Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2013 Draft Prep: Breakouts for Draft Day

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

When you think of a Fantasy breakout, think big. Think career bests. Think massive Fantasy points.

That's what comes to mind when I think of a breakout. Everyone wants to get great players on their teams but it's paydirt when you get a great player having one of his best, if not his very best, seasons.

What are the tell-tale signs of a breakout? Look for players who did well toward the end of the past season, or started last season well but trailed off because of circumstances beyond his control. Some players that have changed teams are also breakout candidates as are those who are getting an opportunity because a teammate has moved on to another roster or because a coach with a certain tendency gives a guy a chance.

Play Playoff Challenge!
Player Challenge
NEW Playoff Challenge Championship Edition offers one more way to play postseason Fantasy Football and compete for cash prizes. Join now before time runs out!
Join a new league!

Last year I'd say my results were mixed. I did better with my "off the radar" breakouts than I did my actual breakouts. Maybe the lesson learned is to find the deeper breakouts and go with them instead.

So that's the plan -- absolutely none of my 2013 breakouts are Top 40 picks based on the draft averages as of this writing. No obvious recommendations. That should not only make for some interesting options but also some interesting picks for you to consider once the "easy rounds" are done.

Note: Originally on this list was Steelers rookie running Le'Veon Bell. Since then he's tweaked his knee and suffered a Lisfranc foot injury. He's no longer a breakout candidate.

Sam Bradford, QB, Rams: The front office and coaching staff came together in St. Louis this offseason and changed the face of the offense. They kind of had to once Steven Jackson elected to test free agency. By letting Jackson go and finding talent to surround Bradford, they essentially placed their bet on the fourth-year quarterback leading the way. Jared Cook was signed in free agency and Tavon Austin was drafted in the first round. Those guys couldn't be farther apart in terms of body types but they're extremely similar in terms of being matchup nightmares for every defense the Rams face. Cook should be the security blanket Danny Amendola couldn't stay healthy enough to be and Austin could be a Percy Harvin-esque target for Bradford to hit over and over again. Throw in speedster Chris Givens and another unique body type in Brian Quick and suddenly Bradford is loaded with receivers to lean on. Best of all, the Rams improved their offensive line with the addition of Jake Long and don't have a firm solution for replacing Jackson at running back. Bradford should set a career-high in pass attempts and in turn should end up with career-high statistics. I love him as a blue chip No. 2 Fantasy quarterback.
I'd take him over: Josh Freeman, Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger

Andrew Luck, QB, Colts: True, Luck broke out in every sense of the term as a rookie last season but it doesn't mean there's no room for improvement. Luck's 54.1 completion percentage, 23-to-18 touchdown-interception ratio and 6.98 yards per attempt average all have room to grow and should do exactly that in the Colts' new offensive scheme. Usually when a playbook changes there are growing pains, but Luck has already grown up in the playbook Pep Hamilton has brought to the team from Stanford, where the two worked together previously. But what's even better about Luck's situation is the continuity in who he's playing with. Four of the top five receivers in the Colts offense are back to help Luck along in his second season with only Donnie Avery gone and Darrius Heyward-Bey replacing him. That additional layer of familiarity will only keep him from regressing. But Luck could really benefit from the team not doing a great job of finding running backs to supplement the passing game. That'll put the ball in Luck's hands more, making for a more pass-happy unit that should yield some very good stats across the board. This might not be Luck's best year, but it'll be an improvement from 2012. Bank on him in Round 6 or later.
I'd take him over: Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick

Daryl Richardson, RB, Rams: While I like Zac Stacy as a sleeper in the Rams' backfield, it's Richardson who should be the most consistent. The Rams are going to look quite different than in the past with Bradford leading the way. A more pass-oriented offense should result in more work for Richardson, who is good enough as a pass protector and fine as a receiver. If he were to start out serving as just the receiving-downs back, Richardson would see a good amount of playing time and probably sneak in a surprising amount of carries with a good reception total. But he stands to get more than that after coach Jeff Fisher admitted that Richardson was the leader in the clubhouse to start in early August. It's likely he'll have to split the workload -- his reps got lighter as he got older in college -- but at the very least he's in that same range as other backs with quickness and good hands. The closer you can get him to Round 7, the better.
I'd take him over: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Ben Tate, Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas

Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots: Maybe this one is obvious to you, maybe it isn't. Maybe you see Stevan Ridley as the Patriots' primary running back and don't think they have room for two guys. Among 485 carries by running backs, Ridley ran the ball 290 times. That left 195 carries for other backs, with Vereen and Danny Woodhead totaling 138 of them. That workload will obviously be gobbled up by Vereen in 2013 with Woodhead moving on to San Diego. But Vereen will also make an impact as a receiver, giving the Patriots a much-desired versatile matchup threat. Vereen had only eight catches last season but Woodhead had 40. Vereen is really the only pass-catching running back on the New England roster, so he should see his fair share of work on passing downs. Vereen would be on par with capable No. 3 Fantasy rushers if he totaled 150 touches and maintained strong averages across the board. It took me a little while to come around on Vereen but he'll have a good chance to help Fantasy owners out (he'd get the motherload if Ridley came down with fumbilitis or otherwise missed time, too).
I'd take him over: Ryan Mathews, Ahmad Bradshaw, Eddie Lacy

FREE Draft Kits!
Mike Tolbert
Get everything you need to dominate on Draft Day in one convenient place with our Downloadable Draft Kit, complete with projections, rankings and outlooks for 2013!
Download your Draft Kit now!

