Part of what makes fantasy football great is identifying breakout performers. In a dynasty setting the rewards is enhanced significantly by the luxury of then being able to hold onto said player for the duration of his career. If you can nab the next Antonio Brown for the cost of a few waiver wire bucks or a late draft pick, you’ve just performed a resounding roster upgrade simply by being vigilant while other owners were still waiting for more data points.
However, there exists a flip side of that coin. Many of these breakouts will wind up as one-hit wonders (Steve Slaton says hi), leaving you with nothing more than some temporary production and a bitter taste in your mouth when you were counting on them as core components of your team moving forward. Knowing when to cash out on a player who gained a significant amount of value is every bit as important as identifying him in the first place.
As always, 2016 was no different in providing us with several of these “gatecrashers.” After combing through the PPR Top-50 lists, I’ve created lists of players who, to varying degrees, came out of nowhere to crash the fantasy party. From here, it’s time to determine how they should be valued moving forward.
Yesterday I looked at the first half of running backs, now let’s continue with the rest!
Terrance West, RB BAL (PPR RB23, ADP = 184.7)
We’re now decidedly into the “other guys” portion of the running back rankings, but it’s still a monumental upset that West finished the year as a PPR RB2. Unfortunately for West, one of the only things that would be a bigger upset is if the Ravens don’t select a ball carrier in the first few rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. While West had a few bright spots, his usage was unpredictable and he only surpassed 15 carries four times. Kenneth Dixon did little to distinguish himself when healthy, but was nevertheless there to siphon away 10 touches per game. West’s price keeps him in the conversation, but I wouldn’t expect anything approaching a repeat in 2017.
Verdict: He still only costs a song and a dance, and you won’t get anything for him via trade. He’s not a bad end-of-bench stash, but little more at this point.
Chris Thompson, RB WSH (PPR RB28, ADP = 188.0)
Given the tumult in the Redskins backfield, Thompson received some off-season hype. On the whole, however, he underwhelmed. While he’s a solid pass catcher, he doesn’t do it with enough frequency to overcome his lack of run game use (only four games with six or more carries). Thompson is the definition of an aggregator, who never really popped on a weekly basis and was just kind of “there” at the end of a healthy year. Similar to Baltimore above, I expect Washington to add at least one ball carrier from the draft.
Verdict: He doesn’t do any one thing well enough to mitigate his lack of usage. I just don’t see the upside, and would use him as a throw-in in a trade.
You can find his (typically strong and hopefully reasonable) opinions on Twitter at@EDH_27.