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Thursday, May 8, 2014

The 2014 NFL Draft: The Fantasy Football Impact

You never know how NFL rookies will produce when it comes to Fantasy Football.  In 2013, there were a few big-time playmakers who also happened to be rookies. Keenan Allen was a solid WR2/WR1 in 2013, as he became the clear-cut top receiving option in San Diego.  Cordarrelle Patterson started to come into his own as a viable WR3 in the 2nd half of the 2013 season.  Giovani Bernard had some big weeks and was a very nice WR2 option in 2013. And from the looks of it, there's going to be more than a few rookies making waves here in 2014. Let's take a look at the 2014 NFL Draft Picks and their possible fantasy impact!


Pick 3 - Blake Bortles, QB (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Bortles will be the eventual starter for the Jags, but I don't know that he starts right away.  Because of how stacked the QB position is in the NFL, when he does win the job, Bortles simply won't be on your fantasy radar. However, IF he proves to be an upgrade over Chad Henne, and an upgrade in the offense as a whole, then it could very well mean that the value of a Cecil Shorts, or even a Toby Gerhart will go up a bit.  As of now, this isn't really much of an impact, but at a minimum, it's a move in the right direction for the Jaguars offense.

Pick 4 - Sammy Watkins, WR (Buffalo Bills)
The Bills traded up with the Browns to get somebody to help EJ Manuel get this offense back on track after a fairly dismal 2013.  With Sammy Watkins as the top WR target, along with a solid RB core of Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller, this offense could produce some nice numbers.  Stevie Johnson is off to the 49ers, so we'll see if maybe the Bills grab another WR in this draft.  And naturally, how this offense pans out relies on EJ Manuel staying healthy AND playing up to the hype that surrounded him when he entered the league in 2013.  Normally, rookie WR's don't produce fantasy numbers. But Sammy Watkins has a real good shot at bucking that trend, he's definitely a realistic option as your WR4 or WR5, with a realistic chance of being a WR3/Flex.

Pick 7 - Mike Evans, WR (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Mike Evans has the perfect size to be a red zone threat from day 1. He'll join Vincent Jackson in what could be a potent offense, assuming Doug Martin regains his 2012 form.  I don't know if you can count on Evans to be a WR2 on your fantasy squad, but by all means, he may very well be a viable WR4 that you can plug and play as a bye week fill-in or injury spot-start.

Pick 10 - Eric Ebron, TE (Detroit Lions)
Ebron is a very talented TE that is absolutely going to help the Lions offense get better.  I don't know that Ebron is going to be a viable TE in fantasy land, but what I can tell you, is that this raises the value of Matthew Stafford.  Stafford was already going to be a top 5 fantasy QB in 2014, and Ebron only helps to solidify that ranking.  Ebron joins Pettigrew, along with the mighty Megatron and the newly acquired Golden Tate to create one heck of a receiving core. Add to that the hardcore RB duo of Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, and this is a fantasy squad that is bound to produce monster numbers in 2014. Again, Ebron isn't going to be anything more than a TE2, but what he does is increase the value of Stafford and the rest of the Lions Offense.

Pick 12 - Odell Beckham Jr. (New York Giants)
Beckham is very intriguing from a fantasy perspective, now that Nicks has left town. Beckham should start opposite Victor Cruz, and there's plenty of room for fantasy productions, assuming Eli leaves his 2013 funk behind him.  Beckham very well could be the top producing rookie WR of the 2014 draft class, it all depends on how ready he is to jump into the lime light.  Rueben Randle has big question marks, Manningham is cooked, and Jerrel Jernigan doesn't scare anybody.  Hence, Beckham has a big opportunity to produce for the Giants in 2014.

Pick 20 - Brandin Cooks, WR (New Orleans Saints)
If Beckham in NY gets you excited, Cooks catching passes from Drew Brees should make you ecstatic!  He's a small-ish WR, but he's so very fast.  With Sproles now in Philly, Cooks has a huge opportunity to become productive in an uber-potent offense.  Drew Brees' stock obviously rises a tad, as Cooks now joins Colston and Graham as the top receiving options in 2014 Fantasy drafts.  Cooks likely will be a WR4 on your team, but he might just become a WR3.

Pick 22 - Johnny Manziel, QB (Cleveland Browns)
Wow, the big shocker of the draft, the Browns trade up to 22 to grab Johnny Football!  So not only does Johnny immidiately become a high-end QB2 option, but this definitely makes me feel a lot better about Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron.  Will Johnny succeed at the NFL level?  We don't know yet, but it sure will be fun to watch!

Pick 28 - Kelvin Benjamin, WR (Carolina Panthers)
The rookie WR class is looking pretty good so far. Once again, we see another perfect match. Panthers were desperate for a WR with Steve Smith gone, and it looks like they found it in Benjamin (in theory, at least). The guy is pretty much Vernon Davis in Wide Receiver form, and the Panthers are so light at WR, that he instantly becomes Cam's top receiving target behind TE Greg Olsen.

Pick 32 - Teddy Bridgewater, QB (Minnesota Vikings)
If he can beat out Matt Cassel, then he will be in the low-end QB2 conversation for 2014.  He does have weapons in Patterson, Jennings, and Rudolph, on top of the big-time running game.  Obviously Adrian Peterson is the Viking to own, but if Bridgewater can be successful, I like how it affects AP's stock, as well as the 3 aforementioned pass catchers.


Pick 4 - Derek Carr, QB (Oakland Raiders)
The Raiders brought in Matt Schaub to run this offense, so at least for the next year or 2, it would appear likely that Carr will be holding a clipboard for a while.

Pick 6 - Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
He's a good looking TE, but when's the last time that there was a viable fantasy TE in Tampa Bay?  Yeah, I don't remember either.

Pick 7 - Marqise Lee, WR (Jacksonville Jaguars)
The Jags won't have Blackmon in 2014, so they needed to bring in a potential impact WR to start opposite Cecil Shorts.  Lee definitely should be the #2 guy in Jacksonville, but that's not really good enough to make him a starter-caliber fantasy WR.  I don't see him as anything more than a WR5 or WR6 for 2014.

Pick 10 - Jordan Matthews, WR (Philadelphia Eagles)
Matthews will likely jump into the slot, but can he be a viable fantasy option in 2014?  I doubt it. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Philly. Maclin and Cooper will be the top 2 WR targets, but I also expect 2nd year TE Zach Ertz to catch a bunch of balls.  Add Sproles to the pass-catching mix with McCoy, and I just can't see Matthews being a fantasy factor in 2014.

Pick 13 - Paul Richardson, WR (Seattle Seahawks)
Richardson is one of the smaller WR's in this draft, at 6 foot 175 pounds, but he'd definitely a blazer. He's thought to be a "poor man's DeSean Jackson".  Whether or not he can produce in a run-heavy Seattle offense, I don't know.  Tate is gone, but as it stands, Richardson won't crack the starting lineup, as Harvin, Baldwin, and Kearse are atop of the depth chart.

Pick 17 - Jace Amaro, TE (New York Jets)
Amaro should finally be the replacement they've been seeking since they parted ways with Dustin Keller. He should contribute in 2014, but likely not enough to put him on your fantasy radar.

