Monday, May 23, 2011

Fantasy Football Insider: Which Defenses could be the Top Fantasy Defenses of 2011?

With the NFL lockout still looming large over everything there hasn’t been much aside from the draft to give teams a shot at trying to improve themselves for next season. Along with that, it will be difficult for teams to restock and reload making it much more difficult to predict which teams might be better next season.

NFL defenses, like kickers, are kind of a forgotten part of a good fantasy football team. A good defense can score just as much or more than a quarterback or running back can at times and pretty soon defenses will become one of the most sought after positions in fantasy drafts. Some people have even drafted defenses as high as number one in a few fantasy drafts.

But are defenses worthy of such a high pick? Probably not but they do have some value and could deserve some middle round consideration.

So what teams are going have the best defenses next season? Is it even possible to tell with the lockout going on?

Let’s make an attempt to try to figure out which defenses could be at the top of the fantasy football rankings for 2011.

In no particular order, here are five NFL defenses that you should look at drafting in your fantasy draft later on this summer.

Pittsburgh Steelers-The Steelers always seem to have very good defenses and you can expect them to have another good one next year as well. With the same group of guys returning, including such stars as safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison this unit will be one the most sought after in fantasy football this year.

Chicago Bears-The Bears will be bringing back many of the same guys from last season and have even made an upgrade on their defensive line (by drafting Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea) so things are looking up for the Bears. They will definitely be one of the top defenses selected late this summer.

San Diego Chargers-The Chargers may not have had the best record in the NFL last year and they even failed to make the playoffs but what a lot of people don’t know is that they had the best defense statistically last season. The Chargers shouldn’t take a step back in that category this season as there shouldn’t be too many changes (in fact they made some upgrades during the draft to help make some improvements) and their defense will be one of the hottest defenses in fantasy football drafts this summer.

Green Bay Packers-The Packers had one of the best defenses in the NFL last season and with some of their top players coming back from injury this year their defense should be even better in 2011. This unit is filled with talent at each position and has the capability of putting up a lot of points in every game.

There will be a lot fantasy owners trying to pick up Green Bay’s defense early on in fantasy drafts.

New York Jets-The Jets have gone out and changed some things on defense for the 2011 season and it promises to be another good year for the Jets. Head coach Rex Ryan is going to make sure that his defense remains one of the top defenses in the NFL so if you need a solid defense for your fantasy football team you might want to take a look at the Jets “D”.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Fantasy Football Insider: Who could be the Top Fantasy Tight Ends in 2011?

The tight end position can be a productive one and a frustrating one when it comes to fantasy football. One weekend your top tight end can have a great game and in another he can all but disappear. There are some NFL teams that utilize their tights ends in the passing game often (and have specialize pass catching tight ends as well as blocking tight ends) while other teams don’t use the tight end much for passing but more for blocking.

Before you go ahead and select a tight end in your fantasy drafts the tight end much for passing but more for blocking.

Before you go ahead and select a tight end in your fantasy drafts you must be sure that the tight end will be used often on offense because you don’t want to waste that spot on someone that won’t produce.

Remember that tight ends can be big assets to your team if you can find the right one.

Let’s take a look at five tight ends (in no particular order) that fantasy owners should be looking at in their fantasy drafts late this summer.

1. Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys-The Cowboys have had a lot of success throwing the ball to Witten and he has been very productive in his career with the Cowboys. He has been injured from time to time and has missed some time but he will be a very valuable and sought after tight end in fantasy football.

2. Antonio Gates-San Diego Chargers-Gates has been one of the most productive tight ends in the NFL since coming into the league and has another good season or two in him before he either starts to decline. Fantasy football owners will also hope that he can stay healthy and give them a full season.

3. Dallas Clark-Indianapolis Colts-Speaking of staying healthy, the perpetually injured Clark does remain one of the top tight ends in the NFL. Fantasy football owners will take a chance on him this year and assume that he will be able to stay healthy and if he can he will go back to being a prime target for quarterback Peyton Manning.

4. Tony Gonzalez-Atlanta Falcons-Gonzalez may be in his the twilight of his career but he’s still very useful as pass catcher and may have a good season as the Falcons try to get to and win the Super Bowl. He’s going to be a primary option at tight end in most fantasy football drafts and will have another good season.

5. Chris Cooley-Washington Redskins-Depending on Washington’s quarterback situation next season, Cooley may be a hot commodity to some fantasy owners and could easily be one of the first tight ends taken. Like some of the other guys on this list, Cooley has had his fair share of injuries in the past but could have a productive season next year.

