Archive for June 29, 2012

2012 IDP Rankings: Top 15 Defensive Backs

We’ve already looked at our Top 15 Defensive Linemen (click here to view) and Top 15 Linebackers (click here to view), so let’s wrap up our IDP look with the Top 15 Defensive Backs for 2012:

  1. George Wilson – Buffalo Bills
  2. Tyvon Branch – Oakland Raiders
  3. Eric Berry – Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Kam Chancellor – Seattle Seahawks
  5. Roman Harper – New Orleans Saints
  6. Patrick Chung – New England Patriots
  7. Jason McCourty – Tennessee Titans
  8. Morgan Burnett – Green Bay Packers
  9. Antoine Bethea – Indianapolis Colts
  10. Charles Tillman – Chicago Bears Read more

ADP Analysis: Does Trent Richardson Belong As A First Round Pick?

by Ray Kuhn

The Browns made Trent Richardson the focal point of their 2012 draft and it appears that fantasy owners are now doing the same.  Richardson currently has an ADP of 7 which puts him, on average, the sixth highest player taken thus far.  He is behind Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew and Ryan Matthews.  That is not surprising.  What potentially is surprising is Richardson being taken before stud quarterbacks such as Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers and the unstoppable force that is Calvin Johnson.  Let’s take a look first at Richardson and then whether this is a prudent move for owners.

  • Richardson excelled in all three of his college years.  For his first two college seasons Richardson shared the backfield with Mark Ingram and, at times, looked like the better running back.  He had 2 games in each season where he eclipsed 100 yards rushing and averaged 5.18 and 6.25 yards per carries in his freshman and sophomore years.  Read more

Potential Breakout Running Backs: Ryan Mathews, Daniel Thomas & Stevan Ridley

Every season there are a few players at every position that finally step up and realize their full potential.  Who are this year’s breakout running back candidates?  Let’s take a look at a few of the possibilities:

Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers
The question with Mathews is if he can actually stay healthy for an entire 16 game schedule.  In his first two NFL seasons he has already been forced to miss six games (four in his rookie year, two last season).  If he can remain healthy for all of 2012, the former twelfth overall selection in 2011 is going to be in position to excel.

At the time that he was drafted nfl.com said (click here for the full draft profile):

“As a big, physical runner with explosive speed and quickness, Mathews gives the Chargers an every down back to team with Darren Sproles. After languishing near the bottom of the league in rushing the past two seasons, the Chargers’ running game is poised to make a resurgence with Mathews serving as the feature back.” Read more

Rookie Spotlight: Why Michael Floyd Will Be This Season’s Best Rookie Wideout

by Will Overton

There wasn’t as much hype surrounding Michael Floyd as there was Justin Blackmon, but what Floyd lacks in hype he makes up for in reliability in my opinion. Last season A.J. Green set the bar high for rookie receivers and I don’t expect A.J. Green type numbers from Floyd, but I do expect big things, including being the best rookie receiver this season. Let me tell you a little bit about why.

First of all Michael Floyd is about as NFL ready a player as you will find in this year’s crop of rookies. Floyd’s numbers weren’t as eye popping as Justin Blackmon’s in college because he didn’t play in the same type of offense. However, Floyd’s numbers progressively improved every season culminating in a 100 catch senior season. And Floyd did that in a spread offense system not known for using receivers to the best of their ability.

Floyd has good size at 6’3 and 225, but most important he knows how to use his size. Floyd is great at creating separation from DB’s and getting enough room between himself and the guy covering him for a QB to fit the ball in to him. Coupled with the size and knowing how to use the size is the fact that this guy is just a smart football player. He runs great routes and knows when to adjust a route to get himself open.

Watch the game film from Notre Dame last season and it’s amazing how many times he finds himself wide open because he knows how to do it. He’s just a smart football player. Read more

2012 Fantasy Rankings: Top 5 Rookie Wide Receivers

Which rookie wide receivers are in the best opportunity to excel?  Who should you be targeting and who should you be ignoring?  Let’s take a look at the five best for the upcoming season:

1. Justin Blackmon – Jacksonville Jaguars
You can argue that he doesn’t belong in the top spot due to a weaker quarterback (Blaine Gabbert) and that the offense is going to run through Maurice Jones-Drew.  That said, no Jaguars player had more than 44 receptions (Mike Thomas), 460 yards (Marcedes Lewis) or 3 TD (Maurice Jones-Drew & Jason Hill).  If the Jaguars want to have any success, they are going to need to get something out of the passing game in a hurry.  They didn’t use the #5 pick in the draft on Blackmon to not make him a major part of the offense immediately.  The offseason additions of Lee Evans and Laurent Robinson will also help, as defenses will not be able to focus squarely on Blackmon early on.  Look for him to have a big season.

