5 Biggest Fantasy Football Sleepers

Yeah buddy. The season is right around the corner and drafts are about to be poppin off like crazy. Here are 5 guys that you should consider in the later rounds of your draft:

1. Roy Helu, Jr. (RB, Washington Redskins, 13th Round)

The 105th overall pick out of Nebraska in the 2011 NFL draft should work his way up the depth chart on a Redskins offense that will be heavily emphasized on running the ball. With questions at quarterback, and a coach in Mike Shanahan who loves to run, all 3 backs should get plenty of touches. I couldn’t believe he slipped to the 4th round in the draft as he shows that he is able to handle a load of 25 carries a Sunday, as he ran for over 1,000 yards the last 2 seasons in college while battling through injuries. Sure, he is prone to injury in a much bigger and faster league, but he is also fighting for time behind Ryan Torain and Tim Hightower. Torain is dealing with a hand injury right now, and Hightower never really awed anybody with his abilities in Arizona. Hightower will probably end the year with the most fantasy points out of the 3, but if Helu is creepin around the 13th round or so, it’s time to take him off the board. If Torain continues to struggle to stay healthy, Helu could be a staple if something were to happen to Hightower.

Dont Draft: James Starks, GB

2. Emmanuel Sanders (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers, 15th round)

He needs to get healthy, this is for sure. He had a procedure done on his foot in the beginning of camp this year, but he is Pittsburgh’s 3rd best receiver. Mike wallace is going to be a top 5 receiver this year, and Heath Miller will be a top 10 TE again. The change here is that Hines Ward is getting old. Sanders has crept above Antwaan Randel El and Antonio Brown, and is a great deep threat on 3rd and long situations where defenses will be focusing more on the vertical threat of Wallace, and zoning the middle of the field to contain Miller. He will see a lot of 1 on 1 coverage and with his speed he should be able to have some days that definitely make him draftable.

Dont Draft: Jordy Nelson, GB

3. Mike Thomas (WR, Jacksonville Jaguars, Top 20 WR)

This might be the most important one, and definitely the most relevant in leagues that carry a flex and 2 WR’s. On ESPN, he is projected as the number 34 WR which I can’t even believe. ESPN has A.J. Green ahead of him… and the Bengals are counting on Andy Dalton to play quarterback. If you don’t know who Andy Dalton is… well thats my point exactly. David Garrard is one of the most underrated QB’s in the league and with Mike Sims-Walker out of the picture in JAX, Mike Thomas will be the guy. Jacksonville plays in a division that is decent at best against the pass, and with Mercedes Lewis becoming a reliable TE over the middle of the field, Mike Thomas will find ways to get open on the outside. I would take him as the 25th WR off the board to be safe, considering he is projected to go 10 position slots lower, but don’t be surprised if he ends the year as a top 20 wideout.

Dont Draft: A.J. Green, CIN

4. Cam Newton (QB, Carolina Panthers, Last non-kicker/D-ST pick)

Going out on a huge limb here, because he isn’t going to get drafted in 99% of fantasy drafts. Remember though, Mike Vick went undrafted around that same percentile last year. The only reason why I am saying he is not a terrible pick in that position is because his upside is huge. I watched him play in their first pre-season game, and this guy has some serious talent. It wasn’t a fluke that he made college defenses look like high school teams. Here is what he has going for him in fantasy terms: Defenses are going to stack the box against DeAngelo Williams so Newton will be able to afford to take some shots down the field. The Panthers also signed Legedu Naanee, and besides having the greatest name in football, he should actually become a decent 2nd option next to Steve Smith, and they also got Greg Olsen to give him a decent option in the middle. Oh and did I mention the Panthers suck? Newton will have more garbage fantasy points then any other QB this year, and garbage points often decide games. If you have the balls, draft him.

Dont Draft: Kevin Kolb

5. Brandon Pettigrew (TE, Detroit Lions, Top 7 TE)

This is the year. Dear god, please let this be the year. The Lions are going to be an actual team this year, and might make the playoffs if they find a way to win against their division. If Stafford stays healthy, Pettigrew will be a hell of a tight end. All the pieces are there, they have an elite receiver in Calvin Johnson who will be heavily guarded in the red zone, which is where TE’s not named Antonio Gates make their impact known. Pettigrew is their best option inside the 20 and don’t be surprised to see him have around 900 yards this season, with close to 8 TD’s. He will be a force this year, and should definitely be drafted late 7th round.

Dont Draft: Kellen Winslow

 

 

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Tribute to Rick Rypien

It pains me to write that Rick Rypien was found dead in his Alberta home yesterday. I had no personal ties with him, but he was definitely a player that I admired, and it is quite unfortunate that the one thing he will probably be known for is when he let his frustrations get the best of him and grabbed a Minnesota Wild fan and tried to pull him into the tunnel after being ejected from a game.

The reason why I admired him was because he worked his way into the league from the bottom up. He played in the WHL and went undrafted when it was the year of the ’84’s. He was given a tryout with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL and was given a spot due his toughness, fearlessness, and passion he showed for the game.

