Football season is getting closer and closer. Some of us that are really chomping at the bit are already doing some drafts. But as minicamps start, the beginning of football season is coming. There is more player news across the league, and that means more impact for Fantasy owners. While it is tough to say how a player will be if you are drafting now, it is important to keep an eye on what is going on around the league.
Tim Tebow, QB, NE
In case you haven’t heard, the New England Patriots signed Tim Tebow. While it is unclear where Tebow will play, odds are he won’t take the starting job away from Tom Brady. (Just a guess). If he can establish himself as a receiver or a tight end, perhaps he will have a role. However, even if he plays in a few wildcat packages, Tebow isn’t worth drafting in any Fantasy league at this time. It’s not even clear if he’ll earn a roster spot. Move along.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, IND
In what appears to be a good match, Bradshaw was signed by the Colts. Without a clear No. 1 running back, the Colts needed someone that could handle most of the workload. They have plenty of guys that can serve as change-of-pace or goal-line backs, but no one that stands out as their starter. Bradshaw has a history of foot and ankle injuries, but if he can stay healthy, he’s a good addition to the team. For Fantasy purposes, look at Bradshaw as a RB2. He’s going to get most of the carries, and if he can stay healthy, he will be productive. That is a huge if, however, so look at Vick Ballard as a Bradshaw handcuff unless another owner grabs him.
Michael Floyd, WR, ARI
Last year, Floyd had 45 receptions for 562 yards and two touchdowns. He played second fiddle to Andre Roberts (64/759/5). However, this year he’s looking like he might challenge Roberts for targets. Both are still obviously behind Larry Fitzgerald, but with Carson Palmer at quarterback, they at least have more of a shot to make a difference for Fantasy purposes. Floyd may end up starting outside with Fitzgerald. He should be drafted as a WR3. He may perform beyond that, but he will likely be inconsistent, so be prepared.
Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland
Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said that he’s “counting on” Denarius Moore this year. Moore is atop the wideout depth chart in Oakland, however, he now has Matt Flynn throwing to him. Arm strength isn’t exactly Flynn’s strong point, and Moore is usually the guy downfield ready to run. While it seems like Moore might be a tempting Fantasy option, hold the reins on him for a bit. Don’t be fooled by the depth chart. The Raiders are going to struggle this year, and Fantasy owners know that struggling teams don’t usually provide players with great Fantasy numbers. Sure, Flynn will be throwing the ball a lot, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into great numbers for Moore. Coming off a 51/741/7 line in 2012, look for Moore to put up similar numbers in 2013. He’s your WR3, if that.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR
Believe it or not, prior to last season, J-Stew had only missed two games. However, in 2012, he played in nine games, although ineffectively. He rushed for 336 yards and one touchdown. He caught 17 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown. He also had offseason surgery on both ankles and may not be ready for training camp. He should be ready by Week 1, although it’s hard to say what kind of shape he will be in if he misses the offseason. DeAngelo Williams is still in the mix, most likely because of Stewart’s injury. He did restructure his contract in May, but he will likely still just be sharing carries with Stewart. In 2012, he had 737 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He added 187 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. Both backs shouldn’t be carrying your Fantasy team. Draft Stewart as a RB3 and Williams as a RB4/handcuff to Stewart.
Montee Ball, RB, DEN
With no Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno still sidelined following knee surgery, the depth chart just opened up for Ball. Drafted at No. 58 overall, the Broncos are ready to throw him on the field as their No. 1 back. He’ll have Ronnie Hillman to come in for change-of-pace work, but Ball is now the back to own in Denver. As the featured back in an offense that loves him and will utilize him, Ball is flirting with RB1 status. He’s easily a high RB2, but may end up producing RB1 numbers. Even though he’s a rookie, take the risk on him on draft day.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams have said that their running backs are going to have a committee approach. The three backs in St. Louis are Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead and Zac Stacy. In 2012, Richardson, in his rookie season, had 98 carries for 475 rushing yards. He also added 24 receptions for 163 yards. Pead’s impact during his rookie season was more on kickoff returns than rushing yards (54 rushing yards). While Pead does face a one-game suspension for possession of marijuana in July 2012, he is most likely the back to own in St. Louis. He’s listed atop the depth chart and the starting gig is his to lose. The Rams are standing by Pead despite the off-field issue. With Steven Jackson gone, the Rams are looking for the answer in the backfield. In the draft this year, they traded up to get Zac Stacy. While it is unlikely that he will be a difference-maker this year, he will still be in the mix. Those in redraft leagues can leave Stacy alone on draft day, but those in keeper and dynasty leagues will want to grab him. Look for Pead to be a RB2 this year and Richardson to get in the mix, perhaps as the handcuff to Pead.