The NFL season is finally (almost) upon us, and for fans that means it’s time to gear up for game time. For NFL fans, however, this expectation process is a bit different than for most sports fans, simply because NFL fans get so closely involved with their teams. For you, that might mean ordering the latest version of NFL RedZone from your cable provider. It might mean extensive matchup analysis to prepare yourself for some football betting at Betfair online. But for a huge proportion of NFL fans, the last few weeks before the season mean one thing in particular: it’s time for fantasy drafts.
Of course, preparing for your fantasy draft involves its own set of preparations as you analyze and decide which players to target. And part of this process always revolves around finding a few “steals.” So with that in mind, here are 5 players who should perform above expectations this season.
1. Larry Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald has been largely cast aside by many fantasy owners after a positively disastrous 2012 campaign. The truth, however, is that Fitzgerald had an awful offense to work within last season. With Carson Palmer now slated at QB for the Cardinals, Fitzgerald should have a more reliable partner in the offense. He may never be what he once was, but he still has off-the-charts talent, and should be a top-15 WR candidate this season.
2. Maurice Jones-Drew
MJD is certainly a risky pick, coming off a season ending foot injury in 2012 to a Jacksonville team with a new zone-blocking offensive system. That said, MJD is only 27 years old, is entering a contract year, and will be hungry to prove himself after last year’s debacle. This guy can still be a top-10 RB.
3. DeAngelo Williams
The upside here is that the Jonathan Stewart/DeAngelo Williams platoon will likely take a year off due to Stewart’s ankle issues. Williams should be the Panthers’ main RB, which should significantly boost his production. That said, Mike Tolbert is still around to vulture goal line TDs, and Cam Newton can do it himself from close range as well. Williams will be better this season than last, but don’t get too carried away.
4. Dwayne Bowe
ESPN has Bowe rated as just the 21st best WR on the board, and there is certainly reason to believe this is a fair ranking. Bowe’s history is one of underachieving, and his recent payday could take away some motivation. That said however, Bowe will be the #1 target on a Kansas City team that now has the ultra-effective Alex Smith at QB. He could easily turn into a top-10 or top-15 fantasy WR.
5. Giovanni Bernard
BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be the main RB in Cincinnati, but Bernard has the talent to usurp the position. Bernard is also useful as a receiver and returner, and should get plenty of opportunity to store. If you’re looking for a sleeper or keeper, this kid could turn into a star.