Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Vick, and Other Fantasy Football Players to Avoid in 2013

Each and every year owners draft players whom they believe will help take their team to the promise land.  Yet, time and time again everyone of us (we are all susceptible to this) drafts someone who just stinks up the joint.  Sometimes such a high draft pick is spent on these players that you can’t drop them, and in some cases cannot even take them out of your starting line-up.  To avoid such stress, take a look at the players in which you should avoid in 2013.

Fitzgerald is not the only one upset by his performances, as owners everywhere are too (123tagged.com)

Fitzgerald is not the only one upset by his performances, as owners everywhere are too (123tagged.com)

LARRY FITZGERALD

After making his way to the #2 seed on my Least Valuable Player Of the Year, things are not looking up for Larry.  As I have said before, it is a shame to see such talent go to waste, but with no one to throw him the ball his fantasy value is dismal.  There was some hope for him, as his team was a front-runner to land Andy Reid, yet after he signed with the Chiefs the Cardinals are still left without a head coach for the time being.

With the Cardinals one real need, a quarterback, not a deep position in the upcoming NFL draft it is unlikely that Fitzgerald will get any of the help he so desperately needs.  In addition, one would hope that he could get some help out of his backfield, but the always injured Beanie Wells and their 32nd ranked (75.2 ypg) rushing offense gives me little hope that they can help.

To add insult to injury, this past season Fitzgerald was outscored by Cardinals #2 WR Andre Roberts (albeit it was 100 points to Fitzgerald’s 99 points) as Roberts caught 64 passes for 756 yards and 5 TDs, compared to Larry’s 71 receptions for 798 yards and 4 TDs.

CHRIS JOHNSON:

Stats can sometimes be deceiving.  Johnson finished last year with 1,243 yards rushing and 6 TDs, adding another 232 yards on 36 receptions, good enough for the #13 RB in fantasy.  While those stats would make some players desirable, when you are talking about a former consensus #1 overall pick, the same rules do not apply.

Johnson, who was drafted on average between the 1st and 3rd round, had his NFL and fantasy numbers inflated by a few big games.  In week 4,7,9,10, and 15 Johnson scored 15,31,17,18, and 18 points.  While those are nice outings, those where the only games in which Johnson rushed for over 100 yards (all games he rushed for over 121 yards) and scored more than 11 points for his owners.  In hindsight, 7 times last seasons Johnson failed to score more than 5 points (even scoring 0 in week 5), and rushed for 56 or fewer yards 8 times.

Its also worth noting that Johnson had a career low in receptions, reception yards and a career high in fumbles and fumbles lost.

Amendola doing what else but being injuried (sbnation.com)

Amendola doing what else but being injuried (sbnation.com)

DANNY AMENDOLA

Ok, maybe do not avoid him, but definitely do not waste a high-round pick on him.  Like Fitzgerald, I think Amendola is a fantastic talent with  the potential to be a great fantasy player, but here is my issue; injuries.

Injuries have plagued Amendola throughout his short career, forcing him to miss 22 games in his 4 NFL seasons (to be fair he missed 15 games a season ago).  He also does not catch a lot of TDs (only 7 in 42 career games).  In addition, his career high for receiving yards in a season was in 2010 with 698.

Not to sound contradictory, Amendola does get a load of targets (about 7 a game) and catches the majority of them (just about 5 receptions a game). Nevertheless, he has had an inability to stay healthy and until he can show otherwise I would avoid him.

RASHARD MENDENHALL

Albeit he missed 10 games with an injury and had trouble staying healthy, but the Steelers have made it clear that he is no longer to go-to back in Pittsburgh.

Its not that he was really outplayed by others who got more playing in his absence, in fact that’s not the case at all.  Dwyer and Redman combined for just over 1,000 yards and 4 TDs total.

However, it does seem as if Mendenhall has lost his spot in the Steelers rotation, if he does in fact stay in Pittsburgh.  If he does exit and go elsewhere it will be interesting to see who grabs him, and maybe he will come off of this list, as he has shown in the past that he can put-up noteworthy fantasy numbers, averaging over 1,100 yards and 10 TDs over his last 3 seasons (of course excluding this year).

One of Vick's many turnovers this season (6magazineonline.com)

One of Vick’s many turnovers this season (6magazineonline.com)

MIKE VICK

Maybe it’s personal bias, but I know I will catch some fleck for this proclamation, but in my opinion Vick is highly overrated in fantasy (and the NFL for that matter too).