Pick 20 - Troy Niklas, TE (Arizona Cardinals)
The Cards grabbed John Carlson, who put up a few big games with the Vikings in 2013. But Niklas should get plenty of snaps here in 2014 along with Carlson, but neither of them will be a TE1 in fantasy.  Niklas is more of an in-line blocking TE anyway.

Pick 21 - Davante Adams, WR (Green Bay Packers)
The Pack loses James Jones, and in comes Davante Adams.  Unfortunately, he's not worth a look in 2014 unless an injury hits one of the top 3 Green Bay WR's (Nelson, Cobb, Boykin).

Pick 22 - Bishop Sankey, RB (Tennessee Titans)
The 1st RB off the board lands in the perfect spot, now that Chris Johnson has moved to the Jets.  Sankey should easily be the starter for the Titans, which puts him immediately on our radar as an RB3, with the potential to be an RB2 or Flex for your fantasy squad. Now we just have to see what he does in camp.

Pick 23 - Jeremy Hill, RB (Cincinnati Bengals)
So you're saying, "Wait, I thought they loved Giovanni Bernard!". They do. This pick is really about the eventual replacing of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Hill is over 6 foot, 230 pounds. He will likely steal the goal line duties at some point this season, but Bernard remains the only Bengal RB that I feel comfortable drafting in 2014.

Pick 24 - Cody Latimer, WR (Denver Broncos)
Latimer likely won't be a fantasy option in 2014, but he's going to be at some point down the road once Wes Welker gets put out to pasture. However, should Sanders (the current #3 in Denver) get injured, we could see Latimer get thrust into the limelight.  But for now, he's not worthy of a fantasy draft pick.

Pick 25 - Carlos Hyde, RB (San Francisco 49ers)
Great RB prospect, worst possible landing spot. Gore is still on top, and Kendall Hunter is likely still the #2. Hyde could be the eventual replacement for Gore, but it probably won't happen for him here in 2014.

Pick 29 - Allen Robinson, WR (Jacksonville Jaguars)
The 2nd WR the Jags grab here in the 2nd round.  Same deal as with Marqise Lee, I don't see Robinson as anything more than a WR5 or WR6 for 2014.

Pick 30 - Jarvis Landry, WR (Miami Dolphins)
Landry should likely start the season as the #3 guy behind Hartline and Wallace.  While Hartline and Wallace are worthy of your fantasy rosters, Landry likely will not be.  But he's somebody to keep an eye on, as he's a tough WR who runs crisp routes, and he may evolve into a red-zone threat for the Dolphins.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fantasy Football 2014: Free Agency Signings feature DeSean Jackson, Chris Johnson, and MORE!

NFL's Free Agency began on March 11th 2014, and there have been a number of moves that will definitely impact the 2014 Fantasy Football season.  Here are the top Free Agent signings that you'll need to pay attention to, as we start to prepare for the 2014 fantasy football season!

Chris Johnson - CJ leaves the Titans for a chance to regain his elite status with the NY Jets.  Assuming Michael Vick (who we discuss below) wins the starting job, and with Decker (also discussed below) as the #1 WR, this could be a dynamic offense.  I am not buying CJ as one of my starting RB's, but I'm certainly tempted to grab him as an RB3 or Flex. Let's see what he does in training camp before we see where to put him in our rankings.

Knowshon Moreno - After a huge season with the Broncos, Moreno heads to South Beach to join the Miami Dolphins. It's actually a move that I like. Remember all the hype surrounding Lamar Miller's big year when we were entering drafts last year?? All of the fantasy guru's were hyping him up. Well, 700 rushing yards and 2 measly TD's later... yeah.  So back to Moreno, he finished with 1000+ rushing yards and 10 TD's. That pretty impressive, but add to that the 60 catches for 500 more yards, and 3 additional TD's, and you've got a pretty attractive RB, especially in PPR leagues.  For me he's looking like a solid RB2 option.  But this move also affects the Broncos RB situation, obviously, and it clearly boosts the value of Montee Ball.  Ball should also be a nice RB2 option in 2014, now that he should get the bulk of the workload.

Eric Decker - Decker leaves the Denver Broncos and joins the lowly NY Jets.  I wasn't a big proponent of Decker in 2013, simply because there were so many mouths to feed in Denver.  I like this move for all of the Denver pass catchers (Welker and both Thomas'), first and foremost.  And while Decker may be the starting WR for the Jets, I don't like him as anything more than a WR3 or WR4 in fantasy. It's less to do with him than it is with him being on the Jets.  Sure, he had a stellar 2013 with 87 receptions for 1288 yards and 11 TD's, but don't assume he'll be able to come close to those stats in NY.  If he reaches 1000 yards and 6 TD's, I'll be stunned.  And don't forget, his value will be tied to whatever happens this year with their QB situation (Michael Vick vs. Geno Smith).

Maurice Jones-Drew - MJD heads to the Raiders, joining the always disappointing Darren McFadden. I won't recommend anyone to dive into the muddy waters here in Oakland.  Who knows what that offense is going to look like.  I would consider taking a flier on MJD as an RB4, I suppose, but I wouldn't get my hopes up.

DeSean Jackson - DeSean stays in the NFC East, as he leaves Philly and heads down I95 to join the Washington Redskins. Make no mistake, he won't come close to hitting his 2013 productions (82 reception, 1332 yards, 9TD's).  Garcon is still the WR to target in fantasy drafts, even more so now that DeSean will draw some of the coverage.  I like DeSean this year ONLY as a WR3/Flex.  But what this move also does, is make Jeremy Maclin an interesting option as a high-risk/high-reward WR2.  Because as of now, Maclin is top-dog in a very high-powered offense. But that's not all. Bump up Sproles in your cheatsheets, especially for you guys and gals in PPR leagues. I can see Sproles being spread out wide and also in the slot quite a bit.

LeGarrette Blount - after a pretty impressive finish to the year with the Patriots, Blount heads to the Steelers. The expectation is that Bell will be the lead RB, so Blount's value probably will be as a handcuff to Bell.  You would think that a guy who rushed for 166 yards and 4 TD's in the week 19 playoff game vs Indy would be a viable fantasy option heading into the 2014 season, but barring injury, he likely won't have much value.

Michael Vick - We thought he'd be a monster in Chip Kelly's offense last year with the Eagles, but that didn't exactly pan out. Now he heads to the Jets, and obviously it's doubtful that he'll be able to be a fantasy worthy QB this year. Will he win the starting job? Probably. But there are plenty of good QB1 option out there, so at best, this might be somebody to keep an eye on as a QB2 with high upside, should he manage to catch lightning in a bottle somehow.

Matt Schaub - Remember one thing, Schaub couldn't keep his job in Houston.  Will he start with the Raiders? We don't know yet, and we won't know for a while. They added James Jones and MJD, so in theory, this offense could have some success.  But again, it'll be a while before we know what this offense is going to look like. For now, assuming Schaub DID win the starting job, he's still only a QB2 in fantasy.

Lance Moore - more had some productive days in New Orleans, but was never really a reliable fantasy option. He might be worth a WR5 flier with the Steelers, if he ends up as the #2 guy behind Antonio Brown. But it's expected that Markus Wheaton will make strides in 2014, and will be the #2 guy, while Moore is #3 on the depth chart.

