Tag Archive: Fantasy Football


The NFL over the past decade has become increasingly more pass happy making the QB position even more of a priority than in years past.  Think about the top QB’s in the league: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Mathew Stafford, Eli Manning…all are pro bowl caliber signal callers and each of their respective teams have legit chances to make deep playoff runs and possibly end their season with the Lombardi trophy.  Like the NFL, in fantasy having an elite signal caller like Rodgers or Brady will help your team because the points these players can generate on a weekly basis are typically higher than other positions.  However because so many teams are airing the ball out, there are a number of QB’s who can lead your team this season.  Following are my top 24 signal callers for this fantasy season (24 because I assume most leagues are 10-12 teams and most teams have 2 QB’s on their roster) also all points/analysis/ADP use espn.com info and standard scoring.

1.  Aaron Rodgers (ADP-2.8):  He was the top QB scorer last season despite playing in only 15 games and managed to score 20 or more fantasy points in 14 of his 15 starts.  I mean really do I need to convince you why he is ranked 1st?

2.  Tom Brady (ADP-5.2):  Brady threw for 5,235 yards and 39 touchdowns last season without a true deep threat.  Now with Brandon Lloyd in town to stretch the field along with two elite TE’s and his favorite target Wes Welker, Brady is in for a great year.  Don’t forget the last time Brady had a deep threat (Randy Moss) and Josh McDaniels as his OC, he went off for 4,806 yards and 50 touchdowns!  Expect big things this season from him.

3.  Drew Brees (ADP-6.9):  He has been fantasy gold since arriving in New Orleans as he has averaged 4,732 yards and 33 touchdowns, and thrown for over 5,000 yards twice including the record setting 5,476 yards he had last season.  Sean Payton is suspended, but I don’t see it having too big of an impact on Brees this year, he knows the offense inside and out and should continue to put up big numbers.

4.  Mathew Stafford (ADP-12.0):  Stafford showed last season why he was a former #1 overall draft pick as he threw for over 5,000 yards and 41 touchdowns lifting the Lions to their first playoff appearance since 1999.  Detroit has plenty of weapons for Stafford to throw the ball to like Titus Young and Brandon Pettigrew, oh and that guy they call Megatron is pretty decent too.  Look for Stafford to again show he is among the league’s elite signal callers.

5.  Cam Newton (ADP-16.5):  Anyone who was wise enough to draft Cam last season with a late round pick or else plucked him off the waiver wire was rewarded with huge dividends as he threw for over 4,000 yards and had 31 total touchdowns.  Newton had arguably the best rookie campaign in NFL history which was remarkable considering that he had very limited time to get prepared because of the lockout last season.  Some will argue that Cam is in for a down year, but even if he throws for 3,300 yards 20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions (very pedestrian numbers) his running ability will vault him again in the top 10 of QB’s.  For instance if he throws for the above mentioned numbers and has an additional 450 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground (he had 706/14 last season) he would end up with 257 fantasy points which would have placed him 9th among QB’s.  So by drafting Cam you are getting a player who’s floor is a top 10 QB and who’s ceiling could potentially be the top scorer in fantasy.

6.  Eli Manning (ADP-27.6):  Eli is the most underrated passer in the NFL and showed last year he belongs in the discussion among the top QB’s in the league as he threw for 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns.  With the weapons he has in Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and rookie Ruben Randle I feel very confident in Eli as an upper echelon QB1 in fantasy and is the best option if you do not want to spend a 1st or 2nd round pick on your signal caller.  While I do like Eli this season I would not reach for him in the 3rd round which is were his current ADP is but would consider grabbing him with a late 4th or early 5th round pick.

7.  Tony Romo (ADP-50.0):  Romo has been one of the top fantasy QB’s for a while now as he has averaged 4,292 yards and 31 touchdowns the three seasons he has been healthy enough to play all 16 games.  He does have a bit of injury risk as he has missed multiple games 2 of the past 5 seasons and is playing with a pretty poor offensive line.  However I still feel that Romo is worthy of the #7 rank and is still a fine QB1 for your squad.

8.  Phillip Rivers (ADP-61.4):  Fantasy football players tend to have short memories which will cause Rivers to fall on many draft boards because of the abysmally high 20 interceptions and 5 lost fumbles he had last season.  However he did get better as the season wore on throwing for 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions in the second half of the season compared to 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in the first.  Despite his struggles he still had 4,624 yards and 27 touchdowns last season and has averaged 4,400 yards and 30 touchdowns the past 4 seasons.  Don’t hesitate to take rivers he is going to be just fine this season.

