Every year, I do a fantasy football preview with Andy Behrens of Yahoo. We usually do this as a podcast, but my equipment crapped out this year and so you get a written preview instead. So let’s get right to it. As always, the goal of Behrens and me is to give you as much relevant information about each team as we possibly can going into your draft. And that’s badly needed this season because so many players changed hands in such a short period of time and I am fucking CLUELESS. I didn’t know who Daniel Thomas was until two days ago. I feel like the average Peter King reader. THESE NEW NAMES FRIGHTEN AND CONFUSE ME.
We’ll do this in two parts, with a breakdown of each team’s changes and how they might impact your draft strategy. The rest is in your hands. First up, the AFC:
Patriots: The team drafted two running backs to compete with BenJarvisMarcusJuanGomezPenis, and Stevan Ridley looks to be the one to steal much of those carries away. There’s also the matter of Danny Woodhead (FACKIN’ WOODHEAD!!!) also being used as a third-down back and out of the backfield. Once again, Bill Belichick is basically shitting into his hand forcing you to eat it with his running backs. Ocho is also on board now, and Behrens has him rated as a Top 16 wideout, which I found kind of nutty until I saw the list of wideouts this year. After the first dozen, it’s a clusterfuck. Welker is also still around for your best white friend to draft two rounds too high. Deion Branch is also around to steal catches. Tom Brady is a Top-5 fantasy QB and Uggs model.
Jets: Shonn Greene fucked a lot of people in the ass last year, but Behrens believes the Jets really want to make him a 250+ carry back this season, despite LaToeInjury still around to catch passes and run the occasional delay up the middle. Then you have new additions in Plaxico and Derrick Mason, with Plaxico causing Ian O’Connor to make big jizz stains in his Haggars with his TD catch in the last preseason game. Plaxico is moving up a lot of boards right now because of that, but Mason will surely get enough balls thrown his way to make himself annoying. Behrens doesn’t believe Nacho is much of a fantasy QB. I think he’d be an okay No. 2. With Plax and Holmes, you’re gonna see a lot of fades to the corner of the end zone. Overthrown, but still.
Bills: No more Lee Evans, which means Stevie Johnson is unquestionably the No. 1 guy. Behrens also notes that the Bills would very much like CJ Spiller to be the starting running back all season long (he’s atop the depth chart right now). I’m sure Fred Jackson will supplant him by Week 3. Ryan Fitzpatrick was a decent fantasy backup last season, throwing 23 TDs. He can be had for virtually nothing yet again if you need someone. The other wideouts besides Stevie Johnson are worthless.
Dolphins: BARF. Oh God. It’s like staring at a dead deer that’s been on the side of the road for a fucking week. Chad Henne blows. And since he blows, Brandon Marshall will blow, and then Brandon Marshall will hit someone with a brick. Brian Hartline is the No. 2 wideout. Daniel Thomas is the big rookie running back, but Behrens has noted that the Dolphins have gone to great lengths this preseason to get Reggie Bush the ball. So it’ll be a platoon backfield on a wretched team. Goody. I’d rather watch a dog die than draft a Miami player.
Steelers: Behrens believes Mike Wallace could easily be a top 5 wideout by the end of the year. The Steelers are an otherwise very predictable fantasy team. Hines Ward will get his usual 800 yards and half dozen scores. Rashard Mendenhall is a top-10 running back and horrible on Twitter. Big Ben remains a second-tier fantasy QB and first-tier grey-penised fingerrapist. There’s also Antonio Brown as a sleeper pick at wideout. Heath Miller is a token tight end for later rounds.
Ravens: Lee Evans is one of the most annoying fantasy players of all time (right up there with the likes of Willis McGahee, Brandon Jacobs, and countless others who have gouged out your eyes over the years), but his presence down the field should help open things up for Anquan Boldin underneath. Ricky Williams is also in Baltimore now, presumably to steal touchdowns from Ray Rice and make you punch your children. But Rice will also have Vontae Leach as his lead blocker this season, which could help him pad his numbers despite Williams looming as a potential vulture. Joe Flacco has terrifying eyebrows.
Browns: In his final five games last season, Peyton Hillis scored no touchdowns and only broke 100 yards once. So keep that in mind before you draft him and his leg snaps in week 2 because of the Madden Curse. I also have Hillis tagged number one in my First HGH Suspension Pool. Payout is fifty cents and a Loews’ Cinema gift card. The wideouts are dogshit, but the line is very good and the schedule is limp, so maybe Colt McCoy surprises you. Also, remember Frisman Jackson? He sucked.
Bengals: PUKE. As Behrens notes, they basically are wasting the first year of AJ Green’s career, along with the careers of TE Jermaine Gresham and WR Jerome Simpson (who had over 240 yards and 3TD’s in the final two games of last season). Cedric Benson will run 300 times for 1.4 yards a carry and score four touchdowns. This might be the worst offense in the NFL.
