Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waiver Wire Lineup

With the success of my pitching version of Waiver Wire help, I felt compelled to publish a hitting piece.

Looking for a little something extra in your daily or weekly lineups? The guy you need just might be sitting on the waiver wire in your league. With the trade deadline having passed in most leagues, the wire waiver is your only option for help at this point of the season.

Time to get rid of some bigger names who aren't producing in favor of some less-owned players who will give you results.

The fantasy playoffs are approaching rapidly, and if your team is on the verge of making the postseason then you might want to give these 6 guys a second look.

1) Rajai Davis-A's

Since being promoted to an everyday player on a struggling Oakland team, Davis has done nothing but put up fantasy-worthy numbers.

His speed threat alone makes him roster worthy is most formats, but especially in roto leagues where you are lacking in steals.

Rajai won't blow you away with the power numbers, but his 27 steals and .289 average are nothing to laugh at, especially if you are trying to make up ground in those categories. His 39 runs scored won't hurt your cause either.

Davis is owned in only 26.2 percent of ESPN leagues, so he is available to help your team if you need his services.

2) Mike Lowell-Red Sox

Lowell has always been a great hitter in his career, and this year has been no exception to that trend.

Lowell has really picked up his game of late, and has two HR and six RBI in the past week. In a Red Sox line-up that seems to be finding its stride, the RBI opportunities should continue to present themselves for Lowell.

He is hitting .302 with 16 HR and 65 RBI on the season. Those are pretty solid stats across the board. Why not use him at this point, even if it's just as a fill in? With guys like Pablo Sandoval DTD with minor injuries, you can plug Lowell in for a few days and make up for the lost production.

Lowell is owned in 61.2 percent of ESPN leagues, so he is still out there in a good chunk of leagues. I'm by no means saying to drop your regular 3B if they have produced for you all year, but only to utilize Lowell as a fill-in while your guy is out for a few days.

3) Travis Snider-Blue Jays

With the loss of Alex Rios to the White Sox, the young Snider has been entrenched into an everyday role for Toronto.

Since being called up on August 18th, Snider has gone deep three times in his first nine games as a big league starter. The most impressive part to me is that those 9 games have been against the Red Sox, Angels and Rays, all of which are postseason contenders.

If you are looking for a power surge or a temporary OF fill-in, Snider might be the guy to fill that void for you. No guarantee that the power will continue, but I see no reason why the AB's should decline at this point.

Snider is owned in only 8.8 percent of ESPN leagues, and classifies as a deep flier with huge upside. Why not take a chance that the upside will pull through for the rest of the year?

4) Josh Willingham-Nationals

Willingham had a torrid month of July, which prompted a large increase in his ownership. He has since cooled off some, but looks poised to go on another streak.

What makes me say that? Try a 4-4 performance with two HR and six RBI on Tuesday.

Willingham is hitting .301 with 21 HR and 56 RBI on the season, yet he is only owned in 32.7 percent of ESPN leagues.

If you are in need of OF help and power production, take a chance that Willingham goes on another tear. If you wait until it happens he might not still be sitting there.

5) Andrew McCutchen-Pirates

The Pirates have traded away every good player this season, or at least it seems that way sometimes. Well, that statement is not completely true.

Andrew McCutchen is a rising star, and one of the only bright spots on an otherwise dim team at this point.

McCutchen's biggest asset is his speed, but he will flash the occasional pop that is just icing on the cake. Since being given the green light to steal whenever he likes, McCutchen has been running more often.

He has stolen 15 bases this year in 16 attempts. Since August 11th, around the time he was given the green light, Andrew has six SB. His .287 average, eight HR, 38 RBI and 50 runs scored are all helpful stats as well.

Andrew is owned in 42.7 percent of ESPN leagues, but his overall numbers suggest that he should be owned in more. If you are a victim of underachieving big-name OF's, why not give the future star a chance to bolster your categories?

6) Gordon Beckham-White Sox

The White Sox are postseason contenders, and Beckham's play, both offensively and defensively, is one of the reasons why.

Beckham is eligible at 3B and SS, and his numbers make him roster worthy in all formats in my opinion.

Beckham is hitting .284 with eight HR and 47 RBI. He has also added 38 runs and five SB. Keep in mind that he hasn't been in the big leagues all season either.

Gordon is owned in 47.9 percent of ESPN leagues. Surely some teams on the verge of the postseason could slot the youngster into the 2B/SS hole in your lineup.

These guys aren't the only jewels sitting on the waiver wire, but they are six players that caught my eye. If you are struggling to make up ground in your league with some big name underachievers, maybe giving these guys a go could solve your problems.

Monday, August 24, 2009

NFL Rookie Rankings Part Three: The Wide Receivers

While most people consider this year’s rookie wide receiver class one of the deepest positions in terms of fantasy, I completely disagree. There is a good amount of potential in this class, but there are a lot of questions that need to be answered.

I feel that all of the receivers have questions, and that is why I only did my top five. I feel that a lot of guys could switch by one to four positions very easily.

My No.1 rookie wide receiver is Brian Robiskie of the Cleveland Browns.

Robiskie is considered the most pro-ready wide receiver from this year's draft class. He has very good hands and is a great route-runner.

He is in a great position to make an impact this season. He has very little competition and will most likely start alongside Braylon Edwards.

Last season the Browns were 31st in the league in passing yards, but don't let that prevent you from believing in Robiskie. In 2007 the Browns were 12th in the league in passing yards.

This past season the Browns were a mess. I'd expect something closer to the 2007 passing game than last season's. If that's the case Robiskie could be a great pickup in fantasy leagues.

He will also be helped by the lack of other talent. The Browns second leading receiver last season was Kellen Winslow. He has since moved on to Tampa Bay, and that leaves a lot of passes that someone will get. A decent amount of those passes will go to Robiskie.

During his career at Ohio State, he had 127 receptions and 1, 866 yards. He also had a very impressive 24 touchdowns during his collegiate career.

His best season was in his junior year. He had 55 catches for 935 yards and 11 touchdowns. His senior year was not as impressive due to the Buckeyes changing their offensive system to accommodate Terrelle Pryor.

With Edwards taking the pressure off the rookie, Robiskie has a great opportunity to put up some big numbers. He’s definitely a rookie to keep an eye on, and is a great pick in the later rounds.

My No.2 rookie wide receiver is Hakeem Nicks of the New York Giants.

Nicks is a guy who was drafted in the right place at the right time. When Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg he opened up the Giants number one wide receiver spot.

With no true number one wide receiver on the roster, the Giants tried to find one through the draft. Nicks is the early favorite to step into the role which would make him a great fantasy option.

I am by no means saying Nicks will put up Plaxico type numbers, but he should make an impact from day one. He is much smaller than Plaxico so the biggest difference between the two will be red zone touchdowns.

The Giants also lost Amani Toomer this off-season, which opens up more receptions and yards for the taking. Without a doubt Hakeem Nicks will take advantage of these losses.

He had a good 2007 with 986 yards and five touchdowns, but he exploded in 2008. He had over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns. His best game of the season was North Carolina’s Bowl Game against West Virginia. He had eight receptions for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns. This really helped his draft stock and made everybody keep an eye out for him.

