Fantasy Football: 10 Players Who Should Be on Your Roster in 2013
Fantasy football is a game of luck, knowledge and your ability to make the right decisions. From draft day to the playoffs, fantasy football addicts are notorious for scheming up ways to conquer their foe. But how do you consistently one-up them? To quote the ancient Chinese general and philosopher Sun Tzu, "All war is deception."
Whether you use extensive research and draft strategies, or simply trade as your weapon of choice, deceiving your opponents can bring immense success for your team. With that being said, start the slideshow below and check out 10 players who you should have on your fantasy football roster in 2013.
*All stats provided by Pro-Football Reference unless noted otherwise.
*Average draft positions courtesy of My Fantasy League.
Montee Ball: Denver Broncos
Ball, who carried the ball 924 times for 5,140 yards during his career at the University of Wisconsin, via Sports Reference College Football, is a seasoned runner who, based on his prior experience, should be able to make an immediate impact for the Broncos.
Selecting Montee Ball will end up being a nice under-the-radar move that could pay off huge dividends as the season progresses. With Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno coming off knee injuries, Ball should see a lot of work early on. If he excels in the role, you've drafted a quality second or third running back, and if his workload slows, running backs are a dime a dozen. Ball can be dangled as trade bait to help your team improve at other positions.
James Jones: Green Bay Packers
But if you think last season was a fluke year for Jones, then folks, it's time to dive into the numbers a little further and let me explain why it wasn't.
For starters, Jones saw a career high in targets (98), which was largely due to the fact that Greg Jennings only played eight games and Jordy Nelson played 12. Outside of the increased targets, over his six-year career, Jones has played a full 16 games five times—which basically translates to serving as a constant and having more chances to come down with passes from Rodgers all season long.
Add in the combination of Jennings' leaving for Minnesota and Jones' durability, and this Packer wide receiver becomes a worthwhile addition to your team. His average draft position right now is around pick No. 81—which is criminally low considering the solid numbers he put up last season.
Lamar Miller: Miami Dolphins
When Reggie Bush left South Beach and inked a deal with the Detroit Lions, Lamar Miller should have jumped up and celebrated. Miller, the second-year running back out of the University of Miami, is the early favorite to land the starting job this season for the Miami Dolphins.
He's a north/south style runner, who has the ability to break down defenders with his shiftiness. A guy with low mileage on his tires—only 335 attempts in college and just 51 attempts during his rookie year—Miller should be ready to handle a strong workload this year.
With starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill coming into his second full NFL season, and the addition of Mike Wallace—who will be used to stretch the field—this young Miami attack should take a major step forward offensively.
Based on mock drafts going on right now, Miller is falling into the middle rounds, alongside guys like Frank Gore, Ryan Mathews and Vick Ballard. Best part is thanks to his skills and lack of prior workload, Miller might end up having the biggest upside of anyone in that range.
Michael Vick: Philadelphia Eagles
Michael Vick is the most polarizing player in fantasy football not named Chris Johnson. One of the most gifted all-around athletes to ever be drafted, Vick has always been exciting to watch, while frustrating at the same time.
After the disaster that was the 2012-13 season, why would anyone take a chance and draft Vick this year?
Well for starters, Vick has a shot to once again start at QB in a brand-new offensive scheme that should be frighteningly creative. With new Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly in charge, the team is already planning on implementing a super-fast-paced offense that will thrive off quick decision-making, understanding the right reads and athletic players.
With guys like Nick Foles, Matt Barkley, Dennis Dixon and G.J. Kinne all on the roster, the Eagles quarterback competition is wide open. But with Vick's athleticism and experience, he should be considered the front-runner to win this race.
According to ESPN standard fantasy football scoring, last year, Vick managed to score double-digit points in eight out of the 10 games he played in. And while the former Pro Bowl QB didn't exactly light it up, in just 10 games, Vick finished only 31 points behind Jay Cutler (played in 15 games) and 24 points behind Colin Kaepernick (played in 12 games, started eight).
When you break down the stats, you see that even for a struggling QB who played in a terrible situation (the Eagles were ranked fifth in most sacks allowed), that Vick still produced decent numbers.
Now factor in a new head coach, an upgraded offensive line and a brand-new skill set-friendly scheme, and Vick should be able to dazzle once again. Whether he can take the hits or not is another story, but as your backup QB if he earns the starting gig, Vick could end up working out as a nice sleeper, who should be selected around the 144th pick in most drafts.
Marcel Reece: Oakland Raiders
Current Oakland Raiders fullback Marcel Reece is one of the most deceiving players in all of professional football. Usually when you think about the fullback position, you think about slow, bruising players who lay the hammer down on blocks. But Reece is more of a modern-day renaissance man when it comes to the position.
