Tim Hightower
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With Mark Ingram’s season coming to a disappointing end, the door opens for Tim Hightower and C.J. Spiller to get some extra work. C.J. Spiller will likely be the popular add, but could Hightower be an answer?
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It’s possible, but tread lightly.
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C.J. Spiller has been a major disappointment, only logging 31 carries for 108 yards for a sizzling 3.5 yards per carry. He has offset his lack of usage in the ground game with 29 receptions for 216 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His season high for carries is eight. Spiller only had one touch last week for zero yards and four in the past two for six yards.
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Meanwhile when Spiller had a season high of eight carries for 24 yards, Hightower toted the rock 11 times for 46 yards. Hightower, who has been MIA for several years could be that surprise factor in the fantasy football playoffs.
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If you have a roster spot available, I suggest picking up Hightower. I would not recommend playing him, however, until there is more clarity in the Saints’ backfield. Hightower has never been a dynamic back so temper your expectations.
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There was only one running back selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram was selected by the Saints with the 28th pick in the draft. This is a good spot for Ingram. He won’t have to worry about being driven into the ground from overuse, which is the perfect recipe for a running back with knee concerns.
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For starters the Saints are a pass-first team. They aren’t your prototypical grind it out offense. The Saints rely first and foremost on Drew Brees’ arm. Sure, they need a running game to balance the attack, but the Saints are probably the last team that is going to overuse a running back.
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Besides, they have Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory to share running back duties. Even Reggie Bush feels his days with the Saints are likely over. Three good running backs and only one football. This is a great problem for the Saints to have, but it’s not ideal for fantasy owners. Ingram’s value is seriously diminished in redraft leagues because he will be a part of a committee. He takes a lesser hit in dynasty leagues, but still a hit nonetheless.
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There were three wide receiver taken in the first round. As expected A.J. Green was the first off the board. He should easily step into the starting role opposite of  Jerome Simpson, which should make people hit the brakes on proclaiming Simpson as a big-time sleeper in this year’s fantasy drafts.
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Now we just need to find out who is going to throw the ball in Cincinnati. Carson Palmer and Mike Brown are engaged in a high stakes game of chicken. If they can settle their differences, both Green and Simpson will be solid fantasy options. If they have to settle for Carson’s brother Jordan, their values take a hit.
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Julio Jones found a good home. He gets to catch passes from Matt Ryan in a high-powered Falcons offense that also features Roddy White, Michael Turner, and Tony Gonzalez. Washington and St. Louis were likely destinations for Jones, which would have made him the primary receiver. With Atlanta he is able to play opposite of Roddy White and ease into the league. He won’t see as many targets as he would as the number one receiver, but he also won’t draw the number one cornerback either. Though Green has more question marks at quarterback, I still rate him one and Jones two in both redraft and dynasty leagues.
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Jonathan Baldwin finds himself in a similar scenario as Jones. He gets to play opposite of Dwayne Bowe in Kansas City’s up-and-coming offense. They’ll miss Charlie Weis, but with Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Matt Cassel, and now Baldwin, the Chiefs should have no problem putting points on the board.
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Baldwin is a player to take in the later rounds of your fantasy drafts. He’s going to take some time to develop, but is a solid add for dynasty leagues. He’s nearly 6’5″ with good speed and leaping ability.
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This has the makings of a good rookie wide receiver class. Knowing that receivers have a longer shelf life than running backs, I would take Green and Jones before Ingram in keeper leagues.
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Boser’s Tweetbeat –
Sifting through the hashtags to bring you the hottest trending Twitter topics in the Fantasy Football industry.
By Ryan Boser
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Clearing the Cobwebs
Austin Collie’s sagging ADP has sparked an impassioned debate throughout the fantasy community. Collie’s currently being drafted as the 20th wide receiver in early mocks, despite being one of the most productive per-game receivers in the league last season. Through six games, he was on pace for a tremendous 144 targets, and a 118CA/1,343YD/16TD bottom line. Obviously, such calculations must be taken with a grain of salt. But 20th? We’re clearly witnessing the power of the concussion risk factor. After those first six games, Collie only set foot on the field three more times in 2010. He was forced from each of those contests prematurely with concussions. Brain injuries. Three times in a seven-week span, Collie lay prone on the field as we held our breaths in horror. And so goes the dispute: Technically, one receiver is just as likely to take a big hit as the next. Conversely, the effects of said hit on a player with past concussions, as opposed to a player with a clean slate, may be very different. What complicates matters even further is that no two concussions are the same, and that we have no clue how many concussions have gone unreported over the last handful of years. Hence, formulating an accurate study for concussion recurrence rates is impossible. Ultimately, what we’re left with is a guy being drafted as a low-end WR2 who produced high-end WR1 numbers when healthy in 2010. Come draft day, how much weight should we be putting on past concussions? Is Austin Collie really more likely to suffer a concussion next season than someone like, say, Reggie Wayne? Right or wrong, our current ADP information suggests severe apprehension in drafting Collie. Personally, I haven’t had the cojones to pull the trigger on Collie in any of the five mocks (@TheDraftmaster) I’ve participated in.
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Smitten with Witten
Last season, Jason Witten had his most productive fantasy campaign since 2007. This offseason his bandwagon is brimming, as the common opinion seems to be that he can only get better when Tony Romo returns. Pump the breaks, folks. Somewhere near the end of Romo’s 2007 breakout season, the quarterback inexplicably began to ignore Witten near the endzone. Dating back to Week 15 of 2007, the road roommates have played 37.25 games together (Romo lasted one quarter of Week 6 last season before breaking his clavicle). In those 37.25 games, Witten’s scored just seven times, resulting in a disgusting touchdown rate (touchdowns/reception) of 3.5%. Enter Jon Kitna. The steam we’re experiencing with Witten was not generated until the 38-year old backup took over. In those next 10.75 games, Witten’s seven touchdowns equaled his total form the previous 37.25 with Romo. As a result, Witten’s touchdown rate spiked from 3.5% under Romo to 10% under Kitna. And while Witten’s looks (targets/game) and YPC didn’t experience much change, his catch rate (catches/target) shot up from 69% to 78%. Witten clearly flourished with Kitna under center, but Dez Bryant’s season-ending injury may have played an even bigger role. Witten scored five times in the Cowboys’ final four games without Bryant. Perhaps you’re beginning to see why I’m leery of Witten’s 2011 prospects. Bryant will be back, pass-catching back Felix Jones’ role is set to increase, and recent history suggests Witten is the latest in a long line of blondish southerners that Tony Romo has lost interest in.
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Future Phenoms
With the fantasy baseball hot stove heating up, and the NFL labor negotiations extending extended extensions, fantasy football speculation has been a bit thin in recent weeks. Amidst the seamheads and suits, however, the NFL Combine and individual pro days have provided dynasty league enthusiasts with plenty of conjecture. Dynasty guru Bryan Fontaine (@Bryan_Fontaine) of Pro Football Focus recently pegged his top five dynasty rookies for 2011. Of course, a lot will depend on where these kids land. With that said, here are Fontaine’s five favorite dynasty draft prospects to keep a close eye on come April 28th (in no particular order): Georgia WR A.J. Green, Alabama WR Julio Jones, Alabama RB Mark Ingram, Illinois RB Mikel LeShoure, and Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams.
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Ryan Boser has contributed writing and analysis for FantasyVictory.com, KFAN AM 1130′s Fantasy Football Weekly program, and numerous other fantasy football outlets. Ryan’s own website, Out of My League, covers both fantasy football and the Minnesota sports landscape.


