4 NFL stars primed to see a decline in 2017 production
The NFL is loaded with players who can put up big numbers on a weekly basis, but for some of them, it can be hard to keep up the production as the seasons roll on. Whether because of age, or simply that new faces get brought to town, sometimes NFL stars are just guaranteed to decline in production. The 2017 season will be no different, as a few names should certainly see their numbers drop from impressive 2016 campaigns.
Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest names, starting with a player who many have expected to hit a decline for years, but still hasn’t.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
With all due respect to Brees, he had an absolutely exceptional season for a 37-year-old in 2016, which is why 2017 isn’t going to be on par with that. There’s no question that even with the decline he’s likely going to see, he’ll still be a top-tier quarterback. Brees connected on 70 percent of his passes for 5,208 yards and 37 touchdowns last year.
With the loss of wide receiver Brandin Cooks, it’s hard to imagine that happening once again. While Cooks wasn’t the entire offense, New Orleans also added some playmakers in the running game, including Adrian Peterson. The focus may very well shift more to the run game, which will hurt Brees’ statistics this coming season.
Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Palmer hit somewhat of a decline last season, but 2017 might be the year that he really drops off, and it’s apparent the Cardinals are concerned about it. Palmer’s completion percentage last season wasn’t great, at 61, and he threw for 4,233 yards with 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. All of these numbers were worse than his 2015 season.
With Palmer, 37, getting a year older, the team is obviously focused on getting the ball into running back David Johnson’s hands as much as possible. Expect Palmer’s numbers to continue to drop and for him to potentially be in his final NFL season.
Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots
Edelman didn’t light the world on fire with touchdowns last season, hauling in just three, but that never really has been his game. He had 98 receptions for a career-high 1,106 yards and as always, was Tom Brady’s go-to guy on third downs. So, why the decline?
Again, it goes back to Cooks and the other additions. A (hopefully) healthy Rob Gronkowski paired with a run game that features plenty of playmakers could lead to a drop in Edelman’s numbers. Are 80–85 receptions still very realistic? Sure, but if Cooks hits the ground running in New England, it’s going to be hard for Brady not to look his way often, and Gronkowski should get his fair share of work also.
Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints
The good news for Ingram is that he finally played a full 16 games, and it resulted in career highs of 5.1 yards per carry, 1,043 rushing yards and 10 total touchdowns, plus 46 receptions. Strong numbers across the board, but now the Saints have added Peterson, and if he’s even 80 percent of the player he used to be it will be tough to keep out of the rotation for very long.
Ingram’s fantasy value has taken a major hit due to Peterson’s arrival, but in addition, the team drafted Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. Typically, you don’t spend a third-rounder on a running back unless you believe he has some type of upside and the potential to play a role sooner than later. This all adds up to a decline for Ingram.