2011 Fantasy Preview: Part One
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The offseason can be lonely, especially when your team misses the playoffs. Again. Add to that the uncertainly of the 2011 season, and nothing but women’s soccer to comfort you. I, too, was sad and anxious, but it’s time to pull yourself together. Fantasy football is back.
There’s one problem. Offseason studying was uninspiring, and now you’re paying the price like a linebacker entering training camp with 20 extra pounds. Fortunately, I made a few phone calls to an assortment of fantasy experts and sports biz friends to help. While I’m rarely wrong (a fat lie), why not get a little help from my friends?
This esteemed group of gurus includes Brad Evans, Yahoo! Sports writer/personality, Chris Liss, managing editor of Rotowire.com, Ray Flowers, host of The Fantasy Drive –XM 87, Sirius 210, Jason Friedman, Rockets.com beat writer and obsessed fantasy guy J.J. Moses, a retired Texans player.
Who do you like at No. 1? Adrian or Arian?
Liss: Adrian Peterson. Because he does it every year and I think the team will lean on him even more heavily this season.
Moses: Arian Foster. Oh by the way, did I forget to say, he’s the NFL’s leading rusher?
Skelley: I hate picking first. I feel doomed. There are lots of stars, but the No. 1 guy has to be special. He is someone who demonstrates consistency and has special powers to thwart injuries. Both Peterson and Foster could fit that bill. But Peterson has done it longer. It’s a safer pick.
Evans: Arian. Vonta Leach’s departure to Baltimore smarts a little, but with a superb line, great passing offense, defined “bell cow” role and versatile skill set, Foster is the indisputable No. 1 pick. Peterson is still a top-five back, but question marks surrounding McNabb, especially minus Sidney Rice, and the offensive line are hard to ignore.
Friedman: Is “no one” a legitimate answer? Seriously, somebody please show me a player who so clearly separates himself from the pack that he should be deemed worthy of the No. 1 overall pick. Michael Vick clearly possesses the potential to be that guy, but do you really feel comfortable taking a quarterback who’s a significant injury risk at that spot, knowing you won’t be able to address any of the other positions until after approximately 20 other players have been removed from the board? Keep in mind that question comes courtesy of someone who was fortunate enough to thoroughly enjoy the Michael Vick experience from a fantasy perspective last year. Not sure I’d have the intestinal fortitude necessary to take him with the top pick, though. More likely I’d play it safe and (reluctantly) grab Adrian Peterson. All of which is my typically long-winded way of saying I’d walk away with an exceedingly uneasy feeling no matter whom I selected No. 1 overall this year.
Flowers: You can make an argument for multiple players to be first off the board in fantasy football. Michael Vick passed like he was Ben Roethlisberger and ran like he was Ryan Mathews last season. Jamaal Charles had a historic 6.4 yards per carry mark and owns a 6.0 mark for his career. Chris Johnson is one year removed from going for over two grand, and last year ran for 1,364 yards and 11 scores while catching 44 passes. Adrian Peterson is coming off his least productive rushing season though he still ran for 1,298 yards and scored 12 times on the ground. Despite all of those accolades, the No. 1 player off the board this season in fantasy football drafts should be Arian Foster. The Texans’ runner led the NFL with 1,616 yards rushing and 16 rushing scores. He was also second at the position with 66 receptions while his total of 604 yards receiving paced all backs (he also scored twice through the air). Foster also racked up eight 100-yard rushing games and had seven games in which he did at least two end zone boogies. It’s Foster or bust in 2011.
Click here to see their answers to this question: Who are the big free agency winners?
Erin Skelley joins SportsRadio 610 every football season with riveting fantasy football knowledge.