Written by Eric Stashin of www.rotoprofessor.com

 

 

When Glen Coffee suddenly retired, it looked like the 49ers would be left with little behind star running back Frank Gore.  Less then three weeks later, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

Not only did they bring Brian Westbrook into the mix, but sixth round pick Anthony Dixon has emerged from obscurity.  While a lot of his impressive preseason statistics came against marginal NFL players, at best, it still is hard to overlook.

 

He led the NFL with 300 rushing yards (Michael Bennett was second with 236). He led the NFL with four rushing touchdowns.

 

Then again, he had 20 more carries then any other running back, at 74.  When you have that big of a lead in carries, it’s easy to out rush the competition by such a great margin.

 

Despite coach Mike Singleton telling Comcast Sports Net California that, “When you have a guy like that, there’s going to be a role”, it’s impossible to think the role is going to be anything too special at this point.

 

With the options that the team has in front of him, it’s going to take a lot for Dixon to get regular touches.  Granted, Westbrook certainly is an injury risk, but even if he were the primary understudy to Gore would you expect him to develop into usability?

 

Gore has played in 14 or more games each of the past four years, only once having less then 1,100 yards during that span (1,036 in 2008).  He’s a workhorse, and should remain to be the main man in San Francisco.

 

Coffee, as the primary backup to Gore in 2009, got just 83 carries for 226 yards and a touchdown (plus 11 catches for 76 yards).

 

An impressive preseason is nice, but Dixon just isn’t likely to make an impact in 2010.  Don’t bother getting caught up in any attention he may be receiving.  There are much better options that should be available to you.

 

Keep an eye on him, just in case, but there certainly is no reason to be making a move right now.

 

What are your thoughts of Dixon?  Is there any chance he develops into a usable option in 2010?  Why or why not?

 

Make sure to check out Rotoprofessor’s 2010 rankings:

 

 

You can also check out my Week 1 Rankings:
Week 1 QB Rankings
Week 1 RB Rankings
Week 1 WR Rankings
Week 1 TE Rankings
Week 1 K Rankings
Week 1 DEF Rankings
Week 1 IDP Rankings


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A typical fantasy football league consists of 12 teams nine starters (QB, two RBs, three WRs, TE, K, D) and anywhere from five to seven bench players. If you go with the latter bench allotment, you’re looking at 16 roster spots or 192 draft picks. By that definition, any sleeper should have an average draft position about 180 or higher.

 

Denver Broncos WR Jabar Gaffney doesn’t quite reach the 180 threshold, checking in with a ADP of 170 (61st WR) according to Mock Draft Central. He is, however, undervalued as the Broncos’ number one receiver.

 

He will not confuse anyone for Brandon Marshall, and in some ways that’s a good thing. He quietly goes about his business. Last year he hauled in 54 passes for 732 yards and 2 TDs. Head Coach Josh McDaniels is comfortable with Gaffney, having brought him over from New England last year.

 

So far Gaffney has had a productive preseason. He caught two passes for 37 yards in the opener against the Bengals. He followed up with six catches for 98 yards in the second game against Detroit.

 

The Broncos have several talented young WRs, but they will have growing pains. Eddie Royal is in his third season, but was an utter disappointment last year when many were expecting him to put up Wes Welker numbers. The Broncos drafted rookies Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, but both have battled foot injuries. Unfortunately Thomas’ injury was an aggravation of a previous foot injury and it is still lingering, while Decker battled multiple injuries in college.

 

Thomas is the most talented WR on the Broncos, and will eventually take over as the top receiver. I just don’t see that happening this season. When you are adding WR depth late in your draft, don’t be afraid to take an unsexy pick like Jabar Gaffney. You don’t have to be sexy, as long as you’re steady.

 

What are your thoughts on the Broncos’ WRs?


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The last couple of rounds of fantasy drafts is the time when you take a flier on players that may or may not pan out for you. If they do, great. If they don’t, no sweat. You can pick up someone that plays well in the first couple of weeks of the season. Here are some guys that you can draft in the closing rounds of your fantasy drafts.

 

Derek Anderson, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Obviously DA will have to win the starting gig from Matt Leinart, but it appears the writing is on the wall as Anderson is starting the Cardinals’ third preseason game.

