Offensive Rookies Worth Drafting in 2013

Another year another draft down and owners everywhere are scouring all sorts of facts and info on the rookies taken in this year’s draft, wondering if they are fantasy worthy.  A major concern for the fantasy world was that this year’s draft would be such a let-down from last years (top-3 picks alone were all fantasy studs in RG III, Luck and Trent Richardson).  The 2013 draft has been called “unsexy” and “boring” for people not big into football, yet for fantasy reasons I will respectfully disagree.

There are so many factors that go into whether a player is fantasy-worthy, especially a rookie.  As far as rookies are concerned, you have to see what kind of production came out of that position the year(s) prior, if they are a WR who is their QB, if they are a RB how good in their offensive live, will they have to compete for a starting role, as well as countless other factors.  Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the top-5 offensive rookies worth drafting in 2013.

TAVON AUSTIN– WR ST. Louis 5-9 175lbs

Look for Austin to fill the void left by Amendola this year.  (blacksportsonline.com)

Look for Austin to fill the void left by Amendola this year. (blacksportsonline.com)

The Rams traded up to get him, clearly wanted him, and will make him a focal point of their offense.  Austin will be joining forces with a deep threat in Chris Givens, whose speed had been compared to Mike Wallace’s (Givens averaged 16.6 ypr last year) and is a more than capable of several deep strikes down the field (5 receptions of over 50 yards last year with only 42 total receptions), as well as newly acquired Jared Cook who is a freakish athlete capable of lining up at TE or even the slot.  The biggest concern though is the Rams offensive line that has allowed Bradford to be sacked 71 times in 26 games.  Well to solve that the Rams went out and signed Pro Bowler LT Jake Long who should add some much needed extra protection for Bradford.  All of this surrounding Austin should allow him to have a pretty productive rookie season, one making him fantasy worthy.

WOULD I START HIM? In deeper leagues yes, he could be your WR 3/ Flex deepening on your league. Wouldn’t draft him until around the 7-9th round.

DEANDRE HOPKINS- WR Houston 6-1 214lbs

For the better part of a decade the Texans have tried finding a complimentary receiver to Andre Johnson, and they may have just done that with Hopkins.  Hopkins has big (10-inch), reliable hands, sub 4.5 40 speed, and is very durable.  While he may not be the deep-threat that could stretch the field, he is a good enough to catch the eye of Schaub who will have to look elsewhere than just Johnson (who was target an NFL-high on 60% of Houston’s plays last year).  He has been compared to Anquan Boldin and Roddy White, and while I am not saying he is that caliber just yet, that is good company to be compared to, coupled in with lining up across from Johnson, and do not forget about Arian Foster, Hopkins may find his way into your fantasy line-up.

WOULD I START HIM? Only as a WR3, would not use him in your flex spot just yet until he proves himself a little, but see no problem as a WR3.  Also have no problem drafting him as early as the 8-9th round.

EDDIE LACY-RB Green Bay 5-11 231

There is something to be said about a guy on Lacy’s size, and can still run a sub 4.5 40 (4.44 to be precise).  Then again he is going to Packers, a team that has not had a 100-yard rusher in 43 games, scored 9 total rushing TDs last season, and were led by Alex Green’s 464 rushing yards.  Then again, this is the same Packers team that allowed Ryan Grant to rush for 11 TDs a few seasons ago, a team in desperate need of a guy to finally step up in the backfield.  I know there are some mummers of his injury history with his turf toe at Alabama, and the fact that the Packers also drafted Jonathan Franklin, but even if he does end up splitting carries with him, if there is one thing Lacy can do is run people over.  That is a skill that comes in handy near the goal line.  So while I am not predicting a 1,000 yard season, do not be surprised to if Lacy’s TD total is in the double digits.

WOULD I START HIM? Possible flex player, definitely great reserve RB for bye-round and if he can stay health, could turn into a consistent starter.  Could see him going as early as the 7-8th round in drafts.

