High value this season with these guys.
The Ten Best Value Picks of 2012
Here is a list of the ten players that I think have the best draft value:
We’ve seen Manning play a few preseason games now. We’ve seen him get knocked down and get back up. We’ve seen his poise in the pocket, the zip on his passes, and the confidence that he has played with. I think by now it’s safe to assume that if Peyton Manning isn’t 100% by now, he’s pretty damn close. Of course, Manning isn’t getting any younger (he’s 36) and there are a few kinks that he will need to sort out in the first few weeks, but he is one of the two best quarterbacks of our era (the other is Brady) and is currently going in the middle of the 7th round! He is also the 9th quarterback off the board in most drafts, picked after younger brother Eli and injury-prone Vick. Since 2002, Peyton has finished outside of the top 5 in QB fantasy points only twice, with his lowest ranking at #7. If Manning can come anywhere near his performance in Indianapolis, fantasy owners around the country will be basking in their glory for believing in the former 4-Time MVP.
Nobody is quite sure what happened to Philip Rivers last season. By his own admission, Rivers was not injured last season; he simply underperformed. His 27 touchdowns were his lowest total since 2007 and his 20 interceptions were the most of his career. Still, Rivers managed to throw for over 4,600 yards and boasts the 5th highest passer rating of all time. Although Vincent Jackson and Mike Tolbert departed in the offseason, favorite target Antonio Gates is as healthy as he’s ever been and newcomer Robert Meachem should be able to pick up most of Jackson’s production. As the 11th QB on the board and a late 7th/early 8th round pick in most leagues, Rivers is clearly one of the sleepers in this year’s draft.
Let’s get the important facts out there. #1: Yes, he is coming off an ACL surgery, but his situation is extremely different than that of Adrian Peterson’s. Unlike Peterson, Charles is 100% healthy and has been so for 3 months. #2: Peyton Hillis is now in Kansas City and will probably share carries with Charles. More importantly, Hillis is the goal-line back. None of these factors should be a concern. Looking back at Charles monster 2010 season, in which he gained over 1900 total yards and 8 touchdowns, it is important to note that Charles didn’t lead his team in carries or in rushing touchdowns (both of these awards went to Thomas Jones). Charles truly solidified his status as an elite fantasy back by leading the NFL in yards per carry (6.4) and by contributing in the receiving game (compiling over 450 yards and 3 touchdowns). Don’t expect Charles to all of the sudden become a touchdown machine, but with his incredible big play ability he could eat up yards and produce a similar season to 2010, making him a steal in the late 2nd/early 3rd round.
Only 8 months removed from a torn ACL, Peterson is this year’s high risk/high reward fantasy pick. If he isn’t 100% or if he re-aggravates his injury during the season, this pick could be catastrophic, but if he is as healthy as he claims to be then you just got yourself a top 3 running back in the 2nd round. If anyone can come back from injury return to form this quickly, it is AP, and personally, I would take the risk. Despite playing only 12 games last season, Peterson tallied 1,000 total yards and 13 touchdowns. Even more impressive, Peterson has at least 10 touchdowns in every season of his 5 year career. It will probably take Peterson a few weeks to get back into football shape, so I think Peterson’s 12 game statistics from last year are the most likely result, and unlike last year Peterson will be in your starting lineup come playoff time.
Two months ago, Jennings wouldn’t have been on anybody’s radar, but with Maurice Jones Drew’s situation getting out of hand Jennings has become a must for fantasy owners. Unfortunately, there isn’t really much to go on with Jennings. In limited carries he has averaged an impressive 5.4 yards per carry, but he sat out the entire 2011 season with an injury. If MJD continues his hold-out, and at this point it looks like a probability, then those 343 carries must go somewhere, and with an impressive season thus far it looks like Jennings is the guy. His draft position is expected to rise as MJD’s contract disputes linger, but he is currently a 10th round pick and the 39th back taken in most drafts! Sure, there is always the prospect of Jones Drew returning, and in that case Jennings is useless, but if you have that opportunity to draft a potential starting running back in the 10th round, you take it!
