Right Wrong or Indifferent: 2016 NFL Season
Jeff Mans has provided millions of answers this season for fantasy football players and this is his official 2016 fantasy football season scorecard
All season long I have been recapping the best and worst of my rankings, recommendations and plays right here. It’s easy to hide from the advice that doesn’t work out in this industry and unfortunately far too many of us fantasy analysts do exactly that. But by now most of you know that I’ve been going over my advice every week and there is no running from the truth here.
It’s especially easy to hide from the advice that we gave out over four months ago when we were all drafting our 2016 teams. Hearing the names Blaine Gabbert, Ameer Abdullah and Josh Gordon may bring back bad memories but that is what this article is all about. We’ve spent the past 17 weeks going over which player will and will not bring you to the promised land of a fantasy football title. So, now its time to dissect just which ones worked out and which crapped the bed.
Here is my Right, Wrong & Indifferent for the entire 2016 Fantasy Football season:
Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys
Back in April I had Dak Prescott ranked third behind Carson Wentz and Jared Goff in my NFL Draft QB rankings. I loved the fit here with the Cowboys and thought that he would be a quick study behind Tony Romo this season. When Romo got hurt it was me and Ted Schuster that said the Cowboys would be fine with Dak running the show. No, I never, ever thought he would be this good. But Ted did predict that Prescott would be good enough to remain the Cowboys starter even after Tony Romo returned from back surgery. He was the only person in the galaxy to predict this and we were officially the first in the fantasy community to be down with Dak.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
It took me a few weeks into the draft season to warm up to the idea of Matthew Stafford without Calvin Johnson. But he was the fastest riser up my QB rankings this summer as I felt that the receiving corps in Detroit was deep enough to handle the loss of Megatron. Stafford impressed us all in his ability to spread the ball around and he even picked up yards with his legs for the first time in his career. He wound up being the seventh highest scoring fantasy QB this season and my ranking of him (8th) turned out to very accurate indeed.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers
I really felt like a crazy person all summer as I kept Kaepernick ranked ahead of Blaine Gabbert who was the 49ers starting QB to start this season. It seems like so long ago but I never waivered in my belief that Kaepernick would eventually be the starter and that he’d do a pretty good job once he took over. Kap averaged more points per game than Philip Rivers, Jameis Winston and Eli Manning this season. These are the types of calls that I am most proud of year after year. It’s not easy to stay true to your beliefs when literally everybody is saying that you are wrong. But every now and then it pays off.
David Johnson, RB, Cardinals
OK, so it’s easy to put David Johnson in the right category. In fact, just about everybody was “right” about him this year. But it cannot be overstated how important it was for those of us who took DJ in the top half of the first round. He was a difference maker and thank God I liked him this season.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
“I would rather be a year early on jumping off of a player than a year too late.” Key words that I spoke all summer about the Vikings RB and future Hall of Famer. You can say whatever you like about age and volume not mattering but it certainly caught up to AP this season. Some people had Peterson in the top five overall coming into the season. I didn’t have him in my top six running backs.
Danny Woodhead, RB, Chargers
It’s a simple equation, really. A 5’7” 180 lbs running back who isn’t an effective runner and relies mostly on his pass catching ability can only have so much value. He is amazingly game flow dependent and his slight frame means the more they try and give him the ball, the more likely he is to get hurt. That is what bit him and those who drafted him as a starter this time.
Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots
How did the drafting and holding of Dion Lewis work out for everyone this year? It was such a bad idea to draft Lewis this year and I made no bones about it. He played just seven games total and averaged just five points a game when he did play. Lewis was the #72 scoring RB this season meaning he was literally useless.
Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
I was high on Evans coming into the season for two reasons. One was because of his size and ability to post up defenders especially around the red zone. The second was his chemistry with Jameis Winston who threw at Evans an incredible 15 times per game over the first 12 weeks of the season.
Michael Crabtree, WR, Raiders
This might actually be my single greatest achievement in 27 years of playing and analyzing fantasy football. I was the Crabtree whisperer literally all season going a perfect 16 for 16 on projecting his fantasy value. Anybody who thinks this is easy to do I challenge you to pinpoint ANY players production for 16 consecutive weeks. It’s not going to happen and I doubt that I ever do that with any player ever again.
