The NFL playoffs are upon us and most fantasy football leagues have come to an end. For serious players however, there is still work to be done. Keeping an eye on performances in the second half of the season can give you a leg up on the competition in 2016 and this year there are some particularly interesting players to follow. Particularly Tyler Lockett, Jerrick McKinnon and David Johnson are on my radar.
Tyler Lockett WR SEA
Lockett is not the number one receiver on his team, but he has game breaking talent. He has had quiet games this year along with huge games. This is basically the life of a Seahawks wide receiver, as Russell Wilson tends to spread the ball out extremely well. During the Seahawks’ second half surge though, Wilson has relied heavily on Doug Baldwin and Lockett. This has produced a great deal of success for the Seahawks and I wonder if it signifies a move in a different direction for their offense.
It is difficult to say as they have also lost their top two running backs, Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls (who I am also curious about next year if he comes back healthy). It will be interesting to see how Lockett fares against the highest level of competition and this could say a lot about his value going into 2016.
Keep Track Of Offseason Coaching Changes Here
Jerrick McKinnon RB MIN
McKinnon saw extensive playing time last season with Adrian Peterson on the Commissioner’s exempt list. The results were not overwhelming, but neither was the Vikings team as a whole. This season, McKinnon played sparingly but showed impressive explosiveness when he did get into games. This season he appeared to have made real strides from the tentative back that ceded a lot of carries to Matt Asiata.
While I know that Peterson will be the starter again next year, even AP is human and will give up more touches as time goes on. The usage of McKinnon as well as his play versus upper echelon teams will be enlightening to anyone scouting future stars. I would not be surprised if he made some serious contributions as early as next season.
David Johnson RB ARI
The Cardinals have an impressive offense and Johnson was just one of the pieces that made this happen in 2015. Although he has not seen extensive playing time in every game, Johnson appears to have all of the makings of a stud running back. He will not have much competition as Andre Ellington has never been able to stay healthy and Chris Johnson may never play football again.
David Johnson has the strength and burst to do everything that coaches want to see in their running back and he is also decent at catching the ball out of the backfield. The Cardinals look like a team that could make a deep run in the playoffs and if they do, Johnson will be a major reason. He is going to be a high draft pick next season regardless and a strong performance in the postseason could boost him up to the top end of the first round.