When a player has a big season, or part of a season, people often make the mistake of assuming those numbers will continue. A player who gets hurt after a great stretch has his stats extrapolated out to 16 games or a player has a great season, but the underlying numbers show something unsustainable driving it. This article is taking a look at a few players who had fantasy impacts last year, but there is at least one statistic that is not repeatable. This is not to say that these guys will be busts, plenty of them will be useful but I am not as high as everyone else on them.
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans QB
Watson is a very exciting player, but people are taking him as high as the 3rd round and that seems crazy to me. The statistic that worries me the most is the percentage of his passes that went for TDs. Over the 7 games he played in 2017 he had a 9.1% TD rate. There is a 0% chance he does that over a full season. To put it in perspective the NFL leader for qualified QBs in 2017 was Carson Wentz at 7.5%, which even he is likely to regress from. Aaron Rodgers is considered one of the most efficient QBs and his career average is 6.4%. To really show how unsustainable that rate is, in their record setting TD seasons Tom Brady and Peyton Manning at TD rates of 8.7% and 8.3% respectively. If Watson were to somehow sustain that TD rate he would likely put up the greatest fantasy season for a QB we have ever seen. Do not count on this happening.
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints RB
Another rookie who people are in love with heading into the season and in most drafts he is going in front of players I am more comfortable with. In PPR leagues he averaged 1.6 fantasy points per touch and he averaged 6.1 yards per carry. Neither of those numbers will be repeated in 2018. The RB who was second in yards per carry was Dion Lewis at 5.0 per carry. Kamara is not going to be more than a full yard better than every other RBs in the NFL. His pass catching does help his points per touch, but Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell both catch the ball a lot for RBs and their points per touch here 1.1 and 0.8 respectively. Kamara will not have that efficiency in 2018. Some are predicting an increase in usage to offset the regression, but there a few issues with relying on that. Even though he is suspended Mark Ingram is not going to disappear from the offense. There is also no evidence that Kamara can handle the workload at the NFL he would need to offset the drop in efficiency. Kamara is going to go a few spots to early for me in drafts this year.
Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns WR
Landry is a great WR, but it feels like everyone is taking his catches from Miami and applying them to him in Cleveland. History shows a WR moving systems is not always a smooth transition. In Cleveland his target volume is likely to decrease as there are not only more options for targets in Cleveland, there will also be more competition for the short to intermediate routes Landry is known for. Duke Johnson will continue to be used in the passing game; David Njoku will see an increase in targets this season as well. In addition to the potential decrease in targets, it seems very unlikely Landry will catch 9 TDs again. Before 2017 he had 4 or 5 TDs every season, the jump up to 9 for a season is an outlier given the way he is utilized. Additionally the QB situation will impact Landry’s value. Given play styles Landry seems like he would benefit from Baker Mayfield getting in, while Tyrod Taylor playing would be a boost for Josh Gordon with his tendency to scramble and look downfield. Taylor is also unlikely to support all the fantasy options people like in Cleveland which will limit Landry’s value.
Will Fuller, Houston Texans WR
The reason to expect regression from Fuller is the same reason as his QB, there is no way his TD rate from 2017 is sustained. He finished with 7 TDs on only 28 catches, if he manages to turn 25% of his catches in TDs this season he would likely finish as the WR1. That rate of TDs to receptions is slightly better than Randy Moss in his 23 TD season. Fuller actually caught all 7 TDs in the 4 games he played with Watson on only 13 receptions, that pace is impossible to maintain. In 2016 Fuller turned 47 catches into 2 TDs, which is 4.2%, while he won’t fall back that far it shows the jump he made from season to season. Fuller is a big play, boom or bust player who I would feel much more comfortable owning in a best ball league, but ADP has him going in the 6th round. Taking a guy who you do not know which weeks you can play him over reliable fantasy producers is a big mistake.
Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers TE
In 2017 Graham had only 520 yards receiving and averaged 32.5 yards a game. He is simply not the same player at this point in his career and his value is entirely tied to TDs. He had 10 in 2017, but that number is coming down in 2018. Graham had 96 targets in 2017, ever other season he had 10 or more TDs in his career he had at least 125 targets. He is not going to see that volume on Green Bay, where since 2010 a TE received at least 90 targets once and that was Jermichael Finely in 2011. In 2016 Graham had 95 targets and only 6 TDs. People are also quick to forget his first year in Seattle he only had 2 TDs in 11 games, now he need sot learn a new system again while no longer the same player athletically. It seems like every year a new Green Bay TE is hyped up, first it was Jared Cook, then Martellus Bennett. Jimmy Graham will be the next disappointment. Aaron Rodgers is not changing the way he plays for a likely washed up Jimmy Graham.