Having Two Is Better Than One
By Jeff Tefertiller
July 11th, 2010

In the world of fantasy football, an owner can take advantage of a situation by taking both parts of a productive committee just to lock up the situation. These are usually situations where neither player is drafted as a stud, but the uncertainty has cause an opportunity for the savvy owner to take advantage. This is totally different than the concept of handcuffs. We are looking for situations where there is plenty of upside but the lack of defined roles has led to fantasy owners discounting both players. Below are some of the top situations for fantasy owners. We are using the Footballguys.com ADP rankings.

After letting Justin Fargas depart, the Oakland Raiders are going with just Michael Bush and Darren McFadden at the Running Back position. This makes drafting both Bush and McFadden a great move. So, why would I waste my draft picks on the sorry Oakland running game? Well, the Raider tailbacks racked up 1,900 total yards and seven touchdowns last season. This was down from the 2,272 yards and eight touchdowns of 2008. The trade for Jason Campbell should help the offense as a whole, and make teams respect the pass more than JaMarcus Russell. With the huge upgrade at the quarterback position, the Raider ground attack should surpass the 2,000-yard make once again. Also, a more productive passing game will lead to more scoring opportunities. The two rushers have differing running styles but are both desirable fantasy options at their current draft status. Bush has an ADP of RB40, player 97 overall. He is quickly moving up the drafts as the offseason rolls along. McFadden is currently drafted as RB35 with the last pick in the seventh round. So, an owner can make the seven/eight turn with the Raider backfield, getting a combined 2,000 yards and seven or eight touchdowns? What a bargain.

Last year, Ronnie Brown finished as RB32. But, he only played in nine games. Brown has found it difficult to make it through an entire season. He was a very good fantasy starter before being lost for the season due to a Lisfranc injury. With the extra playing time, Ricky Williams finished as the seventh best fantasy ball carrier. Before Brown was injured, both of the Miami rushers were startable many weeks. Coach Tony Sparano likes to have a strong ground game. He wants to pound the ball down the throat of the defense. The emergence of the "Wildcat" offense, with Brown running the show, allowed the Dolphins to get both running backs on the field at the same time. Miami has not addressed the position this offseason, leaving Brown and Williams as the lone viable fantasy backs in South Beach. Drafting both as a combined fantasy RB2 or RB3 is a strong move. By selecting the two Dolphins, the risk of Brown's injury is minimized and there is still plenty of upside. Brown is being drafted as RB21 off the board in the latter part of the fourth round. Williams is drafted a few picks later in the late fifth or early sixth round as RB27 overall. Fantasy owners are discounting the Miami pair because of Brown's injury and Williams' age (33 years old). But, the pair makes a tremendous fantasy RB2. Just to give an idea of the upside, the pair amassed 1,769 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground. They added 362 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Together, they played 25 games in 2009, amassing 2,131 total yards and 21 scores. That is approximately 85 total yards and .84 touchdowns per game for each back. This makes each Dolphin ball carrier a fantasy starter. What more can you ask from your fourth and fifth round picks?

Wes Welker has been Tom Brady's favorite pass target since his arrival in New England. Welker was finishing up another great year when he tore up his knee in week 17. By all accounts, the shifty possession receiver is progressing nicely in his quest to return early in the season. It is entirely possible that he starts the season on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list, meaning he will miss the first six weeks of the season. When healthy, Welker is a strong fantasy WR1 option. During his absence last year, rookie Julian Edelman more than picked up the slack. Edelman looks like a Welker clone running the same routes. If Welker misses the first few games of the 2010 season, Edelman is a good fantasy starter. So, by getting the pair, an owner is able to have a very good starting wide receiver at a discounted price. So, what will it cost me to select the pair? Welker has an ADP of WR37, selected at the end of the ninth round. All it takes is a pick in the twelfth round to secure Edelman as WR46 off the draft board. Just to explain this clearly, you can get fantasy WR1 production by using a ninth and twelfth round pick on Welker and Edelman. With this type of upside, it is not advisable to wait this long on Welker. It might be best to snag him in the seventh just to be sure. Either way, the pair of Patriot pass receivers offers incredible value to fantasy owners.

