Every year we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the NFL season that was. The coverage will be in-depth, but because the Dynasty Capsule series begins immediately after the regular season, we won’t use it to discuss free agency or the draft. Come see us in early May once Mr. Irrelevant is off the board for another 32-article series giving you the same detailed discussion you’ll see below.
Buckle up dynasty fans, because you’re about to be reminded why our motto is, “There is no off-season.”
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For the seventh time in ten years, Big Ben’s 2016 saw him score 17 points per game. The only thing that really held Roethlisberger back all season was a knee injury that cost him one week and hobbled him for several thereafter. Despite the health issues, his 29 touchdowns were the third highest total of his career. Good signs abound the 34-year-old is aging gracefully.
As long as Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are in town, Ben is a QB1. Although, to be fair, he was a QB1 before them. The moral of the story is despite his rapidly advancing age, Roethlisberger is still my QB9. I’ll be firing him up in leagues everywhere in 2017 and beyond.
Jones threw 119 fewer passes than Jared Goff but only scored 19.3 fewer fantasy points. I don’t know what this means, but in the right hands, it may be the key to stop global warming.
In related news, maybe Jones isn’t as bad as we thought. In his fourth year in the league, and only his second seeing actual game action, Jones showed great improvement. Over two starts he averaged 27/42 passing for 279 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. I wouldn’t suggest he is a future fantasy starter based on this limited sample, but he is a free agent and the league is starving for quarterbacks. You could do worse than to stash him in 2QB and superflex leagues.
Citing concern about Bell’s knee injuries or fondness for the sticky icky is a completely valid reason for not having him as your RB1. But for me, after seeing him healthy and rebuking foes with the vengeance of Mel Gibson on a weekend bender, the choice is clear.
Being the RB3 is impressive enough of a feat, but Bell did it after serving a three game suspension and sitting out week 17. He was ferocious on his way to outscoring dynasty darling David Johnson by .9 points per game. I had to go all the way back to LaDanian Tomlinson in 2006 to find a skill position player who scored more than Bell’s 26.3 points per game. Consider my mind boggled.
I am sad to say it, but 2016 is probably the year Williams’ finally slowed down. After destroying the league last season at the age of 32, the Steelers’ backup struggled his way to 3.5 YPC and 6.6 YPR. He did manage six touchdowns on only 116 touches, but after a week four knee injury, he posted only 2.6 YPC. Complicating dynasty matters further, Williams is an unrestricted free agent.
The old-timer is worth a roster spot in pretty much every league, but I would probably trade him for an early fourth round pick at this point. If I owned him, I’d hit up Bell’s owner with an offer and see if he realizes Williams is a free agent.
The third year pro had another just-a-guy showing in 2016. His inability to curry more than a few touches with Williams missing so much time is probably a bad sign. Toussaint’s long term prospects are as hopeful as an Edgar Allen Poe short story.
Brown is so good, so productive, that he can score three fewer points per game than in 2014 or 2015 and still be the season’s WR1. Still, his owners were probably about as disappointed as you can reasonably be with a 106 reception, 1284 yard, 12 touchdown season. That said, 300 fantasy points is a lot, even if it is 70 or so less than he scored in both previous years.
Don’t take my slight poo-pooing as a slight. Brown is still the premiere fantasy receiver in the league and a top-five dynasty asset. His game showed zero fall-off from prior seasons and he is what I would call a young 28. Brown could easily be one of those guys who is productive well into his 30’s, a theory worth considering when making offers for the possibly undervalued by some stud.
Eli Rogers’ emergence was a huge factor in the Steelers’ success this year. Straight out of the gate, he proved to be the reliable third option on the offense. When Sammie Coates was dropping passes, Rogers was quietly proving his worth, giving us five games of at least 12 fantasy points. His 48 receptions and 594 yards were both second on the team.
And therein lies the problem. The issue is, he doesn’t have a high-volume role and has Coates, whoever is at tight end, and maybe even Martavis Bryant to worry about. For that reason, and because he seems muddled in with the glut of guys I’m about to discuss, Rogers is an off-season sell.
Many smart people have said wide receiver drops is one of the most overrated stats in fantasy. In terms of the effect on counting stats, thus fantasy production, I agree. The problem with that analysis is that it doesn’t take into account how drops affect a player’s standing with his coaches and quarterback. Case in point is Sammy Coates.
Coates five drops on 49 targets is good for the seventh-highest drop percentage among the 222 NFL players with at least 25 targets. We all know opportunity creates production, so when your stone hands are costing you targets, then drops become a serious issue, and so it goes with Coates.
Hands this bad rarely get fixed. It is sort of an is-what-it-is situation. Some guys, Braylon Edwards, briefly, for example, make up for it with volume and skills outside of actually catching the ball. Coates certainly has those sorts of skills, something his 20.7 YPR aims to prove. What he doesn’t have is a huge market share à la Edwards.
Hamilton had about as good of a season as you’d expect for a guy who is on his sixth NFL team in four years. His 17 receptions and 234 yards were a pleasant surprise, but I’m not sure they portend of things to come. Hamilton is not worth a roster spot in anything but the deepest of leagues.
It’s getting late and you’re attention span is only so long, so let’s make this quick. DHB isn’t worth a roster spot. If it wasn’t for his special teams prowess, he may not even be in the NFL.
Prior to his 12 target week 17, I’d never even heard of Ayers. I guess I was napping when he went in the seventh round of this past April’s draft. A quick look tells us he is small (5’9”) and slow (4.72 40). I’m glad the kid got to score a touchdown. My guess is it will be his last.
I’ve never been much of a Wheaton fan, but I got sucked into the idea he’d be the clear second option in the pass game this year. With Big Ben at the helm, I figured he was a shoe-in for weekly WR3 value on volume alone. Then a nine target, four reception season with multiple DNP – Coach’s Decisions happened.
The book has been written on Wheaton. He is a small, middling talented third round drumpf of a wide receiver. I’d be surprised to see the Steelers bring him back and he isn’t likely to be guaranteed anything more than a chance at a roster spot by any other team.
Annnnnnd, finally, we get to Bryant. There has been no indication anywhere as to Bryant’s status with the team, so we don’t have much go on. I’m still rostering him, but with full awareness he may never step foot on a field again. If he does, are we even that sure how good he is? Here is to Bryant’s recovery and to our finding out the answer to that question.
I invested pretty heavily in Green this year, buying fully into the breakout we’ve all waited years for. Unfortunately the injury bug struck again and again. He started the year on IR due to ankle or concussion related issues, depending on who you ask. Then, after returning Week 10, he was concussed for the second time in two seasons, ending his fantasy campaign after only 18 receptions and 304 yards.
As rough of a season as Green had, there were positive signs. When he was in the lineup, Ben looked to him often, feeding the former Charger 25 targets over his last three games. Green rewarded the offense with 207 yards and a score during that stretch. Perhaps more important, he gave them a big target to stretch the seam, something Jesse James and his 8.7 YPR wasn’t.
Green is due back in 2017 and carries a pretty heavy cap hit, so I strongly suspect he will get every opportunity to turn things around for the Steel City.
James’ game resembles what I expect Jason Witten will be doing in five or six years if he is still playing. He is solid, steady, but boring and completely unable to create. That said, he did contribute 36 receptions for 338 yards and three scores while starting most of the season in Green’s stead.
I don’t have much (any) hope James ever has a better season, but I’d be fine owning him in a tight end premium league.
Jeff can be found on Twitter at @FFJeffM
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