With fantasy football drafts happening in the next several weeks, I wanted to give my opinion on players that I believe will overproduce their draft position. The key to having a successful fantasy team is finding value in the middle to late rounds. All of these players should provide fantasy owners with great value this season. Here are my opinions about this season’s breakout players.
1)DeAngelo Williams will be this year’s Frank Gore. What? Please let me finish before I am officially committed to a state mental institution. I’m not saying that Williams will rush for 1,600 yards and catch 60 passes, so don’t draft him with the fifth overall pick. What I am saying is that Williams is the guy who will break out of a running back by committee system to become a star by the end of the year. In studying Carolina, this is what I know.
a)DeShaun Foster is not a future star in the making, and he will get hurt. Foster has enough of a sample size to say he is an average NFL running back.
b)The new zone-blocking scheme is more conducive to Williams’ style, as this is what he ran behind when he was a star at Memphis.
c)New offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson will be more unpredictable than his predecessor Dan Henning. Ask any Panther fan about how predictable Henning’s offense became.
d)Carolina only had seven rushing touchdowns last season. It seems to reason that this will certainly improve under the heavy ground attack of Davidson.
e)Williams had 814 total yards in just 13 games as a backup last season. A solid season considering the amount of time he played. Look at the star running backs in fantasy football. Many of them did not light it up as rookies. In fact, one was still in diapers (Larry Johnson) according to his former coach.
While Williams does have some injury concern of his own, I see him as a great value. He is a player that could be the 25th running back off the board, but could produce top 10-12 numbers. Don’t be surprised if Williams has 1,500 total yards and six to eight total touchdowns. By next season, we could be describing Williams with the same words that have been used about Vince Young’s last eight games.
2)Santonio Holmes will produce numbers this year that are similar to Hines Ward in his prime. From studying the Steelers, these are my beliefs about why Holmes will overproduce his draft position.
a)Holmes had a very solid rookie season with 824 yards and an excellent 9.69 yards per attempt last season. I see him taking that total to 1,150 yards with six to eight touchdowns.
b)Ben Roethlisberger will be healthier at the start of the season. This will mean more quality targets for Holmes.
c)Hines Ward is not the player that he used to be, but he will provide Holmes with a great mentor. Ward has been a warrior for years but finally showed a little sign of slowing down, especially with his hamstring trouble. Look for Holmes to be the No.1 receiver.
d)With new offensive coordinator Bruce Arinas, I see the ball in the air more. The Steelers offensive line will be hurt by the retirement of center Jeff Hartings. Holmes will have to get tougher in the red-zone, but that usually comes with experience and he has a great teacher in Ward. Holmes will be around the 20th receiver taken in most drafts, but I see him overproducing that position.
3)Vince Young will lead quarterbacks in total (fantasy) touchdowns this season. I define fantasy touchdowns from the quarterback position as the number of touchdown passes + 2 times (number of rushing touchdowns), as in most leagues rushing touchdowns as worth double. I didn’t believe in Young at first, but I have flip-flopped after reading Michael Salfino’s quarterback column in the Rotowire magazine and listening to the maestro of the microphone, Rotowire’s own Chris Liss. I’m all in! Here is what I know about the Titans.
a)Young will be better in his second-year under offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Chow’s resume speaks for itself and Young appears to be a guy who wants to get better.
b)Young will make his receivers better. While Young doesn’t have great receivers, he didn’t have great ones in his first year and still averaged almost a touchdown per start. I see that moving to about 1.2 touchdowns per start. That puts him at about 18-19 touchdown passes.
c)Young is the best running back on the Titans. It is not a stretch to say that Young is better than Chris Brown, LenDale White or Chris Henry. When Young gets in trouble, he will effectively run. Plus, Young will probably be the goal-line back for the Titans, and this can produce the six-to-eight rushing touchdowns needed to put his total in the 30-34 range.
I’m not saying that Young will be a great passer this season, but if he gets to the average level, which under Chow is certainly possible, Young will be near the top in fantasy touchdowns. Again, Young should overproduce where he is picked in most drafts.
Next week, I will look at players you should avoid on your fantasy rosters.
Posted by Kyle Fisher at 7/25/2007 9:24:00 AM