We all know aboutthe players who are drafted in rounds 1-3 and are supposed to form the foundation for your fantasy football teams right? It seems to me that 80-90% of the focus for most fantasy discussion is on based this early and select group of players. Do you swing for the fences and grab upside? Or do you play it safe and get the stable production? What makes the top30 players the top30 players? Past production? Potential? Name recognition? Or is it a massive groupthink collaboration from friends, family, the media, and internet messageboards that come together and decide together who is the best?
I'm not interested in those highly rated players. I can buy a fantasy magazine or look at compiled rankings to learn who everyone in the world expects to be a bigtime player in 2009. I don't want that. What I'm interested in, is guys that you can take later in the draft that can OUTPERFORM guys in the first round. The guys that are giving you a true advantage. And not later in the draft meaning 4th round, I mean later in the draft like 10th round or the 15th round. Players like Antonio Gates in his breakout year in the 12th round. The numerous breakout RBs taken last year in the double digit rounds. The Aaron Rodgers of the world. Mike Anderson, Stephen Davis, Willie Parker, and other homerun swings that connected. How do we go about identifying these players that have superstar potential, but are afterthoughts in drafts for whatever reason? What should we do to make sure we get these players on our team instead of falling the trap of filling out a roster. Plaxico Burress the first year he moved to the Giants was an afterthought but turned into a multi-year stud. We should have seen that coming and gotten him on all of our teams right? Please leave your player suggestions in this thread and make an argument for them.
Here is my list by position:
QB: Trent Edwards - If there is one thing we know about Terrell Owens, we know that he is going to produce. Coming into this season, many believe that guy has fallen off due to age, and last season was a terrible year for the guy. BUT, should 1000/10 be considered terrible for any player? Especially someone who lost their starting QB for 1/4 of the year? EVery single time that Owens has switched teams, his QB has not only improved their fantasy production, they have become ELITE fantasy options. We've seen guys like Drew Bledsoe turn into borderline top5 QBs when they are are their last legs. Tony Romo went from a career backup benchwarmer to a top5 QB. Donovan McNabb became unstoppable and even a noodle arm guy like Jeff Garcia was near the top with Terrell for a number of years. Lee Evans is one of those guys who has the talent to become an elite weapon in the NFL, but has never seemed to put it together. Lynch and Fred Jackson are both accomplished pass catchers. What is Trent Edwards missing, besides the notoriety, to keep him from being a highly ranked fantasy QB? Could be this years Aaron Rodgers. Last offseason every analyst in the world was proclaiming this guy that next young QB star, what happened?
Matt Hasselbeck - Almost half a decade ago, Hasselbeck exploded onto the scene and finished as a top5 QB after being taken late in drafts. For years this guy kept a marginally talented group of WRs relevant in fantasy circles. Darrell Jackson was a fantasy WR2 for years and without Hasselbeck the guy has turned into a journeyman has-been. Same thing with Koren Robinson. Last season Hasselbeck was lost to back injuries, but reports are that he is now fully recovered. The year before Seattle was a waste land for WRs, with the key FA acquisition that year Nate Burleson still learning the ropes. The guy even turned career WR3 Bobby Engram into a PPR force for a couple of years when Seattle was forced to trot him out there as a two. This year I firmly believe that Matt Hasselbeck has QB#1 overall potential. TJ Houshmanzadeh has many parallels ot the previously mentioned Plaxico Burress with his team change. People are drafting this guy much earlier than Burress went, but I don't think many realize the upside that TJ possesses. Last year the guy caught over 80 passes with a marginal CFL talent playing QB for the majority of the year. And in the years before that, the guy outproduced Chad Johnson running almost strictly possession routes. In Seattle it has already been widely reported that this guy is going to run the full route tree, including the deep routes that kept his YPR artifically low and the big plays that could turn him into an elite WR. Nate Burleson is back after having appeared to catch onto the offense two years ago. I think this guy has fantasy WR2 potential just like Houshmanzadeh has WR1 potential. John Carleson had a bigger year as a rookie TE than any player in recent memory and looks poised to have another good year in 2009. Again, why is Hasselbeck going far lower this year than he was last year despite having a much improved team on both sides of the ball around him? The division is terrible and the schedule is good.
