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The NFC West is has very few fantasy studs in the division with only 4 players being worthy of a pick in the first 5 rounds (Fitzgerald, Lynch, Jackson, and Gore.)  Outside of these players there are really only a handful of players who offer decent value in fantasy.   I have done my best to find 3 players who I think offer the best value and have good potential to outplay there ADP’s.  So without further ado my top bargains for the NFC West. (all points/analysis/mocks done using ESPN.com standard scoring.)

1.  Doug Baldwin:  Baldwin, an undrafted rookie out of Stanford made a big splash in his rookie debut recording 4 receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown against the formidable San Fransisco defense.  He then went on to have an impressive year with 788 yards and 4 touchdowns on only 51 receptions.  These are impressive numbers considering he played primarily out of the slot.  Referencing a bleacherreport.com article I read a while back “Baldwin’s fantasy production was the same pace as Larry Fitzgerald last season, scoring half the points in half the time.”  Now I am in no way saying that he has the kind of potential of Fitzgerald, I am just saying that when he gets the time and looks he can produce.  He was pretty up and down last season but still ended up with a respectable 99 fantasy points scoring at least 6 points in 8 games.  Currently he is being drafted as the 65th WR with an ADP of 170 meaning he is going largely undrafted in standard leagues.  With Mike Williams out the door and career disappointment Sidney Rice and lackluster Golden Tate the only other wide-outs who can steal looks in the passing game, Baldwin should have a pretty solid year.  I’m thinking he has 800 yard 5 touchdown upside, which is very good value for someone who can be selected in the final 3 rounds of drafts.

2.  Beanie Wells: Last year Wells had the breakout season Cardinal fans had been hoping for since being drafted 31st overall in 2009 recording 1,047 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns placing 15th among RB’s with 159 fantasy points in only 14 games.  Wells has be plagued by injury his short career and sophomore Ryan Williams who missed all of last season will push Wells for playing time making Wells your prototypical risk/reward pick.  Wells is currently on the PUP list and had an off season procedure on his knee, but all signs point to him being fine for the start of the regular season where he should maintain his starting role.  Currently Wells is being drafted as the 26th RB off the board at 67 overall putting him toward the end of the 7th round.  I think that if healthy Wells should put up solid numbers worthy of a low end RB2 or high end RB3 in standard formats.  I’d highly recommend you draft Ryan Williams as a very valuable handcuff to the often injured Wells who is currently being drafted as the 48th RB and 140 overall putting him in round 14-15.

3. Alex Smith: Smith is coming off of his best year as a pro with 3,144 yards and 17 touchdowns, while adding 179 rush yards and 2 additional touchdowns.  Smith is not a flashy player who can go in and score a bunch of points but he is a QB you could use on a bye week or as a spot starter if you prefer to wait until the late rounds of the draft for your signal caller.  He is the equivalent to cafeteria food; kind of bland with not a lot of flavor but there is definitely worse options.  In 11 games last season Smith had 12 or more fantasy points but also never reached 20 or more points in a single contest.  A lot of people are pointing the new additions to the passing game with Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, and A.J. Jenkins joining Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, concluding that Smith is in line for a big season passing the ball.  I’m not so optimistic, because I look to two other additions of the offense this offseason in Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James who join Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter to create a formidable backfield.  I think the 49ers will do what they always have done and try and run the ball down defenses throats, but I still feel Smith will get enough passing attempts to draft as a safe reliable QB2.  Currently Smith is being selected as the 17th QB and 119 overall putting him at the end of round 12.  That is right about right for his skill set this season.  Like I said he wont give you eye popping numbers but 3,300 passing yards and 20 touchdowns is something Smith is capable of.