Andrew Hawkins - Hawkins was never given a proper opportunity to shine with the Bengals, and he will likely get it with the Browns. He joins Superstar Josh Gordon and breakout TE Jordon Cameron. Depending on where they go at the QB position, Hawkins may just develop into a WR4. At this point, I have him as a WR6 to keep your eye on.

James Jones - Jones could be a guy to watch, as he joins the lowly Raiders. The hope is that he becomes a WR3, but until we know what that offense looks like, he's to be drafted as a WR5.  That's a big drop in value, compared to where he was heading into 2013 fantasy drafts.

Brandon LaFell - LaFell never did blossom with the Panthers, and we'll have to see where he lands on the Patriots' depth chart. I am not optimistic, at best he might be somebody to target as a late round flier.  The Patriots you want to draft begin with Edelman, and then flip a coin on Amendola, Dobson, and Thompkins. After that, there's LaFell. He has his work cut out for him, but if Dobson and Thompkins continue to be up-and-down like they were in 2013, LaFell may be the #2 or #3 guy. But I highly doubt he'll be able to pull it off.

Emmanuel Sanders - Anybody catching passed from Manning is worth drafting! Joining the Broncos has definitely boosted Sanders' stock. He should fill the void left by Decker, and if he comes close to reqching the same level of production, he'll be a viable WR3/Flex option.

Ben Tate - he leaves the shadow of Arian Foster and heads to the Browns as their likely starting RB. Can he seize the moment and shine?  I think he could be a viable RB2, to be honest. But I can't possibly draft him as such. I am grabbing him if he's there when I'm aiming for my RB3, because ideally I am only looking to own 1 Brown in 2014, and that's the 2nd best WR in all of fantasy football, the one and only Josh Gordon!

Hakeem Nicks - Nicks was a huge disappointment in 2013. NO TOUCHDOWNS. ZERO!  Can he regain his former glory with Andrew Luck and the Colts? By former glory, I mean 2010 and 2011, when he had a combined 2,250 yards and 18 TD's. He's still only 26 years old. If he's healthy, he could be very productive there in Indy.  It depends if Wayne is back to full strength, right?  Hilton is obviously a good option as a low-end WR2, so Wayne and Nicks for me are basically borderline WR4's. I'd feel more comfortable rolling the disce with Nicks as a WR5.

Steve Smith - Hard to believe this guy is still in the league. He leaves the Panthers to join the Ravens, and I kind of like where he landed.  Torrey Smith is still the guy to target, again he's in the WR2/WR3 territory, but Steve Smith is right there in the WR3/WR4 range. I mean, they didn't have anybody else to throw to in 2013, with Pitta injured for the majority of the year. Steve Smith could easily grab 60 catches for 800 yards and 6 TD's, and I think he exceeds that estimate. But make no mistake, I'm only taking him at a VALUE pick, there are a ton of guys with higher upside that I'm looking at when I go to grab a WR3/WR4, so ideally I am taking him as my WR5.

Golden Tate - Tate was one of those guys you never wanted to start unless it was for a bye week. Well that may change with the Lions. We've been waiting for somebody to take advantage of the fact that Calvin Johnson is always double covered, and Tate is in position to be that guy. He managed to hit 900 yards and 5 TD's in Seattle's run-heavy offense, so you have to assume he's in line to at least match those totals. I think he may eat into Reggie Bush's production receiving-wise, so if there's a negative for any Lion, it's probably Reggie. But for sure, this move boosts my love for Stafford in 2014.  I'm one of those guys who's passing on the Manning/Brees/Rodgers train, I'm grabbing 1 top-tier RB and 2 top-tier WR's in the first 3 rounds, and grabbing my Stafford later on down the line.

Toby Gerhart - Gerhart never became anything behind AP, but he showed promise at times when AP was injured.  With the Jaguars, he has a good chance of getting 25-30 carries per game. With that, there becomes an inevitable chance to score TD's and to produce fantasy points. Now, this feels a lot like last year when we thought Lamar Miller was poised to have a big year in Miami. That failed miserably. So it's one of those "roll the dice" situations.  Remember the Rams RB situation as we headed into the 2013 fantasy draft? Pead or Richardson, that's what we were being sold by fantasy guru's. Well, as it turned out, it was Zac Stacy. So we can have visions of Gerhart being "the guy" in Jacksonville, but when it comes down to it, you never know!

Rashad Jennings - Jennings had a nice year in Oakland, he was a nice RB2 option for 2nd half of the 2013 season.  With the Giants, he seems like a solid bet to carry the load. Wilson is coming off a major injury, and Hillis is just a change-of-pace kind of guy at this stage of his career. Jennings is a bit older, at 29 years old, but, he doesn't have a lot of wear and tear on the tires, as this is only his 5th year in the league. I am high on Jennings as an RB3 with RB2 potential for 2014.

Brandon Myers - Myers had a nice 2012 season with Oakland, nabbing 4 TD's and 800 yards, so we thought for sure that his move to the Giants in 2013 would increase his productions. After all, we had just watched Martellus Bennett post solid numbers with the Giants in 2013, and Myers seemed to be a more talented TE.  Well, it didn't pan out, as Myers only hit about 500 yards with the Giants.  With the Bucs, can he produce?  Doubtful, simply because there just hasn't been a productive Buc TE in recent years.  If anything, he may be worth a flier as a TE2.

Donald Brown - Brown finished the season strong with the Colts, and looked very solid in the playoffs. But now he joins the Chargers, where Mathews seems to have shed the disappointment that was the 2012 season, and finally kicked into high gear.  And with Woodhead still in the mix, Brown figures to be nothing more than a change-of-pace guy, so he fall off the collective fantasy radars, unless we see a significant injury to Mathews.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fantasy Football 2013: When to Draft a DEFENSE

Here at www.FantasyFootballAddict.com , we field plenty of fantasy questions. Recently, we received this email from one of our long-time Draft Spreadsheet customers, Johhny.

"In one of my leagues, there is a huge emphasis on DEF. There were multiple weeks that a DEF was the highest scoring player of the whole week. So what I'm asking is, based on that info, what round would you grab a DEF?"

So in discussing it further with Johnny, I learned that he was in a 12 team league, and the drafts has 18 rounds (meaning he'll likely be taking 2 defenses in the draft).  And so here is my reply, and although I didn't give him a concrete answer, I gave him a lot of things to keep in mind when deciding WHEN to draft a Defense.

"Allow me to throw a lot at you.... consider this... In one of my [2012] leagues, yeah, there were 6 defenses in the top 25 fantasy players overall. So defenses are big point scorers in my [many] leagues. But no matter when you take a defense, the success of that pick is all in whether or not you HIT or MISS on the pick! In 2012, let's say you were using espn's cheat sheet for taking a defense. They ranked the 49ers 1st, the Texans 2nd, the Bears 3rd, the Seahawks 6th. If you took one of those D's, bam, you HIT, because they all finished as top 6 defenses.

Flip side of that coin, ESPN had the Ravens 4th, Eagles 5th, Jets 8th, and if you went with one of these defenses, you MISSED, because they finished outside of the top 15 defenses.

