Tonight, instead of harking and obsessing over players I wouldn’t touch even if they were trying to hand me the fountain of youth, I want to present a few players I feel will outperform their preseason rankings/have a breakout season/tear it up.
In the wise words of former Vice President Dan Quayle, “If we do not succeed, we run the risk of failure.” These players have the potential for fantasy greatness but they must first step out of the shadows of their haunted/underachieving pasts.
1. Jay Cutler – QB – Bears
First up is my favorite pouting emo QB. This is a young man with all the tools, a strong arm, good vision, pocket presence and instincts. He looked like a perennial All-Pro during his tenure with the Denver Broncos. Things haven’t gone so well with the Bears. His completion percentage has dropped every year, he’s been hit/sacked a crap ton, and has been plagued by talk of his poor attitude and demeanor. But this is Jay’s year. First, he’s a father. Kristin Cavallari, of Jersey Shore: Laguna Beach fame, gave birth to Camden Jack Cutler on August 8th, 2012. Now Jay knows it’s time to step up, be a man, show his son that “Big boys try, little boys cry!” Second, he’s reunited with Brandon Marshall, his best pal, favorite receiver and psychiatrist from his Bronco days. He’ll also be throwing to Earl Bennett, another old pal from Cutler’s Vandy days, and a very talented and tall rookie in Alshon Jeffery. Plus, he has the electric Devin Hester and Matt Forte to dump the ball of and see what can happen. Finally, with Mike Tice taking over OC duties Cutler should expect better protection and more time in the pocket. I really like Cutler where he’s been landing in most mock drafts as I see him as a second-tier QB with elite potential. If he is sitting there in the 7th-9th round and you don’t yet have a starter, I’d take a flyer on him. His boom potential is through the roof.
2. Isaiah Pead – RB – Rams
As much as I love Steven Jackson, and I really, really do. He’s an overworked workhorse and a glutton for dishing out punishment, but with over 2000 career carries and approaching 30 the Rams maybe looking to start the transition away from Jackson even if he manages to stay healthy. Enter the explosive 22 year old Pead. He may not be the feature back this year, but in a keeper league he could be an extremely valuable pick for future years and as a handcuff for Jackson. He has a great first step with good vision and pretty decent hands catching the ball out of the backfield. He isn’t the punishing runner Jackson is but can make defenders miss and has the speed to beat most DBs in a foot race to the end zone. If Pead is sitting there in the wee rounds of your draft, especially if you have Jackson, snatch him up. He will not be the worst player on your bench and will provide value down the road.
3. Titus Young -WR – Lions
Young finished last year with a flourish, and flashing the potential the Lions saw in him when they drafted him last year in the 2nd round. He should be able to build on his late season success this year with the pass happy Lions offense, Matthew Stafford heaving the ball for another potential 5,000 yard season, and Megatron and Brandon Pettigrew demanding most of the secondary’s attention. Titus, a former Boise State Bronco, should be able to contribute to the Lions devastating passing attack by providing another explosive option for Stafford. Finally, hype on Young coming out of Lions camp is all positive, other than punching Louis Delmas, and he’s establishing a strong connection with OC Scott Linehan. Linehan has been quoted as saying Young provides their biggest match-up advantage because of the way teams cover Megatron and that the Lions have big plans for Titus in their offense.
These are 3 players that I feel are worth the risk of failure, provide major upside and figure to be hanging around in the middle to late rounds from all projections I’ve found. I’ll be back later this week weighing in on some of Drew’s player rankings, a little draft tip guide of tidbits that I’ve noticed and picked up over the years and maybe a few other articles. Who knows? The week is young.
Oh and if anyone out in fantasy land has any specific topics they want me to touch on, please let me know in the comments or by email.