Tag Archives: Jimmy Graham

2013-2014 New Orleans Saints Preview

By: Evan

Projected Record: 10-6

NFC South Rank: 2nd

Sean Payton is back at the helm, hoping to lead the Saints back to the playoffs    Courtesy of ESPN

The Saints struggled last year going 8-8 and starting 0-4, showing how valuable coaches really are.  This year is different because  Payton is back to lead the Saints and Brees can go back to playing quarterback rather than QB/coach/team leader. The Saints should play the role of sleeper this year as many other analysts don’t think the Saints can compete well in an extremely tough NFC.   A key acquisition was the hiring of Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan, a defensive guru with the ability to improve sub-par defenses.  The Saints’ draft was extremely impressive as safety Kenny Vaccaro, offensive lineman Terron Armstead and wide receiver Kenny Stills will significantly improve the Saints’ squad in both the short and long term.  The Saints should march into the playoffs as a wild card team.

Strengths:

QB and Skill Position players

Drew Brees needs to a have a big year for the Big Easy                                                                                                               Courtesy of ESPN

Drew Brees is an elite quarterback in the game, but at 34, time is fleeting and Brees needs to capitalize on his remaining prime years.   Brees ranked first in passing yards with 5,117 as well as touchdowns with 43.  Similar to the Falcons, the Saints have tons of weapons including the elusive Darren Sproles, star receiver Marques Colston and the best tight end in Jimmy Graham. Sproles is a threat in both the rushing and passing game, rushing for over five yards per carry and catching 75 balls with seven touchdowns in only 13 games. Although Marques Colston is now 30, he has put up very good numbers ranking 13th in receiving yards with 1,154 and tied for 7th with ten touchdowns. Obviously the most the deadly weapon is star TE Jimmy Graham who led all TEs in plays in 20 yard + plays while also scoring 9 touchdowns with 982 yards receiving. These Saints skill players are very talented and will be the keys to a playoff run.

Weaknesses:

Defense (Rushing and Passing)

Kenny Vaccaro will have to step up as the last man in the Saints’ secondary                                                   Courtesy of ESPN

The Saints defense is weak, ranked last in rushing defense (147 yards/game), 31st in passing defense (297 yards/game), and you guessed it, last in total defense.  Rob Ryan should boost these rankings but ultimately it comes down to the players and their performance. The Saints improved their secondary by adding the best safety from college in Kenny Vaccaro, but he won’t solve all of the woes.  In a pass happy NFC South, coupled with tough runners like Steven Jackson, Doug Martin and Cam Newton, opposing teams will look to pick apart the Saints’ D.  Although some players such as Cameron Jordan, Curtis Lofton and rookie John Jenkins have potential, there are too many holes to fill and the spotty defense will be exploited.  When the Saints play, look out for high scoring games with the team with last possession often winning.

Schedule Analysis:

Brees will come visit New England to play Brady and the Pats Courtesy of Bleacher Report

vs Atlanta- W: The Saints will be fired up and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome will be rocking as the Saints will beat the dirty birds in a preseason shootout

@ Tampa Bay-W: This should be an epic matchup between Brees and Revis with Brees eventually winning out with a game winner to Jimmy Graham

vs Arizona-L: After playing a new and improved Bucs D, Brees will have to play another tough secondary with rising star Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. This game has upset potential and I believe it will happen.

vs Miami-W: This game also reeks of upset potential because of the offensive weapons the Dolphins have in Lamar Miller and Mike Wallace but the disparity in talent between Brees and Tannehill is large, the Saints will pull it out.

@ Chicago-W: The Bears D is tough and they do have weapons in Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennet, I trust Brees more than Cutler. Another game won by the talent of Brees.

@ New England-L: Two top-5 QBs with explosive offenses and two terrible passing defenses=lots of points. The game could go either way but since the Pats are at home, I’ll pick them.

Bye Week

vs Buffalo-W: The Bills aren’t great but they are not bad but again Brees>Manuel so… New Orleans it is.

@ Jets-W: I think we all know what will happen here

vs Dallas-L: After playing two below average teams, the Saints better be ready as Dallas can put up points as well. I think Dez Bryant will have a great game with over 150 yards and two TDs.

vs San Francisco-L: For the first time this season the Saints will have to play a mobile quarterback in Colin Kaepernick as well as a  terrific San Francisco defense. That defense should be able to stop Brees and allow CK7 to torch the decrepit Saints’ D.

@ Atlanta-L: The Falcons will want to exact revenge for their opening game loss and will be ready and prepared. They lost 23-13 in Atlanta last year and I expect a similar result.

