Draft Strategy

7 Fantasy Football Fools Gold Candidates For 2017

The search for Fantasy Football 2017 gold is a 365-day job. Imagine digging all offseason and CHINK! Gold! Obviously, the excitement would be overwhelming. Now imagine all the blood, sweat, and tears you spent digging went to waste because instead of striking gold you found Iron Pyrite.

Fantasy Football 2017 Fools Gold

Fools GoldThe search for Fantasy Football 2017 gold is a 365-day job. Imagine digging all offseason and CHINK! Gold! Obviously, the excitement would be overwhelming.  Now imagine all the blood, sweat, and tears you spent digging went to waste because instead of striking gold you found Iron Pyrite.  What is Iron Pyrite? Iron Pyrite better known as Fools Gold is a shiny goldish mineral that is often mistaken for gold, but there are many ways to tell the difference. Wow, science and fantasy football all wrapped in one article. No wonder I am spending my Saturday nights writing Fantasy Football 2017 articles for Gridiron Experts.

Back to Fantasy Football 2017 Fools Gold.  What is it? Fools Gold players are players who appear shiny from a great 2016 campaign or are Free Agents, so there will be a ton of hype surrounding them. I am here to help you strike fantasy football 2017 Gold instead of wasting your time digging for “Fools Gold.”

Matt Ryan

Quarterback- Atlanta Falcons

Starting this off with a bang with 2016 NFL MVP Matt Ryan. Last season the Falcons offense soared high above expectations due to the excellent play of Ryan. Scoring a league-best 540 points, eighth-most points scored all-time. So why would Ryan be fantasy football 2017 Fools Gold?

The Falcons lost their Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan who is now the head coach of the 49ers. Shanahan is one of the great offensive minds in football so losing him will be a big loss. The SuperBowl hangover is a real thing, ask the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton. Imagine how hungover the Falcons are after blowing a 28-3 lead in the SuperBowl. Too soon? Last reason is simply MVP digression. The last three MVPs of the NFL all saw digression in their stats from their MVP season to the next season.

1. Cam Newton MVP season (2015): 3,837 yards, 35 TDs, 10 INTs, 99.4 Passer Rating
Cam Newton 2016 season: 3,509 yards, 19 TDs, 14 INTs, 75.8 Passer Rating

2. Aaron Rodgers MVP season (2014): 4,381 yards, 38 TDs, 5 INTs, 112.2 Passer Rating
Aaron Rodgers 2015 season: 3,821 yards, 31 TDs, 8 INTs, 92.7 Passer Rating

3. Peyton Manning MVP season (2013): 5,477 yards, 55TDs, 10 INTs, 115.1 Passer Rating
Peyton Manning 2014 season: 4, 727 yards, 39 TDs, 15 INTs, 101.5 Passer Rating

From those numbers, the MVP-winning quarterbacks experienced a 12 percent decrease in yards, a 30 percent decrease in touchdowns, a 32 percent increase in interceptions and a 17 percent decrease in passer rating. If we take those averages and imply them to Ryan’s 2016 MVP season his numbers for 2017 look like; 4,351 yards, 27 TDs, 10 INTs, 103 Passer Rating.

Now if you think that is unfair to imply that I suggest you look at Ryans last six seasons where he played all 16 games. If you average out those six seasons his numbers look like; 4,400 yards, 27 TDs, 14 INTs, 93 Passer Rating. Seem similar?Ryan is a great quarterback but his current price tag of quarterback six according to Gridiron Experts Quarterback rankings may leave people feeling like they found Fantasy Football 2017 Fools Gold.

Jordan Howard

Running Back- Chicago Bears

Jordan HowardFrom a talent standpoint. I think Jordan Howard showed a lot of promise in his rookie campaign but history and lack of talent around him are concerning. Let’s get the elephant out of the room first by saying the Bears offense is a mess currently. The Bears don’t know who their quarterback is and their receiving core is nonexistent. Yes, Howard will be the focal point of the offense but how did that work for Todd Gurley in 2016 when he was the only talented piece on offense?

Now for past history, I wanted to stay quite relevant so I went back and looked at the last four seasons of rookie running backs to score over 180 fantasy points in their rookie season. The three rookies were; Doug Martin (2012), Jeremy Hill (2014), and Todd Gurely (2015). So let’s dive into the numbers to see how these standout rookies fared in their sophomore season.

1. Doug Martin Rookie season (2012): 16 Games played, 319 carries, 1,454 yards (4.6 ypc), 11 TDs.
Doug Martin Sophomore season (2013): 6 Games played, 127 carries, 456 yards (3.6 ypc), 1 TD.

