Fantasy Football Awards Predictions for 2017
Winter (and football) is coming! We are now officially in the month of September and the NFL season is less than one week away. For me, this week is one of the best weeks of the 52 weeks on the calendar. The weather begins to cool, apple cider and pumpkin-flavored beverages begin circulating throughout local supermarkets, Labor Day barbeques provide a football-like aroma throughout the neighborhood, and fantasy football draft season is coming to a close. As you reflect on the excitement of your fantasy roster while sipping on a pumpkin ale and firing up the grill, here are the FSS Fantasy Football Awards Predictions for 2017.
FSS 2017 Fantasy Football Biggest Sleepers
QB: Eli Manning, New York Giants ***Projected Winner***
Over the years, Eli Manning has been one of the most inconsistent fantasy producers from the quarterback position. There are two factors that will resurrect Eli from fantasy dumpster fire to fantasy sleeper in 2017; an improved offensive line and the additions of Evan Engram and Brandon Marshall.
RB: Jamaal Charles, Denver Broncos
For the better part of a decade, Charles has been a dynamic do-all running back. When healthy, Charles has been one of the most prolific running backs in the NFL. We all know Charles’ knees are held together by gum and toothpicks but incumbent starter, C.J. Anderson is no beacon of health. If anything should happen to Anderson, Charles would find himself in a starting role, once again.
WR: Brandon Marshall, New York Giants
Marshall has been a premier wide receiver in the NFL since he first donned a uniform and stepped onto the field. Marshall is clearly past his prime and has lost a step, but he has not lost size nor passion. Now a member of the New York Giants, Marshall will no longer be relied on heavily as the number one pass-catching option. And playing the role as the number two wide receiver opposite Odell Beckham, Jr., is the perfect fit for the veteran to thrive as a high-end WR2 with WR1 upside. If this tandem of Marshall and Beckham, Jr., stay healthy, this offense could be very reminiscent of the 2011 Giants offense featuring Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.
FSS 2017 Fantasy Football Biggest Busts
WR: Devante Adams, Green Bay Packers ***Projected Winner***
Adams had a breakout campaign in 2016 but don’t expect that success to carry over into 2017. Adams finished last year with 75 receptions, 997 yards, and 12 touchdowns. With the addition of Martellus Bennett, I don’t expect atoms to replicate the same touchdown production this season. If I were to fire up the prediction machine for just a second, I could see Adams finishing the year with 65 catches 800 yards and 6 touchdowns.
QB: Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
For the life of me, I don’t understand how Palmer is held in high regard as one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. Aside from 2005 and 2015, Palmer has been mediocre, at best. Palmer is an aging quarterback with bricks for feet and his supporting cast is either old or overrated, other than star running back, David Johnson. Stay away from Palmer!
RB: Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
Miller’s ADP over the last couple of seasons has been in the second round. That’s extremely high for a running back that has never surpassed 1,100 yards rushing and instability at the quarterback position. Since 2014, Miller’s yards-per-carry has declined each season by a half yard or more. If you own Miller in 2017 you better stock up on the Advil, and unless you have Almanac from Back to the Future, you’re never going to know when to start him and he will surely be a headache.
FSS 2017 Fantasy Football Rookie of the Year
RB: Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs ***Projected Winner***
He’s not the sexiest name out of the 2017 NFL Draft Class of running backs but he just may have the best opportunity out of all of them. Nine out of the last 10 years, Andy Reid has produced top-20 fantasy running backs. With the season-ending knee injury to incumbent starter, Spencer Ware, Hunt’s value is hotter than Margot Robbie in Wolf of Wall Street. Hunt is a legitimate three-down back who’s talent and rushing style compliment Andy Reid’s system very well. I believe big things are in store for Kareem hunt in 2017.
WR: Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
Davis is arguably one of the most explosive athletes from the 2017 NFL Draft Class. I like the youth movement Tennessee is interjecting into the offense. And despite Davis missing the preseason, I think Davis and Marcus Mariota will flourish together fairly quickly. Davis will be the rookie wide receiver to own in 2017.
