"He's gone, Eric. He's gone."
Eight more teams to go in my tour of a few of the sleepers you could look out for in Fantasy Football this season, with only the AFC and NFC West remaining.
The Broncos are probably one of the only teams in NFL history that has won their division and a playoff game and then immediately started looking for ways to get rid of their quarterback. Denver did a complete 180 on their quarterback situation by going from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning, but it's also the reason that many people think they'll win the division again and perhaps be a top 10 offense. People are already going bonkers of the possibilities of Demaryius Thomas... but I've got my eyes on another receiver as well.
Thomas is perhaps the more "prototypical" of the two, but it's Decker that's been productive and healthy. Both drafted in 2010, both standing at 6'3", Thomas was the first round pick and Decker was the third, but that doesn't mean that Thomas is going to be better. Remember Bryant Johnson and Anquan Boldin in Arizona?
Last season Thomas got noticed for his monster stretch at the end of the season when he grabbed 25 catches for 448 yards and 3 TD in the final five games with Tebow and that's why he's being rated significantly higher than Decker. That and his first round tag, and his 204 yards against the Steelers in the playoffs. (And 93 yards against the Patriots the next week.) He was very good, yes.
But there's something to be said about being a bit safer from injury and coming at a much cheaper price, despite the fact that they may have equal production, or could even lean in the favor of Decker. Manning spread the ball nicely between Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne for years. He's not a one-man man. Both will be getting play and so give me Decker at a later price, if possible. I think Decker is going to grab more targets and though he won't have as many "big plays" he'll be plenty productive.
Up next, who is going to be the number one wide receiver in San Diego? I have my own opinion.
I personally think that Vincent Jackson is one of the most exciting receivers in the NFL, but now there's a void with him in Tampa. Who is going to fill it?
The Chargers signed Robert Meachem, but I'm not as impressed with the signing as everyone else seems to be. Meachem is fine, but I would call him "overrated" until he goes out there for 16 games, remains consistent and productive. On the other hand, I think Brown could be a steal that you could probably pick up off of the waiver wire.
As a rookie last season, Brown had 19 catches for 329 yards, an average of 17.32 yards per catch. He had 4 catches for 79 yards against the Packers and then 5 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown the following week against the Raiders. Not bad for a third round rook. I'd estimate that he could settle in for 700-800 yards and begin to fill the Jackson void. There aren't many others in San Diego that I believe can.
Gun to my head, I probably couldn't even have told you that Hillis was even in Kansas City. He's backing up Jamaal Charles, and while I love the idea of getting Charles at a discount this year (he's phenomenal when healthy) he's still carrying a huge risk.
And if he goes down, Hillis is one of the most capable fill-ins in the NFL and he'll probably come at the price of being your 3rd or 4th running back. Remember when Hillis was on MADDEN!?!? Holy crap, how far we've fallen away from that. But I don't think that the ability is just gone and the Chiefs beefed up their offensive line in the draft. Grab Hillis.
For almost any fantasy football league, Palmer is going to be a backup on a roster. He's rated somewhere between 15-25, which isn't going to be the guy you draft to be your starter, unless you're waiting for a long time to draft your quarterback, which you shouldn't do. You can't do much better (in terms of experience and once-had-skills) than Palmer as a backup.
Palmer may be a shell of his former self, but he may not. He wasn't playing last season and then all of a sudden he was, with a new team, in a new offense, with a lot of young players and a few injuries. Now he's had much more time in the system, the players around him are older and more experienced, and they could finally be getting in tune. He finished last season with 417 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT against the Chargers. If you don't count his first game as a Raider (and its okay if you don't actually since he had no business being in that game if it weren't for how bad Kyle Boller is), Palmer posted a QB rating of 86.2 over his last nine games. That's not as terrible as you probably assumed and he still had a terrible 1 TD/4 INT game against the Packers.
Palmer will probably never be as good as he was in 2005-2006 again, and yes that was a long time ago, but 3,500-4,000 yards, 25 TD, 15-20 INT? I'll take that any day as a backup and on some weeks he'll be among the league leaders.