2. Jeremy Hill Rookie season (2014): 16 Games played, 222 carries, 1,124 yards (5.1 ypc), 9 TDs.
Jeremy Hill Sophomore season (2015): 16 Games played, 223 carries, 794 yards (3.6 ypc), 11 TDs.

3. Todd Gurley Rookie season (2015): 13 Games played, 229 carries, 1,106 yards (4.8 ypc), 10 TDs.
Todd Gurley Sophomore season (2016): 16 Games played, 278 carries, 885 yards (3.2 ypc), 6 TDs.

As you can see the Sophomore years were much worse than the Rookie breakout season. The biggest reason for the “Sophomore Slump” is opponents get an entire year to study your game film and prepare on how to stop not only the player but the entire offense. According to Gridiron Experts Running Back rankings, Howard is the 5th ranked running back. Howard is young and talented but giving NFL coaches a full year to scheme for him on a talentless Bears offense will lead to his Sophomore Slump and thus making him Fantasy Football 2017 Fools Gold.

Carlos Hyde

Running Back- San Fransisco 49ers

[the_ad id=”66786″]When looking at Carlos Hyde this offseason people will concentrate on the fact the 49ers have a new head coach in Kyle Shanahan and forget all his injury issues.Be prepared for the Hyde hype train to be in full force this offseason because people will think the success Shanahan had with the Falcons running backs will be the same for Hyde.

Last season the Falcons top two running backs (Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman) combined for 345 carries, 1,599 yards and 19TDs on the ground and had 85 receptions for 883 yards and five touchdowns through the air. Which means since Hyde is the workhorse for the 49ers he will get all that production right? Sorry, not going to happen.

Hyde’s biggest issue in his career has been his injuries. Since gaining the lead running back role for the 49ers in 2015 he has only played in 20 games and missed 12. Not very dependable. But injuries are hard to predict I get it. So a totally healthy Hyde for 16 games means he will be a Fantasy Football 2017 superstar right? Again, sorry not quite.

He plays for a team that doesn’t have a quarterback on the roster, think about that. The 49ers can’t score even when Hyde was healthy last year, in fact, he didn’t find the end zone once in his last seven games. With the lack of talent surrounding the 49ers and injury history of Hyde, he may be the ultimate Fantasy Football 2017 Fools Gold player.

Latavius Murray

Running Back – Free Agent

So how can a free agent Running Back who scored 12 touchdowns last season and not be on an NFL team be considered Fantasy Football 2017 Fools Gold? Simple, he isn’t any good.

Murray is supposed to be a running back who at any play can take it to the house, yet he only had five runs that went for more than 20 yards in 2016. Also, a yard per carry (ypc) of 4.0 with the talent on the Raiders offense and that offensive line is horrible. Just ask the backup running backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard who averaged a combined 5.6 ypc and had 12 runs of over 20 yards.

Murray is in the best possible situation with the Raiders so any other team he goes to will be a significant downgrade. For anyone who believes in Murray’s talent, be ready for a rude awakening in 2017.

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Alshon Jeffery

Wide Receiver – Free Agent

Alshon JefferyAlshon Jeffery and gold have one thing in common; they’re are both soft. The last two seasons Jeffery has played in 21 games and missed 11. In the 21 games that he was able to play in, he was listed as questionable for 13 of them. So you’re telling me I have to draft a receiver in the first four rounds of drafts who has missed 34 percent of his games and when he does play I have to wonder if he is healthy enough to play 62 percent of the time? No thank you.

Jeffery has talent, but his work ethic has always been a huge concern. One of the biggest knocks on Jeffery before entering the NFL was his work ethic. Other NFL players around the league have called him “lazy.” All topped with him getting suspended four games in 2016 for using PED’s.

Anytime you see a player with his ability being thrown away by an organization it should be alarming. Jeffery will be paid this offseason, and I feel sorry for the team that decides he deserves that kind of money. Imagine how bad his work ethic will be once he receives a big fat paycheck. Jeffery will be a constant headache for anyone who believes he will be a reliable Fantasy Football 2017 Wide Receiver.

Brandin Cooks

Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints?

[the_ad id=”63198″]There have been rumors surrounding the likelihood of the Saints trading Brandin Cooks due to his unhappiness of his involvement in the Saints offense. If Cooks is traded, he will fall on Fantasy Football 2017 draft boards everywhere. For Dynasty players if you can still sell high, please do, take a look at where Cooks ranks on our Wide Receiver rankings here at Gridiron Experts now compared to when he is traded. It will be eye opening.

