RB Fred Jackson, BUF (RB - #24) - Solid/Safe Pick
Jackson's performance last season was a bit of a surprise. I don't know many people who thought Jackson would be a top 5 back last year. That was up until he broke his fibula in week 11, ending what was Fred's best season of his career. This year Jackson is 31 and while you could argue he hasn't had a lot of touches and hasn't taken the abuse many 31 year old backs have, it doesn't change the fact that he is getting up there in age. Couple this with the emergence of CJ Spiller at the end of last year and one has to wonder just how much action Jackson will see this season. Sure we'll see Jackson getting a majority of the carries early in the year, but will that continue all season? If you're banking on Jackson's '12 campaign looking like his 2011 number, you may want to think again.Injury Status: Injured Reserve
RB Doug Martin, TB (RB - #17) - Solid/Safe Pick
There is plenty of upside with the rookie Martin. However, with all the upside there is some downside fantasy owners need to consider before drafting Doug. First, Martin is a rookie and while rookie running backs tend to have the best chance to perform well their first season it doesn't mean he will. Second, Martin is not used to playing a 16 week season and it wouldn't surprise me to see him begin to fade around week 12. That means right when you need him most his performance may begin to fall. You could trade him before that time comes, but that is always a gamble. To top it all off, Martin will most likely be splitting carries with LeGarrette Blount. Martin may get the majority of the carries, but that doesn't mean he'll get the rock on the goal line.
WR Victor Cruz, NYG (WR - #9) - Solid/Safe Pick
When the 2011 season began, Victor Cruz was a virtual unknown. In most leagues he went undrafted and in leagues where he was drafted, he was probably picked up by a Giants fan who just wanted one of their own on their fantasy team. Victor then goes from being a virtual nobody to the 4th best receiver in the NFL. Victor finished off the 2011 season with 1,536 yards and 9 touchdowns and because of these numbers fantasy owners are drafting him in the third round. I don't want to say Cruz can't post numbers like these again, but the chances of a repeat performance are highly unlikely. If you recall Brandon Lloyd had a similar sudden career year in 2010, which was promptly followed up with a 966 yard 5 touchdown season a year later. Another thing to consider before draft Cruz this year is that his role in the offense this season has changed. He will now be playing opposite Nicks every down, unlike last year. Cruz had just 16 receptions last year when just he and Nicks were on the field. It should be interesting to see just how well Victor plays this season.
WR A.J. Green, CIN (WR - #3) - Solid/Safe Pick
Don't get me wrong here, I like A.J. Gree,( a lot in fact), but I don't know if I like him enough to be the 6th best receiver at year's end. I believe Green was lucky and found himself in the right place at the right time. The Bengals needed a number one receiver and there wasn't anyone else, so Green was the lucky recipient. Not to say Green isn't loaded with talent because he is one of the best receivers to come out of the 2011 draft. I just don't know if we'll see the 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns needed to make him a top 6 receiver. For starters I have my doubts Dalton will perform this year as well as he did in 2011. I believe Green will be a good fantasy starter, I'm just not sold on a top 6 performance.
WR Steve Smith, CAR (WR - #12) - Solid/Safe Pick
Steve Smith's season will be as good as Cam Newton's. If Newton is having a great year then so will Smith. The thing is I'm not sold on Newton having a great year. I didn't like what I saw in the final 6 games of the season last year and if that carries into this season then fantasy owners could have a long year. Couple this with Smith turning 33 this year and things don't look so great for Steve. I'm not going to sit here and tell you Smith won't hit 1,000 yards this year, but if wouldn't surprise me if he didn't.