After some excellent performances in 2016, here are the guys that I am saying pump the brakes on heading into this coming season. Keep in mind I am not suggesting they be avoided all together, just tempering expectations; know what you’re getting and don’t reach for them as you draft your 2017 rosters.
There is no denying the stellar season that Michael Thomas put together in 2016. The reason he is my first guy to pump the brakes on, is partly due to some of the crazy off season hype he has been receiving. Another issue is the undeniable fact the Drew Brees isn’t getting any younger and continues to have shoulder issues. Cooks, Thomas, Fleener, and oh yeah, all pass catchers in New Orleans, had a very similar target share in the Red Zone in 2016. Brandin Cooks had 111, Thomas had 107, and Snead had 100 targets during weeks 1-16 of the 2016 season. I am not avoiding Thomas completely, but he is one player that I am definitely approaching with caution heading into 2017. Don’t reach too much in your redraft leagues, and definitely don’t overpay for him in your dynasty leagues either. If some trade rumors regarding Brandin Cooks come to be anything serious, obviously this is going to change.
His crazy speed and explosive plays resulted in a solid finish for Hill in 2016, from a fantasy perspective. As with Thomas, fantasy owners are already making crazy trade offers for Tyreek this early in the off-season. I didn’t mind the idea of taking a later flyer on Tyreek, but after seeing him drafted in the second round of a Dynasty start up league, I had to add him to this list. Despite his solid finish, Hill only had one game with over 100 total scrimmage yards. In weeks 1-16, the versatile wide receiver also played in just 380 offensive snaps. A couple of the comparable guys that I see in Hill from the past are Cordarrelle Patterson and Tyler Lockett. The big return plays, crazy speed, and off-season hype are a few similarities seen amongst these guys. I view Tyreek Hill as a lower end WR3 in 3 receiver leagues, and a borderline flex in PPR 2 receiver formats. Andy Reid did say he wants to get him more involved moving forward, but Hill is also a player that I am approaching with caution heading into 2017. Let’s not forget, in 2015 the Kansas City Chiefs couldn’t get a single WR a receiving TD, this is still that same Andy Reid, run first scheme. If Hill falls to you in the later rounds, go for it, but don’t reach and definitely temper your expectations heading into next year.
Ajayi is another guy that I am approaching with caution heading into next season. Ajayi’s solid 2016 got a huge boost thanks to three monster 200+ rushing yard games. Other than those three games, he only had one 100+ yard game and a whopping 9 games under 70 yards. Remember last pre-season when Arian Foster was a thing? Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake? Both Drake and Williams ended up being more efficient with their touches than Ajayi. And let’s not forget that Miami clearly showed little confidence in him by going out and adding Foster and Drake. Ajayi absolutely has potential, but I will not be paying up for him or reaching for him in redraft leagues. He will definitely finish outside of the top ten in both dynasty and redraft leagues in my mind.
Other guys to pump the brakes on: Latavius Murray, LeGarrette Blount, Rishard Matthews, and Jamison Crowder.