Here we go with another edition of the NFLDM fantasy mailbag, where I answer fantasy football questions from Twitter followers, site visitors and anyone else who needs some assistance.
Our first submission in this edition comes to us from Dr. Grinder of Lorain, Ohio:
“I am a rookie Fantasy Football player and need some help. Which Tight End do you think will have a breakout season, a sleeper of sorts that would fall in my drafts’ later rounds?”
An excellent question from a first timer like yourself, and an answer that will be valuable to us all as we creep closer and closer to draft day.
So to answer your question Doc, please reference the two player breakdowns below:
COBY FLEENER, TE Indianapolis Colts
Fleener is the Rookie tight end out of Stanford University drafted by the Colts to pair with the #1 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, Andrew Luck. This selection by the Colts made quite a bit of sense as Luck and Fleener were teammates at Stanford and seemed to have a good rapport there.
During the 2011 FBS season, Fleener and Luck hooked up 34 times gaining 664 yards and hitting pay dirt 10 times. These stats alone would make Fleener a quality TE2 play in your fantasy league and I expect him to exceed this production as a Rookie in the NFL.
Why you ask? Simply put, Andrew Luck is comfortable throwing to Fleener and will be looking for him frequently in order to help ease his transition into the NFL limelight. Look for Luck and Fleener to be a nice offensive combination this season, a combination that you should take advantage of by snagging Fleener towards the back end of your first draft.
GREG OLSEN, TE Carolina Panthers
Olsen is entering his 5th professional season, his 2nd with the Panthers, and is looking to expand on the success he had during the 2011 campaign.
Having four games of 10+ fantasy points last season, Olsen has showed that he is a capable matchup tight end for your fantasy roster. Also keep in mind that the 2011 season was his first with Panthers QB Cam Newton, so their chemistry should benefit as a result of having a full offseason to work together, having been robbed of that due to the labor lockout prior to the 2011 season.
So target Olsen late in your draft. At the very least you will have a capable backup and if all goes well you may have a hidden gem on your team that can be played or traded as you see fit.
Next up we have a question from Twitter follower @Brwnsfan who asks:
“What positions in this year’s draft do you feel are the weakest and strongest?”
This is another good question with two very definite answers. Running back is the weakest position in 2012 while wide receiver is the deepest.
With so many injuries, possible suspensions, holdouts and running back by committee situations permeating the running back ranks this year, it’s been difficult to pinpoint just who exactly you can trust. For instance, of the top 15 backs listed on my running back rankings, 7 of them fit one of the aforementioned scenarios, while a few more are returning from serious injury suffered in 2011.
That being said it will be paramount that you are able to identify players in these categories whom you feel pose the least amount of risk and the highest amount of potential reward. It would also behoove you to invest a couple late round picks in players like Alex Green of Green Bay or David Wilson of the Giants as they are currently second on their respective depth charts, but could crack the starting lineup before long.
As for the wide receivers, they seem to be a dime a dozen this year. There are many quality WR2 and WR3 options available all the way through the end of your draft. It’s a very deep class so my advice would be to focus on your running back depth early then sit back and pick off any one of the great wide receiver values that will fall in your lap in the middle rounds of your draft.
This concludes our second edition of the NFL Draft Monsters Fantasy Mailbag. Thanks to all those who submitted questions and who stopped by to read the column.
I’ll have another edition next Friday so feel free to get your questions in via email or Twitter.