Biggest risk/reward players in 2013 fantasy drafts

8/23/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

I understand that many fantasy owners like to go with strictly safe picks - players who are sure to stay healthy, are proven producers, and have a clear role in their offenses. However, I also know that some of us are the gambling type when it comes to drafting a fantasy team. This list is mostly for the gambler, as it contains some of fantasy football's biggest risk/reward players, who could be studs at a great value, but could also be a wasted pick:

Robert Griffin III (QB - WAS): We all know how supremely talented RG3 is - the reigning Rookie of the Year lived up to expectations and more in 2012. He is a phenomenal talent with both his arm and legs, making him as dynamic in fantasy leagues as he is on the football field. He doesn't need a big name running back, an elite offensive line, or a consistent receiving weapon to get the job done - he simply puts up fantasy points. The risks, of course, are that he is coming off major knee surgery, and not everyone can be like Adrian Peterson and make history after an injury like that. In addition, his playing style makes him prone to more injuries, and coaches have now had a full offseason to figure out how to slow him down. I think Griffin is in for another great year, but my guess is that his massive hype causes him to be drafted too high.

Aug 15, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) gets up after being knocked down during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Panthers 14-9. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY SportsMichael Vick (QB - PHI): It's obvious that Vick's combination of arm talent and athleticism puts him in a very exclusive group of quarterbacks, but it has always been injuries that hold this 33-year-old back. However, injuries are not the only risk for Vick this season - there is also the matter of head coach Chip Kelly's new offensive scheme that has yet to be tested in the NFL. It could work incredibly or could fail, and Vick's value will depend largely on whether or not the offense works. If the offense does work and Vick does stay healthy, he has RG3 type upside and could light up fantasy scoreboards all season long.

Matthew Stafford (QB - DET): It was a tough year for the Lions in 2012, as they were terribly disappointing on both sides of the ball. Stafford was a fantasy draft bust, mostly due to his lack of touchdowns (20). What makes Stafford even riskier this season is the fact that both of his starting tackles are no longer on the team. Keep in mind, however, that Stafford still has the game's best receiver (Calvin Johnson) to throw to, as well as a new check-down toy in Reggie Bush, who has clicked well with Stafford so far in the preseason. If the new tackles can be serviceable, I wouldn't rule out a bounce back campaign for Stafford with numbers somewhere between those from 2011 and 2012.

LeSean McCoy (RB - PHI): McCoy is essentially the running back version of Michael Vick - ultra-talented, but missed four games in 2012 (though he's much less injury-prone than Vick) and is in a new, unproven offense. Running backs were dominant under head coach Chip Kelly during his days at Oregon, which puts McCoy's ceiling just about as high as anyone in the league. Just like Vick, if McCoy can stay healthy and Kelly's offense is successful, I think he could be a top-3 fantasy running back. Coming off an injury-plagued, disappointing season, however, I wouldn't advise drafting him in the top-5.
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