Posts Tagged ‘touchdown’

Receivers are becoming very useful in Fantasy Football over the past few years since most teams are becoming “pass first” teams.  There are some fantasy teams who will draft a receiver first especially if they are in a high passing offense like the Lions or Broncos.  There is still a few months before the season even starts, but it is still a good time to get an idea of what receivers are going to be beneficial to your fantasy team.  Just like with running backs there are a lot of players on new teams so before you draft a receiver make sure you think about who is throwing them the ball and who is protecting the QB.  It doesn’t matter how good a WR is; if the QB cant get them the ball then they are useless.

1. Calvin Johnson – Lions
2. Demaryius Thomas – Broncos
3. Brandon Marshall – Bears
4. Julio Jones – Falcons
5. AJ Green – Bengals
6. Dez Bryant – Cowboys
7. Alshon Jeffery – Bears
8. Jordy Nelson – Packers
9. Antonio Brown – Steelers
10. Randall Cobb – Packers
11. Larry Fitzgerald – Cardinals
12. Michael Crabtree – 49ers
13. Pierre Garcon – Redskins
14. Andre Johnson – Texans
15. Vincent Jackson – Bucs
16. Keenan Allen – Chargers
17. Julian Edelman – Patriots
18. Wes Welker – Broncos
19. Victor Cruz – Giants
20. Roddy White – Falcons
21. Percy Harvin – Seahawks
22. DeSean Jackson – Redskins
23. Golden Tate – Lions
24. Emmanuel Sanders – Broncos
25. Michael Floyd – Cardinals
26. Mike Wallace – Dolphins
27. Kendall Wright – Titans
28. Jeremy Maclin – Eagles
29. Torrey Smith – Ravens
30. Marques Colston – Saints
31. Reggie Wayne – Colts
32. Eric Decker – Jets
33. Terrance Williams – Cowboys
34. TY Hilton – Colts
35. Dwayne Bowe – Chiefs
36. Riley Cooper – Eagles
37. Greg Jennings – Vikings
38. Sammy Watkins – Bills
39. Anquan Boldin – 49ers
40. Mike Evans – Bucs

Now obviously there are a lot more receivers; but after this point in a draft it is really hit or miss with these guys.  I remember in 2013 most people didn’t even know who Alshon Jeffery was, and now he is going to be one of the better receivers in 2014.  You can always find sleepers in this category; you just need to have an understanding of what team they play for and the type of offense they are in.  Remember, if its a young QB under center or even a new QB its hard to really rely on that QB to get the ball to the receivers consistently.  I am not saying they cant, but its a reach to think otherwise.  Also, don’t ever underestimate how good or bad an offensive line is.  If the offensive line cant protect the QB, then obviously the receivers are not going to get many looks. 

Advertisements

For the first time in my blog I am not concerned about NFL stats; I am concerned about how the players played in college.  College football has had almost 150 seasons of different players from all around the country.  Obviously its hard to really say who the best college football players are/were, so the way I am doing this is I am just going to list players who I feel had incredible college careers.  It doesn’t matter what school you went to, what years you played, or how many championships you won; all I care about is how did you perform in those short years that they were in college.  I am sure there will be players that are not on this list, but I will do my best to outline who I feel had the best college careers.

Herschel Walker RB Georgia – From the first time he touched the ball he was impressive.  Just in his freshman year he rushed for 1,891 yards and 18 TDs.  Also, as a freshman he finished second in the Heisman race being beat out by Marcus Allen.  As a freshman he was a huge part in leading the Bulldogs to a National Title.  There was not a time where Walker failed to impress; even his work ethic was better than you could find in any other player.  As a junior he won the Heisman Trophy by rushing for 1,752 yards and 16 TDs.  There are few players who could even come close to the career that Walker had and earned his spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Archie Griffin RB Ohio State – Griffin is the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner and he delivered some epic performances.  Between the years of 1972 and 1975 Griffin rushed for more than 1,400 yards in 3 seasons; just in his junior year he rushed for 1,695 yards and 12 TDs.  By the time he ended his college career he totaled up 36 TDs, 5,589 rushing yards, and averaged 6 yards per carry.  There is still yet to be another player to win two Heisman trophies and during his time; there was no better RB than Griffin.