So there you have it fantasy fans another addition of my draft bargains.  Hopefully this helps you as our fantasy drafts are coming ever closer.  As always comments are encouraged.

some good info from nfl.com

NFL.com Blogs

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Getting serious: Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, NFL.com and NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche was told that when the Jacksonville Jaguars open training camp on Thursday, running back Maurice Jones-Drewwill not be there. Jaguars owner Shad Khan seems entrenched in his stance that 2011 NFL rushing champion will not get a new contract, which has led to both parties playing hardball. Fantasy football owners will have to keep close tabs on the situation, given Jones-Drew carries considerable weight as a No. 1 running back in drafts. He is currently ranked as the fifth overall running back by the NFL Fantasy LIVE crew, but the longer his holdout lasts, the more his value will take a hit. With memories of Chris Johnson‘s struggles in 2011 still fresh in everyone’s mind, the veteran has already seen a slight decline…

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The AFC North has some great defenses which often scare some people from taking some of their players for fantasy because many of the games they play will be against tough opponents.  However I recommend that you don’t over think and go with the best talents, when your drafting and don’t let things like tough schedules keep you from selecting them.  Always go with your gut, that’s the best strategy in my opinion.  So following are three players who’s talent should outshine their tough schedules and be fine picks who offer great value.  (all points/mocks/analysis based on ESPN standard scoring)

1.  Antonio Brown:  Brown stepped up last year for Pittsburgh as he recorded 69 receptions for 1,108 yards and 2 scores.  Just for perspective Mike Wallace who is being selected 4 to 5 rounds ahead of brown only recorded 3 more receptions and 85 more yards.  Wallace did however manage to find the end zone 8 times compared to Brown’s 2.  Brown has excellent value this season as he essentially matched Wallace the whole season and is available in rounds 7-8 compared to round 3 where Wallace has been falling.  If Brown had somehow managed to score a few more TD’s last season I feel he would be drafted somewhere in round 5.  Half of the games played last season Brown recorded 8 or more fantasy points and had 5 with double digits. Critics will say that his size will limit his potential, but he has quickness to burn corners and I don’t see undersized receivers like Steve Smith, and DeSean Jackson struggling too bad.  The touchdown total should come up this season making Brown a steal in round 7.

2.  Torrey Smith:  Smith has been taken mostly in round 8 or 9 between 70 and 85 overall.  Funnily enough he is usually the WR taken after Brown as ESPN have them ranked pretty close.  Smith was the definition of unpredictable last season as he scored 11 or more fantasy points in 5 games (including a 22 point and 34 point performance), while scoring 5 or less in 10 contests.  He finished his season with 841 yards and 7 touchdowns helping him accumulate 123 fantasy points good enough for a 23rd place finish among WR’s.  Smith is the WR you want to own in Baltimore this season as Boldin has been slowing down and has failed to post 900 yards in consecutive seasons.  Smith should outperform his rookie campaign and could see close to 1000 yards and 5-8 touchdowns, not bad considering he can be had in round 8.  I wouldn’t recommend Smith be your WR2 but he is a good WR3 who can be used as a flex spot in hopes he has a monster game because of his explosive game play.

3.  Jermaine Gresham:  Gresham had a very solid sophomore season as he had 56 rec for596 yards and 6 touchdowns scoring 87 fantasy points for a 13th finish among TE’s.  He has very nice size at 6’4 and has great athletic ability making him a good target in the redzone.  When you look at the receiving options in Cincinnati outside of A.J. Green you don’t see very many talents that could take looks away from Gresham.  This will be the first off season he gets to work with Andy Dalton so his totals from 2011 should easily go up.  I think he is in line for an increased role this season as the lack of WR will cause Dalton to target Gresham more often leading to a potential 3rd year breakout for the young TE.  He has added value in PPR leagues as he had 9 games last seasons with at least 4 catches. Gresham has been going in the last 2 rounds and even un-drafted in the mocks I have completed meaning he can be taken with very little risk.  I would draft Gresham to be a solid TE2 who actually has potential to be in the top 10 at his position this year.

So there you have it fantasy fans my draft bargains for the AFC North.  These players offer you great value in your drafts so when the time comes don’t hesitate to take them.  As always comments are encouraged.