In the 2012 ESPN draft guide I'm looking at, Broncos were ranked 23rd heading into the season, yet the Broncos D finished as a top 3 defense. Bengals were ranked 17th, they finished as a top 6 defense in 2012. Rams were ranked 18th, and they were top 10 defense in 2012.

 The point being, even if you jump on a defense early, hard to say if you're going to HIT or MISS. And if last year was any indication, as I mentioned with Broncos/Bengals/Rams, you can still get a top 10 fantasy defense on the waiver wire, during the season, if you catch on early enough before somebody else scoops them up.

 I don't know that I can take a defense before I already have my QB1, RB1 and RB2, WR1 and WR2, RB3/WR3(whoever my starting flex is), and probably even my TE1. So if you do the math on that, around round 8, you can consider going defense, if you really must. Or, you may feel forced to do it sooner if a "run on defenses" starts in earlier rounds. Let's say it's round 6, and somebody takes the Seattle D. The next person may be compelled then to take 49ers D. If you are the next pick, maybe you say "damn, I'd better take a D now", and you take Broncos or Bears D, bc you are sure they're gonna be top performing D's in 2013. But what if that "run" happens right after you just picked(let's say it's round 7 and you just took a TE1)! By the time if gets back around to you in round 8, you're probably going to have 6-8 defenses off the board, maybe more, and at that point, I would probably then wait until the later rounds unless there's a defense I know for sure is worth taking right there.

 I am one of those guys who doesn't tend to spend a high pick on defenses, because a lot of times I'll just add/drop D's based on matchup week-in and week-out. So I will draft a lower-tier D1 defense as my "starter", let's say I get Rams/Giants/Packers D, I don't have to get them early, bc they are ranked in that 9-12 range, ie, ranked as low-end D1's. But I may then draft Bucs D in the later rounds as my D2 (NFL.com has them ranked as the 18th fantasy defense), with the intention of starting them in week 1, specifically bc they face the Jets, and I think the jets offense is going to get eaten alive. But then I'm ready to drop Bucs D in week 2, bc they face the saints (and bc they also face patriots in week 3). I only wanted them for 1 week. Then I either start my regular D1 in week 2 (if I like the matchup), or, I look over the waiver wire to see if I find another available D that has a tasty matchup in week 2.

More so than with ANY OTHER POSITION, you can play the "matchup game" with defenses.

Here's something to do, go look at the 2 guys who made the championship game in your league last year. Did both of those teams have a top 5 defense? For example, if the league champ had Packers D, the runner-up had Vikings D, then that tells me you shouldn't worry much about getting a top defense. On the other hand, if league champ had 49ers D, and runner up had Seahawks D, well, then maybe you should try and get one of the top ranked D's."
Johnny then replied that he checked out the 2 teams that made the fantasy championships in that league last year.... He informed me that both were 7-6 fantasy teams (ie, not exactly dominant!), and that one team had the Seahawks D, and the other team had the Patriots D.  And if we go back to a site like an ESPN.com and see the 2012 rankings, Seahawks D was ranked 6th, but the Patriots were ranked 20th. So what's that say to you? Well, to me, that says it doesn't really matter that you draft one of the top 10 ranked defenses, but it is important that the defense that you DO draft finishes in the top 10-12 of fantasy defenses.  And as I mentioned, it's not always a guarantee the the defense you draft high, will finish as a top fantasy defense.
Having said all of that, the only defenses that I'd feel comfortable jumping on somewhere in that round 7-9 range, is the Seahawks, 49ers, Broncos, and Bears. And you know what? There's a solid chance that one of those teams won't finish as a top 10-12 fantasy defense. And for that reason, I probably won't be taking a defense until the later rounds, just like I do every year...
Good luck, fellow fantasy addicts!
Aaron D

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fantasy Football 2013: Mining for FANTASY GOLD in the NE Patriots

Last year, you had a lot of good offensive fantasy options in New England. But what are you left with in 2013? Who should you draft in 2013?  Let's first look at 2012....

You had Tom Brady putting up another stellar year, finishing as a top 3 Fantasy QB in 2012. 

You had Stevan Ridley breakout as a top 10 Fantasy RB.

You had Wes Welker as a top 10 Fantasy WR. Brandon Lloyd finished the season as a top 30 WR, so he was a fine WR3 option for fantasy teams in 2012.

And of course, you had Gronkowski who finished as the #1 TE, eventhough he only played in 11 games!

Guess what, Hernandez played only 10 games, and even he finished as the 16th best TE option, making him an OK TE2 option in 2012.


What Patriots can you draft!?

Hernandez is going to prison, so he's out. Gronkowski may or may NOT start the regular season on IR. Maybe Gronk misses no games. Or, maybe he misses 2, or 4, or 6. We just don't know right now. So sure, you draft Gronk, but you draft him at a VALUE slot, don't jump on him early, let him fall to you. Because let's say he does miss 4 or 6 games to start the season, don't forget, you also don't have him for week 10 (NE's bye week).

Another player is going to take Hernandez' place, and it may or may not be a TE, as it could be an RB. Remember, Hernandez' value was that he could be used in such a versatile way. It looks like Shane Vereen will fall into this role. You should draft Vereen in the later rounds as an RB4 or RB5, in hopes he falls into the "Hernandez Role" for 2013.

You have Amendola as the only WR that is getting drafted as a low-end WR2 or WR3. But beyond Amendola, it's unknown if any other WR is worth drafting. Lloyd is gone, so who else is there? Well, you have the rookie Dobson, who should push for the #2 job. Edelman will be coming off injury, he is sort of "Deep Sleeper" kind of guy right now, and is currently listed as their #3 WR, but I don't want to draft Edelman. Or maybe one of the other WR's steps up in camp or the pre-season (keep an eye on Kenbrell Thompkins and Kamar Aiken). Right now, it's murky after Amendola, that's all I know.  But if you're going to take a shot on one of the rookies, take a late-round flier on Thompkins or Dobson.

And at TE, aside from Gronk, you might see some Ballard, but I don't know yet if he is worth drafting.  Ballard has bad knees, and is so very slow at this point, it's hard to believe that he'll be a fantasy factor. But Zach Sudfeld, keep an eye on this guy if Gronk misses time, he's looking good so far in camp. Even when Gronk comes back, Sudfeld may still turn into something, as the Pats have proven that they aren't afraid to feed 2 TE's!

No, I am not going to mention Tebow here, eventhough he is reportedly catching passes in camp! Tebow is not on the fantasy radar, folks!

So to recap, right now, in the QB/WR territory, you can only reasonably draft Brady, Gronk, and Amendola, and maybe take a flier on Dobson and/or Thompkins in the late rounds. Ridley is a nice RB2 option (or low-end RB1 if in a 12 team league), and Vereen is worth adding as an RB4 with HUGE upside potential. But STAY TUNED!

(Visit www.FantasyFootballAddict.com today to learn more about the 2013 Draft Guide!

Friday, June 28, 2013

2013 Fantasy Football: BEST Fantasy Draft Advice

We all know that you need to come up with a game plan for your Fantasy Football draft(s)!!  In fact, you need to have a full-out draft strategy, basically knowing in advance which players you want, and which players you don't want.

