Note: Free agency and salary data is from spotrac.com.

Buffalo Bills (7-9; 3rd in AFC East)

Quarterbacks

Tyrod Taylor – Nothing is official yet, but reading through the tealeaves coming out of Buffalo at the end of the season, it sure feels like Taylor’s time in Buffalo is over. Taylor was actually benched for the season finale after the best game of his career against Miami in Week 16 (329/3 passing and 12/60 rushing), a decision the Bills made from a financial perspective. The Bills need to decide if they want to exercise his contract option, which guarantees him $15.5 million, or if they want to release him for just a $2.8 million hit. He put up very similar numbers the last two years, even though he played half the year without his only viable receiver Sammy Watkins, who played the other half of the games at less than 100%. Taylor completed 269/436 passes (61.7%) for 3023 yards (6.9 YPA), 17 TDs, and 6 INTs, and he added 95/580/6 rushing in 15 games. He averaged 21.1 FPG, tying him for 16th at the position with Derek Carr, and Tyrod led QBs in rushing yards (580) and TDs (6). Taylor proved to be a consistent fantasy option as a low-end QB1, scoring more than 25+ FP just three times this season but also scoring fewer than 17 FP just twice. According to Pro Football Focus, Taylor attempted a deep pass on 18.3% of his throws, which was the highest rate by more than 2%. He wasn’t nearly as an efficient with his deep passes in 2016 – his YPA dropped from 8.0 in 2015 to 6.9 in 2016 – but he also didn’t have a healthy Watkins at his disposal this season. He did improve throwing under pressure in his second season as a starter, but he’s never going to be known as a traditional pocket passer. Taylor underwent a sports hernia surgery at the conclusion of the season and is facing a 6-8 week recovery. Taylor lived up to expectations in 2016 and didn’t cost the Bills a chance at the playoffs, but it’s pretty clear the organization doesn’t want to hitch their wagon to Taylor for the long haul. Tyrod played well enough the last two seasons that he should be able to find a starting gig for the 2017 season, especially with so many QB jobs likely opening up this off-season.

Cardale Jones – The Bills made a number of bizarre decisions at the end of the season, including giving EJ Manuel one last start in the season finale when they decided to bench Tyrod Taylor for financial reasons. The Bills should’ve just started Jones in Week 17 to evaluate their rookie QB, but they gave Manuel one last chance to start before he leaves in free agency this off-season. Cardale actually relieved an ineffective Manuel in Week 17, completing 6/11 passes for 96 yards and 1 INT in his only action of the season. It’s probably a long shot that Jones opens the season as the Week 1 starter, but the Bills at least appear to be moving on from Taylor this off-season. Jones is still more of a couple-year project at this point, but there’s a chance that process is sped up some this off-season depending on what the Bills do at QB this season.

EJ Manuel – The Bills once drafted Manuel at #16 overall back in 2013 to be their franchise QB. Instead, his time in Buffalo will go down as a major disappointment. The Bills gave Manuel one last start in Week 17, but his performance in the season finale showed once again that it’s time for the Bills to move on from Manuel. He completed 9/20 passes for 86 yards with no TD and INTs before getting pulled for Cardale Jones. Manuel was hoping to impress potential suitors in his final audition, but he’s unlikely to have much of a market and will likely be competing for a backup job in some place other than Buffalo.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: Is the starting QB for the Bills currently on the roster? If the Bills move on from Taylor, will he get another starting gig elsewhere in the league?

Running Backs

LeSean McCoy – It’s hard to believe that Shady had a third-round ADP last summer, but he was an undervalued player coming off a sub-par 2015 campaign in his first season as a Bill. McCoy really found his groove in this Bills offense in his second year, looking as elusive as he ever has by making defenders miss tackles on what felt like every run. Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, and Ezekiel Elliott clearly established themselves as the top RBs in 2016, but Shady led the next tier behind those younger backs. He finished with 234/1267/13 rushing (5.4 YPC) and 50/356/1 receiving on 57 targets (87.7% catch rate, 7.1 YPC) in 15 games. After two below-average seasons as a receiver, he got back to his old form when he averaged 54.4 catches a season in his first five years in the league. McCoy averaged 19.8 FPG, ranking him 4th at the position behind the Big 3 and ahead of Melvin Gordon. Shady averaged an impressive 1.04 fantasy points per touch – the league average for the position was .70. He played on 65% of the snaps, had a 12.7% target share, and saw a hefty 42.60% of the team’s touches. Shady went for 100+ rushing yards seven times, had 4+ catches six times, and went over 20+ FP eight times this season. McCoy managed to piece together a great campaign despite dealing with some minor injuries. He missed a game in Week 8 because of a hamstring injury, but he initially suffered the injury back in Week 6 and they unwisely rushed him back for Week 7 and he predictably aggravated the injury. He also needed surgery for a dislocated thumb before a Week 12, but he still played and had a great game against the Jags (19/103/2 rushing). Finally, he suffered a high-ankle sprain in a meaningless Week 17 game after just five carries. LeSean ended up leaving two games very early and Mike Gillislee started vulturing goal-line carries and TDs from him around mid-season, otherwise McCoy could’ve easily ranked up with Bell, DJ, and Zeke in the top RB tier. McCoy is entering his ninth NFL season in 2017, so we are obviously a little worried about him starting to hit a wall in his career. On the positive side, he’ll be just 29 years old and his elusiveness during his career has helped him to avoid taking bigger hits than most other backs at this stage in his career. He should be the focal point of this Bills offense once again, especially if they are breaking in another quarterback, and we don’t see Shady lasting past the top 15 in fantasy drafts next summer.

Mike Gillislee – Gillislee certainly flashed at times in a limited role behind LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams in 2015, averaging 5.7 YPC on 47 totes and scoring 3 TDs. With Williams unable to get out of his own way and earning his release in training camp, Gillislee got the chance to be the primary backup and took full advantage of his opportunity. He finished with 101/577/18 rushing (5.7 YPC) and 9/50/1 receiving on 11 targets (81.8% catch rate, 5.6 YPR) in 15 games. Gillislee averaged 8.4 FPG, tying him for 48th at the position with the likes of Thomas Rawls, Matt Asiata, and Shane Vereen. Gillislee averaged an impressive 1.14 fantasy points per touch – the league average for the position was .70. He led all runners with 100+ carries with his impressive 5.7 yards per carry average, and he played on 28% of the snaps and saw 16.44% of the team’s touches. Gillislee proved to be a threat in his own right and a great pairing with McCoy, and OC Anthony Lynn preferred Gillislee down near the goal line by the middle of the season, as he ended up vulturing Shady quite a bit. If he can hold off Jonathan Williams this off-season, Gillislee is setting up to be one of the better RB handcuffs to start 2017

Jonathan Williams – We really liked Williams entering the draft, ranking him as our #3 RB pre-draft, but he landed in a tough spot to make an impact as a rookie behind LeSean McCoy. He didn’t help his chances of winning the backup job by getting charged with driving while intoxicated in Arkansas before the start of training camp – he could face NFL discipline next season. Williams also suffered a rib injury late in the preseason, which put him behind the eight-ball, and then Mike Gillislee took full control of the backup role with his stellar play in 2016. Williams lost 2 fumbles on just 27 carries but at least he didn’t finish with negative rushing yardage like teammate Reggie Bush did, posting 27/94/1 rushing while playing 12% of the snaps in his 10 appearances. Williams has his work cut out for him beating out Gillislee this off-season after a disappointing rookie campaign.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: Can LeSean McCoy continue to be one of the most elusive runners and dominant fantasy RBs entering his ninth season? After his impressive season, will Mike Gillislee hold off the more talented Jonathan Williams for the backup job?

