Boss Man: Will you have your article ready to publish by Wednesday?
Boss Man: Remember our re-launch is scheduled for Friday but I need all articles in by Wednesday.
Me: Huh? Say what!
Boss Man: No bud I’m not freaking kidding!
Me: Insert crickets sound here.
So here I am again trying to wrap my Stella Artois saturated and noticeably shrunken brain around a fantasy football article which brings an end to a beautiful, peaceful, and well deserved rest from banging the keys on my computer. I have no idea what I’m going to write about mind you, but here I sit nonetheless.
I think I am one of the very few fantasy football writers in the industry that actually does take time to recoup, think about and do something else other than fantasy football for a couple months after the season ends. Most of my brethren at FakePigskin.com and other sites eat, breath and sleep fantasy football or football in general non-stop 365 days a year. I for one don’t understand how they do but it is exactly what makes them so good at and knowledgeable about what they do and I encourage you to seek them out, read their articles and follow their advice.
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Having said that it is very early and so much can happen before the start of the NFL and fantasy football seasons. Injuries, trades, cuts, free agent signings, coaching changes, drug busts and numerous variations of circumstances that interfere with a player’s NFL career and what you thought were your future fantasy football plans. Point being, as well intended thought out and researched as all the advice can be don’t place too much weight on what you read right now. Just read, enjoy and learn but don’t bet the house on what is being said right now about any player.
Stats. Yes the all-important stat articles. They are the bread and butter of this industry and many people won’t read an article or give it much credence if it isn’t saturated with statistics. Statistics do have their place and can be advantageous but right now they are irrelevant and that’s why you will see a minimum of stats in this article. Read this next sentence twice. Many of the players who had good stats and carried your fantasy teams to many victories will flop next season. Yes flop with a capital F. Regardless of what their stats were in 2013 and regardless of what the experts say. It’s a guessing game at this point in the year and it will stay that way until training camps start.
So without further ado here are some of the players I think you should keep your eyes on and ears open for any nugget of information about them during the off season, good or bad, that would enhance their chances for success or elevate their flop quotient for the up-coming season. I’m not going to tell you any of these players are a sure thing and if anyone does I would take their advice with a bit of caution.
These players are likely to have big seasons based on their own talent, their surrounding talent, the system they play in, and the talent level of their coaching staff. They just might be the ones that help you to a fantasy championship next season. Or they just might flop in a big way. Who knows?
It’s a guessing game.
Peyton Manning-Broncos- Best in 2013 playing on very good offense. Health could derail him but unlikely.
Aaron Rodgers-Packers- Broken collarbone derailed him last season but should bounce back strong.
Drew Brees-Saints- Finished as #2 QB two seasons in a row.
Nick Foles- Eagles- Finished #3 in points per game averaging 23.1 fantasy points.
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Cam Newton- Panthers- Top four in points per game but immaturity and receiving core a problem.
Andrew Luck- Colts- Gets Reggie Wayne back and played well.
Russell Wilson-Seahawks- Solid, increased confidence and can run.
Matthew Stafford-Lions- Always has Megatron but needs to be more consistent.
Colin Kaepernick-49ers- Came on with return of wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
Tom Brady-Patriots- Will get a healthy tight end Rob Gronkowski back.
Phillip Rivers-Chargers- Bounce back in 2013 could continue.
Matt Ryan-Falcons- Loss of stud wide outs hurt him should bounce back.
Tony Romo-Cowboys- Should return healthy and has some talented young receivers.
Robert Griffin III-Redskins- Year two in recovery from ACL surgery but will have to deal with weak receiving group and new head coach.
Jamaal Charles-Chiefs- Likely will go #1 in majority of drafts and deservedly so.
LeSean McCoy-Eagles- Back to stud status in Chip Kelly offense.
Adrian Peterson-Vikings- Will return healthy after groin injury.
Matt Forte-Bears- Back to stud status in Marc Trestman offense.
Marshawn Lynch-Seahawks- Top 5 in three seasons in a row, beast mode big part of offense.
Eddie Lacy-Packers- Great talent on very good offense with very good QB.
Zac Stacy-Rams- Scored 8 td’s in last 10 games of 2013 and will get lots of playing time again.
LeVeon Bell-Steelers- Very solid big part of offense, came on during the season.
Alfred Morris-Redskins- Jay Gruden could help him but needs a healthy RGIII to open up offense more.
DeMarco Murray-Cowboys- Solid when healthy and new OC Scott Linehan could help.
Arian Foster-Texans- Should be healthy and bounce back, no Ben Tate.
Reggie Bush-Lions- New OC Joe Lombardi coached Bush for two years at Saints.
Doug Martin-Bucs- Should be healthy, could bounce back.
Giovani Bernard-Bengals- Very talented but BJGE limits his touches and dealing with new OC.
