2017 fantasy football wide receiver rankings: 50-41

I’m continuing my rankings with the top 50 fantasy wide receivers for the upcoming season. Here’s the first list 2017 fantasy football wide receiver rankings: 50-41.

 

50. Rishard Matthews (Tennessee Titans)- Rishard Matthews was quietly a solid option for fantasy last season. He had 950 receiving yards and nine touchdowns and was ranked the No. 15 ranked receiver in standard leagues.

Matthews really kicked it into gear in the second half of the season. His targets per game increased from 4.9 to 8.0 during the second half of the season and became a reliable play in most fantasy leagues. It is unlikely that he’s going to put up similar numbers to last year with the additions of Corey Davis and Eric Decker, however he is a nice late round target.

fantasy football wide receiver rankings: 50-41

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49. Tyrell Williams (Los Angeles Chargers)- Talk about a break out year for Tyrell Williams. At the beginning of the season, he was fighting for the No, 3 wide receiver spot on the team, but by the end of the year he had 1,059 receiving yards and seven total touchdowns.

He’s a reliable pass catcher, as he only dropped five percent of the balls that came his way, and was one of the most productive receivers in the league last year after the catch. He had 439 yards after the catch, which was good enough for eighth best in the league last year.

I’d like to put Williams higher on this list, but because of the Chargers getting Keenan Allen back, and the addition of Mike Williams, he’s no more than a late round pick.

48. Marvin Jones (Detroit Lions)- Marvin Jones was nothing more than mediocre last year. He had his big moments early on in the season but after that he was nothing special. Jones started off the season strong putting up 83 fantasy points in the first seven games, but after that he had a mere 27 fantasy points in the last nine matchups. H

e wasn’t great in terms of efficiency or production, but the reason he cracks the top fifty is because of his opportunities. Last season, he ranked 10th in team pass plays and 11th in terms of how often he was on the field. We’ve seen that he has the ability to put up big numbers, so take him as a late round sleeper.

47. John Brown (Arizona Cardinals)- John Brown was a fantasy disaster last season. He only had 39 receptions due to illness and when he was on the field, he didn’t produce like he did in 2015. After having 1,003 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 2015, things were looking good for John Brown in the NFL. The speedy receiver had a 64 percent catch rate and averaged 67 yards per game. He had a poor 2016 but don’t let that deter you from drafting him in fantasy this year, as he’s a strong bounce back candidate.

fantasy football wide receiver rankings: 50-41

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46. Corey Coleman (Cleveland Browns)- Limited by injuries in his rookie year, Corey Coleman showed promise but didn’t put up big numbers. Coleman had 414 receiving yards and three touchdowns with the poor quarterback situation in Cleveland.

However, there’s still hope for Coleman. He has a high ceiling and tons of talent, plus the opportunities will be there this year. With the departure of Terrelle Pryor, and the only notable acquisition at wide receiver being Kenny Britt, Coleman should see tons of targets and enjoy a nice sophomore year.

45. Jordan Matthews (Philadelphia Eagles)- Playing in 14 games last season, Jordan Matthews had 804 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He has been a nice option for fantasy teams but hasn’t broken out in the way everyone has hoped he would.

He isn’t the most efficient receiver but does rank in the top half of the league in terms of productivity. Matthews ranked 24th in receptions with 73 and ranked 46th in yards after the catch with 235.

With the addition of Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith, don’t expect much more next season from Jordan Matthews.

fantasy football wide receiver rankings: 50-41

Corey Davis (Photo by: titansonline.com)

44. Corey Davis (Tennessee Titans)- The Titans have put together a nice receiving core for the 2017 season. Corey Davis is by far my favorite rookie receiver and here’s why: He’s the second receiver on a high-powered offense, he’s working with one of the best young quarterbacks in the league and that quarterback has never thrown an interception in the red zone in the NFL.

Standing at 6-foot-3, 209 pounds, Davis has a great shot to get some red zone looks this season. Expect a solid rookie year from Corey Davis.

43. Mike Wallace (Baltimore Ravens)- Mike Wallace had a great 2016 season. Wallace had 1,017 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He is one of the most productive receivers in the league ranking in the top 26 in receptions, receiving yards and yards after catch.

Mike Wallace was the No. 1 ranked receiver in terms of team pass plays. There are signs of regression for Mike Wallace however. The Ravens recently signed Danny Woodhead and Jeremy Maclin who are candidates to take targets from Wallace this year.

