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2012 Fantasy Football Prep 101: Sleepers and Busts

Sleepers by definition are typically players that outperform their generally perceived value. Now some people think that sleepers are players that few people have heard of and might be fantasy football relevant.  I would call those type of players deep sleepers and in a league of 10 to 12 teams deep sleepers do not usually need to be considered until they “wake up”.  That being said here are my sleepers for the 2012 fantasy football season.

SLEEPERS

Brandon Pettigrew: He very well could be the Rob Gronkowski, or at the very least, Jimmy Graham of this season. He is on a pass first team with a top quarterback. He has a top flight wideout beside him to take some of the attention of the defense and he has received increased redzone looks.

John Skelton: He should beat out a very pathetic looking Kevin Kolb to become the starter in Arizona. That being the case he will have an outstanding wideout to throw to in Larry Fitzgerald. Last year the Cardinal quarterbacks threw for nearly 4000 yards and 21 touchdowns. Building off the experience from last year he should be able to improve those TD numbers and cut down on the INTs.

Greg Little: Brandon Weeden is an unknown quantity. What is known is that he should be throwing the majority of his passes to Little. With the addition of a legitimate running back in Trent Richardson the passing game should be better than last year when Peyton Hillis was hurt for much of the year.

Cedric Benson: The Green Bay Packers signed the veteran running back. Normally someone signed this late in the preseason is just roster fodder or battling for a backup spot. Not in this case. Alex Green is coming off a knee injury and James Starks has yet to show that he can be a starter in the NFL. I think Benson will push Starks and eventually take the starting job. In the very least he will get the majority of goalline carries something that the Packers were unwilling to give to Starks last year.

Kyle Rudolph: Another tight end on the sleeper list. Why? Well because tight ends were fantasy gold last year if you were lucky enough to have one of the top ones. I think that Mr. Rudolph has a chance to join the low end of those top tight ends. This is because his quarterback, Ponder, needs a safety blanket like Rudolph to throw to. I expect Rudolph to get a lot of redzone looks this season.

Antonio Brown: I know many of you are thinking how can Brown be considered a sleeper. He had over 1000 yards last season, but only 2 touchdowns. I expect that number to go up, dramatically. This should be especially the case considering his chief competition for touchdowns has been a hold-out for much of training camp.

Robert Meachem: He has Phillip Rivers as his quarterback. There is no established #1 receiver in San Diego and I think that Meachem will end up being Rivers primary target all season.

Doug Martin: Tampa Bay is ready to make a change. They are tired of Blount, especially the fumbles, and will look to give Martin a chance to prove himself. I think Martin takes that chance and runs with it. 1000 yards and 8 TDs is not out of the question if Blount is completely out of the picture. That might not happen so 700 yards and 5 TD might be more what happens. Still worth a late round flyer.

Tim Hightower: Looked like he would be the man last year for the Redskins and then he got hurt. He is still recovering from that injury but I believe come the 1st week of the season Hightower will be the starter and primary goalline back. The only concern is the injury and the potential of RG3 of stealing goalline plunges.

Willis McGahee: McGahee had a decent season last year losing opportunities to the likes of Knowshon Moreno, Lance Ball and Tim Tebow. He now has a legitimate threat in quarterback Peyton Manning to take eyes off of him. This could be the chance McGahee has been waiting for.

A bust by definition is a player that under performs compared to common expectations. That being the case here are my fantasy football busts for the 2012 season.

BUSTS

Torrey Smith: Smith will get the majority of the defensive game planning geared towards him in pass defense. With Boldin showing his age defenses will key on Smith. Couple this with Ray Rice in the the backfield and I do not see Smith having a season close to last year. Expect a big regression.

Matt Forte: Forte got paid. Last year Chris Johnson got paid and look what happened. The biggest concern looking at Forte is the addition of Michael Bush to the Bears’ roster. Bush will steal carries especially around the goalline. This will diminish Forte’s value immensely.

James Starks: The addition of Cedric Benson to the Packers’ roster says two things. One, that the Packers’ running backs are not very healthy right now. Two, that the Packers’ are not convinced Starks can handle the load. Last year Starks was less than impressive in a shared backfield. I think he is looking at sharing a backfield again if not losing out entirely and becoming a backup.

