Fantasy Football: The Writing Staff “My Guys” for 2017
It’s Year 2 for this article and for our writing staff, and it’s finally time to plant our flags in the ground and claim a player. This is a guy that we all boldly and proudly back no matter what may happen and shout to the rooftops that this gentleman we’ve all chosen is “My Guy” for the 2017 season. They are someone that you would go to bat for every single time, causing you to really draw the line in the sand, putting your name and reputation on the line, riding it out through success or failure.
In anticipation for The Fantasy Footballers “My Guy” episode, we asked each of the writers and our editor-in-chief who they are putting their stamp of approval on. Let’s get this going and make our mark this season.
Use the #MyGuy on Twitter and let us know who YOUR fantasy My Guy is this upcoming season.
Jack Doyle, TE Indianapolis Colts
My Guy for the 2017 season Rules! I’m talking about Doyle Rules! Jack Doyle baby. Look, Andrew Luck‘s injury is absolutely a concern. However, it’s also keeping Doyle’s ADP at salivating value levels (11.10 right now on FantasyFootballCalculator) and I only anticipate Luck missing a month of the season at the very worst.
Snagging Doyle in the double-digit rounds allows me to wait on a “onesie” position (shoutout to JJ Zachariason) while loading up on stud RBs and WRs, positions that are more valuable because you have to start more of them every week, early in my draft. Erik Swoope is already missing time in camp due to arthroscopic knee surgery and he only has 15 NFL catches to his name. I’m not worried about Swoope eating into Doyle’s target share significantly this season. The Colts decided to keep Doyle this offseason and paid him like the starter. Check out his What’s On Tape article written earlier this offseason. As far as Doyle’s environment, I couldn’t be anymore excited. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski’s teams have averaged a healthy 26% target share to the TE position over the past decade. For Doyle’s soon to be healthy QB, in Luck’s last two full seasons, 42.2% of his TD passes have gone to the TE position. And it makes sense when you break it down.
Outside of Donte Moncrief, the Colts really have no other redzone weapons. Furthermore, over the past three seasons, Luck has averaged 8.6 pass attempts per game to the TE position. Doyle offers a rare combination of volume, TD upside, and a very palatable and cheap price. If I don’t land the extreme upside of a Gronk or Jordan Reed at a value (Let the draft come to you folks), I’m targeting Doyle as my TE1 everywhere.
-Ben Cummins, @BenCumminsFF
Amari Cooper, WR Oakland Raiders
Here’s my guy: Amari Cooper. After finishing as the WR21 (2015) and WR14 (2016) in PPR formats, the Alabama product has made it clear that he deserves recognition as a star. That being said, I recently wrote an article on the 23-year-old stating that he is on the verge of reaching superstar status in the NFL and fantasy. Although his sample of production has been volatile at times over his first two NFL campaigns, Cooper has managed to post double-digit PPR performances in 20 of a possible 32 career games. Couple that with the fact that he has earned no fewer than 130 targets in consecutive seasons, and it becomes clear that he owns a relatively safer floor than actually perceived. If Cooper can increase his red zone and touchdown efficiency in this third professional campaign, it is entirely possible that he will enter elite territory at the wide receiver position.
-Cory Evans, @CoryEvansNFL
Zach Ertz, TE Philadelphia Eagles
Zach Ertz is my worst kept secret as recently detailed in my breakout candidate article. In 2016, the Eagles TE finished in the top 5 at his position in targets, yards, receptions, fantasy points per game and percentage of games as a TE1. Over his 14 games played this ranked Ertz as the TE #6. 2017 will be his second year in Doug Pederson’s system with QB Carson Wentz, and I expect big things. The masses are starting to catch on to Ertz’s value. A month ago he was going at pick 10.06. He has since climbed to 9.04, as the 10th TE off the board. Steal Ertz at this price and reap the rewards all season long.
