Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Dave Stringer — June 27, 2013 @ 8:01 pm
Can Brady make lemonade out of these lemons?
QB Tom Brady
(2012 QB Rank – #3, 25.3 FPts/G)
Father Time catches up to all professional athletes, and in the NFL the process is often expedited at the quarterback position when the team’s skill position players suffer a drop in talent. And that is the scenario unfolding for the 35-year-old Brady in New England. While Brady has often made lemonade out of lemons, he faces perhaps the toughest challenge of his career in 2013 as he attempts to keep the team’s proliferate passing offense operating at peak proficiency without wide receiver Wes Welker, who the team failed to re-sign, and tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was released after an offseason marred with legal troubles. In addition, Rob Gronkowski, arguably the most talented tight end in the league, may open the season on the PUP list after having offseason back surgery, and the current depth chart at wide receiver may be the worst since Brady joined the team in 2000. Although Brady is coming off a season in which he threw for 4,827 yards with 34 touchdowns and just eight interceptions, he is unlikely to reach that level of production this season. He certainly isn’t a lock to finish the season as a top five fantasy quarterback and shouldn’t be drafted as such. Consider him in the tier below the big four of Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton but with more risk than ever before.
RB Stevan Ridley
(2012 RB Rank – #10, 12.7 FPts/G; #15 PPR, 13.1 FPts/G)
With BenJarvus Green-Ellis having departed via free agency to Cincinnati, there was little doubt that Ridley was going to get plenty of opportunities in the Patriots backfield, but not many predicted that he would have such a strong breakout season. By season’s end, he had accumulated 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns on 290 carries and was remarkably consistent, chalking up 8 or more fantasy points in 12 of 16 games. With Belichick’s inconsistent usage of his running backs, that was an impressive feat for Ridley. Don’t expect much to change in 2013, as Ridley is expected to share the majority of the backfield work with fellow 2011 draftee Shane Vereen. If there is a knock on Ridley, it is his lack of receiving ability; but given his size advantage over Vereen, his only competition for short-yardage work will come from Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount. Look for Ridley to hold them off and finish 2013 as a low-end RB1 or upper-tier RB2.
RB Shane Vereen
(2012 RB Rank – #49, 5.8 FPts/G; #57 PPR, 6.5 FPts/G)
It took a little over a year and a half, but the Patriots’ second-round pick in the 2011 draft finally carved out a role for himself as the 2012 season came to a close. Nagging injuries hurt his performance in 2011 and the emergence of Stevan Ridley, coupled with the presence of Danny Woodhead, limited his playing time last season. However, he topped 100 total yards in Week 12 against the Jets and again in the Patriots’ divisional playoff win over the Texans—a game in which he scored three touchdowns. With Woodhead in San Diego and Ridley strictly a two-down player, Vereen has flex potential in 2013. He rates as an RB4 with upside, provided you can live with the inconsistent usage of the running backs in New England.
RB Brandon Bolden
(2012 RB Rank – #68, 5.1 FPts/G; #78 PPR, 5.3 FPts/G)
The rookie free agent had a decent rookie season, chalking up 274 and a pair of touchdowns on 56 carries—including a 137-yard, one-touchdown performance in Week 4 against Buffalo— before a four-game suspension cost him his spot on the depth chart. With Stevan Ridley having a breakout performance last season and Shane Vereen playing well late in the season, Bolden will need to beat out Leon Washington and LeGarrette Blount to earn a spot on the roster. He has a good chance of doing that but, barring injury, has little fantasy appeal in 2013.
RB Leon Washington
(2012 RB Rank – #105, 1.5 FPts/G; #109 PPR, 1.8 FPts/G)
The expectation was once that Washington would turn into a solid change-of-pace player out of the backfield, but those hopes are pretty much extinct now. In Seattle last season, Washington had just 27 touches, the lowest total of his seven-year career. Don’t expect that to change in New England this year.
RB LeGarrette Blount
(2012 RB Rank – #88, 2.7 FPts/G; #97 PPR, 2.8 FPts/G)
Blount’s career has taken a serious downturn since he was a surprise 1000-yard rusher in Tampa Bay as a rookie in 2010. After a disappointing 2011 season (781 rushing yards), Blount lost his job to Doug Martin last season and this offseason was traded to the Patriots for Jeff Demps and a seventh-round pick, a trade that allowed New England to avoid paying Demps the salary guarantees in his contract. Your fantasy prospects don’t look good when a team has given away a seventh-round pick in order to avoid paying another player guaranteed money.