Barry Sanders RB Oklahoma State – Obviously cant have this list without including Barry.  All I need to say is “The 1988 season” and people will know what I am taking about.  Just in 1988, Sanders rushed for an amazing 2,850 yards, 37 TDs, averaged 7.6 yards per carry, and averaged 237.5 rushing yards per game.  He also easily won the Heisman Trophy during the 1988 season and it was well deserved.  I dare you to find a better season for a RB then that; and after that season Barry went pro. 

Tony Dorsett RB Pittsburgh – He was not the biggest guy on the field, but he knew how to make people miss.  Tony led the Panthers to the 1976 National Title and won the Heisman Trophy in the process.  Dorsett made first-team All-American three times and when he graduated he had rushed for 6.082 yards which was a record that stood until 1998.  Dorsett also still hold numerous team records and made the College Football Hall of Fame. 

Bo Jackson RB Auburn – “Bo Knows”.  Between the years of 1982 and 1985; Jackson terrorized defenses across the country.  In the 4 years Bo played at Auburn he totaled up 4,303 rushing yards, 43 TDs, and averaged 6.6 yards per carry.  His best season came in 1985 when he rushed for 1,786 yards in a season which earned him the Heisman Trophy.  After he retired the University of Auburn retired his number and named him to the college Hall of Fame.

Amazon.com Widgets

Me and some of my buddies are always trying to figure out who we would pick if we were to draft our own “Dream Team”.  The question normally is “who would you want on your team if you could build any defense?”  We do this for offense too; but that will be a different post.  There have been so many great defensive players that have played so it is very hard to choose the best of the best because everyone is always going to have their own opinions who the best players are.  You cant just go off of stats because some players are still young; or played in a different era when the game was different then it is today.  The way that I am choosing my players is based off stats, Pro Bowls, impact on the game, and presence on and off the field.  Its fun to think about how some of these players would play together, and we can always wonder, but all these players that I am about to list have made a huge impact on the game of football

+DEFENSIVE LINEMAN+

Defensive lineman include defensive tackles and defensive ends.  Without a group of solid defensive lineman you are going to have a defense that will get torn apart by the run and the pass.  Defensive lineman are the big guys that plug up holes in the running game; and put pressure on the passing game.  Below are just a few players I would love to have on my defensive line.  I know there are a lot of players not on this list, but these are the players that I would personally choose.

1. Reggie White (Packers)- 13 Pro Bowls, 1,112 tackles, 198 sacks, NFL Sack Leader twice, NFC Defensive Player of the Year 3 times
2. Bruce Smith (Bills) – 11 Pro Bowls, 1,225 tackles, 200 Sacks, Defensive Player of Year 2 times, Record Holder for Sacks
3. Cortez Kennedy (Seahawks) –  8 Pro Bowls, 668 tackles, 58 sacks, NFL Defensive Player of the Year
4. John Randle (Vikings) – 7 Pro Bowls, 556 tackles, 137.5 sacks, 1990s All-Decade Team
5. Warren Sapp (Bucs) – 7 Pro Bowls, 573 tackles, 96.5 sacks, 19 forced fumbles, NFL Defensive Player of the Year
6. Joe Greene (Steelers) – 10 Pro Bowls, 78.5 sacks, Defensive Rookie of the Year, NFL Defensive Player of the Year 2 times
7. Michael Strahan (Giants) – 7 Pro Bowls, 854 tackles, 141.5 sacks, Most Sacks in a Season Record (22.5), NFL Defensive Player of the Year
8. Richard Dent – 4 Pro Bowls, 137.5 sacks, 8 interceptions, Super Bowl MVP

+LINEBACKERS+

This is the meat of any defense.  The linebackers are like the quarterback of the defensive unit.  Linebackers are meant to be tough players that are fast, big, and needs great vision.  They need to be able to stop the run and be able to drop into pass coverage and cover the pass.  I know that the people I choose here would not be the same as others because there are some notable people who are missing.  The linebackers I am choosing I think are the best to ever play and when you pair them up with the defensive lineman I have chosen it would be beautiful to watch.

