Five Players Destined to Struggle
By: Jackson Kane (Twitter: @TheJacksonKane)
Five Players Destined to Struggle In 2017
There is talent everywhere you look around the National Football League. Even the league’s worst rosters possess some semblance of talent. The key to building a team is rearranging those moving parts so they can complement each other effectively. Injuries are a huge part of fantasy football and sometimes they strike at the worst time (Ask Melvin Gordon owners from last season). Those injured guys from last season, for the most part, are healthy and ready to go. Add in some offseason movement with trades and signings and you have a whole new landscape to not just the NFL world, but the fantasy football world. Here are five guys that I believe are destined to struggle from the moment you do or don’t draft them:
Ryan Mathews, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
The Fresno State product is entering his third season with the Eagles. Last year, Mathews totaled 776 total yards and nine total touchdowns. Philly added arguably the league’s most prolific goal line back this offseason in LeGarrette Blount. The human battering ram accounted for 18 touchdowns on the ground for New England and was a fantasy anomaly for owners in 2016-17. Logic says that Blount will steal most, if not all, of Mathews’ goal line looks in the upcoming campaign. But who knows with a backfield that most resembles a hormonal teenage girl – unpredictable.
Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
It appears I have a vendetta against Fresno State Bulldogs. Trust me, I don’t. It was honestly sheer coincidence that I started the list with these two guys. Struggle may not be the right word for what I expect from Adams in 2017-18, but I don’t think he will produce the same gaudy numbers, especially touchdowns this season. The fourth-year receiver tripled his touchdown production (12 in 2016-17) from his first two years (four) in the league, but can he sustain it? The Packers went out and nabbed Martellus Bennett in free agency this offseason, a guy that hauled in 55 balls for 701 yards and seven touchdowns last year for Tom Brady and the Patriots. Adams ranked seventh in the league in red zone targets last season with 20. His teammate, Jordy Nelson, led the league with 29. Bennett is sure to eat into those targets and most definitely his touchdown total this season. Add in that Randall Cobb may be healthy for the first time in a long time and you can see why I’m down on Adams.
Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It could be argued that no team improved more offensively during the offseason than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs added a prolific deep threat in the form of DeSean Jackson and also drafted a talented tight end in O.J. Howard. Dirk Koetter orchestrated a respectable offensive attack in 2016-17 without those two on the roster, so adding toys like them will only make this offense that much better. Brate is the odd man out in my book because he is clearly the least talented of the bunch. His 660 yards and eight touchdowns last season were both career highs, but there is only one football to spread around. Mike Evans is going to dominate the targets as always, but where will Brate fit in? Evans and Adam Humphries will move the chains, Jackson will be the deep threat and Howard could blossom into an all-around beast for Koetter and company. Don’t draft Mr. Brate in 2017-18.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
Be honest. How many of you knew the name Tyrell Williams prior to the beginning of last season? Sadly, me neither. But the man flat out balled in 2016-17, hauling in 69 of his 120 targets for 1,059 yards and totaling seven trips to the end zone. All of this came after Keenan Allen went down in Week 1 against the Chiefs with a torn right ACL injury. Prior to last season, Allen had totaled at least 67 catches and 725 yards in each of the previous three seasons. With Allen back in the mix and the addition of Clemson product Mike Williams through the Draft, Tyrell Williams might be hard pressed to see 120 targets again this season. He definitely showed us last year that he’s a legit threat in the NFL, but can he replicate such great numbers? I’m not so sure.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
I know. I know. How can I have the audacity to put Larry Fitz on this list? He just led the league in receptions with 107 in his 13th NFL season. He posted his eighth 1,000-yard season of his career last season. How in the world could he struggle in 2017-18? Here is my theory: Carson Palmer was alright last year, but not overly impressive. Palmer is currently 37, while Fitzgerald will turn 34 before the season starts. Father Time will catch up at some point. John Brown was also hampered by some sickle-cell issues during the 2016-17 campaign. Brown was disappointing last season, but he showed what he was capable of in 2015-16, amassing 65 catches for over 1,000 yards. A healthy Brown should steal some of the shine from Fitz. David Johnson was also remarkable last season, which could result in even more touches for the third-year back out of Northern Iowa. It’s a hot take for sure, but sometimes you have to roll the dice.