Are there any rookie tight ends that could be looked at as fantasy draft prospects? This 2011 NFL Draft’s tight end class was viewed by many experts as being pretty weak and the first tight end selected, Notre Dame’s Kyle Rudolph, wasn’t even drafted until the second round (by the Minnesota Vikings) and he may be the only rookie tight end that get’s a look in fantasy drafts this summer?

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fantasy Football Insider: Who could be the Top Fantasy Wide Receivers in 2011?

The NFL is starting to become much more of a passing league which means that both quarterbacks and wide receivers are starting to become somewhat of a commodity. You were sure to have had good success in your league last year if you had guys like Brandon Lloyd and Dwayne Bowe on your team. You might have also benefited from the productive seasons that Roddy White and Greg Jennings had.

You can expect those four receivers, along with a host of others, to have good seasons in the NFL this year. Sprinkle in some of the rookie wide receiver talent coming into the league this year and it could be a great year for wide receivers.

Of course there are some things to take into consideration when you are drafting a wide receiver. First, you have to know how the quarterback situation is with the team. You can bet that fantasy football owners will take receivers from the Indianapolis Colts first before they look at grabbing receivers from the Minnesota Vikings.

Another thing you have to look at is how much the team passes the ball. It’s true, the NFL is becoming much more of a passing league but there are some teams that struggle when it comes to passing the ball. The Bears are a good example of that. They have great talent at the quarterback position but they have problems going down the field and connecting with receivers thus considerable reducing their numbers.

Finally, you have to look at the injury history of the player. There are some receivers that are very tempting to take but eventually miss time at some point in the season because of an injury. Some receivers are pretty “consistent” when it comes to injuries suffered and those are guys that you will want to stay away from.

So, in eager anticipation of the 2011 season the following is a look at five wide receiver prospects that can be considered some of the top guys heading into the 2011 season. There are also three rookie profiled here and these guys might be able to make an impact on their teams next season and might draw some interest in fantasy drafts.

1. Reggie Wayne-Indianapolis Colts-Wayne has been quarterback Peyton Manning’s favorite target and despite the fact he’s getting older he’s been very effective for the Colts. Fantasy football owners will be looking for Wayne early in the draft and he should be productive next season.

2. Calvin Johnson-Detroit Lions-As long as quarterback Matthew Stafford can stay healthy long enough to help Johnson succeed he could be one of the premier recivers in the NFL. This guy is hard to cover, able to get up and catch high passes and has the potential to be very productive.

3. DeSean Jackson-Philadelphia Eagles-If this guy can stay healthy all season then he could have his best year yet and with Michael Vick now a full time starter (with the possibility of no worries about Kevin Kolb breathing down his neck) he could end up relying on Jackson’s big play ability. This could make Jackson one of the most productive wide receivers next season.

4. Andre Johnson-Houston Texans-There are some people out there that feel that Johnson could be the best player in the NFL and he has meant a lot to the Texans since he arrived in Houston a few seasons ago. If he can throw together a consistent season (and his quarterback can stay healthy and consistent) he could be a top fantasy producer in 2011.

5. Greg Jennings-Green Bay Packers-The Packers have one of the best passing offenses in the NFL and it’s likely that he will have another great fantasy football season. His quarterback, Aaron Rodger, is one of the best in the NFL and Jennings has become one of his favorite targets. He will be one of top targets in fantasy drafts this season.

Here are three rookies that might get some looks in the 2011 fantasy drafts:

1. Julio Jones-Atlanta Falcons-The Falcons gave away the house in order to get Jones, a player that they feel is the final piece in the puzzle to get them to the Super Bowl. Jones will start right away in Atlanta and should have a great season in his first year with the team.

2. Jonathan Baldwin-Kansas City Chiefs-There were few people that thought that taking Baldwin in the first round was a huge mistake but the Chiefs needed someone else to catch the ball aside from Dwayne Bowe so they did what they had to do. It’s possible that Baldwin could come into NFL with a chip on his shoulder and prove his doubters wrong in a big way. Fantasy owners will certainly hope so.

3. Titus Young-Detroit Lions-Yes, he’s on the same team as Calvin Johnson is but Young could be the beneficiary of double coverage on Johnson so therefore he might see a lot of passes thrown his way. As long as Stafford stays healthy then Titus (and Johnson) should have success in the 2011 season.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Fantasy Football Insider: Who could be the Top Fantasy Running Backs in 2011?

The NFL lockout continues as the 2011 NFL Draft comes to a close and we are all now stuck in a state of “football limbo”. There won’t be much movement at all now in the NFL as we wait for things to get settled so teams are going to remain pretty much the same way that the did last year until all of this is settled.

