This is the 2nd of the most popular draft weekends historically on FantasyFootballNerd.com. Before you hop into that draft room, here are the player updates that you need to know.
CJ2K was a terrible disappointment last year, but I'm doing everything I can to forget about it. Johnson is in camp, looks to be in great shape, and the Titans are a run-first team. He's likely to have 250+ touches again this season and could certainly see 1,600+ yards. It would not shock me to see him bounce back to become the #1 rusher this season. If Johnson is there, don't let last season's performance prevent you from drafting him. Draft away.
When he's healthy, RunDMC is the best rusher and receiver on the Raiders. He's explosive and extremely talented. Need a guy who can rip off a 60+ yard score? He's the man who can do it. The trouble with McFadden is that he's bound to get injured. In his four seasons, he has never played more than 13 games. He only managed 7 games last season -- 6 games if you don't count Week 7 where he tallied a mere 7 yards before leaving. McFadden is a frustrating player to own. He can rip off 150 yards one week and 171 yards just two weeks later, but you're stuck when he goes down. I will not spend a first round pick on McFadden. Too risky for me. It may be unpopular, but I'd let someone else have him. I don't want that risk with my #1 pick.
Last season's rushing leader deserves a big payday, but without progress on that front, MJD's in serious risk of missing out on the preseason. That is a shame and the holdout has got me nervous. Coach Mike Mularkey has publicly said that Jones-Drew likely wouldn't start once he returns. If Mularkey has serious questions about MJD's conditioning and readiness, we should all have serious questions. I hate to say it, but if I'm looking at MJD, Matt Forte, or DeMarco Murray, MJD is the last of those three that I would take right now. It's a sad state of affairs when Rashad Jennings and Montell Owens have legitimate shots of starting over him.
For months I have listened to everyone prognosticate the breakout year of Ryan Mathews. He was going in the top 6 spots in virtually all mock drafts leading up to the first preseason game. He's now being drafted near the tail end of the 2nd round. A broken clavicle will do that. I absolutely don't want Mathews as my RB1, but Mathews as my RB2 could be a steal if...and that's a big if...he makes it back for Week 1. Norv Turner didn't sound optimistic, and according to Dr. Neil Ghodadra, we could be waiting until October before we see Mathews performing the way we expected him to. I'm not paying any attention to Mathew's stated 4 week return. Let's be honest here: if he's back after four weeks, he runs the risk of re-injuring himself. He's obviously not the most durable back to begin with, so if you want some risk, grab him - just make sure to have a solid RB3 to plug in for him in the event that his comeback takes a little longer.
I lost Charles in both of the FFN Users Leagues last year and my teams never recovered. He was my first pick in both leagues. With that being said, would I be hesitant to draft him this year? Absolutely not. It's full steam ahead as far as I'm concerned. Charles has had a long time to recover and he's looking great. I worry a little with Peyton Hillis in the mix, but not enough to skip him in the draft. I'm looking forward to seeing a very nice bounce back year from him.
It's odd to see Adrian Peterson NOT listed among the Top 10 FFN running backs, but that's where we find him this year. Many players coming off major knee injuries don't return to full health until their second season post-injury. It's going to take a while for him to be able to cut and move like we're used to seeing. So what should we do when he's sitting there in the first or second round? With an average ADP of 2.02, plenty of folks are taking him as their #1 back. Without a legit passing game, defenses are going to key in on Peterson, so I have some reservations about his likelihood to finish the season in the Top 5. I'm expecting a lot of 60 - 70 yard games from him this season. If you have an appetite for some risk, grab him, but don't reach based on name recognition alone. Peterson should be fine - he just won't be the All-Day that you remember.
Had Lynch chosen Skittles over booze, he'd be a slam dunk decision. As it is, there are legitimate questions surrounding him and his fantasy relevance. The passing game in Seattle does not strike fear into the hearts of any defense, so Lynch will have a big target on his back...when he's allowed to play. With a potential suspension hanging over his head, his FFN ranking and ADP have been dropping. From a talent perspective, he certainly has the ability to rush for 1,200 yards like last season. Right now, I have no qualms about taking Lynch as my RB2.
If Jackson played for any other team, he'd be a Top 5 pick every year. I think Jackson has another year or two left in him, and as the workhorse for the Rams, he is the primary focus for that offense. If the passing game can get some momentum, that could open up some opportunities for SJax. Unfortunately, I was saying the same thing last year and it never materialized. I still like Jackson, and even with a terrible cast surrounding him, he's a solid fantasy RB2. I have no hesitations drafting him.
With a mild concussion, Jennings has missed the first two preseason games. Reports today indicate that he could be back on the field within the next few days and is very likely to suit up for Week 1. His ADP has him going in the early 3rd round and FFN has him ranked 6th overall among wide receivers. If he's healthy, Jennings is still a WR1. Don't let his missed games influence your draft pick. There's no doubt that he'll play Week 1 and he's at the top of the WR chart in a pass-happy offense. If you miss out on Jennings, look for Jordy Nelson in the next round.
I question whether Richardson will last all season. He hasn't taken a legitimate hit in the NFL yet and he's already suffering from lingering injuries. Richardson has more value in dynasty leagues, but in redraft leagues, I'm definitely not reaching for him. He has to face the Steelers and Ravens a total of four times this season, and anyone will tell you that those defenses are daunting. They're tough enough for a seasoned, healthy running back let alone one with knee issues. He's going to be an RB2 on someone's team, but frankly I'd rather it not be on mine. Richardson is the kind of high risk/high reward player that some fantasy owners dream of. I'm just not one of those owners.