Yes, I am fully aware that Vick can run and gain crucial points for owners, so before you go throwing the importance of a QB who can run in fantasy in my face just know that I am aware.

I’ll also save you the trouble of looking up stats, Vick has 39 career rushing TDs and over 5,500 career rushing yards.

But how about this, in Vick’s 11 year career (excluding 2009, and 2010 when he took over mid-season) Vick has played all 16 games only once.  ONE TIME!  He simply cannot stay healthy and is constantly getting hurt.

And despite the fact that does not even throw the ball the much (career high 423 attempts in 2011, compare that to a mid-level QB with a strong run-game like Schaub who averages over 500 attempts a season) Vick still manages to turn the ball over, a lot.  In fact, in only 10 games last season Vick threw 10 interceptions and fumbled the ball 11 times, compared to his 13 total TDs (12 pass, 1 run).

So yes, Vick can light it up for 20+ points any given week thanks to his legs, he can not do it for all 16 weeks (not to mention he’s getting older).  In addition, are his potential 5  big games worth having him for just that? Wouldn’t you rather a QB who will get it done consistently week in and week out?

ANTONIO GATES

Speaking of injury issues over a career, Gates has had his own issues with that.  Yet, this season he managed to miss only 1 game, although he did not impress owners with his performances.

Since 2003 (his rookie season) Gates has never been so unproductive in a season.  Catching only 49 passes for 538 yards (although he did manage 7 TDs) Gates set career lows across the board (with the exception of his rookie season).

Only 4 times this past season did Gates score double-digit points for owners, contrarily scoring 5 or less points in 11 games.  He caught 6 passes in a game twice season, catching 4 or less in all other games.  He also had a season high of 81 receiving yards in week 5, failing to g over the 100-yard mark all season.

Gates will be 33 come next season, which will also be his 11th in the NFL and things are not looking up for his fantasy value.

MICHAEL TURNER

Turner's career could be on a downfall (blog.ajc.clom)

Turner’s career could be on a downfall (blog.ajc.clom)

The shelf life for RBs in the NFL is not a long time.  This upcoming season, Turner will be entering his 10th season and will be turning 31, both areas that make him an old-dog in NFL terms and it’s showing in his stats.

This season the Falcons made it clear that there will be a spot for Turner’s back-up Jaquizz Rodgers in their backfield.  It’s not as if Rodgers had a 1,000 yard season, because he is not that kind of RB.  He is a versatile, explosive, and big-play capability kind of guy who can steal touches from Turner, and it will be interesting to see how he is used next season.

Nevertheless, let’s take a look at Turner’s stats from a season ago.  Since becoming a feature back in Atlanta, Turner (while playing a full season) has never rushed for less than 1,340 yards, averaged less than 4.1 ypc,  scored fewer than 11 TDs, and carried the ball under 301 times (178 carries, 871 yards and 10 TDs in only 11 games in 2009).

Yet, this season, while playing all 16 games, Turner had 222 carries (an average of 5 less carries a game than a season ago), for 800 yards (gained 71 more yards in 5 less games in ’09), scoring 10 TDs, all the while averaging an embarrassing 3.6ypc.

Only twice this season did he carry the ball for 20+ times, compared to the 8 times he scored single-digit points for his owners a season ago.  All of these stats landed Turner the #17 RB spot in fantasy behind the likes of Steven Jackson and Shonn Greene.

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Fantasy Football’s Least Valuable Players of 2012

(yourdictionary.com)

(yourdictionary.com)

Heading into this year’s draft, many players were highly sought after and highly drafted.  Yet, owners who used top picks to get some players did not have it pan out as they had hoped.  With that being said, let us take a look at this year’s Least Valuable fantasy Players.

Once more, like the Most Valuable Players, the LVPs are based on expectation vs. output and what it cost to get the player.  Nevertheless, without anymore interruption let’s start with:

3. Eli Manning

Manning almost hit 5,000 yards a season ago, yet this year (through 16 weeks) with only one game left, he is projected to have his lowest passing yardage season since 2008 (4,021, he currently has 3,740) and his first sub-4,000 yard season since 2007.  His 21 passing TDs are 8 off of where he was last year, though his 15 INT are currently one fewer than he had a year ago.

Nevertheless, Manning was the most wanted QB outside out of the big-4 this year (Brady, Stafford, Rodgers and Brees), yet he has not lived up to any of that.  Eli is currently the 19th ranked QB in fantasy, behind guys like Roethlisberger who missed 3 and a half games.  His ranking has come from having 4 games of 5 or fewer points (including a 3-game stretch where he scored a combined 10 points).  He has also only had three 300+ yard passing games compared to 4 games in which he did not throw a TD pass.  He also does not rank in the top-10 in any of the major QB statistics (yardage, TDs, QB Rating).