Daunte Culpepper - How many people even have this guy on their draft board? I've seen the guy ranked lower than backup QBs, yet he is a guy with monumental potential. We've already seen in the past what Daunte Culpepper is capable of in the NFL with Randy Moss to throw to. What better place could the guy have ended up now that he has the next Randy Moss like weapon in his arsenal? All the talk is about Stafford and when he is going to play, but Culpepper is the starter and if he plays well and keeps the job Stafford is going to keep staying comfortable on the bench. It's not like there has ever been a QB that has held onto his job and performed with a high draft pick waiting in the wing right? Except for Drew Brees and Jon Kitna both of whom put up near top5 fantasy performances out of nowhere. I say never underestimate a veteran QB that has solid weapons. Detroit may be a bad team, but that just means more opportunity for garbage time and passing. Culpepper has lost a step, but then again is it fair to evaluate this guy in Miami (with no weapons) and in Oakland (with no weapons) and in Detroit coming off the street in mid-season? There is no risk in drafting a Culpepper as a QB3 and waiting it out a few weeks, but in 99% of leagues some guy could get extremely lucky if Culpepper banks a good week 1 or week 2 and they get the opportunity to pluck him from waivers and ride him to a top5 finish.
WR: Nate Burleson - See Hasselbeck
Dominik Hixon - Based on what we all saw in the preseason last year and based on the reports that this is the guy who is taking the opportunity and running with it in New York, I think Hixon could be the guy to fill Plaxico Burress' shoes. Everyone likes to talk about Steve Smith and how polished he has looked, but that guy is a possession WR. He hasn't scored very much despite an abundance of playing time and he hasn't put up many big plays. Hakeem Nicks is another guy who is being talked up as the next big thing. But he's a rookie and I haven't seen the statements coming from any camp that are comparing him to Anquan Boldin or Marques Colston. Play the odds I say, get the guy that people are talking about and do the math to fill in the void. Kevin Boss stepped it up somewhat last year, but he only had 30 receptions. New York is a powerful team both offensively and defensively and if anyone is going to have an opportunity to step up into fantasy stardom on that team, it's going to be a WR. Both starters from last year are gone and they have been gone from the entire offseason. It's a dogfight for the playing time and the production on that team and right now Hixon is the guy who is winning. Want to talk about upside? How about getting the next Plaxico Burress after the 10th round.
Earl Bennett - This was an early call by many as soon as Cutler was traded and the past history of these two was connected. But I don't think many people realize the true potential of this pairing. Devin Hester is a converted player and hasn't shown enough in games to lead me to believe that he has what it takes to be a WR#1 in the NFL. If you feel different, replace Bennett's name with Hester's. I choose Bennett and I compare the connection to Eddie Royal of last year. Denver had a crazy passing offense last year and it was driven by the guy taking snaps more than anything else. Brandon Marshall is not an elite WR in the NFL. He caught 100 passes in back to back years because he is a soild WR and because Jay Cutler knows how to trust his playmakers and throws a beautiful pass. If Marvin Harrison was on the Denver Broncos last year in his heyday, he would have shattered the reception record all over again. That's how good a guy like Jay Cutler can be. And we saw last year in game 1 how Jay Cutler can immediatelly turn inexperienced players into playmakers that look like they have been doing it for years. Cutler trusts Bennett. And so does the coaching staff, because from what I have read this offseason this guy has already won the battle to be the WR2 in this offense ahead of Rashied Davis and any WR with Cutler's trust and arm has the potential to be a fantasy star.
Mike Walker - This is a guy who was highly touted by many coming into the league that hasn't done squat since he's been here. He's been injured in two consecutive seasons, but this year is his chance to start. This is his chance to show the world that he really is a better overall WR than Brandon Marshall. I think Jacksonville is finding out in camp, that while Torry Holt is still a solid player, he doesn't have what it takes to be a playmaker. David Garrard is almost a black sheep as a fantasy QB, but look at the garbage that this guy has been working with in his career. All the key players on his past teams are now unemployed despite having solid seasons via garrard's arm. Reggie Williams had 10 TDs. Matt Jones was playing like a 90 catch WR. Even Ernest Wilford showed signs of solid play there. This year, I think Mike Walker has the chance to prove that he was not a bust and he could prove it with a vengeance. While everyone is decided which rookie is going to step it up for Jacksonville this year, why not focus on a guy that should be standing out with potential written all over him? Torry Holt is still good enough to draw coverage and if Mike Walker can put it together there is a chance we might start comparing him to Javon Walker circa 2005.