1. Ray Lewis (Ravens) – 13 Pro Bowls, 2,061 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 31 INT, 2x NFL Defensive Player of the Year
2. Lawrence Taylor (Giants) – 10 Pro Bowls, 1,088 tackles, 132.5 sacks, 3x NFL Defensive Player of the Year
3. Jack Lambert (Steelers) – 9 Pro Bowls, 1,479 tackles, 23.5 sacks, 28 INT, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
4. Patrick Willis (49ers) – 6 Pro Bowls, 839 tackles, 15 forced fumbles, NFL Rookie of the Year, 3x Linebacker of the Year
5. Derrick Thomas (Chiefs) – 9 Pro Bowls, 642 tackles, 126.5 sacks, 6 Chiefs Records, NFL Record 7 Sacks in a single game
6. Mike Singletary (Bears) – 10 Pro Bowls, 1,488 tackles, 2x NFL Defensive Player of the Year
7. Junior Seau (Chargers) – 12 Pro Bowls, 1,849 tackles, 56.5 sacks, 18 INT, NFL Defensive Player of the Year

+DEFENSIVE BACKS+

These are the speedy guys who mostly cover passes; but can come up and smack you if need be.  Most people think that defensive backs are small guys who can run fast; but those people are very wrong.  Most of these guys are as big as fullbacks and as fast as receivers.  On a defensive unit the defensive backs can make or break a game especially in the pass game.  Quarterbacks are always reading what the safety and corners are doing and they are going to be the players that get most of the interceptions, but the better they cover the receivers the more sacks the defensive lineman get.  Then you get some defensive backs who play just like linebackers and can completely take over a defense and make them better than then average defense.

1. Ronnie Lott (49ers) – 10 Pro Bowls, 63 INT, 1980s All-Decade Team, 1990s All-Decade Team
2. Deron Cherry (Chiefs) – 6 Pro Bowls, 50 INT, AFC Defensive Player of the Year, 1980s All-Decade Team
3. Rod Woodson (Steelers) – 11 Pro Bowls, NFL Defensive Player of the Year, NFL Record 12 INT for touchdowns
4. Darrell Green (Redskins) – 7 Pro Bowls, 1,159 tackles, 54 INT, 4x NFL Fastest Man Winner, 20 NFL Seasons
5. John Lynch (Bucs) – 9 Pro Bowls, 1,058 tackles, 26 INT, 13 sacks
6. Charles Woodson (Packers/Raiders) – 8 Pro Bowls, 752 tackles, 56 INT, 13 TDs, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, NFL Defensive Player of the Year
7. Brian Dawkins (Eagles) – 9 Pro Bowls, 1,131 tackles, 37 INT, 26 sacks, 2000s All-Decade Team
8. Troy Polamalu (Steelers) – 7 Pro Bowls, 660 tackles, 30 INT, 2000s All-Decade Team

As we approach the mid-way mark of the 2013 season it is time to see how our fantasy “projections” have turned out.  At the start of the season everyone had their opinions on who was going to be the best fantasy options.  Also, there were plenty of sleeper and bust articles written and now we get to see if any of those projections were correct.  In this article I will go over every position that encumbers a fantasy football team and I will go over who is leading in fantasy points and see if the projections earlier this season were correct or way off.  The point system I am using is a Standard ESPN Fantasy Football Scoring Format.  At the end of this article I will show the top rankings for all positions.

+QUARTERBACKS+

The QB section is pretty close to what we had expected.  The big surprise was how good of start Peyton Manning started off with.  Through 7 weeks Peyton has already put up a monstrous 168 fantasy points.  The next QB down is Drew Brees with 130 fantasy points which is still very good obviously.  A name that has shocked me is Jay Cutler; she is 7th in fantasy points for QB with 102 points which is above Aaron Rodgers (100), Matt Ryan (96), and Cam Newton (92).  Cutler was not even drafted in some leagues and in other leagues he has been just sitting on the bench.  People may want to think about starting him for future games now that he is proving to be a better QB than before.  Another big surprise was Tony Romo; he is 4th in fantasy points for QBs with 115 points and he has made some mistakes but not nearly as many as previous years.

