2017 Fantasy Football Reactions
Todd Gurley was one of the biggest 2017 Reactions AND Lessons Learned (Jim Bryant/UPI)

“There’s just too much risk. Even if Todd Gurley thrives under McVay, how will he overcome a mediocre QB and a gauntlet of a schedule??”

– Me on Draft Day

LOL.

I only laugh because it’s all I can do to keep the tears from falling. Only the bravest were willing to draft Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley at his Average Draft Position (ADP). Everyone else’s reactions (especially those of us who made the playoffs) we straight out of horror films as he destroyed championship hopes all over the world.

Passing on Gurley may have obliterated what little confidence you had in your draft skills. Take courage, fellow fantasy connoisseur. We here at Vendetta Media are here for you, even when Eric Ebron isn’t (so, 24/7). To help you get the Todd-Gurley-350pt.-fantasy-season taste out of your mouth, we’ve highlighted our reactions to the 2017 fantasy football season and lessons learned in two articles (see part 2 here)[needs to be linked]. Plus, we have some insight that will be crucial leading up to the 2018 draft season.

Don’t Overreact to a Player’s Matchups

I want to move on, but I can’t. EVERYONE went into this season bitter from the 2016 season. We tried to justify avoiding him by looking at the matchups throughout the regular season and fantasy playoffs. Fantasy football is an emotional game (my wife has witnessed said emotion… more than once). Overreacting to the big names of the NFC West defenses and non-division schedule caused millions of players to miss out on Gurley. By reading this, however, you are learning a valuable lesson for next years draft. DO NOT OVERREACT!

During your draft, only consider a player’s fantasy matchups in a “tie-breaker” of sorts between him and another player. It should not be a major factor in deciding who to grab, especially in the early rounds. It’s a classic case of over-analysis. Injuries and unanticipated poor defensive performances on their schedule allowed enough light in for Gurley to shine, and shine he did.

Now, to be fair, there were several other factors why I believed Todd Gurley to be a risky pick: new young head coach, questions on his ability after the 2016 season, THE NFC West, new young head coach, etc… Did I mention the young head coach?

You Can Trust the Next Generation of Coaches

All millennials, including myself, owe Sean McVay an apology. We all complain about the lack of opportunity for our generation, mostly via Twitter while sitting in our parents’ basement.

2017 Fantasy Football Reactions and Lessons Learned
Sean McVay proved his doubters wrong in our 201 7 Fantasy Season Reactions (Harry How/Getty Images)

In all seriousness, most of us have expressed our hesitation at some point with the hirings of young guns Sean McVay and Sean McDermott.

Both men celebrated playoff berths, and each of them had key fantasy players perform at an elite level. McVay’s offense in particular impressed, going from bottom-feeders in points scored and Yds/Gm to first and tenth, respectively. You no longer have to hide from the future, distraught millennials — it is in capable hands.

Elite Tight Ends – Fantasy Football’s Cryptocurrency

Jeremy Gardner, a cryptocurrency advocate, bought his first bitcoin in 2013. Four years, later, his investments are worth many millions, and he is traveling the world and doing whatever he well pleases.

Jeremy Gardner is every Zach Ertz owner, many of whom drafted him in the seventh to eighth round or later.

I apologize to my family and any eyewitnesses who are now stuck with an image of me doing a VERY charismatic dance the first several weeks of Eagles’ games. After that, I would just glance at his boxscore on Sundays like Warren Buffet checking his billion-dollar investments. “Yep, still gaining value.” AKA, I felt like a genius. You fantasy aficionados know that feeling when you invest in the right player on draft day. Mmm-mmm, it’s the metaphorical hole-in-one that keeps us playing even when we still shoot 130+ every golf outing.

2017 Fantasy Reactions
2017 Fantasy Reactions – Zach Ertz exploded into the top TE tier as Carson Wentz’s go-to target. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

However, the value of anything can fluctuate. Gronk owners were just glad he played over half of the season. The Travis Kelce owners rode the up-and-down rollercoaster and ended up pretty satisfied. Yet, both players’ owners had to pay a high price, 2nd-3rd round draft pick to nail down these studs.

Times are changing. The value is sky-high, and everybody knows it.

