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2013 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 20 Wide Receivers (WR)

This article is a continuation of RotoBaller’s 2013 fantasy football rankings series.  Today we’ll be taking a look around the NFL at wide receivers (WR) to give you our top-20 fantasy rankings and analysis.  

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankings, sleepers, running backs, wide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the internwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

 

Wide Receiver Rankings (Top 20) – 2013 Fantasy Football

Calvin Johnson (cropped)1. Calvin Johnson (DET): We all know what kind of year Calvin had in 2012. He broke Jerry Rice’s all-time single season record for recieving yards with 1,964. He also had 122 catches. But I honestly didn’t even realize until now that he only had 5 touchdowns. I guess he left his owners speechless and nobody really talked about his touchdown production. That’s really just a reflection of how bad the Lions were last year. They never spent time in the redzone, so Megatron didn’t get those touchdowns he wanted. Considering the season before he had 96 catches 1,681 yards and 16TD’s, it’s pretty clear to see who the best WR in the NFL is. He’s so good and so productive, I would honestly consider taking him No. 1 overall in a non-PPR league. Yeah, I just said that. Considering rushing yards and touchdowns are worth the same as recieving yards and touchdowns, it’s pretty understandable why I would say that. The only reason I would talk myself out of it is because a solid running back is more valueable than a solid wide reciever.

2. Brandon Marshall (CHI): Marshall is coming off a career season in his first year as a Chicago Bear. He had an impressive 118 receptions, 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns. Not only did he nearly average 100 yards a game, but he had 75 first down catches and never fumbled. It’s honestly amazing to think how someone could have a year like that with Cutler at QB, and the recent struggles of the offensive line. I hate to say it, but that proves when Cutler’s not being a huge tool, he does actually have a decent arm. I don’t expect the coaching change to impact the passing-based offense the Bears ran last year. And the Bears must expect another year like that out of Marshall because they added nobody in the offseason at the WR position. They did add Martellus Bennett in the offseason to upgrade the TE position though. That shouldn’t effect Marshall’s numbers really.

3. A.J. Green (CIN): When I watched A.J. play at Georgia, I thought he would be a pretty good WR in the NFL. I had no idea he would be this good. Green is the perfect size for an NFL WR, he’s 6″4 207lbs.. Not to mention his 36-inch vertical. Dalton and A.J. run this really complicated pass play. It reminds me of what Joe Flacco ran in last year’s playoff with Boldin and Smith. The play is called, “Run a really deep route and I’m gonna throw the ball as far as I can while you jump in the air above everyone and catch it”. Look I know the pass plays are more complicated than that. But no matter what kind of pass play the Bengals are running, I see even the best defensive backs in the NFL struggle to cover Green. He led the NFL with 7 catches of 40+ yards in 2012 He’s had 162 receptions 2,407 yards and 18 touchdowns in his first 2 seasons in the NFL. And it’s not looking like anything or anyone will slow him down this season. I somewhat predict Green to at least have somewhere around 1,400 yards and 12 TD’s this year. Draft him with confidence.

4. Dez Bryant (DAL): You have to forgive me because I am about to kiss a lot of Dez Bryant ass for the next paragraph. First off, he was snubbed for the NFC Pro Bowl last year. Who cares about the Pro Bowl right? But it’s the principal, he deserved it over Victor Cruz. I mean Dez only had more first downs, catches, yards, touchdowns and he doubled the amount of 40+ yard catches Cruz had. Dez should have never been returning punts in the NFL. He’s to big and to injury prone. Everything started to click for Bryant at the WR position last season after Garrett made the decision to take him off special teams. It’s like punt returns were a distraction for him. I saw him being more agressive after the catch and he stopped dropping balls. Romo still has the arm for Dez to have another big year. But something has changed with Bryant over the offseason. I think he cut ties with some bad influences in his life and replaced them Michael Irvin and others. That’s a scary thought. Irvin as a good influence, but I really think Bryant is a changed man. He should cut down on the dropped passes this year and stay healthy. And boy has he looked good during training camp and preseason. Dez is just honestly a slightly better version of T.O. and he doesn’t even cry during post-game interviews. He had 92 receptions for 1,382 yards and 12 TD’s last year. I think he could have an even bigger year this year.

5. Andre Johnson (HOU): Johnson was really set out to prove he was healthy last season after miss 9 games due to injury in 2011. He proved it in a big way by posting huge numbers. He had 112 receptions, 1598 yards and 4TD’s. Andre did turn 32 this summer. But he just had to good of a season for me to believe he’s slowing down. Obviously a stat that sticks out is his low touchdown total. How did someone with that many yards only have 4 touchdowns? It’s simple. When the Texans open up the drive, Schaub target’s the hell out of Johnson. But once they get down in the redzone. The Texans nearly always give Arian Foster the football via air or ground. If he can get back to getting 8-9 touchdowns like seasons past, I think he definitley deserves this No. 5 spot.

6. Julio Jones (ATL): I think this is the year Julio jumps ahead of Roddy White as the No. 1 WR on the Falcons. It wasn’t really clear who was the better WR of the two last season. Even though many Falcon highlights would consist of deep touchdown bombs to Jones, White had nearly 1,400 yards recieving last year. They were basically even last season with White catching 157 more yards but Jones scoring 3 more touchdowns. I think we see a shift in stats for Falcon WR’s this season. Jones is gonna bring the house down this year. He reminds me of a faster version of A.J. Green. That’s a scary thought that a wide reciever like that could even exist. They are nearly identical in size and weight, they were drafted within 1 pick of each other and they played SEC football. Jones had double digit touchdown’s last season and had 5 catches go for 40+ yards. I also like how he’s guranteed to play indoors for at least half the season. I don’t think a lot of people realize how tough it can be on WR’s to play in places like Chicago and New England at the end of the season. While those guys will be playing in the freezing rain or snow, Jones will be catching footballs in a air conditioned stadium. And when are the most important fantasy games being played? At the end of the season when the bad weather starts up. I’m expecting a really big year out of him in 2013.

7. Demaryius Thomas (DEN): It was basically a Roddy White Julio Jones type situation in Denver last year with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Both had over 1,000 yards and put up big touchdown totals.Thomas was set out to prove he would be Peyton Manning’s No. 1 WR last season. He came pretty close to doing that. Thomas had 94 receptions 1,434 yards with 10 touchdowns last year. His yards were good for the 4th highest total by any WR. He also averaged an impressive 6 yards after the catch. Considering how well Manning looked in his first season as a Bronco, that is a very good thing for fantasy owners of Thomas. The addition of Welker will eat into a little bit of him and Decker’s numbers but Manning will be putting it in the air all season. Plenty of WR love to go around in Denver in 2013. Expect Thomas to be right in the middle of it.

8. Vincent Jackson (TAM): Jackson finished the 7th ranked WR in the NFL by the end of the 2012 season. He put up huge numbers in a career year, 72 receptions, 1,384 yards and 8TD’s. Jackson is a big physical WR at 6″5 230lbs.. Freeman and him could easily have another outstanding season like last year. I honestly can’t think of a single reason why Jackson would struggle in 2013. He’s had a decent track record of staying healthy, playing a full season in 6 out of 8 year’s in his career. I think turnovers are one of the most annoying things players can do in fantasy. Every year, millions of teams will lose a close matchup by 2 points or less. That Monday morning after they lose, GM’s usually scan over the roster to find out what went wrong. And 9 times out of 10, someone got negative 2 points from coughing up the football. It’s usually the RB because of how many touches they get. But WR’s fumble too. Not Jackson though, he’s only lost a fumble 1 time in his 108 game career! Just to show you even elite WR’s lose the football, Megatron and Demaryius Thomas combined for 6 lost fumbles last season.

9. Victor Cruz (NYG): Raise your hand if you were able to get Cruz off the waiver wire in 2011 (raises hand). Somehow Cruz found a way to improve his reception and touchdown total last season. But he had 444 yards less than he did in 2011. That’s hard to believe considering he had 12 more targets last season. He went from averaging 7.4 YAC (yards after catch) in 2011 to just 3.8 YAC in 2012. So it sounds like defenses really made adjustments on how they covered Cruz. They brought over more safety help because he made so many corners miss in coverage and trying to tackle him. The main value in Cruz is knowing he’s Eli’s No. 1 WR. Look for him to have another great season being the main target on the Giants offense.

10. Marques Colston (NO): Colston is still an underrated No. 1 WR in arguably the NFL’s most premiere passing offense. Marques claim’s that he’s not 100% from experiencing plantar fasciitis dating back to the beginning of last season. Despite his injury, he still finished up the season ranked the 11th among fantasy WR’s. Colston has had more than 1,000 yards in 6 of his 7 NFL season’s. The one season Colston didn’t have 1,000 yards was because he missed 5 games to due an injury. So obviously you will get plenty of value out of Colston as long as he stay’s healthy. With the departure of Devery Henderson, Brees is gonna need more out of Colston now more than ever. Colston’s numbers shouldn’t be that much different than last season. Expect a 1,200 yards 10TD season out of him.

11. Larry Fitzgerald (ARI): It’s hard to believe Fitzgerald is just one year removed from a 80 catch 1,411 yard 8 touchdown season. Boy did he hit a wall last year. In no fault of his own though. The Cardinals supplied him with a horrid options at quarterback. I wasted an early 3rd round pick on Fitzgerald in my money league and it hurt. He only had 798 yards and 4 touchdowns. I know most people think Palmer won’t be any better then Kolb and Skelton, but he will. Not saying Palmer will have 5,000 yards this season, but I think he will be good enough to get Fitzgerald back on the elite fantasy radar. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fitzgerald finished with around 1,200 yards and 7-8 touchdowns.

12. Reggie Wayne (IND): Wayne deserves to be in this No. 11 spot more than anyone not listed yet. If you read my QB rankings, I’m expecting Luck to have a great season. Wayne had a huge year last season. He had 106 receptions 1,355 yards and 5TD’s. Reggie is starting to turn into the ageless wonder, turning 35 later this season. I know it’s preseason but Wayne only played 2 quarters vs. the Browns this week and had 7 catches for 79 yards. He looked just as sharp as last year if not better. He’s clearly Andrew Luck’s No. 1 WR. Look for Wayne to largely benefit being the main target on the Colt’s offense again this season.

13. Roddy White (ATL): White had a really solid season last year with 92 receptions, 1,355 yards and 7TD’s. Roddy has come a long way from his performances as a rookie and 2nd year player. He struggled heavily in his first 2 seeasons with dropped passes after the Falcons spent a first round pick on him in 2005. Roddy has been a dominating NFL WR since 2007. If I were to take his lowest totals in any given season sine 2007 it would be 82 receptions, 1,153 yards and 6 TD’s. That’s crazy. He’s had 1,300 yards or more in 3 straight seasons. That’s some serious consistent production from the WR out of UAB. With Matt Ryan as his QB, fantasy managers should have no real reason to not draft White this season. Look for him to have another productive season in 2013.

14. Eric Decker (DEN): With the season Demaryius Thomas had, and the addition of Wes Welker, Decker has still not got the attention he deserves from fantasy owners who have drafted so far. He ended up having a career year last season with 85 receptions, 1,064 yards and 13 touchdowns. That was good enough to rank him the 7th best WR in 2012. His touchdown total (13) was good enough for the second most by any WR last year. The only negative things I can think of about Decker is he won’t be repeating his touchdown total from last year. Unfortunately his number of targets will decrease with Welker being the slot WR this season. Decker looked sharp in the Broncos third preseason game. He only played the first 2 quarters and had 6 catches for 66 yards.

15. Randall Cobb (GB): Cobb had a pretty good season in 2012. He had 80 receptions, 954 yards and 8 TD’s. Those are pretty good numbers considering he only had 20 yards in week 2 and negative 1 yard in week 3. With Greg Jennings gone and Jordy Nelson’s health status in the air, Cobb and Jones are looking to take over the Packers offense again this season. I think it possible Cobb could have 1,300 yards and have double digit touchdown numbers in 2013. Cobb has an even higher value in leagues that count return yards. He served as a kick returner and punt returner for the Packers last season. He had 1,256 return yards and a return touchdown. Look for Cobb to have a great season.

16. Steve Smith (CAR): Smith turned 34 this year. But just like Reggie Wayne, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. How does someone who’s 5″9 185 lbs. have over 11,000 career receiving yards? Because Smith might be pound for pound the quickest, toughest WR the NFL has ever seen. Even though Smith had 1,174 yards last season, he only had 4TD’s. His numbers suffer from the Panthers lack of production getting in the red zone, and being successful in the red zone. Smith still remains the one and only main target on the Panthers WR corp. 1,200 yards and 6-7 touchdowns is a pretty accurate projection for Smith this season.

17. Anquan Boldin (SF): This is a pretty high rank considering Boldin hasn’t had a 1,000 yard season in 3 years. He’s also only had 7 total touchdowns his last 2 seasons combined. All that changes this year. I know Flacco’s arm helped, but Boldin looked amazing in the playoffs last season. That proved to me he still has the athleticism to get open all over the football field. Kaepernick has the arm strength to get Boldin the ball deep down the sidelines. With Crabtree out with an achilles injury, Boldin is gonna be overloaded with targets this season. I would almost describe this QB-WR combo a match made in heaven. It might be a risk taking Boldin in front of guys like Wes Welker and James Jones, but remember those guys aren’t even considered the No. 1 WR on their own team. I think drafting Boldin should pay off this season.

18. Wes Welker (DEN): How does someone who had 240 receptions 2,923 yards and 13 TD’s the past 2 seasons not even be ranked in the top 15? Because I honestly have no idea what kind of year Welker will have this year. I can just tell you it will be highly productive like seasons past. He won’t be getting an NFL high 175 targets like he did last season. Welker will have an awesome year. I just don’t know as far as numbers what to predict between him and Manning. But I’m sure it won’t take long for Welker and Manning to build chemistry. It’s a heavily talented, but packed WR corp in Denver.

19. James Jones (GB): This is a really low rank for someone who lead the NFL in touchdowns last season. I’m not saying he won’t have double digits in touchdowns this year but I don’t think he gets 14 again. Jones only had 64 receptions 784 yards last season. But then again I did speak earlier on how Cobb and him should benefit from Jennings out of the game-plan entirely, and Nelson’s questionable health status. Aaron Rodgers is gonna throw 30-40 touchdowns this season, so he’s gotta throw them to somebody. And Jones proved last year he can be counted on in the redzone.