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Alabama running back Mark Ingram and wide receiver Julio Jones have declared for the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft.
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Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner , ran for 875 yards on 158 carries (5.5 ypc) with 13 touchdowns. He finishes his career with 3261 yards on 572 carries 5.7 ypc) with 42 touchdowns.
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Jones caught 78 passes for 1133 yards and seven touchdowns. He added 135 yards and two rushing touchdowns on eight carries. He had 801 total yards and six touchdowns in his last six games.
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Both Ingram and Jones could go in the late first or early second round. Ingram should make an immediate impact while Jones will likely need a season or two of seasoning.

Mark Ingram was the first power running back to take home the Heisman Trophy since Ricky Williams and Ron Dayne won it in 1998 and 1999 respectively. He ends a string of three consecutive Quarterback winners. In fact, Quarterbacks have won eight of the last nine Heisman Trophies.

Too often it seemed that the QB of the #1 team would take home college’s most prestigious award. Of those eight QBs, only Carson Palmer went on to success in the NFL. Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford haven’t had their opportunity yet, but I’m not one who thinks they’ll have productive pro careers.

When the Heisman was at its best was between 1968-1988. That stretch produced Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson, Tony Dorsett, Earl Campbell, Marcus Allen, and Barry Sanders. It also produced quality RBs Billy Sims, Herschel Walker, Mike Rozier, and Bo Jackson.

I’m not saying that Ingram belongs in the first batch of Backs, but perhaps he can help buck the trend of glorifying the QB and prompt Heisman voters to take the best player and not just the best QB.  After all, he became Alabama’s first Heisman winner so anything is possible.


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