AFC East Fantasy Preview – Part 2

Fantasy Football Fantasy Football Projections

By Guest Writer Matt Campion:

Wide Receivers:

 

1. Mike Wallace – Miami Dolphins      mikewallace

Acquiring Mike Wallace was a huge win for the Dolphins because his style should pair up perfectly with quarterback Ryan Tannehill.  Tannehill struggled at times in his first season, but also showed plenty of potential and a big arm capable of making any throw.  Enter Mike Wallace, widely regarded as the best deep threat in the game.  The classic pairing of the speedy deep threat receiver with the big arm quarterback will result in plenty of touchdowns for the two players in 2013.  Think of it like Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper in Minnesota.  Wallace isn’t as good as Moss was, but I think Tannehill will be a bit better than Culpepper.  To fully understand how much Wallace will impact Tannehill, consider the fact that Wallace has scored at least eight touchdowns in every season other than his rookie year.  Last season, Miami wide receivers combined for a total of three receiving touchdowns.

Projected 2013 statistics: 1,050 receiving yards, 8 touchdowns 

 

2. Danny Amendola – New England Patriots

Amendola is a very intriguing prospect with tons of upside.  In the nine games he fully participated in last season with the Rams, he averaged 10.6 targets per game.  Projecting that number to a sixteen game season would give him 169 targets, good for fifth in the NFL in 2012.  His statistics should improve in 2013 because he’ll have more talent around him.  Moving from Sam Bradford and the Rams to Tom Brady and the Patriots would be a dream come true for any receiver.  His role should be expanded due to New England’s sudden lack of depth at receiver and tight end.  Amendola enters as the immediate number one option for Tom Brady, giving him potential to be the top fantasy wide receiver in 2013.

Projected 2013 statistics: 1,100 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns

 

3. Stevie Johnson – Buffalo Bills

Usually when a proven receiver is entering a season with a rookie quarterback, the receiver’s draft stock should drop.  Fortunately for Johnson, we can assume EJ Manuel is already at least as good as former starters Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards.  Through all of the poor quarterback play in Buffalo in recent seasons, Johnson has remained extremely consistent.  Still just 26 years old (he turns 27 on July 22nd), he has now completed three consecutive thousand-yard seasons.  His season will mostly depend on the success of Manuel, but like we’ve seen in the past, his worst-case scenario (if healthy) is 1,000 yards, so we can only imagine his best.

Projected 2013 statistics: 1,000 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns 

 

4. Santonio Holmes – New York Jets

Holmes missed three quarters of the 2012 season due to a Lisfranc injury (bone inside the foot).  Despite having to rely on Mark Sanchez to get him the ball, Santonio looked impressive the week before his injury, catching nine passes for 147 yards.  Holmes has a huge effect on the Jets as their unquestioned number one target.  The Jets started 2-1 in the three games Holmes played in full, and lost nine of the remaining thirteen games while Holmes was injured.  Whether the starting quarterback in Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith, Holmes will finish with the most receiving yards on the team if healthy, and is a decent option for a third wide receiver in fantasy football.

Projected 2013 statistics: 750 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns

 

Tight Ends:

1. Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots     gronk_needsresized

After undergoing multiple offseason surgeries on his back and forearm, “Gronk” was placed on the preseason Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.  It is unknown if he will be healthy enough to play in the season opener, but most people believe he will play at least the majority of the season.  Gronkowski is so much better than the other tight ends in the AFC East that he could miss half of the season and still finish with comparable numbers to the second best.  Assuming he only continues to get healthier, he will be at his best at the end of the season, in the fantasy playoffs.  His fantasy draft stock may fall due to the injury, but he could be the critical part in a playoff run.  For a non-playoff bound team, he could reverse fortunes by acting as very attractive trade bait when he gets healthy, potentially allowing an owner to acquire multiple position upgrades.  In the past two seasons, Gronk has 28 touchdowns in the 27 games he has played.  His end zone proficiency makes him the top tight end in fantasy football when healthy.

Projected 2013 statistics: 850 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns 

 

2. Dustin Keller – Miami Dolphins

Keller appeared poised for a strong 2012 before injuries “saved” him from the frustration of playing the full year with a regressed Mark Sanchez.  In 2011, he finally looked like a former first round pick, catching 65 passes for 815 yards and 5 touchdowns.  Keller should benefit greatly from the change of scenery, having more room to operate in the middle of the field while Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline command attention on the outside.  As stated in the Mike Wallace explanation, the wide receivers for the Dolphins scored only three touchdowns in 2012.  Somehow, tight end Anthony Fasano caught five touchdowns alone, proving Ryan Tannehill’s affinity for targeting his tight end in the red zone.  I expect Keller to be very involved in the offense and set career highs in most, if not all, receiving categories.

Projected 2013 statistics: 800 receiving yards, 7 touchdowns 

 

3. Scott Chandler – Buffalo Bills

Chandler is a very respectable backup or a low-end starter in most fantasy leagues.  He’s like a worse Vernon Davis in that he scores in bunches and is very inconsistent.  In the past two seasons, Chandler has three multi-touchdown games.  He also has nineteen games in that span where he failed to score a touchdown.  This is the kind of player that could lead tight ends in fantasy points after four weeks and still not finish in the top twenty.  If you are starting him because your other tight end is injured or on a bye week, just know that you’re just as likely to get 30 yards and no touchdowns as you are to get 70 yards and two touchdowns.

Projected 2013 statistics: 600 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns 

 

4. Kellen Winslow – New York Jets

This position realistically goes to the winner of the preseason battle between Winslow and Jeff Cumberland.  I expect Winslow to win because of his experience and accomplishments.  Cumberland is unproven, and Winslow has always been serviceable when healthy.  Both options have big question marks: health for Winslow, and talent for Cumberland.  I wouldn’t recommend drafting either unless one of them proves they can put up legitimate numbers.  Don’t worry; they’ll both be around as free agents in pretty much any league.

Projected 2013 statistics: 400 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns

 

 


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