While we all know college success does not equal NFL success, Nicks has excellent potential. He could end up as the number one rookie wide receiver if he steps up and gets the Giants number one wide receiver job. Either way Nicks should produce this season.

My No.3 rookie wide receiver is Percy Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings.

Harvin was one of the best college players in the nation last season. His main question coming into the draft was whether he was a running back or a wide receiver.

Last season at Florida, Harvin led the team in receptions and was second in receiving yards. He was also fourth on the team in carries and second in rushing yards.

His upside on the field is huge, but he does have some problems off the field. He tested positive for marijuana at the combine. Knowing he would be tested at the combine he still did it anyways, which really makes a lot of people question his character. If he can keep his head on straight he should have a great year.

One thing Harvin does have going for him is versatility. He can line up at as many as three offensive positions. Wide receiver will be his main position, but he may also play some quarterback and running back. If he plays quarterback it will be in a wild cat formation.

After testing positive for drugs at the combine, his value has risen. The addition of Brett Favre could really help him as a wide receiver. Favre has no problem going downfield which will work great with Harvin’s speed.

With Harvin’s versatility, he should have no problem making an impact in his rookie season.

My No.4rookie wide receiver is Jeremy Maclin of the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles traded up in the draft to get Maclin with the 19th overall pick. This shows that they believe in him and like something about him.

Maclin will most likely see time as the kick returner and as a wide receiver. He will be used as the returner so that DeSean Jackson can focus on his wide receiver role.

I personally think Maclin will start the season as the third wide receiver behind both Jackson and Kevin Curtis. Others think Maclin will be ahead of Curtis. Either way Maclin will have pretty good value.

Maclin has great speed and is very quick in the open field. He will have plenty of weapons around him taking all of the pressure off of him.

Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy will take the pressure off through the ground game. With a successful ground game the Eagles wide receivers will be able to get open easier.

Maclin will also be helped by his fellow wide receivers taking the pressure off of him. DeSean Jackson will be the receiver the defenses pay the most attention to, and if Maclin is the number three, Curtis will also be watched closer than him. This could make it very easy for Maclin to become a relevant fantasy option.

Maclin is almost like a bigger version of DeSean Jackson and is definitely a guy worth risking a pick on.

My No.5 rookie wide receiver is Darrius Heyward-Bey of the Oakland Raiders.

Heyward-Bey is a very intriguing prospect. He was the first wide receiver taken in the draft, but was not the number one wide receiver in most people’s minds.

As everybody knows Al Davis loves speed, and that’s exactly why his Oakland Raiders drafted Darrius. He is the most likely candidate to be a bust, but he has just as much upside.

Heyward-Bey was the fastest wide receiver at the combine with a 4.3 in the 40 yard dash. It takes more than speed to be a good wide receiver, but that won’t hurt his chances of succeeding.

His size will also help him in the NFL. At 6’2” Heyward-Bey has great size to go with his speed. He will have a height advantage over anyone who will be covering him.

He has great speed and height, but he does have some negatives. He has never really used his size and speed effectively. Last season he had 609 receiving yards and only five touchdowns. He struggles with route running and isn’t as effective on “jump balls” as a receiver of his stature should be.

Heyward-Bey is far from reaching his potential, and will need very good coaching to get remotely close to his potential. With his size and speed he could be an excellent receiver, but someone has to help him get to his potential. He is a risky pick that could pay huge dividends for your fantasy team.

As I said before I don’t have a lot of confidence in this class of rookie wide receivers. Maybe you do, and if so feel free to share your opinions. I would be more than glad to hear them.

Not only does this conclude my wide receivers, but this is the end of my rookie rankings series. It took a lot of research, but it is finally complete. Thanks to everyone for reading it and hope you enjoyed it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Waiver Wire Rotation

As the new kid on the block, pun intended, I thought this would make for a good first piece. Fantasy baseball, and baseball in general, is one of the things I love most in this life. The 2009 season is winding down, especially fantasy-wise, and I thought this articles might help make or break a few teams out there.

Pitching is important, both in real life and in fantasy. Like all baseball teams, your fantasy squad can live or die by the arm, especially in head to head points leagues. But have no fear, there is help out there, even in the place you would least expect it.

That's right, there are guys on your league's waiver wire that can bolster your fantasy team. With the trade deadline having passed in most leagues, where else are you gonna find help?

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and if you are desperate, you might give these guys a go. Here's five waiver wire prospects to consider for this week, and possibly beyond.

1) Bronson Arroyo-Reds

He is red hot, giving up only one earned run over his last 17 innings. Two games ago he threw a complete game shutout versus the Nationals. I know what you're thinking, but the Nats had actually been one of the hottest teams around at the time.

In his last outing, Bronson went 8 strong innings against the Giants, giving up one earned run. The kicker was that he faced off against Barry Zito, who held the Reds in check for 6 innings, and whose bullpen finished off the job.

Sure he got the L, but it's hard to say that these kind of outings wouldn't help your fantasy squad. And to make things even better, he starts twice this coming week.

Luckily for you, he is owned in only 21.5 percent of ESPN leagues at the moment. Arroyo warrants a try in all formats at this point, especially if you have guys like Mark Buerlhe who are killing your staff with their recent struggles.

2) Randy Wells-Cubs

Who does number 2 work for? Unfortunately it's the Cubs, who have been struggling badly lately. But Wells has been doing his part, so why not take advantage of it?

Apart from one little hiccup against red hot Colorado, Wells has been solid over the past month. His win-loss record isn't great, but his stats are pretty dang good, especially for someone on most leagues' waiver wires.

He tossed 6.2 strong innings against the Dodgers on Friday, but was done in by two unearned runs. Again, not his fault. Despite the unfortunate loss, coupled with the hiccup against the Rockies, Wells has won 5 of his last 7 starts.

His ERA is 2.84, and his WHIP is 1.20 for the season, yet he is only owned in 35.6 percent of ESPN leagues. He gets the Nationals on Thursday, which makes him a great add in my book. Hot or not, it's ultimately still the Nats.

The Cubs desperately need wins at this point. A young pitcher, and the increased urgency of his teammates, equals fantasy success for you. Give him a shot.

3) John Smoltz-Cardinals

Smoltz was mediocre at best in his recent stint with the Red Sox, and I can't really blame them for letting him go. The truth is, maybe they pulled the plug a little too soon. But as they say, hindsight is always 20-20.

Johnny boy probably had Theo Epstein checking his vision on Sunday. Smoltz fanned nine Padres in five shutout innings. He struck out seven in a row at one point, which was both a personal best and a Cardinal record.

Okay, it was against the Padres, I totally agree. But what happens if he goes out and does it again in his next start? Do you think he will still be sitting on your waiver wire then? I would think not, as owners will probably be scrambling to pick him up.

Personally, I would rather pick the guy up and watch him fail then sit back, pass him up, and watch him do well for some other lucky owner. It could backfire, but it could also be the move that pushes your team right into the postseason, and gives you a shot at the coveted prize that is fantasy sport glory.

He is owned in only 12.4 percent of ESPN leagues as of now, but expect that number to go up here in the coming week, especially if he does well next time out.

Hey, the move to St. Louis rejuvenated Matt Holliday, so who's to say it won't work for the 42 year old future hall of famer? Make your move now before it's too late.

