Matt Ryan

2017 Fantasy Football Resolutions

Author Trevor Jones
Matt Ryan
Will Matt Ryan be fool’s gold in 2017? (Photo: Icon SMI)

Does anyone still make New Year’s Resolutions? I don’t believe I know a single person who’s made a New Year’s Resolution and actually stuck to it, but it’s 2017 now, so let’s give it a try and hopefully learn from our past mistakes and head into the 2017 fantasy season with #noragrets.

Old Man Syndrome: Assuming he comes back next year, let’s resolve to trade Larry Fitzgerald after Week 6. In these past two years from Weeks 1-6, Fitz’ average line is 6.75 catches, 83 yards, and 0.92 touchdowns per game. From Week 7 on, his yards per game drop to 63 while he’s scored just three touchdowns. Yikes. Week 7, 2017 begins on October 17. Mark it down.

The Outlier: Speaking of Zona, let’s resolve not to draft a guy based on his outlier season. It’s one thing when a young player has a better-than-normal season, you would expect he progresses. It’s another when a player sets career-highs in touchdowns, yards per attempt, and QBR at age 36. Clearly, Palmer’s career 2015 affected his average draft position. He was 7th in ADP among quarterbacks while he’ll finish as a low-end QB2.

In 2017, this player will be Matt Ryan. Matthew Ice is currently blowing away his career averages of 4,152 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 93.3 passer rating with a 2016 stat line (through 15 games) of 4,613-34-115.5. Many fantasy owners operate under the assumption that if Player X was this good in 2016, just imagine how much better he’ll be in 2017! We need to remember that football has a lot of variance from year to year and even game to game. Matt Ryan is now 31 years old, do we really believe this is the Matt Ryan we’ll get for the next few years?

Beware of Lingering Injuries: Let’s quit assuming star players returning from late-season/offseason injuries will be 100% at the beginning of the season. Gronk had a litany of different supposedly “minor” injuries during the preseason and it rendered him unusable for fantasy purposes until Week 5. Jamaal Charles’ case was a similar one as well, iffy reports on his health throughout the preseason which led to weeks of will-he or won’t-he play. Exercise caution with these players in 2017 – Gio Bernard, Eddie Lacy, and Gronk himself.

On a related note, correctly identifying the beneficiaries of these injuries can give you a massive leg up over your competition. Spencer Ware will finish the season as a Top 20 fantasy runner and had an ADP of 45 among running backs. Those are the kind of situations that you can capitalize on just by staying abreast of the latest news.

Don’t Be That Guy: I see it far too often on Twitter where an egg tweets something snarky or outright mean at a fantasy analyst after they got a prediction or ranking “wrong.” What’s the point of that? BREAKING NEWS: no one has the answer key to fantasy football. If you don’t think a certain analyst does a good job, feel free to stop taking their advice but keep the “how could you not know Jeremy Langford would vulture Jordan Howard at the goal-line” stuff to yourself. Same goes for tweeting at players.

Upgrade Your League: Far too many leagues are too old-school. Drop the waiver system and implement FAAB (Free Agent Acquisition Budget). It’s fairer, it’s more fun, and it adds another layer of skill. Other leagues still assign a transaction fee to do add/drops and trades. This discourages transactions which leads to a less active league.

Be Prepared for Players Returning from Injury Midseason: When it’s the week that all of the media outlets report that someone like Sammy Watkins is starting to practice again after a midseason injury, Watkins’ FAAB price goes way up. If you have space on your bench, pick him up in advance before his stock goes up. This tactic would have saved you FAAB and ensured that you had Charles Sims, Ladarius Green, and Dion Lewis, in addition to Watkins.

Handcuff Three-Down Backs: Runners that are used not just on the ground but also get the pass-game and goal-line work are maybe the most sought-after commodity. Make sure you grab their backups as that workload is invaluable. Players like Mike Gillislee, DeAngelo Williams, and Bilal Powell all proved they can produce at an RB1 level when given the opportunity.