Football is rapidly closing in for us and if you haven’t drafted your fantasy football team by now, you likely will soon. We’ve already covered the Panthers you might consider drafting in a previous post. Today we will look at the college alumni from the state of North Carolina that you might draft.
1. Philip Rivers, quarterback, San Diego Chargers (NC State)
San Diego’s offense still revolves around Rivers, as it has since LaDanian Tomlinson left the team in free agency several years ago. Rivers will have to be the one who finds things that work, given the injury history of running back Ryan Matthews. Rivers threw for 4,478 yards last year with 32 touchdowns. His interceptions were down at 11 last season. He still has Antonio Gates as his security blanket.
2. Russell Wilson, quarterback, Seattle Seahawks (NC State)
Wilson won a Super Bowl last year and this year will have Percy Harvin healthy right away. The reason Wilson is not higher than Rivers is the offense’s dependence on the running game of Marshawn Lynch, which will take the ball out of Wilson’s hands for more snaps. Wilson threw for fewer yards and touchdowns than Rivers last year with only two fewer interceptions.
3. Gio Bernard, running back, Cincinnati Bengals (North Carolina)
The only thing really holding Bernard back from being higher on this list is uncertainty. BenJarvis Green-Ellis was used in short yardage roles last year, and the Bengals drafted Jeremy Hill to seemingly replace him. It is hard to say how many scoring opportunities that Bernard will get around the goaline. He will likely receive more carries with Green-Ellis gone, but how many more is tough to posit.
Bernard is also a receiving threat and had almost as many receiving yards as rushing yards last year (695 to 514). Bernard had a healthy yards per carry of 4.1, so give it to him three times and it should be a first down.
4. Chris Johnson, running back, New York Jets (East Carolina)
Johnson will be motivated in his first year in New York to show that he still has it. Hopefully the Jets offensive line will be good enough to let him prove it. The last couple years Johnson has averaged 1100 yards rushing and 6 rushing touchdowns. He is still dangerous as a screen threat too.
The only issue with Johnson is usage. He has seen a lot of work by his 28th birthday, and the Jets have not been shy about using running back committees in the past. In the shadows is the ‘Michael Vick Wildcat’ concept, which could take some carries from him.
5. Eric Ebron, tight end, Detroit Lions (North Carolina)
Ebron offers some good mismatch opportunities and quarterback Matthew Stafford likes to throw the ball. That should translate into numbers for Ebron this season. The Lions are looking for a more balanced attack to take some attention away from Calvin Johnson and turn him into a more effective weapon. I expect Ebron to be part of that equation.
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