It’s not hard to pick out the best quarterback, running back or receiver values, but as it is every year, there were some pleasant and unpleasant surprises. Whether they came via the draft or waiver wire, some picks were truly boom or bust.
Most surprising QB: Kirk Cousins
I selected him in the 10th round as the 109th pick overall. He turned out to be a top five finisher among fantasy quarterbacks, even with a slower end to the season. He had multiple games with more than 440 yards and scored at least one touchdown on 14 different occasions. And I’ll say this. Because of the way he ended the year, he’s still slightly risky beside elite names like Brady, Rodgers, Brees on the fantasy spectrum. That means he could be another great value pick next season.
Best value at RB: DeMarco Murray
Speaking of value picks, how about DeMarco Murray? When the Titans took Derrick Henry in the draft last year, Murray’s stock took a hit. It reflected in most leagues, as he was selected anywhere from the third to fifth or sixth rounds. He followed that up with a big year. What made him so valuable was his versatility. Murray was frequently used catching passes out of the backfield, and that added some valuable scoring, especially in PPR leagues. If Henry didn’t emerge as a touchdown-stealing backup late in the season, Murray could have been just behind the fantasy football MVP himself, David Johnson.
Best value at WR: Michael Thomas and Michael Crabtree
The Michaels were two of the best around when it came to targets and reliability, especially in the red zone. It made for some huge weeks. Even better was that they weren’t considered the top receiving options on their team, allowing them to slip into late rounds. Crabtree nearly outperformed Amari Cooper last season. And while Cooper still out-gained him in yards, Crabtree led the team with targets, catches and touchdowns, which means more points. Michael Thomas, a rookie, was even better. The potential was there during draft time, but you weren’t quite sure how he’d hold up as a fantasy starter with so many other options for Drew Brees to throw to. However, he nearly led the team with targets and became a favorite of Brees. His 92 catches for 1,137 yards and nine touchdowns set Saints rookie records.
Waiver wire pickup of the year: Tyreek Hill
Calling Kansas City’s “Mr. Everything” a jack of all trades doesn’t do him justice. He flashed his ability early in the season with the absence of Jeremy Maclin, but his finish was unreal. Whether it was receiving, rushing or special teams, Hill’s speed was a game-changer, and borderline unstoppable. He had two of his biggest games of the season against the Broncos vaunted defense in weeks 12 and 16. Hill defied the odds. It went against all the rules to start a player whose touches were so limited, but he always made the most of them. He turned one carry into 12 points in week 15 against the Titans during a pivotal fantasy football playoff week.
Biggest QB bust: Cam Newton
Cam HAD to be one of the first three or four quarterbacks off the board in most drafts based off 2015 alone. During their run to a 15-1 year last season, he had 35 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing. Yes, those are ridiculous numbers when you factor in the yardage as well. And yes, we figured he’d regress. But even so, he’d do big numbers right? Wrong. In 2016, his passer rating plummeted by 20 points. He had half as many rushing touchdowns and couldn’t break 20 passing touchdowns, despite having his top threat at WR, Kelvin Benjamin, back from a knee injury.
Biggest RB bust: Lamar Miller
I’d say Adrian Peterson, but if you drafted him, you knew this could happen. Why are you drafting running backs that old that early? Anyway. I’m not letting Lamar Miller’s final two games played where he actually found the endzone make up for a overall underwhelming season. Miller wasn’t totally on my radar at draft time, but Houston media had him on the verge of a monster year. They didn’t account for Brock Osweiler (more on him in a moment). Miller totaled just six touchdowns on the year. Those aren’t elite fantasy RB numbers. He was right around eight points per game until finally getting his first touchdown in week six.
Biggest WR bust: DeAndre Hopkins
It was close with Jacksonville’s Allen Robinson. It was very, very close. Hopkins out-gained him in yards, but Robinson still found the endzone six times to Hopkins’ four. Two words: Brock Osweiler. He shut down Hopkins more than any cornerback ever could. Pro tip: When you look at a WR to draft, you’re looking for targets. He had 192 targets in 2015 and caught 111 of them. In 2016, he dropped to 150 targets and caught a lesser percentage of them (78 receptions). How many of those balls were catch-able, though? Hopkins, likely a first or second round fantasy pick, had just four touchdowns. It hurt.
Biggest TE bust: a lot of them
Some of them had monster games. Travis Kelce, Jimmy Graham, and Gronk all balled out at times. But those are the key words: at times. There were four different games where Kelce, the Chiefs best receiving threat, had five or less targets. Jimmy Graham, a proven game-changer, experienced eight of those five or less target games. Delanie Walker was the most consistent option with seven touchdowns pretty evenly scattered. But there was a major drop off from the top five or six tight ends to the rest. If you didn’t have one, you were just about out of luck.
All that being said, it was a fun year and one of the most unpredictable. I won one league and got knocked out of the first round of the playoffs in another. I’m also going to claim the third place finish from my girlfriend’s team. I hope that’s some sort of validation for you guys to ride with me when The Extra Point blog returns next season!
Until then, keep an eye out for the Hagan’s House blog with basketball and baseball season gaining steam.
Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.