2. Michael Floyd – Arizona Cardinals
He’ll get to be the “new” Anquan Boldin, playing across from Larry Fitzgerald.  We all know that role has its benefits.  The fact that he likely won’t be a red zone target, however, is what keeps him a step behind Blackmon for me.  Also, while Kevin Kolb is likely to post better numbers than Gabbert, is he a lock to produce a big season?  Read more

Post-Hype Sleepers: Why Josh Freeman & Mike Williams Should Hold Value In 2012

Entering the 2011 season Josh Freeman and Mike Williams were arguably the hot duo to draft.  They were coming off a promising 2010 campaigns:

  • Freeman threw for over 200 yards in each of the final four games (and over 250 yards in three of the four) with 9 TD and 0 INT; he threw for 250+ yards just three times all season
  • Williams scored 11 TD in his rookie season, with 65 catches for 964 yards

The duo was supposed to take a major step forward in 2011.  They were supposed to grow and become one of the dynamic passing attacks in the game.  However, they fell completely flat.

Freeman became extremely interception prone, with 22 picks vs. just 16 TD.

Williams, meanwhile, managed to find the end zone just 3 times and saw his yardage fall to 771. Read more

Backfield Battles: Which Running Back Will Emerge In New England?

The New England Patriots never seem to open the season with a clear-cut option at running back, do they?  With the departure of BenJarvus Green-Ellis to Cincinnati you would’ve thought that things would be a little less cloudy, but this is Bill Bellicheck & Company afterall.

The team brought in Colts’ castoff Joseph Addai to help plug the hole, giving the Patriots four potential options in the backfield.  How should fantasy owners be valuing them?  Let’s take a quick look at how I’d break it down:

1) Stevan Ridley
Drafted in 2011, Ridley showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season, picking up 441 yards and 1 TD over 87 carries (average of 5.1 yards per carry).  He received at least 10 carries four times during the year with the following results:

  • 10/02/11 (at Oakland) – 10 carries for 97 yards and 1 TD (9.7 YPC)
  • 12/18/11 (at Denver) – 11 carries for 65 yards (5.9 YPC)
  • 12/24/11 (vs. Miami) – 13 carries for 64 yards (4.9 YPC)
  • 01/01/12 (vs. Buffalo) – 15 carries for 81 yards (5.4 YPC)

In other words, when he got the opportunity he made the most of it. Read more

2012 IDP Rankings: Top 15 Linebackers

We started our IDP look last week when we looked at the Top 15 Defensive Lineman (click here to view).  Let’s keep things going as today we look at the best Linebackers for the upcoming season:

  1. D’Qwell Jackson – Cleveland Browns
  2. Desmond Bishop – Green Bay Packers
  3. Patrick Willis – San Francisco 49ers
  4. James Laurinaitis – St. Louis Rams
  5. Derrick Johnson – Kansas City Chiefs
  6. Daryl Washington – Arizona Cardinals
  7. Navorro Bowman – San Francisco 49ers
  8. Colin McCarthy – Tennessee Titans
  9. London Fletcher – Washington Redskins
  10. Ray Lewis – Baltimore Ravens Read more

Rookie Spotlight: Will Justin Blackmon Live Up To Expectations As A Rookie?

by Will Overton

When you are the first wide receiver taken in a pass happy NFL you are going to get some buzz to your name. And when you put up the numbers in college that Justin Blackmon did, you are really going to get some buzz. The question is what should we realistically expect from him?

Justin Blackmon caught 111 passes as a sophomore for 1,782 yards and 20 TD’s, he followed up as a junior with 121 catches for 1,522 yards and 18 TD’s. Those aren’t just good numbers, those are record setting, unbelievable kinds of numbers. Will those numbers translate into Blackmon being a first year fantasy superstar? Well, that’s no guarantee.

Last year both of the top two drafted WR’s excelled in A.J. Green and Julio Jones, Green was so good he’s being considered a potential top 10 WR this season. Those are tough footsteps to follow in for Blackmon and I am not convinced he can do it.

A.J. Green was fortunate enough to be paired with the Bengals second round pick Andy Dalton who proved to be NFL ready right from the jump. Meanwhile, Julio Jones landed in Atlanta, an already established contended with a QB close to pro-bowl level already. Both Green and Jones were placed in the right situation for success, can the same be said for Blackmon? Read more

2012 Fantasy Rankings: Top 5 Rookie Running Backs

It’s pretty obvious who the top few rookie running backs are likely going to be.  All you have to do is look at the first round of the draft and the situations the players will be in to make that determination.  However how those three rank, as well as the bottom of these rankings, certainly has room for debate.  Let’s take a look at how things currently stack up:

1. Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns
The one back that will immediately step in and act as his team’s lead back, there’s no questioning that he is the elite prize among fantasy rookie running backs.  He has the potential to be a Top 10 running back as soon as 2012 and in yearly formats the hype is going to help inflate his draft day value.  That’s going to make him a somewhat risky selection, as we have all seen young running backs fail.  However, entering into the year he’s the only option that deserves the top spot in these rankings.

2. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Martin will likely share carries with LeGarrette Blount from Week 1, but has the potential to eventually emerge as the lead back with Blount falling into a goal line/short yardage role.  Considering Blount is coming off a poor season (781 yards in 14 games) and is known to be a poor blocker and receiver, this really shouldn’t be much of a stretch.  The Buccaneers passing game should be much improved, which will force defenses to respect it and could open some opportunities for Martin to run wild.  He’s more of a low-end RB2/RB3 at this point, but could quickly develop into a must use fantasy option. Read more