The players that I have been disappointed with are Colin Kaepernick (76), Tom Brady (79), and Matt Schaub (72).  Kap in his first game looked like he was going to be just amazing, but since that game he has not been playing to the standard we had thought he would.  Tom Brady is going to the Hall of Fame, but with an inexperienced receiving squad he has really had to struggle to get the ball downfield this season.  There are some Patriot receivers who are stepping up, but it is a far cry from where he was just a few years ago.  Matt Schaub has just been a mess this season and if he is on your fantasy team then you are just wasting a slot.  He has been a turnover machine and he is not making it easy for the Texans to win.

+RUSHING+

There have been some big shockers here.  People who picked up Jamaal Charles are sitting pretty right now since he leads all RBs in points with 112.  LeSean McCoy is sitting at 98 points while Marshawn Lynch is at 93.  Outside of those 3 people it has been an absolute mess with RBs.  As it stands right now Knowshon Moreno is 4th in points for RBs with 92 which is ahead of Adrian Peterson (84); who I am sure was drafted #1 in every league.  In most leagues Moreno was not even drafted since it was said that Montee Ball would most likely be the starter.  Reggie Bush is also fitting in very well with the Lions by scoring 77 points already and that is with him missing one full game.  Adrian Peterson has had a lot of things happen this season but he is still producing numbers and he is 5th in points with 84 points so far this season.

Now for the disappointments in the RB column.  Here are some of the running backs that people picked in the first round of their drafts; CJ Spiller, Ray Rice, Doug Martin, Trent Richardson, Arian Foster, and Alfred Morris.  Now I am not saying they are all doing bad but I am going to put this into perspective.  Ray Rice has 37 fantasy points; that is one point more than back up running back Jaquizz Rodgers (36) for the Falcons.  I know Rice has had some injury issues but he is only averaging 2.8 yards per carry.  People had high hopes for CJ Spiller but he has only put up 39 points while his counter part Fred Jackson has racked up 71 points.  I dont think anyone saw that coming.  I think my two biggest surprises are Doug Martin (47) and Trent Richardson (45).  Martin had an incredible rookie year but he is proving to have a huge sophomore slump right now and the same goes for Richardson who even got traded to a better team!  I know most people who have Richardson or Martin have not been impressed yet.  Arian Foster is still having a good year so far with 80 points but he would be putting up a lot more if Schaub was not turning the ball over so much.  Some other quick disappointments are Maurice Jones-Drew with 40 points (27th ranked); and Chris Johnson with 46 points (19th ranked).

Some surprises at the running spot; besides Moreno; is DeMarco Murray, Frank Gore, and Danny Woodhead.  Even with Murray battling an injury he is still 10th in points for RBs, Gore is 11th in points with 67, and Woodhead who is playing behind Ryan Mathews is 16th in points with 49 while Mathews is 26th with 41 points.  There is still a long way to go in the season and there is always going to be players that just explode in November and December.

+RECEIVING+

This is where most of the fun is taking place right now.  I will go over the receivers first then the tight ends, but I am shocked that DeSean Jackson is the leader in points for receivers right now with 87 points.  Wes Welker is in second with 80 points, Dez Bryant is 3rd with 78 points, Brandon Marshall is 4th with 76 points, and Demaryius Thomas is 5th with 74 points.  There are a lot of familiar names toward the top of this list like Victor Cruz (73), Julio Jones (65), and Jordy Nelson (71).  One name that stands out right now is Alshon Jeffery with 63 points which ranks him 10th overall.  Another surprise name is Denarius Moore ranking in at 11th with 62 points which is above big named players like Reggie Wayne (56) and Calvin Johnson (55).  One player who is still consistent as ever is AJ Green with 69 points and coming in 8th in overall points.

