Evan Silva

Goal Line Stand

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Silva's Post-Season Top 150

Monday, January 28, 2013



Sixth Round

61. Tony Gonzalez -- This ranking assumes Gonzo returns for a 17th season. He's repeatedly stated that he plans to retire. Elusive Super Bowl aspirations can change minds, of course, and Gonzalez can still really play. Morphing from a seam-stretcher to more of a power forward-type receiver late in his career, 37-year-old Gonzalez was the No. 3 overall fantasy tight end in 2012.

62. Torrey Smith -- Ala DeSean Jackson, Smith may continue to be plagued by inconsistency as primarily a streak-route runner whose offense doesn't scheme ways to regularly get him the ball on easy completions. Smith was held under 50 yards in nine games this past season. Still, he will remain an early- to mid-round breakout candidate as a third-year receiver who just turned 24.

63. Cecil Shorts -- A savvy, deceptively explosive route runner coming off a breakout year, Shorts scored a touchdown and/or went for 100-plus yards in seven of his final nine games. Producing despite poor quarterback play is the sign of a big-time receiver. While his two 2012 concussions are somewhat concerning, Shorts should be a popular early- to mid-round fantasy pick in 2013.

64. Vernon Davis -- Davis was a colossal disappointment in 2012 with five-year lows in catches (41), yards (548), and touchdowns (5). He ranked 15th in tight end scoring, but there are still reasons for optimism. Undeserving hot target Delanie Walker will likely depart in free agency, and the 49ers' offense reaches its peak only when Davis is a featured receiver. Coach Jim Harbaugh is smart enough to be counted on to fix that problem. Davis could be a value pick in 2013.

65. Greg Jennings -- Jennings' 2013 landing spot will be determined in March as one of this year's top free-agent receivers. Healthy down the stretch of 2012, Jennings led Green Bay in receptions (25), receiving yards (280), and touchdowns (4) over the final four games. Those numbers extrapolate to 100/1,120/16 over a 16-game season, so Jennings has plenty to offer going on age 30. My tentative expectation is that he'll sign with the Dolphins as Ryan Tannehill's No. 1 receiver.

66. Danny Amendola -- In the eight games Amendola played 45 or more snaps last season, he compiled 59 receptions for 579 yards and three touchdowns, good for a 118/1,158/6 line if spread over 16. The fact that Amendola has missed 20-of-32 games the past two seasons should give fantasy owners pause, but he's a major asset whenever in the lineup. Expect the Rams to re-sign Amendola before free agency begins. He is likely to return as Sam Bradford's go-to receiver.

67. Robert Griffin III -- Savvy fantasy drafters realize quarterback depth already devalues the position, and Griffin's January 9 reconstructive knee surgery makes him a red-light health risk for 2013. The Washington Times has called Griffin a PUP candidate, which would cost him the first six games. While optimists can point to Adrian Peterson, RG3 faces extremely long odds of mirroring that recovery. Griffin could still inch back up fantasy draft boards by avoiding offseason setbacks.

68. Jason Witten -- After a slow start due to a freak preseason laceration of his spleen, Witten caught at least six passes in 11 of Dallas' final 13 games. While Witten's playmaking ability (3 TDs, 9.5 yards per catch) leaves something to be desired, he's a solid mid-range fantasy starter with no signs that will change. Witten has been a top-six tight end in five of the past six seasons.

69. Vick Ballard -- While Ballard possesses mediocre running talent, his reliable downhill style and improving versatility are reasons to like the Colts' feature back as low-end RB2/flex. As is Indy's hire of new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, whose Stanford track record suggests he will run a more balanced offense than Bruce Arians. Ballard's workload projects as a big plus for 2013.

70. Willis McGahee -- Already fully recovered from his MCL tear, McGahee will be 100 percent for OTAs. Knowshon Moreno did a mostly admirable job filling in for McGahee down the stretch, but Moreno won't be stealing the Broncos' feature back job. And nor will change-of-pace back Ronnie Hillman. While McGahee will be entering his age-32 season, his pre-injury performance indicates there's plenty of juice left in his tank after finishing as a top-14 back in fantasy points per game.