We know how the TE landscape can change with one, maybe two, injuries. Do you spend that 1st-3rd round pick to get one of the top-tier TEs? We will certainly keep our eyes on their stock as we draw closer to draft season.

The Top Draft Picks’ Composition Will Vary Significantly

In some leagues, you saw three of the top five picks go WR (Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio). However, not only did RBs score higher than the wideouts, the fantasy point dropoff after the top six was eye-opening. The top six RB average fantasy points per game (FP/Gm) in

2017 Fantasy Football Reactions
2017 Fantasy Football Reactions – Keenan Allen (13) wrestles in a TD catch against the Ravens’ top-3 secondary led by Jimmy Smith (22). (HC Alfred/San Diego Union-Tribune)

.5 PPR scoring leagues was 18.15. Seven through twelve? 14.38. 13-24? Not even 11. It is crucial to get a Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, or Alvin Kamara in your lineup.

Oh, and did I tell you the TEs will be purchased at a premium? Look for a Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, or Allen Robinson to slide into the early 3rd round. You may find a diamond.

 

Jim Irsay is a LIAR.

Okay, maybe he was just wrong and listening to the Indianapolis Colts Training Staff, but the motivation to keep people on the edge of their seats wondering about Andrew Luck’s status just seems too savory a storyline for me. Not to mention, I “stole” Luck in the 7th round of a home league and became emotionally invested in this Shakespearean tragedy (I also forgot to draft a backup QB — we’re all human, folks). So there I sat, hanging onto every update, every word coming out of Chuck Pagano and Jim Irsay’s mouths.

Regardless of how you perceive the Colts’ management’s intentions, the hype surrounding Luck in 2018 will dwarf 2017. Along with the hype will be uncertainty. In a perfect world, he remains too risky in other drafters’ eyes, and you can nab him in the 5th-6th rounds. Still, expect there to be more drooling than dodging for Luck.

Still Drafting Defense in the 10th Round?

I beg you, continue to do this. Your fantasy adversaries will thank you (and mock you behind your back). However, if you decide you want to try to win in fantasy football, just wait… Once again, we saw some of the top D/STs go undrafted in most fantasy leagues. I will go into more detail on this topic in our “The Strategy of Drafting a D/ST (Hint: You DON’T)”.

NOT A DRILL: multiple leagues I am a part of had the Rams, Chargers, Ravens, Eagles, Saints available prior to week 2. All top-10 defenses. Why just why, would you draft the Seahawks in the 8th round? Cease that poor decision-making. Now.

Kickers… More Bane than Boon?

If you play fantasy football with family members, you know the rivalry is real. Once the final whistle blows on Monday night, you begin a de-fraternization policy toward your brother (or sister) that lasts until the next week. The only communication is trash talk via memes and gifs.

Semifinals. Brother against brother. Both our guys all played early. I’m falling behind, the

2017 Fantasy Football Reactions Robbie Gould
Robbie Gould kicks one of SIX FGs in the December 17th game against the Tennessee Titans. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

deficit seeming all-too-certain as I trust in one, Robbie Gould. Needing 11 points, Gould delivered a more-than-sufficient 24 points in our scoring format! Once I finished relishing in the victory — and did I ever — I felt some empathy toward my little inferior brother. His team was better and played better, but the kicker made the difference; The player with the highest external-factor volatility. By our scoring (3pts for 30-39, 4pts for 40-49, 5pts for 50+), there were more kickers with at least one start-worthy performance (top 12) than there are NFL teams. How’s that for consistency?

You’re always going to hear both sides of this argument. Some players see strategy involved in selecting a kicker, while others see no real benefit or strategy to having a kicker on your fantasy roster. Either way, consider this going forward as you prepare your league for another great season.

This Season Was a Blast

Rookies going crazy. High-profile trades going on throughout the season. This season was one for the books. I cannot remember a more frustrating/enjoyable season, and only in fantasy football does that oxymoron make sense. For more reactions to the season and a stat breakdown of the QB, RB, & WR positions, click here for part 2.

 

Dylan Hendricks is a Fantasy Football Contributor for Vendetta Media. You can find him on Twitter @TheFFLAbacus, or email any questions to dylan.hendricks@vendettasportsmedia.com