October 6, 2013
I got murdered last week. Hopefully you’re just fading my picks. Ugh....
I know it’s a bit late, but I wanted to make sure I got a list of breakouts, sleepers, and busts up there for you guys who are drafting this Sunday, Labor Day, or beyond. When it comes to building your team, it’s all about getting value and that’s what I’m looking at here. Not so much with the breakouts, I don’t really care where I have to draft those guys, they’re some of my top targets for the season and players I really want to own regardless of price. But for the sleepers and busts, it’s all about what the cost is. So, my sleepers aren’t necessarily going to set the world on fire (in fact it’s highly unlikely), but where you can get them presents a great opportunity to bank a healthy return on your investment. Conversely, my busts are mostly really good players who have done nice fantasy work as recently as last year. But what you’re laying down for their services is too high in my opinion, either because of risk or what I anticipate their production to be. Enjoy.
The write-ups here are going to be brief as I’m running short on time. If you want more info on these guys, check out my rankings lists.
Lastly, for the sleepers and busts I’ve listed my personal ranks then the consensus PPR ADP figures (Zen – FPros) from FantasyPros.com as a reference tool.
Colin Kaepernick – San Francisco 49ers
My fantasy love for Kaepernick has been well documented this summer. I just think back to Michael Vick’s best year and see the same potential (if not more) without the injury risk. May be a foolish assumption, but dude is jacked. No. 1 overall not crazy.
Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
Equally (more intense actually) football man-crush here. I like smart guys. I like guys who are humble and work hard. Wilson is all of those things and don’t be fooled by his lack of height, he has a big arm and a ton of arm talent to compliment his legs.
E.J. Manuel – Buffalo Bills (16 – 26)
Manuel’s rushing ability will keep his fantasy floor up and help water down some of his bad games where picks get the best of him. Rushing TDs could lead to some big weeks.
Sam Bradford – St. Louis Rams (19 – 21)
Not a big spread in rank here, but I think Bradford is underrated as a potential fantasy starter. His numbers were very respectable last season and he has several new toys to play with. His upside has been obscured playing on terrible St. Louis offenses.
Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons (10 – 6)
Ryan is going to be good. With Roddy, Julio, and Gonzo spreading the field he’ll be able to use his accuracy and impressive ability to read his progressions and put up numbers. But I feel like you’re paying for his best from last year if you draft him in 2013.
Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals (24 – 15)
I don’t feel great about this one because I’m very high on Cincinnati this season and he added weapons to go along with A.J. Green. Seems counter-intuitive. But, I see this team as being in the mold of the old Steelers and Ravens squads – run it often and control the ball and the clock and rely on your talented defense. That means less passing.
Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins
My friend Joe and I discussed how he and Nick Foles were quite possibly the first ever QB handcuffs on my radio show last summer. If Cousins gets a chance, he’s looked decent.
C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills
Another guy who I’ve been steadfast on all summer. Pretty sure I’m one of the only experts to have him at the no. 1 spot. It’s a serious risk to take no doubt, but if you’re taking him at no. 5 and he gets hurt is your team any different than if it happened at no. 1? I want him, I’m taking him. You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em… yup, I’m a gambler.
Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns
Pretty similar theme here. T-Rich is actually the guy I’ve struggled most with in my ranks. But if you think about it, he had 1,300 yards, 12 TDs, and 51 catches as a rookie while playing hurt all season on a terrible offense. Why get all wrapped up in one poor statistic, his 3.5 YPC? That won’t last and Cleveland is trending up – 15+ TDs this year. I’m committed.
Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals
At some point talent just wins out. I think BJGE has a role on this team, but it’s as a leader, as a short-yardage guy, and not much more by Week 5 or 6. Standard leagues won’t be as kind to Bernard as PPR formats, but I still think he’ll be a solid flex – 1,100 yards from scrimmage…minimum.
David Wilson – New York Giants
I was hesitant to get fully on board with Wilson this season, but for once, procrastination has worked to my benefit. I really like Andre Brown as a player and couldn’t see any way he didn’t significantly limit Wilson’s value, but with him suffering a broken leg (even though “minor”) and his extensive injury history I feel much better about it. Wilson has the speed, strength and skills to carry a full load and now he has the most important element – the opportunity.
