Alright, so with my first official football related post, I think I will give some fantasy football advice for your draft. Maybe this helps you in the off chance that you haven't drafted yet, or maybe you are in one of my leagues and you're wondering why I made the moves that I did. You can disagree with my choices all you want. However, just know that I was in 4 fantasy football leagues last year (3 NFL and 1 NCAA), and I won the championship in all 4 leagues. I've been the commissioner of a league for 11 years running. So lets just assume that I know what I'm talking about.
Here is a list of some players to keep your eye on. I will try not to go with obvious choices like Chris Johnson at RB, but will instead go on who may surprise some people this year.
Joe Flacco - Was decent last year (3613 yds, 21 tds), but will be much improved I believe this year with the addition of Anquan Boldin in the offseason, as well as the recent acquisition of TJ Houshmandzadeh (championship).
Donavan McNabb - If he can stay healthy, I think he'll have a great year this year. Washington has a lot of untapped talent that was relatively unproductive in years past because of the lack of a top-tier quarterback. Donavan is a proven winner and will bring a lot to his new team. Look for Santana Moss to also have a solid year.
Kevin Kolb - While I'm still not convinced of this pick, I do like him because he reminds me a lot of Matt Schaub. Kolb doesn't have the monster that is Andre Johnson to throw to, but he does have a pretty good array of weapons at his disposal in DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek (who was an awesome sleeper TE for me last year), and LeSean McCoy (though the jury is still out on McCoy). I could see him being a solid QB this year that would be available in the later rounds of your draft.
QB to stay away from: Carson Palmer
While it may be tempting to pick up Carson Palmer because of the off season acquisition of TO, I do not believe he is someone who can be a #1 QB for your team. If you are desperate, he may be an option, but I am just not convinced that Carson is an elite quarterback. Who knows though, maybe he disproves me this year.
Arian Foster - I almost regret putting his name here, because he isn't much of a sleeper anymore. Everyone knows about him, it is time you did too. Earlier on in training camp, he was in a battle for the starting RB spot in Houston with rookie Ben Tate. But since Tate is out for the year, it looks like Foster is the guy. He should have a pretty productive year, especially since it looks like Houston has lost pretty much all faith in Steve Slaton, who can't seem to hold on to the ball.
Jerome Harrison - I drafted Harrison in 2 of my 3 NFL fantasy teams this year. The last three weeks of the season last year, he ran 106 times for 561 yds and 5 tds. In the era of the RB by committee approach, a workhorse is something you always want to keep your eyes out for. An average of 35 carries a game over the final 3 weeks of the season is certainly a workhorse-like statistic. Another reason to draft Harrison: Montario Hardesty, Harrison's main competition for carries this year recently got put on IR with a season ending injury.
Felix Jones - I think Felix is now the guy in Dallas. I've heard rumors of him putting on about 15 lbs in the off-season, making him much more of an every down back. Look for him to take the majority of the carries, while Marion Barber sits on the sidelines.
Clinton Portis - He seems to be forgotten after a few years spent on the sidelines with injury, but he could be in line for a bounce back year under Mike Shanahan, who coaches him for two years in Denver. In those two years, Portis ran for 1508 yds with 15 tds and 1591 with 14 tds. Keep an eye out for him, because he will likely be available for a pretty reasonable draft pick.
Stay Away From: Buffalo Running Backs
While it may be tempting to take the electric CJ Spiller, I'd stay away from him unless it is a super late round pick. That backfield is way too crowded for my liking, with Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson also deserving of some carries. Now, Buffalo could very well make Spiller the go-to-guy this year, but I just don't think they will.
Anquan Boldin - He's on a new team, with an emerging young QB in Joe Flacco. He is now the #1 receiver, and should thrive as he comes out of the shadow of Larry Fitzgerald. I like him this year.
Miles Austin - Miles was an awesome sleeper pick for me last year, as I got him in the final round in all of my leagues. He didn't pan out until Week 5, but he was one of the guys that helped me be so successful last year. I don't know if people forgot how good he was last year or what, but I am consistently seeing people like Calvin Johnson and Roddy White being drafted ahead of him. He didn't start until Week 5 of last year and still put up numbers comparable to the top receivers being taken. Yahoo has him ranked as the number 7 receiver on their list, I rank him 3rd (behind Andre Johnson and Randy Moss).
Wes Welker - His Yahoo! ranking is super low. I think some people may be concerned as he is coming of a knee injury, but he looks to be fully healed coming into this season. Yahoo! ranks him as the #24 receiver, which is pretty absurd considering he 123 catches for 1348 yds last season.
Malcom Floyd - With Vincent Jackson on the outs in San Diego, Floyd becomes the new #1. He should have solid numbers.
Mike Wallace - With Santana Moss off to the Jets, Wallace becomes new new #2 and a very good deep threat for the Steelers. Although Ben Roethlisberger will be out for the first four weeks of the season because of suspension, I think Wallace will be able to put up pretty good numbers this year, especially once Big Ben comes back.
Stay Away From: Larry Fitzgerald
There will be a temptation to draft him in the 2nd round, but I urge you to fight that desire. While I am slightly more confident in Derek Anderson than I was in Matt Leinart, I don't see Fitz being a top 3 receiver this year. Heck, I'm not even sure I see him as a top 10 WR talent this year. Try and stay away from him if you can.
Brent Celek - I had him as a sleeper last year, and I'm gonna have him as a sleeper this year. He had an awesome year last year and should put up good numbers again this year.
Jermichael Finley - He's been awesome in the preseason and looks to be a solid target for Aaron Rodgers this year. He's someone I could see growing into the #1 TE spot in all of the NFL. Keep your eye out for him!
I'm not going to get into the Kickers or Defenses. Draft whoever you want for those spots. I typically went with Adam Vinatieri (because he was available late) and the Indianapolis Defense (because I think they'll be crazy good this year, and they're usually available in the later rounds). Hopefully this helps, let me know what you think.