Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2011 Draft Prep: Can these breakouts do it again?

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Not every player you'll consider in Fantasy is as safe as Peyton Manning or a lock to put up nice numbers like Adrian Peterson. Like it or not, some guys you'll look at on Draft Day will carry some risk. Some more than others, and perhaps the guys with the most risk are the ones coming off a big year without any previous success.

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Football.

Granted, everyone who ultimately becomes "safe" has to have a great first year sometime. Guys like Reggie Wayne, DeAngelo Williams, Wes Welker and Drew Brees needed a few years in the league before finally breaking out and showing some stability. Now Fantasy owners are grabbing for them with little hesitation.

Every year players pop out of the woodwork and help us win Fantasy games and league titles, and then the next year they disappoint us. Not all of them, obviously, but a fair share. Wouldn't it be cool if we could pinpoint the guys who might keep up their totals from last year before the season started while pumping the brakes on the players that might disappoint us?

Let's give it a try.

Running backs

Arian Foster, Texans
Before 2010: The Texans sort of buried Foster until they needed him, and even then they buried him. His first NFL start, in 2009, was marred by a first quarter fumble that led to his benching. He ended his rookie year on a productive note -- 242 total yards and three scores in his last two games, giving some optimism about his future until the Texans spent a second-round pick on Ben Tate last April.
In 2010: Foster went from unlikely starter to matchup-busting Fantasy superstar, giving the Texans the stud rusher they've missed since Steve Slaton.
One-year wonder? The Texans have historically had trouble finding stability at running back -- the likes of Domanick Davis and Steve Slaton flamed out after two productive seasons. If Foster follows suit, then he'll at least be productive this season. If he breaks from that pack, then he'll be strong for a long time. Either way, we know he has the talent to be a stat monster and the opportunity will be there for him in 2011.

Peyton Hillis, Browns
Before 2010: Hillis was a beefy afterthought. Part-time fullback, part-time third-down back and part-time bruising rusher. He never really had much of a chance to play regularly in Denver and wasn't handed the opportunity to play regularly when he arrived in Cleveland last spring.
In 2010: Injuries forced Hillis into action, and he shined. He mowed down every defense not named the Steelers he saw and went one game without a touchdown until December, when all the wear and tear caught up with him and he slowed down.
One-year wonder? There's no doubt that he's a bigger piece of the Browns offense now than he was a year ago, but at the same time the team knows they cannot possibly count on him as much as they did in 2010. His running style lends itself to injuries, and that's never a good thing. His receiving skills are great for Cleveland's new offense and he'll still be a bulldozer at the goal line, but everything else -- mainly his reps -- remain question marks. We suspect his total yardage will decline thanks to assists from Montario Hardesty and Brandon Jackson, but his touchdown production might not fall far. That means he won't match his totals from a year ago and therefore might be perceived as a bust.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis/Danny Woodhead, Patriots
Before 2010: Green-Ellis was a backup with the Pats and Woodhead was a Jets practice squadder and occasional benchwarmer. Neither player was drafted into the NFL.
In 2010: Injuries kicked down the door for Green-Ellis to start seeing playing time, and he never gave up his role thanks to not fumbling and scoring plenty of short-yardage touchdowns (13 total). The Pats picked up Woodhead off of the Jets' trash heap and he served as a great change-of-pace rusher and short-area receiver, filling in for Kevin Faulk for most of the year (six total touchdowns).
One-year wonder? Despite the success of this one-two combo, the Patriots spent a second-round pick on Shane Vereen and a third-round pick on Stevan Ridley. Granted, they effectively took the roster spots of Faulk and Fred Taylor, but they're young hungry rushers that will push Green-Ellis and Woodhead. But that said, Bill Belichick has never taken a good player off the field, and neither Green-Ellis nor Woodhead have done anything to warrant benching. So long as that continues, the impact by the Pats' rookies will be small. Green-Ellis is the safer pick to avoid being a bust of the two.

