Fantasy Football News

Thursday, May 19, 2011

2011 Free Agent Class: Best WRs Available?

With the lockout still in place until at least the June 3 hearing, free agency will have to wait. But it isn't too early to take a look at who's the best players available. First position I will take a closer look at is the wideouts, one of the deepest positions in free agency this offseason.

*Vincent Jackson, SD

2010 stat-line: 14 Rec., 248 yards, 3 TD (only started five games)

The 28-year old wideout known as "Action Jackson" held out, because of a contract dispute with the Chargers, until October 29, 2010 and then had to sit through a four-game suspension. This meant he saw very little of the field as a result. But, I think that because he didn't have health issues, teams would be more willing to take a risk and sign the playmaker who put up over 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns on 68 catches in 2009.

Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers has already shown that he doesn't need Jackson on the field in order to produce, and since Jackson will likely be looking for a good amount of money, I doubt the Bolts will bring him back for 2011.
*Sidney Rice, MIN

2010 stat-line: 17 Rec., 280 yards, 2 TD (only started five games)

Just like Jackson, Rice saw very limited playing time in 2010. Rice didn't have character issues, however, and had to undergo hip surgery last offseason. It took him quite a while to recover, and he didn't make his 2010 debut until November 21. In his six games, Rice put up one 100-yard performance, against Buffalo, in which he also caught two touchdown passes. He seemed to make a full recovery, and if Minnesota doesn't bring him back as a weapon for rookie Christian Ponder, then they will be making a huge mistake.

Can't argue with having a physical, 6'4'' receiver to throw the ball to.

*Santonio Holmes, NYJ

2010 stat-line: 52 Rec., 746 yards, 6 TD (only started 10 games)

In his first season with the Jets, Holmes saw his targets reduced considerably, although he did have to serve a four game suspension. With continuing maturity and growth from the young signal caller in Mark Sanchez, if Holmes stays put in New York we could be seeing a season much like his 2009 season with Pittsburgh.

The only problem I see New York running in to is which receiver to bring back for 2011 (Holmes or Braylon Edwards).

*Steve Smith, NYG

2010 stat-line: 48 Rec., 529 yards, 3 TD (only started seven games)

Smith battled injury, therefore only managed to start seven games throughout the 2010 season. He was somewhat of a disappointment, but as 2009 showed us (107 catches, 1,220 yards, 7 TD), Smith has the ability to put up big numbers while catching passes from Eli Manning in New York. His vertical quickness allows him to turn short routes in to big gains.

Don't be surprised if the 26-year old gets a 4-5 year contract from the G-Men once free agency starts this off-season.
*Malcom Floyd, SD

2010 stat-line: 37 Rec., 717 yards, six TD (only started nine games)

There's no doubt that Floyd was one of San Diego's most underrated weapons over the last two seasons. While Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates got all the attention, Floyd was making all the plays. On just 37 catches, Floyd racked up over 700 yards and six touchdowns. This gave him one of the top YPC average in the league at 19.4. While he may not be the flashiest guy on the field, he sure is a threat in long-distance passing situations.

I doubt the Bolts will bring Jackson back for 2011, like I said earlier, but they should certainly consider bringing the 6'5'' target in Malcom Floyd back for the playoff-hungry Chargers.

*Braylon Edwards, NYJ

2010 stat-line: 53 Rec., 904 yards, 7 TD (15 starts)

Edwards has great size and strength, allowing him to amass 900 yards and 7 touchdown receptions in 2010 for New York. But he has had trouble with dropped passes, as well as run-ins with the law. Despite great athletic ability when he hits the field, I don't see the Jets bringing Edwards back. Holmes has had a few issues himself, but with more upside I think they will only retain Holmes, not Edwards. If money grew on trees I think Rex Ryan would convince the front office to keep them both for Sanchez, but that's just not the case here.
*Terrell Owens, CIN

2010 stat-line: 72 Rec., 983 yards, nine TD (11 starts)

Many seem to believe that Owens has run out of gas. To those people that have been saying that, did you not look at his production in 2010? In just 11 starts (14 overall games) Owens amassed just shy of 1,000 yards and 10 TDs. What isn't productive about that stat-line? Owens simply came in to Cincinnati and completely took the spotlight from teammate Chad Ochocinco, and as we all know, that's a tough feat to accomplish.

Owens will be 38 in December, so I don't see the Bengals taking another shot at him. But I know for a fact that someone will. Hopefully, though, 2011 will be T.O.'s final season.

