Five Breakout Fantasy Football Players For 2017
By: Jackson Kane (Twitter: @TheJacksonKane)
Some big names have switched teams since New England pulled off one of the most miraculous comebacks in not only NFL history, but sports history. With new scenery comes new opportunity. Those departures also opened gaping holes in production that need to be filled by someone. Not to mention some impact rookies that could shake up the fantasy world this season. So, without further ado, here are five guys that are sure to be drafted late, but should have been drafted earlier…way earlier:
Breshad Perriman, WR, Baltimore Ravens
70 catches, 799 yards and five touchdowns; that’s the 2016-17 stat line the elder statesman of Baltimore’s receiving corps, Steve Smith Sr., will leave behind for someone to inherit after announcing his retirement. Mike Wallace was a revelation for John Harbaugh’s squad last season, totaling his first 1,000-yard campaign since 2011. But can Wallace repeat that production? Perriman is entering his third season, having missed his entire rookie season due to a PCL injury. Last year, the UCF product showed flashes of his potential scoring three touchdowns and hauling in 33 passes. My mind is telling me that Wallace won’t reach the same level he did last season, so Perriman will be the undoubted second option, if not first by season’s end.
Mike Gillislee, RB, New England Patriots
ESPN’s Patriots reporter Mike Reiss recently reported that Gillislee is expected to fill LeGarrette Blount’s role in Bill Belichick’s offense in the upcoming season. For those that don’t know, Blount led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2016-17 with 18 trips to the end zone. That is A LOT of fantasy production that much of, is likely to go to Gillislee. The fifth-year back was productive when finally given a chance in Buffalo, averaging 5.7 yards per carry in each of the past two seasons. He also found pay dirt eight times last season while filling in for the frequently injured LeSean McCoy. I’m all in on the former Florida Gator for 2017-18.
Samaje Perrine, RB, Washington Redskins
“Fat Rob” Kelley took the league by storm last year, pulling the rug out from under the assumed starter at running back for the Redskins, Matt Jones. Kelley finished the year with 704 yards and seven total touchdowns in 14 games. That’s some decent production for a starter in the NFL, but is it irreplaceable? Not exactly. Perrine hails from the University of Oklahoma where he racked up 49 rushing touchdowns in three seasons. He isn’t going to wow you with juke moves, but he will bowl you over and laugh at your arm tackles. He’s currently the third running back on Washington’s depth chart, but Chris Thompson isn’t big enough to handle being an every down back in the NFL. Perrine is up next in this backfield. It could take a few weeks, but Perrine will be starting in this backfield by season’s end. Book it.
Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants
The sophomore receiver tallied 65 catches, 683 yards and eight touchdowns last year. New York added another number one receiver in Brandon Marshall this offseason to pair with Odell Beckham Jr. Offensive coordinators are having nightmares trying to dream up some sort of scheme to defend those two monsters on the outside. I believe this will open the middle of the field for Shepard and he’ll thrive. He has stated that he wants to improve his ability after the catch in his second season and that’s exactly what he’ll need to do to wreak havoc between the numbers in 2017-18.
Ted Ginn Jr., WR, New Orleans Saints
Few quarterbacks can lay a deep ball on the money like Drew Brees. We saw it multiple times last season with double moves by Brandin Cooks on the outside. Well, Cooks is now in Foxborough, which opens the door for Mr. Ginn. The former Buckeye is just two years removed from a 10-touchdown season with the NFC champion Panthers. Not to mention, the Saints added Adrian Peterson to the mix, which is sure to draw much attention to the backfield. He may not be on the field for every down, but Ginn is always a threat to haul in a deep shot in every game he plays. He also hauled in 54 balls last season. That’s the second highest total of his NFL career. Just some food for thought, my people.