RB- Fred Taylor - Two words: Corey Dillon. Fred Taylor has been underappreciate by the average football fan for a decade. He's been underappreciated by fantasy players for almost as long. Maurice Jones Drew is being talked up as the #1 overall fantasy RB in 2009 by some, yet the guy who was AHEAD of him on the depth chart and is moving to perhaps the most prolific offense the NFL has ever seen, is ranked I don't even know where. New England has an MO of bringing in older vets and disgruntled players and getting out more from them that anyone could have possibily imagined. Corey Dillon lost his job to a marginal at best NFL talent in Rudi Johnson and the guy went on to be a top5 RB in New England and led them to a Super Bowl victory. Randy Moss was a total washout in Oakland, and he moves into New England and breaks the TD record and leads them to 16-0 the following year. What is not to like about Fred Taylor? The guy may be old, but this is also a guy damn near leading the league in ypc two years ago at age 30 when Jacksonville had a somewhat respectable team. New England is light years ahead of Jacksonville in productivity and opportunity, yet their RBs are being completely ignored. Kevin Faulk is slotted in as a 3rd down and change of pace RB. Sammy Morris is a carrer NFL backup. Laurence Maroney has been returning kicks and camp and has already proven that he is most effective in the NFL getting a few carries a game at most. What is to hold Fred Taylor back from stardom. Everyone sees LJ sitting there in the 5th round and see values, could perhaps a guy like Fred Taylor sitting around in the 11th net you a championship?
Michael Bush - I'm a fan and a believer of Darren McFadden, but you always have to keep in mind the what if? McFadden had multiple injuries last year including the dreaded turf toe and you never know how long a player like him will last. McFadden is a guy very comparable to REggie Bush, but he has also has the potential to be a much better runner. Michael Bush on the other hand is nowhere even close to those two players. He is much more like a MICHAEL TURNER. This is a guy who came into the league with 1st round potential, but was drafted on the second day due to injuries he sustained in college. Think Frank Gore. And this is also a guy who we have seen step into an NFL game, and receive 20 carries and put up 100 yards and a TD like it was nothing. Michael Bush has a rare size and talent combination that could suit him to be a #1 RB in the NFL. The situation in front of him is shaky enough, that even without an injury he could gain significant playing time. If Darren McFadden is Reggie Bush, couldn't Michael Bush be Pierre Thomas? Lendale White? Don't tell me that Oakland is a nightmare for fantasy players, Lamont Jordan was a fantasy stud there and for a period of time even brittle as a branch, career backup, Justin Fargas was a very very solid fantasy performer in the 2nd half of the season a couple years ago. WRs goto Oakland to die, but RBs have the opportunity to flourish. The AFC West should be home to some of the highest scoring games in 2009, and we've seen over the past decade that numerous fantasy studs at the RB position have come out of that division. I'll take McFadden early, but I also need to sack up and take Bush earlier than he goes because he has got a lot more than handcuff potential.
James Davis - Anyone who has watched Jamal Lewis run for the past 3 or 4 years knows that this guy flat out sucks. Baltimore's astute front office allowed this guy to walk, again because he sucks, and the lowly Cleveland Browns just keep giving him chances. Maybe they feel like he is the best RB that has ever walked the planet because he ran them over for 500 yards like 5 years ago and that is why they are keeping him around. But get this, there is a new sheriff in town in Cleveland. And just like all the Belicheck brat in Denver, Mangini is going to transform the team to get it his way. I think Jamal Lewis is on extremely thin ice and that James Davis is a guy that was handpicked to be the potential successor. Nothing will be given, but I had James Davis ranked ahead of guys of guys who went much higher in the draft like Glen Coffee. I think RBs in general fell extremely far in the 2009 draft and that you can't base your expectations on draft position like you would in a normal year. Nobody outside of the first round or two is going to be handed a job, but I think that James Davis is one of those guys that is in the best position to win a job. And despite their woes last year, Cleveland still has a highly rated QB in Brady Quinn that hasn't really been given his true chance and Braylon Edwards who is one of the most talented young WRs in the NFL. This offense has a lot of potential. I think the key to drafting an out of nowhere stud is to first nail down who has a real shot to breakout based on situation and then analyze the talent and see if its there. Steve Slaton owners were richly rewarded last year and I think James Davis owners could be in a similar situation this year.
Bernard Scott - Is this guy the Randy Moss of RBs? Or the next Maurice Clarett. Similar to Michael Bush, I also like the guy ahead of Scott (Benson) because of how far he is falling in drafts, but I also need to sack up and get this "more than handcuff" on my teams. Scott is perhaps one of the most talented RBs in the NFL without stepping on the field. We really don't know how good this guy is or how good he can be. When making my rookie RB rankings, I had the blinders up for this guy, but he has fallen into the perfect organization and the perfect situation to be a fantasy impact player in 2009. Cedric Benson has proved time and again that he is not a very good RB in the NFL. Besides that, this guy is a borderline mental case. Crying at the draft about proving people wrong despite going 4th overall, conflicting reports about police encounters, back to back potential DUI cases. Benson may not be around for long in the NFL and if he isn't producing or gets injured he may not be a starter long in Cincy. Bernard Scott could come in and pickup where Rudi Johnson left off. Carson Palmer is a perennial top5ish QB when healthy and Chad Johnson has the talent of an NFL WR1 to keep the ball moving. This is a good offense, a good situation, and a good opportunity to nag a difference maker late in the draft.