*Randy Moss, TEN

2010 stat-line: 28 Rec., 393 yards, five TD (11 starts with three different teams)

It's clear to me that Mr. Moss has overstayed his welcome in the National Football League. His 2010 performance with three different teams (Patriots, Vikings, Titans) has shown me that he has turned in to a locker room cancer and his poor performance on the field only creates a more disturbing situation. At this point in their careers, there's a huge difference between Terrell Owens and Randy Moss. I am praying that no NFL team will sign him to a one-year deal for 2011. I would love to be able to remember Moss's career for what he did in his prime, rather the fact that he played far too past his prime.

*Mike Williams, SEA

2010 stat-line: 65 Rec., 751 yards, two TD (13 starts)

If it wasn't for Michael Vick's miraculous 2010 campaign, Mike Williams would have easily captured the Comeback Player of the Year award. After eating himself out of the league in 2007 and becoming known to all as a Draft Bust (selected 10th overall by the Lions in 2005), Williams completed a comeback to the league with Seattle. After catching a grand total of 44 passes from 2005-07 with Detroit and Oakland, Williams came close to doubling that total with 65 catches with Seattle.

With newfound hope in Williams' ability, I wouldn't doubt that the Seahawks decide to bring him back for a few more seasons to see what he can produce.
*James Jones, GB

2010 stat-line: 50 Rec., 679 yards, five TD (only started three games but played in all 16)

Jones stepped his game up in 2010, producing a career-high 679 yards on (another) career-high 50 catches. Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers spread the ball around quite a bit this past season, and Jones' productivity could have seen a rise because of the loss of receiving TE Jermichael Finley. If Green Bay can retain its entire 2010 offense, they will be without a doubt the most electrifying offense once again in 2011. So why not bring the possession receiver in James Jones back again for another go round?

*Steve Breaston, ARI

2010 stat-line: 47 Rec., 718 yards, two TD (11 starts in 13 games)

The streaky, 175-pound Breaston has caught a total of just seven touchdowns in his four seasons with the Cardinals, making him a non-factor when his offense hits the red zone. But, seeing as to he is primarily a slot receiver, his numbers look pretty solid. A great threat down the field (15.3 YCP average in 2010), Breaston uses his slim body size to his advantage. Considering Arizona's ugly quarterback situation, I'm not so sure if Steve will want to suit up for the Cards once again in 2011. We could be seeing him in a different uniform this year.
*Mike Sims-Walker, JAC

2010 stat-line: 43 Rec., 562 yards, seven TD (13 starts in 14 games)

With the drafting of quarterback Blaine Gabbert at the No. 10 spot in April, there is new hope in Jacksonville. With maybe one or two seasons of development on the bench, behind David Garrard, Gabbert will be ready to take over the league come 2012 or 2013. If Sims-Walker is patient and willing to go through the re-building mode in Jacksonville, I think he'll stick it out. If not, then, obviously he will decide not to return. But I think that with a consistent quarterback under center for the Jags, we will see Sims-Walkers' production go way up. He's already shown us he has playmaking ability.

Other notables:

Santana Moss, WAS
Jacoby Jones, HOU
Lance Moore, NO
Brad Smith, NYJ
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, BAL
Danny Amendola, STL

Note: I do not own any of the above images

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Player Spotlight (Edition 1): Rod Smith, Denver Broncos

To pass the time during the lockout, I've decided that a couple times a week I will be featuring a different former NFL player. Exploring not only his prolonged career as a player in the league, but also my take on what I thought of him, adding in personal opinions on watching him play and how he impacted this league.

Edition No. 1 will feature former Denver Broncos' wideout Rod Smith.

First of all, I would just like to point out that Smith celebrated his 41st birthday two days ago. Happy belated birthday, Rod! Second of all, the long-time Denver Bronco will be eligible for the Hall of Fame next year.

After going undrafted in the 1994 NFL draft, the New England Patriots signed Smith. Shortly after the signing he was released, Denver quickly picked him up and the rest is history. In 12 glorious seasons gracing the Denver uniform, Smith accumulated over 11,000 yards and 68 touchdowns.
Smith became the only undrafted player in NFL history to surpass 10,000 receiving yards. Going down as one of the franchise's greatest receivers, Smith owns the team record for career receptions (849), yards (11,389) and touchdowns (68) in 183 games.

He was only named to three Pro Bowl rosters, but consistently put up over 1,000 receiving yards eight times over his career. With help from Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, Smith captured two Super Bowl rings in the '90s (1997 and 1998), and didn't miss too many games due to injury.

Personally, I loved watching Smith play the game. He wasn't the fastest on the field, and he didn't have the greatest hands in the game, but that's what made him that much better. He had to work hard, and he was a very reliable receiver over the middle.

