Who to Pick and Who to Pass….
Ron Dayne seems to be getting a lot of attention in fantasy circles lately. Personally I don’t know why. He has been impressive at times in the preseason but keep in mind it’s against the second and third team defenses. The few carries he has had versus the number 1 team defense has been sub par at best. This guy was a disappointment the past couple years and didn’t even play last year. To make it very simple he will get the goal line carries and short yardage plays throughout the year however Tiki Barber will still be the focus between the 20’s. This means Dayne’s only value will come in touchdown only leagues as a 3rd or 4th running back. In yardage leagues I wouldn’t even consider him as a decent 4th running back.
On the other hand Thomas Jones is getting more attention than anyone would have dreamed even a few months ago. All indications from the Bears training camp and his play versus first team defenses have shown Jones to be extremely explosive in both the running and receiving game. Through 2 games he has 13 carries for 85 yards or a 6.5 average. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t buy those Holmes and Faulk comparisons but keep
this in mind – Lovie Smith is implementing the offense used in both St Louis and Kansas City. Also the addition of John Tait from Kansas City at right guard will open up some huge holes that Jones will exploit. Therefore Jones will be the focus and will be the number one back with the A-train a distant second. He will get numerous chances each and every game in all aspects of the offense. He has great hands and could explode on the scene this year after disappointment thus far. Every year come week 3 or 4 you think to yourself how did I pass this guy up in the draft. Don’t let that happen this year. There is no question Jones has the talent but the difference now is the system he is in.
Kevan Barlow by no means is a sleeper but I have seen him as high as 8 and as low as 23 in mock drafts. This means a lot of people are wondering how good will he be? Let’s look at it from two different angles. Person A might think he can be like Tomlinson (bad team but great player) while Person B might think no way will he be successful with no experienced talent around him. I can say confidently both are false. Here’s my reasoning: Put Barlow on San Diego would he have almost 2400 total yards 17 total touchdowns and 100 catches. Obviously that answer is NO. At the same time Barlow is a quality back who is capable of very good numbers and won’t be a flop. Good players always produce regardless of the team or situation. However, the odds of hitting a home run with Barlow are pretty slim, instead you will be getting a quality back who will inevitably have some really good games but expect numerous average ones as well. If you want to pick a player that can make huge difference albeit a gamble consider taking Faulk. Injuries aside he put up an average of 20 fantasy points a game last year when he played. I think numbers in the realm of 1500 total yards 50-60 catches and 7-9 td’s will be pretty close for Barlow.
Sleepers to Keep Your Eye On:
Quentin Griffin according to comments made by Mike Shanahan earlier this month is his ideal candidate to win the starting running back job. Shanahan mentioned that he wants Griffin to get 20 carries a game and Mike Anderson to spell him for 6-8 carries a game. If that’s the case he must not believe that Griffin will wear down due to his smaller body
frame as some anticipate. Therefore there is no reason baring injury that Griffin won’t be good for at least 1,200 total yards and double digit touchdowns. Remember he is a great receiver and will be utilized over and over in the passing attack especially with the lack of receiver depth in Denver. I wouldn’t go as far and say he will put up Clinton Portis like numbers but he should be a very quality start for any fantasy team as a 2nd or 3rd running back.
The Arizona Cardinals can’t seem to get any breaks. It was bad enough when Marcel Shipp went down but with Anquan Boldin now out until early October at best Larry Fitzgerald could surprise many like Boldin did last year. Granted Fitzgerald hurt his foot in the Minnesota preseason game last week but its not deemed to be serious. Fitzgerald will be the number 1 receiver on this team at least for the first month plus. There is very little risk and a huge upside by picking Fitzgerald in the latter rounds as your 3rd or 4th receiver. Don’t reach for the moon though especially in rounds 4-6 as the Cardinals offense will struggle early with new faces and Josh McCown still very young.