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2011 Fantasy Football: Must-Have Players

This is a list of fantasy players I absolutely love this year. I'll be targeting them in all of my leagues in the rounds posted below. Unlike crappy ESPN, projected rounds are based on 12-team formats.

Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

Tom Brady, QB, Patriots. Round: Mid-Late 3, Early 4.
Assuming Tom Brady drops that far. I've seen him fall to the beginning of the fourth round in some fantasy mock drafts I've participated in recently.

Brady is slotted second in my 2011 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings, placed ahead of Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and even the overrated QB Dog Killer (had to bring that nickname back upon request).

I've never seen Brady more focused or determined. He's on a mission. What he did at the end of last season was just a sign of things to come.

I'm not a fan of taking a quarterback early this year, but if Brady falls to the middle or late third round, or early fourth round, I won't hesitate to pick him.

Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys. Round: Late 2, Early 3 (PPR), Mid-Late 3 (Reg).
I almost feel as strongly about Felix Jones as I did regarding Arian Foster at this time last year. Jones has bulked up to 220 pounds, but still has his trademark quickness and speed. He's good in pass protection and big enough for goal-line carries, so he'll be on the field at all times. He's going to have a BIG year. Make sure you get Jones on your roster.

Chris Wells, RB, Cardinals. Round: Late 5, Early 6.
I hate the Ryan Williams injury because it raised Chris Wells' ADP (average draft position) in fantasy drafts. Williams was never a threat to take Wells' job, but I'm still a fan of the Arizona running back because unlike last year, he's healthy and has a competent quarterback whom defenses will have to respect.

Tim Hightower, RB, Redskins. Round: Late 6, Early 7.
Tim Hightower is a perfect fit for Mike Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme. There's a very good chance he'll rush for 1,000 yards, catch 40-plus passes and score eight touchdowns. He's currently going in the late sixth, early seventh round of fantasy drafts, which I think is absurd. I'd feel comfortable with Hightower as an RB2 - there's no competition for him at the running back position because Roy Helu struggles in pass protection and Ryan Torain is made out of glass.

Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins. Round: 6-7 (PPR).
Those who think Daniel Thomas is the starting running back for the Dolphins will be in for a rude awakening. Though he won't get goal-line carries, Reggie Bush will be the every-down runner in Miami. In an effort to cut down on turnovers, Chad Henne has morphed into Trent Edwards, so Bush will be the recipient of many checkdowns this season.

Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers. Round: Mid-Late 2, Early 3.
Vincent Jackson is going to have a career year if he can stay healthy. Jackson is entering his first full season without LaDainian Tomlinson, so he'll be in position to score more touchdowns. He and Philip Rivers have had a strong connection in the preseason, which is why I've bumped him up in my 2011 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings.

Lance Moore, WR, Saints. Round: Early 9 (PPR), Early 10 (Reg).
Marques Colston isn't anywhere close to being 100 percent coming off microfracture knee surgery. Someone else will step up in the Saints receiving corps, and based on what has transpired in two weeks of preseason, it's looking like Lance Moore will be the guy. He easily could match the eight touchdowns he scored in 2010.

Nate Burleson, WR, Lions. Round: 10-11.
Matthew Stafford has thrown to Nate Burleson more than anyone else in two preseason games. OK, Calvin Johnson was out for one contest, but Burleson is still going to be a big part of Detroit's offense. If Stafford can stay healthy - definitely a big if - Burleson should be able to put up some pretty solid numbers.

Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints. Round: 7.
As I wrote under the Lance Moore entry, Marques Colston's problematic knee means that someone else will step up in New Orleans' receiving corps. Jimmy Graham will benefit as well; he'll be Drew Brees' primary end-zone target. He scored four touchdowns in the final three games last year - a definite sign of things to come in 2011.

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Condish 08-24-2011 02:50 pm (total posts: 2)
21     18

QB Dog Killer can stay. I personally liked the replacement nickname.

The guy is responsible for the torture and deaths of many a mans best friend. I owned a pittbull and the dog was a sweet heart, wouldn't hurt a fly. Just goes to show that not all pits are raging animals (actually most make great pets, very trustworthy) and those that weren't cut out for fighting faced the death sentence from QB Dog Killer. I heard it wasn't a quiet death.
Trader 08-24-2011 02:32 pm (total posts: 1)
19     16

Just got a couple of trade offers and need some help...should I trade Sam Bradford and Beanie Wells for Peyton Manning and Reggie Bush (non-PPR league)? How about Ray Rice for Ochocinco and Matt Forte?
Michael 08-24-2011 02:14 pm (total posts: 2)
16     16

"Mike were you literally drafting against mentally handicapped people???? how did you get all those guys"

It was a bunch of my buddies and they all had ESPN printouts and magazines for their fantasy help! But I used Walter's and I've got a feeling I'm going to have some major bragging rights around January!!! My only weakness is QB...I have Josh Freeman and Kyle Orton, but I am working on some trades with my RB and WR depth.
Person 08-24-2011 01:57 pm (total posts: 1)
18     18

Hey you should do more auction drafts, they are mad fun.
Schu 08-24-2011 01:55 pm (total posts: 1)
18     21

"Tim Hightower with my 8th rd pick Beanie Wells with my 9th and Jimmy Graham with my 10th, which were all must haves on this page!!! Combine that with me already having AP, Megatron, Miles Austin, Darren McFadden, and Mike Williams"