Wide Receivers

While his injuries are a concern, Watkins will be just 24 years old next season and he can be a dominant receiver when healthy.Sammy Watkins – Watkins showed that he’s capable of being an elite WR in Week 16 against the Dolphins, finishing with a dominant 7/154/1 against the Dolphins. The problem is that Watkins rarely got to show off his elite ability in a season essentially lost to his lingering foot issue. He finished with just 28/430/2 receiving on 52 targets (52.8% catch rate, 15.4 YPC) in only 8 games. He averaged just 10.4 FPG, ranking him just behind another disappointing WR Brandon Marshall at 52nd for the position. Watkins averaged just 1.60 fantasy points per target – the league average for the position was 1.93. When he was in the lineup, he played on 76% of the snaps and he had an 11.4% target share for the entire season. Watkins initially had surgery to repair the Jones fracture in his foot last spring, and they took it easy on him for most of the preseason but he still experienced severe discomfort once the season rolled around. The Bills ended up placing him on the IR list as their designated-to-return player, and they let him rest his foot from Weeks 3-11. Like WRs Dez Bryant and Julian Edelman who have recently had the same Jones foot fracture, Watkins had another surgery in January to correct the troubling issue. He likely won’t participate in off-season workouts, at least not until later in the year with hopes of being back at 100% for training camp. Watkins will be just 24 years old next season, and he’s certainly showed a number of times in his first three seasons that he’s capable of being a dominant receiver when he’s healthy, which is why he went #4 overall in the loaded 2014 WR class. Now he just needs to stay on the field consistently after missing 11 games the last two seasons, and playing hobbled in a number of other contests.

Robert Woods – Woods was one of the shakier #2 WRs in the league, and the Bills were really undermanned when Woods had to become the de facto top receiver with Sammy Watkins out with his foot injury. Woods actually led the Bills with 613 receiving yards, but he ranked a measly 71st in the league. He finished with 51/613/1 receiving on 76 targets (67.1% catch rate, 12.0 YPC) in 13 games. He averaged 9.1 FPG, tying him for 65th at the position with Jeremy Maclin and Eddie Royal. Woods averaged just 1.59 fantasy points per target – the league average for the position was 1.93. He topped 10+ FP just four times, so he wasn’t much of a fantasy difference-maker. However, he did rank 33rd at the position in Weeks 3-11 with Watkins out of the lineup, averaging 12.8 FPG and posting 37/463/1 receiving in seven games. He played on 72% of the snaps, had a 16.5% target share, and saw 7.62% of the team’s touches. Woods battled injuries this season, missing three games with a foot injury and a sprained knee. He also didn’t play well off the injury in his final four games of the season, totaling just 9/120 receiving in that span. The Bills need to beef up their WR corps this off-season, and the free-agent Woods should only be back as a #3 WR at best in this offense next season.

Marquise Goodwin – The Bills had plenty of issues at WR, forcing Goodwin into a bigger role than anticipated. Goodwin set career highs in catches (29), yards (431) and touchdowns (3). Goodwin averaged a measly 1.37 fantasy points per target – the league average for the position was 1.93. The Bills ideally wanted to only use Goodwin as a vertical specialist in 2016, but he ended up seeing 65% of the snaps and 12.7% target share, far more than they wanted Goodwin to be involved. Goodwin will hit free agency this off-season, and the Bills have another track athlete to potentially replace him with this off-season in Kolby Listenbee. Goodwin is an Olympic long jumper, so he’s obviously a dynamic athlete, and he could be an interesting project if he lands in the right offense.

Kolby Listenbee – The Bills could replace one track star, Marquise Goodwin, with another track star in Listenbee for the 2017 season. The sixth-round pick started the year on the reserve/NFL list after undergoing a double sports hernia surgery, and the Bills ended up shutting him down for the season because of a slow recovery. Listenbee ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash (4.39) among wide receivers at last year’s scouting combine, and he’s 3-inches taller than Goodwin at 6’0”. Goodwin, Robert Woods, and Justin Hunter are all free agents this season, and Listenbee could carve out a role next season as a vertical threat.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: Can Watkins actually stay healthy for an entire season and live up to his #4 draft status from 2014? Will the Bills actually find a legit #2 WR to pair with Watkins through the draft or free agency? Can the Bills improve the overall depth of one of the weakest WR corps in the league?

Tight Ends

Charles Clay – Clay looked like a completely different player after he returned to the field after missing Week 13 for the birth of his first child. In Weeks 14-17, he posted 21/229/4 receiving, ranking as the #3 fantasy TE in that time with 17.0 FPG. The problem is that nearly half of his fantasy production for the year came in those final four games (67.9 of 136.2). Clay finished with 57/552/4 receiving on 87 targets (65.5 catch rate, 9.7 YPC) in 15 games – he actually led the Bills in catches this season. He finished with 9.1 FPG, tying him for 19th at the position with Ladarius Green. Clay played on 88% of the snaps, saw a 19.1% target share, and had 8.52% of the team’s touches. He averaged just 1.57 fantasy points per target – the league average for the position was 1.75. Clay has been hampered by knee and back issues the last two years, but he didn’t miss a game this season because of an injury. Clay has proven to be little more than a TE2 the last four seasons, and that is unlikely to change no matter who is at quarterback in 2017.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: Can Clay string together a healthy and complete fantasy season for the first time since 2013 while with the Dolphins?
Key Free Agents: CB Stephon Gillmore, WR Robert Woods QB EJ Manuel, WR Percy Harvin, ILB Zach Brown, RB Mike Gillislee (RFA), WR Marquise Goodwin, TE Logan Thomas (RFA), TE Chris Gragg, DT Corbin Bryant, C Ryan Groy (RFA), RT Jordan Mills, RB Reggie Bush, WR Justin Hunter, FB Jerome Felton, OLB Ramon Humber, SS James Ihedigbo, WR Dezmin Lewis (ERFA), P Colton Schmidt, FS Sergio Brown, ILB Brandon Spikes, WR Brandon Tate, CB Corey White, SS Robert Blanton, DT Leger Douzable

 

Miami Dolphins (10-6; 2nd in AFC East)

Quarterbacks

Ryan Tannehill – Tannehill appeared to be nearly invincible to start his career, enduring plenty of hits since he broke into the league in 2012 and never missing a game. His streak of 77 consecutive starts to begin his career came to an end when he partially torn his ACL and MCL in Week 14. His first season under new HC Adam Gase will go down as a mild success, and he started to come on strong at the end of his season, throwing for multiple TDs in four of his last five games before his knee injury. He completed 261/389 passes (67.1%) for 2995 yards (7.7 YPA), 19 TDs, and 12 INTs, and he added 39/164/1 rushing in 13 games. He averaged 19.2 FPG, finishing 22nd among QBs behind Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick. Tannehill was one of the more efficient fantasy QBs this year, averaging .69 fantasy points per pass attempt – the league average was .53. Tannehill finished with 20+ FP just five times, and he finished below 16 FP five times. He did show significant improvements in pocket presence (2.2 sacks per game in 2016, 3.6 in 2015), and big-play production (7.7 YPA in 2016, 7.2 in 2015). Of course, the emergence of Jay Ajayi in the running game helped Tannehill become a more consistent passer, especially in the play-action game. At the end of January, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Tannehill wouldn’t need surgery to repair his torn ACL. He might not be available for the entire off-season program, but at least he already has one year in Gase’s system under his belt. Tannehill became a more consistent QB in his fifth season, but he’ll likely continue to be a streaming QB next season unless DeVante Parker becomes a stud #1 outside WR and the offense relies less on the running game.