42. Cameron Meredith (Chicago Bears)- Cameron Meredith had a nice 2016 season. He had 888 receiving yards and four touchdowns for the Bears and fans can expect more of that this year. With the departure of Alshon Jeffrey, Meredith has a chance to go into the season as the lead receiver for Chicago.

He was one of the most efficient wide receivers last season ranking 22nd in catch rate and 12th in yards per target. Overall, Meredith is a great receiver for the Bears, and more is expected for him next season.

41. Kenny Britt (Cleveland Browns)- Kenny Britt finally had a 1,000-yard receiving season. After being drafted in 2009, this is his first season with 1,000 yards and it made me excited for his production next year, until he joined the Browns. Making the decision to go to Cleveland didn’t help Britt’s status for the upcoming season.

It is a shame because he was a very productive receiver for the Rams last season. He was 23rd in receiving yards, 31st in receptions and 29th in yards after the catch with 303. I’m not saying Britt is going to just fall off the map completely, but he has the ability to put up big numbers, its just a matter of who’s throwing him the ball.

 

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Eric Decker’s fantasy impact with the Titans

On June 18, the Tennessee Titans signed Eric Decker to a one-year deal. After being cut by the New York Jets just six days earlier, he quickly finds himself a new home in the Music City. How will Eric Decker’s new Titans deal affect his fantasy value?
Decker missed most of last season with hip and shoulder injuries. What he brings to the Titans is another weapon for quarterback Marcus Mariota and joins a solid combination of targets such as rookie Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews and Delaine Walker. Along with these guys, this gives the Titans a new look. In 2016 the Titans were a run-first football team as they ranked fourth in rushing attempts.

With all of these weapons, Decker should find himself as the first or second receiving option in the Titan offense. Decker has good size at 6-foot-3, and can be a versatile receiver that will excel as a red zone target due to his size. In 2015, the last full season he played, Decker was the top option in the red zone with 29 targets inside the 20-yard line, 16 inside the 10-yard line and 6 within the 5-yard line. He should maintain those numbers as he and Davis are their tallest receivers on the Titans roster.

Eric Decker's fantasy impact titans

Marcus Mariota (Photo by si.com)

The biggest winner though is Marcus Mariota. Mariota had an up-and-down 2016 fantasy season. From weeks 5-12 he was one of the best quarterbacks, throwing 21 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

Through weeks 1-4 and 13-17 he was one of the worst, ranking 31st in fantasy points.

What did help Mariota in 2016 was the addition of Matthews and the deep ball. Mariota jumped from 35 deep ball passes of 20-plus yards in 2015 to 50 in 2016. Matthews recorded the sixth-most in that category with 16 receptions. Decker had the same number in 2015 with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his quarterback and should only help Mariota improve these numbers.
In the receiving core, Rishard Matthews will find his production down slightly depending how coaches like the personnel around him. He’s going from being the number one receiving option, not counting tight end Delanie Walker, to a possible number two or three receiver behind Decker and Davis.

The Titans ran a three receiver set 46.9 percent of the time in 2016, which was 18th in the NFL but was below the league average of 51.62 percent. With some of the new players we could see some different packages to include their top receivers.

Eric Decker's fantasy impact titans

Corey Davis (Photo by: titansonline.com)

Davis, the fifth overall selection in the 2017 NFL draft from Western Michigan, will be an effective receiver in the near future but will not be this year. He has the potential to be a great NFL player and should still have a good season but doesn’t have the pressure on him with Decker’s presence.

Davis has good receivers to learn from like Decker because he and Decker are the same type of receiver. They are the same size, both have good hands and Davis can become a great red zone threat like Decker.

Before signing Decker, Davis would’ve been the second receiver and still could be battling with Matthews. Davis will be a great asset for years to come in fantasy and should be considered a WR3 or filler for receiver position.

As for Delanie Walker, he’s in a difficult situation. Walker will still be a top target in the offense, but adding Decker will decrease his targets, especially in the red zone. Walker will remain a top tight end selection and should go in the middle in the of your 2017 fantasy draft, but I expect his numbers to decrease with the addition of Decker.

As for where to draft Decker, he was drafted on average as the 29th receiver in 2016. This ranks in the 50’s overall after having a breakout season in 2015.

In 2017, factoring in his health and his role on the Titans, he looks to be between the 30th and 45th receiver making his draft position in the 90’s. He could be undervalued there, but with the concern of injuries and unsure of how his quarterback produces, I believe he is properly positioned and should be as a WR3 with the potential to be a WR2.

