May 122012
 

Some places have giant Draft Kits. I believe that all you need to know is who to draft early, who to draft late, and how to draft a good QB2 based on your QB1. All that of is compiled here in one printer friendly page. Just print it out and dominate.

 

Rosters shrink from 75 to 53 Saturday, which means more players will lose jobs today than any other day of the year. Most of these players didn’t have any fantasy value to begin with, but there’s always a few exceptions. 

RB Dominic Rhodes

The Breakdown: Those expecting Rhodes to be fantasy valuable with Marshawn Lynch suspended are in for a rude awakening. The Bills cut Rhodes Saturday.

What’s next: Rhodes is 30 years old, but he’s a decent pass catcher. He could catch on somewhere as a depth guy or a pass catching back, but he has no fantasy value. 

QB Jeff Garcia

The Breakdown: He shouldn’t have been on a fantasy roster anyway; the Raiders announced that JaMarcus Russell would remain the starter a few weeks ago. If he’s on your roster, get rid of him now. He’s not even on the Raiders roster anymore.

What’s next: He could sign midseason as a veteran backup. He’s not going to get a starting job anywhere else unless someone gets hurt and even if he does get a starting job, don’t rush and pick him up. He’s 39 and had a very pedestrian season last year.

WR Justin Harper

The Breakdown: Harper is one of my favorite unknown players, but the former 7thround pick, who I believed at one point had a shot to crack the Ravens week 1 starting lineup, is one of 3 wide receivers cut by the Ravens today. The Ravens will only carry 4 wideouts next season for some reason.

What’s next: He should catch on somewhere because of his athleticism, but shouldn’t do anything fantasy wise this year. He remains one of my favorite unknown players and hopefully he gets a shot to show what he’s got in the future. 

WR David Tyree

The Breakdown: The former Super Bowl hero was not draftable, but his release is still notable considering he helped the Giants in a big way in Super Bowl XLII less than 20 months ago.

What’s next: He’s been battling injuries since the Super Bowl so there won’t be a huge line of people waiting to sign him, but he should catch on somewhere sooner or later. 

QB Brian Brohm

The Breakdown: 2008 2nd round pick Brian Brohm was cut today after really not impressing the coach staff in Green Bay over the past year. You have to be pretty bad to turn the same coaching staff from wanting to use a 2nd round pick on you to not wanting to give you a roster spot in less than 18 months.

What’s next: Because of his youth, he’ll catch on somewhere else. I’m actually not as down on Brohm as most are and I think he could catch on somewhere down the line.

QB John David Booty

The Breakdown: Booty is the quarterback cut by the Vikings, not, as popularly believed, Tarvaris Jackson. This is significant because Jackson could have actually caught on somewhere and been a decent backup (and a decent backup is an injury away from being a starter and possibly fantasy relevant), while Booty is likely a career practice squadder.

What’s next: Booty was really only drafted because it said USC-QB by his name. I don’t think he’ll be anything in this league.

TE Alex Smith

The Breakdown: Some believed that, if Benjamin Watson could not return from injury, Smith would be the pass catching tight end to compliment Chris Baker. Now it appears that Baker would serve both roles in the event that Watson cannot play as Smith was sent packing Saturday by the Pats.

What’s next: He’s not a star, but he’s a decent player and should catch on somewhere eventually.

 

Dish Network Offers  

 

I’ll do one more of these before the season, to update you on any remaining position battles, plus injuries. During the season, I’m going to do it a little differently. I’ll give you some players to considering picking up, as well as a weekly injury report. 

Guys who get hurt

RB Jonathan Stewart

Stewart hasn’t played all preseason and is still out indefinitely with an achilles injury. I highly doubt that he’ll play week 1 and he remains questionable for the entire season at this point. He’s a huge injury risk at this point. Let someone else take him. Rookie Mike Goodson is going to get a lot of carries in Stewart’s absence and DeAngelo Williams should match or exceed his carry total from last year.

QB Kurt Warner

Warner looked awful in his final preseason game after looking mediocre in his first 2. Normally that’s not too big of a concern, but Warner is an injury prone 38 year-old coming off of hip surgery. I’m lowering him on my cheat sheet, as well as Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald and raising Chris Wells. If Warner struggles, the Cardinals, who want to focus on the run more already, will run a lot more which means more carries for Wells and less catches for Fitz, Boldin, and Steve Breaston.