Andre Johnson: He will get his yards if he stays healthy but he has yet to have a season with double digit touchdowns. People continually place him in the upper class of receivers but unless you are in a league the really rewards receptions and receiving yards over scoring he just does not justify that status.  Additionally he is coming off an injury that might slow him down this year.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Two words HOLD OUT. Hold outs rarely turn out for NFL players. This is especially the case for NFL running backs. IF he plays this year he will be a shadow of his 2011 self. I would stay away from any hold out player. The longer the hold out the farther away I would stay.

Percy Harvin: Migraines! Plain and simple he will miss games. Everyone sees him as this tremendous value as a deep threat and return man but his inability to stay healthy combined with a run first offense led by Christian Ponder means that his value is less than many other receivers that might not be household names.

Tim Tebow: Tebow-mania aside his have very little fantasy value. You do not get points for having a quality locker room guy on your squad. People he is a backup quarterback. If somehow he is able to unseat Sanchez this is about what you can expect maybe 1800 yards and 10 passing touchdowns, 600 yards and 5 touchdowns rushing. If that sounds good to you go ahead and snatch that up. He reminds me a lot of the next player on the list, Mike Vick.

Mike Vick: Another player that continually gets overvalued. Vick had career seasons in 2011 and 2010. He passed for a career high in yards in 2011. In 2010 he passed for a career high in touchdowns  and rushed for a career high in touchdowns.  Based on his 2010 season people were expecting more. They shouldn’t have. Prior to joining the Eagles, Vick had never passed for over 3000 yards or over 20 touchdowns. Now many would point to running ability as the counter to his lower passing numbers.  The yardage is nice but aside from 2002, 2006 and 2010 he has not rushed for more than 3 touchdowns in a season. The 9 he had in 2010 was a career high which was previously 8 in 2002 when he was a much younger man.

Mike Wallace: Same thing as MJD, he is a HOLD OUT! In his absence Antonio Brown has asserted himself as a go to receiver. It may be just my perception but players that hold out seem to get hurt and have sub par years. I could be wrong.

LaGarrette Blount: He is on his last legs in Tampa Bay. They may give him the chance to start the season as the #1 but I feel that he will be solidly outproduced by Martin.

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2012 Fantasy Football Prep 101: Tight Ends

Rob Gronkowski is a fantasy stud. Here we see his audition for the movie Magic Mike. I think this may need to be the new trophy of shame for lowest scoring team replacing the Tweeder pic.

As we proceed with the Fantasy Football Preview for 2012 we now will look at tight ends. Tight Ends are typically an afterthought in many fantasy football leagues. In most leagues teams do not have a specific slot for starting a tight end. Instead the tight end is considered a wide receiver. In leagues like that only the highest performing tight ends have any value. In the Pabst and Blatz Fantasy Football League we do have a slot for a starting tight end. We also allow tight ends to be started in the wide receiver category. Needless to say tight ends have quite a bit more value in a league like ours than in a typical league. Still last year anyone that was lucky enough to have Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez was happy in any league format. As with the previous previews and predictions it is important to take a look at how the players scored the year before. Now in the Pabst and Blatz Fantasy Football League tight ends score 1 point for every 25 yards receiving and 6 points for any touchdown scored. They can also get 1 point for every 25 yards rushing and every 50 yards passing, 2 points for a conversion, and 3 points for a passing touchdown. Those things rarely happen so they were not included in this analysis. Below is how the tight ends in the NFL scored last year in our scoring system:

Rob Gronkowski had an unbelievable season last year. And I mean unbelievable.

Like I am looking at the stats right now and I still don’t believe that they are not the result of a season on Madden or Super Tecmo Bowl (The greatest sports game ever! I will get into this in another post). The really silly thing is the year Aaron Hernandez had being on the same team as Gronkowski. Combined the Patriot tight ends had over 2200 yards and 24 touchdowns for 173 fantasy points. Flat out unbelievable. Imagine if that was one player. What is almost equally unbelievable was the season that Jimmy Graham had. Two tight ends over 1300 yards and double digit touchdowns. These elite tight ends might need serious early round, like 1st round, consideration. Last years biggest disappointment was Jermichael Finley. Many thought that he would be the dominate tight end of the 2011 season, but he was plagued by drops all season. It was evident that as the season progressed Aaron Rodgers possessed less and less confidence in Finley. Old man river Tony Gonzalez had a great season which I personally thought surprising. Antonio Gates almost made it through a season, he played in 13 games, which was equally surprising. Let’s look at some projections for the 2012 season. Here are some of my own devising:

