Friday, June 29, 2012

Early 2012 Wide Receiver Tiers

Tier 1: The Elite
1. Calvin Johnson
2. Larry Fitzgerald
3. Roddy White
4. Andre Johnson

Who I want the most: Roddy White. Honestly, the Madden curse does scare me. It really does. While I would love Calvin Johnson, he will likely go in the top 8 which is just a bit too high for me. Even with the emergence of Julio Jones, White will still be the man. White still led the league with 182 targets last year. He will not be forgotten. And with Michael Turner on the decline, White will be in for another stellar year.

Bust alert: Andre Johnson. He is still elite, yes. But, too many injury concerns and a more run-oriented team makes me less likely to pick Johnson this year. This doesn't mean you neccessarily pass on him; just be cautious and make sure he is your guy.

Tier 2: The Near Elite
5. Wes Welker
6. Greg Jennings
7. Mike Wallace

Who I want the most: Wes Welker. He always seems to be drafted a little lower than most big time receivers. But he remains one of the most consistent and productive receivers of the past. Last year, he was completely healthy and had the second most targets, second most receiving yards, and most catches of anyone. He remains a PPR monster and is a rock solid pick. Mike Wallace is in a close second as he is no longer just a deep threat, but now an all around fantasy wide receiver. And while I love Jennings, the emergence of Nelson and the mix of Jermichael Finley and Randall Cobb make it tougher to depend on Jennings as a true number 1 wideout.

Tier 3: Still Number 1's
8. A.J. Green
9. Hakeem Nicks
10. Steve Smith
11. Brandon Marshall

Who I want the most: A.J. Green. This kid can play. With him and Andy Dalton having one year officially under their belt, things can only go up. In just 116 targets, Green produced 1,057 yards and 7 touchdowns as just a rookie. I would not be surprised to see him at more around 1,400 yards and double digit touchdowns this year.

New team: Brandon Marshall. He is reunited with Jay Cutler and could explode this season. He was looked at as a risky pick last season but still produced. Now, although still a bit risky due to his looming personality disorder, he could be a steal and produce like a clear-cut number 1 receiver.

Tier 4: Can They Do It Again?
12. Jordy Nelson
13. Victor Cruz
14. Julio Jones
15. Dez Bryant

Who I want the most: Jordy Nelson. This may be because he is a Packer in this case, but Nelson really played like an elite last year. And, he has this beast by the name of Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball. Nelson is a big play threat every down and can put up monster weeks. But this entire group is extremely young and talented. Cruz and Jones exploded onto the scene last year and Cruz may have the toughest time replicating his numbers. The question for all of these studs is: Can they do it again?

Tier 5: The Less Certain
16. Brandon Lloyd
17. Miles Austin
18. Percy Harvin
19. Marques Colston
20. Demaryius Thomas

Player I want the most: Brandon Lloyd. Tom Brady. Enough said. For the first time in his career, Lloyd gets an elite quarterback to throw to him. Even though there are many options in New England, Lloyd could be the defensive backs forget about. Remember his monster season in Denver with Kyle Orton throwing to him? Well, hello Tom Brady. And, Lloyd did an awesome video for the Madden cover. This will make anyone want to draft him.

Tier 6: Potential
21. Vincent Jackson
22. Steve Johnson
23. Kenny Britt
24. Jeremy Maclin
25. Dwayne Bowe

Player I want the most: Kenny Britt. I like this guy more than others do and here's why: big game potential. He is a bit of a risk, but could be well worth it. In a semi-healthy 2010 season, he put up nearly 800 yards and 9 touchdowns in just 12 games. There's potential, but he may be the biggest risk of this group.

AVOID AVOID AVOID: Dwayne Bowe. Like I said last year, he has Matt Cassel throwing him the ball. We saw his numbers dip big time last year. Sadly, it could happen again.

Tier 7: Upside
26. Antonio Brown
27. Eric Decker
28. Robert Meachem
29. DeSean Jackson
30. Santonio Holmes
31. Pierre Garcon
32. Lance Moore
33. Malcolm Floyd

Who I want the most: Antonio Brown and Eric Decker. I love the upside Garcon with RGIII here, but I cannot resist Antonio Brown. He came out of nowhere to become one of Big Ben's favorite targets last season and produced 1108 yards with 69 catches. He should be the most consistent of this bunch and is worth the mid round pick. I also cannot resist Decker. He has more NFL style experience than his counterpart Demaryius Thomas and has potential to be a PPR machine. Hear it now, I would not be surprised if Decker finishes in the top 10 for wide receivers.

Tier 8: Youngins' Surrounded by Oldies
34. Anquan Boldin
35. Denarius Moore
36. Torrey Smith
37. Reggie Wayne

Who I want the most: Reggie Wayne. When was the last time Wayne was not drafted in the top 10? Let's say, oh, 2004. He certainly has lost a step, but he could be a steal if he and Luck click. Don't get your hopes too high. But at this spot, Wayne is a very low risk, high reward pick.

