Week 16 spelled the end of the fantasy season for a lot of leagues. Some of your leagues may play through week 17, and if so, good luck to you in the championship. Like last week, week 16 was relatively low scoring. Andrew Luck had been so great this entire year, and then he goes out and can't get anything going against the Cowboys. With his zero point effort, I am sure he left a lot of owners in the finals disappointed.
With most of the leagues having finished, I will be listing four guys below who I believe will go too high in drafts next season. It is good to recognize these guys now, as some will be touted as "sleepers", but once you factor in the round investment it will take to get them, it won't be worth it. After that I will talk about the future value of those who put up top performances in week 16.
So lets dive into those four players:
RB - Latavius Murray: 60th Ranked RB going into week 16
It hurts a little bit to write this as I love the natural skills that he possess, but the Raiders offensive line is awful at run blocking. They are very good pass blockers, ranking as the fourth best offensive line in pass protection according to Football Outsiders, but are ranked 27th in run blocking. Murray will be touted as a trendy sleeper next year because of his natural abilities, but that can only take you so far. He will be ranked in the top 20 by most people, and then once you factor in the sleeper hype that will continue to push him up further on draft boards causing him to have to put up a best case scenario just to return his draft day value to you. I think this situation will closely resemble the Andre Ellington one from this year where he is a "sleeper" in the top 20 that continues to gain steam during the preseason all the way to the point where he gets drafted in the first 3 or 4 rounds. If the Raiders fix their run blocking problems in the offseason, then I will start to rethink my stance on Murray.
RB - Ahmad Bradshaw: 20th ranked RB going into week 16
Bradshaw got hurt in week 11 for the rest of the season, but up until then he was a top 10 RB. I don't believe that he will be drafted as one, but my guess is that people will look at his first half stats and consider him in the top 15 of RB's. He had an unsustainable rate of TD's per receptions with almost 1 TD per 6 receptions as a Running Back. Bradshaw has always had nagging injuries in his career, and as he gets older this won't change. I don't see him returning top 15, or even top 20 value next year based on his unsustainable rate or receiving TD's, and his injury history.
These next two guys won't be touted as sleepers, but they are ones that will most likely be taken at a spot too rich to return any value.
TE - Julius Thomas: 6th ranked TE going into week 16
The season started out great for Thomas, but then he started to fall back to reality. His calling card is his ability to score redzone TD's over and around any defender. With the emergence of C.J. Anderson, the Broncos have been running the ball in from close because he has had great success doing it. This is terrible news for Thomas as he thrives off of those scores. The Broncos also use him a little bit in the middle of the field, but not to the extent of other top tiered Tight Ends. Thomas will definitely be ranked in the top 5 TE's next year, and probably top 3, but that isn't the part I have a problem with. This year Thomas most likely went in the third round of your draft, and next year I see the same thing happening. I wouldn't jump on Thomas until the sixth round as of right now because of the value he will be losing next year. By taking him in the third round, you need him to produce about 1000 yards and 10 TD's just to return some value to you. Expecting something the best is not how you should value him, but rather value him based on what is most likely to happen.
RB - Alfred Morris: 10th ranked RB going into week 16
In games where Robert Griffin III has started, Morris is averaging just under 16 fantasy points per game, compared to just a little over 6.5 fantasy points per game when he doesn't. I would be surprised if RG3 is the starting QB in Washington next year after all that has happened, and because of this Morris losses a lot of value. He needs RG3 and the read option offense to succeed as a one-cut back. Morris will probably be one of the first 15 backs off the board, and that isn't close to what his value will be when RG3 isn't his QB.
Those are just four of the guys I believe will be overvalued going into drafts next season. Want my thoughts on a different player you think may be overvalued or undervalued going into next season, then just leave a comment below.
Now into those who put up top performances when you needed it:
QB - Russell Wilson 339 Passing Yards, 2 TD's, 6 Rushes for 88 Yards and 1 TD, 35 Fantasy Points
This now marks the third time that Wilson has eclipsed the 30 point mark this season. Going into the year he was viewed as a borderline number one QB by myself and others. That has all changed with the performances he has displayed this year. Next year he is in the second tier of QB's with Tom Brady and Drew Brees for the 4-6 spots.
