Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Paper Pigskin Point Potential AFC West

This is a series on my 2013 outlook of players you would want to have on your Paper Pigskin team (fantasy football).  I'll be organizing them by division.  What you'll find here are my views based on years of playing experience and countless hours of geeking out researching stats, trends, and articles.  I'll advise where to reach and whose hype not to believe.

Kansas City Chiefs  170 passing ypg  150 rushing ypg  (posted August 27, 2013)

QB:  New head coach Andy Reid is planning to to turn around the culture of losing in Kansas City and he's going to start with his quarterback.  Reid runs a pass heavy system that is the polar opposite from the team that Alex Smith was traded from.  Alex Smith could be one of the biggest sleepers at any position this season.  As the 49ers quarterback, his role was to hand the ball off and make sure he doesn't turn it over.  As a Chiefs quarterback, he will be passing it often.  Smith completed 70% of his passes in 10 games last season before being demoted.  Rest assured, Smith will be doing much more than managing games under Reid.  Smith has been one of the last QBs drafted, it doesn't make sense considering who is calling the plays for him.

RB:  Jamaal Charles is a blur once he gets into the open field.  Running backs under Andy Reid are a critical part of the passing game, a part of Charles' skill set that has been greatly under utilized.  Much prognostications reveal comparisons to LeSean McCoy and past Paper Pigskin monster Brian Westbrook, indeed high standards to be held to, but Charles is much more explosive than those two.  It's not absurd to think JC Superstar will have 80 receptions on top of his 1,500 yards rushing from last season.  Charles is an excellent candidate to finish at the top of this position in PPR leagues.

WR:  Dwayne Bowe is the main man around these parts. He can be downright dominant when focused, but too many times have mental lapses that result in lackluster performances.  Bowe can completely change the perception of him now that he's playing with the best quarterback of his career.  Reid will find ways to get him open underneath to then terrorize secondaries after the catch. He can very well reach WR1 status if he gets to double digit touchdowns, its a good possibility it will happen being as there aren't many other options outside.  Donnie Avery is the deep threat starting opposite Bowe, he'll be used occasionally to stretch the defense but doesn't have much more than a WR3 ceiling.

TE:  Anthony Fasano was signed to be a blocker but due to the top two pass catching tight ends on this team being injured, he inherits the middle of the field by default.  The combination of Smith's conservative mentality and Reid's play calling present a chance for production here.  Don't draft but keep an eye on him.

Defense:  Three guys on this defense were Pro Bowlers last season, not including one who was an alternate.  There's talent on this side of the ball.  The D-line is the weakness, therefore they can be ran on.

Denver Broncos  283 passing ypg  115 rushing ypg  (posted August 21, 2013)

QB:  Peyton Manning began the 2012 season with many doubters who were unsure if he can even be an average quarterback due to neck surgery that cost him the entire 2011 season.  Those concerns proved to be unfounded as Manning had one of his best years.  His passing numbers from last season ranked among his 14 played as follows: yardage-2nd, touchdowns-2nd, and completion percentage-1st.  With a few new toys to play with, and defense expected to take a step back, Manning might throw more often.  He's as consistent as it comes, he should be among the first six off the board at his position.

RB:  There are three ball carriers vying to be the man in Denver's backfield.  Coach John Fox is having a difficult time choosing a clear winner because they all have flaws.  Ronnie Hillman is the most explosive of the trio and is on top of the depth chart but has problems with ball security.  Montee Ball has issues with pass protection, the organization spent a 2nd round pick on him and wants him to win the job because of his combination of speed and power.  Knowshon Moreno runs well, catches well, and is a good pass protector, but has been plagued with injuries throughout his career; he showed his worth at the end of last season, he is the most trust-worthy of the three.  Ball is the favored choice in drafts, going in the 4th or 5th.  Hillman is all over the place, anywhere from 5th round to 11th.  Moreno is hardly being selected, there's a legitimate chance that he can take over the job at some point this season.  If you notice your roster lacks running back depth, outsmart the competition and use one of your last picks on Moreno. Whoever wins this job will be a low-end RB2.

