Football season is upon us and this time of the year can be extremely nerve-racking for fantasy football owners.
The biggest question coming into this year’s is who should go number one overall. Three players are worthy of the coveted pick: Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamal Charles and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
Charles has the slight advantage over Peterson and McCoy in my book. In his first year under head coach Andy Reid, Charles toted the pigskin 259 times, racking up 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns. Charles was also used creatively in the passing game; he finished the season with 70 catches for 693 yards and seven touchdowns.
Here is something to consider: all this was accomplished by Charles with fewer overall touches than McCoy and possibly Peterson, if not for the two games he missed in 2013. All three backs are a great pick for number one, but Charles gets the pick because of the way he is used in the Chiefs’ passing game.
Another question fantasy football owners have been asking is who are some players to get in the later rounds with huge upside?
For receivers, I like Detroit Lions’ newly acquired wide receiver Golden Tate. Tate is a steal with his average draft position being in round eight. Tate has potential to be a fantasy star, as he is coming from one of the NFL’s most run-heavy teams, the Seattle Seahawks, to an offense run by Joe Lombardi, former New Orleans Saints quarterback coach.
Unlike in Seattle, where he was the focus in the passing game for defenses, he is now playing opposite of the league’s most dominant receiver, Calvin Johnson. Johnson demands so much attention every play, which will leave Tate with a lot of one-on-one coverage and he excels at going up and getting 50-50 lob passes despite lacking prototypical size.
At running back, Cleveland Browns’ newly acquired back Ben Tate has great upside as he will be around in the fifth or sixth round. He has taken command of the starting running back position in Cleveland where offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan runs a one-cut zone-blocking scheme that fits Tate’s running style perfectly.
With the quarterback position being a huge mess for the Browns, Tate will see a lot of carries. The biggest concern with Tate is his inability to stay on the field. Too often in his career he has dealt with injuries and has yet to play a full 16 game season in his five-year NFL career. However, if he can remain healthy, he has potential to lead the league in carries.
The tight end to watch for is Washington Redskin Jordan Reed. Reed is a dynamic athlete and Washington has a new offensive-minded head coach in Jay Gruden and several weapons in the passing game with Pierre Garcon being joined by new additions DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts. That should help open up the middle of the field for Reed in his second year as a pro. Reed should be available in the eighth or ninth round.
At quarterback, I like the Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo. We know Romo has a problem with being inconsistent and is coming off back surgery, but as a seventh round pick, he has great value. Last year, the Cowboys had the worst defense in the league and they did not do much to improve that in the offseason, so Romo is going to have to put the ball in the air a lot to stay in games this season.
The Cowboys have made improvements on the offensive line and his receiving corps is one of the league’s more dependable groups. Dez Bryant is a stud and his counterpart, Terrence Williams, is starting to come into his own as a playmaker as well. Also, Jason Witten seems to always be at the right spot at the right time to keep drives alive.
These players are all great value picks and have potential to have break out fantasy seasons and help you win it all. So remember these names come draft day.