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Well, it was fun while it lasted. People everywhere, embrace yourselves, because it is time for the dreaded offseason.

As a Fantasy Football player, there is no worse time of year. We will now have to endure nine long months until kickoff of the 2017 season. You may have been able to win it all this season, and maybe that could help ease the pain. Maybe you lost by one point in your league championship game. Maybe you failed to even make the playoffs. Either way, the offseason is upon us, and we will have to find a way to make it through.

Personally, I like to pretend there is no such thing as an offseason. There is always something Fantasy Football related going on. Over the real NFL offseason, every free agent move, every draft pick, and even every coaching change has an impact on the upcoming Fantasy year. Even though we won’t have our teams to look after, we have to prepare for the upcoming season in order to succeed next season and to keep our sanity that the brutal offseason would otherwise strip from us. Was that over dramatic? I think not.

Currently, we are stuck in the area where we are in the Fantasy offseason but not in the real offseason. That makes it very tough to analyze any new moves because there aren’t any. However, there are plenty of things too look at that can help us gain an edge for next season. So how about we look back at this season and see if there is anything that we can use to our advantage.

This season, there were many things that happened that could possibly make a player go under-the-radar in next year’s drafts. Maybe it was performance related, maybe the person ahead of them on the depth chart is heading for free agency, or maybe it is due to an injury. Either way, let’s take a look at a few players that you could find at a discounted price in your drafts next season.

2017 Fantasy Football Sleepers

The Fallen Stars

Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers

 

Yes, he missed eight games in 2015 and yes, he followed that up by playing in one measly game in 2016. But if you are telling me that I could likely snag a player who could manage over 1,000 receiving yards and 6-7 TDs a season at a WR2 price, then I don’t care about his injury history. This could be a possible league winning pick, and if I had to make the choice, then count me in.

I understand that there is huge risk. He has torn both his PCL and ACL in his football career. However, if you want to win in Fantasy Football, you need to find value. You may want to go the route of taking a high upside yet unproven player, or you can take Keenan Allen, someone that if he can avoid injury, will be a surefire stud. If option #2 is available in the late third or early fourth round, I would jump all over it.

C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos

During the 2013 season, Anderson missed five games due to an MCL injury. However, coming into the 2016 season, injuries weren’t the main concern. His lack of performance during the entire 2015 campaign was a big issue, but his late season emergence shot him right back up into the RB1 conversation. In 2016, injuries ended up taking over and ending his season early after he tore his meniscus in Week 7.

For 2017, there are two glaring concerns with Anderson. First, there is his injury history, as mentioned above. Second, there is his inconsistent play. He failed to top 50 yards in Weeks 3-6 this season after starting out strong, and he struggled greatly throughout the entire 2015 season. These two issues will surely lead to him falling down draft boards. However, there is definitely some value here.

Devontae Booker did absolutely nothing to convince the Broncos that he was their running back of the future while filling in for the injured Anderson. This offense will surely be run heavy with no quarterback solution in sight. Anderson is likely going to be the center of the offense next year, and although he is inconsistent, he is a player who has shown flashes of greatness in the past. That being said, keep an eye on who the Broncos bring in as their next head coach as that could change everything. If you are able to draft a potential borderline RB1 at an RB2 price, I would jump all over it, and Anderson has that profile written all over him.

 

The Possible Void-Fillers

Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins

Although the Redskins passing offense has four legitimate options in Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder, DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, all of them were able to get theirs during the 2016 season. None of them outside of Reed were elite in their position, however they were all able to provide production for Fantasy owners.

Now let’s assume that a few things happen. Kirk Cousins is set for free agency, but I seem him returning. DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are both set to hit the open waters as well. The Redskins will want to do everything in their power to retain both of them. DeSean Jackson has said that he wants to return to the Eagles, and Pierre Garcon could probably be a bigger part of a different option. Let’s assume that at least one of them joins a new team. What does that leave us with? Yes, that is good news for Jordan Reed. Losing one of his receivers may not be too bad for Kirk Cousins, but losing two could kill his Fantasy value. However, let’s not talk about those two. Let’s talk about Jamison Crowder.

The young wide receiver in on his way to finishing up a very nice year in which he is on pace for 69 catches on an even 100 targets for 886 yards and seven touchdowns. Early in the season, he showed what he could do as he was a surprisingly consistent force considering the large amount of mouths to feed in the Redskins offense. Those other mouths eventually caught up to Crowder, as his production wavered near seasons end. However, if a few of those mouths were to disappear, Crowder could see a boost in his workload that could be huge for Fantasy owners.

