I hate fantasy football, but almost like breathing, I have to play it because I’m a red blooded American man. What sucks about it is that the lows are so much lower than the highs are high. Winning a close game or a championship is great, but pales in comparison to losing Kenny Britt, Jamaal Charles, and Fred Jackson to season ending injuries during a season. Anyway, if I’m going to do something, I’d better be good at it; and since I AM good at fantasy football, I can share my expert knowledge with the world.
Fantasy Football has been around for a few decades now, but it is currently undergoing a huge strategic shift. The NFL looks completely different than it did 5-10 years ago, and this will translate to the fantasy game as well. In real life defense may win championships, but it doesn’t have anything to do with winning or making the playoffs. Most good teams pass 60% of the time or more, and if a team isn’t going with 3-5 wide receivers in the shotgun formation, they aren’t winning. Gone are the days when running backs Marshall Faulk, Shaun Alexander, or LT are fantasy studs. To make a fantasy championship a reality, go with the new NFL rule changes. Ignore defense, ignore the running game, and keep going vertical.
The days of running back yore are long gone…
More than likely the top 5 scorers in fantasy this year will be quarterbacks: Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Newton, and Stafford. This isn’t to say that other QBs won’t have significant value, but it may make a lot of sense to think about getting one of these guys. A few QB questions one should ask themselves are:
1.) Can Cam Newton duplicate his brilliance of last year?
Probably not, but he doesn’t need to to have a good year. He had double digit rushing touchdowns last year, but only 21 passing touchdowns. Getting 14 rushing TDs again won’t happen, but he can easily increase his passing TD numbers to still remain an elite fantasy QB?
2.) Will Michael Vick stay healthy and revert back to his 2010 form?
No. Vick will never stay healthy, the Eagles’ quick strike attack with Desean Jackson has easily reached its peak, and Vick won’t get double figure rushing TDs in an Andy Reid offense with Lesean McCoy in the backfield.
3.) Will Peyton go back to being Peyton?
Absolutely not, but it has nothing to do with Manning. It has more to do with not having Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Edgerrin James, Joseph Addai, and one of the best offense lines in NFL history. With these rules he’ll easily throw 30 TDs, but the Broncos are not a team built to air it out.
4.) Should I draft Andrew Luck or RGIII?
Both guys will throw 20 TDs, but they’re going to throw lots of interceptions, fumble a lot, and probably not carry the consistency one would like in a starting fantasy QB.
Year of the tight end
Everyone with a pulse knows that Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski are going to be better than most wide receivers. The NFL is a copycat league, so teams that have special athletes playing TE, expect them to try to emulate the success seem in New Orleans and New England. Don’t be surprised to see Aaron Hernandez as the #3 tight end this year, Vernon Davis will be a monster, Fred Davis will make RGIII’s life much more tolerable, Jermichael Finley may finally realize his immense potential, and Jermaine Gresham will be a major sleeper. This isn’t even talking about the usual suspects in Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, Dustin Keller, and Tony Gonzalez.
Year of the running back?
More and more teams are going to the running back by committee mantra, so getting one of the few studs could make a major difference during a fantasy season. Arian Foster, Ray Rice, MJD, Lesean McCoy, Matt Forte, and Marshawn Lynch should all tote most of their teams’ carries. Getting one of these guys may be key if the other top teams in a league get one of the stud QBs. Beware of Michael Turner and Frank Gore because both now go from every down back to probably splitting carries. Injuries may be an issue with Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Reggie Bush, Stephen Jackson, and Ryan Matthews. I honestly don’t know what to expect from Chris Johnson, or when he should be drafted.
WR is the ultimate value pick
Thanks to the rule changes, wide receiver is easily the deepest position in fantasy football. Yes the big names like Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald will put up big numbers, but so will lots of no name players. There will be rookies and guys on the waiver wire that will score more than many of the people we all expect to carry a team. Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on a sleeper because anyone with hands and speed can do well now. Being a bad blocker, running a few routes incorrectly, or not having the whole playbook memorized may annoy coaches, but it has nothing to do with fantasy success. Being old as dirt and only being able to run a 5.2 forty does not prevent someone from catching touchdowns if a defensive back can’t even look at receiver without being called for pass interference.
Even these old guys can put up good numbers in 2012 thanks to the new rule changes.