We’re in full draft prep mode here at Razzball football. We’ve got wide receiver rankings, running back rankings, drafting tiers, ADP analysis, and a whole lot more fantasy football draft prep goodness to warm your fake football hearts. It’s enough to make your head spin!
As part of this draft prep, we’re scouring the NFL landscape for potential break out candidates. I took my talents to the Bay Area and found a nice piece of fantasy football potential buried within the cockles of the Oakland depth chart. Hey, the opportunity to use the word cockles presented itself, so I had to take it. It’s a word I don’t get to say much but it’s just so fun to say. Cockles.
Outside of a stud running back and a solid tight end, there isn’t much fantasy goodness to be found in Oak-town. Once upon a time WR Chaz Schilens was on the fantasy radar, but injuries have slowed down his career. Attention shifted to WR Louis Murphy who has had decent games here and there, but nothing fantasy owners could rely on. Darrius Heyward-Bey has been a Heyward-Bust. So who is going to step up for this Raider wide receiving corps? Jacoby Ford, that’s who!
Ford didn’t play much until week 7 of the 2010 season. Once he got his chance to show the NFL world what he could do, he made the most of the few opportunities he was given. Ford, in limited playing time, scored 4 touchdowns on 35 offensive touches, including a 71-yard TD run against the Broncos and a 44-yard TD reception against the Chiefs. When you look at his three 94-yard, 99-yard, and 101-yard kickoff return TDs, it’s easy to see Ford is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. That’s what 4.28 speed will do for a player. He’s wicked fast. Wicked, I tell ya!
Ford is by no means a polished receiver. This is just his second season in the NFL after all, so he still has some learning to do. Given head coach Hue Jackson’s recent comments, it appears Ford will have every chance to improve his game.
“Obviously Jacoby is going to become a household name because he has some very special ability. He’s very good with the ball in his hands – he’s very good without the ball in his hands because he draws a lot of attention. He’s just scratching the surface of what he can truly be.” — Raiders head coach Hue Jackson on Jacoby Ford via NFL Network
Jackson knows what he has in the Clemson product and it’s clear he plans on getting Ford the ball often in 2011. In addition to the head coach love, it has also been reported Ford has worked hard with QB Jason Campbell (and his other teammates) this off-season to improve his game. He has the drive to succeed, which is important.
The knock on Ford is his size. He’s just 5’9″ and 185 lbs. He’s never going to be a red zone threat like the Andre Johnson’s and Hakeem Nicks’ of the world. That’s not his game. His game is comparable to Percy Harvin and DeSean Jackson. In fact, Ford’s height and weight are exactly the same as another explosive receiver – Steve Smith (CAR). Odds are generally stacked against smaller receivers, but the NFL rules are favoring small, explosive receivers more and more. With his 4.28 speed he’s going to be a nightmare to cover, even for the best cornerbacks in the game.
There aren’t many receivers that give you fantasy points via the running game. Only a handful contribute on the ground and Ford is one of them. He had 10 carries for 155 yards and 2 TDs in 2010. This is what makes him such an intriguing fantasy option – he can do it all. And if you’re in a league that awards points for return yardage and return TDs, then Ford should make you feel all Jacoby inside.
Ford will never be an 80+ catch type of receiver. It’s his 18.8 yards per catch that make his potential off the charts in all leagues. Even if he only catches 50 passes, you’re looking at around 900 receiving yards. Combine that with his rushing ability and he’s a 1,000-1,100 total yard receiver. He’ll be inconsistent, but considering he scores once every 8.75 offensive touches, he’s easily capable of a 50 catch, 1,100 total yard, 6-7 TD type of season, and that’s not even including his kick return potential.
Ford’s ADP is 111th overall at fantasyfootballcalculator.com and 93rd overall at profootballfocus.com. In other words, he’s being drafted anywhere from the late 8th round to late 10th round in 12-team leagues. DeSean Jackson is going in the 3rd round (on average). Santonio Holmes going in the 5th round (on average). Percy Harvin is going in the 6th round (on average). Jacoby Ford is capable of similar numbers to all those players and he’s being drafted much later.
Jacoby Ford is a great player to target in the mid to late rounds of your 2011 fantasy drafts. He’s also a prime dynasty league target. The kid will be just 24 years old and has a bright future ahead of him.
For another sleeper wide receiver I like, check out this guy.
If running back sleepers are what you’re looking for, I have my eye on this one.
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