Matt Moore – We found out that Moore still plays for the Dolphins after Ryan Tannehill went down with a knee injury in Week 14. Tannehill had been nearly invincible in his first four seasons, with Moore attempting just 11 combined passes 2013-2015. Moore led the Dolphins to three victories in his four starts as Tannehill’s replacement before turning it over three times in Miami’s Wild Card Round loss. Moore finished the season completing 55/87 of his passes (63.2%) for 721 yards (8.3 YPA), 8 TDs, and 3 INTs in three starts and four regular season appearances. He showed that he wasn’t shy about cutting it loose downfield, and he didn’t hurt the fantasy prospects of his receivers. Moore more than held his own as fill-in starter, and he’ll remain one of the better backup options in the league next season in his 33-year-old season.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: Can Tannehill build on the momentum he started to gain just before his knee injury at the end of the year? Will the Dolphins continue to lean heavily on their running attack next season?

Running Backs

Ajayi faded a bit towards the end of the season, but is the bellcow here in Miami and the fact is that the team did much better once they handed him the reins in Week 6.Jay Ajayi – The Dolphins season took off after they essentially gave the reins of this offense to Ajayi in Week 6. He was definitely on our radar this summer playing with the always-hurt Arian Foster, but Ajayi had an absolutely miserable preseason and HC Adam Gase left him at home for the season opener in Seattle. Gase started getting Ajayi involved in Week 2 and it wasn’t long before he become the starter over the ineffective Foster – who retired mid-season. Starting in Week 6, Ajayi became the bellcow back in the backfield, and he immediately rewarded the move with consecutive 200+ rushing yard games. He ended up with three 200+ rushing yard games, and Le’Veon Bell was the only other player to reach the milestone in 2016. Ajayi finished with 260/1272/8 rushing (4.9 YPC) and 27/151/0 receiving (77.1% catch rate, 5.6 YPR) in 15 games. He averaged 14.5 FPG, ranking him 16th at the positing behind Tevin Coleman and C.J. Anderson. From Week 6 on, he averaged 16.7 FPG, ranking him 7th at the position. He played on 65% of the snaps, had a 7.7% target share, and saw a whopping 43.16% of the team’s touches. Ajayi averaged an impressive .37 fantasy points per snap – the league average for the position was .24. According to Pro Football Focus, Ajayi led the league in yard per carry after contact with a ridiculous 3.5 yards after contact. He averaged 4.9 YPC, 84.8 rushing yards per game (5th), and led the NFL in yards after contact. Overall, the Dolphins ranked ninth in rushing yards per game (114) and eighth in rushing yards per attempt (4.5). He did struggle a bit at the end of the season with offensive line struggling through injuries, most notably to C Mike Pouncey. Ajayi hit 15+ FP just one time in his final eight starts after hitting 22+ FP in all three games from Weeks 6-9. Ajayi is expected to be the bellcow once again next season, and he setting up to be at least a top-15 fantasy pick next summer. The Dolphins O-line could also get better next season if Laremy Tunsil continues with his development. If Ajayi can improve at all as a receiver – he looked competent at Boise State but has been shaky as a pro – he could easily be a top-5 fantasy RB.

Kenyan Drake – Drake didn’t make nearly the impact that many expected he would as the #3 RB taken in the 2016 draft and as the #73 overall pick. He finished with just 33/179/2 rushing (11.2 YPC) and 9/46/0 receiving (5.1 YPR) in 16 games while playing 11% of the snaps. He also added kick-return TD and some of his biggest contributions came on special teams. Drake actually averaged 1.04 fantasy points per touch – the league average for the position was .70. He did show some big-play ability, and he actually has a pretty similar build and skillset to teammate Damien Williams, who is a restricted free agent. Drake isn’t the prototypical three-down back, but he has excellent size (6’1”, 216 pounds) and receiving ability to go along with his explosiveness. Jay Ajayi really struggled as a receiver in 2016, so Drake has the potential to develop a bigger role as a receiver next season if Ajayi doesn’t improve in that area. Of course, Williams will likely still be in the fold and those two will likely battle it out for the most snaps behind Ajayi for 2017.

Damien Williams – Williams was buried down the depth chart at the start of training camp behind Arian Foster, Jay Ajayi, and Kenyan Drake, but he emerged to be the primary backup by the end of the season. He finished with 35/115/3 rushing (3.3 YPC) and 23/249/3 receiving on 32 targets (71.9% catch rate, 10.8 YPR) in 15 games. He averaged 6.4 FPG and played on 18% of the snaps. He also scored a TD in their Wild Card game, so he ended up vulturing away 7 scores from Ajayi. Williams is a restricted free agent this off-season, and the Dolphins would likely bring him back to compete for the backup role with Drake and another potential back.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: Will the Dolphins use Jay Ajayi as their bellcow and can he be a RB1? Can Ajayi become a better receiver to become one of the best fantasy RB options? Will Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams compete for the backup job or will the Dolphins bring in another back for some competition.

Wide Receivers

Jarvis Landry – The Dolphins offense revolved around Landry in 2015 and in the early part of 2016 before RB Jay Ajayi took the torch for the offense early in the season. Landry averaged 10.2 targets per game in 2015 and 11.3 through the first four weeks of 2016, before seeing his averaged dip to 7.2 in the final 12 games of the season. Over that period, Landry averaged 16.8 FPG in 2015, 19.0 in Weeks 1-4 of 2016, and 13.1 in Weeks 5-17 of 2016. He finished 2016 with 94/1136/4 receiving on 131 targets (71.8% catch rate, 12.1 YPC) in 16 games. He averaged 14.6 FPG, ranking him 16th at the position behind Michael Crabtree. He played on 94% of the snaps, saw a healthy 28.7% target share, and had 14.14% of the team’s touches. He didn’t quite reach his 2015 numbers (111/1159/4), but he showed more than ever that he’s dynamic after the catch and tough to bring down with one defender, as his YPC average has climbed in each of his first three seasons (9.0>10.4>12.1). Landry wasn’t nearly as consistent as he has been from a game-to-game basis, but he still fell below 10 FP just four times and hit 20+ FP three times. He’s never been prolific in the red zone, seeing just 9 red-zone targets this season, which ranked 68th at the position, and he has just 13 receiving TDs in three years. Landry has a year left on his rookie contract, and the Dolphins could look to extend him this off-season. The offense will still likely run through Ajayi next season, and there’s a chance that DeVante Parker takes a step towards stardom in 2017, but Landry is still a pivotal part of this offense/passing game. His usage may have peaked in 2015 and he’s no longer a lock to hit 100+ catches in a season. But he stays healthy and is usually quite active most weeks, so he’ll likely be a low-end WR2 or a high-end WR3 in fantasy drafts next summer.