-Keaton Denlay, @KeatonDenlay
Danny Woodhead, RB Baltimore Ravens
My Guy for 2017 is easily Danny Woodhead. We’re talking about a former top-five back in PPR formats, joining a team that lost more than half of its league-leading 679 pass attempts from 2016. He could easily catch 80-plus balls as Joe Flacco‘s go-to security blanket. Plus, with only Terrance West to compete for carries, Woodhead could also see a career high in rush attempts. We’ve even seen teams use him as a deadly weapon in the red zone, where the Ravens have limited firepower. Going at the back of the 4th round even in PPR drafts, Woodhead is a massive value with an incredibly high floor and sneaky RB1 upside.
-Matthew Okada, @FantasySensei
Jordan Matthews, WR Buffalo Bills
“My Guy” has found himself in a new city with a new quarterback, and a new offense heading into 2017. Jordan Matthews looks to build on his already promising young NFL career as he begins a new chapter in Buffalo. Personally, I believe Matthews is being underrated in fantasy drafts, especially in PPR leagues, as he is the 48th WR off the board in the 10th round. During his first three seasons in the league, he has eclipsed 800 yards each year, and in his first two seasons, he caught 8 TDs each. After a disappointing 3 TDs in 2017, fantasy owners are sleeping on Matthews, and I feel this is a mistake. With the departure of Sammy Watkins from Buffalo, he will have only TE Charles Clay and rookie, Zay Jones, to compete with for targets. Tyrod Taylor also figures to take another step forward this year, and I expect him to heavily target Matthews when they go to the air. Based on his career statistics, he seems to be a lock for at least 70-80 catches, 800-1000 yards, and 5-8 TDs. That should easily put him ahead of his WR48 ADP, making him a steal in fantasy drafts.
-Matthew Betz, @TheFantasyPT
Cameron Meredith, WR Chicago Bears
It still has to be Cam Meredith. Last year, he had more top 10 PPR performances than Demaryius Thomas, Alshon Jeffrey, and Brandon Marshall… COMBINED. He’s always been a fluid athlete as a former QB and according to PlayerProfiler.com, his most impressive attributes included ranking in the 95th percentile in catch radius, 86th in agility and 88th in burst score. He’s more of a glider than an elite speed freak but continually gets open. After watching his film at the beginning of the offseason, I became a believer. He makes big plays too with 19.7% of his catches on the year going for 20+ yards, which was roughly the same percentage as Odell Beckham Jr. Meredith was also a consistent chain-mover converting 66.7% of his catches into 1st downs, a rate right below Michael Thomas and above Odell Beckham Jr. and Jordy Nelson. Honestly I don’t really care who’s throwing him the ball when you realize this guy had a mix of Brian Hoyer, Jay Cutler, and Matt Barkley for the final 6 games. Doesn’t matter Meredith killed with those bums. According to FFC, he’s going at the end of the 8th round in PPR drafts and I don’t mind reaching a round earlier especially if I’m looking at someone as my 3rd or 4th WR. Sign me up with a tattoo across my chest now.
-Kyle Borgognoni, @kyle_borg
Martavis Bryant, WR Pittsburgh Steelers
“My guy” this season is the one I wrote about earlier this off-season in the “Path to WR1″ series, and that is the Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant. As outlined in my article, he has all the potential in the world to post video-game numbers. A lot has changed since we last saw Martavis Bryant on the field. One of those things is the departure of Heath Miller. The Steelers have not added a target hog TE nor secondary WRs to take targets from Bryant. If he can command a 20-22% target share, which is absolutely in the range of possibilities for him, he could finish as a top 12 WR. Even at 15%-17% target share, you’re looking at a high-end WR2 with massive weekly upside. Currently ranked as a borderline WR2/3 in most rankings, he is being drafted at his floor as the 70th overall player off the board. In auctions, ESPN currently shows him with an AAV of $7. That’s WR4/5 type funds for a player who will easily outperform that. Martavis Bryant is going to find his way onto all of my rosters this season!
-Michael Wenrich, @mpw270
Leonard Fournette, RB Jacksonville Jaguars
“My Guy” is Leonard Fournette. The Jaguars used the fourth pick in this past draft on Leonard Fournette with the intention of immediately featuring him in the offense. Fournette is a violent runner who punishes defenders but also has the speed to pair with his physical running style, an Adrian Peterson-type combination. On top of that, Fournette is a capable, albeit under-utilized receiver out of the backfield as well. The other RBs on the roster will play a supporting role but Fournette will get the ball when it counts. I anticipate double digit TDs to go with 1300+ total yards for Fournette this year, easily finishing as a RB1.