WR Danny Amendola
(2012 WR Rank – #56, 7.8 FPts/G; #47 PPR, 13.5 FPts/G)
Signed away from the Rams this offseason in an attempt to provide an upgrade over the most successful slot receiver in the history of the NFL (32-year-old Wes Welker), Amendola will enter the season atop the Patriots depth chart at receiver. That is, provided he remains healthy until opening day. I mean, hey, who wouldn’t want to replace a player who has averaged 112 receptions, 1,244 receiving yards, 11.1 yards per reception and 6.2 touchdowns over the past six seasons with one who has averaged 51 receptions, 467 receiving yards, 9.2 yards per reception and 2.0 touchdowns over the past three seasons while missing 20 games over the past two years? I guess that decision was settled when the Pats found out they could sign Amendola to a five-year contract worth up to $31.8-million rather than re-sign Welker for $12-million over two years. Amendola is a fearless slot receiver, but it is foolhardy to think he will replace Welker’s production or remain healthy for 16 games when he has accomplished that feat just once in his four years in the league. Consider him a WR3 with major risk in 2013.
WR Donald Jones
(2012 WR Rank – #67, 5.7 FPts/G; #69 PPR, 9.1 FPts/G)
One man’s trash is another’s man’s treasure, although it seems more than a little odd that the Bills’ trash became the Patriots’ treasure in the form of one Donald Jones, a restricted free agent that Buffalo chose not to tender. Looks like the Patriots were impressed by Jones’ five-reception, 101-yard performance (the only 100-yard receiving game of his career) against them in 2011. While snagging passes from Tom Brady in the Patriots high-powered offense is a marked improvement over playing in Buffalo, the truth is that even if Jones opens the season in the staring lineup, the Patriots are going to rely heavily on Danny Amendola and their tight ends and running backs, with the team’s other wide receivers left to pick up the scraps. You might find lightning in a bottle by grabbing Jones, but he should be waiver wire material in most leagues.
WR Julian Edelman
(2012 WR Rank – #88, 5.8 FPts/G; #88 PPR, 8.4 FPts/G)
Edelman’s first four years in the league were so impressive that neither the Patriots nor any other team bothered to offer him a contract until New England finally re-signed him in mid April to a one-year deal. After an impressive rookie season in which he caught 37 passes for 359 yards and a touchdown, Edelman has floundered over the past three seasons, hauling in just 32 passes. He provides insurance out of the slot for Danny Amendola and might be worth grabbing on the waiver wire if (when?) Amendola goes down.
WR Aaron Dobson
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
The Patriots used a second-round draft pick to acquire Dobson and the 6’3″, 200-pound product out of Marshall will have an opportunity to open the season in the starting lineup. Possessed with solid speed, Dobson has the makeup to be a lead receiver, but the Patriots’ poor track record in developing receivers doesn’t provide much assurance that he will have a productive career. Of course, given the lack of depth the team has at the position, Dobson figures to get a long look at some point in 2013. He is a decent prospect in dynasty leagues but waiver wire fodder in redraft formats, barring a strong showing in the preseason.
WR Josh Boyce
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
Drafted in the fourth-round out of TCU, Boyce enters a crowded yet mediocre depth chart at wide receiver in New England. More a blazer than a polished route runner at this point in his career, Boyce will likely fulfill the deep receiver role as a rookie, making him unlikely to produce big stats in 2013. He is worth taking a flier on in dynasty formats.
WR Michael Jenkins
(2012 WR Rank – #77, 3.6 FPts/G; #74 PPR, 6.1 FPts/G)
After spending a pair of middling seasons in Minnesota, Atlanta’s former first-round pick joins the Patriots in 2013. The fact is that he is likely there to learn the playbook so that he can provide injury insurance later in the season. It will be a surprise if Jenkins is on the roster come opening day.
TE Rob Gronkowski
(2012 WR Rank – #2, 13.2 FPts/G; #5 PPR, 18.2 FPts/G)
We know Gronkowski has plenty of upside, but his growing list of injuries brings along plenty of risk. While his forearm is expected to be fine in 2013, offseason back surgery will almost assuredly keep him from being ready for the opening of training camp, and there is an outside chance of his opening the season on the PUP list. Of course, Gronkowski finished last season as the second-ranked fantasy TE (despite appearing in just 11 games) and has a whopping 39 touchdowns over the last three years. If healthy for 16 games, he will likely be the top-ranked TE in 2013, but the odds aren’t strong that he will be available for the entire season. Despite that, he should come off the board in your league’s draft no later than the third round, and the only tight end that is worthy of being taken ahead of him is the Saints’ Jimmy Graham.
TE Jake Ballard
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
After suffering a torn ACL in the Giants Super Bowl win over the Patriots in 2011, the Giants tried to pass Ballard through waivers only to have the Patriots put in a claim on him, even though they knew he was likely to miss all of the 2012 season. That move may prove to be an astute one given the legal woes of Aaron Hernandez. Ballard was a reliable target for Eli Manning in 2011, hauling in 38 of his 61 targets for 604 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games. If his recovery goes well, Ballard is the favorite to land the Patriots’ second tight end spot behind Rob Gronkowski in an offense that relies heavily on two–tight end sets.
