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Jesse Pantuosco

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Roundtable: Hits and Misses

Friday, December 23, 2016


Jesse Pantuosco (@JessePantuosco): We’re nearing the end of 2016, which gives us a good excuse to look back at what has been another entertaining and at times frustrating fantasy year. David Johnson and Odell Beckham were both brilliant. So were Antonio Brown and Julio Jones. But those were all expected outcomes. I’d like to know which player most exceeded your expectations. The easy answer would probably be Ezekiel Elliott, who wasted no time in becoming one of the league’s elite backs. But there were plenty of others who impressed this year, including Jordy Nelson, who immediately regained WR1 status upon returning from a torn ACL.

 

I’ll also introduce a part two to this question, because what would a fantasy season be without a few busts? Of all the fantasy flops this year—and there were plenty to choose from—which player was the biggest disappointment? Have at it, fellas.

 

Rich Hribar (@LordReebs): When answering these types of questions I think you always have to incorporate cost. DeMarco Murray was a supreme hit in this regard as he often went behind guys like Jeremy Langford and Thomas Rawls in drafts. Murray's lowest scoring week this season was the RB18 in PPR leagues and he's been the RB13 or lower just three times. This one hurts because I was into Murray bouncing back in a system that could utilize him properly, but I only owned him in a few leagues because I was too busy picking guys like Michael Floyd and Jeremy Maclin in that same part of the draft.

 

Melvin Gordon would be an obvious follow-up to that as he was going even later than Murray was. Gordon caught a break when Danny Woodhead was lost for the season in Week 2. But he was a weekly anchor all year until his injury and looked markedly better than he did as a rookie.

 

There were plenty on the bust side. On many of them we can point to what went wrong (I think some of the blame falls on us for overvaluing players on inherently poor offenses) but how about Randall Cobb? He was largely given a free pass for his 2015 season due to injury and the Packers missing Jordy Nelson. Without those excuses, he was a complete no-show this year save for three usable weeks. Cobb tanked despite catching passes from the highest scoring quarterback in fantasy and was supremely outplayed by Davante Adams this year. Cobb is still only 26 but I don’t know what to expect from him going forward.

 

Jeff Brubach (@Jeff_Brubach): This one sort of coincides with Randall Cobb's disappearance. Davante Adams was a big surprise to me this year after a rough 2015 campaign. With Jordy Nelson returning, it didn't appear that Adams had much room to improve his standing on the Green Bay depth chart, but he elbowed Cobb right out of the picture. Adams has had a few clunkers along the way, but his successful season was nice to see.

 

I can't go with anyone besides Allen Robinson as the biggest disappointment this season. I believe it was Pat who mentioned this on the Twitter machine within the last week or so, but it really was tough to see this one coming. In addition to huge 2015 numbers, Robinson looked the part of a top-tier NFL receiver in every way but absolutely tanked this season. It will be very interesting to see where A-Rob ends up being drafted in 2017 after this disastrous season.

 

Raymond Summerlin (@RMSummerlin): Todd Gurley is the easy but seemingly only answer when discussing busts. Unlike Jamaal Charles or Eddie Lacy, he was not knocked out by an injury. Unlike Jeremy Langford or Matt Jones, he did not lose his job to a better player. He kept the job all season and saw a full workload, but he was just bad. 

 

A lot of his "badness" came down to the situation, however. That situation could be much better next season with the oppressive yoke known as Jeff Fisher finally lifted and hopefully some offensive line help on the way. Despite the disappointing season, I think Gurley is something of a buy low in Dynasty formats, especially if someone is willing to give him up for a late first-rounder.

 

Pantuosco: LeGarrette Blount has had an unbelievable year and I don’t think any of us saw it coming. We’ve been programmed over the years never to trust New England backs, but Blount has flipped that theory on its head. He’s occupied a true workhorse role, something we haven’t seen in New England since Stevan Ridley was in his heyday. He’s been the closer for arguably the league’s most prolific offense while averaging just under 19 carries per game. Not bad for a guy with a ninth-round ADP.

 

Travis Kelce’s first two seasons were solid, but this was the year he finally made the leap and became one of the game’s elite tight ends. Last week ended Kelce’s streak of four consecutive 100-yard games. That’s unheard of. He’s surpassed Jeremy Maclin as Alex Smith’s go-to receiver while emerging as a weekly top-five option at tight end. With a few more touchdowns, Kelce’s numbers would look pretty similar to a typical Rob Gronkowski season.

 

As for busts, two wide receivers stand out to me. Brandon Marshall went absolutely insane last year, leading the league in touchdowns with over 1,500 yards. This year he’s been a complete non-factor with just two 100-yard games (they were both early in the year) and only one touchdown since Week 6. He and Ryan Fitzpatrick were both done for as soon as the Jets lost Eric Decker to shoulder surgery.

 

On draft day, Alshon Jeffery, Jordy Nelson and Mike Evans were all going around the same spot. I went with Alshon every time and it’s probably my biggest regret of the season. Jeffery couldn’t have had a worse contract year, going his first seven games without a touchdown and only clearing 100 yards once in that span. And of course, just as Jeffery was starting to find his mojo, he got popped for PEDs. Jeffery was hoping to get paid like Dez Bryant in free agency (five years, $70 million). Now he’d be lucky to get Emmanuel Sanders money (three years, $33 million).

 



Jesse Pantuosco is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld. He has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. Follow him on Twitter @JessePantuosco.
Email :Jesse Pantuosco



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