Now I know what you are all thinking…..How does Aaron Hernandez project out ahead of Rob Gronkowski. The thought is that if last years numbers were more evenly split and if teams focus on Gronkowski then Hernandez will benefit though in the end they will have similar numbers. Call me crazy. Anywho here we see that there are 5 tiers of tight ends. Tier 1 is made up of last year’s elites. All three, Gronkowski, Hernandez, and Graham could easily repeat the success as last year. Well with the exception of Gronkowski who should not be able to totally repeat the previous year, who could. These three tight ends should garner early round consideration, maybe even 1st round. I would say that the high end for these player should be the 2nd round. The tier 2 player should get consideration in the 4th to 6th rounds. The tier 3 players should be available in the later middle rounds like rounds 9 through 11. After the top three tiers there is really no reason to draft a tight end the players in the 4th and 5th tiers should be available in free agency and can be picked up as needed or as they become fantasy relevant.

The cream of the crop are the same as last year. The two Patriot tight ends could have interchangeable stats next year. Either one could have a special year or they could simply split last year’s stats and each have a fine year. Jimmy Graham is exciting mostly because unlike Gronkowski he doesn’t have a Hernandez to steal his looks. Of course the downside to that is that defenses will be able to key on him in a way that they cannot afford to key on Hernandez and Gronkowski. Jermichael Finley and Vernon Davis are in the 2nd tier and should have solid season with the potential of something special developing.

Watch out: Antonio Gates is always a crap shoot as to whether he will make it through a season uninjured. If he does he could have a special year. Expect him to play in a maximum of 14 games. Tony Gonzalez is really getting up there in age. With Julio Jones, Roddy White and the running game all competing for yards he may be the one left out. Brent Celek plays on a team with Mike Vick and LeSean McCoy both of whom will be doing the majority of the scoring in the redzone which will take away from Celek’s value.

Keep an eye on: The most intriguing and potentially exciting tight ends are Brandon Pettigrew and Jermaine Gresham. Both of these young tight ends could have an exceptional year in 2012. Pettigrew is on a pass first team and could get more redzone looks this year. Gresham is the safety blanket for a 2nd year quarterback and should also get more redzone looks.

Rookies: I don’t see any rookie tight ends at this point that are worth considering taking more than a late round flyer on. Stay with established starters.

Handcuffs: Are you kidding? Well if you are lucky enough to pull it off go ahead and handcuff Hernandez and Gronkowski.

TOP 10

#1 Rob Gronkowski The Gronkster should have another monster year this year but I cannot see him even coming close to 17 touchdowns but he very well should top 1000 yards and possibly double digit touchdowns. 

#2 Jimmy Graham Graham had a season that was nearly identical to Gronkowski’s last year, aside from the touchdowns. I think he has the best chance of repeating his success from the previous season. The downside is that he could be looking at a lot of defense keying on him.

#3 Aaron Hernandez Hernandez is poised to have Gronkowski’s 2011. If teams forget about him he is going to make them pay.

#4 Jermichael Finley Couldn’t hold on to the ball last year. If he can earn Rodgers’ trust again he will have a great year. If he can’t he will have a season similar to last year.

#5 Antonio Gates The man. Well at least he was before injuries got the best of him. Still Phillip Rivers loves to throw the ball and if Gates can stay of the injured list he should get a large amount of looks.

#6 Vernon Davis If the Niners were smart they would throw the ball to Davis alot. Last year they were not as smart as they have been in the past. I hope the figure it out this year. In the picture Davis is doing his best Gladiator impersonation “Are you not entertained?!”

#7 Brandon Pettigrew If Matt Stafford stays healthy Pettigrew will have a great year. Matt Stafford rarely stays healthy. Last year was the exception. 

#8 Jason Witten Consistent performer that relies on Romo staying healthy. Witten year in and year out is a top fantasy tight end.

