Year-after-year, the University of Tennessee puts players in to the NFL. While many tend to be on the offensive line or on the defensive side of the ball, several offensive Vols have been fantasy football favorites. With the new NFL season set to kickoff on Thursday night with the Baltimore Ravens visiting the Denver Broncos, there are quite a few VFL’s who could help fantasy owners win their leagues.
QB Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos)
After missing the entire 2011 season due to neck surgery, Peyton Manning came back in 2012 with a new team and didn’t miss a beat. His normal ho-hum season of 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns not only makes him one of the best fantasy QBs, but one of the best fantasy players in the NFL. Even though Manning is 37 years old, he has plenty of weapons to continue putting up big numbers for his fantasy owners.
RB Arian Foster (Houston Texans)
Ever since he broke into the league as an undrafted free agent, Arian Foster has been one of the best running backs in the league. Although he has been an injury risk, Foster continuously puts up monster numbers. Last season, Foster played in all 16 games and ran for 1,454 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns to go along with 472 rushing yards and one receiving touchdown. Foster, if healthy, should be a top-five running back.
WR Denarius Moore (Oakland Raiders)
Denarius Moore has improved his stats over his two seasons in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders. Moore will be handcuffed due to poor QB play, but he is worth stashing on any fantasy owner’s bench. His speed makes him a deep threat and if the Raiders can find a QB to get the ball down the field, Moore could be a valuable player.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson (Minnesota Vikings)
Cordarrelle Patterson showed at Tennessee why he should have the ball in his hands. His dynamic playmaking skills make him a very dangerous wide receiver for the Vikings. Much like Denarius Moore, Patterson will be hampered by a limited QB. If the Vikings can find a way to get him the football, he could become a fantasy stud.
WR Justin Hunter (Tennessee Titans)
The Titans have several wide receivers in front of Justin Hunter on their depth chart. For this reason, Hunter probably won’t be a viable fantasy option in his rookie season. Hunter, however, does have a bright future. If he can learn to play a little tougher and eliminate some mental mistakes, he could become a top tier wide receiver in the future.
WR Robert Meachem (New Orleans Saints)
New Orleans recently signed Robert Meachem to a one-year contract after he was released by the San Diego Chargers. The move back to New Orleans should be good for Meachem, as he had his best season with the Saints in 2009. Even though he has lost a step, he could still provide some fantasy value with the high powered Saints.
TE Jason Witten (Dallas Witten)
Jason Witten seems to get better with age. Last season, despite health concerns, Witten caught a career-high 110 passes for the Cowboys and played in all 16 games. Witten is a sure fire hall of famer and one of the best fantasy tight ends in the NFL. For those who are lucky enough to draft the highly productive TE, look for another solid season…even with rookie Gavin Escobar waiting in the wings.
Several other Vols remain on NFL rosters, but don’t look to be a factor in fantasy football. Tight end Mychal Rivera will fight for playing time for the Raiders, but don’t expect for him to get many looks early on. QB Tyler Bray is the third QB for the Kansas City Chiefs and Matt Simms made the Jets roster as their third QB.