2. Larry Fitzgerald

What a shame to have all the talent in the world and have nobody throwing to you.  I almost feel bad putting Fitzgerald on this list, but numbers never lie and facts are facts.

Fitzgerald was ranked the #2 WR, behind Megatron, in most preseason rankings.  Yet, with one week remaining, Fitzgerald is currently the #39 WR in fantasy, 1 point behind Percy Harvin (has not played since week 9),  2 points behind Jordy Nelson (missed 3 consecutive weeks), 52 points from being inside the top-1o WR, and 108 points away from #2 WR Brandon Marshall.

Only 5 times has Fitzgerald scored double-digit points, and caught 6 or more passes., while four times this season he only caught 1 pass.  His 69 receptions are his fewest since 2006 (missed three games that season) , his 785 receiving yards are his lowest since 2006 as well, his 4 TDs are his lowest since 2010 where he caught 6 (6 is lowest ever, also caught 6 in 2006).  Unless Fitzgerald can catch for over 215 yards, it will also he his first sub 1,000-yard season ]where he played all 16 games since his rookie season.

Mathews made is No.1 but for all the wrong reasons (gnightmoon2006.blogspot.com)

Mathews made it to No.1 but for all the wrong reasons (gnightmoon2006.blogspot.com)

1. Ryan Mathews (a.k.a the man who had more broken clavicles than touchdowns)

Mathews, my #5 ranked player overall in the preseason and experts had him just as high, fell flat on his face this season.  Although it really may not be fair to him, as the Chargers offense as a whole was distraught to say the least this year.

Although Mathews missed the first two games of the season, and will miss the final two, he still had a big enough sample size to classify him as big of a bust as he was.

In the 12 games Mathews played, 0 times he rushed for 100 or more yards, 8 times he rushed for 67 or fewer yards, only 3 times he rushed the ball 20 or more times, he averaged 3.8 ypc, 1 time he scored double-digit points, and only 1 time he found the end zone (surpassed by his two broken clavicles).

With such a poor output, Mathews is currently ranked the #30 RB, behind the likes of Vick Ballard (has not even been the starter all season), Andre Brown (missed 7 games, soon to be 8), Willis McGahee (been on IR since week 11), DeMarco Murray (missed 6 games), and Joique Bell (only rushed the ball 10+ times twice all season long).

Matt Ryan and Kevin Kolb, my week 6 man crushes

One is more obvious then the other.  One has had a great regular season career, while the other has yet to play in more than 9 games in one season. However I love Matt Ryan and Kevin Kolb in week 6 of fantasy football, and here’s why:

Ryan looks to keep his strong play up (blogs.ajc.com)

Matt Ryan:

Ryan, in standard scoring leagues, is currently the second ranked player overall in fantasy, 6 points behind Drew Brees.  He is also second in the NFL in passer rating, third in passing yards, fifth in completion %, and second in touchdown passes.  So why wouldn’t I love him each and every week, and why week 6 more than others?

Well one major focal point in fantasy sports is your players match-up, and this week Ryan’s match-up is a great one facing the Raiders.  The Raiders:

  • ranks 31st in fantasy against QBs, allowing 22.0 ppg
  • rank 25th in overall defense in the NFL, allowing 411.0 ypg
  • rank 28th in pass defense, allowing 283 ypg
  • ranks 30th with 31.5 ppg allowed

Ryan is also playing at home this weekend, where he has been historically good, where through his career,including this season, Ryan has thrown 54 TDs vs. 19 INT

Kolb will look to have a strong week 6, versus a week opponent (doubletakedebate.com)

Kevin Kolb:

Kolb is not your prototypical fantasy stud, however he has somethings working for him entering week 6.  For starters, whether he performs poorly or not, he is going to air the ball out, a lot.  That’s because the Cardinals have no real run-game to speak with Williams and Wells out with injuries for some time.  Kolb also had 7 Tds vs. 2 Int in 4 and a half games this season. It also doesn’t hurt that he is still throwing to Larry Fitzgerald, and the emerging Floyd and Roberts.  Also, like Ryan, Kolb’s match-up this week is a dream-come-true for owner sof Kolb as he faces the Bills who:

  • rank last in points allowed to opposing QBs (22.8 ppg)
  • rank 24th in the NFL in passing yards allowed/game with 277 yards.
  • ranks 31st in the NFL in total defense, allowing 449.4 ypg
  • rank 31st in NFL allowing 35.2ppg

Top Fantasy Football Surprises and Let-Downs

It may be only 4 weeks into the NFL and fantasy football season, but it’s never too early to discuss surprises and let-downs.  Therefore, I decided to take a look at the top-5 players who have pleasantly surprised owners, and the 5 who have let their owners down the most.