 

Featured image from sportingnews.com.

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AFC East Free Agency

We now transition to the offseason as free agency and the draft loom in the NFL. (Photo: NFL Official Media)

We now transition to the offseason as free agency, and the draft looms over the NFL. (Photo: NFL Official Media)

With the close of the NFL season now past, I don’t really know what to do with my life. There’s no football to watch, so now I’ll have to transition into full-time college basketball watching.

Of course, I’m a firm believer that there’s only an NFL offseason if you let there be an NFL offseason. That being said, I’m not allowing the lull from February to July bring me down. Besides, there’s always the NFL Draft, free agency, and trades that can be completed throughout the spring and summer.

We’ve got a few mock drafts out, so I’ll begin to examine the free agency class of 2016. I’ll inspect each teams free agents, and look at the players’ possible landing spots.

AFC EAST

New England Patriots, 12-4

Offensively, New England doesn’t have too many players that could leave. The Patriots could lose two running backs, each of which could produce next season.

Blount will find interest from multiple teams. Photo by Getty Images

The first, LeGarrette Blount averaged 4.3 yards per carry on 165 tries in 2015. He reached the end zone six times on rushing attempts and added one more score via the passing game. In a crowded and confusing Patriot backfield, Blount found his way to contribute despite a hip injury that cost him his season after 12 games.

Blount is an unrestricted free agent (UFA), and may receive interest from other teams in the NFL. It’s likely that Blount remains with the Pats next season with a new deal.

The next running back is one that found a job after not receiving any looks from NFL teams until the Patriots signed him. Jackson was signed due to Blount’s injury and rushed for just 71 yards on 31 carries for New England in the final four games of the season and the postseason. Jackson scored two rushing touchdowns as well.

It seems unlikely for Jackson to wind up with any team next season. The Patriots already have Dion Lewis and others, so New England will probably not sign Jackson for next year.

New England has no starter on idefense that will enter free agency in March.

Other New England Free Agents: Ryan Wendell, Tarell Brown, Tavon Wilson, Aikem Hicks, Nate Ebner, Brandon Gibson, James Develin, Sealver Silga, Dane Fletcher, Justin Coleman, Rufus Johnson, Brian Tyms, Cameron Fleming, Brandon King, LaAdrian Waddle, Dekoda Watson

New York Jets, 10-6

The New York Jets were the only team in the NFL to finish over .500 yet not make the playoffs. They have many key contributors that could depart the team for a better future elsewhere. A starting quarterback, multiple running backs, and wide receivers could head elsewhere for 2016.

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s #beard saved the insanity of many Jets fans this season. The bearded warrior threw 31 touchdowns and led the 11th best scoring offense in the NFL.

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has made it clear that he intends on re-signing Fitzpatrick in the offseason. I expect Fitzpatrick back with the Jets when the season opens.

The running back position gets hairy for New York. Leading rusher Chris Ivory, and complimentary back Bilal Powell will hit the market this offseason.

At age 27, Chris Ivory may be heading out of his prime. Ivory scored eight total touchdowns in 2015, and only rushed for 4.3 yards per carry.

His season was filled with highs and lows, which is apparent in his best and worst games. He accounted for 196 total yards and one touchdown, including 7.3 yards per carry against Washington in week five. In week eight, Ivory ran for just 26 yards on 23 carries, yet he still turned in two touchdowns.

2015 was Ivory’s best season, but inconsistency and age worry me. I’m not sure if that’s true for GM’s around the league, however. Rumors around the Jets organization point to Ivory heading away from New York next season.

As the leading pass-catcher out of the backfield last season, Bilal Powell will look for a new contract this offseason. Powell caught 47 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns in 2015. He also rushed for 4.5 yards per carry in 313 attempts. Powell was a solid back which provided a great change of pace for the Jets last season.

Powell is 27, just like Chris Ivory. I’d make Powell a priority over Ivory, but again, I’m not the Jets. With Ivory unlikely to resign with the Jets, Powell may become a priority. I expect Powell to resign with the Jets and earn more carries next season.

Wilkerson will look for a big payout. Photo: SB Nation

As a Pro Bowl reserve, fifth-year defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson is coming off his best season. Registering a career-best 12.5 sacks and batting down seven passes, Wilkerson will most likely look for a large contract. You may remember him playing in the fourth quarter of his week 17 game with a broken leg.