 

Kareem Huggins, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It looks like Huggins could win the #2 RB role for the Bucs. I know the backup RB of a team that finished 3-13 isn’t necessarily the most desirable fantasy player, but given Cadillac Williams injury history he could find himself as a lead back.

 

Anthony Dixon, RB, San Francisco 49ers
I try not to put too much faith in the preseason, but Dixon has looked good. The rookie scored in the first two preseason games, including a nifty four-yard TD run against the Vikings first unit.

 

Andre Brown, RB, New York Giants
Brown likely took hold of the Giants #3 RB spot when D.J. Ware suffered another concussion. Given Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs’ injury histories, it’s conceivable Brown gets meaningful carries at some point in the season.

 

Jordan Shipley, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
We all know who the Bengals’ two starting WRs are. Antonio Bryant very well could be cut or inactive (knee). Shipley could win the slot receiver gig from Andre Caldwell, which would put him in line for plenty of looks making him an intriguing PPR option.

 

Laurent Robinson & Brandon Gibson, WRs, St. Louis Rams
With Donnie Avery (knee) injured, Robinson and Gibson will have a chance to step up and make some plays. Keenan Burton can find himself in the mix, but has less upside.

 

Greg Camarillo, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Camarillo is better suited for the Vikings’ slot position than Greg Lewis. If he can get open, Brett Favre will get him the ball. He shouldn’t have trouble getting open because of all the attention Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Andrian Peterson, and Visanthe Shiancoe garner.

 

Louis Murphy, WR, Oakland Raiders
With Chaz Schilens sidelined with a knee injury, Murphy has a chance at fantasy relevance. He’ll have to improve his hands, but Murphy, who had a 15.3 ypc average last year, should be the Raiders’ top choice in the vertical attack.

 

Rob Gronkowski & Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots
Gronkowski has three TDs in two preseason games thus far. Randy Moss and Wes Welker will command attention making Gronkowski an easy target for Tom Brady. Hernandez is another quality weapon at TE for the Pats.

Happy Birthday Janelle!

 


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A typical fantasy football league consists of 12 teams nine starters (QB, two RBs, three WRs, TE, K, D) and anywhere from five to seven bench players. If you go with the latter bench allotment, you’re looking at 16 roster spots or 192 draft picks. By that definition, any sleeper should have an average draft position about 180 or lower.

 

Houston WR Jacoby Jones has an ADP of 186 (64th WR) according to Mock Draft Central. His 27 catches for 437 yards last year did not raise any eyebrows, but his 6 touchdown catches did. As did his finish when he caught seven passes for 144 yards and a pair of scores in the final two weeks.

 

He is in a stiff battle with Kevin Walter (53-611-2) for the number two receiver role opposite of Andre Johnson. The Texans will operate in plenty of three-receiver sets so it’s not like the loser will not get their share of targets. Still, whoever wins the battle will have the higher value, which is pretty much a given. Walter has been fairly productive the past three seasons, but Jones has more potential.

 

My assumption is that Jones will take hold of the flanker position, relegating Walter to the slot. Jones will be more productive in standard scoring leagues while Walter will be more productive in PPR leagues. Walter’s ADP is 136 (49th WR), making Jones a significantly better value. I feel both WRs are worthy of making a fantasy roster. Right now I prefer Walter (click to see my WR rankings), especially with his 6’3″, 218 lb. frame as a red zone target, but if Jones can win the starting job, my opinion will change.

 

What are your thoughts on Jacoby Jones? Kevin Walter?


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No, I am not talking about the Mike Williams who is trying to shed the bust label with the Seahawks. Though I am quietly rooting that he can turn his career around, I am more excited about the Tampa Bay rookie WR that shares the same name.

 

Tampa Bays’ Mike Williams is a 6’2″ WR out of Syracuse that has been turning heads in training camp. He is slated to start for the Bucs and could easily emerge as their #1 passing option. He had a nifty grab in Tampa’s preseason opener that went for 30 yards. As he gets more familiar with the offense and the speed of the NFL, as well as building a stronger rapport with Josh Freeman, that type of big play should happen much more frequently.

