Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Top 10 Fantasy Wide Receivers

My goal with wide receivers is to always find the ones who are able to put up consistent numbers. Any wide receiver can have an amazing day, or more likely, a horrible one. So make sure when you draft your receivers to find the ones that are constantly targeted and have solid yardage totals. These receivers are bound to find the end zone at some point. Here are some suggestions. 

1. Andre Johnson
Andre Johnson may be the best receiver in the game. With a Texans team that's constantly improving around him, Johnson should again be the top fantasy receiver this year. Pick Johnson in your drafts if you want consistent week-in, week-out production

2. Greg Jennings
When Greg Jennings isn't running 99-yards with a broken leg, he can usually be found catching 20+ yard bombs from Aaron Rodgers. The Packers have the most high-flying offense in the NFL, and Greg Jennings will snag the most targets from Rodgers. Look for Jennings to find lots of targets, and quite a few touchdowns this year.

3. Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson could be the top fantasy receiver in fantasy football this year, and it wouldn't be a stretch to say so. Matt Stafford has been everything Detroit hoped him to be in the preseason, and Calvin Johnson has been more. Johnson could have the most physical talent out of these receivers here, and his ability to adjust to the ball is amazing. Johnson will easily be the top target from Stafford and real in lots of TD's this year.

4. Roddy White 
Don't think that Julio Jones is going to take too many receptions away from Roddy White. Jones is a great receiver, but White is one of the best, and already has great chemistry with Matt Ryan.  Look for Matt Ryan to target Roddy White on the plays that matter like 3rd downs and in the red zone.

5. Reggie Wayne
I can't believe that I have Reggie Wayne here still, but you just have to. Peyton will be healthy and ready to play this season, and that means the world to Reggie Wayne. Wayne is a premier route runner and has just as good chemistry with Peyton as any wide receiver / quarterback combo in the league. Look for Reggie Wayne to have a another solid year.

6. Vincent Jackson
This may be one of my reaches, but I expect big things from Vincent Jackson. When Jackson has been around and healthy he has easily been one of the best in fantasy. Phillip Rivers can throw the ball, and he loves to throw it Jackson's way. I fully expect Jackson to have 2009-like numbers and rise to the top once again.

7. Hakeem Nicks
Although he fought with injuries last year, Nicks is ready to go this season. Without Steve Smith around most of the throws will head Nicks' way. The issue with this also is that teams will be able to cheat a little bit more to Nicks' side. Consider Nicks a high-risk, high-reward player.

8. DeSean Jackson
Jackson is one of those players that won't put up consistent numbers week-to-week. One week you might get 30 points out of him, and the next he may not catch a ball. However, what Jackson does have going for him is his offense. His chemistry with Vick is great and he should be able to post solid totals this year

9. Larry Fitzgerald
I personally think that Larry Fitzgerald's value is over-hyped in fantasy this year. While Fitz is one of my favorite players in the entire NFL, I'm not sure if Kevin Kolb will be able to help Fitzgerald have the fantasy numbers he put up when Warner was around. Fitzgerald could be a top 5 receiver or a top 20 bust. Be careful drafting him this year.

10. Miles Austin
Miles Austin is in a similar situation as Hakeem Nicks with a fellow receiver leaving the team. However, Austin now has Romo back and healthy, and once again becomes a top-ten fantasy wide out. Austin may not have a 2009 season again, but his numbers will be better than last year.

Potential Sleepers

1. Lee Evans
There is no fantasy receiver out there with more upside than Lee Evans. The Ravens desperately needed a vertical receiver and got one. Evans has remained dormant at Buffalo for years, unable to find a quarterback capable of showcasing his talent. Now that he has one, be prepared to watch them put on a show. Expect Evans to be much more of a deep threat now and steal quite a few touchdowns from Anquan Boldin this year.

2. Nate Burleson
Burleson is another receiver ranked in the 40's who could finish in the 20's this year. Matt Stafford has done an awesome job of targeting him this preseason, and if not for a couple drops, Burleson could have some top-tier numbers thus far. There seems to be excellent chemistry between the two thus far, and I like this pickup.

3. Plaxico Burress
While I wasn't sold at all on Plaxico at first, I'm surprised at how well Sanchez was mixing him into the offense this preseason. Plaxico will definitely steal some touchdowns away from Santonio Holmes this year, and maybe even do a little more.

Potential Deep Sleepers

1. Donnie Avery
This may be as deep as a sleeper can get, but I like Donnie Avery's chances this year. Don't forget that before Avery's injury last year he was Bradford's favorite target. This preseason he's managed to snag a touchdown and some good yardage totals. Expect Avery to slip into the fantasy talks sooner or later.

Potential Busts

1. Mike Wallace
Don't think that I mean Wallace won't finish in the top twenty for fantasy receivers. I think he will. But I also think that being in the top five on most polls is way too high. Wallace is part of a deep receiving corp in Pittsburgh alongside guys like Hines Ward and Jericho Cotchery. I just don't see Wallace being able to put up consistent numbers and catches to make him a Number One receiver in any league. Don't draft him too high this year.

2. Chad Ochocinco
I have my doubts about Chad as a No. 2 option this year. Chad and Tom don't seem to be on the same page, and Mr. 85 is having some troubles learning the offense. I expect them to build some chemistry later on in the year, but have a tricky first half of the season. For that reason, and the numerous other targets in New England, I advise you to only look to Ochocinco as a 3rd or flex option.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Top 10 Fantasy Running Backs

This year is going to be harder than ever to get a solid running back that will give you solid output each week. The league is littered with committee situations and new offenses this year. While it is wise to rely heavily on your running backs, makes sure you choose the right one. This should help.

1. Adrian Peterson
The Vikings seem to have a new quarterback, coach and team every time that you look their way. The one things that is solid year after year though is Adrian Peterson. The kid is a freakish athlete and has quickly addressed his issues with fumblitius. He should be the first back, if not the first player off the board in every league.

2. Chris Johnson
Don't be worried about the Chris Johnson hold out. Johnson will be back for the season. The whole situation is a mess and will easily be resolved in time. Tennessee will be a solid team with Hassleback at the reigns. Johnson consistently puts up the big numbers and should be rightfully your second running back choice

3. Arian Foster
Risk Warning: Gary Kubiak is a fantasy nightmare when it comes to deciding his backfield. When it wasn't Steve Slaton, it was Ben Tate. When it wasn't Tate, it was Derrick Ward. When preseason came around this year it was Chris Ogbonnaya. And when it wasn't any of those guys it was Arian Foster. While I think that Foster has secured the spot this year, I felt the same way about Slaton a little while back. Keep this situation in the back of your head before drafting Foster.

4. Rashard Mendenhall
Mendenhall is a great addition to any fantasy team. The Steelers backfield is more secure than any other team. You can count on Mendenhall to be taking all the carries on 1st down, 2nd down and even on the goal-line. Don't be afraid to count on Mendenhall and the Pittsburgh offense this year.

5. Jamaal Charles
Charles may not be in the greatest offense in the league, but he is definitely a back that relies more on his pure talent than his team for greatness. Charles is shifty and explosive. You can expect some long runs and big play capability if you draft Charles this year. Risk Warning: Charles has more downside than any other back here as his backfield is shared between him, Jones and an exciting McCluster. Don't be surprised if Charles is hurt this year by a reduced amount of carries.

6. Ray Rice
Rice looks great in the Ravens offense. He is a great blocking back and will be kept on the field for most downs. You can count on Rice to get a solid amount of production week in and week out. Risk Warning: Expect Ricky Williams to steal some touchdowns away from Rice this year. 

7. Lesean McCoy
McCoy had a real breakout year last year, and is very talented. However, the Eagles high-flying offense should look much more human this season. Expect McCoy to put up some solid yards and numbers this year. Risk Warning: Count on Andy Reid to give Ronnie Brown a share of the carries this season. They didn't go all the way to Miami for him to ride the pine.

8. Frank Gore
Gore's 2010 season was definitely less than stellar, but I fully expect him to bounce back. The 49ers offense has chance to be dynamic with the addition of Edwards and Harbaugh. Since the passing game may not be up-to-par, count on Gore to bounce back to his usual self and have a great year.

9. Michael Turner
The running back slot in Atlanta is begging to be filled with a consistent option. Turner has the potential to be a top-tier rusher this season if he can stay healthy and productive. There is a risk to Turner involved when you consider his health, but you also have to believe that this year he will finally stay healthy.