Reshad Jennings - If MJD can be rated #1 overall, what is to stop someone from saying that Reshad Jennings should be one of the first "backups" off the board? We all know the plusses and minuses of MJD, they've been debated non-stop in all the 1st round RB and top5 threads that everyone focuses on. The guy has never been a workhorse RB in the NFL. And the guy has been extremely effective when used in conjunction with a potential hall of fame RB at his side. For his entire career. I think Jennings is a sleeper candidate for RBBC 1b behind MJD and may hold some decent value even without an MJD bust or breakdown. Either way, this guy has talent and I think he is close to a first tier player in this years draft despite where he was taken. Already reports out of minicamp say that this guy is the star on the offensive side of the ball. People see this guy and they know his name now, but it hasn't really gotten out into the fantasy mainstream. And as a mere backup to an elite player in front of him, I think Reshad will continue to fly farther under the radar. Keep this in mind though: MJD has been a top10 RB for multiple seasons in Jacksonville as a RB1b. And of the RBs taken in the 1st round, close to 50% will be complete busts in 2009. Get Jennings on your roster.
Kevin Jones - See Reshad Jennings. Backs up another highly touted player who produced in the same system last year. Cutler should make the offense several magnitudes more productive than it once was. And Kevin Jones was once a potential star RB in the NFL who was hit by a string of injuries and washed out. Virtually everyone thinks of this guy as nothing more than a handcuff player, but I think he has the talent to step in and cut back on Forte's playing time to a small degree. Could be a desperation RB3 even without a bust or injury. But the upside lies in the possibility that Forte goes down or just plain falls apart. Kevin Jones was a PPR monster under Mike Martz in Detroit when healthy, just like Forte is now considered in Chicago. Forte was impressive last year on several levels, but then again he didn't even break 4 ypc. Could he be more of a Reggie Bush than an LT? I'm not necessarily a Forte doubter(even though I wouldn't touch him anywhere near he goes in drafts this year), but I do believe that you look at the production at the top of the depth chart, look at the talent below him on the depth chart and put two and two together. Coachspeak out of camp says that Kevin Jones is "too good" to keep on the bench and that Forte's workload needs to be managed. Again 50% of RBs in the 1st round bust, where would Kevin Jones go in drafts if Forte went on IR?
TE: Tony Scheffler - One of the most talented pass catching TEs in the league, has been plagued by injuries for years now. I rate this guy as a better player than Dallas Clark, but he just hasn't stayed on the field. And people are drafting this guy as if he won't stay on the field in 2009. Every year this guy finished somewhere around TE10, but that is with the injuries. Now we've got an offense that will be based around the quick throw. Scheffler could be the primary target on a lot of plays, especially when you consider that Orton is going to check it down a lot. Just look at the production that Chicago got out of their TEs last year under Orton. Denver is going to suck this year and there will be a lot of opportunity for passing and garbage time stats. I think Scheffler has Tony Gonzalez type upside if he can manage to stay healthy for a season, and even if he doesn't you are still getting fair value.
Dustin Keller - Is the best pass catcher left on the Jets. This guy will be drafted as a top10 TE, but top10 TEs often fall past the 10th round in a lot of drafts. Keller has the ability to step in and be the #1 target in NY Jet land. Cotchery proved last year that he is not capable of being a big play WR. Coles is gone. Favre is gone. All the other TEs are gone. New coach, new system, new opportunities. Keller shined at times last season and showed everybody how much talent he possesses. I saw some drives last year where Keller catch 3 passes for 50 yards in a 2 minute span of time. That right there is explosive potential. But, how many people know that Dustin Keller only played in about 30% of the offensive plays last year in New York? Two other TEs were cutting into his playing time last year to a sizeable extent and there were also times when Brett Favre didn't command multiple WR and no TE sets. Chris Baker is gone to New England. Bubba Franks was cut recently. Dustin Keller is now alone on the depth chart and he could see his playing time TRIPLE this season. We saw last year what a talented TE can do if you trot him out there for a lot of plays and the offense sucks around him (John Carlson). Dustin Keller is one of the top TE targets to come into the NFL in years and he has the potential to reach and even surpass the first tier of players this season.