But here's one thing you should also look at, just hours before your draft. Remind yourself during those hours, of what NFL games are being played during the week of your League Championship. For most leagues, that's week 15 or 16.  So why not look at the schedule for that week prior to your draft? After all, it will be the most important week of the fantasy season!!

So, for this column, let's assume that your League Championship game falls on week 16.  So what you do, is look at the Week 16 games.

Sun Dec 221:00 pm Chicago Bears Philadelphia Eagles
1:00 pm Cleveland Browns New York Jets
1:00 pm Dallas Cowboys Washington Redskins
1:00 pm Denver Broncos Houston Texans
1:00 pm Indianapolis Colts Kansas City Chiefs
1:00 pm Miami Dolphins Buffalo Bills
1:00 pm Minnesota Vikings Cincinnati Bengals
1:00 pm New Orleans Saints Carolina Panthers
1:00 pm Tampa Bay Buccaneers St. Louis Rams
1:00 pm Tennessee Titans Jacksonville Jaguars
4:05 pm Arizona Cardinals Seattle Seahawks
4:05 pm New York Giants Detroit Lions
4:25 pm Oakland Raiders San Diego Chargers
4:25 pm Pittsburgh Steelers Green Bay Packers
8:30 pm New England Patriots Baltimore Ravens *

 Mon Dec 2

                     8:40 pm Atlanta Falcons San Francisco 49ers

Now, here's what I want you to think about.  Look at that Monday night game, 49ers vs the Falcons.  Guess what, If you have ANY Falcons offensive players, you're worried a little bit because the 49ers have a pretty nasty defense. So, imagine if you go for a combo package in your draft, and you take Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, or you have Steven Jackson and Tony Gonzalez.  Well, you may very well ride that combo all the way to your league championship, but unfortunately, having 2 offensive players facing the 49ers defense just isn't smart, especially when it's during THE most important week of all!  So maybe you DON'T want more than one starting Falcon offensive player on your fantasy squad, based on this research.

On the other hand, you may think that the Saints are going to have a good offensive game against the Panthers, so maybe you want to try and get a Brees/Colston combo platter! Or if you like that Redskins/Cowboys game and you think it may be a shootout, then you're trying to grab a player from each of those teams. Maybe you get Witten as your TE, and you nab RGIII as your Quarterback.

And hey, don't go crazy with this strategy, but definitely let it help you make a few key decisions.  Make a few adjustments in your strategy based on any GLARING trends that you see in the schedule for your league's championship game. 

So the key to this whole thing, is making sure you watch out for the players that face tough Defenses during your championship week.  And also, go ahead and pick a few players that you REALLY like for that week, based on soft matchups.  It's not a perfect science, and it's not a 100% sure-fire system, but it's worth taking a look at a few days or even a few hours before you draft, because it WILL help you make more educated draft selections.

Aaron D

Wanna draft like a pro? Visit our website for more info on our 2013 Draft Spreadsheet...

Friday, March 29, 2013

2013 Fantasy Football BREAKOUT Wide Receiver

Cecil Shorts III

Every year we see it. A wide receiver that did relatively little the year before, comes out of nowhere to blow up the scene! Nobody drafts him, because he wasn't on anybody's radar due to his poor performance the year prior, and it ends up being a free agency or waiver wire battle just to nab him. Wouldn't it be nice to take this guy with one of your final draft picks?

In 2009, he was Sidney Rice with the Vikings (he went from 141 yards in 2008, to 1,312 yards in 2009).

In 2010, he was Brandon Lloyd with the Broncos (he went from 117 yards in 2009, to 1,448 yards in 2010).

In 2011, he was Victor Cruz with the Giants (he went from 0 yards in 2010, to 1,536 yards in 2011).

In 2012, it wasn't quite the splash we'd seen in previous years. The Jaguars' Cecil Shorts III was the guy that made a good enough of a splash to be our Breakout from 2012. Fantasy 'ballers drafted Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson, and yet Shorts was the one that topped the Jags WR's list with 55 receptions, 979 yards, and 7 TD's.  In 2011, he was a non-factor, with only 2 receptions for 30 yards. Most people had never heard of Cecil Shorts prior to his 2012 week 1 game against the Vikings, when he officially popped onto our collective radars.

A close 2nd place goes to T.Y. Hilton. Normally I don't include rookies in this column, but in this case, he wasn't a high draft pick, so he did in fact "come out of nowhere"!  Dude posted 7 TD's and 861 yards, and not a single fantasy football guru saw it coming.

An "Honorable Mention" for 2012 would be another rookie in Josh Gordon, who again wasn't on our radars, and he definitely got picked up in most leagues. But finishing with 805 yards and only 5 TD's wasn't quite as sexy as we'd like to see in our "superstar-in-the-making" Breakout WR (like we saw with a Victor Cruz in 2011)!

So again, year in and year out, there's a Wide Receiver that comes out of nowhere, and nobody seems to see them coming. You are not even tempted to draft this guy, because if they're on your draft list, they're so far down the list that you don't even consider drafting them. This WR is simply incognito, and you have to find a way to figure out who he is!!! Of course, this is a very difficult thing for any of us to figure out. But that certainly won't stop me from trying! People will continue to play the lottery by the millions, even though 99.9999% of them will never win. And so here I go again, trying to do the impossible, as I attempt to identify the breakout wide receiver of 2013!

Let me start by reviewing my success (or lack thereof) in my 2012 Breakout WR column! NO, I didn't identify Cecil Shorts III.  But what I did know, thankfully, was that we weren't going to have a Breakout guy like we had in 2011 with Victor Cruz. I thought we'd end up with more of a 2011 Laurent Robinson, when he exploded for 11 TD's, but he only splish-splashed in the receptions and yardage categories.  And that's what we saw with Shorts, decent TD total, but not very stud-like in receptions and yardage.

Fast forward to 2013, and I think we bounce back to the 2009-2011 Rice/Lloyd/Cruz territory!  I honestly think we'll get a guy that had a dismall or non-existent 2012, who crushes the scene with a huge 2013!  And I also think we get another Shorts on top of that, ie, a guy who produces enough to be worthy of the WR4 or WR5 spot on your fantasy squad.  So let's see if we can find these guys... we'll look at each NFL squad, in alphabetical order (by city).

Arizona Cardinals - you now have Carson Palmer, so Fitzy will be back on folks' radars, but he's no "breakout" candidate since he's already high on our radars.  Michael Floyd, he managed 500+ yards and he's the #2 WR on the team, so he's going to get drafted, he's not our candidate. I don't see our guy here in Arizona.

Atlanta Falcons - you already have Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez to feed, our "breakout" candidate simply isn't a Falcon, it's not possible unless White or Jones suffers a season ending injury, and we can't forecast something like that.

