To be honest, 2017 has been the toughest season to articulate in regards to fantasy since we’ve started. So much negative has happened that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to put things into words. Whether your on this-side or that-side of protests, whether you believe that Roger Goodell’s opinion outweighs our legal system, or you’re forced to watch coaches who can’t coach, or maybe general managers who can’t manage in general, or you’re forced to watch the best players in the league continuously put on injured reserve, there is no arguing that the product is suffering. We could break down how an Aaron Rodgers and Odell Beckham combo sunk your ship. We could point at Ezekiel Elliott or David Johnson ruining your year. But we’d rather focus on the positive, after this paragraph at least. So grab your Levi’s by the belt-buckle and let’s saddle up, for some players who could salvage what has been (to this point) an abysmal overall fantasy year.
Panthers and Falcons – Devin Funchess, Wide Receiver
Out goes Kelvin Benjamin and here comes Funchess. The Michigan product has been hot and cold and borderline unpredictable since entering the league, but he’s poised to break out here. He’s a modified tight end/wide receiver in the same vein as the Giants’ Evan Engram and he could very well become the focus of the offense now. If the coaching staff is smart enough to move him around in the same manner as the Giants have with Engram, Funchess will see a massive uptick in production. He needs to see snaps in the slot, outside, and even at tight end given Greg Olsen‘s absence. But.. if Funchess is simply moved into Benjamin’s old outside spot, he could be headed for trouble. If he gets moved all over the place, his stats will flourish given the snap by snap mismatch he could create.
Broncos and Eagles – Brock Osweiler, Quarterback
If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you it’s either Brian Hoyer or Brock Osweiler. Life comes full circle as Denver is reunited with their former “franchise” quarterback. After a pay day in Houston and brief stint in Cleveland, Osweiler comes back to mile high as the projected starter. Trevor Siemian has been beyond bad and almost anyone would figure to be an upgrade. Factor in Osweiler’s previous history with Monster/Man Demaryius Thomas and you have to figure that it’s not going to take much for things to click. We fully expect Osweiler to settle back in to the old familiar system and for Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas to see massive leaps in production.
Rams and Giants – Jared Goff, Quarterback
At this point in time, Carson Wentz looks like he deserved to be the top pick in the 2016 draft. Goff has been coming along nicely as he’s gone from a season one flop to a season two “what do we have here” kind of player. Let’s also not forget that Wentz is doing what he’s doing behind one of the better offensive lines, with big name (on paper at least) receivers, with one of the league’s best defenses. Goff has Todd Gurley, Sammy Watkins at times, and Cooper Kupp. This is the perfect chance for Goff to make up some room between himself and Wentz. The Giants’ defense is in an almost unprecedented state of disrepair. It seems every week someone gets hurt and then someone gets benched due to their locker room behavior. Goff should be able to capitalize on this matchup and continue to prove that he wasn’t a bust.
Cardinals and 49ers – Jimmy Garoppolo, Quarterback
We get that he won’t start this week. We understand that he won’t start next week. But there’s still a lot of value on the line for the unproven ex-Patriot quarterback. Can anyone on this roster prove to be a hold over for next season, improving Jimmy G’s outlook for next year? Pierre Garcon is now on the IR. Carlos Hyde looks to be the most youthful source of production and even he has managed to cross the coaching staff. Can someone, under 30 years old, help the new QB next season? Or is this going to be a complete and total overhaul? Such an overhaul takes a lot of time and could put Garoppolo’s growth on hold. Anything here from Marquise Goodwin, George Kittle, or Aldrick Robinson to a certain extent, could mean a value boost from the current status Jimmy G now finds himself graded at.