At this point in the offseason, fantasy insight is scarce. However, there are already situations unfolding that will influence your 2013 fantasy draft. If you aren’t planning your next championship, you’re already falling behind.
New York Giants RB
After repeated foot issues, the Giants made the move to release long time running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw’s previous contract means he would have made $6.25 million this season. He has already hinted that he might be re-signed by the Giants to an updated contract, which makes sense considering his good standing with the team. However, for the time being, 2012 first-round draft pick David Wilson is the projected starter. In limited action last season, Wilson flashed eye-popping elusiveness and breakaway speed. His major downfall was a lack of pass blocking skills, a commonality amongst many rookie running backs. Should the Giants move on from Bradshaw, Wilson’s fantasy value would skyrocket. Even if Bradshaw re-signs, Wilson is in store for a much larger role in 2013.
Miami Dolphins RB
With the Dolphins officially in the rebuilding process, veteran Reggie Bush has a 95-percent chance of wearing another team’s jersey next season. Back in 2011, Daniel Thomas was projected to be the starter as the team spent a second-round pick on him. However that was the old regime, and Thomas hasn’t panned out as an elite ball carrier after being given ample opportunity last season. Oddly reminiscent of Shonn Greene, Thomas is a plodder who fails to run with the power his 233-pound frame would suggest. Instead, we should be eyeing Lamar Miller. In limited action last season, Miller proved to be the more talented of the two, but fell victim to the same pass blocking limitations as fellow rookie David Wilson. On the upside, both general manager Jeff Ireland and head coach Joe Philbin cited Miller as a player to watch.
Free Agent WRs
This year we find three names being mentioned when discussing the topic of free agent wide receivers – Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings and Dwayne Bowe. Of the three, I’m most curious of where Bowe will land. Standing 6-foot-2 and 221 pounds, Bowe is a physical specimen meeting all the requirements of a prototypical NFL wide receiver. He also has great hands, sufficient speed, limited injuries, and is only 28 years of age. If he can produce WR1 numbers with Matt Cassel, think what he could do with Philip Rivers, or, heaven forbid, Tom Brady.
The other wide receiver of intrigue is a guy no one is talking about, Wes Welker. The reason being Welker fits a particular system and quarterback. Most coaches don’t have the ingenuity to use Welker to his full potential. It’s a shame considering any other player with Welker’s resume would be demanding top dollar, and getting it. Unfortunately, his market value and fantasy value are predicated upon the possible suitors.
Jacksonville Jaguars RB
After holding out the entire 2012 preseason in hopes of a new contract, it was obvious Maurice Jones-Drew wanted to make a statement. After a Week 7 foot injury, he finally had his excuse to cement himself to the injury report before landing on Injured Reserve in Week 17. Jones-Drew has already stated that he intends to honor the final year of his contract. While many fantasy owners will be scared off by a down season, at 28 years old Jones-Drew knows this will be his last chance at earning some retirement money. As Deion Sanders once said, light pockets make guys run faster. With defensive minded head coach Gus Bradley coming from a run-oriented Seattle organization, expect a heavy dose of Jones-Drew as he should return to RB1 status in 2013.
Washington Redskins QB
In a Wild Card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, Robert Griffin III valiantly took the field, despite a partial tear of his LCL knee ligament. As a result, the knee finally gave way as he famously tore not only his LCL, but also his ACL. Also note this is the second major knee surgery of his career. With an expected recovery time table of eight months, Griffin’s Week 1 status will be up in the air. Even if he miraculously returns, he likely won’t be the same scrambling quarterback we saw last season. Limited rushing production equates to less fantasy points, meaning Griffin is projected as a low end QB1.