@Seattle-W: As tough as Seattle is at home, Brees and Co. will come in and put up points and Russell Wilson won’t be able to respond. They are also coming off a three game losing streak and will need to start winning to maintain their playoff hopes.

vs Carolina-W: Cam Newton will rack up the yards both passing and rushing but the Panthers will come up short. Eventually the Panthers will overcome the Saints but not in 2013.

@ St. Louis-W: The Rams play in a tough division but the Saints are just better on offense.

@ Carolina-L: Cam strikes back as the Panthers try to spoil the Saints’ playoff chances.

vs Tampa Bay-W: Doug Martin has a superb game but Josh Freeman can’t keep up with Brees and the Saints clinch a playoff berth.

Conclusion:

The Saints will have to compete and win at least 10 games to make the playoffs and if they get there, they will struggle on defense and will fall in the wild card round.

Stats from ESPN

Top Fantasy Football Players at each Position and Sleepers

By: Jon

Quarterback

Best: Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers

Rodger is the best quarterback in the league because of his quick release and accuracy. Last year, Rodgers had the second most fantasy points in the league. Rodgers has one of the best receiving corp in the league, Cobb, Nelson, and Jones. Compared to Drew Brees, Rodgers has better accuracy and more weapons on offense. Rodgers does not throw as many INT as Brees and runs more than Brees. Although he is no RGIII, he can run for 250 yards and a few touchdowns. Aaron should have another great season for the Packers this season.

Rest:

2) Brees

3) Manning

4) Ryan

5) Brady

Sleeper: Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill

The second year player has the potential to be a solid a good fantasy quarterback. Tannehill is a dual threat quarterback because of his strong arm and fast feet. Last year as a rookie, Ryan was ineffective because he has not played many games at quarterback in his life, only 19 before last season, and his receiving corp was horrible. However, the Dolphins added Mike Wallace and Dustin Keller, while re-signing 1000 yard receiver Brian Hartline. Although he may not be a top 5 quarterback, he may be a top ten fantasy quarterback by the end of the season.

Reach: Tom Brady

Tom Brady
Tom Brady

I know people are about to refresh their page or think that I am an absolute retard for calling Brady overrated, but he is not deserving of a first or second round pick. I am not doubting Brady as a quarterback, but rather his fellow offensive play makers. If ‘Gronk’ is not there for the Patriots first game, the Patriots second best receiver will be Danny Amendola. The Patriots receiving corp is in complete disarray, which will hurt Tom Brady’s stats. For the first time in a long time, the Patriots will have a quality running game. The Patriots have three quality running backs, Ridley, Vereen, and Bolden, which will take away from Brady’s pass attempts and stats. Although I still believe Brady is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, his stats will not warrant a first or second round selection.

Running Back

Best: Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson

Peterson, the MVP, is an absolute freak and should be the first pick in your NFL fantasy football draft. Last year, Peterson came within a few yards of breaking the all-time rushing record, while his next closest peer was 450 yards away from Peterson. Peterson is going to get his touches because Ponder is not able to lead a offense, like the Minnesota Vikings. Peterson is one of the most consistent backs in the NFL and will rack up at least 15 points every week. Unlike other backs, Peterson is a goal line back so he will  Peterson has the ability to catch the ball, which adds to his fantasy value.

Rest:

2) Foster

3) Lynch

4) Rice

5) Morris

Sleeper: Chris Ivory

Chris Ivory
Chris Ivory

The new Jets running back is going to have a breakout season for the New York Jets. The Jets will run the ball frequently this season because their quarterback situation is one of the worst in the league. Ivory is a talented running back and should have a great season because of the increase in touches. The Jets have a quality offensive line, which will help Ivory gain extra yardage and points. Ivory has the ability to gain extra touchdowns because of his physicality. Ryan likes to run the ball, which will help Ivory’s case.

Reach: CJ Spiller

CJ Spiller
CJ Spiller

The Buffalo Bills running back will not produce the same stats as last year. Spiller will not be receiving the touches and carries, like the other first round running backs. Spiller is going to be a first or second round pick in fantasy football drafts, hopefully you will not select him that early. Last year, Fred Jackson hurt himself, which enabled Spiller to receive more carries. When Jackson played for the Bills, Spiller only accumulated 100 yards once and scored more than 15 points only once in ten games. Jackson is a quality running back, who will take carries away from Spiller. Spiller has been injury prone as well.

Wide Receiver

Best: Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson

‘Megatron’ is ridiculous and the best receiver in football since Jerry Rice, in my opinion. Johnson was first in points, among receivers, although he caught only 5 touchdowns. Johnson set the record for most receiving yards in NFL history. Luckily for Johnson, the Lions throw a lot, most in NFL history, and Stafford is a really good quarterback. Johnson ended the season with eight one hundred yards games in his last nine games, including two two hundred yard games. Johnson should be a first or second round pick because he will have a better season than last year. Johnson will score more touchdowns to make up for his lack of yardage.

