There is a lot to cover and we do have months before its socially acceptable to be joining fantasy football mock drafts, so I’m just going to run down the most intriguing signings and fantasy situations developing.
First out of the gate: Bengals signed BenJarvus Green-Ellis over a player like Michael Bush. For some, the perception on Green-Ellis is a player with a ton of mileage from all those years carrying the rock in New England. Where as Michael Bush is some sort of spring chicken.
The truth of the matter is Michael Bush has 122 more regular season carries despite both being drafted in the same year. The added workload that Green-Ellis saw in the playoffs is valuable experience to a team like Cincinnati. I think the Bengals still add another speedy RB in the draft, but overall I like the signing of the Law Firm in Cincinnati.
Bush on the other hand, has dropped value. If Matt Forte gets a new contract Bush will continue his back-up, splitting carries role in Chicago. There is some thought that Michael Bush is the replacement to Matt Forte, which would step up one hell of trade leading up to the NFL draft.
The Aftershocks: Darren McFadden keeper owners are without a doubt feeling that added fantasy confidence with Michael Bush out of Oakland, but on deep sleeper alert, watch for a guy named Taiwan Jones to steal a few carries. The Raiders will also look add someone through the NFL draft or free agency bargain bind, but regardless I’m telling you to keep an eye in this kid. He has a 2nd gear that reminds me of a poor-man’s Chris Johnson.
Three’s Company: In a surprise move, Mike Tolbert signs with the Carolina Panthers. This is setting up for interesting side story at the NFL draft. I’m sure someone who misses out on a high profile running back prospect will turn to Carolina as plan B. The notion that a team has to make a move Jonathan Stewart now is ridiculous, the NFL draft has a high number a capable RB’s that can step in. Teams on the verge of a playoff run are more likely to go after the RB with experience, making New England my prediction as early favorites in this equation. Much like the Corey Dillion days of overlooked value, the Patriots are legendary for swooping in and grabbing garage-sale gems. Deangelo Williams just signed a new deal in Carolina last year and Mike Tolbert does look like a cheaper J-Stew stunt double in replacement.
Another team that may be interested in making a trade for a RB is the Steelers. Rashard Mendenhall may have played his last game in Pittsburgh.
Together Again At Last: Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler are reunited in Chicago, and fans are looking for a spike in fantasy production from both players. The funniest thing about the combo of Cutler to Marshall is that we remember it being better than it really was. Sure the two fantasy players connected for decent numbers back in the day, but it wasn’t anything amazing.
Brandon Marshall actually had more receiving touchdowns the year after Cutler was traded. Also despite throwing more interceptions in Chicago, there really wasn’t that much of a drop off when Cutler left Denver to play in Chicago.
Will Marshall increase the fantasy production of Jay Cutler? – Yes.
Will they have an amazing season together where each combine for league high numbers in either yards or touchdowns? – Not likely.
Don’t get me wrong, the dynamic duo is great for the Bears, it’s also good for the fantasy stock of each player, but don’t over think the value of these two playing together again. This is not a must-have combo, as there are other QB-WR tandems in the league with just as much if not better track record for success.
Orange Crush Peyton: The biggest fantasy dilemma this summer will be where to rank Peyton Manning now that he is a Bronco. One thing is for sure, the fantasy hype will get you whether you like it or not, it will be just too much to avoid. I expect a lot of talk about who will be his favorite target, how many touchdowns Manning will put up, so on and so on. The truth of the matter is, Peyton Manning is high risk. Not so much for his abilities to make the throws, but his abilities to get up after taking that first hit. You don’t need a “Saints Bounty Worth” to know that Manning is a target come week one. Defensive ends know that if they can get to Peyton, there’s a chance he may re injure himself and leave the game.
For fantasy owners, reaching on Manning too early could make or break your season. Until the Broncos add receiver depth to make the argument favorable, I am putting him low on my fantasy ranking board.
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