Jameis Winston (TB) – After ranking in at 11th and 12th in fantasy his first two seasons in the NFL. Winston has a great chance to be a top ten QB in 2017. He’s thrown for over 4000 yards in each of those seasons and he increased his total touchdowns by six last year. If he can polish up his game some more over the offseason and learn not to force as many passes into tight coverage which was the main cause for his 18 interceptions in 2016. Winston has all the intangibles to become an elite fantasy quarterback and someone to consider drafting if you’re planning to load up on running backs and receivers early on and need to settle for a second tier quarterback.
Jimmy Garoppolo – It’s still up in the air where Garoppolo will play at next season, though whichever team he goes to he will most likely be their week 1 starter. Garoppolo has been Tom Brady’s backup the last three seasons and started the Patriots first two games last year where he played extremely well. He threw for a total of 502 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions in those games while completing nearly 69% of his passes and won both. I’m not telling you to draft him as your starting QB but he's definitely worth drafting as a security option that could find his way into your starting lineup after a few weeks in.
Bilal Powell (NYJ) – Powell is a player I like a lot in both standard and PPR leagues due to his versatility in the run and pass game. He rushed for 722 yards in addition to 388 receiving with a total of eight touchdowns in 2016. With starter Matt Forte turning 32 next season and being a consistent injury threat. Powell could easily be the premier back next year for the Jets or someone that’ll see 15 touches a game depending on if they take a running back with the 6th pick in the draft. Either way Powell is a safe bet in fantasy to be used as a Flex/RB3 option and should continue to give owners the 6-10 points he’s grown accustomed to heading into 2017.
James White (NE) – 2016 was a breakout year for White as he surpassed over 100 fantasy points to scoring the game winning touchdown in the Super Bowl for the Patriots. He made most of his impact as a receiving threat out of the backfield for Tom Brady as he caught 60 passes (3rd best among RB) for 551 yards and five touchdowns. I’d expect White to score over 100 fantasy points again in 2017 being as he’s one of Brady’s favorite targets and touched the ball 99 times in 2016. And I strongly believe that will increase next year. White’s a great gadget player that can add quality depth to your bench or be plugged in as your Flex player due to his ability to catch the ball on a frequent basis. Also a player that’s worthy of a start if one of your starting backs are on their bye week, since he’s a reliable candidate to produce satisfying numbers any given week.
Marquise Lee (JAX) – Lee didn’t really start to come around till the second half of the year averaging just (5.4) fantasy points the first eight games compared to his (9) point average the final eight. He finished with 109.4 total points (43rd best among WR) though keep in mind if he could have played the whole season like he did in the second half he would have ranked in as the 15th best wide receiver with 144 points. He was second on the team in both receptions and yards with 63 catches for 851 yards. While clearly becoming quarterback Blake Bortles go to guy by year’s end. That’s a good sign for Lee heading into 2017 since Bortles has finished each of the last two seasons as a top 10 fantasy quarterback. Lee is someone to consider picking up in the later rounds on draft day that carries positive upside.
Kenny Stills (MIA) – Coming off a great season in 2016 both on the field and for fantasy. Stills caught 42 passes for 726 yards with nine touchdowns and dominated fantasy the last ten games of the season scoring over nine points in seven of those games. I really like Stills and he worked wonders for my team last year and is someone that I will gladly draft next year in the later rounds if he’s still available even if he’s wearing a different uniform. Crazy thing is many fantasy owners missed out on the 24th ranked receiver in 2016 as he was owned by just 12.5% of people in ESPN leagues. I highly recommend drafting him for 2017 since he has a knack for the endzone and his total yards and receptions should increase.
Vance McDonald (SF) – McDonald wasn’t much of a sleeper last year due to the fact he mainly slept all season despite catching four touchdowns on his 24 receptions. But keep in mind the 49ers quarterback situation and the entire offense itself was atrocious which could have been a major cause to McDonalds limited fantasy production. Though with offensive guru Kyle Shanahan now as the Head Coach who just led the Falcons to the super bowl with one of the best offenses in NFL history. This could help lead the big athletic third year tight end to have a breakout season in 2017. Especially since the 49ers will most likely take a quarterback with the 2nd pick in the draft and with an already subpar receiving core, McDonald will instantly become his security blanket.
Hunter Henry (LAC) – With fan favorite Antonio Gates turning 37 over the summer and Hunter Henry coming off a monster rookie season where he caught eight touchdowns for nearly 500 yards. Henry could easily be the Chargers top dog from the tight end position in 2017, bumping the future HOF into more of a role player status. At the end of 2016 Henry was the 11th ranked tight end in fantasy with 90 points and should finish next year in the top 10. The Chargers love to throw the ball averaging 36.2 pass attempts last season which makes Henry an every week starter for owners. So once you see a few of the big names from the position start coming off the draft board (Gronk, Olsen, Graham) it’s time to start zoning in on Henry. Since tight ends are the weakest position in fantasy the last few years, Henry is definitely a player that has plenty of upside with a good shot of posting over 100 points in 2017.