I will do this quarterly, so every 4 weeks (8, 12, and 16) to take a look at what has changed.  In order to determine surprises vs. let-downs, I will look at players, where they were drafted in most leagues, what were their expectations, and compare all that to their actual performances.

***It’s worth noting that before is start this, through 4 weeks, in the top-15 players(standard scoring leagues) , there is only 1 RB (Arian Foster), 0 WR, 13 QBs, and 1 defense( Bears).

Let’s start with the positives and look at surprises (in standard scoring leagues).

RGIII sure has a lot to smile about (lugaluda.com)

Top surprises:

1. Robert Griffin III– Any real surprise here?  He is an obvious choice, and here is why:

  • He leads fantasy in scoring with 100 points
  • Thrown for 1,070 yards and ran for 252
  • 4 TD passes, 1 int, 4 rushing TDs
  • “Worst” performance was last week vs. Tampa Bay where he scored  22 points
  • Currently tied for 1st in the NFL with 4 rushing TDs
  •  3rd in competition percentage , 69.4%,
  • 4th in QB rating with 103.4

2. Alfred Morris– He has made me go against one of my few rules in fantasy, and that is to never trust a Shanahan running back, however he’s:

  • 5th RB overall
  •  Averaging just under 15 ppg.
  •  5th in the NFL with 376 rushing yards.
  • Tied for 1st with rg3 and Arian Foster with 4 rushing TDs.
  • Average draft selection= 101.3 overall (11th -12th round).
  •  Referred to as “that other Redskin rookie.”

3. CJ Spiller- Despite his injury, he’s:

  • Led all RB in scoring through three weeks even with coming out of week 3 early
  • Currently in a 3-way tie for 2nd for fantasy RBs with Rice and Charles (62 points)
  • 1st in NFL in yards per carry with 8.3 (2.1 ypc more than rg3 who is second)
  • 8th in overall rushing with 341 yards
  • 2nd in NFL with 3 rushing TDs
  • Also has 9 receptions for 119 yards and a TD.
  • That’s with really only playing 2 real game since he took over in week one after Jackson went down
  • 4. It’s a tie- Matt Ryan–  We all knew he was good, but this good?
  • 2nd in fantasy with 92 points
  • Lowest scoring game was 17
  • 2nd in NFL with 11 TD passes,
  • 1st  in NFL passer rating (112.1)
  • Tied for 6th in passing yards with Peyton Manning (1,1,62)

Heath Miller– People forget how much of an offensive weapon he used to be, but this season:

  • Before his week 4 bye, Miller was tied for 3rd in fantasy for TE, ahead of Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.
  • Tied for 1st in NFL with 4 receiving TDs
  • In 3 games, 15 receptions and 129 yards.
  • Currently 6th over for TEs even with Bye week (8 points behind leader Tony Gonzales)
  • His last two seasons combined, 93 receptions- 1,143 yards and 4 TDs.
  • Most TDs in single-season is 7 in 2007.

5. Ben Roethlisberger- never thought of as an elite fantasy scorer, but this season:

  • Before his week 4 bye, he was third in all of fantasy with 65 points, 4 behind Matt Ryan.
  • Despite bye, 4th in NFL with 8 TD passes.
  • Only 21 TDs all last year,
  • 5th in yards per game with 301 (ahead of Stafford, Ryan, Peyton and Rodgers)
  • Still 14th overall in fantasy with bye.

Let Downs:

Rodgers may not be smiling for long (packermedia.com)

1. Aaron Rodgers-I never thought I would say this and I will likely catch a lot of flak for this, but based on stats thus far, Rodgers has been a let-down.  He was selected  1st overall in many leagues, average drat was 3rd overall, and has led fantasy in scoring last 2 seasons and now, 4 weeks in his numbers are terrifying pedestrian:

