The Fantasy Hipsters are here to save you from being duped into reaching for these overrated players in 2017 fantasy drafts. These players will have a ton of hype during the next fantasy draft season which may inflate their average draft position, but Matt Harmon and Matt Franciscovich (Franchise) have some underground knowledge to get you in the know and make you think twice before adding them to your draft board. So make sure your ripped skinny jeans are cuffed, because you're about to wade into some contrarian waters. Dude, is that coffee you're drinking even coffee locally sourced? Folgers!? Are you kidding me? Ugh, whatever.
Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons
Oh, I'm just about positive Tevin Coleman will be a popular under-the-radar pick going into 2017. There's no question in my mind. He's an exciting young player on what was one of the best offenses in the NFL this season. People will be clamoring to get that guy on their hands for their fantasy squads.
I don't doubt that Coleman is a good and exciting NFL player, but he kind of reminds me of a place like Coffee Bean. I like the neighborhood I live in. There's a good rotating tap bar down the road, the Landmark Theater is nearby (and they're always showing independent and foreign films) and there's a bevy of ethnic restaurants down my part of Westwood Blvd. My only really complaint is the dearth of any sort of niche coffee shops.
Sometimes when I need to get out of the apartment to write I'll go up the street to the Coffee Bean because listen, they've got a tremendous outdoor patio. I live in Los Angeles; I want to sit outside in the almost always perfect weather when I'm writing. To their credit, far more often than not I get a good cup of coffee from them. Yet, in the back of my mind I'm always thinking, "this place is a mainstream chain, can they do it again when I come back?" I feel the same way about Tevin Coleman for next season.
If you're taking Coleman high in drafts next year you have to really worry about his wildly high touchdown rate. Coleman scored a touchdown on 7.4 percent of his touches this season. That only trailed Mike Gillislee (8.2 percent) among running backs with 100-plus touches. Coleman was a big-play threat, especially in the passing game, as his 13.6 yards per reception was the highest among running backs with 80-plus touches.
It'll be hard for Coleman to sustain that sort of routine big-play output while he's still playing second-fiddle to Devonta Freeman. Freeman averaged 17.6 touches per game to Coleman's 11.5. The Falcons have little reason after two seasons of Freeman being a great lead back to alter the distribution.
Coleman was not just wildly efficient at creating big plays, but also in scoring position. He scored on 27.6 percent of his red-zone touches, and 46.7 percent of his touches inside the 10-yard line. Scoring on almost half of his touches inside the 10 (just 15 in 2016) will be awfully hard to replicate next year. Freeman out-worked Coleman inside the 10-yard line 62 touches to 29.
Chasing the touchdown output of the entire Falcons offense is dicey heading into 2017. Atlanta killed it by leading the NFL with 540 points scored this year, 71 points more than the second-place Saints. It's likely that the team falls back to something more like a top-five or "just" top-10 offense this coming season due to simple mathematical regression and Kyle Shanahan potentially leaving for a head-coaching gig. The fifth-highest scoring team this year scored 421 points and the 10th-highest scored 399. Potentially losing somewhere between 119 and 141 points should take the air out of what is likely to be over-inflated ADPs for the majority of the Falcons offensive players. If someone is going to suffer from any scoring regression, it will likely be the No. 2 running back in this timeshare. - Harmon
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Every year this happens. EVERY YEAR. And you all fall for it, along with the masses. When will you finally realize that you need to leave Zach Ertz on the waiver wire until Thanksgiving? Like a good, barrel-aged whiskey, Ertz needs time to marinate. You know, soak in the flavors of what's going on around him before he can be enjoyed for consumption. Except, instead of 12 years, Ertz needs like, 12 weeks before he's good to go. And once Week 13 hits, man, Ertz goes down smooth as ever.
Yeah, you read that right. Ertz has recorded just nine fewer catches, 83 fewer yards and six more touchdowns in a span of 15 combined weeks at the end of the last three seasons compared to the first 36 weeks during that same timeframe (2014 to 2016).
So, what I'm saying here is that Ertz's ADP is going to be inflated yet again in 2017 drafts, just like it is every year, because of his strong finish. He usually creeps up into the top-10 range among tight ends or whatever. Here's how you handle this situation next draft season. First, don't draft him. It's really that simple. Let some other sheep do that, and enjoy watching him squirm through Ertz's inevitable early season struggles. Then, your sheep pal will likely drop him a few weeks into the season, because he'll be stinking it up. This is when you put Ertz on your watch list and pick him up right around Thanksgiving. If he's still owned, try trading for him on the low. Then sit back, relax, and watch Ertz help your squad to a championship.
This is how you deal with Zack Ertz, now and forever. The numbers don't lie, man. But Ertz's potential does every year. I need a drink. - Franchise
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
Overall scoring is one of the biggest lies in fantasy. Just because someone scored as a Top-10 quarterback on the year doesn't indicate their value. Frankly, it really doesn't tell you anything at all. With that being said, you can almost guarantee that you'll hear someone say that you should draft Matthew Stafford in 2017 because he was the QB7 last year.
Evaluating fantasy quarterbacks like that is the same as saying that total plays or downloads are the best indicators of a musician's quality. No way. I'm looking at it right now and I see some song called "Closer" in the top-two most played songs on the Global Top-50 list on Spotify. OK, so you're telling me that just because this track has 3.2 million total plays that it's better than songs like "All The News" by The Stray Birds and "Parlor" by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats that currently lead MY top songs list? I don't think so, dad.
