Fantasy Football 2013: Buying or Selling Value of Top Preseason Stars (B/R)

This past week we took a look at who really is going to be as good as they looked in the preseason and who might not be.

There’s little more precarious than trying to figure out what preseason really means in terms of fantasy football value, so as always, I am happy to help.

Here’s a sample as always:

BUY: DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, Houston Texans

Hopkins looks like the solution to Houston’s longstanding quest to find a receiver opposite Andre Johnson. Johnson attracts the lion’s share of the secondary attention, but so far nobody has been able to regularly take advantage of that.

But that’s where the former Clemson University wide receiver comes in.

While he has missed most of the preseason due to a concussion, and according to CBS Houston, still isn’t through the NFL‘s concussion protocols, Hopkins should be ready to go Week 1.

What we saw in the small preseason sample was impressive, though. Hopkins caught a total of six balls for 74 yards and a touchdown.

The touchdown—which came in the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings—was a good example of what the wide receiver is capable of. In single coverage against cornerback Bobby Felder—who admittedly is a depth guy and may not be on the roster come Week 1—Hopkins ran a simple go route towards the end zone.

Felder stayed with him, but as the pass from T.J. Yates came in—a high, lofting ball—Hopkins leapt up, caught it at the high point of his jump and came down. Felder got his hand on the ball a bit but was turned around, and Hopkins held on as they fell to the turf in the end zone.

On the broadcast, announcer Spencer Tillman relayed a story about when he asked Houston wide receivers coach Larry Kirksey if Hopkins could catch in traffic. They said Kirksey simply told them, “There’s nothing he [Hopkins] can’t do.”

Hopkins can take advantage of the space created by his size and frame, while his speed can create separation.

That won’t change in the regular season.

As always you can read the whole thing at Bleacher Report.

Fantasy Football 2013: What Did We Learn from Saturday’s Preseason Week 3 Games? (B/R)

I haven’t been too good about updating lately – I’m going to start scheduling myself a couple minutes post article to add the stuff I write here.

Today’s piece is about what we learned from Saturday night’s action from a fantasy football standpoint.

Here’s a sample – as always, you can read the whole thing at Bleacher Report.

Michael Vick is a guy who frustrates the heck out of most fantasy GMs.

At 33 he’s still one of the most athletically gifted players in the league. He’s also always hurt, so you never have him for a full season, nor see his full potential. Last year he turned the ball over all the time.

We saw it all on display again Saturday night. The good, bad and ugly.

The Good was his 15 for 23 effort resulting in 184 yards and a touchdown. The Good was his ability to take advantage of head coach Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense to keep the defense off-balance, especially at the start of the second half.

The Bad were the moments he held the ball way too long, didn’t set his feet and made poor decisions to throw balls he never should have.

The Ugly was partially about Vick and partially about the team. For Vick it was his fumble and interception. After a season where he fumbled the ball 11 times and threw 10 interceptions, he can’t afford to make many mistakes.

On the interception, Vick threw a ball under pressure off of his back foot. It needed to be tossed out of bounds or totally clear from any player, but instead it floated right to Dwayne Gratz for a turnover.

Vick did that more than once, throwing the ball away poorly.

The offensive line was also part of The Ugly, allowing two sacks and seven quarterback hits in just two quarters. If you want to know why Vick is often hurt, that line is part of the reason.

With Michael Vick you get some fantastic fantasy numbers for part of a season. You also get a lot of turnovers and several missed games as well as a lot of unfulfilled promise.

Thanks for reading.

 

Top Fantasy Football Team Defenses for 2013 (Bleacher Report Video)

Again, really wish I could embed these.

Here is my gorgeous face talking about the top fantasy defenses in the NFL this year. Also, there is an accompanying piece about why the Denver Broncos missed the cut.

Enjoy!

Manziel’s Twitter Issues Highlight Challenges Facing Today’s Student-Athletes (Bleacher Report)

If you haven’t looked up Wright Thompson’s piece on Johnny Manziel at ESPN.com, do it.

I was moved to ponder how the new age of social media is challenging athletes about how they conduct themselves as well as what colleges (and major league teams) need to help them navigate it.