The ADP gap between Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown has been shrinking every day that Wallace isn't in camp. If I look at this situation from a glass-is-half-full perspective, Wallace has always kept himself in fantastic shape. He hasn't missed a game yet. Reports today indicate that he could be back in camp next week which would help put my mind at ease. I wonder how quickly he'll adapt to new OC Todd Haley's system. Right now, I'm a little nervous drafting Wallace as a top WR. He's incredibly explosive and talented, but he's got to be on the field to score points. He's not as safe a pick as he was last year. WR1...maybe. WR2...absolutely.
In many of the mocks that I've participated in so far, I've been able to grab Gore as my RB3. I think that's a great spot for him as I can use him in the flex position. It's hard to depend on Gore as I'm sure that he's going to go down at some point this season. Injuries are always a concern with him, so I don't feel confident with him as my RB1 - possibly my RB2. The guy's a workhorse, but in every mock so far this season, I've found better options ahead of him. If he falls to me, I will definitely take him, but the days of reaching for Frank Gore are over.
I'm waiting to hear whether or not Witten is going to require surgery. I'd like to know how long he may be out. The thing I like about Witten is that he's as tough as they come. Fractured jaw...check. Broken rib...check. Bruised knee...check. Twisted ankle...check. The guy knows how to play through pain and he always comes out on top. A spleen injury isn't normal however, so I don't exactly know how to gauge the timeline for a healthy return. It may take a bit before he's in top form, but I don't see any reason not to consider him a TE1.
Helu's value has been dropping and I don't think it has hit bottom yet. His achilles is bothersome and we've seen the value of Evan Royster and even Tim Hightower benefit from that. Helu was a fantasy darling last season, however today he's no better than an RB3. The Shanahan running game is always a question mark and Shanahan has downplayed Helu. Unless the team gives him the chance to be the starter, we're not likely to see a repeat of the century marks from Weeks 12-14 last season. His ADP has him going at the tail end of the 7th round - still too rich for my blood.
The Steelers backfield has been a rollercoaster ride for fantasy owners. With Mendenhall in doubt, the ADP of Isaac Redman shot up. Now, Redman is expected to miss this week's game with a hip injury and Mendenhall has been activated off the PUP list. What once looked promising now looks questionable. The activation of Rashard Mendenhall dulls Redman's value somewhat. Mendenhall is still expected to miss Week 1, but when he's back and healthy, what will that backfield look like? Will both guys be sharing the carries, and if so, what will be the split? Redman is being drafted in the mid-5th round which is about two rounds ahead of where I'd feel comfortable taking him. Someone's likely to reach for him...don't be that someone.
Torrey Smith is a boom or bust player. One week he'll give you 5 for 152 yards (2011 Week 2) and then the following week he'll bring you back down to Earth with a 1 for 1 yard (2011 Week 3). On that team, he's not even a matchup-type of guy. If I could reasonably say bench him against the Steelers but play him against the Browns, I'd be happy playing those matchups, however he scored double digits against Pittsburgh and sputtered against Cleveland (twice). He's another high risk/high reward player who is both unpredictable and inconsistent. His ADP currently has him going at the start of the 7th round ahead of guys like Reggie Wayne, Denarius Moore, Robert Meachem, and Kenny Britt. If you like to gamble, Smith is your man. The Ravens are playing it safe right now with Smith's ankle, but he should be fine for Week 1.
I was high on Ingram last year and his turf-toe issues were a downer, however I'm not letting the huge runningback-by-committee approach in New Orleans prevent me from targeting Ingram late in my drafts. After Darren Sproles, I still like Ingram ahead of Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory. Ingram could see 200 touches this season; he was on his way to that number last year. I'd like to see his yards per carry increase from 3.9 to somewhere in the mid-4's, but I'd be happy to have Ingram as my RB3/4. I'm just not willing to reach for him.
Everyone is hoping to see a repeat of 2010 when Tamme stepped in for Dallas Clark and caught 67 passes for 631 yards with Peyton Manning under center. Manning's love affair with TE's is well documented so expectations are up for Tamme. He's ranked 11th among TE's on FantasyFootballNerd.com, and frankly, I think that's a value. Tamme is one guy that I'm drafting late - generally after all the name brand TE's are off the board. He has the ability to finish the year as a Top 5 tight end, and that's precisely what I love about him. The upside is fantastic.
Nope. Britt will not be on any of my teams. As talented as he may be, I don't want him or the question marks that come with him. Let someone else deal with it.
If I were a doctor, I would diagnose Jahvid Best with a "permacussion", and with such a diagnosis, I would not draft Best at all. He's still on the PUP list and the likelihood of starting the season that way is very high. He could miss as many as the first six games. Meanwhile, Kevin Smith and Mikel Leshoure (once he's back from his two-game suspension) will likely share backfield duties. When Best is cleared to play, you have to wonder how long that will last. Yes, he's talented, but being talented on the sidelines does a fantasy owner absolutely no good. I have seen plenty of folks take a late round flier on Best. I'm not one of them. If I really want him during the season, I can probably find him on the waiver wire. Unless you're in a very deep league, it would be best to pass on Best.
I can't believe how many people I've seen reach for Randy Moss. Many are drafting him to start. People - this is not the Randy Moss that you're thinking of. Alex Smith is NOT Tom Brady. I am not drafting Moss in rounds 7 and 8. I like Moss in round 10 as a backup with some upside, but that's not where folks are taking him. He's coming off basically 2 years of not playing (FFN's 2010 Bust of the Year) and his involvement with the run-first Niners is going to be limited. There's lots of chatter that he'll only see 25 snaps a game which is terribly low for a WR. He's in a crowded passing game with guys like Vernon Davis, Mario Manningham, and Michael Crabtree. Moss will likely be used to help stretch the field but there's no reason to think he'll ever return to elite status.