The disappointments are all over the place here.  Most leagues had Calvin as the first picked receiver and so far he is ranked 16th in points which is pretty bad compared to his previous seasons.  At number 21 we have Anquan Boldin who had a monster first game, but since then has literally done nothing to keep his fantasy value up.  Another big name that is yet to impress is Vincent Jackson; I know he has had two games that were good, but other than that he only has 50 fantasy points and is ranked 23 right now.  One surprise here is Josh Gordon who missed the first 2 games of the season; yet he is ranked number 18 with 55 points.  All of the Bronco receivers are in the top 20 with Welker at number 2, Thomas at number 5, and Decker at number 17 so if you have any of those guys keep them in your lineup forever. 

When it comes to TEs we all know that Jimmy Graham is ranked first with 93 points, but sis you know the second TE with the most points is Julius Thomas with 78?  Bottom line if you have any Broncos receiver, you better hold on to them.  Vernon Davis comes in 3rd right now with 74 while the 4th ranked is Jordan Cameron with 73 points.  Antonio Gates is 5th on this list with 53 points and he is showing glimpses of previous seasons.  But that is a huge gap between 4th and 5th place right now; thats a whole 20 points.  There really are not any surprises when it comes to TEs except for the absence of Gronkowski.  There have been reports of Gronk coming back very shortly and I can see Brady putting him to good use very quickly.

+DEFENSE+

Most people dont really see how many “fantasy” points defenses put up.  I bet right now that most people dont know that the Chiefs have scored the most points with 113; the next defense down at number 2 is the Seahawks with 75 points.  So go to your fantasy team and add the Chiefs right now.  Also, the Titans are 3rd in defensive points with 66 and the Browns are 4th with 58 points.  After the first few defenses on this list they all are about equal; just a few points off so if you need a defense; you best pick up one of these.

+KICKERS+

Kickers and defenses are pretty similar.  Most kickers will do about the same amount of points give or take 10 points.  Right now Matt Prater leads all kickers with 72 points while Stephen Gostkowski comes in 2nd with 67 points.  Garrett Hartley and Steven Hauschka both have 62 points while Mason Crosby has 60 points.  After that they all pan out to be pretty much equal; but if you are in need of a kicker one of these guys will do the trick.

+TOTAL POINTS ALL+

1. Peyton Manning – 168
2. Drew Brees – 130
3. Philip Rivers – 119
4. Tony Romo – 115
5. Chiefs – 113
6. Jamaal Charles – 112
7. Matthew Stafford – 110
8. Jay Cutler – 102
9. Sam Bradford – 102
10. Aaron Rodgers – 100
11. Michael Vick – 98
12. LeSean McCoy – 98
13. Andrew Luck – 97
13. Matt Ryan – 96
14. Marshawn Lynch – 93
15. Jimmy Graham – 93
16. Knowshon Moreno – 92
17. Cam Newton – 92
18. Russell Wilson – 92
19. Alex Smith – 87
20. DeSean Jackson – 87
21. Adrian Peterson – 84
22. Matt Forte – 82
23. Andy Dalton – 81
24. Wes Welker – 80
25. Arian Foster – 80
26. Tom Brady – 79
27. Robert Griffin III – 79
28. Dez Bryant – 78
29. Julius Thomas – 78
30. Reggie Bush – 77
31. Terrelle Pryor – 77
32. Brandon Marshall – 76
33. Colin Kaepernick – 76
34. Joe Flacco – 75
35. Seahawks – 75
36. Vernon Davis – 74
37. Demaryius Thomas – 74
38. Victor Cruz – 73
39. Jordan Cameron – 73
40. Geno Smith – 73
41. Matt Schaub – 72
42. Matt Prater – 72
43. Fred Jackson – 71
44. Jordy Nelson – 71
45. DeMarco Murray – 71
46. Eli Manning – 70
47. AJ Green – 69
48. Frank Gore – 67
49. Stephen Gostkowski – 67
50. Titans – 66
51. Ben Roethlisberger – 65
52. Julio Jones – 65
53. Jake Locker – 65
54. Ryan Tannehill – 64
55. Alshon Jeffery – 64
56. Garrett Hartley – 62
57. Steven Hauschka – 62
58. Denarius Moore – 62
59. Torrey Smith – 62
60. Carson Palmer – 60
61. Larry Fitzgerald – 60
62. Mason Crosby – 60
63. Antonio Brown – 60
64. Nick Novak – 59
65. Gio Bernard – 59
66. EJ Manuel – 59
67. Browns – 58
68. Adam Vinatieri – 57
69. Alex Henery – 57
70. Reggie Wayne – 56
71. Bengals – 56
72. Colts – 56
73. 49ers – 56
74. Calvin Johnson – 55
75. Eric Decker – 55