When I think of the AFC South and fantasy football I think of the highly coveted RB’s they have in the division as Arian Foster, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Chris Johnson are all 1st round talents.  However there is much more fantasy value to be had in the division that will not require a 1st round draft pick.  In fantasy finding these value players in the middle to late rounds is how you get the advantage in your league.  Following are 3 players I feel can easily out play their current ADP’s.  (all points/analysis use ESPN standard scoring and rankings)

1.  Kenny Britt:  Britt I have recently just discovered has gone under the knife once again having arthoscopic knee surgery on his left knee (he tore his RIGHT knee last year) and has been arrested due to a suspected DWI.  Britt may be considered a repeat offender to the leagues substance abuse policy so it is possible that he may be suspended for some games this year.  All these things will drive Britt even further down draft boards than he is now.  Currently Britt is the 28th ranked WR and is 74th overall going between rounds 7-8 (65-80 overall) in the majority of mocks I have done.  With the recent news I expect Britt to slip even further possibly another round or two.   Last year in only two games he posted 271 yards and 3 touchdowns before being injured in his 3rd game and missing the rest of what looked like a breakout year with a torn ACL.  He has big play ability and has talent to help your football team, but because of recent news I have to warn you it is a big risk to take.  The reason I personally will take a flier on him is because he has more talent than any WR after round 7 and therefore I feel worth the risk.  I would recommend you have at least 2 or 3 solid options at WR before drafting Britt though.  If Britt misses 2 or 3 games I’d still feel comfortable taking him as a risk/reward player in round 7, any more than that however I might be looking for another option.

2.  Reggie Wayne:  Since 2004 Reggie Wayne has had only one season in which he has not posted over 1000 yards and 5 or more touchdowns.  Not surprisingly that season was last year when he switched from one of the greatest ever quarterbacks in Peyton Manning to Lackluster Curtis Painter tossing him the ball.  Despite the Colts failures last year which resulted in the first overall pick in Andrew Luck , Wayne still managed to record 960 yards and 4 scores for a respectable 113 fantasy points and 29th place finish among wide-outs.  Now enter Andrew Luck who is the most highly touted QB since fellow Stanford Alum John Elway.  Luck is head and shoulders above QB’s throwing the ball to Wayne last season so I see a very productive year ahead of him and I certainly feel he is better than the 39th ranked receiver and 103rd overall.  Don’t let ranking be your guide and go with your gut…he definitely has better upside than Lance Moore and Michael Crabtree who are both ranked ahead of him.  In my mocks he is going late in round 9 or later, very good value as he should at least match last years totals.

3.  Matt Schaub:  While Schaub is no longer a solid QB1 in fantasy football he is definitely a solid #2 and could be a good option to be a spot starter if you like to wait on your QB and play match-ups.  Through 10 games last season he accumulated 2,479 yards and 15 touchdowns which prorated would have put him at 3,966 yards and 24 touchdowns on the season.  When you consider these numbers and the fact that he averaged 4,570 yards and 26.5 touchdowns from 2009-2010 as well as averaged 15 fantasy points per game in 2011 you get very solid production.  Even more impressive is the fact that he did well last year while only having Andre Johnson for a “full” 3 games.  With Arian Foster and Ben Tate in town the Texans will be one of the few teams looking to run first but Schaub will still get enough passing plays to put up decent points, especially if Andre Johnson can stay healthy.  Most mocks I have him going in round 9-10 which is actually about were I think his value is worth.  The only QB’s who I would take ahead of Schaub who may be available in these rounds would be Ryan, Roethlisberger, and Cutler, after that don’t hesitate to grab him up.

These 3 player have great value in fantasy this year and each has potential to outplay their ADP’s.  When you are drafting try and remember these 3 names as they have better value than many players being selected before them.  As always comments are encouraged.

As stated in my latest entry I have decided to write a series of columns about the top 3 draft day bargains by division.  I started off with the AFC West with Eric Decker, Carson Palmer, and Malcom Floyd making the list.  So now time to go to the East coast and see what the AFC East has for in terms of bargains.  (all points based on ESPN standard scoring,  and mocks done are 10 team league, at ESPN.com)

1.  Aaron Hernandez:  Am I the only one who remembers that Aaron Hernandez was 3rd in fantasy points last season among TE’s, or in other words was the top scoring TE not named Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham?  I ask because I think the fact that Aaron is ranked as the 7th best TE and 93rd overall behind James Starks and Lance Moore on ESPN.com is preposterous.  I suppose that many are foreseeing a decline in production this season due to the addition of Brandon Lloyd, but I am not one of those people.  Lloyd will be stretching the field this season and opposing defenses will be more concerned with shutting down Gronk and Welker meaning Hernandez will have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of.  One trait Bill Belichick prizes in his players is versatility and Hernandez is one of the most versatile players in the league as he can be lined up next to the tackle, in the slot, and in the backfield.  The departure of Green-Ellis leaves a void in the running game so I actually see Hernandez getting a decent amount of work in the backfield this season racking up some rushing yards.  Most mocks I have done have him coming off the board in the 8th or 9th round (70-90 overall).  I very rarely target a TE before the 6th round and considering Hernandez can be selected this late he likely will be the TE I target in my drafts.