Mike Tolbert, Chargers
Before 2010: Tolbert spent two seasons toiling on the Chargers bench, mainly as a fullback. He had 38 carries, 30 catches and five touchdowns over two seasons.
In 2010: Ryan Mathews' ankle injury led to Tolbert taking on much more of the rushing workload for the Chargers. He didn't disappoint, scoring 11 touchdowns on 182 carries (735 yards) while flashing some soft hands (25 catches for 216 yards).
One-year wonder? Chances are that Tolbert will have a reduced role -- perhaps a part-time back and possible goal-line guy -- while Mathews takes the starting job. Unless Mathews gets hurt again, Tolbert's touches will sink like a rock. He could still sneak into the end zone six or seven times while picking up carries and catches here and there, but it's hard to expect Tolbert to put up numbers like he did last season given Mathews' presence.

LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers
Before 2010: Blount was in college, known for a well-publicized post-game incident while with the Oregon Ducks. That incident overshadowed his abilities and led to him not getting drafted.
In 2010: Blount initially latched on with the Titans but was cut just before the start of the season (Tennessee tried to sneak him on to its practice squad). The Bucs jumped on him and Blount ultimately got a chance to rumble in the Bay. Despite starting only the Bucs' final seven games, Blount totaled 1,007 yards (on 201 carries!) with six touchdowns.
One-year wonder? Blount has reportedly slimmed down in an effort to be in top shape, and that can't hurt things. But the offensive line he'll run behind won't be quite as good as the one he had last season, and the passing game in Tampa Bay is expected to improve, thus taking some opportunities away. But let's put it this way: The Bucs will have some real problems if Blount doesn't deliver some stats. They're thin at running back, which suggests that Blount will have many chances to be the primary ball carrier there. That commitment is enough to appease Fantasy owners on Draft Day, but a challenging schedule (at least to start the year) could bring some headaches.

Wide receivers

Brandon Lloyd, Broncos
Before 2010: Lloyd was considered a massive bust, an underachiever. He was blessed with solid hands but he found himself getting booted from every opportunity he had for various reasons. In seven seasons he had 164 catches for 2,370 yards and 15 touchdowns.
In 2010: According to Lloyd, he was told by then-head coach Josh McDaniels that he was a special talent. McDaniels apparently loved Lloyd coming out of Illinois back in 2003. So McDaniels gave Lloyd a chance to play and Lloyd came through with one of the best receiving seasons in Broncos history: 77 grabs for 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns, dwarfing all of his previous career-highs. Not bad for a receiver in his eighth NFL season.
One-year wonder? Most of what's happened to Lloyd since last season suggests that he will struggle in 2011. For starters, McDaniels' pass-heavy attack is gone and the coaching staff in Denver, led by the conservative John Fox, might opt to play closer to the vest. That could limit Lloyd's targets a bit and deep balls a lot. There is also the potential for Kyle Orton, the quarterback who helped establish Lloyd, to get moved and for Tim Tebow to start. Tebow isn't as good as Orton, and that means the passes to Lloyd might not be as sharp (though it is worth noting here that Tebow and Lloyd connected for two touchdowns and 263 yards in three games late last season). But Lloyd's track record is what might make him the most untrustworthy of all, and the potential of spending a fourth- or fifth-round pick on a receiver who might deliver 700 yards and five touchdowns is enough to scare owners into another direction. And finally, defensive coordinators spent time this spring and summer going over Lloyd's film and finding his weaknesses (they had plenty of time to do it!). So despite him being in a contract year and motivated to prove people like us wrong, Fantasy owners shouldn't stand in line to draft Lloyd.