4) Scott Feldman-Rangers

The Rangers are having a great year. Quietly, so is Scott Feldman.

He picked up his 13th win of the season on Sunday, throwing 7 shutout innings against the Rays. He struck out 11 Tampa hitters on the way. Oh yeah, and he looked a lot better than David Price, who is currently not on the waiver wire in many leagues.

Tired of trotting Price out there, why not try Feldman? There are some Price-lovers out there who are gonna boo me for this one, but in reality it wouldn't be a bad move at all, especially if you are still in contention in your league. Sure Price might be good someday, but the truth is if you aren't planning on keeping him in your league, it might be time to cut him loose.

The Rangers open up a series with the Yankees on Tuesday, which means that Feldman will dodge that bullet, and not have to face the red hot evil empire. If all goes as planned, he should face the Twins this coming weekend, which isn't a bad match-up at all.

Feldman is owned in only 13.6 percent of ESPN leagues. So, if you're looking for pitching help, it's right in front of your eyes. Take a chance that this youngster isn't a fluke. He's been great since the All-star break, and has a great offense behind him, so it's really not that big of a risk in my opinion.

5) Brett Anderson- A's

Anderson got lit up by the White Sox on August 14th, but apart from that outing, has been surprisingly solid over the past month or so. He also suffered the loss against the Yankees on August 19th, but didn't pitch bad at all in that game. He limited the Yankees to six hits and three earned runs over seven innings.

Before those 2 outings, Anderson had pitched extremely well, and did so against some of the powerhouses of the American league.

He faces the Mariners on Tuesday, and I love that match-up for him. Seattle has faded, and I look for Anderson to build off of that solid performance against the Yankees.

He is owned in only 7.6 percent of ESPN leagues, and warrants consideration as a spot-starter this week if you are in need of strikeouts and wins.

That concludes this week's version of Waiver Wire rotation, tune in next week for more prospects to help your team find it's way into the postseason. I hope this information allows you to taste fantasy glory. Good luck to all.

Fantasy Football Injury Updates

From the moment NFL training camps opened last month, the injuries took their toll. Now, with the preseason in full swing, the abundance of injuries continues to grow. Whether it's a minor bruise, a nagging strain, or a severe pull, players are finding themselves on the bench and in the training room more often than not. This happens every year, and every year players fight through camp to make it to the official season.

Sometimes, though, these injuries become worrisome. Key contributors like Stewart Bradley for the Eagles are lost for the season, while others suffer less serious but still harmful injuries. Today, I'm going to take a look at some of the fantasy football impact players whose stock may have fallen due to their time on the shelf. Players gone for the season will not be included.

Jonathan Stewart, RB Carolina Panthers
Stewart's injury didn't seem too concerning at first, but after missing ten consecutive days of practice, some believe his health come Week 1 may be in jeopardy. His Achilles has been bothering him for some time now. He considers it an "ongoing pain", referring to it as a nagging injury. Although he did not play against Miami on Saturday, he did participate in warm-ups.

Stewart shouldn't be forced to miss much of the regular season, if any. As of right now, it's likely he will open the season with DeAngelo Williams. If you are a Stewart or Williams owner, and don't already own both of the two, attempt to do so.

Antonio Bryant, WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bryant suffered from a torn meniscus in his left knee two weeks ago, and has been out since. After getting his knee scoped, he appears to be ready for the regular season. He will likely sit out the rest of the preseason, just to keep it safe. A setback isn't likely, but is always a possibility. Fortunately for him, the damage was not terrible.

I own Bryant in two of my leagues, and this injury doesn't help my thoughts about keeping him. I remain skeptical about not just his knee, but his situation as well. Hopefully we see the Bryant of 2008 rather than the younger, less consistent Bryant.

Steve Smith, WR Carolina Panthers
Unfortunately for Carolina fans, two of the Panthers' playmakers are on this list. On the bright side, Smith's shoulder injury is less serious than originally thought. His agent first reported the fantasy-stud would miss two weeks, at the least. A few days after that, the report changed to day-to-day, and Smith returned to practice just four days after injuring his shoulder. He has yet to play in a preseason game, but is expected to play next week against Baltimore.

He may be a bit rusty to open the season, depending on if and how much he plays against the Ravens. Other than that, his shoulder shouldn't concern you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fantasy Football Sleepers Pt. 3: Runningbacks

First off, before writing this article, I think I should define the term sleeper. I have a few definitions that I would use.

I would define a sleeper as an undrafted player that obtains unexpected success, or a player that is drafted in the later rounds of a fantasy draft and outperforms his draft position significantly.

The key to winning your fantasy league is finding several of these sleepers late in your draft. I have constructed a list of a couple wide receiver sleepers for the upcoming fantasy football season that will help you in your search for one of those gems.

Oh, and just for the record, this list will not include rookies.

Felix Jones

I know what you're thinking, Felix isn't much of a sleeper pick. He is expected to do good. For this choice I'm kind of breaking my rules with this pick, but I do think he outperforms his ADP significantly.

Had Felix not gotten injured last year I believe he would've been among the top rookie RB's. In six games last season he carried the ball 30 times, for 266 yards, and three touchdowns. Not to mention he averaged an amazing 8.9 yards per carry, or what he did in the return game.

With the loss of T.O. the Cowboys should be more of a run oriented team. Felix Jones should get a lot more carries this year as the Cowboys save up Barber to close out games.

Jones is a great number three fantasy option and a great flex play in all formats.

Tashard Choice

Wait, what? Two Cowboys?

Yes, I expect all three of the Cowboys RB's to be featured in the offense. Choice should also be on your team if you own either MB3 or Felix. You all should know what happened after both were injured last year.

In ten games last year (really only five, the other five he had six carries or less) Choice ran the ball 90 times, for 472 yards, and two touchdowns, and 5.5 yards per carry average. He's a nice receiving threat out of the backfield too, last year he caught 21 passes, for 185 yards (8.8 yards per catch) including a 50 yard catch.

Choice is a nice handcuff and sleeper candidate for your fantasy team, especially in PPR leagues. If you own Barber or Jones and this guy is on the waiver wire, pick him up now.

Jamaal Charles

I would actually prefer having Charles on my team over have LJ on my team, but it you're an LJ owner you must have Charles. Johnson is about to turn 30, and is on the decline. I expect Todd Haley to eventually bench LJ in favor of Charles. Something like he did last year with Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower.

Last year Charles had 629 total yards and one touchdown as a backup, 357 of those yards were rushing, while the remaining 272 were from receiving yards.

If Charles stays in the same role he was in last season this season I expect slightly better numbers. However if he takes over for LJ and you have him on your team, you've struck fantasy gold, especially in PPR leagues.

Ahmad Bradshaw

Same story here for Bradshaw as I said for Felix Jones. He's not much of a sleeper, but I do expect some big things from Bradshaw this year.

Bradshaw is a must have if you're a Brandon Jacobs owner. With the pounding a runner like Jacobs goes through he's bound to get injured sometime.

Bradshaw should also be a solid fantasy option, last years backup to Jacobs, Derrick Ward still managed to get enough carries to rush for over 1,000 yards. Bradshaw as the third RB even managed to get 355 rush yards and two total touchdowns last year as a third stringer.

