Will Percy Harvin Regain His Top-10 WR Status?

By Joe Redemann (@JayArr_FF)

This article is part of TopTeamFantasy’s preseason team preview series. Leading up to the season, the football staff at TopTeamFantasy will help you get ready for fantasy football by answering tough questions about each team. Each article will delve into a specific topic in-depth and explore what its effects will be on your fantasy fortunes for 2014. All of them can be found on our Team Preview Series page, here.

I know it’s in poor taste to quote one’s self in anything, but I just can’t resist in this situation. I sent this tweet out a while back when OTA information started leaking, and New Orleans Saints rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks was being compared to a one Mr. William Percival Harvin III (also, that’s actually his name).

Now, this is not to say that when he came out of college, Percy Harvin of the Seattle Seahawks was not a highly touted, dynamic talent. In fact, his NFL Combine profile from 2009 highlights his gifts quite well: “Harvin’s speed and elusiveness in the open field makes him a special prospect, whether teams project him as a receiver or running back.” Harvin was such a gifted player that scouts couldn’t decide whether he’d fit best as a joker-type receiver or a lightning-style running back in the mold of Jamaal Charles. The Minnesota Vikings decided to select him as mainly the former, but throughout his career Harvin has been used as a general “playmaker”. Minnesota found ways to manufacture touches for Harvin in a way that not many teams will do for any one skill player: Harvin frequently split out as a receiver, but fielded punts and kicks as well, and was lethal on end-around jet sweeps and occasionally lined up in the backfield like his old days at Florida.

So, why do I mock Harvin, if he’s so supremely gifted? The last lines of his Combine scouting report explain the other half to his story: “Harvin’s durability will be an issue.” There it is, plain and simple. You can be as talented as you want, but if you can’t stay on the field, you won’t contribute in fantasy. This is why I believe Percy Harvin is a waste of space for your fantasy teams in 2014, and we’ll discuss both the pros and cons of selecting him below.

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Does Steven Jackson Still Have It?

By Sean Tenerelli (@Phinphan54)

This article is part of TopTeamFantasy’s preseason team preview series. Leading up to the season, the football staff at TopTeamFantasy will help you get ready for fantasy football by answering tough questions about each team. Each article will delve into a specific topic in-depth and explore what its effects will be on your fantasy fortunes for 2014. All of them can be found on our Team Preview Series page, here.

Often times we as fantasy players fall into the trap of “One More Season”. It’s easy to believe a historically dominant player has one more year left in the tank when we’ve become accustomed to such excellent production. That brings us to the most recent example of such a player, Steven Jackson. He has been a model for consistent production since his sophomore season, only missing the 1,000 yard rushing season once.  That season just happened to be 2013, when he missed 4 games, but largely was ineffective in the ones he suited up for due to a hamstring issue.

The simple fact is that in today’s NFL, workhorse RBs have a limited amount of tread on their tires.  On top of that, teams seem to be more likely to run them until the tires don’t just go bald, but blow out. Clinton Portis, Edgerrin James, Curtis Martin, and Brian Westbrook all seemed to fall apart right before our very eyes.  Unfortunately, many of us fell into the “One More Season” trap with all of these players, and held on for dear life until they were cut, or retired.

So is Steven Jackson’s repetitive 1,000 yard seasons lulling us to sleep at the wheel?  Let’s first take a look at last season:

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Is Zac Stacy a top 10 RB in 2014?

By Russell Shaffer (@RussellShaffer)

This article is part of TopTeamFantasy’s preseason team preview series. Leading up to the season, the football staff at TopTeamFantasy will help you get ready for fantasy football by answering tough questions about each team. Each article will delve into a specific topic in-depth and explore what its effects will be on your fantasy fortunes for 2014. All of them can be found on our Team Preview Series page, here.

I realize I’m a little older than a majority of my fantasy contemporaries, but as someone who came of age in the 90s I’m not ashamed to admit I loved Saved By The Bell. Whether it was Saturday mornings in original rotation or after school through constant reruns, I tried to catch the hijinks of the kids from Bayside High every chance I had.