-Micah Cedergren, @MicahCedergren
Devonta Freeman, RB Atlanta Falcons
The whole point of “My Guy” is going with your gut. I did not do that last year and Devante Parker let me down. So this year I will stick with my instincts and say my guy is Devonta Freeman. I’m not gonna claim to have predicted his 2015 but I was higher on him than others. When everyone said he was a bust candidate last year, I still proudly waved his flag. Now that he is the highest paid RB in the league, this feels cheap but I don’t care. Freeman is my favorite player in the NFL and honestly, I’ll probably take him in any draft where I have the 3rd pick or later. He’s coming off of overall RB1 and RB6 performances, he is in an offense where he will be continued to be featured with an excellent offensive line, and, more importantly, I feel better when he is on my team and not my opponents.
-Ryan Weisse, @TheFantasyFive
Julian Edelman, WR New England Patriots
I feel compelled to choose Julian Edelman as my guy this season. When Brandin Cooks first signed with New England, panic and hysteria quickly set in over Edelman’s value in 2017. Is the smaller framed Cooks going to replace him in the slot? His contract is up at the end of the year, are they looking to move on from him? Did he have another problem with his surgically repaired foot? As it turns out the answer to all of these questions was no. The Patriots confirmed as much when they extended his contract for another 2 years for $11 million. We know that Tom Brady will spread the ball around plenty. We also know that he and Edelman have a great relationship on and off the field. He was the PPR WR14 in 2013, WR17 in 2014, broke his foot in 2015, and came back as the WR15 in 2016, despite being without Tom Brady for 4 games. Currently the 26th WR off the board with an ADP of 5.04 in PPR leagues according to fantasy football calculator, Julian Edelman stands to be the steal of many drafts. I view him as a locked and loaded WR2 every single week with the possibility for a WR1 outing every time he suits up.
-Travis Strickland, @DFS_Travis
DeAndre Hopkins, WR Houston Texans
My Guy for 2017 is DeAndre Hopkins. After writing the “Path to WR1” article featuring DeAndre Hopkins, I realized people are not as high on him as they should be. Most of the feedback on Twitter was “no way” or “zero chance”. Pretty shocking to say those things about a guy who, in 2015, produced 192 targets, 111 receptions, 1521 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns. You know he is good for 16 games as he has not missed a game since entering the league in 2013. He will no longer have to deal with the terrible passes from Brock Osweiler as he did last season. Hopkins has already put his stamp of approval on Tom Savage for 2017. Regardless, if Savage or DeShaun Watson or both will be starting at quarterback in 2017, it will be an upgrade for Hopkins this season. He is as close to a sure thing as you can get to a high-end WR2 with easy WR1 upside. If you are not paying attention to DeAndre Hopkins because of last season, you are making a big mistake.
-Nate Hamilton, @DomiNateFF
Jameis Winston, QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
To wrap up this year’s “My Guy” article I wanted to give my take on “My Guy” this year Jameis Winston. When researching and putting together my article for the QB Tier Jumps for 2017, as well as paying careful attention to the show “Hard Knocks” on HBO, (mainly to look at the connection between Mike Evans and Jameis for my dynasty team) I saw a true leader emerge out of Winston. Yes, he is still younger and figuring it all out, but he definitely has a leadership mentality and a drive that hasn’t been seen by him in the past. He’s gone from allegations of theft and being overweight heading into his first year of training camp, to becoming a true pro quarterback, waking up earlier than most and being at training camp first, and the last to leave the facility every night. In both of his past seasons, he has thrown for over 4,000 yards and 22+ TDs. If he can limit his turnovers, he has the biggest upside of any QB in the NFL with all the talent and weapons around him now with the addition of DeSean Jackson and rookie TE O.J. Howard. He can truly jump up into the Top 5 QBs in fantasy football this season.
-Brandon Sanders, @brandontsanders