Top 3 Rookie Running Back Breakdown

Eddie-Lacy

Lacy should help every aspect of the Packers offense

Rookie running backs have the ability to make or break fantasy teams. The running back position is the most important position on a fantasy team. Since many teams have gone to a dual running back system, finding two or three backs who can produce solid numbers is vital.

Being able to pick which rookie running backs are going to have the best season can bring your team a championship. This season there are three rookie running backs that should be on every fantasy owners’ radar.

Le’Veon Bell- Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Le’Veon Bell was drafted 48th overall. The former Michigan State Spartan could not have been drafted to a better team. The Steelers are infamous for their pounding running game. While he has been injured for a majority of the offseason, it did not stop the Steelers from naming him their starting running back in the preseason.

Bell is recovering from a foot injury and has been ruled out for Week 1. Coach Tomlin says he will not play against the Titans due to lack of practice time, not his injury. Bell is the 24th ranked running back in this year’s fantasy draft and the top ranked rookie running back. When he returns to the starting lineup he will be given every opportunity to be a fantasy power horse.

Eddie Lacy– Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy is the second best rookie running back in this year’s fantasy draft and the 26th running back overall. Of the top three running backs, Lacy is the only week 1 starter. While reports of him getting overweight in the offseason were concerning at first, it appears that it will only help in, especially in goal line situations.

The Packers’ offense is known for their deadly air attack, which means defenses will have to plan for the pass which should give Lacy plenty of opportunities to pick up yards when he’s handed the ball.

Giovani Bernard– Cincinnati Bengals’ Giovani Bernard currently splits time with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but is taking a majority of the goal line snaps. Throughout the preseason Bernard had three rushing touchdowns, all near the goal line. He is currently listed as the second running back on the depth chart, but it is expected that he will split carries with Green-Ellis, and in the near future will take over the starting role.

Bernard is the 28th ranked running back in this year’s draft and the third ranked rookie. He will get the overwhelming majority of goal line opportunities giving him significant fantasy value.

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Top 3 Rookie Running Back Breakdown

Eddie-Lacy

Lacy should help every aspect of the Packers offense

Rookie running backs have the ability to make or break fantasy teams. The running back position is the most important position on a fantasy team. Since many teams have gone to a dual running back system, finding two or three backs who can produce solid numbers is vital.

Being able to pick which rookie running backs are going to have the best season can bring your team a championship. This season there are three rookie running backs that should be on every fantasy owners’ radar.

Le’Veon Bell- Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Le’Veon Bell was drafted 48th overall. The former Michigan State Spartan could not have been drafted to a better team. The Steelers are infamous for their pounding running game. While he has been injured for a majority of the offseason, it did not stop the Steelers from naming him their starting running back in the preseason.

Bell is recovering from a foot injury and has been ruled out for Week 1. Coach Tomlin says he will not play against the Titans due to lack of practice time, not his injury. Bell is the 24th ranked running back in this year’s fantasy draft and the top ranked rookie running back. When he returns to the starting lineup he will be given every opportunity to be a fantasy power horse.

Eddie Lacy– Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy is the second best rookie running back in this year’s fantasy draft and the 26th running back overall. Of the top three running backs, Lacy is the only week 1 starter. While reports of him getting overweight in the offseason were concerning at first, it appears that it will only help in, especially in goal line situations.

The Packers’ offense is known for their deadly air attack, which means defenses will have to plan for the pass which should give Lacy plenty of opportunities to pick up yards when he’s handed the ball.

Giovani Bernard– Cincinnati Bengals’ Giovani Bernard currently splits time with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but is taking a majority of the goal line snaps. Throughout the preseason Bernard had three rushing touchdowns, all near the goal line. He is currently listed as the second running back on the depth chart, but it is expected that he will split carries with Green-Ellis, and in the near future will take over the starting role.

Bernard is the 28th ranked running back in this year’s draft and the third ranked rookie. He will get the overwhelming majority of goal line opportunities giving him significant fantasy value.

Rookie DeAndre Hopkins Ready To Roll

Rookie wideout DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans has been cleared to practice after completing the last leg of the NFL’s concussion protocol. He sustained the concussion during a preseason game against the Miami Dolphins after landing hard on his head. No one is happier about Hopkins’ return than quarterback Matt Schaub.

As the 27th overall pick in the draft from Clemson University, Hopkins has high expectations. In 3 seasons at Clemson, Hopkins racked up 3,000 yards receiving with 27 touchdowns. He was drafted by Houston to complement star receiver Andre Johnson and is a considerable upgrade from Kevin Walter.

Head coach Gary Kubiak is expecting Hopkins to start the Texans Monday night regular season-opener against San Diego. Although he was stupendous in training camp, he’s seen little field action throughout the preseason due to the concussion.