2.  David Nelson:  Nelson is not nearly as bad as many people think and is going undrafted in almost every mock I have so far.  ESPN ranks him as their 79th best WR…31 slots lower than his 48th place finish in 2011.  Last season he finished with 61 catches for 658 yards and 8 touchdowns.  Fantasy wise his numbers were good for 9 games last season with at least 6 fantasy points and 4 with 9 or more.  Donald Jones appears to have the the number 2 WR spot in Buffalo but I still see Nelson having a better season.  He is a great red zone threat standing at 6’5 and he was the tied for 4th with Calvin Johnson for targets inside an opponents 10 yard line.  Stevie Johnson will be getting the majority of the coverage leaving Nelson with plenty of one-on-one opportunities to use his big frame to and make plays.  He is entering his 3rd season in the NFL, the season that most WRs have breakout seasons, and while his production may be some what limited I don’t think its a stretch for him to post 700 plus yards and 7 or more touchdowns this season, making him incredible value for someone who can be taken in the last round or on waivers this season.  Remember his name as you could definitely do worse with your final pick in the draft.

3.  C.J. Spiller:  Spiller was one of the most productive fantasy players from week 12 and beyond after filling in for an injured Fred Jackson.  He scored 89 of his 108 fantasy points (81.6%) in the final 6 games of the season averaging just under 15 points per game.  Spiller has the tools to be a featured back in the league though that likely won’t be the case in 2012 as a healthy Fred Jackson will take the lion share of the carries.  He certainly showed that he deserves more than the 3.1 touches per game he was getting prior to Jackson’s injury.  I see the Bills getting creative with Spiller possibly incorporating two back sets, splitting him out wide, and in a variety of ways to get him the ball in space so he can showcase his big play ability.  If he can get around a dozen or so touches a game I feel he can easily out play his current ADP of the 8th and 9th round.  He definitely has better upside than the players like Mark Ingram and Steven Ridley who ESPN have ranked ahead of him.  If you have Jackson on your roster you may want to consider taking him in the 7th round as he will be an extremely valuable handcuff as Jackson is aging and coming off of injury.

All three of these players have great value this season and can easily outplay their current ADP’s.  Remember these names as they have potential to add good depth to your roster and are better than many players that are being taken ahead of them.  As always comments are encouraged.

Its finally mid July and the NFL regular season is only 8 short weeks away, so if you haven’t been preparing for the upcoming fantasy season now is the time.  Personally one of the best parts of playing fantasy football is the preseason analysis and evaluation involved with trying to draft the best team.  Doing mock drafts, reading articles and stats, determining the players you think can perform above expectations to me is half the fun.  I recently saw an article posted on bleacherreport.com that listed the top 10 players in the AFC North, and followups to other divisions.  This gave me an idea to do something of a similar nature.  I have decided to post my top 3 draft bargains in each division because I feel this will be more beneficial.  I don’t think you need to read an article about why players like Aaron Rodgers, Ray Rice, and Larry Fitzgerald are all top players in their divisions, because chances are you can come to that conclusion yourselves.  Instead I have opted to give you some players who have great value and who can easily outplay their current ADP’s (average draft positions.)  So without further ado my top 3 bargains in the AFC West…(all points based on ESPN standard scoring)

