On the mind of most fantasy owners is who is going to breakout this season and be the steal of the fantasy draft. In 2009 it was Chris Johnson when he went bizirk with over 2000 rushing yards. 2010 saw the coming out party for Aaron Rodgers. By 2011 it was Jimmy Graham’s time to unleash his talent in the Bayou and last year it was a slew of rookie quarterbacks headlined by RGIII, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson along with an undrafted rookie free agent, Alfred Morris. Who will win the 2013 fantasy football breakout of the year award? Here’s a list of likely contenders that features a couple wily vets and 2nd year studs on the verge of a career year, as well as a couple rookies who are primed for immediate stardom.
After a phenomenal rookie campaign even more is expected this season in Tampa for this burly runner who has a young MJD bowling ball style to his game. Dubbed the muscle hamster initially, he’s shed the nickname in favor of anything else. If the Buccaneers plan to emerge as a playoff contender this season with a high flying NFC South division that likes to air it out with New Orleans and Atlanta it would come as no shock if we see more catches for Martin and ways for him to get the ball in open space. There’s not much stopping Martin from being an every down back and breaking out for an even beastlier year.
Of all the 2nd year quarterbacks I’m going Luck. RGIII has the knee, Russell Wilson is minus Percy Harvin and Colin Kapernick can’t possibly duplicate his gaudy stats once he took the reigns of the 49ers offense from last season…well maybe he can and maybe Danger Russ and RGIII all lead their teams to the tops of their divisions and into the playoffs. The thing about Luck is that he’s only just grasped this offense and the jump between year one and two is usually a huge one for QBs statistically. Luck will benefit from Ahmad Bradshaw’s dual blocking and pass catching abilities and there is now more cohesion amongst the offense from another year together and predicted emergence of T.Y. Hilton. Luck is a budding star and the cream of the crop. Expect him to jump up into the upper echelons of the drafting pecking order come next season.
There are only a couple rookie running backs that have the talent and are surrounded by a system and situation that would enable them big time seasons as a neophyte. In Denver the obvious is that this team is ready to win now and with Peyton Manning moving the football it would seem that if he gets the touches in the red zone he could easily amass 15 TDs. This offense appears explosive on paper and Ball is the NCAA leader in rushing for a reason. Coach John Fox likes to play a punishing brand of football. So while Peyton can dissect a defense down the field he’ll likely audible his way to Montee Ball owners hearts.
There is no more defining play in football than when someone hurdles another player. Bell certainly makes the highlight reels more than once for his gravity defying antics while at Michigan State last season. Bell is the proto-typical running back that fits the Steelers image and brings back memories of a more athletic Jerome Bettis. If Big Ben can stay healthy enough and the wide receiving corps is able to pick up the slack for Mike Wallace’s departure then Bell has a great opportunity to cash in on red zone plunges as the feature back in the Steelers offense as a rookie.
The Packers are stacked with talent and that’s the problem with having anyone other than Aaron Rodgers on the Packers offense in fantasy football. With such diverse weapons and ability to swing the ball around to whomever it’s a crap shoot from game to game who is going to put up the numbers. Well this season it’s apparent that the shift is being made to Cobb playing an even more prominent role that was vacated by Greg Jennings exodus to the Vikings. Cobb can flat out fly and the likelihood of him having 1000 yards in total yardage is extremely high given where he lines up on any given play. Lambeau leaps abound this season for Cobb.
I know I’ll catch some flack on this one for a 32 year old, but here’s the logic for the lone veteran of the bunch. As a 5 time pro-bowler Wes has had tremendous seasons where he’s led the league in catches and been amazing from the slot and of course it was mostly thanks to Tom Brady. Now Welker is with the other great quarterback of this era with the same Super Bowl or bust mentality. They are the favorites to make the Super Bowl for a reason and this team’s offensively going to be unstoppable. Never has Wes eclipsed double digit touchdowns in a season. Here’s a wild guess that happens and while his catches might be down a bit, his yards will be up.
This 2nd year wideout has flat out talent, enough talent that as a rookie he was the starting #2 WR until he suffered a bad setback due to injury towards the beginning of the season. If there is going to be a wide receiver that receives double teams outside of Megatron it’s going to be Brandon Marshall. Jeffrey has the height, which makes him a great red zone target. The offense will be less conservative under the new regime of Trestman. Cutler is going to throw picks but he’s also going to throw for 300 to 400 yards in most games. Don’t be surprised but if Jeffrey can stay healthy there’s big time breakout potential in place.
The tight end who saw a coming out party in Oakland last season is now in a perfect situation working with Eli Manning, who has made a killing utilizing the tight end down the middle of the field. If healthy, Myers brings a dynamic element that most NFC opponents will have difficulty adjusting to in coverage. The Giants play in arguably the most difficult division in football so featuring Myers as a down field threat will free up Cruz and enable them to grind out the clock the way Coach Coughlin likes to play.
It’s he who stands alone as the only known entity that Brady will be throwing to as the Patriots open the preseason. The attrition to the wide receiving corps is nearly unheard of for a team that made the AFC title game. Many have him pegged as the next Wes Welker. If he only puts up 10 TDs I’ll be shocked. The St. Louis attack was keeping Danny boy from realizing his big play potential and tagged him as a pure possession receiver. He’ll find his way to greener pastures this season for breakaway numbers.
The time is now for young quarterbacks. After the triumvirate of success in last year’s rookie class there is great anticipation for Locker to live up to expectation as a top 10 QB drafted from two seasons ago. With Hasselbeck out of the picture and bringing in Fitzpatrick solely as Locker’s backup, along with rebuilding the offensive line, the sign points to Jake as the guy. There’s no question he’s a freak talent, but the question lingers if the decision- making is there to accompany the raw skills and talent he possesses. Nate Washington amongst others have been impressed thus far in camp and my bet is that he’ll breakout much like Luck did last season. Meaning he’ll be a great spot matchup plays this season as a QB 2, especially in a relatively weak division.