MONTEE BALL- RB Denver 5-10 214lbs

This is a great scenario of a good player landing in a great spot.  Denver has an elite offense, and Peyton Manning has made many RB look great during his career. Ball is inheriting a great situation where, McGahee is turning 32 and likely on his way out after tearing his MCL and breaking his leg, Moreno is coming off of arthroscopic knee surgery, and Hillman has proved nothing more than that he is a good 3rd down back.  There are always a ton of opportunities to carry the ball on early downs, and despite Manning throwing for over 4,600 yards and 37 TDs, the rushing attack still managed 12 TDs, and over 30 rushing attempts/game.

WOULD I START HIM? Yes, as a flex, even possibly a RB 2 depending on his early season production.  Have no problem drafting him between the 5-8th round.

AARON DOBSON- WR New England 6-3 214LB

This one may be more of a sleeper pick, but I love Dobson’s chances to produce in New England.  Dobson (listed above at 6-3) gives the Patriots some much needed height at the WR position, since the other wide outs on the roster (minus the TE and newly acquired veteran Mike Jenkins who might not even make the final roster) average height teeters right around 6 foot.  Let’s also let history give us some confidence in Dobson moving forward.  Dobson is out of Marshal, where Brady’s last two WR out of Marshal have been Randy Moss and Troy Brown.  Those are two pretty solid names to follow up on, as Brady helped make Brown’s career, and resurrect Moss’s.   Nevertheless, while Dobson’s top-end speed is not phenomenal, he can stretch the field which is something the Patriots so desperately need. After failing to land Emanuel Sanders, expect Dobson to line up on the outside in his place, and give the Pats the chance to open up the field.

WOULD I START HIM? Flex/WR 3 dependent on your league.  Brady WR do not typically get tons of receptions, but expect Dobson to find his fair share, and especially find the end-zone.  Potential to move up to WR 2.  His stock will not be high, so you can grab him late after the 10th round.

ACTUALLY, WHILE YOU’RE READING, HERE ARE TWO GUYS TO AVOID IN FANTASY THIS YEAR.

TYLER EIFERT- TE Cincy 6-5 250lbs

This is one of those scenarios gone wrong.  Before the draft I believed Eifert had potential to be a fantastic surprise fantasy rookie this year, which was before the Bengals drafted him.  While this may be a great move for their team’s success this year, it crushed both Eifert’s potential value and Greshem’s as well.  A two TE set may work in New England, but it will not work in Cincy, and here’s why.  1 Andy Dalton is not Tom Brady. 2 Greshem and Eifert are pretty much the same player, the move and go type-players, whereas Gronk is an in-line killer, and Hernandez is the guy who can move and go.  Unless Greshem somehow leaves town in Cincy, avoid Eifert.

JUSTIN HUNTER- WR Tennessee 6-4 196lbs

Same sort of deal as Eifert, good player but not the best landing spot.  Hunter has inherited a QB in Locker who has yet to prove himself worthy of trust in the fantasy world, a RB in Chris Johnson who is as predictable as the weather in New England, and a WR who needs a big year for a new contract in Kenny Britt. Hunter, who is pretty much and undersized Britt, has to also worry about Nate Washington and Kendall Wright.  Although the Titans did trade up to get him so they might incorporate him more then I think they will.  Nevertheless, a few years down the road Hunter could be making some noise and be a very good fantasy WR, but just not this year.

Joique Bell, Chris Givens, and Other Players Worth Drafting in 2013

Entering the 2012 season, some players on this list where entering their rookie seasons, while others where coming off of less-than-impressive seasons.  Nevertheless, after this past season these players made their names relevant in the fantasy football world.  Without further adieu let’s take a look at players who are worth drafting next year.

(blog.syracuse.com)

(blog.syracuse.com)

MIKE WILLIAMS- WR Bucs

After a strong rookie campaign (964 yards and 11 TDs), Williams fell off a bit his sophomore season, as well as the rest of the Bucs offense.  Yet, this year with the arrival of a bigger threat than himself in Vincent Jackson and a strong run-game in Doug Martin, Williams was able to have a bounce back season, reeling in 63 passes for 996 yards and a team-high 9 TDs.

Those numbers helped propel Williams to the #18 WR in fantasy (standard scoring leagues).  8 Times this past season was Williams able to gain double-digit fantasy points, three times he went over the 100 yard mark., 8 times he had 4 or more receptions, was tied for 9th in the NFL with 17 receptions of 20+ yards, and averaged 15.8 ypr.

