Archive for August 31, 2011

Breaking Down The Backfield: Does Brandon Jacobs Bring More Value In New York?

Are you a believer in Ahmad Bradshaw?  Did you draft him thinking that he would be a lock to get the bulk of the carries in New York?  Unfortunately, you may be one of many fantasy owners feeling somewhat burned right now.

Brandon Jacobs has seemed to have rediscovered what got him to the dance this preseason, rushing the ball 19 times for 115 yards and 1 TD.  That’s an average of 6.1 yards per carry.  While it is preseason and you don’t want to read too much into it, it is still too impressive to overlook.

Meanwhile, Bradshaw has looked relatively pedestrian carrying the ball.  He has 13 rushes for just 41 yards.  Yes, he’s shown off a bit with 3 receptions for 48 yards, but is that really enough?  That’s something a third down/change of pace back shows, not someone who is going to carry the load.

Am I about to suggest that Jacobs is going to re-emerge as the go to back in 2011?  Absolutely not, but an even timeshare, something no one originally thought possible, clearly could be in the Giants future. Read more

Target Practice: Looking For Value From Last Season’s Top 20 Targeted Receivers

Obviously things change from year-to-year, but let’s take a look at the Top 20 receivers by targets from 2010 to help get an idea of where there is potential value for the coming season:

1. Roddy White – Atlanta Falcons – 179
2. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals – 174
3. Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis Colts – 173
4. Brandon Lloyd – Denver Broncos – 153
5. Brandon Marshall – Miami Dolphins – 147
6. Santana Moss – Washington Redskins – 146
7. Steve Johnson – Buffalo Bills – 143
8. Terrell Owens – Cincinnati Bengals – 139
9. Andre Johnson – Houston Texans – 138
10. Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions – 137
11. Marques Colston – New Orleans Saints – 133
12. Dwayne Bowe – Kansas City Chiefs – 132 Read more

Is Anyone Emerging As The Redskins QB or RB? And If So, Is There Fantasy Appeal?

The Redskins offense has been putting on a show thus far this preseason.  While there may not be a wide receiver lighting things up, the competition for the Quarterback and Running Back spots are hot and heavy:

Quarterbacks:

  • John Beck – 20-27, 248 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • Rex Grossman – 34-53, 407 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

Running Backs:

  • Roy Helu – 35 rushes for 173 yards and 0 TD (6 receptions for 47 yards)
  • Tim Hightower – 25 rushes for 170 yards and 2 TD (3 reception for 12 yards)

So, are there any conclusions that we can draw?  Well, besides the fact that the Colts defense looked awful in Week 2, let’s take a look at the status of the other players.

While no one is going to win a battle with one performance, Beck has stepped up and showed that he could spread the ball around and run the Redskins’ offense.  In fact no receiver had more than 4 receptions (Helu) or 46 yards (Leonard Hankerson) in Week 2 (when Beck led the team with 17 attempts for 140 yards). Read more

Top 30 Quarterbacks For 2011: Updated as of August 30

For the most part we have gotten all of the information we will from the preseason.  Sure, starters may play a little bit in the final preseason game, but it likely won’t be a long stay in the game.  With the data we have, how do things stack up?  Let’s take a look:

  1. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
  2. Philip Rivers – San Diego Chargers
  3. Michael Vick – Philadelphia Eagles
  4. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
  5. Tom Brady – New England Patriots
  6. Peyton Manning – Indianapolis Colts  
  7. Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys
  8. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
  9. Matt Schaub – Houston Texans
  10. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
  11. Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens
  12. Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions  Read more

Top 20 Tight Ends For 2011: Updated August 29

We are heading into the home stretch for the start of the season.  As we head into the final days of fantasy drafts, let’s take a look at our final preseason rankings:

  1. Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers
  2. Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys
  3. Jermichael Finley – Green Bay Packers
  4. Vernon Davis – San Francisco 49ers
  5. Dallas Clark – Indianapolis Colts
  6. Owen Daniels – Houston Texans
  7. Kellen Winslow – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  8. Jimmy Graham – New Orleans Saints
  9. Tony Gonzalez – Atlanta Falcons
  10. Zach Miller – Seattle Seahawks
  11. Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers
  12. Brandon Pettigrew – Detroit Lions Read more

Rookie Running Back Primer: Is There Value Outside Of The Bigger Names?

We all know the big named rookie running backs like Daniel Thomas, Mark Ingram and Ryan Williams.  Even Roy Helu has gotten plenty of publicity thanks to questionable options in front of him on the depth chart.  Are they the only rookie running backs that we should be monitoring, however?  Let’s take a look at the rest of the class and see if there are any deep sleepers among them:

Delone Carter – Indianapolis Colts – Is there potential?  Sure, but the team has Joseph Addai and Donald Brown currently ahead of him on the depth chart.  In other words, he will probably need an injury (or some pretty poor production) to get a significant opportunity to shine.  He has gotten 17 carries for 81 yards three preseason games, but chances are that he’s not going to get much of a chance to make an impact.

