Risk/Reward for Fantasy GMs
Every year one or two fantasy GMs catch lightning in a bottle by drafting or picking-up a player who comes out of nowhere to be a fantasy hero. Being able to determine who won’t become one of these players can be just as important as anticipating who will be. This article will identify the top 5 players to avoid (who will be more risk than reward) and 5 players to pursue (who will be more reward than risk) this up-coming season.
1. Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia
He will have one of the best receiving corps in the league. His defense will be amazing, so I expect him to have even more possessions to work with this year. Another year wiser and more experienced in Andy Reid’s system, I expect another banner year for Vick. Sure there is always a chance for injury, but even if he misses some time, his ppg numbers will be so high that he would still justify a 1st or 2nd round pick. I would pursue Vick. He is a difference-maker! 2. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit
Injuries have really hampered his career thus far, but he is stronger and more physically fit this year. That combination should translate into playing a full-season and if he does lookout! He has an amazing WR in Calvin Johnson and a speedy pass-catching RB in Jahvid Best. It’s not unbelievable to think that he could be top 5 in fantasy numbers for QBs this year. You can probably grab him round 8 or later and get tremendous value. Pursue Stafford. 3. Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco
Hone of the few 3-down feature backs in the league. Gore can truly do it all. Great speed, a threat on the ground as well as through the air. I know he broke his hip last year, but that is more of a freak injury than one that will occur yearly. Let other GMs worry about his injury history while he slides to you as an amazing bargain in round 2 or 3. Having Gore as your RB2 or even RB1 would put you well on your way to winning the title. Go out and get Gore. 4. Peyton Hillis, RB, Cleveland
HLast years fantasy darling is still being underrated based on average draft position (ADP). What more does this guy have to do to get some respect??? ADP around 30 means you can get RB1 production in round 3. If I can get Vick or Rodgers in round 1, Gore and Hillis in rounds 2 and 3, who do you think will have the team to beat this year? Hillis will once again be the whole Cleveland offense. If he’s available in round 3, press that draft button as quickly as possible! 5. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas
H The return of a healthy Tony Romo will result in a huge increase in WR production for Dallas. I expect the Dallas offense to put up a lot of points this year and Dez Bryant should be the recipient of numerous red zone looks. This guy is an amazing athlete with excellent hands. 1,000 yards and double digit TDs should be his statistical floor this season. Bryant is a strong WR2 being drafted in the WR3 rounds. Pursue this excellent value pick.
1. Kevin Kolb, QB, Arizona
He will be playing with one of the top WRs in all the league. That will surely help his statistics. However, due to the lockout, Kolb will have an abbreviated time to learn the playbook and get on the same page with the offensive weapons around him. I expect a slow start for him and feel many owners are drafting him way too high. He is only a borderline QB1 or a strong QB2. If you can’t get him that late than avoid him. 2. Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland
One of last year’s pleasant surprises, the Raiders top playmaker hasn’t played in more than 13 games in a season during his time in Oakland. So despite his tremendous production last year, he has a huge red flag on him due to injury risk. In addition, the top receiving threat, Zach Miller, is now in Seattle. This will lead to more defenses stacking the box which will limit DMC’s fantasy ceiling. Michael Bush is back and healthy. He will always be a threat to play the goalline vulture role. I expect a good year out of DMC, but would not burn a first or second round pick (which is what he will cost) on him. 3. Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee
Talk about a true enigma! He go off for 10 receptions, 175 yards and 3 tds one week while combining for those numbers over a total of 5 weeks. Add in the fact he is due to get in trouble/suspended every year, this is a guy I recommend passing on. He is not an every-week starter and would not waste a high pick on him. If you can get him as a backup WR then pull the trigger. Otherwise let one of your opponents deal with this season-long headache. 4. Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans
Colston is the consummate professional. Every year he shows up and provides solid WR2 statistics. It’s amazing how he keeps coming back strong from serious surgeries. All that said, he is now 28 years old and his body won’t recover as quickly as it once did. I expect him to play a majority of games this year, but don’t expect to see him at 100%. Let other fantasy GMs pay a high price for him due to his history of solid fantasy campaigns. Avoid Colston! 5. Steve Smith, WR, Carolina
Hone of the most exciting WRs in the league to watch. Once again Smith will have to work with an awful QB. Newton and Clausen are both inaccurate passers and poor decision makers. I expect it to be a long frustrating season once again for Steve Smtih. At best he’s a WR3, but more than likely a WR4. I wouldn’t pick him.
By Nick Domanico
Co-Founder of fantasy football website, www.fsfans.com.