You can see the whole piece here, but here is a snippet:

By now, everyone has probably read Wright Thompson’s excellent piece on Johnny Manziel over at ESPN.

If you haven’t, take a few minutes and do so, because it’s fascinating.

For extra credit, read the comments, which are almost as fascinating as the article itself.

Since the article hit, there has been a wide range of reaction (perfectly represented by the comments on the article, by the way) about what the article means and who Johnny Football is.

The turmoil around Manziel highlights how athletes today are faced with challenges that athletes 10 or even five years ago weren’t confronted with.

Social media, especially Twitter, is a benefit and a curse.

Once upon a time, if you were a football player at Michigan and wanted to go to a party at Michigan State, you might get away with it.

Maybe someone would make a call to a local radio show and say something or perhaps the trip might end up in your student newspaper.

As long as you stayed out of trouble, though, you were probably fine.

Now, with Twitter, Facebook, Vine, YouTube, Tumblr and numerous other social media sites, you cannot burp without someone posting about it.

The most fascinating thing about articles like mine or Thompson’s is the venom regarding Manziel and his actions. It’s not that he’s acting out, mind you—it’s that his family has money.

That might say more about us than him.

Early Buzz Surrounding Top Training Camp Battles (Bleacher Report)

A little catching up today-first up an article talking about several of the bigger camp battles and where they stand.

Here’s a snippet—you can read the rest at Bleacher Report.

Mark Sanchez vs. Geno Smith, Quarterback, New York Jets

The assumption has been that veteran Mark Sanchez will get one last shot to carry the New York Jets to the playoffs. Rookie Geno Smith is raw, and I was told by someone tied to the Jets that they passed on him in the first round for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson in part because they felt Smith would need a year on the bench to develop.

So far, though, Smith is proving to be more competition than some gave him credit for.

Yes, Sanchez started camp by getting the majority of the snaps with the first team, but head coach Rex Ryan has said each will get equal time there.

Smith has impressed with his long accuracy while with the first team and mentioned how important it was for a rookie to get a chance against a first-team defense. While Sanchez has been consistent, Smith has had more big plays.

Of course, the stat everyone looks at is interceptions, and while Sanchez has turned the ball over, Smith went the first three practices without a turnover. As Rich Cimini of ESPN New York reports, Smith still has a ways to go in terms of blitz pickup and pre-snap reads.

Overall, though, he’s done a good job—a sentiment echoed by Brian Bassett and Corey Griffin of SNY’s The Jets Blog in this video.

The competition is far from over, but so far it appears as if the rookie is impressing. We know what Mark Sanchez can do—we’ve seen it for four years.

The upside of Geno Smith could tempt the Jets coaching staff to roll the dice on the rookie and see what he can do instead.

There’s a lot more, so make sure you head to the full article—and as always thanks for reading (I’ll be posting more later).

 

Predicting the Biggest Potential Preseason Roster Cut at Every Position (Bleacher Report)

Good morning!
Back again today with a new piece at Bleacher Report: Predicting the Biggest Potential Preseason Roster Cut at Every Position.

Not all of them are “big” but hey, there’s only so much you can do to work with a title.

Here’s a sampling—as always you can read the whole thing at B/R.

Offensive Line: Derek Sherrod, Green Bay Packers

When Getty Images only has one picture of you since you’ve joined the NFL, that’s a bad sign.

After Derek Sherrod’s rookie season, cut short by a broken leg, the young tackle hasn’t seen the field. Worse, he’s been placed on the PUP list to start training camp, according to Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

That’s not good, especially not a year-and-a-half after the initial injury.

As decimated as the Packers offensive line was again last year, if he was even remotely healthy he would have played. That he’s either still being handled with kid gloves (best-case scenario) or still too hurt to practice (worst-case scenario) is alarming and a bad sign.

It’s safe to assume if he doesn’t see the field in camp, he may see an injury settlement and the waiver wire.

There’s three for every position, so check the whole thing out.

I’ll have a video up at BR later as well, so stay tuned.

And as always, thanks for coming by.