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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Slaaaaam Dunk!

2012's opening week taught us a number of things.  For starters, Vernon Davis is still an elite tight end.  But he can't dunk.


That's...embarrassing.

We also learned - or at least relearned - why tight ends were drafted a little higher in 2012.  Jimmy and Rob looked every bit the late 1st round to 2nd round picks.
They are large people.

Tight ends are an exciting, confusing position in the NFL.  While the Fullback disappeared from the NFL in the wake of two and three-headed Running Back sets, the Tight End has emerged as a consistent target for QBs.  

Vernon Davis failed to dunk, but his head was in the right place.  There's a good reason basketball players are becoming Tight Ends.  Their size, quickness, and great hands are a recipe for QB boners.  
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Here are your Top 5 Positional Scorers in Standard Leagues.  I will then provide the patent-pending TAR (Tim's Actual Ranking).  This is where Boras predicts where they will finish by Week 16.  
Remember, Week 17 is fucking bullshit.


QB
Matt Ryan Gets Owned
That's Kablamo.  Dude can take a hit.  Sorta.  

1.  Matt Ryan (TAR: 4) 
Shown getting demolished above, Ryan demolished the Chiefs' battered secondary.  "This is Matt Ryan's year, blah blah blah."  Everyone's saying it, but do we really believe it?  To me, "Matt Ryan's year" is barely outscoring Stafford to finish 4th.  Rodgers, Brady, and Brees, barring injury, will be your Top 3.  Think of Ryan as Andy Roddick in his prime.  Really good, just not as good.

2.  Robert Griffin III (TAR: 8)
Definitely impressive.  I don't get overly excited by quick slants into broken coverage, but I do get excited about game-clinching bullet passes down the middle.  Do I think he could outscore his closest comparison, Cam Newton?  Yes.  Do I think he will?  Ask me again after Week 3. 

3.  Tony Romo (TAR: 7)
The best sign for Romo owners was DeMarco Murray's beastly running.  When Murray is chugging along like that, Dez, Miles, and Ogletree will run free.  A healthy Witten for that extra Red Zone target makes Romo an elite starter.

4.  Aaron Rodgers (TAR: 3)  
Rodgers did his thing against arguably the league's best defense.  Jennings' groin injury could prove problematic, but we saw Aaron thrive last year without him.  The emergence of Randall Cobb to balance the deep threats of Jordy Nelson and James Jones should quell any Rodgers-owners' worries.

5.  Drew Brees (TAR: 2)
Drew had a bit of an off day in terms of accuracy.  The good news is one of his bad days still resulted in a Top 5 finish.  He might break Drew Bledsoe's record of passing attempts in a season.  In fact...he will.  You heard it here.  692 attempts in 2012.  I've got Brees finishing the season the #2 QB, behind Tom Brady.

RB


Get well soon, Freddy.
1.  C.J. Spiller (TAR: 9)
PPR, I have CJ finishing 6th.  Either way, with Fred Jackson out of the picture for at least 3-4 weeks, look for Spiller to have big numbers.  He closed last year with elite numbers, and you can expect 20+ touches as Buffalo tries to recover from Week 1's beatdown.  Even if Fred returns, CJ will have the larger portion of total touches.

2.  Alfred Morris (TAR: 15)
Look, he had a great game.  And he looked great too.  I will also recommend him as the #1 waiver pickup.  However, let's not forget how frustrating Washington's running game is for fantasy owners.  We went through it with Ryan Torain.  Then Roy Helu.  Then Tim Hightower.  Then Roy Helu again.  For now, he looks like a solid option for 20 carries.  But, it only takes one fumble, one missed block, or one big drop, and poof, he's 3rd on the depth chart.

3.  Adrian Peterson (TAR: 5)
Deep down, in the lower cockles of your heart, you feel like clapping.  What an incredible feat.  His career could easily have ended. He could have hurt himself irreparably on his first run.  He could have simply taken the year off.
Nah, he decided it'd be better to return Week 1 and score 2 TDs.  So go on, clap.

Citizen Cane Clapping GIF

Feels good to approve.

4.  Ray Rice (TAR: 1)
Not much to say on this guy.  He and Arian Foster were 1-2 preseason, and 1-2 after Week 1.  I give the edge to Ray because he doesn't have a Ben Tate around to steal 5-10 carries.

5.  Kevin Smith (TAR: 10)
I'm not sure about calling Smith a Top 10 RB, but I'm doing it anyway with two major caveats:
  • He starts 13 games
  • Jahvid Best is unable to return
If (big if) these two happen, you'd better believe Smith has the skills, and the right offense, to finish Top 10.  

WR
He poops touchdowns.

1.  Kevin Ogletree (TAR: 20+)
He beat out a number of great receivers and a number of great fantasy days to be Week 1's Top WR.  I have him finishing outside the Top 20, but the Top 30 this year are all reasonable starts.  Maybe he cracks the Top 20, maybe he finishes 21st, or maybe 29th.  I still expect decent numbers from Ogletree.  If he finishes the year with 50 catches and 6-7 touchdowns, he will nearly match Torrey Smith's production from 2011, which was good enough for the 22nd WR.  Not bad, right?

