The sixth team analysis brings us the second NFC team to appear, Firkin Fanclub.
Firkin Fanclub is a co-owned franchise that has been well run to date, making the playoffs in consecutive years in an especially competitive conference. They've done a good job of mixing consistent veterans with young, up and coming talent to draw from now and build the core for their future. This year their in-season management will be tested.
Quarterback is a transition position for FF this year. Gone is the stable, underrated performance of Eli Manning, in is the cheaper, good upside of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Also they're going all in with Tenn QB's, I like Locker's upside but in this run heavy offense he's likely no better than a QB2 this year. This group's success hinges on Fitzpatrick taking the next step in his development (FOA believes he will) and Locker being a pleasant fantasy surprise this year (FOA and I are skeptical). Together its a nice pairing with upside, both are relatively stable, plus FF has the primary backups for both, covering themselves in case of injury. Their lone prospect is Terrell Pryor who has looked terrible this camp, maybe he'll end up playing WR?
Running Back is another position in transition, after years of Michael Turner as their anchor, they're turning over to veterans who each bring a unique element to their backfield. Darren Sproles and Willis McGahee will be solid RB2's (with '12 upside), throw in Jacquizz Rodgers who the Falcons coaches are hyping up as a "three down back" and backing it up with heavy usage with the 1st team offense in pre-season games give me confidence he'll be at least an RB3 (if not more). Beyond that there's some depth and upside with Bernard Pierce, LeRon McClain, Brandon Saine and Danny (don't call me DJ) Ware. One or two of these guys won't be productive but the others will be, providing plenty of depth to consistently field a quality starting unit each week.
Wide Receiver is nearly a facisimile of the backfield however with two higher quality starters (Mike Wallace & Greg Jennings are low end WR1's), with strong support from Kendal Wright, Jonathan Baldwin (FOA favorite) and Rueben Randle. I particularly like how much 'promise' they've brought into the mix with Wright, Randle, Baldwin (in '11) along with likely locking up Wallace makes their WR postion stocked for the foreseeable future. Their challenge will be getting some value from some of the 'cheap' prospects they have like Streater who they can keep but likely will move to save roster spots for RB's. Overall this is one of the better WR groups in the league.
Tight End was a position of semi strength with Jason Witten helming the post and super hyped prospect (but not FOA loved) Rob Housler. However with Witten going down with the lacerated spleen (likely to miss a game or two), Arizona's passing game stuck in neutral (likely until they draft a legitimate starting QB in '13) and the others nothing more than roster fodder, this position may end up as a need, at the very least early in the season.
Kicker is again kicker, but its important to note that FOA predicts their only kicker (who is in a camp battle for the job) is projected to be tier 2, resulting in a 1.5ish point per week gap.
Overall Firkin Fanclub with an expected weekly scoring average of 96.1 will be on the outside looking in at a playoff spot, I'm predicting a 6-7 final record. There are five teams in their conference projected to average 103+, so they will need to win some close games, sweep their AFC contests and need emergence/strong performance from most of their question marks to keep their playoff streak alive. Given the level of engagement and depth of their roster, I think their lineup will change a lot between now and the trade deadline and there's a greater change of improvement than many other squads in the league.
|Dollars for Draft||$305|
|2014||QB||Jake Locker (DS)||$60|