2016 Disappointing Rookies: What To Expect In 2017
The 2016 NFL regular season has come and gone. As expected, some rookies emerged as formidable fantasy assets. However, others struggled to contribute in their first seasons. Moving forward, there is little doubt that Ezekiel Elliot, Michael Thomas and Jordan Howard will be elite options in fantasy circles. On the other hand, the future value of Corey Coleman, Derrick Henry and Laquon Treadwell appears unclear, as all three players failed to meet expectations as rookies. Below, I will review each of their respective campaigns, in addition to providing a long-term value outlook for 2017 drafts and beyond.
After being the first wide receiver selected in the 2016 NFL Draft with the 15th overall pick, it is clear that Corey Coleman failed to live up to his pedigree as a rookie in the NFL. Over the course of ten active games, Coleman recorded 33 receptions for 413 yards and three touchdowns. As a result, he finished as the WR84 in PPR scoring and WR82 in half-point formats. It is important to note that Coleman did miss six games due to a broken hand, which significantly limited his production. Nonetheless, he did manage to earn 7 or more targets in six of his ten active games as a rookie, which is reassuring from a volume perspective.
Looking ahead to 2017, Coleman should be viewed as a WR3 in redraft formats. With a full NFL offseason under his belt, Coleman will certainly carry more upside as a sophomore, which could reward fantasy owners that are willing to select him in the middle-rounds of drafts.
From a dynasty perspective, Coleman should still be valued as an elite asset. In fact, his ADP in dynasty leagues is presently in the third-round of startup drafts. As a result, the 22-year-old wide receiver’s long-term outlook has remained the same despite a disappointing rookie campaign.
Those that are concerned about Coleman’s fantasy stock moving forward should reflect back on his collegiate production at Baylor for reassurance:
As evident from the table above, Coleman manufactured incredible statistics in college. His talent has not disappeared, and it is only a matter of time until the Baylor product showcases his skill set on a regular basis in the NFL. Coleman’s Week 2 performance in 2016 against the Baltimore Ravens demonstrated as much, when the wide receiver registered 5 receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns. Expect more of the same in 2017 from a healthy Coleman, especially if Terrelle Pryor ends up leaving Cleveland as a free agent.
After an uninspiring campaign in 2015, expectations for DeMarco Murray were tempered heading into 2016. It appeared as though the Tennessee Titans had the same philosophy, as the team elected to draft Derrick Henry with the 14th pick in the second-round of the NFL Draft this past year. Unfortunately for those that invested in Henry, this simply was not the case. Murray was instead relied on as a featured back in 2016, as he rushed for 1,287 yards and nine touchdowns, in addition to recording 53 receptions for 377 yards and three more scores.
Murray’s consistent workload left Henry on the outside looking in of Tennessee’s backfield as a rookie. However, Henry did manage to make the most of his touches by rushing for 490 yards on a 4.45 yard per carry average. He also found the end zone on five occasions in 2016. Henry failed to turn in any 100-yard rushing performances, but was able to accumulate 50 or more rushing yards in five different contests.
While Henry’s RB44 finish in PPR scoring and RB43 rank in half-point formats is a bit underwhelming, his future remains bright. For starters, DeMarco Murray has amassed 1,034 touches over the span of the past three seasons. He will also be 29-years-old for his 2017 campaign. Hence, Murray is clearly approaching the back-end of his career.
From a redraft perspective, this makes Derrick Henry an ascending fantasy asset in 2017. He is best viewed as an RB3, as Murray will likely remain the starter barring an injury. Nonetheless, it is safe to assume that Henry could see more than the 123 total touches he earned as a rookie. Conversely, it would not come as a surprise if Murray witnessed a decrease from the 346 touches he saw in 2016 this upcoming season in order to remain efficient and fresh.
Derrick Henry’s long-term dynasty value is even more appealing, as DeMarco Murray is only under contract with the Tennessee Titans through 2019. This obviously bodes well for Henry, who is still only 22-years-old and a former Heisman Trophy winner. With an ADP towards the latter end of the fourth-round in dynasty startup drafts, Henry is best viewed as an RB2 for the time being. However, if Murray were to become injured or fail to produce, Henry would instantly surface as an RB1 in virtually all scoring formats. At 6’ 3” / 247-pounds, very few running backs possess the skill set or upside of Derrick Henry.
It’s hard to believe based on his pedigree, but Laquon Treadwell only secured one reception for 15 yards during his 2016 rookie campaign. Sure, he was barely involved on offense. At the same time, Treadwell was the 23rd overall pick in 2016.
Given his 6’ 2” 215-pound frame, Treadwell owns the ability to be a dominant force at the NFL level. His skill set failed to come to fruition in 2016, but it is far too early to write off the former Ole Miss product in fantasy circles. Treadwell reportedly struggled adapting to Minnesota’s NFL playbook, which is evident from his mere three targets across nine active games.
For redraft purposes, it is hard to advise investing in Treadwell as anything more than a flier in 2017. It is still worth taking a gamble on the wide receiver, as Adam Thielen and Cordarrelle Patterson are both set to become free agents this March. If one or both of those wide receivers end up leaving Minnesota, Treadwell would be in store for an increased workload.
In the dynasty realm, Treadwell is a polarizing asset. His ADP has dropped significantly from the beginning of 2016, as it currently sits in the fourth-round of startup drafts. Only a year ago, Treadwell was a consensus top-three selection in dynasty rookie drafts. Due to his inefficiency as a rookie, Treadwell has endured a dip in perceived value. Regardless, he is still one of the youngest players in the NFL at 21-years-old and posted elite numbers in the SEC while in college. For a reminder of Treadwell’s dominance at Ole Miss, view the table below:
Despite his pedigree, Treadwell will have to improve on his receiving totals to live up to his draft hype in 2017. Fortunately, he has the skill set to do so. In addition, Treadwell faces minimal competition outside of Stefon Diggs at the wide receiver position in Minnesota. Be sure to keep him in mind as a sleeper as 2017 drafts commence and a buy-low candidate wherever possible in dynasty or keeper formats.