1.  Eric Decker:  Decker was very sporadic last season as he scored double digit fantasy points 7 times (4 with Tebow), and scored 4 or less points in every other contest.  That being said is it really that surprising considering he had the leagues worst “throwing” QB passing him the ball the majority of the season?  I like Tebow, I think he is a great athlete and a wonderful human being, however he is QB in the NFL that struggles to throw the ball…that’s a problem.  Now with Peyton Manning in town slinging the ball all over the field Decker finds himself in a position to explode this coming season.  Decker has been working with Manning since the Broncos first signed him and has routinely been putting in extra time with him working on routes and timing after practice and on their own.  This extra time I feel is invaluable and will lead to Manning to feel the most comfortable with Decker than any other WR this season, thus leading to more opportunities for Decker to produce.  Manning will put Decker in a position to be one of the better bargains this year in fantasy.  In the mock drafts I have completed he is usually going in round 7 or later.  I feel that to get a WR who has 1,200 yard 8 TD potential this late definitely qualifies him to be my top bargain pick in the AFC West.

2.  Carson Palmer: Palmer is no longer one of the better passers in the league, but he certainly deserves more credit than he is being given this off-season.  I currently have him as my 16th rated QB right now because I feel he has more upside than many people think.  After taking over as starter after Oakland’s bye in week 9 he posted 15 or more fantasy points in 6 of his 9 starts which is pretty impressive considering he came in mid season after a long furlough from playing ball.  In that span he accumulated 2,637 yards and 14 touchdowns (13 passing, 1 rushing) which prorated would have came out to 4,688 yards and 23-25 touchdowns on the season.  He has a talented group of young WRs who are all capable of creating separation and have the ability to take it to the house when they have the ball in space.  Add a healthy Darren McFadden running the ball opening up passing lanes and Palmer has a chance to shine this season.  Palmer is a great QB2, and depending on how deep your league is could be a possible spot starter.  Most mocks I have completed this season have Palmer going in round 13-14 which is great value.

3.  Malcom Floyd:  Every Sand Diego Charger fan knows all too well the potential that Floyd has to become a great receiver.  He has great size and speed standing at 6’5 and running a 4.5 40 yard dash.  He has not played a full NFL season the past two years as injuries always seem to creep up on him which will make him slide down many draft boards.  last season in only 12 games Floyd managed to post 856 yards and 5 touchdowns which prorated would have put him at 1,143 yards and 6-7 touchdowns.  I think that Floyd will have a better chance than Robert Meachem to become Rivers top WR in 2012 because of their current chemistry and his knowledge of the offense.  His big body gives him an edge to get red-zone targets because defenses will be focused on shutting down Antonio Gates.  All things considered I feel Floyd has great value and if can stay healthy can out play his ADP of round 9-10 (based on mocks I have done).

So there you have it some good players who I feel have great value and can outplay their ADPs.  If you are in the middle to late rounds and your looking for someone to draft remember these 3 names.  As always comments are welcome.

 

If your like me you feel that to spend a 2nd round pick on a TE is ridiculous.  To forgo a top notch RB or WR to reach for either Jimmy Grahm or Rob Gronkowski with you second pick is not a smart move.  Graham and Gronk are definitely head and shoulders above their counterparts but the price to acquire their services is too high to pay especially when you  consider that for either player to even come close to repeating what they did last season will be incredibly hard to do.  But don’t worry thankfully there are quality TEs available in the middle rounds who can help your fantasy team to the playoffs.  In this entry I will try and list the next wave of players who have the best chance to produce in 2012.  (All points based on ESPN standard scoring)

3.  Antonio Gates:  Despite missing 3 contests in 2011 Gates still managed to rack up 778 yards for 7 touchdowns good enough for a 7th place finish in fantasy points (115) among TE’s.  Gates has lost a step and is a big injury risk as he has missed 9 games in the past 2 seasons, but the man can still produce when hes on the field.  8 of the 13 games played last season he had 7 or more points while going double digits in 6 contests.  Gates has always been Rivers’ favorite target and should get enough looks to post solid numbers yet again.  Gates has reportedly looked to drop some weight this season which hopefully can help him stay on the field more this season.  If he does he can challenge Graham and Gronk to take back the crown as leagues top TE.  If you do draft Gates I would recommend drafting someone like Brent Celek or Jermaine Gresham as security in the last few rounds of your draft.