20. Torrey Smith (BAL): Smith is gonna receive a heavy work-load this year. Not only did Boldin leave, but Dennis Pitta suffered a season-ending hip injury during preseason. Knowing that, the sky is the limit for Smith and Flacco this season. Smith has a lot of speed to get open downfield. He had 5 catches of 40+ yards last season. That’s how you rack up fantasy points quick. Look for Smith to have his first 1,000 yard season.

 

Here are some more fantasy football rankings articles for your drafts. Let’s win some leagues!

 

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By popular demand, RotoBaller.com has now launched the fantasy football chatroom! Get involved with some real-time NFL talk, ask your fantasy football questions, read other discussions, or feel free to chime in and reply back with your own 2 cents. Remember you can ask the RotoBaller staff any questions, and we’ll reply back to you as quickly as possible.  Make a call to the RotoBaller chatroom and get some live advice.

 


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2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Running Backs (RBs)

This article is a continuation of RotoBaller’s 2013 fantasy football running backs series.  Today we’ll be taking a look around the NFL at some sleeper running backs (RB) on draft day, and give you our fantasy analysis.

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankingssleepersrunning backswide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the interwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

 

2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers – Running Backs

Following the first three weeks of NFL preseason play, here are three solid running back sleepers to consider on fantasy football draft day.  I’ve put these RBs in order of their potential fantasy return, based on your draft-day investment and their current ADPs.

 

Shane Vereen, RB (New England Patriots): There has been a lot of turnover on offense for New England in 2013, with the departures of Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Aaron Hernandez, and Rob Gronkowski a question mark for the start of the season.  Tom Brady and the mad scientist Belichick will be cooking up creative ways to throw the ball and score points, as always. But the receivers will just be different in 2013, especially at the start of the year, which opens up opportunities for others to emerge.  Enter Shane Vereen, currently listed on the depth charts as the Patriot's third-down running back.  He's a young talent, and can play all over the field, which will provide him more opportunities to touch the ball (a la Randall Cobb). He may be lining up at running back, as a slot wide receiver, and even as an outside receiver.  With an ADP around 68, his draft-day price is still a good deal, especially in PPR leagues. Consider Vereen a high-end flex option, with upside for more in a Patriots offense that can explode at any time.

Knowshon Moreno, RB (Denver Broncos): The backfield situation in Denver is a messy one right now, with no real running back emerging as the go-to guy.  Ronnie Hillman was expected to be the opening day starter, but he's now fumbled three times in two preseason games.  Even the Denver Post believes that the Broncos can't go into the season with Hillman as the starter.  Monte Ball has been decent, but there are concerns with his ability to protect Peyton Manning.  Enter Knowshon Moreno, who could be a sneaky pick for your team on fantasy draft day.  With an ADP around 207, Moreno has been an afterthought in fantasy drafts, but shouldn't  be an afterthought of yours on draft day. Think of him as a late-round target, because if Moreno begins the year as the starting running back for the Denver Broncos, he can hold solid fantasy value.  Anyone getting playing time and consistent touches in Denver's potent offense has the upside to produce in fantasy.

Jonathan Dwyer, RB (Pittsburgh Steelers): Last week, rookie NFL running back Le'Veon Bell went down with a foot injury, and is expected to miss up to six weeks, if not more.  Jonathan Dwyer immediately becomes an interesting name for fantasy football drafts, since he's expected to be the Week 1 starter and to get a decent amount of carries and looks in the Pittsburgh offense.  Isaac Redmond will most likely be getting carries as well, but Dwyer will chair the committee and get the most of the opportunities in the near term.  If he can separate himself with solid production, Dwyer will have the opportunity to dominate the backfield situation in Pittsburgh.  While Dwyer isn't an elite talent, he can catch some passes and runs tough.  Pittsburgh likes to run the ball, and an ADP around 180 makes him a draft day deal.  Target Dwyer as a running back flex option, with RB2 upside in the right situations.

Update: Jonathan Dwyer was surprisingly release by the Steelers, and is no longer on the fantasy football radar for 2013.  The Pittsburgh coaches were tired of his work ethic, and the fact that he showed up to camp overweight.  Isaac Redman immediately becomes a much more interesting name for fantasy football drafts, as he will be the starting running back until Le'Veon Bell returns.  Felix Jones and LaRod Stephens-Howling may get some touches, but Redman will get the majority of the work, and have the first chance at leading the Steelers running back committee.  Although Redman is a mediocre talent, he should be targeted as a running back flex option, with RB2 upside in the right situations.

 

Here are some more fantasy football articles about running backs & sleepers.  Let’s win some leagues!

 

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By popular demand, RotoBaller.com has now launched the fantasy football chatroom! Get involved with some real-time NFL talk, ask your fantasy football questions, read other discussions, or feel free to chime in and reply back with your own 2 cents. Remember you can ask the RotoBaller staff any questions, and we’ll reply back to you as quickly as possible.  Make a call to the RotoBaller chatroom and get some live advice.

 




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2020 Fantasy Football Advice 2020 Fantasy Football Projections & ADP Analysis Featured Baseball RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

2013 Fantasy Football Preseason Rankings: Quarterback (QB)

This article is a continuation of RotoBaller’s 2013 fantasy football rankings.  Today we’ll be taking a look around the NFL at quarterbacks (QB) to give you our QB fantasy rankings and analysis.  

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankings, sleepers, running backs, wide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the internwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

 

Quarterback Rankings – 2013 Fantasy Football

QB1: Probable Supernovas

Aaron Rodgers 2008 (cropped)

  1. Aaron Rodgers - Of all the players in the top half of this list, Rodgers is the only one unquestionably in his prime. That prime has produced top-tier consistency every year since 2009. If your league penalizes guys who put up 4,000 yards, 35+ TDs, and a passer rating of 100+, don't draft this guy.
  2. Drew Brees - No one will chuck the rock more than Brees. He's a known stat-padder, and now he's piloting the Saints offense for Sean Payton's vengeance tour.

 

QB1: Rock Solid

  1. Tom Brady - He'll put up a few clunkers this season against teams that have his number, such as Baltimore, but for every one of those, he'll give you eight or nine games of merciless shredding, toying with the opposition in vintage Golden Boy fashion.
  2. Peyton Manning - He's old now, so gone are the days when he could string together four-play TD drives with ease. He can't throw with the deep accuracy that he once showed. Still, he has perhaps the league's best set of receivers, terrible divisional opponents and a banged-up defense that may get him into shootouts pretty often.
  3. Matt Ryan - Ryan's trajectory is on the upswing. His outside WRs are probably the best pair in the league. Atlanta also added a pass-catching element in Steven Jackson that Michael Turner couldn't provide last year. Tony Gonzalez's age is a concern, as he was such a big red-zone weapon a year ago.

 

QB1: High upside, Slight Risk

  1. Cam Newton - He's his team's goal-line option, probably the only one on this list for whom that is consistently true. That's because he stands 6'6" and weighs 240 lbs. On the downside, he simply is not an accurate enough passer to be able to toy with defenses week in and week out.
  2. Matthew Stafford - Stafford has the ultimate receiving weapon at his disposal in Calvin Johnson. That's enough to book 1,600 yards and 16 TDs with a single player. The addition of Reggie Bush adds another explosive element to the mix. On the downside, Stafford has battled health and consistency issues in his young career.
  3. Robert Griffin, III - He is the most athletically gifted QB in the league, and that means he has virtually unmatched upside in this tier. However, he has now torn ligaments in his left knee twice in a four-year span. Since so much of his value was linked to rushing yardage, questions abound as to how many points he can actually accrue on the ground to offset mediocre passing totals.
  4. Colin Kaepernick - Kaepernick might not be quite the sprinter that Griffin is, but he is more sturdily built. He also is playing under the tutelage of Jim Harbaugh, one of the most respected minds in the coaching ranks. He now needs to show that he can sustain a high level of play for more than half a season.
  5. Tony Romo - Dez Bryant is going to be a monster this season, and Romo will be the man delivering him the ball. Romo also has nice targets to throw to when Dez is triple-teamed. The risk lies in the inescapable fact that he's, well, Tony Romo, i.e., perceived as a choke artist.
  6. Russell Wilson - On yet another list, Wilson is knocked a peg below RGIII and Kaepernick because of height and arm strength. It will only be fitting then when Wilson will runs away with the MVP award this year and shoves it in everyone's faces.

 

QB2: Unsexy, But Dependable

  1. Andrew Luck - People are on Luck's jock way too early. They're seeing what Peyton Manning did in his second season and assuming Luck will do the same. The problem is that Luck's new offensive scheme calls for a power running game, rather than the spread attack that Manning mastered. He's not totally unsexy, especially since he is tremendously skilled, but the offensive system he finds himself in could limit his fantasy upside.
  2. Eli Manning - He's the most dependable player on this list in at least one regard: health. No current QB has started more consecutive games than he has. He also has a top-10 scoring offense. He just needs to cut down on turnovers.
  3. Andy Dalton - Is there anything unsexier than a redhead who refuses to take off his rubber wedding ring during training camp? He'd be sexier if he shaved tiger stripes into his ginger head. Nevertheless, a slew of weapons led by A.J. Green gives Dalton some solid upside.

 

QB2: Good Upside, Notable Risk

  1. Michael Vick - Chip Kelly's offense may come in and revolutionize football, giving Vick top-tier pass attempts. It could also expose his injury-prone frame to more season-ending hits.
  2. Carson Palmer - New coach Bruce Arians is know for throwing deep, and Palmer also finds himself playing with the best WR of his career. He's a capable gunslinger, and though he takes too many sacks and puts too few points on the board, he could nevertheless have a resurgent year in Arizona.
  3. Ben Roethlisberger - Pittsburgh has virtually no running game to speak of, so Big Ben will need to shoulder the load. Unfortunately, he also can't stay upright.
  4. Joe Flacco - His Super Bowl momentum, an admittedly dubious expectation, is what bumps him up from QB3 territory, despite the losses of Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta. He still has Ray Rice, one of the best all-around RBs in the game, and Torrey Smith, a true burner.

 

QB3: Could Produce, But Can’t Trust

  1. Jay Cutler - CFL offense
  2. Matt Schaub - Scheme issues
  3. Josh Freeman - Coach chemistry?
  4. Alex Smith - Checkdown champ
  5. Sam Bradford - Still waiting

 

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By popular demand, RotoBaller.com has now launched the fantasy football chatroom! Get involved with some real-time NFL talk, ask your fantasy football questions, read other discussions, or feel free to chime in and reply back with your own 2 cents. Remember you can ask the RotoBaller staff any questions, and we’ll reply back to you as quickly as possible.  Make a call to the RotoBaller chatroom and get some live advice.

 


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




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2020 Fantasy Football & NFL Rookies 2020 Fantasy Football Advice 2020 Fantasy Football Sleepers Advertorial (hidden from partners and app) Featured Baseball RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Using ADP To Plan Your Draft Strategy

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankingssleepersrunning backswide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the internwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

 

Finding 2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers by Using ADP

There's an old saying that goes something along the lines of "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."

I'm sure I butchered the famous Steinbeck quote, so forgive me, and while there may be truth in that statement, it's also true that nowhere in that statement does it say a person should not have a plan. It is very useful to plan things out in whatever you do, but a plan needs to be flexible. A plan needs to be able to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. A plan should never, ever be a strict, blind set of rules, especially when it comes to fantasy sports.

For example, let's say I have the fifth pick in my upcoming fantasy football draft. My plan would be to take Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson. That does not mean that if the four boneheads in front of me all pass on Adrian Peterson, I'm going to be bonehead number five, and still take Johnson. I'm grabbing Peterson, and probably my league's championship.

I went into my draft with a plan, but my plan adapted to the circumstances of my draft, and because it was flexible, I put myself in a great position to win my league. This does not mean that you should go into your fantasy football draft expecting Adrian Peterson to fall to you at the fifth pick, but it does mean you should make a plan to target certain players, or positions, in certain rounds, and then adapt, and a great way to do that is by using ADP.

For those of you who don't know what ADP is, the initials stand for "average draft position," or the average spot at which a player has been selected in all fantasy drafts. Many of the online services such as ESPN and Yahoo! keep track of their own ADP, and it's readily available to view during your draft.

If you plan on doing research prior to your draft, (and if you're serious about winning, you should,) there are third-party websites out there like FFToolbox.com and fantasyfootballcalculator.com that track ADP for both standard and PPR formats.

 

So what's the point of using ADP to plan your draft strategy?

Well, by using ADP, and not just your league's preset rankings, it's easy to target players in the later rounds who, for one reason or another, are being drafted way later than they should be. Maybe a player is coming off of an injury, or has switched teams, or plays a position that is deep with talent. Players fall in drafts for all sorts of reasons, and every year there are plenty of guys who greatly outplay their draft positions.

I'm a firm believer that a league is not won in the first couple of rounds, but rather in the later rounds. In my experience, the fantasy owner who ends up getting the most bang for his buck out of the tail end of the draft, usually has one of the better teams.

I wait as late as possible to have my fantasy football draft, and lean heavily on ADP in my research. This year there seems to be a ton of guys I really like late in drafts. Here are four guys you can probably wait on based on their ADP, and get enormous value from. (All ADP numbers are from FFToolbox.com, and are based on 12-team, 15-round drafts).

 

2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers - ADP Draft Targets

Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers (ADP: 106)
Yes, Antonio Gates is old, and seems to always get banged up, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot to like here. Gates's catches and yards were down in 2012, but he still managed to get in the end zone seven times, the fourth most among all TEs. Injuries will always be a concern for Gates, but at an ADP of 106 (round 8), he can be had five rounds later than Rob Gronkowski, who comes with just as much injury risk. The TE position is deep, but if you plan on waiting, Gates could be more than serviceable.

