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If you’ve watched “The Breakfast Club” you know how the final scene goes. The day is over, the kids get in their cars and drive off. While that is happening, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds is playing through your speakers. If you grew up in the 80s, you’ve probably seen this movie several times. As we wind down the 2017 season, dynasty owners might want to play this refrain in their collective minds. Many will already be prepping for their offseason and putting together a list of players they want to target. This season has been packed with injuries and honestly, it feels to me this has been the worst ever.

We already know the value of players like Odell Beckham Jr., David Johnson and Aaron Rodgers. You would continue to target those players even after an injury. You don’t forget about these players when they go down. What about others though? With all the injuries this year, we have seen some potential fantasy assets go down before they could help owners or even put anything on the stat sheets.

This is all about players who may fly under the radar this offseason. You may be able to acquire them cheap or at least at a discount. If you are able to obtain one or more of these players, you will still want to temper expectations. For each player, the verdict will be Don’t Forget Me or Forget Me. You don’t want to forget guys who could come at a tremendous discount but you will want to forget guys that may not have a clear path back from injury or have lost too much value.

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Quarterback

Ryan Tannehill - Miami Dolphins

Partially Torn ACL, missed all of 2017

Tannehill’s knee injuries date back to Week 13 of 2016 when he had to leave the game early after spraining his MCL and ACL. He didn’t step back on the field in 2016 and looked forward to 2017 instead. The Dolphins offense was looking forward to taking a step in the right direction this season. With Tannehill back under center to go with 2016 breakout star Jay Ajayi, the always reliable Jarvis Landry and an anticipated big season from Devante Parker, the Dolphins had several key fantasy weapons on their team. During training camp though, Tannehill hurt his knee again running towards the sideline during a drill. Since then, it seems everything has been downhill in Miami with the exception of Landry.

The good news for Tannehill, the Dolphins must still see him as the QB of the future. They didn’t add a younger QB like Colin Kaepernick on a multiyear deal. Instead they inked the 34-year-old Jay Cutler to a one-year deal. Cutler has not done anything that would lead myself, or really anyone, to believe he plans on returning again. He hasn’t been great this year, but neither has the Dolphins offense. In fact, the Dolphins offense has been so bad, people are blaming Adam Gase for the issues and completely forgetting about Cutler.

With that being said, I have high hopes for this offense again next year. If the Dolphins can convince Landry to stick around with a lucrative deal, Tannehill is going to be surrounded by weapons. Unless you are Tom Brady, who makes everyone around him relevant, you need good weapons surrounding you. A receiving corps of Landry, Parker and Kenny Stills will give Tannehill plenty of play makers and add in Kenyan Drake who could be locking down lead back duties as we speak.

Don’t Forget Me: If you play in a superflex, 2 QB league or even like to wait on QBs in standard leagues, Tannehill is a name to target in 2017. He will become a really good option after the first two tiers of QBs come off the board. As long as that knee is fully healthy and he is able to put in a full year of offseason workouts, he should hit the ground running in training camp. He won’t need to worry about building chemistry since he has already worked with the players on the roster. I am not saying he is anything close to Carson Wentz, but Wentz had a very low ADP heading into the season and he has paid off for owners who decided to wait on QBs. You could pay for Tannehill at a QB25 price and get QB10 returns.

 

Andrew Luck - Indianapolis Colts

Torn Labrum, missed all of 2017

Andrew Luck was one of the most confusing stories this season. He was going to miss time, he wasn’t going to miss any time, he was going to miss some time, he’ll be back mid-season, he’ll be back sooner and finally he won’t be back at all. This was incredibly mishandled and miscommunicated by the Colts, but honestly it may have been a good thing for Luck. The Colts were not a very good team this year and dealt with a ton of injuries. The last thing Luck, the Colts, or fantasy owners needed was him to rush back from injury only to be laying on his back for a majority of games. At some point in time, the Colts will need to start drafting and spending money on the offensive line. Will Luck even be in a Colts uniform when that happens?

There has been some speculation that the Colts could try and trade Luck this offseason after he recovers from surgery and shows he is healthy. With the worth placed on QBs today, he would bring one heck of a haul. I don’t like players in this situation though. If there is a chance you could be cut, traded or hit the free agent market, I don’t like adding you to my roster while uncertainty hangs in the balance. The Colts have already proven this season that they aren’t completely truthful with what happens around the organization and its players.

During Luck's first three seasons in the NFL, he did not miss a game and had an average finish of QB5. During the past three seasons, including this year, Luck has missed 26 games while finishing as QB28 and QB4. Yes, when Luck is on the field he is a tremendous fantasy asset. He just hasn’t been on the field enough and if you are having shoulder issues as a QB, more red flags are up for me. Luck was the QB11 in drafts this year with an ADP of 95.7. QBs drafted later than him inlcude Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford and my man mentioned above, Carson Wentz. All of these drafts took place with the uncertainty of when Luck would even play a snap this year.