QB - Ryan Tannehill 396 Passing Yards, 4 TD's and 1 INT, 29 Fantasy Points
In his second year under Philbin, Tannehill has enjoyed a lot of success that I believe will continue forward. There have been a couple of differences in the Miami offense this year compared to last, and that is in the receiving corps. Mike Wallace didn't have the familiarity with Tannehill in his first year, but now this year the two of them have been able to connect on a lot of different types of passes. The other big addition is rookie Jarvis Landry. While he may not be as good as his LSU counterpart, Landry has been a very consistent option that Tannehill has looked for a lot over the second half of the season. Both of these receivers are going to help Tannehill continue on this path, which makes him a borderline top 10 QB going into next season.
RB - Marshawn Lynch 10 Carries for 113 Yards and 2 TD's, 23 Fantasy Points
In the preseason I had written about how I thought the heavy workload from the past three seasons would finally catch up to him, but that is far from the truth. While Lynch has touched the ball less this season, he has still been just as effective as he was the past three seasons. Lynch is in the top 5 consideration for drafts next year, and his final spot will depend on the situation he is in. Does Lynch play another season in Seattle? Does he get traded to a team in desperate need of a Running Back, like Dallas? Once we know this, then ranking him will be very easy, but expect him to be inside or right around the top 5 next season.
RB - Frank Gore 26 Carries for 158 Yards and 1 TD, 21 Fantasy Points
Overall a disappointing season from Gore. I didn't have too high of expectations for him going into the year, but the fact that the 49ers stuck with him is what surprised me the most. Gore wasn't effective for the most part, but San Francisco still insisted on giving him the ball instead of Carlos Hyde earlier this year. Gore will struggle in the future if given the starting opportunity, but I don't believe he will. A useful one week fill in next year depending on the situation, but nothing more than that.
WR - Odell Beckham Jr. 12 Targets, 8 Receptions for 148 Yards and 2 TD's, 26 Fantasy Points
The third straight week that Beckham Jr. has been on this list. I have written about him so many times that I feel as though I would just be repeating myself by talking about him. In the top tier of receivers next year with, Brown, Thomas, Nelson, Bryant, Julio, Calvin, and Green.
WR - Rueben Randle 6 Targets, 6 Receptions for 132 Yards and 1 TD, 19 Fantasy Points
Finally Randle takes the targets he has been getting and produces a good game. I liked what he had shown last season, but that hadn't really carried forward this year. Next year Randle will be one of those late round picks you hope has a breakout year, or he just turns into a guy you drop for someone else in three weeks and no harm done. If Cruz is back next season and healthy, Randle shouldn't be drafted, but if he isn't healthy, go ahead and take a flier on him.
TE - Luke Willson 3 Targets, 3 Receptions for 139 Yards and 2 TD's, 25 Fantasy Points
This is performance is getting the most bang for your buck. On just three catches to do what he did is remarkable, however I am just going to shrug it off. Russell Wilson spreads the ball around so much that it is difficult to like any of the Seattle WR's or TE's going into next season. A game like this will happen for Willson one week, then Baldwin the next, and who knows maybe Paul Richardson next year joins the party. The only good note from this is that it doesn't matter who Russell Wilson is throwing the ball to, since he is just that good of a QB.
TE - Antonio Gates 9 Targets, 7 Receptions for 92 Yards and 2 TD's, 21 Fantasy Points
Another player that I was completely wrong about in the preseason. I though Gates would get hurt like usual, and then Ladarius Green would step up and take over as the number one Tight End in San Diego. Well that hasn't been the case with Gates posting one of his best seasons ever. Even with the great stats that Gates has, he has been inconsistent for most of the year. Either he has a great game, or he goes out and does nothing for you. Right now I would say that Gates is just outside my top 5 TE's going into next year, but I have learned that the injury concerns may have been a little overblown.