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Updated NFL Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets

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With so much change over the past week, it was clear that my cheat sheets article from a week ago needed to be updated in light of recent news about players like Arian Foster and Chris Johnson. It’s been awhile since I would last remember about five guys being worthy of the first pick in the draft.

Foster, Johnson and Adrian Peterson are all the ideal top three, but even they have drawbacks as Foster has a bum hamstring, Johnson could be an injury risk after holding out so late and Peterson has arguably the worst offensive line in football.

Standard Redraft Cheat Sheets: Overall | Tier | Auction Values

PPR Cheat Sheets:Overall | Tier | Auction Values

Should You Select Johnson with the First Pick of Your Draft?

With Chris Johnson agreeing to terms on a new deal, I’ve moved him up to the No. 2 back on our recent cheat sheets for standard and PPR scoring leagues. It’s just a matter of who you feel confident in taking at this point, however, because other runners like Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Ray Rice are worthy top picks.

While Johnson late return to camp is a little concerning for his health, if there’s a running back that can remain unaffected on the field from missing time, it’s Johnson. Talents like Barry Sanders and Bo Jackson never seemed to have problems when they would miss time just before a season.

In Jackson’s case, he did it every year as he would play a full season of baseball with the Royals and then play with the Raiders at some point in October. Sanders had a contract holdout one year that went deeper than Johnson’s, and he had one of his best seasons that year.

Johnson is a pure talent, and he keeps his body in tip-top shape. Don’t be surprised if he runs for over 100 yards and scores a touchdown, week one against the Jaguars.


Don’t Forget About Joe!

After a semi-disappointing season from Joe Flacco, it seems like many fantasy owners are failing to give him a chance to start in leagues as deep as 14 teams. Recent ADP trends have Flacco going as the 16th quarterback off the board in standard and PPR leagues, and I feel the hate on Flacco has gone too far.

While Flacco has his share of troubles last year, fantasy owners should have seen it coming as the Ravens were counting on Donte Stallworth to be the main deep threat in the offense.

Stallworth failed to produce, and Baltimore’s offense became predictable as defenses could cheat up on the short routes and bring a safety up in the box to stuff the run. Not only did Flacco struggle at times, but the Ravens failed to run for over four yards per carry as an offense.

Enter Lee Evans, and the Ravens finally have the balance in their offense needed to make Flacco as weekly starter in 12-team leagues and maybe even 10-team leagues.

At the end of the day, what does it hurt you to target Flacco as a respectable backup in the later rounds of your draft?


Arian Foster’s Health

Is Arian Foster still the top back to draft in fantasy leagues? Well, it depends, on how many teams you have in your league and how prepared you are to have a strong draft in the later rounds. I would look to Foster as the top running back to take if your in a league of ten teams or fewer.

The deeper the league, the harder it is to roll the dice on Foster, because the talent is going to be spread out and it won’t be easy to acquire solid depth running backs like Tim Hightower, Marshawn Lynch or Joseph Addai.

Mario Manningham Before Dwayne Bowe?

In a recent experts PPR league, a fantasy expert I have much respect for selected Mario Manningham in the fourth round over Dwayne Bowe. Even Dez Bryant went in the third round, and I have to wonder if the hate for Bowe has gotten seriously out of hand.

I’ve had Bowe as a top ten receiver for standard and PPR leagues throughout the summer, but I must admit, I’ve selected him consistently as my No.2 receiver in live drafts. It’s not that Bowe isn’t worth a WR-1 but more that I know he’s a good chance of sliding back to me as was the case in this twelve team draft.

While Bryant and Manningham are nice upside receivers, Bowe did lead the league with 15 touchdowns a year ago. True, Matt Cassel is his quarterback, but the only receiver Cassel is comfortable with is Bowe, and he will likely benefit from the situation with an inflated amount of targets.

With offensive coordinator Charlie Weis gone, Cassel will look to Bowe when passing plays breakdown.

Many have knocked Bowe for his inconsistency from a year ago, but the Chiefs were running the football early in the season, and as defenses were forced to suck in their safeties to stop the run, Cassel and Bowe took advantage.

In the later part of the season, Bowe struggled for a few weeks but that was mainly because Cassel had an emergency appendectomy. While I don’t expect Bowe to repeat his 15 touchdowns, don’t be surprised if he finishes the season with over 80 receptions and up to 1,300 yards.


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