Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that our next Presidential election will be held on Tuesday, November 6th. In the spirit of this upcoming event, DLF presents Dynasty Decisions 2012. In this five-part series, several of our writers will analyze pertinent fantasy questions, and “campaign” for their various answers.
In part four of this series, we want to know, “Which player do you most want on your dynasty team?” Read on to see which players have been “nominated!” If you’re swayed by a particular argument, vote in the corresponding poll on the home page. If you’d like to nominate your own choice, tell us who and why in the comments section.
Let’s see what our writers and you have to say!
Aaron Rodgers, QB GB
Not many players have 50-point upside, and this high ceiling makes Aaron Rodgers a rare commodity. From weeks four through seven, 30 points was his lowest scoring week. Additionally, the 50-point week came against the strong defense of the Houston Texans. What’s most impressive is that he’s performing at this level with a weak offensive line, without his top receiver, and with an ineffective run game that has even been called out by Mike McCarthy.
This, of course, isn’t new territory for Rodgers. Injuries (such as Chad Clifton) and ineffectiveness (think Jermichael Finley) have plagued Green Bay on the offensive side of the ball during his tenure. He was the top overall pick in many drafts the past couple seasons, speaking to how consistent he has been despite the adversity. Though he’s an exciting and dynamic player, RGIII has only seven professional games of experience and lacks the track record to give me confidence in his ability to overcome the same types of issues.
Looking to the rest of this season, Rodgers owners should expect some big numbers. From weeks 11-16, or the last three weeks of the regular season and the three weeks of playoffs for most leagues, Green Bay has five games against weak secondaries (Giants, Vikings, Titans, and Lions twice). At 4-3 and in a suddenly strong division, we can expect the Packers to be fighting right to the end.
AJ Green, WR CIN
I’ll fully admit I missed the bus on AJ Green. Not only did I miss the bus, I was holding a sign in the picket line at the station as the bus pulled away. Then I bought a ticket on a different bus (can’t recall if it was the Greg Jennings Express or the Jeremy Maclin Shuttle) that ended up breaking down halfway towards its destination. Now I want to be on Green’s party bus so badly I’d eat a live crow just to be there. I bet there’s music and a wet bar, maybe even soft baby seal leather seats. I bet it’s some sort of yacht-charter bus hybrid that can travel the world. I dream of being on that bus. Le sigh…
Green is just one of those receivers who seemingly has the ability to produce no matter who is throwing him the ball or what the opposing defense does to try to stop him. Granted, we haven’t seen what the Bengals offense would look like without quarterback Andy Dalton, but with his ability to catch the deep fade, the short screen pass and everything in between, I’m really not worried about it at all. He’s the next Calvin Johnson and there’s not a doubt in my mind anymore. All that’s missing is a sweet nickname.
Calvin Johnson, WR DET
If I could have any player on my dynasty roster, it would be none other than Calvin Johnson. He possesses the measurables, skills and intangibles suited to be the cornerstone for any dynasty team. First, Johnson is a physical freak. His measurables are daunting, to say the least, and he creates matchup nightmares for opposing defenses each and every week purely because of his size and capabilities. It’s virtually impossible for any defense to take him out of a game. He’s game-planned against and doubled every week, but he always finds a way to contribute to his team and produce for his fantasy owners.
The intangibles Johnson offers are just as desirable. He has a great work ethic, no off-the-field issues and is humble as well. He is the epitome of letting his play do the talking – and his play says a lot. Last year he finished with 1,681 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns on 96 receptions. That was good enough to be the number one receiver in fantasy football, regardless of the format. It was not a close contest.
There has been some talk about him not producing for fantasy owners this year, but before we get too carried away, let’s take a look at some statistics. In six games this season, Johnson has 38 receptions for 592 yards – that ranks him as ninth in receptions and seventh in receiving yards in the league this year. That’s pretty good for a “slow start” and considering he’s played in fewer games than virtually all of those ranked above him. The only statistic that leaves anything to be desired this year is touchdowns, which is primarily due to Stafford’s struggles in the red zone this year. Stafford, however, has already proven himself and I trust he will take care of business. This should not hurt Johnson’s value as he remains a top weekly touchdown threat. Last year he did score 16 of them!
In a passing league in which top wide receivers are vital for success, Johnson is the unquestioned number one. He is just entering the prime of his career and has years of producing top numbers in his future. This young stud presents a weekly matchup nightmare in real-life and fantasy alike. If I have the first pick in a startup league today, I’m taking Calvin Johnson with zero reservations.
Ray Rice, RB BAL
In any given election, there are always a variety of things to contemplate. For me, when it’s time to walk into that booth and pull those levers, I know that I’m considering two things in particular: a candidate’s consistency and his/her risk minimization. So it should come as no surprise that the player I want most on my dynasty team is Baltimore’s Ray Rice.
Not only does Rice represent one of the charter members of the NFL’s diminishing “Fraternity of Feature Backs,” he does so in a diverse manner. In 2012, his per-game averages so far include 75 rushing yards at 4.9 yards per carry, in addition to four receptions and 35 receiving yards. Did I mention that he also functions as the Ravens’ goal line back, scoring five rushing touchdowns thus far?
While this speaks to Rice’s versatility, it’s his consistency that truly sets him apart. In six of seven games this year, Rice has accumulated at least 93 total yards, only failing to do so when the Ravens fell behind big to Houston in week seven. This is the type of steadiness you just don’t see enough of with other players.
Speaking to risk-minimization, there’s little to no likelihood that Rice’s stat-line will torpedo your team in any given week. He’s also proven to be incredibly durable, playing in every game since 2009. At only 25 years of age, and with a properly managed 19 touches per week, you can expect these trends to continue.
Sure, it’s easy to get sucked into mud-slinging campaign commercials and pretty speeches. When it comes down to it, however, you should be voting for a guy who has a proven track record of delivering. You should want Ray Rice on your dynasty team.
Percy Harvin, WR MIN
As I’m sure we have all heard countless times before, fantasy football is all about minimizing risk and putting your team in the best position to win each week. While big play threats are nice, the goal is to fill your team with consistent performers that you can rely on to put a decent amount of points every week. No player personifies this trait more than Percy Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings.
Harvin plays such a key role in the Vikings offense that it is hard for him not to score fantasy points. Not only is he the featured wide receiver on his team who also gets a couple of rush attempts per game, but he is also an elite kickoff return man. There are so many potential scoring opportunities for Harvin that you would be crazy not to want him on your team.
In addition to the benefits of Harvin’s bountiful opportunities, he has the added bonus of having Adrian Peterson on his team. The reason why this is such a good thing for Harvin is that he will almost never be the main focus of an opposing defense. With teams so honed in on Peterson, even more opportunities will present themselves for Harvin.
Finally, I want Harvin on my dynasty due to his youth. The Minnesota wide receiver has been tremendously successful throughout his short career, and he is still only 24 years old. Barring a trade or free agency movement, he also has years left to play alongside Peterson and an improving Christian Ponder, which can only help his cause. All things considered, Harvin should be a fantasy force to reckon with for years to come.
So, who would you most want to have on your team?
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