#9 Tony Gonzalez Old Man River. He is old. Somehow last year he was a top performer at the tight end position. Matty Ice likes to throw the ball and maybe he’ll remember to throw some Tony’s way.

#10 Jermaine Gresham Gresham is intriguing for a couple of reasons. Mostly because he had a good year in 2011 and Andy Dalton and the rest of the offense should be better. Still there is always the concern of the sophomore slump for Dalton which would affect Gresham’s value.

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2012 Fantasy Football Prep 101: Wide Receivers

Now we proceed on to the wide receiver position. This is typically considered the 3rd most important position on any fantasy football team. I would argue that this is no longer the case. I think in the pass first/running back by committee world in which we now live in wide receivers have taken a much more important role in the world of fantasy football. I think this is especially the case with the top end elite receivers. The argument can be made that  receivers are a dime a dozen and can be gotten cheap in the late rounds. True for your run of the mill average receiver, but not of the elites. In the end it might just depend on how your league is set up. In many leagues the teams start two WR and two

Starks: I’m a starting RB in the NFL that makes me more valuable than any WR in fantasy football.

RB. In this situation it may be that RBs are more important because they are typically more consistent, but in the Pabst and Blatz Fantasy Football League we  start three WRs. Now I think because of this WRs are more important in our league because I could have 3 dynamic top tier receivers in my lineup especially if everyone else is going the tried and true method of running back then quarterback early on in the draft. I would put up three top tier WR against two good RBs and a middle of the road WR any day of the week. In the end it’s the team with the most points that wins. It doesn’t matter what position scored the points.

So as before to properly prep we should look at how the players panned out the year before. Below are the 2011 stats , including scoring totals based on the Pabst and Blatz FFBL scoring system. 1 point for every 25 yards receiving, 1 point

Jennings: Are you going to tell him or should I?
Rodgers: Let the kid have his moment.

for every 25 yards rushing, 6 points for every touchdown rushing, receiving or returning. Other ways receivers can score in our league are catching conversions, running in conversions, and passing touchdowns. As for the large majority these are not significant numbers I have not included them in this analysis. It is important to note that many leagues have now begun awarding points for number of receptions. If this is the case, receivers take an even more important role in the world of fantasy football. Last year’s stats:

Calvin Johnson, aka Megatron, was the class of the field last year. He was joined by, no surprise,  a Packer wideout in the top 2. The surprise was that it was Jordy Nelson and not Greg Jennings. Now we had some players that we have come to expect in the top performers like Larry Fitzgerald, Vincent Jackson and  Wes Welker. There were some surprises like the afore mentioned Jordy Nelson, Victor Cruz, Laurent Robinson and a comeback from Steve Smith. Biggest letdowns were from Dwayne Bowe, Anquan Boldin, Mike Williams and Santonio Holmes. An argument could be made that Reggie Wayne was a big disappointment, but people should have seen that coming with the QB situation in Indy.

Now let’s take a look at some projected stats for the upcoming year. Here are some of my own devising:

The projections show 5 tiers. Tier one players should be drafted early. Now if you are doing your draft strategy old school that means take your first WR in the 3rd or 4th round. If, on the other hand, you heed my advice I would take any of the players in the 1st or 2nd round. Tier two players could be taken as high as the 3rd round, but look to pick them up in the higher mid rounds. Tier three players you could take a flyer on in the high mid rounds otherwise take them in rounds 6, 7 or 8. Tier four players should be taken in the final rounds of a draft. The one good thing about receivers is that there are a lot of them so you may find some value in rounds 13, 14 and 15. Tier 5 guys probably should not be on your roster unless your are playing a gut feeling that this could be the year. These guys can be picked up off the wire IF and when they become relevant.

Brian Hartline: Wait, wait, wait…. you are telling me that I’m not relevant!
Me: Yes
Hartline: Oh, OK

Again Calvin Johnson is projected to be the top fantasy performer at wideout. I firmly believe that there is no way in this world that he can match his yards and/or touchdown totals from the year before. Still he has been a solid performer in the past and if Matt Stafford stays upright he could have another big year. Jordy Nelson and Victor Cruz are #2 and #3 on the list but take caution as both share the roster with another very good receiver that could steal some of their thunder.