71. Ryan Williams -- Line play, durability, and workload will be concerns for Williams in 2013, but the addition of Bruce Arians points his arrow up. Arians is a power-running proponent who's never run an offense with a running back as physically gifted as Williams. As both are Virginia Tech alums, Arians also expressed "love" for Williams at his introductory press conference and "lit up" when discussing him. Still only 22, Williams will be among Rotoworld's favorite 2013 sleepers.

72. James Jones -- A fantasy tease his first five seasons in the league, Jones' career appeared to turn a corner in 2012. In addition to leading the NFL in receiving touchdowns, Jones set career highs in catches (64) and yards (784) while dropping just three passes among 98 targets (3.1 percent). By comparison, Jones dropped six balls on 55 targets in 2011 (10.9 percent). With Greg Jennings headed for free agency, Jones is locked into a more consistent role in 2013 as Green Bay's starting outside receiver across from Jordy Nelson, with Randall Cobb stationed in the slot.

Seventh Round

73. Danario Alexander -- Signed off the street in mid-October, Alexander was a godsend for San Diego's inept 2012 offense. Alexander quickly bypassed Malcom Floyd as Philip Rivers' go-to receiver en route to 34 receptions, 597 yards, and seven touchdowns across eight starts, staying healthy for the first time in his career. If Alexander proves truly over the hump with his early-career knee woes, he'll be capable of flirting with top-15 fantasy receiver numbers in 2013.

74. Tony Romo -- Romo has ranked eighth or better in quarterback points in each of his last four full seasons. While he's an annual lock for a four-pick clunker game or two, Romo is consistently a competitive fantasy starter who probably won't put owners over the top but can get them as far as the rest of their weekly lineups take them. The fact that the light has finally flipped on for 24-year-old Dez Bryant is another major plus. Romo will return as a respectable mid-round QB1 pick.

75. Kenny Britt -- Britt didn't put much in the box score or on tape in 2012 that suggests he'll be a surefire 2013 fantasy asset. Three knee surgeries and in-season quarterback change played a role, but Britt simply wasn't the same explosive route runner he flashed in his first three NFL seasons. His upside will still be worth a seventh-round stab in 2013 drafts. If Britt regains form a year removed from the knee woes, he'll offer a top 10-15 receiver ceiling regardless of QB play.

76. T.Y. Hilton -- If you can acquire Hilton at a reasonable cost in your keeper league, now's the time to be aggressive. His price tag will only rise. Displaying dynamic route-running chops and versatility as a rookie, Hilton finished 24th among fantasy wideouts while leading Indianapolis in touchdowns (7) and yards-per-catch average (17.2) -- despite playing only 58 percent of the offensive snaps as a No. 3 receiver. Incumbent starter Donnie Avery is a free agent, and Reggie Wayne is going on 35. Entering the starting lineup, Hilton is an obvious 2013 breakout candidate.

77. Brandon Lloyd -- Although Lloyd fell short of lofty preseason expectations, he still racked up 74 receptions, 911 yards, and four touchdowns while ranking second to only Wes Welker on the Patriots in targets. Lloyd was, in fact, 19th in the NFL in targets, so the "too many mouths to feed" concern doesn't explain his underwhelming production. Chemistry with Tom Brady was more of an issue until Lloyd racked up at least 70 yards and/or a touchdown in four of New England's final six games. If Welker doesn't return, Lloyd will be one of fantasy's top post-hype targets in 2013.

78. Josh Gordon -- Gordon will be a popular breakout pick after showing big-play ability en route to 50 catches, 805 yards, and five touchdowns in a 13-start rookie season. Gordon is a vertical receiver, and new coach Rob Chudzinski is a vertical-passing mind. I wonder how high the hype might inflate Gordon's preseason ADP. I suspect it could extend into the fourth or fifth round.

79. Andrew Luck -- Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' departure is slightly worrisome for Luck's fantasy prospects. While the Colts smartly kept Luck comfortable by luring Pep Hamilton away from Stanford to replace him, Arians' willingness to let his rookie quarterback attempt the NFL's fifth most passes will be missed in the box score. Hamilton and David Shaw ran a balanced, ball-control offense. Luck should be a better quarterback in 2013, but not necessarily better in fantasy.

