Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Mike Krueger — March 12, 2013 @ 8:57 am
Harvin wanted out of Minnesota. He got his wish on Monday.
The day before free agency proved to be an eventful one, with a number of teams making moves in preparation for the frenzy set to come. No move was bigger than Percy Harvin being dealt by the Vikings to the Seahawks for, reportedly, a trio of draft picks including Seattle’s first-round pick (#25 overall) and seventh-round pick in 2013, plus a mid-round pick next season—rumored to be a third-round selection.
Harvin has had a rocky ride during his four years in Minnesota, often at odds with management about playing time, injuries and his contract. He suffered a sprained ankle in Week 9 and was placed on IR in Week 14, never to return to the team despite the Vikings making it to the playoffs and losing to the Packers during the Wild Card round. Even though head coach Leslie Frazier was saying all the right things, by season’s end it was clear Harvin’s days were numbered in Minnesota.
Harvin’s move to Seattle will reunite him with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who was with Minnesota when they drafted Harvin in 2009. This move works on a lot of levels for the Seahawks, giving them a smaller, quicker, multi-talented weapon on offense to pair with the bigger Sidney Rice. Harvin will also add game-breaking ability in the return game. Nobody has had more kick-return touchdowns (5) since 2009 than Harvin.
Vikings – Christian Ponder is a QB2 who just lost his best receiver. He’s damaged fantasy goods until further notice.
This move leaves the receiving corps in Minnesota without a leader. With Jerome Simpson testing the free agent market, Jarius Wright and Stephen Burton and their 27 combined catches would be lining up outside if the Vikings were to play today. Expect Minnesota to be active in free agency, pursuing the likes of Greg Jennings, Danny Amendola or even the expensive Victor Cruz, who comes with a hefty first-round pick price tag.
Tight End Kyle Rudolph’s value holds steady but could use the assistance of a proven threat on the outside. If the Vikings choose to address their receiver needs through the draft and fail to get a proven wideout, Rudolph will be a marked man by defenses in 2013.
Seahawks – Russell Wilson gets the biggest fantasy boost from this trade. His stock was already on the rise after averaging 31.3 fantasy points over his last five games (including the playoffs). He now has one of the most explosive weapons in the league at his disposal, giving the Seahawks a very balanced offensive attack. Wilson is shaping up as a low-end QB1 in the 8–12 range.
Harvin was my #4 ranked fantasy wideout last preseason and was on his way to living up to the ranking until injury struck in Week 9. The benefits of a familiar voice on staff and a new contract stroking his ego will serve Harvin well, but posting 110 catches and 1,200+ receiving yards will be a challenge. Those numbers he was on pace for prior to injury last season will be difficult to come by in Seattle with a capable Sidney Rice on the outside and Golden Tate a viable third receiving option. I do expect Harvin to lead the team in receiving and give fantasy owners bonus points in the running game, but a low-end WR1 in the 10–15 range is likely his ceiling unless the Seahawks make a conscious effort to open up their offense, which ranked last in pass attempts with 405 last season.
By: Doug Orth — March 1, 2013 @ 6:04 pm
Throughout their history, few teams have shown more disregard to developing quarterbacks through the draft than the Kansas City Chiefs. Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, only three quarterbacks drafted by the Chiefs – Mike Livingston (1969-79), Steve Fuller (1979-82) and Todd Blackledge (1983-87) – won a game for the franchise. Put another way, Blackledge – in 1987 – was the last quarterback selected by Kansas City to win a game for the Chiefs.
Another San Francisco QB is headed to Kansas City.
Over that time, one trend has developed: Kansas City typically has a need for a quarterback and the San Francisco 49ers typically have a signal-caller to spare. Even though the transaction cannot be made official until March 12, the teams essentially wrapped up a deal on Wednesday to send Alex Smith to the Chiefs in exchange for a second-round pick in the upcoming draft (the 34th pick) plus a conditional third-rounder in 2014 that can escalate to an additional second-rounder. Smith is the latest Niner-turned-Chief quarterback on a list that includes Steve DeBerg, Joe Montana, Steve Bono and Elvis Grbac. Shockingly, former San Francisco quarterbacks have accounted for 95 of the franchise’s 404 wins – 34 more than the aforementioned trio of KC-drafted field generals.
