Fantasy Football: Final thoughts on the eve of Week 1

      September 4, 2012 @ 21:08:38 PDT

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Week 1 officially kicks off in a matter of mere hours, and I write this while prepping for my final draft for the offseason. Following several productive chats with our insider network, I present you a few last-minute notes that stood out from the late offseason chats.

Quarterback

  • Peyton Manning's ability to throw to his right is hardly anything to worry about, as he completed 7-for-7 for 104 yards and a touchdown toss passing to that side in the third preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.
  • Michael Vick has been holding onto the ball far too long, leading to being injured twice in 12 preseason snaps. At 32 years old, don't expect him to change his playing style anytime soon.
  • There is nothing to be concerned with regarding Ben Roethlisberger's injured shoulder. He has a vertical tear in his labrum, which isn't nearly as problematic as the horizontal variety.
  • Christian Ponder has improved across the board, most notably in his ability to go four deep in his progressions. He has better arm strength than given credit for and has improved across the board from his rookie year.
  • One sage points out that Andrew Luck is better than Peyton Manning was at this stage of his career. That is a lofty claim but comes from a trusted football mind.
  • It appears as though Baltimore Ravens OC Cam Cameron is finally ready to give Joe Flacco autonomy over the offense and call more pass plays. Cameron trusts Flacco more than ever before and will loosen his grip a bit.

Running back

    Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Atlanta Falcons
  • Jacquizz Rodgers will be more than a third-down back and is a better overall fit for this offense than Michael Turner is. The team is confident in J-Rod as a between-the-tackles runner and will also use him with short passes out of the backfield as an extension of the running game. The entire Atlanta running game may struggle, however. A shift to a single-back set inspired the release of fullback Ovie Mughelli, which has led to Turner being pounded at the second level, thus killing the running game.
  • Expect Miami Dolphins No. 2 Daniel Thomas to have a really good year. Injuries held him back as a rook, but he is healthy and plays behind the fragile Reggie Bush. Thomas is more comfortable and has a better understanding of protection schemes, which will keep him on the field longer. He could be a major touchdown vulture.
  • Jahvid Best stands to see around 50 percent of the RB touches, should he return this season. Mikel Leshoure is the X-factor in this offense, though. Keep an eye on him after he returns from a two-game suspension.
  • Green Bay Packers running back Alex Green (knee) will be limited most if not all year. His best-case scenario role is as the full-time third-down back.
  • Stevan Ridley has become "the guy" the coaching staff expected him to be, but just how much work will he get in this pass-happy offense? It could be a low-yardage, high-touchdown effort from the second-year back in 2012.
  • David Wilson has struggled as a pass protector and will have a hard time getting on the field if they cannot trust him to keep Eli Manning clean. Expect erratic rushing efforts from the big-play rookie.
  • Jamaal Charles (knee) has made a few moves to show you that he still has it, but KC won't overburden him with a heavy workload. His time share with Peyton Hillis will be close to 50-50 in what figures to be a run-heavy offense.
  • The San Diego Chargers' coaching staff will not use kid gloves with Ryan Mathews (clavicle) once he returns to action. If he can't handle the load, they won't change how they call plays.
  • Adrian Peterson (knee) has looked like the AD of old in practice. His cutting has been impressive, and his knee has responded well to contact practices. He is forcing the team's hand to play him in Week 1. It now comes down to the coaches' comfort level with playing him early in the year.
  • Matt Forte should see at least two-thirds of the running back touches, but Michael Bush will be the goal line back. The addition of Brandon Marshall could significantly cut into Forte's reception totals as Jay Cutler's safety blanket.
  • LeSean McCoy will be used more as a receiver than a runner in comparison to last season. They want to give him room to work in open space, so look for an increase in receptions.

Read on for wide receivers and tight ends

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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