Monday, 23 April 2018
2017 In Review Editor's Pick News and Analysis

2017 Fantasy Football in Review: Wide Receivers

2017 Fantasy Wide Receivers in Review: The best value, rookie, biggest bust and MVP of the 2017 fantasy football season.

Above: Photo of Antonio Brown by Paula Lively/Wikimedia Commons.

 

Best Rookie: JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)

The Steelers could be the best at finding young wide receivers in the draft — ones that can make a immediate impact. Smith-Schuster — the youngest player in the N.F.L. at just the age of 21 — was taken as the 65th receiver off the board in fantasy drafts and the rookie finished the year as WR20 and really flashed his ability when teammate Antonio Brown went down with a calf injury late in the season. The Steelers will have a new offensive coordinator coming in this year and what an arsenal he has to scheme with. Smith-Schuster’s future looks very bright and I believe we’ve yet to see his ceiling.

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Biggest Bust: Amari Cooper (OAK)

Poor quarterback play spotty play calling (and a bit of bad luck, or whatever you want to call it) plagued Cooper all season. It’s not what we expected from a guy that was taken as WR9 (Cooper finished as WR36). With all the big changes to the coaching staff, maybe Jon Gruden can set both Amari Cooper and his quarterback Derek Carr on the right track and cultivate a winning culture.

BEST DRAFT VALUE: Keenan Allen (LAC)

After a injury-plagued two seasons, including missing all but one game in 2016, Allen came back with authority in 2017, stressing why he commanded the respect of a WR1. Phillip Rivers’s favorite target wracked up 102 catches this year on 159 targets and 6 receiving touchdowns. He also added one rushing touchdown to his total. As long as Allen can stay healthy he’s locked in as a top 8 WR.

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MVP: Antonio Brown (PIT)

The fact he missed his last two games and still led the league in receiving yards is a testament to his greatness. The next closest was Julio Jones who remained 89 yards shy of Brown, whose 1,533 yards and 9 TD’s in 14 games was remarkable. He’s 29 years old but he looks like he’s got legs just as fresh as when he stormed into the league in 2010 as a 6th round pick with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. That chip has grown into a very large boulder that has helped him etch a amazing career and he’s not done yet.

HOW WERE OUR PRESEASON PREDICTIONS?

By Justin Sablich

Two words: Terrelle Pryor. Yes, evidence exists of me telling the world how he’ll be fine in Washington. Welp. To be fair, I don’t think even those who were down on him thought he’d implode in such a fashion. But yeah, I’m owning it, I was horribly wrong. And Kelvin Benjamin I was totally in love with. He hurt me (real bad).

Now, the good parts. Brandin Cooks looks pretty darn smart looking back at our preview article. Some experts thought he wouldn’t be a good fit for the Pats, as he was no stranger to many a bust article.  But he turned out to be just fine, finishing as the WR7 overall.

I also warned you about Amari Cooper and he was the biggest bust of the year, as my friend Marcus details above. And Allen Robinson busted because of an injury, but had he stayed healthy, I think Blake Bortles would have sunk him anyway, which is why I was not a fan last summer.

During the season, if you trust fantasypros.com to grade weekly rankings, we were 82nd out of the 111 experts who submitted rankings to the site.