But that is enough of the historical significance. New HC Andy Reid and GM John Dorsey had little choice but to pursue the most established veteran quarterback on the market in a year where the incoming rookie class doesn’t appear to possess a single must-have talent at the position. Combined with Reid’s history of developing quarterbacks and the fact he holds Smith in high regard, the Chiefs can make the case their new employee is a battle-tested quarterback that is a proven winner. Furthermore, the overall compensation for Smith wasn’t quite what it was for Matt Schaub or Kevin Kolb – other veteran quarterbacks less accomplished than Smith when they were traded.
Reid stated in his opening press conference the Chiefs needed to find the next Len Dawson, who incidentally was another quarterback the franchise did not draft (selected and traded by the Steelers to the Browns, who later released him). Few Kansas City fans will argue that Matt Cassel needed to go and Smith is an upgrade – even if he has earned a reputation as a “game manager”. (Anyone who watched the Chiefs’ offense last season should be able to appreciate a quarterback who can manage a game.) Whether the “game manager” tag is an appropriate one is a discussion for another day, but what Smith does have for the first time in years is a front office that is invested in him and a coach that has publicly stated that he has long been a Smith fan.
So the question becomes: will fantasy owners join Reid aboard the Smith bandwagon? Just as importantly, how does his arrival affect the fantasy fortunes of players such as Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe (if he returns to the team)?
Smith was in the midst of a career year in 2012 before a Week 9 concussion effectively ended his 49er career and gave birth to the rise of second-year stud Colin Kaepernick. How much of his “late development” stemmed from the fact he worked under seven different offensive coordinators and how much of it was the coaching and confidence he received from HC Jim Harbaugh and OC Greg Roman? It’s a fair question. In fact, I think most people would agree that after seven seasons and 75 NFL starts, we still really don’t know who Alex Smith is or what he could become. If only for that reason, the soon-to-be 29-year-old Smith is about as much of a wild-card as there is entering the 2013 season.
Fortunately, we do know that Reid has admitted on several occasions he can’t help himself when it comes to the passing game. As a result, there is a very good chance Smith will set career highs across the board. Another factor in Smith’s favor is that Reid has consistently received a lot of production from his quarterbacks, even taking a strong-armed option quarterback out of Syracuse in Donovan McNabb and molding him into an efficient West Coast passer. Therefore, I think that while learning yet another system isn’t likely to yield immediate results, most of us can agree Smith is transitioning from one quarterback-friendly offense to another.
In regards to his new supporting cast, it’s hard to believe the biggest beneficiary from the Reid-Smith marriage will not be Charles. While the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher this season is a bit more reliant on speed and a bit less reliant on elusiveness than Brian Westbrook or LeSean McCoy, all of them are accomplished receivers. Given the fact that the 2013 Chiefs would look a lot like Reid’s early teams (without DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin) if Bowe leaves via free agency – and more like the Eagles prior to Maclin’s arrival if Bowe stays – there’s every reason to believe Charles will be a 50-60 catch player either way. Charles’ fantasy outlook was going to be better than in 2012 because of the way Reid utilizes his backs, but a solid Smith can only help his week-to-week consistency.
Bowe makes the most interesting fantasy case. In this whole San Francisco-Philadelphia dynamic, he compares most favorably to Michael Crabtree. When focused and properly motivated, however, Bowe could be the most dominant wide receiver that Smith has thrown to in his career and the second-most dominant one Reid has coached. I can only assume Reid received some kind of assurance from management that Bowe would remain a Chief – be it via a new contract or the franchise tag – before he took the job or else the new coach is open to the idea of seeing his new quarterback start out the same way McNabb did (with the likes of Charles Johnson, Torrance Small, James Thrash and Todd Pinkston serving as the main receivers). Since I doubt the latter is the case, Bowe has a chance to be the first high-volume receiver Reid has coached since Terrell Owens. While that level of production is unlikely, it could happen – Bowe has already flashed that kind of ability.
In closing, the Chiefs either made a savvy move in trading for a “proven” veteran in a year where the rookie quarterback talent pool appears to lack a clear-cut “franchise quarterback” or severely overpaid because need trumped common sense. If Smith’s last two seasons were a sign that he was just a late bloomer that needed someone to believe in him, then Kansas City took a significant step forward with this move. While the price was to acquire was a bit steep in my opinion, I have little doubt that Smith will be at least serviceable in reality and fantasy, pending any improvements the Chiefs make at receiver this offseason. Assuming Bowe returns, Smith should be a viable QB2 in 12-team leagues in 2013 while a happy Bowe could easily return to top 10 WR status.
