Sarah Bojarski, RotoExperts.com
8:50 pm, February 14th, 2013
While the NFL offseason is just getting underway, there are still some storylines to follow. The time is coming when players are signing contracts, getting released or traded, and finding new places to play. Likely you’re only still following football if you are in a dynasty or keeper league and you can do year-round pickups and trades. However, there’s probably not a lot of activity in your league right now. Let’s see what kind of activity is going on in the real football league.
The New York Giants have cut ties with their No. 1 back after putting up with season after season of injury after injury. Bradshaw turns 27 next month, but has had so many ankle and foot injuries, he is a liability to any team. The New York Jets have been rumored to be a landing spot for Bradshaw, although they deny having any interest. There are a number of running back-needy teams that could use him, however, owners should hold off on making any decisions before finding out where he’s going to play. In 2012, he played in 14 games and ended with 1,015 rushing yards, six touchdowns, 23 receptions, 245 receiving yards and three fumbles. Statistically it was his second best season, however, the constant injuries make him impossible to trust as a real-life team’s No. 1 back — or your Fantasy No. 1 RB.
Apparently the Carolina Panthers saw something they liked in Stewart. While his season was disappointing (336 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, 17 receptions 157 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown), he did play through injuries before they finally cost him the season. DeAngelo Williams stepped in admirably, but it appears that Williams won’t be back in Carolina, and Stewart restructured his contract this offseason. He now has a guaranteed base salary through 2014. He’s staying in Carolina as the top back, for better or worse. Stewart isn’t a RB you can easily trust, but he’ll be a RB2 next season for Fantasy leagues. As for Williams, if he is cut from the Panthers, wait to see where he ends up. It’s possible he may take on a Peyton Hillis at Kansas City type of role, in which case, he’s a handcuff only.
With Felix Jones likely out in Dallas, Murray will be atop the depth chart at running back for Dallas. However, the guy who has missed nine games in the last two seasons because of injury is going to need a solid backup. With both Philip Tanner and Lance Dunbar on the roster, it appears the Cowboys are set, but who will be the guy to own? Right now, it appears that Dunbar has surpassed Tanner on the depth chart. Dunbar is 23 years old, and in 2012, had 21 rushes for 75 yards and added six receptions for 33 yards. Tanner, meanwhile, will be 25 for the 2013 season and with 25 rushes in 2012, had 61 yards and added four receptions for 41 yards. Dunbar is better at pass protection, which may pave the way for him to be the guy to own in Dallas. Dynasty leaguers ought to make sure they own Dunbar, and Murray owners need to make sure he’s handcuffed with Dunbar.
After being placed on injured reserve with a poor attitude rather than a physical ailment, Detroit recently released him. The St. Louis Rams decided to put in a waiver claim on the youngster, clearly believing he has talent and that they can change his attitude. Perhaps a change in scenery will be good for him. He’ll be 24 at the start of this season, and depending on what happens in St. Louis, he may end up as the No. 1 wide receiver (Brandon Gibson and Danny Amendola are free agents). He did show promise before the Lions claimed that he purposely ran incorrect routes and hurt the team. He had 33 receptions in 2012 with 383 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 10 games. Dynasty league owners can hang on to him, but if he’s available, don’t rush to pick him up. With Sam Bradford throwing to him, Young may end up frustrated. And we know a frustrated Young leads to problems on — and off — the field.
Vick is staying in Philadelphia. With new head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles apparently think that Vick at least will be beneficial to lead the offense for another year. Vick thinks that he can rush for 1,000 yards again (like he did seven years ago). While that’s doubtful, it is possible that he will put up better numbers than he did in 2012. If he can stay injury-free, Vick is worth QB2 consideration with the possibility of putting up QB1 numbers. Also in Philadelphia, it is rumored that Bryce Brown will split carries with LeSean McCoy. This will keep both backs fresh, but drastically impacts McCoy’s draft value. Formerly a Top Three RB pick, he’ll now drop out of the Top Five. While Brown has fumbling issues, he has proven that he still is able to run hard and run well. It makes sense for him to cut into McCoy’s workload, but it’s a headache for Fantasy owners.
In coming weeks, I’m going to compile a “Players I Love for 2013” list. Randle will likely be on that list. Sure, he’s only the No. 3 wideout for the Giants, but he has shown he has the ability to succeed. Hakeem Nicks is getting older and injuries have plagued him for two seasons now (he’s also a free agent after the 2013 season). If Nicks misses time, Randle is now on the field opposite Victor Cruz. Randle, in his rookie season, had 32 targets that he turned into 19 receptions for 298 yards and three touchdowns. He added 108 punt return yards, for those in return yardage leagues. Outside of dynasty leagues, Randle isn’t going to be a top WR, don’t get me wrong. However, he’s one of those guys that you’ll draft in the middle rounds that may end up being a stud for you before the bye weeks of the 2013 season.
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