With the loss of Plaxico Burress, the Giants don't really have that number one receiver. Until one of their receivers can solidify themselves as a number one, I expect the Giants to be a run oriented team. Making Bradshaw a good flex play in all formats.

This is it for RB's. Next up: Kickers, kidding of course. Look out for my QB post next.

Fantasy Football Sleepers Pt. 2: Tight Ends

If any of you read part one, you noticed at the end of the article I said that RB's would be next. Well guess what? I lied.

First off, before writing this article, I think I should define the term sleeper. I have a few definitions that I would use. I would define a sleeper as an undrafted player that obtains unexpected success, or a player that is drafted in the later rounds of a fantasy draft and outperforms his draft position significantly.

The key to winning your fantasy league is finding several of these sleepers late in your draft. I have constructed a list of a couple tight end sleepers for the upcoming fantasy football season that will help you in your search for one of those gems.

When drafting I usually find myself waiting on a tight end, there is a lot of talented tight ends outside of the first few tiers. Some of these guys go very late, or even undrafted.

I don't classify rookies as sleepers anymore. It seems like every draft I am in people just go rookie crazy. That being said, this list will not include rookies.

Visanthe Shiancoe

If you've already drafted and settled for Shiancoe as your tight end you've made a great pick. With the recent signing of Brett Favre, Shiancoe fantasy value skyrockets.

Even without Favre, Shiancoe was a solid tight end last year. He caught 42 passes, for 596 yards, and seven touchdowns. Oh, and he did it all with QB's such as Gus Frerotte and Tavaris Jackson. Even with those QB's he set personal records in receptions, yards, touchdowns, and targets.

Shiancoe is still on the waiver wire in around 60 percent of ESPN Fantasy Football leagues, and his current ADP is 147.

Martellus Bennett

Call this a homer pick, but I really like Martellus Bennett this year. The Cowboys are set to use a two tight end set as their base offense, this obviously boosts Bennett's fantasy value.

As a rookie last year Bennett caught 20 passes, for 283 yards, and four touchdowns in limited action last year. In a two tight end set I can easily see him doubling those numbers from last year with T.O. out of town.

Right now, I will say he's worth a draft pick in deeper 14, 16, or even 20 team leagues. I can see him being a top 15 tight end by years end.

At 6'6" 256 pounds, Bennett could prove to be a good red zone threat. Bennett is only owned in 4.2 percent of ESPN Fantasy Football leagues, and is going undrafted in most.

Jeremey Shockey

I fully expect Shockey to rebound after a horrible fantasy season last year, and should be a nice late round value pick. In every mock draft I have participated in recently, I have noticed he is quite undervalued.

He has looked really good thus far in the preseason. In the Saints' opener he caught three passes, for 61 yards, and a touchdown. The good news is that his touchdown came off a 22 yard pass from Drew Brees, something the duo wasn't able to do last season.

With both Marques Colston and Lance Moore coming off surgery, Shockey has been getting more looks in practice and building up his chemistry with Drew Brees. I would expect around 60 catches, 600 yards, and five touchdowns from Shockey this season in a pass happy, Drew Brees led offense.

Shockey is available in around 30 percent of ESPN Fantasy Football league.

Brent Celek

Celek was solid last season with the Eagles. But now that L.J. Smith is gone and rookie Cornelius Ingram is out for the season, Celek really has no competition for the starting gig.

He is a consistent fantasy option, and goes undrafted in around 83 percent of ESPN leagues. In the ten games he was a starter last season (including playoffs) he caught 38 passes, for 347 yards, and four touchdowns.

For now he could be a nice waiver wire pickup as your number two tight end. But he does have huge sleeper potential.

That's it for the tight ends. Next up: RB's (I hope).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fantasy Football Sleepers Pt. 1: Wide Receivers

First off, before writing this article, I think I should define the term sleeper. I have a few definitions that I would use. I would define a sleeper as an undrafted player that obtains unexpected success, or a player that is drafted in the later rounds of a fantasy draft and outperforms his draft position significantly.

The key to winning your fantasy league is finding several of these sleepers late in your draft. I have constructed a list of a couple wide receiver sleepers for the upcoming fantasy football season that will help you in your search for one of those gems.

Oh, and just for the record, this list will not include rookies.

Earl Bennett

I'm actually pretty high on Earl Bennett this year. I know he's never caught an NFL pass, but he was very impressive in college when he played for Vanderbilt. Oh yeah, who played QB at Vanderbilt in 2005? None other than, Jay Cutler. Who now happens to play on the Bears along with Bennett.

Bennett had an impressive career at Vanderbilt too, in only three years he had set the SEC record for receptions. He could be huge in a PPR league.

Yet, it seems Bennett is going virtually unnoticed in most leagues while Devin Hester is getting majority of the love. I really have no clue why. I don't see Hester as a good fantasy option at WR. Honestly, I think he will be too inconsistent to be a solid fantasy option.

I would compare him to a guy like Eddie Royal last year. Wait who was Royal's QB?

Bennett is owned in around 17% of ESPN Fantasy Football leagues, definitely take a look at him if he is available in your league. I expect big things this year.

Chansi Stuckey or David Clowney

I like both of these guys, but one of them is going to be a #2 while the other will be the third option. Whoever wins the #2 job is going to be a nice pickup in most formats.

Stuckey is my pick to win the #2 role, so I'll start with him.

With the departure of Laverneous Coles, and the addition of Mark Sanchez (really big on him) Stuckey's fantasy value has skyrocketed, in my opinion.

Last year, Stuckey was a pleasant surprise for the first three weeks of the season. Through those three weeks, Stuckey had 12 catches, 122 yards, and three touchdown. After that, he was pretty much a non-factor, while Cotchery and Coles got most of the love.

Welcome to fantasy relevance, Stuckey. Clowney is really his only big competition, the Jets added no WR's via free agency. The reason I give Stuckey the nod is he has a better track record than Clowney (one catch last year).

Now, I'm not completely ruling Clowney out. He could easily win the #2 job, I just don't see that happening yet.

Although, Clowney has been very impressive in the preseason. In the opener he caught three passes, for 102 yards, and a touchdown. He seems to be building a connection with Sanchez, as his first pass was a 48 yarder caught by Clowney.

The preseason isn't over and injuries still happen, if anything happens to either Jerricho Cotchery or Chansi Stuckey (knock on wood), Clowney better be on your team.

Robert Meachem

It seems as if I've been saying this for a few years now but I think this is his year.

Obviously, he has my (and many others) number one fantasy QB throwing him the ball, in Drew Brees, that can only help him. Meachem has been working with the first team offense majority of OTA's with Marques Colston and Lance Moore coming off off-season surgery.

He's made the most of this opportunity, in the preseason opener he caught three passes for 77 yards, including a 64 yard catch.

Right now he is the teams number three wide receiver, I don't think it will be like that for long though. I'm not a Lance Moore believer, I don't see him doing anything like what he did last season. I see Meachem taking over the #2 roll at some point in the season.

Right now, he is a good pick-up for deeper leagues. Keep him in mind, I think he will be a great in-season pickup.

Chaz Schilens

I was extremely high on Chaz this year, until I learned that he broke a bone in his foot yesterday. I still really like him, although I'm unsure of the severity of the injury.

While watching the Cowboys-Raiders preseason game, Chaz really stood out. He was very impressive catching five passes for 52 yards in two quarters. He even drew a 47 yard pass interference penalty.