TE Michael Hoomanawanui
(2012 WR Rank – #60, 1.8 FPts/G; #63 PPR, 2.7 FPts/G)
While Hoomanawanui did little in his first season in New England, with just five receptions for 109 yards through six games, he has a chance to earn some playing time in 2013 due to Aaron Hernandez’s legal troubles. Hoomanawanui will battle Jake Ballard and Daniel Fells for a spot in the Patriots two–tight end sets.
TE Daniel Fells
(2012 WR Rank – #67, 1.4 FPts/G; #72 PPR, 2.1 FPts/G)
With Rob Gronkowski unable to remain healthy and Aaron Hernandez now released, Fells has a chance to earn some playing time in 2013. Remember that he is a reasonably talented player that put together a 41-reception season on a middling Rams squad in 2010, so he has some receiving ability. He will battle Jake Ballard and Mike Hoomanawanui for a spot on the depth chart.
By: Mike Krueger — @ 1:21 am
Player Projections, Rankings & Cheatsheets
Change Log – 6/27/13
We did an unscheduled update due to the release of Aaron Hernandez. It will be interesting to see what, if any, moves the Patriots make to bring receiving help for Brady.
- Tom Brady (-1 TD) – I had already factored in a “down” year for Brady but the release of Hernandez is another kick in his fantasy football shin.
- Ray Rice (-3) – Re-evaluated the split between Rice & Pierce.
- Bernard Pierce (+11) – A valuable handcuff to Ray Rice with good upside.
- Shane Vereen (+5) – No Hernandez means Vereen should be more involved in the passing game.
- Julian Edelman (+37) – Stands to benefit most with Hernandez gone but has serious injury risk.
- Aaron Dobson (+5) – Ripple effect bump with Hernandez gone.
- LaVon Brazill (-6) – 4-game suspension kills his value early in the season.
- Aaron Hernandez (-75) – Hernandez’s fantasy value can fit inside a thimble and is restricted to dynasty leagues only.
- Vernon Davis (+3) – Should finish a close second to Boldin in receiving yards and TDs.
- Jake Ballard (+45) – Won’t post Hernandez-type numbers but worth considering as a TE2.
- Michael Hoomanawanui (+19) – Hernandez ripple effect but has little value.
By: Dave Stringer — June 25, 2013 @ 1:01 pm
The Jets quarterback situation is one to avoid for fantasy owners.
QB Mark Sanchez
(2012 QB Rank – #28, 13.3 FPts/G)
Entering his fifth year in the league and with the Jets having used a second-round pick to acquire Geno Smith, Sanchez is clearly at a crossroads in his career. His $8.5-million guaranteed salary and the fact that head coach Rex Ryan is facing a make-or-break season are quite likely the only two reasons he is still in New York. With Ryan in limbo, Smith will need to emerge as the clear-cut winner of the team’s quarterback competition, and spring OTA’s failed to provide much evidence of that happening. That likely means that Sanchez, who has led the NFL in turnovers with 26 in each of the last two seasons, will be the team’s opening-day starter once again in 2013. However, with a questionable talent level and injury issues at wide receiver plus the lack of a quality pass-receiving tight end, he’s not a player that you want to be relying on for fantasy purposes.
QB Geno Smith, Jets
(2012 QB Rank – N/A)
Hoping to provide competition for incumbent starter Mark Sanchez, the Jets used a second-round pick to acquire West Virginia’s Geno Smith. While Smith has plenty of natural ability, offseason reviews of his work during OTA’s were mixed, with the Jets acknowledging prior to training camp that he would need a strong preseason to unseat Sanchez in the starting lineup. With a mixed bag of talent at the skill positions and leading wide receiver Santonio Holmes doubtful to be fully healthy on opening day, it might be in Smith’s best interest to open the season on the pine. Smith has little to no fantasy value in his rookie season but is a decent prospect in dynasty leagues.
RB Chris Ivory
(2012 RB Rank – #73, 5.9 FPts/G; #87 PPR, 6.2 FPts/G)
There are two schools of thought when it comes to Ivory’s prospects for the upcoming season. One is that, free of the crowded depth chart that he had to climb to gain playing time in New Orleans, he will excel in New York as the Jets starting running back. The other is that, as a powerful, violent ball carrier with limited ability as a receiver, he will struggle to stay healthy and on the field for a less-than-stellar Jets squad in 2013. One thing for certain is that Ivory will get an extended opportunity to lock down the starting job, with the Jets acquiring Ivory and Mike Goodson this offseason due to their lack of commitment to returnees Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight. In three years in New Orleans, Ivory averaged 5.1 yards per carry but caught just three passes while missing significant time due to a various assortment of injuries. His lack of ability as a pass catcher will almost certainly hinder his fantasy production on a Jets offense that is expected to struggle in 2013. He rates as a mid-tier RB3 with upside. Knock him down a bit in leagues that use PPR scoring.