DeVante Parker – Parker is dripping with talent in his long, 6’3” frame, which is why the Dolphins took him #14 overall back in 2015. It’s also why plenty of fantasy owners targeted him as a breakout player last summer. He was about the 30th WR off the board in fantasy drafts, and it was natural to compare him to Alshon Jeffery with Adam Gase taking over the offense after a short stay in Chicago. Parker didn’t quite live up to the hype and had yet another rollercoaster campaign in his second season. He finished with 14+ FP in five games and had 5 FP or less in five games. He finished with 56/744/4 receiving on 87 targets (64.4% catch rate, 13.3 YPC) in 15 games. He averaged 10.3 FPG, ranking him 53rd at the position, just behind teammate Kenny Stills. He played on 82% of the snaps, had an 18.6% target share, and saw 8.42% of the team’s touches. Parker has missed just two games to start his career, but he’s been tagged as injury prone and as someone who struggles when he’s not at 100%. He missed Week 1 with a hamstring injury and had a tough time getting completely over the issue in the first half of the season. He also battled through a back injury late in the season too. Stills is a free agent this off-season, so there’s a chance he goes elsewhere, which would leave Parker as the no-doubt top option on the outside for Ryan Tannehill. Parker is clearly loaded with talent, and he’ll once again be a sexy fantasy pick for the second straight summer because of his potential to be a dominant outside WR. Now it’s up to Parker to take the final step to become a consistent force outside the numbers and down the field.

Kenny Stills – Stills had a bounce-back season after a shaky first season with the Dolphins in 2015, proving to be a good fit in Adam Gase’s offense. He stretched the field as a vertical threat in this run-heavy offense, making some big plays downfield off play-action passes. Stills finished with 42/726/9 receiving on 81 targets (51.9% catch rate, 17.3 YPC) in 16 games. He averaged 10.5 FPG, tying for 50th at the position with Brandon Marshall – he also ranked ahead of teammate DeVante Parker. Stills averaged an impressive 2.11 fantasy points per target – the league average for the position was 1.93 – and he averaged 84% of the snaps and had a 17.5% target share. Stills led the team in touchdowns (9) and ranked third in the NFL in yards per reception (17.3) for players with 30+ catches, behind only DeSean Jackson and Chris Hogan. The Dolphins will have a tough decision to make on free-agent Stills this off-season. Gase does love Stills’ vertical speed, but they won’t break the bank to re-sign him and there will be other speedsters on the market. Even though he’s been in the league for four seasons already, he’ll still only be 25 years old next season, and he’s averaging a healthy 16.7 yards per reception for his career. Stills is a better route runner than most vertical threats, and he’s going to have decent-sized market as a free agent.

Leonte Carroo – Carroo didn’t live up to his third-round billing this season, struggling to get on the field with Kenny Stills playing better after a rough first season as a Dolphin in 2015. Carroo dressed in just 14 games and was a healthy scratch in their playoff loss to the Steelers. As the #4 WR, he played 20% of the snaps in his appearances but finished with just 3/29/1 receiving on 6 targets. Carroo was believed to be polished enough out of Rutgers to play right away as a rookie, but that simply wasn’t the case. He eventually got passed by Rashawn Scott in the last month of the season, and Carroo told the Miami Herald that it was “humbling experience to not play as much.” We thought he was a bit of a tweener for the WR position; a little thick to play out of the slot and a bit short as an outside receiver. Carroo could get his chance to play this season if the Dolphins let Stills walk in free agency, but he did little too prove he’s ready for a bigger role.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: Will Jarvis Landry continue to be the focal point of this passing game? Can DeVante Parker take the final step to being a true #1 outside WR or will he continue to frustrate with inconsistent play? Will the Dolphins look to re-sign Kenny Stills or will they let him walk and give third-round pick Leonte Carroo the #3 WR spot?

Tight Ends

Dion Sims – Sims has been a solid backup TE to Charles Clay and Jordan Cameron since he broke into the league in 2013, but he was forced into a starter’s role because of Cameron’s concussion issues, which forced him to miss 13 games. He finished the year with 26/256/4 receiving on 35 targets (74.3% catch rate, 9.8 YPC) in 14 games, missing two contests because of a concussion. He averaged just 5.4 FPG for the season, but he did have a nice stretch from Weeks 12-15 when he caught 13/132/4 on 14 targets for 12.6. He played 86% of the snaps and saw a 7.7% target share. Sims averaged an impressive 2.16 fantasy points per target – the league average for the position was 1.75. It looks like Sims will be back next season as the potential starter. "(Gase) told me he wants me back as a No. 1," Sims told the Miami Herald in January. "I want to be back. I have obviously proven myself to be a starting tight end in the league and want to continue in that role. I’ve done some great things this year and improved a lot." We still think the Dolphins will bring some competition for him this off-season. Sims obviously isn’t a sexy fantasy option in this run-oriented offense, but he could be a low-end streamer if he does indeed win the starting job for 2017.

Jordan Cameron – Cameron’s two-year stay in Miami turned out to be a huge bust, and his career is very much in jeopardy at this point. He played in just three games after suffering a sever concussion, and he had major issues with concussions during his time in Cleveland. Back at the end of November he said he would make a decision on his future after the season, and he would become a free agent if he decides to keep playing. He definitely won’t back in Miami next season, and he’ll likely only see a one-year deal as a free agent because of his concussion issues.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: How will the Dolphins address their weakness at TE? Will they give Dion Sims a shot to be the full-time starter or will they keep him around as the #2 TE? Will Jordan Cameron ever play another NFL snap?
Key Free Agents: WR Kenny Stills, TE Dion Sims, TE Jordan Cameron, OLB Jelani Jenkins, RB Damien Williams (RFA), DE Dion Jordan, DE Andre Branch, DE Jason Jones, ILB Kiko Alonso, QB T.J. Yates, OG Jermon Bushrod, OLB Spencer Paysinger, ILB Donald Butler, FS Michael Thomas, TE Dominique Jones, OG Anthony Steen (ERFA), TE Thomas Duarte (ERFA), ILB Mike Hull (ERFA)

 

New England Patriots (14-2; 1st in AFC East)

Quarterbacks

Tom Brady – Brady led a historic comeback for his fifth Super Bowl victory, which cemented his spot as the best quarterback to ever play. Heck, he’s about to turn 40 next season, and he’s still one of the best QBs right now. Brady started his season on vaca…suspension for the first four weeks of the 2016 campaign. His game certainly didn’t take a respite, returning in Week 5 and throwing for 12 TDs and 0 INTs and averaging 29.6 FPG (2nd at QB) in his first four games back. Brady took a hit in Week 12 with Rob Gronkowski (back) going down for the year, and he averaged just 21.6 FPG (11th at QB) in Weeks 13-17. He also came up small in the fantasy playoffs in Week 15, throwing for just 188 yards and no TDs against a stingy Broncos secondary. As a whole though, Brady played as well as ever in his 17th season at 39 years old. He completed 291/432 passes (67.4%) for 3554 yards (8.2 YPA), 28 TDs, and 2 INTs in 12 games. Brady averaged 24.7 FPG, ranking 5th at the position behind Matt Ryan. Brady averaged an impressive .69 fantasy points per pass attempt – the league average was .53. He was one of just four QBs who averaged 7.5+ YPA with an interception rate of 1.4% or below. The others were Matt Ryan (9.3/1.3), Andy Dalton (7.5/1.4), and Dak Prescott (8.0/0.9). Brady is going to have to slow down at some point in his career, and he’ll be entering his 40-year-old season, which is an accomplishment in and of itself as just 18 QBs have taken a snap at 40+ years old. Still, we can’t doubt Brady until he starts to show some cracks in his game, so he’s going to be one of the top fantasy options at the position next season. He also won’t have Deflategate and a suspension (or the possibility of a suspension) hanging over his off-season for the first time in two years. He’ll once again be drafted with the likes of Drew Brees and Andrew Luck behind top fantasy QB Aaron Rodgers.

