By: Kyle Richardson (Twitter: @krich1532)
Part of the fun with fantasy football, is telling your buddies “I told you so” at the end of a long season. Before the start of the 2015 season, I made a significant trade to bring in Jarvis Landry. He had a pretty good rookie year, but I pegged him as a budding star in Miami. My league mates didn’t exactly agree with me, but by the end of the year, I was able to say those words that signal a triumphant end to the season, “I told you so.” Landry only had 110 receptions for 1157 yards and helped me along to a third place finish, but winning that trade was almost better than the third place finish. We all want that every single year, to find the guy that bursts onto the scene becoming a superstar. We stash countless undrafted rookie free agents, hoping just one pans out. We read through blogs and articles, listen to every podcast we can find and cross our fingers that no one else found the same information. Well, I am here to make you that guy. I am handing over the keys, so at the end of the year, you too can offer this message to your league chat…………”I told you so.”
Cam Meredith- WR, CHI
Meredith is one of my two must own going into 2017. Meredith didn’t seem to gel with Jay Cutler last year. Meredith’s coming out party was in week 5 against Indianapolis with 9 catches and 130 yards. He seemingly disappeared two weeks later however and it seemed the fire was out just as quickly as it was lit. However, for those that held on all year, Meredith rewarded you in the playoffs 24 catches, 311 yards and 2 touchdowns during weeks 14-16. I believe there is a reason to the Bears letting Alshon Jeffery walk outside of the inconsistency. They feel they have true WR1 talent in Kevin White and Cam Meredith. Don’t let Mike Glennon or the many receivers the Bears have now (after also signing Victor Cruz) scare you away. Meredith has two attributes I love in wide receivers, he’s an above average route runner and has great hands. With only 2 drops in 2016, he could quickly become Glennon’s go to receiver in 2017.
Ameer Abdullah- RB, DET
This one is merely a hunch and maybe just my effort to show my Lions a little love in an article. It seems like every off-season, the Lions talk about a renewed urgency to commit to the run better. That’s about where it stops though. For those who say he could be the Lions next version of Barry Sanders, please back out of my article, get off our website and go watch some video and read about Sanders. That’s not what I am expecting from Abdullah, but I am expecting something much bigger than what we saw the last two years.
The Lions did some work on the offensive line this season adding TJ Lang in free agency, Graham Glasgow and Taylor Decker are another year older and Matthew Stafford will always keep the secondary on their toes. Now, I’ve told you more about other players than Abdullah, but I think his success will stem from the rest of his teammates. This isn’t about what Abdullah needs to do to be successful, this is about what the Lions need to do to help Abdullah be successful. Sometimes you just need to put talent around other talent to watch everyone blossom. The Lions will use the passing game to set up the run game this year, and maybe it will actually work this time.
Hunter Henry- TE, LAC
What happens when your future HOF tight end turns 36 and is in the final stages of his career? Well, you invest in another tight end to learn from Antonio Gates during his last couple of years. Hunter Henry was very useful in 2016 by grabbing 8 touchdowns with only 36 receptions on the year. This is really easy to say, Gates will see less volume and Henry will see more. I believe Gates is only really here to get the all-time touchdown record for tight ends. After that, it’s all Henry. The Charges have a very good offense and it will get even better with Henry seeing more targets and getting a chance to develop fully. I see Henry within the top 10 of tight ends in 2017 and dare I say, top 5?
Paul Richardson- WR, SEA
This will take a couple of factors happening first before he truly becomes a breakout candidate. Jermaine Kearse is a candidate to be cut, and although I don’t think it will happen, Kearse will need to see a reduced role at least for Richardson to see more time. Tyler Lockett is working his way back from injury as well. All signs point to him being ready for the start of the season but being ready and being back to the same player are two different things. Richardson is the perfect, field stretching option, to go with Doug Baldwin. He finished the year strong with a brilliant performance in the playoffs and even Pete Carroll has said Richardson should see an increased role. Richardson is a guy that you stash now with hopes of him reaching flex status at some point this season.
Quincy Enunwa- WR, NYJ
Brandon Marshall is gone, Robby Anderson is suspended and Eric Decker is working his way back from injury. This sets up well for Enunwa to be the guy come week 1 of the 2017 NFL season for the Jets. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the QB in New York anymore, which is a good thing for everyone. Fitz is extremely limited with what he could do as a QB, which limited what Enunwa can do at WR. He is a big dude with lots of speed that can stretch the field, be a possession receiver or do whatever else you need. Pair Josh McCowns big arm and deep ball accuracy with Enunwa’s ability to stretch the field and be one of the game’s best deep ball threats, and this could be a match made in heaven. I believe Enunwa will lead the Jets in TD receptions and be a WR2 by the end of the year.
Ty Montgomery- RB, GB
I saved my favorite for last. It may be too late for you to grab Montgomery. After the Packers parted ways with Eddie Lacy, it showed they were dedicated to Montgomery. If Green Bay is dedicated to Montgomery, you already know what potential he holds. Montgomery really sealed his full transition to running back after a 16 carry, 162 yard performance in week 15. Now, people will point to this performance as a reason not to trust Montgomery. “The numbers are skewed because of one large performance.” Even if you remove this performance from his stats, he still averaged 4.83 YPC, albeit a little bit smaller sample size. Montgomery is built more like a traditional, every down back. He can block, he can catch out of the backfield and he can pound the football.
Montgomery has been sitting in WR meetings rooms since being drafted by the Packers, but now he gets to spend an entire off-season in the RB room, prepping to be the teams lead back. Did I also mention Aaron Rodgers is his QB. Yeah, that Rodgers guy seems to make everyone around him better. Even before he went off against the Bears, I could see potential in the way he ran. At that time, I believed he could be a top 15 RB in PPR formats, and I stick by that. Honestly, I think he has top 10 upside. This will not be the last time I write about Montgomery this off-season, so find his owner in your current league and do what it takes to get him.