Cecil Shorts, WR, Jaguars: I really liked what I saw from Shorts last season. Whether it was him taking a pass down the seam from Blaine Gabbert to the house or racking up six-plus grabs in a game, Shorts was productive. In 14 games he had 10 or more Fantasy points nine times, making him the third-most consistent receiver percentage-wise in Fantasy last year behind Calvin Johnson and Percy Harvin. Here's the silly part: He finished second on the Jaguars in targets with 106 (Justin Blackmon led the way). The Jaguars' passers are going to target Shorts over and over this season just as they did when he averaged 9.5 targets per game in his final nine. He did suffer a concussion last year that might be a little worrisome as is a calf strain that sidelined him in early August, but other than that there's nothing to not like about the speedy third-year receiver. I'm comfortable with him as my No. 2 Fantasy receiver.
I'd take him over: Steve Smith, Torrey Smith and Mike Wallace

James Jones, WR, Packers: All Jones did last year was lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns while playing on just over 90 percent of the snaps on one of the most prolific passing teams in football. On the way there he also posted career-highs in catches with 64 and yards with 784. He also had nine games with 10-plus Fantasy points. Everyone points to his red zone stats and believes he can't do it again (12 touchdowns on 15 red-zone catches including the playoffs). I say why not? Everyone looks at the lack of targets he had despite his playing time and scoffs at his upside. I say it's room for him to improve -- if he did only that well last season with all that playing time, maybe he can do more with more opportunity. He should certainly do better than the career-low 12.3 receiving average he had in 2012 (his previous low was 13.6). Opportunity will come his way early in the season with oft-injured receiver Jordy Nelson coming back from a knee procedure. It's going to be Jones, not Nelson, who will finish behind Randall Cobb as the Packers' second-best receiver in 2013. He's motivated to reach the 1,000-yard mark just in time for free agency in March, his quarterback knows what he can do and when defenses play against the Packers and their myriad of weapons week after week, it'll be Jones who will see single coverage the most often. You'll be sorry if you don't get him by the end of Round 7.
I'd take him over: Hakeem Nicks, Danny Amendola, Jordy Nelson

Golden Tate, WR, Seahawks: Tate had plenty of chances to wow us in 2012. A fateful Hail Mary "catch" on Monday Night Football may be what you know him best for but he narrowly fell short of being Seattle's top Fantasy receiver. This year he'll take the title, though he got help when newcomer Percy Harvin had hip surgery in the early days of training camp. Tate has pieced together an amazing camp so far and is working hard to be the No. 1 receiver for the Seahawks with Harvin out, Sidney Rice struggling with his knee and no one else really taking a big step forward. He finished with 45 catches for 688 yards and seven scores last year but had just 80 targets including the postseason, catching 68.8 percent of them. That's pretty awesome. Tate isn't quite the total receiver package but he's developed reliable hands to go with deep speed in an offense that should hit its stride with Russell Wilson entering his second year. Tate is a great mid-round pickup.
I'd take him over: Greg Jennings, Lance Moore, Denarius Moore

Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers: If Fantasy Football was about headliners and superstars, Williams wouldn't be drafted. But it's about stats and Williams has proven he can create those. Williams has reeled in 63 to 65 catches in each of his first three seasons, getting over 950 yards and nine touchdowns twice. He admitted that his down year in 2011 was because of poor habits off the field. The rebound he had in 2012 playing opposite Vincent Jackson was refreshing, so much so that the team gave him a contract extension before training camp. He's locked into his role on a team with playoff aspirations and a not-so-tough schedule. Finishing as a Top 20 receiver -- which he's done in his two strong seasons already -- shouldn't be a big surprise. Seeing him fall into your lap in Round 7 or beyond should be a surprise, albeit a welcome one.
I'd take him over: DeSean Jackson, Steve Johnson, Mike Wallace

Jared Cook, TE, Rams: Cook is getting the Cinderella treatment in St. Louis, where Fairy Godmother Jeff Fisher whisked him away from the Titans' evil castle and brought him into 150-target territory with Sam Bradford. Fine, I've been watching too many Disney movies with the kids but I am sincere in my courting of Cook as a Top 6 Fantasy tight end. Every single report out of St. Louis talks about how Cook has replaced Danny Amendola as Bradford's security blanket and how the Rams intend to use Cook as a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. He's going to line up anywhere and use his 6-foot-5, 248-pound frame to battle smaller and slower defenders. Cook has never had more than four touchdowns, 49 catches, 81 targets or 759 yards in a season. He's going to eclipse every number in the Rams' new-look spread offense while receiving footballs from the best passer he's ever worked with in the pros. Bypass the familiar tight end names on Draft Day and take a chance on Cook in Round 8.
I'd take him over: Kyle Rudolph, Antonio Gates, Greg Olsen

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 .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Lions C Dominic Raiola suspended one game for safety violation
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:47 pm ET) The NFL has suspended Lions center Dominic Raiola one game without pay on for his actions in Week 17 against the Bears. This is the sixth safety-related rules violation for Raiola since 2010. He will appeal to be heard tomorrow by an appeals officer.

