Fantasy High 5 is Gridiron Experts group discussion article where we sink our teeth into the biggest fantasy news stories around. Many are heavily focused on the upcoming NFL Draft; for those looking to get caught up on who’s who at the skilled position players, we suggest you check out NFL Draft Fantasy Prospect page.
Question 1: Will Percy Harvin match his season totals from last season?
If Harvin can keep his head on straight, and stay on the field, the sky is the limit. The newest Seahawk will be moved all over the field, and may even be featured more in this offense than he was in Minnesota.
Not only will Percy Harvin match the numbers, I see him exceeding them. Everybody is worried about the migraines and the injuries. In my opinion, he was a little frustrated in Minnesota and may have been milking the situation. On a team like the Seahawks, with more all around talent, Harvin is going to want to be on the field to help win, a fresh start should bring out the best in him.
Seattle was a very talented team prior to the acquisition of Harvin. I agree that he adds a dynamic playmaker to the passing attack. I would also agree that the reigns will be loosened on Russell Wilson this year. The rushing attack of the Seattle Seahawks is the bread and butter of the offense, just as it was in Minnesota for Harvin. Seattle finished with the lowest number of passing yards last season mostly because they didn’t need to pass to win games. Run the ball and play defense to control the clock. Add in that Golden Tate and Sidney Rice are both reliable targets and the best of Harvin’s fantasy numbers may have been left in Minnesota. **Check out Brian’s Fantasy Factor for 2013**
Considering he missed half the season, he should easily be able to surpass last year’s numbers. Russell Wilson is a much better quarterback than Christian Ponder, and Harvin is also joining a better offense. But there are some issues that raise flags when it comes to drafting Harvin as a WR1. First, he’s never started more than 14 games in a season and you never know if those migraine issues (supposedly resolved) will return. Secondly, now that he got his contract, you have to wonder if he’ll lose the motivation to play hard for that payoff. He’s an exciting and dynamic player who’s role will need to be watched closely in August.
Question 2: Which RB will have a bigger role for his new team: Rashard Mendenhall, Shonn Greene or Mike Goodson?
Mike Goodson’s numbers last season were great. He averaged 6.3 per yards run and 12.2 per catch with the Raiders. He’s only 25, 6’0″ and very fast. Although, one issue…he is a Jet now. The lack of a passing game in New York hurts Goodson and will limit his potential success. Mendenhall is a big injury risk, and even if he is healthy, when was the last time you really wanted an Arizona Cardinal as your fantasy RB? Greene might vulture a few goal line TDs away from Chris Johnson, but his overall fantasy value takes a nosedive as a Titan.
I think I’ve talked myself into Rashard Mendenhall bouncing back next season. I’ll give you that Mendenhall wasn’t all that impressive in 2011 before shredding his knee (928 rushing yards, mediocre 4.1 YPC over 15 games), but there’s at least some cause for optimism. He’s another year removed from ACL surgery, so we’re less likely to see a repeat of last year’s injury plagued disaster. With Beanie Wells out of town, Ryan Williams is his only competition for carries. Mendenhall has suffered his own share of injuries, but if we’re comparing him to Williams, he’s made out of granite. In Arizona, Mendy reunites with new head coach Bruce Arians who was his OC for the first four years of his career. It certainly can’t hurt that he’s going to be comfortable in the offense. Another encouraging sign – Arians referred to Mendenhall as a three down back shortly after the signing. Naysayers will cite Arizona’s lack of a run game and abhorrent o-line as reasons to fade Mendenhall, but that was the Cardinals under Whisenhunt. This is a new coaching staff, new system, and new personnel. I like Mike Goodson’s fantasy value a lot, but Mendenhall has a 1,273 yard, 13 TD season in an Arians offense under his belt. He’ll be worth more than a flier next year.
Goodson has shown some nice flashes, but the Jets look like a train wreck. It’s incredible that the Titans are paying Shonn Greene more guaranteed money to be a back-up runner than the Falcons are paying Steven Jackson. Green is a plodder who has lost power and speed who won’t do much behind a terrible Tennessee line. The Cardinals have a nice tendency to produce rushing touchdowns (even a mediocre Beanie Wells managed to run in 10 two years ago) and Mendenhall’s familiarity with Bruce Arians’s offense could make him a nice sleeper this year.