I would never invest in a Raiders WR, as there leading receiver last year has only 22 catches. Chaz is the exception, as I started to read up on the guy I realized why the Raiders made the right move and passed on Michael Crabtree. Schilens is taller (6'4") and faster (4.30 40 time).

It should also be noted that in the final two games last season he caught six passes, for 98 yards, and 2 touchdowns.

This list concludes part one of my fantasy sleeper series, next up: RB's.

This article is also featured at: Front Row Fantasy Sports

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fantasy Football Mock Draft Analysis

Nearly a week ago, the Front Row Fantasy Sports (minus Nick Allen) team constructed a ten team fantasy football draft. The main focus for the two of us (Dalton and Christian) was to analyze each team after the conclusion of the draft. Unfortunately, Nick Allen was not able to partake due to being on vacation or something...lame excuse. But don't fret; Dalton Scantling and Christian Karcole have completed their personal thoughts their teams. Just note that they chose only to analyze each other's team, rather than examine every team in the league. Below are our respective teams and our thoughts on them.

Christian Karcole's Team:

QB: Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler
RB: Steve Slaton, Clinton Portis, Knowshon Moreno, Jamal Lewis, Jerious Norwood
WR: Dwayne Bowe, Marques Colston, Bernard Berrian, Vincent Jackson, Steve Breaston, Mark Clayton
TE: John Carlson
D/ST: Dolphins
K: Nick Folk

Dalton says:

Christian's team had the ninth pick and he did a great job from that position. This team has good depth all around, with his deepest being the QB slot. He have two quarterbacks that finished in the top 10 last season, but I don’t expect Cutler to be there again this season. Chicago doesn’t have the weapons Cutler had in Denver and I expect him to decline accordingly. I think Phillip will be about the same as last season making him a top five quarterback.

He drafted a great group of running backs, but I’m not as high on them as most people are. However I do like two of the choices. Those two are Jamal Lewis and Clinton Portis. Jamal won’t be top 20, but he will put up solid fantasy numbers. He consistently produces every year and I expect nothing different this season. Portis isn’t really looked at as a top running back (in fantasy terms), but continues to produce just like Jamal. You know exactly what you’re getting out of each of them.The running back I like the least here is Steve Slaton. He’s a great running back, and in my rankings I put him very high, but I have a gut feeling he might get hurt. If he doesn’t get hurt he could decline as he’s not used to a full workload two straight years. He will probably prove me wrong here, but I’m just not that high on him in the back of my mind. Knowshon is a good pick, but being a rookie, we don’t know what to expect out of him. He should be very good, but he is in an offense that will probably throw a lot.

This team has excellent wide receiver depth. With Matt Cassel throwing to Dwayne Bowe this season, Dwayne will be top 15 and could crack the top 10. Colston will also be in the top 10 if he can stay healthy which shouldn’t be too much of a concern. He also has Bernard Berrian, Vincent Jackson, and Steve Breaston on his bench. All three of them will be very good fantasy contributors, and excellent bye-week fill-ins.

At the tight end position he has a very solid starter. John Carlson finished seventh in the league as a rookie and will look to build on that this season. Like Team Scantling he will have to pick up a bye-week fill-in when that time comes.

Christian says:

Boy, am I great or what? I absolutely adore my team. To start, it's hard to find a team with two QB's with as much potential as mine. I'm a believer in Jay Cutler, unlike many others, so that may be why I love a Rivers/Cutler duo more than most. But wouldn't you love to have one of the best QB's of 2008 as your #2?

I, like Dalton, am concerned a bit about Slaton, but for different reasons. My concern is that he simply won't be able to produce as well as he did in '08 now that defenses know more about him. It's not like I think he will have a down year, it's that I have a feeling he might. Other than Slaton, I love my RB group. Clinton Portis continues to produce consistently, Moreno is a rookie with huge potential, Lewis is a serviceable #3 RB, and Norwood is the second most valuable back-up RB in the NFL (behind Chester Taylor, not including RB-timeshares).

My WR's aren't spectacular, but they are deep. On all but one of my teams, I have either Bowe or Colston on my squad. I found a way to acquire both in this draft. Personally, I just love their potential. On the bench, Jackson/Berrian/Clayton/Breaston provide me with an extremely solid bench. If Colston or Bowe are to miss time, I have a fine group of bench players to choose from to replace them.

John Carlson isn't the greatest pick at tight end, but it's not a terrible pick. I decided to wait on my TE choice until later in order to solidify my bench. I'd say it was worth it.

Dalton Scantling's Team:

QB: Kyle Orton, Trent Edwards

RB: Chris Johnson, Frank Gore, Derrick Ward, Ray Rice, Earnest Graham, Leon Washington

WR: Roddy White, Brandon Marshall, Braylon Edwards, Ted Ginn Jr., Brian Robiskie

TE: Owen Daniels

D/ST: Titans

K: Rob Bironas

Dalton says:

I will probably be a little biased as this is my team, but I will try my best to stay neutral. My team had the sixth overall pick in the draft, and I think it’s a pretty solid team.

The biggest question mark on this team would have to be the quarterback spot. While I personally love Kyle Orton with the Broncos, most people are not as high on him. This team does have a pretty solid backup which could pay off down the road.

This has to be one of the deepest running back cores in the league. They have two top 15 running backs and you could make a very good case that there are three top 15 running backs on the roster. I also like the pick of Earnest Graham as a backup. He’s a great handcuff for all Ward owners just in case Ward can’t take a heavy workload. I also like Ray Rice a lot this season and think he is an excellent sleeper candidate.

At the wide receiver position this team drafted two very good starters. They both have top 10 potential. One problem down the stretch for this team could be the lack of depth at wide receiver. After those two there isn’t much there. I think Brian Robiskie could be a great sleeper, but he could need some time to adjust to the NFL. I also think Ted Ginn Jr. could have a break out season, but he could be a disappointment.

At tight end there is no depth, but there is a very good starter. Last year Owen Daniels was the sixth ranked tight end, and will probably be around there this season as well. They will have to pick up a bye-week fill-in at some point, but for now that’s pretty good.

Christian says:

The QB position is sketchy, at best. I believe in Kyle Orton, but not to the extent where I would feel comfortable with him as my No. 1 starter. Edwards is a decent back-up, but so is Orton. If either pans out, then he will be fine. If not...

His RB group isn't stellar, but it is deep. Extremely deep. He has talent from top to bottom, with each player having potential to have a nice season. The best thing is the fact that he took both Graham and Ward, assuring himself of at least one good back. Past that, only Gore and Johnson have top tier potential. Yet, the rest have the chance to break out and contribute consistently.

The WR's are good, but not great. Marshall and White provide him with a solid set of starters, but the bench is iffy. I have no trust in Edwards, Ginn has yet to prove himself on a consistent basis, and Robiskie is just a rookie. There are too many "if's" and not enough definite producers. Yet, Owen Daniels helps at tight end. I'm not as high on him as others are, but he's better than most.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Breaking News: Michael Vick Signs Two-Year Deal With The Eagles

Former Atlanta Falcons' QB Michael Vick has agreed to a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick is set to make $1.6 million in his first year with the Eagles with an option for the second year worth $5.2 million. Vick could also earn up to three million dollars in incentives over the two year deal according to

This signing could have left a few fantasy owners with some questions, questions I will be answering today.

