Just wrapped up my uber-crazy keeper league draft last night and the fantasy wheels are turning in my head, so it would be very uncool not share it with our great readers. Chris and I were talking and I half-joked that maybe I should write the fantasy preview solo this year since I won both of my leagues last year (standard and keeper) and crushed Chris in one of those leagues (I am sorry buddy, but I will not let you live that one down for a while). Chris actually agreed that I should just run with the fantasy preview, probably so he could steal my advice. We all need a little help from our friends, right?
I am not going to give a rankings or anything like that because that is just overkill at this point. So like last year, here are some names you should remember at draft time. Without further adieu….
If I’m #1 – Aaron Rodgers – A homer pick? Maybe, but it’s true. Many people have Brees ranked #1 and quite frankly you can’t go wrong with either guy. I just think Rodgers has better weapons, which does come into play when drafting your QB1.
Back up off me – Jay Cutler – Everyone thinks Cutler will put up big numbers with Martz in town. As I recall, Martz’s system is geared on making smart, quick decisions, which let’s just say isn’t in Jay’s wheelhouse.
Don’t sleep on me – Tom Brady – Not so much a sleeper, but is getting picked too low. I would rank him as high as #3 behind Rodgers and Brees. Brady and Moss are both playing for new contracts. Enough said.
Midnight sleeper – Tim Tebow – Before you leave right now, do I think Tebow will be a stud this year? Absolutely not, but he is one Orton injury away from having a Vince Young-esque rookie year. Also don’t forget about his goaline opportunities.
If I’m #1 – Chris Johnson – CJ wants 2,500 yards and who says he can’t come close?
Back up off me – Ryan Matthews – Wait, I am the only one not on the Matthews bandwagon? He will good, just not that good this year. He dominated the WAC, not the SEC, and plays for a team who likes to throw a lot.
Don’t sleep on me – Montario Hardesty – Cleveland does not have that much talent, but they do have a good offensive line. Harrison will get his touches, but talent usually wins out by the end of the year, which Hardesty has more of.
Midnight sleeper – Ryan Torain – What do Clinton Portis, Willie Parker and Larry Johnson all have in common? Slow, old and not that good anymore. Just look at Shanahan’s history of turning pedestrian backs into fantasy studs and oh yeah, he drafted Torain in his last draft with Denver.
If I’m #1 – Andre Johnson – Until someone proves otherwise.
Back up off me – Desean Jackson – Fitz is too easy with that QB mess, so it is Jackson who I am staying away from. His 62 receptions were just as many as he had as a rookie, so he just had more big plays, which is always a gamble. Maclin and Celek cuts into those numbers even more and Kolb isn’t McNabb quite yet.
Don’ t sleep on me - Pierre Garcon – I’m really big on Garcon this year. Wayne is another year older and Garcon’s numbers were off the hook down the stretch and the playoffs. Manning will go to him early and often this year.
Midnight Sleeper – Legedu Naanee – Malcolm Floyd is a sleeper in many leagues with or without Vincent Jackson, but don’t forget about the guy who is actually replacing Jackson in the starting lineup. Naanee has big play potential and will get his crack right away in Week 1.
If I’m #1 – Antonio Gates – Finley will be at the top of this list some day, but Gates is still the man. He also is still the clear #1 option in a very potent offense.
Back up off me – Kellen Winslow – Josh Freeman and rookie wide receivers means Winslow will be the focus of every defensive coordinator facing the Bucs.
Sleeper – Tony Scheffler - Pushed out in Denver, but may have found a good home in Detroit of all places. Stafford needs a safety valve and Scheffler will be just that until Pettigrew comes back to 100%.
Midnight sleeper – Rob Gronkowski – He is getting more and more noticed by the day, but has top-10 potential this year as rookie playing with Brady. Could be a touchdown vulture, which is just fine for a tight end.
If I’m #1 – New York Jets – I am excited as ever to see how the Jets’ year unfolds on offense, but I have a feeling this defense will be just as tough as they were last year. A motivated Cromartie might also be a steal, as there are eight hungry lil’ Antonio’s out there.
Back up off me – Chicago Bears – Why does everyone still think they are elite? Urlachers is already banged up and Peppers has no motivation to play hard with his new deal. What am I missing here?
Don’t sleep on me - Miami Dolphins – No Joey Porter or Jason Taylor, big whup. Parcells is quietly building a strong defense with Sean Smith and Vontae Davis on the corners and picked up a beast in Dansby during free agency. First-round pick of Ordick could also help out the unit this year.
Midnight sleeper – Detroit Lions – Don’t laugh just yet. Not saying you should go out and draft them, just keep an eye on them. Sacks and turnovers do give you points and with players like Suh, Delmas, Levy and Vandenbosch, the Motor City Kitties might be worth a look as a bye week filler.
I have never drafted a kicker outside of the last round and neither should you. My advice, pick the top-ranked kicker left when your last pick comes up. That’s all you get from me here.
Will this sage advice win you a fantasy title? Remains to be seen, but it will help you beat Chris Lempesis. That much I can guarantee you.