Montee Ball-Broncos- Could let Knowshon Moreno go, increased playing could be in the cards.
Jordan Todman-Jaguars- Could let MJD go so could be #1 RB but needs to show more with responsibility.
Calvin Johnson-Lions- Still the best but dealing with injuries now.
A.J. Green-Bengals- QB inconsistency affects numbers.
Josh Gordon-Browns- Top fantasy receiver with 16.2 points per game average.
Dez Bryant-Cowboys- QB inconsistency and they go away from him too much when double covered.
Julio Jones-Falcons- Should return to stud status after injury.
Brandon Marshall-Bears- Dealing with QB inconsistency and emergence of Alshon Jeffery.
Demaryius Thomas-Broncos- May get more attention if Eric Decker leaves.
Alshon Jeffery-Bears- Very talented in passing offense and played well in 2013..
Antonio Brown-Steelers- QB inconsistency from offensive line issues.
Randall Cobb-Packers- Talented receiver in very good offense with great QB.
Keenan Allen-Chargers- Big talent, QB improving, new OC, things looking good here.
DeSean Jackson-Eagles- Strong 2013 in Chip Kelly offense.
Pierre Garcon-Redskins- QB inconsistency but should improve and major talent.
Vincent Jackson-Bucs- QB issues and age a factor now.
Michael Crabtree-49ers- Very good despite what Richard Sherman says. Should be 100% healthy.
T.Y. Hilton-Colts- Reggie Wayne dealing with injury and age a factor now so should get plenty.
Andre Johnson-Texans- Age, QB issues limit his upside for now.
Victor Cruz-Giants- Should bounce back after injury, QB play shaky at times.
Larry Fitzgerald-Cardinals- Age a factor now, QB issues.
Roddy White-Falcons- Injury plagued 2013 but should bounce back with good QB.
Percy Harvin-Seahawks- Should be 100% healthy in good offense.
Wes Welker-Broncos- Will get more targets if Eric Decker leaves and they don’t sign Julian Edelman.
Michael Floyd-Cardinals- Major talent starting to emerge, QB issues.
Cordarrelle Patterson-Vikings- Major talent with pass happy OC Norv Turner in Minnesota.
Reuben Randle-Giants- Hakeem Nicks likely to leave but major offensive line issues causing shaky QB play.
Terrance Williams-Cowboys- New passing OC Scott Linehan, Miles Austin fading, big talent.
Jarrett Boykin-Packers- James Jones leaving should see major playing time and very talented.
Kenny Stills-Saints- Lance Moore appears to be out should see major uptick in playing time, very good offense with very good QB.
Jimmy Graham-Saints- Uberstud in great offense with great QB.
Rob Gronkowski-Patriots- Staying healthy an issue but super talented in good offense with great QB.
Julius Thomas-Broncos- Eric Decker leaving, in great offense with great QB…what’s not to like?
Vernon Davis-49ers- Number two tight end in 2013 but losing targets to Michael Crabtree.
Jason Witten-Cowboys- Age a factor now and seeing decreased targets.
Jordan Cameron-Browns- QB issues but should continue to be part of offense with new OC Kyle Shanahan.
Jordan Reed- Redskins- Major concussion history and dealing with new OC Jay Gruden.
Dennis Pitta-Ravens- Should be 100% healthy after missing most of 2013 and gets tight end friendly OC Gary Kubiak.
Kyle Rudolph-Vikings- Major QB issues limit his upside and getting new OC Norv Turner.
Delanie Walker-Titans- Gets new HC Ken Whisenhut who coached Antonio Gates but needs more consistent QB play.
Martellus Bennett-Bears- Should be good to go if Cutler can stay healthy.
Charles Clay-Dolphins- Good 2013 and talented but who knows here. Dealing with new Bill Lazor offense.
Owen Daniels-Texans- QB issues and new HC so unsure how he will be used at this point.
Zack Ertz-Eagles- Talented but has blocking skills issues and plenty of competition with the return of Brent Celek.
Dwayne Allen-Colts- Dealing with Coby Fleener presence.
Jared Cook-Rams- Inconsistent and shaky QB play at times limit his upside.
Tim Wright-Bucs- Inconsistent, poor run blocking and dealing with new OC Jeff Tedford’s system.
I’m sure you noticed I omitted some big names due to free agency. We just don’t know where some players will end up for the 2014 season yet or what type of situation they’ll put themselves in.
I will be revisiting this article after the free agent signing period and closer to the start of training camps and will omit or include names based on new information and on my gut level thoughts at that time. Lots can happen and will.
Until then have an ice cold Stella from the bottle…works for me.
But for now it’s a guessing game.
Scott Lynge is one of Fakepigskin’s senior redraft writers. If you have any questions or comments for him, feel free to comment below or you can find him on Twitter @ScottLynge