I am temporarily blinded by the bright neon Red Cross when looking at the likes of Dallas Cowboys WRÂ Miles AustinÂ and Houston Texans WRÂ Andre Johnson.
Here you have two top flight talents at the position who fought (and lost ) the battle with the injury bug all season. Now of course, both could be in line for huge bounce back seasons, but with news that Austin is again dealing with hamstring issues and Johnson adds a strained groin to his myriad of injuries, do you really want to go there again in 2012? Despite this glowing endorsement of both Austin and Johnson, keep your eyes and ears open as training camp progresses and act accordingly. Knowledge is power, my friends. Injuries are always a concern, but donâ€™t out-fox yourself this early in the game.
Keep an eye out later in your drafts for the likes of freshly-released miscreant WRÂ Chad JohnsonÂ and Seattle Seahawks WRÂ Terrell Owens. After being out of the league in 2011, Owens gets another shot in the NFL courtesy of Seattle. A workout warrior, reports are that Owens is in incredible shape. When you factor in desperation and the decent amount of talent around him, Owens could be a nice surprise. Incidentally, look forÂ WR Sydney RiceÂ to thrive with Owens attracting defenders downfield.
When you look at Johnson, the former Ocho Cinco in New England, he might as well have been out of football in 2011 like Owens. Joining Bill Belichick and the Patriots made for a nice story, but withÂ Wes Welker, a tandem of Pro Bowl-caliber tight ends and WRÂ Deion Branch, when exactly was Johnson supposed to make an impact? Of course, allegedly head butting your significant other during an argument and getting arrested and subsequently released could throw a wrench in things, heâ€™ll get picked up at some point this year and will make an impact. Jerry Jones, are you listening?
There was no more abject disappointment in fantasy circles than Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ WRÂ Mike Williams. After starting all 16 games as a rookie in 2010 and setting a Buccaneers’ record with 11 receiving touchdowns, the expectations were high for Williams in his sophomore season. The result? Three miserable touchdowns. Yep! Three more trips to the end zone than you or me. That said, with the signing of standout WRÂ Vincent JacksonÂ from the Chargers, Williams will benefit with the attention paid to his new teammate down field. Definitely look for an improvement over 2011â€™s performance, getting considerable closer to his rookie numbers.
One player who would have been better off with a hold out, as opposed to being a negative force on his squad, was Philadelphia Eagles WRÂ Desean Jackson. What we got in 2011 was a myriad of bone-headed Ill-timed celebrations, mediocre play, suspensions and ridiculous antics. All courtesy of a guy whining for a new contract.Â Of course, the new contract is signed and you can look for Jackson to again assert himself and make quite an impact in 2012.
For the same reasons you should be wary of Adrian Peterson, you need to approach Titans WRÂ Kenny BrittÂ the same way. The Rutgers’ product exploded for 9 TDâ€™s in 2010 and was well on his was to another stellar season in 2011 until disaster struck in Week 3.Â Since then heâ€™s endured multiple knee surgeries, one as recently as May of this year. Factor in his knucklehead moves off the field, and he definite has the warning sirens going off. That said, you should keep Britt on your fantasy radar and take a shot. With the likelihood of a league suspension looming due to a DUI arrest â€“ he could be had late and has the chance to be a tremendous value.
Should we take a look at Tight Ends? Sure, why not?
If you donâ€™t want to get involved in the early round TE drafting insanity of Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Gates or Jimmy Graham, sit tight and take a look at Houston Texans TE Owen Daniels. Of course, Daniels’ knee was a cause for concern and did ultimately cost him some games last year. Now call me crazy, but if the Texans were so concerned about Daniels, why let solid backup TE Joel Dreessen leave town and sign with Denver? That is because Daniels is healthy and ready to make some noise again in 2012.
Other tight ends that could jump up and surprise? ChiefsÂ Tony Moeaki, and new Seattle SeahawkÂ Kellen Winslow. Moeaki is returning from injury and Winslow is a frustrating inconsistent talent who should benefit from the change of scenery.
Anyway, I hope all of this gives you some things to think about on draft day, and some players to keep a close eye on as others go flying off the board. Remember, embrace risk and you could very well be embracing your leagueâ€™s championship hardware when all is said and done.
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