Late season production from the previous year can provide a glimpse of potential production for the upcoming year. There were a few players that came on strong in the last quarter of the 2010 season after having a not-so-great first three quarters of the season. These here fellers are looking to build on their late season studliness in 2011. But should you trust them for your fantasy team? Let’s take a closer look.
Tim Tebow (DEN – QB): Tebow finished 2010 with three consecutive games of 20+ fantasy points (standard scoring). Within this three game stretch, Tebow had a rushing TD in every game and over 75 rushing yards in two of them. His solid play gave everyone in Denver a collective Tebow-ner and according to Steve Wyche of the NFL Network, the starting QB job in Denver is Tebow’s to lose.
Denver is asking for a 2nd round pick for Kyle Orton, but will likely only get a 3rd round pick and some shaving cream and a razor since Tebow will use that stuff and Orton won’t. Orton may not be back. A John Fox offense isn’t going to pass as much as a Josh McDaniels offense, but Tebow’s rushing ability combined with the vote of confidence from the NFL peeps around the league make Tebow a borderline top 15 fantasy QB heading into 2011. The Tebow-ner fantasy meter is on the rise. Pun intended.
Ryan Mathews (SD – RB): With Darren Sproles set to test free agency, there will be a good chunk of work – particularly in the passing game – to replace in the Charger backfield if he leaves. Mathews’ 349 total yards and 5 touchdowns in the final four games of 2010 show he’s capable of nice numbers, even if Mike Tolbert theives a goal line TD or six or seven. I’m drafting Mathews with confidence as my RB2. He’ll be the main horse in San Diego, or in Saint James if you speak English like I do.
James Starks (GB – RB): Starks was a bit of a playoff hero with his play in the post-season, but when you take a closer look the guy averaged just 3.9 yards per carry and scored just once in those four games. Ryan Grant is still the better back, and I see a 65%-35% type of split in touches between the two in 2011. Grant’s job appears safe – he just comes with some injury risk. He’s still a 18-25 touches-a-game RB.
Mario Manningham (NYG – WR): He ended the 2010 season on a tear, recording 16 catches, 346 yards, and 4 TDs in the final three games. Steve Smith will be back, so he won’t keep up those Pro Bowl-ish numbers on into 2011. With Smith in the line up, Manningham averaged just 4.2 catches and 58.6 yards a game, and scored 3 times in five games. Even with his strong close to the 2010 season, he’s best suited as a WR3 for fantasy owners this year.
Anthony Armstrong (WAS – WR): Santana Moss is a free agent. If he leaves, Anthony Armstrong would be the most proven weapon in the Washington passing game not named Chris Cooley, unless they sign Santonio Holmes or another free agent WR. John Beck is the front runner to start at QB, so my expectations of Armstrong aren’t much higher than Charlie Sheen’s sobriety goals, but the ‘Skins have to throw to someone and Armstrong can be a solid WR4 if the cards fall right.
Andre Roberts (ARZ – WR): When nobody was watching except his mom and his other immediate family members, Roberts recorded 9 catches for 133 yards and a TD in the final two games of the 2010 season. Roberts would be the de-facto #2 wide receiver in Arizona if Steve Breaston leaves to free agency. It appears only a matter of time before Kevin Kolb is a Cardinal, and with Larry Fitzgerald getting all the attention, Roberts will have a good opportunity to make his way onto fantasy rosters as a WR4 if all the “ifs” go his way.
Jerome Simpson (CIN – WR): Ochostinko and Terrell Slowens are becoming an afterthought in Cincy. So is starting QB Carson Palmer. In other words, the Cincy offense is totally eff’d. Rookie Andy Dalton will likely start under center, with fellow rookie A.J. Green starting out wide opposite Simpson. With the two aforementioned dipshizz wide receivers out of the line up the final two games of 2010, Simpson caught 18 balls for 247 yards and 3 TDs. Dalton will limit his numbers, but WR4 production seem like a lock from Simpson.
Jimmy Graham (NO – TE): Uber-douche Jeremy Shockey has moved on to Carolina, and Jimmy Graham is now the starting TE in New Orleans. I like Graham to build on his late 2010 success. Want to know why? Well, do ya?! I would tell you, but I’ve already done that here.
Jared Cook (TEN – TE): In the final three games of 2010 when Bo Scaife was out, Cook filled in to the tune of 15 catches, 196 yards and a TD. Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt has said Bo Scaife isn’t returning to Tennessee, so Cook is now the starter. If the Titans sign a Donovan McNabb or a Matt Hasselbeck, Cook has the chance to produce top 10 TE numbers this year. It’s him, Kenny Britt and not much else in the Tennessee passing game.
The lockout is all but over with, but right now it still creates a lot of “ifs.” Based on the NFL news being thrown around, some of these players have a good shot to build on their 2010 late season success.
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