By: Dave Stringer — March 15, 2012 @ 9:52 am
With a dearth of talent at the wide receiver position and numerous free agent options going off the market quickly, the Jacksonville Jaguars entered the fray by signing former Dallas wide receiver Laurent Robinson.
Robinson has landed in a fantasy wasteland.
Reports indicate that Robinson will sign a five-year, $32.5-million contract that contains $14-million in guarantees.
Robinson enjoyed a career-year in Dallas in 2011. Despite playing a reserve role behind Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, he caught 54 passes for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns, establishing career-highs in each category.
While Dallas was satisfied with his production, they made little effort to re-sign him, likely in the belief that his production came as a result of being the team’s fourth option in the passing game behind Austin, Bryant and tight end Jason Witten.
In Jacksonville, Robinson ascends to the top of the team’s depth chart at the position and will be paired in the starting lineup with Mike Thomas, barring another free agent addition or the team using a high draft pick on the position.
While Robinson possesses solid size and speed, he has failed to remain healthy and the Jaguars will be his fifth team as he enters his sixth season in the league.
First off, let’s take a shot at the Jaguars business acumen, particularly when it comes to the wide receiver position.
The Jaguars decided to sign Mike Thomas to a three-year, $18-million extension ($9-million in guarantees) that runs through 2015. That amounts to $6-million per season for a 5’8”, 198 pound receiver who should play out of the slot.
Of course, in Jacksonville, he was their top wide receiver in 2010, catching 66 passes for 820 yards and four touchdowns. After signing the extension, Thomas become persona non grata, catching 24 passes for 203 yards and failing to find the end zone over his next 11 games (he missed one game with an injury).
So, after that abysmal failure, do the Jaguars learn to pay a player for his ability as opposed to his performance given favorable circumstances? Not a chance.
Enter Robinson, who gets guaranteed money similar to what far more established receivers such as DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon received. This for a player who was waived by the Chargers in training camp last year, remained unsigned entering the season, has missed 28 games over the first five years of his career and has failed to establish himself as a number two receiver, let alone the top dog.
Don’t for one second make the assumption that Robinson will match his 2011 production with the Jaguars while catching passes from second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert. It ain’t gonna happen.
Unless the Jaguars are planning on trading up to acquire Justin Blackmon in the draft, Robinson’s signing is foolhardy. Even then, it might still be.
Somebody in your league will reach or overpay for Robinson. Please don’t let it be you.
And don’t drink the Thomas or Gabbert Kool-Aid either.
By: Dave Stringer — @ 8:51 am
The Kansas City Chiefs made their first foray into the 2012 free agent market, signing former Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis.
A change of scenery may do Hillis some good.
Reports indicate that Hillis has agreed to a one-year, $3-million contract with the Chiefs. He is coming off an injury-marred, drama filled 2011 season in which his rushing yardage plummeted after a career-high 1,177 rushing yards in 2010.
In Kansas City, Hillis will be reunited with the team’s new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who filled that position with Cleveland in 2010. The Chiefs will pair Hillis in the backfield with Jamaal Charles, who also enjoyed a breakout 2010 campaign before missing 14 games last season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
The Chiefs were in the market for a power back after the combination of Thomas Jones, Jackie Battle and LeRon McClain failed in that role last season. Hillis will fill that role in 2012 and also provide insurance if Charles struggles in his return from injury or isn’t ready to assume a large workload early in the season.
Hillis established himself as the Browns key offensive weapon during the 2010 season, gaining 1,177 yards on 270 carries and catching 61 passes for 477 yards while scoring 13 touchdowns.
However, he struggled during his last five games of the season and suffered through a miserable 2011 season in which he topped 100 rushing yards just once while being criticized for complaining about his contract, missing a game due to strep throat and angering the team’s management due to missing treatment for his various injuries.
Reports out of Cleveland indicate the Browns were so disenchanted with his behavior that they failed to make him a contract offer.