4.  Aaron Hernandez:  Despite missing 2 games and playing in the shadow of Rob Gronkowski, Hernandez posted great numbers with 910 yards and 7 touchdowns placing 3rd in fantasy points among TEs.  If you were to prorate his numbers to a full season he would have accumulated 1,040 yards and 8 touchdowns.  He is also a very versatile player who can be used on the line of scrimmage, split out wide and even in the backfield making him a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses. The addition of Brandon Lloyd give the patriots a great deep threat who can stretch the field leaving the middle open for Hernandez.  The Patriots have a lot of mouths to feed but Brady has enough talent to make Hernandez a viable starting TE again this season.

5.  Jason Witten:  In my opinion Jason Witten is the absolute safest pick you can make at he TE position.  Since 2004 Jason Witten has NEVER MISSED A GAME (128 games in that span).  Each season in that span he has had at least 750 yards, has had 900 plus yards in 6 of those seasons and 1000 plus yards in 3 seasons.  Last season he posted 942 yards and 5 touchdowns earning him a 6th place finish in fantasy points among TEs.  He is one of Romo’s favorite targets and with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant drawing coverage, Witten should remain among the leagues elite TEs.

6.  Vernon Davis: Davis has not missed a game in the past 4 seasons and has averaged 890 yards and 8.7 touchdowns the past 3.  To say that Davis was inconsistent last season would be an understatement as he had 7 games with double digit fantasy points while scoring 5 or less in the rest of his contests.  So that fact makes him a  risky pick but the upside is there to warrant the ranking.  The additions of Moss, Manningham, and Jenkins to the roster will add something Davis has inherently lacked…other players defenses have to account for.  This should help draw some of the coverage away from  Davis and help him gain some consistency this season making him an appealing TE in the middle rounds.

7.  Jermichael Finley:  Entering last season Finley was touted widely as a player who was poised to breakout.  In his defense his 767 yards and 8 touchdowns is nothing to scoff at, but I feel his expectations were too high.  Finley should look to improve on the drops he had last season (11) and post better numbers across the board.  He is playing with the leagues best QB and is clearly the 3rd best receiving option on the team outside of Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson.  Finley had 4 games with double digit fantasy points but also scored 6 or less in 9 games.  Still things are looking better for Finley and as I said he should do better this year.

So there you have it my 2nd wave of talented TEs.  Anyone of these players would be a great option as your starting TE this year in fantasy and are all better “values” than picking Graham or Gronk in the 2nd or 3rd round.  After these players the TE position sees a clear drop off in talent but that is not to say there are not other good fantasy options out there.  However these are the 5 players who I think have the most talent and upside out of the top 2.  As always comments are encouraged.

The NFL is a league full of cliches, and perhaps the most common of these is the 3rd year breakout.  Brandon LaFell is entering his 3rd year with the Carolina Panthers and is a popular candidate to break out.  Coming out of LSU the Analysts were touting his soft hands, willingness to make grabs in the middle of traffic and ability to get yards after the catch.  LaFell was the 3rd WR on the depth chart last season as but still ended up scoring more fantasy points than Legedu Naanee.  Now that Naanee is gone LaFell is the clear favorite to start opposite of Steve Smith this season.  Even with limited action LaFell put together a decent seasonwith 613 yards and 3 touchdowns on only 36 catches.  LaFell’s 17 average yard per catch last season was the 12th highest in the NFL ahead of big play receivers such as DeSean Jackson, Mike Wallace, and A.J. Green.

Now that LaFell is the starter opposite Steve Smith he should perform much better than his current ADP which has been mostly in the last 2 rounds in the mock drafts I have completed.  With Steve Smith drawing the majority of the coverage LaFell should see a lot of one on one coverage which he can take advantage of.  I think that LaFell should easily be able to catch 60 plus balls and 900 plus yards.  When you take in consideration his 6’2 frame and natural ball skills he will easily be the best WR in the red-zone leading to an increase from the 3 touchdowns he had last season.  He is my top sleeper this season I am targeting and should be a decent flex play much of the season.  Don’t hesitate to take him as early as the 12th round.

