respective positions: Elliott at RB and Beckham at WR. Wentz and Ertz are also among the strongest at their respective positions.

There are no players from the Washington Redskins on this fantasy “dream team.”

NFC North – Aaron Rodgers hooks up with Minnesota’s wideout duo
QB Aaron Rodgers
RB1 Dalvin Cook
RB2 Jordan Howard
WR1 Davante Adams
WR2 Adam Thielen
TE Kyle Rudolph
FLEX Stefon Diggs
K Matt Prater
DST Lions

This is a fantasy team, but it’s fun to imagine what Aaron Rodgers would do with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs at his disposal.

This team is loaded at wideout and features the Rodgers-Adams stack. Howard is underrated as a fantasy running back, and Cook flashed plenty of promise in limited time last year. This fantasy “dream team” features at least one player from all four teams.

NFC South – Kamara and Ingram team up again
QB Cam Newton
RB1 Alvin Kamara
RB2 Mark Ingram
WR1 Michael Thomas
WR2 Julio Jones
TE Greg Olsen
FLEX Mike Evans
K Matt Bryant
DST Saints

The core of this all-NFC South roster is ridiculous, with Kamara and Ingram at running back and Michael Thomas and Julio Jones at wideout, with Mike Evans in the flex.

This roster also features the Newton-Olsen stack. This fantasy “dream team” features at least one player from all four teams.

NFC West – The best RB combo in the league
QB Russell Wilson
RB1 Todd Gurley II
RB2 David Johnson
WR1 Doug Baldwin
WR2 Larry Fitzgerald
TE Jimmy Graham
FLEX Carlos Hyde
K Greg Zuerlein
DST Rams

The NFC West’s roster features in Gurley and Johnson the players who could be the top two overall players off the board in some fantasy drafts this year.

Hyde’s inclusion at the flex position ensures that all four NFC West rosters are represented here.

The tournament: Round 1 matchups

I randomly “seeded” the eight teams to create a bracket. We’ll first pit the AFC teams and NFC teams against one another to create conference champions before deciding the final victor.

Round 1 matchups:

AFC East vs. AFC South
QB Tom Brady QB Deshaun Watson
RB1 LeSean McCoy RB1 Leonard Fournette
RB2 Kenyan Drake RB2 Derrick Henry
WR1 Brandin Cooks WR1 DeAndre Hopkins
WR2 Jarvis Landry WR2 T.Y. Hilton
TE Rob Gronkowski TE Delanie Walker
FLEX Dion Lewis FLEX Allen Robinson
K Stephen Gostkowski K Ryan Succop
DST Patriots DST Jaguars

 

AFC North vs. AFC West
QB Ben Roethlisberger QB Philip Rivers
RB1 Le'Veon Bell RB1 Kareem Hunt
RB2 Joe Mixon RB2 Melvin Gordon
WR1 Antonio Brown WR1 Keenan Allen
WR2 A.J. Green WR2 Tyreek Hill
TE Tyler Eifert TE Travis Kelce
FLEX Josh Gordon FLEX Amari Cooper
K Justin Tucker K Harrison Butker
DST Ravens DST Chargers

 

NFC South vs. NFC West
QB Cam Newton QB Russell Wilson
RB1 Alvin Kamara RB1 Todd Gurley II
RB2 Mark Ingram RB2 David Johnson
WR1 Michael Thomas WR1 Doug Baldwin
WR2 Julio Jones WR2 Larry Fitzgerald
TE Greg Olsen TE Jimmy Graham
FLEX Mike Evans FLEX Carlos Hyde
K Matt Bryant K Greg Zuerlein
DST Saints DST Rams

 

NFC East vs. NFC North
QB Carson Wentz QB Aaron Rodgers
RB1 Ezekiel Elliott RB1 Dalvin Cook
RB2 Jay Ajayi RB2 Jordan Howard
WR1 Odell Beckham Jr. WR1 Davante Adams
WR2 Alshon Jeffery WR2 Adam Thielen
TE Zach Ertz TE Kyle Rudolph
FLEX Dez Bryant FLEX Stefon Diggs
K Jake Elliott K Matt Prater
DST Eagles DST Lions

Check in Saturday to see how the first round is decided!

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