Fast Finishers

2012-05-31 22:23:44
Sr Fantasy Writer
RealTime Fantasy Sports

Floyd looking good for 2012

Every year we like to look at some of the guys that finished the season well. These are guys to consider putting on your radar for 2012. We'll take a closer look at these guys and decide if you should buy or sell on them. Sometimes numbers can be deceiving, especially in a small sample size.

Players that made this list last season are Ryan Mathews and Jimmy Graham, so history tells us you need to pay attention to players that make plays at the end of the season. Not all these players will perform to their level shown at the end of 2011, but some of these guys will be big-time stars in 2012. Put an asterisk by some of the following guys in your rankings for the coming season.

Michael Vick, QB, Eagles. Vick certainly didn't have the season fantasy owners expected. He was a bust, considering his high draft position. Although most of the teams that had him were out of the playoffs last year, Vick played well down the stretch after his return from injury. In his last four games, Vick had eight touchdowns to three interceptions and threw for 270-plus yards three of those games. He had the fourth most fantasy points by a quarterback the last three games.

BUY: Vick won't go nearly as high as last season, so he could bring good value to fantasy teams in 2012. Vick should be able to improve on 2011. We think he'll be a good buy-low candidate. You certainly know his fantasy potential when all is going well. His health is always the big issue with the way he plays but Vick seemed to tone it down some late in the year, which is another positive going forward.

John Skelton, QB, Cardinals. Skelton was the Cardinals starter pretty much the entire second half of the season. He played well at times but really flourished down the stretch. Skelton threw for 270-plus yards in each of his last four games and had seven touchdowns. He made some big plays and posted some solid numbers for fantasy teams. Skelton had more fantasy points the last three games than quarterbacks like Eli Manning and Tony Romo.

SELL: Skelton will be given a chance to compete for the starter's job but it just doesn't seem likely he'll win that spot. He turned the ball over too much last season, having 14 interceptions to 11 touchdowns. He has big-game potential and should make strides with another season under his belt but still seems destined for backup duty in 2012. The Cardinals have too much invested in Kevin Kolb to just turn the job over to Skelton.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills. It took a little time but Spiller finally showed his huge potential last season. He led all backs in fantasy scoring the last three games. Spiller had touchdowns four of the last five games. He had 405 total yards and four touchdowns the last three games. He was a force in the Bills' offense, showing he could carry the load as the starting back.

BUY: Even though Fred Jackson will be around stealing carries from him, we still expect big things Spiller in 2012. Remember, Jackson is 31 years old and recovering from a broken leg. Jackson will be in the mix but Spiller should get more work from week to week. Spiller is the more talented back with greatly potential for the big game. His numbers would be even better if Jackson weren't around but for now, consider him a low-end No. 2 back capable of the big game any given week.

Evan Royster, RB, Redskins. Royster did next to nothing early in the year but found his way in the starting lineup late in the season and actually ran very well for the Redskins. The undrafted rookie had 100-yard games each of the last two games of the season. He had 312 total yards the last two games. Royster showed he could play in this league.

SELL: You never know with a Mike Shanahan running back but Royster doesn't seem the long-term solution right now. He could be in the mix for carries from day one in 2012 but isn't likely to grab the starter's job. Don't overvalue him based off his hot finish. The Redskins had several backs with some big games last season, which will happen in this offense. Royster remains a bit of an unknown going forward.

Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers. Floyd battled injury last season but got healthy and finished his season on a high note. He had scores four of the last five games and had 95 or more yards four of those games. He showed off his big-play ability and was the top target for the team down the stretch. He missed four games last year and was about 150 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark.

BUY: Floyd has a chance to produce similar to last season, especially if you consider he is the top returning wide receiver in the offense. Don't expect a monster season but he can hit the 1,000-yard mark and near double-digit scores in this offense. He is a big-time big-play threat.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Raiders. Heyward-Bey was all over the place last season. He had a great stretch early in the year but disappeared for several weeks after that before finishing strong. He had the sixth most fantasy points at receiver the last three games. He had 70-plus yards each of his last four games and topped 125 yards two of those games. He also scored touchdown three of the last five games.

SELL: The Raiders still don't seem sold on Heyward-Bey despite his great play at times last season. He still lacks consistency. He'll be in the mix for plenty of playing time but likely will be erratic similar to last season. We wouldn't count on him to be any more than a reserve receiver for fantasy teams. His consistency makes him a risk.

Titus Young, WR, Lions. Young didn't play a huge role in the Lions' offense but started to get more involved late in the season. He scored touchdowns three of the last four games and had four total touchdowns during that stretch. He started to get more targets in the offense and took advantage. Young had double-digit targets Week 15, which was the only time all season he reached that number.

BUY: Young has a good chance to open the season as starter or at least the No. 3 in 2012. He is a very talented player that was fairly raw coming into the league. He'll only get better and should continue to get plenty of action in the Lions high-flying offense. He has a chance to really explode this coming year.

Jared Cook, TE, Titans. You keep waiting for Cook to have that breakout season but the end of last year might have been his coming out party. Cook had 100-yard games two of his last three and finished second in tight end scoring the last three weeks of the season. Cook finished the season with a career-high 759 yards. Cook plays tight end but runs routes more like a receiver and has very good speed for the position. He can be a matchup nightmare.

BUY: Cook is capable of being an elite fantasy tight end. The Titans should get him more involved in the offense from day one, especially if you consider the team needs playmakers in the passing game. It makes sense to make Cook a big part of the offense from day one. We think he can build on last season.

Brent Celek, TE, Eagles. Celek scored five touchdowns but scored three of those in consecutive games to end the season. He was a big cog of the passing game late in the season, catching 13 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns. He had the third most fantasy points at tight end the last three games.

BUY: Celek isn't an elite option but just outside of that group. He was healthy last year and it showed in his play. We think he'll get more targets early in the season as the Eagles could have a few less options in the passing game for Vick to work with. Celek is a more than capable spot starter at tight end. Past history suggests he can post big numbers when healthy.

If you have any questions or comments, please email Jeff Paur at jeff@rtsports.com

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