Ice cream lovers and fantasy footballers unite! Last year I debuted my “Like it, Love it, Gotta Have it” piece. I took the tag line from my favorite ice cream joint, Cold Stone Creamery and melted it (see what I did there?) together with America’s favorite imaginary pastime.
Of course we all know when ordering at Cold Stone you have three sizes to choose from: “Like it”, “Love it” or “Gotta Have It.” I will pair each size with a fantasy QB I like and one of my favorite creamy creations.
Like it (Chocolate Ice Cream, Hershey Syrup & Brownies)
Johnny Football! Okay, this has nothing to do with my man crush on Johnny Manziel. Well, maybe it does. I really like the young QB and I think he will prove a lot of people wrong when he is given the opportunity to sling the rock.
In college Manziel was quite impressive. The newest member of the Cleveland Browns threw for 7,820 yards, 63 passing scores and 22 picks. He also dazzled running the ball, scoring 30 times while racking up 2,169 yards. He single-handedly carried the Aggies in his time as the team’s leader. He completed an average of 69% of his passes, averaged 9 YPA through the air and 6 YPA on the ground. He just makes plays folks. The injury concern of course is there, I understand that, but the reward factor given his current ADP is huge! The upside is tantalizing.
There is also the playing time risk. No one yet knows how the competition between Manziel and incumbent QB Jed Hoyer will shake out. Hoyer has 5 career starts under his belt with 6 TD and 5 INT. He is also returning from the always-gruesome ACL tear, so nothing with him is a sure bet either.
The upside that Johnny brings to the table should make him worthy of a draft selection, even though his role is still up in the air. If you draft your QB late like I do, pairing Manziel with a veteran guy (say Josh McCown: see below) may not be a bad idea. If Manziel isn’t the guy in Cleveland after a couple of weeks you can just cut him and move on.
Bold prediction: Manziel will either be Michael Vick circa 2010 or the 2011 version of Tim Tebow; don’t miss the chance to cash in on a potential top 10 QB in the later rounds of the draft! (Editor’s note: Wow, that is bold)
Love it (Mint Ice Cream, Chocolate Chips & Whipped Topping)
Andrew Luck is one of the NFL’s best QBs and is entering only his 3rd season as a pro. A season ago, we saw some good and some rough games from the youngster from a fantasy perspective. Heading into 2014 I am high on Luck. If there were a season I would consider selecting a QB in the earlier rounds, this would be the year and Luck would be the guy. He sits as my #2 ranked fantasy QB and a player I would love to own.
With the off-season addition of Hakeem Nicks, Luck will have a plethora of viable targets come September. Nicks is set to join an already explosive group of weapons in Indy. The Colts already employ T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen and Trent Richardson (yes, Richardson is a weapon).
There are a few other factors that contribute to my love for Luck this year.
Luck has some favorable matchups this season (Jaguars twice and Texans twice, Broncos, Eagles & Redskins to name a few), so he should have ample opportunity to torch some poor defenses. Luck makes plays on his feet as well. He had 377 yards on the ground last season while finding pay dirt four times. He showed a lot more maturity from year 1 to 2 in protecting the football as he cut his interception total in half while mitigating the fumbles.
Indy’s golden boy has all the tools to finish as the #1 fantasy QB this year and I would not be surprised to see this happen. If the price is right, I love me some Luck.
Gotta Have it (Cheesecake Ice Cream, Cheesecake Pieces & Strawberries)
I know this is crazy but Luke McCown is my “Gotta Have it” of the upcoming season at the QB position. Heck, no one will ever view McCown as the flashiest QB of the bunch but he showed flashes of brilliance for Chicago last season. His success is somewhat surprising though as he appeared in only six games from 2008 to 2011.
Well, last season we saw a Luke McCown I don’t think we have ever seen before; much of which had to do with the talented players that surrounded him. tHe was throwing to Marshall, Jefferey, Forte and Bennett. The veteran gun-slinger now calls Tampa Bay home and like the Bears, they too are loaded with upside across the board. With the likes of Vincent Jackson, fresh rookie Mike Evans, Dougie Martin (yeah, I call him Dougie) and Brandon Myers, McCown could provide a lot of sneaky value this year.
In 2013, McCown threw for 1,829 yards, 13 TD and only 1 INT in 8 games. He passed for over 300 yards three times and had double-digit TD in 4 out of his 6 games. I really liked what I saw out of him; he was very consistent and very smart with the football, as is evident by the lone pick.
Heading into 2014, he is the 25th QB coming off the board, which is an absolute steal to me. I take the same approach with QBs as I do with starting pitchers in baseball: wait, wait and wait longer (unless Andrew Luck is available, of course). In doing so you could pair McCown with another lofty late-round QB and play the matchups with them in the season’s early going. With the weapons that surround him and the value that can be had, I Gotta Have McCown on my fantasy squad this season.
Make sure to chyme in with your thoughts on who you Like, Love or Gotta Have for the upcoming fantasy football season. Follow Ricky on twitter @Rickygangster!