For those of you that missed last week’s show, here is another installment of the “Misc File”. Last Thursday on Comcast CN8 New England’s Sports Pulse show, we talked about this year’s All Free Agency Team. Every week we’ve been telling you who to pick up, some of those guys have turned into great fantasy contributors. Let’s get right into it…
Drew Brees, Chargers – Brees entered this season with what can only be described as negative expectations. San Diego just made a move for their quarterback of the future in Rivers, and Brees was in the last year of a contract that has not seen him perform well at any point. The guy had lost the starting job to Doug Flutie on numerous occassions. In fact, most were taking a pool of which week Rivers would become the guy. Then a funny thing happened along the way, Brees became not only a solid quarterback, but a top 10 fantasy quarterback. He’s already thrown for more than 2000 yards on the season, more importantly his TD/INT ratio is 21:3. Incredible numbers. Surely this is a guy that is the starting QB on someone’s fantasy team right now.
Rueben Droughns, Broncos – Every year a guy seems to come out of no where in Denver to become a solid fantasy back. Last year, Clinton Portis emerged from somewhere around #3 on the depth chart to not only take the job over, but become a dominant force down the stretch. This year, when the Broncos moved Portis, everyone expected that guy to be Tatum Bell, even though veterans, including free agent signing Garrison Hearst. Trust me whe I say, no one selected 5th (6th?) on the depth chart, Rueben Droughns. Since week five, all the guy has done is rush for over 100 yards in every single game. Another guy that came out of no where to be a fantasy starter.
Michael Pittman, Bucs – There were many questions surrounding Pittman on draft day. Not only was the starting job not guaranteed to be his, but he would be sitting out the first few games of the season because of a suspension. Savvy fantasy owners picked him up before the suspension was over and are they ever happy that they did. He’s a top 20 RB at the position over the course of the season, despite missing those games at the beginning. He’s put together 4 100+ yard games in the last five weeks and is scoring TDs in bunches.
Brandon Stokley, Colts – Even though Stokley is third on the depth chart for Indianapolis, he’s a guy that is a fantasy starter for most teams. He might be on again/off again, but over the season he has 3 100+ yard games to go along with 3 multiple TD games (including the triple play on Thanksgiving Day). The Colts are throwing the ball like crazy with Manning on a mission to break Marino’s record, Stokley is one of the beneficiaries.
Michael Clayton, Bucs – Not much was expected of Clayton coming into this season, actually, not much was really expected of the entire Tampa Bay offense, at least from a fantasy perspective. Clayton has emerged as a top 15 WR this season, and only once this season was he less than 50 yards in a game.
David Givens, Patriots – New England is a team that distributes the ball around the many guys thru the air, and the addition of Corey Dillon on draft day was an indication that the Patriots might be able to run on a more consistent basis. Because of that, not much thought was given to Givens on draft day. He’s put together a nice season, staying healthy, and accumulating 4 100+ yard games this season.
Jason Witten, Cowboys – This really was the year of the TE, there are 10 legitimate guys that can be fantasy starters right now. Many have come from the draft day depths, including Jason Witten. 667 yards and 5 TDs this season places him as the #3 TE overall this season.
Jermaine Wiggins, Vikings – We talked about Wiggins when he was handed the job the first time, and we talked about him again after he missed a couple of weeks with injury. Savvy fantasy owners picked him up early and held onto him, and have been rewarded handsomely. 465 yards and 4TD on the season despite missing three games.
Shayne Graham, Bengals – Once again this year, the “wait for a kicker” theory proves to be very fruitful. Think back on draft day to the owner that was so happy to “break the seal” on the position by taking the top player, Mike Vanderjadt. How’s that working out now? Not good. On the flip side, Shayne Graham was likely a guy that wasn’t drafted, and he’s become a pretty good fantasy player for the Bengals. 21 FG in 11 games, 7 of those > 40 yards has him rated as the #3 kicker this season.
Lions – The Lions came out like gangbusters on defense, flying around on defense and wreaking havoc. In the middle of the season they cooled down, but they’d always find a way to score fantasy points by returning a punt or two for a touchdown. Now, they seem to be picking up the pace again. 29 sacks, 18 turnovers, 6 return TDs, good numbers from a team who’s defense was certainly not respected on draft day.