WR:  This is the finest set of receivers in the realm of Paper Pigskin.  Last season both Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker finished with over 1,000 yards and double digit touchdowns.  Now the Broncos have added Wes Welker to the mix to cause even more havoc in the secondary.  Those concerned that Welker will take away targets from the other two can relax. Denver was notorious for "11" formation, using it on 64% of their plays last season; Brandon Stokley and Jacob Tamme lined up in the slot most of the time.  Welker is very successful lining up in the slot and Manning is most efficient, throwing to that position.  Thomas' size, skill, and athleticism combined with the guy throwing to him makes him a top WR1.  Decker is a preferred red zone target and a solid WR2.  Welker will get plenty of balls thrown to him underneath, he might not catch 100 again but might lead the team in receptions which will make him a WR1 candidate in PPR leagues.  If anyone can make all of these pieces fit, it's Peyton Manning; he once had three wide receivers go for 1,000 yards and 10 TDs each.

TE:  Jacob Tamme was the top receiving tight end on this team last year, Joel Dreessen sees more snaps due to his blocking.  However, since both are nursing injuries, Julius Thomas has stepped in and added an element that neither of possess; he's larger, more athletic, and can make more plays from the position.  Thomas has value as a TE2.

Defense:  One of the best units in Paper Pigskin and real life last season.  They'll be missing some pieces but should finish in top 10.

San Diego Chargers  206 passing ypg  91 rushing ypg  (posted August 15, 2013)

QB:  Phillip Rivers appeared to be a terrible quarterback last season.  Excuses?  Lame duck coach, lost star receiver, injured receivers, no running game to support, horrible offensive line.  All of that and was still able to complete 64% of passes.  What's changed?  Not much at all, the biggest positive is that the new coaching staff implemented a short passing game to protect Rivers from getting lambasted and to protect him from completing deep passes to the other team.  Rivers isn't a bad quarterback but he's in a bad situation, draft and only use as a spot play because he feasts on awful passing defenses.

RB:  Ryan Mathews can be a stud when given the opportunity; has a great build and is a good receiver. Unfortunately, he seems to be brittle; often leaving games or game time decision.  Chargers brought in Danny Woodhead specifically to catch passes on top of changing the pace, which lowers Mathews' worth.  Paper Pigskin prognosticators all seem to be down on Mathews which might be a plus for you this season.  Take RM in the late 4th/early 5th.  If you're in a PPR league, don't let Woodhead get past the 10th round.

WR:  This really boils down to how much of a gamble you want to take.  Malcom Floyd (leading wr from last year) has been a deep play threat in his career but can't stay healthy.  Vincent Brown is an excellent route runner, most pundits are expecting a breakout but he too can't stay healthy.  Both of these players are going between the 10th & 11th, with Brown the preferred choice.  Should any of these guys get hurt (likely with their history), look out for Mike Willie.

TE:  Antonio Gates has always and will continue to be a trusted target for Phillip Rivers.  He's leaner than ever before in hopes of being more durable for 16 games.  A lot of people are flocking to the newest flavor of tight ends. Last season was his worst as a starter; don't anticipate a repeat performance.

Defense:  Solid against the run, and forces turnovers.  This unit is the strong point of this team.

Oakland Raiders  255 passing ypg  89 rushing ypg  (updated September 2, 2013)

QB:   Matt Flynn had an apprenticeship under arguably the NFL's best quarterback for four seasons.  In his last regular season start he threw for 480 yards and 6 touchdowns.  He was highly coveted last summer, signed by Seattle, then got beat out by Russell Wilson.  Nobody knows what he can do throughout an entire season but his capability has been displayed.  We might never know what Flynn can do throughout a full season since he has been edged out by Terrelle Pryor for the starting.  Pryor is very raw as a passer, but can make defenses pay with his running skills.  There's always potential for points to be had from a running quarterback especially in garbage time.

RB:  Darren McFadden, if healthy, can be a top five Paper Pigskin ball carrier.  However, Run DMC hasn't been able to walk this way for a full season since he's been in the league.  He can be had in the 3rd round of drafts and pay off big dividends because this team will have to lean heavily on his talents, but select at your own risk.  Marcel Reese has tremendous value late in PPR leagues.

WR:  Denarius Moore and Rod Streater are their names, both have had big games. Jacoby Ford has teased in the past also.

TE:   Richard Gordan and David Ausberry are completely unproven

Defense:  You'll want to find them on the schedule and play all your guys until proven otherwise.

Kicker:  Sadly, he's been the organization's most consistent and exciting player for over a decade.

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