In our ongoing quest to supply our audience with as much Fantasy info as possible – today we present another one of our guest writer articles. Paul Johnson is from the 612 (aka the land of 10,000 lakes) and is a fan much like myself of the Minnesota Vikings – no truth to the rumor that he resembles Ragnar.
He’s been playing fantasy football since 1996 and adopted the team name Billikings… a combination of two of the most cursed teams in the NFL (Vikings and Bills) but might be looking for name change after winning his first league title last season.
Here are Paul’s take on some players that are being over drafted and a few flying under the radar the are due to surprise in 2012.
He has topped 3,000 yards twice but and has eclipsed the 20 TD mark just once (21 TD passes in 2010). Don’t forget about the numerous INT’s that he continually throws. Vick’s dual threat ability limits the risk that he’ll fall outside the top 10 fantasy QBs but also heightens the chances that he’s just one pancake hit from holding a clipboard.
Reggie Bush: Last year was the first year the he has ever stayed healthy. First year coach Joe Philbin will likely rely heavily on Bush but could also work in 2nd year RB Daniel Thomas and rookie Lamar Miller more than most expect. In PPR leagues, Kim Kardashian’s former arm candy remains a solid RB2 but in an offense that figures to be one of the lower scoring units in the NFL we think he should come with a ”Buyer Beware” tag.
Fred Jackson: He’s 31 and we look for Spiller to come in with younger legs as the Bills backfield could develop into more of a RBBC. F-jax is coming off a broken leg but appears to be back to 100%. He’s been one of the more productive RB in the league when on the field and has much less wear on the tires despite his age. Regardless we think 2012 could be the year the former first round pick CJ Spiller gets a bigger piece of the pie limiting Jackson to more of a lower end RB2.
Brandon LaFell: Steve Smith is getting old and could be doing Metamucil commercials soon. A 3rd year receiver, LaFell did struggle early until the second half of the year when he started to understand the Panther offense. With limited competition he could become a Cam Newton favorite especially in the red zone. LaFell posted 613 yards and three touchdowns in 2011 and should build on those numbers with a more defined role in 2012.
Michael Williams: V Jackson will be drawing most of the coverage away from the 3rd year receiver. Along with the maturing of Josh Freeman and a fresh start with a new coach, Greg Schiano, look for Williams could be due for a bounce back year. We don’t expect a repeat of his impressive rookie season (964 yards, 11 TDs) but his 2011 dud season should be the floor. A solid buy low candidate.
That leaves the door open for a talented Sanders to fill the void. Even if Wallace swallows his pride and returns to the team – the Steelers should remain a pass happy offense (especially with Mendenhall likely to hit the PUP list) making their #3 WR a decent late round flier.
Michael Turner: Why does this guy get no love year in and year out? Another 1300 yard season and double-digit touchdowns are within reach but he keeps falling down most running back rankings. I get that he’s hitting the dreaded 30′s but remember, he sat behind LT for a few years before going to the Falcons. 1100 yards and 8 – 10 scores are more than reasonable for this seasoned veteran especially considering the Falcons boast one of the more favorable schedules for RBs in 2012.
Kregg Lumpkin: This is a deep sleeper to keep an eye on. A ton of question marks hang over Marshawn Lynch’s head like and anvil hanging over the head of Will E. Coyote’s. Lumpkin has tried to pattern his running style after Hall of Fame back, Emmitt Smith and ex-Kansas City Chiefs back, Larry Johnson. Shouldn’t take long to catch onto Seattle’s because of his familiarity with Tom Cable’s zone-blocking scheme. He had 41 receptions last season with Tampa so could be worth a late round flier in PPR leagues depending on where he lands on the depth chart at the end of camp.
ON THIN ICE:
Now, there is another category that I would like to add. It’s not really a overrated or underrated , but rather an On Thin Ice crew. This includes injuries to qualified, proven, and very reliable players. These are the running back injuries coming off major injuries like Jamaal Charles, Rashard Mendenhall, Adrian Peterson, Tim Hightower – all had ACL injuries that historically. Some prior ACL casualties never regained the prior form including Curt Warner, Terry Allen, Terrell Davis, and Edgerrin James. Jamal Lewis actually produced roughly the same yardage and his touchdown total increased by one but J-Lew seems to be more an exception to the rule.
So, when drafting the above backs, approach with caution.
Jahvid Best - He should come with a BYOB label - Bring Your Own Band-aids. Stick him in a bubble filled with Todd Heap and somehow they’ll both get hurt. Look for Kevin Smith to start week 1 and Mikel Leshoure to emerge as the red zone option.
Matt Schaub: The Texan QB is in a contract year and appears fully healed from last year’s injury. Defenses can’t hone in on Schaub with Arian Foster in the backfield. He’s a consistent QB from week to week option but Brees like numbers aren’t going to happen.
Kenny Britt: Good Ol Britt for Brains didn’t think that trying to come back from ACL and MCL injury was enough of a challenge so he decided to add a DUI into the mix. Even though he seems to be recovering, Roger Goodell rules with an iron fist and figures to hand a suspension ranging from 2-4 games.
Sidney Rice: Seattle has to be looking for a Mulligan on this free agent signing. Other then when Bret Favre was throwing TD’s at him, he can’t stay on the field unless it’s in a wheel chair or crutches. TO could very well lead this team in production by default.