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My Reactions: Wrapping Up Fantasy Football in the AFC

So my journey into the world of evaluating every offense in the NFL is halfway done.  I must say, it's been eye-opening and I feel a hundred times more prepared for a fantasy draft now than I did a couple of weeks ago.

I promise you that if you review each of my previews, you'll come away at least a little more informed.  I'm not tooting my own horn, I'm just a vessel that put in the man-hours to deliver the information that was already there and wrapping it into a single place here on Faketeams. 

Certain things will change from the time I do a write-up to the time the draft starts.  For instance, Larry Johnson is now a Miami Dolphin.  While that may mean nothing, I would have at least mentioned him in my Dolphins preview because the Dolphins are very unproven at running back right now and the 31 year old Johnson could be on the edge of gaining significant carries in Miami.  Maybe.  I'm just trying to give you the facts, the maybes, and the longshots.

After finishing up 16 teams, I believe I have done myself a service.  I have my first fantasy draft on Saturday and I'm definitely feeling a lot more prepared and would make some significant changes to the rankings I made for each position before I started this.  That being said, here's a few thoughts I have now that I've looked over 16 rosters...

  • I'm downgrading all Chiefs players from where I saw them before.  I know that's going to be hard for some people to hear but trust me when I say this isn't personal.  The schedule from 2010 to 2011 is just so different that you can't expect the same results.  Last year the Chiefs beat 1 playoff team, and that was the Seahawks.  They racked up numbers on some of the worst defenses in the NFL.  This season they have a 6-game stretch in the second half that looks like this: @NE, Pitt, @Chi, @NYJ, GB, Oak.  Those are the times when fantasy owners are making their playoff runs and includes most leagues entire fantasy playoffs.  For that reason, I can't justify Jamaal Charles ahead of other elite running backs, no matter how good he is. 
  •  I'd rather have Knowshon Moreno in the 4th round than Rashard Mendenhall in the 1st.  I think Moreno has had an undervalued first 2 seasons in the league and under John Fox, he could really thrive and become a 1,000-1,200 yard back.  He also does something much better than Mendenhall, which is catch balls out of the backfield.  Much of Mendenhalls value last season was wrapped up in touchdowns (13) but it's always tough to just repeat those kinds of numbers and while Willis McGahee is a high profile name, he's probably no more of a TD vulture in Denver than Isaac Redman is in Pittsburgh.
  • Jacoby Ford could be the biggest steal of the entire draft.  If you're league counts kick returns, he's a no-brainer.  Even if it doesn't Ford could break out for a Mike Wallace-like season in Oakland.  He totaled 433 yards in the 2nd half of 2010 and while Oakland plays a tougher schedule this season, they've still got some creampuffs on the schedule.  The difference between KC's schedule and the rest of the AFC West, is that their schedules toughest games are bunched together and on the road.  That's not the case in Oakland.  If Ford returns healthy from a broken hand, I think he could catch 50-60 balls for 1,000 yards and 8 TDs.  He's currently going 111th in drafts behind big names like Jordy Nelson and Danny Amendola.
  • As far as tight ends go, Rob Gronkowski is going 35 picks ahead of teammate Aaron Hernandez.  For the love of Pete, I'm taking Hernandez on that deal 10 times out of 10.  Elsewhere, I was hoping Owen Daniels would slip in drafts but he's going 7th amongst TE's which is about right.  The only player ahead of him that I might disagree with is Jimmy Graham
  • I'm feeling more and more confident in Arian Foster having a repeat season.  I think you'll see him catch fewer than the 66 passes he caught last year, he may have a few less yards and a couple less touchdowns, but that's still a top 5 fantasy running back.  For me, the order still goes: Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster - but that's not a knock on Foster.  Those other 2 are just on another level, and Foster is getting close to joining them.  I just need to see him do it again. 
  • In New York, there's a lot of talk about Mark Sanchez and the passing game and how good Plaxico Burress looked in his first game back and how they'll improve and take it to the next level, etc.  I'm not buying that yet.  Burress is replacing Braylon Edwards and Derrick Mason is replacing Jerricho Cotchery, so I'm not convinced that there will be a difference.  What I am convinced of is that Shonn Greene is going less noticed because of all this, and I love him as the 19th RB going off the board.  He's going behind guys like Ahmad Bradshaw and Jahvid Best, and I think Greene could easily jump into the top 15 this season. 
  • I'm just going to stay away from Ryan Mathews.  Maybe he gets drafted in the third round and has a huge year, but I'm not going to be the one to do it.  If I lose out on that one, so be it, but the Chargers have Mike Tolbert on the goal line and Mathews still has yet to prove anything in the NFL other than 1 big game at the end of 2010.
  • Running backs being drafted 90th or later that I would like to take a flier on: CJ Spiller (90), Reggie Bush (102), Michael Bush (122), Rashad Jennings (139), Shane Vereen (159), Bernard Scott (173)
  • Austin Collie is going 62nd on average and could be one of the top 10 WRs in the league.  I'd take him over guys like Anquan Boldin and Steve Johnson
  • Wide Receivers being drafted 90th or later that I would like to take a flier on: Jacoby Ford (111), Emmanual Sanders (150), Lee Evans (154), Steve Breaston (168)
  • His upside is more like Matt Cassel than it is Aaron Rodgers, but Colt McCoy could breakthrough to the next level to this year to be an admirable backup fantasy QB.  He's currently going 25th amongst QBs and I'd rather have him than Ryan Fitzpatrick
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