RB: Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
During his time at LSU, Fournette was a wrecking ball. Fournette has good size and speed, and he has the potential to be fantasy gold from the start of his NFL career. The downside is the offense currently sucks. Blake Bortles needs to get his head right for Fournette’s ability to translate into fantasy production.
Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year
WR: Brandon Marshall, New York Giants ***Projected Winner***
I like Marshall for reasons I stated earlier. Marshall is primed to earn Comeback of the Year honors in 2017.
RB: Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
Gurley made an immediate impact as a rookie in 2015. With high expectations for 2016, Gurley was a major let down for many fantasy owners. Sean McVay is the new sheriff in town and you know he’s going to do all that he can to justify the Rams hiring of the 31-year-old head coach with just three years of NFL experience and zero years spent as a head coach. McVay is going to pull out all of the stops and Gurley will be the prime focus of his weekly game plan. Expect Gurley to finish as a low RB1 for 2017.
RB: Jamaal Charles, Denver Broncos
Charles is being completely overlooked in fantasy drafts. He is behind the incumbent starter, C.J. Anderson…at the moment. Anderson and Charles are both no stranger to injury. The Broncos will use both running backs fairly evenly. Charles should earn 40 percent of the snaps and that will be enough for him to warrant fantasy value. Charles will definitely be one of the low-risk, high-reward players of 2017.
TE: Julius Thomas, Miami Dolphins
Reunited with Adam Gase, Thomas could be poised for a big 2017. Jay Cutler just signed with Miami and a perfect storm could be brewing in the sunshine state to resurrect the once-promising career of Thomas. Currently, Thomas is being undrafted in most formats.
Fantasy Most Valuable Player
RB: David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals ***Projected Winner***
He’s the number one pick for a reason. He is LaDainian Tomlinson reincarnated. Johnson had an incredible 2016 and I expect those numbers to increase even more in 2017. Johnson will finish with 2,350 total yards, 90 receptions and 23 total touchdowns. He IS the MVP!
RB: Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
Spencer Ware is out for the season and that opens the door for the talented rookie from Toledo. Based on his ADP and opportunity, I believe Hunt will reward fantasy owners who take a flyer on the rookie in the mid-to-late rounds. I expect Hunt to finish as a RB2 in standard and low-end RB1 in PPR. The breakdown: 1,200 rushing yards with 8 rushing touchdowns, 550 yards with 4 receiving touchdowns.
WR: Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
Allen’s biggest concern has been staying healthy. When healthy, he has been one of the most prolific wide receivers in the NFL over the last few years. I’m banking on a healthy season for Allen. Most owners are avoiding Allen on draft day based on his ADP but I’m buying in on Allen for 2017. Allen will finish as a top 15 WR.
RB: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Currently, Zeke is facing a six-game suspension. An arbitration hearing is scheduled for next week to determine if Elliott’s suspension will be upheld, overturned, or he could be granted a stay. In the event his suspension is reduced, overturned, or prolonged, Zeke could be a draft-day steal with his current ADP placing him in the late second/early third round. We’ll have to wait and see with Zeke. If you already drafted prior to the suspension, he could fall on the busts list if the six-game suspension is upheld.
Bonus Award: Fantasy Breakout Player of the Year
WR: Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals ***Projected Winner***
I love Boyd’s talent and his situation with the Bengals. A returning A.J. Green is only going to open up the middle of the field for the second-year pro. Boyd will be the number three passing option in Cincinnati (until Tyler Eifert goes down, presumably). I’m penciling-in Boyd for 75 receptions for 900 yards and 6 touchdowns, pretty solid option at the WR3 for a guy going undrafted, allowing you to stack up on RB depth come draft day.
Fantasy Football Awards Predictions for 2017
Listen to “The Flex!” for all things fantasy in 2017!