80. Ahmad Bradshaw -- The Giants are currently in the process of determining whether Bradshaw is worth retaining at his $3.75 million salary. While still effective on the field -- 4.59 YPC in 2012 -- Bradshaw's chronic feet and ankle injuries make him a weekly question mark for game day, and coaches get fed up with players who don't practice. Bradshaw will likely return for one more year with the G-Men, but 2012 first-rounder David Wilson will get every opportunity to snatch his job.

81. Denarius Moore -- Moore registered at least 66 yards and/or a touchdown in each of his first eight games of 2012, before a mysterious late-season cliff drop. He was benched at one point for dropping passes and didn't reach 50 yards again after Week 10. Moore will be a third-year receiver in 2013, and new OC Greg Olson's offense leans on the intermediate to deep passing games, which is where Moore thrives. Still only 24, we haven't seen the best of Moore yet.

82. Miles Austin -- Still a reliable possession wideout, lower-leg injuries have cost Austin burst and big-play ability, and he no longer offers much fantasy upside. He's now the third option in Dallas' passing offense, behind Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. While there's a good chance Austin can again hover in the 25th to 30th fantasy receiver range, he no longer gives his owners an edge.

83. Mark Ingram -- Understandably written off by fantasy leaguers after a disappointing rookie year and thoroughly putrid first half of 2012, Ingram found a rhythm on an expanded role down the stretch. Over the final nine games, the 2011 first-rounder racked up 468 yards and four TDs on 109 carries (4.29 YPC), averaging nearly 13 touches per week. If restricted free agent Chris Ivory or release candidate Pierre Thomas leaves New Orleans, Ingram's workload could expand in Sean Payton's return year. Payton played a leading role in trading up to draft Ingram two Aprils ago.

84. Sidney Rice -- The major concern for Rice entering 2012 was health. He went on to play 18-of-18 games, including the playoffs, but still ranked a middling 30th in receiver scoring. Rice's stats didn't improve much even when Seattle opened up its offense late in the year, as Russell Wilson spread the ball around. Rice is still intriguing because he's the Seahawks' best receiver, Wilson will only get better, and the passing game will continue to get more aggressive. While it seems like Rice has been around forever, he'll have just turned 27 when the 2013 season starts.

Eighth Round

85. Ben Tate -- Although Tate did literally nothing in 2012 to increase his own fantasy stock, his value has always been dependent on Arian Foster. And Foster is returning from a massive workload, leading the NFL with 351 carries plus 54 more in the playoffs. Foster touched the ball an unruly 460 times during the 2012-13 season. His per-play production dipped significantly down the stretch. Although Tate has been injury prone, he'd be a top-ten running back option if Foster broke down. When healthy, Tate is a physical tackle breaker with impressive speed and burst.

86. Jeremy Maclin -- I'd feel more confident ranking Maclin if I knew who his quarterback will be. We also have very little idea of the type of offense Chip Kelly will run in Philadelphia. Expect it to be fast paced and run based, but details won't emerge before OTAs. What we do know about Maclin is that he's entering a contract year and does not play with enough physicality or aggressiveness to be considered a No. 1-caliber receiver. He's a middle-round fantasy player.

87. DeSean Jackson -- See Maclin. We don't know anything substantive about new coach Chip Kelly's offense, nor do we know the quarterback. What we do know: Jackson was quietly on pace for one of the most consistent seasons of his career in 2012, before fracturing two ribs in late November. He is a home-run hitter with the ball in his hands, and Kelly's forte is getting his best players into space. Jackson is a mid-round fantasy pick and candidate to rise in the preseason.

88. Stevie Johnson -- Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett's Syracuse offenses upped the tempo with a fast-paced no-huddle offense, but they were always decidedly run based. Over Marrone's four seasons, the Orange averaged just 401.5 pass attempts compared to 465 runs. The Bills will implement a run-first offense, and GM Buddy Nix has spoken openly of acquiring a "big-time outside receiver," with Johnson moving into the slot. He projects as a low-upside WR3 in 2013.

