Dion Lewis, 2017 Breakout Candidate
As good as the players on both the Falcons and Patriots offenses are, there are only a handful of standout dynasty players on the teams in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
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[caption id="attachment_108508" align="alignright" width="412"] Dion Lewis only needs 10-15 touches per game to deliver on his Top 15 upside in 2017. Photo Credit: Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire[/caption]“I put on, I put on, I put on. I put on for my city, I put on for my. I put on for my city, I put on for my city, on.”
- Julio Jones, WR: The most valuable dynasty player on either sideline this Sunday will be Jones. He just turned 28 and is entering what should be his prime seasons. Jones has been banged up throughout his career, only twice playing a full season. He started his career with 18 TDs in two seasons, but has just 24 over the next four. He has failed to score more than eight times in a season since 2012. While that may seem like nitpicking, it is the only way to separate the truly elite players from one another. There are legitimate concerns over how his foot injuries will affect his longevity. While he may be the most dominant receiver in the game (when healthy), Jones is a player to think about dealing in the next couple of years in order to maximize your return.
- Devonta Freeman, RB: Freeman followed up a breakout 2015 with a second straight 1,500-plus yard, double-digit TD season. He saw his touches drop significantly as he lost work to Tevin Coleman, but he remained a low-end RB1 option throughout the year. His yards per carry also rose from 4.0 to 4.8. Freeman is heading into a contract situation and is making noise about wanting a new deal. It will be very interesting to see how the Falcons handle their backfield situation contractually. Consider Freeman a high upside RB2, but keep in mind Coleman is not going anywhere. That will be a thorn in Freeman’s side.
- Tevin Coleman, RB: While Coleman clearly took a back seat to Freeman this year, he was a spark plug for the Falcons offense. He racked up nearly 1,000 total yards and 11 scores in his second season. Coleman showed off his receiving chops as well, jumping from just two receptions as a rookie to 31. It is hard to tell just how good Coleman is because the situation is so good, but he’d be a Fantasy beast if Freeman was out of the picture. If Freeman returns, this could be a Jonathan Stewart /DeAngelo Williams Panthers situation. Regardless, Coleman is an upside RB2 for next season.
- Matt Ryan, QB: Ryan, the likely 2016 MVP, had a career season with high water marks in TDs (38) and yards (4,944). He has at least 4,500 yards in five straight seasons, running one of the most potent offenses in the game. In Superflex and 2QB formats, Ryan would be second and not that far behind Jones for the first spot. You could even make a case that he belongs ahead of either Freeman or Coleman in 1QB leagues, but there is just so much quality depth at the position. At just 32, Ryan should have at least five more seasons of above-average production in him.
Austin Hooper is the most interesting player not to make the list. The young TE made some plays as a rookie and should be much more of a factor in 2017. He will be a breakout candidate within the next couple seasons and potential TE1 option.
Also: WR Mohamed Sanu is average at best and will be a perennial disappointment despite the plush landing spot in free agency. Taylor Gabriel made splash plays a regular occurrence in the second half, but he’s bench material when all Falcons receivers are healthy. Justin Hardy has intriguing upside, but that has not materialized into anything more than dynasty hope in two seasons.
New England Patriots
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- Rob Gronkowski, TE: If he could only stay healthy, Gronk would be a surefire Top 20 pick in any dynasty startup. He’ll only be 28 in May, but the injury concerns are very troubling. He might go down as the most dominant tight end to ever play the game, but his dynasty value is dipping. Once previously close to untouchable on the trade market, you could try to pick him up on the cheap this offseason. That likely won’t happen, though, as a wise Gronkowski dynasty owner will continue to hold.
- Julian Edelman, WR: As far as possession receivers go, Edelman is one of the most reliable. He has never averaged more than 11.3 yards per catch with significant work, but continues to rack up receptions and yardage. Touchdowns are always going to be hard to come by for Edelman, but he’s a rock solid WR2/3 nonetheless. In non-PPR formats, Edelman obviously takes a hit, but is valued thanks to his weekly consistent floor. He’ll be 31 next season and entering a contract year. It is not a bad time to shop him around.
- Dion Lewis, RB: Fun stat of the week: The Patriots are 16-0 when Lewis is active. Lewis is a better inside runner than he is often given credit for, but his true value lies in his receiving ability and playmaking acumen. Hopefully he can stay healthy in 2017 because it will be exciting to see what he can do from a Fantasy perspective. Consider him a Top 25 option right now, but there is definite RB1 upside in PPR formats. Unless he has a huge Super Bowl performance, you might be able to pick him up reasonably priced this come next Fantasy draft day.
- Malcolm Mitchell, WR: Mitchell is a talented receiver that couldn’t stay healthy at Georgia. The rookie had a quality four-week stretch from Weeks 11-14 where he was Fantasy relevant. That was a glimpse of what he can do in this offense. He has solid size and athleticism, but no standout characteristics that would make him an elite prospect. Mitchell’s value is tied to his upside as a member of the Patriots and that makes him a potential offseason sell. It’s not that he can’t live up to lofty expectations, but most of New England’s future becomes murky in a couple seasons.
Stash Material: Despite his advanced age, Tom Brady remains one of the best Fantasy QBs in the game. The only question is how much more does he play. Jimmy Garappolo is going to be a hot name on the rumor mill when free agency begins next month and could fetch the Patriots a nice haul. It remains to be seen if he can be a true franchise QB, but some team is going to give him a chance. Jacoby Brissett is a very interesting long-term prospect and likely makes Garappolo expendable.
LeGarrette Blount has been a between-the-tackles beast for New England, including an eye-popping 18 scores this year. He’s a free agent and his landing spot will determine what type of short-term value he has. James White is a skilled receiving back, one that could be a versatile weapon for the Patriots. His skillset is similar to Lewis, so even if Blount doesn’t return, he’s not likely to see much more work. White is a solid bench stash that you’ll need to be patient with.
Michael Floyd was very close to making the top four. He has the skills to be a go-to receiver, but underwhelming play and a DUI got him cut from the Cardinals in November. Floyd will most likely not be with the Patriots next season, but can he ever live up to his potential? He is a buy low candidate in dynasty leagues who is also a free agent and could land as a WR1 for a team in need.
Chris Hogan had a relatively pedestrian season, but a huge playoff performance has his value on the rise. Hogan’s skillset is clearly a fit with the Patriots, but his upside is limited by the other quality options. He’s a sell-high if anyone thinks he’ll be a regular WR3 next season. Danny Amendola is meh unless something happens to Edelman or maybe Hogan. He’s barely rosterable in even the deepest formats.
Martellus Bennett has been a solid TE who has shown flashes of being dominant throughout his career. Injuries hindered him down the stretch, but he still turned in a quality season for the Patriots. Bennett is a free agent after the season and a plush landing spot could get a few more TE1 seasons out of him. He should be valued as more of a backup option, though.
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