NFL Fantasy Football 2011: Analyzing Thursday's Biggest Moves
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There were quite a few hefty names being thrown around on Thursday. Whether it was defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth going to the New England Patriots (strong emphasis on hefty), Kevin Kolb heading to Arizona or Greg Olsen getting shipped off to Carolina, there was more than enough noise to satisfy both NFL and fantasy football crazies.
But it's one thing to dissect each move from every angle as a fan of your favorite team. What does it all mean for the fantasy realm?
Let's take a look at Thursday's biggest moves and what kind of impact they might have in fantasy football in 2011:
1. Kevin Kolb to Arizona Cardinals
Let's get the big one out of the way. We waited all week, knowing full well that Kolb would be a Cardinal eventually. We just didn't know when it would all go down.
However, now he's their new golden boy, to the tune of over $20 million in guaranteed cash. While that absolutely doesn't mean he's a lock to get them to another Super Bowl (or even the playoffs), fantasy owners everywhere are still curious if it means he's going to be tearing it up, fantasy style.
My guess is yes. He's been fairly inconsistent through his sporadic seven NFL starts, but Kolb has still displayed an ability to put up impressive numbers, especially when he has elite weapons to work with. In Arizona, he'll be embraced as a potential savior, while having the luxury to work with an absolute beast of a wide receiver in Larry Fitzgerald. Early Doucet and Andre Roberts should round out a still solid wide receiver corps, despite the loss of Steve Breaston.
Kolb has the weapons to do the damage, and unlike in Philadelphia, he also has all the support he'll ever need. I won't vouch for him as an NFL quarterback just yet, but a fantasy contributor, he shall be.
2011 Prediction: 3,766 yards, 24 TD, 18 INT
While I'd love to keep the focus just on Kolb, there is one other huge name that makes this puzzle truly complete. I already mentioned him, but let's not forget for a second how big this move impacts Larry Fitzgerald. This is a guy who put up 90 receptions, 1,000-plus receiving yards, and six touchdowns with a carousel of inept quarterbacks in 2010. He should really bounce back in a big way this year.
2. Chad Ochocinco Teams up With Bill Belichick
Ochocinco and Bill Belichick have always been said to have great respect for each other, so this pairing really feels like a match made in heaven. More importantly, the move quiets all the blind Randy Moss chatter, and also gives Tom Brady the elite weapon he craves.
Yes, Ochocinco looks like he regressed a bit the past few years, but I get the feeling his slipping play had a lot more to do with being a Bengal and playing with an erratic Carson Palmer that his skills rapidly diminishing. He's not the terror of a burner he once was, but Ochocinco can still run, operate off of sound route-running, and he can still flat-out catch the football.
If Tom Brady can bring Deion Branch back from the dead, what do you think will happen when Ochocinco takes the field as a Patriot?
2011 Prediction: 83 rec, 1,224 yards, 9 TD
While everyone is surely getting excited about New England's prospects with the news of Ochocinco's signing, I think it's equally exciting that rookie stud A.J. Green will now certainly be thrust into a major role in Cincinnati.
Green should have no trouble putting up solid numbers as a rookie, while Jerome Simpson (who ended the year on a hot streak in 2010) could finally get a chance to make some noise. Slot man Jordan Shipley may actually end up being the most consistent fantasy performer of the three from week to week, but Green obviously holds the most potential.
3. Greg Olsen to Carolina Panthers
Olsen got the trade he wanted, as the speedy athletic tight end was wasting away in Mike Martz's "I hate tight ends" passing offense. Olsen has awesome size and athleticism for the position, and was simply being under utilized. Unfortunately, with either Cam Newton or Jimmy Clausen throwing him passes in 2011, even a huge increase in targets might not save him.
On top of playing with inept passers, Olsen will still have to shake off veteran Jeremy Shockey, while competing for targets with Steve Smith (should he stick around).
Despite all the negativity working against him, Olsen should be the starting tight end, and he should post better numbers than he has in the past two seasons in Chicago. Even if he's just a security blanket for a young passer, he should still hold some value at some point in the season.
2011 Prediction: 61 rec, 644 yards, 5 TD
4. Reggie Bush Starts Fresh in Miami
Bush gets to start over, taking his talents to South Beach (sorry, I had to) via a trade to the Miami Dolphins. While Bush isn't the prototypical running back and doesn't do much damage in between the tackles, he still is as explosive as ever and brings a ton of versatility to the table.
With only rookie Daniel Thomas as the big carry hog, Bush should factor somewhat into the running game, while reprising his dominant receiving role he formerly held in New Orleans. He won't be quite as effective there in Miami as he was with the Saints, but he'll still be utilized.
Miami continues to look for ways to spice up their offense and get less predictable. Landing Bush is one heck of a start.
2011 Prediction: 125 att, 422 yards, 4 TD, 55 rec, 479 yards, 4 TD
5. Vince Young Plays Backup
But in all seriousness, Young will sit for a year until/unless Vick breaks a leg, kills a dog or is just plain horrible. I don't really expect any of those things to happen, but if Vick does exit the game for any reason, Young holds considerable value due to Philly's offensive system and explosive weapons.
Follow me on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin
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