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals (ADP: 145)
Fantasy football players learned three things from the Oakland Raiders in 2012: one, that team really stinks; two, Darren McFadden is made of glass; and finally, Carson Palmer can still chuck the rock. The former Raider managed to throw for over 4,000 yards and 22 touchdowns with receivers who could barely catch a cold last year. Palmer's numbers were quite comparable to Matthew Stafford's, who is currently being drafted seven rounds earlier than Palmer, who now gets to throw to Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Palmer should easily be able to match his 2012 production. Every fantasy football expert would tell you it's wise to wait on quarterbacks, especially if you play in a one QB league, and getting Carson Palmer with the 145th pick could pay big dividends.

Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers (ADP: 58)
Running backs rule the fantasy football world, so your best bet is to try to get two early in your draft. Unfortunately, sometimes that doesn't work out, and if you find yourself still needing a starting RB by the late-fourth or early-fifth round, San Diego's Ryan Mathews may be your best bet. Mathews's final 2012 stats are not that impressive: 707 yards, only one touchdown, and 3.8 yards per carry, but that was in an injury-plagued 12 games. What you may forget about Mathews is that he was being drafted in the first or second rounds of most drafts last year, and there has to be something to that. If Mathews can stay healthy, there's no reason why he can't rush for over 1,000 yards and five scores. Those numbers may not be great, but he could end up being a nice flex player for you. Either way, you won't find a better starting RB in your draft where Mathews is currently being selected.

Greg Jennings, WR, Vikings (ADP: 82)
Greg Jennings is not that far removed from being the number one receiver on a Super Bowl winning team, and while nobody will ever confuse his new QB Christian Ponder with his former QB Aaron Rodgers, it's very possible that Jennings returns to "elite" receiver status in 2013. Injuries limited Jennings to only eight games in 2012, but he was still able to manage a healthy 36 receptions for 366 yards and four scores. Doubles those numbers for 16 games, and you got a very solid 72 catches, 732 yards, and eight touchdowns, all very reachable numbers for a guy with the talent of Jennings, and very good numbers for a receiver being selected in the late-sixth round. The Vikings are going to run the ball a ton, and Christian Ponder isn't exactly the next Joe Montana, but remember the huge numbers Percy Harvin was able to put up in Minnesota. Now that he's gone, his numbers have to go somewhere, and my bet is most of it will go to Jennings. He's Minnesota's number one wideout, and even with the tremendous depth at the WR position this year, you'd be hard pressed to find a number one receiver as late as Jennings can be had.

 

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By popular demand, RotoBaller.com has now launched the fantasy football chatroom! Get involved with some real-time NFL talk, ask your fantasy football questions, read other discussions, or feel free to chime in and reply back with your own 2 cents. Remember you can ask the RotoBaller staff any questions, and we’ll reply back to you as quickly as possible.  Make a call to the RotoBaller chatroom and get some live advice.

 




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2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers: A Look at Impact Rookies

This article is a continuation of RotoBaller’s 2013 fantasy football sleepers and rookies.  Today we’ll be taking a look around the NFL at potential impact rookies for fantasy football, and give you our fantasy analysis.  

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankingssleepersrunning backswide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the internwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

 

2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers - Impact NFL Rookies

There are lots of NFL rookies to be excited about this season and, while they are all talented, two  stand out as being best situated to make an impact for fantasy football.  I give you my favorite rookie picks below, and also look at three rookie honorable mentions.

My Top Picks

Tavon2013-8-15Tavon Austin (WR, St. Louis Rams): The Rams need a play-making receiver badly and Austin will be that guy. The biggest factor in a rookie being able to have a breakout season is playing time and Austin will get it on this new Rams offense. Austin’s ability to get yards after the catch has impressed everyone and his wide range of tools will make him indispensable. He’s fast and can return punts and lineup in the backfield. From all indications, his grasp of the playbook continues to improve and he is getting more confident with each opportunity on the field. He will consistently utilized by the Rams, much to the delight of those fantasy owners who are smart enough to snag him.

Giovanni Bernard (RB, Cincinnati Bengals): Bernard will be playing on a Bengals offense behind veteran running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis and, from all indications, the two are a perfect match for each other. Rather than playing second fiddle to Green-Ellis, Bernard’s explosiveness could help him split time with Green-Ellis on a regular basis. His most recent pre-season performance included a touchdown and 37 yards on seven carries. Bernard can also make the bigger receptions, like the 22-yarder he had in his pre-season performance against the Titans. If Green-Ellis gets hurt, look for Bernard to break out in a big way. He’s the type of player than can do it all and is on the perfect team to immediately make an impact.

 

Honorable Mentions

Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Minnesota Vikings): Patterson was drafted 29th overall by the Minnesota Vikings, and for good reason. His track and field accomplishments translate well onto the football field; he’s fast, strong, and can jump. His speed and quick movements make him very hard to tackle, resulting in high yardage. He will likely do some kick returns this season as well, and take over some of the plays that used to go to Percy Harvin. His kick-off return in his first pre-season performance showed off his arsenal of skills- strong, fast, and the ability to dodge tackles. Despite his impressive talent, playing with Christian Ponder might limit him a bit, especially with Adrian Peterson on the roster.

Robert Woods (WR, Buffalo Bills): Like Patterson, Woods is fast and his track and field experience from college helps his explosiveness on the field. He recently seemed to lock down the No. 2 role, opposite Stevie Johnson, and should hold on to the role barring unforeseen circumstances. He’s clearly talented but lack of an impressive throwing quarterback might limit him on a Bills offense that is run-heavy. There are several other young receivers in the mix, and splitting time with them throughout the year might result in a low-scoring year for Woods, fantasy-wise.

Joseph Randle (RB, Dallas Cowboys): While Randle was an early favorite, an outstanding training camp performance by teammate Lance Dunbar pushed Randle out of the No. 2 spot. Dunbar’s recently sprained foot has given Randle another chance to step up and prove himself to the Cowboys staff. His rookie mistakes have hurt him thus far, but if he can find consistency he should have a good shot to get major playing time. His athletic talent has been proven, now needs to focus on his mental intelligence. If he can improve his in-game decision-making and blocking skills, he’ll see play time, but I don’t expect him to post huge fantasy numbers in his first year.

 

Here are some more fantasy football articles about rookies & sleepers.  Let’s win some leagues!

 

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By popular demand, RotoBaller.com has now launched the fantasy football chatroom! Get involved with some real-time NFL talk, ask your fantasy football questions, read other discussions, or feel free to chime in and reply back with your own 2 cents. Remember you can ask the RotoBaller staff any questions, and we’ll reply back to you as quickly as possible.  Make a call to the RotoBaller chatroom and get some live advice.

 




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2013 Fantasy Football Draft Advice: Players With More to Prove

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankingssleepersrunning backswide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the internwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

 

As we approach the peak season for 2013 fantasy football drafts, I wanted to discuss a handful of NFL players who I think have more to prove before they can be completely trusted on your fantasy teams.  I am going to list a few guys at each position who need to show a little more before I can wholeheartedly endorse them as fantasy studs.

Remember, I'm not saying these guys can't or won't be fantasy football contributors in 2013.  But if we are talking about the fantasy elite, there may be some red flags on certain players - and I'm pointing these out before you go spending big draft day dollars on them.

 

2013 Fantasy Football Drafts - Players I Won’t Touch

Quarterbacks

Joe Flacco 2Joe Flacco (BAL) – Big contract, big Super Bowl win and big pressure usually leads to a let down season. It doesn't help that Flacco’s receiving corps is limping into the season. There is an ongoing debate about whether Flacco is an elite quarterback, but one thing is for sure: he’s not an elite ‘fantasy’ quarterback.

Colin Kaepernick (SF) – Despite the exciting breakthrough in 2012, I can see how part of his success came from the fact that nobody had seen him before. I need to see what Kaepernick can do through a full season before I put my fantasy team in his hands. Let’s see what he can do when defenses know his capabilities before elevating him to stardom.

Tony Romo (DAL) – He’s won his fair share of fantasy games for me in years past, but this season I’m staying away. Dallas has wholeheartedly committed to the running game, and though that should help Romo statistically in the turnover department, it probably means fewer yards and TDs for the signal caller.

 

Running Backs

C.J. Spiller (BUF) – This guy is lightning in a bottle. I don’t mean any disrespect to his talent, but I can see him missing time this year. If I somehow become a C.J. Spiller owner, I WILL own Fred Jackson behind him. Running back is a position in which I demand consistency, and hand-cuffing takes up a valuable roster spot.

Alfred Morris (WAS) – Two words: "Freshman Phenom." Teams didn't know who Alfred Morris was and they certainly didn't expect the pistol offense from the Washington Redskins or Robert Griffin III to be so good. Defenses will be better prepared for Morris. I’m not saying I wouldn't own Morris, but I don’t believe he’s worth the top-10 pick he’s currently touted for.

Chris Johnson (TEN) – Do you trust him? In 2010, he was amazing-- he talked the talk and walked the walk. Fast forward to today and we have games with fewer than 25 yards gained and zero touchdowns, with an occasional explosion for 150+ yards and two scores. Like I said above, I love consistency and Johnson isn’t it.

 

Wide Receivers

Randall Cobb (GB) – Many sites and experts grade him out higher than teammate Jordy Nelson, as did I in the Top 150 Rankings, but I can’t help but think: what has he done to deserve this? Sure, the departure of Greg Jennings might boost his stock and he’ll see some snaps, but I would own Jordy Nelson before Cobb.

Eric Decker (DEN) – Decker is a superb receiver, one of the best route runners and very underrated in the NFL, but the addition of Wes Welker might hinder his fantasy presence. Decker used to be the better security blanket for Peyton Manning, which you have to assume Welker will become. Decker will most likely see fewer looks, but still be a productive fantasy receiver.  I’m just not going to overpay for him.

Mike Wallace (MIA) – New wide receiver in a new location with a worse quarterback... sounds about right. Wallace is known for his deep-threat capabilities and getting down the field. My concern is if Ryan Tannehill will even have the time to wait for plays to develop enough to utilize the deep threat.  I wouldn't touch Wallace in the first six-to-seven rounds of a fantasy draft.

 

Tight Ends

Rob Gronkowski (NE) – What can I say-- I just don’t like partiers.  He’s the best in the game when healthy, but when you've had 27 offseason surgeries (exaggeration?), more than just a red flag pops up in my mind. Someone else can use that second- or third-round pick on him, good luck to you.

Tyler Eifert (CIN) – The 2013 first-round pick out of Notre Dame has been highly touted, but I can confidently say he should go undrafted in fantasy. Jermaine Gresham is still the no. 1 in Cincinnati and with looks going to A.J. Green, Gresham and Mohammad Sanu, I see more of bye week material for Eifert’s potential in 2013.

Rob Housler (ARI) – He’s 35% owned in Yahoo! Leagues…no, I don’t even think Carson Palmer is going to change his production. If anything, Palmer will look to his receivers more than last year’s quarterbacks did. I’m not on this bandwagon until he proves something this year.

 

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By popular demand, RotoBaller.com has now launched the fantasy football chatroom! Get involved with some real-time NFL talk, ask your fantasy football questions, read other discussions, or feel free to chime in and reply back with your own 2 cents. Remember you can ask the RotoBaller staff any questions, and we’ll reply back to you as quickly as possible.  Make a call to the RotoBaller chatroom and get some live advice.

 




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2013 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Handcuffs by Tiers

This article is a continuation of RotoBaller’s 2013 preseason fantasy football running backs series.  Today we’ll be taking a look around the NFL at running back (RB) handcuffs, and give you our fantasy analysis.  

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankingssleepersrunning backswide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the internwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

 

2013 Fantasy Football – Running Back Handcuffs

Following the first 2 weeks of NFL preseason play, here's a look around the NFL at each team's running backs - and who are the handcuffs (or backups) to target on fantasy football draft day.  I’ve put these running back handcuffs in order of their potential fantasy football return, based on their talent levels and supporting casts.  All handcuffs are in bold.

 

Tier 1

If one of these NFL running backs goes down with an injury, the backup has elite potential and could produce like a top-10 fantasy football running back. We highly advise picking up these handcuffs, especially if you own the primary running back.  Spend a mid-to-late round pick on draft day, and stash the backup running backs as bench players just in case.  This is football after all, where injuries occur week to week.

 

  • Arian Foster and Ben Tate (Houston Texans)
  • C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson (Buffalo Bills)
  • LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce (Baltimore Ravens)

 

Tier 2

If any of the primary NFL running backs in this tier get injured, the backup has an opportunity to become a solid fantasy football producer for an extended duration of time. I wouldn’t call these guys must-own handcuffs - but still advise you to spend a mid-to-late round pick on draft day, and stash the backup running back if you have the roster space.

 

  • Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard (Indianapolis Colts)
  • Alfred Morris and Roy Helu (Washington Redskins)
  • Reggie Bush and Mikel LeShoure (Detroit Lions)
  • Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen (New England Patriots)
  • BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard (Cincinnati Bengals)
  • Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram (New Orleans Saints)
  • Darren McFadden and Marcel Reese (Oakland Raiders)
  • Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers (Atlanta Falcons)
  • Isaac Redman and Le'Veon Bell, La'Rod Stephens-Howling (Pittsburgh Steelers) - updated
  • David Wilson and Andre Brown, TBD (New York Giants) - updated

Update: Bell unfortunately came down with a right foot injury, and is expected to miss up to six weeks with a small ligament tear. He should be downgraded in fantasy football drafts to a mid-to-late round pick, but still has the upside to contribute when healthy this year.

Update: Andre Brown unfortunately injured his left leg and is expected to miss at least 4-6 weeks with a small fracture. He should be downgraded in fantasy football drafts, to a late round stash at best. Brown still has the upside to contribute when healthy this year, but will be out for a while and can more realistically be left for the waiver wire in shallower leagues. Until Brown is ready, Michael Cox, Ryan Torrain or Da’Rel Scott will compete for the backup role behind David Wilson, and may have the potential to hold similar fantasy value as Brown if given similar opportunity. We’re thinking that rookie Michael Cox, a 6 foot, 220 lb bruiser, with average speed but great agility, can win this competition and carve out a role as the Giants’ number 2 running back.

 

Tier 3

If the primary NFL running back on the teams below gets injured, the backup could become a solid No. 2 or No. 3 running back option (RB2/RB3). Some of these handcuffs may share carries with another running back.  So it would make sense to own both players, until a single back emerges for the team, and outperforms the other backups options.

