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Our Featured Pros Reveal their Sleepers and Busts

by dave
Aug 21, 2010

Our site is all about making it easy to get good fantasy advice from the best experts. One way we hope to do this is by featuring some of the top fantasy pros and their exclusive advice. In this first edition, we’re really fortunate to have 3 talented experts share their insights with us:

Andy Behrens Yahoo

Andy Behrens Yahoo!

Michael Blunda - Pro Football Weekly

Michael Blunda PFW

Kevin Roberts - NFL Soup

Kevin Roberts NFLSoup

Andy Behrens – Yahoo! Sports. Yes, the newly crowned winner of our 2009 Overall Accuracy Award! Sorry Andy, there’s no prize money. But congrats again!
Michael Blunda – Pro Football Weekly.
As an Associate Editor, Michael heads up the fantasy football coverage at PFW and was previously with Rotowire.com.
Kevin Roberts – NFL Soup.
In addition to his NFL Soup blog, Kevin is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a social media professional at Fantazzle.

We asked each Pro to give us one major bust, one RB sleeper, and one WR sleeper. We made sure they were picking from the same pool of players by being explicit with our requirements. Check out the Q & A. Some of their picks might surprise you…

Question #1: Biggest Bust

Based on our ADP, the following guys are first rounders in a 12 team draft. Which ONE guy will most likely be the biggest bust this year and why?
Chris Johnson
Adrian Peterson
Maurice Jones-Drew
Ray Rice
Andre Johnson
Frank Gore
Michael Turner
Randy Moss
Steven Jackson
Aaron Rodgers
Reggie Wayne
Drew Brees

Andy Behrens – Yahoo! Sports

Answer:  Steven Jackson
This one isn’t even close. There are at least 10 players I’d take ahead of Jackson at his ADP. In fact, if I had the No. 1 overall pick and Jackson was still available at the turn in Round 2, I’m not sure I’d take him there. He’s a terrific player in real-life, but as a fantasy asset, the team context in St. Louis torpedoes his fantasy value. The Rams scored just 16 offensive touchdowns last season, they’ll have a rookie at quarterback in 2010, and they again have a sketchy offensive line. Jackson ranked No. 12 at his position in per-game fantasy scoring last year, in a heroic season. If he can duplicate that in his present surroundings, it would be terrific — but it wouldn’t justify a first round pick.

Michael Blunda – Pro Football Weekly

Answer: Steven Jackson
I don’t foresee any potential first-rounders as being major busts, but if I had to pick one, it’d be Steven Jackson. For being only 27 years old, the guy has a ton of mileage on him, already at 1,829 scrimmage touches for his career. And that’s despite missing nine games over the past three seasons, which is another issue I have with him – he can’t stay healthy. Even if Jackson is able to hold up for all 16 contests, he’ll be running behind a weak offensive line and will be facing opponents who are geared up to stop the run each and every time out. Throw in the fact that he had just four TDs in 2009, and it’s simply not a rosy outlook for this talented but overvalued player.

Kevin Roberts – NFL Soup

Answer: Chris Johnson
If we’re going by superstitions, it has to be Drew Brees, as he’s on the 2011 Madden cover, and we all know the history with that. But if we’re being as realistic as we possibly can be in regards to fantasy football, then Chris Johnson, the top pick this year, has the potential to be the biggest bust. Obviously he’d be the “biggest” because he’s widely regarded as the top pick, although his potential bust label would have nothing to do with his abilities. If he can stay healthy, I fully expect him to put up insane yardage and remain involved in the Titans passing game. However, it might be unrealistic to both expect production like we saw in 2009, as well as to expect this small guy to stay healthy for 16 games. He had the ball in his hands 408 times last year, and if Tennessee plans on putting him through that again, there’s a decent chance he could breakdown early. Throw in the loss of the reliable Lendale White and no prove back-up behind him, and it looks like CJ will in fact be staring at another 350+ touch season. That’s either a fantasy owner’s dream, or his worst nightmare.

Question #2: RB Sleeper

These 12 RBs are being drafted as RB3’s (ranked between #25 and #36 among RBs). Which ONE has the best chance of putting up top 12 RB numbers and why?
Justin Forsett
Brandon Jacobs
Marion Barber
Reggie Bush
Ricky Williams
Jerome Harrison
Ahmad Bradshaw
C.J. Spiller
Michael Bush
Cadillac Williams
Clinton Portis
Arian Foster

Andy Behrens – Yahoo! Sports

Answer:  Michael Bush
There’s a path for all of those guys to the top-12, with the possible exception of Cadillac. Foster is an obvious choice here, but I’ll veer toward Bush, because Arian has received plenty of hype already. Bush has a clear path to a heavy workload, given the persistent injury issues of Darren McFadden. His offense should improves significantly, too, following the addition of Jason Campbell. (Don’t get me wrong: Campbell is a league-average QB. But that makes him several orders of magnitude better than JaMarcus). Bush has earned some trust, averaging 4.6 yards per carry in a wretched offense over the past two seasons. Even if McFadden has a healthy season, Bush is plainly the better option at the goal line.