89. Ben Roethlisberger -- It's easy to forget Roethlisberger was on pace for statistical career highs across the board before his debilitating Week 10 rib and shoulder injuries. He proved a great fit in his first season of Todd Haley's quick-hitting, completion-friendly offense, and theoretically should be even better in year two. The greatest 2013 concerns for Roethlisberger are the likely departure of free agent deep threat Mike Wallace and featured tight end Heath Miller's blown-out knee.

90. Michael Turner -- First-year OC Dirk Koetter significantly scaled back Turner's role in his 2012 offense, and probably would've phased out the fading back altogether had Atlanta possessed a viable alternative. Instead, a 50:50 committee with Jacquizz Rodgers ensued, and neither finished in the top-15 fantasy backs despite the Falcons' top-eight offensive ranking. An almost certain cap casualty, Turner will have a slow free agent market at age 31 with zero passing-game chops.

91. Rashard Mendenhall -- The Steelers don't want Mendenhall back, but he's talented and young enough (26 in June) to land on his feet as the lead back in a committee. BenJarvus Green-Ellis found a feature back job on half the running ability of Mendenhall. Arizona could be a possibility with former Pittsburgh OC Bruce Arians. Of course, that would bode poorly for Ryan Williams.

92. Reggie Bush -- Another free agent back, Bush predictably faded in his first real opportunity to be a full-time feature runner. He battled injuries and fell into a midseason committee with Daniel Thomas, before closing strong. Bush's best landing spot for playing time would be back in Miami, but the Dolphins don't seem inclined to meet his asking price. We'll know more about Bush's fantasy prospects when he finds a new home. He's at his best on around 15-19 touches a game.

93. Eli Manning -- Eli's fantasy quarterback ranking (15th) was his worst since his rookie year and a huge disappointment after three straight top-ten finishes. Multiple injuries to Hakeem Nicks and Martellus Bennett rendered the Giants' offense easier to defend, and Manning's old accuracy woes became an issue again. He's still more likely to rebound as a low-end fantasy starter than continue down a slippery slope. Manning should be able to keep owners competitive in 2013.

94. Jacquizz Rodgers -- Hype will be hot and heavy when Michael Turner is released, but I'd bet against "Quizz" ever getting the opportunity to be Atlanta's feature back. If the Falcons believed Rodgers had workhorse capability, he would've replaced Turner in 2012. OC Dirk Koetter was practically begging Rodgers to do it. He couldn't, failing to hit 4.0 yards per carry for the second straight year. Rodgers is a strong change-of-pace and passing-down back. He'll move down this list when the Falcons acquire a runner with more juice and pile-pushing power to replace Turner.

95. Joe Flacco -- It was Cam Cameron alright. Leading up to Super Bowl XLVII, Flacco compiled a 15:3 TD-to-INT ratio across his previous seven games while operating coolly in the pocket and throwing the football with confidence. Jim Caldwell coordinated Baltimore's offense for six of those seven. Flacco could benefit from another weapon outside the numbers to book end Torrey Smith, but it might matter less with Caldwell calling plays. Flacco's best fantasy years are ahead of him.

96. DeAngelo Williams -- Williams lost over a yard off his 2011 yards-per-carry average while failing to capitalize on Jonathan Stewart's injuries to become a solid fantasy starter. Williams' short-area explosion has evaporated going on age 30, and he's no lock to return to the Panthers. Perhaps Carolina will decide to simply sever ties with a declining back owed $4.75 million.

Ninth Round

97. BenJarvus Green-Ellis -- Although Green-Ellis came on a bit down the stretch as the Bengals' run blocking found a late-season groove, all in all he was one of the primary downfalls of the 2012 Cincinnati offense. Andy Dalton needs an effective run game to succeed, and Green-Ellis isn't talented enough to provide it. OC Jay Gruden was well aware, at different points looking for ways to lessen Law Firm's role in favor of Bernard Scott, and later Cedric Peerman. The Bengals will add backfield talent this spring. Green-Ellis, ideally, would return as a short-yardage pounder only.

98. Bilal Powell -- Powell wore No. 29 and Shonn Greene donned 23, and on tape they were often difficult to tell apart. Powell is slightly slimmer, can at least function in the pass game, and every once in a while recognizes a cutback lane. He's better than Greene, but not by much. Greene is expected to walk in free agency, leaving Powell as the current favorite to start at running back for the Jets in 2013. Powell will fall down this list if they add a better back in free agency or the draft.