The good news for Hillis is that he will be playing for an offensive coordinator who believes in him and has had success rushing the ball over the last two seasons (witness career seasons for Hillis in 2010 and Reggie Bush in Miami this past season). It is also nice that Hillis will be motivated to perform in order to secure a more lucrative long-term deal after the 2012 season.
However, there is no sugarcoating that Hillis would have been given every opportunity to compete for the starting job with Montario Hardesty in Cleveland but in Kansas City, he has almost no chance of unseating Charles as the team’s starting running back.
While Hillis had an opportunity to enter 2012 as a mid-tier RB2 in Cleveland, he will be no better than an RB3 or flex option in Kansas City. For reference, take note of Thomas Jones’ 2010 production as Charles’ backup when he gained 896 rushing yards and six touchdowns. That production is Hillis’ upside for the coming season, assuming Charles remains injury free.
Given that it was known that the Chiefs were in the market for a power back and his production splitting time with Jones in 2010, Charles’ value remains static as a top 10 fantasy running back, again assuming he is sufficiently recovered from the knee injury that ended his 2011 season.
Since that injury occurred early in the season, expect Charles to be ready to assume a full load early in 2012 although he is unlikely to produce at his 2010 levels until mid-season at the earliest.
In Cleveland, quarterback Colt McCoy, the team’s current starter but with no guarantees that will remain the case on opening day, loses his best pass catching threat out of the backfield while Montario Hardesty immediately climbs to the top of the depth chart.
Unfortunately for Hardesty and his fantasy owners, the Browns are almost certain to replenish their running back depth chart and there is a possibility the team will use the 4th overall pick in the draft on Alabama running back Trent Richardson. In addition, they could look to the free agent market where the options currently include Michael Bush, Cedric Benson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Mike Tolbert, Ryan Grant and Brandon Jacobs, amongst others.
By: Dave Stringer — March 14, 2012 @ 11:20 am
The Buccaneers have joined the 2012 free agency fray, landing the top available free agent wide receiver in former Charger Vincent Jackson.
Jackson will reportedly sign a five-year, $55-million contract with Tampa Bay that includes $36-million in payments over the first three years of the deal.
With second-year players Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn suffering through sophomore slumps in 2011, the Buccaneers were in the market for a big play wide receiver and Jackson figures to take over as the team’s top threat at the position in 2012.
The former Division II player out of Northern Colorado possesses excellent size (6’5” 230 pounds) and speed, as his career average yards per catch of 17.5 indicates. Jackson has also shown the ability to out jump defenders on deep balls.
Removing his injury-marred, suspension and contract holdout shortened 2010 season, Jackson caught 187 passes for 3,371 yards and 25 touchdowns during the 2008, 2009 and 2011 seasons.
Despite his solid production, the Chargers were unwilling to sign him to a lucrative long-term contract given their belief that he had failed to reach his potential, his constant injury issues and their concerns regarding his off the field behavior.
Jackson's move to Tampa may not improve his fantasy stock.
Off the top, this move has to be viewed as lowering Vjax’s fantasy value. He goes from catching passes from one of the top quarterbacks in the league and playing in the league’s 5th ranked scoring offense to playing with a far more inexperienced quarterback coming off a horrible season and playing in the league’s 27th ranked scoring offense. Let’s get one of those pointing down arrows and stick it beside his name.
Jackson was the 10th ranked fantasy wide receiver in 2011 but he rates as a mid-tier WR2 in 2012. Simply put, Josh Freeman is coming off a horrendous season and has not proven to be as accurate on deep passes as Philip Rivers and those plays have been Jackson’s bread and butter throughout his career in San Diego.
Freeman obviously wins out as he now has a true number one wide receiver for the first time in his career and the Bucs receiving depth chart rounds out nicely with Williams, Benn, Preston Parker, Dezmon Briscoe and Sammie Stroughter. Freeman ranks as a high-end fantasy backup with upside in 2012.
Williams wasn’t a complete bust last season but he was clearly a huge disappointment, as his yardage and touchdown totals plummeted from his solid rookie season in 2010 when he caught 64 passes for 955 yards and 11 touchdowns. Given Jackson’s size and ability to stretch the field, Williams figures to be featured on more short and intermediate routes in 2012 and his red zone opportunities also figure to be diminished.
Williams rates as fantasy backup in 2012 but is worth taking a flier on provided he shows a renewed dedication and reports to training camp in better physical condition than was the case in 2011.