Jonathan Dwyer – Pittsburgh Steelers (29 – 48)
I said it last year, I’ll say it again now. He’s the best running back on this roster with the most upside. And yes, I’m including Le’veon Bell in that discussion. Dwyer lost another 20 pounds this offseason, has soft hands, and can pound the rock between the tackles like the Steelers always desire. Not a superstar by any means, but a solid flex and Pittsburgh’s starter all year.
Johnathan Franklin – Green Bay Packers (35 – 49)
Franklin is slipping way down draft boards in the wake of Eddie Lacy getting on the field and – looking good? (18 carries for 36 yards) I really liked Franklin coming out of the draft and I don’t see any way he doesn’t get some run and have fantasy value, especially in PPR formats. How many teams these days use only one back? The answer is zero. And Lacy has health questions coming in. Touchdowns will be hard to come by, but touches won’t be nearly as scarce as people think. He can make plays as a returner too.
Jacquizz Rodgers – Atlanta Falcons (39 – 46)
He’s not grossly underrated, but I think people are forgetting about him. Just because SJax is in town doesn’t mean there isn’t a role for Quizz. He has big-play potential that Jackson no longer does at this point and even though Jackson has impressive hands for a guy his size, Rodgers is the better fit in the shotgun/spread formations.
Mike Goodson – New York Jets (61 – 80)
I hate to pub this guy since he seems to have a serious criminal inclination (and love of guns), which bothers me, but keeping it between the lines I’ve always thought he was a talented players. He made plays in Carolina, same in Oakland, and now he has to get past (or share with) Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. Ivory has mega-talent but can’t stay on the field. Powell is average. Goodson is going to get a lot more work than people realize.
Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins (15 – 11)
I owned and drafted Morris a year ago. He was great. Wonderful story, seems like a super nice and humble guy. But asking him to repeat what he did in 2012 seems ludicrous. He’s a great looking runner and I’d take him on my team in “real” life any day. He’s decisive, runs hard, and has great moves for a guy his size. He was one of the best “breakaway” and “yards-after-contact” guys last season. But especially in PPR formats, he does nothing in the passing game and that significantly limits his upside. Even in standard formats I think he’s going to be a disappointment, albeit to a much lesser degree.
Steven Jackson – Atlanta Falcons (22 – 13)
Look, I think Jackson is going to be fine, and a nice fit for Atlanta. But I also think people taking him in the second round are a bit loopy. He doesn’t have the get-up anymore and this team is loaded with scoring options. I understand he’s going to get more opportunities down close. He’ll probably rack up eight or more TDs, but I think his carries, yards, and receptions come down significantly.
Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders (32 – 21)
Maybe it’s because I’ve owned him twice before. Maybe it’s because I watched way more of his games last season than anyone not being tortured for treason should. He’s not good. He doesn’t hit the hole hard, he can’t find cutback lanes, and he can’t stay healthy. He’ll have a few plays every month that remind you of what could have been when he gets into the open field, but he won’t be a consistent producer. No thanks.
Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints (52 – 35)
Simply put, I think he’s the third-best running back on this team. He’ll get some work for sure, and score a handful of touchdowns, but I don’t see him being relied upon to carry a heavy load and he needs volume to get anywhere near being someone you want to start. And he only has that one avenue to score points. He’s a career 3.9 YPC guy so far and he only has 17 catches in two years.
LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots
He’ll need an injury ahead of him to get enough work to be fantasy relevant, but he showed this preseason that he’s still a load and he can chew up yardage. There’s an outside chance he gets goal line work anyway, but I doubt it.
Kenjon Barner – Carolina Panthers
These little guys never actually pan out to be full-timers (Warwick Dunn notwithstanding), but Barner could be a nice third-down/change-of-pace guy. He has extensive experience running the read-option and could make a nice “big-and-small” combo with Cam. For whatever reason DeAngelo Williams never gets a full workload so somebody is getting carries there and Jonathan Stewart is hurt again.
…continued on Page 2.