If there’s one thing I learned in my seven and a half years of college, it’s that there’s nothing worse than the sophomore slump and believe me, I wish I was joking. I mean you come sprinting out of the gate and you’re so on top of your game. There’s no way that you can get any worse, right? Yeah, just ask Sam Bradford or as I like to call him, Sammy Biscuits. At any rate, we saw a lot of great performances from rookies last season which begs the question of who will repeat their success and who will fall into the slump?
Michael Thomas, WR - New Orleans Saints
Thomas burst onto the scene in New Orleans and quickly became Brees’ number one target. The Ohio State rookie totaled 92 receptions on 121 targets for 1,137 yards and 9 TDs all in 15 games last season. However, Thomas is in for a rough season in 2017. Because of the explosiveness of Brandin Cooks, Thomas very rarely lined up against the opposing team’s best corner. Also, opposing teams did not gameplan to stop Thomas, but this will all change next season. Thomas should see plenty of top tier coverage as well as possibly negative game scripts. He’s still a valuable fantasy asset, but I won’t be drafting him just because of his current 16.1 ADP.
Tajae Sharp, WR - Tennessee Titans
Look, Sharp was less than impressive to begin with last season, but totalling 522 yards and 2 TDs on 83 targets certainly doesn’t help his cause. His weak performance last season combined with his offseason arrest and the Titans drafting Corey Davis means Sharp has sophomore slump written all over him. I’m not even looking for him to land on people’s draft boards this season so he’s a prime sophomore slump candidate.
Rob Kelley, RB - Washington Redskins
Fat Rob certainly isn’t fat anymore, but his productivity is certainly at risk. Kelley finished last season with 168 attempts for 704 yards and 6 TDs which is pretty good considering. However, Kelley will more than likely enter into a training camp battle with Samaje Perine and I don’t think that he’ll come out on top in that one. With the emergence of Perine and the Redskins still being a pass-heavy offense, Kelley is due for a sophomore slump.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB - Dallas Cowboys
I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not crazy. Zeke was downright amazing last season with 322 attempts that totaled 1,631 yards and 15 TDs. Now, don’t get me wrong. Zeke is definitely still a strong RB1, but his slump will be him not reaching the 1,250 yard mark. That’s right, I’m with Blackburn on this one. Two new starting linemen in Dallas plus opposing defenses game planning to stop the run will cause Zeke to have a sophomore slump. Personally, I see him finishing around the 5th or 6th RB overall.
Software and Rankings available on www.TheHateful8FF.com
Follow @JEStoneTH8FF and @thehateful8ff on Twitter
Be sure to listen, review, and subscribe to The Hateful 8 FF podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and Soundcloud!