  • Before his 27-points vs. Saints, Rodgers was tied for 19th in QBs (Now he is the 1th ranked QB)
  • He is 1st in league in completion percentage (69.9) and 7th in TDs, but he’s 13th in passing yards.
  • He is 24th in the NFL in yards per attempt
  • 1st in the NFL with 16 sacks.
  •  I don’t think he is a bust, or will become seasons end, but when you are talking about Aaron Rodgers, you think greatness, so far he hasn’t been.
  •  I expect 20+ point performances week In and week out,
  • Yet weeks 2 and 3 combined he got 19 against Seattle and Chicago, showing he can be stopped and he can be sacked.
  • I’m being a stickler but he has 3 INTs this season, and only 6 last year.
  • 2. CJK– O-line or not, I’ve lost faith in him as a must-start each week.
  • I previously defended him and after his performance last week vs.  Houston where he rushed for 141 yards, that was just short of 3 times what he rushed for in first 3 games combined.
  •  He was drafted 9th overall on average, and if he wants to be taken seriously again as a legit fantasy player he needs to duplicate this performance often, almost every week.
  • He currently is the 32nd ranked fantasy RB, tied with Donald Brown who had a bye last week and one point ahead of Leshoure who missed the first 2 games.
  • 25th in rushing overall with 186 yards
  • Tied for 39th in yards per carry with 3.2
  • 20th with 58 attempts.

3. Tony Romo– the numbers speak for themselves:

  • He was drafted on average in the 4th-5thround
  • Currently ranks 23rd overall QB, 1 point ahead of Blaine Gabbert
  • 5 TDs and 8 INTs
  • Even without his 5 INT performance against the Bears, he had 4 TDs to 3 INTs with 2 fumbles lost.
  • He’s got the weapons and they’re healthy, he just needs to throw better.
  • He is 10th in comp % and 8th in yards in the NFL
  • But he has 10 turnovers already

4. LeSean McCoy– 3rd ranked player in preseason rankings, however:

  • Currently ranked 15th among RBs and not even top-50 overall.
  • Highest scoring game was 13 points.
  • Although he ranks 3rd in rushing, he has only scored 1 TD.
  • His reception numbers are hurting, averaging 4.2 yards per catch, but he averages 4.7 yards per rush
  • The TDs just aren’t there after he scored 20 a season ago.

5. Larry Fitz– It’s not fair to him since he is a great receiver with no consistency at QB, but this is fantasy.  After being ranked #2 WR in preseason, through four weeks:

  • 22nd ranked WR.  He’s behind guys like James Jones, Brandon Hartline and even his own teammate Andre Roberts.
  • His average draft was 14th overall, which means 1st -2nd round.
  • NFL rankings:  35th in yards (225)
  • Not even top-50 in yards per catch (11.5)
  • Tied for 18th in reception with 22
  • Tied for 25th with catches over 20 yards with (4).

Fantasy Football Mock Draft 2.0

Mock Draft 2

About a month ago I came out with my first mock draft for the 2012-2013 fantasy football season.  Since little has happened in the NFL, it has had a direct effect on my mock draft; being that little has changed.  Yet, little is still something, and since something’s have changed let’s take a look at my second mock draft, but this time we will be looking at my top-12.

Nothing new for Foster as he finds himself atop the charts (inflexwetrust.com)

Arian Foster– I’m sticking to my guns, Foster remains my #1 overall player in fantasy, and should be selected first overall.  He is always among the top RB in fantasy since he entered the leagues, even with his injuries.  Injury-free as of now leaves him the clear-cut #1 pick.

Projection– 1,900 total yards and 18 total TDs

LeSean McCoy– Despite other mock drafts and preseason rankings, I like McCoy ahead of Rice in the draft.  The Eagles’ offense is more high-powered than the Ravens and defenses have to key-in on other guys rather than expend on their energy on McCoy, allowing him to put up great numbers.

Projection– 1,700 total yards and 16 total TDs

Ray Rice– Spectacular season a year ago, likely

(profootballtalk.com)

won’t duplicate same numbers (over 2,000 yards from scrimmage) however he still will be The Man in Baltimore therefore I expect some big numbers once more.

Projection– 1,850 total yards and 12 total TDs

Aaron Rodgers He has led the league in points the last two seasons and if I wasn’t somewhat old-school in my drafting with taking RBs first, I’d have no problem drafting him first overall.  He’s fantastic, spectacular, diverse, and is a great asset to any fantasy team.

Projection– 4,800 total yards and 48 total TDs

Maurice Jones-Drew– Finally his S.O.S was answered when the Jags drafted Blackmon and signed Robinson.  The addition of these two guys will take an enormous amount of pressure off of MJD, bug still expect him to play a huge role in their offense.