He wasn't afraid to take a hit while running a route over the middle, and that just might be what I liked best about Rod Smith. He made spectacular catches, and made it easier for his quarterback--whether it be Elway, Jake "The Snake" Plummer or another one of Denver's signal callers.

While the highly underrated Smith may not ever hear his name being called by Canton, Ohio, I think it's safe to say the Broncos will never see another guy quite like Rod Smith come their way in Mile High.

I do not own the image above

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Who Came out Winners and Losers in this Year's Draft?

Sorry everyone, it's been about two weeks since I've last posted content and I have yet to reflect on this coming season's draft, which concluded at the end of April.

Some teams made solid decisions and managed to improve its chances in making a playoff appearance in 2011, others missed out on an opportunity. Here are teams, and players, who came out of the draft as winners. And still others who may not have had the best ending to the month of April.

Winners:

Nick Fairley...taken at the No. 13 spot by the Detroit Lions, Fairley obviously took a significant drop (I had him going at No. 4 in my mock draft), but it played out for the best for the former Auburn defensive tackle. I personally thought Detroit should have selected a corner (Prince Amukamara or Jimmy Smith) since they took DT Ndamukong Suh with their first round pick last year. But instead they stacked up at the tackle position as Fairley will play alongside Suh, who won the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year award and made the Pro Bowl roster in 2010.

Christian Ponder...not even projected a first rounder, Ponder made a huge leap in the draft after three quarterbacks (Cam Newton at No. 1, Jake Locker at No. 8 and Blaine Gabbert at No. 10) were off the board when Minnesota's turn came. With an iffy quarterback situation in Minnesota, it is likely that Ponder, with plenty of talent around him, will get thrown in as the starter right away as long as he performs in training camp. I don't see Joe Webb and Tarvaris Jackson becoming much of a threat to Ponder, and there's no way Brett Favre can handle one more season.
New England Patriots...with nine picks in this year's draft, New England managed to add both depth and youth on to its roster for the coming season. Preparing for whatever the future holds, coach Bill Belichick was able to solidify replacements for both Matt Light (drafted OT Nate Solder in first round) and Tom Brady (drafted Ryan Mallett in third round). There have already been comparisons between Mallett and Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers. In addition, New England added a couple of RBs (Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley), a defensive back (Ras-I Dowling) and a linebacker (Markell Carter) in the later rounds.

Losers:

Miami Dolphins...in my opinion, I think the Phins went about this all wrong. What I would have done, without hesitation, is trade up in the draft a couple of slots and pick up a quarterback in this draft. Chad Henne will get a second chance, but I don't think keeping him at QB is the wise decision. The drafting of Mike Pouncey will definitely improve the protection up front, but they could have landed a couple of picks in the 2012 draft if they had waited and used Henne as trade bait for another QB-hungry team. Instead, the Dolphins are stuck with Henne at the helm for another season without any viable, proven targets other than Brandon Marshall and a couple of aged veteran RBs.

Cam Newton...it isn't often that the No. 1 overall pick ends up being a loser. But in Newton's case, he surely is in a losing situation. Yes, the No. 1 overall pick usually ends in a higher paycheck at the end of the day, but there isn't much of a difference between the contract of the first overall pick and the 32nd overall pick. Either way, if you're picked in the first round you are likely to get a nice sum of money. What makes him the loser is the fact that he will be thrown on to the field right away without a whole lot of experience and development in to the professional game. We all saw what happened with JaMarcus Russell just a few years ago. Newton used his size to his advantage in college, but that may not work as well against fellow professionals. I'm just afraid he could be driven out of the league rather quickly, much like Russell, if he isn't given time to develop his game.
Arizona Cardinals...I have come to the realization that the previous two listed "losers" of the draft involve quarterbacks--the lack of Miami drafting one, and former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton--but that doesn't stop me from picking a third one. Yes, Arizona picked up one of the most talented players in the draft in LSU's corner Patrick Peterson. But at the same time, they passed up the opportunity to snag a franchise quarterback with the fifth overall pick. The quarterback position was, by far, the Cards' most needed going in to the draft. They had the shot at snagging Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder, all of whom were taken with the next seven picks. Now, instead of having a young, talented quarterback to give them hope for the next several years, they will begin the season with Derek Anderson, John Skelton, Max Hall and Richard Bartel at quarterback.

Other winners: Torrey Smith (Baltimore), Blaine Gabbert (Jacksonville), Cleveland Browns
Other losers: A.J. Green (Bengals), Seattle Seahawks


Photos taken from: christianponderjersey.com, Zimbio.com