Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Antonio D'Arcangelis — February 26, 2013 @ 9:21 am
Wallace’s contract issues may have affected his play last season.
1. Mike Wallace (PIT) – Wallace is a proven deep threat with world-class speed, and he’s best when paired with a steady possession receiver. Last season, he struggled to get in sync within the Steelers offense after a lengthy preseason holdout. He contributed a few big plays, but for the most part was a major fantasy disappointment. So far, negotiations with the Steelers have been frosty at best, and the early word is that the Dolphins have made Wallace (who would command roughly $10-12 million per season in a long-term deal) their top priority this offseason. Wallace would be a low-end WR1 or top WR2 if signed by the Dolphins.
The Best Fit: Dolphins, Bengals, Chiefs
2. Dwayne Bowe (KC) – Like Wallace, Bowe totes some baggage when it comes to work ethic and character, though his athletic ability is nearly unparalleled, even among the league’s elite receivers. At his best, Bowe is a premier red zone threat, but the past few signal callers in Kansas City have been highly dubious options without the chops to take full advantage of his skills. Ideally, Bowe would sign a short-term deal for a team with a Top 15 quarterback, allowing fantasy owners to capitalize on his upside.
The Best Fit: Chiefs, Vikings, Chargers
3. Greg Jennings (GB) – Jennings could have commanded a huge payday this offseason had his previous two seasons not been marred by nagging injuries that forced him to miss 11 games. He’s 30 years old and won’t get the $14 million per year he’s reportedly demanding, but there are teams that will throw him a multi-year deal—the Vikings being one of them. Jennings could once again be a Top 10 fantasy WR, but that all hinges on his staying healthy and clicking with whatever new offense he ends up in.
The Best Fit: Vikings, Broncos, Bengals
4. Wes Welker (NE) – Welker’s racked up 672 catches for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns in his last six seasons with the Patriots, and he turned down a two-year, $16 million offer from New England last offseason. While the Pats aren’t planning on slapping the franchise tag on Welker, there’s still a chance he could get signed before he leaves for free agency and a potentially monster contract with the Bears, Chargers or Broncos—the three teams most mentioned in conjunction with the veteran slot receiver. Welker will be 32 on May 1 and still has plenty of productive seasons left, but NFL GMs—as well as fantasy owners—should be concerned that his standout numbers were partly a product of his amazing rapport with Tom Brady.
The Best Fit: Bears, Chargers, Patriots
5. Danny Amendola (STL) – If you thought Jennings had a hard time staying healthy, then I humbly offer up the sad tale of Danny Amendola, who’s missed 20 games over the past two seasons. Amendola is a PPR maven and solid possession receiver who’s right at home in St. Louis despite a rough road. The Rams will likely scoop him up for the hometown rate on a multi-year deal, but if he hits the open market, there’s a good possibility a team will spring for a large one-year contract. If Welker escapes New England, Amendola makes sense as a replacement.
The Best Fit: Rams, Patriots, Broncos
By: Antonio D'Arcangelis — February 21, 2013 @ 12:50 pm
Jackson will void the final year of his contract and test the market.
1. Steven Jackson (STL) – Jackson has a player option for 2013 but has said he wants to test the free agent waters. The St. Louis brass claim they want him back in uniform, but the $7 million they owe him for next season might be better spent to relieve cap space before the NFL Draft. Jackson has a lot of mileage on his 29-year-old body, and he’s one of the more battle-tested free agents available (Cedric Benson and Brandon Jacobs are two more who didn’t quite make this list). It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Jackson comes back to the Rams, but whatever happens, it’s hard to see him reversing his statistical descent. He’s best avoided in fantasy drafts until the younger, more dynamic backs are off the board.
The Best Fit: Broncos, Falcons, Rams
2. Reggie Bush (MIA) – While Bush isn’t a workhorse back, he brings a healthy dose of experience and explosiveness as a free agent addition to just about any team. As a pass catcher, Bush is nearly unrivaled, and he’s still capable of spectacular touchdown scampers. The team that corrals Bush will likely have to throw big money at the veteran scatback. There’s a good chance Miami just bites the bullet and does it themselves, but the Lions make sense for obvious reasons—Jahvid Best is done and the team, in desperation, tried out several journeymen at feature back in 2012. Bush is still a solid No. 2 fantasy RB if he lands in the right situation.
