Lenny Melnick is a Fantasy Sports industry legend, known far and wide for his Fantasy Baseball insights. You can listen to Lenny on RotoRadio right here(http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rotoradio) several times per week or on demand at any time. But Lenny also wants you to know he is more than just a baseball expert this week.
For the past 20 years, I have covered mostly all Fantasy Sports. Yet very few identify Lenny Melnick with Fantasy Football. I think the reasons are obvious, as I usually don’t pull any punches. Pro Football is my favorite sport. Unlike baseball and basketball, I don’t require a fantasy team to keep my total interest. I plan my Sundays around game time and I have been a Diehard New York (football) Giants fan since 1958, when Alan Ameche scored the touchdown in the greatest game ever played. I haven’t stopped crying since. The Colts vs Giants game was blacked out in NY, and I listened to it all on radio. Football is in my heart. Are you surprised?
I love the game and I love my team. Fantasy football is much more complicated than fantasy baseball and it is almost a distraction. Baseball is much more of an individual sport. Some baseball players are injury prone and we worry about them. In Fantasy Football we worry about injuries, not only to our players, but to their offensive lineman, their receivers and the quarterback. Almost any decent running back can flourish with a good offensive line. Alan Ameche would not have scored without the holes he had in ’58.
We worry about the weather conditions, the matchups and even the game score. We fear a 3 touchdown lead and our receivers getting shut down. We get annoyed when our running back carries 90 yards to the 5 yard line and then the goal-line back comes in. I may not be a Fantasy Football expert by trade, but I am a football expert, and experience paves the way for these five outlooks.
1) Doug Martin will have a huge year. Martin scored only 6 of 15 times from inside the 5-yard line last year Both Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks, 2 All-Pro linemen, return to block and open up those holes. Take him #2 overall.
2) LeSean McCoy will re-emerge as a Fantasy stud, with offensive lineman Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans all returning after lost years. Missing those blockers was the main reason McCoy’s rushing average went from 4.8 to 4.2. Move him up on your RB1 rankings.
3) Trent Richardson is a huge risk. Norv Turner loves to use his feature back and expects 300 carries from Richardson. The problem with that is Trent has visited Dr. James Andrews twice, has been held from OTAs as a precaution and missed more than 1 workout. Knee, shin and ankle concerns are there. Raise the warning flags.
4) Alfred Morris will disappoint many owners this year. Last year we didn’t know if Morris could beat out Hightower, Helu or Royster. The 6th round pick flourished in the read-option attack with RG3 last season. Morris is a tough runner who won’t go away, but will regress as he did last year vs. Cleveland when RG3 did not play. Less of the read-option to protect RG3, less of Morris.
5) Cam Newton will have fewer rushing touchdowns .Offensive coordinator Mike Shula is not a fan of the red zone read –option. Keeping Cam Newton healthy is a main factor and fact is, Newton struggled with the RZ read-option at the wrong times. The end result may be fewer red zone rushing attempts for Newton. That may not be so bad if it also results in more TD passes. However, unless Brandon LaFell or someone else emerges to help 34 year-old Steve Smith, Newton may have a problem finding targets to throw to.
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It’s all about the line baby!