9.  Michael Vick (ADP-38.3):  If Vick could stay injury free for an entire season he could be fantasy’s top scorer, but it is something he just has not been able to do most of his career.  When he is on the field he is a fantasy machine as he still has speed and elusiveness to gain considerable statistics on the ground.  If you draft Vick make sure that you invest in a solid QB 2 someone like Matt Ryan (who himself can easily be a top 10 option this year), Jay Cutler, or Big Ben as insurance.

10.  Peyton Manning (ADP-44.6):  I went back and forth ranking Vick and Manning but decided that since Vick has higher upside and both players in my opinion need a solid backup plan I would give the edge to Vick.  You know the warning signs he had neck fusion surgery and has not played in nearly 2 years, but if anybody can come back from that its Manning.  He has the best mind of any QB in history and so I feel confident that Manning can bounce back and have a terrific year.  If he stays healthy I think 4,000 plus yards and 30 touchdowns are easily in reach.

11.  Matt Ryan (ADP-61.9):  Ryan finished last season with an 8th place finish in fantasy points and enjoyed a breakout season with career highs in both yards and touchdowns with 4,177 and 29 respectively.  The Falcons are moving toward a more heavily pass oriented attack which will only benefit Ryan.  He is easily capable of posting top 10 numbers yet again and is a huge bargain this year.  He has an ADP right behind Rivers at 61 which is worth his value because he is the last QB I would truly feel safe with leading my fantasy team.

12.  Jay Cutler (ADP-97.4):  Cutler I think is in for a career year as he finally has a solid stable of WR’s to throw to lead by Brandon Marshall.  Couple this with the fact that he has one of the leagues best catch passing backs in Matt Forte and you get an offense who is poised to be explosive.  Offensive line troubles aside Cutler should be a Fringe QB1 in standard leagues and a solid starter in leagues with 12 plus teams.  Given his ADP of 97 he is an absolute steal!

13.  Matt Schaub (ADP-86.4):  If you were to prorate Matt Schaub’s numbers last season you would get 3,996 yards and 24 touchdowns which is pretty impressive considering Andre Johnson was only available for a “full” 3 games with him.  The Texans like to run and run and run some more but now that Schaub is healthy again and has Johnson back I think he is in line for a good bounce back year.  Don’t forget the previous two seasons in 2009 and 2010 e averaged 4,570 yards and nearly 27 touchdowns.  He should be fine and with a ADP of 86 he is well worth the pick.

14.  Ben Roethlisberger (ADP-81.5):  Big Ben was somewhat of a disappointment the past 2 seasons but is poised for a bounce back campaign.  The Steelers rushing attack is lead by a banged up Issac Redman, and Jonathan Dwyer.  Rashard Mendenhall may not be on the PUP list but is still not going to see the field anytime soon.  With the lack of a run game Pittsburgh will have to air it out and they have a trio of talented WR’s who can get the job done in Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, and Emanuel Sanders.  If Ben can stay healthy which may be a challenge due to his past ailments (has not played a full season since 2008) he could live up to his ADP in the 9th round.  I however would not by any means stretch for him.

15.  Carson Palmer (ADP-135.4):  I do not see why so many people are down on Palmer this year, I think he played very well considering he came in mid-season to a new team.  If you were to prorate Palmer’s numbers last season he would have amassed 4,688 yards and 23 touchdowns.  He did have a lot of interceptions last season with 10 in 9 starts, but give him some slack he had to learn a new system in the matter of two weeks.  I think Palmer will be fine this season as he has had time to learn the offense and work with his receivers, so all things considered he should be a fine QB2 who is ridiculous value with an ADP of 135 in the middle of the 14th round!

16.  Jake Locker (ADP-144.1):  Locker in 3 partial games accumulated 586 total yards and 5 combined touchdowns with no interceptions good for 46 fantasy points (15.3 avg).  I can’t wait to see what this kid can do as a starter this season.  Yes he has some accuracy issues but because of his ability to gain yardage and touchdowns on the ground I feel he has great upside, and to be honest I prefer QB2’s with high upside instead of middle of the road QB’s with low ceilings.  (also its worth noting that his ADP is likely to rise quickly considering he is now the starter.)

17.  Andrew Luck (ADP-112.9):  As you likely already know Andrew Luck is the most highly touted QB since fellow Stanford product John Elway came into the league.  Andrew has all of the intangibles that it takes to become an elite QB in the league.  Still he is a rookie and will have some growing pains this season, but considering the Colts are likely to be playing from behind often this season he will be throwing the ball quite a bit.  Don’t discount the colts, they still have some play makers like Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie and have drafted additional help via the draft with Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen and Ty Hilton.  Also he has ability to add points on his legs as he had the same 40 yard dash time (4.59) as Cam Newton.  All things considered I’d rather have Luck on my roster than any other rookie including RGIII.

