With the 2016 fantasy football regular season behind us we decided to organize our thoughts while the action was still fresh in our minds. Obviously, a lot could change in the league before the next regular season game is played. Certainly a few of the players highlighted below will have their fantasy value impacted by injury, suspension, changing teams, or changing personnel on their own team. But at this very early point in time, these are our 2017 fantasy football predictions (in no particular order other than being loosely grouped by conference):
Rob Gronkowski will miss 5 or more games, severely limiting his fantasy value.
The Oakland Raiders defense will be in the top-10 at the position.
Travis Kelce will be a top-3 tight end, as many experts will predict, yet his actual value will not match the early draft pick needed to obtain his services. With an embarrassment of talent at the position, the Chiefs will use a running back by committee system that will hamper the fantasy value of all their backs.
LeSean McCoy posts another solid year.
Matt Forte on the other hand, fades out of the fantasy picture before the end of the season.
Jay Ajayi is a top-5 running back.
Donte Moncreif fails to deliver on his potential once more and does not come close to meeting his preseason fantasy projections.
After a rough season, Blake Bortles, under the revamped Jags leadership, posts a great season and is a super-value pick.
Will Fuller outperforms DeAndre Hopkins, but neither crack the top-15 at the wide receiver position.
Marcus Mariota takes the leap and becomes a top-5 fantasy quarterback, a feat he also repeats for several seasons after 2017.
Joe Flacco continues to get paid a ton of money and will be absolutely no help to anyone’s fantasy team outside of a bye week emergency.
SHOCKER SPECIAL– Cleveland is bad again.
A.J. Green becomes the forgotten elite wide receiver and owners return better value with him than with Odell Beckham Jr. who commands a steeper price at draft tables.
Melvin Gordon has a strong season but is overused by the L.A. Chargers, come fantasy playoffs his owners are left out to dry.
Denver continues to struggle to find ways to keep two elite wide receivers fed with a marginal passing game. Neither Thomas or Sanders reward owners and both suffer from inconsistent targets.
Ezekiel Elliot will be the only elite fantasy commodity on the Dallas Cowboys. Dez Bryant and Dak Prescott will underperform. Jason Witten will be a solid value pick at tight end as most in the fantasy community will dismiss him based on age.
Geronimo Allison will have more fantasy value than Randall Cobb (and will be much cheaper to acquire, particularly if he faces any drug suspension during next season).
Odell Beckham Jr. is a top-5 wide receiver, but Sterling Shepard is actually a better bang for your buck at the draft table.
The Eagles will not have any players in the top-50 for fantasy scoring. Zach Ertz is serviceable but doesn’t stand out in a large group of mid-level tight ends around the league.
Owners chase Matt Ryan at the draft table and his average draft position ends up higher than other quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Drew Brees who both outperform him next year.
The narrative on Cam Newton’s 2016 season was that it was terrible (in reality it wasn’t that bad), this makes him a steal at the draft table in 2017.
Drew Brees continues to put up elite numbers, yet he spreads it around enough that no single New Orleans receiver cracks the top-15 at the position.
The Seattle defense is simply average and does not reward owners who draft them before addressing other positions.
Larry Fitzgerald does not quite match his age-defying 2016 season, but proves the doubters wrong (and his fantasy owners right) for one more year, provided Carson Palmer is under center. David Johnson is fantastic again.
Todd Gurley moves from overrated in 2016 to underrated in 2017. Owners willing to take the post-hype L.A. back are rewarded.
Carlos Hyde draws attention at the draft table but disappoints owners with another injury riddled season.
With more continuity on offense, the Vikings have the top rated fantasy defense.
Matthew Stafford is a solid fantasy performer based purely on volume. Zach Zenner gets overhyped after his strong finish in 2016 but doesn’t get enough opportunities to be anything beyond an RB3 in 2017.
Cameron Meredith tops Alshon Jeffery in fantasy production.