Jimmy Garoppolo – Jimmy G played only 6 quarters as Tom Brady’s replacement early in the season, but he tore it up and earned plenty of buzz for this off-season. He finished the year completing 43/63 passes (68.3%) for 502 yards (8.0 YPA), 4 TDs, and 0 INTs. He sprained the AC joint in his throwing shoulder in Week 2 – tossing 3 TDs in two quarters before the injury – and he couldn’t get back on the field before Brady returned from his suspension in Week 5. In late December 2016 on WEEI Boston, ESPN’s Adam Schefter speculated that a first- and fourth-round pick would be the starting point in a trade for Garoppolo. The Browns have been the team most linked with Jimmy G because they have a major a need at QB and they have two first-round picks and a bevy of other picks to throw at the Patriots. Obviously, there are plenty of other teams that will check in on Jimmy G. It’s also a relatively weak QB class for 2017, so Garoppolo’s status will be one of the more interesting subplots of this off-season. After the Super Bowl, Brady said he has zero plans of retiring, and he’s also shown zero sign of slowing down. The Patriots have some motivation to get what they can for Garoppolo before he hits free agency in 2018, but they certainly won’t give him away for nothing.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: How much longer can Tom Brady continue to play at an elite level? Will any team knock the socks off the Patriots with a trade package to pry Jimmy Garoppolo away?

Running Backs

LeGarrette Blount – Blount had never scored double-digit rushing TDs in his first six seasons, so of course he crushed Curtis Martin’s team record (14) with a whopping 18 scores. Blount had the most rushing TDs in a season since Adrian Peterson scored 18 times back in 2009. He was the king of scoring from on top of the goal line, with 11 of his scores coming from a yard away and his average score came from 7.3 yards away – his average was greatly aided by 41- and 43-yard TDs. Blount scored TDs in all but three of his games and he topped 10+ FP in all but four games. He finished the year with 299/1161/18 rushing (3.9 YPC) and 7/38/0 receiving on 8 targets (87.5% catch rate, 5.4 YPR) in 16 games. Blount averaged 14.8 FPG, ranking 13th at the position behind Latavius Murray. He played on 47% of the snaps and had 39.79% of the team’s touches. Blount’s production did tail off a bit once Dion Lewis returned, averaging 12.3 FPG on 117/483/6 rushing in Weeks 11-17. Playing beside just James White in Weeks 1-10, Blount averaged 16.8 FPG on 182/678/12 rushing. Considering how poorly his last free-agent foray went with the Steelers back in 2014, we’d expect Blount to be eager to return to the Patriots next season. It’s also not like Blount would have much of market as a 30-year-old back who is just a pile pusher between the tackles. Blount has actually developed into the most consistent fantasy option in this backfield, especially in non-PPR formats, and he’ll be drafted as a RB2. Still, he’s extremely dependent on TDs and he did lose some value once Lewis returned to the lineup. Blount can certainly hold that RB2 value if he can fall into the end zone double-digit times once again in this potent offense, but he brings little else to the table.

Dion Lewis – Lewis isn’t the best runner in this backfield, that nod would go to LeGarrette Blount. Lewis isn’t the best receiver in the backfield, that nod would go to James White. However, Lewis is the best blend of a runner and a receiver for the Patriots, and OC Josh McDaniels uses him as a chess piece to create mismatches for opposing defenses. He became their best chess piece once Rob Gronkowski (back) went down for the season in Week 12. The Patriots are obviously very good no matter what, but they are a perfect 18-0 over the last two years with Lewis on the field. Lewis missed the first nine games of the season because of a clean-up knee surgery in August after tearing his ACL in November of 2015. He didn’t really make a huge impact until the playoffs – he hit double-digit FP just once in the regular season – going off for 3 TDs against the Texans in the Divisional Round. He finished the year with 64/283/0 rushing (4.4 YPC) and 17/94/0 receiving on 24 targets (70.8% catch rate, 5.5 YPR) in seven games. He averaged 7.8 FPG, played on 32% of the snaps, and had 10.53% of the team’s touches. White was more fantasy relevant Lewis was in Weeks 11-17, averaging 10.1 FPG. Lewis averaged an impressive .34 fantasy points per snap – the league average for the position was .24. He did injure his hamstring near the end of the Super Bowl, but he’ll have plenty of time to get healthy for their off-season program. It’s hard to pin down Lewis’ fantasy value for next season with Blount and White likely back and splitting the workload. Lewis clearly has the potential to be a RB2/flex if Blount or White are out of the lineup at any point next season, but he’s likely going to be fantasy bench fodder if all three are healthy and splitting the workload again.

James White – White played a huge part in the Patriots’ unbelievable Super Bowl comeback, scoring twice and catching 14 passes in their rally from 25 points down. White has developed into of the better receivers out of the backfield, but the Patriots have very little use for him as a runner other than the occasional carry to keep defenses honest. Many thought his role in the offense could evaporate when Dion Lewis returned in Week 11, but White saw almost no drop off in production with the Patriots using all three backs. White posted 28/112/0 rushing and 33/290/3 receiving for 10.3 FPG without Lewis in Weeks 1-10. He posted 11/54/0 rushing and 27/261/2 receiving for 10.1 FPG in Weeks 11-17, while Lewis averaged just 7.8 FPG in that span. White finished the year with 39/166/0 rushing (4.3 YPC) and 60/551/5 receiving on 86 targets (69.8% catch rate, 9.2 YPR) in 16 games. He averaged 10.2 FPG, ranking 35th at the position behind Terrance West. He played on 38% of the snaps, saw a 15.9% target share, and had 12.87% of the team’s touches. White averaged an impressive 1.63 fantasy points per touch – the league average for the position was .70. It’s going to be tough to use White for fantasy next season if the backfield looks the same. He’ll likely be left on your fantasy bench if the three of them are healthy and splitting the workload again, but he can be a RB2/flex if Lewis or LeGarrette Blount is out of the lineup at any point next season.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: Will the Patriots retain LeGarrette Blount and can he score double-digit TDs again to be a rock-solid RB2? Can Dion Lewis and/or James White be consistent fantasy producers or will the snaps/touches be to spread out in the backfield for them to make consistent impacts?