Michael Thomas, WR, Saints
Another one that belongs in my owner personal hall of fame. When Thomas was drafted by the Saints back in April of 2016, I immediately called him an every week starting fantasy WR. I went on to rank him second only to Ezekiel Elliott in my dynasty rankings which turned out to be huge for all of us. Thomas was on all 11 teams that I drafted this season as I drafted him several rounds ahead of his ADP value. Thomas finished seventh among all fantasy WR’s this season and is just scratching the surface on what he could become in this game.
Tyreek Hill, RB, Chiefs
Nobody knew about Tyreek Hill coming into this season. But he wound up being the number one player that I wrote about most in my Training Camp Reports articles this summer. His top end speed was making an impact as far back as July and he eventually became a top 25 fantasy WR. I had him 63rd in my WR rankings heading into the season but in looking at other folks rankings, he wasn’t even in their top 100.
Davante Adams, WR, Packers
I’m taking credit for Adams this year in part because I had to endure all of you bastards who weren’t watching the games, blame him for the struggles of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense. Adams was not the problem last season. We know that now because he was the reason for this Packers offense becoming dominant despite the lack of a running game.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings
Rudy almost had to go into the “indifferent” pile because of how well he finished off this season. I’ve been touting Rudolph’s skills for the past few years and hoped that this season he wouldn’t need to stay in to block as much due to the improvements Minnesota did along the offensive line. I did not have him down to be the second highest scoring fantasy TE this season but am darn proud of my ranking him in the top 10 going in the position.
Cameron Brate, TE, Buccaneers
Another one of my “Training Camp Reports” heroes, Brate was said to be the clear TE1 in Tampa Bay early in the month of August. Yet, I had several people argue with me that Austin Seferian-Jenkins was indeed the TE1 for the Bucs this year. Well, we know how that turned out don’t we? ASJ took a dump in a police lockup while the Bucs dumped him off to the Jets to die. Brate was an absolute force down the stretch this season and wound up being the 7th highest scoring TE overall.
Others I Was Right About
Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
Drew Brees, QB, Saints
Jordan Howard, RB, Bears
Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
Tavon Austin, WR, Rams
Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
I had Cam as my number one quarterback going into this year and rightfully so I thought. I know there are a lot of people who hate Cam for his pouting and his flair on the field. But I have to admit that I rather enjoy “positive Cam.” When he is motivated this guy is just unstoppable and a pleasure to watch. This year though he was a whiny, pouty, sulking puss. Next season he will be 28 years old and he will have to find a way to play hard and play well no matter what the tone of the game or season is. If he doesn’t, he’s going to turn hall of fame talent into a slightly above average career.
Eli Manning, QB, Giants
I thought that Eli was going to be a top ten QB for sure with top five type of upside. The upgrades along the offensive line, Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz to complement Odell Beckham should have propelled Eli to at least match his 35 TD passes from 2015 but it was not to be. Manning fell to 22nd in QB scoring this season despite getting tremendous help from Beckham all season long.
Ryan Mathews, RB, Eagles
Mathews was one of my biggest misses of the year. I put a lot of faith into Doug Pederson and him trying to emulate the successes he’s seen working with Andy Reid in both Philadelphia and Kansas City but he failed miserably. The Eagles never committed to a running back this year and it crushed their offense. Mathews did lead NFL RB’s in fantasy points per snap though this season. I am still optimistic that the Eagles RB situation will be profitable for fantasy owners next year but will exercise more caution before drafting any of them again.
Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens
I was fortunate that none of my running back misses really hurt my teams because they were all later round choices and I didn’t get any shares of Todd Gurley, thank God. But I was high on Forsett this year since he was healthy and playing in Marc Trestman’s offense. Neither Forsett or Trestman lasted long in Baltimore this season so this was an awful situation anyways. Forsett did nothing in his stops in both Detroit and Denver later in the season either which further illustrates just how miserable of a choice he was.
Keith Marshall, RB, Redskins
How many of you even remember the Redskins seventh round pick? Marshall was once the star RB for the University of Georgia Bulldogs and roommates with Todd Gurley. Injuries derailed his college career but after running a 4.31 40-yard dash Washington took him with their final selection in the 2016 Draft. I hyped Marshall up all summer and strongly felt that he would eventually take over the starting job from Matt Jones. Alas, Jones did crash and burn but it was “Fat” Rob Kelley who assumed the lead back role and crushed it.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans
I was not worried at all about Hopkins going into this season. There was no way that Brock Osweiler was every going to be as bad as the QB’s that the Texans trotted out in 2015. So, yea, Osweiler turned out to be very bad but worse yet is that he and Hopkins had zero chemistry. They had less than zero chemistry. Osweiler and Hopkins had the on field chemistry of James Franco and Anne Hathaway.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
I’m putting Hilton on the wrong list because I severely under estimated his production for this season. I am convinced that if Donte Moncrief had been healthy all season, Hilton’s numbers would have been significantly less. Be careful drafting Hilton next year. He’s not a first or second round guy if Andrew Luck has a healthy Moncrief or another big receiving option.
