by Joe Fortenbaugh
June 16, 02011
I promised you guys some big fantasy announcements this summer and today I’m going to let you in on the first of many new additions that will be coming to the National Football Post in the near future.
To get you all into better shape for draft day, we’ve partnered up with the good people of Mock Draft Central.com to bring you an endless supply of mock drafts this summer.
That’s right. Here at the NFP, you will have the ability to mock your asses off.
The mock draft feature will be launching at the beginning of July, so if you have any questions between now and then, feel free to hit me up on Twitter or at Joe.Fortenbaugh@NationalFootballPost.com. In addition, I’ll be holding several mock drafts and live chats throughout the upcoming weeks that you are welcome to attend.
As for today’s fantasy homework assignment, it’s time to start getting familiar with some of the best value picks that will be on the board come August.
Here are ten of our favorites…
10. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: With Pro Bowl wide receiver Roddy White stretching the field on one side and running back Michael Turner forcing opposing defenses to play the Falcons honest, Jones should be free to exploit coverage mismatches during a 16-game schedule that features 12 indoor contests. Quarterback Matt Ryan is coming off a campaign that featured career-highs in passing attempts (571), touchdowns (28) and QB Rating (91.0).
Current ADP: 196.64
9. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Free Agent: From 2008-2009, Williams racked up 2,632 rushing yards and 27 total touchdowns while averaging a meaty 5.4 yards per carry, but chances are you’ve completely forgotten about the 217-pound back out of Memphis. That’s because Williams appeared in just six games for the 2-14 Panthers last season and is now headed for the free agent market. Some feel he could be reunited with former Carolina head coach John Fox in Denver, but either way, keep in mind that Williams is 28-years-old and has carried the ball just 303 times over the last two years. The guy has plenty of gas left in the tank.
Current ADP: 46.57
8. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants: Did you know that Manning has finished in the top-10 in fantasy scoring among quarterbacks in each of the last two years? Not only that, but the 30-year-old has put together back-to-back 4,000+-yard passing campaigns and is coming of his first 30+-touchdown season. Hakeem Nicks has emerged as a dangerous red zone target, but be advised that wideout Steve Smith is headed for free agency. Now, if we could only get Manning to cut down on those 25 interceptions (most in NFL) from a year ago…
Current ADP: 107.50
7. Greg Little, WR, Cleveland Browns: The 6-3, 220-pound wideout caught 62 passes for 724 yards and five touchdowns in 2009 during his junior year at North Carolina before missing the entire 2010 season due to a highly-publicized suspension. Little fell into the second round of April’s draft where he was selected by a Cleveland Browns team that is in desperate need of help at the wide receiver position. The quicker the lockout ends, the faster Little becomes the No. 1 target for quarterback Colt McCoy. Keeper league owners are advised to circle this guy’s name.
Current ADP: Undrafted
6. Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints: SLEEPER ALERT! Jeremy Shockey’s departure has opened the door for the 6-6, 260-pound former Hurricane basketball player to emerge as the No. 1 tight end in New Orleans. Graham scored four touchdowns in the Saints’ final five games last season, is very athletic and has the size to become a ferocious red zone target. Expect to hear his name in conjunction with the word “sleeper” a whole lot this summer.
Current ADP: Not listed in the top-15 at Mock Draft Central. Expect that to change in a hurry.
5. Miles Austin, WR, Dallas Cowboys: Austin’s value was overinflated following his 2009 breakout season (81-1,320-11), but after coming back down to Earth a bit last year (69-1,041-7), he’ll come at a bargain on draft day. Keep in mind that the 27-year-old wideout was targeted 11+ times and recorded 140+ receiving yards in three of six games with Tony Romo under center last year. With Jon Kitna running the show, Austin has just two 100+-yard performances in ten outings.
Current ADP: 25.5 (We expect this to go up after everyone gets done referencing how Dez Bryant will steal his targets, making Austin’s value even more attractive).
4. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons: He’s got a brand-new weapon in wide receiver Julio Jones, has a reliable running game that keeps opposing defenses honest and posted the first top-ten fantasy finish of his career last season. Ryan and the Falcons play 12 games indoors and are going to be hungry as hell after earning the No. 1-seed in the NFC playoffs last season, only to get their asses kicked at home by the Packers in their first postseason outing. 4,000+ yards and 34 touchdowns seem well within reach.
Current ADP: 109.86
3. Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints: There’s a reason the Saints traded back into the first round to land the former Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama. When New Orleans won the Super Bowl back in 2009, the team ranked 6th in the NFL in rushing offense (131.6 yds/gm) and averaged 31.9 points per game. During their failed title defense in 2010, the Saints ranked 28th in rushing (94.9 yds/gm) and scored only 24.0 points per game. If Ingram wins the starting gig, expect him to get a lot of carries at an excellent price.
Current ADP: 68.50
2. Stevie Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills: Johnson broke out in a big way last season with an 82-catch campaign that resulted in ten touchdowns (tied-7th in NFL) and a top-ten fantasy finish. To date, Buffalo has done nothing to address the wide receiver position, so expect Johnson to once again be the No. 1 option for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Keep in mind that the Bills threw the football 58% of the time last season (13th in NFL) with Johnson ranking 7th in the NFL in targets (142). We expect the fourth-year wideout to make a run at 100 receptions, but since he plays in Buffalo, the 24-year-old will likely get little hype this summer.
Current ADP: 37.57
1. Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets: Have a sour taste in your mouth from last year’s underwhelming performance? Good, because while guys like you pass on Greene come draft day, I’ll be waiting to pounce. At the beginning of June, the Jets announced that Greene will be their feature running back this season and is likely headed for 18-20 carries a game. That ‘s good news for a 226-pound power back who is averaging 4.5 yards per carry for his career. 1,100 yards and 10+ touchdowns look like a real possibility here. That’s a lot of bang for little buck.
Current ADP: 63.21
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh