10 Huge NFL Offseason Stories That Will Impact Your Fantasy Football Draft
Whether you are already out of the running in your fantasy baseball league or you’re in the midst of getting ready for the second half, you know it’s just passing time until your 2013 fantasy football draft.
The Fantasy Football offseason is nearly over and its time to start thinking about your 2013 Fantasy Football Draft.
With the slow summer months, it's easy to forget about some of the huge NFL stories since the end of last season. Let’s look back at the major happenings of the offseason to see what you need to remember before you begin your draft prep.
The Broncos’ offense ranked fourth in total yardage last season, behind just the Patriots, Saints and Lions – yet they still went out and drafted one of the top college running backs in Montee Ball.
In early June, they decided to let Willis McGahee go his own way, so now it’s up to Ball – and sophomore Ronnie Hillman. Fantasy fans are all over Ball, but consider him more of a Fantasy RB3, since Broncos head coach John Fox doesn’t often let rookie RBs get overworked. Plus, he better be good at pass protection because there’s no way Ball will be out there if pass rushers can get to Peyton Manning through him.
In 2011, Fitzgerald was able to excel despite Kevin Kolb and John Skelton filling the QB position. But last year, it just couldn’t work for No. 11, with Kolb, Skelton, rookie Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer under center.
Fitzgerald finished with just two 100-yard games, and four touchdowns. The Cardinals as a whole only threw for 11 touchdowns. So they acquired Carson Palmer from Oakland, and things are looking up again for Fitzgerald. Palmer’s numbers looked worse than he actually was, and this should be a fine Fantasy marriage.
In just a few months, Fitzgerald’s former teammate went from aging second banana in Baltimore, to Super Bowl hero, to a guy traded to the team he beat in the Super Bowl, to the main man on the team he beat (with one of the most dynamic young QBs in the league).
Michael Crabtree’s Achilles’ injury means Boldin will be leaned on heavily, which means more opportunities and higher Fantasy value.
Last year was the greatest fantasy rookie season for quarterbacks in NFL history, and one of the greatest rookies seasons for running backs, as well.
Players like Andy Dalton, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Doug Martin, DeMarco Murray, Cam Newton and Trent Richardson had people’s expectations for rookies at an all-time high but this year’s crop is nowhere near as good. It’s the first time in over 40 years that a running back wasn’t drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft.
In the NFL Playoffs last season, we saw RGIII go down with a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus. This was a guy that just finished putting together the second-best rookie QB season in Fantasy Football history, and now we had reason to worry if he’d ever be the same. But Adrian Peterson’s comeback from a similar injury with a similar recovery time has us excited about Griffin’s prospects for 2013.
Rob Gronkowski has had four surgeries on a forearm that he broke twice last season, and now his back requires surgery. While he is easily the best Fantasy tight end in points-per-game over the past couple seasons, he just can’t stay healthy. Some Fantasy owners are still gambling on him in the early rounds, but Jimmy Graham has taken over the top spot among the rankings at the position.
Speaking of the Patriots, they finally said goodbye to Tom Brady’s favorite target over the past six years, as Welker signed with the Broncos. New England brought in Amendola, who is similarly as dangerous in underneath routes, and they’ll hope he can stay healthy enough to help Brady out.
Remember, Brady lost Welker and Brandon Lloyd, and Gronk has proven to be brittle. Amendola and TE Aaron Hernandez will be counted on, as well as rookie WR Aaron Dobson, possibly.
The Packers threw for over 4,000 yards last season, but they ranked just 20th in rushing. In hopes of fixing that, Green Bay chose Alabama RB Eddie Lacy, who many considered the best running back in the NFL Draft, and UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin this past April.
Fantasy owners should target Lacy in Round 5 and Franklin in Round 9. As Green Bay promises to improve their running game, the two-rookie-RB approach reminds me of when the Rams grabbed Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson last season.
Much like the Packers, the Falcons found themselves relying on the passing game much more than they really wanted, as they finished with the 29th-ranked rushing attack in the NFL. The years of Michael Turner blowing through defenders were over, and the 31-year-old will be playing elsewhere in 2013. Steven Jackson, no spring chicken himself, takes over in Atlanta, and unlike Turner, he’s a superb pass-catching tailback, which bodes well for the Falcons – and his Fantasy owners.
First, Nate Burleson made the trek from Minnesota to Seattle, then Sidney Rice did it a couple years ago, and now Percy Harvin becomes yet another VikingSeahawk wide receiver. He trades in erratic Christian Ponder at quarterback for the playmaking sophomore Russell Wilson. Unfortunately, Harvin is coming off yet another injury-filled season, playing in just nine games before an ankle injury ended his 2012 season early. His migraine headaches appear to be a thing of the past, though.