RB Mike Goodson
(2012 RB Rank – #62, 4.3 FPts/G; #61 PPR, 5.8 FPts/G)
Despite possessing enough talent to be a productive running back in the NFL, Goodson has been snake-bitten throughout his career. Drafted by the Panthers in the fourth round of the 2009 draft, he was buried on the depth chart behind DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, missing most of the 2011 season due to injury. Traded to the Raiders prior to last season, he backed up Darren McFadden but was only active for 11 games. Signed to the Jets and given an opportunity to earn significant playing time, Goodson’s offseason was a disaster as gun and drug charges put his availability for 2013 in doubt. Look for the Jets to keep Goodson on the roster, but it is anyone’s guess as to whether the rebuilding franchise will utilize him much this season.
RB Bilal Powell
(2012 RB Rank – #42, 5.8 FPts/G; #43 PPR, 7.1 FPts/G)
After a rookie season in which he barely saw the field, Powell was marginally productive in 2011, gaining 437 yards on 110 carries while scoring four touchdowns. A decent receiver, Powell also caught 17 passes for 140 yards. The issue with the Jets’ 2011 fourth-round pick out of Louisville is that he doesn’t really do anything very well. He’s not that quick, not that shifty, doesn’t have enough size to move the pile and lacks breakaway speed. What he does have is a pair of question marks ahead of him on the depth chart, and that’s what makes him an intriguing fantasy option in 2013. Neither Chris Ivory nor Mike Goodson has been able to stay healthy, and Goodson had a disastrous offseason that could see him jettisoned from the roster or subjected to league suspension at some point during the season. Monitor Powell in the preseason to determine if he is worth a late round flier in your league.
RB Joe McKnight
(2012 RB Rank – #101, 1.6 FPts/G; #110 PPR, 1.7 FPts/G)
Possessed with outstanding speed, McKnight has been unable to carve out a meaningful role for himself (just 129 total touches) in a less-than-stellar Jets backfield since being taken in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. New York opted not to re-sign Shonn Green and added Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson to the roster as competition for Bilal Powell and McKnight, and that tells you all you need to know about McKnight’s fantasy prospects for the upcoming season. Basically, he doesn’t have any.
WR Santonio Holmes
(2012 WR Rank – #102, 8.3 FPts/G; #106 PPR, 13.3 FPts/G)
Since arriving in New York in 2010, Holmes has failed to set the town on fire, gaining 746 receiving yards in his initial season with the Jets, dropping to 654 yards in 2011, and then down to just 272 yards in 2012. Of course, a Lisfranc injury ended his season after just four games or he might have produced his first 1000-yard season as a Jet. With Holmes it seems like it’s always something, and a look at his career numbers leaves something to be desired. Despite being a first-round pick in the 2006 draft, he has just one 1000-yard season in his seven years in the league and seems unlikely to add to that in 2013 given the team’s issues at quarterback, the overall state of the offense and a question mark regarding his ability to come back from the Lisfranc injury. Consider Holmes a WR4.
WR Stephen Hill
(2012 WR Rank – #90, 3.9 FPts/G; #96 PPR, 5.8 FPts/G)
Considered a raw prospect coming out of Georgia Tech as the Jets second-round selection in the 2012 draft, Hill burst onto the scene with a five-reception, 89-yard, two-touchdown performance in Week 1 against the Bills. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there, with Hill appearing in just 10 games and failing to catch a single pass in five of those. In fact, outside of his Week 1 performance, the most yards he accumulated in a single game was 55, and he scored just one more touchdown. What’s in store for 2013 is anybody’s guess. Hill may have developed some better route-running skills, but offseason reports indicated that he was having trouble hanging on to the football. One of the Jets quarterbacks may step up and provide decent play at the position. But that seems unlikely. Hill looks like Tarzan and one day may put up Tarzan numbers, but in 2013 he looks a lot more like Jane. Consider Hill a WR5 with upside in 12-team leagues.
WR Jeremy Kerley
(2012 WR Rank – #48, 6.0 FPts/G; #44 PPR, 9.5 FPts/G)
After putting together a decent rookie season, catching 29 passes for 314 yards and a touchdown, Kerley enjoyed a breakthrough of sorts in 2012—taking advantage of a Santonio Holmes injury and Stephen Hill’s inexperience—to haul in 56 receptions for 827 yards and a pair of receptions. He averaged a very respectable 60 receiving yards per game over his first 11 games before hitting the wall with a four-game slump that preceded an 88-yard performance to finish the season. So, is Kerley the real deal? Or is he just a player that took advantage of an opportunity? At 5’9” and 188 pounds, the third-year receiver is destined to play out of the slot, and with Holmes expected back in the lineup and Hill expected to assume a greater role, Kerley is unlikely to duplicate the 95 targets he received last year. He is waiver wire material in all but the deepest of redraft leagues.