Wilkerson has got to be at the top of a crowded Jets free agency board, and I can’t see Wilkerson settling for a hometown discount. Wilkerson opted not to resign with New York during the season, meaning he could be looking for a max deal.

Calvin Pace, an outside linebacker who is just finished his 13th season in the NFL, will probably be forced into retirement. His 2015 season was underwhelming, and sources report that the Jets are not looking to resign the seasoned veteran this spring.

Fresh off of a season with 90 tackles and two sacks, Demario Davis will test his value in free agency. Davis is coming off his fourth season in the NFL, and his previous two were better statistically than that of this season.

Sources say the Jets will move on from the Arkansas State product. Davis won’t receive a huge contract, but he should still be slotted into an NFL team’s linebacker rotation come this fall. To fill the void, the Jets are planning on signing fellow free agent Erin Henderson.

Other New York Free Agents: Damon Harrison, Antonio Allen, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Leger Douzable, Darrin Walls, Stevan Ridley, Ben Ijalana, Stephen Bowen, Willie Colon, Jamari Lattimore, Chris Owusu, Kellen Davis, Zach Sudfeld, Ryan Quigley, Kenbrell Thompkins, Randy Bullock

Buffalo Bills, 8-8

The Bills are looking to add a few free agents to propel the team over the 8-8 hump. The biggest names the Bills may attempt to resign are Percy Harvin, Richie Incognito, and Cordy Glenn.

Percy Harvin has an ambiguous free agency situation. Photo: Getty Images

After a rocky first season that even included reports of contemplation of retirement for Percy Harvin, the wide receiver will most likely see a smaller contract than the $4 million he received in his previous deal. The Bills are reportedly “leaving the door open” for Harvin, but it seems like Harvin will really feel out his options before signing a new deal.

Richie Incognito re-birthed his career this season in Buffalo, finding his way to the Pro Bowl. Incognito will be a huge part to the Bills offensive line, and will likely receive a big time deal with whoever he signs with.

The biggest conundrum with Incognito is his age. At age 33, Incognito’s number of seasons left may be numbered. He may not receive more than a two-year deal, but the Bills have expressed that the offensive guard has been prioritized for the Buffalo offseason.

The Bills have another offensive lineman who they’ve also said they’ll prioritize in the left tackle, Cordy Glenn. Glenn has been so dominant that he could find a deal worth upwards of $10M. The Bills want to retain both Glenn and Incognito, and they’ll have to do some major work to fit them and others on the payroll.

Other Buffalo Free Agents: Nigel Bradham, Ron Brooks, Alex Carrington, Corbin Bryant, Chris Hogan, Stefan Charles, Ty Powell, Bacarri Rambo, Jordan Mills, Josh Johnson, MarQueis Gray, Cierre Wood, Leonard Hankerson

Miami Dolphins, 6-10

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Lamar Miller is a hot commodity this spring. Photo: AP

Miami has a few bigger names that they’ll attempt to resign, and one of those is one of the top running backs available. Lamar Miller is a top three free agent running back, and the Dolphins will do what they can to resign Miller.

Miller has said that he wants to sign with the team that has a scheme that fits his style the best. Multiple coaching changes throughout the season could hurt Miami’s chances of retaining Miller, as he carried the ball less than ten times in six games. Miller will absolutely listen to all offers, so Miami must impress the tailback to get him back in the Sunshine state.

Rishard Matthews was an interesting wide receiver for Miami in 2015. He had tremendous games and huge busts. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matthews back in Miami, but there will be other teams willing to overpay for Matthews due to the lack of available wide receivers. Matthews is a home run threat for any team, and could be valuable for whichever squad rosters him.

Oliver Vernon and Derrick Shelby both battled for playing time as defensive ends in 2015. Vernon, the starter, had 7.5 sacks and 61 tackles in 16 games started this season. Shelby, who started nine games, sacked the opposing quarterback 3.5 times and added two forced fumbles and an interception.

It seems one of the talented defensive ends will be back in Miami next season, but the question is who. Vernon will receive more money, but Shelby proved he could come in a produce for Miami. It’s hard to predict who will go where, but expect one to resign with Miami for next season.

Other Miami Free Agents: Matt Moore, Louis Delmas, Kelvin Sheppard, Michael Thomas, Spencer Paysinger, Jake Stoneburner, Matt Hazel, Ulrick John, Shamiel Gary, Brandon Williams, Shelly Smith, Jacques McClendon, James-Michael Johnson

Check The Game Haus for articles concerning each division’s free agency situation as the week goes on.