Fantasy Football 2012: Early Buy/Sell Scenarios for Fantasy Draft Boards
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
You may think that the fantasy football season is months away, but you have been misinformed.
Don't feel bad, It happens to all of us. We get caught up with work, family—you know, all those things less important than fake football, but I'm here to get you back on track.
If you are in a dynasty league, getting geared up for the season or just an intelligent person who knows there is nothing better in life than football, then I'll get you caught up on some guys to whom you should be paying attention for fantasy this season.
BUY: Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers
Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers Wide Receiver
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
Malcom Floyd is currently going as the 38th receiver off the board in mock drafts over at Fantasy Football Calculator.
One of the reasons he's being so devalued is the signing of Robert Meachem, but with Vincent Jackson heading to Tampa Bay in the offseason, there is still a void to fill in San Diego that Floyd has been filling well for a while now.
Rivers loves Floyd's 6'5" frame in the end zone, and that won't change with Meachem there.
In the last five games of the season, after returning from an injury, Floyd had four touchdowns and averaged five receptions with 90 yards receiving.
Of course, the main concern is his ability to get injured. He has a lot of ability in that realm, but his upside is too good that late in the draft not to pounce on him.
SELL: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Maurice Jones Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Wait, is this last year? Didn't all us "experts" say last year was Jones-Drew's time to sell in fantasy?
Well, yes, and I was one of them. I was dead wrong.
Will I be wrong again? Maybe, but doubling down on an overworked player is not how I like to play this game.
In the last three seasons, MJD leads all running backs in carries with 954. He also has 130 receptions in that span to add to the beatings his body takes.
The Jaguars offense has been offensive recently, and Jones-Drew is targeted every play. His knees have had trouble in the past, and with no real way to take the pressure off him in this offense, I just can't justify taking him near his ADP of sixth overall.
BUY: Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Everyone and their dog is on board the Jeremy Maclin hype wagon, and I'm out there on the trail walking their dog for them.
Not sure how well that metaphor works, but I do know Maclin is poised for a big season.
Last year, he had SARS or maybe Mad Cow, can't quite remember, but he lost around 20 pounds and got a late start on conditioning, and then—maybe because of his lack of conditioning—his second half of the season was plagued with injuries.
He is now fully healthy and ready to be the go-to guy in Philadelphia.
SELL: Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jordy Nelson put on a fantasy football clinic with Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn to end 2011.
In the last two games, he had 15 receptions, 277 yards and five TDs! That's just nutso and a little wacko.
Of course, Greg Jennings wasn't around for those games, which helped Nelson pad his stats as the No. 1 receiver on the Packers.
Nelson finished as the No. 2 overall fantasy wide receiver last season, aided by those last two games and an unreal touchdown-per-reception ratio of 4.53 receptions for every touchdown.
Last season, the leader in that category was Dwayne Bowe, and you know what happened to his touchdown numbers (if you don't, they went from 15 to five).
It is impossible to count on touchdowns from receivers, especially in Green Bay, where Aaron Rodgers distributes the ball so well. If Nelson falls in drafts because of these reasons I would pounce, but when people see the No. 2 receiver from last season falling, they usually grab him.
BUY: Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Wait, you mean SELL, right? That dude has been run into the ground just like Maurice Jones-Drew and you said to sell him! What is this!?
Whoa, whoa, bring it down a level, voice in my head.
I agree. Turner is slowing down, Matt Ryan should be throwing more and Jacquizz Rodgers is lurking behind the Gatorade tub just waiting to pounce.
So what was I saying? Oh right, BUY!
While I was perusing Average Draft Position at the various sites, I noticed Turner going as the 18th overall running back at My Fantasy League and ESPN. That is too low for a running back who has four straight 10-plus touchdown seasons and who averaged 4.5 yards a carry just last year.
But that doesn't tell the whole story, of course, so I looked a little deeper into Pro Football Focus' Signature Stats and saw that he led the league in missed tackles with 62 and was fourth in yards after contact. He also had his career high in receptions with 17.
Those aren't the numbers of a back on his last leg.
Is he a first-round pick anymore? I don't think so, but has he dropped into the mid to late third round? I also don't think so.
SELL: Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
This sell recommendation is based on perception.
Antonio Gates is easily one of the best tight ends of all-time, and even while hobbled with foot problems, he put up decent fantasy numbers.
And now he's back to form! He's the old Gates! Watch out, he looks like a 17-year-old out there!
OK, maybe the hype hasn't gone that far, but Norv Turner told Michael Gehlken of the Union-Tribune San Diego, "Gates looks great—he's back."
Should we believe Norv? Sure, why not?
But does that mean the soon-to-be 32-year-old Gates who weighs 240-plus pounds and has had foot issues for two straight years should be the No. 3 tight end going in drafts?
As Mike LaFontaine would say, "I don't think so!"
BUY: Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Dwayne Bowe had 15 touchdowns and coincidentally, a breakout season in 2010.
Then in 2011, he had five touchdowns and a break-your-back season for fake football players.
The regression in touchdowns was inevitable. The odds of repeating a 15-plus touchdown season for wide receivers are, well, Jerry Rice-like, but only catching five touchdowns had a ton to do with losing Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki and Matt Cassel.
The offense just shut down, and why wouldn't it have? The names Palko, Battle and Pope just don't strike fear into the hearts of opponents like you would imagine.
The Chiefs get all those guys back, and Bowe will still be the best receiving target. I see him returning to 10 or more touchdowns and fantasy goodness.
SELL: Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Bob Levey/Getty Images
This one just hurts me deep down in the loins.
Andre Johnson is probably my favorite receiver to watch. He's an absolute monster.
His size, speed, agility, hands, route-running, everything you can think of just screams elite.
So why sink as low as to call him a sell? That sir, is a good question, and one I'll try to answer if you'll just give me a second!
First off, he's going off the board as the No. 3 wide receiver in drafts, which puts him in the first or second round. That is just too early for a guy who hasn't been able to stay healthy the last two seasons.
He also has only been a top-10 fantasy wide receiver in three of his 10 seasons and has never topped nine touchdowns.
He'll be 31 in July, and his body seems to be on the decline. If he plays all 16 games, he is of course still worth a top pick, but unfortunately the odds of that are pretty slim at this point in his career.
BUY: Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings
Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Percy Harvin finished the season strong after being underutilized for the first half of the season.
When I say underutilized, I mean Devin Aromashodu, Bernard Berrian and Michael Jenkins all saw much more time on the field than he did.
And I can say without hesitation that those three players create a vortex of ineptitude with their inability that could suck in a third of the galaxy.
But thankfully, coach Frazier finally smartened up (i.e., Adrian Peterson got hurt) and started using Harvin more, which in turn showed us all how amazing Harvin really is.
In the first eight games, Harvin ranked as the 42nd-best fantasy player. In the last eight games, he ranked as the third-best, tying Calvin Johnson's second-half numbers.
Oh, and the guy is just flat-out good. Pro Football Focus has him as the second-best at catch percentage with 73.7 percent and third-best at yards after the catch with 7.1 yards.
His upside this season is top five, and I say that without any hesitation. I could see him finishing even higher. The good news for you and me and whoever else steals our idea of drafting Harvin is that he's currently being drafted as the 21st wide receiver.
SELL: Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Steven Jackson has the most rushing attempts of any active running back with 2,137.
In the last eight games of last season, Jackson averaged 3.9 yards a carry and scored one touchdown.
This news is not good for Steven Jackson and people who own or plan to own Mr. Jackson on their fantasy teams.
He is a warrior, and I don't doubt that he will play much of the season, but his production is not likely to start going up anytime soon, and he hasn't topped seven rushing touchdowns since 2006.
Let someone else gamble on squeaking out one more productive year from him.