Wide receiver has always been the deepest position in fantasy football, but in recent years the position has become increasingly valuable with the league becoming so pass friendly.  One benefit of having depth at WR means you may find a quality option to be your number 1 in rounds 3-4 much easier than finding a quality RB in the same rounds.  That being said I have compiled my tier 2 rankings of wide-outs who are all capable of leading your fantasy squad and who will be available between the 2nd and 4th round (based on 10 team league.)  Here are my thoughts…(all points based on ESPN standard scoring)

5.  Andre Johnson:  Johnson is arguably top 3 in pure talent at wide receiver with Megatron and Fitzgerald, and would be ranked higher if it were not for injuries as he has missed multiple games in 4 of the last 7 seasons.  But the fact remains that Johnson is still Elite when he is healthy and warrants a 5th place ranking.  Johnson racked up 42 fantasy points in the first 3 games last season as he had 316 yards and 2 touchdowns.  After going down in week 4 with a torn hamstring Johnson only played in 3 more contests one of which was a 97 yard performance in week 13.  Johnson hopefully can bounce back and stay healthy rewarding those who take him with a 2nd round selection.

6.  Roddy White:  White has been extremely consistent the past 5 years as he has averaged 1,284 yards and 8.4 touchdowns per year.  He has added value in PPR leagues as he caught 100 passes in 2011 and 115 in 2010.  The addition of Julio Jones did little to affect White’s performance last season and that should be the case again.  In fact I think having Jones is good for White because defenses will want to keep the explosive sophomore contained leaving White with single coverage oppurtunities.  Add the fact that he has not missed a game in 3 years and you get a great receiver who is well worth a pick in the 2nd round.

7.  Brandon Marshall:   Marshall has averaged 1,187 yards and over 6 touchdowns a season the past 5 years and that trend should move up.  With sub-par QB play last season he still managed over 1,200 yards and when playing with Cutler he has averaged 1,237 yards and nearly 8 touchdowns per season as a starter (each with over 100 catches.)  Back in orange and blue with the cannon armed Vanderbilt product I see top 10 WR written all over Marshall.

8.  A.J. Green:  What Green did last year with Andy Dalton was truly impressive considering they were both rookies and both had limited preparation as the NFL lockout was in effect.  Despite the challenges he still had 65 receptions, 1,057 yards and 7 scores in 15 games.  Last season he had an average of 9.6 fantasy points per game played, and posted double digit points in 9 games.  He has great speed and his 6’4 frame and leaping ability make him a very dangerous threat in the redzone.  He should easily eclipse all of his 2011 totals.

9.  Julio Jones:  Despite playing in only 13 games last season Jones still managed to rack up 959 yards and 8 touchdowns.  If you were to prorate these numbers he would have finished with 1,180 yards and possibly and extra touchdown or two.  Jones was hampered with hamstring injury last season but when healthy truly impressed with 5 games with over 100 yards.  What Jones did in the final 4 games last season is what makes me put him in the top 10 as he went off for 393 yards and 6 touchdowns good for 71 fantasy points.  If healthy he is amazing and is in for a huge sophomore season.

10.  Mike Wallace:  Wallace’s elite speed allowed hm to fly past defenders last season racking up nearly 1,200 yards and 8 touchdowns.  Last season he tied for a 9th place finish in fantasy points among WR’s with Vincent Jackson and I see similar production this year.  Half of the games he played he posted double digit points and though his points declined down the stretch that is due in large part to a ailing Big Ben.  With the offensive line being upgraded via the draft I expect Ben will stay healthier and thus helping Wallace flourish.  He is unhappy about not getting a new contract this season but should be available to play.  If he misses training camp he might go down my ranks a bit.
So there you have it fantasy fans my tier two rankings.  All of the players listed are players well worth a selection as your WR1 have great chances to finish in the top 10.  WR is very hard to predict because of its depth and as Michael Fabiano has stated “since 2007 no more than 4 wide recievers to finish in the top 10 in fantasy points have repeated the next season.  That being said I have done my best.  As always comments are encouraged.