With the NFL season about a third of the way done it is time to see how the best players in the NFL are doing so far.  There have been a lot of surprises, trades, upsets, and close games thus far and some players are rising to the challenge while others are crumbling under the pressure.  Due to some of the great playing there are teams that are still undefeated while some other teams are still searching for that first win.  The one thing that always gets in the way is injuries.  There have been a large load of injuries that have already taken place proving that no player is safe.  Ill be going over the leaders in passing, rushing, receiving, defense, and kicking to see who is on top.

+PASSING YARDS+
Right now Peyton leads this group and if he stays on this path he will have well over 5,000 yards by the end of the season.  The same thing goes with Drew Brees; both of these QBs are deadly when they get into a groove and I do not see anything slowing them down.
1. Peyton Manning – 1884
2. Drew Brees – 1722
3. Matt Ryan – 1649
4. Philip Rivers – 1610
5. Matthew Stafford – 1524

+PASSING TDS+
This is a category that is pretty shocking to me.  I am used to seeing different names on this list, but this year has shown that no matter who is taking snaps, they can succeed with a solid offensive line and a good group of receivers.  Tom Brady is not on this list due to him having a lot of young receivers; same thing with Eli Manning except he has a weak offensive line.  At this rate we could have 7 QBs with over 40 TD passes by the end of the season and Manning could have well over 50.

1. Peyton Manning – 20 TDS and 1 INT
2. Tony Romo – 13 TDS and 2 INT
3. Philip Rivers – 13 TDS and 5 INT
4. Drew Brees – 12 TDS and 4 INT
5. Jay Cutler – 10 TDS and 6 INT
6. Matt Ryan – 10 TDS and 3 INT
7 Sam Bradford – 10 TDS and 3 INT

+RUSHING YARDS+
I was expecting a lot more rushing yards from certain players and so far this season it has really showed that teams are throwing the ball more.  There are only a handful of running backs that have actually lived up to their expectations.  I am not saying they are not playing well; but I am saying that teams are not running the ball like they used to.  McCoy is still on pace to have over a 1500 yard season and Peterson is on track to have at least 1300.  But players like Spiller, Jones-Drew, and Chris Johnson have been mostly a bust so far this season.

1. LeSean McCoy – 514
2. Adrian Peterson – 421
3. Marshawn Lynch – 410
4. DeMarco Murray – 399
5. Jamaal Charles – 397
6. Arian Foster – 390
7. Frank Gore – 376

+RUSHING TDS+
There have not been too many rushing touchdowns yet, but as the season goes on these numbers should get better.  What is more shocking to me is how some of the best players have not reached the end zone at all or just once.  Like Arian Foster has 1 rushing TD in 5 games; or CJ Spiller only having 1 rushing TD. 

1. Adrian Peterson – 5
2. Fred Jackson – 4
3. Knowshon Moreno – 4
4. Frank Gore – 3
5. Marshawn Lynch – 3
6. Matt Forte – 3
7. Ray Rice – 3
8. Jamaal Charles – 3
9. LeSean McCoy – 3
10. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – 3

+WR RECEPTIONS+
Here is where the big boys are and where some big numbers are being posted.  With most teams looking to pass the ball more, receivers are becoming better fantasy options than running backs.  Even with injuries, suspensions, and constant depth chart moves, receivers are getting the ball a lot. 

1. Julio Jones – 41 receptions and 60 targets
2. Andre Johnson – 37 receptions and 57 targets
3. Julian Edelman – 36 receptions and 50 targets
4. Demaryius Thomas – 34 receptions and 44 targets
5. Antonio Brown – 32 receptions and 42 targets
6. Wes Welker – 31 receptions and 42 targets
7. Brandon Marshall – 31 receptions and 47 targets
8. Victor Cruz – 31 receptions and 55 targets
9. AJ Green – 31 receptions and 59 targets
10. Cecil Shorts – 31 receptions and 61 targets

+WR RECEIVING YARDS+
Just because you catch a lot of passes does not mean that you get a lot of yards or touchdowns.  The players in this category make the best use of their receptions by turning them into big plays.  Some of these players are set to have well over 1300 yards by the end of the season.