TE Kellen Winslow
(2012 TE Rank – #84, 1.2 FPts/G; #85 PPR, 2.2 FPts/G)
You know you’re desperate when it takes a player a full three-day tryout to earn a contract and he immediately ascends to the top of your depth chart. Such is the case with Winslow and the Jets. Hard to believe, but the former sixth overall selection in the 2004 draft was almost out of football last season at the tender age of 29, save for a one-game appearance with New England. In New York, Winslow could have a renaissance season with little competition at tight end and the team having a mixed bag of talent at wide receiver. Of course, renaissances for receiving tight ends don’t happen often with rookie quarterbacks or veteran ones who are fighting to salvage their careers.
TE Jeff Cumberland
(2012 TE Rank – #31, 3.9 FPts/G; #34 PPR, 5.9 FPts/G)
Cumberland was marginally productive subbing in for an injured Dustin Keller in 2012, catching 29 of his 53 targets for 359 yards and three touchdowns during his third year in the league. However, he is clearly a stopgap measure at most and is best suited to a blocking role. With Kellen Winslow signed prior to training camp, Cumberland is highly unlikely to match his 2012 production this season.
By: Dave Stringer — June 21, 2013 @ 11:12 am
QB Ryan Tannehill
(2012 QB Rank – #24, 15.3 FPts/G)
Considered a raw prospect coming out of Texas A&M last year as a first-round pick, Tannehill had a solid rookie season despite playing mostly a caretaker role in an offense devoid of talent at the wide receiver position. While the former college wide receiver has the athletic ability to develop into a solid starter, he needs to continue to learn the playbook and improve his ability to read defenses in order to become a consistent fantasy producer. Despite playing in all 16 games, he failed to top 200 passing yards in eight games, finishing the season with 3,294 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Having added Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson at wide receiver and Dustin Keller at tight end, the Dolphins expect more from Tannehill. Provided the offensive line holds up (a major question mark), Tannehill could emerge as a mid-tier QB2 in 2013 but should be between the 20th and 25th quarterback taken in your draft.
QB Matt Moore
(2012 QB Rank – #51, 5.1 FPts/G)
Despite being a free agent, Moore returned to Miami to back up Ryan Tannehill, torpedoing his fantasy prospects. Given his solid production as a starter in 2011 (16 FPts/G) and the Dolphins’ improved receiving corps, Moore is worth a look if Tannehill goes down.
RB Lamar Miller
(2012 RB Rank – #72, 3.9 FPts/G; #82 PPR, 4.6 FPts/G)
Miller: The hype is in full force.
Having decided against re-signing free agent Reggie Bush, the Dolphins effectively handed the starting running back job to Lamar Miller. While the second-year player looked good in limited action as a rookie, averaging 4.9 yards per carry on 50 carries, the knock on him coming out of the University of Miami was that he was injury prone. However, Miami clearly thinks he can handle a big load, as they waited until the sixth round to draft running back Mike Gillislee to supplement the depth chart behind Miller and the disappointing Daniel Thomas. Get ready for Miller to be a hot commodity at draft time, given his potential for a workhorse role in a less than stellar Dolphins backfield. He clearly has the upside to be a high-end RB2, but that sounds a bit optimistic here. Consider him as a low-end RB2 or high-end RB3.
RB Daniel Thomas
(2012 RB Rank – #45, 6.0 FPts/G; #48 PPR, 7.3 FPts/G)
Outside of the Saints’ Mark Ingram, Thomas was the hottest rookie fantasy RB when he entered the league in 2011. Two short years later he is in jeopardy of losing his roster spot. Then again, he could emerge as a solid option in a committee backfield with Lamar Miller. If there’s one thing we can be certain of when it comes to Thomas, it’s that the Dolphins view him as the fallback option to Miller. Envisioned as a physical back coming out of Kansas State, Thomas has struggled in short yardage and hasn’t been able to stay healthy, missing five games in two years. There isn’t much upside here, but there’s plenty of risk. If Thomas holds off rookie sixth-round pick Mike Gillislee and the Dolphins develop into a solid offense, he could be a decent flex option.
RB Mike Gillislee
(2012 RB Rank – N/A)
With a pair of unproven running backs atop the depth chart, the Dolphins used a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft to acquire Gillislee, who enjoyed a solid senior season at the University of Florida. He dropped in the draft due to his lack of size (5’11”, 209 pounds) and lack of breakaway speed, but he should be considered a decent sleeper in 2013. Neither Lamar Miller nor Daniel Thomas has enjoyed consistent success in the NFL and, while he doesn’t excel in any one area, Gillislee is solid in many. Monitor the Dolphins backfield situation in training camp since it won’t be a surprise if Gillislee at least jumps over Thomas on the depth chart.