For having such a dominant defense, the Texans did not have an offense to match during the 2012 season. They had a hard time scoring in the red-zone, partially because teams knew the ball was going to Andre Johnson or tight-end Owen Daniels. Hopkins doesn’t have the most overwhelming size, but he is extremely dextrous and quick, making him tough to cover in the red-zone.

Do not sleep on Hopkins. With team defenses focusing largely on Andre Johnson and running-back Arian Foster, Hopkins will draw single coverages against less talented cornerbacks to start the season. A trial by fire is not always handled well by rookies, but Hopkins should rise to the occasion and bring the Texans to a new competitive level.

Bills Rookie E.J Manuel Named Week 1 Starter

E.J. Manuel will see his first live action agains the Patriots

E.J. Manuel will see his first live action agains the Patriots

Order was restored in Buffalo this morning when E. J. Manuel was named the starting quarterback for the team’s Week 1 home matchup against the Patriots. Just two weeks removed from minor knee surgery, Manuel has come back strong and is ready to manage the team’s run-heavy offense.

Head coach Doug Marrone made the announcement early Wednesday morning after putting Manuel through a gauntlet of tests on Monday and Tuesday to make sure that the rookie was really up to speed. The primary concern was to make sure that Manuel was mobile enough to escape the pocket to avoid any further injury.

Manuel said he pushed himself to get ready in time for Week 1. “I try to work hard at everything. I can control whatever I can control, and I can control trying to get my knee better, and that’s what I’ve done,” said Manuel. The former Florida State quarterback said he won’t give his injury a second thought when playing agains the Patriots on Sunday.

Even in two quarterback leagues, fantasy owners should steer clear of the rookie until he gets a real feel for his first live NFL action.

 

3 Players Being Over-Looked Over on Draft Day

The key to winning in fantasy football is drafting well after the first four rounds. After round 4, fantasy football championships are won by finding players who greatly exceed expectations. Both Alfred Morris and Russell Wilson greatly exceeded expectations during the 2012 season. Below are 3 players who are undervalued and could have big years for your team.

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston (ADP – 126)

Currently being drafted as the 45th ranked fantasy wide receiver on average, DeAndre Hopkins is a highly touted rookie for the Houston Texans. A first round pick, Hopkins will line up next to Andre Johnson as the Texans’ No. 2 wideout.

Although Houston is a run-first team, Matt Schaub may finally have someone else to spread the ball around to with the addition of Hopkins. With unbelievable talent, Hopkins looks poised to outplay his draft-day value.

Eddie Lacy, Green Bay (ADP – 62)

Another highly touted rookie from the 2013 draft class is Eddie Lacy. He’s is in the perfect situation to succeed with the Packers this season.

After DuJuan Harris was placed on IR last week and the Packers cut Alex Green, Lacy now has the Packers’ backfield all to himself. Looking to put an emphasis back on the running game, the Packers should provide Lacy a heavy workload along with goal line work.

Currently being drafted as the 24th running back on average, Lacy should easily crack the top-20 and has top-15 potential at the position.

TY Hilton, Indianapolis (ADP – 79)

TY Hilton showed incredible growth as the Colts’ No. 2 wide receiver at the end of last year, and it looks as though his success should continue. His chemistry with quarterback, Andrew Luck, is only improving and his skill set fits very well with offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton’s, west coast offense.

Hilton has had a very impressive preseason and could breakout as one of the NFL’s premier deep threats.

The Critical Importance of Fantasy Handcuffs

Ben Tate saved many Arian Foster owners last season.

Ben Tate is one of the top rated handcuffs in the league

With the first game of NFL season just 6 days away, the window for drafting in fantasy football is quickly closing.

One of easiest things you can do to separate yourself from other fantasy owners is making sure you lock in a running back “handcuff.”

A “handcuff,” in fantasy terms, is the backup running back for your fantasy team’s starter. You draft a handcuff at some point after you draft your starting running back. This is done to provide a safety net if your starter goes down with an injury or anything of the sort.

Whenever a starting running back goes down, there’s a universal waiver wire scramble for that player’s backup. If you have that backup in place, you are safe from the league predators who are ready to swoop in and stop your fantasy season in its tracks.

In many cases, the benefits of owning a handcuff can be your saving grace. For example, when Arian Foster missed 3 games in 2011, his backup Ben Tate filled the void very well. During those three games, Tate racked up 327 yards from scrimmage (an average of 109 yards per game), including 2 rushing touchdowns.

Smart fantasy owners with the handcuff were able to survive those critical three weeks while Foster was sidelined, while other owners watched in horror as Tate racked up those numbers for another team.

Stud running backs like these often play for teams that give them a high volume of carries. If the starter goes down with an injury, another (fresher) player gets a shot at their workload and can very well succeed at it. Even average players can rack up decent numbers with a high volume of carries.