Question 3: Many Fantasy Tight Ends changed jersey colors in Free Agency, who do you see stepping up?
Player Movement: Jared Cook Rams, Dustin Keller Dolphins, Brandon Myers Giants, Tom Crabtree Buc’s, Martellus Bennett Bears & Anthony Fasano Chiefs
Dustin Keller. Michael Egnew was hyped up last year as the Dolphins new threat, but it was rumored at the end of the season that he still didn’t know the playbook, which means Keller shouldn’t have much of a threat to his playing time. Dustin Keller isn’t the best tight end of this bunch, but should be the third option in passing situations for the Dolphins behind Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace.
The Rams didn’t pay big money to Cook to watch him run routes and forget him in the passing game. Cook will have an opportunity to be a featured pass catcher due to the loss of veterans Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson. With Chris Givens and Brian Quick as the only other pass catching options, this will leave Cook open to make big plays and be a featured tight end in the passing attack.
Tight End is so thin this season that if you’re unwilling to spend a late first or early second on the top three guys, you might as well wait a half-dozen rounds and target two second and third tier guys. If Brandon Myers can build some chemistry with Eli Manning, he has the potential to be a rotational guy. None of those other teams feature their tight ends much, and the new signees are mediocre fantasy options.
Brandon Myers is the winner. Barely missed 80 receptions and had 806 yards with 4 TDs. Bennett had 55 receptions, 626 yards and 5 TDs working with Eli last year. The only big difference between the two is that Bennett has 3 inches on Myers. I think Myers is a good tier two guy this year.
Check out more: New Fantasy Tight End’s New Locations
Question 4: Can Danny Amendola fill the shoes of Wes Welker?
Danny Amendola may play a different type of role than Welker did in this offense. Remember most of the spectacular catches Danny made last season were down the field, whereas Welker was more of a short yardage, possession receiver. So it’s possible he could be used as a deep threat, as they currently don’t have many receivers rostered. The player that will most likely fill the Welker role is Aaron Hernandez.
These two are strikingly similar. Both went to Texas Tech. Both thrived as slot receivers with similar speed and athleticism. Obviously Amendola has an incredible amount of work to do to earn Tom Brady’s trust. Like Welker, Amendola was a PPR-gem last season and looks like he could thrive in Welker’s old role, with the majority of defenders trying to contain the Pats’ dynamic tight end duo. If Brady and Amendola show a nice chemistry in August, scoop him up as a big-time fantasy sleeper. Be warned, while Welker is tough and rarely missed time due to injuries, Amendola has been brittle and has only played in 12 games in the past two seasons.
Danny Amendola looks the part, he has the ability to adapt on the fly -which Brady will love- and heads to New England with less mileage than Welker. Those who bought into the Brandon Lloyd fiasco last year are exaggerating about how bad things really were. Sure, a 900+ yard season with 4 TD’s is nothing spectacular, but we should expect more from Adendola now with Wes Welker out of the way. despite the optimism, my money is on Aaron Hernandez. To try and predict the always changing Patriot offense is pointless, what I can say is Amendola enters the picture in a great position for fantasy owners.
Question 5: Should Greg Jennings fantasy owners expect modest numbers in Minnesota?
Greg Jennings is not as talented as Percy Harvin, but due to the lack of other pass catching options, volume will dictate Jennings numbers. If Minnesota doesn’t add another wide receiver in the draft, expect solid WR2 numbers for Jennings due to volume. Kyle Rudolph will take some of the targets from Jennings and depending on Greg Childs recovery he may cut into some of Jennings production as well. In Green Bay Jennings was surrounded by other receiving options; that will not be true in Minnesota.
It could be a long season for any fantasy owner that drafts Jennings expecting his usual production. Instead of receiving passes from the game’s best in Aaron Rodgers, Jennings will now have Christian Ponder looking his way. The Packers also had several other talented options for the opposition to worry about, while the Vikings offense is severely lacking and Jennings will now receive primary coverage each and every game. At this point, he looks like nothing more than a lower-end WR2.
I’m not optimistic about Jennings 2013 fantasy season. He fills an important void left by Harvin, but Jennings is not a world beater and he can’t put the team on his shoulders. The Vikings need to add additional weapons, especially someone who can stretch the field. Cordarrelle Patterson would be a perfect fit. I think my opinion on Jennings hinges on what the Vikings do at the NFL Draft.