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Jump to the Elite

Are you average? There is nothing wrong with being ordinary and blending in, but in fantasy football being average gets you nowhere. Heck, you might as well not engage in your draft if you want to lead a mediocre virtual squad whereas the auto pick option is adept at that. If you do not want to be the customary fantasy owner, you need to be ahead of your competition and identify players that can take the next step to fantasy superstardom. Players who do take the next step are termed “breakout” players as they are no longer average fantasy football players rather they are full–fledged stars.

Let us take a glance at which players can “breakout” for the 2012 fantasy football season. The Average Draft Position (ADP) is courtesy of


Matt Ryan (66.52) – The former Boston College product had a career year last year with 4,177 yards through the air and 29 touchdowns. However, the parting image from the 2011 playoffs that fans were left with was an abysmal effort by the Falcons offense and that the team as a whole managed to put up a pedestrian two points. On the contrary, Ryan finished as a top ten fantasy quarterback even though Julio Jones was injured for a good portion of the season. Similarly, the Falcons have stated that Jones will be a featured player on the offense which in turn should help Ryan put up monster numbers, and points to a career year in passing yardage and touchdowns. Besides that, Ryan will be running Dirk Koetter’s offense, which prominently features, a no – huddle attack. Additionally, Michael Turner will have less of a workload considering the fact that Jacquizz Rodgers will see ample playing time as Turner is on a “pitch – count”, that according to the Falcons. Hence, Ryan will be a “breakout” star because Julio Jones will see a featured role in the offense, Dirk Koetter will be running a no – huddle attack utilizing his playmakers, and Michael Turner will be on a “pitch – count”.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (158.25) – Ryan Fitzpatrick put up career numbers in playing his first full – season with Buffalo Bills as he posted 3,832 passing yards and 24 touchdowns, but he also propelled a career high 23 interceptions. The Bills signal – caller helped lead the team to a 5 – 2 start, but the team faltered down the stretch losing eight of nine regular – season games. Undoubtedly, Fitzpatrick’s late season swoon was explainable as he suffered cracked ribs in a week seven contest against the Washington Redskins. On the other hand, in the first seven games of the regular season Fitzpatrick threw for 1,739 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. However, after suffering the injury against the Redskins, Fitzpatrick in his last nine games threw for 2,093 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. Nevertheless, the Bills hired quarterbacks coach David Lee to help improve the mechanics of the Bills quarterback as he noticed, “fundamental flaws” in Fitzpatrick’s footwork. Additionally, the Bills helped out their defense as they added free agent acquisitions in Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, while drafting Stephon Gilmore to help out the defensive unit. Moreover, the Harvard alum has an average draft position of 158.25, which he can outperform in the upcoming season. Therefore, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be a “breakout” player as he will improve his footwork and mechanics, have a better defensive unit, and be a bargain with low risk and high reward.

Running Backs

Shonn Greene (77.16) – Shonn Greene had a career year in 2011 as he piled up 1,054 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Likewise, Greene caught 30 receptions for 211 yards surpassing his previous receiving efforts. However, Greene was touted to be a “breakout” player in 2010 and 2011, but he has never been anything more than a number two running back and an abysmal one at that. In 11 contests, last season Greene scored single digit points, which was disappointing, considering many were expecting consistent fantasy efforts. On the other hand, the predominant reason why Greene was not as consistent, last season was thanks to Rex Ryan since he put the ball in Mark Sanchez’s hands quite often even though he preached “ground and pound.” As a result, Greene’s production suffered as the New York Jets had an identity crisis trying to be a team that they were not equipped to be. For this reason, the Jets hired Tony Sparano to be the new offensive coordinator and the former Dolphins head coach shares the philosophy of “ground and pound”, which should help Greene get more carries. Moreover, Greene is an excellent value as he is going in the eighth round and presents tremendous value as a number two running back with some upside. Therefore, Shonn Greene can be a “breakout” player in 2012 because the Jets do not want to lean heavily on Sanchez, they are switching back to the “ground and pound” philosophy, and Greene has an average draft position in the eighth round making him a viable number two running back with some upside.

BenJarvus Green – Ellis (88.95) – The Law Firm’s best year was in 2010 when he ran for 1,008 yards and had 13 touchdowns with the New England Patriots. However, running backs are maddeningly inconsistent in the Patriots system, Green Ellis had 667 rushing yards in 2011, but he did manage 11 touchdowns as he received the majority of the goal line carries. On the contrary, Green – Ellis had nine games in which he scored single digit points. Now with the Cincinnati Bengals, Green – Ellis will be in what seems to be a running – back – by – committee as he will share time with Bernard Scott. Still, the Bengals did not pay Green – Ellis $8 million guaranteed to split work with Scott, as he will receive the majority of the goal – line carries because of his sure hands. Likewise, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden raves about Green – Ellis stating that he is “a solid, steady guy.” Similarly, Green – Ellis has the potential to accumulate 1,000 yards and rack up double – digit touchdowns. Moreover, Green – Ellis has tremendous value considering the fact that his average draft position is in the ninth round making him a great number two running back. Thus, Green – Ellis can be a “breakout” player because he will shoulder more of the workload including being the recipient of the goal – line carries and he has the potential to rush for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns making him a solid number two running back at a considerable value.

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