Cupid’s arrow has struck many of our writers here at DLF and the results are in! This is the time of year where we all re-evaluate our love for certain players we have or may be targeting via trade. For this group, we each have a player we love a little more than most other dynasty owners or our own writers here at DLF. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we present to you some players some of us seem to be smitten with on this very special day.
Alfred Morris, RB WAS
It was a close call for me between Morris and Danario Alexander of the Chargers. Part of me wanted to share some love for a player who has overcome so much in terms of knee troubles, but I’ll go with Morris.
The amazing thing about Morris is simply the lack of respect he gets because of the Head Coach he plays for. Yes, we’ll have been burned by Mike Shanahan, but Morris is being nearly ignored by a vast majority of dynasty owners and I believe it’s a huge mistake. Some say he’s the product of his system and while some of that may be true, he also gained 1,000 yards after contact last season. He was also one of only two backs who averaged 100 yards rushing per game last year, with the other being Adrian Peterson.
If you want a statistic that will truly show you just how amazing his season was, try this – over the past four seasons, only Chris Johnson (2,006 in 2009) Arian Foster (1,616 in 2010), and Adrian Peterson (2,097 in 2012) have put up more rushing yards in a single season than Morris did last year with his total of 1,613. That’s right – three players in four years have outpaced Morris and he was only a rookie.
You can say Shanahan could bench him in a heartbeat, but even Shanny doesn’t turn his back on elite production like this.
Fred Davis, TE WAS
I know he was horribly overlooked in the Redskins’ offense last year and tore his Achilles tendon, but I’ve still got love for the former breakout candidate. Non-talent Logan Paulsen actually managed to be the TE40 in just 11 weeks of starting (including taking over for Davis, who was injured early in week seven). The Redskins passing game made significant strides as the season went on and a healthy Garcon should help open up the field for Davis. In addition, Davis has progressed as a blocker, which should help him stay on the field. Of course, this presupposes he returns to Washington and returns to health, but I’m happy to make a leap of faith at a low cost. Who says you can’t be pragmatic on Valentine’s Day?
Russell Wilson, QB SEA
Wilson just kept getting better. As a rookie, during the fantasy playoffs, he trailed only fellow vertically impaired QB Drew Brees in fantasy points. Though it’s secondary in his game, Wilson can run well and still put up points against tough secondaries.
Already highly respected by his teammates and Head Coach, the #11 QB in fantasy points in 2012 should have even more opportunity to air it out in 2013. With Seattle expected to target playmakers on offense and a year of experience under his belt, I would draft Wilson as a QB1 in dynasty leagues.
Joseph Morgan, WR NO
I love Joseph Morgan. His 40 YPC makes me sweat and his opportunity is coming. With Devery Henderson on his way out, the number three wide receiver position is his to lose. Sure, he’s going to be the fourth option at best on most plays. Yes, he might only catch 40 balls, but I don’t care. Sean Payton is back and I know he too got the sweats when watching Morgan fly past secondaries with ease while sippin’ beers from his couch. Payton knows how to get the most out of his players and Morgan possesses elite speed. Robert Meachem and Henderson made livings feasting on the long ball from Drew Brees. I think Morgan getting to 40 catches, 800 yards (20.0 YPC) and 4-5 touchdowns is very much attainable. I’ve been trading for him in my dynasty leagues with ease…probably because I’m the idiot who loves him. Happy Valentine’s Day, Joey!
Ray Rice, RB BAL
I am, or at least I was, a fan of The Office. I’d tune in every week to see what kind of hijinks Dwight, Jim, and Michael were up to. It was a Thursday night staple. However, as we know, Steve Carell left the show in 2011, and unfortunately the trio of Will Ferrell, James Spader and Ed Helms couldn’t replace him. The show has become worse every week, leaving only one legitimate option – keep watching it!
You see, I’m a loyal guy and like to finish the things I start. So I’ll continue to watch this terrible show, despite the fact that it’s thirty minutes of my life I’ll never get back. So it should come as no surprise that I feel the same way about Ray Rice. Rice has been a fantasy staple each year he’s started, and he was actually my first ever dynasty draft pick back in 2010. Unfortunately, seemingly every year he’s played, he’s given up a number of touches to lesser talents such as Willis McGahee and Ricky Williams. On average, these players would siphon upwards of 110 carries a year from Rice.
