So before you set your fantasy lineup's or head into your drafts(A bit late don't you think) here are some observations and stats i've made over my past few weeks of prep for this years FF season.
- If you are like me and you bought into the Chris Ivory sleeper hype let me be very clear because it's something i've had to come to terms with over the past week after drafting him also. You drafted a New York Jet. You knowingly and willingly drafted a New York Jet. Let that sink in for a second. You drafted a guy who shares the locker room with the Sanchize, Geno Smith, Antonino Cromartie and Santonio Holmes. However if like me you decided to just ignore these things you'll most likely be hoping he lives up to his ''freaking stud'' tag given to him by Seattle Coach Pete Carroll. However be extremely cautious with Ivory. For a player who projects to be the undisputed No.1 back in a system that supposedly loves to play ground and pound football. Another thing to bear in mind is Ivory is injury prone. He's never had a season with more than 150 carries. He started the 2011 season on the PUP list and has had nagging foot injuries through out his career. Finally we have to take into account that there will be few times this season where the Jets will be trying to keep a lead by running out the clock. So if they are playing behind you could obviously expect them to start passing more and more. This may seem like nothing but negatives but let me just say this. He's a perfect build for a NFL RB 6'0 220lbs and goes like stabbed rat in the open field. He's also shown some ability when it comes to the passing game so it can be expected that he'll see a lot of check down options. He's a perfect flex option but if you have someone who you feel a little bit better about I would keep Ivory on the bench just to see how he goes in the first week in a new system.
- Buy into Steve Smith and Greg Olsen. Smith has been Top 15 in Targets over the past two seasons and has had 1K Receiving Yards the two years Newton's been with the team. To show how much better Smith has been over his fellow Carolina WR's take a look at the targets and receptions. Smith caught 73 on 138 targets. The closet WR after that? Brandon Lafell with 44 from 76. 2011 was even more heavily weighted towards Smith. 79 from 129 the next closest was Lafell with 36 from 56. As for Olsen he made massive jump in the amount of receptions and targets from his first to his second season. His first season he had 45 receptions from 90 targets. In his second season he had 69 receptions from 104 targets. He's also proven to be a great goal line threat with 5TD's in both seasons. This combination of a passing attack centered around Smith and Olsen could prove extremely useful as the season goes on.
- I absolutely love the two D's in both Denver and Chicago this season. Chicago is a defensive monster of a system that led the league in pick 6's and total INT's. Combine that with the third most forced fumbles last season and you've got a defense that loves scoring and a special team that includes Devin Hester. As for Denver you only have to look at their schedule to see why I like them so much this season. They face the Oakland Raiders twice, the San Diego Chargers(who've lost both of their primary WR's) and the Kansas City Chiefs. Not to mention they will be getting better with the inclusion of Von Miller and Champ Bailey.
- Speaking of Chicago Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall are going to have massive years. Marshall you already know is Cutler's BFF with 1500 Yards and 11 TD's last year but Jeffery is a big target that could see him some action in the red zone this year. Jeffery is also a huge mis match against any corner. At 6'3 220lbs with the ability to run under 4.50 and has shown some great promise. Just take a look at his highlights from last season:
- For a lot of those huge ''what if'' RB's like Ryan Matthews, Ivory, Darren McFadden I would be inclined to err on the side of caution and maybe wait a week or so just to see how each guy plays before starting them for sure. You all know the injury issues for each of these guys. For example Darren McFadden has only rushed for more than 700 yards once in his career. As for Ryan Matthews he's proven multiple times that he's inconsistent and usually injured.
- If you had any trepidation about drafting David Wilson then stop right now. The Giants 50/50 carry system was destined to kill Wilson's value along with the fact that his partner back Andre Brown tended to get the most of the goal line carries. However thanks to Brown's broken leg, Wilson is the clear No.1 on the depth chart and should get 15-20 carries per game. What's really interesting is that he's been a very highly touted back that can hit the home run at any given moment. However their are some issues with ball security that haunted him during his rookie season so it is something to be aware of. But if we are honest Wilson's upside is rather similar to what Doug Martin's was last season.
- Buy heavy on the Alfred Morris stock. Mike Shanahan's run scheme heavily involves what ever RB is current his number 1. What's more the inclusion of RG3 has forced D's to not clamp down so heavily on the running game like before. This was hugely evident last season where the Redskins led the league in YPC and were 3rd in rushing attempts behind New England(BUY BUY BUY) and Seattle.
- If you're look for late round fliers and players who could make a difference then look at Jonathan Franklin from GB, Giovani Bernard from Cincy and Daryl Richardson from St.Louis. Franklin is a quicker and more elusive back that can work outside and inside and is better pass catcher than Lacy which suits Green Bay's spread high pass offense. Bernard was one of the highly touted RB's coming out of this years rookie class and he's been extremely impressive this pre-season in all aspects of his game. He's been especially efficient around the goal line where two of his TD's have come on 1 yard TD runs. Richardson starts out as the primary back in St. Louis and will be given the first few games to really establish himself as the number one 1 over the two other backs in St. Louis in Zac Stacy and Isiah Pead. Richardson spent time providing a solid back up to Steven Jackson and oddly enough reminds me of Jackson in his running style. Very direct, can ground and pound and go inside and outside the tackles.
Anyway I hope some of you find this information useful in any way and good luck on this week.