As he moved back and forth between Manitoba of AHL and Vancouver of the NHL, he struggled with injuries – mainly from fights. He commonly broke fingers, he suffered a sports hernia, and broke his fibula during his career. After Vancouver gave him a personal leave of absence in November of 2010, rumors spread that Rypien was having mental health issues, and was struggling with severe depression. By March of this year however, it was speculated that he was ready to play, and in a press conference made clear that the past was behind him and he was ready to pursue what he loved to do, playing hockey. He signed a one-year $700,000 contract with the Winnipeg Jets, and was expected to be a pivotal 4th line player in the teams first season since 1996.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I made the 21st, and final spot, of my high school team, and was told by my coach to find a couple role players in the NHL that I could attempt to idolize on the ice. Rypien was one of these players. He was 5’11” 190 lbs. and wouldn’t take shit from anyone. He was notorious for fighting guys much bigger than him and took pride in being able to grind out the opponents top scoring line. I eventually moved up to the 2nd line of our team, and ended the year with the game-winning primary assist in the state finals to win our high schools first ever state championship in hockey. That year I spent nights watching film of guys like Kris Draper, Andre Roy, Jason Strudwick, and Rick Rypien. After that year, I went on to be the first two-time first team all-state player in Traverse City history, captain my junior team in Motor City, and make my dream of playing college hockey at Ohio University. Without the motives installed in me at a young age from watching Rypien play when I was only 15, I don’t know how far I would have went.

When I played juniors, I was scared shitless to ever drop the gloves, yet I did it because of the mentality I learned from watching Rypien play. To repeat the cliche saying, its not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog.

He was one of the best pound per pound fighters of his era. He could throw with both hands, and learned how to block with his left and counter. Rick will never know how many young players, like myself, that he influenced, but heaven apparently needed a tough guy.

Rick “Rypper” Rypien… May you rest in peace.

5 Reasons Not to Draft Mike Vick as Your First Pick

Cue the music… It’s the most wonderful time… of the year. Where football gets watching, and our hearts are stopping, and we all give the wonderful cheer! It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Fantasy football is among us and I am here to tell you why the one player who was the sole cause of thousands of matchups should NOT be a part of your team. I mean I know the argument, he can run and he can throw. But FF success is all about consistency. Here are 5 reasons why you should avoid Vick in the first round.

1. Draft a RB first

No matter your level of experience make sure you heavily study the dynamics of the point system that controls your league. I’ve heard a lot of stories, and I’ve experienced some situations first hand, where the commissioner will alter the point systems to favor certain positions, or the tendencies of certain players. It is crucial to know if you are in a PPR (point per reception) league, or not, as this should alter your draft strategy as well. Fact of the matter is, finding a replacement quarterback is a lot easier then finding a replacement running back, and this is why you should almost ALWAYS choose a RB in the first round. Not only are rushing touchdowns worth more then passing touchdowns, but the added receiving yards by capable backs and the occasional receiving TD will almost always trump even a huge day by your standard QB. Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Rashard Mendenhall, Jamaal Charles, and Maurice Jones-Drew should all come off the board before Vick is even coming to your brain.

2. Too Injury Prone

Get used to this picture this season:

Sick mouthguard bro

Maybe it’s karma for all the pitbulls that he hurt over the years, or maybe it’s because he’s just too risky on the field. It is impossible to put an offensive line together that can block consistently for someone who is out of the pocket as often as Vick. The Eagles were 3rd to last in sacks given up last season with 49. That’s 3 per game, and its fairly easy to predict that a shaky offensive line at best is going to have trouble keeping Vick injury free all season.

3. Schedule

Although they get the pleasure of having the Redskins in their division, they have to deal with the Giants and Cowboys twice a year – last season the Giants were 9th in the NFL in pass defense, and Dallas had the 7th most interceptions. They also play the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins this season – all 3 were in the top 10 in passing defense last season.

4. Defensive Coordinators Won’t Be Surprised

Last year Vick started the season as the backup behind Kevin Kolb, and when Kolb went down, Vick showed the entire league that he hadn’t lost a step while he was behind bars. During the lockout, what do you think most coaches were spending their time doing? Watching film. They couldn’t communicate with their players, or organize any team related activities so many defensive coordinators got to kick back, relax, and study more film then a normal off season. I can guarantee that not only the three teams in the Eagles division were paying special attention to Vick’s tendencies, but teams that play Philly early in the season such as the Rams and Falcons had to be taking notes around the clock. He won’t surprise any body this year, and won’t be putting up 40+ fantasy points a week consistently like he did last year.

5. If You Really Want to Take a QB: Take A-Rod

The question among fantasy analysts this summer has been A-Rod (the one not on roids) or dog beater guy.. I mean Vick. And Rodgers is by far the better option in my opinion. Over the last 3 seasons, A-Rod has averaged over 4000 passing yards and just under 300 rushing yards per season. Not to mention his passing TD to INT ratio is 87:32 over that same span. The tipping point though? He has atleast 4 rushing touchdowns in the last 3 seasons. And that is why A-Rod > Vick.

So there you go, even in a 10 team league, there is no reason for Vick to go in the first round.