1. Julio Jones – 580
2. Torrey Smith – 556
3. DeSean Jackson – 525
4. Victor Cruz – 473
5. Demaryius Thomas – 450
6. Alshon Jeffery – 429
7. Eric Decker – 4278. Dez Bryant – 423
9. Antonio Brown – 412
10. Cecil Shorts – 411

+WR TDS+
1. Wes Welker – 7
2. Dez Bryant – 6
3. Eddie Royal – 5
4. Calvin Johnson – 4
5. Demaryius Thomas – 4
6. Victor Cruz – 4
7. Austin Pettis – 4
8. Larry Fitzgerald – 3

+TE RECEPTIONS+
The NFL over the last few years is really starting to use the tight end more like a receiver than a blocker.  I am not saying that tight ends dont block anymore, but we are starting to see them put up receiver like numbers.  There are some teams where the TE is the main receiver on the team.

1. Jimmy Graham – 37 receptions and 54 targets
2. Tony Gonzalez – 33 receptions and 46 targets
3. Jordan Cameron – 33 receptions and 47 targets
4. Antonio Gates – 32 receptions and 43 targets
5. Jason Witten – 28 receptions and 43 targets
6. Julius Thomas – 27 receptions and 36 targets

+TE RECEIVING YARDS+

1. Jimmy Graham – 593
2. Antonio Gates – 438
3. Jordan Cameron – 396
4. Julius Thomas – 359
5. Tony Gonzalez – 339
6. Jason Witten – 313
7. Charles Clay – 297

+TE TDS+

1. Jimmy Graham – 6
2. Julius Thomas – 6
3. Jordan Cameron – 5
4. Vernon Davis – 4
5. Tony Gonzalez – 3
6. Jason Witten – 3
7. Owen Daniels – 3
8. Martellus Bennett – 3
9. Garrett Graham – 3

+DEFENSE+
We have seen the emergence of some pretty good defenses and special teams this year.  Just based on fantasy points scored here are the defenses that lead the NFL.

1. Chiefs
2. Seahawks
3. Browns
4. Titans
5. Colts
6. Bengals
7. Cardinals
8. 49ers
9. Bears

Larry Fitzgerald is probably one of the best receivers in the game right now.  The only down side is the team he is on; if he was on a team with a franchise QB; he would be breaking records left and right.  Fitz is very dedicated to the team that drafted him though; and that is commendable.  Fitz does not have a sad story, but an inspirational story instead.  He has always been considered one of the best, and it will continue to stay that way for the rest of his career.

Larry Darnell Fitzgerald Jr. was born on August 31st, 1983 in Minnesota.  I do not know the origins of his high school career, but I do know that he was one of the highest recruited players coming out of high school.  Fitz attended his college career at the University of Pittsburgh, and for the majority of his college career he was considered one of the best wide receivers in the country.  In 2003, he was recognized as the best player in the NCAA when he won the Walter Camp Award and the Touchdown Club of Columbus Chic Harley Award, he also won the Biletnikoff Award.  In 2003 he was also an All-American selection and the runner up for the Heisman Trophy.  Fitz played 26 games with the Panthers, and in that time he caught 161 passes, 2,677 yards, and set a Panther record with 34 receiving touchdowns.  He was the first Panther player to have back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons.  Fitz also set a record for having a receiving touchdown in 18 straight games.

When you do the math, Fitz only played 2 seasons with the Pittsburgh Panthers, and he entered the 2004 NFL Draft pretty young.  The Arizona Cardinals drafted Fitz as the third overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.  He made an immediate impression with the Cardinals, as a rookie he caught 58 passes, 780 yards, and 8 touchdowns.  The following year he led the NFL with 103 catches, 1,409 yards, and 10 touchdowns.  In 2006, Fitz had some injuries he was dealing with, but for the most part he played through them and still managed 69 catches, 946 yards, and 6 touchdowns.  After being completely healed Fitz exploded again the following season by hauling in 100 passes, 1,409 yards, and 10 touchdowns.  After proving himself for his first few seasons, the Cardinals signed him to a 4 year $40 million contract.

