Draft Zone: 20th Ranked Quarterback – Chargers Philip Rivers

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Philip Rivers has a consensus ranking as the 20th best fantasy quarterback. With an Average Draft Position (ADP) of 136, he will likely go in the 11th or 12th round of most 12-team drafts.

When it comes to Rivers, there is very little doubt that he has elite set of skills. Before last year, Rivers had 4 consecutive seasons with 4,000+ yards passing. The issue with Rivers stems from the lack of talent around him including a deficient offensive line.

Rivers had a very rough start to the season last year. During his first six games, he threw 9 interceptions including the worst game of his career against the Broncos during Week 6. The Chargers were pitching a 24 to nothing shut out at the half when Rivers completely imploded. He was intercepted four times — three in the fourth quarter — and lost two fumbles. The four pickoffs and six turnovers were both career-highs as the Chargers stumbled to a 3-3 record and went on to lose five of the team’s next six games.

The question is, which Rivers will show up for the 2013 season? Is he the guy who’s going to turn the ball over time and time again or will he be the player who threw for 4,600+ yards in 2010 and 2011?

There are also several questions to be answered within the Chargers organization. Can Ryan Mathews establish himself as a solid running back next to Rivers; can the o-line actually do its job and protect him? Rivers should be a serviceable backup if your starting quarterback goes down, but he is too risky to trust as a starter.

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Draft Zone: 20th Ranked Quarterback – Chargers Philip Rivers

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Philip Rivers has a consensus ranking as the 20th best fantasy quarterback. With an Average Draft Position (ADP) of 136, he will likely go in the 11th or 12th round of most 12-team drafts.

When it comes to Rivers, there is very little doubt that he has elite set of skills. Before last year, Rivers had 4 consecutive seasons with 4,000+ yards passing. The issue with Rivers stems from the lack of talent around him including a deficient offensive line.

Rivers had a very rough start to the season last year. During his first six games, he threw 9 interceptions including the worst game of his career against the Broncos during Week 6. The Chargers were pitching a 24 to nothing shut out at the half when Rivers completely imploded. He was intercepted four times — three in the fourth quarter — and lost two fumbles. The four pickoffs and six turnovers were both career-highs as the Chargers stumbled to a 3-3 record and went on to lose five of the team’s next six games.

The question is, which Rivers will show up for the 2013 season? Is he the guy who’s going to turn the ball over time and time again or will he be the player who threw for 4,600+ yards in 2010 and 2011?

There are also several questions to be answered within the Chargers organization. Can Ryan Mathews establish himself as a solid running back next to Rivers; can the o-line actually do its job and protect him? Rivers should be a serviceable backup if your starting quarterback goes down, but he is too risky to trust as a starter.

Draft Zone: 19th Ranked Quarterback – Buccaneers Josh Freeman

Josh Freeman has a composite ranking as the 19th best fantasy quarterback. With an ADP of 131, he will be taken in the 11th or 12th round of most 12-team drafts.

Josh Freeman is one of those players who is the definition of infuriating to fantasy owners. Just look at the first six weeks of last season. During the first three weeks, he threw for more than 200 yards just once. During the following three weeks, he threw for 299, 328, and 420 yards. In ESPN standard formats, he averaged 14.7 points per game, but rarely was he actually close to that number.

Freeman’s physical tools are elite. He is 6’6’’, 240 pounds and he has incredible arm strength. However, Freeman often makes poor decisions and inaccurate throws which have plagued him throughout his career.

He finished last year with a 52% completion percentage and has thrown a league worst 39 interceptions during the course of the last two seasons. Freeman has the talent around him to help him succeed. Doug Martin is one of the top running backs in the leagues and wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams have exceptional pass-catching skills.

This might be the make or break year for Freeman, as Tampa Bay drafted rookie quarterback Mike Glennon in the third round out of NC State. If Freeman struggles early this season, don’t hesitate to drop him.

Draft Zone: 19th Ranked Quarterback – Buccaneers Josh Freeman

Josh Freeman has a composite ranking as the 19th best fantasy quarterback. With an ADP of 131, he will be taken in the 11th or 12th round of most 12-team drafts.