How does this effect Donovan McNabb?

It doesn't.

Vick is set to back-up Donovan McNabb while it seems Kevin Kolb will get pushed down to number three on the depth chart. I expect Andy Reid to develop an offense for Vick to run (like the wildcat). Vick could even play some WR, as he had done a few times in the past with the Falcons. I would be surprised if I don't see the Eagles run a few trick plays with him.

In no way do I see Vick stealing the starting job from McNabb.

Does Vick have fantasy value?

As of now, his fantasy value is minimal. Donovan McNabb will remain the starting QB. Vick's assumed role in the Eagles' offense isn't big enough to make him relevant to fantasy football as a QB in shallow leagues. I'm predicting a very inconsistent year from Vick. I'd say he's worth a draft pick in deep leagues to stash away on the IR while he is out until week six at the latest.

If you're a McNabb owner in a deep league you better be that guy. In the last seven years, McNabb has only played two full seasons. If anything happens to McNabb, Vick suddenly becomes fantasy relevant in all formats.

Until then, I would not recommend owning Vick in a 10 or even 12 team league, as you should have a serviceable back-up to McNabb already.

What have we been up to?

It's been ten days since our last post, we understand that. We apologize to the few of you who even cared enough to notice. But don't worry. We're working on something at this exact moment, which should be posted in the next few days. After that, you can expect more posts. This project has simply slowed us a down a bit. Once we get into the fall, our posts will really pick-up.

A few other surprises are on the way this fall. It's unfortunate I'm unable to reveal exactly what those are just yet. Until then, stay classy.

Monday, August 3, 2009

NFL Rookie Rankings Part Two: The Running Backs

After a couple of technical errors, and a short break from writing I finally finished the running back edition of the rookies. There are some obvious guys at the top, but some very good sleepers towards the bottom of the list.

The key to being a successful rookie running back is not necessarily skill, but playing time. There have been numerous running backs that have had the skill, but were buried on the depth chart to start their career. There were also some unknown guys who made an impact in their rookie season.

My No.1 rookie running back is Knowshon Moreno of the Denver Broncos.

There is not alot separating Moreno from Chris Wells, and I feel it could go either way. I went with Moreno due to the fact that he'll have a feature roll.'s Bill Williamson has stated that he expects Moreno to start and be the "focal point" of the Broncos offense. Numerous other sources have also said they expect Moreno to start week one.

Out of all of the rookie running backs he's the only one guaranteed to start week one. Just knowing this little bit helps his value.

Knowing he has job security and the confidence of his head coach should help him out. He is in a great position to succeed.

He has great speed, excellent vision, and is a "complete back". In 2007 he had 20 catches, and in 2008 he had 33 catches and two touchdowns. Being an every-down back will also help his fantasy impact.

With Kyle Orton under center, Knowshon could benefit from being a solid receiving back. Last season rookie Matt Forte had 63 receptions due to Orton liking to dump the ball off to his backs often. Little passes out of the backfield can really boost a rookie's confidence, and make him feel like his quarterback trust's him.

Last season the Broncos used seven running backs and finished 12th in the NFL with 1,862 rushing yards. With one running back getting the majority of the carries he should be able to get into a rhythm and put up some very good numbers.

Along with the 12th most yards they had the third best rushing average. This is more important than yards, and bodes well for Moreno. The Broncos ran the ball just 387 times, the fifth fewest rushes in the league.

If they commit to the run more this season Knowshon can easily rush for 1,000 yards. Not only can he be a threat on the ground, but he should be able to do some damage catching passes out of the backfield.

Being a dual threat, that’s already been handed the starting job, Knowshon Moreno comes in at number one on my list.

My No.2 rookie running back is Chris Wells of the Arizona Cardinals.

Wells could end up as the number one, but he has more obstacles to overcome than Moreno does. He will have a little competition in Tim Hightower.

Hightower has reportedly lost some wait, and is determined to be the starting running back in Arizona. Even with determination I don’t think Hightower can hold off Wells, not for the entire season anyways.

The worst case scenario for Wells is a RBBC which is very possible for this season. Next season he should be the featured back. Regardless of his situation I have him at number two, but he could easily be first and just as easily be third.

He has the skills to be a very good running back. He is a great combination of power and speed, and has good vision. A lot of people say he has durability issues, and he’s already proving that to be right.

The Cardinals passing offense could either help or hurt his value. It all depends on how you think it will work out. The passing game could either keep defenses modest, and open up the run game or it could hurt them if they don’t run the ball enough.

It also could hurt due to the fact that the Cardinals have built a good offensive line for the passing game not the running game. They gave up the 11th fewest sacks last season, but they also had the second worst yards per attempt running the ball.

No running back can be really successful with blocking that bad. Some people will say it was the running backs not the line, but the running back can only make so many people miss.

One thing that should benefit Wells is Kurt Warner’s age. Coach Whisenhunt said that he wants to run more and throw less this season. He wants to save Kurt’s arm for later in the year, and he feels they ran the ball effectively in the playoffs and wants to carry that over to this season.

If they run the ball more this season they might be able to get into a better rhythm and improve their average. I think Wells is better than James so regardless; their average should increase a little.

If Wells is the feature back this season he could possibly outscore Moreno, but if it’s RBBC he might end up third behind Donald Brown. Due to the questions he comes in at number two.

My No.3 rookie running back is Donald Brown of the Indianapolis Colts.

Donald Brown is in an interesting situation. He will not be the starter, but will get a couple of carries each game. That’s not why he’s number three though.

The only person ahead of him on the depth chart is Joseph Addai. Addai is very injury proned and will probably miss some time this season. He has only played one full season in his three years in the league.

The most carries Addai has had in a season was 261 in 2007. He has never had more than 64% of the carries for the Colts. That leaves a lot of carries for someone else to take, and Donald Brown will gladly take them.

Another negative on Addai is that his average has gone down each season he’s been in the NFL. In 2006 he averaged 4.8 yards per carry, in 2007 he averaged 4.1 yards per carry, and in 2008 he averaged 3.5 yards per carry. That does not look good for Addai.

If he can’t break this decline, his career could be very short lived. At 26, he is declining at a very fast rate. Having someone to take some of the pressure off of Addai could save him.

This means even if Addai stays healthy Brown will get his fair share of touches. He should have atleast 100 carries regardless of Addai’s status. It will be up to him to make the most of those carries.

If Addai continues to slip, Brown might even be able to steal the starting job away from him. He might be a great steal in fantasy leagues, and is definitely someone to keep on your radar.

Brown’s worst case scenario would be a handcuff for Addai owners, which isn’t a bad thing with Addai’s durability problems. Like Wells, he does have some questions that need to be answered. Even with Addai preventing him from being a top pick, he still has potential and comes in at number three.

My No.4 rookie running back is LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles.

McCoy is in a similar situation as Brown. Both guys have a running back in front of them with durability issues. Westbrook’s issues could be bigger than Addai’s though.

In Westbrook’s seven year career, he has never played a full season. That alone makes McCoy look like he will get a decent amount of playing time, but there’s more than just that. Westbrook had off-season ankle surgery and isn’t expected to start practicing until mid-August.