 

This year in fantasy is truly the most unpredictable I have ever been a part of.  Gone are the days of selecting running backs exclusively in the 1st round as more and more owners are taking signal callers and even a few big name receivers with their top picks.  Nearly every RB in the league has a question mark this year as many are coming off of injury, holding out for a new contract, or are in a committee attack.  That being said I have done my best to create a list of tier 2 runners who I would feel the most confident with as my RB1 on my fantasy team.  Based on a 10 team league I have done my list of tier 2 runners ranked 5-10 since my tier 1 list only had 4 names on it (Rice, Foster, McCoy, Jones-Drew).  Here are my conclusions…(all scoring based on ESPN standard scoring)

5.  Ryan Mathews:  All signs point toward Mathews having a huge year in 2012 with the shadow of Mike Tolbert now in Carolina.  Despite missing 2 games due to injury Mathews still managed an impressive 1,546 total yards and 6 touchdowns.  Now ponder what Mathews numbers might have been if Tolbert wasn’t around to steal 175 touches, 923 yards and 10 total touchdowns.  San Diego has no back nearly as capable as Tolbert to steal touches from him this year so Mathews should easily post huge numbers if he can remain healthy.  Once the top 4 come off the board he is the back I am targeting.

6.  Chris Johnson:  Johnson ruined countless fantasy rosters last seasons (including mine) as he showed up unmotivated and out of shape after he finally got the contract he sought after an ugly holdout.  In 2011 Johnson had 9 games last season in which he had 75 or less total yards and only managed to find the end zone a total of 4 times.  If you watched Johnson last year the contract seemed to have gone to his head as he appeared to have no heart and was unmotivated.  Toward the end of the season Johnson showed flashes of the talent that made him a top 5 pick.  Through the first 8 games Johnson managed 57 fantasy points whereas he scored 100 throughout the last 8 games.  Johnson I feel will be motivated to rebound this year as he has stated this off season “”I feel I am still the best back in the league” and “”I want to be the first back to go for 2,000 yards twice, and I think it can be done.”  I am not that optimistic but he should rebound and have a great year.

7.  Marshawn Lynch:  Lynch came back to fantasy relevance last season as he racked up over 1,400 total yards and 13 combined scores.  Lynch had 10 games last season with double digit fantasy points and had at least one score in the same amount of contests.  Lynch has had some injury problems his career as he has never played a full 16 games but if he can stay motivated is still a solid pick.  It feels like Lynch has been in the league forever but is only 26 and is in the prime of his career.  As long as he stays focused and training staff doesn’t run out of skittles, Marshawn should do just fine.

8.  Trent Richardson:  Richardson is one of the only running backs in the league that has no significant other to steal time from him and will be a true workhorse for his team.  Peyton Hillis was a fantasy stud in 2010 as he accumulated over 1,650 total yards and 13 touchdowns.  Richardson has a skill set much more impressive than Hillis and is playing in a division whose defenses are not as impressive as 2 years ago.  I feel that the Richardson who is being touted as the best prospect since Adrian Peterson will have great success as a rookie and will be well worth a pick in the 2nd round.

9.  Matt Forte:  Despite only playing in 12 games last season Forte still managed to rack up nearly 1,500 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Throughout his career he has averaged 1,554 yards and 7 touchdowns.  Forte based on talent alone would be my 5th ranked back however there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding him this season.  He is still holding out for a contract and the longer it lasts the more he loses value.  He has stated he will not miss any games because he feels he doesn’t really have a choice, but if he does not make training camp I think he will be rushed to get back into football shape and will either struggle or get injured at some point.  There is also questions surrounding his knees as he missed the Bears final 4 contests with a sprained MCL.  Chicago has also added Michael bush who will steal plenty of touches this season especially near the goal line.  Matt Forte is a very sketchy pick this season because of all the question marks surrounding him.

10.  Darren McFadden:  McFadden is one of the most talented backs in the league and if it were not for injury issues would easily be ranked much higher.  Last season he accumulated 768 total yards and 5 touchdowns in only 7 games.  While he has never played in more than 13 games in his career I feel his elite talent makes him deserving of this spot.  When healthy he is a fantasy machine and this season will be no different.  In 2010 in only 13 games had 1,663 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns.  So I feel that if he can manage to stay healthy even the majority of the season is worth a selection in the 2nd or 3rd round.  Just remember if you do draft DMC you MUST ALSO DRAFT HIS HANDCUFF.

 

So there you have it my tier 2 runners who all are capable of being your RB1.  Like I said this was a hard list to compile because of all the questions surrounding each back but in the end I like the ranks of each player.  As always comments are encouraged.