18.  Robert Griffin III (ADP-85.2):  Like I said I’d rather have Luck on my roster, but RGIII is another great QB2 who can post solid numbers this season.  If you were to combine Rex Grossman’s and John Beck’s numbers last season you would get 4,009 yards and 18 touchdowns.  RGIII is considerably more talented and with the addition of Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan to the receiving corps along with his obvious upside he brings in the running game, he should be a very strong QB2.

19.  Joe Flacco (ADP-119.5):  Flacco is a pretty good QB2 this season as he has averaged 3,615 yards and 22 touchdowns the past three seasons.  He has decent receivers in the sure handed Anquan Boldin and a deep threat in Torrey Smith, not to mention the best pass catching back in the league in Ray Rice.  Can Flacco take the next step this season?  If he does he will be worth every bit of his draft slot.

20.  Josh Freeman (ADP-120.9):  Freeman had an off year with a whopping 22 interceptions and only 16 touchdowns only one year after posting 25 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.  However the entire Buccaneer team appeared to quit during the season, that should not be the case this year.  With the addition of Carl Nicks at guard the Buc’s have one of the best O-Lines in football so he should have plenty of time to throw the ball.  The arrivals of Vincent Jackson and rookie Doug Martin will also add fire power to help stimulate the offense this season.  Considering his ADP you really aren’t risking much to get him.

21.  Ryan Fitzpatrick (ADP-138.1):  Fitzpatrick started the season strong with 64 fantasy points through the first 3 games then struggled for the rest his season.  He was very up and down as he scored 14 or more fantasy points in 7 contests while scoring single digits in the same amount of games.  If he can stay steady this season he could drastically outplay his ADP.

22.  Andy Dalton (ADP-120.1):  Dalton had a great rookie season with 3,398 yards and 20 touchdowns which was even more impressive considering he had limited time to prepare for the season with the NFL lockout.  He has one of the best young talents to throw to in A.J. Green and if he can avoid a sophomore slump should put up even better numbers.

23.  Alex Smith (ADP-117.8):  Smith is the definition of a game manager, he is efficient with the ball and his main job is to not lose the game for them.  Many look to the additions of Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, and A.J. Jenkins and instantly think that Smith is in for a career year.  However I look at the addition of Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James into an already stacked backfield and see the 49ers running and running and running some more this season.  And ask yourself this…even if he is in store for a career is that really saying much considering his best season came last year with 3,144 yards and 17 touchdowns?  I think not.  Don’t be a fool and reach for Smith because he is still just average, however if he falls to the 12-13th round he is not a bad option.

24.  Christian Ponder (ADP-170):  Ponder is going un-drafted in many leagues because there is such a strong stable of QB’s this year.  Still I think that ponder can be a decent QB2 this season especially if the Vikings realize the need to use Harvin more and once Jerome Simpson comes back from a suspension.  At this point in the draft you could definitely do worse.

So there you have it fantasy fans my updated QB rankings for the 2012 season.  Hopefully I did this with enough time to help those of you with late drafts.  As always comments are encouraged.

I have looked for draft bargains across the league and end my search with the NFC North.  The division has some big time fantasy studs like Aaron Rodgers and Calvin Johnson but also some players who are flying under the radar who can provide nice depth for your roster.  I may sound like a broken record, but it is important to realize that finding players who are available mid to late in fantasy drafts are what separate the good teams from the bad and it takes a lot more research than simply looking at a rankings list.  The following players as well as other draft bargains I have listed were not chosen because of rankings or projections but on my instincts that they are being undervalued in fantasy drafts this season.  Finding fantasy gems like Victor Cruz or Jimmy Graham are extremely difficult and is often a combination of analysis and luck.  So following are three players who I feel have the opportunity and skill set to outplay their current ADP.  (all points/ADP/analysis use ESPN standard scoring and ESPN ADP)

1.  Jay Cutler (ADP, 99.4):  Cutler has not exactly lit up the fantasy world since being traded to Chicago, but when you stop and look at the talent around him is it really all that surprising?  No disrespect to Earl Bennett or Johnny Knox but Brandon Marshall and Ashlon Jeffery offer a lot more explosiveness to help Cutler in the passing game.  Cutler had his best season in 2008 throwing for 4,526 yards and 25 touchdowns with the Denver Broncos.  With the exception of last season in which he only played 10 games, Cutler has never thrown for under 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns.  Prorate his 2011 totals he would have posted over 3,700 yards and 20 touchdowns.  With the upgrades at WR this season and Matt Forte signed to help with screens and underneath routes, Cutler has very good upside this season.  I have him as my 13th ranked QB and could be a spot starter this season or your QB1 if you play in a 12 team plus league.  If his O-line can step up from their abysmal performance last season I think Cutler has potential to post 4,000 plus yards and 25 or more touchdowns.  Don’t hesitate to take Cutler this season as he can be taken after round 9 and has potential to be a top 10 QB this season.