One of the most underappreciated fantasy situations is the Arizona receivers not named Larry Fitzgerald. With the Anquan Boldin trade to the Ravens, the Cardinals only have Steve Breaston and Early Doucet as viable receiving threats opposite Fitzgerald. The loss of Boldin should cause opposing defenses to key on Fitzgerald more than ever before. Also gone is veteran quarterback Kurt Warner. Warner was such a good, and quick, decision maker. Arizona will miss his ability to fire the ball down the field on time. Replacing Warner will likely be Matt Leinart. The lefty struggles at making the correct read and getting the ball out quickly to his receivers. For this reason, fantasy owners have discounted the Cardinal passing game. Arizona has passed for more than 4,000 passing yards in each season Ken Whisenhunt has coached the team. Yes, most of that time was with Warner under center. But, the Cardinals should approach that level once again. If so, drafting both Breaston and Doucet should be a good move. In 2008, Breaston topped 1,000 yards even with Boldin AND Fitzgerald finishing in the Top 7 fantasy receivers. He is a good bet to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark once again ... and at a great price. Breaston is the 32nd wide receiver selected in fantasy drafts. One only needs to spend an eighth round pick on the former Michigan Wolverine. The Cardinals drafted Andre Roberts with the purpose of allowing Breaston to concentrate solely on the receiver position. Adding Doucet late (WR65, pick 183 overall) allows a fantasy owner to have a very good fantasy starter most every week. Doucet played great down the stretch last season, which gave Arizona confidence in the position if they traded Boldin. This pass catching duo has a legitimate chance of producing two fantasy starters most week, especially if the quarterback position solidifies.

One of my favorite moves at the end of fantasy drafts this year is to select both James Jones and Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers. Both of the Packer pass catchers are drawing rave reviews from the coaching staff and beat writers this offseason. Led by Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay has a great passing attack. The Packers only have the play-making Greg Jennings, the aging Donald Driver, Jones, and Nelson at the wide receiver position. Green Bay frequently plays three and four receivers on the field at a time. Driver is recovering from knee surgeries on both knees this offseason. The 35 year old could run out of steam this year. If either Jennings or Driver misses time, Jones and Nelson could both be good fantasy options. Neither costs much, but both have flashed potential in limited action. Jones has an ADP of WR76 as the 226th player drafted while Nelson is WR107 with the 302nd player off the board. The pair combined for 54 catches, 760 yards and seven touchdowns last year. In 2008, Jones and Nelson totaled 53 receptions for 640 yards and three scoring grabs. Jennings and Driver played all 16 games both seasons. It is likely one of them misses time this year, opening the door for the young guys.

The Houston Texans have a prolific passing game. Quarterback Matt Schaub leads coach Gary Kubiak's attack. It does not hurt to have All Pro receiver Andre Johnson in the lineup. The issue is that opposing teams double and triple team Johnson, making the other receivers beat them. This is why tight end Owen Daniels has been so productive. He has plenty of room to roam the middle of the field. But, Daniels is coming off a knee injury. The starting job opposite Johnson is up for grabs this offseason. Veteran Kevin Walter is battling youngster Jacoby Jones for the honor. I know most are wondering what type of upside there is in the ancillary Texan wide receivers. Well, the pair combined for 80 receptions, 1,048 yards and eight touchdowns last year. The year before, Walter caught 60 balls for 899 yards and eight scores just himself. Jones was raw and immature coming into the NFL, but has seemed to have turned the corner. He has a very real chance to unseat Walter. Also worth noting is that Andre Johnson has not missed a game either of the past two seasons after having knee issues earlier in his career. Walter is being drafted as WR47 in the twelfth round while Jones is available late in the drafts. He has an ADP of WR66 after being selected in the 16th round. Walter finished as the WR19 in 2008 so there is plenty of room for optimism for the Texan receiving pair. One of them could finish in the Top 20 once again.

Please feel free to email me at tefertiller@footballguys.com with any questions or comments. Also, I am on Twitter, so feel free to ask me questions there.