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. Ben Roethlisberger had been so great this entire year, and then he goes out and can't get anything going against the Ravens of all teams. With his four 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 one will be touted as a "sleeper", 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.
Before getting into those four guys, the ranked number is where they stood fantasy points wise entering this week. Now let's dive into those four players:
RB - Devonta Freeman: 1st Ranked RB going into week 16
Freeman has been the best RB in fantasy so far this season, especially when you consider that it only took a late round pick to get him. While he will finish the year as the highest scoring RB, I know that he won't go as the top guy, but I don't think he should even be taken in the first round. We all know of that crazy four game stretch that he had from week 3 thru week 6. What you may not have realized though is how bad he has been down the stretch running the football. Since week 9 Freeman has averaged just under 3.1 YPC. That is awful, and it isn't like he has played the best defenses each and every week. Also consider that there are some elite RB's who got hurt this year. This also only applies to standard leagues, as I do believe his contributions in the passing game will continue to make him a great PPR RB. Guys that I would have ahead of him for next season are: Le'Veon Bell, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Todd Gurley, Thomas Rawls, are the RB's who are definitely going to be ranked ahead of him for me. I would rather have the three stud receivers in Brown, Jones, and Beckham Jr. This now pushes Freeman all the way down to number 10 already, and that isn't even factoring in Cam Newton, or guys who will be on new teams, like Matt Forte and Marshawn Lynch. This Devonta Freeman season was nice, but I feel it may have been more of a fluke than a harbinger of things to come in the future.
WR - Larry Fitzgerald: 9th ranked WR going into week 16
So before the season I had practically written Fitzgerald's football obituary, ranking him 53rd at the position. You read that right, 53rd! Clearly one of the worst calls I made, but I was quick to jump back on board early in the season, as John Brown and Michael Floyd didn't surpass him like I had expected. Then the second half of the season happened, where Fitzgerald just scored his first TD since week 8. Over that span Fitzgerald has seen his targets and receptions diminish since the beginning of the season. I was apparently a half season too early on the Fitzgerald demise. My guess is that Fitzgerald will find himself ranked around, if not firmly inside most people's top 20 WR's. I on the other hand will once again be predicting the shift in Cardinals receivers. We have already seen John Brown and Michael Floyd become more and more involved in the passing game as the season went on. Not only that, but players like David Johnson will be featured more in the passing game. Fitz may still be listed as the top receiver on the team going into next season, but don't be fooled, this isn't going to be his team anymore. The top heavy results he had shouldn't carry any weight for you next year. Don't be surprised when he goes and finishes outside of the top 35 at his position.
RB - Lamar Miller: 5th ranked RB going into week 16
His inclusion on this list is dependant on him resigning with the Dolphins after the season. If the Dolphins decide they don't want to shell out the money for Miller (which is what is looking like the smart play) then feel free to ignore this as he most likely will then be correctly rated. It is looking like Dan Campbell won't be promoted to being the head coach next year, which means a new coaching staff. Putting that aside for a second we get to a bigger problem, Jay Ajayi. I have loved watching Ajayi run the football recently, as it reminds me of someone who is your prototypical workhorse back. Ajayi has a lot of power, runs downhill, and has some quickness to him as well. While he is a long ways away from being a great 3rd down guy, his early down work looks promising. Miller on the other hand is someone I have never really seen as being a workhorse guy. He has a great burst of quickness, but when he can't break a run, he is worthless running the ball. To make up for that he does provide value in the passing game, but that can only go so far sometimes. In 10 games this season Miller rushed for less than 50 yards. While his YPC does stand at very good 4.64, this has largely been held up by three different games. I expect Miller to be the starting back entering next season, but when that new head coach sees Miller struggle for the first month, he will make Ajayi the starter and never look back.
RB - Chris Ivory: 7th ranked RB going into week 16
I didn't like Ivory before the season, didn't warm up to him all that much during the season, and feel the same way still after the season. I have seen Ivory enough to know that there is a good and bad with him. The good was on display early in the season, in games where he would run with power and speed, bowling over everyone who was in his way. Then we saw the bad, a guy who struggled to average more than 3.5 YPC in games. The offensive line for the Jets is not good, as it doesn't allow Ivory to get into space before being hit. Ivory was also relatively healthy this year, something he hasn't been able to do in the past. I know that he won't be ranked inside the top 15 by me, but he possibly will by other people, and those who don't will claim that he is a sleeper. I don't see it with his game, the offensive line that he has, and his injury riddled past. Sometimes talent just keeps on teasing people and never comes to fruition for an entire season.
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 - Kirk Cousins 365 Passing Yards, 4 TD's, 1 Two Point Conversion 32 Fantasy Points
So I wrote about Cousins last week and this performance doesn't change how I feel about him going into next season. My feeling is that Cousins will end up being in my top 20, but not my top 15 as of right now. I feel as though Cousins this season is almost what his peak is going to be unless they can get a semblance of a run game going. If they get another good weapon for him, or they find a way to get a better RB, Cousins may sneak into my top 15 for next year.
