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F.I.R. Special — Top Offseason Fantasy Headlines

There is nothing like the NFL Playoffs, especially when you’re less than a week removed from one of the most exciting games you have ever witnessed in person between huge rivals, Green Bay and Chicago. The best part was that I sat nine rows from the Bears bench and saw Jay Cutler piss and moan all game long. In fact, there was one occasion during a commercial break where he threw his helmet on the sidelines in classic Cutler fashion. Yeah, I didn’t have my Flip camera.

At any rate, now that the regular season is over it’s time to take a look at some of the leading headlines heading in to the 2011 fantasy offseason.

T.V.S. – The Vick Syndrome.

I suspect there will be plenty of nail spitting from both the haters and those adorable Michael Vick conformists – otherwise known as Eagles’ fans – plus every John, Michael or Lloyd. As for me, well, I’m kind of stuck in between. Sure, Vick is coming off perhaps his best season since his days at Virginia Tech, but it just pains me to see him run so violently all the time, just begging to get laid out.

Take his 2002 breakout season in Atlanta as a good example. In that season Vick threw for 2,936 yards, ran for 777 and scored a total of 24 touchdowns (eight rushing) while throwing eight interceptions in 15 games. In 2003, he played in just the final five games of the regular season and averaged just less than 170 total yards and one touchdown per game.

So go ahead and ride his reckless bull, if you like to gamble. I just don’t know if I can do it too. I like my quarterbacks upright, in the pocket and sliding in to second base if a steal is called, not causing a home plate collision.

W.T.F. – What The Favre?

I’m hoping that Brett Favre takes his little … open fly jeans and gets the “F” out of the NFL. Then again, who will Green Bay Packer fans and those that like their zippers shut make fun of next season? And what kind of excuse will Tarvaris Jackson come up with for not staying on the field? Joe Webb?

Aww, who am I kidding? I love Favre. However, it’s not because I actually love him like some of my older fellow family members do (not naming names). No, I love Favre because he makes me feel better about the fact that I’m not him, and he makes me laugh … at him.

As for fantasy (football) purposes, my hope is that he does not come back so fantasy owners will get to see how truly great Adrian Peterson can be. Then again, if he does come back DJ Steve Porter will be able to make a Favre remix, and call it “One Text.”

Aw heck, I’m about as bad as Favre at making up my mind. Maybe I’ll just stay away from all Minnesota Vikings not named Peterson in 2011. For the old-timer’s here, Favre threw for 2,509 yards, 11 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in 2010, plus his beard started to get a little whiter.

H.N.B. – He’s Not Barry

From now on when fantasy owners think of Houston’s “SS” they’re going to think of the material their benches are made of, because the former SS, Steve Slaton, has been dismissed from the Texans’ starting lineup by breakout fantasy runner Arian Foster.

No, he’s not Barry Foster. He’s much better, and I suspect he’ll be at the top or close to the top of most fantasy rankings heading in to next season.

As for me, well, I’m calling Foster the next Jose Bautista for now. Sure, he finished with great stats and was caught hitting home runs during several weeks (like Bautista), but there were a few low spots in his weekly production that made me cringe. I’m also having a hard time placing Foster in my Top 5 after just one season of statistical evidence.

Meanwhile, Jahvid Best, who many thought would get a glimpse of Top 5 numbers, found himself more like a weaker version of Carlos Pena (sorry Chicago Cubs fans).  He hit all of his home runs in a three-week span, and just stopped hitting altogether during the rest of the season. Best has a long way to go if he wants to become the next Barry … Sanders.

W.I.D.A.H.T.E. – Will I Draft A Healthy Tight End?

I went in to one of my fantasy drafts in late August with the perfect strategy. In fact, it was so perfect that it made me sick knowing that no other team in this league stood a chance, and I perfected it.

However, soon after, I was looking for a Barney-like hug, as both the stars of my fantasy show started to break like weak tree limbs. I did end up feeling better though, after the whole tight end tree was, for the most part, ripped out of the fantasy ground.

Nevertheless, I am still feeling the effects of dealing with injuries to both Jermichael Finley and Antonio Gates. Yeah, I thought I had the Top 2 tight ends in fantasy in the same starting lineup … it was starting to look that way to begin the season.

Looking forward now, the question that has been pestering my brain as I look back and reflect with tears is – will I ever use this strategy in the future?

After seeing the casualties and under-performers pile up at the tight end position I’m not no sure that I would take a chance like that again. I still won my division, but it wasn’t as easy as it would’ve been had both tight ends stayed healthy throughout or if I would’ve taken my other choice at the time, Roddy White, instead.

Maybe in 2011 I’ll just stay conservative and draft Jason Witten. That seems to work almost every time.

T.N.W.W. – The Next Wienie Wells?

Several fantasy owners and experts found themselves sun-burnt upon drafting Chris “Beanie” Wells in 2010, fitting especially considering the team that he sputtered on.

Now, I’m not going to write a long brag paragraph about how right I was in not believing the hype surrounding this fried wienie, because trust me I was wrong about other players. However, I do want to predict who may follow in his footsteps and take his Oscar Mayer crown.

There is one name that is up for debate right now for me – Ryan Mathews.

Like Wells did in 2009, Mathews finished the 2010 regular season strong (five touchdowns in his final four games) and actually on the field. At the same time, he seems to be a runner who is one prick away from throbbing in pain, and isn’t really in an offense, when completely healthy, fit for a king runner like he wants to be.

My guess is that, because of his late-season surge, many fantasy owners will climb aboard his hype train and ride it until they select him as a No. 2 running back on their fantasy squads, much like they did with the very dry Arizona runner. Mathews isn’t making any my teams though, unless of course, he proves he can stay healthy and produce at a high level all the time.

H.A.F.T. – Huber’s All Fantasy Team

Here are my picks for 2010 All-Fantasy Team.

QB: Michael Vick

RB: Arian Foster

RB: LeSean McCoy (points per reception league)

WR: Roddy White

WR: Brandon Lloyd

TE: Jason Witten

K: Dan Carpenter (15 40-plus yard field goals)

Team defense: Arizona (12 touchdowns)

Top 3 Individual Defensive Player Value Picks: Jerrod Mayo, Lawrence Timmons and Michael Griffin.

Thanks for reading!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for Fantasysharks.com.

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