The NFL football season official starts tonight with an 8:30 p.m. game between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys. I can't wait for the season to begin. I am playing in three fantasy football leagues this year (I thought I was going to play in a fourth one but that fell through late). In honor of the start of fantasy football season, I decided to provide a list of the fantasy football players I am most excited about. I have included some top ranked players but have shied away from the biggest names, eg. Drew Brees, Ray Rice, Calvin Johnson, etc. We all know that most of those names will have stellar seasons unless they get hurt.
Matt Ryan, Atl.: Last year, I picked Matt Stafford up in all of my leagues (he sat on the bench behind Drew Brees in two of those leagues). I was impressed with his strong training camp and preseason performances. I hit the lottery. I am hoping to work the same magic with Matt Ryan. Can I hit the lottery two years in a row? I think (fervently hope) that Matt Ryan will have a top 3/4 type of season. Two of my fantasy teams will depend on it.
Eli Manning, NYG: I think (hope) that he will finish among the top 5 quarterbacks. He is on one of my fantasy teams.
Donald Brown, Ind.: I think Donald Brown will be the surprise running back of the year. I was especially impressed with Brown's performance late last year, and look for him to have a great year catching passes and running the ball. I am staking my fantasy football season on this prediction, as I have him on all three fantasy rosters.
Alfred Morris, Wash.: Yes, I know that Morris plays for Mike Shanahan--a coach who changes running backs about once a week (kidding--but it feels like that sometimes). And yes, I realize that Morris is part of a crowded backfield and might not start in Week 1. With all that said, I have a feeling that Morris could be a great fantasy pick-up this season. Unfortunately, my gut intuitions are often wrong. Nevertheless, I have Morris on one fantasy team and will try to pick him up in the other ones if/when he becomes the starter.
Antonio Brown, Pitt.: I watched several of the games he played in last year. I was extremely impressed with his ability to make difficult catches and to elude defensive players. I think that Brown will finish the season as a top 3 wide receiver. I hope he does, as I have him on all three of my fantasy teams.
Victor Cruz, NYG: I picked up Cruz on a couple of my fantasy football teams last year, and he outperformed. I think he will do just as well if not better this time around. He is on two of my three fantasy football teams this time around.
Julio Jones, Atl: Assuming he can stay healthy, I think Julio Jones will finish in the top 5 among receivers in terms of yards. At least I hope so...I have him on one of my three fantasy football teams. I tried very hard to get him for a second team, but that didn't work.
Greg Olsen, Car.: Olsen's coach, Ron Rivera, thinks that he will have a tremendous year, so that's all I need to know. I'm kidding...but I do think that Olsen will finish the season as one of the top 4 tight ends in the NFL. I am so confident in this fact, that I have him on two of my fantasy teams.
Well, those are the players (apart from the established superstars) who I am most excited about. I have demonstrated my fantasy love for these athletes by drafting them for at least one (and in many cases, all) of my fantasy teams.
At the end of the season, I will probably look back at this list and say, "Wow, how could I have put this or that player on the list." We will just have to wait and see....