Even if you never saw the show – and if you didn’t you should check it out on Netflix if you need some sophomoric laughs – I’m confident that the show is enough of a cultural landmark that you’ll at least get my references. The show centered on the exploits of Zach Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and his group of pals that exaggerated every high school stereotype to hilarious comedic extents. Zach was the charming slacker more interested in scheming his way through life than working for anything, and his Bayside buddies included Slater the jock, Jesse the bookworm, Kelly the cheerleader, Screech the geek and Lisa the fashionista.

The gang got into all sorts of shenanigans that always seemed to careen toward certain catastrophe every episode before somehow smoothly settling in for a happy ending before the bell rung. In more than one episode Zach displayed his musical prowess as the frontman for a pop rock band appropriately known as The Zach Attack.

And if we drop that pesky “h” in Zac we’ve got the perfect backdrop for our examination of one of this season’s most polarizing fantasy draftees.

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After Frank Gore, who’s the San Francisco RB to own?

By A.J. Weinberg (@Fantasy_AJ)

This article is part of TopTeamFantasy’s preseason team preview series. Leading up to the season, the football staff at TopTeamFantasy will help you get ready for fantasy football by answering tough questions about each team. Each article will delve into a specific topic in-depth and explore what its effects will be on your fantasy fortunes for 2014. All of them can be found on our Team Preview Series page, here.

It seems that for years people have been predicting Frank Gore’s end. Yet, he’s reached the 1,000-yard rushing plateau and played a full slate of games each of the past three seasons. In fact, Gore has posted 1000 yards rushing each season he’s played 14 games or more since 2006. Even including that 11 game 2010, Gore has posted at least 1200 total yards in every single season since 2006. It’s an incredible testament to Gore that he has been so productive for the better part of a decade.

If Gore stays healthy and productive, it’s unlikely Carlos Hyde, Marcus Lattimore, or Kendall Hunter will significantly cut into his playing time. Let’s say, though, that 2014 is the year of Gore’s long-prophesied downfall. In this scenario, either through a sharp downturn in performance or an injury, Gore misses a big chunk of the upcoming season. What happens with the 49ers’ ground game and more specifically, who is the running back you’ll want to have on your team? This is the question I’ll be tackling in this 49ers team preview.

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Does Andre Ellington Have What It Takes To Be A Bell Cow RB?

By Russell Shaffer (@RussellShaffer)

This article is part of TopTeamFantasy’s preseason team preview series. Leading up to the season, the football staff at TopTeamFantasy will help you get ready for fantasy football by answering tough questions about each team. Each article will delve into a specific topic in-depth and explore what its effects will be on your fantasy fortunes for 2014. All of them can be found on our Team Preview Series page, here.

The Arizona Cardinals were one of the more surprising teams last season, narrowly missing the playoffs despite a 10-6 record that featured several signature victories.

By all accounts the Cardinals at least tread water this offseason in terms of talent and might have even upgraded their roster in a few key areas. And they’ll need to have at least held serve if they want to compete in the fierce NFC West which has produced the NFC’s Super Bowl representative each of the last two seasons.

The San Francisco 49ers and defending champion Seattle Seahawks have established the blueprint for success within the division – a smothering defense and a ball control offense built on a strong running game.

Arizona has all the pieces to be one of the league’s premier defenses and they believe they have their answer to Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore in…

Andre Ellington?

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Can We Count on Mike Evans in his Rookie Season?

By A.J. Weinberg (@Fantasy_AJ)

This article is part of TopTeamFantasy’s preseason team preview series. Leading up to the season, the football staff at TopTeamFantasy will help you get ready for fantasy football by answering tough questions about each team. Each article will delve into a specific topic in-depth and explore what its effects will be on your fantasy fortunes for 2014. All of them can be found on our Team Preview Series page, here.

Mike Evans has almost everything you want in a potential stud wide receiver. He was super productive in college, impressed at the combine, and he’s huge. At 6’5”, 231 pounds, Evans has the look of a big and tall receiver that could wreak havoc on opposing secondaries. While most don’t doubt that Evans has tremendous potential moving forward, will he have significant fantasy value in 2014? That’s the question I’ll be addressing here, and I’ll start by looking at his situation in Tampa Bay.

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Can we Expect Any Consistency from the Saints?