 

  • DeMarco Murray and Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar (Dallas Cowboys)
  • Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman, Knowshon Moreno (Denver Broncos)
  • Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, Ronnie Brown (San Diego Chargers)
  • DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert (Carolina Panthers) - updated
  • Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart (Minnesota Vikings)
  • Doug Martin and Peyton Hillis (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  • Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter (San Francisco 49ers) - updated
  • Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene (Tennessee Titans)
  • Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin (Green Bay Packers)

 

Tier 4 

If the primary NFL running back on the teams below gets injured, the backup could become a solid flex play (with upside for more).  Some of these handcuffs are on NFL teams with muddy running back situations, or the team itself won’t produce much fantasy football value for running backs.

 

  • Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis, Shaun Draughn (Kansas City Chiefs)
  • Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead, Zac Stacy (St. Louis Rams)
  • Matt Forte and Michael Bush (Chicago Bears)
  • Marshawn Lynch and Christine Michael, Robert Turbin (Seattle Seahawks)
  • Maurice Jones-Drew and Justin Forsett (Jacksonville Jaguars)
  • Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, Mike Gillislee (Miami Dolphins)
  • Trent Richardson and Brandon Jackson, Montario Hardesty (Cleveland Browns)
  • Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams (Arizona Cardinals)
  • Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell (New York Jets)

 

Here are some more fantasy football articles about running backs & sleepers.  Let's win some leagues!

 

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By popular demand, RotoBaller.com has now launched the fantasy football chatroom! Get involved with some real-time NFL talk, ask your fantasy football questions, read other discussions, or feel free to chime in and reply back with your own 2 cents. Remember you can ask the RotoBaller staff any questions, and we’ll reply back to you as quickly as possible.  Make a call to the RotoBaller chatroom and get some live advice.

 


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




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2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Rookie Wide Receivers

This article is a continuation of RotoBaller’s 2013 fantasy football sleepers.  Today we’ll be taking a look around the NFL at sleeper rookie wide receivers (WR), and give you our fantasy analysis.  

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankingssleepersrunning backswide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the internwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

 

2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers – Rookie Wide Receivers

Following the first 2 weeks of NFL preseason play, here are three solid rookie wide receiver sleepers to consider on fantasy football draft day.  I’ve put these rookies in order of their potential fantasy return, based on your draft-day investment.

 

DeAndre Hopkins, WR (Houston Texans): Drafted number 27 overall in the NFL draft, the Texans have high hopes for Hopkins this year. Hopkins is tall and fast, and more importantly has been impressive in his pre-season appearances. He’s shown an incredible catching radius, hauling in impressive receptions on a regular basis. With veteran Andre Johnson drawing double-coverage from team defenses this year, Hopkins will be left open to take advantage of one-on-one matchups. He has the intelligence to match his impressive athletic talent, and will make an immediate impact on the field. Matt Schaub has confidence in him and he will see plenty of targets this season.  Target him in the later rounds of your fantasy drafts, as he may have a big rookie campaign.

Kenbrell Thompkins, WR (New England Patriots): While Aaron Dobson was the early favorite in the Patriots' wide receiver competition, it appears Kenbrell Thompkins is gaining some ground.  In a completely rebuilt receiving core, there is plenty of room for Patriots rookies to shine this year. Thompkins seems to have Brady’s attention, getting five targets in the Patriots' game against the Buccaneers on Friday night. While he didn’t put up any wildly impressive numbers, the fact that he started over Dobson is a positive sign and a huge indicator. Dobson’s performance in camp has been slipping and Brady could be losing confidence in him. Bottom line is Brady's going to be throwing to an NFL rookie this season; it’s just a matter of which rookie wide receiver it will be.  And anyone acting as a primary target for Brady will hold fantasy value. Keep an eye on the race between Dobson and Thompkins, but my early money is on Thompkins.

Markus Wheaton, WR (Pittsburgh Steelers): With Mike Wallace out of the picture in Pittsburgh, there is room for a young NFL rookie wide receiver to make a splash this year for the Steelers.  Markus Wheaton is that guy. His teammates and coaches have been singing his praises throughout the preseason, and he's quickly becoming a training camp favorite. Wheaton already plays like a veteran, while working incredibly hard to learn the game and continue improving in the Steeler's offensive system. He’s made a few errors due to his inexperience, but should be able to shake those nerves with some more time on the NFL field. With Rothlisberger at the helm, and throwing the pigskin, Wheaton should see plenty of pass targets in 2013.  This should all translate into great fantasy value, especially with Wheaton's cheap draft price in the later rounds.

 

Here are some more fantasy football articles about rookies, sleepers & wide receivers.  Let’s win some leagues!

 

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By popular demand, RotoBaller.com has now launched the fantasy football chatroom! Get involved with some real-time NFL talk, ask your fantasy football questions, read other discussions, or feel free to chime in and reply back with your own 2 cents. Remember you can ask the RotoBaller staff any questions, and we’ll reply back to you as quickly as possible.  Make a call to the RotoBaller chatroom and get some live advice.

 




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2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Breakthrough Wide Receiver Candidates

This article is a continuation of RotoBaller’s 2013 fantasy football sleepers.  Today we’ll be taking a look around the NFL at sleeper wide receivers (WR), and give you our fantasy analysis.  

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankingssleepersrunning backswide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the internwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

 

2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers – Breakthrough Wide Receivers

Torrey Smith (WR, BAL) – If there is one NFL wide receiver that has the capability to bust onto the scene, and into the elite fantasy tier in 2013, it’s Torrey Smith. Flacco doesn’t have Anquan Boldin anymore, Pitta recently went down with a season-ending injury, and Smith has the physicality to be more than just a deep threat receiver. He needs to run crisper routes and get better timing with Flacco, but I bet he takes a big jump forward this season from his already solid 2011 and 2012 campaigns.

T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND) – He ended last year on a tear, and more of the same should continue this NFL season. It seems like T.Y. Hilton and Andrew Luck have formed a rapport that is needed to succeed in the NFL, and when Reggie Wayne is getting all the defensive attention, Hilton knows where to find the holes in coverage.  Make sure to target this high upside talent in your approaching fantasy football drafts.

Earl Bennett (WR, CHI) – It seems like Bennett is a sleeper and breakout candidate year-in and year-out, but this year is different. Not only do you have the Vanderbilt connection between Bennett and Cutler, but he’s entrenched as the slot receiver in Coach Trestman’s new offense which should translate to many more targets. Brandon Marshall can’t do it all. Just be sure to check in on his injury status, as he was diagnosed with a concussion recently and is week-to-week.

Michael Floyd (WR, ARI) – Larry Fitzgerald will have to beat double coverage often this NFL season, and 2013 is Floyd’s opportunity to take advantage of more frequent and more explosive targets by new QB Carson Palmer. Palmer is smart enough to look towards Floyd, especially if Fitzgerald is being overwhelmed by opposing defenses. Floyd is the man who stands to gain the most in 2013 under Arizona's new-look passing attack.

Josh Gordon (WR, CLE) – He’s got the talent, and that's never been the issues.  Gordon's fantasy football success in 2013 will depend on whether or not 2nd year QB Brandon Weeden can get him the ball, and how often he's targeted in the offense. I think Gordon will eclipse 1,000 yards this season, but the potential TDs will remain a difficult factor to gauge for his fantasy football upside in 2013.

DeVier Posey (WR, HOU) – Posey is the ultimate stallion of darkhorses for 2013 fantasy football, but was getting rave reviews in Houston prior to the 2012 season - and was set to be the number 2 wide receiver in a strong offense, before he lost his 2012 season to injury. Many have forgotten about Posey this year and his abilities, but I personally think that he will be getting a lot of the passing targets and wide receiver production that others expect DeAndre Hopkins to get this NFL season.

 

===============

By popular demand, RotoBaller.com has now launched the fantasy football chatroom! Get involved with some real-time NFL talk, ask your fantasy football questions, read other discussions, or feel free to chime in and reply back with your own 2 cents. Remember you can ask the RotoBaller staff any questions, and we’ll reply back to you as quickly as possible.  Make a call to the RotoBaller chatroom and get some live advice.

 




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2013 Fantasy Football Preseason Rankings: Running Back (RB)

This article is a continuation of RotoBaller’s 2013 fantasy football rankings.  Today we’ll be taking a look around the NFL at running backs (RB), and give you our fantasy rankings and analysis.  

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankingssleepersrunning backswide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the internwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

 

Running Back Rankings – 2013 Fantasy Football

RB1: Runaway MVP Candidate

  1. Adrian Peterson - The year after an ACL tear is usually when players get back to pedestrian form. The year after the year after is usually when they return to their previous peak. See Jamaal Lewis in 2003, Tom Brady in 2010 and Wes Welker in 2011. What on earth is Peterson going to do for an encore to last year’s masterpiece?

 

RB1: Rock Solid

  1. Arian Foster - His yards per attempt has dipped in each of the last three years, as has his use in the passing game. Still, he’s such a dependable goal line runner that he warrants this spot.

  2. Marshawn Lynch - Since coming to Seattle, Lynch has given owners two straight seasons of top-5 production at his position. He’s also matchup-proof, twice running for more than 100 yards against the vaunted 49ers defense.

  3. Doug Martin - Martin’s upside is probably higher than anyone in this tier, or at least right there with Arian Foster, but unlike the guys ahead of him, he’s never done it for multiple seasons in a row. He’ll get his chance to prove his year-to-year consistency this season.

  4. Ray Rice - He didn’t win you many games last year, but he rarely lost you them either. He’s also been a modicum of consistency the last 4 seasons. Despite Bernard Pierce there to vulture carries, Rice will still be the focal point of the Ravens’ offense.

 

RB1: High Upside, Slight Risk

  1. CJ Spiller - He’s knocking on the door of superstardom, but he’s got to prove it first. Last year he had explosive games on few touches early in the season, but as Fred Jackson went down, so did Spiller’s efficiency. His new coach Doug Marrone wants to feed him the ball “until he pukes,” but can Spiller handle that workload at less than 200 lbs.?

  2. Jamaal Charles - He’s very similar to Spiller in terms of skillset, and more importantly, has a longer resume. He’s also playing in an offense that has proven success in the NFL, unlike Spiller. Charles is ranked below Spiller here because of a sprained foot suffered recently in the preseason.

  3. LeSean McCoy - Although not the burner the previous two backs are, McCoy is likewise used in the passing game to great effect. Look for McCoy to bounce back somewhere between last year’s disappointment and 2011’s breakout 20-TD campaign.

  4. Trent Richardson - Not only does Richardson have the physical tools to be an All-Pro, but he’s also got a supporting cast on the upswing. He just needs to improve upon his dreadful 3.6 YPC average from last year, as well as avoid nagging injuries that have caused him to miss practice time over the last two seasons.

 

RB2: Unsexy, But Dependable

  1. Frank Gore - Gore once had a reputation as injury-prone, but since Jim Harbaugh’s arrival, he has played in every game over the last two seasons. He has also had two top-12 finishes, producing nearly identical rushing stats (1200+ yds and 8 TDs). Despite Gore’s numbers falling a bit with Kaepernick at the helm, this remains a run-first offense.

  2. Steven Jackson - He’s finished in the top 16 in the league every year for the last 9. He’ll finally have a passing game that opposing defenses fear. Age and injuries limit his upside.

  3. Alfred Morris - He was an absolute revelation last year, rushing for 1600 yards and 13 TDs. He’s higher on other lists than here because it was only one year. He also doesn’t catch passes very often.

  4. Stevan Ridley - He’s the most reliable touchdown producer from here on out, and with rumors the Patriots could shift their offense to a ground attack, the hard-charging Ridley could benefit. Ball security issues dampen expectations.

  5. Matt Forte - He’s a consistent mid-range RB2 over the last 2 seasons, and is one of the best at picking up yards from scrimmage. Unfortunately he doesn’t put the ball in the end zone with the regularity needed to move into a higher tier.

 

RB2: Good Upside, Notable Risk

  1. Chris Johnson - He can take a ball to the house at any time. Over the course of a season, that will average out to a dependable 1500 yds and 5 TDs. Unfortunately, if he doesn’t break off long runs, he will lose you games. Usually you can’t predict when that will happen.

  2. Reggie Bush - Previously, Jahvid Best had the ability to take over games as the pass-catching back in this Lions offense. Bush has the talent and the scheme to be able to do that.

  3. DeMarco Murray - Murray can be a complete back in the NFL, on a very good offense. Foot injuries, however, are scary for RBs, and he’s recovering from one.

  4. Maurice Jones-Drew - Like Murray, MJD is recovering from a foot injury too. While his resume is better than Murray’s, his supporting cast decidedly isn’t.

  5. Darren Sproles - Since coming to New Orleans, Sproles have averaged over 75 yards from scrimmage per game, prorating to 1200 yards a season, plus nearly double-digit TDs when kick returns are included. He’ll never be the focal point of this offense, but he can help your team win games.

  6. David Wilson - He produced well last year when given the chance, but he might not quite have the trust of his coach yet.  He was supposed to be splitting time with Andre Brown, but that all changed with the recent injury to Brown.  Wilson should see increased work in goal line and third down situations, and it's still unclear who his backup will be, and what role they will play.  Wilson gets a bump up in our rankings, with his big time upside.

 

RB3: Could Produce, But Can’t Trust

  1. Lamar Miller - With only 51 career attempts, ranking Miller higher than this requires a lot of faith, especially for an offensive line with question marks.

  2. Daryl Richardson - He has to win the starting job first, but signs point to that happening. If it does, he’ll garner the lion's share of carries on an offense on the upswing.

  3. Darren McFadden - He’s never played 16 games in his career, and outside of his monster 2010 season, he hasn’t even finished in the top 25 once.

  4. Ahmad Bradshaw - He’ll be in line to get a over 200 attempts in the new Indy offense, but Bradshaw has battled foot problems in the recent past.

  5. Eddie Lacy - With the recent season-ending injury to DuJuan Harris, the coaches confirmed Lacy will have a bigger role in the offense.  Lacy gets a bump up in our rankings with the increase workload, his upside and playing on a great offense.
  6. Ryan Mathews - Mathews had more broken clavicles last year than rushing touchdowns. It’s a make or break year for him.