Not only does he block, but also thanks to his scorching 4.5 speed, Reece has become a reliable weapon out of the Raiders' backfield.
Last season, to go along with his 52 receptions, Reece averaged 31 yards receiving per game as a fullback! And during the three games Reece was given the starting running back role in the offense, he managed to rack up a combined 100 rushing and receiving yards in each performance.
He's proved to be a productive player, and if you plan on drafting Run DMC or just want to sell him to a hopeless McFadden owner down the road, Reece is a player who could help you out big time this year—especially in point-per-reception formatted leagues.
David Wilson: New York Giants
For a guy who started his career off in Tom Coughlin's doghouse, New York Giants second-year running back David Wilson is in line for a big 2013 fantasy season. With the departure of Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants' running back duties should be split between Wilson and Andre Brown.
While people remember Brown rumbling for 385 yards and eight touchdowns last year, thanks to a season-ending leg injury, it was the explosive running style and return game of Wilson that stole the show. Although based on his skills it's Wilson's job to lose, I expect a fierce battle between Wilson and Brown in camp for who gets to be declared the starter.
But either way, having Wilson on your fantasy roster should bring you nothing but success.
Averaging a healthy 5.0 yards per carry, Wilson's constant ability to break away from defenders will allow him to rack up the touches. As proved by his ridiculous season returning kicks, in which he set the franchise record for yards with 1,533, this former Virginia Tech product is too good not to be a factor.
If you can, make sure you go out and draft Wilson this year. His average draft value right now is around pick 31, which depending on if he wins the starting job or not makes him a fantastic second RB option.
Emmanuel Sanders: Pittsburgh Steelers
Emmanuel Sanders is coming off a season that saw him put up career highs in receptions, yards and yards per catch. At the ripe age of 26 years old, thanks to Mike Wallace's departure to Miami, Sanders is in line to start alongside Antonio Brown for the Pittsburgh Steelers at wide receiver.
While there is the threat of rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton looming in the shadows, I still believe with Todd Haley serving as the offensive coordinator and Wallace gone, if he can stay healthy, Sanders should see enough balls thrown his way to break out this season.
Consider him a quality player who will fall deep into the later rounds in drafts due to his name (or lack thereof) and the fact that Brown will be taken before him.
Jordan Cameron: Cleveland Browns
Unless you’re a Cleveland Browns fan or avid fantasy football player, you've probably never heard of tight end Jordan Cameron. Cameron, a third-year player out of Southern California, is a physical specimen. Standing at 6'5" and weighing 254 pounds, he possesses that Rob Gronkowski, Kyle Rudolph body type.
With new Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner in control of the offense, Cameron should follow suit and play well considering their love for athletic tight ends. Whether we're talking Greg Olsen or Antonio Gates, both Chudzinski and Turner have always used their weapons effectively.
Cameron should be added to your roster as a No. 2 tight end with an upside to start as the season goes on. If he thrives and you don't need him, trade him for a position of need. Because we all know, quality tight ends are a hot commodity in fantasy football.
Randall Cobb: Green Bay Packers
Randall Cobb is a star in the making. An all-purpose threat, Cobb has a real chance to break out and set the NFL on fire this season. Don't believe me? Just ask arguably the best QB in football what he thinks about Cobb.
Talking with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Aaron Rodgers said that he believes Cobb "will emerge as a big-time star." Coming a season in which Cobb racked up 2,342 all-purpose yards, Rodgers believes Cobb will be even better this year. "I think he can be a 100-catch guy."
With Greg Jennings gone, Cobb will be more involved in the offense than he was before. While James Jones and Jordy Nelson should both have good years, thanks to his top-shelf skill set, Cobb is the guy who inflict the most damage when the balls in his hands. Mix in a blessing by Aaron Rodgers and, well, watch out world.
Right now, he's being selected at pick 27.37, making Randall Cobb a top-10 receiver on a lot of people's draft boards.
Carson Palmer: Arizona Cardinals
Unlike regular football, the best part about fantasy is that it's not hinged on NFL teams winning games. That's why guys like Carson Palmer still have a place in the league. With Palmer headed off to the Arizona Cardinals to join new head coach Bruce Arians and stud wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, this former Heisman Trophy winner should be line for a productive year.
Regardless of how he got there, Palmer managed to throw for over 4,000 yards last season with Oakland. That put his total points for the year above guys like Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler, via ESPN. Scariest part is Palmer was just 10 points behind Eli Manning.
That's amazing value for a quarterback who was taken 100 picks later than Manning was in most 2012 drafts, via MyFantasyLeague.com.
With Bruce Arians' love for the vertical passing attack and Larry Fitzgerald at his disposal, Palmer should be in line for another productive fantasy football season. If drafts are all about strategy and value, then you should snag the veteran signal-caller and enjoy the spoils—right now, his average draft position is the 15th round (pick 180).