Five players you need on your fantasy football team

It is easy to know who to draft early, but which guys will make the biggest difference on your team in later rounds? Photo: Eddie Lacy is ready for his NFL debut/AP

LOS ANGELES, August 6, 2013 — The NFL is finally back and once again, all is right with the world. One of the greatest things about the NFL season outside of the games, tailgating and drunken debauchery is, of course, fantasy football. Where else, other than Madden, can you experience the rush of playing GM while putting your football intelligence and skills to the ultimate test against your fellow peers?

Lately, fantasy leagues have become very competitive, and just like investments, even the smallest piece of intelligence could pay huge dividends in the long term. For those looking for a little insight on the next RGIII, Doug Martin or Alfred Morris this season, here are some players that you just might want to consider drafting.

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Reggie Bush/AP

Reggie Bush — Reggie has been somewhat of a bust since being drafted out of USC, but unfortunately for him, he has been the victim of a bad situation in with the Dolphins. Being the sole focus of their offense really limited him in his abilities and was the cause for many of his injuries last year. Let’s face it, Reggie is not an every down back, nor should he be used in that way. 

Detroit, on the other hand, has been looking for a pass-catching running back to replace the now retired Jahvid Best. In Bush, they finally have a suitable replacement. He also has had some of his best years of production while playing on turf in the Superdome. Playing alongside Megatron and Matthew Stafford, look for Bush to have a very productive fantasy season. He will no longer be the offensive focal point for NFL defenses to stop.

Eddie Lacy — For anyone who watched the Packers last season, you will know that part of Green Bay’s demise in the playoffs was a horrendous rushing attack. It plagued them all last season. This off season the front office has gone to great lengths to correct this problem by drafting Jonathan Franklin and Eddy Lacy. Either one could be the starter, but all signs point to Lacy, and considering the talent that has come out of Alabama the last few years, he should be a serviceable pro right away. 

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Green Bay’s offensive strength is their passing attack, so defenses will not be keying on the run, which should lead to wide open holes for Lacy to power through. Unlike Bush, Lacy is an every down back and should be used a lot in goal line situations.

Mike Vick/AP

Mike Vick — No one has had a more inconsistent career than Mike Vick. One season he shows flashes of greatness, the next season he looks as if he does not belong in the NFL. To Vick’s defense, consistency is not a luxury he has been afforded during his tumultuous NFL career. He has had to learn several different offenses from multiple coaches, and refine his game to fit a more prototypical style of QB play.  This really hurt him last year in Andy Reid’s offense. Vick is simply too short and fragile to stay in the pocket and be used as a pocket passer. Even though he has a cannon for an arm, his legs and improvisation remain the strength of his game.

If there is any coach who can get the most out of Vick, it will be Chip Kelly. Chip’s simplified college offense should be an easier concept for Vick to grasp and will better compliment his strengths, as opposed to making him into something he is not. With the recent success of dual threat QBs like Koepernick, and RGIII, look for Chip Kelly to utilize Vick’s rushing skills more to keep defenses off balance and the chains moving.

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James Jones — With the departure of Greg Jennings, and Donald Driver, James Jones should play a bigger role in the Packer’s high octane passing attack. When given the chance, Jones proved last year that he can be very productive in the offense, and Rodgers will definitely get him the ball. In a limited role last year, he managed to produce 784 yards receiving and 14 TDs.

James Jones/AP

Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson should be the main focus for defenses to stop this season, which means Jones should get a ton of open looks. He will definitely improve on last year’s numbers, and just like last season he is only one injury away from being the featured target for Rodgers.

Riley Cooper — With the combination of Jeremy Maclin being out for the season, and Chip Kelly’s love for using multiple receiver sets and rotations, Cooper should have a major jump in production this year. Cooper is a possession receiver much like Maclin, but bigger, and last year was limited in his opportunities on offense. So now that he has been elevated to a starting role it is only logical that his numbers should greatly improve.

Also keep in mind, outside of Brent Celek, at 6‘4” Cooper is also a huge target for Vick to throw to in the red-zone. If Chip Kelly’s offense is even remotely as good as it was in college he will play a big factor in that, and should put up huge points as a result.

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Luka Barnes

Luka Barnes is a Los Angeles native and fellow sports enthusiast who writes for the Washington Times Communities as an NFL and NBA contributor. He is also an avid follower of Collegiate and High School athletics.

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