1. New England Patriots
2. Buffalo Bills
3. New York Jets
4. Miami Dolphins
Comments/predictions: Tom Brady got 8.6 YPA last year, which was 0.3 more than his 50-TD season. He also had the second-most red-zone carries among all quarterbacks and gets a massive upgrade with Brandon Lloyd replacing Chad Johnson in an already loaded receiving corps. The offensive line has looked shaky at times this preseason, but Brady is primed for an absolutely monstrous season…Brandon Lloyd has a better fantasy season than Wes Welker, while Aaron Hernandez nearly matches Rob Gronkowski's production at a much cheaper cost…Stevan Ridley has a better fantasy year than his former teammate, BenJarvus Green-Ellis…The Patriots' schedule looks ridiculously easy, which is why I did this.
This guy pulls over to commit a random felony, decides to pose as Tebow before fleeing scene.
After adding Mario Williams during the offseason, Buffalo's defense is no secret, but check out their late season schedule — they face MIA, @IND, JAX, STL, SEA, @MIA, NYJ over the final seven weeks, so they could easily be the most desirable fantasy D down the stretch…Ryan Fitzpatrick's first half of the season over the past two years: 28:17 TD:turnover ratio. Over the second halves: 19:28. Make of that what you will…Fred Jackson will be 31.5 years old this year and has C.J. Spiller who impressed late last season right behind him. He's also coming off a fractured fibula. That said, Pro Football Focus graded Jackson as easily the best running back last season, which is crazy considering he missed 6.5 games. After totaling 1,376 yards with a 5.5 YPC mark, it's easy to see why (he also got an NFL-best 3.75 YPC after contact and had zero drops). It's likely to take another injury for Spiller to be anything more than complementary. I'm already regretting not having Jackson in any leagues, as he looks like the best third round pick available.
The Jets have admittedly looked awful this preseason, and I'm not sure what the offensive plan is bringing Tim Tebow in, but this team isn't a doormat and should contend with the Bills for second place in the division. The defense remains elite and is coming off an unlucky season that was comparable to a pitcher having a sky-high BABIP (according to Football Outsiders' DVOA, they ranked No. 2 yet allowed the 20th most points). And as Bill Barnwell pointed out, due to circumstances out of their control, the Jets' defense faced 201 drives last year — tied for the most in the NFL, but they remained elite on a per-play basis…Shonn Greene isn't the worst "go ugly" mid-round pick if you need RB help. He's a mediocre runner at best, but volume is half the battle when it comes to running backs these days…I used to think Santonio Holmes was really good, but he's just the latest example of how most receivers' production relies so heavily on his QB and scheme.
It's not short, but here's a strong compilation of horrible driving in Europe.
If nothing else, the Dolphins at least provided good entertainment for "Hard Knocks." They are throwing a rookie quarterback who started just 19 career games in college after converting from wide receiver with the worst WR corps in the NFL (although Davone Bess is a nice sleeper in really deep PPR leagues) immediately into the fire (so is Lauren Tannehill overrated or properly rated?). And they also just traded one of their better defensive players for a draft pick. This looks like an ugly upcoming year in Miami.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Baltimore Ravens (wild card)
3. Cincinnati Bengals
4. Cleveland Browns
Ben Roethlisberger's career 8.0 YPA mark ranks fifth-best in NFL history. New OC Todd Haley has been both run-heavy and pass-heavy in the past, based on personnel. The Steelers' ownership appears to want to go "ground-and-pound," but with a shaky offensive line and RB situation combined with Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown at WR to go along with a top-10 NFL player at QB, let's hope sanity prevails, and Pittsburgh throws the ball a ton…I'd rather own Antonio Brown during the first half of the season, but I'd prefer Mike Wallace during the second, which matters most…I'd advise avoiding the Pittsburgh backfield situation, but Jonathan Dwyer might both have the most upside and come at the cheapest price right now, so he's the target.
Here's a crocodile biting an elephant that was innocently just trying to drink some water. Not only does the latter immediately show its superior force, it stomps on its supposed attacker afterward for good measure.