By Tyler Dalton (@tylerd91)

This article is part of TopTeamFantasy’s preseason team preview series. Leading up to the season, the football staff at TopTeamFantasy will help you get ready for fantasy football by answering tough questions about each team. Each article will delve into a specific topic in-depth and explore what its effects will be on your fantasy fortunes for 2014. All of them can be found on our Team Preview Series page, here.

Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and it shows in his stats. Three straight years of 5100+ yards and 39+ TDs is extremely impressive. But part of what makes him so special is his willingness to spread the ball around to keep the defense on its toes. Now, we all know about Jimmy Graham. He’s a fantasy stud who’s the focus of the Saints passing attack. However, will anyone else besides Jimmy Graham be a valuable enough target week to week? That’s one of the major questions being asked as we’re getting closer and closer to fantasy drafts and it’s also one of the more difficult to answer. Remember, we’re looking for consistency here. Not the flashy rookie or the boom or bust deep threat, who can you put in the line up every week and not sweat bullets over his number of targets? Let’s start by taking a look at the depth chart.

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Field of Streams: Week 18 Weekday Streamers

By Will Emerson (@WillieMoe)

Welcome back to streaming made easy otherwise known as Field of Streams. Let us get this out of the way, right away, the recommended streamers started the week off a bit rough, with two of Monday’s recommendations allowing 11 hits and, as it should be, not garnering wins. But the proverbial ship was soon righted, as evidenced by the overall numbers. The nine weekday streamers went 4-3, with a 3.58 ERA, a 1.27 WHIP (not too shabby considering there were 22 hits allowed over the first two streams of the week, though) and a nice 9.06 K/9. Now, I am a big fan of K/9 and while I don’t have my official numbers handy (read: I am too lazy to look this up) I think, unofficially, this was the best K/9 week of the season for my streamers. Alright now, settle down, now, I know you are chomping at the bit for next week’s streamers, but you know the drill, standard operating procedure says we look at last weeks Ups, Downs and What Have Yous.

 

UPS
Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays – 7 IP, H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, W
Jacob deGrom, Mets – 7 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 7 K, W

DOWNS
Ryan Vogelsong, Giants – 3 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 3 K, L
Jon Niese, Mets – 6 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 6 K, L

WHAT HAVE YOUS
Shane Greene, Yankees – 5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, BB, 5 K, L
Travis Wood, Cubs – 5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, BB, 5 K, ND

Okay, did that wet your appetite? Good, let’s dig in, then!

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Is Cam Newton’s slide in ADP warranted?

By Dennis Esser (@coachesser)

Cam Newton’s average draft position slide has more to do with other quarterbacks in the league than it does with his outlook as a fantasy football producer in 2014. The slide also has to do with the fantasy football playing world realizing that The NFL is filled with solid fantasy quarterbacks. There are at least 15 quarterbacks that I consider QB1 material for 2014. The difference between QB4 through QB15 is so minuscule that it makes overpaying for any of them during your fantasy draft comical.

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Who Will Emerge from the Packers’ Pass-Catchers?

By Joe Redemann (@JayArr_FF)

This article is part of TopTeamFantasy’s preseason team preview series. Leading up to the season, the football staff at TopTeamFantasy will help you get ready for fantasy football by answering tough questions about each team. Each article will delve into a specific topic in-depth and explore what its effects will be on your fantasy fortunes for 2014. All of them can be found on our Team Preview Series page, here.

Do you remember that really cheesy car commercial with the cartoon guy named “Mr. Opportunity”? He’d sing the praises of the new line of Hondas, then tap on the inside of your TV screen, and say, “I’m Mr. Opportunity, and I’m knocking.”

That was 2008. In 2014, however, Mr. Opportunity is Aaron Rodgers, only he’s pitching a brand-new line of fantasy opportunity in Titletown, USA.

The Green Bay Packers of 2014 will look mostly the same as the 2013 model, but there are a few major features that will have changed. Most notable, the smooth-running steadier of this offensive dynamo, wide receiver James Jones, has been swapped out in free agency. So too was the tragically burnt-out spark plug, tight end Jermichael Finley, leaving two gaping holes in this mechanism to fill. The 2014 Packers should still handle nicely, and the horsepower will be at maximum capacity if head coach Mike McCarthy has his way. Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson return as the 1-2 options in this offensive engine, but who will step up to fire the open cylinders? Let’s look under the hood and see…

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