Outside of deep leagues and dynasty formats, Benn’s fantasy value basically drops to nil. Unless he beats out Williams, he is waiver wire material in most formats.
However, the biggest fantasy loser is Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who loses his top wide receiver and arguably San Diego’s top receiving option ahead of tight end Antonio Gates. While Robert Meachem will take over for Jackson in the Chargers starting line-up, he is an inconsistent player and both Gates and Malcom Floyd, the team’s other starting wide receiver, have proven to be injury-prone. Rivers moves to low-end starter status in 2012.
Both Meachem and Floyd see their fantasy values rise but neither should be relied on as a starting option in 2012 until they prove otherwise.
By: Dave Stringer — @ 11:02 am
If his Facebook page can be believed, former Colts wide receiver Pierre Garcon has landed in Washington.
Garcon: A new target for RGIII.
He will reportedly sign a five-year contract worth in excess of $40-million with over half of that amount guaranteed.
With the team’s trade with St. Louis to acquire the 2nd overall pick in the draft (and the likely selection of Robert Griffin III) and reports indicating the team is also on the verge of signing former 49er Josh Morgan, the Redskins figure to start the season with new starters at quarterback and both wide receiver positions as head coach Mike Shanahan continues to overhaul the team’s offense.
Playing alongside Reggie Wayne, Garcon posted career highs in receptions with 70 and yards with 947 while scoring six touchdowns.
In Garcon, the Redskins add a player with tantalizing talent to their roster but one who has frustrated his coaches and quarterbacks with his frequent drops and questionable route running. The former Division III player from Mount Union possesses outstanding speed and solid size at 6’0” and 210 pounds but has been plagued by inconsistencies.
Morgan missed all but five games last season after suffering a broken leg, finishing the year with 15 receptions for 220 yards and one touchdown. The 2008 6th round pick burst onto the scene with an impressive training camp performance as a rookie but largely failed to assert himself as consistent receiving option during his four years in San Francisco.
While the 49ers were clearly interested in having him return, they were not willing to offer him the type of contract he received from Washington, which reportedly includes $12-million in salary over its first two years.
With Garcon and Morgan now on the roster and reports indicate that former Bronco Eddie Royal is likely to sign with the Redskins, it appears that Santana Moss’ days with the team are numbered.
The biggest winner with these signings has to be Griffin. Garcon and Morgan offer far more potential than a diminutive, 33-year old Moss and Jabar Gaffney. Throw in tight end Fred Davis, entering his 5th year and coming off a career season, and the Redskins now boast plenty of young talent in their receiving corps.
While Garcon looks the part of a number one wide receiver, he has done little to justify the belief that he can fulfill that role. Washington is banking on Garcon fulfilling on his immense potential.
However, despite being on the receiving end of passes from perhaps the most accurate quarterback in the history of the league, Garcon caught just 55.1% of his passes during his first three years in the NFL.
On the plus side, he had a career year in 2011 catching passes from the likes of Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky. That provides some comfort and indicates that even with Griffin under center, Garcon’s downside, barring injury, figures to be his 2011 production where he finished as the 22nd ranked fantasy wide receiver, although that ranking was burnished by a number of injuries and poor performances to receivers across the league. Garcon should be considered a mid-tier WR3 entering 2012 but one with upside.
As for Morgan, he is a solid fit as the second option in a West Coast passing offense given his size and willingness to go over the middle. While he has a respectable career average yards per catch of 13.5, he doesn’t possess great deep speed. He is clearly a fantasy backup in all leagues but a player with more value in PPR leagues. A breakout 2012 campaign is very unlikely.
Moss is clearly the biggest loser with these moves as he will need to find a new team next season. Coming off his worst season since his second year in the league in 2002, it seems unlikely that any team will consider him a starting option in 2012.
Another fantasy loser is Andrew Luck, the Colts expected 2012 starter, who is now without the team’s top deep threat from 2011.
By: Dave Stringer — March 13, 2012 @ 7:55 pm
Just three years after the Denver Broncos broke up one of the most promising quarterback-wide receiver duos in the league in Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, the pair will be reunited in 2012 in Chicago.
Reports indicate that the Bears have traded their 3rd round pick in each of the next two drafts to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for Marshall.
Marshall is taking his talents to Chicago.
