Another year of Fantasy Football is in the books unless you are playing in a Week 17 final. With all the key players being benched in the last games of the year, it is very clear why having a championship decided in the final week is not a great idea. What is a great idea is starting to prepare for 2018 whether you are in redraft or dynasty format. It is never too early.
Lift Me Up by Moby
Patrick Mahomes will make his first start of the year in Week 17 and it could be much more important than simply resting Alex Smith. With a number of the high-profile Chiefs taking a seat, it may not be a completely fair gauge at what Mahomes can do, but I’m excited about a glimpse nonetheless. He has a rocket arm and all the measurables that you’d want in a franchise Fantasy QB, plus the offensive talent around him to be a statistical monster. He is not yet a finished product, but his raw ability alone is a massive upgrade on Smith’s limited tool chest. I’ll take a flier in DFS and keep a very interested eye on him this weekend as a dynasty investor.
(Just Like) Starting Over by John Lennon
Tyrod Taylor needs a fresh start. The Bills benched him in favor of Nathan Peterman, which went disastrously. It just does not seem as though Taylor has the full support of the coaching staff and front office. He is a better Fantasy QB than he is from an NFL standpoint, but that is not a slight on his skills by any means. His game, in particular, his rushing ability, lends itself best to him being a solid QB2 and sometime QB1 option in Fantasy. He’s never going to be a successful volume passer and in today’s NFL that already puts him a leg behind. He may be in search of a new team in 2018, as the Bills look to upgrade at the position. There are a number of situations that could appeal to Taylor and his skill set, ones that could make him a potential QB1. His long-term value, however, is shaky as anything more than a Fantasy backup.
Shut Up And Let Me Go by The Ting Tings
Whether it is underperformance, injuries or a combination of both, Doug Martin has had an underwhelming career. His 2012 and 2015 seasons were studly, but he’s been otherwise completely frustrating to own. Nothing went as planned for the Bucs this year and Martin was certainly a part of that disappointment with 3.0 yards per carry and less than 500 total yards in 10 games. He’ll be 29 years old in January and is a decent bet to be on another team in 2018. Perhaps a change of scenery will make him relevant again, but his days of Fantasy dominance are limited. The Bucs need to address this position in the offseason because there is not much talent at the position on the current roster.
All I Need by Christina Aguilera
Duke Johnson Jr. needs more love. And more touches. With Isaiah Crowell a free agent in 2018, Johnson is positioned to see more work, even if the Browns do bring in more competition. Johnson is on the RB1 fringe already; imagine what he could do if he gets 200-plus touches? While he never is going to be a true workhorse, he can certainly be even more of a weapon with a few more touches per game. He’s one of my favorite RBs heading into next season.
We’ve Only Just Begun by The Carpenters
With the trade of Kelvin Benjamin to the Bills, Devin Funchess assumed the role of WR1 for the Panthers. There are a number of mouths to (potentially) feed in Carolina, with Christian McCaffrey, Greg Olsen and Curtis Samuel, but Funchess will get his. He’ll play next season at age 24 and is a strong breakout candidate. He could definitely register 1,000 yards and push for double-digit TDs. Buy him wherever you can this offseason. He’s got WR2 upside.
Like A Ship (Without A Sail) by Pastor T.L. Barrett
Is Dez Bryant slowing down or is he not on the same page with Dak Prescott? Probably a bit of both if we are being honest. He hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season or more than eight TDs since 2014. While he is still an excellent red zone threat that relies on his big body and strength to overpower smaller defensive backs, Bryant can no longer be considered elite. He’s only 29 years old, so there are plenty of relevant seasons left in his tank, but our expectations should be changed (lowered) moving forward. Buying Bryant is tough in dynasty formats because his owner is likely emotionally invested in his name more so than his recent game output.
Gotta Get It by OJ Da Juiceman
O.J. Howard is next in line to be a dominant receiving TE. He’s flashed in the second half of the season and showed well with Cameron Brate out of the lineup. Howard has all the physical traits you want to see in a complete TE; all he needs is an opportunity. Brate is a restricted free agent and could find himself on another team next season, giving way to Howard as the Bucs’ third receiving option behind Mike Evans and possibly DeSean Jackson. He’s a strong buy in keeper and dynasty formats.
Hurts So Good by John Mellencamp
Jordan Reed and Tyler Eifert have similar issues as neither can seem to stay healthy, and it is affecting their dynasty stock. Both are potentially elite TE options, but they are completely frustrating players to invest in. If you are in a standard league and can get a decent backup, they are worth the gamble at a less than elite price tag. If you own them, then you are stuck because the value you will get in return is a fraction of what they are worth when healthy. In redraft, they are an easy pass unless they fall well below ADP this summer.