10 NFL Offenses Built for Fantasy Football Success

Joe PetruloCorrespondent IIIAugust 12, 2011

10 NFL Offenses Built for Fantasy Football Success

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    Some teams in the NFL, like the Baltimore Ravens, focus on the defense as the primary way to win games, but others, like the Houston Texans, simply want to outscore the opponent.

    Obviously, head coaches know that defense, in some cases, wins championships, but the league is tilting toward the importance of a potent offense.

    There are a number of teams that consistently establish the run.

    Others like to air it out.

    Whichever way they do it, the most efficient offenses provide opportunities for skill players to become great fantasy football players.

    Let's take a look at 10 offenses that are built for fantasy football success.

10. Detroit Lions

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    When healthy, the Detroit Lions are going to shock the NFL as one of the best offenses in the league.

    Matthew Stafford was great in 2010. The problem was that he only managed to play in three games.

    In fact, he has only played in 13 games over his first two seasons in the NFL.

    Still, expectations are high for him and the entire offense this year.

    Calvin Johnson will look to thrive with his fresh quarterback after posting a solid fantasy season despite catching balls from a number of quarterbacks.

    Despite the quarterback shuffle in 2010, the Lions threw the ball 633 times, good for third-most in the NFL.

    This team's passing attack, which also benefits starting tailback Jahvid Best, is set to blow up in 2011 and help fantasy owners who are bold enough to select their high-risk players.

9. Kansas City Chiefs

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    The Kansas City Chiefs came out of nowhere in 2010 with the two-headed monster in Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones to establish the most potent rushing attack in the NFL.

    They ran the ball more than anyone in the league last year with 556 attempts.

    This helped them lead the league in rushing by more than 1,000 yards with 2,627 rushing yards in 2010.

    Kansas City has lost a staple in their strong offensive line in guard Brian Waters.

    Luckily, they have a solid replacement in second-year man Jon Asamoah.

    The running game should not miss a beat this year, although more production may come from Charles than the elder Jones.

    As for the passing game, it can be hot and cold.

    When the running game is going well, Matt Cassel can look like an elite quarterback, as he showed last year at times.

    Dwayne Bowe is the same way. He has all the potential in the world, evidenced by his 15 touchdowns last year, but he is inconsistent week-to-week.

    Nonetheless, the best running game in football is nothing to shake your head at when analyzing the best fantasy offenses in the NFL. 

8. Houston Texans

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    The Houston Texans' offense always seems to get high praise in the preseason, only to confuse us with inconsistent play during the season.

    Still, they have some of the best weapons in the league, and they may be the strongest across the board at the skill positions going into 2011.

    At quarterback, Matt Schaub will look to be more reliable on a weekly basis while maintaining his health. He will continue to be a top-10 option.

    At running back, Arian Foster grew into one of the biggest threats in the entire league last season. He might not do what he did last year, but taking one step back will still leave him in the top 10.

    At tight end, Owen Daniels has been great when healthy, but he has struggled to remain on the field. He returns healthy this season and should have a great bounce-back year.

    At wide receiver, Andre Johnson has proven to be the most skilled player at his position. His problem has also been health, but Johnson has also proven he is still a good option when nicked up.

    So, the only reason the Texans aren't higher on this list:  injuries.

    That doesn't mean you shouldn't take the risk on this potent offense in your fantasy draft.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers have the perfect combination of a strong running game and dynamic passing game, which makes Ben Roethlisberger's crew one of the most appealing in fantasy football.

    Rashard Mendenhall will head the running game once again in Pittsburgh this year.

    His offensive line is terrible, but he still managed to fight through the blown plays for a 3.9 yards per carry average.

    The Steelers ran the ball 471 times in 2011, eighth most in the league, with Mendenhall taking 324 of those carries.

    Clearly, no matter what the offensive line looks like, Pittsburgh will always try to establish the run, which is beneficial for Mendenhall owners.

    This running game opens up the field for Roethlisberger to make plays.

    Last year, only five teams threw fewer times than the Steelers. This could have been partially due to the suspension of Roethlisberger.

    Still, Pittsburgh managed to be the 14th-ranked passing attack in the league.

    That's pretty impressive efficiency. 

    The key may be the new deep threat, Mike Wallace, who has turned into a top-12 fantasy option at wide receiver.

    In 2011, the Steelers will once again establish the run, then attack defenses through the air.

    They truly are built for fantasy success in both aspects of offense.

6. Dallas Cowboys

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    2010 was a terrible year for the Dallas Cowboys franchise, yet they still had a number of players, like Miles Austin, Jason Witten and even Jon Kitna, who were relevant in fantasy football.

    This year, Tony Romo returns and the Cowboys' offense is going to explode under offensive coordinator turned head coach Jason Garrett.

