I feel like a grizzly bear crawling out from his den after a winterâ€™s hibernation. Actually, I look like a grizzly bear after a winterâ€™s hibernation, but I digress. Itâ€™s been a long layoff for fantasy owners, and like you, I am hungry for some football. So letâ€™s crawl down to the lake, dip our giant paws into the water and claw up some fantasy sustenance!
Every off season brings a plethora of player movement, whether by way of trades or free agent signings. Some of these moves should prove beneficial in the realm of fantasy, while others not so much. Itâ€™s important to analyze these transactions and how they might affect your strategy come draft day. Knowledge is power, my friends.
New Faces In New Places â€“ Quarterbacks and Running Backs 2013
Part One of a Two Part Series
QB Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs Â â€“ With the emergence of QB Colin Kaepernick, it wasnâ€™t difficult to see that Smithâ€™s days as a Niner were numbered. This past February, he was dealt to the Kansas City Chiefs for a pair of draft picks. As a result, heâ€™ll be the starting quarterback to begin the Andy Reid era. Heâ€™s a solid fit in Reidâ€™s offense with his mobility, and might surprise some as the season progresses.
QB Kevin Kolb, Buffalo Bills â€“ Third timeâ€™s the charm for Kolb? Injuries and inefficiencies seemed to mar Kolbâ€™s time in Arizona, without question. My concern here is if he couldnâ€™t flourish with a superstar talent downfield in WR Larry Fitzgerald, how is he going to change his fortunes in Buffalo with a sometimes-disappearing, opportunistic receiver in Stevie Johnson? Of course there is rookie QB EJ Manuel to contend with as well.
QB Matt Cassel, Minnesota Vikings â€“ With the signing of Cassel, the Vikings are most definitely shoring themselves up to have something other than the likes of Joe Webb in their back pocket should starting QB Christian Ponder crash and burn. Cassel is no Peyton Manning, but heâ€™s a savvy veteran who has some ability.
QB Matt Flynn, Oakland Raiders Â â€“ After a disappointing one year campaign in Seattle where he was dethroned by rookie QB Russell Wilson in a blink of an eye, the former Packers backup is taking his act to the Oakland Raiders. Keep an eye on how the training camp battles, as I am interested to see how Flynn handles this second chance to potentially run an NFL offense.
QB Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals â€“ in what could be Palmerâ€™s last hurrah, pay close attention to his situation in Arizona. He reportedly is working out with his new weapon at receiver in Larry Fitzgerald, and if a nice rapport develops, Palmer could again be a nice fantasy surprise. Not to mention it would be nice to see Fitzgeraldâ€™s value rise again with a capable signal caller getting him the rock.
QB Tim Tebow, New England Patriots â€“ Ok, so I couldnâ€™t resist. That said, the Patriots are never shy to make a splash and to use a talented player to the best of his ability and to the teamâ€™s advantage. While he wonâ€™t usurp starting QB Drew Brady anytime soon, look for Tebow to find an effective roll in New England.
RB Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons Â â€“ Better offense, more weapons, a wonderful chance to shine. Also, as was NOT the case with his predecessor, Jackson has solid receiving skills and brings more to the overall table. It will be refreshing to see a talent of his caliber in a balanced offense.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts â€“ If his foot issues are a thing of the past, Bradshaw could develop into the first solid backfield threat in Indianapolis since Joseph Addai. I would expect Vick Ballard to vulture some carries, but not so much to truly affect Bradshawâ€™s status. Expect solid RB2 production in an offense that will move the ball.
RB Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions â€“ On the surface, Detroit looks like a great destination for Bush – a dynamic offense, solid core players around him, a pass-happy attack that suits his receiving skills out of the backfield. Itâ€™s a situation that seems eerily familiar to his pre-Miami days in New Orleans with the Saints, full of ups and downs. My concern is if the Lions plan to use Bush as a â€œthree down backâ€ as they claim, does he hold up?
RB Rashard Mendenhall, Arizona Cardinals â€“Ever since his injury, Mendenhall found himself on the outside looking in with the Steelers. Despite running behind a less than stellar offensive line, keep an eye on Mendenhall in Arizona, as at only 26 heâ€™s got plenty left in the tank. If he can regain his form, he might surprise in 2013.
RB Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans â€“ Greene leaves New York as the starting option only to sign with Tennessee to play second fiddle behind Chris Johnson. This move will likely serve as a wake-up call for Johnson more than it will spark Greeneâ€™s career.
RB Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers â€“ like he did in New England, look for Woodhead to have his role and subsequent marginal fantasy value in San Diego.
Take a look at Part 2 – Wide Receivers and Tight Ends – Posting This Week!
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