Zach Miller - Another guy that is extremely talented in a questionable situation. Zach Miller was the #1 target in the Oakland offense last season. As an offense Oakland ranked in the bottom of the league, as should be expected, because it was basically Russell's first starting experience in the NFL. Russell hit some road bumps last year, but the one guy he was consistently in touch with was Miller. This is another young guy, but people don't seem to realize that he put up nearly 800 yards on about 60 catches in his second year in the league. Very reminiscent of a guy like Chris Cooley. A TE doesn't need 10 TDs to be a productive or even first tier option, they just need 1000 yard potential. Zach Miller has that. And if Russell magically develops into a solid NFL starter, the sky is the limit for Miller's production. I think Oakland in general is an underrated offensive team. Again, look at that division and tell me there will be low scoring games there. The Oakland trio of McFadden, Bush, and Miller all have difference maker potential in 2009 IMO.
These "sleeper" individuals fall into two categories. Regular starters projected to be average or below average who have an unforseen boost in production (ie. Roddy White) and backups who get into a starting role and blow up (ie. Matt Cassel).
The latter category is almost all luck. Basically, you snag backups on the best offenses and if they get into the lineup...bonus! And typically everyone sees the potential on those.
I think you are talking more about guys who will be drafted eventually, but are really undervalued by fantasy owners because they DON'T see the potential. That is the art of fantasy football that keeps us all up at night a week before the draft...and it is threads like this that make those player tougher and tougher to get cheap!
QB A lot of people will like Hasselbeck and Ryan. I don't. I do like Culpepper, if only for the first half of the season. I also like Cassel if only for the reason that everyone is so busy dumping on him, he should be available cheap and Kansas City could be the Miami of this year. Although, I'm not holding my breath.
RB I haven't worked projections for this category yet, but off the top of my head Derrick Ward and Shonne Green come to mind. I'm not sure if those are considered late round guys, but I'm guessing they are probably undervalued.
WR I don't like the odds of picking the right latter round guy at this position this year. I think the only sleepers are backups - like Breaston, Nelson, and Maclin. I'm not chomping at the bit for guys for other value picks like Berrian, Holt, and Ginn Jr.
dgan wrote:These "sleeper" individuals fall into two categories. Regular starters projected to be average or below average who have an unforseen boost in production (ie. Roddy White) and backups who get into a starting role and blow up (ie. Matt Cassel).
The latter category is almost all luck. Basically, you snag backups on the best offenses and if they get into the lineup...bonus! And typically everyone sees the potential on those.
I disagree. Roddy White was a very talented player that finally found his production when Vick went away. People who believed in the talent there and evaluated the new situation as being significantly better (Vick was terrible throwing the ball and even a scrub like Joey Harrington had to be better) scored themselves a bargain in 2007. Or maybe no one really saw the potential and someone got lucky like you said. I think we you get to the 10th round of the draft, value is still important, but the picks are becoming so cheap that reaching for a potential difference maker well ahead of his ADP can still be a great bargain.
Getting the best backup players in the best offenses would have drafted you Michael Turner to no purpose for 3 years running in San Diego. Getting the best backup players means drafting Jonathon Stewart as the first backup off the board in the 5th round. Or other no brainers like Mendenhall in the 7th round. This thread is a discussion about finding the players that have a good shot at getting a chance to play and have the under-apperciated talent to do something with it. This thread is not about finding value, it's about trying to identify possible difference makers that can win a season for you. Think top5, not top20. Talk about some guys that you can get late, that you might even OVERPAY for to get on your team. You might end up drafting Hasselbeck in the 8th round ,well ahead of his ADP, he's not a major value there on paper, but he's a difference maker if he turns into a top5 QB.
I did draft Turner 2 out of those 3 years and I had Sproles last year. That's essentially what you're saying about Jennings and Jones. Whomever they plug into that system is going to be above average at worst, so those backups have significant upside. I guess it's just semantics.
Anyway, I guess guys end of day names I'd "reach" for are Camarillo, James Jones, Heyward-Bey at WR. I WILL have Travis Beckum at TE on my team...he's like Dallas Clark where he should play primarily like a slot WR.
At RB, I also like Michael Bush but I think he is borderline overhyped as a sleeper. Cedric Benson has a good chance to have a great year, and the Colts have a good history of drafting RBs...there is a good possibility that Addai just isn't the long-term plan there.
