Impact Wide Receivers In Fantasy Football 2014
Author: Robert McSain
There was a lot of talk surrounding the 2014 NFL draft thanks in large part to all the wide receivers available. Now that we know who is playing on which teams, it is time to break it down from a fantasy football 2014 standpoint. Even if a player has high potential, they might not necessarily have success early on. Here is a look at the top 3 rookies to consider drafting this fall.
The standout from Clemson was the 1st wide receiver off of the board, and he is probably going to be the 1st off the board as far as fantasy football 2014 is concerned as well. He is a guy who has a chance to have a lot of success with the Buffalo Bills this upcoming season. They moved up in the draft to get him, so obviously they have high expectations. He has a chance to work with a promising quarterback named EJ Manuel, and that should lead to quite a few targets all year long. He is athletic enough to have an impact almost right away at the NFL level.
When it comes to red zone targets, Evans might be the best option as far as rookies are concerned. He is not only a tall wide receiver, but he is very athletic as well. Some wonder if he is strong enough to have an impact at the NFL level right away, but he should have no problem fitting into the system in Tampa Bay. Josh McCown is about to throw the football a lot as the new quarterback, and Evans could be one of his favorite receivers.
Right now, Cooks is considered to be a borderline pick in fantasy football 2014. Plenty of people will be monitoring his progress from afar, but he has a great chance to have success with the New Orleans Saints. He is a bit undersized, but it seems like it could be a perfect situation for him to play in at the NFL level. If he gets the ball in the open field on a consistent basis, he could be a breakout star.
Value Growing for Under Action on Remaining Bowls
Thus far market activity for action on totals has been fairly one-sided—four of six bowl games have gone over the number. Extended preparation for bowl games has not done much to help defenses. Even the cold weather factor was thrown aside by San Diego State and Buffalo– a game that saw the total drop three points in a 72 hour time span. The second quarter ballooned any chances of that game going under.
There are phases to every bowl season that can make for a lucrative opportunity for an individual. Keys to successful handicapping correlate with the strengths of the teams that still remain to play in their bowl game. Discipline, balanced attacks, and execution of a game plan are just a few variables. Exiting the pre-Christmas bowls we are now going to start to see an exponential rise in numerous categories of offenses, defenses, and the forgotten category special teams.
As you go to place your continual daily bowl game wagers avoiding the unconscious placement of an over bet needs to sink into your mind. This is not the time to assume and go for it every bowl game (fourth down)—which has been a downfall in the NFL this season.
The whirlwind of college sports can be endlessly debated. What can’t be is the bottom line. Money. The Las Vegas Bowl is the only bowl game to eclipse a $1 million dollar payout to the victor thus far. Trailing the Vegas Bowl in terms of a payout was the Hawaii Bowl at $650,000. Going forward ,23, bowl games remaining will pay in excess of $1 million.
Recruiting is in a vital stage to secure potential signees. While at the Las Vegas Bowl several recruits could be seen at Mandalay Bay with USC players and coaches. A bowl game win can sway a young prospects mind, or give them confidence if already signed.
Coaches contracts in major conferences has spiked dramatically from a decade ago. Eking out a bowl game win can be a two-fold incentive for coaches. Reaching a win total bonus and getting a bowl game bonus is surely in the grasps of several coaching staffs. This is a major factor for the position coaches who have a smaller salary with the chance to duplicate their yearly salary with their team’s bowl victory. A major upset or outstanding showing gets the automatic media spotlight on the head coach but can be a great stepping stone for assistants to get a higher salary offer elsewhere.
All this can’t be said for the bowls played prior to Christmas. The level of play and potential net gross for a team just were not there. Scoring drive ratios of touchdowns to field goals indicate this. 75% of scoring drives in the first six bowl games have been touchdowns (48 out of 64). This is fool’s gold and a trend that will be short lived. Sportsbooks and oddsmakers will surely be taking advantage of this as bettors continue to bet the over.
If you thought the regular season was a roller coaster for your bankroll, bowl season can be the coup de grace for you. Balance your wagers appropriately and stick to conferences you had success with during the season.
Zack can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting his website notjustagame.com
The focus in Chicago and many other Bears fans in relocated cities for years has been their disdain for Lovie Smith. Nine years with Lovie Smith through all of the hot seat periods calling for his name seemed to be a little too long for the relationship to last. Frankly I thought he should have been let go a few years back. His coaching over the last few years actually was solid. Ultimately the front office decided it was just time for an overhaul of change. Change is good in the NFL ranks for coaches, and the time had come for Smith to depart.
Change though can be a period that players and coaching staffs undergo rough stretches. We all know how Jay Cutler has been portrayed by the media, and how he has a tendency to forgo making the right play with idiotic throws. His play will definitely be an adjustment for his new head coach in Marc Trestman. Cutler is not your ordinary temperament type of personality.
Trestman’s football background is there, and his success in the CFL convinced the Bears organization to take an unorthodox approach in hiring Trestman from the CFL.
A head coaching change was not the only big announcement the Bears had this offseason. They also did not retain Brian Urlacher at linebacker. The cornerstone linebacker had been with the team for 13 seasons. The Bears decision to only offer him a one year two million dollar deal at first drove Urlacher irate. He believed the offer was basically a cop out to tell him he was not wanted as a Bear anymore.
His plan to test the market as a free agent died quickly as he announced his retirement.
There were no mysteries that Lovie Smith was a defensive minded head football coach as a Bear and the team reigned and fed off his leadership defensively. Heck there style of play even got them to an improbable Super Bowl with Rex Grossman/Kyle Orton leading the way. That seems like many years ago, and it was. Chicago unlike most teams has retained quite a few players on the defensive side of the football.
This year is going to be a true test of their defense that has lost nine years of Smith’s coaching, and thirteen years of Urlacher at linebacker. A combined twenty two years of experience.
Looking at the Bears roster they have players such as Charles Tillman (11th season), Lance Briggs (11th season), Julius Peppers (12th season), Tim Jennings (8th season), and DJ Wiliams (8th season) all as starters. You definitely do not see as much age on a defense as you do in Chicago. Particularly their core stars in Tillman, Peppers, and Briggs who are all in double digit years in the NFL. Longevity has never been a friend to NFL players and you have to believe at least one or two of these players is going to hit the backside of their talent this season.
The Bears will have a lot of decisions to make this offseason, and they’ll likely be just as tough as to how Urlacher’s ended. Baltimore made headlines the way it handled its championship defense and let them go via free agency. Their defense played solid in 2013 but was not elite at all. The key word for the Ravens is that they were opportunistic, but they gave up their fair share of points. As Ray Lewis said often, Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense was the reason the Ravens got as far as they did.
Bears fans be ready to embrace a down year in terms of defense.
By Vidur Malik
One of the by-products of the Andrew Luck-Robert Griffin III sweepstakes is that it has taken the spotlight away from the other playmakers in the 2012 draft class. Count Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon among the players that would have gotten top billing if not for the two superstar quarterbacks who will go 1-2.
The two-time Biletnikoff Award-winner is projected to be a top-10 pick and considered the best receiver in the draft along with Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd. Many experts have Blackmon going No. 6 to the Rams, but no matter where he goes, he should be an instant contributor and someone you look out for during your fantasy draft.
Both his own talent and the strong production of recent rookie receivers indicate that Blackmon will make an immediate impact. His size allows him to be an effective route runner and turn short plays into big gains, and he certainly came up big in the biggest moments. He caught eight passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 41-38 win over the Stanford Cardinal in the Fiesta Bowl and caught no fewer than six passes in any game last season.
Just last season, rookie receivers like A.J. Green and Julio Jones showed that they will probably be among the elite receivers in the NFL very soon. Seven rookies caught more than 40 passes last season, including Redskins running back Roy Helu.
There’s no reason why Blackmon can’t be in that category. If he goes to the Rams, he’ll have a chance to become one of quarterback Sam Bradford’s favorite targets. Brandon Lloyd, the team’s top receiver last year, is now with the Patriots, so there’s an opportunity for Blackmon to show he’s an NFL-caliber receiver.
