The Native Americans To Start Low Ceiling Hightower June 28, 2012  |  Chet


The news out of Washington D.C. regarding the Native American’s starting running back is depressing. It looks like Timmy Hightower, the owner of a torn ACL and 3.8 yards per carry, will get to wield his inferior ability over Roy Helu, if he’s fit enough to play. Hrm? How about you just choose which player is better and go with that one? Novel idea, I know.

My only hope is that this drives the price down on Helu, because Helu is by far the better player and will win out eventually.

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Last season many, including myself, were high on rookie Lance Kendricks. In retrospect I must have been high when making that assessment. He was God-awful. And that’s putting it mildly.  Every Rams game I watched I’d say he averaged 24.7 dropped passes. And that’s a fact!  But this is a new season, which is an actual fact and I’m the forgive and sorda forget type.

New offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer likes himself some tight ends (dirty bird) and currently has nine on the roster. What? Nine? Ok, so he likes them a lot. And the official Rams site reports that Kendricks will be used “prominently” in Schotty’s offense. If he can take a step forward this year, he’s in line for 100+ targets as the main guy in St. Louis.

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After a huge rookie season, expectations are all over the place for Cam Newton this year. It does seem inevitable that he won’t repeat 14 rushing touchdowns. But the news has been good this off-season. First, he genuinely believes he can improve and after watching tape, was disappointed in the reads he made. Ron Jaworski, who I do respect, also had good things to say about his passing ability and pocket presence.

When it’s all said and done, Newton will most likely need to up his passing game to reach his elite fantasy numbers of last season. I believe he has the ability to do just that, but it will only happen if he does what he says and fixes the pocket mistakes he made last season and LaFell, Olsen, and Gettis take steps forward.

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Our fantasy darling Percy Harvin seems to be over his disgruntled worker status and says he’ll report to training camp without any overt pouting. That’s good news, because as you can tell we are thinking of changing the name of the site to The Percy Harvin Power Hour. But then realized that may shrink our demographics quite a bit.

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All signs are positive for Hakeem Nicks to be ready for training camp. And with Kevin Gilbride still at the offensive helm there are no big system changes that Nicks will need to get up to speed on. If he can stay healthy, his ceiling is higher than Victor Cruz’s and the Giants are about as pass happy as any NFL team, finishing 6th overall in attempts last season.

The expectations for Nicks are high already, so you won’t be getting any steals on draft day and I’ll be grabbing running backs early, but there’s no reason to sleep on Nicks this season (it would be uncomfortable).

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The Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin is getting praise for his blitz pickups in mini-camp. And really, that’s what any fake football player wants to hear because if a rookie can do that, he can stay on the field. Add that to his better receiving skills and open-field running than LeGarrette Blount and you have a recipe for mucho fake points.

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If you are in a PPR league it looks like you’ll have to keep a close eye on Joe McKnight. He has yet to show much, but he’s the likely replacement for LaDainian Tomlinson and the backup to Shonn Greene, who isn’t all that great.

In fake football we have to look at opportunity and who is in the way of that opportunity, almost as much as ability.  McKnight is set up in a decent spot already for PPR relevance and could work his way into more playing time if Greene can’t get his business together.

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My sleeper pick is always going to be the Lions running back Kevin Smith until he retires and maybe even after. Of course he is always hurt, so it makes it hard for him to score points, but we saw what he could do while “healthy” last season when he had 535 yards and seven touchdowns on just 94 touches. Extrapolate that out and you have forty-seven bajillion fantasy points!

Will he play 16 games and get 20 touches a game? The answer to that is absolutely and unequivocably, no.  But Jahvid Best is his main competition for PPR goodness and his brain has been shaken and not stirred a few too many times. Smith says that his lack of rehabbing a major injury has allowed him to actually work on getting more muscle while actually slimming down. And reports from mini-camp are also glowing of where he is this off-season.

It seems like he’s about 33, but he’s still only 25! He’s as risky as a player gets, but he can be had in the thirteenth round or later and he’s on a team that moves the ball extremely well. Grab him for the hell of it!

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