by Michael Nazarek
Editor's Note: Below you will find a portion of our Fantasy Football Creepers for 2017. If you'd like to read about all 20 creepers, please click HERE
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Were you one of those fantasy owners who drafted Blake Bortles, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Dez Bryant, Alshon Jeffery, or Rob Gronkowski last year? Unfortunately, these players were some of the many disappointments due to injuries or other unfortunate circumstances. Just because they didn’t perform last year, doesn’t mean they will fail again in 2017, but I want to make sure to point out some of the warning signs which may cause certain players to produce poor fantasy numbers this year. I remind everyone that the players on the forthcoming list may produce good fantasy numbers this coming season, but I recommend you think twice before drafting them for your team this year. Let the buyer beware!
Eric Ebron (Detroit) - Ebron has flashed co much potential in his young NFL career, but consistency remains a bug-a-boo with the guy. First, he often has a bad case of the dropsies at the worst time. Second, even though he caught a career-high 61 passes last year, he only scored once. Third, he is an injury risk, as he missed another three games last year. That said, when he plays, he is usually good for 3-5 catches each week, so even though he's listed here as a creeper, he simply has yet to live up the potential that he's shown in his first three years. Let's just say he makes a much better fantasy backup than starter, which is why we rank him outside the top 10 or so TEs.
Coby Fleener (New Orleans) - OVERRATED. Fleener has always been an inconsistent player, but he took that to a new level in 2016. In PPR leagues, Fleener topped 23 fantasy points twice, while topping 10 points in only another two games. Unfortunately, in the other 12 games, he scored less than 10 fantasy points with the majority coming in at 5 points or less. Yes, he has QB Drew Brees targeting him, but too often Fleener will disappear entirely from the game plan. While WR Brandin Cooks may be gone, that doesn't mean more targets for Fleener. And his current ADP of the 11th/12th round is much too early for a guy more than likely to disappoint in any one game, even if he's a backup on your roster. Bottom Line: You never know when he will produce that big game, just know that it's only 12.5% of the time, going on his numbers from 2016.
Zach Miller (Chicago) - There's no doubting that Miller is talented, but a foot injury ended his 2016 season early. In addition, the Bears are in a total rebuild mode right now, and reports have surfaced that Miller's roster slot may be in danger due to TE Daniel Brown's presence and the fact that Miller may not be ready to practice come the start of training camp. That aside, the question here really is assuming that Miller keeps the starting job, can he develop quick chemistry with new starting QB Mike Glennon? Bottom Line: There are simply too many questions surrounding the Bears and Miller to trust that he will not only start, but produce enough to be a solid fantasy player in 2017.
Jared Cook (Oakland) - Cook has gone from team to team, based mostly upon his potential, and not real consistent production. In 2016, he missed six games as a Packer due to injury, and then only topped 56 yards receiving twice, while scoring just once the entire year. As a result, he is now a Raider, and while he may start for his new team, Oakland does not place an emphasis on getting the football into the hands of their tight end as a priority. As a result, there will be plenty of games where Cook catches 1-2 passes and doesn't score. In addition, injury remains a concern for the veteran tight end. Bottom Line: There are plenty of other consistent tight ends to target, even as your fantasy backup, in drafts this summer.
Julius Thomas (Miami) - Thomas scored a whopping 24 TDs playing with Peyton Manning as a Bronco. But since leaving Denver at the end of the 2014 season, Thomas has scored only a total of nine times over the past two seasons with the Jaguars. Now, he's a Dolphin, a team that has had trouble getting consistent production from their tight ends. Remember Jordan Cameron? But Miami is excited about his addition. At least until he began to have struggles getting on the same page with QB Ryan Tannehill this spring. The timing was off. Yeah, right. And with that, Thomas is officially off my draft list and becomes my deep creeper!
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