The new year has arrived, and many of fantasy football enthusiasts are hoping for more success in 2017 than in 2016. Likewise, the following players should be even more productive in 2017 than 2016. Stuck in unfortunate circumstances last season, these players failed to please their fantasy owners and in turn decreased their trade value. The players outlined in this piece represent some the RotoUnderworld Team‘s favorite dynasty league buy-low options.
If your new year’s resolution is to win a fantasy championship, add these players to your wishlist.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills
Let’s be real. Tyrod Taylor isn’t winning a Super Bowl for your favorite team. However, it’s feasible that he can win you a fantasy championship in the near future. With his future as the Buffalo’s QB in serious doubt, now is the time to buy. The typical Taylor owner may be discouraged by his recent passing inefficiencies, which may be attributed to the lack of weapons in the passing game. Or perhaps it’s due to the shoddy Bills offensive line, which is ranked third-worst on PlayerProfiler.com. Despite this, he can still satisfy you on Sundays by amassing fantasy points on the ground. Taylor led the league last year in quarterback carries (95), rushing yards (580), and rushing TDs (6).If he does indeed leave, Taylor should see an improvement of surroundings virtually anywhere he goes. Even if the Bills decide to pick up his 2017 option and continue with him as their starter for the future, he should see a completely different scheme now that Rex Ryan is gone. The Bills currently sit dead last in pass attempts per game (28.9), and if a head coach with a more pass-heavy system takes over, Tyrod Taylor should see an uptick in opportunity. If you own Taylor, sit tight. Everything will be okay. If you don’t have him, get him.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
I’ll try to suppress my affection for Stefon Diggs. He’s the best wide receiver on his team, he’s only 22 years old, and he’s still ascending. He was trapped in a brutally harsh situation in 2016. The Minnesota Vikings’ passing attack was lackluster at best with the absence of focal points Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson. Having to deal with a piss-poor offensive line that gave Sam Bradford little time to throw, Diggs was forced to do most of his work through short passes, posting 8.1 yards per target that is outside the top 70. Despite a 91.7-percent Red Zone Catch Rate, Diggs was seldom the primary target in the red zone.
It’s clear that Sam Bradford does not share my affection for Stefon Diggs, as he had a better connection with tight end Kyle Rudolph, who is second in the NFL in red zone targets. The Vikings offense should be much less restricted when Bridgewater, along with key offensive linemen, return from injury next season. Diggs himself would also benefit from some much-needed rest in the off-season, as he had numerous injuries that forced him to play hurt throughout the year. When the external factors return to his favor, Diggs should be free to run deep routes, get scoring opportunities, and return to fantasy viability.
Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns
Corey Coleman‘s 2016 season was pure hell. Hampered with a hand fracture for a large portion of the season, he was not provided adequate opportunity to develop and flourish as a rookie. During his absence, Terrelle Pryor had a stunning emergence that diminished Coleman’s opportunity when he returned. Pryor might be packing his bags this off-season, which would obviously cause a skyrocket in Coleman’s target share. Additionally, he was regularly faced with a merry-go-round of inadequate starting quarterbacks in 2016, which made it very difficult to develop a rapport with any of them.
Corey Coleman clearly possesses the athletic tools to explode in the future, flaunting upper-percentile workout metrics across the board. Coleman, who was picked at 1.02 in many rookie drafts this past year, disappointed his owners and will likely come at a reduced cost. If Coleman is provided a better environment for the future, his breakout will ensue.
DeAndre Washington, Oakland Raiders
DeAndre Washington struggled for opportunities in his rookie season, as most rookies do. However, he may be given his chance in the near future. With Latavius Murray set to hit the free-agent market in the off-season, Washington is the prime candidate for the starting job. Pending Murray’s departure, Washington’s competition would be limited to just Jalen Richard. If the Raiders were to deploy Washington similarly to how Murray was used last season, Washington may find himself handling the overwhelming majority of the touches with one less running back to worry about. It’s conceivable that Oakland drafts another running back for depth, but doubtful that they would invest heavily in a replacement and abandon Washington’s development.
Just from glancing at the profile, DeAndre Washington‘s athletic versatility is evident. Boasting impressive speed and strength, Washington has the capabilities to hold down a prominent role in the Oakland backfield. He also displayed versatility at the college level, with upper-percentile College Yards Per Carry, as well as College Target Share. Compared to Jalen Richard, whose Speed Score, Agility Score, and Bench Press all fall below the 30th percentile, Washington is without a doubt better-equipped to operate as the primary back and succeed in all phases in Oakland. Washington was drafted by many, myself included, with the mindset that he would supplant Latavius Murray by midseason of 2016. If the Washington owner in your league is growing impatient, do yourself a favor and make an offer.
Chris Thompson, RB, Washington Redskins
The Washington offense is loaded with receiving weapons. Chris Thompson, a 5-7, 192-pound space back, is one of the Redskins’ best. Despite an Opportunity Share outside the top 60, Thompson held his own and sustained a productive season. In 2016, Thompson notched a +31.3 Production Premium, no. 7 among all running backs. Additionally, Thompson was top-10 in Fantasy Points Per Opportunity (1.14), and his 6.0 yards per touch is top-10 in the position.
With the potential departure of various Washington receivers (DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Vernon Davis), Chris Thompson should see a boost in touches. On the off-chance that Thompson relocates, he would likely transfer to a “smaller pond” in which he would find himself higher on the on the target food chain, where he still would inherit an inflated target count. The volume is bound to increase for Thompson with or without a change of scenery. He will never be a workhorse in the NFL, but he could absolutely surge as a top-tier satellite back in fantasy.
Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers
I know, I know. Hunter Henry may not be a buy-low in a number of leagues. However, I believe his stock will only climb from here, making now the time to buy. Has Antonio Gates overstayed his welcome? Yes, but don’t be too discouraged. It appears that the bromance between Philip Rivers and Gates will continue for at least another season, which should depress Henry’s perceived value. Regardless of Gates’s presence as the tight end leader in Hog Rate, Henry was still one of the most efficient tight ends in the NFL.
Last season, Hunter Henry was a top-5 tight end in Production Premium (+31.2), Target Premium (+45.1), Fantasy Points Per Target (2.48), red zone receptions (11) and total touchdowns (8). If Henry can put up such prolific numbers behind Gates, I can’t wait to see what he’ll produce when Gates retires. I’m willing to wait another season before Henry is finally unleashed to obtain all the targets left behind by his predecessor. Henry is one of the treasures at the position, and it would be stupid not to buy him while you can.
Deep League Bonus: Robert Turbin, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Behold! The long-term handcuff you’ve always wanted, Robert Turbin.
It’s very simple. Robert Turbin possesses workhorse stature and athleticism to go along with top-15 in Production Premium, top-5 in Fantasy Points Per Opportunity, and all we need is for Frank Gore to hang up the cleats. Be patient with this one.