Keep and eye on: Brandon Marshall could be looking at a very good year. One reason, he will have a competent QB. The second reason, the QB is the same one that used to huck the ball to him in Denver when he was fantasy relevant. In a chuck and duck offense Jay Cutler finally has some one to chuck to. Robert Meachem  could have a good year in San Diego, as well as, Darrius Heyward-Bay in Oakland.

Rookies:  Justin Blackmon might have a decent year in Jacksonville if they find someone that can throw a pass. Michael Floyd could end up the #2 in Arizona and in that case would have numbers similar to those predicted for Andre Roberts. Kendall Wright, in Tennessee, has Kenny Britt and Nate Washington ahead of him but Britt could be looking at a suspension for a little drinking and driving. In that case Wright could get a chance to establish himself and have a fine year.

Handcuffs: Handcuffing isn’t something usually done at the wideout position but in some cases, especially with pass happy teams, it is good to have the 3rd or 4th WR just in case the starter goes down. That being said who are the pass happy teams? Well they are the Packers, Saints, Lions, Patriots, Giants and Chargers. You could throw in the Falcons and Cowboys also.  The handcuffs would be James Jones and/or Randall Cobb with Jordy Nelson or Greg Jennings; Lance Moore with Marques Colston; Titus Young with Calvin Johnson, Deion Branch with Wes Welker; Domenik Hixon with Victor Cruz or Hakeem Nicks; and Eddie Royal with Malcom Floyd.

Words of Caution: Kenny Britt is looking at a suspension in Tennessee. The “new” offense in Pittsburgh will feature lots of running and high percentage short passes.  Dez Bryant has an outside chance at facing some suspension time. Andre Johnson is coming off an injury. Santonio Holmes may have to deal with Tim Tebow as his QB at least part of the time. Sidney Rice is coming off injury. Brandon Marshall can go crazy from time to time. Last but not least Randy Moss and Chad Johnson are OLD!

TOP 10

#1 Calvin Johnson Calvin got a job! That job is destroying defensive secondaries. He is good at his job. He can only catch what is thrown to him. Matt Stafford is good at throwing to him. Matt Stafford gets hurt….A LOT!

# 2 Jordy NelsonIt must be the visor because last year Jordy had a hell of  season. Ok, ok…so Jordy Nelson does not wear a futuristic eye visor and fly around the galaxy but I am willing to bet that is what most of you thought about this guy. Expect him to be flying around the field and to catch plenty of touchdowns. It helps to have Aaron Rodgers on your team.

# 3 Roddy White Matt Ryan likes to throw the ball and someone needs to catch it. For awhile that only person to catch it was Roddy. Now there is Julio Jones. I don’t think this takes away value but adds chances that White will no longer get 100% of the pass defense game plan focused on him.

#4 Larry Fitzgerald: Even with Kevin Kolb and John Skelton throwing the ball good old Larry had a fine season. If one of these jokers ever puts it together look out. It does not look too good for that happening so expect your typical lunch pail, punch in punch out performance from Larry.

#5 Wes Welker Wes got PAID! What happens when players get paid? Typically they do NOT go out and have a career year. In fact typically they have an off year. Many times this can happen because there was a hold out situation. Wes did not hold out. That being said Tom Brady is still the QB and he loves him some Welker.

Burritos as big as your head!

#6 Victor CruzHe came out of nowhere last year to become a fantasy darling. He won a superbowl. The downside is that teams can prepare better for him now and Hakeem Nicks should be healthy. Still he should have another great season.

Hello? What? Matt Cassel is still the quarterback. Really?!

#7 Dwayne Bowe   He had a moster year in 2010. 15 touchdowns. Matt Cassel really liked to throw his way. Cassel got hurt last year and Bowe suffered. Here is the deal though Cassel is not a good quarterback so he had better be throwing all his passes to Bowe. A rebound is highly likely if the quarterback play is decent. 

#8 Greg Jennings What two players from the same team in the top 10. Why? Because Aaron Rodgers is the QB. Why not 2 from the Patriots or Saints? Rodgers doesn’t spread it around as much. As a result both Jennings and Nelson can have huge years. But as the picture shows Jennings in now in Nelson’s shadow. Whether that will be good or not only time will tell.

