Buyer Beware

This past week, espn.com posted an article by Bill Barnwell titled, “NFL’s Best (and Worst) Arsenals: 32-1 Offensive Weapons Ranking.”  I read through the article, team by team.  I had no major issues with Barnwell’s analysis; it was rather sound and grounded.  In fact, it was so sound and grounded that the truth became quite apparent by the end of the article: there is a clear lack of offensive powerhouses throughout the NFL, more than any time in recent memory.  And with that observation came the understanding that during this season, more than any other, you better choose wisely who you bring onto your fantasy team.  Regardless of the name and the fame, not just anyone will do.  If you’re not careful about which offense your players play for, you could pay a steep price in fantasy this season.  It could be absolutely brutal.  Buyer beware….

So where am I coming from?  What’s the vibe here?  Well, basically, it’s along the lines of a phrase I’ve never really cared for all that much, but is quite pertinent in this case: It takes a village.   What I mean by that is that no NFL player, regardless of his ability, can perform at a high level all by himself.  Just ask Todd Gurley, who got next-to-nowhere last season behind a rookie quarterback and a porous offensive line.  To excel, these players need a supporting cast that actualize their skill and potential.  Antonio Brown needs Ben Rothelisberger and Le’Veon Bell.  David Johnson needs Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald.  Ezekiel Elliott needs his offensive line, Dek Prescott, and Dez Bryant.  So when you look at Deandre Hopkins and you realize he really doesn’t have a decent quarterback, a reliable running back, and any complimentary wide receiver to threaten the secondary, you should be seriously concerned about how he might perform this season.  Likewise, no one of any skill in Kansas City and San Francisco has anyone else on the team that will accentuate their talent and keep defenses off their backs.  That’s a problem, a big, big problem.

The sad truth is that in 2017, many NFL offenses lack enough skill and cohesion to make drafting their players on your fantasy team worth a darn.  More than any other time in fantasy play, you need to be sure you are plucking players from NFL teams that have something going for them in their offense.  Or would you prefer to pin your hopes of winning a fantasy championship on anyone from the New York Jets or the San Francisco 49ers?  I don’t care how talented you might think any of their offensive players may be, these trains are going nowhere this season, and you best not be onboard any of them.

Go back and read Barnwell’s article.  You will see the divide rather clearly around team #16.  That line is usually around team #25.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t draft anyone belonging to the bottom half of Barnwell’s list – it’s hard to build a fantasy team using only half the NFL.  What I’m saying is that you should make a concerted effort to collect quality players from the best offenses this season.  Aside from Odell Beckham Jr., who is a high-risk, high-reward choice anyway, building your fantasy team around anyone in the bottom 16 offenses of that list could spell disaster for your title hopes this year.  Proceed with caution – you’ve been warned.  It will be a season unlike any other in this regard.  Buyer beware.

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