Baltimore Ravens - Boldin has left the building. Torrey Smith is getting drafted pretty high.  Jacoby Jones is penciled in as the #2, and he had 406 yards and only 1 TD in the regular season, so he's border-line for "Breakout" consideration.  If he was further down on the depth chart, I'd be tempted to say he's a guy to consider here. Now, there's a chance that the Ravens may bring in a veteran WR (like a Nate Washington type) to be the #2 guy, and bump Jones down to #3, and then I'd like him even more.  If they do NOT bring in a veteran, then keep an eye on Tandon Doss. He barely played in his 2nd NFL season in 2012, so it's the magical 3rd year for him. At this point we just want to see how the situation plays out in Baltimore.

Buffalo Bills - Is it Kolb or the rookie Manuel at QB, we don't know yet.  Will a Robert Woods or T.J. Graham do well opposite Stevie Johnson? Maybe. But Woods is a rookie, and we don't consider rookies in this column.  Woods should be the Z receiver, while a host of others may end up sharing time at the X position while Stevie hits up the slot.  With the QB situation muddy, and with the lack of viable options at the WR position, I'm not feeling the Bills.

Carolina Panthers - Some of us fell for the Brandon LaFell "3rd year WR" hype in 2012, it didn't pan out.  He just didn't have enough yardage or TD's to be a bye week fill-in. Domenik Hixon is expected to win the WR3 job in Carolina, but if you remember him from his days with the Giants, I just can't see him being the "breakout" WR for 2013.  I'm not liking my options here in Carolina.

Chicago Bears - I anticipate Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett to the lead the receiving corps, but Alshon Jeffery could be a guy to watch as he comes off a 367 yards and 3 TD effort in 2012.  He didn't get much done in 2012 because of a fractured hand and a knee scope, so the paltry stats could keep him off our draft radars. But then again, being the WR2 on the Bears, he likely will be on our radars. So based on the fact that he did have some production in 2012 AND he's on our radars, he doesn't really qualify for this discussion.  Earl Bennett, on the other hand, could very well be the guy. He's slated to be the WR3 for the Bears, and he only had 2TD's and 375 yards in 2012.  Nobody is likely will be tempted to draft Mr. Bennett.  But unfortunately, I just don't think that he's in line for a breakout campaign.

Cincinatti Bengals - So, we have a decent QB in Dalton, and we have super-stud A.J. Green as the go-to pass catcher. TE's Gresham and the rookie Tyler Eifert are going to get targets. The way I see it, there's room for 1 WR to potentially sneak in and get a lot of targets. The problem here is that there are 2 good WR options outside of Green, and if both of these options share this pool of targets, EACH OF THEM will end up with around 500-600 yards and maybe 4 TD's.  Now, if only one of them can steal most of the targets, then we may have something here! Option 1 is Andrew Hawkins, he got some waiver-wire love in 2012 after starting hot in weeks 1-3, but after that he really fizzled. He's on people's radars because of that, but at this point since he's listed as the WR3, he probably won't get drafted. He could be our guy. The other guy to consider is Mohammed Sanu, because he's listed currently as the WR2, he may get drafted. And if fantasy draft guru's start hyping him as a potential breakout, his draft stock will rise and people will grab him earlier than we hoped.  He got 4 TD's in 2012 but only 154 yards, so if he blows up in 2013, he'd be our Breakout guy. But the problem is, will he get hyped, because if he does, we won't be able to steal him in the final rounds of our drafts. So we have to wait and see how the pre-season goes for Sanu and Hawkins.

Cleveland Browns - Well we all know about Josh Gordan now, thanks to the 805 yards and 5 TD's in 2012. Because of Gordon's success, and because he claimed the #1 WR spot in Cleveland, my eyes turn to Greg Little. People who drafted him last year, they were let down.  Now, since he had 647 receptions and 4 TD's, he's still on radars, and he'll still probably get drafted. Because of that, he can't be our "Breakout" candidate, but he's still a worthy flier pick if he's available in the final round of drafts.  Because he's on radars, and because I don't like any other Browns being picked in fantasy drafts, our guy isn't here and I'm moving on...

Dallas Cowboys - Everybody is in love with Dez Bryant, and people will still draft Miles Austin (even though he hasn't cracked 1000 yards since 2010, although he came fairly close in 2012 with 943 yards).  And don't forget, Witten sure isn't slowing down, so he'll still be a major factor in the pass game.  But with Austin struggling to stay healthy the last few years, I think there's a real opportunity for Dwayne Harris to have a "breakout" campaign.  He only had 222 yards and 1 TD in 2012. He's 3rd on the depth chart behind Dez and Miles, so he's somewhat hidden.  Unless he receives some major buzz between now and fantasy drafts, I don't see him getting drafted in many leagues.  I'll be honest, right now I am really leaning towards Harris as a top late-round flier option.

Denver Broncos - OK. Well, there's Demaryius Thomas. There's Eric Decker. There's Wes Welker. Move on to the next team, "out of nowhere" breakout's just aren't possible here in Denver!

Detroit Lions - So what we know is that Stafford has a big arm, and that Calvin Johnson will continue to be the primary beneficiary of that arm.  Now, it's interesting because Reggie Bush enters the picture, and he will add a new dimension to the Lions' offense.  This could open an opportunity for the Lions' WR2. Currently it's Ryan Broyles. If you recall, he popped onto fantasy radars in 2012 during weeks 7-12, and then vanished into thin air the moment that he tore his ACL.  So coming off an ACL tear, there's a good chance that many fantasy owners will be skeptical of drafting a guy who's coming off ACL surgery.  If that's the case, he's certainly worthy of a late-round flier, because of the fact that he showed so much promise in 2012, and because there's an opportunity to receive single coverage while Calvin is doubled up on the other side.  It would be even better for us, if Burleson wins the #2 job, and during drafts, Broyles is the WR3 for the lions, because then he's moving further off the radar.

Green Bay Packers - Well, let's face it. Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, and James Jones all get drafted, and none of them will go in the later rounds, all early to mid rounders.  There's simply no room for a breakout WR on the Packers. 

Houston Texans - This is a team that never seems to have a good WR option outside of Andre Johnson. Could 2013 be the year where 2 Houston WR's go for over 1000 yards!?  Maybe.  Now, they drafted DeAndre Hopkins in the 1st round, so he's on radars. He's running with the first-team in OTA's, so it's looking like he'll get the #2 job, and with that, I'm guessing that people will draft him in later rounds.  Because of this, he can't be our guy, but maybe another Texan can be. Keshawn Martin and Lestar Jean have a chance to breakout.  As a slot guy, Keshawn is probably not going to reach gaudy number in 2013.  I don't have the faith in Jean as of right now, I honestly don't see it happening here in Houston, I think Houston remains a running team, with Johnson leading the WR's, and Hopkins coming in 2nd by pulling in 40-50 catches for around 500 yards and maybe 3 or 4 TD's.

Indianapolis Colts - So Reggie Wayne is still the top option in Indy.  T.Y. Hilton is the new darling that we'll all draft after Reggie is off the board.  Heyward-Bey is likely the #3 WR, but after getting 606 yards and 5 TD's in 2012, he's on a ton of radars.  So that leaves LaVon Brazill.  Didn't do much in 2012, which was his rookie season.  It might take an injury for him to breakout in 2013, so for that reason, I can't really put much faith in his breakout stock.

