Archive for July 31, 2012

Breakout Canidate: Can Joe McKnight Emerge As More Than A Change-Of-Pace Back?

Player:  Joe McKnight

Position:  RB

Team:  New York Jets

ADP:  208.43

Draft Range:  160-Not Drafted  (All ADP data courtesy of www.mockdraftcentral.com)

McKnight’s messy introduction to the NFL was documented on HBO for all to see.  In fact, statistically his second season was not much better on the offensive side of the ball as he had the since departed Ladainian Tomlinson in front of him.  However on kick returns McKnight showed some burst and talent, racking up 1,073 return yards.  This is important to note for leagues that count return yardage, and for owners in general as it is a possible sign of things to come as McKnight will be receiving more playing time this season, at the minimum as the third down back for the Jets.

Between his mess of a training camp his rookie year and the lockout last year, as McKnight enters his make it or break it third season this is the first time that he had a legitimate offseason to prepare for the upcoming season.  More importantly he enters this season with positive momentum from last season and a set role that could expanded based on new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano’s inclination to run the ball.  Read more

Fantasy Football Top 100 For 2012: #61-80: High Upside RB Reserves Dominate The Field

Yesterday we looked at #81-100 (click here to view), so let’s continue our countdown of fantasy football’s Top 100 for 2012.  In this 20 there are some low-level QB1s and a few wide receivers who are borderline WR2, but the main focus are on running backs with upside and mid-level TE1.

These running backs are options that I’d prefer to have as my third or fourth choices, but they definitely have the potential to be viable starters on a weekly basis (definitely as a FLEX from the outset with the chance for significantly more).  Depending on your format and the way your competitors draft you may be forced to reach to have one of these depth options that you like, but if you can I would wait to draft the majority of them.

The tight ends all have potential, most notably Vernon Davis and Antonio Gates, and I would be happy to get any of the three.  If you don’t want to commit an early pick on one of the top options this would be a good group to focus on.

61. Philip Rivers – San Diego Chargers (QB-10)
62. Shonn Greene – New York Jets (RB-24)
63. Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals (RB-25)
64. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals (RB-26)
65. Stevie Johnson – Buffalo Bills (WR-24) Read more

Top 100 For 2012: #81-100

While these rankings have a couple of high upside running backs (i.e. Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller) and the young quarterback everyone is clamoring for (Robert Griffin III), the bulk of this part of the rankings is going to be wide receivers with upside and some low-end TE1 (i.e. Fred Davis).  These are the guys that you draft as your WR3 or reserve option, but could quickly prove to be usable on a weekly basis.

As for Griffin, who will likely be the most debated player here, I have said before that I wouldn’t go crazy drafting him based on the performance of Cam Newton a year ago (click here for the article).  That’s not to say that he won’t be a good option, but he is not in the same position to thrive that Newton was.  In dynasty/keeper leagues the story is completely different, but in re-draft leagues I would take a more conservative approach with him.

With that in mind, let’s get to the rankings:

81. Robert Griffin III – Washington Redskins (QB-14)
82. Pierre Garcon – Washington Redskins (WR-30)
83. Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis Colts (WR-31)
84. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints (RB-31)
85. Anquan Boldin – Baltimore Ravens (WR-32) Read more

Rookie Spotlight: Is Ryan Tannhehill Worth Drafting In Deep Leagues?

by Will Overton

When it comes to discussing the fantasy relevance of rookie quarterbacks the discussion seems to start and stop with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. And fair enough those are the two locks to be starting week one and they’re the two safe bets to have fantasy relevance, any of it at all.

But last year all the attention was on Cam Newton, and Cam Newton did come through and prove himself more than worthy of the hype. But there was also a rookie named Andy Dalton who was overlooked by every owner and ended up making a nice deep league play by the end of the season.

This year the Miami Dolphins took Ryan Tannehill number nine overall in the draft. A lot of people criticized the pick and a lot of people questioned and are still questioning whether he has a future in real football or fantasy football. But the Dolphins still believe that Tannehill is their QB of the future and so the question has to be asked whether or not Tannehill can have fantasy value. Read more

Wide Receivers To Avoid: Brandon Lloyd, Laurent Robinson & Randy Moss

Which wide receivers could be over hyped and instead struggle?  Who should you avoid on draft day?  Let’s take a look at a few receivers I wouldn’t recommend drafting for 2012:

Brandon Lloyd – New England Patriots
Does everyone remember the year when Brandon Lloyd posted over 1,400 yards and 11 TD for the Denver Broncos? It was just 2010, so I would think most of us do. Unfortunately some people appear to be remembering it a little too well.

