1. Broncos WR Eric Decker. Decker is considered a bit like Julio Jones, Torrey Smith, Jordy Nelson, and Larry Fitzgerald in that he is a complete receiver. What he may lack in explosiveness vs. those others, he’ll make up for in being in a Peyton Manning offense. Manning has worked this whole off-season to get on the same page with Decker and Thomas, and they – along with Manning – started moving up draft boards as Week 1 got closer. When looking for top WR’s, I try to find a guy who – like Fitzgerald and possible Andre Johnson this year with the emergence of Lestar Jean – has other good passing options so he isn’t always seeing the best corner or double coverage, but with none so good that he ends up splitting targets four ways. The Broncos have four players who’ve either had 551 yards, 6 TDs or both in a season, but Stokley is the only one who’s caught 1000 yards and it was in 2004). Available in FA? Unlikely, but you may be able to trade someone a bigger “name” for him, like Mario Manningham, Brandon Lloyd, Tony Gonzalez or Anquan Boldin all of whom I don’t expect will get as many targets as Decker will.
2. Seahawks D/ST. Pete Carroll’s had great success at defense at both the collegiate and pro level, and you gotta love the addition of Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite Bruce Irvin. This defense is still young, and they aren’t facing the most accomplished QB’s in the NFC West. Available in FA? Usually.
3. Rams WR Danny Amendola. Sam Bradford has some good receiving options out of the backfield (Isaiah Pead; Steven Jackson caught 88 passes from Bradford the last two seasons), and it appears their big red zone option will be Brandon Gibson, but Amendola works the slot and the short area with proficient route-running and great wiggle. They are going to use short passes to Amendola like they would runs. The Rams begin with a pretty susceptible Lions secondary that might be missing their finest player (FS Louis Delmas). They also have the pass defenses ranked 30th (Vikings) 26th (Bills), 29th (Buccaneers in week 16), and 20th (Patriots) on the schedule, making Amendola a valuable fantasy receiver and Bradford a potentially good back-up QB in fantasy. The Dolphins are also a questionable secondary after trading away Vontae Davis. Available in FA? Possibly.
4. Lions WR Titus Young. The Lions were #1 in pass attempts last season. The ways to bring that number down are to develop a run game to close out games when you have the lead, and improve a pass defense so you don’t have to keep scoring or catch up to the team you are playing. I don’t think the Lions did enough in either case. Titus Young is an explosive player that will benefit from a full off-season and from the constant double-teaming and triple-teaming Calving Johnson receives. The drop-off from the #1 NFC North corners – who’ll mostly be on Johnson – to the #2’s is giant. Available in FA? Doubtful.
5. Seahawks TE Zach Miller. Running quarterbacks and rookie quarterbacks often target tight ends. Miller was injured and used as a blocker a lot last year, but will definitely get a lot of targets. Available in FA? Most likely.
Hit “Like” or the Facebook share button if you are one of those fantasy players who maximizes her or his bench.
More recent posts:
Former 49ers and Colts QB Nate Davis Wins Lone Star League Championship
All The Super Bowl Predictions
Ben Roethlisberger Plans to Miss Game If Wife Is In Childbirth
Giants Work Out Brian Hoyer, Former Cowboys Stephen McGee and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah