Ask the Experts
Posted Jul. 21 at 10:14 PM
ASK THE EXPERTS appears weekly with answers to a new question being posted Thursday morning. How the guest experts responded when we asked them:
Which player is being underrated in fantasy drafts so far?
I think it has to be Kansas City running back Thomas Jones. For as overvalued as his backfield mate Jamaal Charles (shoulder) is, TJ is the complete opposite. Going, on average, in the eighth round, Jones is coming off the board after Michael Bush (Raiders), Montario Hardesty (Browns), Jerome Harrison (Browns), Ben Tate (Texans) and Fred Jackson (Bills). Yikes! Jones won't replicate his career year of 2009, but he should be the workhorse back in this offense and see the majority of goal line attempts. He's a strong No. 3 back and may even out-produce Charles with a little luck.
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ADP stats have Jay Cutler going in the 72nd spot in current draft trends. He is being drafted behind 7 tight ends, receivers that look like they are not going to play, 3rd string WR and backup running backs. Cutler definitely had a bad year last year but things will certainly turn around for him this year. This will be the second year with the weapons around him but the biggest impact will be Mike Martz as his OC. This is the same system that took the Rams to 2 Super Bowls with "The Greatest Show on Turf" and allowed Jon Kitna to have back to back 4000 yards seasons. If Kitna can throw for 4K in the Martz system, someone as talented as Cutler is going to have a huge year under that same tutelage.
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According to MockDraftCentral.com, Joe Flacco is being drafted around pick 95, which makes him the 13th overall QB taken. I could easily see him producing more than Brett Favre (who might not even play), Matt Ryan or Eli Manning, all of whom are being taken ahead of him. The additions of Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth will only help the third-year signal caller and he'll still have his safety blanket in Derrick Mason. Todd Heap should start again but there's a Plan B with rookies Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta. Flacco can count on another 700 receiving yards out of Ray Rice which won't hurt either.
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Cadillac Williams has an ADP that is all over the place. I have seen him go as late as 115th (10.07). I have him at about 75th (7.03). Whenever the last of the starting RBs (I have him ranked 32nd in RBs PPR, slightly higher non PPR) can be had in the 9th or 10th round that is value. I like him because he is two years removed from his serious knee injury and TB seems to want him to be their starter.
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I like Beanie Wells in Arizona as much as anyone else and feel he's in for a very good season in 2010. But his running mate Tim Hightower is one of the more undervalued players currently drafted. He hasn't been selected in the single digit rounds of any BFD Drafts I've reviewed. He's a top pass catching RB, and will be used near the goal line in 2010. The Cardinals are looking to run the football, they have made that very clear with the building of the defense and the additions along the offensive line. Tim will be plenty busy in 2010.
Tranquilli is the founder and the primary "brains" (if you stretch it) of BFDFANTASYfootball.com. BFD is about delivering the information players want, not fluff, just opinions that matter to fantasy football players. Lou has worked with NFL players and gives a unique perspective because of it.
Antonio Bryant gets my vote. I think he’s a pretty good player, and I think he could do big things in Cincinnati. Carson Palmer struggled during the second half of last year, but I think it’s possible he’ll be more like what he was in the past. In the three seasons before he injured his elbow in 2008, Palmer averaged 250 passing yards per game and 28 TD passes per season. If he can get back to anything close to that kind of production, Bryant should catch 80-plus passes and 8-plus TDs. I think he should be one of the first 25 receivers selected, but he’s hasn’t gone anywhere near that high in the drafts I’ve seen.
Allan is the senior writer for Fantasy Football Index. He's been in that role since 1987, generating most of the player rankings and analysis for that publication. His work can be seen in Fantasy Football Index magazine, and also at the company's website, www.fantasyindex.com.
A player that I want on every single one of my teams this season is Michael Bush, who is being selected late in the eighth round as the 38th running back off the board. Personally, I have little faith that Darren McFadden is capable of running between the tackles consistently or staying healthy. On the flip side, Bush has played in 31 games (seven starts) over the last two seasons, averaging 4.6 yards on 218 carries, while displaying soft hands with 36 receptions (7.4 YPC). At 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds, Bush is built for a heavy workload, and is arguably the more complete back than McFadden. In my opinion, between the additions of quarterback Jason Campbell and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, Bush has a legitimate shot of being a mid-range No. 2 fantasy back this season, and securing your RB2 in the eighth round can place you on the fast track to claiming championship hardware.
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I'll mention a late-round sleeper... WR Nate Burleson. As a Lion, he will not only take the pressure off WR Calvin Johnson, but also produce more than most think as the #2 WR for an offense on the rise with a quality young QB on the rise in QB Matthew Stafford. To be able to draft him as I did in the 14-team FFWebMasters league draft late in the 11th round is simply ridiculous.
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Sidney Rice is being drafted usually mid-third round or later and much of that stems from the indecision of Brett Favre. But the reality is that Rice has already had his breakout season, already is a star receiver and has elite talent. He’ll be golden no matter what.
Dorey is the co-founder and lead NFL analyst for The Huddle and author of Fantasy Football: The Next Level. He has projected and predicted every NFL game and player performance since 1997 and has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, radio and television.
Let me start by saying that I'm usually the last one to consider drafting an "over-the-hill" RB. With that being said, I think Clinton Portis is a name many are writing off too soon. With the addition of Willie Parker and Larry Johnson, the tendency is for people to clump the three of them into one class – washed up. Not so fast. Portis will be 29 by the time the season rolls around -- an age he can still produce at. CP is down to 217 pounds after playing last season around 230. And ll indications have pointed to Portis receiving the first crack at the starting job. The arrival of HC Mike Shanahan is huge. Don't forget that Portis popped off back-to-back 1,500-yard seasons under Shanahan in Denver. While he won't be running behind one of Shanahan’s trademark Bronco offensive lines, new additions Trent Williams and Jammal Brown should help open up holes in the running game in our nation's Capital. With an ADP approaching the 10th round, Portis makes for a nice low-risk, high-reward pick.
Smola is the Senior Editor of DraftSharks.com. DraftSharks has been providing thought-provoking, outside-the-box fantasy football analysis since 1999. The site provides its members with tons of feature articles, daily email updates, in-depth player profiles and projections, its exclusive MVP Draft Board, and much more!
With Warner hangin' up the cleats, Larry Fitzgerald is not getting a lot of love from anywhere. Will the Leinart addition and the Boldin subtraction, plus an improved running game actually mean less touches for The Fitz? Maybe yes, maybe no--a better run game should open up the pass. Breaston's well-deserved promotion to #2 WR, plus Doucet upped to the #3 spot might actually create some single coverages for Fitzgerald as both those guys are tough and cannot be ignored by opposing secondaries. A shuddering thought for any team, let alone Big Red, would be if they actually had to play Derek Anderson at QB instead. Quite possibly, this shaky scenario might actually aid Fitzy's yardage and TD numbers, since DA's lone skillset is throwing deep. If DA is the QB for any length of time, the probability is high that Arizona will be trailing in most of those games and be forced to throw more often. If Fitzgerald drops into the very late 2nd, or better still, the early 3rd round, he could be a very nice value pick.
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Believe it or not, but Tom Brady has gone lower in some drafts than he should. Concerns over the health of Walker and some other key losses around Brady have pushed his value down a bit. However, fantasy owners need to remember that this offense in the past has gotten it done with RBs, TEs and WRs all catching passes, it has always been a versatile attack.
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I'm surprised Jabar Gaffney has been largely ignored in early drafts. Someone has to catch the ball in Denver with Brandon Marshall gone, and Gaffney showed what he could do in the Josh McDaniels offense late last year, posting 21 catches for 282 yards and a pair of touchdowns over the final two games (including a ridiculous 14-213 outing in Week 17). There's a sleeper to be had in the Denver passing game, somewhere; you can't run the ball every down.
Pianowski has been playing fantasy football for 15 years and writing about it for 12. He joined Yahoo! Sports in 2008 and has been blogging 24/7 on RotoArcade.com ever since.
I'm a little surprised how little interest there is in Chester Taylor, who wasn't even drafted in a 14-round draft I was in last week. Mike Martz has said he has two starting running backs. Matt Forte wasn't impressive last season. Is Taylor getting half the work in Chicago that far-fetched? I don't think so, and I certainly think he should be selected ahead of some of the clear backups he's currently being drafted behind, like Donald Brown, and clear third-down guys like LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles. Taylor isn't a guy to target, but he's got a legit shot at half the work in an offense that sends a lot of passes to running backs. Bigger fantasy contributors I've mentioned before include Jeremy Maclin and Percy Harvin, who have been generally going a round or two too low, but people seem to be coming around on them; they're up in the fifth or sixth rounds these days.
Richardson has been a columnist and contributor to the Fantasy Football Index magazine and web site for the past nine years. His responsibilities include team defense and IDP projections and various site features, and he has run the magazine's annual draft and auction leagues since their inception. He previews all the NFL games on Saturdays and writes a wrap-up column on Mondays during the NFL season.
Posted by Brian Grzybowski | Jul. 22 at 01:49 AM
Wow. Pretzel May played the Mike Martz card. I think, in the interest of full disclosure, that some of Jon Kitna's others stats from those two 4,000 yard seasons should be mentioned: 42 interceptions. 28 fumbles (15 lost). 114 sacks for -708 yards. If your FF league scores negative points for those categories then it's a heck of a hole to start out of, if you average those numbers for two seasons.
Posted by Robert Heater | Jul. 22 at 04:26 PM
Cutler has significantly more talent than Kitna ever had. This Bears team also has more weapons than any of those Martz Lions teams. The Bears WR's aren't world beaters, but Knox and Hester are burners and will create separation on those 5 and 7 step drops. Forte, Taylor and Olsen are quality targets underneath. The Bears D isn't what is has been in years past but it will be improved from last year. Cutler shouldn't have to play catch up as much as Kitna did in those days. He is also durable, and a good bet to play all 16. Cutler is definitely being set up to have a productive fantasy season this year.
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