Wide Receivers

Julian Edelman – Edelman, the Patriots new all-time leader in postseason receiving yards, had a strong finishing kick to his year, capitalizing on some extra targets that became available after Rob Gronkowski’s season-ending back injury in Week 12. Starting in Week 10 and continuing through their Super Bowl victory, Edelman averaged 7.1/99.1/3.0 receiving per game on 12.1 targets. He’s had a tough time staying on the field since he arrived in New England in 2009, but he completed his second 16-game season in eight years, even with the heavy workload down the stretch. He did have a rough stretch in Weeks 3-6, failing to his double-digit FP in four straight games, but he didn’t have Tom Brady in two of those contests. Edelman had 13+ FP in every other game this season, including the playoffs. He finished the year with 98/1106/3 receiving on 159 targets (61.6% catch rate, 11.3 YPC) in 16 games. Edelman averaged 14.5 FPG, ranking 16th at the position behind Jarvis Landry. He played 78% of the snaps, saw a whopping 29.4% target share, and had 12.74% of the team’s touches. Edelman averaged just 1.46 fantasy points per target – the league average for the position was 1.93. Edelman had a healthy campaign, which has been a rarity for him, but we have to worry about the pounding he has taken over the years playing in the middle of the field at his size (6’1”, 200 pounds). He’ll be 31 years old next season, and for a player that he relies on his quickness, there’s a chance that he starts to slow down at some point soon. He’ll likely be drafted as a low-end WR2 next summer somewhere in rounds 4-6, but he does carry a bit of downside if he can’t maintain his high level of play.

Malcolm Mitchell – Mitchell drew positive reviews during the preseason, which is hard to do for rookie WRs trying to get on the same page with veteran QB Tom Brady. The Patriots have had an absolutely terrible track record of drafting WRs in the early rounds over the last decade, but there’s cautious optimism in New England that Mitchell could break the drought. For a stretch, he became a vital part of this passing game with Rob Gronkowski (back) done for the season. In Gronk’s absence, Mitchell took on a bigger role in the red zone and as a downfield threat, but a knee injury slowed him at the end of the season and in the early part of the playoffs. He finished the year with 32/401/4 receiving on 48 targets (66.7% catch rate, 12.5 YPC), averaging 6.9 FPG in 14 games. He played on 55% of the snaps and saw an 8.9% target share. Mitchell averaged a solid 2.00 fantasy points per target – the league average for the position was 1.93. He had his best stretch in Weeks 11-14, posting 21/263/4 receiving and averaging 17.8 FPG, which ranked 8th at the position. For being a part-time player through Week 9, Mitchell saw a pretty generous 14 red-zone targets. The Patriots have been looking for a big outside WR for the few years, and now they have two intriguing prospects that fit the bill in Mitchell and Chris Hogan. The rookie had a strong performance (6/70 receiving) to help the Pats win the Super Bowl. Mitchell will be just 24 years old next season, and he has some upside for 2017 because he’ll have a full year working with Brady under his belt. Also, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski have age and injuries starting to work against them, so Mitchell has some break-out potential in his second season as he’ll likely have an ADP of 100+ in fantasy drafts next summer.

Chris Hogan – Hogan made a solid impact as a downfield threat for Tom Brady during the regular season, but he waited until the AFC Championship to make his biggest impact. He posted a whopping 9/180/2 receiving against the Steelers to propel the Patriots to the Super Bowl. They Patriots used Hogan as their downfield threat on the outside, and among WRs with 30+ catches, Hogan finished behind only DeSean Jackson in yards per catch (17.9). Hogan was never heavily involved in the offense, topping 7+ targets in just one game and hitting 5+ catches just once. He finished the year with 38/680/4 receiving on 58 targets (65.5% catch rate, 17.9 YPC) in 15 games, missing a contest with a back injury. Hogan averaged 8.7 FPG, tying with Adam Humphries and Will Fuller for 67th at the position. He played on 80% of the snaps and saw a 10.5% target share. Hogan averaged an impressive 2.30 fantasy points per target – the league average for the position was 1.93. Hogan was usually just off the fantasy radar, but he has the potential to be a fantasy bench piece to start next season, especially with Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski not getting any younger or healthier. Playing with Brady, Hogan does have some upside at the end of fantasy drafts if his role in this potent Patriots offense expands a little bit with a year under his belt.

Michael Floyd – Floyd was having a miserable contract season before he compounded matters by making a terrible life decision. Floyd earned his release from the Cardinals in December when he was arrest for drunk driving when he blew a .217, his second DUI offense in five years. The Patriots claimed him off waivers, and he made almost no impact in the final two regular season games and in the playoffs – the Pats made him inactive for the Super Bowl. He finished the year with 37/488/5 receiving on 76 targets (48.7% catch rate, 13.2 YPC) in 13 games between the Cardinals and two games with the Patriots. Prior to his arrest and poor showing in 2016, Floyd would’ve been one of the more coveted free-agent WRs this off-season. He is the prototypical outside WR that any team would love to have because of his his size (6’2”, 222 pounds) and athleticism. He could now be stuck playing on a one-year, prove-it deal in 2017. He also has a hearing at the end of February, just before the start of free agency, and he could face a 180-day jail sentence for a second offense. Needless to say, Floyd’s career, and life for that matter, is at a bit of a crossroads.

Danny Amendola – During his time in New England, Amendola has primarily needed someone ahead of him to go down with an injury for him to have a chance at fantasy relevance. He never really got an opportunity for extra playing time, and he missed the final four games of the regular season with a high-ankle sprain. By the end of the season, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell were clearly ahead of him, and the Patriots also brought in Michael Floyd. Amendola finished the year with 23/243/4 receiving on 29 targets (79.3% catch rate, 10.6 YPC), averaging 6.1 FPG and playing on 32% of the snaps in 12 games. He did step up in the Super Bowl, posting 8/78/1 receiving on 11 targets. The Patriots can save $6.5 million by cutting Amendola this off-season, and we’d expect him to try to re-work his deal to stick around for another season. Amendola will once again be irrelevant for fantasy unless Julian Edelman would miss a chunk of time next season.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: How much longer can Julian Edelman dominate with his quickness and route running out of the slot? Will Malcolm Mitchell develop into the impact outside WR that the Patriots have been in search of for years? Will Michael Floyd get his life and career back on track somewhere on a one-year deal? Can Chris Hogan make an even bigger impact with a full season working with Tom Brady under his belt? Will Danny Amendola re-work his deal to stick around another season?

Tight Ends

Gronk is expected to make a full recovery from his early December back surgery, but there's too much risk with taking him early next year.Rob Gronkowski – Gronk’s incredibly disappointing 2016 season likely sunk many fantasy owners who spent a top-20 pick on him last summer. He missed time in the preseason and the first two weeks of the season with a hamstring injury, another game in the middle of the season with a perforated lung, and finally the last five contests of the year with a back injury. He ruptured a disk in his back, which required surgery, the third known back operation of his career – he previously had back surgeries in 2009 and 2013. Gronk finished the year with 25/540/3 receiving on 38 targets (65.8% catch rate, 21.6 YPC) in 8 games. He averaged 12.1 FPG, tying him with Jimmy Graham for 8th among TEs. Gronk played on 67% of the snaps when in the lineup and saw just a 7.0% target share. He led all TEs with a ridiculous 2.55 fantasy points per target – the league average for the position was 1.75 – and among all players with 25+ catches, he led the league with his 21.6 YPC average. Gronk hasn’t played a full 16-game slate since he did it twice to start his career back in 2010-11, and he’s missed 32 games in his last five seasons, so he’s played in just 60% of his games from 2012-16. He’s expected to make a full recovery from his early December back surgery, and he should be healthy for most of their off-season program since it was expected to take him about 8 weeks to recover from the operation. There have been some whispers that the Patriots could shop Gronk in a trade this off-season. Gronk’s injuries are piling up at an alarming rate for a player entering his 28-year-old season, and there will be a ton of risk drafting him next season. He could also still carry a top-36 ADP next summer, and we’d feel much better taking a guy like Travis Kelce, who could have a similar ADP, over Gronk at this point.

