NFL fantasy hot stove report
Here in minicamp season, hope springs eternal. Everyone visited the fountain at Lourdes on their break and is miraculously healing from injuries. There are endless stories about who is back at what percent, what previously hands-less receiver is catching everything in sight, and how some teams are set up to overcome crippling injuries and suspensions to stars. By now, you know all these silly claims by heart. They're like the endless droning of the vuvuzelas at World Cup matches.
Just because I like to be a downer, here are a couple of situations that aren't all sunshine, roses and Swiss victories over Spain.
The situation between San Diego and two of its stars, wide receiver
McNeill is, by far, the team's best offensive lineman, and a steadying presence in a group whose middle name was upheaval during the 2009 season. Injuries and ineffectiveness plagued the line, and one of the results was the team ranking second to last in rushing. If McNeill misses any time at all, or doesn't show up in fighting shape, rookie RB
Jackson missing time would be equally burdensome. The only other receiving threat on the team is tight end
In other San Diego news, former Buffalo WR
You're on the clock and looking for a RB2. Quick, do you pick Ricky or Ronnie? If you answered Ricky, you're far more likely to win your fantasy league. In a random poll of mock drafts,
Brown hasn't gone through a season injury-free in his five-year career. His '09 campaign ended with a foot injury in Week 9, and this was just the latest of his leg-related woes. Not an especially good sign for a running back.
Looking at the last two years, the numbers are comparable. Williams averaged 4.86 yards per touch, and Brown averaged 4.69. Both players scored 18 touchdowns. That's not a world of difference if you're in a standard scoring league, but there's a noticeable contrast in PPR leagues. Williams caught 64 passes to Brown's 47, and Brown's catches were down to just 14 in '09.
So basically, what you're getting for Brown is a bigger name at a higher price, and one whose only guarantee is that he will be injured at some point. Williams might be off-brand at this point in his career, but the price is right, and the value he'll give you at the RB3/Flex slot (and RB2 at some point in the season) is too good to pass up.
Let's all wish a belated happy Flag Day to everyone's favorite fake soldier,
Of course, that cuts both ways. Defenses won't have a problem rolling an extra man up on Winslow and making those unheralded WRs beat them. This also presumes that Winslow even stays healthy for the whole season, which he's done once in his career. I'd feel much better about his chances of shaking off coverage if the Bucs picked up a veteran wideout; perhaps
If they don't, it seems likely that Winslow will be blanketed with defenders when he's able to remain healthy. If you wait a bit on a TE your draft, you might be better served taking a
Everyone was going bananas over
It didn't work out that way, of course. Forte fought injuries all season, didn't receive much help from the wide receiving corps, and was saddled with an offensive line that couldn't block anyone from icing him.
Word from Chicago's minicamp is that Forte recovered and regained the spring in his step, and will return to his rookie form. Assuming this bears even a passing resemblance to the truth, Forte could be a fantasy force under new offensive coordinator
Forte fits the system perfectly, and if the offensive line can get in order, he's a real fantasy threat. While he should not be drafted as a RB1, don't be surprised if by the end, he puts up those kinds of numbers. Of course, it's a big "if" to say that Chicago's blocking will be squared away this season.