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2017 NFL Predictions: Fantasy Studs and Duds at Every Position

Fantasy Football
August 14, 2017

In mid-August, the hardest part of fantasy football mock drafts for owners isn’t necessarily how or when to take players.  

It might be whether an owner should select a player at all.

It’s common knowledge to load up on big-name running backs and wideouts. Most likely understand quarterback is an eye-of-the-beholder ordeal too.

Whether a player is worth a pick outright is something of a roll of the dice, though. Each year, some guys will retain stud status without a problem, but the entire list starts to look like a minefield thanks to potential duds who fall off for various reasons, whether it’s age, schematic changes or otherwise.  

Here’s a look at a potential stud and dud for 2017 at each of the key spots. 

              

QB

Stud: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints 

It isn’t time for fantasy owners to shy away from New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees just yet. 

Brees might be 38, but the offense and weapons around him ensure he won’t have a sudden dud-like performance in 2017. He’s thrown north of 4,000 yards every year dating back to 2005 and in that span hasn’t missed more than a game during a regular season.

The best part might be Brees’ average draft position (ADP), which has him coming off the board at 4.06. He’s the perfect target for owners who want to bridge the gap between ignoring the position for a few rounds and still grabbing an elite signal-caller to plug and play every week. 

           

Dud: Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor quietly finished as a top-10 scorer at his position a year ago. 

The team has since added notable rookie wideout Zay Jones, reliable target Anquan Boldin and traded for Jordan Matthews. But the Bills also traded away Sammy Watkins. 

On one hand, Taylor didn’t have Watkins on the field often. On the other, he’s relying on a rookie and a 36-year-old wideout to act as his main targets who can keep defenses honest. It’s a risky play for owners, especially when rising names like Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz keep popping up by the year. 

          

RB

Stud: David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals

David Johnson isn’t anything close to a one-hit wonder. 

The Arizona Cardinals decided to finally unleash the Northern Iowa product in 2016 and took owners along for the ride. He led all backs in scoring, with 327.8 points, as the lone one to break the 300-point barrier on the back of 1,239 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns as a rusher and another 879 and four as a receiver. 

Given the aging offense in Arizona and the desire to contend before quarterback Carson Palmer departs, it only makes sense Johnson will keep seeing 300-plus touches and produce in similar fashion. 

           

Dud: DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans

DeMarco Murray finished as one of 2016’s bigger surprises, posting 240.8 points in workhorse fashion to land fifth in scoring among running backs. 

The problem, though, is the team added Derrick Henry in the second round of the 2016 draft and fed him 110 attempts to Murray’s 293. 

Murray wound up scoring nine times while rushing for 4.4 yards per carry, but he’s 29, and it’s not hard to see why the coaching staff might look to keep him fresh by evening out the workload. As the Titans keep adding weapons like rookie Corey Davis to the passing game, it’s hard to see Murray getting another career-high 67 targets, either.

             

WR

Stud: Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks

It’s entirely too easy to sleep on Seattle Seahawks wideout Doug Baldwin. 

Baldwin is an iron man of wideouts, having missed just two games since 2012. He happens to be a target monster too, receiving north of 100 targets in each of his past two seasons. 

A year ago, Baldwin turned the attention into a top-10 wideout season above names such as Julian Edelman and Dez Bryant while regressing from 14 to seven touchdowns (expected, but still). He’s not going to climb higher, but Seattle hasn’t added much in the way of players who will steal his targets, and he’s one of the most reliable names on the player list, last year inhaling 94 of those 126 targets.

          

Dud: Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins

Not all target hogs are equal.

Miami Dolphins wideout Jarvis Landry received 131 a year ago, catching 94 of them and being unable to register a top-15 performance at the position by the end of the season.

Landry is a monster in points-per-reception (PPR) formats, but he has averaged all of 10.6 yards per catch during his career and has scored only four touchdowns in each of his past two seasons. 

It gets worse: Landry flirted with dud status before taking into account DeVante Parker is breathing down his neck and swapping out signal-caller Ryan Tannehill for Jay Cutler

           

TE

Stud: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings

Most owners might have left the Minnesota Vikings for dead once Sam Bradford assumed the starting role under center, yet the biggest winner of the ordeal was tight end Kyle Rudolph. 

Line-of-scrimmage usage or not, Rudolph wound up leading the team in targets at 132, getting him to 840 yards and seven touchdowns, good for a top-three performance at the position. 

It doesn’t seem like much will change in Minnesota this year, even if the Vikings hope for a bigger output from young weapons such as Laquon Treadwell. Bradford remains under center and won’t forget the rapport he has with his tight end, who happens to have an ADP of 9.02.

          

Dud: Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cameron Brate catapulted himself into household-name status a year ago by exploding for a top-six season at tight end.

That didn’t stop the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from selecting O.J. Howard at No. 19 in the 2017 draft. 

Brate’s usage won’t necessarily go the way of the dinosaur thanks to the presence of a rookie tight end, but it’s important to keep in mind the offense also added wide receiver DeSean Jackson to the mix, making it unlikely he slots in the top 10 again.

          

All scoring info, points-against info and ownership stats courtesy of Yahoo standard leagues. Average draft position (ADP) courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator.

Read more Fantasy Football news on NerdyFootball.com

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Drew Brees

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Tyrod Taylor

DeMarco Murray