Welcome to Eagles Addict’s first ever post about Fantasy Football! I’ve been playing fantasy football now for about 5 years and I’m more addicted than ever.
For those of you who play, you know the excitement I’m talking about. We get to put on a GM hat and build a team that we hope will win us a championship (and money!).
The draft is perhaps the most fun part. If you’re like me, you’ve spent all offseason preparing by locking yourself away in the computer room creating spreadsheets and graphs to project every skill players’ production in 2011.
By draft time, you come out of your secret fantasy football lair only to scare your kids because you’re now sporting a ZZ Top-style beard and they don’t recognize you anymore.
Okay, maybe you’re not like me.
But either way, draft-time is when you deploy your long thought-about strategy and attempt to outsmart and out-guess your opponents. Just like in real football, you need to draft well in order to win a championship.
Alright, let’s get on with it shall we? Now for the purpose of this article:
There are always players in every draft where you aren’t quite sure how to feel about them in regards to fantasy production. They could be really good and score you a bunch of points, fade into oblivion or be overly frustrating due to constant injuries.
These players are considered to be “boom or bust”. What makes them a boom or bust is a combination of potential, past history and what spot you are considering taking him in the draft.
In reality, you could probably find a reason for every player to be considered risky. But I’ve created a top 10 list of players who, in my opinion, are more risky than most.
Take a look and provide any feedback you see necessary. If one thing is for sure, it’s that there isn’t a shortage of differences of opinion when it comes to fantasy football player projections.
*One last thing to note: My boom or bust rating is relative to the round in which they are drafted.
10. RB Tim Hightower, Redskins
He has always been a player that has talent, but turnover problems and the role of a third-down running back would always limit his touches. This made him no better than an injury fill-in or nothing more than someone to start when you’re in a bind.
However, now that he is with Mike Shanahan in Washington he is getting a lot of good buzz about his potential. He has been playing well in preseason and was getting rave reviews in training camp.
Although he could end up being part of a committee at running back, he is said to be the starter. Ryan Torain seems to be injury prone so if Hightower can stay healthy and cure his fumbling issue, he could be set for a highly productive year. Or not.
My take: Boom! He’s worthy of a mid-round pick and I predict a solid season from him.
9. WR Chad Ochocinco, Patriots
After a down year in 2010 while partnering with Terrell Owens in Cincy, Ocho now finds himself as a new target for a much better QB in Tom Brady. New England has a good offense and will score a bunch of points this year.
Ocho comes to New England with the hype and similar expectations as when Randy Moss signed there a few years ago. He’s a good receiver and has been a fantasy stud in the past.
However, Ocho is 33 years old and adjusting to a new team. The Patriots spread the ball around quite a bit so even with their high-powered offense, Tom Brady is the only fantasy player worthy of elite status.
The word in New England is that Ocho is struggling to learn the offense and his performance in the preseason has been dismal. In fact, some people are wondering if he’ll survive the final cuts.
With that said, I don’t think Ocho is in danger of not making the 53-man roster. I believe he is motivated to do well and things will fall into place at some point.
Ultimately, Ocho will be a risk this year, especially if you’re counting on him being a weekly starter. Will his current struggles last well into the season or will he get it turned around quickly?
I can see both scenarios happening. Many people are giving him a look in the 4th or 5th round and think he could be a steal as a 3rd receiver on your team.
My take: Boom! But only as a 6th round or later prospect. I think he’ll get it going eventually but you can’t count on him early in the season.
8. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
Here’s my first really tough decision. Where do you draft MJD this year? First round? He has been a first-round stalwart the past few years and has produced pretty well over his five-year career.
He had a down season last year but that was because he was playing with an injury. After the season he had surgery to repair a torn meniscus and is still taking it easy during the preseason this year.
The past two seasons, MJD has had a heavy workload. When you combine that with the injury problems, it may make some folks start questioning his durability. Running backs can tend to decline after such a combination.
There is also the fact that the Jags offense may suffer this year if they try to incorporate rookie QB Blaine Gabbert into the offense and let’s not forget they lost WR Mike Sims-Walker. Defenses may be able to key on the running game much more.
On the other hand, he is still young and has proven himself as a top fantasy player in the past. Is he still worthy of a top 10 pick?
My take: Bust! I’m going to avoid him in the first round this year and probably altogether.
7. RB Beanie Wells, Cardinals
Wells has been a disappointment so far in his young career. The Cardinals drafted Ryan Williams in the second round this year and he was thought to be pushing for a starting role.
Unfortunately for Williams, he suffered an injury that will force him to miss the season. And since the Cards no longer have Tim Hightower, Wells is all of a sudden “the man” again in Arizona’s backfield.
I’m predicting good things from him this year as long as he can stay healthy. As of right now, he doesn’t have anyone behind him that should threaten his starting role.
My take: Boom! I’d grab him anywhere from the 4th-5th round and think he’ll be a nice player this year.
6. RB Michael Turner, Falcons
He is another tough one when considering him as a first-round pick. He’s 29 years old and has had a large number of carries the past three seasons (one of which was injury riddled).