This year though, something changed. Rice still lost a number of carries to his backup, but this time it was to a young talent in rookie Bernard Pierce. Pierce received 108 carries this year, but 78 of them came in the second half of the season, which equates to nearly ten per game. Now, these numbers were skewed by Rice’s week 17 absence, but Pierce also received 39 carries in four postseason games. Pierce is not a lesser talent, and he’s not going away. Much like The Office though, I will not quit Ray Rice. He’s undoubtedly at the peak of his trade value, but I don’t care. Even as his game declines, be it due to age, usage, or that darned Bernard Pierce, he will remain on my dynasty roster. What can I say, I just love the guy!
Chris Givens, WR STL
Every young quarterback needs to have “go to” guys both down the field and over the middle. Entering the 2012 NFL draft, it was a priority for the Rams to get some receiving talent around Sam Bradford so he could continue to develop and take that next step sometime in the near future. With the first pick in round two, the Rams selected Brian Quick. He was billed as a very raw talent, but someone who could turn into the lead receiver on an NFL team. Then two rounds later, they drafted Givens. I don’t know if the Rams planned on taking two receivers in this draft or if they just couldn’t pass on him. Aside from being five inches shorter, Givens is physically better than Quick. He is faster, stronger, quicker, catches the ball better and runs better routes. I think Givens is, was, and will be the better of the two players.
To most people, Givens is a slightly undersized deep threat in the mold of a Mike Wallace. While he isn’t quite as fast as Wallace, he is more well rounded. If you take a look back at week 12 when the Rams defeated the eventual NFC champion 49ers, Givens took over more of a possession receiver role in place of the injured Danny Amendola and shocked everyone with how well he did. He was targeted a whopping 14 times in that game, coming away with 11 catches for 93 yards while he worked as a chain mover. What do you call someone who can be both the target monster on a team as well as the deep threat? I call him the lead receiver. Give him another off-season to refine his craft and another year to build some more chemistry with Bradford and I think you could be talking about a fantasy starter.
Kendall Wright, WR TEN
After being drafted in the first round out of Baylor last year, I really thought Wright had a good shot at being Offensive Rookie of the Year. Playing in a Tennessee offense with Chris Johnson, Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, Jared Cook, and strong armed Jake Locker, I thought Wright would see single coverage and make defenses pay. Ironically, I thought his value would be less in PPR leagues, but that was not the case. He finished his rookie year with 64 catches for 626 yards and four touchdowns. Still, I just can’t stop loving him!
Randall Cobb, WR GB
When I think of Valentine’s Day, I, of course, immediately think of the many NFL players and teams I love. Players who have led me to fantasy titles, players who were acquired in finely crafted trades, players I tabbed as breakout candidates that came through and made me feel great about myself. But, there is one player that stands above all others – Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb.
The initial reason is a simple one and one many of you could understand – Cobb played college football for my home state team, the University of Kentucky. If you follow college football at all, you know that Wildcat football does not have nearly the winning tradition that the basketball team is known for. Wins in the Southeastern Conference are few and far between and skill position players advancing and succeeding in the NFL is even more of a rarity. With only two years under his belt in the NFL, Cobb is proving to be one of these rare commodities. After somewhat of a quiet rookie season, Cobb exploded in his second year while starting wide receivers Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson dealt with injuries. Not only did he catch eighty passes for over 950 yards and eight scores, but he was a valuable asset in the return game for the special teams squad. Cobb even set the Packers team record for all purpose yardage in a single season. At only 22 years old, Cobb is a great player for any dynasty owner to love.
Da’Rick Rogers, WR TENN TECH
I’ve got a prospect crush on Da’Rick Rodgers, WR Tenn Tech. This guy will plummet in the NFL draft and probably rookie drafts as well, but he is a legit second round NFL caliber talent. He has the prototypical NFL WR build. Combine his size and leaping ability and he’s a corner fade nightmare for DBs. Off field issues were significant enough to get him booted off of UT. If you are at the end of the first, top of the second and are a gambler Rodgers could be a jackpot.