According to Mock Draft Central Lloyd currently carries an ADP of 79.54 and is the 28th wide receiver coming off the board. That’s a seventh round selection for a player who totaled 964 yards and 5 TD a year ago.

That’s a seventh round selection for a player moving to New England where he will have to battle Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez for catches.

Does that make sense to anyone? Sure, he has potential to produce but there’s too much risk to consider him as a WR3. How often do we really expect him to close in on 100 yards or score a TD? Do you really trust him to do it on a weekly basis? Read more

ADP Analysis: Is Robert Griffin III Being Selected Too Early On Draft Day?

A few weeks ago Will shared his thoughts on this same topic (click here to view), but I wanted to also give you my two cents on the topic.

There’s no doubt that fantasy owners who opted to ignore Cam Newton heading into the 2011 season continue to look back and wonder why.

Why did I think he wouldn’t produce immediately?

Why did I ignore the element he brought in the running game?

Just why did I choose not to spend the draft pick or early season waiver pick on him?

As we prepare for the 2012 draft, many of those same owners are likely vowing not to let history repeat itself.  A year ago they let Cam Newton slip through their fingers and now they don’t want to let history repeat itself.  With the second overall selection in the NFL draft, Robert Griffin III, representing a very similar skill set fantasy owners are making sure they don’t miss out. Read more

Receiving Risers: Which Receivers Could See Increased Targets In 2012?

Earlier in the week we looked at receivers who could see a decline in targets in 2012 (click here to view).  Today, let’s take a peek at those who could see a major increase:

Jacoby Ford – Oakland Raiders
2011 Targets = 33
Ford was limited to just 8 games last season which, in part, helps to explain the low number of targets. Still, even when he played he barely averaged 4 targets per game. However, let’s remember that Carson Palmer didn’t join the Raiders until Week 7 and didn’t start until Week 9. Ford only appeared in three games from Week 9 on and one of them was a 5 reception, 105 yard and 1 TD game.

A better quarterback alone should lead to more opportunities for Ford, who should operate as the third receiver behind Darius Heyward-Bey (always a potential bust) and Denarius Moore (33 receptions in 13 games in 2012). Ford may not be a star, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him emerge as the Raiders top receiver. He’s definitely a name to keep in mind. Read more

Training Camp Battle: Should Fantasy Owners Be Pulling For Jon Baldwin Over Steve Breaston In KC?

When the Kansas City Chiefs brought Steve Breaston into the mix it was assumed that he would flourish as their second wide receiver, taking pressure off of Dwayne Bowe and helping make the offense go.  He was, after all, the same player who had 1,006 yards for the Arizona Cardinals back in 2008.

However, his first year in Kansas City was a disappointment as he managed just 61 receptions for 785 yards and 2 TD.  In fact you have to wonder if any hype around Breaston was just conjecture and hope after his one big season.  All you have to do is look at his numbers since that season:

  • 2009 – 55 receptions for 712 yards and 3 TD (15 games)
  • 2010 – 47 receptions for 718 yards and 1 TD (13 games)
  • 2011 – 61 receptions for 785 yards and 2 TD (16 games)

The fact is there is nothing there to get very excited about.  Even in his “breakout” year he managed just 3 TD and has just 9 over his five year career.  Sure, he can make some plays but it is hard to imagine him holding enough value in an offense that isn’t likely to throw the ball very often.  His best fit may be as a third down receiver, looking to move the chains. Read more

2012 Rankings: Top 15 Defenses

Which defense would I most like to own?  Who do I think may be overrated?  Who could emerge?  Let’s take a look at my Top 15 team defenses for the coming year:

  1. San Francisco 49ers
  2. Baltimore Ravens
  3. Houston Texans
  4. Green Bay Packers
  5. Detroit Lions
  6. New York Giants
  7. Philadelphia Eagles
  8. Pittsburgh Steelers
  9. New England Patriots
  10. New York Jets Read more

Sleeper Spotlight: Will Isaiah Pead Prove Valuable In 2012 Or Beyond?

by Ray Kuhn

Player:  Isaiah Pead

Position:  RB

Team:  St. Louis Rams

ADP:  152.03

Draft Range:  112 – Not Drafted (All ADP data courtesy of www.mockdraftcentral.com)

Pead was drafted in the second round by the Rams this year as they begin to think about eventually replacing mainstay Steven Jackson.  Other than due to an injury (and Jackson has managed to stay healthy so far in his career), that will not happen in 2012.  What will happen is Pead will see the field on third downs, have the opportunity to catch some passes out of the backfield (although this is not a need for the Rams because Jackson has pass catching ability) and at times spell Jackson to keep his workload manageable.  Additionally, in leagues that count return value, Pead will have value.  In college he only returned 10 punts for 74 yards, but that was due his role as running, not lack of ability. Read more