Michael Blunda – Pro Football Weekly

Answer: Michael Bush
It would not shock me a bit if Michael Bush finishes among the top 12 fantasy backs. I have been touting him all summer as someone to target in drafts, and I feel even more confident about it now that Darren McFadden has been injured throughout training camp. Whenever Bush has been given an opportunity, he¹s performed ‹ in the two games he had at least 14 carries last season, he ran for 119 yards and 133 yards, respectively. Rushing for 4.6 yards per carry in his two pro seasons, Bush should finally see a consistent workload this year for a Raiders team that loves to pound the ball. I wouldn¹t mind reaching for him in any of my drafts.

Kevin Roberts – NFL Soup

Answer: Clinton Portis
Just about all of these guys are either in time shares, coming off injury, are a rookie, or should be completely off fantasy owner’s radars. Should an injury put the ball in their hands the majority of the time, roughly 75% of these backs would sky-rocket to RB1 status. I can’t predict the future, though, so I have to go with the guy that holds the most value right now and also stands to gain the most ground in fantasy football, should his touches/looks suddenly increase. Believe it or not, that guys has to be Clinton Portis of the Redskins. Is he the best back on this list? No, and he’s even coming off of a poor season that was riddled with injuries, and he also has both Larry Johnson and Willie Parker (and possibly even Ryan Torain) to worry about. However, he’s currently the lead back in Washington, and is the only guy on this list that is the bonafide “starter” on his team, with no real competition for taking a huge chunk of his carries. The tread on his tires and damage to his knees/ankles will scare a lot of people away, but Portis could find himself to a surprisingly elite season in 2010. Portis is being reunited with former Denver heach coach Mike Shanahan, where he had his two best seasons as a pro, and has also reportedly improved his conditioning and attitude. With Donovan McNabb brought on to give the Redskins a balanced attack, Portis could very possibly be a RB1 this year.

Question #3: WR Sleeper

These 12 WRs are being drafted as WR3’s (ranked between #25 and #36 among WRs). Which ONE has the best chance of being a top 12 WR for the season and why?
Donald Driver
Santana Moss
Jeremy Maclin
Malcom Floyd
Dez Bryant
Terrell Owens
Mike Wallace
T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Devin Aromashodu
Johnny Knox
Robert Meachem
Santonio Holmes

Andy Behrens – Yahoo! Sports

Answer: Devin Aromashodu or Johny Knox
Either of the Bears — You will not force me to pick just one! While I don’t think that Chicago’s personnel fits perfectly with Mike Martz’s system, I also can’t ignore the fact that this offense has delivered huge yardage totals with lesser players. Jon Kitna delivered a pair of 4,000-yard seasons with Martz as his coordinator; Mike Furrey had a 98-catch year in 2006. Any of Chicago’s top three receivers, Hester included, has a clear chance at 1,100 yards and eight scores. If Cutler stays healthy, the Bears’ receiving corps may give us three ownable wideouts.

Michael Blunda – Pro Football Weekly

Answer: Malcom Floyd
There are a few guys on this list I think could contend for No. 1 WR status, but the one I’ll take is Malcom Floyd. With all signs pointing to Vincent Jackson sitting out most or all of the season, Floyd is going to be Philip Rivers’ top target out wide in San Diego, a very enviable spot to say the least. At 6-foot-5 with speed to burn, the 28-year-old is a big-play machine, as evidenced by his 17.2 yards per catch over the past two seasons. Assuming his TD total increases with much more playing time (he had only one in ’09), Floyd could finish with eye-popping numbers and outplay his draft position by miles.

Kevin Roberts – NFL Soup

Answer: Terrell Owens
I’m really close to picking Santonio Holmes here, but a suspension, second-year quarterback, and run-first offense have me passing him by (although I’ll take him late, thank you). My pick here is Terrell Owens. A lot of people will gripe over that, but what we saw out of him in Buffalo is not the real Terrell Owens. Carson Palmer may have lost some zip on his ball, but he’s still light years above the likes of Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Brian Brohm. Those were the guys throwing passes to (or around) T.O. last season, and Owens still put up over 800 yards and five touchdowns. Owens’ arrival in Cincy makes him the new number one (Ochocinco didn’t call him Batman for nothing), and with Ochocinco and the shifty rookie Jordan Shipley manning the slot (in reports), Owens will have enough attention off of him to do some serious damage. T.O. might be almost 37 years old, but few players keep themselves in the type of shape Owens is, and he still has the size and explosiveness to be a serious player in fantasy football, if only for another season or two.

To see the bios of our featured pros, access their recent posts, and/or rate their advice, please visit their profile pages:
Andy Behrens – Yahoo! Sports
Michael Blunda – Pro Football Weekly
Kevin Roberts – NFL Soup

Andy, Michael, and Kevin – Thanks for taking the time to share your insights with our audience!

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