QB - Drew Brees 412 Passing Yards, 3 TD's, 28 Fantasy Points
So Brees has had a crazy stretch here the past four weeks. Over that span he looked like the vintage Brees, and best part of all was that he wasn't turning the ball over either. I thought this might be the year we see the decline in Brees's skills, but that hasn't been the case, well at least fully. Brees was mediocre to start the season, but then his 500 yards and 7 TD outing flipped the script for him. I am having trouble deciding where to rank this guy among QB's for next year. Part of this has to do with the uncertainty surrounding Sean Payton. If I knew at this moment that Payton was coming back, Brees would be firmly placed in my top 10, but without it it gets murky. Guys I like more than him if Payton comes back are the following: Cam Newton, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer, and Blake Bortles. This makes Brees my 8th rated QB, and that is with Sean Payton. If Payton isn't back, then people like Eli Manning come into the conversation as being ranked ahead of him.
QB - Blake Bortles 368 Passing Yards, 4 TD's, 2 INT's, 1 Two Point Conversion 28 Fantasy Points
Quite possibly the most pleasant surprise at the position this year. Bortles went virtually undrafted in all leagues, but has found his way into the top 5 at the position. The best part about Bortles season is that he has been consistent all year long. I mentioned that I would have Bortles in my top 7 for next year above when talking about Brees. He a cut behind the elite tier, and I may be buying a little too much into his terrific season here, but I loved what I have seen not only out of him, but the weapons that he has. As long as those receivers stay healthy Bortles will have no problem putting up stats.
RB - Tim Hightower 27 Carries for 122 Yards and 2 TD's, 3 Receptions for 47 Yards, 28 Fantasy Points
So let me just get out of the way now that Hightower probably has zero value in 2016. Mark Ingram will be healthy, as well as Khiry Robinson. I don't even know if Hightower is on a team to start 2016, much like this year. With that out of the way, he has been quite the player for owners in the playoffs. It has been a nice renaissance for Hightower, but it will be done when the season is over next week.
RB - DeAngelo Williams 17 Carries for 100 Yards and 2 TD's, 27 Fantasy Points
I said it two weeks ago and I will say it again, Williams is the one handcuff you need to get next year in drafts. If you have learned anything this season it is that it doesn't matter whether it is Le'Veon Bell or DeAngelo Williams in the backfield, the starter is a top 5 guy each and every week. To get him in drafts it may appear like you are having to reach to get him, but it is necessary to wrap him up early, as you don't want to miss out on him if Bell gets hurt again.
WR - Brandon Marshall 10 Targets, 8 Receptions for 115 Yards and 2 TD's, 23 Fantasy Points
After writing him off in the preseason, Marshall proved me wrong in so many ways. I first thought that going to the Jets signaled the end to his career, as he was going to a team that had Geno Smith as his QB. Then Smith got hurt and I thought Fitzpatrick would be only a slight improvement to his value. With that, I still believed that Marshall had lost a step, had hands that weren't as special anymore, and didn't know if he was even going to be the number one target on the team. Marshall also went out and was not only great this year, but also consistent, scoring in all but four games this year, and went for 100+ yards in two of those four games. Where he ranks next year depends on one thing, will Ryan Fitzpatrick still be the starting QB? I think the answer is yes, which means he will rank right around the top 10 at the position for 2016.
WR - Julio Jones 11 Targets, 9 Receptions for 178 Yards and 1 TD, 23 Fantasy Points
Unlike Brandon Marshall, Julio Jones has been a little less consistent. The biggest reason for this though is the lack of TD's he has scored compared to Marshall. Jones has 8 TD's now on the year which pales in comparison to Marshall's 13. Jones though has won weeks for his owners, and has still been a pretty consistent option compared to almost all of the other receivers. Even when faced with a tough matchup Jones time and time again proves that he can put up numbers on anyone. Next year he is in the elite three person tier with Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. Currently I don't know how I will rank it, but I do think all three guys are worthy to be selected in the first round of drafts.
WR - Allen Hurns 10 Targets, 8 Receptions for 106 Yards and 2 TD's, 22 Fantasy Points
It is worth noting that his teammate Allen Robinson was the next highest scoring receiver with 21 points. All of this has to do with the play of Blake Bortles this year. Both guys are looking great going into next season. Robinson will find himself ranked in my top 10, while Hurns, who is the bigger surprise of the two, will find himself around my top 20, probably just outside of it. That is the one rank that will be interesting for next year, as he has shown the potential already to shatter that rank, and become a top 12-15 player. I think Julius Thomas plays a bigger role next year, which will take a little bit away from Hurns. The big plays are going to continue to be a part of his game, the question is whether or not Bortles can sustain three different guys over the course of one season.
TE - Jordan Reed 11 Targets, 9 Receptions for 129 Yards and 2 TD's, 24 Fantasy Points
Am I seriously writing about this guy again? This is now the third consecutive week of writing about Reed and what this means for 2016. Listen you know my thoughts on him by now. His upside is that of a top 3 TE, but the injuries are what will keep his draft day value not necessarily lower in the position, but lower overall.