Martellus Bennett – Bennett came to New England expecting to be the #2 TE behind Rob Gronkowski, but he became the #1 when Rob Gronkowski (back) went down for the season in Week 12. No matter if Gronk was in or out of the lineup, Bennett was a highly volatile fantasy asset for most of the season. He scored 15+ FP five times, but he scored under 6 FP a whopping seven times, which is a tough pill to swallow for a player that was frequently used as a low-end TE1. He did score 3 of his 7 TDs in his final four games of the regular season, but he also finished under 40 yards three times in that span. Bennett did battle a major ankle issue for much of the season, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported before the AFC Championship that Bennett is likely to undergo off-season ankle surgery to repair a cracked bone and to clean up bone chips. He finished the year with 55/701/7 receiving on 73 targets (75.3% catch rate, 12.7 YPC) in 16 games. Bennett averaged 10.5 FPG, ranking 15th at the position behind Dennis Pitta. He played 78% of the snaps, saw 13.5% target share, and had 7.15% of the team’s touches. Bennett averaged an impressive 2.30 fantasy points per target – the league average for the position was 1.75. Marty B gutted it out through his ankle injury this season, and he could miss a good part of the off-season if he does indeed have surgery. He should move much better next season if he can get back to full health, and he did look healthier in the Super Bowl with two weeks to rest. Bennett has a big decision to make this off-season, as he’d be the top free-agent TE if he explores the open market. He has proclaimed his love playing with the Patriots in 2016, so he’ll be deciding between less money/smaller role in New England or more money/bigger role elsewhere.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: Can Rob Gronkowski stay healthy for an entire season, which he hasn’t done since 2011? Will Gronk still be the first TE selected in fantasy drafts? Will Martellus Bennett chase a bigger contract and a bigger role elsewhere or is he content with his status in New England?
Key Free Agents: TE Martellus Bennett, RB LeGarrette Blount, WR Michael Floyd, CB Malcolm Butler (RFA), DE Jabaal Sheard, RT Sebastian Vollmer, CB Logan Ryan, DE Chris Long, OLB Barkevious Mingo, DT Alan Branch, ILB Don’t’a Hightower, RB Brandon Bolden, FB James Develin, SS Duron Harmon, DE Greg Scruggs, OG Cameron Fleming (RFA), TE Matt Lengel (ERFA)

 

New York Jets (5-11; 4th in AFC East)

Quarterbacks

Ryan Fitzpatrick – The Jets were forced to bet on Fitzpatrick last summer, and they clearly lost the bet. They brought Fitz back and paid him $12 million for 17 interceptions and just 12 TDs in what was a disastrous season – they paid a $1 million for every TD. The Jets were one of the worst quarterbacked teams in the league this season, starting with the veteran Fitzpatrick. He completed 229/404 passes (56.7%) for 2709 yards, 12 TDs, and 17 INTs for 14.0 FPG in 14 games. Fitz averaged a pathetic .49 fantasy points per pass attempt – the league average was .53 – and he averaged 6.7 YPA. He threw a league-high 6 INTs inside the red zone, and he finished with a league-low 69.6 passer rating among qualified players. Fitz got benched in game two separate times, and he forced too many throws once again. The difference this season was that opposing defenses actually held onto the passes they had chances to pick off, as he had a ton of luck on his side in 2015. Fitz will go back to being a backup QB for a new team this off-season, as his days of being a Week 1 starter are likely over.

Geno Smith – Is there a player that needs a change of scenery more than Geno? Smith’s time in New York will thankfully be over this off-season after his fourth NFL season ended with a torn ACL in Week 7. He attempted just 14 passes in two games, suffering his knee injury in the second quarter of his only start of the season in place of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Smith obviously never lived up to his #39 overall draft status from 2013, and he’ll look to salvage his career somewhere else. Geno will likely have to compete for a backup QB job for some other organization – he’ll be nearly nine months removed from surgery for training camp – and he could certainly use a fresh start with a new team.

Bryce Petty – The Jets are on the search for their 2017 starting QB this off-season. Petty certainly didn’t win the job in his four starts and six appearances in 2016, but he also didn’t totally eliminate himself either. Petty mostly struggled in his four starts, but he also wasn’t playing with a full supporting cast. He completed 75/133 passes (56.4%) for 809 yards (6.1 YPA), 3 TDs, and 7 INTs for 9.1 FPG. Petty did land on the IR after Week 16, as he needed a surgery to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, which could limit him in the Jets off-season program. He did leave early in two of his four starts, so he might not be physically able to hold up as a NFL starter. The Jets need to figure out what they are doing at QB, but Petty is clearly better off as backup QB.

Christian Hackenberg – The Jets spent a second-round pick on Hackenberg, but he couldn’t even get on the field late in the season even with the Jets playing for absolutely nothing. He reportedly played poorly in practice and the the team didn’t want to ruin his confidence by putting him into game action. An ESPN report also cited an anonymous Jets coach saying that Hack couldn’t even throw the ball into the ocean. Hackenberg will need to drastically improve this off-season to win the starting job out of training camp this summer, and the fact that he couldn’t get on the field this season speaks to how underdeveloped a prospect he is.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: Is the starting QB for the Jets currently on the roster? Do the Jets spend yet another draft pick on a QB or do they look to the free-agent market to fill the need?

Running Backs

Matt Forte – Forte turned 31 in early December, but he started to show his age at the end of the season after the Jets ran Forte in the ground. His body broke down in December and he landed on the IR before the season finale with knee and shoulder injuries. He needed arthroscopic knee surgery for his torn meniscus, which could limit him this off-season (not that he needs many off-season reps at this point in his career). Forte finished with 218/813/7 rushing (3.7 YPC) and 30/263/1 receiving on 43 targets (69.8% catch rate, 8.8 YPR) in 14 games. He averaged 13.3 FPG, which ranked him 20th at the position but it was his worst fantasy season of his nine-year career. Forte finished with 3.7 yards per carry, his worst average since his second season back in 2009 when he averaged 3.6. He also had by far his worst production as a receiver – his previous career lows were 44/340 in 2012 – but we certainly put a lot of the blame on Ryan Fitzpatrick and the terrible Jets QB play in 2016. Forte played on 53% of the snaps, had an 8.0% target share, and led the Jets with 36.26% of the team’s touches. Forte was a little to boom-or-bust for our liking, going off for 20+ FP in four games and finishing with fewer than 10 FP in seven of his 14 games. Forte is under contract for a reasonable $5 million next season, but the Jets could get Bilal Powell more involved because Forte isn’t getting any younger and Powell looked like the better runner in 2016.

Bilal Powell – The Jets may have waited too long to give Powell a bigger role based on his performance in the final four weeks of the season. He ranked as the #3 fantasy RB in that stretch with 23.6 FPG, posting 82/411/2 rushing and 21/141/1 receiving as the lead back with Matt Forte (knee/shoulder) limited and out of the lineup. Powell finished with 131/722/3 rushing (5.5 YPC) and 58/388/2 receiving on 75 targets (77.3% catch rate, 6.7 YPR) in 16 games. He averaged 12.4 FPG, tying him with Giovani Bernard for 25th among RBs. Powell played 51% of the snaps, had a 14.0% target share, and saw 27.63% of the team’s touches. He averaged an impressive .37 fantasy points per snap – the league average for the position was .24. He also set a franchise record with his 5.51 yards per carry average – besting Freeman McNeil’s 5.21 YPC average set all the way back in 1982. Powell finished behind only behind only Mike Gillislee (5.7 YPC) among RBs with 100+ carries for the season. Forte clearly broke down at the end of the season from heavy use, and the Jets would be wise to split the workload between these two backs more evenly in 2017. We’re not totally convinced that Powell could hold up as a three-down back for an entire season, but he clearly brings more juice to the backfield than the 31-year-old Forte at this point in their careers.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: Will this backfield be more of a 50-50 split between Matt Forte and Bilal Powell? Do the Jets bring in more of a power back after the Khiry Robinson experiment failed in 2016?

