Chicks dig the sleepers. Everyone wants to know who the next Alfred Morris or Robert Griffin III is. They don’t want to conjure memories of Ryan Mathews and Darren McFadden.
However, chicks also dig winners. That’s why we have to avoid the prime bust candidates heading into fantasy drafting season.
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Tough Hill to climb
Ronnie Hillman has generated a ton of buzz because he’s running as the starting running back in Broncos camp. Upon closer examination, he’s being overhyped. Hillman is a slightly built 200-pounder that the team has repeatedly called a change-of-pace player. He excels on perimeter runs and getting in space. Monte Ball, on the other hand, is a traditional between-the-tackles runner. He’s getting first-team reps as well and is more suited to a bell cow role. Hillman’s upside is as a committee back.
The Dolphins paid Wallace $60 million in free agency, but that doesn’t mean it will work. As the leader of the “Young Money” crew in Pittsburgh, Wallace specialized in taking the top of defenses with go routes. The problem is that Miami is trying to cram him into their strict West Coast scheme while also breaking in turnstile left tackle Jonathan Martin and second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. There’s a lot of crash-and-burn potential here.
The “wait on a quarterback” draft strategy is very viable this year. But don’t wait and end up with Philip Rivers. New coach Mike McCoy has gotten rid of the old vertical scheme and implemented a quick-hitting, conservative passing game. It’s an attempt to hide both Rivers’ declining arm and one of the league’s worst offensive lines. Things got even worse for Rivers this week as top wideout Danario Alexander was lost for the year with a torn ACL. It’s going to be ugly in San Diego.
With two weeks of training camp in the books, we’re starting to see some separation from these guys:
1. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers – The rookie has zoomed to the lead in his position battle by impressing day in and day out. Tons of upside in TD-heavy leagues.
2. Michael Vick, QB, Eagles – It’s still his job to lose and he hasn’t lost it yet. Chip Kelly’s quarterbacks averaged 7.5 rushing TDs per season over the last six years at Oregon.
3. E.J. Manuel, QB, Bills – Kevin Kolb was supposed to be the bridge to the future. It turns out he might just hold a clipboard for the freakishly athletic Manuel.
Since C.J. Spiller was criminally underutilized by the Chan Gailey regime, there’s a perception he won’t be a volume back this year. Don’t fall into that trap. Check out this quote from new OC Nathaniel Hackett: "It's real simple. We're going to give him the ball until he throws up.” Spiller is well worth a top-five overall pick.
1. Ian Kennedy, SP, Padres – Kennedy went from Arizona to San Diego. For a pitcher, that’s like going from hanger steak to filet.
2. Eric Young Jr, OF, Mets – Batting leadoff every day and producing. Has 85 steals in 354 career games.
3. Josh Fields, RP, Astros – Houston traded their closer, Jose Veras, to the Tigers, at the deadline. Fields isn’t very good, but he’s getting a chance to save games.