Josh Freeman is one of those players who is the definition of infuriating to fantasy owners. Just look at the first six weeks of last season. During the first three weeks, he threw for more than 200 yards just once. During the following three weeks, he threw for 299, 328, and 420 yards. In ESPN standard formats, he averaged 14.7 points per game, but rarely was he actually close to that number.

Freeman’s physical tools are elite. He is 6’6’’, 240 pounds and he has incredible arm strength. However, Freeman often makes poor decisions and inaccurate throws which have plagued him throughout his career.

He finished last year with a 52% completion percentage and has thrown a league worst 39 interceptions during the course of the last two seasons. Freeman has the talent around him to help him succeed. Doug Martin is one of the top running backs in the leagues and wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams have exceptional pass-catching skills.

This might be the make or break year for Freeman, as Tampa Bay drafted rookie quarterback Mike Glennon in the third round out of NC State. If Freeman struggles early this season, don’t hesitate to drop him.

Draft Zone: 18th Ranked Quarterback – Bears Jay Cutler

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The Bears Jay Cutler has a composite ranking as the 18th best fantasy quarterback in this year’s draft. With an ADP of 131, he will likely be taken somewhere in the 10th or 11th round of most 12-team drafts.

The mysterious case of Jay Cutler is one of the most well documented in the NFL. After throwing for more than 4,500 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2008 with the Broncos, Cutler seemed to be destined for stardom. But that high point for Cutler is where the wheels seem to fall off.

Cutler requested a trade out of Denver and ultimately landed in Chicago where he’s been accused time and time again of being a head case. He’s been unable to take any form of criticism, folding under pressure and even battling accusations of not playing through minor injuries.

Cutler has also alienated some of his teammates over the years with this perceived lack of toughness. Last year, Cutler had by far the worst season of his career, throwing for only 3,033 yards, 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. To put those numbers into perspective, he threw for 2,319 yards in just 10 games the previous year.

This year will likely be it for Cutler. He’s in the final year of his contract and this year will be his last chance to prove that he is a solid NFL starter. If he rises to the pressure and plays to his potential, he will be dynamite for your team. If he doesn’t, your team may crash and burn with a quarterback who has shown a tendency to flame out late in the season.

Draft Zone: 17th Ranked Quarterback– Eagles Michael Vick

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Michael Vick has a composite ranking as the 17th best fantasy quarterback. With an ADP of 133, he will likely be taken in the 11th or 12th round of most 12-team drafts.

Michael Vick is one of the most polarizing quarterbacks in football. He has been ranked as high as 11th and as low as 29th by various experts.

Most pundits have Vick ranked 4 – 8 spots lower than that small contingent who thinks he can be a fringe top 10 QB. This divide of opinion may also be seen in his ADP which seems significantly higher than it should be.

Taking any quarterback without a guaranteed job is very risky, even if you intend to use him as a backup. Vick is listed as number one on the depth chart for now, but he is far from a lock to start the 2013 season. Quarterback Nick Foles and rookie Matt Barkley are also in hot competition for the starting role.

Even if Vick wins the job out of training camp, one must consider his injury history. If Vick goes down with an injury, Foles or Barkley could step in and actually keep the job for the rest of the season. Since his release from prison in 2009, Vick has never played more the 13 games in a season.

Generally speaking, stay away from Vick and or any other Eagles quarterbacks, the situation in Philadelphia is simply too volatile.

           

Philadelphia Forced to Rely on the Unreliable DeSean Jackson

DeSean Jackson is a feast or famine fantasy option for 2013

DeSean Jackson is a feast or famine fantasy option for 2013

During the past weekend, the Philadelphia Eagles suffered a severe loss when wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was lost for the season with a torn ACL. This drastically changes the Eagles offensive scheme as Maclin was the leading receiver for the team last season with 122 targets, 69 receptions for 857 yards and 7 touchdowns. This means that the Eagles will have to place their trust and hopes on the mercurial DeSean Jackson.

The Eagles are moving into a new era with former college coach Chip Kelly and relying solely upon Jackson will likely give the young head coach nightmares. With no help other than Arrelious Benn and Riley Cooper, Jackson will be playing every game on an island. Jackson will likely face each teams number one corner with the potential of being double covered most of the game.

