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Fantasy Football 2012: Pulling the Reverse

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Lets face it, Fantasy Football has grown at an exponential rate. EVERYBODY does fantasy football these days. Even my 90 year old grandmother was asking me whether she should take Foster or McCoy with the first pick (not quite but you get the idea).

As a result of this, everybody is also scouring the internet trying to gain an edge over their fellow competitors. But to be honest, almost everyone ends up reading the same stuff. Everybody is reading the big fantasy websites, and doing arbitrary google searches to gain whatever edge they can. In fact, many of these websites have very similar articles as far as who is a sleeper and who is a potential bust. We are entering an age where there really isn't such a thing as a sleeper because of internet exposure. While you may think you have the edge on your competition with a potential 8th round RB sleeper, at least half your league reads the same article and is thinking the same thing.

Hmmmm....How to take advantage of this knowledge?

The Reverse.....

In real football this play is used as a counter when the defense is overplaying. When the defense leans too much to one side, the offense runs a play to that side, and then flips it to a player running in the opposite direction. This is an unexpected play and usually results in at least a 10 yard gain if not more.

So what is the reverse when it comes to Fantasy Football?

This strategy requires one to look at all these internet fantasy articles and read about who are the potential "busts." To pull off this strategy an owner has to have a great idea who most of the websites are labeling as these busts. By taking a more in depth look at these players, this is where fantasy owners can actually find "real" sleepers.

Below is a list of players that are widely recognized on the internet as bust candidates for the 2012 season. After taking a closer look, I feel these players are being drafted much later then deserved and present an opportunity for fantasy owners to take advantage.

Michael Turner- EVERYBODY is talking about how The Burner's time as a top 10 back is over. Most people are saying he isn't even a top 15 back. He makes consistent appearances on almost everybody's bust lists. Most point to the increasing role of Jacquizz Rodgers and the fact that the offense will be opening up as the reason for Turner's demise.

Time to pull the reverse..... Here are the facts: Michael Turner has had 4 straight seasons with at least 10 rushing touchdowns. 3 out of the last 4 seasons Turner has rushed for at least 1300 yards, including 1340 last year. (Note: He only rushed for 871 yards in 2009 but that was because he missed 5 games due to injury). The last two seasons Turner played all 16 games. Michael Turner has NEVER averaged less then 4 yards per carry on a season (He averaged 4.5 per carry last year)

I am not trying to argue that Turner will be a top 8 RB this year. But it is crazy to not have him in the top 15 because a bunch of websites have said so. This offense will be very good this year. They will have a lot of points, yards, and red zone opportunities. Even if Turner only gets 60-65 percent of the carries there is no reason to think that he can't be a VERY good option as a RB2.

Ahmad Bradshaw- Everybody is talking about David Wilson and how much of an exciting player he is. By default, Bradshaw is finding himself on many bust lists this pre-season. Most people are looking at this as a pure committee in the Big Blue backfield. They are also labeling Bradshaw as injury prone and likely to miss time due to injury.

Time to pull the reverse.... Bradshaw has had a combined 17 touchdowns over the past 2 seasons. This was WITH a goal line back in Brandon Jacobs, and it was also with Bradshaw missing some games due to injury. Now, Jacobs is gone, and it isn't like David Wilson is a goal line back. Bradshaw should have no problem scoring 10 touchdowns for the year.

As far as yardage is concerned, while Wilson will get carries, Bradshaw has shown himself to be truly capable with whatever carries are given to him. In 2010, again while splitting carries with Jacobs, Bradshaw rushed for over 1200 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. In 2009 on a lower number of carries he averaged 4.8 yards per carry. While the 2011 numbers weren't overly impressive Bradshaw was injured for quite a bit and still managed to score 9 times!

All of this is not even mentioning other factors such as Bradshaw's success in the passing game with screens and dump offs. The Giants are a great offense that will score a lot of points and give Bradshaw a lot of opportunities.

Again, I am not arguing that Bradshaw is a top 10 back. But he should without a doubt be considered as a solid option at RB2 if not a top flex option.

Desean Jackson- Jackson is fully off the radar of everybody this pre-season. Everybody is talking about Jeremy Maclin as a sleeper. Most are saying that Jackson has his money now and will be content to play at 50 percent. These critics also cite Jackson's inability to go over the middle and label him as injury prone.

Time to pull the reverse.... Before this past year, Jackson was widely regarded as one of the top speedster deep threats in the entire league. In many leagues last year, Jackson was drafted as a low #1 or top #2 WR. While he clearly, underperformed last year, skills and speed don't just automatically vanish.

Jackson is playing in an offense that will drastically improve in 2012. Teams have to spend hours on end figuring out how to stop Michael Vick and his magic legs. Now they also have to worry about stopping LeSean McCoy in both the running and passing games. This will only open things up in the deep passing game for Jackson. Keep in mind also that its not like Jackson has Rex Grossman throwing him the ball. Michael Vick has an absolute rifle for an arm and has the ability to throw the deep ball as well as anybody in the league. While 2011 was a disappointment, fantasy owners have to keep to big picture in focus.

Lets be clear here, I am not arguing that Jackson should be considered a WR1. He most likely will not finish the season with more then 70 catches and critics are right that his strength is not going over the middle. However, look at Mike Wallace if you need an example of a player making a fantasy impact with only 4 catches per game. I would be THRILLED to get Jackson as my WR3 this year and would even consider him as a low end number 2. Based on track record, ability, and the offense he is in you can put Jackson in the bank for around 1100 yards and around 8 TDs.