After walking away from a pile, Raiola was caught on camera stepping on Chicago defensive lineman Ego Ferguson's ankle. Following the game, he told reporters his actions were "not intentional."

If the ruling is upheld, Raiola will sit out Sunday's regular season finale against the Packers. The winner of that game will be clinch the NFC North division. Raiola will be eligible to return for Detroit's first playoff game.


Texans lineman Brandon Brooks 'day to day' with knee injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:45 pm ET) Texans offensive lineman Brandon Brooks had his leg bent in an awkward direction and is considered day to day with a knee injury, coach Bill O' Brien said Monday.

Brooks left Week 16's game after sustaining the leg injury and was unable to return. 

If he is unable to go, guard David Newton would likely replace Brooks as he did in Week 16.

The Texans are 10-point favorites against the Jaguars in Week 17.


Vikings hopeful tight end Kyle Rudolph can play in Week 17
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:37 pm ET) Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Monday if tight end Kyle Rudolph is healthy enough to play, he will be on the field for Week 17.

Rudolph, who has only played in eight games this year with an ankle and knee injury, has 24 catches for 231 yards and two touchdowns this season. Week 16 was his first game out since Week 11 and had seven catches for 69 yards in his previous start for Minnesota. 


Chip Kelly unsure who will start at cornerback in Week 17
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:31 pm ET) Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Monday he has not determined who will start at the cornerback position Bradley Fletcher has started at most of the season. The coaching staff will meet later on in the day to determine starters for Week 17.

"I thought Bradley's played well during the year," Kelly said. "You've got to look at it through the whole time."

Fletcher struggled again in Week 16, getting burned this time by DeSean Jackson on multiple catches, including a 55-yard completion.


Vikings Chad Greenway away from team to deal with personal issue
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:25 pm ET) Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway did not travel back to Minneapolis with the team. Instead he flew to San Diego to tend to a personal matter, coach Mike Zimmer told reporters on Monday, per the Star-Tribune. Greenway left Sunday's loss against Miami with a knee injury. Zimmer said he's unsure if he'll be able to play Week 17 against Chicago.

QB Hoyer injury could result in Shaw starting for Browns
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:25 pm ET) Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer sustained a right shoulder injury late in the Week 16 game at Carolina and is considered day-to-day, per CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

His potential absence Sunday in Baltimore, as well as the loss of Johnny Manziel to a hamstring problem, could open the door for undrafted rookie and current practice squad quarterback Connor Shaw to start against the Ravens.

Shaw is set to be activated if the two can't play. Given the monumental struggles of Hoyer and Manziel lately, a strong performance by Shaw could complicate the situation regarding the position heading into the offseason. The Browns have been searching for their franchise quarterback since returning to Cleveland in 1999.


Bills officially release wide receiver Mike Williams
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:16 pm ET) The Bills officially announced Monday the release of wide receiver Mike Williams. He was traded to Buffalo in the offseason and had eight catches for 142 yards and a touchdown in nine games for the Bills this season. 

Seahawks OT Russell Okung due back at practice on Wednesday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:16 pm ET) Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters that tackle Russell Okung is expected to return to practice on Wednesday, according to 710 AM ESPN Radio in Seattle. Okung was unable to play Sunday night at Arizona due to a chest injury. His status remains up in the air for Week 17 at home against St. Louis.

Falcons' Steven Jackson, William Moore to have further testing done
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:12 pm ET) The Falcons were unable to provide updates on injuries suffered by running back Steven Jackson and safety William Moore, the team announced Monday. Both will have further testing done Monday on injuries sustained in Week 16's game against the Saints. 

Moore sustained a shoulder injury Sunday to the same shoulder he injured in Week 4. He did not return to action. Jackson suffered a quad injury in the second quarter and was also unable to return to the game.

The Falcons are hoping to have both ready for Week 17 with the division on the line against the Panthers. Atlanta is a 3 1/2 point favorite, according to Vegas Insider.


Bears DE out Sunday with torn Achilles
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:10 pm ET) As expected, Bears defensive end Willie Young has been ruled out for the season finale at Minnesota with a torn Achilles.

"That's a tough one," Marc Trestman said about his loss. "He's been an inspirational leader. He'll be missed on Sunday."

Young ends his season with 10 sacks and having contributed to 40 tackles.


 
 
 
Rankings