July 25, 2011
Now that the National Football League lockout has finally ended, football fans can get back to what they both love and hate the most about the season, fantasy football. Below are the best players by position and a few tips in picking them.
- Aaron Rodgers
- Peyton Manning
- Tom Brady
- Drew Brees
Aaron Rodgers has proven that he could sustain his gaudy numbers over the course of a full season. He will score two or more touchdowns per game, and scores count in fantasy football. Peyton Manning is getting a little old, but he has 4,000 yards and 30+ touchdowns every year. The New England Patriots have the best offensive line in the league, which means Brady does not get dirty. If Brady does not get dirty, that means that he throws touchdowns. Drew Brees has been one of the most consistent and prolific quarterbacks over the last five years.
Good values at QB – Phillip Rivers, Michael Vick, Matt Ryan, and Jay Cutler
Phillip Rivers is one good year away from being considered an elite quarterback, and last year he proved that he could be effective without a star receiver (even though he does have an elite TE). Michael Vick put up insane numbers last year, but he came down to Earth at the end of the season. People will bite on him early in the fantasy football draft, but he still needs a possession receiver and a big RB to capitalize on his talents. And head coaches have had a full season to break down what he does on film, so things will not be as easy this year. Matt Ryan is primed for a great year, however he never completely wows spectators despite always putting up good numbers. Ben Roethlisberger’s game is a bit of a roller coaster ride. When he is good, he is untouchable. But, he occasionally has a few horrible games.
Sleepers at QB – Eli Manning, Jay Cutler
- Adrian Peterson
- Chris Johnson
- Darren McFadden
- Jamal Charles
AP is the best running back in the NFL, period. He is big and has all the moves with track speed and quickness. He even lowered his fumbling numbers last year. The Vikings will have to rely on him this year since Favre is finally retired. Chris Johnson literally was a track guy and owns the fastest 40 time in combine history. He is quick in the hole and electric in the open field. Every time that he touches the football, he is a threat to score. Darren McFadden is a freak of nature in the mold of Adrian Peterson. He had a breakout year last year which would normally mean that the following year, he would digress. But, he was injured last year too, and if he plays most of the games, he could have a better 2011-12 year. Jamal Charles is ready to carry the load himself. This will probably sound familiar, but I will say it anyway. He is big and fast.
Good values at RB – Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Michael Turner, and Maurice Jones-Drew
Arian Foster lead the league in rushing yards in 2010-11. Though he probably will not produce the same numbers, he is the sole back on a team that features a great passing attack which means that he never sees 8 in the box. LeSean McCoy has the same luxury as Foster, plus teams have to worry about Vick scrambling too. Michael Turner is a beast at home and decent away. Maurice Jones-Drew always produces 1,200 yards and 10 TD’s.
Sleepers at RB – Peyton Hillis, James Starks, and Ray Rice
- Andre Johnson
- Greg Jennings
- Dwayne Bowe
- Calvin Johnson
Andre Johnson is the best wideout in the NFL. He has the size, speed, strength, and catching ability to dominate. He had the highest yards per game average last year despite 8 different players having more targets than him. His only drawback is his touchdowns. Greg Jennings has consistently put up 1,100 yards and 10+ touchdowns every year. He was fourth in total yards last year. Dwayne Bowe has been a silent killer over the last 4 years. He lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns last year. Calvin Johnson catches touchdowns, period. He also gets 1,100 yards every year despite injury.
Good value at WR – DeSean Jackson, Roddy White, Larry Fitzgerald, and Hakeem Nicks
DeSean Jackson is a lightning bolt in open space. He is the most dangerous guy on the field and he plays with Michael Vick. Jackson lead the league in yards per catch at 22.5 yds./catch. Roddy White gets a steady dose of passes thrown to him from Matt Ryan, and he has the size and speed to catch them. Larry Fitzgerald put up 1,137 yards and 6 TD’s with a college quarterback last year. And, Hakeem Nicks has become Eli Manning’s favorite target.
Sleepers at WR – Steve Johnson, Brandon Lloyd, Reggie Wayne, and Marques Colston
- Antonio Gates
- Tony Gonzalez
- Vernon Davis
Antonio Gates has become the premiere tight end in football. He runs routes like a wide receiver and can catch the football better than most of them. He has a quick first step and break away speed. Tony Gonzalez runs perfect routes and has soft hands. He now owns almost every record for tight ends and Ryan targets him in the end zone. Vernon Davis has 4.4 speed at the tight end position, so last year he only ran go routes. This year, he could get twice as many catches because he will be used throughout the offense.
Good value at TE – Chris Cooley, Jason Witten, Mercedes Lewis, Zach Miller
Chris Cooley and Jason Witten both had more receiving yards than Antonio Gates. They catch the football in traffic but do score often. If Witten is healthy, he could take a step towards being an elite tight end. Mercedes Lewis is targeted in the red zone by David Garrard, his QB. And, Zach Miller has a knack for getting open.
Sleepers at TE – Kellen Winslow Jr., Brandon Pettigrew
- Green Bay
As long as the Steelers have Dick LaBeau, their linebacking corp, and Troy Polamalu, they are the best defense in the NFL. As long as the Ravens have Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, they will be the second best defense in the league. Green Bay gets sacks and creates turnovers.
Good value on D – New York Jets, Philadelphia, Cleveland
The Jets will smash you in the mouth. They have Darrelle Revis, the best corner in the game when he is healthy, and pure athletes lined up across from him. Philadelphia always creates turnovers with their speed in the secondary and Asante Samuel can pick quarterbacks with the best of them. Cleveland’s defense is stout and it is bolstered by a good running game.
Sleepers on D – Detroit, Tampa Bay, Kansas City
There is no real difference between kickers after Mason Crosby, Nate Kaeding, and Stephen Gostkowski.
Good value at K – There are no real values at K. Maybe Vinatieri, Rackers, and Hartley
Sleepers at K – Gould, Janikowski