2.  Julio Jones (TAR: 4)
Perhaps the most hyped player in fantasy football.  He came through big.  Many view Roddy White as a hindrance to Julio's success, but another 100 catch season for Roddy may be the best thing for Julio.  It only takes 3-4 touchdowns to counterbalance 20 receptions.  And he'll have plenty of chances for TDs.  I've got him finishing 4th, but I won't be surprised to see him finish #1.  Brandon Lloyd did it with Orton.  I think Julio can manage a little better than that.  

3.  Lance Moore (TAR: 19)
Of course I grinned when Brandon Lloyd dropped a wide open TD pass, and Lance Moore hauled one in shortly after.  And of course I'm sticking by my prediction.  Moore won't finish Top 10.  But he could.  He's the 3rd option behind Graham and Colston, and as I said, Drew Brees is going to pass close to 50 times a game.  That's a lot of opportunities to go around.

4.  Stephen Hill (TAR: 20+)
He had excellent separation, and Sanchez didn't look too shabby.  I still don't trust this offense, and placing him outside the Top 20 is a no-brainer.  However, he's a decent WR pickup if Cobb, LaFell, and Ogletree are gone.

5.  Andre Johnson (TAR: 7)
A former consensus #1.  I may eat my words when he finishes there again.  I don't see him outpointing Julio, Calvin, or Brandon Marshall, even if he plays 16 games.  And that's one of the biggest ifs in fantasy sports.  Still, those who drafted him high despite the risk are feeling good.  And everyone deserves to feel good.  GROUP HUG!

TE

Take notes, Vernon.

1.  Jimmy Graham (TAR: 1)
As I said earlier, Drew Brees had an off day.  Graham finished #1.  Terrifying, isn't it?
He finishes #1 in 2012.  He leads the league in TDs.  He signs a 12 year 425 million dollar extension this offseason.  This is known.


2.  Dennis Pitta (TAR: 13)
He looks big and strong.  So does Dickson.  And there's your real problem.  Consider also that both have battled nagging injuries.  Regardless, you could do worse picking him up off waivers.  Just don't act cocky when you do.  Try to put on the face you'd make if you were picking up the guy who finished 5th this week.

3.  Rob Gronkowski (TAR: 2)
Gronk's a ridiculous talent.  He and Graham are the Foster/Rice of Tight Ends.  They'll finish 1 and 2, but the edge goes to Graham because of Aaron Hernandez.  There are only so many TDs to go around, and Hernandez might snake a few more this year.  

4.  Tony Gonzalez (TAR: 5)
Gotta love this guy.  Every year he is undervalued, and every year he proves us wrong.  Ryan loves the guy, so you should too.  And I bet he can dunk better than Vernon.  In fact, I know he can:

Don't hurt yourself, old man.

5.  Heath Miller (TAR: 9)
Yeah, this guy.  Now put on that face.  Like you sharted in the pool.
I'll give him a Top 10 nod right now, only because Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace open up the middle of the field quite a bit.  The run game doesn't look fantastic in Pittsburgh, which means less blocking, and more 8 yard receptions for Heaaaaaaaath.

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Boras' Top Waiver Pickups

(By Position, with Current % Owned)

RB

Alfred Morris - 18.2% -
20+ carries, for now.
Dexter McCluster - 3.9% - 

Highly targeted.  PPR value much higher than Standard Leagues.  Still a decent option.  Hillis looked bad.
Jonathan Dwyer - 18.2% -

Strong runner.  Respectable speed.  Safe to say he's moved up to #1 on Pitt's depth chart.

WR
Randall Cobb - 13.4% -

Already looked like a legit #2 receiver before Jennings went down.  Have him just behind Alfred Morris for the top waiver pickup.
Kevin Ogletree - 49.8% -

At first I had LaFell ahead of Ogletree.  The more I think about it, the more I trust Romo over Cam, and the more I trust Miles or Dez taking a few games off.
Brandon LaFell - 19.2 - Steve Smith's injury history makes LaFell an attractive option.  However, despite his touchdown, he was targeted only 5 times.  Not a bad option, but he's worth a look.
Stephen Hill - 7.4% - 

Loved him in College.  Looks faster in the NFL, if you can believe it.  Let's see if Sanchez can string a couple solid games together before putting Hill in the rotation.
Rod Streater - 0.7% - 
A solid deep league option while Denarius Moore is out.  Heyward-Bey is overpaid and under-qualified.  Streater looks like a hard worker, and Carson will heave it up a ton (2nd in attempts behind Drew Brees in 2012 if he keeps the job).  This is a recipe for good fantasy numbers.

QB

Mark Sanchez - 12.3% - 
I'll give him the nod for his solid game.  Also, Matt Cassel and Sam Bradford are owned in substantially more leagues.  He's at least as good as them.
Carson Palmer - 66.3% -
Should be owned higher.  There was plenty of talk about Palmer's close to the 2011 season.  He was very good.  It's easy to forget that a bad team doesn't necessarily mean bad numbers.  Palmer is going to throw the ball a ton, and that alone could help him crack the Top 10.

TE

Dennis Pitta - 2.5% -
You could do worse.  But don't be surprised when Dickson gets the TD.
Martellus Bennett - 36.7% -
Eli loves his tight ends.  Kevin Boss wasn't a terrible fantasy option a few years ago.  Bennett passed the eye test Week 1.  We'll see how it works out.
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That's all for now.  Good luck in Week 2, and as always, hit me up with any roster questions or trade advice.  

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