  #9 AJ Green Andy Dalton pretty much has one target and that is AJ Green. There is concern about a sophomore slump for both Green and Dalton, still I think Green will have a great season.

#10 Brandon Marshall Really? This guy! I remember way back when he was something but now? Well he now has a quality QB in Cutler. His yardage never went away in Miami even when there was no one else the secondary needed to worry about. He will have a very good year in Chicago.

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2012 Fantasy Football Prep 101: Runnning Backs

A wise man once said “No matter what draft a running back in the 1st round” He also said “There is nothing more delicious than 23 herbs and spices”
~The Colonel

As we continue our preparation for the upcoming 2012 Fantasy Football season we will preview the Running Back position. Typically the good old running back in fantasy gold. Everyone goes out of their way to snap up backs in the first few rounds. Conventional wisdom states that to have a successful team you MUST draft the best running back available in the first two rounds and then fill out the rest of the positions later. In the past that may have been the case, but as the NFL has become a pass first league it has become less and less the case. I remember when passing for 3000 yards in a season was

Grossman: Wait a minute… I threw for just over 3000 yards last year. Does that make me a failure?
McNabb: As someone who knows, yes that makes you a failure

considered good. Now it would be seen as a complete failure of the offense. Still there is some truth to the notion that snapping up a good back in the first round is a good idea. I would just say that sometimes it is better to have the best quarterback rf receiver than the 5th best running back. With that said lets take a look at the running back position.

As with the quarterbacks it is always a good idea to look at the stats for the year before. Below are how the running backs fared in Pabst and Blatz Fantasy Football League scoring system which is 1 point for every 25 yards rushing, 1 point for every 25 yards receiving and 6 points for every touchdown. Of course players can also score by throwing touchdowns and scoring conversions but that happens so rarely it really doesn’t change much.

As it is blatantly obvious, LeSean McCoy was the standout from last year with Ray Rice coming in a close second. McCoy’s 17 rushing touchdowns is what put him over the top. This number of touchdowns I really do not see him repeating mostly because of the touchdown vulture Mick Vick poised to steal rushing TD inside the red zone.

I have a need…a need to run for touchdowns. Screw you LeSean and all your fantasy owners.

Ray Rice had a similar problem with bigger backs stealing his goal-line carries in the past. Still both scored at a level far above the competition. Arian Foster should have been the class of the field but injuries kept him from reaching the top. This year he will be spelled by an established Ben Tate so he will not get the amount of carries he has in the past. The same can be said for Michael Turner  he will be getting many more carries taken away from him. Let’s take a look at projections for the 2012 season. Here are some of my own devising:

There are 5 tiers of running backs as denoted by the colors. Tier 1 backs should be taken in the 1st round. If one of them survives to the 2nd round you have gotten yourself a steal. The tier 2 backs should be taken in the 2nd-4th rounds.  By the end of the 4th round typically any starting running back that is worth anything has been taken. The 3rd tier of backs can be taken later in the mid rounds. They are what is left of the starters, promising backups, and number two backs in running back by committee. The backs in tier 4 are to be taken only if you need depth on the bench or as a flyer/hedge against a more established back getting hurt. The backs in tier 5 should not be drafted at all. You will be able to get these backs off the waiver wire if and when they become relevant. I would advise you select better players at different positions.

The very best as predicted for next year will be Arian Foster. McCoy should come back down to Earth a bit but he will still be a premium back as will Ray Rice.  Peterson, Wells and Charles are all coming off of injuries and Michael Turner will no longer be a 300 carry back. The situation in Washington is a mess but look for Helu to come out as the starter. Detroit’s backfield is equally a mess. At this time all of the backs there may get a decent amount of carries making none of them fantasy relevant. Shonn Greene no longer has anyone sharing the backfield with him but Tebow may steal some of his yards and touchdowns.

As far as the rookies are concerned only Trent Richardson and Doug Martin are set to start right now. This of course may change. I like Richardson but he is in a situation where he is a starting rookie tailback sharing a backfield with a rookie quarterback. He should get plenty of carries but will the Browns be playing from behind to often. Martin has to worry about Blount stealing carries and touchdowns.

Do I look like a guy that would drink and drive?