Alex Green – Green Bay Packers – Another back that will need an injury to get a shot, Green is buried behind a returning Ryan Grant and James Starks.  However, talk of Grant’s inability to return to form has given Green a little bit more of a potential to make an impact.  He needs to be given an opportunity, however, with just 11 carries for 16 yards in the preseason (plus 1 reception for 25 yards).  He’s a low-end option, at best. Read more

Why Anquan Boldin Is A Good Buy On Draft Day

Can we call a player who has had a year with 102 receptions in just 14 games a draft day sleeper?  How about one that has five seasons of over 1,000 yards?  What about an 11 TD campaign?  Of course not…  However, that doesn’t mean that he’s a player that isn’t going to far exceed his current draft position.

If you didn’t realize, the player we are talking about is Anquan Boldin, who struggled last year in his first year in Baltimore.  While he played in all 16 games for just the third time in his career, he posted some of his worst overall numbers.  His 64 receptions and 837 yards were the second worst marks of his career (beating just his 2004 season when he appeared in 10 games).

While the fact that he scored 7 TD is nice, it’s far from enough to get us excited.  That could help to explain is current ADP (according to Mock Draft Central) of 63.36, the 25th wide receiver coming off the board.  Considering his pedigree, it seems a little bit odd to see him coming off the board as a WR3, behind names like Kenny Britt and Percy Harvin.

One reason to think that he is going to improve on his numbers is the departure of Todd Heap.  Heap may not have had a huge 2010 campaign (40 receptions for 599 yards and 5 TD), but he did represent a red zone target for Joe Flacco and the Ravens’ offense.  Maybe Ed Dickson or Dennis Pitta can eventually grow into that role, but it’s not likely to happen immediately. Read more

Top 40 Running Backs For 2011: Updated as of August 26

How do the situations in Miami, San Diego and Green Bay (among others) affect our rankings?  Does Chris Johnson’s holdout send him falling down the rankings?  Let’s take a look at how things currently look:

  1. Arian Foster – Houston Texans
  2. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings
  3. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens
  5. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans
  6. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles
  7. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders
  8. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons
  9. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers
  10. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers
  11. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars
  12. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams Read more

Risers & Fallers: Wide Receiver Edition: Vincent Jackson, Jeremy Maclin & More

Risers

Vincent Jackson – San Diego Chargers
It feels like Jackson has been involved in a bitter contract dispute for the past few years, doesn’t it?  Well, that is officially behind him as we head into 2011.  It’s not that he’s gotten the contract he desires, but he instead knows that he will actually be a free agent at season’s end.  With dollar signs in his eyes and an elite quarterback throwing him the ball, you have to think that things are lined up for a big year.  Consider him a low-end WR1, but don’t be surprised to see him perform like a Top 5 option.

Harry Douglas – Atlanta Falcons
You would have thought that the selection of Julio Jones coupled with Douglas’ injury history would have sent him into fantasy obscurity.  Instead, it appears that just the opposite is happening.  With the Falcons looking to open up the offense, Douglas could be inline to finally produce.  In the first two preseason games he has delivered five receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns (including a 76 yard touchdown reception).  I wouldn’t bump him up too far, but he certainly has opened some eyes and is worth monitoring in all formats. Read more

Onside Observations: How Should You Attack The First Two Rounds Of Your Fantasy Draft?

by Matthew Gordan

It’s time for more draft philosophizing. I’ve been thinking recently about the kind of picks we usually make in the first two rounds, specifically running backs versus everyone else. For a long time it was a given that teams would almost always draft a running back in the first round, and maybe also in the second. As fantasy analysis expanded, along with the increase of Points Per Reception leagues, the argument that you must have one running back, if not two, from the first two rounds has waned. I’m still firmly entrenched in the camp that in order to be a successful fantasy owner, you must have one stud (i.e. workhorse) running back. But as backfield platoons become the norm in real football, the number of workhorses has steadily decreased, limiting the chances a fantasy team has of landing one. Let’s look as these chances.

Everyone pretty much knows the pecking order of running backs fantasy-wise. The first five drafted will undoubtedly be Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Chris Johnson (for now), Jamaal Charles and Ray Rice. LeSean McCoy could also fit in this group. After them, question marks dog many of the potential draftees that could be taken between the end of the first round and the end of the second: From staying healthy (McFadden, MJD, Gore, Mendenhall) to workload concerns (Steven Jackson, Turner, Hillis) to sharing carries (DeAngelo, Bradshaw, Grant) to wondering if they are ready for their close-up (Blount, Felix Jones, Greene). *On a side note, I’m not really sure how to classify Forte. The man is playing behind a mediocre college line. This alone scares me away. Read more