In 2008, the Cardinals were on their Super Bowl run, and Fitz lit up the scoreboard, and he was the main reason the Cardinals made it to the Super Bowl.  In the conference championship game, Fitz caught 3 touchdown passes in one game.  Fitz also set a postseason record with 546 receiving yards, 30 catches, and 7 touchdowns.  Those numbers surpassed the record which once was held by Jerry Rice.  Even in the Super Bowl, Fitz had 2 touchdown catches, and when he went to the Pro Bowl, he caught 2 more touchdown passes which earned him the MVP of the Pro Bowl.

What is impressive about Fitz is that he will always find a way to make himself better, and his team better.  Since 2008, the Cardinals have not had a good QB, but somehow Fitz will still put up good numbers.  Fitz owns 5 NFL Records and 6 franchise records.  As a professional he has totaled 764 catches, 10,413 receiving yards, and 77 touchdowns.  He has also made 7 Pro Bowls, has had 4 All-Pro selections, and the 2008 NFC receiving yards leader.  As long as Fitz is in the NFL, he is going to be a great player and if you play fantasy football, he is always a good choice for your team.

Most people have heard of the movie Brian’s Song; and it is an amazing story about Brian Piccolo.  You wont see him in the Hall of Fame, and he never put up incredible numbers, but he was a blocker for some of the greatest running backs of all-time.  He played in an era where race was still a huge issue, and he was a fullback who considered to be very undersized.  Piccolo is an inspiration and his story can still be applied to people today.

Louis Brian Piccolo was born on October 31st, 1943 in Massachusetts.  He was the youngest of 3 sons, and when he was 12 years old his family moved to Florida.  Piccolo was a star athlete in baseball and football while attending high school.  All of his brothers were athletes as well, so there was always a competitive scene in the Piccolo household.  Piccolo was offered a scholarship to Wichita State, but he chose to go to Wake Forest on a full athletic scholarship.  In 1964, Piccolo led the nation in rushing and scoring during his senior season; and was also named the ACC Player of the Year.  After his senior season he married his high school sweetheart; and they had 3 daughters.

In 1965, Piccolo entered the NFL Draft, but no one chose to draft him.  So he walked on as a free agent with the Chicago Bears.  He did not make the team right away, but he did make the scout team; so he could travel with the team, but he was not able to suit up for the game.  In 1966, he made the Chicago Bears final roster and started getting playing time.  He split time with a guy named Gale Sayers, which he ended up having a great relationship with.  Piccolo was used a lot on special teams, and in 1969, he was moved to the starting fullback position.  Gale Sayers and Piccolo were roommates when they traveled; which previously was not allowed because they had whites and blacks stay at different hotels.

In 1969 when Piccolo was the starting fullback, the Bears were having a terrible season and there was a game that Piccolo pulled himself out of the game.  Now that was very unusual because Piccolo was known to be a tough player.  He told the team doctors that he was having a hard time breathing.  After the doctors ran numerous tests they diagnosed him with embryonal cell carcinoma.  Piccolo went in for surgery to get the tumor removed, and in 1970 he had to go get his left lung and pectoral muscle removed.  He kept complaining of pains in his chest, and the doctors figured out that the cancer was spreading to his liver.  Brian Piccolo died in the hospital on June 16th, 1970; he was 26.  That same year Gale Sayers was being awarded the George S Halas Award; and Sayers declined to accept it so he could honor it to Brian Piccolo.

Piccolo has left a legacy behind him as well.  In 1972 the Brian Piccolo Middle School opened, in 1980 his alma mater began the Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund in his memory, there is a Brian Piccolo Park that was constructed in his memory, and a movie named Brian’s Song so people know the story of Brian Piccolo.  Like I said before, he maybe was not the best athlete to ever play the game, but he shows people that even with cancer; you can fulfill your dreams.