Unlike the drop-off from rookie season to sophomore season, I do not project that happening again; thanks in part to all the pieces around Williams now.  Another vital asset that could highly increase Williams’ value is the guy throwing to him, Josh Freeman.  Freeman’s past season is one that has been expected of him since the Bucs drafted him.  Throwing for over 4,000 yards and 27 TDs, is Freeman can duplicate that season again, watch out for Williams.

Where I would start them: As a low WR2/ high 3/  high Flex

(sportsillustrated.com)

(sportsillustrated.com)

VICK BALLARD- RB Colts

Although he was not the starter at the beginning of the season, Ballard took advantage of the time he got when Donald Brown went down.  Even when Brown was still the primary back (up until about week 6) Ballard still got his share of the ball.  Yet despite only being the starter a limited time and having to deal with a timeshare in the backfield, Ballard was able to produce enough to make owners aware of him.

Throughout the 2013 campaign, Ballard carried the ball 211 times for 814 yards (3.9 ypc) for 2 TDs, adding 17 receptions for 152 yards and another TD.  While those numbers won’t make owners drool over him, they are noteworthy enough to make a worthwhile RB3/ Flex in 2013.

Also, if there are any concerns that Ballard won’t be the main back in Indy come next season, just know that in the upcoming draft the Colts have many, many other pieces to address before they start looking for a RB (so the likelihood they draft someone to replace him is low), and only the final four games of 2012, Ballard averaged 21 carries a game (as compared to Browns 14 carries a game he averages).

Where I would start them: RB3/  high Flex

(bleacherreport.com)

(bleacherreport.com)

CHRIS GIVENS- WR Rams

The rookie WR had a modest first season in the NFL, catching 42 passes for 698 yards and 3 TDs.  Yet it’s not those numbers that have me intrigued about him heading into next season, it’s his situation.

It’s unlikely that Steven Jackson will be the Rams RB next year, handing the duties off to Daryl Richardson.  If that is the case, a RBs best-friend (other than good blocking) is a strong passing game. With Amendola’s inability to stay healthy, and Given’s deep-threat ability, he could have a very nice sophomore season.

In this past season, even though Givens did not catch a a ton of passes (and even if Amendola does return he is more of a slot guy) he did manage 16.8 ypc, including two games in which he only caught one pass (in week 4 and 5) he caught those passes for 51, and 52 yards.

Where I would start them WR 3/Flex

(knownews.com)

(knownews.com)

JOIQUE BELL- RB Lions

The Lions have not had a legit RB since Barry Sanders was in the backfield, and while Bell is no Sanders (I actually feel disrespectful for putting them in the same sentence) he can be a decent fantasy player next season.  Although Bell does have to share with Leshoure, Leshoure hasn’t done anything to solidify the #1 spot to himself.

What Bell does to make himself fantasy worthy (because it isn’t the carries since he only got 10+ carries twice all season) is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.  In fact, Bell carried the ball 82 times for 414 yards and 3 TDs compared to his 52 receptions for 485 yards.  While on the other hand, Leshoure only managed 34 receptions for 214 yards.

So whereas Leshoure still have the carries lean in his direction, Bell certainly has shown that he has big-play capability and can catch out of the backfield.  It’s similar to Turner and Rodgers situation in Atlanta, but with Bell getting more carries than Rodgers.

Where I’d start them-  mid-level Flex

(usatoday.com)

(usatoday.com)

DANARIO ALEXANDER- WR CHARGERS

The Chargers are in need for a new deep-threat since the departure of Vincent Jackson and they just might have it with Alexander.  Missing the first 6 games of the season, it took Alexander no time to get comfortable, catching 37 passes for 658 yards and 7 TDs in only 8 games.

Alexander’s 17.8 ypc (tied for 2nd in the NFL with Cecil Shorts, only behind Vincent Jackson’s 19.2 ypc)  helped owners who grabbed him, as he scored double-digit points 5 times, catching multiple TDs twice, and 5 or more passes 5 times.  These numbers are convincing since Ryan Mathews has not lived up to expectations, and it seems as if Gates is on a downward spiral.  Another thing working for Alexander is his partner on the field, Malcolm Floyd.  Floyd is a good enough receiver to gain a lot of attention from opposing defenses.  With defenses not being able to fully key-in on Alexander alone, he could use his deep-threat ability to put-up some nice numbers next season, since we all know how much Rivers loves slinging the ball down field.

In fact of all the players on this list, Alexander in my opinion, will have the biggest season in 2013.  Mark my words.

Where I’d start him- mid-high level WR 2/ very high WR 3/ Flex

Week 16 Pick-Ups

For those of you still in the running this late, congratulations.  However, as we all know, it doesn’t matter how late in the season it is, injuries can happen (like with AP last year in week 16).  If that’s your issue, or other extenuating circumstances have any of your starters out, do not fear I have some week 16 players who are likely still available in your league.

Sam Bradford- QB St. Louis Rams

After making minced-meat of the Vikings 29th ranked fantasy defense versus QBs and their NFL ranked 23rd ranked pass defense (throwing for 377 yards and 3 TDs)  is facing The Bucs this week who are:

  • Ranked last in fantasy vs. opposing QBs, allowing 19.4 ppg
  • Ranked last in the NFL allowing 311 passing yards/game
  • Ranked 30th in the NFL allowing 25 passing TDs this season
  • Owned in 39% of leagues

 

Cecil Shorts- WR Jacksonville Jaguars

After missing week 14 against the Jets with a concussion, Shorts made owners’ worries a thing of the past as he scored double-digit fantasy points for the 7th time in his last 8 games (including 5 TDs and 4 100-yard games in that span).  In week 16 he faces New England who:

  • Ranked 23rd in fantasy versus opposing WR, allowing 23.3 ppg
  • Have only held WR without a TD 4 times this season
  • Have allowed 30+ points to opposing WR 3 6 times this season
  • Rank 29th in the NFL allowing 270 passing yards/game
  • Have allowed 20 TDs to WR this season
  • Owned in 65% of leagues

 

T.Y. Hilton- WR Indianapolis Colts

He was on my list last week and he delivered, catching 3 passes for 78 yards and a TD.  The TD catch was his fourth in the last five games, and this week he faces the Chiefs who:

  • Rank 18th in fantasy to opposing WR allowing 20.8 ppg
  • Have allowed 22+ points to opposing WR 8 times this season
  • Rank 23rd in the NFL allowing 25 passing TDs this season
  • Owned in 51% of leagues

 

Mark Ingram- RB New Orleans Saints

5 out of his last 6 games he has gotten double-digit carries, including a season-high 90 rushing yards and a TD against the league’s leading rush defense (TB) a week ago.  Maybe he hasn’t panned out to what the Saints would hope to be, but as far as fantasy is concerned he’s been decent as of late.  This week he faces Dallas who:

  • Ranks 17th in fantasy allowing 15.9 ppg to RB
  • Have allowed 100+ rushing yards 7 times this season
  • Have only held two opposing RBs to under 10 points
  • Ranked 15th in the NFL allowing 115 rushing yards/game
  • Ranked 20th allowing 12 rushing TDs this season

RG III vs. Andrew Luck, Whose been the more impressive fantasy stud?

(thefootballjuice.com)

(thefootballjuice.com)

 

The number one and two overall pick from this past year’s draft have far exceeded their high expectations, not only in the NFL but in fantasy as well.

In previous articles I have proclaimed my distrust in rookies as fantasy studs, but I have been wrong before.  Nevertheless, let’s take a look at some stats and figure out who has been the more impressive fantasy player.