Jackson wide receiver ranking will likely climb with the loss of Maclin, but beware of inconsistency that some with a player like Jackson. His numbers have been steadily declining since 2009 and he missed 5 games last season with injuries.

2013 has already been projected as a big comeback year for Jackson after leaving last season with a rib cartilage injury. However, there are still a lot of question marks for the Philadelphia Eagles.

With so many talented and more consistent wide receivers out there, Jackson should be a tough sell on draft day. He had a few decent games last year, but he is widely known for his ups and downs in production to go along with a spotty attitude on the field. Buyer Beware!

Ravens Sign 10-Year Veteran Visanthe Shiancoe

The Baltimore Ravens signed free agent tight end Visanthe Shiancoe to a one year deal on Sunday. The Ravens wasted no time trying to stop the bleeding after losing their up and coming tight end Dennis Pitta over the weekend. The 10-year NFL veteran signed a deal for the league minimum after suiting up for only four games last season with the Patriots.

Initial reports suggested that Pitta would only miss the season opener against the Broncos. A further examination revealed that his injured hip would require surgery and force the former Brigham Young star to miss the season.

It was speculated that the Ravens were pursing Shiancoe even before Pitta was hurt. Shiancoe’s best seasons came when he played for the Minnesota Vikings. His best season was 2009 when he hauled in 56 receptions for 566 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Pitta was entering the final year year of his contract and was hoping to make a big splash this season. With the departure of Anquan Boldin, Pitta was likely to see his targets from quarterback Joe Flacco spike significantly. Now the Ravens will try and fill the gap in the center of the field with the sluggish Ed Dickson and the aging Shiancoe.

 

Angels Albert Pujols May Be Done for 2013

Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols is expected to miss the remainder of the 2013 season after suffering a partial tear in the plantar fascia in his left foot during Friday’s 6-4 loss to the Athletics.

Pujols was placed on the 15-day disabled list and Angels manager Mike Scioscia says that the 33-year-old first baseman will likely miss “a significant amount of time,” as the minimum recovery period for this type of injury is normally around six weeks.

“This is a big blow to our team right now,” Scioscia said. “We’re going to have to mix and match and get more creative, and hopefully we can start to come alive offensively. We have to keep moving forward.”

Pujols has been dealing with the injury for the majority of the season. The Gold Glove first baseman was forced to the role of designated hitter for 65 of 99 games, and will now see a foot specialist on Monday to determine what the next step is in his recovery process.

Angels shortstop Eric Aybar said through a translator that the fact that Pujols was able to play through the amount of pain that he endured this season was awe inspiring.

“In a sense, we felt his pain when he was playing, and we feel it even more now that things are not good for him,” Aybar said. “We know how much pain he was in. It’s baseball, we continue to move on and hope for the best for him.”

Pujols managed a .258 batting average, along with 17 home runs and 64 RBIs in 99 games this season.

Fantasy owners should cut ties with Pujols as the Angels are 12 games back of the Athletics in the AL West, and won’t bother rushing Pujols back into action. Even if the team is able to turn things around, he would not be able to return before the beginning of the fantasy playoffs.

Fantasy Shake-Up – Season Over for Ravens Tight End Dennis Pitta

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The season ended long before it ever started for Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta. Pitta underwent hip surgery on Saturday smashing any expectations for both the Ravens and hopeful fantasy owners.

The 6th ranked fantasy tight end was entering a contract year when he broke and dislocated his hip on just the third day of training camp. This is a huge blow for the Baltimore offense that planned on using Pitta as a go-to receiver with the departure on Anquan Boldin to San Francisco.

Pitta hauled in 61 receptions for 669 yards last season to go along with 7 touchdowns and was expected to smash those numbers coming into this season.

Wide receiver Torrey Smith is one of the few viable options that quarterback Joe Flacco will have left on his depleted team of pass catchers.

The Ravens are left with the lead-footed Ed Dickson to play tight end in Baltimore. Dickson is barely an option as a backup tight end and is not worthy of a starting spot on any fantasy roster.