We’re currently sitting in that football lull between the Super Bowl and when the offseason begins, where nothing really happens so there’s nothing really to talk about. But the baseball staff, and all the amazingly excellent articles they’re producing, has inspired me to start banging away at the keyboard again.
Given that it might still be a bit too early to look towards the 2018 fantasy football season, I’ve decided to instead look back and scope out the biggest steal at each position last year. Let this be a reminder to you that star players can be found everywhere in fantasy drafts, so if you’re first three rounds are utter garbage, don’t fret mon frere, you could just find yourself landing next year’s Alex Smith. Spoiler alert, guess who the biggest quarterback steal was?
Quarterback steal: Alex Smith
2017 ADP: QB22
2017 Ranking: QB4
For whatever reason, people really love to underrate Alex Smith, particularly when it comes to fantasy production. Look no further than the list of quarterbacks who were being drafted ahead of him: a broken Andrew Luck (who had an ADP of QB11), Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, and my personal favorite, Jay Freaking Cutler. Yes, Jay Cutler was getting drafted ahead of Smith for some unfathomable reason. Well, those who took Smith ultimately had the last laugh as Smith for much of the season was the best quarterback in fantasy and even still managed to finish fourth in total points. That is an excellent payoff for a player you got in the 14th round.
Honorable mentions: If either Carson Wentz (ADP: QB18) or Deshaun Watson (ADP: QB23) had managed to stay healthy a full season, you can bet they’d be the biggest steal. As is, you could make the argument for Wentz given that he played 13 games and averaged 21.8 points per game.
Running back steal: Alvin Kamara
2017 ADP: RB59
2017 Ranking: RB4
I mean, duh. Like it was going to be anyone else. Kamara came out of nowhere and thrived in the most explosive and dynamic rushing attack in the NFL. Given Kamara’s success, it’s fair to wonder how the fantasy community got it so wrong, drafting Kamara in the 13th round. Never forget that the Saints once had Adrian Peterson on their roster and people were worried about Mark Ingram getting his touches, let alone a rookie running back. Oh how wrong we all were. I can promise you one thing, there’s no way Kamara is making it out of the second round in this year’s draft.
Honorable mentions: You could make the argument for Todd Gurley (ADP: RB10) given that he was the MVP of fantasy football this year and was being drafted as late as the third round. Also Chris Thompson was taking the fantasy world by storm before he got injured.
Wide receiver steal: DeAndre Hopkins
2017 ADP: WR14
2017 Ranking: WR1
It was not a great year for fantasy receivers, yet somehow, with a circus of quarterbacks, Hopkins managed to construct the one of the most dominate fantasy season of 2017. He led receivers in total points and was the most consistent receiver in fantasy football. It’s even more impressive when you look at the names in front of Hopkins and just realize how much of a let down this year was for the receiver position. Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, Mike Evans, A.J. Green, even Dez Bryant all went before Hopkins. If you snagged Hopkins in the MIDDLE OF THE THIRD ROUND because that was were he was being drafted, then you deserve all the points he got you.
Honorable mentions: Adam Thielen (ADP: WR46) I’m sure comes to everyone’s mind as well as Marvin Jones (ADP: WR42) who somehow finished a top 5 fantasy wide receiver. I’m not sure I’ll ever figure that one out.
Tight end steal: Evan Engram
2017 ADP: TE22
2017 Ranking: TE5
Engram wins this for two reasons. First, he went from the last tight end being drafted to a top 5 option at the position and second, he did all of this as a rookie. It’s very rare that rookie tight ends amount to anything in the fantasy world, yet Engram scored you 7.3 points per game and was the fifth most consistent tight end in fantasy football. For a guy taken in the 14th round, that’s a hell of a steal.
Honorable mention: Zach Ertz (ADP: TE9) finished TE3 so that’s certainly a jump for him and at TE11, Hunter Henry could have been in major consideration for this had he managed to play all 16 games.
Who do you think was the biggest steal in fantasy football this year? Leave your thoughts in the comments.