Now let's not all get TOO excited all at once.
It's the middle of June, about the time I start preparing for the next season of NFL fantasy football. Most of my friends, no, all of my friends are still reading the newspaper, casually perusing over the sports section for the stray NFL article.
For me though, this is the time where sleepers, underrated players and trade options are found. This method of careful preparation, combined with reading just about every article, topic or note on just about anything NFL, has propelled my NFL.com and neighborhood fantasy teams to 2 wins and 2 2nd-place finishes in the past 3 years.
Starter: PHI Donovan McNabb - the ever powerful and fun to watch mcnabb threw for over 3900 yards and 23 touchdowns. add in the 2 rushing touchdowns and one of the best offensive lines in the nfl this season and you get a recipe for continued success.
Back-Up: MIN Brett Favre - curious pick, thinking about maybe trading him before the regular season begins. even if he does as planned and ends up as the starter in minnesota, his paltry receiving group means he will probably never produce enough to be a first team fantasy starter.
Starter: MIN Adrian Peterson - I'm not usually this lucky and usually end up dealing with a bunch of misfits, including last year. i think at some point last year i had thee ricky williams.
Starter: CHI Matt Forte - OMG, I think I'm pretty much set at the rb position this year. how this happened is a mystery to many people besides myself.
Back-Up: DAL Felix Jones - extremely underrated rb, especially w/ marion barber moving back to the closer/third down back.
Starter: GB Greg Jennings - one of the top young WRs in the game. great pick, especially with the GB defense looking iffy this season.
Starter: BUF Terrell Owens - I won't deviate from him until he finally fails @ age 40. He has never let me down when he has chosen to play ball, either in Dalls or in Philly.
Starter: PIT Hines Ward - consistently earns 1000 yds & 5+ TDs. good, solid and consistent low second-high third round pick.
Back-Up: JAC Torry Holt - took a late round-flier on him. perhaps will pan out. if not, i'm sure i can just trade him for a second defense, something i like doing for the beginning of the season.
Starter: TB Kellen Winslow Jr. - good, ultra-talented te with rookie qb usually equals production. i'm not saying in any way that this is a sure thing. what i AM saying is that he probably will be just fine in tampa.
Back-Up: DEN Tony Scheffler - underrated TE who will be used more in denver this year. had a great offseason so far and is part of an excellent receiver group that will open up more opportunities for scheffler.
Starter: SD Nate Kaeding - has been one of the best kicking options over the past 3 years in san diego and is part of a powerful offense that gives him many opportunities to score through either xps or fgs.
Starter: MIN Vikings DST - hopefully Williams twins will come back. if not, i still have faith in this talent-laden defense. backed up with another solid if perhaps not flashy defense, like WAS or DAL, will hold down the fort and keep me in games.
Overall, my all-star RB/QB/WR's will earn me a ticket into the playoffs. I got lucky picking up both Peterson and Forte, and McNabb is just a bonus in the 3rd round, especially with perhaps the best offensive line in the league this year.
As for the uncertainty with some of my depth, as well as at the TE, K and DST positions, I have always maintained that as long as you properly prepare your team on a weekly basis, free-agent additions can be found and made that will give you at a minimum a fighting chance to win every time.
This means that when you are choosing between 10-15 inconsistent or just bad statistically performing DSTs, make sure your hapless choice isn't playing against the Colts, the Patriots, Chargers or Saints that week. You have a MUCH better chance of earning some points in a low-scoring affair against the Bengals or the Lions.
As it is still pretty early for any major injuries or trading options, I don't really have too much to report in terms of teams, players or defenses I have my eye on for a trade/addition. The only ones I kinda are interested in...don't read this if you are in my fantasy league-cough, David, cough-are the Redskins DST and PHI rookie-WR Jeremy Maclin.
Both of these options are available as a low-round draft pick (6th-7th), or in my case actually went undrafted, and have a great chance at good-fantasy production this season. The Redskins defense ended up 4th overall last season and will only be better this year with the addition of 100-million dollar DT Albert Haynesworth.
Jeremy Maclin is built to play in a spread offense with smaller faster receivers, which is exactly what is already in place in Philadelphia. Although some of Philly's earlier receivers drafted in the same mold haven't exactly panned out, last season DeSean Jackson came in as a rookie and caught 62 passes for 912 yards, 2 TDs and rushing for 96 yards and another TD.
Jeremy Maclin is built almost exactly like DeSean Jackson, only a bit taller, and comes into an even better offensive situation than before. The offensive line is better, McNabb just got a restructured contract w/ more guaranteed money and it seems that everything is finally in place for the offense to click all season since TO left for Dallas.
Other then that, it's still too early to say. Perhaps in a few more weeks, perhaps a month, things will start to fall in place for another run at a championship for AFC North Destruction.
Got any questions for Michael about the upcoming season or fantasy football? Need some tips on starting or finishing a line-up? Feel free to use the email link or send a message via. Bleacher.