10. Maurice Jones-Drew
Jones-Drew had a solid 2010 but in my opinion, under-produced. MJD is a talented back that demands the ball on all downs and situations. The quarterback situation in Jacksonville may be undecided still, but they have some solid players in the offense, and you can feel confident in MJD as a top running back.

Potential Sleepers

1. Ahmad Bradshaw
While this isn't a far reach, Bradshaw has enormous upside. Little by little he is claiming the Giants backfield as his own. If he stays healthy, he could easily be a top ten running back in a solid Giants offense.

2. Ryan Grant has Grant ranking in the 20's for running backs. Don't forget how big of a year Grant had in 2009 before missing the whole 2010 season. Grant is looking to reclaim the primary position in the greatest offense in football. There is no reason why he can't be incredibly productive this year.

Deep Sleepers

1. Mike Tolbert
Tolbert has gone undrafted in an insane amount of 10-man leagues. Make sure that when everyone passes on him and is trying to snag defenses, you pick up Tolbert. Ryan Matthews has yet to produce in the way that San Diego would hope for, and Tolbert has always picked up the slack. I wouldn't hesitate at all throwing him into the flex spot of my lineup.

2. Dexter McCluster
I'm not completely sold that Charles owns the Chiefs backfield. McCluster is a very good back and has the capability to take some of those coveted carries away from Charles. For this reason, he has tremendous upside.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Top 10 Fantasy QB's

As your fantasy drafts come closer and closer, it's time to focus on the most important position in fantasy football: The Quarterback. Your fantasy QB will either make or break your team. Some people however confuse the QB position as a first priority. There is a major depth at this position, and you should be careful to draft one too early and pass up on other playmakers early. But when that time does come, here are some ones that you may want to consider.

1. Aaron Rodgers
Last years Super Bowl MVP is poised for another great season. Rodgers will greatly benefit from the return of Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant. While Rodgers did miss some time last year from a concussion, he is as durable as ever. Look for Rodgers to make prime targets out of guys like Greg Jennings and James Jones as well. You can count on Aaron Rodgers to carry your fantasy team this year.

2. Tom Brady
There really isn't a reason to not love Tom Brady for your fantasy team this year. He just came off of one of the greatest seasons of his career after losing his favorite target early on. Tom is the most accurate QB in the league and the Patriots offense lives and breathes the passing game. The Patriots offense did add some guys like Chad Ochocinco and Steven Ridley, but the main focus is on their O-line. The Pats managed to bring back both Matt Light and Logan Mankins which means that if you draft Tom Terrific this year you can rest assured he will be safe and sound behind his line.

3. Ben Roethlisberger
The people who overlook Big Ben on draft day will be sorry. Roethlisberger has been known to put up consistent numbers week to week and has one of the most explosive offenses in the league behind him. Guys like Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown will continue to excel while veterans like Hines Ward and Jericho Cotchery will be sure to compliment a solid run game. 

4. Philip Rivers
The potential that Philip River's fantasy season could hold is scary. Last year without his favorite target and some young receivers Rivers still managed to put up some huge fantasy stats and over 4,000 total yards. Now with Vincent Jackson back in the lineup and Malcom Floyd returning, Rivers is poised to dominate once again.

5. Michael Vick
While you can't expect Vick to have the same season that he had last year, you can count on his explosive offense and versatility. Jackson, Maclin, Cooper, Celek and now Smith all make great targets and give anyone a good reason to draft Vick. There is reason for caution though. Vick is likely to take a beating this year and is dealing with a tough schedule. Consider Vick a high-risk, high-reward draft choice

6. Drew Brees
7. Peyton Manning
8. Matt Ryan
9. Tony Romo
10. Sam Bradford

My 2011 NFL Power Rankings

So it's finally time. The 2011 season opens up this very Thursday night with some great pre-season match-ups. There were some times when it seemed like we wouldn't being having a season this year, but here we are now, ready to kick off right on schedule. 

A popular trend in the industry is to rank the top 32 teams before the first kick-off, even though there isn't much of a point. But this year, I'm buying into the hype, and giving you my official power ranking for this 2011 season.

1. Green Bay Packers
Try me. Tell me about all the off-season moves that the Eagles made this year. Tell me that the New England Patriots only lost three times last year. I don't care. Green Bay was a contender from game one last year. After losing so many key players to the IR like Finley and Grant and even losing Aaron Rodgers for a couple games, the Packers clawed their way to the big dance and took it all. They may not have made a big bang this summer, but they didn't need to. The Packers are getting back some of their top playmakers and now some of those guys who stepped up last year like Kuhn and Nelson get to be next on the depth chart. No need to build chemistry with new players either. Green Bay probably won't win two straight Super Bowls, but they are the team to beat right now.