At QB, I don't think you'll have any lesser names crack the top 10 based on end of year stats. But there are some good prospects that could win fantasy playoff games on a per game basis. I'm more interested in Stanton than Sanchez. If things start bad, Detroit could make the switch from Culpepper before midseason, and Stanton would be stepping into a much more favorable situation including the game's best unstoppable WR. I also like Freeman's chances of starting a good chunk of the season in Tampa.
First, this is an awesome thread idea! As for how to find a potential late-round sleeper, I like to looks at 2 things. The first is backups (ideally good football players) in a great situation, where you know that if the starter gets hurt, this guy will come in and do a great job. The second thing I like to look for is good to great players who are way undervalued because their situation is misread.
JaMarcus Russell- I guess Old Man Garcia could push him for the starting job, but Garcia will be terrible if he starts there (Garcia's a guy who's good on good teams, but he doesn't have the raw skills to succeed without an OL around him). If nothing else, JaMarcus still has a huge arm and he's got three fast WR (Schilens, DHB, Higgins) which means he could either bomb it to any of those guys deep, or he could flip it to them short and hope they get lucky and give him some "free" big plays. He's also got a big-play RB in McFadden and a good TE down near the goalline in Zach Miller. The OL may end up sucking, but this may be an advantage to Russell as he should be able to take the hits (Garcia probably can't). Also, the Raiders should be behind a lot, which means that JaMarcus will get plenty of shots to air it out in garbage time. Do I think he'll actually succeed? No, for a ton of reasons. But he's got the potential, and you could get this guy super-late. (I just took him in the 20th round of a 12-teamer).
Kyle Orton- He's playing under a pass-happy O-Coordinator, he'll probably end up in a similar offense to college where he was a star at Purdue, he's got 2 great WR, a good pass-catching RB, and a good TE. He also has a terrible defense, so there should be plenty of pass attempts here too. The only problem with Orton is well... he's Orton; his arm kind of sucks... but nevertheless, he's got the potential to put up huge numbers in Denver.
Cadillac Williams- this guy's been injured a lot, sure, but he's a former first-round pick who showed some skills (albeit 3 years ago). And the guys he has in front of him are Derrick Ward (who's an excellent 3rd down RB, but he's really not much between the tackles) and Earnest Graham, who I and the Bucs don't believe in much as an RB.
I also like Scott, Davis, and Willis McGahee as guys who could potentially explode into top 10 RBs, but they're drafted a little higher.
At WR, I don't have anybody who I believe could explode into a top 10 WR this year. I think the top 10 WR will all come from the first 30-35 drafted WR. All of my sleepers there are potential WR3 types.
TE Brent Celek- this guy showed what he could do a little bit near the end of last year. But the reason I love him is because he's in an excellent situation. Philly loves to throw the ball, especially at the goal-line as Westbrook is a poor choice down there. Now look at the WR. Maclin and Jackson are burners. In fact, their best goal-line receiver is probably Hank Baskett. And Celek should be the starting TE for the Eagles. Also fact in that the Eagles' top 2 WR may end up being Maclin/Jackson (though I think they'll play mostly 3 WR with Curtis out there but who knows), and Celek may see all the underneath stuff, especially if Westbrook gets hurt. I could easily see Celek end up with 500/8, an an outside chance he could do better, which would be insanely good for a TE drafted in the last or 2nd last round.
I disagree about Cadillac buffalo...I highly doubt we'll ever see him become anything close to fantasy relevant ever again...I think it would be quite the feat to even really see him on the field again actually. He has now tore his patellar tendon....TWICE. That's an injury that you never fully recover from in that you'll never quite be the same...and that's only if it has happened once but now he's done it twice and his career as an NFL back is essentially over. Derrick Ward is actually a good between the tackles runner and NOT just a 3rd down back and they're paying him starter's money...it'll be him and Graham this year, Caddy won't factor in much if at all even if he does get back into playing shape.
Some guys I do like though:
Kyle Orton - I agree with you on that one buffalo...I think that he's got great potential considering where he is being looked at and the weapons and the sheer amount of opportunities he's going to have to throw the football playing on a team with a weaker defense. I think Orton has always been underrated personally...he doesn't have a crazy strong arm but he's got some good accuracy and that's much more important and I think he can be one of those guys you take later as a backup who can end up being better than your starter.
Matt Hasselbeck - I agree with Kensat on this one too...I think Hasselbeck has plenty of potential and he's got a much improved group of guys to throw to with Housh, Burleson, and Carlson making up a pretty solid trio of targets to catch passes. Word is that he's looking great, his offensive line is healed up, and he has a healthy group of targets...he's another guy who is going to be taken as a backup but could end up being starter quality.
