10 NFL Free Agents to Keep Your Eyes on for Fantasy Football

JP FrederickCorrespondent IJune 7, 2011

10 NFL Free Agents to Keep Your Eyes on for Fantasy Football

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    Congressmen Weiners: A Modest Proposal

    Recent events in Washington have shown that our politicians cannot stop throwing their trousers in the thresher, a fact which has reared its head consistently since 1776.

    The advent of 24-hour news channels, instant messaging, text messaging, Facebook, message boards and Twitter will only increase the frequency of these awkward situations.

    Then, every time this embarrassment occurs, the two sides of the political spectrum will argue and sermonize furiously on 24-hour news channels, instant messages, text messages, Facebook, message boards and Twitter, switching sides depending on the letter in parentheses behind the condemned’s name. Then they will analyze the sermonizing and the arguing on 24-hour news channels, instant messages, text messages, Facebook, message boards and Twitter, and analyze the analysis, and so on and so on.

    It is a trivial, boring exercise that only ceases when another trivial, boring debate comes down the pike for the two sides to consume, and then the cycle continues. Meanwhile, the boring and trivial becomes consequential, and the consequential becomes irrelevant.

    I come here not to judge, though. I want to solve this problem and the problem needs to be cut off at the head, which is exactly my plan for solving this.

    One word: Eunuchs.

    If you really want to end sexual indiscretions in D.C., you eliminate sexual organs. No more Weiners, if you’ll allow me one pun.

    No more Foleys or Vitters. Those types would never want to join our eunuch government. This completely humane plan would weed out the deviants and depraved in D.C. Once this wholly plausible plan went into place, only the truly worthy, the truly good and honest and hard-working and caring and reasonable and good-hearted amongst us would be the ones volunteering for government positions and castration.

    Then those gentle, asexual souls would think about one thing and one thing only: making government work for us. Nothing would or could stand in the way of their singular focus.

    Yes, this utterly unobjectionable plan would leave us with the type of honest politician we deserve. Corporations and lobbyists wouldn’t be able to bribe or blackmail our eunuch government. What campaign donation would sway a eunuch? Finally, our government would be loyal and subservient to their masters, to us. Just like a cocker spaniel.

    A neutered cocker spaniel.

    Many societies and superpowers have embraced the eunuch; the Greeks, the Romans, the Ming Dynasty, the Ottoman Empire. They did alright for themselves, sort-of. The great thoroughbred Apache Cat was a gelding.

    The Apache Cat. Yeah.

    So what will it be: continue on with the charade, rehashing the same strawmen arguments the next time and there will be a next time, another Weiner makes a mistake? Grandstanding and moralizing over the mundane minutia of yet another politician caught in the wicket? Acting like it isn’t and always hasn’t been same song, different verse? Getting bogged down in another useless debate that continues to hold us back as a nation?

    Or do we nip this in the bud, figuratively and literally. Think about it.

    Alright, good talk. See ya out there.

    Oh, and here’s 10 free agents to keep your eyes on for fantasy football, if there even is a season.

10) Randy Moss

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    Randy Moss had arguably the worst year of his career last season, which is difficult to comprehend when you remember how he checked out during those lost Oakland years. Either way, last season saw Moss burn up the goodwill he had accumulated in New England, set fire to the Minnesota Vikings and Brad Childress’ career, and eventually evaporate and disappear in Tennessee.  He finished the season with just 28 receptions and 393 yards, both career lows. He turned 34 in February. He is a moody malcontent who has problems with authority.

    Yeesh. 

    Despite those low receiving totals, despite rarely playing, Moss still caught five touchdowns last season— more than Donald Driver, Lee Evans, Mike Thomas, Chad Ochocinco and Brandon Marshall.  Moss still got the best of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie on deep routes.

    If Moss lands in a place where he’d be a clear-cut No. 1 receiver, like St.Louis or Washington, or if he somehow lands up back in New England or Rex Ryan signs him and tries to force-feed him the ball just to stick it to Belichick, Moss could have one last great year in him, one last year where his naysayers can’t harp on his character deficiencies.

    And he’ll probably only cost an 11th-round pick, anyway. Take a chance, live a little.

9) Nnamdi Asomugha

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    Nnamdi Asomugha is a lock-down cornerback who quarterbacks avoid, plain and simple.

    Imagine Nnamdi in Baltimore, in the same secondary as Ed Reed or in Philadelphia with Asante Samuel. Or in Pittsburgh, giving the Steelers’ blitz just enough time to get to the quarterback. The arrival of Nnamdi, his presence alone, could transform an average defense into a very good defense, a very good defense into an elite defense and an elite defense into an all-time defense.

    Whichever defense gets him should be a pretty good fantasy option to say the least.

8) Zach Miller

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    Miller has shown to be a very reliable tight end and is Oakland's best, maybe only, receiving threat. Despite playing in the dysfunctional Oakland passing game through the first four years of his career, Miller has averaged 56.5 catches and 678 yards per season; he is only averaging three touchdowns per season, but again, the Oakland passing game has had a lot of problems the past few years.

    But Miller hasn't been one of those problems and has continued to improve, earning his first Pro Bowl trip last season. In addition to his receiving skills, he is an adept blocker who has helped pave the way for the Oakland running game, which has been pretty good the past few years.