Tier 9: The Rest
38. Michael Crabtree
39. Sidney Rice
40. Darrius Heyward-Bey
41. Justin Blackmon
42. Nate Washington
43. Titus Young
44. Laurent Robinson
45. Rueben Randle
46. Randy Moss
47. Mike Williams
48. Mario Manningham
49. Leonard Hankerson
50. Greg Little

Who I want the most: Sidney Rice. There's no one with major upside here and nothing exciting either. But Rice has Matt Flynn who could either boom or bust in Seattle. Rice has had only one good season and that was with Brett Favre. And thank goodness Tavaris Jackson should no longer be throwing to him. Clearly, that has not worked out. And take a flier on Randy Moss if he is available late. He could be quite the steal... Or literally do nothing.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Early 2012 Quarterback Tiers

Tier 1: The Mega Elite
1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Tom Brady

Who I want the most: Aaron Rodgers. This is quite possibly the easiest decision in this draft. Aaron Rodgers never once scored less than 20 points last season, unless you count week 17 against the Lions when Matt Flynn went off. He scored over 30 points seven times and 40 points twice. Aaron Rodgers was no doubt the most consistent and highest scoring quarterback, and he still believes that he has room for improvement. He has a legitimate case to be number one overall, but is nevertheless a top 5 overall pick.

Tier 2: The Elite
3. Drew Brees
4. Cam Newton
5. Matt Stafford

Who I want the most: Drew Brees. While this is a tough call, Brees is hands down the most proven of the bunch. Stafford is still an injury concern and there is no way I expect Newton to replicate his 14 rushing touchdowns. While the Saints are a bit troublesome with the whole bounty scandal, expect Brees to still be one of the safest and best picks of the draft.

Tier 3: The Rock Solid Value
6. Tony Romo
7. Michael Vick
8. Philip Rivers
9. Eli Manning
10. Peyton Manning

Who I want the most: Michael Vick. This year, Vick is a bargain. Rather than being drafted in the first round like last year, Vick should slip past the second and be available between the 3rd and 5th rounds. Jump on him. Last year's disappointment still ranked him 11th among all quarterbacks even with only 13 games played. And while I expected his rushing touchdowns from 2010 to decrease, I did not expect a 1 rushing touchdown season. He still averaged 8 yards a carry last season and has elite potential. Take your chances, but be sure to get a solid backup in case of injury.

Bust potential: Philip Rivers. While I was high on Rivers last year, this year worries me. Ryan Mathews is becoming a feature back and Rivers lost Vincent Jackson. While Rivers should still produce, he is more of a risk than previous years.

Tier 4: The Producers
11. Ben Roethlisberger
12. Matt Ryan
13. Matt Schaub

Who I want the most: Ben Roethlisberger. He has weapons in Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. He also no longer has Rashard Mendenhall, which may actually help Big Ben's numbers. They will rely more on their passing attack and I think Roethlisberger will finish as a top 10 quarterback. Matt Ryan, who ranked in the top 10 last year, could also be a bargain with Turner aging and elite weapons in Roddy White and Julio Jones. If you miss out on any of the top 10 guys, do not be afraid to jump on either of these two.

Tier 5: The Rest
14. Jay Cutler
15. Robert Griffin III
16. Joe Flacco
17. Josh Freeman
18. Ryan Fitzpatrick
19. Andrew Luck
20. Tim Tebow

Who I want the most: Robert Griffin III. Or Tim Tebow. Griffin has huge upside in an above average offense in Washington. His running ability puts him into the Vick/Newton territory as he should benefit from 500+ rushing yards and around 5 rushing touchdowns. And as for Tim Tebow, well you know, I love him. Do not draft him, but keeps tabs on him because there is one current starting quarterback I could see Tebow overtaking. And that man is Mark Sanchez.

Sleeper Potential: Jay Cutler. As much as it pains me to say this, Cutler could be in for a big season. He is reunited with Brandon Marshall and has solid options in Chicago. With an offensive line that improved as the year went along, Cutler might actually see time in the pocket. While I won't be surprised to see his pouty face multiple times, Cutler might finally produce a better than average season.

Extra Sleeper: Nate Amodio. This season, instead of being a Woodhead/Tebow hybrid, he will be called upon to be the Aaron Rodgers of the returning playoff team, the Pineapple Chunkers. With an excellent scrimmage in the offseason already, his arm looks sharp and his decision making has been great. However, a second pulled hammy in 4 months is making him less than a surefire option. And he needs his mobility to be top-notch because as you all know, he can barely see over his own lineman in the pocket. But given a healthy body and handlebar mustache, I expect nothing less than excellence.

Deep Sleeper: JaMarcus Russell. I can't imagine waking this guy up. He slept through 3 NFL seasons.