I don't think Ray Rice will be a bust, but it's at least worth noting he accrued 414 touches last year. He's young and has low career mileage, so he'll probably be fine, but I'd take LeSean McCoy over him…Joe Flacco has one of the strongest arms in football, but it's disconcerting he took a step back last year, getting a career-low 6.7 YPA with a 21:18 TD:turnover ratio. Then again, he was about as close as it gets to making the Super Bowl. Considering just how important quarterback is in today's NFL, those Harbaughs sure can coach.
Here's a Sea otter highly skilled at stacking cups.
Jermaine Gresham was a stud in college, but his 10.6 yards-per-catch mark last year ranked 35th among tight ends (and 135th among all receivers). That's not ideal…I've mentioned this before, but it's pretty funny I made a bet before last season on who will have a better career — Julio Jones or A.J. Green (I took Green). And as soon as their sophomore seasons, I have them ranked No. 2 and No. 3 on my WR board, with the guy I bet against (Jones) comfortably ahead in my mind…Cleveland is obviously one of the worst offensive situations in fantasy football, but Greg Little is a fine flier, and I'm still buying Trent Richardson. I would prefer it if his knee didn't require a scope every few months, and it's not ideal facing the Ravens and Steelers defenses 25 percent of the time, but he's a special talent who should be the rare workhorse back soon enough. Richardson is still worth a second round pick.
1. Houston Texans
2. Indianapolis Colts
3. Tennessee Titans
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
I think Arian Foster should be the No. 1 pick, but Ben Tate is the biggest upside backup since Larry Johnson (Priest Holmes was much more of an injury risk then, and the setup was even better). Foster is a superior receiver, but Tate might actually be an upgrade as a runner (in the league's best system), as he broke 30 tackles last year compared to Foster's 25, despite being given 103 fewer carries. Tate also got 3.3 YPC after contact compared to Foster's 2.5. If Foster were to suffer a season-ending injury, Tate would immediately become a top-three fantasy player. I actually don't think he will be worth using as a flex in most leagues on a weekly basis otherwise, but that upside is worth aggressively targeting him regardless…Houston has a strong defense and has ran the ball a ton recently (especially in the red zone), but Matt Schaub is still a fine QB1 or high upside QB2 for those who wait on the position. Over 2009 and 2010, he averaged 4,570 passing yards and 27 touchdown passes. Last year he got 8.5 YPA with 17 total touchdowns over 10 games, so he was basically better than ever. The Texans' defense may regress some this year, especially with a tougher schedule that includes their own division in which all three other teams' offenses should improve in 2012. I'd have no problem with Schaub as my QB1 while loading up on the other positions in deep leagues.
Man tries to surprise girlfriend by mailing himself inside sealed box, gets lost in the post, nearly dies.
The Colts seemingly pick the best times ever to have the worst record in football. First getting Peyton Manning and now Andrew Luck, who I fully expect to be a QB1 for fantasy purposes right away. He'll have to throw a ton with a bad defense, plays in a dome and has underrated rushing ability (he ran the same 40 time as Cam Newton). Luck is the real deal, so don't be surprised if this team easily beats its over/under projection…Reggie Wayne is seemingly a boring option at age 34, but he averaged 105.5 catches, 1,309.5 receiving yards and 8.0 touchdowns over the previous two years before dealing with a quarterback situation last season that combined for the third worst QB rating in the NFL. He's been moving all around the line of scrimmage this preseason in an aggressive Bruce Arians offense, and especially if Austin Collie suffers another concussion, Wayne could be a top-15 fantasy WR this year…I'm onboard with Donald Brown being aggressively moved up draft boards, but I'll also say this: Vick Ballard is one of the better late round fliers. He shouldn't be unowned in any leagues.
Here's a dog peeing on an electric fence.