    No, they will not find success only because of a coaching change.

    The maturation of Romo as a leader, the emergence of Felix Jones as a true No. 1 back, and the growth of Dez Bryant, added to the experience of Austin and Witten, makes this offense look very scary.

    Last year, even with Kitna at the helm for most of the year, the Cowboys managed the sixth-best passing game in the league.

    Now, with Romo back, look for them to rise into the top five.

    This could mean a breakout season for Bryant and less pressure on Jones in his first year as a full-time starting running back.

    Dallas may jump into the top three of this list by season's end. 

5. New Orleans Saints

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    Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have been one of the scariest offenses to prepare for since Sean Payton took over the reins as head coach.

    They do not have all that many big threats in the receiving corps.

    Marques Colston is a solid possession receiver. Lance Moore is decent at best, but he has a flair for the dramatic. Robert Meachem has yet to live up to expectations.

    The running game is nothing special.

    They have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Deuce McAllister, but drafted Alabama's Mark Ingram in the 2011 NFL Draft.

    So, where does the threat come from?

    The sidelines.

    Payton is one of the best at giving defenses all kinds of looks and running the most unique and effective sets in the league.

    He will be at it again in 2011, giving the passing game extreme fantasy value once again.

4. Indianapolis Colts

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    Peyton Manning has been the constant for the Indianapolis Colts that has given the offense a boost since the turn of the century.

    He is fighting an injury to make sure he makes it on the field in time to remain that constant.

    Nonetheless, when he does start in Week 1, as we all know he will, he will have a plethora of options to throw to.

    He will drop back and look out at the always-consistent Reggie Wayne, the speedy Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and his stellar hands, and the reliable (and now healthy) Dallas Clark.

    They are not short on receivers, but the running game has some work to do.

    If the Colts can get the old Joe Addai back in 2011, this offense will boast fantasy value from top to bottom.

    Odds are that he will surprise some but fail to return to top form.

    Still, the Colts have Manning and the passing game to carry the load for the team and fantasy owners alike.

3. Green Bay Packers

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    The Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers will flaunt unreal talent on the field once again in 2011.

    We all know what Aaron Rodgers can do.

    He has the passing talent of those considered the best in the game, yet he throws in a couple hundred rushing yards each year for extra measure.

    As for Green Bay's receivers, they may have the deepest group in the NFL.

    Jordy Nelson could probably start on a number of teams in this league, but he will play the fourth-receiver role behind Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and James Jones in 2011.

    They will be the only team with four wide receivers drafted in most fantasy leagues, while some teams do not have any.

    That does not count the fact that tight end Jermichael Finley is basically a wide receiver in a tight end's body.

    Then, there is the inconsistent running game.

    Ryan Grant will return and battle with playoff upstart James Starks for carries.

    Both will likely get somewhat even workloads to start the season.

    This may make the running game a bit less attractive from a fantasy perspective, but the nature of the passing game makes this offense one of the go-to teams to consider in fantasy football.

2. San Diego Chargers

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    Just as Phillip Rivers has been vastly underrated as a fantasy player, the San Diego Chargers have been overlooked as one of the most prominent offenses in football.

    Last year, despite throwing to receivers like Buster Davis, Seyi Ajirotutu and Patrick Crayton for much of the season, Rivers managed to make his offense the second-best passing attack in 2010.

    This year, Antonio Gates will be healthy after missing six games in 2010, and Vincent Jackson will be, well, back on the team after a five-game season.

    The running game, which finished in the middle of the league statistically behind a rookie and true fullback playing tailback, will again be led by the over-hyped Ryan Mathews.

    Hopefully, he can live up to the hype this year and avoid the vulture that is Mike Tolbert.

    If Mathews turns into the clear feature back in San Diego, this offense, with one of the most consistently dangerous passing threats, will be one of the most fantasy-friendly groups in the NFL. 

1. Philadelphia Eagles

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    The Philadelphia Eagles appear to have only improved after thriving behind the re-emergence of Michael Vick in 2010.

    Sometimes, it just doesn't seem fair.

    Added to a core of Vick, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, and Jeremy Maclin this offseason includes Vince Young, Ronnie Brown, and newly signed receiver Steve Smith.

    Now, Young and Brown will not play huge roles, but Smith, who has shown elite potential, could turn out to be a great option for Vick when he gets healthy.

    McCoy was the Jamaal Charles that no one talked about in fantasy football, except the owners who won their league behind McCoy and jawed their buddies' ears off about it.

    Nonetheless, this offense is stacked and should provide the greatest number of high-level fantasy players in 2011.

    It doesn't hurt to have one of the best athletes in the league playing quarterback.

    The versatility of Vick makes the roots to the Eagles' tree that will help them become the team most suited for fantasy football success in 2011.