For some reason it seems like this off season has been especially long, but whether it was or not, the great news is that we now will be able to watch football every week from now until my birthday, or for those of you who aren’t me, the first week of February. This year we’ll start the Red Zone off like we did last year, with a rapid fire run through the entire league, with my ‘from the hip’ fantasy thoughts about each team as we enter the season. Welcome to the Fantasy Insights Weekly Report 2012, Volume 1…let’s get it on!
Supposedly Dallas is going to be able to field a team this year, though I have had my doubts after all the trouble and injuries they’ve had this preseason; however, it will be interesting to see just how much of an impact Tony Romo has for fantasy owners this year, especially given his precipitous drop in many drafts…I continue to have little to no faith in Ahmad Bradshaw from a fantasy standpoint, and this year I believe he may end up taking a major back seat to rookie David Wilson – not right away, but possibly by the half-way point of the season…Figuring out which perspective to take on Mike Vick in Philly this year is becoming an annual event – will he be healthy more, or healthy less – Red Zone is gambling on much less this year, and thinking Nick Foles could be a heck of a nice keeper league pick up…Don’t find it surprising if fantasy owners across the nation call for Mike Shanahan’s head at some point early in the season in revenge for the epidemic of migraines he’s about to unleash with his running game.
Speaking of running back headaches, the ones coming from Washington this year may pale in comparison to those coming out of Carolina – my condolences to any fantasy owners relying on a Panther back as their starter…With the cake schedule they have heading into the season, the Falcon’s offense could be one of the highest scoring in the league this year, and Matt Ryan could be in for a 4,500 yard/38 TD campaign…The reason Matt Ryan won’t be even close to the top passer in the league is because Drew Brees will quite possibly break every passing record in the book trying to keep his team – with its severely depleted and gun-shy defense – competitive…The Buccaneers are going to struggle this year, but look out for third year slot receiver Preston Parker – while the hype surrounds Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson, don’t be surprised if Parker ends up as the top receiver on the team for fantasy owners this year.
Green Bay and Detroit are the same teams this year, both built the same way – big passing games, little-to-no running games, and a strong defense – however, Detroit’s defense is better, and that is why they will win the division this year…I think the Brandon Marshall/Jay Cutler connection will be relatively disappointing to many fantasy owners hoping for the same magic they had in Denver – Chicago will be a running team first and foremost in spite of themselves…The Vikings are going to have to throw – a lot – to keep up with their fellow NFC North rivals, making Christian Ponder an interesting player to watch as the season gets started from a fantasy standpoint – he could surprise…Cedric Benson, while he won’t come close to what he did in Cincinnati, should finally be a solid fantasy RB option coming out of Green Bay.
Russell Wilson is going to be the top rookie quarterback this year, and Seattle is going to make the playoffs – bold yes, but even better because it’s true…I drafted Ryan Williams in almost every league this year for two reasons – he went to high school down the street and he’s going to be the number one back in Arizona before week four…St. Louis receivers went relatively unnoticed and undrafted in many leagues this year, but look out for Steve Smith, he will have 800 yards and 7 TDs this year, which will surprise quite a few folks…San Francisco has become the Baltimore of the NFC – except they don’t have the kind of running back Baltimore has, but of the options, Kendall Hunter is the fantasy option most worth owning.
I don’t believe Reggie Bush will stay healthy all year, meaning the top fantasy performer in Miami this year, outside of the kicker Dan Carpenter, will be Daniel Thomas…The only offense likely to be worse than the Dolphins this year will be the Jets, and it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if Tim Tebow ends up with the most fantasy points of anyone on the Jets team this year – that’s how bad they’re likely to be…Rob Gronkowski won’t have a bad year, but he’s going to be closer to the numbers Aaron Hernandez had last season, 70+ receptions for about 900 yards, however, he’ll still top double digit touchdowns…Buffalo will be one of the more fun offenses to watch this year, and their defense will be one of the better fantasy defenses on the season, but the fantasy surprise of the year will be Scott Chandler.
Jacksonville won’t offer much fantasy value this season, and their workhorse will take a hit as well thanks to his hold-out – Rashad Jennings will take a significant number of carries from MJD and will keep up with his 5.4 YPC average…For the first time in years, I believe all three big horses from Houston will stay healthy all year – Schaub, Johnson and Foster will all have career years…You’ve heard it on Fantasy Insights before, but the Colts running back to have on your roster, especially in keeper leagues, is Vick Ballard, and rookie receiver LaVon Brazill will come on strong as the likely primary target opposite Reggie Wayne…I am a big, big fan of Jake Locker in Tennessee: I think he’s going to be the starter there for a while, and given his weapons, I think he’ll be a top fifteen quarterback this season, and top ten next.
Pittsburgh’s running game is going to be awful this season and should be avoided if at all possible. The problem is the lack of running game is going to hurt the passing game some as well, hurting the fantasy value of Big Ben, Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown…Dish Adams thinks Trent Richardson is the second coming of Emmitt Smith, and it is true he’s the only fantasy value Cleveland has, but fantasy owners should temper their expectations for at least a year…I believe The Law Firm is going to outperform Benson’s numbers in Cincinnati, making him one of the few workhorse backs in the league and one of the top fantasy value picks this season…Torrey Smith’s rise will finally put Joe Flacco on the road to fantasy success this year.
I am not a believer in Peyton Manning this year, as I believe he is one good hit away from permanent injured reserve, and cannot throw very well to his right, meaning defenses will be able to tee off on him…San Diego is going to be an interesting fantasy study this year, with more downsides than upsides, though Antonio Gates will have a much better year than last – by a long shot…There will be more problems in Oakland than many people expect, but look for the lead receiver this year to end up being – once again – Darrius Heyward-Bey, in spite of everyone’s attempts to see other’s take that role…Kansas City players, outside of Bowe and Charles, didn’t draft well, but Steve Breaston has very good – if not excellent – value.
…and the Score.
So there you have my thoughts, predictions and other general opinions regarding the upcoming fantasy season. I look forward to hearing your questions, gripes, observations and the like as we move through the season. Thanks for reading the intro article to our first Weekly Report of the year, and be sure to stop by on your way to all the good stuff every week of the season. Join us as throughout the year we will look at all kinds of things, sleepers, crazy stats, injury reactions, and more, right here…in The Red Zone.