During their time together in Denver, Cutler and Marshall combined to form one of the league’s most lethal quarterback-wide receiver combinations. Taken together in the 2006 draft (Cutler in the 1st and Marshall in the 4th), they rose to prominence during the 2007 season with Marshall on the receiving end of 102 passes for 1,325 yards and seven touchdowns.
For Marshall, that marked the beginning of three consecutive seasons that he topped 100 receptions and 1,000 yards. During that period, he amassed 307 receptions for 3,710 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Cutler was the Broncos quarterback for two of those seasons, throwing for 8,022 yards and 45 touchdowns.
However, the duo was broken up in 2008 when Josh McDaniels took over for the fired Mike Shanahan. McDaniels flirtation with current Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel led to Cutler’s trade to the Bears.
Marshall followed Cutler out of Denver the following season; traded to the Dolphins for a pair of 2nd round picks.
In Chicago, Marshall immediately becomes the team’s top wide receiver. The Bears have failed to land a true number one wide receiver for several seasons with Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, Roy Williams and Earl Bennett failing in that role in 2011.
The Dolphins chances of landing former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning are likely over with Marshall landing in Chicago unless this move is to clear cap space and facilitate the signing of Manning and wideout Reggie Wayne. Suffice it to say that the task for whoever is starting in Miami in 2012 just got a whole lot tougher.
In Chicago, there are plenty of questions with the Bears passing offense.
Can Cutler and Marshall reclaim their magic? Can Cutler produce more with offensive coordinator Mike Martz out of the picture? Will new offensive coordinator Mike Tice bring the team’s passing attack to a new level? Can the team fortify the offensive line to give the team’s passing attack a fighting chance?
Cutler is just 28 years of age and Marshall is 27. With five consecutive seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards, Marshall has plenty left to offer. Despite being battered for much of his time in Chicago, Cutler’s best years almost certainly lie ahead of him.
Cutler was a fantasy backup prior to this trade but with Marshall in the fold, he becomes a low-end starting option or high-end backup, assuming the team’s offensive line play improves. Look for Cutler to top the 3,666 passing yards he had in Chicago in 2009, his highest total with the team.
Marshall figures to put up numbers similar to his time in Miami, where he averaged 83.5 receptions for 1,114 yards and 4.5 touchdowns. Look for the touchdown numbers to improve.
Hester, Bennett and Knox will battle for the starting spot opposite Marshall but none of them will be solid fantasy options in 2012.
By: Dave Stringer — August 6, 2011 @ 12:45 pm
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Set adrift by the New York Jets, Braylon Edwards has finally found a new team. With the free agent market for his services not matching his expectations, Edwards will reportedly sign a one-year deal with the 49ers.
Is Edwards a good fit for Jim Harbaugh's west coast offense?
In San Francisco, Edwards will immediately move into the starting line-up with Michael Crabtree out with a foot injury. If Crabtree is out for an extended period of time, Edwards will start opposite Josh Morgan, who will likely move to a reserve role when Crabtree returns.
Given their salary cap situation, the expectation entering free agency was that the Jets would have a difficult time re-signing Edwards and that proved to be the case.
With Edwards after a lucrative long-term extension, the Jets moved quickly to sign Plaxico Burress, agreeing to a $3-million, one-year deal with the former Giant. Reports indicate Edwards will receive just $3.5-million from San Francisco.
Edwards decision to sign a short term contract with the 49ers in hopes of having a solid season and hitting the market as a free agent in 2012 is a curious one. While his size and speed would seem to indicate that is a good fit in the West Coast offense new 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh will run, Edwards has not proven adept at running short patterns, in part because of his questionable hands.
In New York, he was used almost exclusively on intermediate and deep routes. After a pair of disappointing seasons, he played well in 2010, making several big plays on his way to a 53-reception, 904-yard, seven-touchdown performance.
The issue for Edwards is that 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith has never proven capable of connecting with his wide receivers on deep patterns. His preferred option on those plays is tight end Vernon Davis and that is not expected to change in 2011.
Edwards’ upside in 2011 is similar to what he produced in 2010 and that would make him a WR3. However, the more likely scenario is a reduction in big plays and touchdowns. Grab him as a low end WR3 if you have to but feel more comfortable with him coming off your bench as a bye week fill in and injury replacement.
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