 

Williams is going for a steal now according to his Mock Draft Central ADP of 213 (75th WR taken). As the buzz gets out, look for him to fly up the draft boards. Williams would have been a more highly coveted player if it weren’t for his off-the-field issues. As long as he keeps his nose clean, he will be able to showcase his immense talent. He should provide good WR depth that could end up outperforming some of your starters. He is even more valuable in deep keeper leagues.

 

What are your expectations for Tampa’s Mike Williams?

 

We already previewed the deep sleeper running backs, guys who should be on your radar, but not necessarily your roster (click here to see the article). This group of RBs are guys that you will draft for RB depth, but could end up being your fantasy saviors.

 

Tim Hightower, Arizona Cardinals (ADP 117)
Beanie Wells is the Cardinals back that everybody is clamoring for, but Hightower had more total yards (1026 to 936) and TDs (8 to 7). Hightower had 10 TDs in 2008 so even with a reduced role, he could still be in line for carries at the stripe. Given Beanie’s track record with injuries, Hightower could even see a few starts.

 

Chester Taylor, Chicago Bears (ADP 119)
Chester will be 31 in September, but he doesn’t have a lot of wear on his tires. He has topped 160 carries just once in his eight year career. Like Forte he is capable of running between the tackles and catching the ball out of the backfield. Plus, he is familiar with his divisional foes. This is a make-or-break year for Lovie Smith so if Forte struggles, Taylor will get a shot.

 

LenDale White, Denver Broncos (ADP 182)
He will miss the first four games with a suspension, but if the injuries continue in Denver, LenDale could see his first share of meaningful snaps since 2008.

 

Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions (ADP 199) 
Smith is coming off an ACL tear and the Lions drafted Jahvid Best, but Smith is a guy who has accumulated 1723 yards (2424 total) and 13 TDs (12 rushing) in 29 games. Best too is an injury concern so don’t be surprised if Smith gets some starts this year.

 

Steve Slaton, Houston Texans (ADP 96)
Arian Foster and Ben Tate appear to be better suited to be every-down backs, but the Texans are a pass-oriented team and Slaton has 94 catches in two seasons. Even in a forgettable year he caught 44 balls for 417 yards and 4 TDs. Assuming he stays healthy, Slaton will make an impact for the Texans in 2010.

 

Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts (ADP 95)
While I caution you not to be took quick to write-off Joseph Addai, I also caution you not to overlook Donald Brown. He is the Colts’ future at RB and will get a bigger chance to show his worth.

 

Thomas Jones, Kansas City Chiefs (ADP 90)
Speaking of guys who have been wrote-off too early, people have been singing Jones’ Swan Song for years. The Bears couldn’t bury him. The Jets couldn’t bury him. As good as Jamaal Charles, aka Chris Johnson Lite, was last year, I don’t think they brought in TJ to babysit. He will get his touches, most notably at the stripe.

 

Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (ADP 82)
Brandon Jacobs could have a monster comeback season or he could continue to disappoint. The jury is out. Meanwhile Bradshaw could end up being the feature back for a team that will be looking to run more in 2010. He could be a steal in the 7th round of fantasy drafts.

 

LaDainian Tomlinson, New York Jets (ADP 112) 
Does LT have anything left in the tank? The Jets are gambling that he does. It is Shonn Greene’s turn now, but he has to show that he can stay healthy and score TDs. Two things that LT has been able to do his whole career. He doesn’t have the burst he once had, but the Jets do have an outstanding offensive line.

 

Darren McFadden & Michael Bush, Oakland Raiders (ADP 77 & 84)
Run DMC is on the fringe of bust status after injuries, ineffectiveness, and JaMarcus Russell’s ineptitude have held him to 856 yards and 5 TDs in two seasons. He has salvaged some value by catching 50 passes for 530 yards, but he is still waiting to deliver on his expectations both with the Raiders and fantasy owners alike. Meanwhile Bush, who actually has fewer total yards (1277 to 1386) than McFadden, is regarded in many fantasy circles as the better NFL back. They figure to be a pretty evenly split RBBC, but if one goes down with an injury, the other could see a huge increase in value thanks to the stability Jason Campbell should bring at QB.

