Sophomore Outlook (Page 2)

 
 
 
 
Football > Preseason > Sophomore Outlook

Sophomore Outlook

Will last year's rookies improve on their 2011 performances or fade away? Profiled players include Andy Dalton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Cam Newton, and Christian Ponder.

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Leshoure missed his entire rookie season with an ankle injury. He should be healthy for the start of this season, but the Lions expect him to be suspended for 2 games due to failed drug tests in the off season. He will also be fighting for carries with the other Lions running backs (two often injured players, Jahvid Best and Kevin Smith). Draft with caution.

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When the Cowboys drafted Murray in the 3rd round last year they didn't expect him to pay off so quickly. After not getting much run in the first 4 weeks, he rushed for over 850 yards in the next 9 games until suffering an ankle injury that ended his season. Murray looks like he will be all ready for the start of the 2012 season and will go into camp as the #1 running back in the Cowboys' high octane offense. Follow his injury rehab; if he doesn't suffer any setbacks, he should be in line for a very good season gaining well over 1000 yards as well as catching passes. He should be in line to be a top 15 fantasy back.

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Ridley played in 14 games as a rookie, but his carries were inconsistent and he finished with only 441 yards and 1 touchdown while splitting the backup carries with Danny Woodhead. Ridley will get a shot to compete for the lead back in New England most likely vs. the other 2nd year man, Shane Vereen. If either Ridley or Vereen grab the lead back role, they have a chance to put up similar numbers to what the "law firm" put up the last 2 seasons. More likely, the Patriots will go with the hot hand, so don't be surprised if you see Ridley split carries with Vereen and veterans Danny Woodhead and Joseph Addai (if he makes the final roster), making it very hard for Ridley to be a regular fantasy contributor. Follow the battle for the lead back spot with the Patriots; if Ridley is the winner he could be good for a mid round pick.

Injury Status: Out - Knee

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Despite missing 11 games of his rookie season due to various injuries, Vereen will get a shot to compete for the lead back in New England most likely vs. the other 2nd year man, Steven Ridley. If either Vereen or Ridley grab the lead back role, they have a chance to put up similar numbers to what the "law firm" put up the last 2 seasons. More likely, the Patriots will go with the hot hand, so don't be surprised if you see Vereen split carries with Ridley and veterans Danny Woodhead and Joseph Addai (if he makes the final roster), making it very hard for Vereen to be a regular fantasy contributor. Follow the battle for the lead back spot with the Patriots and if Vereen is the winner, he could be good for a mid round pick.

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Williams missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury, but looks like he will be ready to for training camp. He will battle often injured incumbent Beanie Wells who has yet to get back to 100% healthy. If Williams is indeed healthy when the season starts, don't be surprised if he ends up becoming the starter. Big upside with Williams, but will come down to health, his and Wells.

Injury Status: Injured Reserve

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Baldwin had a very weak rookie season despite playing on a team in desperate need of help at the receiver spot. The Chiefs didn't add any receivers in the off season, so there will be plenty of chances for Baldwin to make some noise in the KC passing game. He has so far looked much better in OTAs and seems to have a better feel for the playbook. Look for improved numbers from Baldwin this year. Follow him through the summer, he might be a good sleeper pick in the mid to late rounds.

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At this point in his career Cobb is mostly a return guy and part time receiver. The Packers just have too many weapons ahead of Cobb on the depth chart and he really isnt worth drafting. He is someone who might be worthy of stashing away if you're in a keeper league (or to keep an eye on during the season if there are injuries to the Packers receivers).