If you are a person who is part of a keeper style league where you can keep anywhere from 2-4 players from your previous year’s team, you may be scratching your head when it comes time to decide on who to keep. This decision can make or break a season before it begins. If your keepers flourish, you look like a fantasy football mastermind. If they fail, you look like a fool who was jaded by big names and fluky numbers. When picking keepers, it’s essential that you look at a player’s age, potential, skill set and role within his team. If you are really hurting for your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th keeper, here are some guys who are definitely on the upswing of their careers and are comparable to current and past superstars.
Sam Bradford- There was a lot of questions surrounding the number one pick in the 2010 draft this year. Was his shoulder going to hold up? Does he have the frame to withstand the hits? Will being on the Rams stunt his growth? Well Bradford obviously didn’t get the memo that he was supposed to bomb this season. At the half waypoint, Bradford has thrown for 1674 yards, 11TDs with 8INTs. He’s on course to throw for 3348 yards, 22TDs, and 16INTs. These numbers have to impress anyone considering the tools that Bradford is working with. The rookie QB is throwing balls to the likes of Laurent Robinson and Danny Amendola. Serviceable? Yes. Why? Because Bradford is making them better than they are. Bradford is worthy of becoming your fantasy quarterback of the future because his numbers will only continue to rise for the next 10-12 years. His numbers are similar to a current quarterback who threw for 3739 yards, 26TDs with 28INTs (12 more than Bradford’s projected INTs) in his rookie season and eventually turned out to be pretty good. That quarterback was Peyton Manning and one could definitely argue that Manning had better tools around him in 1998 than Bradford does in 2010.
Jahvid Best- This speedy rookie out of Cal possesses a great ability that not all running backs have, the knack of catching a lot of balls. Best has rushed for only 297 yards but does have 4 rushing TDs. However, Best has racked up 36 receptions already for 316 yards and a touchdown. Not to mention, Best has done this all with Shaun Hill taking the majority of the snaps this year. Best is on track to rush for about 600 yards, catch over 70 balls and have 10 total TDs. His game is quite similar to Brian Westbrook. In his 2nd year, Westbrook rushed for 613 yards, had 37 receptions (one more than Best has in only 7 games played), and had 11 total TDs. Best should be the crown jewel in the Lion’s rushing and short passing game for many years to come.
Mike Williams (TB)- Williams was thrown into the starting role in Tampa due to lack of depth at the position at the beginning of the year. However, Williams has risen to the occasion and currently has 32 receptions for 470 yards (leads all rookies) and 4 TDs. Quarterback Josh Freeman has used Williams as a spring board to step his game up this year and the two are using each other to raise their play to the next level. Williams is on track to have 64 receptions for 940 yards and 8TDs. Not bad for a rookie receiver taken in the fourth round. His body frame and projected numbers are comparable to Andre Johnson’s rookie year. In 2003, Johnson caught 66 balls for 976 and 4TDS (equivalent to Williams TD count halfway through the season.) At age 23, look for Williams to continue to grow with his other young offensive partners into a fantasy player who will be scooped up quicker than a turkey leg in John Madden’s Thanksgiving Bus.
About the Author
Written by John Buffone
John was born in Rural Valley, Pennsylvania. He attended Clarion University and received a degree in Mass Media Arts and Journalism. He currently hosts "The Sports Zone with John Buffone" on AM 1380 WTYM in Kittanning, PA. John is also a sports columnist for the Kittanning Paper and a contributor to Examiner.com, and CatholicSportsJournal.com.