With that much time off of doing any real workouts, Westbrook will need to get back into football shape. This could take some time, and he might not be in ideal shape until a couple of weeks into the season.

It’s also possible he rushes back and could end up re-injuring it. If something drastic happens McCoy could end up getting the majority of the carries for a period of time.

When he gets his carries he will excel in the Eagles offense due to his slash running style and pass-catching ability. Numerous people have called him a Westbrook clone. If he turns out to be half the player Westbrook is, he will be a great back for years to come.

During McCoy’s two years at Pittsburgh, he played in every game. He was a dual threat while leading the team in rushing yards, and was their second leading receiver. Being able to do both will get him more playing time down the road.

With Westbrook turning 30 this season, McCoy will be used to keep him fresh and healthy. He is a great pick in dynasty leagues, and an excellent handcuff for Westbrook owners.

He has the potential to become an elite back in a couple of years, but will be a great backup for now.

My No.5 rookie running back is Shonn Greene of the New York Jets.

Shonn has one of the toughest roads to playing time, but it could all crumble and he could walk into a job. Thomas Jones has not been happy, and the Jets were considering trading him.

It seems like Jones is going to stick it out in New York, and be their starting running back. There is still a slim chance he gets traded, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Either way Greene will get some playing time.

If Jones would still get traded which is highly doubtful, Greene would become the starter. Leon Washington would be his only competition, and he’s too small to be an every down back.

If this would happen Greene would get a huge boost in fantasy value. He would have the potential to be a top three rookie running back behind a very good offensive line.

Here’s the more realistic situation, he splits carries with both Washington and Jones. It will probably be similar to the New York Giants running back situation of last season.

Jones will get the majority of the carries with Washington and Greene each getting their fair share of the carries. Regardless of the situation, Greene has pretty good value. He will make the most out of his carries.

If Jones doesn’t come out of the gate fast, he could lose playing time. This would lead to Greene getting the majority of the carries, with Leon getting the second most. No matter what it’s one of the better places for a rookie running back to be.

One reason they should have a successful ground game is the offensive line. The Jets were ninth in the league in rushing yards last season and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. The Jets put together a great offensive line, and should have success again this year.

Last season the Jets rushed the ball 422 times. I expect them to run the ball a lot more this season for two main reasons. The first reason is their quarterback situation.

If Kellen Clemens is the starter then they will run the ball because he’s not a great passer. If Mark Sanchez wins the starting gig, they will run the ball to take the pressure off of their rookie quarterback.

The second reason is the coaching staff. Their new head coach comes from a hard nosed, run first offense. He likes to run the ball to control the clock and let the defense win the game.

This will lead to all three backs getting a decent amount of carries, and making all three relevant in fantasy football this year.

My No.6 rookie running back is Arian Foster of the Houston Texans.

This is one of my sleeper running backs that are flying under the radar. He has a great shot to get on to the field this season with very little competition other than Slaton.

His main competition for the backup job will be Chris Brown, and he’s very injury proned. He will also compete against Ryan Moats and fellow rookie Jeremiah Johnson. Brown has the early advantage due to the fact he’s a veteran, but Foster should be able to pass him.

Foster had a terrible senior year at Tennessee, but that wasn’t his fault. The entire team had a disappointing season. Even in that season, he averaged 4.4 yards per carry. In 2007 he rushed for over 1,000 yards and had 12 touchdowns to go with a 4.9 yards per carry average.

He was overlooked in the draft due to a less than spectacular senior season, but he has the potential to be a good player in the NFL. If he can carry over the 2007 performance he will have been a great pick by the Texans.

The main reason I think Foster has potential is because of Slaton’s size. At just 5’9”, 215 pounds I don’t see Slaton being able to play the majority of every game. I know he pretty much did last season, but he’s just too small.

If Foster can win the backup job he will get on the field a respectable amount. Slaton will need some breathers to avoid getting injured, and to stay fresh. He could possibly be the goal-line back if Brown gets injured which is almost a guarantee.

With Foster there is a very big question. Will he win the backup job? If he can win the battle he will have some good value, and will be a solid late round pick. The Texans backup battle will be something to look out for during training camp.

My No.7 rookie running back is Rashad Jennings of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

This is the deepest sleeper of them all. I think he has great upside, but he has to get the backup job first. His only competition is Greg Jones which is really a fullback, with tons of power.

Now a lot of people don’t know much if anything about Jennings. He played his freshman season at Pittsburgh where he rushed for 411 yards on just 86 carries. He transferred to Liberty the next season to be closer to his ailing father.

When he arrived at Liberty he weighed 265 pounds, but was determined to be the starting running back. He lost over 35 pounds and eventually became the starter.

By moving closer to home to be with his father he showed he’s a good guy, and by losing the weight he shows he has determination. He has the heart to be a great running back in the NFL.

In his three seasons at Liberty he rushed for over 1,000 yards in each, and averaged over five yards per carry. Now I understand that’s at a small school, but it’s still pretty impressive.

At 6’1”, 231 pounds Jennings was one of the biggest backs in the draft. He has the potential to be a great goal line back, but don’t let his size full you. Jennings hard work continues to pay off as he reportedly improved his 40-yard dash time from 4.67 to a very good 4.4.

He has created a lot of upside for himself, and the Jaguars situation has also boosted his value a little bit. Maurice Jones-Drew has not had more than 197 carries in a season so it’s possible he gets injured in his first year as the featured back.

If he gets hurt, expect Jennings to make the most out of his opportunity. The more I read about this kid, the more I like him. He has great character, and has a great work ethic when he applies himself.

Rashad Jennings will be the steal of your draft I guarantee it. He makes a great late round pick, and should not disappoint anyone who drafts him.

My No.8 rookie running back is Andre Brown of the New York Giants.

Andre Brown has some big shoes to fill this season. His job will be to replace Derrick Ward in the Giants three headed monster.

At 6’0”, 224 pounds Brown is a perfect replacement for the 5’11” 228 pound Derrick Ward. Last season Ward rushed for over 1,000 yards for the Giants. Brown will not be expected to rush for 1,000 yards, but a couple of hundred yards seems very doable.

Last season the Giants led the league in rushing with over 2,500 yards. They also had the highest average per carry. With a very weak passing game this season, the Giants will be running the ball an awful lot. They will once again have success on the ground, and will do it with multiple running backs.

The carries will most likely be split up between Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Andre Brown. Brown will probably get about 100 carries this season and will be a solid running back to keep your eye on.

He has great skills and is an excellent pass catcher out of the backfield. Last season at North Carolina State, Brown rushed for 767 yards on just 175 carries. He also had the second most receptions on the team, and accumulated 309 receiving yards.

Brown would make a very good third down back with his catching abilities and his pass blocking abilities. He has had injury problems in the past and will have to stay healthy if he wants to make an impact.

Brown will be a nice compliment to Jacobs and Bradshaw. He is in a great position to succeed, and it’s up to him to take advantage of it. He makes a great late round pick and has great upside.

My No.9 rookie running back is James Davis of the Cleveland Browns.

James Davis has one of the toughest roads to get on to the field. Most likely he will start the season as the third running back. He will be behind Jamal Lewis and Jerome Harrison.