Even if he doesn’t go to the Rams, he’ll have a chance to contribute to his team. Teams like the Packers have shown that if you have a quarterback who can distribute the ball, there can never be too many weapons on an offense. It’s almost certain that the quarterback on Blackmon’s NFL team won’t be able to do that as well as Aaron Rodgers does, but he won’t need to. As long as Blackmon gets a chance to show his talents on short routes and a few deep throws, he can become a legitimate talent and a consistent fantasy producer. He should be available as your fantasy team’s second or third receiver and even if he isn’t a consistent producer, he could still be a good player for your flex spot. Blackmon’s potential is sky-high and he’s clearly on the short list for best receiver in this year’s draft, so he’s definitely someone you should consider making a part of your team.
By Zack Cimini
There’s nothing like nabbing a late round pick or middle round pick that turns out to be a true gem. Last year Arian Foster and Brandon Lloyd were the top of the pack in their positions for overturned value. Lloyd, had faded into a special teams athlete for a few years, and was sort of written off. No one really knew how Houston’s backfield would shape up. Most thought it would be running back by committee. When Ben Tate went down though, it really opened up things for Foster as the lone back. The rest is 2010 fantasy history.
Of course the number one reason for opportunity is typically injury. Watchout for Beanie Wells having a significant year compared to projections. No longer is he in the shadow or worrisome of Tim Hightower. Ryan Williams was supposed to be that threat, but went down to a season ending injury in week two of the preseason. LaRod Stephens-Howling is a scatback type, but won’t get more than five carries a game.
We have a few guys listed below that will likely get drafted in deeper leagues. Keep them stashed on your bench, as opportunity could come your way for these young athletes.
He was never exceptionally flashy at Syracuse, but he piled up a solid career. His nature of running the football isn’t going to benefit him for a long career, but his first five should be decent. He is an in between tackles runner, that is going to carry defenders and fall forward for extra yards. With Indianapolis getting impatient with former first round pick Donald Brown, and Addai’s injury struggles, Carter could be the main back by mid-season.
After an extremely disappointing rookie year, Spiller has a lot to prove. He wasn’t supposed to just be a special teams force. The Bills spent a first round pick on him, and were willing to part with Marshawn Lynch. The backfield remains the same, meaning the Bills haven’t given up on Spiller yet. Look for Spiller to make more of his carries this year as he tries to gain back coaches trust. The Bills have likely got the cheapest backfield in the NFL.
When will the bowling ball, fade into the gutter lane? Maurice Jones-Drew has been able to sustain the hits even at his small stature. The reason is because of his tremendous sized thighs and quads. Yet, it hasn’t staved off soreness and minor injuries for Drew. He has fought through them somehow, but the message in Jacksonville seems to be a new change coming. Jennings has slowly gained carries from Drew. If the opportunity presents itself, Jennings has shown that he can get the job done.
Everyone has been ranting and raving over Tim Hightower. He is the perfect back to run the zone blocking scheme, etc. Hightower has had a dandy preseason, but what will happen when teams actually game plan against the Redskins? They’ll get after their main weakness, which is at quarterback. Once that happens, the holes will clog up. Hightower is a breakaway runner, not a slasher in between the tackles. His main issue will pop up again, as they have year after year. Fumble prone. It just doesn’t alleviate a running back. Shanahan is an impatient coach, and Helu has been just as impressive in the preseason.
There really is no reason too elaborate here. Tate has been a monster in the preseason and if it weren’t for Foster, would instantly shoot up to a top ten fantasy running back. Good luck to the rest of the NFL on shutting the two down.
The mileage on Michael Turner’s legs is in need of a Ricky Williams hiatus to refuel. The pattern of backs being over ran and tanking is predictable. Turner might have a year left in him before he fades like Larry Johnson. Rodgers can fit the old mold the Falcons were accustomed to with Warrick Dunn. A small back, but one that can carry the load twelve to fifteen times a game.