The Best Fit: Lions, Packers, Jets
3. Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG) – The Giants recently cut Bradshaw to clear $2.75 million in cap space, signifying their confidence in 2012 draft pick David Wilson, who showed glimpses of brilliance last season but struggled with ball protection. Bradshaw has his own baggage, including a pair of brittle ankles that could always turn into multiple spans of unavailability. The 26-year-old veteran is still a solid playmaker with plenty of upside, but the pass-first team that takes a shot on him probably won’t be using him for much more than 12–15 touches per game, limiting his fantasy value.
The Best Fit: Packers, Falcons, Cards
4. Rashard Mendenhall (PIT) – Mendenhall found himself in the Steelers doghouse last season after spending the first few weeks on the PUP list recovering from a 2011 ACL tear. His first game back (Week 5 against Philly) was a nice little revelation (13 carries for 68 yards and 3-33-1 receiving), but he quickly lost luster after battling with coaches and eventually not showing up for a game. There are a handful of teams that could use a punishing back like Mendenhall, but don’t except a long-term deal until the 25-year-old, former 1000-yard rusher proves he can still handle a full season of touches.
The Best Fit: Bengals, Rams, Chargers
5. Shonn Greene (NYJ) – The much-embattled Greene will probably be moving on from the Jets, who haven’t been happy with his performance and will look to a committee spearheaded by Bilal Powell and change-of-pace back Joe McKnight. In 2011, Greene ran for 1,054 yards and six touchdowns (4.2 YPC), but he’s been a disappointment as a workhorse back. He’s still a capable fantasy option because he’s a grinder and makes perfect sense as a goal-line back—he just doesn’t break off too many big runs. In a perfect world, he’d find himself as the short-yardage back to complement Jamaal Charles in Kansas City or with another organization that could use a sturdy plodder.
The Best Fit: Chiefs, Bengals, Raiders
By: Antonio D'Arcangelis — February 15, 2013 @ 4:04 pm
Do the Titans value Cook? We’ll know by March 4th as he’s a candidate for the franchise tag.
1. Jared Cook (TEN) – Aside from the turmoil he encountered in Tennessee when he believed he wasn’t being used enough, there’s not much to dissuade GMs from taking a shot at this athletic physical specimen. Cook has excellent hands and speed and a knack for stretching the field. He’s also a solid red zone target with capable blocking skills. He could easily be a 60-850-10 sort of tight end and a Top 5 fantasy TE in the right system. There are several potential landing spots for Cook, but I think his days in Nashville are done. And if certain teams are willing to spend the money, Cook could be in line for a monster 2013.
The Best Fit: Seahawks, Rams, Raiders
2. Fred Davis (WAS) – Not too long ago, there was a lot to get excited about concerning Davis, a rising star with oodles of upside. But after getting hit with the franchise tag in 2012 and then tearing his left Achilles in October, it looked like his future in Washington was over. Still, there are rumors that signing Davis, one of the top targets of 2013, is still on the Redskins to-do list. It’s rare for a player coming off a major injury to land a multi-year deal, but if anybody is going to take a long-term risk with Davis, it’s probably Dan Snyder. If not, Davis will get looks from a host of other teams but probably not anything in the way of a three- or four-year deal. If he’s back with the ‘Skins in 2013 and healthy to start the season, he’s a mid-round steal in redraft leagues.
The Best Fit: Redskins, Giants, Jets
3. Dustin Keller (NYJ) – Keller barely saw the field last year after struggling with a myriad of injuries and failing to establish a rapport with Mark Sanchez once he was healthy enough to play. The veteran isn’t quite as old as his body, and he’s never reached his full potential as a steady target or meaningful red zone contributor. I doubt he’ll get a huge payday, but the gradually increasing numbers over the first few seasons of his career (improvement that was stymied in 2012) could be a huge selling point for his agent. When he’s not battling nagging ankle and hamstring injuries, Keller is an every-down tight end with plenty of upside, and in a perfect world, he’d be a Top 10 fantasy TE. But a robust tight end market could mean he gets lost in the shuffle and ends up on a squad without a viable quarterback or plan to effectively insert him in the offense.
The Best Fit: Browns, Rams, Bears
4. Martellus Bennett (NYG) – Like Davis, Bennett has a good chance of re-signing with his current team, as he flourished in the Giants offense after years of toiling away in relative obscurity behind Jason Witten in Dallas. Bennett’s gotten some flak for dropping passes in the past, but he made sense as a tall, lanky red zone threat for Big Blue in 2012, hauling in 55-626-5 despite little preseason fanfare. Plenty of teams will be in the market for Bennett, who emerged as a viable fantasy TE and could be in line for a big payday after the one-year, 2.5 million contract he signed with the Giants last season. For many GMs, that kind of production for such a modest contract will pique their interest.