Forget Me: There is no way I am taking a flyer on Luck moving forward until I see he is healthy, on the field and that the Colts have solved some of their offensive line troubles. I am not interested in paying prices even close to what you see above. If we are talking strictly dynasty, which we typically do in my articles, there are still going to be people willing to pay crazy prices for Luck based on what he produced in his first three years. I get it and understand, but I don’t agree with it.

 

Running Backs

Joe Williams - San Francisco 49ers

Ankle, missed all of 2017

This team has become really fun to watch the last four weeks. When was the last time you saw a 3-10 team put up so much fight? The 49ers are going to be really close in a year or two, which is saying a lot in a division with the Rams and Seahawks. The biggest reason is the acquisition of franchise QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Finally having a QB in San Francisco is going to do wonders for the 49ers and allow Kyle Shanahan the ability to use all facets of his play book.

When someone brings up Shanahan’s name, one of the first things you think about is his work with running backs. He made Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman into a two-headed monster for the best offense in football last year. Don’t forget that he also made Alfred Morris a 1,000-yard rusher for two seasons in Washington. Carlos Hyde is likely in his last year with San Francisco which means the young guys will get their chance in 2018. Matt Breida and Jeremy McNichols are both currently on the active roster, but it’s the fourth-round pick out of Utah that has my eye.

Joe Williams was expected to be a big part of the offense this season and based on comments from the coaching staff, they believed Williams would carve out that type of role. The chatter around Williams reached high enough levels that reports of trading or even cutting Hyde made their way into headlines before the season. Since Williams hasn’t had the opportunity to put any stats together this season, it’s going to depend on how well the others play. Breida is averaging less than seven touches per game and hasn’t rushed for more than 55 yards in a game this season. Even when Carlos Hyde has been ineffective (only one game with 100 yards rushing) Breida hasn’t seen more of a workload. McNichols was just signed off the practice squad but was cut this preseason by Tampa Bay. The 49ers will have young running back options to compete for the job next year, but there is one reason why I’m betting on Williams.

Don’t Forget About Me: When you play for a head coach that has been known to utilize two running backs in his system, it’s a little concerning that Shanahan hasn’t used Breida more often. If you compare Breida’s 2017 season to Coleman’s 2016 season, when both were respective backups on their teams, Coleman was much more successful. Coleman averaged 11.46 touches for 72.38 yards last year compared to Breida’s average of 7.38 touches for 34.07 yards this year. Coleman is a better back, but these numbers don’t suggest Breida is being groomed to take over as a lead back next year. That role will go to Williams when he is fully healthy. I would have loved to spend this space giving you reasons why Williams will be better, but due to lack of track record, we need to stick with why everyone around him won’t be as good.

 

Kenneth Dixon - Baltimore Ravens

Torn Meniscus, missed all of 2017

It has been a tough 2017 for Kenneth Dixon. When the calendar switches to 2018 though, the nightmare won’t be over. Dixon started off the year with a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs, which was increased to six games later in the year. Even with the suspension, fantasy owners felt Dixon may have a road to the starting job when he returned. The signing of Danny Woodhead left the picture somewhat crowded, but Dixon showed just enough at the end of his rookie season to warrant more opportunities.

From Week 9 through the end of the 2016 season, Dixon had 73 carries for 359 yards to go with 25 receptions for 156 yards. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry during that time as well. Considering the leading rusher for Baltimore in 2016 was Terrence West, Dixon wasn’t exactly facing steep competition for lead back duties. Baltimore even made it known they were looking to run the ball more after passing a league leading 679 times last year. They are meeting that commitment as the Ravens rank 19th in the NFL this season with 440 attempts. All of that promise was derailed though when Dixon tore his meniscus ending his season before it started. Now the Baltimore backfield has gone from being a liability, to one of the better committees in the league.

Who would have thought that the Ravens were signing a potential 1,000-yard rusher in September though? Alex Collins currently ranks ninth in the NFL with 825 rushing yards. He also ranks second with 5.1 yards per carry for running backs with more than 100 carries.  Think the Seahawks would like to go back and not make that cut? Between the strong play from Collins, Woodhead and Javorius Allen this season, Dixon is quickly becoming an afterthought.

Forget Me: I believed in Dixon coming into this season, but that has quickly faded. Collins has done more than enough to keep his job the rest of this year and next year. Collins will only be an Exclusive Rights Free Agent, so Baltimore will surely keep him. I don’t foresee the Ravens cutting Dixon, so they will have plenty of guys to carry the ball next year. As Dixon experienced though, it only takes one play for someone to have an opportunity to seize a role. Unless you play in a very deep league, I would rather have these three guys over Dixon heading into 2018.

 

More 2017 Dynasty League Strategy