For your team’s starting running backs, it’s essential to draft the next guy in line who will get every down carries. Don’t let this pass you by, you don’t want someone else reaping the benefits of your devastating loss.

Bills, Jets Grapple With the Quarterback Blues

There are two really interesting quarterback situations going on just days before the start of the regular season. The more well known one is the debacle that has taken place in New York.

The Jets drafted Geno Smith to challenge Mark Sanchez for the starting job. The situation has only gone from bad to worse because Sanchez is injured and Smith doesn’t appear even close to ready to start for an NFL team.

The second quarterback controversy happens to be in the same division, up in Buffalo. The Bills drafted E.J. Manuel to replace Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was let go at the end of the season. Manuel was selected number 16 in the 2013 draft, even though the Bills probably could have taken him in a later round.

Nevertheless, they went forward with their plan and Manuel looked good in his short time behind center during the preseason. However, after their game against the Minnesota Vikings, his knee began to swell. A minor procedure was performed and he is currently sitting on the bench.

After Manuel went out, Kevin Kolb was expected to step in for the Bills until he suffered what might be a career-ending concussion against the Redskins on Saturday night. The Bills wasted no time signing former first round pick Matt Leinart. He spent last season as a backup in Oakland and wasn’t able to keep the starting job.

Leinart was drafted 10th overall by Arizona in 2006 before getting picked up by Houston and later by the Raiders. He’s played in 33 games in his career and has more than 4,000 yards passing. Leinart was a quarterback with a lot of potential coming out of USC, but was never able to find an offense or a system that worked for him.

Leinart might be the only real option the Bills have until E.J. Manuel can back under center.

Justin Blackmon “Act A Fool” in Jacksonville

There’s an Atlanta based rapper named Ludacris who had a hit song four or five years ago called “Act A Fool.” It seems like this song was taylor made for troubled Jaguars wide receiver, Justin Blackmon.

The 23-year-old had to be escorted off the field during the Jaguars preseason opener last night against the Dolphins.

First Blackmon got into a verbal altercation with Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll and then capped it off by fighting with his own teammate, Jason Babin. Babin apparently told the volatile receiver to “Pipe down,” and then Blackmon went off on him too.

Apparently new head coach Gus Bradley had to step in to calm Blackmon down before Maurice Jones-Drew escorted him back to the locker room.

The flaky young receiver is already suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He’s also in the process of recovering from a recent groin surgery.

After the game, Blackmon was sent to the coach’s office for a lecture on how to behave properly on the sidelines during NFL games.

His lack of maturity has been a lingering problem during the offseason and his Friday night outburst did not improve his standing with his team mates or the coaching staff. “Don’t just stand there, Act A Fool!”

Draft Zone: 11th Ranked Tight End – Texans Owen Daniels

Owen Daniels of the Houston Texans is the 11th ranked tight end in this year’s 2013 fantasy draft standings. With an Average Draft Position (ADP) of 108, he’s likely to be a late 9th or an early 10th round selection.

Daniels has put up some above average numbers in the past, only failing to reach 500 receiving yards in 2 out of his 7 years in the league. However, his time may have passed and he may have plateaued in terms of production.

The former 4th overall pick is now 30 years old, and the wear and tear of the NFL style may not allow him to be quite as successful as he was in the past.

It looks like Daniels is receiving a little too much credit from fantasy owners. Being the 11th tight end picked isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, but it’s still on the high side for Daniels.

On a lighter note, Daniels’ success will most likely be very dependent on how quarterback Matt Schaub utilizes him. Fortunately for Daniels, they have been playing together since 2007, so Schaub’s will naturally be on the lookout for him.

Even with an average draft position of 11 for tight ends, he may be someone to pass up on when draft day comes. At best, he should be the 14th tight end taken in standard 12 team fantasy formats.

 

 

 

Draft Zone: 11th Ranked Tight End – Texans Owen Daniels

Owen Daniels of the Houston Texans is the 11th ranked tight end in this year’s 2013 fantasy draft standings. With an Average Draft Position (ADP) of 108, he’s likely to be a late 9th or an early 10th round selection.

Daniels has put up some above average numbers in the past, only failing to reach 500 receiving yards in 2 out of his 7 years in the league. However, his time may have passed and he may have plateaued in terms of production.

The former 4th overall pick is now 30 years old, and the wear and tear of the NFL style may not allow him to be quite as successful as he was in the past.

It looks like Daniels is receiving a little too much credit from fantasy owners. Being the 11th tight end picked isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, but it’s still on the high side for Daniels.

On a lighter note, Daniels’ success will most likely be very dependent on how quarterback Matt Schaub utilizes him. Fortunately for Daniels, they have been playing together since 2007, so Schaub’s will naturally be on the lookout for him.

Even with an average draft position of 11 for tight ends, he may be someone to pass up on when draft day comes. At best, he should be the 14th tight end taken in standard 12 team fantasy formats.