CJ Spiller, RB BUF
When Spiller was carted off the field in week three, I thought my world was over. I had waited patiently for over two years and he finally got his opportunity to shine with Fred Jackson suffering a knee injury in week one. He was the NFL’s leading rusher at that point and had put up two consecutive monster performances. Thankfully, it was just an A.C. joint sprain in his left shoulder; he didn’t miss significant playing time and ended up leading fantasy squads all over the globe to the promised land.
If there were any doubts about Spiller heading into the 2012 season, there won’t be heading into 2013. Spiller carried a robust 6.0 yards per carry average this season while racking up 1,244 rushing yards on only 207 carries. To say my mouth waters at the possibility of at least 75 to 100 additional rushing attempts next season would be an understatement.
A threat to take the ball to the house on any given play, Spiller is one of the most electric players in the NFL today. I currently hold Spiller in three out of five leagues I play in and it would take an act of god to pry him from my hands. I put the same type of value (if not more) on Spiller as I would Trent Richardson, Doug Martin, LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice or Arian Foster. I could see Spiller being the number one overall running back next season in PPR leagues, making him a guaranteed first round selection in startup dynasty leagues. The sky is the limit for a player like him.
Robert Griffin III, QB WAS
While it doesn’t defy ALL reason, it does defy most reason.
My fellow coaches know me all too well. As players come out of college, there’s always excitement about the potential of landing a rookie who will change the entire complexion of your roster. That running back who will ultimately anchor your team for years. The young receiver with other-worldly skills that becomes the next Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss to strike fear in the hearts of your opponents every Sunday. Or in my case, the uber-athletic, strong-armed and mobile quarterback. My first experience with this style of quarterback was Daunte Culpepper. It didn’t hurt that during his rise to the fantasy elite, if even for only a few short years, he was tossing the ball to one of my other early round selections, the aforementioned Randy Moss. In the years that followed, the fantasy game for me WAS Daunte Culpepper. I remember the hit that spelled the end to his career, even if it would be years after it occurred. I also remember the near-tears event I experienced when as a Raider, he returned to Miami, a team that unceremoniously ushered him out of town, and rushed for three touchdowns while displaying the A-Ok sign while pointing to his knee. I really haven’t been the same since he left the league. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve followed his second career as a Sacramento Mountain Lion.
Enter Robert Griffin III.
I knew very early on that I had to find a way to land RGIII. When I see him, I see Culpepper. Whether the comparison is fair or not, it doesn’t matter to me. I had to have him. In the end, I traded away Matt Ryan and A.J. Green to land Tom Brady and a relatively early first round selection that would become RGIII. To my dismay, he was drafted onto not only the team that I dislike the most in the NFL (Washington), but also the coach that I can’t stand. A Redskin and coached by Shanny?!?!!? Have I lost all reason? How much worse could it be? The final act played out shortly after Christmas as I pulled down my existing Fathead of Vince Young (that worked well) and affixed the Shanahan coached Washington Redskin to my wall. I never thought there’d come a day when I’d have a Redskin on my wall. The knee injury that ended RGIII’s season was emotionally devastating to me as there’s a chance that the dynamic that makes him who he is as a player could change. But I’m hoping for the best.
Not sure if I believe in bad omens or not, but this past week I entered my man-cave to find my beloved RGIII Fathead crumpled on the floor. He was helplessly stuck to himself in a way that only Fathead owners can understand. But I was determined that surgical restoration, with the help of my daughter, would be successful. Under the bright lights of our surgical (kitchen) table, we set to the task. Carefully, limb by limb, we began isolating and unsticking each fused piece – it took a surprising amount of force. We reached the head, which had almost completely folded back. As I pulled to separate the last section, taking even more effort than the previous pieces, it surprisingly released much more easily than I anticipated , ultimately sending me flying backwards. All would have been fine if I hadn’t found myself still holding RGIII’s separated head in my hands. Much like the father in the Christmas Story movie, I mustered all the dignity I could manage, collected the shattered pieces of my “major award” and marched them out to the trash can.
I’m not going to dwell on this. There’s no time. I have too much research to do on West Virigina’s Geno Smith.
So, which player do you love a little more than most other dynasty owners?