    If Miller were to take his talents to another team, possibly one with a more advanced passing attack, he would instantly become an elite tight end for fantasy purposes, while his absence would also hurt the Oakland offense a great deal. Staying in Oakland wouldn't hurt Miller, though—and would keep Darren McFadden happy.

    Miller is already making strides in becoming one of the top-tier tight ends in the game and should be poised for a breakout year regardless of where he goes.

    Unless, after signing with a new team after the lockout is lifted on Aug. 28, Miller only gets two weeks of training camp to learn the playbook before two preseason games. Then he'll have a terrible year.

7) Marc Bulger or Whichever Veteran QB the Cardinals Sign to Placate Fitz

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    For some time now, it’s been assumed Marc Bulger would be the stop-gap quarterback for Arizona this season. However, recent reports have contradicted that, so…whatever. 

    If this was a real offseason, he would’ve already signed with Arizona or someone, Peter King wouldn’t be on the edge of a nervous breakdown, and James Harrison would’ve been already fined for an illegal hit on…himself.

    Whenever football begins, be it in time for 16 games or eight games or, God forbid, next year, the Cardinals seem intent on signing a veteran quarterback.

    If it’s Bulger or maybe Matt Hasselbeck, that decision will clearly have an impact on the fantasy value of Larry Fitzgerald, who in turn will clearly have an impact on the fantasy value of whichever veteran quarterback signs with Arizona. 

6) Vonta Leach

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    Like the great Lorenzo Neal before him, fullback Vonta Leach isn’t necessarily valuable as a fantasy option, but his presence is exceedingly valuable for the running back following his blocking. Leach’s blocking is so valuable that, despite only touching the ball eight times last season, he was ranked as the 65th best player in the NFL by the NFL players, ahead of the likes of Greg Jennings, Jared Allen and Tony Romo.

    It is doubtful Houston would let Leach leave, but if he were to, that would mean his new running back would have a bulldozer in front of him, Arian Foster wouldn’t, and shockwaves would reverberate throughout pre-draft rankings and the nation.

    Well, not shockwaves, I guess. This isn’t LBJ forgoing his party’s nomination or Shelly Long leaving "Cheers."

    Either way, what Leach does is something to think about.

5/4) Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards

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    The two Jets receivers are joined at the hip-pads right now, fates intertwined. It is assumed only one of them will be going back to New York next season, with the odds-on favorite being Santonio Holmes. It doesn’t take much straining to see Edwards signing with a team in need of a big, quasi-No. 1 receiver; the Bears could probably use him, no? Maybe both receivers get an offer they can’t refuse and leave New York and Mark Sanchez, like so many 17-year-old girls before them.

    Wherever Holmes and Edwards land up, their value will have to be adjusted accordingly. 

    Or they both stay in New York and are, eh, alright No. 2 receivers for your fantasy team. 

3) Ahmad Bradshaw

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    Always a highly-productive player, Bradshaw last year finally got more than just a bit part in the New York Giants offense, and he responded with his best season as a pro. He probably will never be the bell-cow, 300-carry running back we’ve all come to know, but we also all know the times have changed.  Committees rule the day, with most teams relying on a rotation of running backs. But Bradshaw has now shown that he can be the 1A guy in a system and handle 250 carries or so while maintaining his explosiveness.

    At only 25 years old and only 529 career carries on his odometer, Bradshaw should command a somewhat hefty sum from someone, a sum that will force him to be a prominent part of the offense, and he should build on last season. 

2) Sidney Rice

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    Sidney Rice was injured for most of last season—and most of his career to be honest. When Rice did play last year, he had to deal with a hobbled, fading Brett Favre, an ineffective, inaccurate Tarvaris Jackson and a green Joe Webb. Rice was able to have one dominant game against the Bills (five catches, 105 yards, two touchdowns) that showed signs of the 2009 player who whichever team who signs him hopes to be acquiring.

    The tall, acrobatic Rice is a downfield terror with exceptional hands, a receiver any quarterback would want on the edge. With his 25th birthday a few months away, Rice hasn’t even entered the prime of his career.

    Depending on the situation he ultimately decides to go with, Rice could be a sleeper option for your No. 1 receiver slot. That is, if he finds himself in a good situation, say with Phillip Rivers or Sam Bradford, and if he stays healthy.  

1) DeAngelo Williams

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    DeAngelo Williams is coming off the worst season of his career in terms of production and health, posting career-lows in yards (361), attempts (87), and games played (six).

    But his 2008 season, when he had 1,515 yards on 5.5 yards per carry and 18 touchdowns, is hard to forget or ignore.

    Also, while last season was admittedly not good for Williams, he doesn’t have the normal wear-and-tear a five-year veteran might have thanks to Carolina’s balanced backfield; in his first four years in the league, he averaged only 188 carries per season while maintaining an average of 5.1 yards per carry.

    Williams still has an exceptional amount of talent, talent that any team would like to have. He could end up sharing the load in another Carolina-like situation, but Williams has proven that even when sharing the load he can be a No. 1 fantasy back.

    Get him behind a good offensive line, give him a crease and see what he can do.