Superstition runs rampant in Fantasy sports, and literally any potential edge that can be found will be devoured. Sometimes there’s some credence to these claims, but one of my favorite myths is contract year players.
For some strange reason, there’s this thought that professional athletes at the highest level will play at a higher level when there is a future contract on the line.
However, a couple of years ago, this theory was largely debunked for the general player population. At best, contract-year players will produce slightly better than usual. If you are looking for a list of NFL players in their contract years, this is still your place.
However, what is interesting is the psyche of some players, and there are some that are certain players where the money does influence their performance. Some things like age and holdout status will absolutely hold bearing on your Fantasy teams, as opposed to performing better to earn a bigger contract. In this writer’s opinion, these are the kinds of players to look for when looking at contract situations.
This isn’t to say that these players are greedy or undeserving of a payday. They have potential loss of points through holdouts, or face a significant pay decrease if they are no longer effective.
Contract Year Players
|Le'Veon Bell||Pittsburgh Steelers|
LeVeon Bell holds the only real risk of holdout among contract year players, as he awaits a large payday. He likely will not be participating in any meaningful way for any of the Steelers’ preseason anyway. I wouldn’t worry about his ability to come in and contribute once the contract situation is cleared up. That being said, he runs the risk of not playing early in the season if he decides to extend his holdout. Bell is an elite running back and should be seriously considered in all formats.
Something to Lose
|Jimmy Graham||Seattle Seahawks|
|Delanie Walker||Tennessee Titans|
|Martavis Bryant||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Alshon Jeffery||Philadelphia Eagles|
|DeSean Jackson||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Danny Woodhead||Baltimore Ravens|
|Frank Gore||Indianapolis Colts|
|Kirk Cousins||Washington Redskins|
Here’s where the list gets interesting. Danny Woodhead and Frank Gore are older running backs and the NFL is a young man’s game. These two need to showcase their talents if they want to be employed at this point next year. Woodhead has an exceptionally interesting situation with Kenneth Dixon having some complications. Consider Delanie Walker in the same boat, being a 34-year-old tight end is certainly no small feat.
Meanwhile, Desean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery are very talented receivers with a lot to offer, but only signed one year “prove it” deals to make themselves more valuable on the market next year. Martavis Bryant is in a similar situation, as he needs to show that he can remain on the field and be a force again. Especially after some serious off-field troubles.
Injuries have plagued Jimmy Graham and Keenan Allen over the last few years. These elite talents need to show they can stay healthy long enough for a team to be interested in giving them a contract. Both Graham and Allen are fierce competitors, but they need to prove their worth once more.
Finally, the unique case of Kirk Cousins. He is clearly still upset with how the Redskins have handled everything thus far and relations don’t seem like they will thaw anytime soon. He’s stated that he will play, but how happy he is doing so might be a different story. This will be the story that follows the Redskins all season long, and they are hoping to keep Cousins around for the long term.
|Jordan Reed||Washington Redskins|
|Travis Kelce||Kansas City Chiefs|
|DeAndre Hopkins||Houston Texans|
|Doug Baldwin||Seattle Seahawks|
|Davante Adams||Green Bay Packers|
|Julian Edelman||New England Patriots|
|Larry Fitzgerald||Arizona Cardinals|
|Pierre Garcon||San Francisco 49ers|
|Jarvis Landry||Miami Dolphins|
|Terrelle Pryor||Washington Redskins|
|Allen Robinson||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Emmanuel Sanders||Denver Broncos|
|Willie Snead||New Orleans Saints|
|Mike Wallace||Baltimore Ravens|
|Tyrell Williams||Los Angeles Chargers|
|Robert Woods||Buffalo Bills|
|Donte Moncrief||Indianapolis Colts|
|Cameron Meredith||Chicago Bears|
|Jordan Matthews||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Quincy Enunwa||New York Jets|
|John Brown||Arizona Cardinals|
|Kenny Britt||Cleveland Browns|
|Devonta Freeman||Atlanta Falcons|
|Isaiah Crowell||Cleveland Browns|
|Latavius Murray||Minnesota Vikings|
|Theo Riddick||Detroit Lions|
|Eddie Lacy||Seattle Seahawks|
|Terrance West||Baltimore Ravens|
|Darren Sproles||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Thomas Rawls||Seattle Seahawks|
|Dion Lewis||New England Patriots|
|Jerrick McKinnon||Minnesota Vikings|
|Carlos Hyde||San Francisco 49ers|
|Giovanni Bernard||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints|
|Andrew Luck||Indianapolis Colts|
|Sam Bradford||Minnesota Vikings|
|Matthew Stafford||Detroit Lions|
|Tyrod Taylor||Buffalo Bills|
These are all guys I would not be remotely concerned about. They are all at the prime age, extremely talented, or are obviously loyal to the organization that they play for. I don’t think Drew Brees is worried about who he is playing for next year. He knows that if he wants to play, someone will pay him enough to do so.
Notice that this list has two of the Top 5 tight ends. Travis Kelce and Jordan Reed are elite; a new contract isn’t going to change their value. Both should be treated no differently being in the last year of their contracts.
Guys like John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, Doug Baldwin, and Darren Sproles are here to win. They know their value, but won’t let their teams suffer because they believe to be worthy of a raise.
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