Handcuffing situations: If you take Arian Foster you MUST, I repeat must take Ben Tate. If for some reason you have James Starks on your roster as a starter I suggest also taking Alex Green. Jahvid Best and Kevin Smith should be locked together. As well as Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers. Other handcuffs to considers are Frank Gore and Brandon Jacobs, Maurice Jones-Drew and Rashad Jennings, Matt Forte and Michael Bush, Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis, and the always popular DeAngelo Williams and Johnathan Stewart.

McDonalds Drive Thru: Welcome to McDonlds may I take your order?
Jahvid: I see four fingers coach.
McDonalds Drive Thru: What was that sir?
Jahvid: Put me in coach! I’m ready!
McDonalds Drive Thur: Does that complete your order?

Words of caution: Marshawn Lynch is looking at a suspension from the league due to a little drinking and driving, Jahvid Best is on the PUP list still from concussions from the previous year.  Maurice Jones-Drew is thinking about holding out. Beanie Wells is not 100%. No one knows who is going to start in New England. No one knows who is going to start in Washington. Green Bay’s running game looks awful.

Top 10

#1 LeSean McCoy He is the best back available and should be the first selected. Both runs and catches touchdowns. The only downside is that Mike Vick is looming to steal some of his scores.

#2 Arian FosterWould have been number one but he now has injury concerns and the real possibility of losing carries to Ben Tate. Still is is hard to deny someone that dresses that well. He could be considers 1a to McCoy’s 1.

#3 Ray Rice with other backs stealing his goal-line carries he slips a bit. Still he catches the ball well and is a dynamic threat.

#4 Chris Johnson He got PAID! and how did he reward the Titans? With a subpar year. He is set for a major rebound. He still won’t be worth what the Titans are paying him but he should make his fantasy owners happy.

#5 Darren McFadden No more Michael Bush. McFadden is on his own. This could mean his best season ever OR he will wear out and get injured much earlier than usual. IF he goes 16 games he will be an absolute stud. Prepare for him to go 13 games that way if he goes more you can be pleasantly surprised. Addition of a legitimate quarterback should help him stay health…right?

#6 Ahmad BradshawAhmad Bradshaw you just won the Superbowl what are you going to do now…. Well he should get a large amount of carries. Jacobs is gone. If he gets half of Jacobs’ 7 touchdowns added to his total we are looking at an elite back. His backup at the moment is young and inexperienced so he will not take too many carries for Bradshaw. Could be his best year ever.

#7 Maurice Jones Drew One of the premier fantasy stud running backs for years he now has the dreaded two words HOLD OUT hanging over his head. Typically any back the holds out even for a small amount of time does not have a fantasy year that they are capable of. Use caution here as he also has injury concerns. Still if he is anywhere close to last year you will love having him on your team.

#8 Adrian Peterson Turn to the left, turn to the right, one more straight ahead. If being injured wasn’t bad enough good ol’ All Day went and got himself arrested in the off-season. With the Commish loving to come down hard on players what will happen to Adrian? Probably nothing. The injury his more a concern. If he is healthy by the start of the season he should continue to be a great fantasy back.

#9 Jamaal Charles  Hi, I’m Jamaal Charles. You may remember me from my role in the 2010 fantasy football season. Well….I’m BACK! Whether or not he is ready to go is another question. The Chiefs went and picked up Peyton Hillis for insurance…you may want some insurance too.

#10 Ryan Mathews Hi, I’m Ryan Mathews. I play football for the San Diego Chargers. Anyone out there heard of me? No more Mike Tolbert should mean a better fantasy year for Mathews. Give him half of Tolbert’s eight TDs and he would have been a top 5 back last year.

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2012 Fantasy Football Prep 101: Quarterbacks

Fantasy Alert….

It is that time of the year again and for many of us we will soon begin our annual Fall tradition of scouring the net or forking over cash to buy a book to prepare for the upcoming fantasy football season. Well I say nuts to that. I have shelled out the cash and read the articles and I say who better than I to prepare myself and other for the world of fantasy football.  Now as a veteran of the Pabst and Blatz Fantasy Football league which is now entering its 15th year I think that I have accumulated some wisdom. Hell I used to hand score all the games and then make paper copies and deliver them to the individual teams. That was life before the inter-web.  But I digress, you are here either by complete accident or you want some fantasy football knowledge. We will first look at the quarterback position,

When preparing for the upcoming season I always like to go over the past year’s stats. Now the Pabst and Blatz Fantasy Football League has the following scoring system: Rushing TD 6 points, Passing TD 3 points, Rush Yards 1 point for every 25 yds. Pass Yards 1 point for every 50 yds. Some leagues subtract points for interceptions or reward more point for passing yards and touchdowns, but let’s be honest here the quarterback position already is overly weighted in our league and I would hate to see it given more importance.