Projection– 1,600 total yards and 11 total TDs

Here is where it starts to change a little:

Mathews cracking into the top-12 (Zimbio.com)

Ryan Mathews– I’ll be honest I was a bit skeptical of him at first, and didn’t even consider putting him in my top-12.  Yet, his numbers are somewhat better than I have given him credit for.  Despite his constant injuries, last season Mathews managed over 1,500 total yards last season,  all while sharing the load with Tolbert.  With Jackson and Tolbert now gone, the Chargers are going to rely on Mathews a lot more to help sustain their impressive offense.

Projection– 1,700 total yards and 9 total TDs

Tom Brady- His numbers speak for themselves.  The new defensive additions will help tremendously, alongside with his new deep-threat Lloyd.  Expect another statistically beautiful season from Brady.

Projection– 5,000 passing yards and 38 TDs

Marshawn Lynch– I like him a lot.  He is ferocious, and he runs angry; two things I love in a RB.  Career highs last year and Flynn under center give me great hope in yet another break-out season for Lynch.

Projection– 1,400 total yards and 13 total TDs

Calvin JohnsonMadden curse, Shmadden curse, I don’t care. He’s the best WR plain and simple and should be the first off the board.

Projection– 1,600 receiving yards and 13 TDs

Larry Fitzgerald– Last season Fitzgerald managed over 1,400 receiving yards and 8 TDs all while having a number of sub-par QBs under center.

Surest hands in the game (freakfangear.com)

Also, this year the Cards drafted Floyd, someone who will take some defenders away from Fitz, allowing him to catch more balls, get more yards, and score more touchdowns.  Also don’t forget, he’s only 28 years old, although it seems in been in the leagues forever.  In addition, Fitz has only gone under 1,000 receiving twice ever, once his rookie season in 2004, and once in 2006 when he missed three games (still managed 946 yards and 6 TDs).

Projection– 1,450 yards receiving and 10 TDs

Andre Johnson–   Let’s face it, he is an animal.  He is one of the best receivers in the game, and his numbers back it up.  Finally healthy, he should return to his normal dominance.

Projection– 1,300 yards receiving 10 TDs

Chris Johnson– let’s chalk up last season to a fluke.   He held out, wasn’t in shape, wasn’t ready, and didn’t produce.  This season is different as he is not holding out and should be all geared up.  Plus Britt is coming back, taking some pressure off of him and it also isn’t a coincidence he rushed for over 2,000 two years ago.  CJ2K is back.

Projection– 1,600 total yards and 9 total TDs

Just Missed the top-12

Mathew Stafford– Previously my #8 player, now #13 and through no fault of his own.  I still love him and would personally take him in the first-round.  However, in the several mock drafts I have done, I was able to get him in the second round many times, and even the third in one.  Therefore you could still snatch him up a little later.

Projection– 4,900 passing yards and 42 TDs

Drew Brees– Same reason as stated in mock draft 1

Projection– 4,900 passing yards and 39 TDs

Cam Newton Same reason as stated in mock draft 1

Projection– 4,300 total yards and 28 total TDS

Rob Gronkowski- Same reason as stated in mock draft 1

Projection– 1,200 receiving yards and 13 TDs

Matt Forte– Same reason as stated in mock draft 1

Projection– 1,650 total yards and 7 total TDs

DeMarco Murray– I like him a lot, and the Cowboys do too as he will likely be the #1 RB on the depth chart.  He exploded for over 1,000 yards from scrimmage last season in only 13 games, and will likely trump those numbers this year.

Projection– 1,400 total yards and 7 total TDs

NFL 1st Round Draft Picks; Offensive Players, Who’s Worth Drafting?

RG III blazing the 40-yard dash. Photo courtesy of verbumsapsat.com

This year’s NFL was a wild one.  Though some of the shock and awe value was taken out when everyone knew who the first two picks would be there was no certainty after that.  With all of the trade up and trade downs, many teams put themselves in amazing situations, picking up some great players.  Although I am aware that there were 11 offensive players drafted in the first round,  I will only take a look at the ones worth picking up for your 2012-2013 fantasy football teams.

Although I don’t recommend him, I cannot write about first round picks without mentioning:

Andrew Luck I absolutely love his NFL future, however I cannot recommend picking him up in any fantasy league.  Luck himself is a physical specimen, standing 6’4” 235lbs with the capability to run a 4.63 40-yard dash, to coincide with a high football IQ, but that’s not enough.  While Luck is one of the highest regarded players in the last 20 years, his fantasy value this year looks bleak.  Looking at the stats, the Colts ranked 27th in passing yards in the NFL last year with 187.2 YPG.  Granted, that may have been with a bunch of make-shift QB’s, yet they still had Dallas Clark, Garcon, and Addai, all players they are without this year.  In addition, although he was out all last year, Anthony Gonzales is also gone.  That leaves Reggie Wayne, who turns 34 in November and is entering his 12th year in the league.  Also, Luck better not rely on his run game for any help, as they ranked 26th in the NFL last year, averaging a mere 99.6 YPG.  Bright NFL future, dim fantasy (as of this year).