Here's what the mainstream advice won't tell you about Stafford. From Week 7 on he eclipsed 280 yards just twice, threw one or fewer touchdowns seven times and finished the year with five interceptions in the last four games. If you're a sheep and just want to hear about fantasy points, well, he had more than 20 just once. And that was against the Saints. Everyone scores more than 20 fantasy points against the Saints.
The point here is, don't get caught into thinking Stafford is any more than a typical streaming quarterback. That would be a mistake. He'll give you some decent weeks, but honestly, unless a quarterback is one of the top two, they aren't even worth considering in single-digit rounds. - Harmon
Ty Montgomery, RB, Green Bay Packers
The Packers have some decisions to make regarding their backfield for next season. I mean, when the franchise quarterback of a team whose signature prop is a giant slice of cheese cuts out dairy and eats vegan, it might make you begin to question your unhealthy backfield choices, too. Among these backfield dilemmas: Does the team bring back both Eddie Lacy and Christine Michael? Will James Starks be cut? Will Ty Montgomery remain in the running back room or will he be sent back to the receiving corps?
Obviously, all of these scenarios will be a factor in determining Montgomery's value as a fantasy asset in 2017. But based on the buzz surrounding his shift to the backfield this year combined with his strong performance down the stretch, your sheep friends are probably going to end up reaching too high for the Stanford product in his third pro season.
Let's not forget that Montgomery only got a shot at a featured role after Lacy was ruled out for the season, Starks proved (over and over again) that he was incapable of being a lead back, rookie Don Jackson injured his hand in his first game and Knile Davis was acquired via trade and promptly sent packing two weeks later.
I'm not knocking Montgomery's talent. The dude averaged 6.3 yards per carry through 11 games, which is no easy task and a testament to his athleticism and ability to adapt as a runner. But he's by nature, not a running back and only adopted the role out of necessity. Iin order for him to succeed the way he did Green Bay had to get pretty creative in their play designs during their late-season run of the table.
Good job by the Packers' coaching staff or whatever, but you have to believe that they'd much rather rely on a guy with more experience and versatility next season. Monty is a good change-of-pace guy but he's not going to cut it as a full-time feature back. And now that they have fullback Aaron Ripkowski back there destroying linebackers as he plows his way through the line, I smell a committee backfield for the Packers in 2017. Wait, that smell is actually a block of vintage artisanal cheese.
Anyway, because of his late-season breakout, and an upcoming playoff run where he could potentially do further damage to opposing defenses, there is no question that Montgomery's ADP is going to be too high next draft season. Don't do it, ya sheep! - Franchise
Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders
The other day I was at a bar drinking a coffee stout ... obviously from a local brewery ... it got me thinking that I need to be honest with you, the loyal readers. I don't like coffee stouts. Don't get me wrong, I love coffee and I for sure love beer. But honestly, mix the two together and I'm just not feeling it.
The problem is, most of the crew I hang out with is into it, and they all feel validated because the brew has become more in vogue lately. They've been trying so hard to make coffee stouts happen that now that more bars around town are bringing them on tap they believe it confirms their long-held beliefs that coffee stouts are the next big thing.
Yet, if everyone is into them right now doesn't that make them just another set of sheep following the herd? Either way, I've never liked coffee stouts and I'm still out on them no matter who says they are happening.
I feel like the same phenomenon occurred with Latavius Murray over the last two seasons. All the hipsters who fell in love with his dazzling size/speed combination felt validated when he went over 1,000 yards in 2015 and finished as fantasy's RB13 in just 14 games this year. Here's the thing though, Latavius Murray still isn't happening.
Murray's positive scoring in fantasy this season was primarily boosted by touchdowns, as he scored 12 rushing on the year. Half of them came in just three games. Man, buying in bulk? That's like shopping at Costco. I'd much prefer my running backs be a bit more sustainable like I am when I make sure to compost all of the extra food in my kitchen.
The problem with Murray is that he's not a plus-efficiency runner, as he has just 4.0 yards per carry in each of the last two seasons. That's not enough for a team that, despite having a great young quarterback and pair of receivers, wants to run the ball consistently. Oakland ranked 14th in rush play percentage this season and maintained a 44.8 percent rate the last three weeks of the season, which was above their 41.4 season average.
Those last three weeks gave us a clue to what Oakland really wants to do; split up the touches. The team tried to run a three-way committee with Murray, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard earlier in the season but had to get back to Murray as the lead back when the young players didn't step up. In the final three games of the season, Murray saw 37 touches to 28 from Washington and 23 from Richard. That effectively capped his value, as he was the third-highest scoring fantasy back among the trio during that span.
The Raiders said over the offseason they wanted to bring in complements for Murray and the two rookies finally look like they are ready to carve out permanent shares of the workload. Oh, and I'll tell you, I really like the back Richard. He's fun, makes people miss and is a good pass-catcher. If you play in dynasty leagues (if you don't you're way behind) you should try and buy him. Either way, I think we know where this Murray fad is headed next. - Harmon
UPDATE: Murray has signed with the Minnesota Vikings in free agency, but this analysis remains correct.