On the brink of becoming an elite receiver in the NFL, Jackson turned in an extremely disappointing 2011 season. His 961 yards and 4 touchdowns were the lowest totals since his rookie season, earning a spot on my “Worst Fantasy Football Picks of the Past Two Years.” Because Jackson gave owners a massive headache last season, his ADP has dropped to the late 6th round and he has been the 22nd receiver selected overall. Jackson recently admitted to reporters that he “didn’t give his all last season,” and I tend to believe him. The Eagles seem to think so as well, as evidenced by his 51 million dollar extension this past offseason. Remember, this is the same DeSean Jackson who scored 20 touchdowns in the previous two seasons combined and who is a threat “break one” on any play. While I generally don’t like to rely on Michael Vick’s health (just look at the preseason), Jackson’s ability to score in the rushing and return games as well make him valuable in their own right. If Jackson has the kind of year I expect, drafting him in the 6th round could be a major steal.
After years of underperforming, Lloyd finally put in all together in Denver 2 seasons ago when he gained 1448 yards, scored 11 touchdowns, and trailed only Roddy White in fantasy points among receivers. Last season, with a motley crew of Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, A.J Feely, and Kellen Clemens throwing him the football, Lloyd still manage 966 yards and 5 touchdowns. Playing for New England this season could not be more perfect for a player like Lloyd, who immediately becomes the deep threat the Patriots have been lacking since Randy Moss. While it is clearly unrealistic to expect Lloyd/Brady to connect the way Moss/Brady did in their first season together (98 catches, 1493 yards, 23 touchdowns), there is no reason that Lloyd cannot break 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns this season (or the average production of Moss’ two other seasons in New England). If that happens, it looks like the 16th rated wide receiver could end up finishing in the top 5.
If there is one sleeper that you must have come draft day, it’s Titus Young. Rated the 31st receiver overall with an ADP of 79, the Boise State alum was able to put together a solid rookie campaign with 607 yards and 6 touchdowns, including 4 touchdowns in the final 4 games of the regular season.. This season, Young is poised to take over the #2 WR spot, which previously held by Nate Burleson. Because Detroit has a suspect running game and Calvin Johnson will draw constant double and triple teams, Young is expected to have many more opportunities. Young could very well be the Antonio Brown of 2012, not bad for the late 8th round pick.
Brown emerged onto the scene last season, outperforming teammate Mike Wallace from Week 7 to the end of the regular season (Brown had more targets, more receptions, more yards and more fantasy points per game during that stretch). Only Roddy White had more third down receptions for a first down last season. While Brown only had 3 total touchdowns last year, there is still much to be excited about entering 2012. Firstly, it is apparent that Roethlisberger favors Brown over Wallace, as evidenced by Brown’s increased targets as the season progressed. Additionally, Mike Wallace’s holdout has lost him valuable time in training camp. Nobody will benefit from that more than Antonio Brown, who signed a 5 year, 42.5 million dollar extension in the midst of Wallace’s holdout. It is shocking to me that Wallace is still drafted before Brown in most leagues, and with the entire organization behind Brown more than Wallace, fantasy owners should be as well.
Tamme came to the Broncos this offseason and reunited with Peyton Manning, his QB from their days in Indianapolis. In 2010, the last time Manning and Tamme played together, Tamme put up a respectable 67 catches for 631 yards. Given Manning’s known success with his tight ends (Dallas Clark is the prime example), it makes sense to expect big things out of Tamme. This year that there is a massive drop off between the Tier One (Gronkowski and Graham) and Tier Two Tight Ends (Hernandez, Gates, Davis, Finley), but things get pretty confusing after that. Rated the 7th highest TE, Tamme comes at a bargain price in the 9th round, making him valuable to owners who miss out on the big two and would rather stock up on other positions.