Steve Johnson, Bills
Before 2010: Johnson wasn't on the map in Buffalo, even with their receiving corps pretty much as thin as it's always been. In 16 games he had 12 catches for 112 yards and two scores, both coming late in his rookie season.
In 2010: Chan Gailey showed up in Buffalo and liked what he saw in Johnson. Though it took all of the preseason and a couple of weeks into the regular season for him to show up, Johnson caught fire starting in Week 3 and caught touchdowns in five consecutive games. He finished 2010 with 10 scores, and it could have been more if not for some ill-timed drops or a poor finish. Tacking on 1,073 yards on a whopping 82 grabs didn't hurt his cause either. Johnson became popular not only for his play, but for his charismatic style off the field too.
One-year wonder? If Johnson falters in 2011, it won't be because of a change in offensive philosophy or change in quarterback. Everything's the same in Buffalo in that regard. Perhaps defenses will catch up with Johnson, just as they did in 2010 when he finished his last six games with one touchdown and no outings with more than 75 yards. He could very easily become a pedestrian receiver just as he could explode again, and that volatility should make owners think twice before drafting him.

Mike Williams, Buccaneers
Before 2010: Williams was a suspended collegiate athlete, taken off the field in Syracuse for improper violations. That knocked his NFL Draft stock down some; the Bucs swiped him in the fourth round.
In 2010: With a ton of hype surrounding him in the preseason, Williams instantly became a sensation for the Tampa Bay offense, establishing himself as a dynamic threat for Josh Freeman to latch onto. He scored in all but six games and finished with touchdowns in three straight.
One-year wonder? The last Bucs receiver to play big as a rookie was Michael Clayton, and now he's out of the league. But Williams has looked the part of a top-flight receiver since he stepped on the field at training camp last year. The Tampa Bay offense made strides last season and should continue to thanks to young talent like Williams and Freeman. We think Williams might become a special receiver in the pros and wouldn't hesitate on him this season.

Mike Williams, Seahawks
Before 2010: Where to begin? He was a former first-round pick that wore out his welcome in numerous NFL cities thanks to weight issues and effort. He was out of the league until head coach Pete Carroll brought him back and got him in shape.
In 2010: Williams met some of the potential he had when he was drafted out of USC back in 2005. He caught 65 passes for 751 yards and two touchdowns, though that was on 110 targets. That was enough to make him the Seahawks' top receiving threat.
One-year wonder? Chances are he will struggle. The Seahawks added Sidney Rice this summer to give a boost to their passing game, which as of now will be commanded by either Charlie Whitehurst or Tarvaris Jackson. That's a double dose of bad news for Williams. Owners shouldn't invest much, if anything, in him on Draft Day.

Tight ends

Rob Gronkowski/Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
Before 2010: Both were in college: Gronkowski at Arizona and Hernandez in Florida. Gronkowski was a second-round pick of the Patriots while Hernandez was a fourth-round choice.
In 2010: Hernandez burst onto the scene first with some nice outings, then Gronkowski settled in and started to carve out a regular role for himself in the Patriots offense. Gronkowski finished with 10 touchdowns, Hernandez with six.
One-year wonder? Hernandez has the bigger chance of being a bust than Gronkowski, but both could underwhelm in the wake of Chad Ochocinco's arrival in New England. With another pair of very good hands for Tom Brady to throw to in Ochocinco, the targets for both Gronkowski and Hernandez could dip. Hernandez's playing time might especially drop since he typically lined up as a receiver and that's a spot Ochocinco could take over. Gronkowski, however, is a do-it-all tight end that worked as a goal-line threat off of play-action and also converted plenty of third downs. He didn't come off the field much for New England late last season, and the belief here is that he'll continue to play a lot in 2011 -- which means he should still see a fair amount of passes come his way.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard . Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Adrian Peterson to be used differently
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:26 am ET) The Vikings want to get running back Adrian Peterson to the edge more often this season, "both to maximize his explosiveness and reduce the pounding on his body," reports ESPN.com. "He'll run out of shotgun sets and multiple-receiver formations more often."

The website said Peterson will get more usage as a receiver and that's "the most profound change for him this season."

Said running backs coach Kirby Wilson: "He's had good days, but there are some days when he's been spectacular in those areas. I'm excited to see what the new and improved Adrian Peterson is going to look like when the opener starts. I think this whole team is excited about what he could bring as a dual-threat player."