Mike were you literally drafting against mentally handicapped people???? how did you get all those guys
Matty 08-24-2011 01:36 pm (total posts: 1)
18     18

Thanks for bringing back QB Dog Killer. I've been pushing for it! Good article too. I have been getting stuck in the late rounds of drafts. Hightower is not a bad sleeper!
Permaguest 08-24-2011 01:00 pm (total posts: 1)
21     19

50% of these guys in the NFL are psychopaths, I can't understand why people get so worked up over Vick. We get it, you own a dog, get over it. The guy is obviously messed up in the head, but once again most people who play this game are
Dave 08-24-2011 12:40 pm (total posts: 1)
20     18

Walt, well done bringing back the "QB Dog Killer." It's appropriate, and always will be. Those who disagree can get off their soap box already.
Jim 08-24-2011 12:15 pm (total posts: 1)
18     19

"QB Dog Killer (had to bring that nickname back upon request)." Hey Walt, when are you going to grow up and act like an adult? I personally don't care for Vick or approve what he did, but constantly calling him "QB Dog Killer" on a fantasy web site which you say is your " everyday job" is very unprofessional and shows you have some immaturity issues. No I'm not an angry Eagles fan. Go ahead and blast me in one of your "mailbags", but all that does is prove my point.
Alex 08-24-2011 11:39 am (total posts: 2)
18     18

Thanks for the article, Walt. I really love your site and come to it for all fantasy purposes. I love Tim Hightower this year. He should post a career year with 1000 yards rushing 350--400 yards receiving, 8 rushing TD's and one of two passing touchdowns. I think he is great value for where I picked him up in one league---the waivers.

Thanks for the articles and keep em coming!
@ Jade 08-24-2011 11:32 am (total posts: 1)
18     18

Ah, but Jade, he illegally possessed a gun. What were his intentions with carrying a gun that was not registered to him? Why don't you ponder that for a little bit, and try to tell me that Plax doesn't deserve a nickname just like Michael Vick.
Condish 08-24-2011 11:18 am (total posts: 2)
19     22

I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I have the 1st overall pick, which I plan to take Foster with. Then, I don't pick until the end of the 2nd/beginning of the 3rd. Is this too early for Felix in a standard league? We start 2 WR,1 RB, and 1 flex.
Tom 08-24-2011 11:09 am (total posts: 1)
22     19

QB DOG KILLER IS BACK! very nice walt
Jade 08-24-2011 10:12 am (total posts: 1)
21     23

No, Plax doesn't need a nickname, he only hurt himself.

Please keep after QB Dog Killer. I'm tired of a media that always finds a way to excuse digusting behavior if there's a "redemption" angle in it. He's a psychopath plain and simple. Any so called good deeds he's done since leaving prison are only at the demand of his agent.
Koy Detmer 08-24-2011 09:36 am (total posts: 1)
22     23

You should also be referring to the Jets new wide receiver as WR Moron Shoots Self In Leg.

More 2011 Fantasy Football Articles:
2011 Fantasy Football: Home

2011 Fantasy Football Rankings:
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks - 9/8 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs - 9/8 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers - 9/8 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends - 9/8 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defenses - 9/1 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Kickers - 6/26 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Downloadable Spreadsheets - 9/8 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Dynasty Rookie Rankings - 8/27 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Auction Values - 8/27 (Walt)

2011 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets:
2011 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 150 Traditional - 9/8 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 150 PPR - 9/8 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 150 Touchdown - 9/8 (Walt)

2011 Fantasy Football Mock Drafts:
2011 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Real League Draft - 8/31 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Fake Mock - 8/25 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Experts Draft - 8/25 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Forum 2-QB Mock - 7/21 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Mock Draft Scenarios - 7/17 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Auction: Mock PPR Auction - 7/14 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Forum PPR Mock - 7/7 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Forum Mock - 7/3 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Four-Man PPR Draft - 6/19 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Draft: Fox Sports - 5/5 (Walt)

2011 Fantasy Football Articles:
2011 Fantasy Football Injury Reports: Week 2 - 9/18 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Weekly Rankings: Week 2 - 9/18 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Week 2 Add/Drop - 9/13 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Training Camp Stock - 9/8 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Start Em, Sit Em - 9/6 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Preseason Stock - 9/3 (Walt)
2011 Preseason Recap and Fantasy Football Notes - 9/3 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Preseason Targets - 9/3 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Late-Round Sleepers - 9/1 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Round-by-Round Strategy - 9/1 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Value Comparison - 9/1
2011 Fantasy Football: Must-Have Players - 8/24 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Busts, Players to Avoid - 7/25 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Mailbag - 7/24 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Sleepers - 7/23 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Various League Strategy - 7/18 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Three-Dimensional Running Backs - 7/16 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: ADP Analysis - 7/15 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: First-Round Bust History - 7/10 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Mailbag - 7/9 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Mailbag - 7/4 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Analysis - 7/1 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Mailbag - 6/18 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Mailbag - 6/12 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football Mailbag - 6/5 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Stock Up (Draft) - 5/6 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Stock Down (Draft) - 5/6 (Walt)
2010 Fantasy Football: Buy Low - 4/8 (Walt)
2011 Fantasy Football: Defense Strategy - 4/8 (Walt)
Running Backs with Most Carries - 4/8 (Walt)

Fantasy Football Rankings - July 30

2016 NFL Mock Draft - July 24

2015 NFL Mock Draft - July 23

2015 NBA Mock Draft - July 1

NFL Free Agents

NFL Picks - Feb. 2

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