I would like to take a moment to calm my nerves after this insane Hot Tub Time Machine football season featuring a 49ers team deep in the playoffs and a Colts team at the bottom of the barrel. Ahhhhh, feels just like the early 90s.
Seeing as we're now entering the black hole of the nfl season why not argue about something over the next month?! After the jump we're going to look at a few super early fantasy football what the heck picks. Maybe next year you can pick up the next Victor Cruz with your final draft pick or week one waiver!
"Sleepers" who's name you likely know:
Chris Johnson: RB, TENN - Must start with the guy on everyone's angry letter list. I know, I know...he stunk it up last year....but who can blame the guy? A new coach, new system, no training camp, out of shape for the first portion of the season, and a QB/WR combo who didn't really scare opposing defenses. He's only a sleeper in the sense that he underperformed greatly with a first round pick to get him being given up. Still he ended the season with over 1K yards and his second best receiving season (413 yds); which is a good season for normal RBs. CJ2K will bounce back though. Pick him up as a steal if you can get him in the late second to maybe even fourth round! If you draft him earlier just know that you're taking a huge risk with your first or second pick! Not how you win normally.
Jamaal Charles: RB, KC - Getting injured the season before is usually not good for your fantasy draft stock....see MJD this year. Still Charles will more likely than not bounce back with a great season in 2012 with little to no competition in the KC backfield and a new coach who will likely use him correctly. He'll most likely be picked up within the second round if you're in a 2-3 RB league. Let that be someone else's first RB pick. Don't reach on him on potential off an injury.
DeMarco Murray: RB, DAL - Though Murray did fracture his ankle towards the end of the season that doesn't seem to have any impact on his 2012 fantasy season. I must put this disclaimer on this pick though: You just never know what in the world Dallas will do. They may still use the committee backfield approach; but I bet against it. I'd consider him a very early second round pick.
Ryan Matthews: I must preface this by saying that I have NEVER been a Matthews fan. But I must say, if he wasn't playing in SD he would probably be a top 5 RB. As soon as they either get a new coach or a new system, look out for this kid. He's a great late second-third round pick like CJ2K. Consistently average this season unless they played a team with a bad D. I'm simply saying don't draft Matthews as your first round pick. His value lies closer to the third round. While he was the 10th ranked RB in yards he only had 6 TDs (18th in the NFL) don't be deceived. So not worth your first or second pick that could have been used on a QB or better RB.
Torrey Smith: WR, BAL - A name I'm sure many of you know, Smith the speedster from Maryland had a huge 18 yards per catch season and will only get better in 2012. With the Ravens D only getting older their offense will have to be able to keep up in more and more games. I expect this to equal big things for Mr. Smith. Pick him up in rounds 5-9 depending on how many teams are in your league. With 800+ yrds and 7 TDs this past season that aging D should make him at least be considered as your third WR pick of the draft. Fun fact of the day: Torrey Smith was actually better than Anquan Boldin in 2011. One was a waiver pick up, the other was a lower to mid round draft pick -Boldin had 50 more yards receiving but 4 less TDs.
Next years waiver wire bubble boys (too early to tell but keep an eye on them):
Montario Hardesty RB, CLEVE - It just seems like Cleveland coaches really do hate Peyton Hillis just as much as Hillis hates playing for Cleveland lol. Our 2011 Madden cover guy sat out multiple games for questionable injuries throughout the season (undisclosed illness, headaches, and his hamstring problem). This pick would seem to rest more on SOMEONE needing to carry the rock in Cleveland. If Hardesty can remain healthy he may be the guy.
Colts RBs (Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, D. Carter)- keep an out out on this group early in the season for your waiver wire. With Peyton likely out in Indy and a new coach there you can bet they'll try to begin establishing a running game. I favor Brown out of the group currently, but who really knows?
Blaine Gabbert: QB, JAX -Call me crazy or a homer but I believe that Gabbert will fare better than ppl believe next year. I would even be willing to risk a draft spot on him dependent on who we draft at WR. Think about this: Gabbert ended the season with one less TD pass than Ponder and five less than Alex Smith. If you subtract all of Lewis' dropped TDs and you're likely close to those numbers already. If we give the kid some true playmakers we may be really shocked at the results. I'd be willing to put a waiver on him for a bye week filler.
Next Year's DO Not Draft List (Or draft at your own risk):
Mark Sanchez QB, NYJ - Not even sure where to begin. While Mr. Sanchez did throw more TDs than Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton (who rushed for an insane number of them), Joe Flacco, and even Michael Vick he is still a pretty inconsistent QB who will never score those TDs in the game you expect him to! With to many games with either zero to one TDs and a pretty low ceiling you can do much better elsewhere. Draft a guy like Cam, Jay Cutler, or maybe Matt Flynn if you're truly feeling frisky (depending on where he goes). You still must draft Santonio Holmes though preferably an early third round or later pick.
Darren McFadden RB, Oak - I'm just not sure what to do with this guy... In 6 games he gets over 600 yds rushing, 4 TDs, 150 yds receiving, and another TD! He easily has Adrian Peterson-type worth but due to his injury history can't be considered a first round pick unless you also draft the guy behind him. That is just an extremely tough sell... It has also been rumored per cbssports.com that the Raiders may likely use the franchise tag on Michael Bush next year and try to get him more involved into the offense early into the season just in case they consider trading McFadden.
Anquan Boldin WR, BAL - See Torrey Smith. Draft Smith in the later rounds. Leave Boldin to geniuses who draft him in the first 3 rounds on name only.
Big Cat Country: who do you see being the biggest "value pick" next year? What about the biggest flub (being highest draft pick to not live up to their status aka 2011 CJ2K)?
Sorry for the length guys :)