2.  Percy Harvin (ADP, 59.6):  Harvin was the 8th highest fantasy scorer among wide-outs last season which makes me wonder why he is being drafted as the 21st WR towards the end of the 6th round.  Despite only being in on 58% of the offensive snaps (per ESPN) he managed to score an impressive 165 points.  What is more impressive is how he came alive during the second half of the season as he scored 114 points during his final 8 games compared to 51 in his first 8.  With Adrian Peterson’s injury uncertain at this point I see the Vikings leaning heavily on Harvin this season both out wide and in the backfield giving him plenty of opportunity to produce.  Harvin is viewing this season as a contract year something that is always a bonus for fantasy purposes and should he pick up where he left off last season can be a solid WR1 who can be had at a WR2 or 3 price.

3. Michael Bush (ADP, 89.5):  Michael Bush has the skill set to be a top fantasy back in the league however he has chosen to go from backing up Darren McFadden to backing up Matt Forte.  Still the Bears did not pay Bush a $14 million contract to just ride the bench and should be utilized a good amount in Chicago especially near the goal line as he is one of the best TD vultures in the League.  Forte will get the lion share of the carries but Bush will get enough looks that could make him a decent RB3 or 4 who could be used in the flex or for bye weeks.  Bush could post 700 plus yards and 7 plus touchdowns this season and is a must have handcuff for Forte owners.

So there you have it fantasy fans the conclusion of my attempt to locate the top draft day bargains this fantasy season.  Hopefully these players pan out this season and can help you in your fantasy leagues.  Thanks for reading and if you have not already done so please check out the rest of my posts about draft bargains.  And as always opinions and comments are encouraged.

 

The NFC East is one of the most stacked divisions in the NFL in terms of fantasy football players.  Their are many players in the division who will be taken in the first few rounds like McCoy, Murray, Romo, Vick, Manning, Cruz, Nicks, and Bradshaw just to name a few.  And while these players are all fantasy producers, there is still value to be had in the middle to late rounds that can help you win your league.  Following are 3 players I feel offer the most value for their draft slots… (all analysis/points/etc. done at ESPN.com and use standard scoring.)

1.  Fred Davis:  Fred Davis has tremendous value at TE this season and could easily post top 10 numbers at his position.  In 2011 Davis accumulated 796 yards and 3 touchdowns in only 12 games before being suspended for the final 4 games.  Last season with sub-par QB play he still managed 9 or more fantasy points in 7 out of the 12 games.  Now with RGIII running the offense I see a lot of targets for Davis because of his ability to get open and stable of unproven/mediocre WRs in Washington.  Chris Cooley appears healthy this season but Davis has proven he is worth the being the starting TE this season and Cooley should not put a dent in Davis’ production this season.  Currently Davis ADP (average draft position) is the 9th TE off the board and 104 overall meaning he should be available in round 10 and offer great value for your fantasy squad.  He should have numbers at least close to players like Vernon Davis (ADP: 52), Jason Witten (ADP: 60) and Jermichael Finley (ADP: 67), so considering that he can be had 50 to 30 picks later than these players he is the definition of a draft bargain.

2.  Robert Griffin III:  After the insane rookie season Cam Newton had last season, people are drooling over RGIII thinking he can produce similar numbers.  I’m not so optimistic because Newton had the best rookie season in NFL history throwing for over 4,000 yards and combining for 31 total touchdowns (14 on the ground, an NFL record for QB’s.)  That being said RGIII still has a high ceiling this season as he can rack up fantasy points both through the air and on the ground.  If you were to combine the statistics of Rex Grossman and John Beck last season you get a 4,000 yard 18 touchdown QB.  That being said RGIII is head and shoulders above these players and is well worth his current ADP as the 13th QB and 82nd overall off the board.  RGIII is still a rookie so you have to expect some growing pains this season, but I think he is well capable of a 3,300 yard 20 touchdown campaign through the air and an aditional 400 plus yards and 4-5 touchdowns on the ground.  I like to project conservative that way I don’t overvalue players, so assuming he can manage these numbers with about 15 interceptions (a high amount) would put him around 250 fantasy points which based off of last year numbers would have him as the 9th place QB and would have outscored Philip Rivers, Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger.  When you look at QB2’s you want upside so RGIII is one of the best available this season as he can easily reach and surpass the above mentioned projection.

