Reading either my timeline or any of my articles, you know I like to reference my hypetrain: My ever growing list of players who I believe, for whatever reason, will have a great upcoming fantasy season. In the past, this list as included the likes of Keenan Allen, Ezekiel Elliott, Coby Fleener—all three alums of 2016—and Rob Gronkowski in 2015.
With the season just around the corner, I figured it’s finally time to sit down and actually write the official hypetrain team heading into the 2017 season. After this article, it’ll officially be official and I won’t be able to randomly add players to it to boost my rating. Because yes, this of course will be rated throughout the season so I can see exactly how well my hypetrain is doing.
Some of the players on this list you’ll be sick of hearing about (cough Terrelle Pryor cough) but I’ve tried to balance those guys out with new players or just guys I haven’t spent every waking breath preaching about. So, without further ado, here is my 2017 official hypetrain, in no particular order.
I know I said in no particular order, but I figured I’d start here because I’ve talked the most about Pryor so I don’t need to say much. If you want to read about why I’m so hyped on him, you can do that here, or here, or also here, but also here. Man, I’ve written way too much about Pryor.
Jameis Winston/Marcus Mariota
Now this position on the hypetrain has evolved over the months of the NFL offseason. If you read my ramblings back in March, I mention a lot that Winston is on my hypetrain given the addition of DeSean Jackson, O.J. Howard and just being another year into the NFL. I’m still giving Winston a seat on the train because I’m a man of my word and if I mentioned him once, he’s got a ticket, but he’s quickly be replaced by his now arch-nemesis—since they clearly both read Fake Teams and this article will be the spark of their bitter rivalry—Marcus Mariota.
The hype around Mariota is based upon two simple ideas. Firstly, he has already shown the ability to be a reliable fantasy quarterback. He was on pace to be a top-12 quarterback last year until he broke his leg and is coming into this season healthy AND with a revamped receiving corp. Second, my favorite fact of all time, he is excellent in the red zone. And I literally mean perfect. He has not thrown a red zone interception and the team added Eric Decker—a prime red zone target—and rookie Corey Davis who can do a little of everything, including standing at a big boy 6-foot-3. I think Mariota is in the better position between the two quarterbacks to take the bigger step forward and that’s why I’m giving him a VIP seat on the train.
Thomas was everything the Saints thought he’d be in his rookie season and more. And he made fantasy owners rather happy as well. He finished WR9 in total points, scoring 163.7 and averaging 10.9 FPPG. All this with Brandin Cooks in the offense taking up targets. Now Cooks is in New England and Sean Payton has all but given the keys of the offense over to Thomas. I’m not sure his targets will drastically increase from the 122 he had his rookie year, but I think those targets will become a lot more meaningful especially in the redzone. I’m thinking 90+ catches, 1,200+ yards and double-digit touchdowns. Who says there’s such a thing as a sophomore slump?
It’s easy for players on bad teams to be overlooked in the fantasy world simply because of their playing situation. I, for instance, am ignoring everyone on the Jets except for Bilal Powell because the Jets suck. Case and point. Hyde is one of those players in my book. While the 49ers are sure to be a car crash you can’t look away from, Hyde might be the lone player to rise for the wreckage unscathed. Last year he was a top-15 running back, finishing 14th in total points despite missing three games. Now he gets the added benefit of playing in a Kyle Shanahan system that turned Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman into fantasy studs. I’m buying what Hyde is selling.
I’m doing it guys, I’m making the mistake of drinking the Julius Thomas elixir. Things clearly did not go well in Jacksonville for Thomas but now he’s in another Florida team trying to remind us all of a time when he was Peyton Manning’s favorite endzone target. Those were the days. The biggest reason for giving Thomas a seat on the hypetrain, albeit a seat in the back with not a great view, is that he’s reuniting with Adam Gase, the man who created the last offense Thomas thrived in. Is Ryan Tannehill Peyton Manning? God no. (Well, maybe 2015 Peyton Manning.) But Thomas might be able to return to his former glory under his former coach and that would be big returns for a guy currently getting drafted in the 13th round.
Mike Gillislee - if Gillislee becomes the new LeGarrette Blount in the Patriots offense, sign me up.
Adrian Peterson - I feel like you can never count out AP, yet that’s just what everyone is doing...
Tyrod Taylor - fantasy’s best kept secret? I think so!
Jamaal Williams - if he becomes Green Bay’s goal-line back, he’ll put up the fantasy points.
David Njoku - there are a ton of targets to go around in Cleveland and Hue Jackson likes to utilize his tight ends.
Who will be the best member of the hypetrain?
This poll is closed