‘Tis the season of speculating, postulating, and pondering about next year’s fantasy football season.
The sun has gone down on 2017, and it’s never too early to start looking at next year, especially if you play in dynasty leagues.
Here’s a quick list of two players at every position who could be ripe for breakouts in 2018.
Throwing a highly-drafted rookie QB into the fire with legitimately no options at WR to target isn’t necessarily the best recipe for success, and Trubisky’s outcome is reflective of that.
On paper, his numbers are, well, not all that impressive. I suppose that’s the outcome when you have nobody on the team with more than 60 total receptions and no players with more than three receiving touchdowns on the year.
With the oft-forgotten Cameron Meredith coming back next year, a new coaching regime, an offseason to figure out how to actually utilize Tarik Cohen and potentially Kevin White coming back (heavy, heavy, heavy emphasis on potentially), and the rumors circulating that the Bears could be interested in Allen Robinson, you’re looking at all of the keys to a potential breakout year.
Tyrod Taylor/Whoever QBs for the Browns
Ok, I know I know. The Browns have been the laughing stock of the NFL for years, but times are changing by the Cuyahoga River.
They’re probably going to end up with Saquon, they just acquired Jarvis Landry, they have Josh Gordon who looked like he didn’t miss a beat when he came back, Corey Coleman is still young (albeit injury prone), and David Njoku has a year under his belt. Not to mention the fact that after their trades they still have an enormous amount of draft capital in the first 65 picks.
With an artillery like that, a competent QB could easily make a name for himself and jettison into fantasy relevancy.
The kicker is how long is Tyrod going to be starting for the Browns? I’m not entirely convinced he’s their guy for the rest of the season because I don’t think he’s all that great at football, so don’t be surprised if they still invest a high draft pick in a QB and let them duke it out for snaps.
Note: I had three versions of this particular part of the article – once before the Jarvis trade, once after the Jarvis trade, and once after the Tyrod trade. I picked a terrible day to write about the Browns.
Ok I think we can all agree that Lamar Miller’s time in Houston is coming to a close, right?
He had his chance, he had his opportunities, but when he went from Miami to Houston, he was never able to regain that dominant running style. He went from the RB5 in MIA in 2015 to the RB20 in HOU in 2016 to RB13 last year. And he’s a cut candidate.
In walks D’Onta Foreman.
I know you can look at his 2017 and only see 327 rushing yards, a torn Achilles, and a dropped weed charge, but with Watson’s mobility complemented by Foreman’s power running style, you could be looking at a major step up for D’Onta this year – and tremendous drop off for Miller.
Sure Kareem Hunt is a bonafide stud, no one is taking that away from him. But more and more teams are heading in the direction of RBBC, and people seem to forget that before Ware went down and Hunt got his chance, Ware finished as the RB17 in a PPR league in 2016.
Teams like Atlanta, New Orleans, and even New England to an extent have proven that the RBBC model can bode well both in real football and fantasy football, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Kansas City adopts that philosophy with a healthy Spencer Ware back.
I’m not saying Ware is going to become an RB1, but I feel like next year he’ll have enough value to be an RB2 and startable in a pinch if need be.
This might be more wishful thinking and Honolulu Blue optimism from a Lions fan, but Golladay is ripe for a big year next year.
Golladay’s 477 receiving yards ranked 5th amongst rookie WRs last year, and his eight receptions of 20+ yards ranked 4th among rookie WRs.
GM Bob Quinn speaks highly of him. It’s inevitable that the offensive scheme is going to change a bit with new HC Matt Patricia in town. It’s inevitable that the Lions will address the RB situation in some capacity this offseason.
All of these X-Factors have the arrow pointing up for a deep threat like Kenny G.
How good was Will Fuller when Deshaun Watson was healthy, you ask?
The stretch from Week 4 through Week 8 when Watson was balling, so was Fuller. He was the WR3 during that stretch, behind only two guys named DeAndre Hopkins and Antonio Brown, and that’s with the bye week in there for Fuller. Granted, from Week 9 through Week 17 when Watson was injured and Fuller battled his own injuries, he sat at the WR95, but that’s not the point.
It’s simple – if Fuller and Watson stay healthy, Fuller and Watson are going to eat, and eat heavily.
In dynasty leagues, I’m trying to get him where I can if the price is right.
Uncle Rico Gathers
What Rico lacks in career catches (0) is made up for by his confidence (“Ima be the next best tight end in this league” – Rico Gathers).
The thing is, he might not be the next best tight end in this league, but he sure does have the build, athleticism, and system that has been known to feed tight ends to do it.
The tight end position is pretty much divided into three tiers – Kelce, Gronk, Ertz, followed by Engram, Henry, Walker, Howard, followed by everyone else that plays the position in varying orders depending on to whom you speak with.
Who’s to say that Rico can’t make a splash in that third tier?
He’s a longshot, but next year could be the year that unexpected names begin to shine at the position. Which brings me to…
I’m not the only one in Kamp Kittle, and if you hang around the Twitter world, you know that a bunch of guys have been big on him for a while, and it’s easy to see why.
According to PlayerProfiler.com, he ranks in the 95th percentile for his 40-yard dash, 94th percentile for speed score, 88th percentile for burst score, 100th percentile for agility, and 94th percentile for catch radius.
Now that he has Jimmy Da Goat at QB, who spent his career on the sidelines watching one of the greatest QBs of all-time throw downfield to one of the greatest TEs of all-time, expecting a breakout year from Kittle might not be a question – it could be more of an inevitability.