Top 10 Players to Watch for Fantasy Football 2013
Sleepers in fantasy football are becoming more and more non-existent as the game advances, GM’s get savvier with news sources, and the abundance of media outlets to leak stories chronicling the entire offseason. So I created a “watch list” which gives you an idea into players that can provide you great value based on opportunity and potential draft position. We all want to catch a few diamonds in the mid to late rounds, but it also feels good to see your later round picks outperform an opponent’s early rounder. Here are some guys to watch out for that may fit that bill.
10) TE Dustin Keller:
Keller may have landed in the perfect situation to flourish based on his skill set. The Dolphins have two legit outside threats in Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline. These two guys will demand attention while the middle of the field will belong to Keller. He is a quick, athletic tight end with good hands, and could cause matchup problems. Their main slot guy Devon Bess is no longer with the team so he left a void Keller can fill nicely. He had an injury plagued 2012, but he led the Jets in receiving in 2011 with 65 catches for 815yds/5tds. He is very capable of being Tannehill’s midfield target. This is a potential late round gem as a tight end which is rare.
9) WR Kenny Britt:
Many have probably lost faith in Kenny Britt (rightfully so) but I think this may be the year to have him. Britt has never had more than 775yds in a season but he is also going into only his 5th year in which the last two have been bogged down with injuries to his knees. Last year he was healthy enough to play but struggled to regain his form (had a tough time getting separation from corners). Britt had a stretch in which he caught 12tds in a span of 11 games before the injuries started to mount. The word out of Titans camp is that he looks explosive again which is a great early sign for the talented receiver. It’s also worth noting they drafted a potential replacement this year in the 2nd round, plus it is also the ever so mythical “contract year” so the motivation factor will be at an all-time high. Late….Round…..Steal!
8) WR Hakeem Nicks:
Nicks has proven constantly that when healthy he can produce, but that is the key word “when” healthy. In back to back years of ‘10/’11 he was a locked in over 1,000yd receiver. In 2012 he rushed back from a broken foot and was never the same which caused more injuries. Nicks is the #1 receiver on a team with an elite passing game. He is also the top redzone target where he excels tremendously and that boosts his value. It has been reported he didn’t show up for OTA’s but he already said he will be there. I think he will be healthy and focused for 2013 which could put most fantasy owners in position to get a #1 receiver in the middle of the draft. Also worth noting V. Cruz may hold out which puts more onus on Nicks to perform. Keep an eye on Nicks leading into training camp.
7) RB Shane Vereen:
Danny Woodhead’s departure to San Diego puts Vereen squarely on radar for a guy who holds value. His value is based mainly on his uptick in playing time which he deserves. Vereen and Woodhead had a combined 186 touches last year, so that can be a small indication as to what type of action Vereen has in store. Vereen played 12% of the snaps last year, while Woodhead played 34% and those percentages can be rounded into assumption that Vereen will at least play 35 to 40% of snaps based on those measures. The Patriots ran the most plays in the NFL last year so that opportunity to be produce will be there. When taken into account that Vereen is a more physically gifted athlete than Woodhead he could have a great season if given the chance. Only question is how much Brandon Bolden factors into Belichick’s game plans. However, my last bit of “stat vomit” for you is if you combine Vereen and Woodhead’s numbers, you are looking at a guy who could give you a bit over 600yds rushing/600yds receiving and 11td’s. Not bad for a potential #2Rb in the late rounds.
6) WR Josh Gordon:
Josh Gordon was impressive as a rookie as he led the Browns in receiving with 50 catches for over 800yds and 5tds. We should also point out that he had 96 targets as well which is awesome for any receiver yet alone a rookie, because that illustrates the opportunities are there. Now when you fast forward to this season, the Cleveland Browns are implementing an aggressive downfield attack. This surely bodes well for the big 6’3 225lb receiver out of Baylor who has said “for wide receivers this is the best offense you can play for.” Don’t be surprised if Gordon is a 1,000yd receiver who hits pay dirt around 8-10 times this season.
5) RB Lamar Miller:
All indications are that 2nd year RB Lamar Miller will be the starter this season with Reggie Bush no longer in town. His only competition at this point is Daniel Thomas who hasn’t quite proved he should be the starter. The coaching staff has seen tremendous growth in Miller with pass protection which was his only setback to being considered a starter. He is a homerun hitter with good size at 5’10 215lbs. Starter….homerun hitter…..good pass catcher….solid line….. Yea we can all use a guy like this.
4) RB David Wilson:
Wilson is an explosive runner who will possibly be the lead back in an explosive offense. He showed flashes of his outstanding blend of speed and power during last season, but was often in Coughlin’s doghouse because of ball security. Andre Brown has durability issues but is looking like the goal-line short yardage guy. That could diminish Wilson’s value slightly, but shouldn’t discourage your confidence in drafting him. He is also a good pass catcher with the ability to make defenders miss. Wilson has a bit of “Spiller type” potential when you watch him tote the rock and he could have a similar breakout season as well. He should be on your radar.
3) RB Reggie Bush:
Bush has proven to be a solid runner, and will now be in an offense that is high powered reminiscent to his Saints days. Megatron playing outside will allow Bush the chance to make plays constantly in the run and pass game. Bush tallied 986yds rushing/292yds receiving with 8 td’s last year (with a rookie Qb). The Lions lead the league in passes to runningbacks, which is one of Bush’s best attributes. His injury concerns are always looming but assuming Leshoure does some of the heavy banging inside for short yards Bush should be fine. This Lamborghini type offense is tailor made for a speedy back like Bush to flourish. He should be viewed as a high rb #2 this year.
2) QB Colin Kaepernick:
Kaepernick started 7 games last year, but if we were to prorate that over a full season he would have totaled 3,675 yards passing/544yds rushing. He also would have had thrown 23tds/5 rushing tds which would have made Kaepernick the 9th ranked Qb in fantasy football. The loss of M.Crabtree will hurt because it was his main target, but the 49ers have a plethora of guys who can get the job done. The worst case scenario is that he runs more which is something he does exceptionally well. This guy is poised for a breakout year regardless and could come at good value in the mid rounds.
1) RB Steven Jackson:
FINALLY! Steven Jackson gets a chance to play in a legit offense with the chance to win! Sadly it took so long for him to get this opportunity as he is approaching 30 years old, but S.Jax still has fuel left in his tank. This is a very popular pick for the “sleeper” label I admit but it doesn’t mean it can’t be mentioned. Jackson is a hard nose runner with breakaway ability in both the passing and running game. He has an excellent feel for the endzone and brings a dynamic dimension to the Falcons offense that they have never possessed. Mark this guy down for 1200+ yards/400+ receiving and around 12+ tds. He will probably be hovering around being a top 10 rb in fantasy this season.
TE, Cody Fleener QB, Carson Palmer WR, Emmanuel Sanders RB, Danny Woodhead
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