Player: Matt Barkley
Projection: Top 10
Compares To: Carson Palmer
Possible Teams: Chiefs, Cardinals, Bills
I currently have Matt Barkley out of Southern California as my #2 ranked QB in the 2013 class. After the 2012 draft everyone had Barkley pegged as the #1 prospect and the inevitable first pick in the 2013 draft, but after a disappointing season Barkley’s draft stock has fallen slightly. There’s no doubt Barkley is a premier talent, but with the emergence of Geno Smith, Barkley may/probably will lose the first pick. The question marks about Barkley are very similar to fellow former USC QB Caron Palmer coming out of college, which is arm strength and deep pass accuracy. That being said Barkley will be scooped up in the first round and will be starting for either the Cheifs, Cards, of Bills next year. While Barkley’s draft stock may have fallen slightly, his fantasy stock has actually improved in my mind. Instead of going to the KC and having mediocre receivers (granted Jamaal Charles is a beast), he’ll have the opportunity to play with most likely one of the premier receivers in the game Larry Fitzgerald, and a decent host of others. If Barkley winds up in Buffalo he’d have a talented receiver in Stevie Johnson, and a great run game with C.J Spiller and Fred Jackson. Barkley should mature and grow into a nice NFL quarterback and eventually a reliable fantasy starter.
Player: Eddie Lacy
Projection: 2nd-3rd Round
Compares To: Marshawn Lynch
Possible Teams: Bengals, Jaguars, Dolphins, Packers, Lions, Cardinals
I currently have Eddie Lacy out of Alabama as my #2 ranked RB in the class of 2013. Lacy is a tough, psychical, strong back who is tough to bring down. He’s a violent downhill runner, and finds the hole and bursts through it. Lacy has averaged a remarkable 6.4 yards a carry playing in the vaunted SEC, and would have had even more yards if it wasn’t for his coach spreading around carries. Some people question if Lacy will be able to handle a bulk of carries and continue to produce, as Lacy didn’t carry the ball more than 20 times all year. I however don’t think that will be a problem, I mean if you watch the guy play you can’t help but wince when he finishes his runs, and lowers the shoulder against the D. He has such pure power, but also has the quick feet and agility necessary to be a big time NFL running back. With the RB’s at a premium in the draft, expect Lacy to go higher than expected. I think he can have an immediate impact in the red-zone as Lacy has a nose for the end zone, finding it 9 times in his last 5 games. Lacy should be able to find a niche in an offense, and possible become a starter for a team by the end of next year. I think Lacy is underrated and has phenomenal talent, expect him to surprise some people and go higher than expected come April. Depending by which team Lacy is drafted his fantasy value could skyrocket.
Player: Tavon Austin
Projection: Mid-Late 1st Round
Compares To: Percy Harvin
Possible Teams: Patriots, Texans, Seahawks, Dolphins, Panthers, Redskins
I currently have Tavon Austin out of West Virginia as my #1 ranked WR in the class of 2013. Austin is without a doubt the most elusive prospect in this years draft class. Austin can accelerate quickly, and make people miss with ease. He’s a smooth runner and can find seams in any defense. Austin was also used as a RB at WVU, with 73 carries for 652 yards and averaging 8.9 yards a carry. He’s extremely versatile, and could be a goldmine of fantasy points in PPR leagues. He could be utilized like a Percy Harvin, with possibly more rushes. The guy is an offensive coordinator’s dreams, and will be utilized in plenty of plays. Austin may be small at 5-9 he’s tough to bring down, and he can break the big play at any given opportunity. I feel that Austin on almost any team in the NFL could be worth a FLEX play heading into next year’s fantasy season. I think he should be the first rookie receiver off the fantasy boards, and his ability to run out of the backfield, really put his fantasy value over the top. Expect the elusive Tavon Austin to do big things early in the NFL, and will be included in plays early and often.