Terrelle Pryor, WR, Browns
I wasn’t just against Pryor going into this year. I refused to put him on my WR rankings list where I had 120 other receivers listed. Not only did Pryor prove me wrong and become the 19th highest scoring WR this season. He also turned me into a fan of his with his celebration of our Armed Forces at halftime of the Veterans Day game and his interaction with Janoris Jenkins on Twitter after the Browns played the Giants. It ain’t often that I do a 180 on a player like I did for Pryor this season but he was incredibly worthy.
Randall Cobb, WR, Packers
There was no way that Cobb would have another below average fantasy season this year. That is what I thought heading into the draft months but of course that turned out to be incredibly wrong. Cobb didn’t finish in the top 50 of WR fantasy points this year and its time to stop thinking of him as anything but a mediocre receiver heading into the 2017 season.
Others I Was Wrong About
Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos
Brandon Marshall, WR, Jets
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
I wasn’t really buying into the Raiders QB as the next big thing among fantasy QB’s going into this season. At times though he really impressed me with his poise and ability to capitalize on defensive mistakes. For awhile Carr was a top six fantasy QB before tougher matchups and injuries ended his season. He was still a top 10 guy which is close enough to where I had pinned him (13th) to qualify as an indifferent pick this year.
Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals
I had a lot of strong opinions about Palmer both before and during the season. I started out liking Palmer a great deal before seeing him in the preseason and doing my Training Camp Reports here at Fantasy Alarm. He was miserable in the preseason and I started to back off him considerably. Then, the season began and he was atrocious. He is the reason the Cardinals did not contend for a playoff spot this year and I personally think he has all of the characteristics of a QB that is done. His final fantasy numbers were not terrible though so that puts him here in the indifferent pile.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys
Listen…I loved Zeke coming into the season mostly because I had the Cowboys offensive line as the top run blocking line by far. Despite this, I did not have Zeke as a first round player mostly because I was against RB’s and did not want to take the risk on a rookie when there were other premium guys with less downside. Obviously, that was the wrong decision but having him as a top six RB going into the season was hardly “wrong.”
Jay Ajayi, RB, Dolphins
I’ve received so many “thank you’s” from our customers for recommending Ajayi this season. That is funny to me because I was entirely anti Ajayi and the Dolphins running game back in July and August. What changed my mind was seeing how this offensive line was coming together and when Arian Foster was forced into retirement, I realized Ajayi was in a real good spot all of a sudden. The Dolphins used a sixth man on the line of scrimmage quite a bit this year to help Ajayi and the run game which helped him a lot considering the injuries Miami suffered along the offensive line.
Marvin Jones, WR, Lions
I was enjoying the early season returns on Marvin Jones this season and all was right with the world. Then all of a sudden, Jones fell off of the fantasy map and sunk from the high of being the #2 scoring fantasy WR in week four to being the #38 fantasy WR this season.
Mike Wallace, WR, Ravens
I wasn’t really into Wallace in the draft season but changed my tune after the very first week as I recognized the chemistry he had with Joe Flacco. Wallace has never been a consistent performer in fantasy football even in his glory days with the Steelers. But he was surprisingly effective week in and week out throughout the season. It may surprise you that Wallace was the 22nd highest scoring fantasy WR this season.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts
I hope that one day the Colts go out and get another WR with any sort of size to them so that I can stop touting the necessity of Moncrief. The fact is that Moncrief is the primary weapon for Andrew Luck when he is healthy. The problem is he is never healthy and thus T.Y. Hilton gets the numbers and the praise. Another uneven season from Moncrief has me in a holding pattern as to what I will expect out of him in 2017.
Dwayne Allen, TE, Colts
Jack Doyle, TE, Colts
I was stomping hard for Dwayne Allen in the preseason and referenced the success offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski has had with fantasy tight ends. Indeed the Colts TE’s were very prolific this season but the problem was that it was split between both Allen and Doyle. Collectively, they combined for 127 targets (which would have been 3rd highest in the NFL amongst TE’s), 94 receptions (would have led the NFL), 990 yards (would have been 3rd) and 11 TD’s (would have been most in NFL) which should have been one massive season.