Colts: Kerry Collins was just signed to back up Peyton Manning, which is highly alarming. That puts Peyton in a state of drafting limbo, with Brady, Brees, Rivers, Vick, and Rodgers now clearly ahead of him. If his neck isn’t completely fucked, it could be by the middle of the season, which then makes every other Colt besides Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark practically worthless. Assuming Manning is okay, he’ll have Clark and Austin Collie back to work with (Collie’s concussion history makes him a bit dicey, no matter what he says). Joe Addai is supposedly fully healthy now, which is the kind of thing you hear right before a player reinjures something. And Donald Brown is still useless. No more Mike Hart in the backfield. Pierre Garcon’s value dropped after underperforming last season. You can get him around round 10, which ain’t bad.
Titans: Kenny Britt will find out this week if he’ll be suspended by the NFL for getting arrested this offseason. If Britt is out for the first four games or so, and Chris Johnson extends his holdout into the season (and he may as well, given how low his pay is), then Matt Hasselbeck could end up dead by Week 4. That means Jake Locker would take over and this team would be a walking corpse for the next 13 weeks. Oh, but Mike Munchak made everyone wear sport coats, so I’m sure that’ll help. Javon Ringer is the starter as long as Cop Speed holds out.
Texans: It’s a tossup between Arian Foster and Purple Jesus for the number one spot in your draft. I’m drafting No. 1 in my league tonight and I’m certain to fuck up the selection. Remember that Leach, Foster’s blocking back, is gone to Baltimore now. Not that it should stop you from drafting him, I just wanted to plant a seed of doubt there to be a dick. Ben Tate is Foster’s handcuff. Andre Johnson is the No. 1 wideout on most boards, which means someone will take him in round one and you’ll be like ZOMG! WR IN ROUND ONE! Matt Schaub is a second-tier starting fantasy QB as it stands right now. Owen Daniels is healthy and can be had for relatively cheap. The offensive line is very, very good. Gary Kubiak will still fuck it all up.
Jaguars: Like the Titans, this is another team that threatens to give way to a rookie QB if things aren’t going well during the season, compromising the rest of its fantasy roster and forcing you to scramble. Marcedes Lewis had an insane season last season, scoring ten touchdowns. That production goes down the second David Garrard is pulled for Blaine Gabbert. Behrens noted that tight end is loaded this year, so you can get someone like Lewis as late as the twelfth round (his average in Yahoo drafts). Not a bad bargain, unless you subscribe to the theory that he will suck now that he got paid.. MJD is still a top ten back but had knee surgery in the offseason. He has to be handcuffed to Rashad Jennings if you draft him. The wideouts are fucking terrible.
Chargers: Fucking Vincent Jackson. Misses nearly all of last season, then finally comes back only to immediately get himself hurt. And now he’s a top 10 wideout again? What an asshole. Anyway, don’t be surprised if he bones you again by getting hurt or being a turd. Ryan Mathews is still technically ahead of Mike Tolbert on the depth chart, but Tolbert will get a shitload of his carries and probably overtake him at some point. Darren Sproles is gone. Marmalard is a top fantasy QB, as always, and he’ll have Marcus McNeill protecting his backside for all 16 games barring injury. Antonio Gates is the No. 1 TE taken in average Yahoo drafts, despite occasional foot problems.
Chiefs: No Charlie Weis (he’s off to terrorize Gainesville wife with lesbian wife Cynthia Nixon), which means many expect Matt Cassel to decline this year after throwing 27 TD’s last season. Dwayne Bowe was a fucking terror in 2010, but scored only one touchdown in his final four games. Steve Breaston was brought in to play alongside Bowe, but he has knee issues. Rookie wideout Jonathan Baldwin is already out for Week 1 due to a thumb injury. And head coach and noted Camaro enthusiast Todd Haley has already vehemently defended underusing Jamaal Charles and will likely force him to split carries with Thomas Jones again. Because Todd Haley is a penis. So if you draft Charles, just keep that in mind. Sometimes, Charles will be in until the 15-yard line and then Jones will come in and you will say WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK HALEY?! YOU PENIS!
Broncos: With Kyle Orton firmly back as the starter, that means Brandon Lloyd could continue posting excellent numbers (especially given the Broncos’ schedule. which is quite soft). Eddie Royal and Eric Decker are the other receiving options. Both are waiver bait. The only concern for Lloyd would be John Fox coming in and dialing down the offense in favor of a prehistoric attack that makes Lloyd Carr’s old Michigan offense look like the Greatest Show on Turf. Willis McGahee is also here to vulture TDs and make babies with female fans. Knowshon Moreno eats hog.
Raiders: Al Saunders is the new offensive coordinator, which means you get to picture Darren McFadden piling up numbers akin to old Marshall Faulk and Priest Holmes seasons until those numbers fail to materialize and you get all pissy about it. A couple of things to keep in mind: The loss of CB Nnamdi Asomugha means the Raiders’ defense will be shittier and the offense could up end passing a lot when playing from behind. Also, Jason Campbell blows. Also, Zach Miller is now gone. Darius Heyward-Bey is still around to drop passes. Jacoby Ford had a couple of bright spots last year. He was valuable as a returner, but the new kickoff rules could blunt his impact.