WR Mike Wallace
(2012 WR Rank – #24, 8.8 FPts/G; #23 PPR, 13.1 FPts/G)
With a hole in the depth chart at wide receiver and a pile of salary cap space, the Dolphins made Mike Wallace this year’s highest paid free agent wide receiver, giving him a five-year, $65-million contract. Since this is about fantasy football, we won’t concern ourselves with whether they overpaid (they did); instead we’ll focus on whether he will be a bona fide No. 1 wide receiver in Miami (he will). There aren’t many faster players in the league than Wallace, and he will be catching passes from strong-armed, second-year signal caller Ryan Tannehill. Unfortunately for Wallace, Tannehill is a step down from Ben Roethlisberger. And now is a good time to note that Wallace’s yardage totals have dropped each year since his career-best, 10-touchdown season in 2010—from 1,257 yards that year to 1,193 in 2011 and 835 last season. He is also very inconsistent (four games with 13 or more fantasy points and seven with six or less). Feel comfortable drafting Wallace as a mid-tier WR2.
WR Brian Hartline
(2012 WR Rank – #34, 7.6 FPts/G; #27 PPR, 12.6 FPts/G)
Hartline is coming off a career year in which he accumulated 74 receptions for 1,083 yards and a touchdown on a whopping 131 targets, while assuming the lead receiver role on a struggling Dolphins offense. The most important statistic above is the 131 targets. With Mike Wallace now in Miami, Hartline won’t come close to approaching that. Hartline has decent size and solid speed but the odds are strong that he will never approach his 2012 production over the balance of his career. Fantasy-wise, he needs to step up his touchdown production to be useful in 2013, but he has just six scores during his three years in the league, and the addition of tight end Dustin Keller isn’t going to help him in getting more red zone targets. Consider him an upper tier WR4 in 2013.
WR Brandon Gibson
(2012 WR Rank – #44, 6.6 FPts/G; #46 PPR, 10.0 FPts/G)
Despite having the productive Davone Bess on the roster, the Dolphins chose to sign Gibson to a three-year, $9.8-million contract. Consider that a head scratcher. While Gibson was solid last year in St. Louis as the team’s leading receiver with career highs in yards (691) and touchdowns (5), it is telling that the receiver-needy Rams didn’t even attempt to re-sign him. With Gibson, the Dolphins are getting a player with decent size, average speed and minimal play-making ability. He’s not really built to play out of the slot, either, which is where he is expected to line up in 2013. Move on, folks.
TE Dustin Keller
(2012 TE Rank – #37, 5.5 FPts/G; #37 PPR, 9.0 FPts/G)
There is nothing wrong with robbing a division rival of a starter, and that is what the Dolphins did when they poached Keller form the cap-strapped Jets. Keller will assume the starting role left vacant when Anthony Fasano signed with the Chiefs, but he will need to re-establish himself after a disappointing 2012 season in which he missed eight games and produced just 317 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Since Keller has never averaged more than 7.0 fantasy points per game during his five-year career, don’t him to emerge as a solid threat in 2013. He is a lower-tier TE2.
By: Mike Krueger — June 20, 2013 @ 9:38 am
Player Projections, Rankings & Cheatsheets
Change Log – 6/20/13
Some slight adjustments throughout but I’ll highlight the significant changes below.
- Ben Roethlisberger (+2) – I think he’ll take a step back this season now that Wallace is gone, but he was initially ranked too low.
- Cam Newton (-1) – More concern about new OC (Mike Shula) and his weak track record.
- Ray Rice (-1) – He’s a better fit for Tier 2.
- Reggie Bush (-2) – Slight adjustment to total rushing yards.
- Darren McFadden (-1) – The more I read and study the Raiders the less optimistic I become.
- Montee Ball (+1) – The release of McGahee was assumed in my initial rankings so the small bump is due to clarity.
- Ahmad Bradshaw (+13) – Bradshaw finds a home in Indy.
- Vick Ballard (-11) – Ripple effect of the Bradshaw signing.
- Daryl Richardson (+20) – I flip-flopped Richardson and Pead. The Rams RB battle will be watched closely this summer.
- Isaiah Pead (-15) – See Richardson above.
- Travaris Cadet (#99) – First appearance in the rankings for the Saints RB.
- Rob Gronkowski (-1) – Back surgery complete, questionable for Week 1. Risk is on the rise.
- Aaron Hernandez (-2) – Yikes. Hernandez may free fall very soon depending on how this incident plays out. Stay tuned.
- Fred Davis (+2) – Davis can be the #2 receiver if he can fully recover from his Achilles injury.
- Kellen Winslow (#29) – Signed by the Jets and instantly becomes their #1 tight end.
By: Dave Stringer — June 17, 2013 @ 10:18 am
QB EJ Manuel
(2012 QB Rank – N/A)
Being a first-round pick means that a quarterback has the talent to play the position. Unfortunately, for close to 15 years, being a Buffalo Bills quarterback has meant not being a productive quarterback. With new coach Doug Marrone, perhaps that will change and Florida State rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel will become the team’s most productive starting quarterback since, well, Doug Flutie. Manuel has the size, arm strength, accuracy and running ability to be a solid starter, but he was a surprise first-round pick who didn’t run a full-scale, pro-style offense at Florida State. The Bills have solid weapons at running back and a wide receiver depth chart loaded with potential, but Manuel is more of a dynasty prospect than a player you will want to own in your redraft league.