  7. Le’Veon Bell - Bell is the highest rookie on the board, but as previously detailed on RotoBaller.com, there are question marks surrounding his workload last year, and Big Ten pedigree, and the Steelers’ running game in general.

    Update: Bell unfortunately came down with a right foot injury, and is expected to miss up to six weeks with a small ligament tear. He should be downgraded in fantasy football drafts to a mid-to-late round pick, but still has the upside to contribute when healthy this year.

  8. Chris Ivory - Ivory has averaged over 5 yards per carry in his NFL career, albeit on limited touches. Despite that, he was deemed expendable and shipped off to one of the worst offenses in the NFL. He also has never proved he can be the bell-cow for a full season.

 

RB4: Muddy Situations, With Glimmer of Hope

  1. TBD, Andre Brown - Platoon, Brown injured

    Update: Andre Brown unfortunately injured his left leg and is expected to miss at least 4-6 weeks with a small fracture. He should be downgraded in fantasy football drafts, to a late round stash at best. Brown still has the upside to contribute when healthy this year, but will be out for a while and can more realistically be left for the waiver wire in shallower leagues. Until Brown is ready, Michael Cox, Ryan Torrain or Da'Rel Scott will compete for the backup role behind David Wilson, and may have the potential to hold similar fantasy value as Brown if given similar opportunity. We're thinking that rookie Michael Cox, a 6 foot, 220 lb bruiser, with average speed but great agility, can win this competition and carve out a role as the Giants' number 2 running back.

  2. Giovani Bernard - Lightning

  3. Montee Ball - Backup

  4. Law Firm - Plodder

  5. Ronnie Hillman - Small

  6. Shane Vereen - Injuries

  7. Vick Ballard - Platoon

  8. DeAngelo Williams - Killa’ Cam

  9. Rashard Mendenhall - KYS

  10. Isaac Redman - Stop gap, committee

 

RB5: Need To Be Rostered

  1. Bernard Pierce

  2. Bryce Brown

  3. Ben Tate

  4. Mark Ingram

  5. Shonn Greene

  6. Mikel Leshoure

  7. Danny Woodhead

  8. Johnathan Franklin

  9. Pierre Thomas

  10. Jacquizz Rodgers

  11. Michael Bush

 

===============

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2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Rookie Running Backs

This article is a continuation of RotoBaller’s 2013 fantasy football sleepers.  Today we’ll be taking a look around the NFL at sleeper rookie running backs (RB), and give you our fantasy analysis.  

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankingssleepersrunning backswide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the internwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

 

2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers - Rookie Running Backs

Following the first week of NFL preseason play, here are three solid rookie running back sleepers to consider on fantasy football draft day.  I've put these rookies in order of their potential fantasy return, based on your draft-day investment.

Montee Ball, RB (Denver Broncos): With Peyton Manning as his quarterback, Ball is in the perfect position to have an impressive rookie year. He was the all-time D-I touchdown leader and was undervalued in the NFL draft. Denver is a pass-heavy offense and will need strong pass protection. If Ball can protect Manning it will be what sets him apart from Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman, potentially earning him the number one spot. Even if he shares time with Moreno and Hillman, Ball has potential as the goal-line back and could see the end zone often, just like he did in college. Denver will likely go with the hot-hand approach with these three, and I expect Ball to rise to the challenge.

Zac Stacy, RB (St. Louis Rams): With the vacancy left by Stephen Jackson, it appears that Daryl Richardson will take over as number one running back for the Rams. The St. Louis coaching staff has also indicated that they will take a committee approach to their running back situation this year, which will give Stacy plenty of opportunities on the field. With Isaiah Peed suspended for the first game of the NFL season, Stacy could see some game time right off the bat. Stacy is the largest of the three backs, and his stocky build sets him apart from his teammates as the best option for goal line carries. As the conference's fourth ranked rusher at Vanderbilt, Stacy's experience in the SEC has him well prepared for the tough NFC West. Look for him to see plenty of game time this season and hold value for fantasy owners in both rushing yards and goal line opportunities.

Christine Michael, RB (Seattle Seahawks): Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch has the starting role locked up, but Michael is making a very interesting case for the number two spot. He is fast and strong, and he makes very purposeful, well-executed movements in his runs. Robert Turbin didn't play in Thursday’s NFL preseason game against the San Diego Chargers and Michael took most of the playing time. He rushed 16 times for 89 yards and coaches have been generally impressed with his performance. His speed will ensure that he earns plenty of yardage and sees the end zone at least a few times. The sophomore Turbin has been lazy in his efforts to learn the playbook and Michael has made it obvious that he is ready to work hard and know his assignments, which may give the rookie the edge in the long run. He is a risk, but he could also pay-off in your fantasy football draft.

 

Here are some more fantasy football articles about running backs, rookies & sleepers.  Let's win some leagues!

 

===============

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2013 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 150

This article is an introduction to RotoBaller’s 2013 fantasy football rankings.  Today we’ll be taking a look around the NFL at the top 150 players for fantasy football, and give you our fantasy analysis.  

RotoBaller.com’s team of writers will be releasing more of their fantasy football rankings, sleepers and analysis over the next few weeks to help get you prepared for the NFL season and your 2013 drafts.  Stay tuned!

 

2013 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 150

 

  1. Adrian Peterson (cropped)Adrian Peterson (RB, MIN)
  2. Arian Foster (RB, HOU)
  3. Ray Rice (RB, BAL)
  4. Marshawn Lynch (RB, SEA)
  5. Doug Martin (RB, TB)
  6. Jamal Charles (RB, KC)
  7. Alfred Morris (RB, WAS)
  8. Calvin Johnson (WR, DET)
  9. Trent Richardson (RB, CLE)
  10. Maurice Jones-Drew (RB, JAX)

 

Notes: If I had to pick two in this group that I’m hesitant about, it’s the second-year backs in Doug Martin and Alfred Morris. After strong first years, expectations are higher and they will probably be more targeted by defenses. I love Trent Richardson and MJD; the Browns have said that T-Rich will get 300 touches and all reports indicate MJD is 100%.

 

  1. Lorenzo Alexander tackling C.J. Spiller, 2013 Pro BowlC.J. Spiller (RB, BUF)
  2. Steven Jackson (RB, ATL)
  3. Matt Forte (RB, CHI)
  4. A.J. Green (WR, CIN)
  5. Jimmy Graham (TE, NO)
  6. LeSean McCoy (RB, PHI)
  7. Brandon Marshall (WR, CHI)
  8. Drew Brees (QB, NO)
  9. Stevan Ridley (RB, NE)
  10. Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

 

Notes: From spots 10-20, we see more WR/QB in the picture. Brandon Marshall is sure to see less action as the Bears spread the wealth, and Ridley lacks consistency.  But there is excitement for Atlanta’s new RB Steven Jackson who catches out of the backfield, and say what you want, but Brees has outdone Aaron Rodgers two years in a row in fantasy points.

 

  1. Chris Johnson (RB, TEN)
  2. Frank Gore (RB, SF)
  3. Julio Jones (WR, ATL)
  4. Peyton Manning (QB, DEN)
  5. Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI)
  6. Dez Bryant (WR, DAL)
  7. DeMarco Murray (RB, DAL)
  8. Demaryius Thomas (WR, DEN)
  9. Reggie Bush (RB, DET)
  10. Darren Sproles (RB, NO)

 

Notes: In this tier, I like Larry Fitzgerald who now has Carson Palmer as a QB. Palmer knows how to target his stars, he just didn’t have one in Oakland. Murray should be fun to own as the Cowboys are making no secret of committing to the run.

 

  1. Rob Gronkowski (TE, NE)
  2. Roddy White (WR, ATL)
  3. Randall Cobb (WR, GB)
  4. Cam Newton (QB, CAR)
  5. Dwayne Bowe (WR, KC)
  6. Jordy Nelson (WR, GB)
  7. David Wilson (RB, NYG)
  8. Tom Brady (QB, NE)
  9. Andre Johnson (WR, TEX)
  10. Danny Amendola (WR, NE)

 

Notes: Maybe I’ll get some flack for putting Newton over Brady, but there are a lot of questions in New England with receivers, to say nothing of the specter of a Brady injury that we've just seen come out of Patriots camp, and Newton rushes for the TDs. It’s take-your-pick between Cobb/Nelson in Green Bay-- both will produce nicely and are a worthy of a pick in this range.

 

  1. Reggie WayneReggie Wayne (WR, IND)
  2. Vincent Jackson (WR, TB)
  3. Lamar Miller (RB, MIA)
  4. Victor Cruz (WR, NYG)
  5. Hakeem Nicks (WR, NYG)
  6. Jason Witten (TE, DAL)
  7. Matt Ryan (QB, ATL)
  8. Montee Ball (RB, DEN)
  9. Marques Colston (WR, NO)
  10. Darren McFadden (RB, OAK)

 

Notes: One of the ultimate risk/rewards is in the above tier, and his name is Darren McFadden. He will surely be picked higher than this in most drafts because he’s got top-10 potential. The great value here would be Matt Ryan, who I am targeting in most of my drafts.

 

  1. Pierre Garcon (WR, WAS)
  2. Matthew Stafford (QB, DET)
  3. Robert Griffin III (QB, WAS)
  4. Cecil Shorts (WR, JAX)
  5. Steve Smith (WR, CAR)
  6. Russell Wilson (QB, SEA)
  7. Antonio Brown (WR, PIT)
  8. DeSean Jackson (WR, PHI)
  9. Ahmad Bradshaw (RB, IND)
  10. Mike Wallace (WR, MIA)

 

Notes: I love the value you might get in Ahmad Bradshaw around here. He’s in a new system, but the Colts should utilize him similarly, if not better than the way that New York did. DeSean Jackson looks to bounce back after an extremely disappointing fantasy year, and Mike Wallace’s new home could up his receptions, but I don’t expect as many TDs.

 

  1. Rashard Mendenhall (RB, ARI)
  2. Eddie Lacy (RB, GB)
  3. Eric Decker (WR, DEN)
  4. Tony Gonzalez (TE, ATL)
  5. Colin Kaepernick (QB, SF)
  6. Torrey Smith (WR, BAL)
  7. Steve Johnson (WR, BUF)
  8. Greg Jennings (WR, MIN)
  9. Vernon Davis (TE, SF)
  10. Le'veon Bell (RB, PIT)

 

Notes: Two rookies appear here. I think Lacy has the most potential of all the rookies, but Bell has the biggest opportunity. Decker is good value here even if Welker takes some of his receptions, and Jennings is an unknown in Minnesota, but you have to expect he’ll get the most targets on a weekly basis for the Vikings.

Update:  Bell unfortunately came down with a  right foot injury, and is expected to miss up to six weeks with a small ligament tear.  He should be downgraded in fantasy football drafts to a mid-to-late round pick, but still has the upside to contribute when healthy this year.

Update: Andre Brown unfortunately injured his left leg and is expected to miss at least 4-6 weeks with a small fracture. He should be downgraded in fantasy football drafts, to a late round stash at best. Brown still has the upside to contribute when healthy this year, but will be out for a while and can more realistically be left for the waiver wire in shallower leagues. Until Brown is ready, Michael Cox, Ryan Torrain or Da’Rel Scott will compete for the backup role behind David Wilson, and may have the potential to hold similar fantasy value as Brown if given similar opportunity. We’re thinking that rookie Michael Cox, a 6 foot, 220 lb bruiser, with average speed but great agility, can win this competition and carve out a role as the Giants’ number 2 running back.

 

  1. Chris Ivory (RB, NYJ)
  2. T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)
  3. Andre Brown (RB, NYG)
  4. Lance Moore (WR, NO)
  5. Tavon Austin (WR, STL)
  6. Ryan Mathews (RB, SD)
  7. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (RB, CIN)
  8. Tony Romo (QB, DAL)
  9. Miles Austin (WR, DAL)
  10. Ronnie Hillman (RB, DEN)

 

Notes: Here we see our first must-handcuff RBs on the rankings in Andre Brown and Ronnie Hillman. Both have greater potential and will share carries with primary backs. Tony Romo falls here in the rankings due to the commitment to the run, but should throw often when they are behind in games.

 

  1. Sidney Rice (WR, SEA)
  2. Josh Gordon (WR, CLE)
  3. Fred Jackson (RB, BUF)
  4. Owen Daniels (TE, HOU)
  5. Emmanuel Sanders (WR, PIT)
  6. Shane Vereen (RB, NE)
  7. Giovani Bernard (RB, CIN)
  8. Ben Roethlisberger (QB, PIT)
  9. Eli Manning (QB, NYG)
  10. Mark Ingram (RB, NO)

 

Notes: Fred Jackson is a must-own for Spiller owners; Vereen is a darkhorse solid RB because Ridley might be catching balls with all the New England injuries. Eli Manning could be a lot more solid this year after his high INT rate in 2012.

 

  1. Andrew Luck (cropped)Ben Tate (RB, HOU)
  2. Andrew Luck (QB, IND)
  3. Daryl Richardson (RB, STL)
  4. DeAngelo Williams (RB, CAR)
  5. Kyle Rudolph (TE, MIN)
  6. Antonio Gates (TE, SD)
  7. Mikel LeShoure (RB, DET)
  8. Kenny Britt (WR, TEN)
  9. Andy Dalton (QB, CIN)
  10. Ed Dickson (TE, BAL)

 

Notes: To round out the top 100, Luck makes the cut and could improve in a big way on a rookie campaign. Kenny Britt is the top WR on the board at this point and Antonio Gates is an awesome risk/reward pick for TE at this point in the rankings.

