If You Don’t Know, You’ve Now Been Informed
Sep 4, 2011
More articles from John Miller|
The finish line approaches. The last week of preseason action is in the books. The next 10 days are when many people will have their fantasy football drafts. If you’re drafting in the next 10 days, I hope you’re not just starting your draft preparation. You should have already done a mock draft or two and watched a few preseason games at the minimum. What we have here is a few thoughts on players who might not have the fantasy value that we initially thought, for better or worse.
Michael Vick – I assume you’ve had a job in your life. Human nature is that when you first start a new job, you work really hard and try to be the best employee possible. As time goes on, it’s not like you deliberately set out to not try as hard. Your days become a well-recognized routine and sometimes you just go through the motions, doing enough to meet your responsibilities, but not much more. I mean, are you at work right now reading this? This isn’t a personal attack at Vick. But he hasn’t looked the same since the Washington Redskins game last season. And that has completely continued this preseason.
Vick has been quick to run and quicker to make poor decisions throwing the ball. He just got handed another $100 million contract and can finally pay his way out of bankruptcy. Not to mention the Eagles are returning exactly one starter at the same position on the offensive line with two rookies among the new starters. Could Vick do what he did last year? Does anything we’ve seen or heard this preseason lead us to believe he will replicate his success? He looks like the Atlanta Vick from years past. And that won’t kill you in fantasy. But that’s Top 10 quarterback stuff, not top overall quarterback stuff. Vick isn’t just an injury risk. There are performance issues here. At the minimum, just don’t take Vick unless he falls to you in Round 3.
Ahmad Bradshaw/Brandon Jacobs – Still not quite sure why people aren’t catching on here. Last summer, fantasy owners seemed to be slow in figuring out that Bradshaw was going to leapfrog Brandon Jacobs in the Giants backfield. This summer, fantasy owners have been slow to figure out that this is back to being a 50/50 split, with Jacobs being the better option to score. That means both with live in the low-end RB2, high-end RB3 area. Nothing wrong with that. But Bradshaw is being drafted as a high-end RB2 and Jacobs is being drafted as a RB4. Again, this isn’t to say “avoid Ahmad Bradshaw.” This simply says that you’d probably rather have Jacobs in the eighth round, than Bradshaw in the third round.
Brandon Marshall – Not sure what took people this long to remember how good Marshall is. He’s good enough to overcome the problems at quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. He’s looked phenomenal this preseason and seems to have better chemistry with Chad Henne. Not to mention he got his personality problem diagnosed and is receiving treatment. The touchdowns might not be there, but Marshall looks like he should approach 100 catches if he stays healthy. Considering he’s going in the fifth round area, that’s a steal, especially in points per reception leagues.
Brandon Lloyd – You can’t expect a repeat of last year’s numbers. But how about 75 catches, 1,200 yards and six touchdowns? That he can do. Those are rock-solid WR2 numbers. He’s Kyle Orton’s guy and that doesn’t look to change anytime soon. The Demver Broncos will not be an offensive juggernaut, but Lloyd should still remain an every week fantasy starter. While the upside is a bit limited, so is the downside. Lloyd is going to be the most heavily target Broncos player, by far, in the passing game. That should translate to consistent production in fantasy.
Matthew Stafford – This isn’t a question of talent or skill. Dude looked phenomenal every time he was on the field last season. But he just can’t stay on the field. And they’re shoulder injuries. Quarterbacks get their shoulders slammed into the ground. Hard. Every game. Multiple times. The point is, Stafford is going later in drafts for a reason. The risk of injury here is very real. Don’t get so excited by the preseason that you start moving Stafford ahead of proven commodities such as Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan or Eli Manning. And if you do draft Stafford, make sure you grab another pretty decent quarterback. And if Stafford comes out and kills it the first two weeks, I would certainly explore any trade opportunities to “sell-high” on him.
Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller – Remember when Fred Jackson was a “safe sleeper” earlier this season? Yeah, not so much now. Spiller looks like he has a legitimate shot to be the starting running back for the Buffalo Bills. The reality is that the Bills will use both running backs. Behind the NFL’s worst offensive line. With a brutal schedule. On a team that will be forced to pass frequently due to trailing in games. I’m avoiding drafting any Bills running back if I can at all help it. I don’t think either can be more than a bye week fill-in type of player until the other gets hurt or each gets a clearly defined role.