LenDale White - He's still going to be splitting time with Chris Johnson this year and while most are expecting a sizable increase in Johnson's role...it's not crazy to think that either he won't be able to stay as healthy with more touches or that things could be similar to last season. He has reportedly already dropped about 30 pounds since May (down to 229 from 261) and we all knew what his potential was coming out of college if he ever put the time and work into keeping his fitness level up. A leaner, quicker, LenDale White could be a very good RB and could very well earn himself plenty of touches including continuing to get the goal line carries.
Jerious Norwood - There is always talk about how RBs have a hard time putting together a good season following a year of a huge amount of touches (just see LJ as the most recent example) and considering that despite only catching 7 passes all season including the playoffs, Michael Turner touched the ball a total of 402 times last season which is something that may not bode well for the upcoming season. At the very least Norwood should see an increased role but should Turner break down at some point next season, Norwood would have virtually zero competition for carries on a run first team which could mean big numbers for a very talented back.
Jerome Harrison - While I agree with Kensat that the backup for Cleveland should be looked at...I believe it's Harrison and not Davis that should be considered the guy to focus on. He's always been a talented runner and has averaged 7.2 and 6.2 ypc in the past 2 seasons which has improved each season he's been in the league and has even gone against the norm with having his ypc increase the more carries he's gotten. The word out of Cleveland is that Mangini likes Harrison a lot and we could see him used significantly this season and if Lewis goes down, he could have a very big role in the offense.
Nate Burleson - I agree with Kensat on this one but I think that goes along with thinking that the Seahawks will be back on the right track this season. I think the passing game overall will be improved and considering the attention Housh will receive from opposing defenses, he could find himself with single coverage a lot and could put up some very nice numbers this year...not top 10 or anything, but WR2 numbers aren't out of the question.
At QB I like Hasselbeck as well. I think the addition of Housh and the traditionally poor pass Ds in their division will give him opportunity to post big numbers. Whoever ends up the Browns QB could, by necessity, throw for lots of yds and TDs. I disagree with Culpepper (which bodes well for him) I saw enough out of him last season to realize that he will turn the ball over way too much to win, and that not winning will lead to Stafford taking over by midseason.
RB-I like Harrison from Cleveland. Lewis is all but done, and Jerome has more speed and versatility to produce. Felix Jones is a guy who is but one injury and his own health from putting up more than quality stats. Barber takes a beating and maybe that he will pay the price this season. Felix is a cat I would want to have should that happen. Not really buying Fred Taylor. I think that Morris will be a better option in NE. At WR I think the other Steve Smith could turn into a real good possession receiver for the Giants. 80-90 catches? 9ers Josh Morgan could emerge this season if they get any kind of QB play in the Bay. Of course, there is always Patrick Crayton lurking in the grassy knoll in Dallas.
TE- Heath Miller and Tony Scheffler are worthy candidates.
I think, therefore I am. I think fantasy, therefore I am unreal?
Hall of Fame Hero
(Past Year: 112)
Joined: 20 Jul 2003
Home Cafe: Football
Location: Living in the shame only a Lions fan knows
This is a good idea but it's also an example of what I mean when we start to think too much about this stuff.
There's alot of good ideas but I think we need to pick our battles too. Some guys on the bench like James Davis and Harrison just have to be WW picks unless you own Jamal Lewis or you have 20+ rounds in your draft, which is another totally different discussion. Rashad Jennings possibly the same thing unless you are in the league with a dumbass that doesn't lock him up long before it's worth someone who doesn't have MJD to take a flier on him.
I can dig guys like Hasselbeck and Edwards as a backup with potential. I like Orton too, but which one? Edwards has some weapons and I do like your points about TO Kensat. Denver utterly blows on defense and as long as Marshall stays there it might be Orton by default. I also like Palmer but he's an expensive backup or cheap starter if you want to follow that up with a Hass/Edwards. But I've got 16 rounds in my leagues. 2QB, 5-6RB, 4-5WR, TE, K, D and one other spot. I just don't have room for all these guys. Earl Bennett I'm not even worried about unless he unequivocally busts into the starting lineup. Chambers, Hixon, Burleson, Morgan, and more. Chances are I can only fit one of them on my roster and I can make an argument for any of them.
If I have to take a flier on one guy that could just obliterate this year it's Chris Henry. Reportedly doing everything right and finally has his head on straight but before I even get to Henry I've probably already got 4 WRs. The man has mega talent and has just been a complete a-hole up until this point. The whole WR thing just becomes a big mosh pit right after Devin Hester and Kevin Walter, when you see the Cotcherys, Drivers, Ginns, Breaston. Right there is where discernability just falls right off the cliff.
