Monthly Archives: August 2011

Daily Haze: Five Undrafted Fantasy Football Sleepers

So you have already had your fantasy draft, but are carrying some dead weight on your roster. Maybe one of your players suffered an injury last weekend (Arian Foster). Or you drafted somebody who already was hurt (Ryan Williams).
Not to worry. In most leagues, there are undrafted players with high ceilings. Not all of these guys are going to hit, but chances are good that at least a couple of them will be service-able in 2011 by opportunity alone.
These five players should have the opportunity to become relevant fantasy options:
1. Aaron Brown, RB, Lions: Call me crazy, but I think Brown — not Jerome Harrison — has a good shot of taking the Mikel LeShoure role in this offense. He is familiar with the system and looks comfortable in the passing game. I do not think it was a coincidence that Brown got the start last week against the Patriots with Jahvid Best ailing.
2. Andre Roberts, WR, Cardinals: Someone other than Larry Fitzgerald is going to have to catch passes this year. Roberts had a good camp and a somewhat quiet preseason. He is going to start and should be the beneficiary of a lot of single coverage with Fitz on the other side. Could be a nice PPR play.
3. Lance Kendricks, TE, Rams: At this point, I would consider Kendricks a top-12 tight end this season. Sam Bradford is going to spread the ball around and there are other options who will command more attention than Kendricks (Steven Jackson, Brandon Gibson, Danny Amendola, etc.). He should be able to exploit matchups as a good pass-catching tight end.
4. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: With No. 3 receiver Emmanuel Sanders out of the lineup, Brown has put on a show. He caught two long touchdown passes against the Falcons last week and is an explosive weapon on an offense that passes the ball a lot more than you think.
5. Jamie Harper, RB, Titans: With Chris Johnson holding out, almost everyone expected Javon Ringer to be the fill-in running back this season. But so far in preseason, Harper has stolen the show. The Titans may be protecting Ringer, but Harper’s solid performance thus far warrants consideration as a bench player in fantasy leagues.
Here are today’s great reads:

The Best iPhone Apps for Fantasy Football Owners

Every year, fantasy owners are looking for an edge. They need to have the best rankings, find the best experts and utilize the best tools to help win that fantasy championship.
This is that edge.
I have spent the last 11 years scouring the web for the best fantasy football resources and have come across a number of great services. From full-service websites to blogs to league hosting services, podcasts and iPhone apps, fantasy owners have a wealth of tools at their disposal every season.
This compilation is designed to help the fantasy owner cut down on the search for the best of the best. Now, instead of spending time searching for and experimenting with new tools, the best fantasy football resources are located here in one central location.
Spend your time this summer doing other things — researching prospects, mock drafting, practicing your trash talk and working on those draft-day spreadsheets.
If you have a suggestion for this list now or in the future, please share it in the comments or by sending The Hazean an email. That way I can share it with our readers in the future.
This is the fifth part in our “Best Of Fantasy Football” series.
Part I: The 10 Best Fantasy Football Blogs
Part II: The Best League Hosting Services
Part III: The Best Full-Service Fantasy Football Websites
Part IV: The Best Fantasy Football Twitter-ers of 2011
The Best Apps for Fantasy Football Owners
I have a friend who does not have a smart phone yet. He still has the phone with the green-screen. These apps are not going to help him win any fantasy football leagues this year, but they should help you. Since you are modern and not lame.
Note: These apps are tailored to iPhone users since I own an iPhone. I am sure they have the same apps (or better!) for your smartphone of choice as well.

Position Battles: Miami Running Back

To call this a position battle is largely inaccurate as coach Tony Sparano has named Reggie Bush the starter.  Not the news those who invested, or planned to invest, in second round pick Daniel Thomas hoped to hear.  The Dolphins also recently inked Larry Johnson, adding another mouth to potentially feed in the rushing attack.  The million dollar question for fantasy gamers is; just how do the Dolphins plan on distributing touches this year?

Bush has never been a feature running back in the NFL, and has never rushed for more than 600 yards in any single season.  His high water mark is 581 yards rushing his second season in the league.  In five seasons he has never tallied more than 157 carries (also his second season in the league) and has only played in 16 games one time, his rookie season.  None of these facts are encouraging indicators that Bush is built to be a full-time lead back.  Toss in that more astute observers than myself have questioned his abilities to run the ball effectively between the tackles throughout his career and this situation has a high probability of being fluid all year.

Not all is doom and gloom with Bush.  The former Heisman Trophy winner (well sort of) is versatile and was leaned on heavily in the Saints passing attack when he wasn’t on the trainer’s table or sidelined in street clothes.  That fact shouldn’t be lost on those in point-per-reception (PPR) leagues.  In addition to his receiving skills, he has displayed his versatility in the return game as an electric threat to take the ball to the house on punts and kickoffs.  Indications are that the Dolphins don’t intend on utilizing that facet of his game, a potential knock to his value in leagues that count return yardage and touchdowns, but that could change if he’s unable to carry the load as the number one running back.

Bush was at his best when donning a USC Trojans jersey and sharing touches with bruising back LenDale White.  Thomas may just be suited for the “White role,” as Bush’s compliment.  Standing at 6’1 and weighing 228 pounds, he certainly has the frame for the between the tackles grinder role.  As the bigger back yin to Bush’s speedster yang, Thomas would likely be in line to receive the bulk of the goal line duties.  Unfortunately, even the complimentary backup spot isn’t a lock for Thomas.  Failing to impress the coaching staff thoroughly, they have brought in Johnson as competition for the primary backup job.

Gamers that are hoping for Johnson to turn back the clock should do a little more passing and a little less puff-puffing.  His namesake, former National Basketball Association forward Larry Johnson, once played a character known as Grandmama.  That moniker would suit the NFL running back well these days.  Johnson hasn’t been a fantasy asset since 2006.  Since then, an 874 yard rushing, five touchdown 2008 is the closest to fantasy relevance he has come.  Last year he was unable to make waves in the nation’s capital, where a cast of misfits that included Ryan Torain, Keiland Williams and a past-his-prime Clinton Portis received the meaningful carries.  In 2009 Johnson split his season between Kansas City and the NFL cesspool known as Cincinnati, where owner Mike Brown has made losing an art.  Three addresses in the last two years, and a fourth to begin this year, officially makes Johnson a journeyman running back.  Even in the event he’s able to pass Thomas on the depth chart, of the three backs, Johnson is by far the least desirable to own stock in this year.

As a whole, the running back situation in South Beach is murky.  The most recent ADP report from The Football Guys shows Thomas being selected at pick 76 as the 32nd running back, and starter Bush being selected a bit behind him at pick 87 as the 35th running back.  As more drafts are completed with Bush as the declared starter, I’d expect to see them flip-flop spots.  Where each should go in your fantasy draft depends on league settings.  Dinosaur leagues that devalue yardage and hoist touchdowns onto an unchallenged scoring pedestal favor Thomas greatly.  More modern scoring formats that value yardage, and especially those that are PPR, are tailor made for the well-rounded Bush.  Unless one, or both, fall further than their current ADP, it’s advised that fantasy gamers look elsewhere for running back help.

Josh Shepardson also writes for both the Fantasy Baseball Cafe and Fantasy Football Cafe as well as The Hardball Times.  You can find Josh here on Twitter if you too enjoy communicating in 140 characters or less.


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