Chris Johnson was a big disappointment last year, but he still got 1,463 yards from scrimmage with a 4.8 YPC mark over the final nine games. His lowly six goal-line carries should increase with a much-improved offense, and he's never missed a single game due to injury during his entire NFL career. Johnson should never last past the first seven fantasy picks…With his suspension lasting just one game, even with his knee being such an injury risk, Kenny Britt needs to be moved up draft boards. Don't forget he had 271 yards and three touchdowns over the first two games last year before suffering the season-ending injury in Week 3. I'm a huge Britt guy and have him on none of my teams so far. I'm an idiot…Also, go Titans!...Blaine Gabbert has looked improved this preseason, but this is an awful team, even if their WR group is better this year. I put my money where my mouth is…I wouldn't even consider drafting Maurice Jones-Drew before the middle of round 3 as of now, and it seems Rashad Jennings remains undervalued.
1. San Diego Chargers
2. Denver Broncos (wild card)
3. Oakland Raiders
4. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chargers finished with a +29 point differential last year. The rest of the AFC West had a -281 differential, yet SD didn't make the playoffs. In 2010, they had a +119 point differential while the rest of the division combined for -48, yet SD didn't make the playoffs. In 2009, the Chargers put up a Net YPA of 2.0 (to put that in perspective, last year the 15-1 Packers had a 1.5 Net YPA), yet lost their first playoff game at home as favorites. In 2008, they had a +92 point differential while the rest of the division had a -352 mark, and they tied with the Broncos for eight wins. What will it take to get Norv Turner fired? The Polaroids he has of Spanos must be ridiculously scandalous…Philip Rivers has the second most career net yards per pass attempt in NFL history…I'm buying Antonio Gates' health and consider him a worthy early round fantasy pick (while there are plenty of interesting fliers at TE, there's a steep decline after Gates, Aaron Hernandez and Vernon Davis are off the board)…Malcom Floyd can't stay healthy, but he has a ton of upside and should be the first SD WR drafted…Speaking of upside, if you're confident you can make the playoffs, go ahead and draft Ryan Mathews. He will be a top-3 fantasy RB on a per-game basis. Of course, I have no clue how many games that will be.
It's too bad this play was later ruled dead, as it would've gone down as the stupidest in the history of football.
I don't know whom to rank higher, Eric Decker or Demaryius Thomas. The former has a higher floor as the far better route runner, while the latter has a higher ceiling from a physical standpoint. If Peyton Manning stays healthy, both should finish as top-25 fantasy wide receivers…I don't doubt Tim Tebow's ability as a rusher helped Willis McGahee attain 4.8 YPC last season, but his situation looks far improved this year, as a Manning led offense should provide many more scoring opportunities. McGahee is one of the more desirable RBs available in the middle rounds (others include Donald Brown, Kevin Smith, Stevan Ridley and Cedric Benson).
If we knew every player would play all 16 games, Darren McFadden would likely be the No. 1 overall pick. Having said that, I'm a bit surprised how aggressively he's been taken given his health history, although it makes some sense considering the current RB landscape…Carson Palmer has looked terrible this preseason, and there's a real concern with a shift in offensive philosophy, but I'm trying to maintain my view of him one month ago (it hasn't been easy), as I still say he should be one of the first QB2s off the board. Maybe the touchdowns won't be there, but he averaged 293.0 passing yards (and 8.6 YPA!) over nine starts last year after coming off his couch. That's a 4,688 yard pace over a full season, which would rank top-20 all time. If INTs count as -2, then downgrade him, but a bunch of turnovers and a bad defense in the AFC West division should result in a ton of possessions and high-scoring games. I'm onboard with both Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore as mid-late round picks, and their ability to stay healthy will be key to Palmer's production.
These hamsters are crazy.
Jamaal Charles is on a short list of running backs I consider the best since I've been following the league, including Barry Sanders and Adrian Peterson, but even so, he's not ending up on any of my fantasy teams this year. There's just too much uncertainty recovering from a serious injury while being in a timeshare on a team that might finish last in its division. It's tough to count on continued historic per play production (Charles' career YPC is better than Sam Bradford's career YPA) coming off a torn knee, so the workload becomes more of an issue. He's a risky second round pick.
Super Bowl pick: Patriots over Packers
Feel free to leave your SB predictions in the comments below.