I'm more keen on getting my WRs earlier because there are 2 glaring RBs that will likely play alot just staring you in the face in double digit rounds, McGahee and Freddy Taylor. I mean you could overthink yourself and say well Sammy Morris might score the TDs and Maroney could finally breakout. Don't fool yourselves gang, Fred Taylor has proven himself in this league and Maroney has proven himself to be unreliable. I know which of those trains I'll hop on. I'll let someone else beat me with Maroney.
Hall of Fame Hero
(Past Year: 8)
Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Home Cafe: Football
Location: Keeping da cafe sucka free for 9 years straight
While I love the thread topic, I do agree with Azrael to a point that roster limitations do have to be taken into account to a point. My main league is a 12 teamer with 20 man rosters and we start 2QB-2RB-2WR-1FL-1TE-2K-1D. With that in mind, here are the difference makers I'm looking at by position in no particular order.
QB I'm on board with Kensat 100% here and could pretty much copy his QB section word for word. I'm actually contemplating waiting on QBs a little bit and going into the season with my two main starters as Edwards and Hass because waiting on them will allow me to build up other positions on my team. Of course, in a 2QB league, waiting on them means I'll probably need to draft them both no later than the 7th. round. In addition, I love the sneaky pick of CPepp as my potential 4th QB as he is going very late, even in a 2QB league. Another potential super sneaky pick, but only for 2QB leagues, is PWhite. He's listed as a QB all over the place right now and in leagues where QBs are at a premium, someone like PWhite who will get playing time in the wildcat formation could pay off huge for the team who realizes what they can accomplish. Of course, some people may argue with the ethics of such a move, but I have no problem with it. Expecting to roster 4 QBs by the start of the season.
RB BScott - I will reach on him in every draft I am in just to make sure I have him. He can be had with a very late pick and I will not cut him for a one week wonder. I put no faith in Benson, even though I may draft him if he falls far enough, but I'm convinced that at some point in the season BScott steps in, takes over, and doesn't look back. BScott, depending on how news travels, could be the waiver wire gem of the season and you have a chance to look him up for basically nothing in your draft. I am that high on this guys potential.
FTaylor/LMaroney - As has been discussed, most everyone is high on one of these two. My solution? Take them both if your roster permits. FTaylor has done it before and could be CDillon part 2. Kensat covered him nicely. LMaroney on the other hand was a first round fantasy pick two seasons ago and now you can get him after round 10 in most drafts. My feelings are that if someone in NE does become the go to guy, it is 95% likely to be one of these two and once the dust does settle, you simply drop the non-winner.
TJ Duckett - A lot of people think that Hass is a sleeper candidate and that Sea will semi return to form this year on offense. Sea also plays in the weaker NFC West. JJones is slated to be the starter, but the lone backup is good old TJ Duckett. And TJ is already in line to get all the carries inside the 10. At worst, I see a goal line vulture, but if JJones gets hurt, TJ could start paying off very quickly. He will never finish as a top 5 back, and therefore might not qualify as a difference maker for this thread, but for teams looking for a solid RB who could easily put up 15+ due to scoring 2 tds, TJ is a guy you should be looking at.
I'm expecting to roster upwards of 8 RBs at the start of this season so some of these deep gambles are the guys I, and many others, will need to know.
I'll come back later and give my picks on WR and TE when I have more time. For now, we will go with just the QB and RB picks.
smackthefirst wrote: TJ Duckett - A lot of people think that Hass is a sleeper candidate and that Sea will semi return to form this year on offense. Sea also plays in the weaker NFC West. JJones is slated to be the starter, but the lone backup is good old TJ Duckett. And TJ is already in line to get all the carries inside the 10. At worst, I see a goal line vulture, but if JJones gets hurt, TJ could start paying off very quickly. He will never finish as a top 5 back, and therefore might not qualify as a difference maker for this thread, but for teams looking for a solid RB who could easily put up 15+ due to scoring 2 tds, TJ is a guy you should be looking at.
Yeah, I was just thinking about this situation myself. Mo Morris has gone bye bye and really the ONLY backs on the roster with NFL experience are Jones and Duckett. Duckett barely gets rostered in mocks. I could see him carrying the ball 150 times to Jones' possible 250. They also brought over Justin Griffith, who played fullback in front of Duckett and Dunn back in Atlanta. Easily worth a roster spot and dirt cheap.
Hall of Fame Hero
(Past Year: 8)
Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Home Cafe: Football
Location: Keeping da cafe sucka free for 9 years straight