Fantasy football: Don’t give up too early on these stars

Robert Griffin III
The perception was Robert Griffin III had a bad 2013, but he actually threw for more yards in his sophomore season than as a rookie.
Credit: Getty Images

We are so quick to write players off in today’s culture. Did he have a bad year? Let’s carve his tombstone with 140 characters.

These “burn me once” and “never again” attitudes lead to big opportunities if we can pinpoint the guys primed for a comeback. This year’s fantasy football board is littered with them.

RG3 looking good

Robert Griffin III thought he was Adrian Peterson, trying to come back from a knee reconstruction in just nine months.

Big mistake. Griffin hobbled through a disastrous season, burning owners who were expecting an encore of his magical rookie campaign. But things are looking up. Griffin will be 20 months removed from his surgery by Week 1, run-first Mike Shanahan has been replaced by pass-happy Jay Gruden (who turned Andy Dalton into a top-5 fantasy QB) and a new shiny toy in DeSean Jackson has been added.

Fostering success

Normally, writing off 28-year-old running backs with three 300-touch seasons in the last four years is a good idea. Not in the case of Arian Foster. He looked like he had plenty of juice left early last season, and should actually benefit from the back surgery that allowed him to rest for most of the last 12 months. Perhaps more importantly, new coach and ex-New England assistant Bill O’Brien still sees Foster as a three-down centerpiece, one that will be featured on early downs and play the “passing back” role made famous by the Patriots. There simply aren’t that many backs that have 300-carry, 60-catch upside.

Built to Spill

Prior to last season, Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said he was going to give C.J. Spiller the ball “until he throws up.” That sent fantasy owners into a frenzy, pushing Spiller’s stock as high as No. 2 overall. The results were maddening, as a high-ankle sprain and timeshare with Fred Jackson led to a busted season. But the talent is still there in Spiller, as evidenced by his 4.61 yards per carry despite limping around on that ankle. He might not be a true feature back, but 13 to 16 touches per game on a healthy wheel will yield tons of value in the fourth round.

MLB pickups …

1. Jon Singleton, 1B, Astros – He is a prospect a notch below George Springer, but packs serious power as well.

2. Cody Allen, RP, Indians – He’s starting to gain some separation from the pack in Cleveland’s muddled closer situation.

3. Colin McHugh, SP, Astros – The underlying stats show McHugh’s eye-opening season is for real.

MLB trade market …

Sell these starting pitchers before it’s too late:

1. Shelby Miller, Cardinals – He has racked up wins over the last two years, but his strikeout rate is declining while his walk rate is rising.

2. Mark Buerhle, Blue Jays – Do we really believe this guy is going to sustain a career-best year at age 35? He’ll regress to his usual numbers.

3. Cliff Lee, Phillies – It’s hard to trade a guy on the DL, but Lee’s pitching elbow is still not right nearly three weeks after shutting it down. Scary.

Follow Metro fantasy writer Adam Levitan on Twitter @adamlevitan.


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