DeAndre Hopkins is expected to reclaim his form in 2017.
Every year, it happens. Players fail to reach their full potential for a variety of reasons, including injury, coaching, game script, and a lack of talent around them. Far too often, fantasy football analysts and fans alike underestimate these players too easily, resulting in immense value as they progress through the fantasy draught rounds. I’ve decided to dive in to see which players can emerge from the abyss they fall into last season to become major contributors to your fantasy team in 2017.
DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Houston Texans)
Hopkins seems to have been in the league for a long time. Maybe it’s because, since joining the NFL in 2013, he’s appeared in all 16 games every season. Hopkins will be just 25 years old at the start of the 2017 season, which might surprise you. Let’s face it, Hopkins had his worst quarterback throwing to him in his career last year. Despite this, he was able to turn 78 catches into just over 1,000 yards this season.
Hopkins demonstrated his ability to manage the workload in 2015, when he was threatened 192 times. Just Antonio Brown (193) and Julio Jones (203), both wide receivers, had more. Hopkins also had 111 catches for over 1,500 yards and ten touchdowns during that season (11). The good news for Hopkins as 2017 begins? Brock Osweiler will not be tossing to him. If they want to keep Tom Savage, Deshaun Watson, or a mix of the two as the starter, they will lean on the veteran and pepper him with goals. In 2016, Hopkins just scored four touchdowns. When your starting quarterback just passes for 15 touchdowns, you can’t expect anything more.
Houston’s running game is also a factor. Lamar Miller isn’t made to handle a heavy workload, so he’ll have to split time with rookie D’Onta Foreman. In 2017, the Texans offence will have to rely more on the passing game. DeAndre Hopkins is expected to have closer to 100 catches and at least double his touchdown total from 2016, putting him in the high-end WR2 and low-end WR1 talk.
Kelvin Benjamin (WR – CAR) is a wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers.
While calling someone with 941 receiving yards and seven touchdowns a “dud” is a stretch, you’d still expect more from Benjamin. There’s no doubt that targets will be available for the Carolina Panthers’ No. 1 wide receiver in 2017, and with targets comes potential. Kelvin Benjamin appeared in all 32 regular-season games in his two NFL seasons and had well over 100 goals in each. This talented, 6’5′′, 245-pound monster wideout will not lose his targets. With Greg Olsen (Newton’s other favourite target) ageing, it’s Benjamin’s turn to take over as one of the Panthers’ offensive leaders.
Benjamin’s 2016 season frightened enough people that he can be drafted in the seventh round in most fantasy draughts I’ve mocked. Draft him if he falls to you in the seventh round. How many No. 1 wide receivers can you get in the 7th or later rounds? I’ll tell you, there aren’t many.
in Sports TV Prior to last season, I wrote an article about Kelvin Benjamin in which I explained why I thought he would have a big year in 2016. What I didn’t expect was Cam Newton’s significant reversal. Benjamin’s “lack” of production last year was largely due to this. Newton might not be the MVP as he was in 2015, but he isn’t as bad as he was in 2016. Even if Newton’s true talent is somewhere between 2015 and 2016, his No. 1 wide receiver will have a much better overall season in 2017.
(TE – MIA) Julius Thomas
Yes, I believe Adam Gase wants to use Thomas in Miami the same way he did in Denver. To be honest, I’m afraid that he won’t be able to stay on the field for long. However, if Thomas can play in at least 14 games in 2017, he could reclaim his spot as a top-10 tight end. With his height of 6’5′′ and 256 pounds, he’ll be a top red zone priority for Ryan Tannehill, alongside DeVante Parker. Yes, this could make Thomas a touchdown-dependent option, but if Gase continues to call plays that feed him the ball in the red zone like he did in Denver, Thomas should see a significant increase in fantasy output in 2017.
Any thoughts on Thomas’ performance in a Gase-led offence vs his previous two seasons.
Top three tight ends in 2013 – 14 games (DEN) Gase, Adam (Offensive coordinator)
In 2014, the top seven tight ends played in 14 games (DEN) Gase, Adam (Offensive coordinator)
In 2015, the top 15 tight ends played in 12 games (JAX) Greg Olson is a writer and a musician (Offensive coordinator)
In 2016, TE was ranked 29th overall with 9 games played (JAX) Greg Olson is a writer and a musician (Offensive coordinator)
– Adam Gase (MIA) – 2017? (Head Coach). Clyde Christensen (offensive coordinator) worked closely with Andrew Luck as the Colts’ quarterback coach from 2012 to last season before taking over as OC for the Dolphins.
Julius Thomas is currently available for a bargain in the late rounds or even post-draft.
(TE – NO) Coby Fleener
Coby Fleener was a top 12 fantasy tight end in standard scoring last season, which can surprise you. That might speak more to the tight end position’s overall lack of production than to Fleener’s true worth. In any case, Fleener had a much more fruitful season in his first year with Drew Brees than Jimmy Graham did in his first year with the Saints.
Graham was Brees’ sixth choice in the passing game during his rookie season. Wide receivers Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson, and fellow tight end Jeremy Shockey were all targeted less than Graham. Reggie Bush, the running back, had more receptions than Graham. Graham’s second season changed everything.
Also read out latest article: ESPN Issues an Apology for Including Black Players in a Fantasy Football ‘Auction’ Segment