Turner had a pretty decent year last season and is still the main man at running back for Atlanta. But just like Andy Reid’s knack for knowing when to let a player go, I’m starting to feel that Turner’s production is in for a decline.
The Falcons are saying that they’re opening up the offense this year after giving up the farm in order to trade up in the draft for top college WR Julio Jones. They also lost stalwart guard Harvey Dahl to free agency.
Most people will probably disagree with me about Turner but I think he’s a risk in the first round and you’d be better off taking a different player with that pick.
My take: Bust! For round one. For me he’s round two or later material.
5. WR Percy Harvin, Vikings
Harvin was seen as a rising star after his rookie season. He’s had trouble with migraine headaches which have caused him to miss time here and there.
He hasn’t topped 1,000 yards in a season yet but that will change this year. With Sidney Rice no longer there, Harvin becomes the top dog. Plus, he will now have Donovan McNabb throwing to him which is a better option than Tarvaris Jackson or Old Man Favre.
You can also make the argument that Donovan McNabb actually hurts
Harvin’s value but I think we’ll see a mini resurrection for Donny Boy this
I fully expect a great year from Harvin and he is a receiver you can pick up in the 4th or 5th round in most drafts.
My take: Boom!
4. RB Reggie Bush, Dolphins
Bush has been an enigma for fantasy football players his entire career. He’s always a good topic for debate as far as whether he’s worth drafting as a #3 RB of flex option.
He’s also been somewhat fragile as well. However, when healthy and utilized correctly he can be an explosive player.
The word in Miami right now is that rookie Daniel Thomas, who was expected to be the workhorse, has not impressed the coaching staff. Bush is slated to be the starter.
On a team that doesn’t have a lot of offensive firepower, Bush will likely be used quite a bit this year. Plus with Chad Henne still at QB, I can certainly see Bush becoming his favorite check-down target.
I think Bush has a good season this time around as long as he can remain healthy. He can also be had in the mid-late rounds in many drafts which will make him a steal!
My take: Boom!
3. RB Felix Jones, Cowboys
Jones is another player who has a ton of talent but seems a little fragile. He hasn’t produced much to date for a variety of reasons but that should change this year.
Dallas is ready to make him the featured running back now with Marion Barber out of the way. They’re high on rookie DeMarco Murray but they want Jones to be their guy.
He will be given every opportunity to get the bulk of the touches this season. And with the Cowboys’ skill at the WR and TE position, it will likely open things up for Jones.
He has more value in a PPR league but will still put up solid numbers of at least a 3rd RB or flex option. He will likely be there in the 4th – 6th rounds as well.
My take: Boom!
2. RB Chris Johnson, Titans
He would be a consensus top two or three pick in he weren’t holding out. If you have your draft now, where do you take him? I certainly wouldn’t take him in the first round, would you?
If at some point he decides to return (or gets a new deal), he will have missed all of camp and preseason. Players who miss this time, even veterans, tend to wind up with nagging injuries that hamper them throughout the year.
I will be avoiding Johnson this year unless I can get him in the mid-late rounds. I see him as too much of a risk at this point to spend a high draft pick on him.
My take: Bust!
1. QB Michael Vick, Eagles
Vick is, without a doubt, the biggest risk/reward player in fantasy this year. He put up monster numbers last year in just 12 games. I was able to land him last year and he literally carried my team to a championship.
He has the potential to put up great numbers again, both rushing and passing. But he is also a risk for more reasons than one.
With his style of play, he’s very injury prone. And towards the end of last season his numbers trended downwards and into an “average” category as far as fantasy points.
Vick basically surprised everyone last year and took the league by storm.
Did defenses begin figuring him out by the end? Now that everyone has plenty of
game film on him with the Eagles, teams will most likely be able defend him
better than last year.
So don’t expect any games like the Monday Night game against the Redskins
last year when he passed for 333 yards and four TDs as well as had 80 yards
rushing with another 2 TDs.
I still expect Vick to put up good numbers this year for a QB. The risk factor in fantasy is taking him in the first round. I’ve read where some people think he’s worth the #1 overall pick.
That’s just crazy talk! As much as I love Vick’s potential reward for taking him high, I don’t think he should even be the first QB off the board let alone the #1 overall pick.
For me, Aaron Rodgers is still the best option at QB followed by Drew Brees. Those two have a better track record and would be the safer pick.
Vick is still worthy of a high pick just based on the potential reward alone. But if you are considering him in the first round this year, buyer beware. You’ll be taking a huge risk.
My take: Bust! Avoid him with your first pick. If he’s there at your second pick, have at him!
And that is coming from a die-hard Eagles fan who wants nothing more than a big year from our star QB.
The problem I’ll have to fight when drafting will be my “homerism” towards Vick and Eagles players. Because of said homerism, I’ll have to resist the urge to draft him in round one if I have a late pick.
I’d love to hear your feedback on my list and whether you agree or disagree. I’d also like to hear your opinion on other boom or bust prospects.
What players do you think are either primed for a big year and have a mid-round (or later) fantasy draft grade, or, are being looked at as a first-round draft pick but probably won’t have a season worthy of first-round status?
As Andy Reid would say: Time’s yours.