Let’s take a quick look at last year performances.

After looking at these stats it is apparent that last years cream of the crop were Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Mathew Stafford. Not a lot of surprises here except maybe for Cam Newton. He was a steal in our league last taken in one of the last rounds. Stafford was also a bit of a surprise mostly because of the sheer number of snaps he took. (He gets hurt alot)

The most disappointing player from last year was Mike Vick as he was taken early and was outperformed by many of the quarterbacks available much later on in the draft. Of course anyone that has watched Mick Vick’s career knew the previous year, 2010,  had been a fluke and that there was no way he would repeat it.

Now it is always a good idea to take a look at preseason rankings and projections. Here are some of my own devising…

From the projections there are four tiers of players. Tier one players, in red, are the cream of the crop. Tier four players, in gray, should not be on you team under any circumstance unless you are playing in a 32 team fantasy football league.(Unlikely) We see Aaron Rodgers as the top projected QB. Drew Brees is second but I would be cautious with all the tomfoolery going on in the Big Easy.  Cam Newton is due for some regression, but still unless he completely falls apart in his sophomore slump he will be a top QB. A word of caution about Eli Manning. Last year was  a career year and he is due for a regression also. Any player in tier one I would use a 1st or 2nd round pick on. The players in the 2nd tier are late mid-round players. You should load up on position players first unless there is a run on QB and you are in serious trouble of having Christian Ponder as your starting QB.

Sad Sad Ponder

This brings us to the rookie QB. Typically I stay away from rookie QBs like the plague and anything involving Sarah Jessica Parker. Cam Newton is the reason to consider a rookie. Is he the new normal or was he a fluke? Andy Dalton also had a serviceable

Don’t get me started

year. My two cents is to get an established guy and then take a chance later that way you are not overpaying for a dud and if the guy pans out you look like a genius for stealing him late. For every Cam Newton there is a Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder out there. If I were to take a change it would have to be on RG3. His skill set and the situation he is going into make the possibility for success within the realm of reason.

Obvious handcuffs… I would say that if you take Mark Sanchez you have to take Tim Tebow. Other than that I don’t see any other obvious handcuff situations.

This guy will be stealing fantasy points from Jet running backs and quarterbacks all season, as well as, stealing my heart.

Now the moment you have all been waiting for….Normy’s top ten fantasy QBs for the 2012 season.

#1 Aaron Rodgers: Mustache nuf said! Ok so he has his entire offense coming back, drafted a bunch of defense, Donald Driver now has slick dance moves and MUSTACHE!

#2 Tom Brady: There’s no crying in football. Well for Tom we will make an exception. He is also returning to a great situation coming off one of his best seasons ever.  Should be a no-brainer.

#3 Matt Stafford: As the picture shows buyer beware. He has a tendency to get hurt and for long stretches of time. Still last year he was healthy and had a monster year. Which will it be this year?

#4 Drew Brees : Confusion, contract dispute, scandal, bounties and no head coach. Someone could get a steal if he fall too far for any of these reasons.

#5 Cam Newton Last year was amazing . There is little chance that he can repeat but even with taking a step back he will be solid.

#6 Phillip Rivers He is Philip Rivers. What else is there to say.

#7 Tony Romo See above statement replacing Philip Rivers with Tony Romo

#8 Peyton Manning All time great QB on a run first team and with a head that is being held on with bungee cords. Good luck my friend though you won’t have that horse shoe on your helmet anymore for that. Oh and stay thirsty.

#9 Matt Schaub Great when he is healthy. In the picture you can see just how healthy he was last year. Still should be back with all the weapons. 

#10 Eli Manning Won the Superbowl, had a career year. Due for a let down. Still he is better than the rest of the stiffs in the league and makes a decent looking chick. Well maybe in New York.

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