Zach Ertz buzz hitting new heights
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:10 am ET) Expectations continue to skyrocket for Eagles second-year tight end Zach Ertz. Tight ends coach Ted Williams was the latest to chime in, calling Ertz "one of the best route-runners I've ever seen."

"He takes a lot of pride in that," Williams added to Philly.com. "He has a lot of confidence. He's hard to defeat, because he doesn't take defeat very well. He feels, 'You can't cover me.'"

The website noted Ertz caught four touchdowns in the second half of last season and claimed he's poised to break out this year. Ertz and fellow tight end Brent Celek will have "a much bigger role in the passing game," the report said.

Ertz said he's taking every rep "personally."

"If somebody beats me, I'm going to take that personally. I want to be great," he said. "That's my goal each and every day I step out onto the field. I want to prove to myself and everybody else how good I can be, and I'm willing to work as hard as I need to achieve that goal."


Ravens ink Derek Cox
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:58 am ET) The Ravens signed cornerback Derek Cox, who was released by the Vikings last week. He played in every game last year for the Chargers, making 38 tackles and an interception.

Coach more effusive about Lamar Miller than Knowshon Moreno
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:48 am ET) Dolphins running backs Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno split first-team reps the past two days, reports the Miami Herald. While coach Joe Philbin said the starting job is open, he was more effusive talking about Miller.

"I like everything Lamar has done since he's gotten here," Philbin said. "He's had an excellent offseason and camp. ... I like everything he's done since April 21 [the start of offseeason workouts]."

About Moreno, Philbin merely said, "He ran the ball well Saturday [against Dallas]."

The paper called Moreno the better third-down option, because of his superior pass protection skills. Miami opens the season Sunday, Sept. 7 against New England.


Frankie Hammond expected to replace Dwayne Bowe
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:29 am ET) With Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe suspended for the opener, Frankie Hammond is expected to replace him in the starting lineup, reports ESPN.com. Hammond went undrafted out of Florida in 2013 and spent last season on Kansas City's practice squad.

He has six catches for 90 yards in three preseason games.


Wes Welker 'in the exercise mode'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:20 am ET) Broncos receiver Wes Welker has progressed to the exercise portion of the concussion protocol. "He's in the exercise mode right now," coach John Fox told NewsRadio 850. "He won't be back out there until he's completely well."

Welker suffered his third concussion in 10 months in Saturday's preseason game against Houston.


No risk of suspension for Le'Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:14 am ET) There is no chance the Steelers will suspend running backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount for their arrests last week on charges of marijuana possession, reports Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The team will let the legal process play out, then wait for the NFL to impose discipline -- a process that could take a year.

"So the idea that either the Steelers will act on their own or that the wheels of NFL justice will move so quickly Bell and Blount could lose a game to suspension anytime soon is folly," Bouchette wrote.

The Steelers won't do anything to hurt their chances of winning Week 1, Bouchette continued. In addition, he asserted the collective bargaining agreement prohibits teams from imposing suspensions in these kinds of cases.

Bell also was charged with DUI in the incident a week ago.


Ravens have interest in Derek Cox
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/26/2014) The Ravens will "take a look" at free-agent cornerback Derek Cox , USA Today Sports reports. Cox was released by the Vikings Monday.

Joe Webb set to make Panthers as third quarterback
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/26/2014) Panthers quarterback Joe Webb will be on the final 53-man roster, Panthers.com reports.

"This is an out-of-necessity move, but at the same time Joe had earned that consideration from the beginning," head coach Ron Rivera said. "It's a tough position to be in because we're going to have to let a good player go to keep an extra quarterback, but because of our situation we need to."

Cam Newton and Derek Anderson are both expected to be ready for Week 1, but Webb is due for plenty of action in the team's final preseason game Thursday.


Le'Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount to play Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/26/2014) Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that running backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount will "absolutely" play in Thursday's preseason finale, NFL.com reports.

Most of the team's starters and veterans will get the final week of preseason off, but the two running backs won't receive that perk after being charged with possession last week.


 
 
 
Rankings