Time for our fantasy takes on the NFL news of the day …
Tebow the favorite to start: One of the AFC positions fantasy owners need to watch during training camp is in Denver, where Tim Tebow, Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn will compete for the right to lead John Fox‘s offense. However, NFL.com senior writer Steve Wyche has spoken with “enough people people plugged into the situation” to predict that the spot is Tebow’s “to lose.” If that’s the case, then the Florida product’s fantasy appeal is going to rise … and fast. In his three starts at the end of last season, Tebow scored more fantasy points than any player in the entire league — that includes Michael Vick and Arian Foster. What makes him so intriguing are his skills as a runner. In those three late-season starts, Tebow rushed for a combined 199 yards and three touchdowns. If you project his yardage totals over a full season, he would have recorded 1,061 yards on the ground. That’s not to say that you should draft Tebow as your No. 1 fantasy quarterback, but grabbing him in the middle to late rounds as a No. 2 and potential matchup-based starter could turn into a very beneficial move.
Gore to play in “open space”: During a recent interview with SI.com, Frank Gore discussed myriad topics from his health, to new coach Jim Harbaugh to his role in the offense. Gore, who is coming off hip surgery, said that he feels “great” and has “been working very hard” in preparation for the 2011 season. He also said that Harbaugh will have him “catching the ball more and getting (him) a lot of space,” and plans to “show the whole world that (Gore is) the best back in the league.” That’s music to the ears of fantasy owners. With backfield committees taking over the NFL, finding a true featured runner like Gore is rare these days. And while he will come with some risk due to his injury woes at the pro level, it’s going to be tough to pass on him if he slides into the late first round. Based on the numbers he recorded in his first 10 games last season, the veteran out of Miami would have finished in the top five in fantasy points at his position over a full 16 contests. With one of the easiest schedules in the league among running backs in 2011, I believe Gore is well worth the gamble.
Foster played with knee injury: Arian Foster told Sporting News that he played with a torn meniscus in his knee last season and kept it secret for fear of losing his job. He went on to catch 66 passes and led the league with 1,616 rushing yards, so the ailment clearly wasn’t a statistical deterrent. He later sustained cartilage damage during the Pro Bowl and underwent a minor arthroscopic procedure on his right knee in February, but Foster will be fine for the start of the 2011 season and is safe to take in fantasy drafts. Owners should temper expectations, though, as he’ll be hard pressed to record another year with 326 fantasy points. If you look at past players who have recorded what I like to call a “magical season,” often times those players fail to meet heightened expectations the following year. That’s not to say that Foster was a one-year wonder — in fact, his numbers are even more impressive when you consider that he played at less than 100 percent. But fantasy owners should still draft him with the thought that his overall numbers are going to fall at least slightly moving forward.