Demarco Murray, Demaryius Thomas Could Have Huge Years In 2012
It’s almost July, which means it is time to start preparing for fantasy football drafts as NFL training camps will be upon us in about a month. Below is a list of a few candidates who I believe could be in for some breakout fantasy seasons. Keep in mind, I’m taking into consideration each player’s projected draft position, so just because I say I think Brian Quick could have a breakout season and exceed expectations doesn’t mean I think I would take him over, say, Wes Welker. I’ll be producing more lists of players to keep an eye on such as this one as football season gets closer, so keep an eye out!
Kevin Kolb, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Kevin Kolb was a big time disappointment last season in Arizona, but he’s still got the inside track on winning the starting job for the Cardinals. Management doesn’t want to make themselves look bad by giving up on Kolb so quickly, and they just may be rewarded for it. With a full offseason to work in Ken Whisenhunt’s system and a new toy to play with in wide receiver Michael Floyd (1st round draft pick), Kolb should have a much better chance at success in 2012. Of course, he has Larry Fitzgerald to get him red zone targets, and keep an eye on tight end Rob Housler, who has all the tools to develop into a premier tight end in the NFL.
Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders
The Raiders aren’t going to be very good this year, but that doesn’t mean Darren McFadden can’t lead the league in rushing. If he’s healthy, Run DMC could take the fantasy football world by storm. McFadden had 610 rushing yards through 6 games to start 2011, averaging 5.4 yards per carry, before suffering a Lisfranc injury that knocked him out for the season. With no one really sure what Carson Palmer still has left in the tank, McFadden will be leaned on heavily to carry Oakland’s offense if he stays healthy. McFadden started running full speed with no limitations about 6 weeks ago, so he should be ready to go on all cylinders come 2012. Don’t worry about the addition of Mike Goodson, either. Darren McFadden is an All-Pro talent, and if he’s on the field, he’s getting the bulk of the carries, red zone or not.
Demarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys
One could argue that Demarco Murray already had his breakout campaign in 2011, but it was cut short due to injury and Murray managed just 2 rushing touchdowns. Murray had 897 rushing yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry in 2011 for a Dallas team that threw an awful lot due to their porous secondary. The Cowboys invested heavily in revamping the defense this year, and I expect the Cowboys to be playing with a lot more leads this season, leading to a lot more rushing attempts for Demarco Murray and Felix Jones. Murray is the much more electric of the two, and he’s gotten stronger in the offseason conditioning program, setting him up for better success in the red zone. Don’t be surprised to see Demarco Murray finish with 1,200 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2012.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
Thomas voiced his displeasure with former quarterback Tim Tebow’s inconsistency after Tebow was traded away to the Jets. Well, now Thomas has his chance to play with a legitimate All-Pro quarterback in Peyton Manning. Despite Tebow’s erratic play, Thomas hauled in 32 balls for 551 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2011. Even more impressive, Thomas averaged 17.2 yards per reception on the season. With Manning under center, the big, speedy receiver will have plenty of opportunities to put up big numbers in Denver, as he’ll be Manning’s #1 option in Denver’s offense. Thomas is set for a breakout year, and you’ll get great value out of him in any fantasy draft.
Brian Quick, WR, St. Louis Rams
Brian Quick isn’t going to put up Pro-Bowl numbers in his rookie season, but you can nab him in the last round of your draft and he’s already the best wide receiver on the Rams’ roster. Quick was the 1st pick in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL draft, and not much is known about him. Get ready, though, because this kid is a player with big time potential. After a down year largely due to some terrible pass protection, I expect much bigger things from QB Sam Bradford this season, and Quick will be the beneficiary. Quick had 20 touchdown receptions in his junior and senior seasons combined at Appalachian State, and he’s a big target at 6’3” with great speed to stretch a defense. Sam Bradford finally has someone to use that cannon of an arm on.
Tony Moeaki, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
Moeaki had 47 receptions for 556 yards and 3 touchdowns during his rookie season in 2010, and big things were expected of him last year, but he never saw the field after suffering a season ending injury. If you haven’t heard of Moeaki yet, you’ll know who he is after 2012. Moeaki is 6’3”, 250 lbs, but he’s deceptively fluid running routes and he makes athletic catches that most tight ends can’t make. He provides a great security blanket for Matt Cassel, who isn’t exactly a gun slinger and will be looking to feed his talented tight end the ball frequently.