Wide Receivers

He was hindered by both his QB play and the absence of his running partner, Eric Decker. He's entering his 12th season and the Jet QB situation is uncertain, so we're already hesitant about him if he stays in NY.Brandon Marshall – To put it nicely, Marshall had an absolutely miserable season, going down as one of the biggest busts of the fantasy season considering his second-round ADP from this summer. Marshall was held to 70 receiving yards or fewer in 10 straight games to end 2016, this after he reeled off 70+ receiving yards in his final six games of 2015. Marshall battled some of the worst starting QB play from Ryan Fitzpatrick and company this season. It didn’t help that his running partner Eric Decker (shoulder/hip) went out early in the year, putting all the attention on Marshall in the passing game. Top it off with nagging shoulder, back, hip, knee and foot issues, and Marshall had a wasted campaign. Marshall finished with 60/787/3 receiving on 127 targets (47.2% catch rate, 13.1 YPC) in 15 games. He averaged just 10.4 FPG, tying him for 51st with Sammy Watkins at the position. Marshall averaged a pathetic 1.23 fantasy points per target – the league average for the position was 1.93. He played on 92% of the snaps, had a 23.7% target share, and saw 8.77% of the team’s touches. After scoring 14 TDs in 2015, Marshall had just 7 catches in the red zone this season. Terrible QB play led to his miserable catch rate, but he also dropped 7 passes and he struggled to create separation as a route runner, which is obviously a big concern going forward since he’ll be 33 years old in 2017. He’s owed a reasonable $7.5 million next season, but the Jets can don’t owe him a dime, so they could easily cut him if they want to go in a different direction. If the Jets do keep him around, it’s fair to wonder if Marshall will rebound in his 12th season with his nagging injuries mounting and an uncertain QB situation heading into 2017.

Eric Decker – The Jets season quickly went downhill after they lost Decker after just three games to shoulder and hip injuries. Decker looked well on his way to another double-digit TD season, scoring in the first two games before injuring his shoulder in Week 2. He tried to play through his torn rotator cuff injury in Week 3, and the Jets eventually placed him on the IR before Week 6. Decker underwent his hip surgery in October and had to wait until November to have his shoulder operated on. His rehab is expected to take about eight months, which should be on pace for a training camp as long as he doesn’t have a setback. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets QBs clearly missed Decker, especially in the red zone and in the middle of the field out of the slot this season. Quincy Enunwa did fine as a semi-replacement for Decker, but they could certainly use a healthy Decker to give this passing game a spark next season, especially with Brandon Marshall falling off in 2016.

Quincy Enunwa – Heading into the 2016 season, we’re guessing that nobody had Enunwa as the Jets leading receiver. That was the case as he posted 58/857/4 receiving on 105 targets (55.2% catch rate, 14.8 YPC) in 16 games. Enunwa actually finished as the better fantasy WR over Brandon Marshall, averaging 10.6 FPG to rank 51st at the position – Marshall averaged 10.4. He played on 84% of the snaps, had a 19.6% target share, and saw 8.48% of the team’s touches. Enunwa was forced into a much bigger role than anticipated because of Eric Decker’s season-ending shoulder injury, essentially taking over a lot of his responsibilities in this spread attack. Enunwa is an excellent blocker out of the slot, and at his size (6’2”, 225 pounds) the Jets moved him around the field to create mismatches. He also improved his route running in his third season, which was important because of the QB play the Jets got from Ryan Fitzpatrick and company. Enunwa is ideally the #3 WR at best in this offense next season behind Marshall and Decker, which puts him off the fantasy radar entering next season.

Robby Anderson – All you need to know about the Jets season is that Anderson, UDFA prospect out of Temple, was their most viable fantasy WR by the end of the season. He caught 4+ passes in four of his final five games of the season, although he did have a goose egg in there against the Patriots in Week 16. Even with a 0 FP game thrown in to the mix, Anderson still had 18/283/2 receiving on 38 targets in Weeks 13-17 for 11.9 FPG. Overall, the rookie finished with 42/587/2 on 76 targets (53.8% catch rate, 14.0 YPC) in 16 games. Anderson averaged just 1.54 fantasy points per target – the league average for the position was 1.93. He played on 69% of the snaps and had a 14.2% target share, and his usage climbed as the season went along. Anderson clearly was at his with Bryce Petty because the reserve QB wasn’t afraid to force the ball downfield to the 4.3 speedster. Anderson showed plenty of ability as a vertical receiver, but the wiry WR (6’3”, 190 pounds) now needs to work on his overall game to become a complete receiver. Anderson is more complementary piece as the deep threat in a good offense. He’ll also need to be paired with a big-armed QB to have any chance of making impact, as he didn’t have much of a role with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: Can Brandon Marshall bounce back at age 33 next season or are his best days behind him? Will Eric Decker return to his old form off two major surgeries and a likely change at QB? Which of these young WRs (Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall, and Devin Smith) will continue to improve and step up behind Marshall and Decker?

Tight Ends

Austin Seferian-Jenkins – The Jets finished with the fewest catches at TE once again, totaling just 18 this season – they had only 8 TE receptions in 2015. The Broncos were the next closest team with 53 TE catches in 2016. Obviously, the offense has a lot to do with the TEs being a non-factor, as Chan Gailey’s spread attack uses plenty of 4-WR sets. Gailey did retire at the end of the season, so the Jets will use their TEs more in 2017. We’ll see if that TE is Seferian-Jenkins, who the Jets claimed in late September after the Buccaneers waived after he was arrested and charged with a DUI. ASJ finished with just 13/154/1 receiving on 18 targets (72.2% catch rate, 11.8 YPC) in nine games, including just 10/110/0 in seven appearances with the Jets. ASJ was supposed to help the TE-needy Jets, but he of course couldn’t stay healthy for very long, battling an ankle injury in the middle of the year and a hamstring issue at the end of the season. Seferian-Jenkins is talented enough as the #38 overall pick from the 2014 draft, but he’s never been consistent and has never stayed healthy for long stretches to make an impact in his first three seasons.

Fantasy questions to answer in 2017: Will the Jets ever use their TEs as receivers? Can Austin Seferian-Jenkins ever stay healthy enough to make an impact?
Key Free Agents: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB Geno Smith, RB Khiry Robinson (RFA), TE Kellen Davis, LT Benjamin Ijalana, OLB Corey Lemonier, CB Antonio Allen, TE Brandon Bostick (RFA), RB Brandon Burks (ERFA), CB Nick Marshall (ERFA), DE Mike Catapano (RFA), C Wesley Johnson (RFA), OLB Julian Stanford (RFA), OLB Josh Martin, CB Dexter McDougle (RFA), OLB Randell Johnson (RFA).