Today’s list of fantasy football’s top 101 PPR players of 2017 features three wide receivers who all have the potential to finish in the top-10.
First and foremost, happy Father’s Day to all the superb fathers out there. Also, to all the mothers who have the difficult task of taking on both parenting roles, I have love for you too! Now let’s get back to this fantasy football business.
As we inch closer and closer to the top of the list, the tougher it gets to rank these players. One small distinction could be the reason why a player is ranked above another. Today we have three wide receivers who all could finish as a WR1. In fact, two of the three already have. So what exactly makes one wide receiver better than the other going into 2017?
To be clear, the top 101 PPR players are for re-draft leagues only. Here’s a look at players ranked No. 35-33:
35. Sammy Watkins, WR – Buffalo Bills
Talent never has and never will be the issue with Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins. When healthy, Watkins has shown the ability to be a top-10 wide receiver in the NFL. The problem with Watkins is he has struggled to stay healthy since entering the league in 2014.
Over the last three seasons Watkins has missed 11 total games. More specifically, he has missed 11 games over the last two seasons. In that time Watkins has dealt with foot and hip injuries. At the end of this past season, Watkins had to undergo yet another surgery on his foot. Can he manage to stay healthy for all 16 games in 2017? If he can, he’ll be in for a career year.
The Bills brought in Rick Dennison to be the team’s offensive coordinator. Dennison spent the last two seasons with the Denver Broncos. In that time the Broncos No.1 wide receiver, Demaryius Thomas, averaged 161 targets, 98 receptions, 1,194 yards and 5.5 touchdowns. Before Denver, Dennison was the offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans between 2010-13. In three out of those four seasons the Texans No. 1 wide receiver, Andre Johnson, was a top-10 PPR wide receiver or better.
In all of those seasons as the offensive coordinator with both the Broncos and Texans, Gary Kubiak was the head coach. It’s fair to say Kubiak was in charge of running the offense during those seasons. Yet, it’s a good bet Dennison’s offense will closely resemble Kubiak’s which should bode well for Watkins.
34. Alshon Jeffery, WR – Philadelphia Eagles
Back in 2013-14, Alshon Jeffery was the 10th PPR WR or better in back-to-back seasons. Since then, Jeffery hasn’t lived up to expectations. In 2015 Jeffery missed seven games with a variety of injuries and finished as the 42nd PPR wide receiver. In 2016, Jeffery missed four games due to a PED suspension and finished as the 55th PPR wide receiver.
With Jeffery now in Philadelphia there are some questions surrounding him. Can he stay healthy for all 16 games? If he does, can he be as effective in the Eagles offense as he was in Marc Trestman’s in 2013 and 2014? Can Carson Wentz successfully get him in the ball after he threw 14 interceptions and just 16 touchdowns as a rookie?
The benefit for Jeffery is he is clearly the team’s No. 1 wide receiver and best offensive weapon. He should easily lead the team in targets. Whether his body and supporting cast lets him reach his ceiling remains to be seen.
33. Davante Adams, WR – Green Bay Packers
In his third year in the NFL, Davante Adams set career highs across the board. He finished with 75 receptions, 997 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 121 targets. He was last year’s ninth PPR wide receiver. Going into 2017, Adams has the benefit of playing in the same offense but more importantly, playing with the same quarterback.
Is Adams this good of a wide receiver or is future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers making him look this good? Honestly, I don’t know and I don’t care. The fact is, playing with a quarterback of Rodgers caliber gives Adams an advantage both Sammy Watkins and Alshon Jeffery don’t have.
Playing in Green Bay’s offense isn’t all great for Adams. The team has other weapons in Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and now Martellus Bennett. With all of these other pass catchers, Adams could disappear some weeks just like last year when he had five games with three or fewer receptions and no touchdowns. Yet, he could go off some weeks just like last year when he had five games with 100+ receiving yards and/or multiple touchdowns.