I am back from my football blogging sabbatical and ready for the off season. I have no interest in this crumby Super Bowl, so I’m ready to dive right into the offseason. What better way to start than to review the 2017 season? There could have been stuff that you missed, you never know. Maybe something that you read in this will stick in your brain until your draft season in August. Will you remember which article you read it from? Probably not, It’s January.
I’m surprised you even clicked on this, you must be bored. What you will probably remember from my posts when your drafts roll around in August is my grotesque misunderstanding of English grammar. I’ll probably over use some commas, or not use enough commas. Do they teach 6th grade grammar at the local community college? Better yet, maybe you would prefer that I disperse of fantasy football knowledge through the use of emojis. That would be edgy, and no one has done it yet! (Simpsons did it!) Alright stop. I’m going to go through the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends to let you know what stuck out to me this season. Today, let’s start with the quarterbacks and running backs.
Russell Wilson outscored every quarterback in fantasy football by 48 points. How does this happen? His legs of course! Wait, he only had 3 touchdowns on the ground. BUT! Wilson averaged 36.6 rushing yards per game, so that’s an extra 3 points per game on top of what he does through the air. Russell quietly did do a lot through the air. He had 34 touchdowns with one of the worst offensive lines in football. There were two quarterbacks that outscored Russell Wilson in fantasy points per game. I bet you don’t have to think really hard to guess who they were. Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson. The future of the quarterback position is really fun, let’s dig in.
Deshaun Watson is arguably the number one quarterback to have in dynasty. In his 7 games, he built excellent chemistry with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Carson Wentz built on a rookie season that a lot of analysts thought showed potential. Built is the wrong word. He shattered every single expectation under the leadership of Doug Pederson and John DeFilippo. Jared Goff was written off by almost everybody (yes, you too). If Goff would have played in the final game of the season, he would have easily surpassed the 4,000-yard mark. Under Sean McVay, Goff raised his completion percentage by over 7% while throwing the same amount of interceptions in 15 games as he did in his rookie season (7 games). If Jimmy Garappolo gets one more big-time weapon in San Francisco this offseason, nobody knows what his ceiling is.
We can’t forget about the senior citizens of the position either. Tom Brady, Alex Smith, Philip Rivers, and Drew Brees all finished inside of the top 10 of fantasy football quarterbacks. There is no surprise when it comes to Brady and Brees, but Philip Rivers will always be drafted later than his value in fantasy. Alex Smith came into the year as the epitome of the average, ho-hum quarterback. He smashed expectations with weapons such as Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Kareem Hunt. It’s pretty easy to assume that 2017 is not the new Alex Smith standard. For one, he probably won’t be back in Kansas City next season and even if he is, the Chiefs lost their offensive coordinator to the Chicago Bears.
Todd Gurley was the runaway #1 player in fantasy football this past season. With the help of his 19 touchdowns, Gurley outscored every other running back by 41 points in PPR scoring. The second highest scorer is no surprise. It was LeVeon Bell. These two were in a tier of their own and one has to think that Ezekiel Elliot playing a full season is the player who can join this tier.
A lot of young talent entered the league in 2017. Out of the top 10 fantasy scorers in PPR at the running back position, four of the players were rookies. Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt finished 3rd and 4th amongst running backs. Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffery rounded out the top 10. That’s right, the same Christian McCaffery that seemed like such a disappointment this season actually finished in the top 10. If McCaffery can figure his way into his big play ability next season, one can assume that he will be able to finish more comfortably in the top 10. Carolina is not going to stop trying to make this dynamic playmaker a fixture in their offense.
Of course, there were some familiar faces that worked their way back into strong fantasy relevance. These are the guys that you find on the waiver wire and win leagues. After all, fantasy leagues aren’t won in the first 10 rounds of your draft. Dion Lewis finished as the 15th overall running back and didn’t win the starting job until halfway through the season. Early round juggernaut Jay Ajayi was traded to Philadelphia just before the trade deadline and his predecessor, Kenyan Drake, finished the season with more fantasy points than he did. Alex Collins and Jerrick McKinnon both finished as solid RB2s after not beginning the season anywhere on the radar. Chris Thompson would have been another guy who would have easily finished in the top 20 if it weren’t for an unfortunate late season injury.
I mentioned a disappointment earlier when I brought up Jay Ajayi, but he wasn’t even close to the only running back that didn’t live up to his ADP. Ty Montgomery played 8 games and finished behind Rod Smith, Corey Clement, Austin Ekeler, Wayne Gallman, and Matt Breida, along with over 40 other running backs, hell, he even finished behind J.D. Mckissic. I was really high on Joe Mixon, but he didn’t even finish inside of the top 30. He showed promise on a handful of plays this year, but a dismal offensive line proved to be too much for the rookie back to overcome. Isaiah Crowell who was going in the top 40 overall, barely cracked the top 30 amongst running backs.