Both Michael Turner and Ahmad Bradshaw have been respectable fantasy options for the past few seasons, but they may give way to talented young backups as the season moves along. While both are trending as fourth-round picks in 10-team PPR mock drafts, it’s best to avoid both, if you can.
31. Trent Richardson (ADP 3.08)
It’s good to hear the Browns are optimistic about Richardson’s availability for Week 1. That said, fantasy owners should expect it to take a few games before Cleveland’s ultra-gifted tailback is ready to play at full speed, let alone take on a full workload.
By October we should see Richardson performing at a level we would expect, but early on, consider him nothing more than a flex play.
32. Michael Turner (ADP 4.06)
Turner’s skills are diminishing, and while he may pick up a few more receptions in the Falcons' no-huddle offense, I would probably look to take him no higher than the fifth round in PPR leagues.
Jacquizz Rodgers is set to cut into his workload and is a better fit for what the Falcons want to do in this offense. That said, Turner will remain the starter in Atlanta for the 2012 season.
33. Victor Cruz (ADP 4.05)
Some may shy away from Cruz because he’s going to play more on the outside and face press-man coverage. I won’t be one of those fantasy owners, as Cruz has looked just fine in the preseason and is still as elusive as ever in the open field.
Expect the Giants to move him back into his traditional slot position when they spread out to 11 personnel.
34. A.J. Green (ADP 3.07)
The Bengals received a minor scare in the early portion of their fourth preseason game as Andy Dalton left the field flexing his throwing arm. It turned out to be nothing as Dalton was healthy enough to remain on the sidelines and not head back to the locker room for tests.
Green is a top-five fantasy receiver in all scoring formats and will be one of the better receivers in the game for the next 10 years.
35. Wes Welker (ADP 3.09)
It’s hard not to expect Welker to top 100 receptions, but I’m starting to wonder whether he will get to that mark in 2012. Aaron Hernandez is likely to take on a bigger role in the Patriots' passing game, and Brandon Lloyd will be in the mix as well.
Expect a solid year from Welker, but I would much rather you focus on him as an early WR2, even in PPR leagues.
36. Jordy Nelson (ADP 4.07)
Defenses will treat Greg Jennings as the Packers' No. 1 receiver, but it is Nelson who will continue to be the top fantasy producer on this team. Nelson looks better than ever, and his timing with Aaron Rodgers is going to be too much for most secondaries to handle.
37. Antonio Gates (ADP 4.07)
Gates is back, and he will likely to have a monster season now that Vincent Brown is down for the first half of the season. Both Malcom Floyd and Robert Meachem are probably going to start at receiver, but both are vertical threats who (especially Meachem) don’t offer a lot in the short-to-intermediate range.
38. Frank Gore (ADP 5.02)
With Brandon Jacobs still recovering from his knee injury a few weeks ago, Gore should benefit with more scoring opportunities, early on. He’s a low-end RB2, but make sure you have some decent depth on your roster, because he’s a candidate for injury and will lose touches as the season goes along.
39. Antonio Brown (ADP 5.05)
Having a terrific camp, Brown is the top Steelers receiver to own this year, and he will likely deliver WR1 numbers in PPR leagues. The addition of Mike Wallace to the offense only enhances his chances of picking up more receptions as Wallace’s deep speed will force a safety to play over the top.
40. Ahmad Bradshaw (ADP 4.07)
I believe we will see Bradshaw have a strong first month or two of the season. The Giants have some favorable matchups through the first five games in the running game, but eventually Bradshaw will end up with an injury, and David Wilson will command an expanded role.
Wilson is the future and the better talent of the two. Still, expect Bradshaw to get first looks in this offense through the 2012 season.
ADP comes courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator.
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