The Best Fit: Giants, Bucs, Cards
5. Brandon Myers (OAK) – Myers was one of the lone bright spots for the Raiders in 2013, catching 79 passes for 806 yards and four touchdowns. He’ll be a highly coveted free agent despite limited abilities and being taken in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL draft. Some of Myers’ emergence has been attributed to the work that former Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders put in with him, readying the young tight end for a feature role in Greg Knapp’s offense. Because the grass is always greener for the Raiders organization, there’s not much of a chance they bite the bullet and pay out Myers in 2013, even if that’s the best move. Myers will likely get a multi-year deal from one of several suitors, and he’ll be hard-pressed to repeat his numbers from last season.
The Best Fit: Falcons, Giants, Bucs
By: Antonio D'Arcangelis — February 12, 2013 @ 10:47 am
It’s slim pickins on the free agent quarterback front…
The Ravens won’t let Flacco leave.
1. Joe Flacco (BAL) – The only big-name franchise quarterback who’s now a free agent per se is Flacco, and he’s coming off an impressive Super Bowl win that silenced many of his critics. There’s not much of a chance the Ravens let him walk after he led them to the Promised Land, but stranger things have happened. Contract negotiations might get a little testy, as the 27-year-old signal caller is rumored to be seeking $20 million per year. The Ravens are probably willing to cough up about $16–17M a season. Flacco’s recent success (and subsequent confidence boost) should spike his fantasy value, especially if he remains in Baltimore, but a desperate organization could still swoop in and provide a monster offer.
The Best Fit: Ravens, Chiefs, Browns
2. Matt Moore (MIA) – What a difference a year makes. Before the 2012 Draft, the good money was on Moore forging a career path in Miami, where he’d played moderately well under center (his best year was 2011,when he threw for 2,497-16-9) and showed he belonged as an NFL quarterback. Now, the future in South Beach is Ryan Tannehill, who had mixed results as a rookie but appears to be developing in line with the Dolphins’ expectations. Moore has good size (6-3, 216) and can make just about all the throws, but with teams having so much success in the draft, he probably won’t get a starting gig and won’t get a huge payday. Fantasywise, he’s nothing more than a late-round lottery pick in super-deep dynasty leagues.
The Best Fit: Cards, Raiders, Jets
3. Jason Campbell (CHI) – Campbell will likely end up carrying a clipboard to start the 2013 season, but he’s not without upside. For a few years, the strong-armed quarterback toiled away in Washington but never emerged as a significant contributor on the NFL stage or in the annals of fantasy. Fortunately for Campbell, he’s only 31 years old and still commands respect from NFL scouts intrigued by his prototypical body and measurable abilities. For teams seeking a quality backup with the wherewithal to stand in for their starter, the former Redskin, Raider and Bear will be an attractive option.
The Best Fit: Texans, Vikings, Jets
4. Tarvaris Jackson (BUF) – Jackson hasn’t been a fantasy superstar, but he’s won a few games in his career and is capable of handling the rigors of the NFL pace. With teams looking for Kaepernick-like diamonds in the rough they can polish and insert should their starting quarterbacks not work out, Jackson will get extended looks and could find a scheme in which he flourishes. Like Vick, Jackson doesn’t have the elite chops to manage a game with incisive audible protection, but his mobility within the pocket and relatively conservative approach serves him well. If he can shake some of his old habits of taking too many sacks and not getting the ball downfield enough, there’s an outside chance he could have a fantasy impact in 2013 and beyond.
The Best Fit: Jets, Cards, Chiefs
5. David Garrard (MIA) – While there’s some chatter about Drew Stanton following Bruce Arians to Arizona, Garrard could be a solid veteran presence on a Cards team that desperately needs some. After beginning the 2012 preseason as the front-runner for the starting gig in Miami, Garrard injured his knee but now remains an eye-catching option for several organizations dealing with quarterback woes. Garrard won’t be a 30-touchdown stud, but there’s definitely some upside should he land a spot atop somebody’s depth chart in 2013. The Jets will probably add another quarterback to the crowded, confused mix they already own, and it’s a fair assumption that a non-threatening but capable veteran with the athleticism and smarts of Garrard could push Mark Sanchez and be a positive influence.
The Best Fit: Cards, Jets, Chiefs
Honorable Mention: Brady Quinn, Matt Leinart, Derek Anderson
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