One of the things I look forward to the most during the NFL season is playing fantasy football. It gives you something extra to root for in just about every game each week and it keeps your interest in the entire season even if your team isn’t the best. So being a Buffalo Bills fan I need something to root for after the Bills season is realistically over by week 8. Its the only way a fan would root for a rival quarterback to throw a touchdown on their own favorite team just so you can beat your buddy. Fantasy football is played by millions each year and is constantly growing and getting more popular. So popular, a entire T.V. show was created focusing on a group of friends and their fantasy football league called, “The League”, on FX now FXX.
Each year there are players who everyone seems to love and hate for their own reasons. Whether they are moving to a new team and their season is filled with promise, or they are returning from injury each players stock will rise or fall every year. Some deserve the rise or fall while others don’t but no one will actually know until the final snap of week 17. So here are 5 players I believe will have great seasons or preform better than people expect and 5 players I think will not be as good as some think and to just flat out avoid completely.
5 I Like
Maurice Jones-Drew- RB Jacksonville
Playing in only six games last year for the Jaguars after suffering a season ending foot injury, MJD comes into 2013 with a lot of fantasy owners feeling nervous about drafting him. Several rankings have Maurice not ranked in the top 10 and not going until the late 2nd, early 3rd rounds. Lets not forget MJD lead the league in rushing in 2011. He’s entering his last year on his contract so the 28 year old running back will be playing with a even bigger chip on his shoulder in order to get what could be his last big contract. Expect a big comeback year from MJD.
After reaching 2,000 yards rushing in 2009, Chris Johnson has failed to completely regain the spark he showed. He still has ranked in the top 10 in rushing yards over the past three years for a less than stellar Tennessee team so he has had value. Johnson, just like MJD, is being undervalued by not being ranked in the top 10 for running backs and being drafted in late 2nd, 3rd round. Johnson has always been confident of his ability on the field and likes to voice it like he did this offseason saying he is a better running back than reigning MVP and my number one ranked player Adrian Peterson. I don’t think he will reach AP this year but he will show up this year and make fantasy owners happy.
Matthew Stafford- QB Detroit
In 2011 Matthew Stafford had by far his best season and led the once laughable Lions back to the playoffs in his third year. Setting team records throwing for over 5,000 yards and 41 touchdowns, many fantasy owners expected the same from Matthew in 2012 but were disappointed. Finishing 10th for quarterbacks in fantasy points, tied for 19th in touchdowns by throwing for only 19, and throwing for 17 interceptions caused many fantasy owners to slightly regret taking Stafford as high as they did. However he still threw for almost 5,000 yards again which was 2nd in the NFL, and 23 times a pass catcher was tackled inside the 5 yard line. Adding an athlete like Reggie Bush and still having Calvin Johnson to throw to will cause Stafford to throw a bunch and rack up points.
Dwayne Bowe- WR Kansas City
This year Bowe will have the best quarterback he has ever played professionally with. Sure its Alex Smith but their recent track record with QB’s has been so horrendous this is a big improvement. Joining Smith will be new head coach Andy Reid and the combination of the two will help Bowe succeed in 2013. Even playing with less than great quarterbacks in the past, Dwayne put up back to back 1,000 yard seasons in 2010 and 2011. That streak ended in 2012 only getting 801 yards receiving. With all of the weapons in Kansas City, the entire team will improve this year and one of the players leading the receiving core will be Bowe. He is being drafted in the 50-60 player overall area and 19th for wide receivers. I expect Bowe to finish the season ranked in the top 10 for wideouts in 2013.
Fred Jackson- RB Buffalo
Late in drafts you will be looking to backup players for any value you can find and there is plenty with Fred Jackson. Now with C.J. Spiller the clear number one running back in Buffalo there will obviously be a huge drop off in Fred’s touches but that doesn’t mean he will disappear completely. He still will get several carries each week giving C.J. breathers and mixing the offense up. Fred is too talented of a player to be just a backup and the Bills will use him like the weapon he is. Fred will make a great third or forth running back for any team that can fit as a bye week fill in fine and will get points from time to time if you need to start him.
5 I Dislike
Darren McFadden- RB Oakland
It seems like the only argument anyone can make for McFadden is that he has so much upside and promise that when he reaches it he will be great. The problem is he has yet to show it consistently by staying on the field. Darren has yet to play a full season in his career and has only reached 1,000 yards once in 2010. He has also never gotten over 10 touchdowns in a single year and he can’t stay healthy. For some reason people continue to take chances with him very high in drafts but until he shows me that he can play great consistently for an entire season I’m passing on him.
DeMarco Murray- RB Dallas
Another player who has a lot of upside and potential but is very injury prone Murray is in the same boat with McFadden for me. Struggling to stay on the field last year hurt Murray’s fantasy value and made him a nightmare to play each week. He has only scored 6 touchdowns in his first 2 years combined and with other healthier running backs available around him, I will let others take a chance on Murray.
Any Denver Wide Receiver
Now let me clear here, I believe that Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, and Eric Decker will have great seasons but having three great receivers with only one ball to share will cause great games for one and not so great games for others. The possible inconsistent play for these wideouts combined with how high they are being drafted will have me taking a second look at who else is available when its time to draft.
After the past two years of drafting Rivers and being more than disappointed with his play I’m finally not even considering talking the San Diego quarterback. If his doesn’t preform this year for the Chargers, they may be seriously looking for a replacement. With an offense lacking weapons and the few they have aging and injury prone, I wouldn’t even look at Rivers this year.
DeAngelo Williams/ Jonathan Stewart- RB Carolina
Any running back by committee should be avoided and the Carolina situation is definitely one to get away from. Inconsistent play from both Williams and Stewart combined with Mike Tolbert taking goal line carries away and the mobile threat from Cam Newton creates a mess for anyone who wants a Carolina running back who will give consistent fantasy points each week. I would completely avoid Stewart unless you are in a deep league and draft Williams as a deep back up running back.
There it is, my 5 players I like and dislike for the 2013 fantasy football season. I can’t wait for opening week for the NFL season to get the fun underway. Good luck to everyone this year.
By Andrew Isaac