 

Darren Sproles, San Diego Chargers (ADP 116)
Ryan Mathews is all the rage, but Sproles is a dynamic playmaker that could combine for 1000 total yards and 6+ TDs. If Mathews struggles, Sproles could see an even bigger role.

 

Justin Forsett, Seattle Seahawks (ADP 113)
Forsett is another undersized back that could put up a healthy total yardage number. He should be particularly busy in the passing attack.

 

Derrick Ward, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ADP 211)
Ward was a free agent disaster for the Bucs last year, but bury him just yet. Some of his struggles can be attributed to a knee injury. Cadillac Williams has had more than his share of injuries so Ward will be in the mix, and could take over if the Caddy goes in the shop again.

 

Larry Johnson, Washington Redskins (ADP 178)
LJ’s season can go either way. He could be sent out to pasture or he could reclaim some of his glory if Clinton Portis is the one sent out to pasture. You should be able to wait the bulk of your draft before selecting him, so even if he’s a miss, it shouldn’t do too much damage.

 

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You never know when a running back will go down or lose his spot because of fumbling issues. These are not guys for your fantasy roster, rather for your memory vault in case you need them.

 

LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona Cardinals
The second-year back out of Pitt caught three passes in the shootout playoff win over Green Bay. He’s buried in the Cardinals depth chart behind Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower, but could see an increased workload, especially in the passing game.

 

Jalen Parmele, Baltimore Ravens
If Ray Rice or Willis McGahee were to go down, Parmele could step in. He has the size (5’11, 220 lbs) and speed to take over as either the lead back or the goal line guy.

 

Bernard Scott, Cincinnati Bengals
Scott isn’t quiet as deep a sleeper after combining for 206 yards in Week 11 & 12 last year. If Benson went down, Scott would be a very hot commodity.

 

James Davis, Cleveland Browns
Davis was a sleeper last year, but never really got his shot after tearing his labrum. He’s behind Jerome Harrison and rookie Montario Hardesty, but could get a shot if there were issues in Cleveland.


Deji Karim, Jacksonville Jaguars
With Maurice Jones-Drew  leading the Jaguars’ attack, Deji might not get much run, especially with Rashad Jennings ahead of him on the depth chart. If MoJo did go down, it would take a committee to replace him, and Deji would certainly be included.

 

Albert Young, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings would likely call on rookie Toby Gerhart if Adrian Peterson went down, but Young would be in the mix. He could also serve as the third-down back, which afforded Chester Taylor decent numbers last year.

 

Lynell Hamilton, New Orleans Saints
With Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush ahead of him on the depth chart, Hamilton may not get many carries. That said, both PT and Bush have dealt with injuries in the past. Hamilton could fill the Mike Bell role.

 

Andre Brown, New York Giants
Brown’s 2009 season was lost to an Achilles injury, but if healthy, he could be in the mix this year. Brandon Jacobs is far from durable, which could speed the process up.

 

Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers
First Dwyer will have to prove he can stay healthy. If he can, he could get a few carries.

 

Javon Ringer, Tennessee Titans
If the Titans plan to lessen Chris Johnson’s workload in 2010, Ringer would be the primary beneficiary.


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A typical fantasy football league consists of 12 teams nine starters (QB, two RBs, three WRs, TE, K, D) and anywhere from five to seven bench players. If you go with the latter bench allotment, you’re looking at 16 roster spots or 192 draft picks. By that definition, any sleeper should have an average draft position about 180 or lower.

 

Houston RB Arian Foster is going with the 182nd pick according to Mock Draft Central. That is good for the 56th RB selected, meaning he’d be a RB4 or RB5 in 12-team fantasy leagues. He is going behind the likes of LenDale White, Larry Johnson, Tashard Choice, and Glen Coffee to name a few. LenDale doesn’t even have a gig. Foster is even behind teammates Ben Tate (26th RB, 58 overall) and Steve Slaton (39, 95).

 

The problem is, nobody informed Texans Coach Gary Kubiak. He called Foster “mature beyond his years” and hinted that Foster could have a firm grip on the top stop in Houston’s depth chart. Obviously he would split carries with Slaton and Tate, but clearly Foster should be going ahead of unsigned free agents, washed up backup RBs, and backup RBs that don’t figure to have many carries.