Jacksonville Jaguars - As long as Blaine Gabbert is the QB, I'm not a fan of Jaguar WR's in general. Cecil Shorts is #1, and Blackmon would've been #2, but he opens the season missing the first 4 games due to suspension.  Enter Jordan Shipley.  Ship works out of the slot, so he won't be the one filling in for Blackmon (that will likely be Massaquoi).  But honestly, are you really wasting a flier on Jordan Shipley, a guy who catches passes from Blaine Gabbert?  No, you're not.

Kansas City Chiefs - Well everybody knows Dwayne Bowe, and we also know Jon Baldwin, who's currently #2 on the WR depth chart.  But will people be jumping on the Baldwin Bandwagon (if one exists)?  People took fliers on him in 2012 drafts, but he didn't do much, only 325 yards and 1 TD. So at this point, he's kinda-sorta on the radar, so he's a borderline candidate for "breakout" because I'm looking for somebody that is not on a single radar.  By all means, he's a fine late-round flier, but he doesn't fit this specific mold that the column is concentrating on.  But guess who's hidden away on this roster? Donnie Avery. He currently has a high-ankle sprain, which is why Baldwin is listed as the #2. If Avery gets healthy and steals the #2 job, then Baldwin drops off the radar a bit, and can be considered. But with Alex Smith at the helm, do you really think Baldwin is going to get 1000 yards receiving? Doubtful.

Miami Dolphins - So you now have Mike Wallace, he's gonna get drafted high. People aren't going to sleep on Hartline, he'll get drafted in most leagues as well.  We don't know if the #3 guy in Miami will be Brandon Gibson or somebody else. That "somebody else" might be 2nd year guy Rishard Matthews. I'd keep an eye on this kid, he fits our mold as a WR that nobody is thinking about, and a guy who barely made a sound in 2012. If he somehow sneaks into the regular WR rotation, he might make a splash. Keep an eye on him during the pre-season.

Minnesota Vikings - Greg Jennings had a brutal 2012, BUT he didn't fall off the radar, people will still bite on Jennings in the mid rounds as a WR3.  Patterson is a rookie so we can't include him in the discussion.  I took a flier on Jerome Simpson in 2012 but that guy certainly didn't pan out like I hoped.  Looking back, that makes a lot of sense, right? I mean, the Vikings' QB is Christian Ponder.  So I don't like our options in Minnesota, and the only Vikings I want on my fantasy team is Adrian Peterson and/or Blair Walsh.

New England Patriots - So Welker is out and Amendola is in. Amendola is a guy who missed 20 games over the last 2 seasons due to injury. We don't know if Gronk can stay healthy, and hell, we don't know if Hernandez can stay healthy either. Dobson is a rookie, so he isn't in consideration for our "Breakout" WR. The Pats have signed some guys like Michael Jenkins, Lavelle Hawkins, and Donald Jones, but we don't know if any of these guys will still be around after cuts are made.  All eyes are on Julian Edelman.  Now, he has a right foot injury so not even he is a lock to make the roster! At this time, I can't annoint any Patriots as our guy.

New Orleans Saints - Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham will be the go-to pass catchers. Lance Moore comes in 3rd, especially considering that he finally went over 1000 yards in 2012.  So with everybody targeting these guys, will anybody go after Joe Morgan?  He should end up as the WR3 for the Saints. He's their deep threat, and the guy throwing the ball (Drew Brees) can throw a mean deep ball.  Now, he had 3 TD's and 379 yards on only 10 receptions in 2012. That's crazy production for only 10 receptions, isn't it?  If this guy can hold onto the #3 job going into the preseason games, I suspect that he's a pretty good guy to consider for a late-round flier! Don't you agree? Imagine if he gets even 30 receptions at that same pace, it would be 1137 yards and 9 TD's! Keep your eye on this dude.

New York Giants - Well the Giants have an interesting situation, as they still haven't made a deal with Victor Cruz.  Nicks will likely have a big 2013 since he's gunning for a new contract.  But with the departure of Martellus Bennett, there's certainly an opportunity for a 3rd receiving target to step in and produce. Enter Rueben Randle.  He only had 298 yards and 3 TD's in 2012 so he's not necessarily a hot WR target in fantasy land.  Assuming the deal with Cruz goes through and he's happy, who is going to draft the WR3 for the Giants?  I mean, it's one thing to draft the WR3 for the Packers or the Broncos, because in those cases, all 3 WR's on each team are household names. But Randle is still not quite on our radars, or better yet, he's on the radars but we've got a lot of other WR's in front of him.  I think Randle has to be seriously considered for the breakout candidate role in 2013, he definitely has a high-reward potential as a late-round flier.

New York Jets - Like in Bills-land, you have 2 QB's that could start in Sanchez or the rookie Geno Smith. Neither of them makes me giddy. Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill will be on radars, and will likely be drafted in later rounds.  I actually think that Jeremy Kerley could end up leading the Jets at the WR position, but will that even be 1000 yards and at least 8 TD's?  With those 2 QB's, it's hard to say "Yes". And the problem is, Kerley had 827 yards last year so he's not technically "coming out of nowhere" to be a Breakout guy.  I don't want to own any Jets WR's on my fantasy teams, so I pass on the Jets here.

Oakland Raiders - Matt Flynn as the QB, and Denarius Moore as the clear #1 WR.  Rod Streater is the #2, and with 584 yards in 2012, he's on radars, and so he doesn't count.  Keep an eye on Jacoby Ford, and half an eye on Juron Criner.  Ford didn't make much noise in 2010 or 2011, and he missed all of 2012.  Ford is officially not on radars, he is a fine option for our "breakout" candidate IF he can manage to be 100% healthy, and IF he can stay that way all season.

Philadelphia Eagles - people will draft Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson. Avant is currently the WR3 on their depth chart, but he's clearly not somebody to consider here. Arrelious Benn has some intrigue since he was a once-highly-touted WR, but you'd really have to believe in miracles if you think he's going to be THE guy that breaks out in 2013.  Now, buried on the depth chart is a guy named Demaris Johnson. He's a small guy, he's fast, and he only had 256 yards and no TD's in 2012, so he's not touching anybody's radar.  Right now, there's no indication that he's in line for many reps in Chip Kelly's offense, but who knows?  Seriously, who knows right now, because what Chip Kelly will or will not do with the Eagles' offense is very much an unknown currently. So at this point, all I can really say is to watch Eagles' training camp.  But right now I'm not seeing anybody that I like to be a breakout candidate.

Pittsburgh Steelers - With Mike Wallace now in Miami, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders become the #1 and #2 options respectively. Neither is a "Breakout" candidate because they are on our radars, and they both had decent 2012's. Cotchery is currently listed as the #3, but for all we know he could be released at some point before the season. Markus Wheaton is a rookie (3rd round pick) who will make a push at the #3 job, it depends on what happens in camp and in the preseason.  At his point I'm not seeing a "Breakout" option in Pittsburgh, unless of course, you see a major comeback in the cards for Plaxico Burress!