If one or both of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon leave the Redskins and Kirk Cousins stays, you should try to grab Crowder at his likely low-end WR3 price and you could be getting more of a high-end WR3 or even a borderline WR2.

Cameron Meredith, WR, Chicago Bears

 

With Brian Hoyer at the helm of the Bears offense and Alshon Jeffery struggling, Cameron Meredith put together a very nice two-game stretch during Weeks 5 and 6, putting up 20 catches for 243 yards and a touchdown. The following week, Hoyer suffered an injury that would kill Meredith’s value for the majority of the season. However, in Weeks 13-16, he has quietly posted 27 catches for 378 yards and two scores. With Jeffery facing free agency this offseason and likely to leave, can Meredith step up and be the No. 1 wide receiver in Chicago?

The real concern with Meredith comes with the fact that all four of Meredith’s 100 yard games have been with Jeffery on the field. In those four games, he combined for 38 catches. That is a very large workload to start with, so his workload won’t exactly be increasing. However, he could become more consistent.

There is a large chance that Meredith won’t even be at the top of the depth chart next year. The Bears could draft someone, sign someone in free agency, or even opt to go with Kevin White. However, Meredith has proved that he doesn’t need to be the WR1 to succeed. The bottom line with Meredith is that he has succeeded this season with quarterback issues and not being the primary target in the passing game. If Jeffery leaves, an opportunity would open up for Meredith to become a high-end WR3.

 

The Forgotten Ones

C.J. Prosise, RB, Seattle Seahawks

 

Remember C.J. Prosise? I mean, it’s not like he was ever a household name. But do you remember the player who was shaping up to be an RB2 candidate after breaking out during the middle of the season before going down with a season ending injury? Yeah, let’s talk about him for a second.

When Prosise went down with his injury, it looked like the Seattle backfield was right back in Thomas Rawls’ hands. The rookie that had showed a decent amount of promise was about to give the workhorse job right back to Rawls. However, Rawls has done nothing this year to indicate that he is ready to be a workhorse running back. Outside of a huge game against the Carolina Panthers in Week 13, Rawls has topped 40 yards just twice in the five games that he has played (six when counting the Panthers game), even though he has received double-digit carries in all but one of those games. He also has failed to find the endzone in those five games despite scoring twice against the Panthers. He also has been a total non-factor in the receiving game. Now let’s look at Prosise.

Prosise was not the most productive runner. While he did have a 72-yard touchdown against the Eagles in the game that he suffered his season ending injury, his real impact was in the passing game. He was able to top 80 receiving yards in two out of the six games that he played in the 2016 campaign, which is pretty impressive for a rookie. The Seattle offense just seemed so much more dynamic on the field.

While Rawls may be the first option for carrying the football in 2017, Prosise will certainly have a role catching balls out of the backfield. He could have immediate value, especially in PPR leagues due to his receiving ability. However, it doesn’t stop there. If the oft injured Rawls was to suffer an injury or continue to struggle, Prosise could be given an opportunity as the starter. He was a productive runner in college, and it should only be a matter of time before that translates into the NFL.

Prosise is arguably my favorite sleeper for 2017. He will certainly be a player that I will try to get on as many of my teams as I can, and I suggest that you do the same.

Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

1,001 yards, 11 total touchdowns. Those are Martavis Bryant’s career stats per 16 games. Since we haven’t finished up the 2016 season yet, let’s look at 2015. That would finish as the 13th ranked wide receiver, or a borderline WR1, and we are talking about a man who might be available at a WR3 price.

Now there are reasons that we looked at his per 16 game stats. Injuries and suspensions have stacked up to lead Bryant to only playing in 21 out of 48 possible NFL games. There is even a possibility that the suspension that kept him out the entire 2016 season could carry over into 2017. However, let’s say that he does clean up his act. Even if his touchdown pace doesn’t hold up (15 total touchdowns in 21 games), he still would have a good shot at posting WR2 numbers, although he would still possess that borderline WR1 upside. Sleepers are sleepers for a reason, and Bryant’s reason is that he can’t seem to stay on the field. However, if you nab him and he is able to stay on the field, he could be a league winning pick.

Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out the other great articles here at SCFE!

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