Verdict: Stay Away

Robert Griffin IIIYou can’t help but love this guy.  While Luck is a physical specimen, RG 3 is an athletic freak.  Also, like Luck, I project a bright future for him in the NFL.  However, unlike Luck I also project a high fantasy value for him as well.  While RG 3 may not be inheriting a hall-of-fame wide receiving core, he is coming into a good one.  Ranking 14th in passing yards/game last season the Redskins have all of their big receivers returning, with some additions like Josh Morgan and Pierre Garcon.  Besides RG 3’s receiving core, let’s also not overlook his ability to run.  A former Gatorade High School Track Athlete of the Year, RG3 he has shown he sure can run, running a 4.43 40-yard dash at the combine, and collecting over 2,200

Richardson showing off his strength, photo courtesy of muscleprodigy.com

yards rushing and 33 rushing TDs at Baylor.  Although I do not believe he duplicate, there have been talks of him putting up Cam Newton-like numbers.  Not likely, however he will get it done through the air and on the ground.

Verdict- Late-round selection, great back-up QB

Trent RichardsonQuite possibly the player with the highest fantasy value from this year’s draft.  Trent Richardson is an absolute beast, and has the clearest path to dominate his new team’s backfield touches, and scads of all-around ability.  In addition to his presence in the backfield, there is also a new QB to be under center for the Browns this year in Brandon Weeden.  Therefore, in order to relieve some pressure off of Weeden, Richardson will bear the brunt.  Yet, do not let Richardson’s hype fool you into drafting him in the first round, as that would be far too high of a spot to select him.  While he will be great, do he may serve best as your 2nd RB or flex WR/RB option.

Verdict-if you need a second RB in middle rounds, get him, fantastic back-up or flex option

Justin Blackmon– He isn’t the fastest or the biggest, and his QB, Blaine Gabbert, was flat out awful last year, yet I remain optimistic.  With the addition of the speedy Laurent Robinson, Mercedes Lewis back to 100% and MJD still in the backfield, Blackmon will manage to make an impact.  Blackmon will play the flanker role while Laurent Robinson will play the split end, allowing many targets to fall Blackmon’s way.  Though he may be great, I still have my doubts about Gabbert, still I would take him.

Verdict- late-round WR, good back-up for your bye weeks

Michael Floyd– At 6’3” 224lbs, Floyd possesses the size and speed (ran a 4.42 40-yard dash) to be a serious #1 receiver in the future.  Some think that having Fitzgerald line up alongside him will hurt his stock, however I disagree.  Having Fitz will take some pressure off of the rookie, since most defensives will be keying in on him,

Martin showing off his skills, photo courtesy of idahostatesman.com

it may leave room for Floyd to slip through the cracks on his way to a solid rookie year, with decent fantasy numbers.

Verdict– Depending on how hot/cold Kolb is Floyd could be a great bye-week filler or even a great flex option.

Doug MartinAt 5’”9 223, Martin has earned his nickname “The muscle hamster”, and there is a reason the Bucs got him in the first round even though they already have Blount.  Due to the fact that Martin is already a better blocker and pass-catcher than Blount; he could see some extra time and added carries.  I like his chances to make somewhat of a fantasy impact.

Verdict- Good fill-in for your bye-weeks, if Blount has fumble issue again he could see his carries increase

 David Wilson-Plain and simple, Jacobs is gone, Manningham is gone, and Nicks is out for up to 12 weeks leaving Cruz and Bradshaw as the only real threats.  That is unfortunate for the Giants, but great for Wilson as his productivity could be higher than expected due to all of these absences.  Though he likely will not make a huge impact, his name will be known.

Verdict- Bye-week filler, draft late in draft, worth taking a shot on

Top Fantasy Football Surprises and Busts of 2010

With the 2010 fantasy football regular season over, I think it’s a good time to reflect and look at the players who came out of left field, and those might have fallen down in left field, tried to get up, and fell again.  With that being said, let’s take a look.

