Adam Levitan

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The All-Value team

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In most leagues, only two teams are left standing. The insatiable appetite for the latest news on which Jaguar is starting at running back this week has died down. Heck, Week 15 even lacked the usual double spoonful of soul-crushing injuries.

Therefore, it seems like a good time to take a quick look back at 2012 and a glance to 2013. So with that, I present this year's All-Value team.

By Value, I mean production in relation to Average Draft Position (ADP).

Yet another poster boy for the "wait on a quarterback" drafting theory. Even though Griffin has missed one full game and parts of two others, he's fantasy's No. 3 quarterback -- ahead of Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. Only Tom Brady and Cam Newton are ahead of him. RG3 is the latest reminder that any quarterback with difference-making running ability should be selected higher than we think on draft day.
2013 CANDIDATE: RG3 is a once-in-a-generation kind of talent. Which, by definition, means we won't be seeing a repeat here. The easy comparison will be West Virginia's Geno Smith, but that's not even close. Smith rushed 63 times for just 155 yards with two touchdowns this season while his team went 7-5.

Colin Kaepernick isn't an option because his hype machine will be flying off the tracks by 2013 draft season. So I submit Michael Vick, who would look awful nice in a running quarterback friendly offense in Buffalo.

I'm really not sure why Martin's ADP slipped to the third or fourth round. He was a talented three-down back playing for a run-first coach. We knew LeGarrette Blount was not a threat as a subpar talent. Of course, four of Martin's 10 rushing touchdowns and 251 of his 1,250 yards came in one game. And he laid a monstrous egg in Week 15. But still, the rookie is currently fantasy's No. 3 back in half-PPR formats.
2013 CANDIDATE: A rookie running back that can play all three downs and immediately step in as a team's workhorse? How about North Carolina's Giovani Bernard, who missed the 2010 season due to a torn ACL but averaged 6.7 YPC this season at 5'10/205.

Don't sleep on rookie quarterbacks. And never -- ever -- ignore a Mike Shanahan backfield. Even if we don't know exactly who will be running the ball for Shanny, we know they will be successful. So on the chance we hit one, we have gold. And Morris certainly hit. The unknown sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic has six 100-yard games, nine touchdowns and 20 or more carries in eight outings.
2013 CANDIDATE: The key here is obviously the scheme, so unless Mike Shanahan duplicates himself or Morris vanishes out of the picture, there will be no 2013 candidate. But Alabama's Eddie Lacy is a power back that runs through arm tackles and doesn't do much in the passing game, much like Morris.

In half-PPR formats, Marshall is the No. 1 wideout thanks to a league-leading 107 catches. He has some kind of man love thing going on with Jay Cutler -- which turned out to be a perfect fit because the Bears insisted on using Devin Hester as their No. 2 wideout for much of the year.
2013 CANDIDATE: Marshall was a supremely talented wideout that left Matt Moore for Jay Cutler during the offseason. Dwayne Bowe's contract is up, making him a decent bet to be leaving Matt Cassel/Brady Quinn for greener pastures.

Even if Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson weren't battling injuries for much of the year, Cobb would have broken out. Sometimes we see these guys that are quicker, faster and more elusive than other NFL players. Like Percy Harvin and C.J. Spiller. Cobb is in that category.
2013 CANDIDATE: Cobb certainly benefited from the aforementioned injuries, but it's his raw talent that made the Packers carve out a weekly role for him. It's easy to see T.Y. Hilton making this leap in 2013. He'll also be in his second season after spending his rookie year as a third receiver and explosive return man.

I never target players that I feel have already peaked. Gonzalez is one guy that's been able to prove that strategy wrong. In his age-36 season, T-Gonz is fantasy's No. 1 tight end, and it's not even close. Even if defenses are doubling Julio Jones/Roddy White and daring Gonzalez to beat them, it's still an impressive feat.
2013 CANDIDATE: Jason Witten is another tight end whose ADP drops annually because he's not an exciting pick. I'm certainly guilty of this. But if we're talking any kind of PPR format, Witten will be a value play even though he'll turn 31 in May.



Mark Sanchez has been benched. Tebow time, right? Nope. The Jets are going with Greg McElroy and Tebow reportedly wants out of New York. ... Even though Rashard Mendenhall is back with the Steelers, he's not expected to have a real role this week. Jonathan Dwyer is the starter and Isaac Redman is the backup. ... Felix Jones played just five snaps last week. He's gone after the season. ... The Broncos have no plans to rest any of their starters in the final two games, not even Peyton Manning. ... Vernon Davis admitted he doesn't have chemistry with Colin Kaepernick. Ya think?

Ahmad Bradshaw (knee) is guaranteeing he'll play Sunday. Tom Coughlin doesn't sound so sure. ... Michael Bush (ribs) is done for the year. Matt Forte will keep getting goal-line chances -- a role he's struggled in of late. ... Clay Harbor (back) is done for the year. Brent Celek (concussion) is expected back this week. ... Rashad Jennings (concussion) has a chance to get cleared for this week. He'd split time with Montell Owens.

Coach Mike Shanahan says Robert Griffin III (knee) will have to be 100 percent in order to play in Sunday's game against the Eagles. Expect another late-week decision, but I'd guess RG3 plays. Grade 1 LCL sprains are usually 1-2 week injuries. ... Malcom Floyd (ankle) is done for the year. Robert Meachem will get some snaps, but he remains off the radar. ... Sidney Rice is expected to play in Sunday's showdown with the Niners, but his foot remains sore. ... Kendall Wright cracked a rib on Monday night.

Adding a different D/ST each week based on matchups is a fine strategy. Here are three units that might be on waivers to consider for streaming purposes.

* For more waiver thoughts at all positions, check out Chris Wesseling's latest here.

1. COLTS at Chiefs: Last week, Kansas City went to Oakland and got shut out. The week before that, they mustered seven points against the Browns. Now they're considering giving third-stringer Ricky Stanzi a look as an evaluation game. Stanzi is a fifth-round pick from 2011 that has never played a snap in a regular-season game.

2. BEARS at Cardinals: The Bears' D/ST has been among the best fantasy units all year, but they've given up at least 21 points in three straight games and could have been dropped thanks to last week's matchup with the Packers. Scoop 'em back up. The Cardinals laid a 38-spot on the Lions last week, but that was mostly defense and special teams. The Bears are much sharper.

3. CHARGERS at Jets: Speculators on the Chargers D/ST probably should be upset that Mark Sanchez has been benched. But the air is completely out of the Jets now with playoff hopes crushed and Greg McElroy starting.

Adam Levitan is in his seventh season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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