3.  Ruben Randle:  Randle I have heard draw comparisons to his teammate Hakeem Nicks because they have similar size and speed.  There has been a lot of buzz surrounding him this offseason and because of a broken foot from Nicks this offseason Randle has been able to gain more chemistry with Eli Manning this season which can only help his value this season.  Nicks should be ok to start week 1 so Randle will be on the field only in 3 WR sets, but should still be able to produce decent numbers this offseason.  Also don’t forget that Nicks has yet to have a full season without injury so by drafting Randle you will likely have some games were he is a starter.  I think that for Randle to record 700 yards and 4 plus touchdowns is well within reach.  These numbers would equate to roughly 100 fantasy points this season making him great value considering he has a current ADP as the 46th WR and 135 overall meaning he is available in round 13-15.

So there you have it my top bargains for the NFC East.  Considering the amount of talent that is available in the first few rounds it was actually harder than usual to find the bargains in this division compared to others.  But as with all divisions value can be had at all points in the draft, and I have done my best to find 3 players who offer the value that can help you this season.  As always comments are encouraged.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Hello again fantasy world, its been a while since I posted my tier 1 rankings but as promised I have completed my tier 2 rankings.  My first 5 rankings were the cream of the crop and are all likely gone by the early 3rd round.  Now to get into those QB’s who can be taken between rounds 4 and 6 who are capable also of being your starter and lead you to the playoffs.  Here are the next 5 QB’s who are all starting caliber fantasy players (based on a 10 team league).   (All points based on ESPN standard scoring)

6.  Eli Manning:  I guess it was always just a matter of time before Eli surpassed his brother in fantasy ranks and this is the year.  Last year Manning threw for 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns making 2011 the 3rd straight year he has eclipsed 4,000 yards passing.  He has elite talent to throw to with Nicks and Cruz and has a back capable of keeping defenses honest in Bradshaw.  I like Manning to pick off where he left off and post good numbers.

7.  Tony Romo:  In the 3 seasons Romo has played all 16 games he has averaged 4,292 yards and 31 touchdowns.  His durability is an issue but he has enough weapons around him that he is worth the risk.  With Bryant poised to have a breakout year and targets in Austin and Witten I feel Romo will post big time numbers.  This is also the year he has a game changing back that will help open up things passing.  Romo is a gem as he is mostly going in the 5th round of fantasy drafts.

8.  Phillip Rivers:  Rivers was a disappointment last season as he had 20 interceptions and put the ball on the ground 9 times.  Half of the games he played in he had multiple picks and had only 3 games with 20 or more fantasy points.  That being said I still feel Rivers is one of the safest fantasy QB’s in the league and is very capable of leading your roster to the playoffs.  Rivers over the past 4 seasons has averaged 4,400 yards and 30 touchdowns and don’t forget that he still had a great season last year throwing over 4,600 yards and 27 touchdowns good enough for a 9th place finish in fantasy.  I like Rivers to bounce back with a great campaign in 2012 and considering he is being picked in the 5th and 6th rounds has great value.

9.  Peyton Manning:  There has not been this level of uncertainty around Manning since his rookie year.  Critics will say that he has too much risk, is too old, one good hit will finish him, blah blah blah.  We are talking about arguably the best QB to ever lace up his cleats and a QB who according to his receivers has plenty zip still on the ball.  in 11 of Manning’s 13 seasons he has thrown for 4,000 plus yards and has NEVER thrown for less than 26 touchdowns.  If Manning is healthy and all signs are looking that way he will again perform great.

10.  Michael Vick:  I can almost guarantee that Vick will not be on my fantasy roster this season because there is almost no chance he will be the 10th QB off the board.  He has great potential to post huge numbers but is almost a lock to miss time due to injury.  Because of his injury issues you are going to  have to spend an earlier pick than most to find a quality QB2 like Roethlisberger, Ryan or Cutler.  I feel that to spend a 4th round pick on a player who is almost certain to miss time is not worth it.  So like I said he wont be on my roster.

 

So there you have it my tier 2 rankings.  I can already tell that many will disagree, and if you do please comment or hit me up on twitter.