As prep and college football kick things off for fall, it means the NFL is right around the corner. More importantly, that means another season of fantasy football.
I’m kind of an addict. I’m in three leagues with friends and probably waste a lot of time preparing for my drafts, but it’s worth it.
With the time I look into stats, lists and rankings, I thought I’d share my thoughts. You can take it or leave it, but here’s my overrated and underrated picks at quarterback, running back and wide receiver for 2015.
We’ll start at quarterback with my overrated pick — Russell Wilson of Seattle. I’ve seen Wilson ranked as high as third in the quarterback ratings this season, higher than Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady.
I get Brady with his suspension, but Manning and Brees are a stretch. Last season Wilson threw for 3,475 yards, 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions and rushed for another six scores. In comparison, Manning threw 39 TDs and 4,727 yards with 15 picks and Brees tossed a league-leading 4,952 yards, 33 TDs and 17 picks.
Granted, Jimmy Graham is with the Seahawks now, offering a big red-zone target at tight end, but I don’t know if that’s enough to elevate Wilson to such elite fantasy status.
I just talked about my underrated signal caller — Brees. The quarterback for the New Orleans Saints is in his 15th season at the age of 36, so decline is a definite possibility, but I’ve seen him drop to Nos. 7 and 8 on lists behind quarterbacks like Wilson, Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger.
His numbers dwindled some last year, but he hasn’t thrown less than 30 TDs since 2007 or less than 4,000 yards since 2005. I think Brandin Cooks’ sophomore season should be improved and if people think Brees is declining, he could be a bargain pick somewhere from late third round to the fifth round.
At running back, I’m staying with the same team I picked my overrated back from last year — the Denver Broncos. Last season it was Montee Ball and I was spot on. Injuries plagued Ball, but he didn’t do much when he played.
This year’s over-hyped runner for Denver is C.J. Anderson. Anderson began at third string for the Broncos last year, but injuries thrust him into the starting job late. He played in 15 games, starting seven and rushed for 849 yards and eight TDs. He caught two more.
I’ve seen him higher than LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, DeMarco Murray and Jeremy Hill. I tend to shy away from Denver backs anyway, because the backfield is usually crowded and they eventually pilfer each other’s touches. And remember, you can’t put lipstick on a pigskin.
McCoy is my underrated selection. Now in Buffalo, pundits are down on him and he did underachieve for the most part last season. I think the change of scenery will be a good fit for Shady, as he’s affectionately called, and his fantasy production has been shady at times.
He ran for 1,319 yards last year, but just five scores and no receiving TDs. Not quite what he was projected for, but his monster numbers seem to come in odd-numbered years. In ‘13 he led the NFL with 1,607 yards, had nine scores and had more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage. In ‘11 he rushed for 1,309 yards and a league-leading 17 TDs.
He’s not listed as a top 10 back in most rankings, behind guys like Anderson, Justin Forsett and Hill. Even with a little hamstring trouble, I think new coach Rex Ryan will get the most out of McCoy.
For my overrated wide receiver, you may scratch your head. It’s New York Giants’ dynamic wide out Odell Beckham Jr. In just 12 games and 11 starts last year, Beckham had 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 scores. Those are huge numbers. I was on the Beckham bandwagon, ready to make him my underrated pick until I saw the lists. I’ve seen him higher than Dez Bryant, Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones and A.J. Green. Even Jordy Nelson, when he was healthy, and Randall Cobb can be found below Beckham.
Coaches have been watching film on him since some of his acrobatic catches last year, not to mention Victor Cruz is back and his quarterback is an inconsistent Eli Manning. I may eat my words later, but I don’t think Beckham has earned the right to be dancing with the divas at the top of the wide receiver heap quite yet.
As a longtime Green Bay Packers fan, my underrated receiver has been climbing lists lately but is a mid-round steal. Davante Adams could be the new prince of the land of cheeseheads.
With Nelson done for the season, Cobb leaps into the top spot, propelling Adams into the No. 2 slot and with gunslinger Aaron Rodgers winging bullets all over the field, there is plenty of ammo to go around.
Look at the list, Robert Brooks to Antonio Freeman to Donald Driver to Greg Jennings to Nelson to Cobb to Adams. There is a long lineage of quality wide outs in a system that’s seen two of the best under center with Brett Favre and Rodgers.
Expect last year’s 38 catches for 446 yards and three TDs to skyrocket with his new opportunity.
There you have it, my two cents. Take it or leave it, but whatever you do, happy drafting and good luck this year. I’ll see you on the cyber gridiron.
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