Players on the Rise: Six Pack of Fantasy Football Studs

James Hatfield Correspondent IIIJuly 14, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 03:  Wide receiver Anquan Boldin #81 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Green Bay Packers at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Packers defeated the Cardinals 33-7.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Article written by: Jim Dingeman

We all have them.  The guys you have unconditional love for, the guys you can’t get over, the guys you have to draft.  They’re sitting there, just waiting for you to pick them in the third round, and you can't resist.

I’m going to give you six guys I love this year for logical reasons or otherwise.

Kevin Kolb—QB (PHI)

In the two weeks Kolb started in place of McNabb, Week Two vs. New Orleans and Week Three vs. Kansas City, he went 55-for-85 with 718 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.  He also appeared in Week One on the road at Carolina in a blowout and did a good job managing the game, going 7-for-11.

Now that McNabb is gone, he is taking the reins as an explosive young offense.

If you’re not lucky enough to get one of the top-seven QBs (ending with Romo), I say load up on talent in other areas and wait for Kolb in the eighth or ninth round in a 10-team league.

I like him better than Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, and even a little more than Favre this year.  I just have a feeling that offense is too good and he is too talented to not have a very good year.

LeSean McCoy—RB (PHI)

Yes, I know.  I just said I loved Kolb and the passing game, and now I’m here trying to convince you of McCoy’s tremendous upside as well.

He averaged 4.1 yards per carry in what action he got last year, fighting for carries and catches behind Brian Westbrook and Leonard Weaver. Westbrook is gone, but Weaver is still there, and Mike Bell has arrived to get a chance at goal line carries. This makes McCoy a slight risk.

McCoy was just a rookie last year, and did have some ugly games (three carries, five yards at SD, six carries, two yards at ATL).  I still love his upside. He’ll be getting 12-16 carries a game and 5-8 targets a game.  I see 800-plus yards on the ground and 55-60 catches and 600-plus yards in the air from him this year.

Justin Forsett—RB (SEA)

He averaged 5.4 yards per carry last season in his second year in the league and first year with any meaningful action.  With two 20-plus-point games and nine games of six points or more in such limited action, he has huge potential with Leon Washington being his closest competition.

Washington's presence in the offense may limit Forsett's receptions, but his 41 balls from last year show that he can catch the rock as well as carry it.  Forsett has the first shot at being the premier back in this offense, and has a great chance to prove he can handle the load.

Anquan Boldin—WR (BAL)

He’s got the chance to finally be the No. 1 guy on a team with a good young QB in Joe Flacco, and has some nice teammates in Derrick Mason and Donte Stallworth to help shoulder the receiving load.

He is just 29 years old entering this season.  In seven seasons in Arizona, he averaged 84 catches, 1,074 yards, and 6.3 TDs.  Last year, in Arizona, he had at least five catches in 11 of his 15 games.  Boldin has been waiting for the opportunity to be the man and now has his chance to show off his skills.

With a new group of skilled receivers, Baltimore is going to be able to open up the passing game and keep defenses from loading up the box against the run.  I look for Boldin to post 95-100 catches, 1200-plus yards, and eight-plus TDs in a big season.

Eddie Royal—WR (DEN)

Brandon Marshall has moved to warmer weather and Royal is the top dog in Denver.

Royal had a disappointing season last year with only 37 catches and 345 yards.  A lot of that can be attributed to his targets dropping by more than three per game to 79 against 129 in 2008. Put that together with Jabar Gaffney having a career year last season, and his low numbers are easily explained.

Gaffney has not proven that he can be a No. 1 receiver; his best year was last year—54 catches, 732 yards.  Royal has shown that he can be a big-time threat with 91 catches and just shy of 1000 yards in his rookie season.  I like him to have similar numbers this year in Denver.

Jason Witten—TE (DAL)

This man catches passes by the dozens.  He has had six straight years of playing all 16 games and has averaged 81 catches, 936 yards, and 4.3 TDs.  He has 80-plus catches and 950-plus yards the last three seasons, and he's the only TE in the NFL able to make that claim.

With the addition of Dez Bryant, defenses will have another big red zone target to worry about, possibly leaving extra opportunities for Witten.  The Cowboys will be looking for him to provide a spark with defenses worrying about last year's breakout star Miles Austin.

I expect a big year from Witten.  He's money in the bank for another 90-plus catch, 1,000-plus yard season.

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