Fantasy football studs and duds

We are in week 13 of the NFL season, which means it is the final week of the fantasy football regular season. For many fantasy owners, it means playoffs are in sight. They had a great season, because they drafted or used the waiver wire well. They might have struck gold on some players that exceeded expectations this season.

For others, it means that it is the ending of a dreadful season, and they’re looking back at their team and wondering what happened. Maybe it was due to injuries, or maybe questionable management. It could have been that a few of the top players drafted did not pan out. Below is a list of players that were busts and gems this season.

BUSTS

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans: Through 11 games, the 2015 pro-bowler has 55 catches on 104 targets, 610 yards and only three scores. Hopkins is in his first year with new quarterback Brock Osweiler as his quarterback, and so far, it has not panned out to what many fantasy footballers expected. Osweiler has struggled this season, and DeAndre’s production has suffered because of it. Hopkins performed much better with Brian Hoyer at quarterback last season.

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers: Through 11 games, Newton has compiled 2,432 passing yards on 55.8 percent completion percentage. He has thrown for 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The former MVP of the league has had a tough 2016 season. That is even with all his offensive teammates healthy. Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and tight end Greg Olsen should have propelled him to an even better season than last year, but that was not the case. No protection from the line did not help either, as we have seen Newton get throttled this season. There is simply something different about Newton this year when reflecting on his electrifying 2015 season. No one expected Cam to repeat those gaudy numbers, but a lack-luster performance was not expected either.

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears: Chicago’s No. 1 option for receivers (as suggested by the depth chart to begin the season) has 40 catches for 630 yards, with only one score. The Bears have been a disaster this whole season, and Alshon has been a huge disappointment in his final contract year. It did not matter if he had Jay Cutler throwing him the ball or not; the Bears were in disarray and Jeffery’s performance did not help. Now he has been suspended for four games due to violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing drugs, so his dreadful season will be even worse to look back on at season’s end.

GEMS

Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers: Davante Adams has had a season much like 2015 season of Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The third-year receiver finally had his breakout season. Adams has become the team’s leader in receiving yards (776) for the Packers, and is second in touchdowns (8). He also has snagged 58 of the 86 targets to come his way. With teammates Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb getting occupied with some of the top defenders in the league, Adams has made quite the name for himself in 2016. The 6’1” receiver was projected a low-round fantasy draft pick, but has been one of the top performing receivers this season.

Terrelle Pryor Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns: Would you believe a receiver for the Cleveland Browns would have a chance to tally over 1,000 yards on the season? The Browns remain winless on the season, but Terrelle Pryor has been the shining star to watch week-after-week in Cleveland. He is also one of the few surprises in fantasy, as he has tallied 855 yards on 62 catches and four touchdowns. He became the Browns’ number one option in the passing game, and he is ranked as one of the top-10 receivers in fantasy, according to ESPN’s fantasy rankings by position.

Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints: The Ohio State rookie has caught 65 passes for 789 yards, and danced his way into the end zone seven times in 2016. Fantasy owners who rolled with Thomas most likely did so being confident in the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Drew Brees throwing to him. Thomas was the sixth wide receiver taken in the draft last year, but h is the top producing rookie this season. Thomas originally had low-round fantasy draft value, but he has proven to be a top threat for the Saints offense.

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