They are both solid running backs and it could take Davis some time to get on to the field. It might take an injury for him to get some carries, but no matter how he gets on the field, expect him to make some big plays.

He rushed for over 1,000 yards in both his sophomore and junior seasons, but had a disappointing senior season. In the two 1,000 yard seasons he averaged over five yards per carry, and during the lesser senior year he still averaged a respectable 4.4 yards per carry.

He slipped to the sixth round because of the weak senior season. This makes him a great candidate as a sleeper. He is very underrated due to being drafted so low, but the numbers show that he has potential.

Davis is not your typical running back, he is a play-maker. He’s a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.

While he will most likely start out as the third running back, that could change quickly. Jamal Lewis is only 29, but he’s been in the league for 10 years already. At some point he’s bound to decline to some extent, and that might be this season.

I also don’t think Jerome Harrison can be an every down back in the NFL. If Lewis goes down, Davis could become the starter and see his value shoot through the roof.

If he can be the 2006 and 2007 James Davis he will be a great late round pick or possibly even a great waiver wire pick up. He is most certainly a guy to keep an eye on.

My No.10 rookie running back is Glen Coffee of the San Francisco 49ers.

Glen has an easy road to the backup job. The problem is San Francisco has no problem giving Frank Gore practically every carry.

Last season Gore had 72% of the 49ers carries and if you take out the carries from the two games he missed, he had 80% of carries. If he has that many of the carries, Coffee will have a tough time becoming relevant in fantasy football.

In Coffee’s only season as the starting running back for the Crimson Tide, he rushed for over 1,000 yards and averaged 5.9 yards per carry. He was a big contributor in there unexpected great season.

Last season San Francisco was one of the worst rushing teams in the league, but had a decent average of four yards per carry. Under new head coach Mike Singletary they will be committed to the run, and should have a better year on the ground.

The 49ers have a new offensive coordinator in Jimmy Raye as well. His philosophy relies on a physical, hard-nosed running game. It also focuses on utilizing each offensive position in the passing game. There are individual plays drawn up for each position from running back to tight end. This could be beneficial for Coffee with more touches for both him and Gore.

Coffee won’t get too many carries, but he should get anywhere from 50 to 100 carries. The 49ers have said they would like Coffee to weigh around 220 pounds. He is currently at 209 pounds, and his weight could determine how many carries he receives this season.

Coffee is a pretty solid running back. He can make defenders miss in the open field, and he can run over defenders. He has a lot of power for his size and can surprise defenders when he runs them over.

Even with Coffee’s skills he will probably struggle to find playing time. It’s going to be hard for him to take carries away from Gore. Gore is a great feature back, and the 49ers are going to want the ball in his hands as often as possible.

That wraps up my top 10 rookie running backs. Part three will be coming shortly with all of the top rookie wide receivers.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Front Row Fantasy Sports 2009 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

Exactly two weeks from today, the Front Row Fantasy Sports team set forth on a mission to assemble the most in-depth and accurate Fantasy Football Draft Kit in the history of mankind.

While our efforts came nowhere near our lofty goals, we are thoroughly impressed on the job we did. We weren't able to complete the most in-depth draft kit in history, and only time will tell if we were all that accurate. All I can say is that we are proud of our valiant efforts.

Each of us devised individual rankings for QB's, RB's, WR's, and TE's, ranking the top 40 for each. We then compiled our own list of our overall top 100 players.

Once this was completed, Christian Karcole had the job of evaluating each player's average rank and sorting out the rankings based on those rankings. Much thanks goes out to Christian for volunteering to do the work nobody else wanted to do.

Eventually, Christian began to complain over having to do all of this work manually. Our good friend and fellow B/R columnist Zach Fein stepped in and completed the overall top 100 players and their averages in much less time than Christian ever would have. Hats off to him for doing so.

Finally, after two long weeks of putting this draft kit together, I present to you the official "Front Row Fantasy Sports 2009 Fantasy Football Draft Kit."

Since we completed this with Google Docs, we are unable to simply cut and paste our rankings into this article. Instead, we have chosen to resort to embedding the spreadsheet into this post.

If you would prefer to just visit the link, the draft kit can be found here. If you would rather view it in this post, scroll down to the bottom and it will appear there.

Under each of our initials (Christian Karcole, Nick Allen, Dalton Scantling), you will find where we ranked that individual player.

Any questions, comments, or suggestions are welcome. We appreciate you taking the time to take a peek at our draft kit.

Once again, just click here to open the link.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fantasy Football Draft Guide: The Snake Draft

The standard "snake" draft has been around for years. Until a few years ago, the snake was all that existed (for the most part). With the inception of the auction draft came an entirely new way to draft your fantasy football team. Yet, the original snake draft remains the most widely used way to construct a team.

So after I compiled my thoughts on the aforementioned auction draft, I figured that doing the same on the more popular style of draft would be necessary. Once again, I'll be pointing out hints to take note of while composing your fantasy football team. Without further adieu, here is my draft guide to snake drafts.

One more thing: To the three of you who magically land upon FRFS, you probably read that we would be releasing a draft kit within the near future. While that remains true, it's taking longer than expected. We've had, er, "technical" problems. Just wanted to clear that up to our throngs of fans anticipating our revolutionary kit.

1. Quarterback+First Round=Bad
A quarterback is a huge piece on a fantasy football team. That is an indisputable fact. Yet, remember that when you have only one starting QB and two/three starting runningbacks. While you take your one starting QB in the first round, the rest of your league-mates are already getting started on picking one of their 4-6 RB's. The difference between the top tier of RB's and the middle tier is quite large, so grabbing the best of the best early is key.

2. Find middle-round values
Matt Ryan will be available in the fifth round in most of your drafts. So will Donovan McNabb, Jay Cutler, Matt Cassel, and others. Instead of reaching for Aaron Rodgers in the third round, take a position player you need and grad a QB later on. If you can't live without Rodgers on your squad, take him and look for a Felix Jones type in later rounds. There are plenty of value picks in this year's player pool, you just have to search for them.

3. Stick to one defense and kicker
Don't be the guy who picks two defenses or two kickers. Oh please, do NOT be that guy. By selecting two defenses or two kickers, you're wasting a valuable bench spot. During your defenses bye week you can simply find the best available team with a decent matchup. Multiple kickers are even more embarrassing. Each week, there will be the kicker who racks up the points and the kicker who sits the bench. Each kicker fluctuates week-to-week, so picking two is pointless. The difference in value from one kicker to another is minimal, at most.

4. Don't be the trend-setter
Once the defenses start going, you keep picking your bench players. Kickers and defenses are meant to be taken in the last few rounds, so that's where you pick them. There will always be a few boneheads that reach for the Ravens or Steelers in the tenth round. All that tells you is that he is the guy to trade with after the draft.

5. Know when to and when not to reach
Having a team with an abundance of players you have faith in is key. The happier you are with your team, the more you will enjoy the season. But don't only try to draft your most beloved players. You aren't going to be able to have your pick at everyone you want, so know when to reach. If the player you have marked down as a must-have is also highly coveted by other owners, don't hesitate to reach 15 rankings to snag him. Any further than 15 picks, and you're stretching the limits. If your player is not a highly coveted player, don't reach as high as 15 rankings. You could pick a higher value at your current pick before selecting your mancrush in the following round.