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Evaluating my 2017 “official hypetrain”

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Checking out how my preseason predictions ultimately played out. Spoiler alert: it didn’t go well.

Tennessee Titans v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

So I had planned on originally writing an update every quarter of the season, checking in on my “official hypetrain” and seeing how it’s members were doing. I managed to do one for the first quarter (check it out) but I forgot to do one at the halfway point and then just decided, “Ah screw it, let’s just do a massive recap at the end of the year.” Welp, here we are (basically).

While it may not technically be the end of the NFL season or the fantasy football season, we’ve made it to the championship round and by this point, it’s not like any of these players’ seasons is going to magically change and suddenly become a productive member of your fantasy team (especially since a few are probably not even apart of your fantasy team at the moment). This is more of an exercise to look back over players who I was super sold on, who I thought would be huge this season and to reflect that honestly we know nothing when it comes to fantasy football and my guess is as good as yours. I just dedicate more time to it than any reasonable person should.

With that nice sentiment, let’s check out this hypetrain!

Terrelle Pryor

2017 stats: 20 receptions, 240 yards, 1 touchdown
Current WR ranking: 100
Current percent owned: 27% (Yahoo!), 10.5% (ESPN)

Almost certainly my biggest miss this year. Pryor was my captain, conductor, leader, president and master of the Hypetrain and managed to produce a whole bunch of nothing this season.

After a stellar season in Cleveland, I thought for sure that Pryor would be able to do wonders in Washington playing with a competent quarterback in a competent offense. Swing and a miss. Outside of one Monday night football game where he caught three balls for 70 yards and a touchdown, Pryor was a non factor from the word “go” in Washington. I’ll be very curious to see where he ends up next season but I’ve learned to temper my expectations greatly. He certainly won’t be on the hypetrain next year.

Season rating: A whole pile of steaming hot poop.

Jameis Winston/Marcus Mariota

Winston 2017 stats: 2,774 yards, 17 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
Mariota 2017 stats: 2,823 yards, 12 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
Current QB rankings: Winston- 24, Mariota- 19
Current percent owned: Winston- 54%/56.2%, Mariota- 79%/57.5%

Man did I pick the wrong pair of quarterbacks to latch the train to. If I had picked Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, I would have looked like a freaking genius right now. Instead, I’m stuck with the disappointment twins.

While neither of these guys have exactly lived up to expectations this season, it’s been Mariota that’s been by far the most disappointing. I thought for sure given the help on offense the Titans gave him, this would be the season he’d take that next step and become an elite quarterback both in real life and in fantasy. Injuries have been a factor for both quarterbacks but neither really seems to have taken that step forward we come to expect from players in their third year.

Both have plenty of offensive weapons around them and hopefully in five years we’ll look back on this article and laugh at how worried I was over these guys and how ridiculous of a notion it is that Winston and Mariota were ever bad at fantasy football. But sadly, I can’t jump forward to that time. I have to sit in this one.

Season rating: Can I pick Goff/Wentz now?

Michael Thomas

2017 stats: 94 receptions, 1,085 yards, 5 touchdowns
Current WR ranking: 11
Current percent owned: 100%

Oh sweet Brady a win finally. That being said, only recently has Thomas really been rounding into full fantasy form as the Saints have been relying on their running game this season instead of the arm of Drew Brees, because of course the year I put a Saint receiver in the hypetrain, the Saints suddenly become a run first offense. Just my luck.

I also can’t really count this as a win (sorry me) as I was expecting Thomas to be a top 5 receiver easily this year. If I’m putting a big name on the hypetrain, it’s not to have him be a good fantasy player. It’s to have him be the Ash Ketchum of fantasy players.

Season rating: I’m calling it a win because it might be my only one

Carlos Hyde

2017 stats: 204 attempts, 796 yards, 5 touchdowns, 54 receptions, 321 yards
Current RB ranking: 13
Current percent owned: 97%/98%

Has this been a bad season for Hyde? No, not at all. Has it been the dominant season that I thought it would be? No, not at all. Hyde does slip into the top 10 of running backs if you play in a PPR league so there’s at least that to make me feel good about myself.

Hyde finished last year RB14 and I was expecting him to finish at least a little bit higher than that. Had Hyde fallen in the top 10 for standard leagues, I would have been pretty pleased with myself, especially given the seasons some of these running backs have had. But still, I won’t complain. Hyde performed just about as well as you’d expect for him so didn’t really live up to the hypetrain billing, but still a good member of your fantasy team this year.

Season rating: A firm pat on the back

Julius Thomas

2017 stats: 41 receptions, 388 yards, 3 touchdowns
Current TE ranking: 22
Current percent owned: 29%/37%

Here’s what I wrote about Thomas at the quartermark:

I did it guys, I made the mistake of drinking from the Julius Thomas elixir. So far this season he has eight catches. Eight. I thought his reunion with Adam Gase would work wonders but then the fantasy Gods had it out for me and replaced Ryan Tannehill with Jay Cutler. And let me tell you people, there was a very, very real reason Jay Cutler retired at the end of last season. You can bet that he regrets everything, especially given the love that Tony Romo has received transitioning to being a broadcaster.

Anyways, clearly Thomas was a HUGE swing and a miss and sadly for my hypetrain, I don’t really see him getting things back on track.

Well, spoiler alert: Thomas did kinda get back on track. Or, at the very least, he had a productive month of November in which he caught 17 balls for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Better than I thought when writing the first quarter article I can promise you that. There was even a brief period of time where he was mentioned on a few waiver wire articles. I’ll 100% take that as a win. Though really, um, not a win here.

Season rating: At least he did something

Honorable mentions

Mike Gillislee - THERE’S STILL HOPE! But really, big failure here. Who saw Rex Burkhead coming out of nowhere?

Adrian Peterson - I tried to believe.

Tyrod Taylor - Boy what a rollercoaster this has been. Still, he’s QB17 currently so better than both Mariota and Winston. That’s a win for the honorable mentions.

Jamaal Williams - Did I just hit a homerun here? I THINK SO! There was a lot of time where Williams wasn’t getting any action, but thanks to those good ol’ Brett Hundley games, Williams suddenly became a fantasy star. Stick with me kids, you’ll go far.

David Njoku - Nope.