For the type of player that Cooks is, the perfect fit for him in an offense is his current role with the Saints. He is paired with arguably the best deep ball throwing quarterback in the league in Drew Brees. Brees has been in the top five of deep ball accuracy six of the last eight year, which is an NFL best. On top of that, Cooks is an entirely different player on turf than he is on grass. If he goes to a team that plays on grass, it will destroy his Fantasy Football 2017 numbers.

Take a look at his numbers on turf and on grass the last three seasons.

  • Grass: 64 catches, 861 yards, 6 TDs
  • Turf: 151 catches, 2,000 yards, 14 TDs

That’s a remarkable difference. The chances of Cooks finding a better place to play than New Orleans for his skill set is nearly zero which is why he will be Fools Gold for the Fantasy Football 2017 season.

Tyreek Hill

Wide Receiver- Kansas City Chiefs

Tyreek HillNot sure if there was a more electric player in 2016 than Tyreek Hill. Heck, it even earned him the name Tyreek “The Freak.” He was a Swiss Army Knife for the Chiefs offense. The hype surrounding Hill will be and currently is very high which will push him up draft boards.

When doing my analysis on Hill, I felt like I was experiencing Deja Vu. A gadget player who tore up the NFL in his first year. Then the light bulb clicked Cordarrelle Patterson of the Minnesota Vikings. So I dove into the numbers, and the results were shockingly similar.

  • Hill 2016: 85 touches, 860 yards, 9 TDs or 10 yards per touch and nine touches per touchdown. Plus three Punt/Kickoff return touchdowns.
  • Patterson 2013: 57 touches, 627 yards, 7 TDs or 11 yards per touch and eight touches per touchdown. Plus two Kickoff return touchdowns.

Those are shockingly similar. So what were Patterson’s numbers in 2014? He had 43 touches, 501 yards and two touchdowns with zero punt/kickoff return touchdowns. The main reasons for his lack of success were NFL defenses learned how to focus on Patterson after a full offseason and the Vikings were a vanilla offense. The Chiefs run a super vanilla offense, and the NFL has entire offseason to gameplan and watch film on Hill.  Again, sound familiar?

Now I believe Hill is a more gifted athlete than Patterson, but I don’t believe he will have the type of season people who draft him will be hoping for which makes Hill Fantasy Football 2017 Fools Gold.

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Travis Kelce

Tight End – Kansas City Chiefs

At first glance, people are going to think I am crazy, which is fine but let me explain myself with Kelce. Last season he finished as the number one Tight End in Fantasy Football which means this season he will likely be drafted as the number one Tight End in football. For anybody who thinks Kelce is the number one Tight End, please do two things. First, check Gridiron Experts Fantasy Football 2017 Tight End Rankings and second read the rest of this article.

Kelce in 2016 posted a solid stat line of 85 catches, 1,125 yards, and four touchdowns or 138 fantasy points which as I stated above was good for him being the top Tight End in 2017. Now, what if I told you the Tight Ends in 2016 were pathetic when looking at seasons 2013-2015? If Kelce would have scored 138 fantasy points in the years 2013-2015 this is how he would rank.

  • 2015: 7th best Tight End
  • 2014: 4th best Tight End
  • 2013: 4th best Tight End

Now his 2016 season seems a little less impressive no? Kelce will have a high price tag this season, so please don’t be a fool and wrap your head around the idea of waiting on a Tight End. If you thought I was going to say something else, then we think alike.



  1. robbyrobdu

    March 12, 2017 at Sunday, March,12

    I am NOT saying Howard is not fools gold….guy is insanely overrated, personally I wouldn’t even consider him as a top 10 RB in a redraft OR Dynasty.

    But to say that his supporting cast is as bad as Gurley’s is laughable.

    Sleep on Meredith all you want…he is an amazing route runner with some of the best hands in the league (and do look at his numbers and be even more amazed when seeing who the QBs were)…and if we are just talking talent, White is a monster. Throw in Miller or any of the insanely talented TE in this draft (Or both)….and this was an extremely poor comparison.

  2. Gary VanDyke

    March 7, 2017 at Tuesday, March,7

    I think you hit on every player

    • robbyrobdu

      March 12, 2017 at Sunday, March,12

      I agree…except for Murray and maybe Cooks…well now that he is in NE almost definitely lol.

      For Murray, something huge to remember is THE RAIDERS ARE ALWAYS UNDERMINING him. He looks the part and puts up the numbers, yet they are always giving touches to other players and trying to trade him every year.

      Murray has the intangibles and physical ability to be very good if not great.

      He is the closest thing physically to Adrian Peterson in the league and with a team that believes in him, he could see marked improvement…

      Oh and 4.1 ypc hasn’t been bad in a VERY long time, at his size he doesn’t have to be a HR hitter…but yes he has the speed and ability to be that in the proper scheme.

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