San Diego Chargers - well we were all on the Danario Alexander bandwagon, thand now he's done for the year. Malcom Floyd falls into the #1 role as a result, but he just hurt his knee in the preseason, so he's no lock to stay healthy this year. Vincent Brown was a tempting guy for 2012 until he broke his ankle in a preseason game. Even after missing all of 2012, it's not enough to keep him off of our radars. He's slated as the #2, so for that fact alone, he will get some looks in fantasy drafts. And if he's still around, I'd take a flier on him, but he's not really coming out of nowhere. So he's worth a look, but not a true "hidden gem" candidate. Eddie Royal is slightly interesting, as the #3 guy. But rookie Keenan Allen may very well beat out Royal. Who knows. But right now, Brown is the only Charger I'm willing to draft.

San Francisco 49ers - wow, so how big of a deal is the loss of Michael Crabtree!? REALLY BIG! Boldin is now the clear #1. Kyle Williams is supposed to be the #2, but he's coming off a torn ACL. If he is the #2, people may just draft him in later rounds because of the fact that he's a WR2 on a good team. Then there's AJ Jenkins, a 2012 first round selection. A total non-factor in his rookie season, absolutely forgotten at this point. So if this guy can battle his way into a starting job, without much hype and fanfare, then he could be the breakout guy. But so far, it looks like he's still a bust. I am not liking any 49ers WR's outside of Boldin right now.

Seattle Seahawks - So Percy Harvin is injured, and some people may go after Sidney Rice at some point in the draft. Golden Tate is the new #1, but he had enough production in 2012 that he can't be considered a breakout option. Color me not so enthusiastic about finding our guy in Seattle.

St. Louis Rams - I am intrigued by the Rams and their WR situation. You've got a QB who will likely need to lean on the passing game, now that Steven Jackson is gone. Tavon Austin, the highly touted rookie and household name, will get drafted in the middle rounds of your draft. On the other hand, Austin Pettis is not a household name. Yes he had 4 TD's in 2012, but only 261 yards. But Pettis is more of a possession guy, so can he really hit that 1000 yard mark? You also have to consider Chris Givens, who did fairly well with almost 700 receiving yards in 2012. But he's on the radar because of that. Who isn't on the radar? Brian Quick. I like Quick, he has some upside potential as a red zone threat, but I'm not rolling the dice on him. Givens, if he's around in later rounds, he may not be a true "breakout" because of his 2012 production, but I'd love to spend a late round pick on this guy!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - I don't know that you can really go after a Buc WR outside of Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. Not enough fire power in Josh Freeman's arm to feed another WR.

Tennessee Titans - Kenny Britt and Kendall Wright will both get drafted for WR3/WR4 duties on fantasy squads.  Nate Washington will likely also get taken.  So, you're hard-pressed to be THAT guy that actually takes the #4 WR on the Titans.  It's really hard to be that guy.  And, on top of that, if Justin Hunter is the #4, he's a rookie 2nd round pick, so technically he's on radars as a high draft pick.  No breakout sleepers here in Titansville.

Washington Redskins - Well, let's see here, Garcon would've been a beast if he would've been 100% healthy all year.  If he can stay healthy in 2013, he'll certainly lead the Skins in receptions.  Hankerson had a lot of "breakout" buzz in 2012 drafts, but he really only had a few games where you could've used him in your fantasy lineup.  At this point, they have Josh Morgan listed ahead of Hankerson, and he had enough production in 2012 that if he blew up this year, it wouldn't be an "out of nowhere" kind of deal.  And then you still have Santana Moss in the mix.  I just don't see anybody on this team that fits the mold that we're looking for in a Breakout WR.

If YOU have any "Breakout" candidates for us, leave them in the comment section!

(If you dig Mr. Addict's advice and insight in this article, VISIT www.FantasyFootballAddict.com , and for only $7, order the 2012 Draft Day Spreadsheet, and you'll be using the same draft tool that Mr. Addict uses in all of his drafts!)

Fantasy Football 2013: Lessons Learned From the 2012 Season

When we look back at the 2012 Fantasy Football season, what stands out is the fact that all bets are off once you get into the Fantasy Playoffs.  Here at the Fantasy Football Addict, we have a great Draft Spreadsheet that will pretty much ensure that you will reach the playoffs, regardless of what free agency moves you make.  But again, once you reach the playoffs, all bets are off, and at that point your only option is PRAYER... regardless if you are religious or not, you need to PRAY that things go your way!

Let's get into some examples. In our 2012 Draft Spreadsheet, we had Doug Martin as the 15th running back on our board.  That's on par with what most other sites had him ranked.  Of course, we all had him ranked to low, as he turned out to be a  top 3 RB.  However, if you were one of those people who rode Martin to the playoffs, chances are that he killed your hopes and dreams in week 15!  That's the week where he put up only 35 combined yards, with 0 TD's.  And it's not like you could've benched him, he was going against a horrible Saints defense.  In week 14, David Wilson gashed the Saints for 100 rushing yards and 2 TD's, surely Martin would have similar numbers!  But unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. 

Let's get to a Quarterback example.  Matthew Stafford came off a huge 2011, so he was a top 5 pick at QB in 2012.  He fell off a bit in 2012, but he was still a top 10 QB, and he likely did enough to get you into the playoffs.  But then in week 15 (like Martin), he just ripped out your heart and laughed in your face!  That's right, no TD's, just 246 yards, and 3 INT's!  He was a dreamkiller in week 15.

Moving on to the Wide Receiver position, there's a few examples.  You had Demaryius Thomas end up as a top 5 WR, yet in week 15 he only had 4 catches for 13 yards.  Now, it was an away game at Baltimore, but did you have the stones to bench him? Most people aren't deep enough at WR to make that kind of move.  AJ Green had a monster season, yet in week 14 he only managed 3 receptions for 44 yards.  Weeks 15 and 16 he had big games.  But if you didn't get past week 14, then what good did that do you?  And don't forget about Roddy White, dude was on fire all season long, and then he throws up duds in weeks 13 and 15. Only 3 catches for 36 yards combined in those 2 games!  Absolute dreamkillers.

And naturally, we also see this with Tight Ends as well.  Rob Gronkowski gets hurt and misses weeks 12-16, so Hernandez owners figure that they hit the jackpot.  Well, he does the job in weeks 13-15, netting 3 TD's, 247 yards, and 26 receptions!  That's gangbusters production from a Tight End in a 3 game run, especially if we're talking PPR (Points Per Reception) leagues.  But then, what does he do in week 16?  Against the Jaguars, of all teams. 1 reception for 13 yards.  Week 16, which in many leagues is championship week, and this guy gets 1 reception, after 3 straight weeks of fantastic production!  Speaking of week 16, you can add Tony Gonzalez to this conversation. This guy had a great year, he finished as a top 3 Fantasy Tight End in 2012.  But it just wasn't in the cards for him in week 16 at Detroit.  Just 1 reception for 9 yards. Dreamkiller!

So in a nut shell, that's the biggest lesson to be learned from the 2012 season.  The fantasy regular season is quite forgiving.  If 1 of your key players gives you a dud game here and there, chances are you can still fight through it and earn a spot in the playoffs.  But once you're in the playoffs, there is no margin for error. The stud that you rode into the playoffs is only 1 bad game away from killing your hopes and dreams.  And there's absolutely NOTHING you can do about it. Except to pray.

VISIT www.FantasyFootballAddict.com , our 2013 Draft Spreadsheet is currently available!