Ahhhh yes. Can you feel it? That feeling that you are now feeling because I asked you to feel it, is the impending fantasy football season.
Now if you’re like me you act all cool when people ask you about it, usually claiming this is the year you don’t buy any magazines (even though you already have 2, you need something to read on the can instead of your wife’s In Style after all) . It’s cool, I usually feign ignorance to even the most high profile players, mispronouncing their names and assigning them to the wrong team. All the while I am digging like a wild baboon for obscure sleepers. Yep, I’m one sneeky son of a gun. Ironically, this whole charade is entirely pointless seeing as all my brosephs KNOW that I’m a whore for fake football. Sigh.
So what does this mean to you?
It means I plan to profile obscure sleepers that contain that rare blend of talent, opportunity, and motivation. Anybody who has played FF for years knows that you can count on rounds 1-2 underperforming, 3-8 being the most important, and 9-15 winning you a championship if you do your research. You will notice that in an attempt to separate myself from “conventional fantasy wisdom” I will often profile players that have been exiled from the collective group-think. My opinions/predictions will be unorthodox and sprinkled with hyperbole, all the while based on fact/experience. If nothing else it should be a good read and provoke some thought even if that thought is, “dude this blog sucks let’s get some glow sticks and go to Alexa’s Rave!!!”
The fantasy community is cautiously optimistic about Hightower. For every TD run he rips off in preseason the usual fantasy writers are quick to point to his history of fumbleitis and their lack of trust in Shanahan. Nobody really wants to publicly endorse High’s for fear they will be looked down on by the fantasy community. I could care less.
Talent: He has more than you think. I know at first glance he doesn’t have sexy game breaking speed. But he does a lot of things extremely well. Things that coaches love. Such as: running north/south, receiving out of the backfield, reading blockers and making one good cut, and last but CERTAINLY not least, dude can pass protect like a beast. This translates to increased 3rd down touches which turns into more opportunities. His history of fumbling doesn’t concern me because it can be coached and improved with better technique.
Opportunity: Again, he has more than you think. Recent history paints a misleading picture of Shanahan. If you dig deeper and start analyzing his years in Denver and his first couple in Washington. You see a coach who PREFERS a primary back who is multi-faceted. Shanahan is known for a run-heavy variation of the West Coast offense he coached way back in San Francisco. He has often found unheralded rb’s from later rounds and then turned them into league-leading rushers behind small-but-powerful offensive lines. Examples of this phenomenon are Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary, Clinton Portis, Reuben Droughns and Tatum Bell, all of whom have had at least one 1,000-yard season in a Denver uniform over the past 10 years. No reason why Hightower couldn’t join this group.
Motivation: As a fantasy footballer, if you haven’t noticed the typical spike in numbers across the board when a rb in his prime switches teams, then I would suggest another hobby. Possibly quilting or cow-tipping. Whether it’s the desire to gain respect from new teammates, to be in an organization that WANTED you and has a vested interest in seeing you do well, or both, traded rb’s tend to do really very well. (see 2006-7 Chester Taylor, 2004-6 Clinton Portis, 2007-8 Jamal Lewis, 2008-9 Michael Turner, and the list goes on….)
Add this all up and…..
Prediction: TIM HIGHTOWER WILL BE A TOP 20 RB IN STANDARD FORMATS AND A TOP 15 RB IN PPR
Stat Projections: 230+ carries 50+ recs 1400+ total yards 6+ tds