 

It’s not like Foster struggled last year. He ran for 257 yards on 54 carries (4.8 ypc) for 3 TDs. He added 8 catches for 93 yards. He did this in very limited playing time. When he got his chance in Week 16 and 17 he combined for 242 total yards (216 rushing) and 3 TDs. His ypc in those two games was 5.5.

 

The second-year back isn’t taking the competition lightly. He is quoted as saying “I wasn’t up at 5:30 (a.m.) this offseason for nothing, so my mentality isn’t, ‘This spot is mine.’ My mentality is, ‘This spot is going to get taken. I am going to take it.’”

 

We’ll have to see how things play out during the next few weeks, but with quotes like that from Foster and Kubiak, I am willing to move Kubiak up my draft board. I would take him as a low-end RB3 or high-end RB4 if he continues to keep Slaton and Tate at bay. Click to see my update 2010 fantasy RB rankings.

 

What are your thoughts on Arian Foster?

A typical fantasy football league consists of 12 teams nine starters (QB, two RBs, three WRs, TE, K, D) and anywhere from five to seven bench players. If you go with the latter bench allotment, you’re looking at 16 roster spots or 192 draft picks. By that definition, any sleeper should have an average draft position about 180 or lower.

 

Rookie Cincinnati Bengal TE Jermaine Gresham has an ADP of 206 according to Mock Draft Central. That makes him the the second pick of the 18th round or the 20th TE to come off the board. That is right about where I have Gresham ranked among TEs (click to see my 2010 fantasy TE rankings). While his ranking puts him in the TE2 category, he has the potential to bust out in a big way.

 

He has great size (6’5″, 260), soft hands, and the ability to pick up yards after the catch with both his toughness and his elusiveness. He gives Carson Palmer a safety valve over the middle when Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, and Antonio Bryant (assuming he’s healthy) stretch the field. He should also get plenty of targets in the red zone given his skill set.

 

He missed the 2009 college season with a knee injury, but was a real threat in 2007 (37 catches, 518 yards, 11 TDs) and 2009 (66, 950, 14). My modest prediction for Gresham in 2010 is 45 catches for 450 yards and 5 TDs, but I could easily see those numbers jump to 60-650-7.

 

In non-keeper leagues he’s worth taking a shot on with a late round pick. In deep keeper leagues though, he should be go much sooner as he has the potential to become one of the top TEs in the league in the next couple of seasons.

 

What are your thoughts on Jermaine Gresham?

 

 

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A typical fantasy football league consists of 12 teams nine starters (QB, two RBs, three WRs, TE, K, D) and anywhere from five to seven bench players. If you go with the latter bench allotment, you’re looking at 16 roster spots or 192 draft picks. By that definition, any sleeper should have an average draft position about 180 or lower.

 

Seattle Seahawks TE John Carlson has an ADP of 189 according to Mock Draft Central. I know he’s not Dallas Clark or Antonio Gates, but that seems awfully low. It would put him as the ninth pick in the 15th round and the 19th TE selected, going behind the likes of Brandon Pettigrew, Todd Heap, Marcedes Lewis, and Anthony Fasano. Click here to see where I have Carlson ranked among fantasy TEs.

 

That seems odd for a guy that has put up numbers since coming into the NFL. As a rookie he caught 55 passes for 627 yards and 5 TDs. Last year he caught 51 for 574 yards and 7 TDs. He had a lengthy drought that can explain why his stock is so low, but the talent is there.

 

He opened the season with a bang catching six passes for 95 yards and 2 TDs. He finished the season with a four-game TD streak. The middle 11 games left plenty to be desired as he scored just 1 TD and topped 50 yards just once. I think it had more to do with the offensive ineptitude of the Seahawks than a reflection of Carlson’s ability or lack thereof.

 

The Seahawks added Russell Okung in the recent NFL Draft and signed TE Chris Baker to handle the blocking duties. Carlson should be able to focus his attention on the passing game, which should make him a much more consistent fantasy threat.

 

Prediction:  70 catches, 770 yards, 5 TDs

 

Where do you have John Carlson ranked?

 

 

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