Top Surprises:

Hills has opended up owners eyes this season (AP photo)

Hillis has really flexed his guns this season (AP photo)

Peyton Hillis (198 points) – Before this season, unless you were an avid Broncos fan, you probably didn’t know Hillis.  However, I’ll make this short and sweet.  This season Hillis has run past and over defenses in the NFL on his way to over 1,000 yards rushing and 13 total Td s.  If you do not draft him first-second round next year, you have no business in fantasy football.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (134 points) – Although he might not be a first-round pick in next year’s draft, he should definitely be a consideration in around the 7-8th round.  I mean c’mon, let’s be honest, when is the last time the Pats had anything remotely close to a run game? With 11 Td s through 13 weeks, with three multi-touchdown games, the law firm has shown owners everywhere this year that he is the real deal.

Brandon Lloyd (163 points) – With all the big name wide outs hyped up before the season (like Fitzgerald, Moss, Calvin and Andre Johnson) none of them have scored as many fantasy points as Brandon Lloyd this season.  With almost 1,200 yards receiving and 9 TD s, be on the lookout for Lloyd in next year’s draft.

Darren McFadden (151 points) – Prior to this year, everyone was so very close to labeling McFadden as just another bust within the Raiders system, yet all those critics have been silenced this year.  On his way to helping his team fight for the playoffs, McFadden has amassed almost 1,000 yards rushing with 7 rushing Td s, and 3 receiving Td s.  McFadden could be the real deal.

Foster has run his way over all over defenses this year (AP photo)

Foster has run his way over all over defenses this year (AP photo)

Arian Foster (246 points) – Once again, probably never heard of him before have you?  Well he, to this point, is the top scoring fantasy football player in the season this year.  Being a dual threat out of the backfield has helped Foster run for over 1,200 yards 13 rushing touchdowns and over 500 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns.  Next year before the draft the discussion will most likely be, “Who will you take first, AP, CJ, or Foster?”

Matt Cassel (181 points) – When he tore it up in New England, everyone thought the Chiefs got away with robbery when they “traded” for him.  However, after a less than impressive season as far as fantasy last year, most owners overlooked him this year.  In fact he was only owned in 60% of leagues, and started in only 10%, but the ironic thing is that he is a top-10 fantasy QB.  In fact between weeks 3-13, no single QB in the NFL threw more TDs than Cassel’s 21.  Maybe not a fully fledged starting QB just yet, but absolutely worth picking up next year.

Busts:

Rice's fantasy outlook for next year looks dim

Ray Rice (132 points) – Well, it was a less than impressive season as far as fantasy goes for Rice.  The projected #3 overall pick in the draft this year had only 6 games this season with double-digit fantasy points, and only scored over 20 points in 1 game.  With only 3 rushing TDs to this point, maybe his stock will fall by next year’s draft.

Larry Fitzgerald (107 points) – Event though he has started to turn it on a bit, it was not the season many owners hoped for when they drafted him.  The #3 or 4 ranked WR in the draft this year had a less than stellar NFL and fantasy season.  Although it is not all of his fault, until Arizona gets a new, reliable QB, I believe it’s time to stay away from Larry.

Randy Moss (63 points) – What the hell happened to this man?  Right behind Andre Johnson as the most wanted WR in this year’s draft; people were dying to get Randy Moss.  Now I believe owners would rather die than have him on their teams.  After leaving the Pats in week 4, Moss has only amassed 18 catches and 2 TDs (33 points).  Hate to see a future H-O-F die off so quickly like this, but unless things get better, he could find himself undrafted next year.

Marr Schaub (165 points) – Again, like Moss, Schaub was hyped up tremendously prior to fantasy football drafts.  With weapons like Johnson, and the emergence of Foster, things could only get better.  Although as of late he has started to catch hot, 5 games with single-digit fantasy points and the 13th ranked QB overall, owners didn’t get what they expected to say the least.

His expression tell it all (AP photo)

Chad Ochocinco (90 points) – More like Ohcho-Stinko.  With the arrival of T.O and the emergence of Benson, there was good reason to be optimistic for Mr. Chad.  However, only 3 games with double-digit fantasy points, and 4 TDs? Enough said.  Maybe it’s time to go back to Chad Johnson, at least then things were working out for him.

Shonn Greene (65 points) – With Thomas gone, and LT thought to be done for, all eyes were on Greene.  Short and sweet, 1 rushing TD, 2 double-digit fantasy games, and 1 week with more than 100 rushing yards.  Not a very dominating performance from a projected 1st or 2nd pick.

I am well aware of the fact that I didn’t touch on every bust or surprise this year, so if there is someone you feel like I missed, let me know.