If you are reading this blog - it's likely because you have very little else to do. This is mostly just a space for me to write down thoughts and feelings about the world of sports.
This is a Fantasy-Heavy week for the NFL so I'll make my cherry-popping blog about my fantasy predictions...
Of the three leagues that I will be in (one yet to be drafted), I already have a very strong idea of who my core players are going to be heading into the season. I wouldn't go anywhere near Arian Foster even though I had him in both of my leagues last year, and while names like Jamaal Charles and Chris Johnson may look good on paper, really they do nothing for me. I try to draft players that will be on good teams and be the focal point of their offense. My First Round Studs are Ray Rice, AP, LeSean McCoy and that's about it. Any of the top WRs will only go in the late first round and drafting a QB is a waste that early on.
WRs are another element all together. Drafting a WR largely depends on the QB and the system. Does the team trust the Quarterback to throw 35-45 times a game, or will the QB be asked to 'manage' a game and make conservative choices. Both Roddy White and Andre Johnson have a pass-happy offense where they are the focal points and their QB's can be trusted. Calvin Johnson is on the brink of stardom, but that will largely rely on whether Matt Stafford can propel his game to the next level and stay healthy. Larry Fitzgerald (Triple F - Faith, Focus, Finish) is the only other WR that I would consider taking in the first three rounds of a draft simply based on the fact that he's a stud and plays the game with respect.
Rounds 4-7 are where fantasy championships are won year in and year out. Last year, the likes of Arian Foster, Hakeem Nicks, Darren McFadden, Matt Ryan, and Jamaal Charles were all drafted in this range. All had huge seasons and provided owners with tons of rewards for very little risk. Finding that next guy is the key. To say that I know which guy that will be this year, would be me saying that I have the crystal ball in front of me, but some guys that I think have that potential are:
Felix Jones, Dal, (RB) - Finally in the driver seat with no Marion Barber to worry about. We've never seen a full season of Felix on his own, but he has shown flashes of brilliance that lead me to believe he could be a carbon copy of LeSean McCoy - quick, shifty back that will catch a lot of balls (pause) in open space and make a lot of defenders miss. I expect over 1,000 yards Rushing, with 12-15 total TDs and 50+ receptions.
Knowshon Moreno, Den (RB) - Coming into his third year, I feel that Knowshon will provide huge upside in his 5/6th round position. He digressed a bit in his second year having missed three games, but I expect a fully healthy Moreno to be a very strong producer in John Fox's run-first system. I expect over 1,150 yards Rushing and 8-10 TDs.
Ryan Mathews, SD (RB) - In his second year out of Fresno St. a lot of 'pundits' are expecting Mathews to split time with fellow RB Mike Tolbert. I don't see it. Tolbert is more of a bruising, third down back to me, whereas Mathews has the talent and the ability to be an every-down versatile back. The Chargers will undoubtedly be one of the top offenses in football again, and I expect Mathews to reap the rewards of a team that knows how to move the ball through the air, and finish on the ground. I predict over 1,000 yards rushing and 10-12 total touchdowns.
Dez Bryant, Dal (WR) - As you can probably tell, I'm very high on Dallas' offense for this year. I like that Garrett is the HC and with Tony Romo back and healthy I think this team will significantly outperform last years 6-10 mark. I have the Cowboys winning the NFC East and out-deuling the newly revamped Eagles Defense in large part because of the physical tools that Bryant brings to this offense. I expect him to perform much more consistently and with WR Miles Austin demanding a lot of attention, Bryant should have free reign to use his strength and speed in order to beat opposing cornerbacks. I see over 900 yards and 10-12 Receiving TDs for Bryant.
Stevie Johnson, Buf (WR) - I'm a little partial here being that I have a rooting interest in the Bills, but I really do like what this guy brings to the table. After their bye week in week 6, Johnson became the clear cut #1 WR for the Bills. Over the last 11 Games of the season he averaged 6.0 rec/gm, 78 yds/gm and a TD every other week. Over the span of a 16 game season those could be huge numbers for a WR that I've seen going in the 6th / 7th round of most drafts. I could see Johnson easily surpassing the 1,000 yd mark again and going for 12 TDs.
As always the season will come down to timely pickups and playing the right players week in and week out - so basically the morale of the story is watch football, and play the right players and you'll end up in your league championship game. It's just that easy. Told you I was an expert.