 

Rounding Out the Top 150

  1. Matt Schaub (QB, HOU)
  2. LaMichael James (RB, SF)
  3. Joe Flacco (QB, BAL)
  4. Bryce Brown (RB, PHI)
  5. DeVier Posey (WR, HOU)
  6. Isaiah Pead (RB, STL)
  7. Greg Olsen (TE, CAR)
  8. Philip Rivers (QB, SD)
  9. Jonathan Stewart (RB, CAR)
  10. Aaron Dobson (WR, NE)
  11. Brian Hartline (WR, MIA)
  12. Joseph Randle (RB, DAL)
  13. Jermichael Finley (TE, GB)
  14. Kendall Wright (WR, TEN)
  15. Vincent Brown (WR, SD)
  16. Santonio Holmes (WR, NYJ)
  17. Josh Freeman (QB, TB)
  18. Santana Moss (WR, WAS)
  19. Brandon Pettigrew (TE, DET)
  20. Justin Blackmon (WR, JAX)
  21. Fred Davis (TE, WAS)
  22. Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, MIN)
  23. Ryan Williams (RB, ARI)
  24. Jermaine Gresham (TE, CIN)
  25. Michael Vick (QB, PHI)
  26. Malcolm Floyd (WR, SD)
  27. Alex Smith (QB, KC)
  28. Michael Floyd (WR, ARI)
  29. Knowshon Moreno (RB, DEN)
  30. DeAndre Hopkins (WR, HOU)
  31. Kendall Hunter (RB, SF)
  32. Julian Edelman (WR, NE)
  33. Jay Cutler (QB, CHI)
  34. Sam Bradford (QB, STL)
  35. Golden Tate (WR, SEA)
  36. Pierre Thomas (RB, NO)
  37. Marcel Reese (RB, OAK)
  38. Greg Little (WR, CLE)
  39. Jonathan Franklin (RB, GB)
  40. Bernard Pierce (RB, BAL)
  41. Jacquizz Rodgers (RB, ATL)
  42. Shonn Greene (RB, TEN)
  43. Isaac Redman (RB, PIT)
  44. Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR, IND)
  45. Carson Palmer (QB, ARI)
  46. Brandon Weeden (QB, CLE)
  47. Mike Gillislee (RB, MIA)
  48. Jacoby Jones (WR, BAL)
  49. E.J. Manual (QB, BUF)
  50. Roy Helu (RB, WAS)

 

==========

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?!?!  The NFL season kicks off in several weeks and Rotoballer.com will be providing more content and analysis for all you fantasy football freaks!  Check out an early look at Rotoballer's NFL Rookie Rankings, and NFL Rookie Running Backs Previews.

And in case you missed it, RotoBaller.com has now launched the fantasy football chatroom! Get involved with some real-time NFL talk, ask your fantasy football questions, read other discussions, or feel free to chime in and reply back with your own 2 cents.  Let's win some leagues!

 


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2013 Fantasy Football: Evaluating NFL Rookie Running Backs (Part 2)

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankingssleepersrunning backswide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the internwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

 

In Part 1, we discussed the dynamics of NFL rookie running backs, namely that they are unknown, and can thus provide significant fantasy football draft day value relative to ADP-- if, that is, you choose wisely.  We then demonstrated the pitfalls and rewards of selecting NFL rookie running backs, using Doug Martin and Mark Ingram as instructive examples-- both were drafted (each in his rookie year, for fantasy football purposes) in the third or fourth round, but one helped fantasy owners and the other torpedoed fantasy owners. Part 1 demonstrated that physical measurables are an essential part of evaluating rookie running back potential, and emphasized that speed and agility are absolute prerequisites to NFL success.

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Jamaal CharlesFirst and foremost, as the incomparable Frank DuPont has oft stated,  it is important to emphasize that, as much as physical measurements are a prerequisite to NFL success for running backs, opportunity is also essential. Jamaal Charles is a superstar, but we forget that for a while, he had to compete for touches with a decaying Thomas Jones.

Accordingly, although the metrics discussed in Part 1 (spoiler alert!) don't particularly like Montee Ball, if he receives a certain amount of touches, he will put up fantasy points. Thus, even if the metrics didn't like Le'Veon Bell (spoiler alert: they're pretty decent), the fact that he has no competition for the starting job means that he will likely put up points.

With that in mind, lets discuss some of the rookie RBs. First, here are the measurables (I've also included some current NFL running backs for comparison):

2013 Fantasy Football - NFL Rookie Running Backs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note that N/A signifies that the player did not participate in the relevant drill(s) at the NFL combine.

So what does this all mean? Well, for starters, let's establish some baselines: a speed score of 100 is average for a starting NFL running back, whereas an agility score under 11.1 is very strong, while anything over 11.5 is cause for concern. Of course, some NFL RBs are faster, and some are slower; these numbers merely provide an index for the sake of comparison. As Shawn Siegele has noted, "Having a poor [athletic] profile doesn’t mean you can’t be a serviceable or even elite NFL player. It just means the deck is stacked against you."

Without further ado, here are my thoughts about the 2013 rookie RBs. The RBs are ranked in my order of preference for redraft leagues (though I will make some notes for dynasty) and will have a Buy (target) / Hold (grab around or cheaper than ADP) / Sell (avoid) ranking based on each ADP as of today, August 14, 2013:

  1. Le'Veon Bell - Mr. Bell is by far and away the #1 rookie pick. From an agility perspective, Bell compares very favorably to Doug Martin, among others. Meanwhile, it is getting increasingly clear, as Davis Mattek has noted, that Bell has the clearest path to NFL touches, a prerequisite for success, in the same way as Doug Martin and Arian Foster before him. Verdict: Buy.

    Update:  Bell unfortunately came down with a  right foot injury, and is expected to miss up to six weeks with a small ligament tear.  He should be downgraded in fantasy football drafts to a mid-to-late round pick, but still has the upside to contribute when healthy this year.

  2. Giovani Bernard - Bernard also has a relatively clear path to touches, as he is currently expected to split opportunities with BenJarvus Green-Ellis (who, mind you, professional fantasy football players seem to like). However, at only 200 pounds, Giovani should be much faster, though his agility is comparable to Kendall Hunter and Kerwyn Williams, who is a potential arbitrage opportunity. Verdict: Buy/Hold.
  3. Eddie Lacy - Although Lacy has an impressive speed score, and phenomenal pedigree, there are a number of red flags fantasy drafters should be aware of. Lacy's comparables aren't particularly impressiveEddie Lacy may be this year's Mark Ingram. He's playing in a crowded and undefined backfield with Johnathan Franklin, DeJuan Harris, Alex Green and James Stark. Although reports from training camp have been positive, buyer beware at his current ADP. Verdict: Hold/Sell.
  4. Montee Ball - Ball has had an up-and-down training camp, and isn't clearly going to be the starter. Ball's comps aren't very encouraging, and neither is his college production translated to the NFL. Unless it becomes clear that Ball will be the starter, stay away at Ball's fourth-round ADP. Verdict: Sell.
  5. Zac Stacy - Stacy flies under the radar, but his elite agility score compares very well to a certain Mr. Ray Rice. Heard of him? Stacy romped through the SEC, as Jon Moore has demonstrated, and compares very favorably to other well-regarded SEC backs. Unfortunately, the excellent Matthew Freedman conducted a definitive six (!!!) part study on Jeff Fisher's usage of running backs and the available backs on the Rams and concluded that Daryl Richardson is most likely to be the back to own for 2013, while Stacy will get his turn in 2014. Verdict: Buy/Hold.
  6. Christine Michael - Michael is a beast, and by far the most athletically gifted running back of this draft class. With Marshawn Lynch not long for Seattle, Michael is a priority handcuff/dynasty play, though he is unlikely to see major playing time barring injury. However, the upside is there for someone you can get in the final rounds of your draft or off the waiver wire. Verdict: Buy/Hold.
  7. Knile Davis - Davis's speed score is simply incredible and on pure physical measurements, he may be the #2 RB in the 2013 class.  In the light of Jamaal Charles's recent knee scare, Davis is another priority handcuff/dynasty play.  Verdict: Buy/Hold.
  8. Latavius Murray - See Kniles Davis. Murray is a physical specimen, weighing 223 pounds and running a 4.38 40.  At Murray's ADP, he is a can't-go-wrong running back prospect who compares favorably to that other often injured Raider's running back. Verdict: Buy/Hold.
  9. Johnathan Franklin - See Eddie Lacy. Franklin profiles similarly to Shane Vereen, this year's preseason hype star. Ok, so what has Vereen done in his NFL career? Nothing yet? Oh ok. Add in the uncertainty regarding the Green Bay backfield and his elevated ADP, mix and receive the Verdict: Hold/Sell.
  10. Marcus Lattimore - See those N/A's? Lattimore didn't participate in Combine because of his second devastatingly brutal injury. Jon Moore has a theory on Marcus Lattimore's rookie season. Coleman Kelly explores the myth of Marcus Lattimore. I say, if you can get him cheaply in dynasty go for it. If not.... Verdict: Sell.
  11. Mark Gillislee - Gillislee is the poster child for scouting error. His speed and agility scores are below average and he's unlikely to beat out the mediocre Daniel Thomas for the backup duties. Verdict: Sell.
  12. Joseph Randle - Randle should not have been drafted. His athletic profile is actually worse than Gillislee's. He's not even worthy of a handcuff to the oft-injured Demarco Murray. He's not even worthy of a link. Verdict: Sell.

Do you agree? Disagree? Find this useful? Hit me up in the comments or on Twitter if you like this type of content or if you have requests.

 

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Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




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2013 Fantasy Football: Evaluating NFL Rookie Running Backs (Part 1)

Doug Martin 2013 Pro BowlNFL rookie running backs are always intriguing. On the one hand, they’re relatively unknown, so you can often acquire them at a discount relative to their ultimate value during your fantasy football drafts. On the other hand, there’s a significant degree of risk involved in drafting a rookie running back with an early pick because of that unknown. When you draft a rookie RB in fantasy football, you’re hoping for Doug Martin, but fearing a Mark Ingram. In 2011, as a rookie out of Alabama, Ingram required a fourth round pick, and tanked many a fantasy owner’s season. In 2012, savvy owners used a third round pick on Doug Martin and rode him to the championship.

Of course, in hindsight it was pretty easy to predict both Doug Martin’s success and Mark Ingram’s failure, based on each of their physical measurables, without even considering projected usage. You see, to succeed in the NFL, running backs require a certain level of athleticism, which we can break into two categories: speed (the ability to accelerate to the hole) and agility (the ability to quickly cut laterally to avoid tacklers).

For example, as Jonathan Bales of the excellent www.fantasyfootballdrafting.com has shown, speed is directly correlated with RB success.

RB 40 times

Consider Doug Martin: using the below chart generated by Mockdraftable.com, we can see that Dougie has some relatively elite measurables that compare well to other NFL players and prospects. (Click the second tab to see comparable NFL players as well as percentile measurements.)

(Spoiler alert: did you notice Zac Stacy as one of Martin’s comps? Keep in mind, however, that Stacy, the closest comparable NFL player, is only 79% comparable to Martin, which means that Martin is a very rare physical specimen.) Dougie’s 4.55 speed is generally considered adequate, though not exceptional for a RB, while his agility is really spectacular. However, if we delve deeper into the numbers, we can see some positives that would help predict Dougie’s success. Using the Football Outsider’s speed score, which adjusts for speed based on weight, we see that Martin has an adjusted speed score of 104, which is 4% better than the average starting RB score. Combining Martin’s three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle, we get an agility score of 10.95.

What about Mark Ingram?

Simply put, he’s not as impressive. Ingram's comps include a who's who of NFL busts and nobodies. This means his physical measurements are neither rare, nor unique. In fact, they're not great at all. His 4.62 is generally considered slow, and when you adjust his speed based on his weight, we see that he has a subpar adjusted speed score of 94. Worse, Ingram’s agility score is a disgusting 11.75. (Of course, the inestimable Shawn Siegele wrote the definitive takedown of Mark Ingram before the 2011 draft. Read the whole thing for an extended discussion of many of the concepts briefly covered here.)

So, without knowing anything else, it would have been easy to predict that Martin would be a fantasy football draft day value and that Ingram would be a bust, just based on physical measurables. So how can we apply these concepts to this year’s NFL rookie RBs? I’ll cover that in my next article, so check back tomorrow morning...

Follow Amess on Twitter

 

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2013 Fantasy Football Advice - Draft Day Studs

Just like I featured my 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Day Duds, below are my 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Day Studs.  These are NFL players I’ll be targeting in most of my fantasy football drafts this year, either because they are offering great value based on where they are currently being drafted - or because they are poised to have a breakout or big year.

 

The Draft Studs

Matthew Stafford (QB, DET) - Over the past two seasons in the NFL, no quarterback has thrown the ball more than Stafford, who had 663 passing attempts in 2011 and 727(!) in 2012.  Of those 727 passes last year, only 20 went for touchdowns, which was less than half the total number of scores (41) Stafford threw the year prior.  It’s a fluky total considering Lions pass catchers were tackled inside the 5-yard line an astounding 23 times last year.  Fortunately, that fluky number of touchdowns has caused Stafford to slip in drafts this year.  Currently, he’s going in the 6th round or later in early NFFC drafts, which is tremendous value for an elite talent at the QB position.  So instead of reaching for Brees, Rodgers or Manning in Rounds 2-3, I’ll be stockpiling the top running backs and wide receivers and targeting Stafford three or four rounds later.

Maurice Jones-Drew (RB, JAC) - Similar to Stafford, I absolutely love the price on Maurice Jones-Drew right now.  He’s a Top 12 overall fantasy talent being drafted in the 3rd or 4th Round of early NFFC drafts.  Yes, Jones-Drew’s Lisfranc injury limited him to only six games last year, but he’s reportedly “back to normal” again with no pain or swelling in his foot.  It’s not like Jacksonville has many offensive weapons.  In fact, Jones-Drew is pretty much it, aside from Cecil Shorts and potentially Justin Blackmon if he ever gets his you-know-what together.  Also, consider the fact that Jacksonville vastly improved their offensive line by adding Luke Joeckel via the draft.  If that’s not enough to convince you to draft Jones-Drew in the 3rd or 4th Round, I don’t know what is.  I would even take him in the late-second round.

Randall Cobb (WR, GB) - If last year was any indication, the diminutive third-year receiver can do it all for Green Bay.  He can catch the ball, return kicks and punts on Special Teams and he can even run the ball out of the backfield.  That type of versatility is hard to find in the NFL and makes Cobb one of my favorite draft targets this year, especially in PPR leagues.  It helps that his quarterback is one of the best in the league, and Aaron Rodgers has expressed his confidence and trust in Cobb by saying he could catch 100 passes this year.  Cobb has been going in Round 3 in most early drafts, so he might not have the draft value that Stafford and Jones-Drew have at the moment.  Still, he should still be a great pick at that spot and have the best season of his young career.