2. New England Patriots
If Rex Ryan hadn't spoiled the Patriots run last year, who knows where they would have ended up. Even though they had one of the best offenses in the league and had a 14 and 2 record, the Patriots still had some major holes to fill. Their defense was young, injury prone and horrendous last year, but they have made some huge moves to fill those gaps. By bringing in guys like Shaun Ellis, Albert Haynesworth and some other key defensive lineman, the Patriots are looking to address that pass rush they never had. They also significantly beefed up their secondary by bringing back their top cornerback Leigh Bodden from IR and grabbing Ras-I Dowling in the draft. The Patriots were one of the few teams that made some big splashes on the waiver wire while still re-signing their top free agents like Matt Light and Logan Mankins. Look for their new 4-3 fronts to get that pressure on the quarterback that they haven't had since Richard Seymore and Mike Vrabel left.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh is another team that didn't make too many off-season moves (notice a trend?). But in their case, they brought back their key players and even made a couple nice pick-ups such as Jericho Cotchery. Cotchery will be a great veteran in the dynamic Steeler offense. Look for the Steelers to dominate their weakening division this season.

4. New York Jets
While the Jets have brought in some very exciting players this summer like Plexico and Mason, you have to also consider some of the players that they lost. The loss of Braylon Edwards and Jericho Cotchery will hurt the offence this year no matter how well the new receivers do. The Jets will have to find a replacement for Brad Smith in both the wildcat and kick return game. LaDainian Tomlinson has lost a step too, and Shonn Greene hasn't been the replacement that they hoped he would be. The Jets will have their struggles, but remember that other than New England, the AFC East is weak this year. The Jets will get their wins.

5. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons aren't going to have quite as good of a season as last year, but they are still solid. Matt Ryan leads the way with his new target in Julio Jones who will put on a show. If the Falcons can stay healthy at running back and use newly acquired Ray Edwards to get to the passer, they will do well this season.

6. Indianapolis Colts
An injury plagued team and depleted O-line severely hurt the Colts last season. After gaining some fresh legs on the line and some key players back from injury, the Colts once again look to return to the group of elite this season. And let's face it; Peyton Manning is going to find a way to win no matter what.

7. New Orleans Saints
The Saints are still a solid team, but their defense is aging, and they lost a key target this year. While Reggie Bush didn't play a huge part in the offense, he most definitely did on third down. Mark Ingram won't be able to replace that. 

8. San Diego Chargers
The Chargers have the best quarterback in the league on paper in Philip Rivers as well as an explosive awesome. The addition of Bob Sanders is sure to beef up their secondary as well. This has been a team with a history of starting slow, but always finishing strong. It hasn't been long since their last AFC Championship game either. Look for the Chargers luck to turn this year and their talent to finally shine.

9. Philadelphia Eagles
Sure, you can tell me about about their offseason moves and the "dream-team", but I'm not sold. The Eagles will have success this season, but this is their rightful spot. As of right now, the Eagles are something known as "paper champs". There is chemistry that needs to be built and issues that need to be addressed. Let's face it too, Mike Vick won't be as good as he was last year. The concerns about Maclin are disheartening too, and Steve Smith isn't his 2009 self either.

10. Baltimore Ravens
Up until the addition of Ricky Williams and Lee Evans, the Ravens had been pretty quiet the last couple of months. While these were too good pick-ups, don't look for them to make a huge impact. Joe Flacco needs to step it up this year and lead the Ravens past the Steelers for once. Until he can do that, the Ravens are stuck here.

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
12. Dallas Cowboys
13. New York Giants
14. Chicago Bears
15. Houston Texans
16. Detroit Lions
17. Cleveland Browns
18. Kansas City Chiefs
19. St. Louis Rams
20. Minnesota Vikings
21. San Francisco 49ers
22. Jacksonville Jaguars
23. Denver Broncos
24. Tennessee Titans
25. Oakland Raiders
26. Miami Dolphins
27. Seattle Seahawks
28. Arizona Cardinals
29. Carolina Panthers
30. Buffalo Bills
31. Washington Redskins
32. Cincinnati Bengals