Now that football is back in action, many fantasy football owners are scrambling to catch up on an entire offseason’s worth of research in order to pick the best available players.
For those who don’t have time to scour sports networks looking for injuries, training camp reports, preseason stats and player Tweets to find out who will be best in 2011 and who will be a flop, here’s a list of who to draft and who to ditch.
DRAFT:TE Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans – This year’s draft is incredibly deep at tight end, probably deeper than any other position. There’s no reason to draft a tight end in the fifth round when you can easily get a quality player in the 12th round. Cook was a backup last year, leading to low stats and expectations. However, this year he is a starter and has already put up decent stats in his preseason games. The team loves his potential, and new quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is certain to target him. Hasselbeck loves tight ends and, being unfamiliar with the new offense, is even more likely to use him as a safety blanket.
DITCH:RB Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals – The rookie running back was set to have a breakout year up until he ruptured a patellar tendon. He is now out for the season, and fantasy owners would be wise to take another Cardinals rusher, Beanie Wells.
DRAFT:RB Tim Hightower, Washington Redskins – Hightower has looked fantastic since signing with the Redskins, rushing 16 times for 114 yards and a touchdown. With Ryan Torain out, Hightower and third- string running back Roy Helu have turned the once anemic Redskins rushing attack into a force to be reckoned with.
DITCH:QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts – Word out of Indianapolis is that Manning might miss the season opener after having shoulder surgery this offseason. Manning has succeeded in the NFL thanks to his ability to prepare for games, but with him not being able to prepare during the offseason, even once he returns it will take a while for him to get up to speed. A better QB option might be his younger brother Eli Manning.
Finally, to get the most out of your draft day experience, hit up Hooters to get a free draft kit that includes a big board, stat sheets and extra swag. It’s free to sign up, just go to www.HootersDraftParty.com and sign up.