99. Justin Blackmon -- Blackmon's college game tape didn't lie. He is a somewhat stiff receiver who lacks vertical tools, but is a bull to tackle after the catch and got better as his rookie year moved along. Blackmon will likely be a popular WR3 pick in 2013 fantasy drafts. New Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch's West Coast system suits Blackmon's skill set, and he could prove a mid- to late-round fantasy steal if Fisch scrounges up some competent quarterback play.

100. Mike Williams -- While it was nice to see Williams take a career step forward after 2011's big step back, it's difficult to rely on his lofty touchdown rate as we look ahead. He scored nine TDs on just 63 receptions in a year where quarterback Josh Freeman didn't play remotely as well as his box-score stats indicated, before a late-season collapse. The last time drafters gambled on Williams to repeat a huge scoring rate, he was bust the following season. In 2012, Williams topped 65 yards just once in games he didn't find pay dirt. He could be overvalued in 2013 drafts.

101. Anquan Boldin -- Boldin's separation skills faded years ago, but he still regularly wins 50:50 balls and is virtually impossible for one defensive back to bring down after the catch. A highlight reel-filled playoff run confirms Boldin can still play, but 2013 will be his age-33 season and the Ravens need to start seriously considering drafting his replacement. He'll be a WR4 in 2013.

102. Golden Tate -- Tate isn't going to overtake Sidney Rice as Seattle's No. 1 receiver, but he's in a similar boat as a pedestrian 2012 fantasy player who could experience a 2013 leap. The Seahawks will play more aggressively on offense, and Tate is an ascending, 24-year-old receiver with sneaky playmaking ability. He's still unlikely to be consistently start-able in 2013 lineups.

103. Jermichael Finley -- After a miserable first half of the season, Finley came on a bit by topping 60 yards in five of the final seven games. In January, he disappeared again with five catches for 45 yards combined in Green Bay's two playoff games. He's rarely targeted near the end zone and has lost Aaron Rodgers' trust due to dropped passes. Finley maintains all the ability in the world, but he's still being drafted in fantasy leagues on potential. It's a gamble to let someone else take.

104. Lance Moore -- A savvy route runner who consistently and accurately identifies soft spots in zone coverage, Moore zoomed to a career-high 1,041 yards in 2012 as Jimmy Graham battled a drop-causing wrist injury and Devery Henderson was phased out of the offense. Moore lacks better than WR3 upside, but he's never a poor fantasy start. He'll be a borderline starter in 2013.

105. Kendall Wright -- Wright was a downfield playmaker with Robert Griffin III at Baylor, but the Titans oddly insisted on using him as an underneath possession receiver, catching screens and swings. He led Tennessee in receptions (64), but averaged under ten yards a catch and only reached pay dirt four times. Receivers often play faster in their second seasons, and Wright is still long on talent and big-play ability. The 2012 first-round pick has some breakout potential for 2013.

106. Dennis Pitta -- Pitta broke out in 2012 to finish as the No. 7 fantasy tight end, showing outstanding hands and route-running chops despite lacking vertical speed. He only cleared 75 yards once all season. Pitta's bigger games tended to coincide with quiet ones from slot receiver Anquan Boldin, as both players work the middle of the field. Pitta will return as a mid-range to back-end fantasy starter, but offers some upside should Boldin fall off in his age-33 season.

107. Owen Daniels -- Daniels finished as a top-eight fantasy tight end, even as multiple nagging injuries sapped his production down the stretch. He didn't clear 45 yards in any of the Texans' final six games. Daniels did return for a highly productive postseason, but Houston is likely to prioritize finding a more explosive complementary pass catcher for Andre Johnson this offseason. Daniels figures to return as a low-end TE1 not worth targeting until the middle to late rounds.

108. Shane Vereen -- With Danny Woodhead scheduled for free agency, Vereen has a chance to take over as New England's primary passing-down back. That position can translate to better fantasy numbers than you might think. Woodhead quietly finished 25th in 2012 running back scoring, and Vereen has more playmaking ability. This ranking will drop if Woodhead re-signs.


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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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