QB Kevin Kolb
(2012 QB Rank – #35, 17.8 FPts/G)
Having released incumbent starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills signed Kolb to a modest two-year, $6.1-million contract in the offseason with the expectation that they would use the draft to acquire a prospect at quarterback. Sure enough, Buffalo used the 16th pick in the draft to acquire E.J. Manuel. With Manuel considered a raw prospect, Kolb could open the season in the starting lineup, but he would need to be effective in leading the team on a potential playoff run to remain under center for 16 games. Given his history of injuries and ineffectiveness, the odds of that happening are remote.
A heavier workload is expected for C.J. Spiller this season.
RB C.J. Spiller
(2012 RB Rank – #7, 13.6 FPts/G; #6 PPR, 16.3 FPts/G)
After looking mostly like a bust for the first year and a half of his career, Spiller is coming off a run of 22 games through which he has accumulated 2,336 total yards and 11 touchdowns, including 1,703 yards and eight scores in 2012. That is the type of production a mid-tier RB1 puts up and is certainly impressive considering Spiller had six games last year with 13 or fewer touches. With a new coaching staff in Buffalo and Spiller having proven that he deserves to start and get a heavy dose of touches, he has the potential to be a top five fantasy RB in 2013. Considering Spiller averaged 6.0 yards per carry and 10.7 yards per reception last season, look for the Bills to get him far more touches than the 250 he had last season. That bodes well for his fantasy prospects in 2013.
RB Fred Jackson
(2012 RB Rank – #36, 8.9 FPts/G; #34 PPR, 12.3 FPts/G)
After starting 2011 on a pace that had him headed to the Pro Bowl, only to suffer a season-ending fractured fibula in Week 11, it has been all downhill for Jackson. He has appeared in just ten games in each of the last two seasons, with a pair of right knee sprains limiting him in 2012. While still productive when healthy last season (he averaged 65 total yards and 0.4 touchdowns per game), Jackson is headed for more of a pure backup role in 2013 because of C.J. Spiller’s emergence. Still, at 32 years of age, Jackson is one of the most highly rated handcuffs in the league, making him a solid RB3.
RB Tashard Choice
(2012 RB Rank – #91, 3.3 FPts/G; #94 PPR, 3.8 FPts/G)
At 28 years of age, Choice has been relegated to a third-string role in Buffalo. However, with Fred Jackson struggling to remain healthy in each of the last two seasons, Choice has a chance to see the field in 2013. Just don’t expect him to get the ball much, even when he does play. He has hit double-digit touches just twice during his year-and-a-half stay with the Bills.
WR Steve Johnson
(2012 WR Rank – #20, 8.8 FPts/G; #18 PPR, 13.7 FPts/G)
The knock on Johnson is that he isn’t a true No. 1 wide receiver. While that may be the case, he is remarkably consistent, catching between 76 and 82 balls for 1,004 to 1,073 yards and six to ten touchdowns over the last three years while averaging 13.1, 13.2 and 13.2 yards per reception. The easy thing would be to project him for 80 receptions for 1,050 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, and who could quibble with that? However, the wrinkle in that equation is the quarterback situation in Buffalo, where Kevin Kolb will likely start the season before giving way to rookie first-round pick E.J. Manuel at some point. While Johnson will remain the focal point of the Bills passing attack in 2013, look for his production to dip slightly, making him only a high-end WR3 this season.
WR Robert Woods
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
Unable over the past three seasons to find a consistently productive wide receiver opposite Steve Johnson among a cast of undrafted free agents and low-round picks, the Bills used a high second-round pick to acquire Woods. The USC receiver is a polished product with good size but lacks true deep speed. However, he was consistently productive in college and faces little competition to open the season in the starting lineup. With tight end Scott Chandler coming off a late-season ACL injury, Woods could surprise in 2013. Consider him as a late-round flier in redraft leagues and a solid prospect in dynasty formats.
WR T.J. Graham
(2012 WR Rank – #99, 2.6 FPts/G; #85 PPR, 4.6 FPts/G)
The future looked rosy for Graham after the Bills used a third-round pick to acquire him during the 2012 draft. However, after a marginally productive rookie campaign during which he caught 31 passes for 322 yards and one touchdown, Graham faces a crowded depth chart with the addition of a pair of draft picks in Robert Woods (2nd rnd) and Marquise Goodwin (3rd rnd), as well as undrafted rookie free agent Da’Rick Rogers. Monitor Graham during the preseason and consider him worth a late-round flier, in hopes that he earns a spot in the starting lineup.
WR Marquise Goodwin
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
One year after drafting the smallish T.J. Graham in the third round, the Bills drafted another undersized receiver in Goodwin in the third round. Welcome to drafting science, Buffalo style. Sure, a new coach is in town, but recently retired general manager Buddy Nix was on hand to make both picks. At 5’9” and 179 pounds, Goodwin is destined to play out of the slot, but the speedster will have a hard time carving out a meaningful role during his rookie season. Goodwin is a low rated dynasty prospect.
WR Da’Rick Rogers
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
With solid size and speed, Rogers should have been a Day Two draft pick. His off-the-field activities prevented that, however, and the Bills chose to take a shot at him as an undrafted free agent. The early prognosis is that this was an astute move by Buffalo, but one wrong step will result in Rogers exit from roster. Provided he keeps it together, he is worth gambling on with one of your lower roster spots.
WR Marcus Easley
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
What can you say about Marcus Easley other than he’s been the victim of some extremely bad luck. He missed his first two seasons with injuries, including a heart ailment, before finally appearing in three games last season but failing to catch a pass. With Steve Johnson and four first- or second-year players ahead of him on the depth chart, Easley’s string of bad luck doesn’t figure to end in 2013.
TE Scott Chandler
(2012 TE Rank – #13, 6.2 FPts/G; #15 PPR, 9.1 FPts/G)
While Chandler solidified the Bills at the tight end position over the past two seasons, his outlook for 2013 is uncertain because of the torn ACL he suffered in Week 16 last year. While Chandler established career highs last season in receptions (43) and yards (571), he was far less effective in a more expanded role than in 2011. His reception-to-target ratio dropped from a very solid 82.6 to just 58.1. Coming off a serious late-season injury and with an uncertain situation at quarterback, Chandler is little more than bye-week filler in 2013.
By: Mike Krueger — June 10, 2013 @ 7:43 pm
Our annual June mock got rolling today and it was no surprise that Adrian Peterson was the first player off the board. It was also no surprise that 11 running backs and 1 wide receiver were taken in the first round.
This is a standard performance scoring draft and non-PPR which made the pick of Jamaal Charles at 1.02 very interesting. Dan’s reasoning?
“I considered Arian Foster at #2, and he was the one consistently being taken top-three that I dismissed. I like him, and he’s probably safe, but I’m that guy who isn’t comfortable with the nagging injuries, His receiving yards dropped last year, as well, and I am thinking that might be more a trend going forward. That raises the value of a Ray Rice, who was one of my other two serious considerations.”
Good enough. I suspect the addition of Andy Reid and constant chatter of Charles reaching career highs in receptions is pushing the KC running back up draft boards. We’ll see if the Charles hype continues over the summer. I suspect it will.
Charles was a mild surprise at 1.02, the pick of Steven Jackson at 1.11 by WhiteWonder was a jaw dropper, especially with a Alfred Morris still on the board. SJax is in a great situation in Atlanta but I’d prefer the younger RB on a run-first team.
Here’s the complete first round…
- 1.01 – ICEMAN- RB Adrian Peterson, Min.
- 1.02 – Dan- RB Jamaal Charles, KC
- 1.03 – Shovelheadt- RB Doug Martin, TB
- 1.04 – Remote Controller- RB Arian Foster, Hou.
- 1.05 – RicemanX- RB Ray Rice, Bal.
- 1.06 – Matt’s Eagles- WR Calvin Johnson, Det.
- 1.07 – Robb- RB C.J. Spiller, Buf.
- 1.08 – Vikings4Ever- RB Marshawn Lynch, Sea.
- 1.09 – Fumbleweed- RB LeSean McCoy, Phi.
- 1.10 – Ray Lewis’ Limo Driver- RB Trent Richardson, Cle.
- 1.11 – White Wonder- RB Steven Jackson, Atl.
- 1.12 – JScott- RB Alfred Morris, Was.
We’re off and running with our June mock and looking forward to more surprises in Round 2. You can follow the draft in our Mocking Station forum.
By: Mike Krueger — June 3, 2013 @ 4:12 am
Player Projections, Rankings & Cheatsheets
Change Log – 6/3/13
Our initial release for 2013 has over 800 players projected and ranked. Sporadic updates will occur in June with weekly updates kicking off in July through the start of the season. We’ll also do unscheduled updates as needed, typically for significant injuries that occur between scheduled updates.
- Robert Griffin III (#15) – I know my inbox will be flooded, but his injury risk is too sizeable for my taste. I’ll slide him up as we get closer to Week 1 assuming his rehab continues to go well, but even healthy, I don’t see him cracking my top ten.
- Tom Brady (#7) – The Pats have lost their lone rock at the receiving position and replaced Welker with an adequate, but injury-prone player. Is this the year the revolving door at the position takes a bite out of Brady’s magic?
- Carson Palmer (#20) – I like his upside in Bruce Arians’ offense and should be a great fantasy QB2 with QB1 upside.
- Arian Foster (#2) – His heavy workload the last three years will shouted at you by many fantasy analysts this summer and an early calf injury only adds fuel to the fire. He’s No. 2 for now, but I wouldn’t hold it against anyone for taking Dougie instead.
- Le’Veon Bell (#12) – Great opportunity for the rookie. We’ll follow his progress closely during camp.
- Reggie Bush (#14) – PPR value is back on the rise.
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