First is RG III who:

  • Leads fantasy in scoring (259, standard scoring leagues)
  • Has 8 games with 20+ points, with 3 of them with 30 or more
  • Averages 21.6 points/game
  • 6th in NFL completion % (67.4) (218-325)
  • 3rd in NFL passer rating (104.4)
  • 10th  in NFL in rush TD (6)
  • 19th in passing yards (2,660)
  • 14th in pass TD (17)
  • only 4 INT
  • 2 games with multiple rush TDs
  • 222 pass yards/ games
  • 714 rushing yards (6.8 yards/carry)
  • 8 rushing fumbles (only 2 lost)
  • 4 games with multiple pass TD
  • 3 games with over 300 passing yards
  • 7 games with 215 pass yards or fewer

Andrew Luck

  • 8th leading scorer in fantasy (212 points)
  • Only 2 single-digit scoring games (one against Chicago in his rookie debut)
  • 4 games with 20+ points
  • 6 games with multiple pass TDs
  • 2 games with multiple rush TDs
  • 4th in NFL passing yards (3,596)
  • 14th in pass TD (17)
  • 16 INT
  • Tied for 14th in NFL rush TD (5)
  • 300 passing yards/ game
  • 55.5 competition % (279-503) almost 200 more atp than RG III
  • 76.1 QB rating
  • 6 games with 300+ passing yards, 1 with 400+
  • 2 games with 225 passing yards or less

Now, after looking at the numbers, it’s not even close.  RG III is has been the better fantasy player, no contest.

Even if we were just comparing QB’s in fantasy,  RG III would get the edge because he leads QB’s in scoring, but he doesn’t, RG III leads ALL players in scoring.  How can you argue against a guy who has outscored everyone in a league where scoring is everything?

Yet, it is worth noting that if we were talking NFL here, Luck gets my nod for rookie of the year, because I feel he has meant more to his team, is the better quarterback overall, and has had far less weapons to work with than RG III.

What happened to Reggie Bush?

Bush was benched a week ago and was less than stellar last night, now owners everywhere wonder “What happened?” (bleacherreport.com)

He was on pace for over 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns, now he isn’t even expected to hit the 1,000 yard mark, and only 6 TDs.  He was the second overall running back after three weeks, now he’s #19.  He was the clear-cut starter in Miami, and now Daniel Thomas has threatened his spot. He was even benched a week ago after a costly fumble.  So what the heck has happened to Reggie Bush?

After 41 points in the first two weeks, a knee injury knocked Bush out out of his week 3 match-up versus the Jets and he hasn’t been the same since.  In fact, since week 2 (31 point performance, bringing his two week total to 312 total yards) Bush has a combined 47 points, including only two touchdowns and two weeks of double-digit fantasy points( and only 457 total yards in 8 weeks).  Only twice in that span has he run for more than 60 yards, and even last night versus the Bills (who give up the most points in fantasy to RB) Bush managed only 2 ypc, gaining 20 yards on 10 rushes (the Bills give up on average 5.2 ypc and 153 ypg on the ground).

Bush’s lackluster performance has owners everywhere furious, and wondering if he is even worth starting anymore.  So I will take a look at his remaining schedule and determine if in fact he should be in your starting line-up.

Bush’s schedule:

In his remaining 6 games, he faces:

-New England x2 (7th rush defense in NFL, rank 9th in fantasy to point allowed to RB)

-San Francisco (6th rush defense in NFL, give up least points to RB in fantasy)

-Seattle (13th rush defense in NFL)

-Jacksonville (28th in NFL and 30th in fantasy) and Buffalo (last in NFL and fantasy) again.

Based solely on schedule, I would say other than those two give-me games against Buffalo and Jacksonville that if you have another option than Bush, start him.  Also because:

-New England (26th in NFL pass defense,  27th in fantasy to points allowed to opposing QBs)

-Buffalo (25th in pass defense, 31st in fantasy)

-Jacksonville (21st in pass defense, 18th in fantasy)

This means that in 4 out of those 6 games, the Dolphins are likely to throw the ball, and throw it often.  Granted Bush can catch out of the backfield, but not enough that I would feel comfortable in him.

Unless Bush snaps out of this funk, or if we soon realize that this is really him, I say that he is NOT a must start anymore in most fantasy leagues.

I hope this helps, good luck.

 

 

Vick, Roethlisberger, Smith, and Cutler likely out; who can fill in?