Jason Witten (TE, DAL) - The eleven year pro very quietly had one of the best seasons of his career last season after posting career highs in catches (110) and targets (148).  Witten’s performance went somewhat under-the-radar, though, because he only scored three touchdowns.  True, he might not be the number one scoring option in Dallas with Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Demarco Murray in town, but Witten is an incredibly reliable - and perhaps most importantly, durable - fantasy option at a weak Tight End position.  His value increases drastically in PPR formats.

Houston Texans (D/ST, HOU) - My strategy when drafting D/ST for my team has always been to wait until the second-to-last round (drafting a Kicker goes last, obviously).  This season, everyone is excited about the Seahawks, 49ers and Bengals as elite fantasy options, but let’s talk about a serviceable D/ST that might actually be available in the second-to-last round of your draft: the Houston Texans.  Anchored up front by the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, J.J. Watt, in the middle by now-healthy linebacker Brian Cushing, and in the secondary by Jonathan Joseph and former Defensive Player of the Year, Ed Reed (healthy or not, he’s still a huge addition to this team), the Texans are poised to pick up where they left off last season to finish ranked among the Top 10 fantasy defenses.  It helps that a quarter of their regular season games are played against Tennessee and Jacksonville, two of the most anemic offenses in the NFL.

 

Who are your Draft Day Studs?  I welcome your thoughts and opinions in the Comments section, or via Twitter @RyanRufe.

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2013 Fantasy Football Advice - Draft Day Duds

Fantasy football season is upon us, fellow RotoBallers!

Admittedly, I’m still in fantasy baseball mode since all three of my teams are performing well, but as my email becomes stockpiled with fantasy football league invites, I’m getting more excited by the minute for virtual pigskin drafts.  By now, you've probably scoured the internet for the latest fantasy football cheat sheet or rankings update, which we’re in the process of working on here at RotoBaller.  In the meantime, I urge you to enjoy my mini-series of 2013 fantasy football Draft Studs and Draft Duds.

 

Up First, The Draft Duds

Arian FosterArian Foster (RB, HOU) - A calf strain suffered in OTAs, a sore back in training camp, declining YPC over the past three seasons and enormous tread on the tires-- even at a prime age (26) for running backs-- are making me hesitant to draft Foster in the top five overall.  It seems NFFC participants are having that same hesitation as early drafts had Foster going third or fourth overall, while more recent drafts are seeing him slip a few spots between the five-to-seven range.  Last year, Ben Tate was supposed to cut into Foster’s workload, but it didn't really turn out that way.  This season, I could see that changing a bit, with 8-10 carries going to Tate per game, just to preserve Foster’s health.  Foster should still get all the goal-line work, but don’t be surprised if his yards-rushed total slips to the 1,200 range.

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB) - It’s hard to believe that the Draft Duds column is headlined by two of the more historically reliable options in fantasy football, but in Rodgers's case, he’s listed because injuries continue to pile up in Packers camp.  LT Bryan Bulaga is out for the year with a torn ACL, which doesn't bode well for Rodgers, who was sacked a league-high 51 times last season.  To make matters worse, WR Jordy Nelson recently underwent knee surgery which will sideline him 4-6 weeks.  Nelson is expected to be back for Week 1, but he had hamstring and ankle problems last year that forced him to miss time.  That’s two key offensive pieces that are directly tied to Rodgers’s success.  Not to mention, Green Bay could focus more on their running game with Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin now in the fold.  I’d be comfortable drafting Rodgers in the late second or third round, but drafting him any higher would make him a Draft Dud, in my opinion.

Andre Johnson (WR, HOU) - Last season, Johnson started 16 games for the first time since 2009, and he posted a career-best 1,598 receiving yards behind 112 catches (his second-highest total).  What’s not to like about those statistics?  Out of all those catches, only four found paydirt, as Johnson continued to lack the touchdown production that you expect from an elite receiver.  In fact, the 10-year NFL veteran is averaging only 5.6 touchdowns per season over his career, and has never posted more than nine in a single season.  Lack of touchdowns aside, opponents are suggesting that the 32-year-old has lost a step.  With explosive rookie DeAndre Hopkins offering Houston a legit #2 option in the passing game, Johnson will lose some targets on a team that already has a run-first mentality.  And remember he’s still an injury risk.  I’m just not buying Johnson as a Top-10 receiver anymore.

Antonio Gates (TE, SD) - I've heard many call for a bounce-back year for the 33-year-old Gates after last season’s 49 receptions were the second-lowest per-season total of his career.  What’s encouraging about Gates is that despite the low reception total, he still managed to score at least seven times for the ninth straight season.  What’s discouraging about Gates is his injury history.  He hasn’t played a full season since 2009, and he’s only getting older.  While Gates is a personal favorite of mine, dating back to my time attending Kent State University during the year Gates was a key piece in the school’s Elite 8 NCAA Basketball Tournament run, I’m skeptical of him finishing the year as a Top-5 tight end, and I’m fully aware of how weak the position is this year.

Bears Defense/Special Teams (D/ST, CHI) - The loss of Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli, as well as linebackers Brian Urlacher and Nick Roach will hurt this defense.  Additionally, Chicago has to contend with perennial offensive juggernauts Green Bay and Detroit in the NFC North, as well as a strong slate of non-divisional opponents in 2013 (Indianapolis, Houston, Seattle and San Francisco).  I could see the Bears easily falling out of the Top-5 defenses in fantasy football this season.

 

Who are your Draft Duds?  I welcome your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below, or via Twitter @RyanRufe.

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2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Later Round Running Backs (RB)

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankingssleepersrunning backswide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the internwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

Drafting Impact Running Backs Late

This article focuses on NFL running backs who are not presently being drafted as fantasy football starters in 2013, i.e. whose average draft position puts them lower than 24th at the position.  But that doesn't mean they can't provide value for you on draft day, and for your fantasy football team in 2013.  Here are some of my favorites to consider on draft day:

 

Running Backs #25 - #36

Rank

Player

ADP

25

Christopher Ivory

4.12

26

Ryan Mathews

5.05

27

Eddie Lacy

5.07

28

Ahmad Bradshaw

5.09

29

Giovani Bernard

6.02

30

Rashard Mendenhall

6.05

31

Shane Vereen

6.06

32

Daryl Richardson

7.04

33

Andre Brown

7.07

34

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

7.08

35

DeAngelo Williams

7.1

36

Ronnie Hillman

8.02

 

Two that stand out from this list are Shane Vereen and Andre Brown. Reports out of Patriots training camp are that Vereen is lining up all over the field, a la Darren Sproles, at RB, slot WR and outside WR. With the losses of Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Aaron Hernandez, combined with the perennially dinged-up status of incumbent pass-catchers Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, Vereen has a big opportunity to become a trusted option for Tom Brady, just like Danny Woodhead and Kevin Faulk were in past seasons. Unlike rookie Giovani Bernard from this same tier, Vereen has proven against NFL competition that he can put up big numbers on few opportunities. Caution flags include the fact that Vereen hasn’t been able to play the full 16 games in either of his two seasons thus far, and also Bill Belichick’s game management, which can be known to freeze out players not part of the plan.

David Wilson is being drafted four rounds earlier than Brown, but the Giants plan to split carries between the two backs, and for good reason. Wilson is considered the more explosive of the two runners, but Brown actually averaged 5.3 YPC to Wilson’s 5.0 last year. The fact that Brown has two inches and 18 pounds on Wilson means he’ll be the back to have his number called in goal-to-go situations. The Giants were fifth in rushing touchdowns and sixth in total points last year, so with Brown getting a bigger share of the TD pie, it’s he-- and not Wilson-- who represents the more cost-effective option.

 

Running Backs #37 - #48

Rank

Player

ADP

37

Ben Tate

8.07

38

Mark Ingram

8.09

39

Bryce Brown

9.01

40

Fred Jackson

9.04

41

Vick Ballard

9.07

42

Johnathan Franklin

9.1

43

Bernard Pierce

9.12

44

Danny Woodhead

10.01

45

Jonathan Stewart

10.05

46

Isaiah Pead

11.02

47

Pierre Thomas

11.04

48

Mikel Leshoure

11.05

 

From this group, look for Vick Ballard and Danny Woodhead to emerge as fantasy factors ranging from reliable surprise starter to in-a-pinch plug-in. The biggest factor in favor of Ballard is the fact that he’ll be sharing backfield duties with Ahmad Bradshaw, who has battled injuries his entire career and is already sidelined. Even if Bradshaw takes the lead role, Ballard should still see plenty of work. New Colts Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton called plays at Stanford during Andrew Luck’s tenure, and ran a decisively run-heavy offense, not once passing more often than running in the three seasons Luck started. Even if Hamilton throws more by virtue of the NFL being a passing league, the Colts should still be more run-oriented than they were last year, when they ran 440 times. Since Bradshaw was only able to tote the rock for an average of 215 carries over the last four seasons, Ballard still has 200+ carry upside, putting him in position to match, if not exceed, his RB25 ranking from last season.

Woodhead should warrant consideration not only because Ryan Mathews has done little to inspire owners in his three NFL seasons, but also because he’s taken the reigns of the pass-catching duties after impressing San Diego’s new coaching staff. Woodhead has finished in the top 25 at his position two out of the last three years, by posting 700-900 yards from scrimmage and about a half-dozen total touchdowns. While those numbers were posted as a member of the prolific New England offense, his move to San Diego shouldn't cause too much concern. The last time Philip Rivers had a back with Woodhead’s skillset, Darren Sproles put up numbers in San Diego that matched what Woodhead did in his time with the Patriots. In other words, a Philip Rivers-led offense (and frankly, most offenses in today’s NFL) can support a fantasy-reliable third-down and pass-catching back.

 

Running Backs #49 - #60

Rank

Player

ADP

49

Jacquizz Rodgers

12.01

50

Zachary Stacy

12.03

51

Michael Bush

12.04

52

Joseph Randle

12.1

53

LaMichael James

13.04

54

Marcel Reece

13.07

55

Jonathan Dwyer

13.08

56

Kendall Hunter

13.08

57

Ryan Williams

13.1

58

Knowshon Moreno

13.1

59

Shonn Greene

13.12

60

Denard Robinson

14.02

 

At this stage of the draft, the best strategy is usually to bet on talent and hope that the opportunity lottery ticket will pay off for the player in question. Unfortunately this season, the talent among the pool of backs listed above leaves a lot to be desired. Alternatively, the backs whose talent is not in question are instead trying to bounce back from devastating injuries. Surprisingly, that leaves two bruisers as backs that jump out as having a chance to contribute to fantasy rosters this season.

Jonathan Dwyer hasn't exactly been explosive in his time in the NFL, but last year, despite leading the Steelers in attempts, he outperformed all other Pittsburgh running backs in yards per carry as the only one to top 4.0. The Steelers drafted Le’Veon Bell in the second round this Spring, and hope he earns the starting gig, but Dwyer isn’t going out without a fight. He shed 30 lbs. this offseason in an attempt to compete for his job, showing that he believes in his talent and is willing to do what it takes to keep the rookie at bay. Bell has some question marks surrounding him too, touching the ball over 400 times in his junior season at Michigan State. That kind of wear and tear usually portends an underwhelming season in the following year. Furthermore, Big Ten running backs have a reputation for disappointing upon graduating to the NFL, from Laurence Maroney to Beanie Wells.

Update:  Bell unfortunately came down with a  right foot injury, and is expected to miss up to six weeks with a small ligament tear.  He should be downgraded in fantasy football drafts to a mid-to-late round pick, but still has the upside to contribute when healthy this year.

The last name in this article is truly stunning, as he’s deservedly been ripped over the years as an underwhelming plodder on a bad offense. However, Shonn Greene, believe it or not, has an actual chance to make an impact on fantasy teams this season. Given about 250 carries in each of the last two seasons, Greene finished in the top 20 at his position. He likely won't get that many this year, but should Tennessee go back to the thunder-and-lighting approach it once had with LenDale White spelling Chris Johnson, Greene could approach the 200+ carries that White accrued under that framework, when he finished in the top 20 himself. Even performing half that well would mean Greene outperforms his ADP by about eight rounds.

 

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2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide Receivers

This article is an introduction to RotoBaller’s 2013 fantasy football sleepers.  Today we’ll be taking a look around the NFL at sleeper wide receivers (WR) to give you our fantasy analysis.  

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankingssleepersrunning backswide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the internwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

 

2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers - Wide Receivers

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: After bouncing back from several injury-plagued years, doubling his number of receptions between 2011 and 2012, and almost tripling his yardage, Sanders may be poised for a big year in 2013. He is in a single-year contract with the opportunity this season to prove that he is worthy of a multi-year contract. Mike Wallace is out of the way, allowing Sanders to move into a flanker position much better suited to his talents. The “70 catches for 1,000 yards” expectations that the Steelers have for Sanders means that he will see a lot of passes coming his direction. As the number two receiver, Sanders could also see a lot of targets if teams are caught up covering Antonio Brown. The combination of the team's expectations and his contract status going forward should have Sanders more determined than ever. Coming off a frustrating 8-8 season, the entire Pittsburgh team is motivated and ready to come back stronger this year.  This a good environment for a young and talented WR to find himself in, and it positions Sanders for a breakout season.

Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona: A new quarterback and a year of experience behind him could mean everything for Floyd. Last year, Floyd finished with 45 receptions and showed flashes of greatness-- not too shabby for a rookie. But there's potential here, with upside for much more. An awful quarterback situation was partially to blame for Arizona's receivers' inability to perform at their best in 2012, a problem that should be fixed going into 2013. Carson Palmer’s strong arm was wasted in Oakland last year and will be ready to produce in Arizona. Palmer has spoken very highly of Floyd’s performance in camp, and a confident QB is half the battle toward a successful season for a WR.  Similarly to the situation in Pittsburgh, double-coverage on Fitzgerald will likely open Floyd up as a target with single coverage. And with Larry Fitzgerald as a role model and mentor, Floyd should be more focused than ever. He is getting more touches in practice and gaining confidence, which will make all the difference on the field for the young receiver.  Floyd is currently listed on the depth chart as a starter ahead of Andre Roberts, and this breakout candidate is worth targeting in the later rounds of your 2013 fantasy drafts.

Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans: Another wide receiver coming off a decent rookie season, Wright is poised to have a much stronger sophomore year. Last year he hauled in 64 passes for 626 yards and four touchdowns.  And in the offseason, he did a lot of work to get into better shape, losing 14 pounds.  The weight loss will add to his quickness and agility, and should result in more yards per catch this year, as long as QB Jack Locker can get him the ball in space. Wright had flashes of brilliance last year, resulting in a few really good weeks for fantasy owners. There's the possibility that those strong performances will be more frequent this season, especially in PPR leagues, with Locker looking to Wright as one of his primary targets. The Titan's failed to use Wright properly last year, but with new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains on board that should change.  They are already looking to make Wright a featured part of their offense in 2013, and considering Kenny Britt's injury history and off-field issues, Wright could eventually sneak past Britt into the number one receiver slot on then depth chart.  Target Wright as a sleeper this year, and you'll likely reap the rewards.

 

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2013 Fantasy Football Preseason Rankings: Tight End (TE)

This article is an introduction to RotoBaller's 2013 fantasy football rankings.  Today we'll be taking a look around the NFL at tight ends (TE), and give you our fantasy rankings and analysis.  RotoBaller.com’s team of writers will be releasing their fantasy football rankings and analysis over the next few weeks to help get you prepared for the NFL season and your 2013 drafts.  Stay tuned!

 

Tight End Rankings - 2013 Fantasy Football

Tier 1 – Jimmy Graham, NO; Rob Gronkowski, NE; Jason Witten, DAL

These are the three true difference-makers at the tight end position. Graham essentially gives you wide-receiver production in one of the NFL’s most consistently prolific passing attacks. Gronkowski is the premier option at the position but injury concerns are paramount; early reports out of Patriots training camp are that he’s most likely headed for PUP, in which case he’d automatically miss the season’s first six games. It's worth noting, however, that Gronk missed five games last year as well and was still the second-highest scoring fantasy tight end. And while Witten doesn’t find the end zone much, he set an NFL record with 110 catches at the position last season and will remain one of Tony Romo’s favorite options.

Tier 2 – Tony Gonzalez, ATL; Vernon Davis, SF; Greg Olsen, CAR; Kyle Rudolph, MIN; Owen Daniels, HOU

The arrival of pass-catching back Steven Jackson will almost certainly hurt Gonzalez’s production, but he’s still a great red zone target and one of the better options at the position. Davis did next to nothing once Colin Kaepernick took over last year but he excelled in the playoffs and has been lining up at wide receiver in 49ers camp; he’s a good bet to lead San Francisco in receiving as they attempt to make up for Michael Crabtree’s loss. Olsen and Rudolph are essentially interchangeable, although Rudolph is an extremely imposing red zone target who could snag double-digit touchdowns. Daniels should catch around 60 balls and present a very solid TE1 option provided he stays healthy.

Tier 3 – Brandon Myers, NYG; Jared Cook, STL; Fred Davis, WSH; Rob Housler ARI; Antonio Gates, SD

Myers burst onto the scene in Oakland last year and would appear to be in a far better fantasy situation now that he’ll be catching passes from Eli Manning; be advised, however, that Myers is a below-average blocker and that could eventually result in a depressed snap count. The incredibly athletic Cook has all kinds of upside and Rams coach Jeff Fisher is pledging to use him “all over the place” as essentially a replacement for the departed Danny Amendola; he’s a threat to finally break out.  Early reports from Skins camp say Davis has fully recovered from his torn Achilles, and he was a top TE option in 2011; there’s a lot of upside here.  Housler is all potential: athletically he has few peers at the position, but he’s accomplished very little at the professional level. Still, he could easily be a TE1 this season now that Arizona should have decent quarterback play. Gates is in serious decline and is on the bubble as a starting fantasy tight end; perhaps more ominously, his quarterback is in a similar position.

Tier 4 – Jermichael Finley, GB; Ed Dickson, BAL; Martellus Bennett, CHI; Jermaine Gresham, CIN; Marcedes Lewis, JAC

Finley was a major disappointment in 2012, but his athleticism and the fact that he catches passes from Aaron Rodgers keeps him relevant. Dickson has so far taken over the injured Dennis Pitta’s “move” tight end role in training camp and could work his way into a low-end TE1, but drops and inconsistency are a major concern. Bennett has great potential but don’t get too carried away; Chicago’s offensive line is terrible and Brandon Marshall is a target hog. Gresham was a pretty solid option last season but Cincinnati using a first-round pick on a tight end doesn’t bode well for 2013. New Jags coach Gus Bradley and new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch insist that Lewis will be used more as a receiver in 2013, but shoddy quarterback play all but guarantees he won’t approach his tantalizing 2010 totals.

Tier 5 – Brandon Pettigrew, DET; Jordan Cameron, CLE; Dustin Keller, MIA; Heath Miller, PIT; Tyler Eifert, CIN

Pettigrew has talent and plays in the pass-heaviest offense in the league, but he can’t be relied upon as anything more than a TE2. The amazingly athletic Cameron is headed for a “feature role” in offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s offense and could easily end up as a TE1 option; he’s a major sleeper. Keller should see an uptick in production now that he’s in Miami, but he’ll most likely be a weekly boom-or-bust candidate.  Miller’s ranking is more about capability than anything else; he’s almost certainly headed for PUP but is an attractive stash or possibly even a midseason free agent pickup that could pay dividends. Eifert has massive potential but unless Gresham is cut, he will suffer from shared targets at the position.

Tier 6 – Dwayne Allen, IND; Coby Fleener, IND; Brent Celek, PHI;  Zach Ertz, PHI; Jacob Tamme, DEN; Zach Miller, SEA; Zach Sudfeld, NE

Allen and Fleener are ranked back-to-back for a reason- it’s hard to predict who will be the better fantasy option, as they will likely eat into each other’s production. A similar situation comes up next, as the solid Celek and highly-talented Ertz will be sharing reps; tight ends typically play a big role in Chip Kelly’s offense, however, but remember that said offense will almost certainly be run-heavy. Tamme is another guy who suffers from shared duties; he catches passes but is not normally a red zone target in Denver. We know Miller can play but he’s part of a run-heavy offense; don’t forget his terrific performance against San Francisco in the playoffs, though- it showed what he’s capable of if Seattle starts slinging the ball around more. Sudfeld is a major sleeper; the athletic UDFA out of Nevada has turned heads in Patriots camp and has a chance to be an immediate contributor with Aaron Hernandez gone and Gronkowski almost certainly destined to miss a significant amount of games early in the season.

 

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By popular demand, RotoBaller.com has now launched the fantasy football chatroom! Get involved with some real-time NFL talk, ask your fantasy football questions, read other discussions, or feel free to chime in and reply back with your own 2 cents. Remember you can ask the RotoBaller staff any questions, and we’ll reply back to you as quickly as possible.  Make a call to the RotoBaller chatroom and get some live advice.

 


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




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2020 Fantasy Football & NFL Rookies 2020 Fantasy Football Advice 2020 Fantasy Football Projections & ADP Analysis 2020 Fantasy Football Sleepers RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

2013 Fantasy Football: NFL Rookies & Rankings

This article is an introduction to 2013's NFL rookies that may be fantasy football relevant. 

If you like this article, check out the rest of our fantasy football analysis: rankingssleepersrunning backswide receivers,  quarterbacks and of course our live fantasy football chat, the best football chatroom on the internwebs.  RotoBaller will be releasing more fantasy football content daily to help you prepare for the 2013 NFL Fantasy Football season so stay tuned!

 

It’s almost fantasy football season, and as much as baseball is my favorite fantasy sport, nothing compares to the draft of a fantasy football team. In baseball, if a pick goes bad you can pick up production of the waiver wire and trade more easily to replace the pick. In football, wrong picks can be the difference between 6 TDs and 10 TDs, or 600 yards and 1200 yards.

Well I’m here to help you with deeper picks, and where I rank the NFL rookies that have just entered the league. Last year we were spoiled with top-25 and even top-10 players in a rookie class consisting of Doug Martin, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Trent Richardson. This year, the class is not going to be as exciting or as productive - but that doesn’t mean there aren’t potential playmakers to take calculated chances on!  Also, everyone knows WRs rarely make the jump to the NFL and become instant fantasy successes, but that doesn’t mean potential fantasy value can't be found in this year's rookie class.

Let’s roll onto my fantasy football rankings for the top 15 NFL rookies that can be useful for your fantasy teams.

 

My Top 15 Rookie Rankings - 2013 Fantasy Football

  1. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers – I absolutely love pass-catching RBs! Lacy will be catching checkdown balls from Aaron Rodgers and running through lanes created by Green Bay’s zone-blocking scheme. This was an excellent pick by the Packers and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lacy have a chance at a top-15 back. The con here is obviously the injury concerns which you just can’t worry about with his upside and possible rewards.
  2. Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos – Knowshon Moreno or Montee Ball??? You have to take a decent shot at getting Ball during the draft. He’ll have a ton of value if he becomes the starter in Denver. Moreno gets hurt easily and I don’t see Ronnie Hillman getting more than 8-10 carries a game, so I’ll be targeting Ball at some point in fantasy drafts.
  3. Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams – Austin is a bit of head scratcher…Many people have him as the no. 1 WR in the Rams system, but Austin doesn’t have a clear position and is definitely slated for a playmaker/slot role in St. Louis. I think the Rams will definitely get him the ball but there is a lot of risk here and Austin’s situation reminds me a lot of Dexter McCluster’s a couple years back.
  4. Robert Woods, WR, Buffalo Bills – I personally think in PPR leagues, Woods might be the no. 1 Rookie WR in this class. He’s probably the most polished route runner and should be slated for a safety net or slot role for whoever the Bills QB is. Woods is very good and was significantly overshadowed by Marquise Lee at USC.
  5. E.J. Manuel, QB, Buffalo Bills – Obviously, this is only if he wins the starting gig. We’ll have to see as training camp goes on, but I don’t see any reason why the Bills shouldn’t start his development immediately. Especially since Manuel can improvise and bide time in the pocket, might as well let him loose and see what you got. I expect Manuel and Robert Woods to become best friends.
  6. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Titans – With a receiving corps of Kendall Wright, Nate Washington and Kenny Britt, Hunter may not get playing time immediately. Some scouts had Hunter as the best WR and most NFL-ready receiver in the draft so tread lightly. There is some major risk/reward here, but it all really depends on Jake Locker and who he meshes with, he never had good rapport with Washington or Britt.
  7. Leveon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers – It’s going to be an interesting fight between Jonathan Dwyer and Bell for carries in the backfield. Either way, Bell should get some decent production. Pittsburgh’s line and running game isn’t what it once was, but they have to run on the ground to keep the defenses off balance.Update:  Bell unfortunately came down with a  right foot injury, and is expected to miss up to six weeks with a small ligament tear.  He should be downgraded in fantasy football drafts to a mid-to-late round pick, but still has the upside to contribute when healthy this year.
  8. Aaron Dobson, WR, New England Patriots – With the entire New England receiving corps possibly on the shelf at the beginning of the season, Dobson has a real chance to gain rapport and targets from stud Tom Brady. He’s a really underrated receiver and can be a sleeper in all fantasy drafts.
  9. Giovanni Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals – I’d be careful with Bernard in year one of his career. The Bengals still have Green-Ellis and Bernard Scott in the backfield. Some people predict Bernard to take the starting gig, but I think all three will be getting carries. I expect 10-13 carries a game for Bernard, not too enticing for fantasy.
  10. Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings – Patterson at the very least should be the no. 3 WR on depth chart. I foresee a no. 2 role and veteran/troublemaker Jerome Simpson to slide to the slot. Patterson should be a nice compliment to newly acquired Greg Jennings, but I expect the targets to be low at first and increase over the season. Keep him on the watch-list or spend a final pick on him.
  11. Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers – This might be the ultimate sleep WR pick. Allen could slip right into a slot role for the Chargers and play with Malcolm Floyd, Vincent Brown and Antonio Gates. The good thing is we know Phillip Rivers is going to air it out, so targets will be had. If Allen can make a splash early, he’s a darkhorse candidate for ROY.
  12. Joseph Randle, RB, Dallas Cowboys – This is one of my favorite RB to watch in college. He was so underrated in the Oklahoma State system where they spread it out and pass, but Randle had great running ability. Randle will be backing up DeMarco Murray, who isn’t the most durable back in the NFL, so getting Randle could be smart and if you own Murray, Randle is a ‘must’ hand-cuff.
  13. Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams – Welcome to the youngest offense on Earth…The Rams have Sam Bradford accompanied by Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Brian Quick, Isaiah Pead, and Stacy. Stacy should see carries every game with a shot to become majority leader. I don’t see Pead or Daryl Richardson becoming big time backs and I definitely see Stacy getting goal line carries at some point.
  14. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans – Houston’s official depth chart on Yahoo! Lists Hopkins as the no. 2 WR…good news, no doubt. My money is DaVier Posey is more of the breakout candidate for this year opposite Andre Johnson. Of course, Johnson spend half the season on IR, so Hopkins has great potential and will have playing time…just warning you how much Houston and Matt Schaub love Posey.
  15. Mike Gillislee, RB, Miami Dolphins – Gillislee has more of that ‘X-Factor’ potential where he can be sneaky good as a no. 3 back. Similar to Darren Sproles early years, just a late back to watch-list or take a flyer on as his two counterparts in the backfield aren’t overly successful either.

 

 

Here are some more fantasy football articles about rookies & rankings.  Let’s win some leagues!

 

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By popular demand, RotoBaller.com has now launched the fantasy football chatroom! Get involved with some real-time NFL talk, ask your fantasy football questions, read other discussions, or feel free to chime in and reply back with your own 2 cents. Remember you can ask the RotoBaller staff any questions, and we’ll reply back to you as quickly as possible.  Make a call to the RotoBaller chatroom and get some live advice.

 


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.