Rest:

2) Marshall

3) Thomas

4) Green

5) Bryant

Sleeper: Hakeem Nicks

Hakeem Nicks
Hakeem Nicks

After a lackluster season, Nicks will come back and become a star once again next year. Hicks is a big and talented receiver entering a contract year for the New York Giants. Nicks is finally healthy, which will make him perform like a top receiving option once again. Nicks has the ability to be a number one fantasy receiver because of his ability to catch touchdowns and Manning’s throwing ability. Nicks will probably be around in the sixth round. Nicks will be determined to top his fellow receiver Victor Cruz, who was just given a contract extension.

Reach: Percy Harvin

Percy Harvin
Percy Harvin

Percy Harvin is given a lot of credit and prestige for a player that has never recorded a 1000 yard year. Although Harvin is a good talent and versatile, most of Harvin’s stats do not help fantasy teams, PR and KR. Harvin does not record many touchdowns, which significantly damages his fantasy value. Harvin will probably be drafted in the third round, ahead of players like MJD, White, Johnson, Cruz, and Fitzgerald. Harvin is a good player in real life, but should not be your first or second wide receiver. Fantasy owners should make risks in later rounds.

Tight End

Best: Jimmy Graham

Jimmy Graham
Jimmy Graham

Although Jimmy Graham is not the most talent tight end, Rob Gronkowski, he is the most dependable and consistent. Graham is Brees’s favorite target, which allows him to rack a lot of yards and score a lot of touchdowns. Brees constantly throws Graham’s way  because of their lack of running game. Over the last two years, Graham has averged 1100 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those stats make Graham worthy of a second or third round pick in fantasy football drafts. Graham is a physically dominating presence, which allows him to overmatch defenders and score a lot of fantasy points.

Rest:

2) Gronkowski

3) Gonzalez

4) Written

5) Davis

Sleeper: Dustin Keller

Dustin Keller
Dustin Keller

The former first round pick has a lot of talent and hands. Last year, Keller was injured for most of the season, which played a major part of the Jets’ disaster. Keller will have the benefit of playing with an actual quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, instead of Mark Sanchez. The tight end is important and is frequently called upon by a young quarterback. Defenses will no longer focus on Keller, which will allow him to find wholes in the defense and score touchdowns. Keller may not be drafted in most leagues, as he is currently ranked 173 according to ESPN.com

Reach: Antonio Gates

Antonio Gates
Antonio Gates

The veteran tight end is on his last legs as a star NFL tight end. Gates will be a future Hall of Famer because of his skill and ability to catch the ball in tight windows. However, Gates cannot be depended on to be a consistent starting tight end. Gates is frequently injured, which hampers his performance and numbers. Players, such as Keller, Bennett, Pettigrew, and Finley, will be drafted behind Gates and may perform better than Gates. Gates’ stock drops even further because Rivers is an inconsistent quarterback. If Gates is drafted, fantasy owners should pick up tight ends on the waiver wire, like Keller, Fleener, or Davis.

Defense/Special Teams

Best: San Francisco 49ers

49ers
49ers

The 49ers have the best defense in football. San Fran’s D/ST is improved because they have special team studs like Ted Ginn Jr and LaMichael James. San Fran’s defense is full of studs and All-Pros. Players, such as Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, Aldom Smith, Navarro Bowman, and Donte Whitner, make the 49ers defense incredibly formidable and fantasy gold.

Rest:

2) Seahawks

3) Texans

4) Bears

5) Broncos

Sleeper: Redskins

Redskins
Redskins

Although the Redskins had a bad year last season, they will rebound because of their young talent. Last year, Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan were hurt and could not make an impact on the Washington defense. The Kerrigan and Orakpo combination is one of the best and most feared pass rushing combinations in football. They will add pressure to the quarterback, which will improve the entire defense. The Redskins’ pass defense was horrendous because they did not have a pass rush, last season.

Reach: Ravens

Ravens
Ravens

The Ravens defense is no longer THE Ravens defense of the past. The Ravens have lost five starters from last year’s championship team, Lewis, Reed, Kruger, Ellerbe, and Pollard. Many fantasy owners will draft the Ravens because they have been known as a great defense. However, times have significantly changed in Baltimore. I would stay away from the Ravens because of the myriad of questions this team must answer. Owners should be wary and keep away from the Ravens defense this year.

Kickers

Top Five:

1) Walsh

Blair Walsh
Blair Walsh

2) Tucker

3) Bryant

4) Janikowski

5) Gostkowski

Stats and Pics from ESPN.com