With Vick, Roethlisberger, Smith and Cutler questionable for this weekend, are there QBs out there that you can grab off the waiver wire to help you win week 11?  Yes they’re:

Ryan Fitzpatrick- facing Miami is week 11 who:

  • rank 21st in points  allowed to fantasy QBs (16.3 ppg)
  • Allowed Luck to throw for a rookie-record  433 yards and two TDs in week 9
  • ranked 28th in NFL in pass defense 278 ypg,
  • MIA defense has only 8 INT (tied 15th in NFL)
  • Fitzpatrick is currently 16th QB in fantasy tied with Romo (ahead of Schaub and Eli)
  • Fitzpatrick: tied for 8th in NFL with 17 pass TDs
  • Fitzpatrick is available in 55%of leagues

Sam Bradford-

  • Has his favorite target back in Danny Amendola
  • Threw for 275 and 2TDs against the 49ers in week 10
  • Facing the Jets in week 11 who are tied for 18th with only 7 INT this season
  •  The Jets are also tied for 22nd with only 16 sacks
  • Bradford is only owned 40% of leagues

Carson Palmer– facing New Orleans in week 11 who :

  • Ranks last in fantasy points to opposing QBs (21.4 ppg)
  • 31st in NFL allowing 307 passing yards/game
  • 29th in NFL allowing 19 pass TDs
  • Last in NFL allowing 8.6 yards/attempt
  • last in NFL allowing a long-pass of 95 yards this season (closest is Tampa with 82)
  • Last in NFL allowing opposing QB rating of 104.4
  • tied for 26th in NFL with only 5 INT
  • Palmer is 3rd in NFL with 2,723 passing yards,  and tied for 10th in 15 TDs
  • Palmer is 9th ranked QB in fantasy and 11th fantasy player overall
  • Palmer is owned in 66.8% of leagues

Adrian Peterson or Peyton Manning, Who’s been more impressive?

(aol.sportsnews.com)

After Peyton Manning underwent neck fusion surgery, and Adrian Peterson went under the knife to repair a torn ACL and MCL, both of their statuses were in question for the 2012-2013 NFL and fantasy football season.

The skepticism for both players was not without reasoning, as this was Manning’s fourth neck surgery and many feared that one more good, clean, and hard hit would spell the end of his career, and history wasn’t on the side of Peterson, since only Jamal Lewis and Terry Allen were the only RBs in NFL history to return from an ACL injury and rush for over 1,000 yards the following year.

However, after 10 weeks of football, Manning currently ranks:

  • 5th in NFL in passing yards (2,705)
  • 3rd in NFL in passing TDs (21)
  • 1st in NFL QB Rat (108.0)
  • 5th in passing yards/game (301)
  • 2nd in competition % (69.7%)
  • 6th overall fantasy QB and 6th overall fantasy scorer (175 points) averaging 19.4/game
  • In 6 out of 9 games he’s had over 20 or more fantasy points

While Peterson ranks:

  • 1st in NFL rushing yards (1,128)
  • 3rd in yards/attempt (5.7) however the two ahead of him (Spiller and RG III) have a combined 168 attempts, while Peterson has 195 himself
  • 2nd in NFL rushing TDs (7)
  • 1st in NFL with rushes over 20+ yards (13) almost double second place (McCoy 7)
  • 1st in yards/game (112.8)
  • 7th overall fantasy scorer, and 1st RB (164 points) 16.4 ppg
  • 4 games with 20 or more fantasy points
  • Averaging 157.3 rushing yards/game last 4 weeks

While both have been more than remarkable, who is the most impressive?

I’m giving the slight edge to Peterson, although I do believe that Manning is having an MVP-type season.

Yet, Peterson is a mere 199 yards away from surpassing Jamal Lewis’s 2001 season’s rushing yards when he returned from ACL injury.  Not only Lewis’s season, but Peterson is only 632 yards away from surpassing his own season-high of 1,760 yards.  In addition, despite the both of them having phenomenal season’s, when you look at stats, AP is the #1 RB in fantasy, that means there is no one better than him right now, while Manning is ranked 6th.

But, taking a step back from statistics it’s the way Peterson continues to play despite his knee.  Every time he runs the ball he continues to look for contact, refuses to run out of bounds, cuts and jukes like he’s a rookie again, and looks better than anyone could’ve imagined.