(Editor’s note: Every Sunday, we’ll wrap up the week on PFF Fantasy with some topic one of our writers has been thinking about of late, and we'll recap the top features and columns you could find on the site that week.)
Every January and February, fantasy football sites around the fantasy world have the same headline: Person X’s “way-too-early rankings for next season.” The last season just ended, after all, so our eyes are turning forward, and your fantasy writer of choice has unveiled his or her rankings for the next season.
Here’s the problem, though: They aren’t too early. They’re right on time.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, if almost literally every fantasy expert is putting out rankings, then no single ranking set can be “too early.” Second, it’s important to have a base for a full offseason of changing opinions and draft stock.
Take last offseason for example. Drafters and experts who had their rankings together as of February or March saw early ADP results come out and reacted. Terrelle Pryor, to name a name, was almost universally underrated. Most expert rankings had him as a fourth- or fifth-round pick, but quickly saw that he was going lower than that. As those draftniks started talking up Pryor and identifying him as a value, his name became associated with the idea of value, to the point that even as his draft stock (and ADP) rose in the drafting community, he was seen as a “value.” By the end of draft season, Pryor was going off the board in the middle of the third round. He wasn’t a value anymore, even if people heard his name that way.
That Pryor was ultimately a bust matters is largely irrespective to the point at large. If you took him as a fifth-rounder, the fact that he busted hurt. If you took him as a third-rounder, well, that’s just about a season-killer. As the season drew near, our own Jeff Ratcliffe in the PFF Fantasy podcast went from a pro-Pryor tout to a wet blanket. That change in tune came because Jeff started from a point of having rankings ready. Not “way-too-early” rankings, not “too-soon-to-matter” rankings, but rankings. Start early. Start early and win.
- Our offseason wish lists got started, with a look at the six moves we’d most want to see as fantasy owners. From there, we’re taking a look at the ideal three fantasy moves every team could make, one roster at a time. We’re through the Browns so far.
- Everyone knows yards per carry. But not everyone gives enough consideration to how a player’s YPC average is put together. Yards before contact? Credit the offensive line. After contact? That’s the running back. Jeff Ratcliffe explored which offensive lines helped their backs the most in 2017.
- Scott Barrett looked at disappointing seasons from DeVante Parker and Drew Brees in the return of his “Metrics that Matter” series, and also took a look at how teams defend against rushing QBs.
- Davante Adams and Lamar Miller put up 2017 numbers that were a lot like their 2016 numbers. For Adams, that was a good thing. For Miller, not so much. Daniel Kelley investigated.
- Looking ahead to 2018, Dan Schneier identified some of the top fantasy comeback candidates, while Walton Spurlin reminded you not to forget the guys who spent most or all of 2017 injured.
- Scott Spratt took two deep dives — he wondered whether playoff sensation Nick Foles is just a latter-day Joe Flacco, and whether fantasy caution should be advised, and he applied his Yards Added metric to cornerbacks when evaluating receiver matchups.