With NFL teams taking to the air much more now than they have in the past it’s safe to say that the role of the running back on an NFL team has diminished. We have seen this happen over the past few years but fantasy football fans should not let themselves worry about the production from running backs.

Running backs are an important part of any fantasy roster and can have huge games which allow fantasy owners to win games and win their leagues.

Some of the top fantasy football running backs during the 2010 season include Houston’s Arian Foster, Cleveland’s Peyton Hills and Tennessee’s Chris Johnson and these players promise to have good seasons in 2011.

But will they be ready for the 2011 season thanks to the lockout? Will the 2011 season even be ready for them?

Let’s assume that the season is going to go on as normal? Which players will be the top running backs in 2011?

We will find out as we look at the top five fantasy running backs heading into the 2011 season.

(Note: This is in no particular order).

1. Chris Johnson-Tennessee Titans-Tennessee’s quarterback situation is going to a little tenuous in 2011 so they will probably try to rely on Johnson much more this coming season. This means big dividends for fantasy football owners that pick Johnson. If you can get him early take him.

2. Peyton Hillis-Cleveland Browns-The Browns will have quarterback Colt McCoy starting to open the season and as they try to ease him into his starting role it’s possible that they could use the running game to help take some of the pressure off of McCoy. Hillis is now a proven running back and will help the Browns have success on the ground next year.

3. Matt Forte-Chicago Bears-The Bears ended up having a lot of success on offense, especially in the second half of the season and he’s a valuable dual threat both running the ball and catching it. The Bears will continue to use him often as a key part of their offense and he should see some strong numbers again in 2011.

4. Adrian Peterson-Minnesota Vikings-Peterson is always an ideal pickup in any fantasy football season and he might be called upon early and often if the Vikings have rookie Christian Ponder as their starting quarterback. Look for him to have a big season in 2011 as long as he can stay healthy and hold onto the ball.

5. Darren McFadden-Oakland Raiders-After a long wait Raiders fans and those fantasy football owners that selected him got what they wanted out of McFadden and being that they have the head coach that was last year’s offensive coordinator coming back he may get even more touches this season and could do even better than he did last season.

There could be a couple rookie running backs that might be worth a mid round look. Guys like New Orleans Saints Mark Ingram and Detroit’s Mikel Leshoure could have good seasons. Keep an eye on these guys as the season progresses as they might be worth a longer look.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Fantasy Football Insider: Who Could be the Top Fantasy Quarterback in 2011?

It’s true, we haven’t seen anything happening in terms of preparations for the 2011 season thanks to the lockout. We can only assume that so far, things are going to be similar to what they were in 2010 and that there isn’t going to be a whole lot of movement in the league this offseason.

If that is indeed the case then it will be much easier figuring out who the top quarterbacks will be in fantasy football next season. Just take a look at those players that finished at the top of the league in fantasy passing last year. They include Philadelphia’s Michael Vick, Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning and New England Patriot Tom Brady.

We know that these teams may not see that much change depending on what happens with this on again off lockout. If there isn’t any free agency which is always possible then the top quarterbacks from last year should remain pretty much the same this year. If there is some kind of free agency then yes things will change.

So ultimately, who will be the top quarterbacks next season? Let’s take a look at those players that should be the top five fantasy quarterbacks in 2011 (in no particular order).

Peyton Manning-Indianapolis Colts-Granted, Manning did end up having a down season last year and that was a direct result of some injuries to his key receivers and the fact that fourth and fifth string players were playing as starters on a regular basis. With good health at the receiver position he should excel this season.

Drew Brees-New Orleans Saints-Brees continues to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL despite some of the handicaps that he has had at the receiver position. If their defense can keep things at bay on their end then Brees should have a good season and could be either the second or third quarterback taken in most fantasy drafts next year.

Tom Brady-New England Patriots-The Patriots have one of the best offenses in the NFL year in and year out and Brady will be one of the most sought after quarterbacks in fantasy football again next season. He remains a solid option and has the weapons to have yet another good season with New England.

Matt Ryan-Atlanta Falcons-The addition of Julio Jones is going to make the Falcons passing game much better in 2011 and with that Ryan should see an increase in production. The Falcons will be aiming for the Super Bowl this season as they are close to reaching their goal so look for a lot of good numbers out of Ryan.

Michael Vick-Philadelphia Eagles-Vick won’t have to worry about someone trying to take his job (i.e. Kevin Kolb) as he has that starting job locked up and ready to go. Look for him to have another productive season in 2011 and if the team has their weapons put into place and healthy he could be hard to stop next season.

So keep your eye on these quarterbacks as they should be the top players that you should have interest in heading into the 2011 Fantasy Football season.

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