It’s always hard to look ahead without seeing how the draft and free agency shake out in the NFL. It will be eve
n more difficult this year because of the labor stoppage and even a few rule changes. We are going to keep trying anyway though right?
It looks as if next season may finally get us back to the good old days when running backs dominated the fantasy football game. A lot of running backs emerged this year and joined the elite category that was so thin in many previous years. I have also never been a fan of wide receivers in round 1, but there are two can’t miss WRs for 2011 in Roddy White and Andre Johnson, so that has changed my mind a little. Let’s take a first at a potential first round draft for 2011…
1. Adrian Peterson – RB – Minnesota Vikings – He is a flat out fantasy stud. He has finished in the top 3 in fantasy points every year he has been in the league. That is the kind of sure thing pick you want to make in the number one spot. Many owners regretted selecting Chris Johnson over him fo
r much of the 2010 season. He will be even more valuable with the Vikings likely taking a more run heavy approach in 2011 after Brett Favre’s (likely) retirement this offseason.
2. Arian Foster – RB – Houston Texans – Foster showed week in and week out that he was the most valuable player in fantasy football last season. He started it off with a bang with 200+ rushing yards and 3 TDs against the Colts and never looked back. He led the league lead in yards from scrimmage and we all know how fantasy owners value a versatile back making his 66 receptions an undervalued stat and gave him one of the best fantasy seasons ever. Houston’s entire offensive coaching staff has been tabbed to return in 2011 and the presence of Gary Kubiak and his zone blocking scheme should lock Foster into the top 3 picks in almost every draft.
3. Jamaal Charles – RB – Kansas City Chiefs – Master Chief (Yes that is a Halo reference) is a
head of Chris Johnson simply because the majority of his offensive support players will be back. He may be forced to split carries with Thomas Jones this season, but still was in the top-5 most productive fantasy backs in the league while most days Jones’ failed to even get out of the gate. Jones will be another year older next season and likely yielding more opportunities for Charles, but also allowing the Chiefs to keep him fresh. Charles likely has the most upside of any running back in fantasy football heading into 2011.
4. Chris Johnson – RB – Tennessee Titans – Likely the most talented back in the NFL, Jo
hnson had a slightly disappointing year in 2010. He was very close to his floor it would seem, with no real threat of the passing game, offensive injuries and poor play-calling. We have seen close to his ceiling as well though and that makes him one of the most dangerous players in fantasy football. If you can get him with the 4th pick in 2011, you will not be complaining. He is losing his quarterback and his head coach, but here is to hoping the Titans can build a more explosive offense around him this offseason.
5. Michael Vick – QB – Philadelphia Eagles – The consensus is that you have to stack running backs and receivers at the top of fantasy football drafts because quarterbacks can’t be as valuable compared to other players at their position. We may have finally found the exception however.
Vick has the rushing ability to simply outscore every quarterback week in and week out. His one major concern is his health, but playing in Andy Reid’s pass-heavy system in Philly allows him to put up explosive numbers in the air as well as on the ground and should keep him off the injured list as much as possible. Vick scored almost 30 points per week this season with second place signal caller Aaron Rogers at only 25 points per week. There is no other position where the leader outpaced the field by this much. Vick is a surefire first round pick and almost assuredly the first QB taken. You may want to pair him with Kevin Kobb if he is still in Philly for injury insurance though. (Continue…)