Rookies

WR Hakeem Nicks

He has looked brilliant in limited action all preseason and should get a starting job for the Giants sooner rather than later. He could lead the team in yards and touchdowns at the end of the season so, while he won’t do much for you now, he’s worth a late round flier.

WR Jeremy Maclin

I’ve completely flip flopped on the Maclin/Kevin Curtis debate this preseason. First, I believed it would be Curtis who would start and Maclin, the rookie with no pro style experience, who would sit. However, Maclin has impressed me, as well as the Eagles coaching staff this preseason, to the point where they are considering cutting Kevin Curtis. Maclin will be Philly’s #2 this season opposite DeSean Jackson which gives him some late round value. 

WR Marko Mitchell

Mitchell, a 7th round pick, has impressed the Redskins in training camp. While the starting job opposite Santana Moss in Washington will be between Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, and reports are that they’re leaning towards Kelly, Mitchell could have that job before the end of the season. I’m not saying he’s draftable, but keep your eye on him. He’s my pick to be that late round pick that surprises everyone and becomes a star within a few years. If Marques Colston can do it, so can he. The only reason the 6-4 Mitchell dropped in the draft was an injury which he appears to have shaken off.

WR Jarrett Dillard

Dillard has lost the starting job to Mike Sims-Walker so Dillard’s fantasy sleeper value is gone.

RB James Davis

Davis got all the work with the first team in the final preseason game, and then was benched with the rest of the first team to get rest for the regular season. I’d be surprised if Davis wasn’t starting week 1. He’s my sleeper of the year at this point,

WR Brian Hartline

So much for fantasy sleeper. Hartline has lost his starting job.

Guys in position battles

RB Steve Slaton

The Texans have announced that Chris Brown will get the goal line carries for Houston, not Slaton. This lowers Slaton’s fantasy value a little, but not much. He’s still worth a mid-late first round pick and he’s still more valuable that his ADP. As for Brown, he really only has value if Slaton gets hurt or in touchdown leagues.

RB Edgerrin James

James only had 2 carries in the final preseason game. He only has 2 carries all preseason after signing midway. Julius Jones should start the season, but I still can’t see James not being the starter at some point. He’s more talented than Jones, even if he is old.

RB Larry Johnson

It seems that things have improved between Johnson and the Chiefs coaching staff since mid summer and Johnson will be the starting back week 1. He’s injury prone, but he’s healthy at this point and actually looked good in the preseason.

Guys you’ve never heard of

WR Sam Aiken

Aiken had 5 catches for 93 yards for the Patriots last week. The Patriots don’t have a player picked out to be Joey Galloway’s successor at wide receiver so keep your eye on this talented wideout in 2010 and beyond.

 

 

 

For printer friendly, click here

The difference between value picks and sleepers are value picks are guys that are getting glossed over from whatever reason and thus available 2-3 rounds later than they should be. Sleepers are guys that have the potential to be worth a lot more than their draft range, but might not reach that potential.

Two notes:

Should be drafted does not mean that you should draft them there. It means that that player has the value of a player drafted in that range, but you can probably still get them later. Take them 1 or so rounds ahead of where they are drafted on average, and 2 or 3 rounds ahead if you think the guy you are drafting with know what they are doing and/or read my site.

Draft range and should be drafted is based on 10 team leagues 

Mid-late round value picks

RB Ray Rice (Baltimore)

Average draft range: Late 8th-early 9th

Should be drafted: Late 5th-early 6th

Rice is going to be the #1 back on the depth chart for Baltimore this year, due to Willie McGahee’s age and injury problems, as well as LeRon McClain moving back to fullback. McGahee and McClain are still going to cut into Rice’s carries. Rice averaged 4.2 YPC last year and Baltimore is still going to run a lot because I’m not sure they’re fully ready to use Joe Flacco as a 500-550 throw quarterback yet. He should get more than 200 carries and at around 4 yards per carry, maybe more depending on how he improves as a runner in his 2nd year, he should get 800+ yards. He caught 33 balls last year for 273 yards and that should improve to somewhere around 50 balls for 400 yards this year as he gets more work. Flacco likes to check down and will look for Rice often. McGahee and McClain and McClain will split goal line carries so 5-9 200 pounds Ray Rice won’t get into the end zone that often. Don’t expect more than 4 or 5 touchdowns.

RB Donald Brown (Indianapolis)

Average draft position: Late 8th-early 9th

Should be drafted: Late 6th-early 7th

The Colts are calling it a timeshare between Brown and Addai at this point. However, Brown is a rookie so he has nowhere to go but up. The fact that Brown already has so much trust from the Colts’ coaching staff is a great sign. Had 58 yards on 5 carries in the preseason opener against Minnesota’s tough defense. Brown is the Indy back you want, not Joseph Addai. Brown is an 8th round pick on average. He’s worth a 7th at least, maybe a 6th because he does catch passes too.

QB Jake Delhomme (Carolina)

Average draft range: 14th round

Should be drafted: 11th round

Even though he gave the ball and the game away in the playoffs last year, I still like Delhomme as a sleeper. He has a great supporting cast and he’s another year removed from his elbow surgery. He still will be inconsistent and that’s a risk you’ll have to take, but if you can get his 3200-3500 yards and 18-20 touchdowns in the 10th or 11th round, go for it.

WR Kevin Walter (Houston)

Average draft range: Late 9th-early 10th

Should be drafted: 7th round

6-3 Kevin Walter had 899 yards and 8 touchdowns last year. If both Slaton and Schaub stay healthy this season, this offense will be that much better and those stats will approach 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s a real fantasy sleeper. The only thing I don’t like about him is that he’s a 27, soon to be 28 year old receiver who has never had 1000 yards or 10 touchdowns in any season, and only has 2 seasons of 800 yards or more. He also has to share the end zone Andre Johnson, but nonetheless, the potential is there for 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns.

TE Heath Miller (Pittsburgh)

Average draft range: 14th round

Should be drafted: 12th round

Miller no longer has to contend with Nate Washington for receptions over the middle and Ben Roethlisberger’s shoulder is no longer hurt so he can go back to being that 500-600 yard 5-7 touchdown guy this season. If you forgot to take a tight end in the earlier rounds or you didn’t because you were busy gobbling up RB/WR sleepers, you can do a whole lot worse than Miller, a consistent performer.

Mid-round sleepers

QB Shaun Hill (San Francisco)

Average draft range: Not drafted

Should be drafted: Late 12th-early 13th

I don’t have a lot of quarterback sleepers just because I feel you should go with safe backup quarterbacks, who have easy matchups on your QB1’s bye week, and also that you should never carry 3 quarterback. However, after Singletary took over and ran with him as his guy, Hill was 166 for 265 (62.6%) for 1873 yards, 12 touchdowns and 8 picks. Spread that out over a whole season and you’ve got about 3600-3700 yards, 24 TDs, 16 INTs. Add in the fact that he now has a capable receiver, Michael Crabtree, to throw to, and you’ve got yourself a fantasy sleeper. I would not be afraid to take this guy in the 12th round, especially if my QB1 had a 4th week bye, Matt Ryan, Donovan McNabb, Kurt Warner, and Jake Delhomme. Hill plays St. Louis’ miserable defense week 4. He is currently going in the 13th or 14th round. I might also take Hill as a QB2, if my QB1 were someone I was unsure about who I could replace with Hill, in case Hill gets hot or my QB1 gets cold. Jake Delhomme is the best of both worlds here.

QB Jason Campbell (Washington)

Average draft range: 16th round

Should be drafted: 13th round

Campbell is finally going into his 2nd season with the same offensive coordinator, so you have to think that the 3245 yards and 13 touchdowns he had last season are going up. Add in the fact that he’s motivated in his contract year, and also after the team tried to trade him/draft Mark Sanchez, and the fact that Washington’s 3 rookie receivers from last year are now no longer rookies, and he could have 3500 yards, 15-18 touchdowns. He’s getting drafted in the 16th round on average. If you draft Peyton Manning or Tony Romo, both of whom have a bye week 6, Campbell is a good QB2 as he faces Kansas City during week 6. Also if you draft Matt Schaub, bye week 10, Campbell plays Denver week 10. Schaub is injury prone so pairing a sleeper like Campbell with him makes a lot of sense. Campbell has borderline QB1 potential.

RB Fred Jackson (Buffalo)

Average draft range: Late 11th-early 12th

Should be drafted: 8th round

Jackson is Buffalo’s starter for weeks 1-3, so he’s a borderline RB2 for the first 3 weeks. He rushed for 100 yards against New England to end last season and he’s very interesting in flex leagues, where he could give you 3 starts to start the season. After that, he could keep his job, depending on how he performs in the first 3 weeks, but more likely he’ll become a backup again. Still, he’ll give you 3 starts in flex leagues, 2 in regular leagues as he faces Tampa Bay and New Orleans in week 2-3, with the potential to be a season long starter, so the 11th round is way too late for this guy to be available. Also, if he gives you 300+ all purpose yards in the first 3 weeks and he doesn’t keep his job, you could always trade him to Mr. Inept Fantasy Owner (admit it, you’ve all seen him) for someone who can help you during weeks 4-17.

RB Jerious Norwood (Atlanta)

Average draft range: Late 14th-early 15th

Should be drafted: 9th round

Jerious Norwood is going to get more involved in Atlanta’s offense for two reasons. One, there is no way that Michael Turner is going to be given 376 carries again next season. Two, Atlanta is going to pass more, with the addition of Tony Gonzalez and Matt Ryan going into his 2nd year, and they’ll likely want Norwood, a pass catcher, in there more often. The 25 year old Norwood has a career YPC of 5.8, but has never gotten more than 103 carries. Expect him to eclipse that number this season and rush for 600-700 yards. He caught 36 bals for 338 yards last season in limited time so we could see that go closer to 400 yards this season, with Norwood getting more playing time, Atlanta passing more and Tony Gonzalez opening holes over the middle for Norwood. 1000+ all purpose yards is very good for someone available in the 13th in most leagues.

RB James Davis (Cleveland)

Average draft range: Not drafted

Should be drafted: 7th round

Jamal Lewis is really not impressing new coach Eric Mangini and there’s actually a chance that Davis is the starting back or at least has a large role on the team week 1. He’s worth a late round flier at this point because I believe, like Greene, he will be the starter for the Browns sometime this season. Fantasy teams don’t really have him on their radar because Davis was a mere 6th round pick in the 2009 NFL draft, but, as he showed at Clemson, he’s the real deal if given a shot.

RB Ricky Williams (Miami)

Average draft range: 16th round

Should be drafted: 12th round

He’s 32, but he’s also Ronnie Brown’s only good backup and the favorite to get 20 carries a game when Ronnie Brown gets hurt again. Ronnie Brown has not had good history in terms of injuries, so Williams is a fantasy sleeper. He could be a borderline RB2 if Brown gets hurt and that’s all you really want from a late round pick, upside.

RB Laurence Maroney (New England)

Average draft range: Late 13th-early 14th

Should be drafted: 11th round

Honestly, I have no idea if he’s healthy or not. Bill Belicheck has a way of keeping that kind of thing a secret. If he is, he’s going to get around the 180 carries he averaged from 06-07, as he’ll split carries with Fred Taylor. He averaged 790 yards rushing from 06-07, so he could be a nice late round sleeper, as a borderline RB3 depending on the matchup.

RB Jamaal Charles (Kansas City)

Average draft range: Late 14th-early 15th

Should be drafted: Late 12th-early 13th

Larry Johnson isn’t on good terms with the new management in Kansas City and he could be cut before the season starts. Charles could end up getting 225+ carries if that happens and if he gets that many carries, 900+ yards would not be out of reach. Even if Johnson stays, he could get hurt or benched again and in that case, Charles becomes a borderline RB2 for a few weeks.

RB Glenn Coffee (San Francisco)

Average draft range: 16th round

Should be drafted: 10th round

The Niners’ new offensive coordinator is a former running backs coach and the passing game has a lot of questions so the Niners are going to run a lot. Frank Gore has never proven that he can handle all of the load, so as they switch to a run heavy offense, rookie Glenn Coffee is going to get a lot of the carries. They didn’t draft him in the 3rd round to sit him on the bench. Gore has also once had more than 300 carries and that was in 2006, before he started to break down due to injuries. Coffee should get 150-200 carries and that should get him 600-800 yards rushing. Gore is not a goal line back so Coffee will likely get the goal line carries so expect 8-10 TDs. He’s not a threat in the passing game, but 600-800 yards, 10 TDs, plus the potential that he could be a top 15-20 running back if Gore gets hurt again, is more than you can ask for in the late rounds.

WR Donald Driver (Green Bay)

Average draft range: Late 10th-early 11th

Should be drafted: 8th round

He may be boring and 34, but he’s consistent. He’s had 1000+ yards in 7 of the last 8 seasons and he’s part of one of the most explosive passing offenses in the league. I don’t see why he can’t get at least 900 yards and 5 touchdowns which makes him a nice WR4, who can be a WR3 depending on the matchup. He’s not being drafted like one.

WR Chris Henry (Cincinnati)

Average draft range: Late 10th-early 11th

Should be drafted: 8th round 

Henry is not suspended to start this season, which is always a good sign. He’s also been unstoppable on the field and is looking like the guy who will start opposite Ochocinco in Cincinnati’s high powered offense. He’s tall so he’s an end zone threat as well. Laveranues Coles, meanwhile, had no catches last week and does not look promising going into next season.

WR Steve Smith (NY Giants)

Average draft range: 16th round

Should be drafted: 11th round 

Someone has to be the #1 option for the Giants this year right?…right? Smith has been the most impressive receiver for the Giants in the preseason and he’s in his 3rdyear, so he’s worth a look in the mid-late rounds.

WR Josh Morgan (San Francisco)

Average draft range: 14th round

Should be drafted: Late 11th-early 12th

He’ll start for the 49ers and he’ll probably be Shaun Hill’s favorite target as Michael Crabtree is a rookie without pro offense experience and Vernon Davis is awful. As the talented top target for an average offense, 800 yards and 6 touchdowns aren’t out of the question which makes him someone who can start for you depending on the matchup.

WR Earl Bennett (Chicago)

Average draft range: 15th round

Should be drafted: 12th round

Bennett has looked like Jay Cutler’s favorite target so far in the preseason and why not, the two were teammates at Vanderbilt and have good chemistry. Cutler and Hester, on the other hand, have not gotten along as well. Bennett is a really good sleeper at this point. 

WR Hakeem Nicks (NY Giants)

Average draft range: Late 14th-early 15th

Should be drafted: 12th round

He has looked brilliant in limited action all preseason and should get a starting job for the Giants sooner rather than later. He could lead the team in yards and touchdowns at the end of the season so, while he won’t do much for you now, he’s worth a late round flier.

WR Bobby Engram (Kansas City)

Average draft range: Not drafted

Should be drafted: 13th round

He’s injury prone, but he’s going to be the slot receiver for Kansas City’s pass heavy offense, which happens to be led by a weak armed quarterback who loves to throw it to his slot receiver. He had 1147 yards in 2007, and he could get you 70 receptions for 800 yards seeing as he’s talented and Matt Cassel will want to throw to him a lot so he’s worth the late round injury/age risk. He’s value is higher in PPR leagues and lower in touchdown leagues. 

TE Jared Cook (Tennessee)

Average draft range: Undrafted

Should be drafted: 14th round

Cook led the Titans in receiving last week and has looked good in the preseason. Tennessee is a very tight end friendly offense, just ask Bo Sciafe. However, its looking like Cook will be top dog on the Tennessee tight end depth chart very soon so he’s the Tennessee tight end you want. He’s definitely worth a late round flier.

TE Jermichael Finley (Green Bay)

Average draft range: Not drafted

Should be drafted: Late 12th-early 13th 

2008 3rd round pick Jermichael Finley could be the starting tight end for the Packers this season. That’s not certain at the moment, but the possibility makes him an interesting sleeper. The Packers are going to pass a lot with Aaron Rodgers at the helm and Finley should at least get borderline TE1 stats if put into the starting lineup. He has big time pass catching abilities, better than last year’s starter Donald Lee, and fits this offense perfectly. Keep your eye on him as a late round flier.

TE Brandon Pettigrew (Detroit)

Average draft range: 16th round

Should be drafted: Late 14th-early 15th

I don’t like the idea of taking TE2s, but his upside is too good to not take in the late rounds. He’s as talented as Dustin Keller was last year in terms of catching the ball and if the Lions air it out as much as they have in years past, Pettigrew could get 500-600 yards and 5-6 touchdowns, which would be TE1 status and could make him an interesting trade bait.

RB Mike Goodson (Carolina)

Average draft range: Not drafted

Should be drafted: 11th round

The Panthers have announced that due to Jonathan Stewart’s achilles injury, Goodson could be used more often in the early weeks of the season. If Stewart misses any games, a real possibility at this point, Goodson would take over Stewart’s carries making him a decent RB3 for a few weeks as Carolina has a great offensive line and the defense will be more worried about DeAngelo Williams. This guy is not even drafted in most leagues so he’s a huge steal at this point. Stewart’s stock falls everyday he misses practice and everyday rookie Goodson impresses. 

WR Louis Murphy (Oakland)

Average draft range: Not drafted

Should be drafted: Late 14th-early 15th

If you draft any Raider wide receiver, not normally a good idea, make sure its this one. Murphy, despite being a rookie, has been the Raiders most impressive wide receiver this preseason and should get a starting job if Tom Cable isn’t too busy punching his assistants in the jaw to move Murphy up the depth chart. Murphy should be worth a late round flier and is not getting drafted in most leagues at this point. 

 

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Quarterbacks 

1. Peyton Manning (Indianapolis) 

 

2. Tom Brady (New England) 

 

3. Drew Brees (New Orleans) 

4. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) 

5. Phillip Rivers (San Diego) 

 

6. Tony Romo (Dallas) 

 

7. Donovan McNabb (Philadelphia) 

8. Kurt Warner (Arizona) 

9. Matt Ryan (Atlanta) 

10. Carson Palmer (Cincinnati)

11. Matt Schaub (Houston) 

12. Jay Cutler (Chicago) 

13. Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) 

14. Brett Favre (Minnesota)

15. Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle) 

 

Running Backs

1. Adrian Peterson (Minnesota) 

2. Matt Forte (Chicago) 

3. Maurice Jones Drew (Jacksonville) 

 

4. DeAngelo Williams (Carolina) 

5. LaDainian Tomlinson (San Diego) 

6. Chris Johnson (Tennessee) 

7. Michael Turner (Atlanta) 

 

8. Steve Slaton (Houston) 

9. Steven Jackson (St. Louis) 

10. Clinton Portis (Washington) 

11. Brandon Jacobs (NY Giants) 

 

12. Knowshon Moreno (Denver)

13. Kevin Smith (Detroit) 

14. Brian Westbrook (Philadelphia)

 

15. Ryan Grant (Green Bay) 

 

16. Frank Gore (San Francisco) 

17. Marion Barber (Dallas) 

18. Ray Rice (Baltimore) 

 

19. Chris Wells (Arizona) 

 

20. Cedric Benson (Cincinnati) 

 

21. Pierre Thomas (New Orleans) 

 

22. Thomas Jones (NY Jets) 

23. Derrick Ward (Tampa Bay) 

 

24. Larry Johnson (Kansas City)

25. Ronnie Brown (Miami) 

26. Darren McFadden (Oakland) 

27. Reggie Bush (New Orleans) 

28. Marshawn Lynch (Buffalo) 

29. Donald Brown (Indianapolis)

30. Ahmad Bradshaw (New York)

 

 

Wide Receivers

1. Randy Moss (New England) 

2. Andre Johnson (Houston) 

 

3. Calvin Johnson (Detroit) 

4. Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona) 

5. Roddy White (Atlanta) 

6. Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis) 

7. Marques Colston (New Orleans) 

8. Greg Jennings (Green Bay) 

9. Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City) 

10. TJ Houshmanzadeh (Seattle) 

11. Steve Smith (Carolina) 

 

12. Anquan Boldin (Arizona) 

13. Roy Williams (Dallas) 

14. Wes Welker (New England) 

15. Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson (Cincinnati) 

16. Antonio Bryant (Tampa Bay) 

 

17. Terrell Owens (Buffalo) 

18. Braylon Edwards (Cleveland) 

19. Santonio Holmes (Pittsburgh) 

20. Santana Moss (Washington) 

21. Anthony Gonzalez (Indianapolis) 

22. Derrick Mason (Baltimore) 

23. Lee Evans (Buffalo) 

24. Vincent Jackson (San Diego) 

25. Torry Holt (Jacksonville) 

26. Kevin Walter (Houston) 

 

27. Eddie Royal (Denver)

28. DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia)

 

29. Bernard Berrian (Minnesota) 

30. Donald Driver (Green Bay)

 

Tight ends 

1. Jason Witten (Dallas) 

2. Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta) 

3. Antonio Gates (San Diego) 

4. Dallas Clark (Indianapolis) 

5. Greg Olsen (Chicago) 

6. Chris Cooley (Washington) 

7. Kellen Winslow (Tampa Bay) 

8. John Carlson (Seattle) 

9. Zach Miller (Oakland) 

10. Owen Daniels (Houston) 

 

11. Heath Miller (Pittsburgh) 

 

12. Visanthe Shiancoe (Minnesota)

13. Jeremy Shockey (New Orleans) 

14. Jermichael Finley (Green Bay)

15. Brent Celek (Philadelphia)

 

 

 

 

 

Some background, unlike previous drafts of mine that I have posted, this is not done with random people in a mock draft lobby on espn or with other fantasy experts, this is done with people I know personally. 14 team standard ESPN league.

ROUND 1

1        Adrian Peterson, Min Team Sarmiento

2        Matt Forte, Chi         Team lourie

3        Michael Turner, Atl    Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

4        Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac     Tom Brady Is God

5        Steven Jackson, StL  Team Morgan

6        DeAngelo Williams, Car        Turn My Swag On

7        Chris Johnson, Ten    Team Valladares

8        Frank Gore, SF        Team Durstenfeld

9        LaDainian Tomlinson, SD      Team YAY AREA

10      Drew Brees, NO       Spongebob and Company

11      Larry Fitzgerald, Ari  Team Brady Killerz

12      Tom Brady, NE         Team Zanger

13      Andre Johnson, Hou  Team Oakland

14      Calvin Johnson, Det   Team Reinhardt

My pick: Forte actually has the least amount of questions of any back this year. He’s the safest fantasy player and my #2 fantasy back.

Best pick: Pretty standard first round, but I like the pick of LT at 9.

Worst pick: Frank Gore hasn’t been worthy of a 1st round pick since 2006 and now he has the extremely talented Glen Coffee, who could steal his goal line carries, to contend with in the backfield. You can do a lot better at 8.

ROUND 2

15      Randy Moss, NE       Team reinhardt

16      Brandon Jacobs, NYG Team Oakland

17      Clinton Portis, Was    Team Zanger

18      Matt Ryan, Atl          Team Brady Killerz

19      Steve Smith, Car      Spongebob and Company

20      Peyton Manning, Ind  Team YAY AREA

21      Steve Slaton, Hou     Team Durstenfeld

22      Kurt Warner, Ari       Team Valladares

23      Marion Barber, Dal    Turn My Swag On

24      Greg Jennings, GB    Team Morgan

25      Roddy White, Atl       Tom Brady Is God

26      Brian Westbrook, Phi Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

27      Reggie Wayne, Ind    Team lourie

28      Marques Colston, NO Team Sarmiento

My pick: I normally take a lot of sleepers and upside guys, so it was good to get a consistent WR1, to pair with my consistent RB1. Wayne is the type of guy that you know what you are getting from him every night, assuming Peyton Manning is healthy which is a safe assumption to make. Wayne also hasn’t missed a game since 2001, his rookie season.

Best pick: Getting Peyton Manning at 20 is pretty good value, as is Moss at 15. Both are my highest rated fantasy players in their respective positions. However, Steve Slaton, who I have rated as a late 1st round pick was drafted here in the mid 2nd round of a 14 team league, so I think that’s the best pick.

Worst pick: Matt Ryan with the 18th overall pick? Before Peyton Manning? Brady Killerz justification for his pick “Ryan is legit.” Yea, not that legit and even if he is, he’d be available about 30-40 picks later. Kurt Warner, and his bad hip, at 22 is also questionable.

ROUND 3

29      Aaron Rodgers, GB   Team Sarmiento

30      Kevin Smith, Det      Team lourie

31      Ronnie Brown, Mia    Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

32      Jay Cutler, Chi          Tom Brady Is God

33      Philip Rivers, SD       Team Morgan

34      Anquan Boldin, Ari     Turn My Swag On

35      Pierre Thomas, NO    Team Valladares

36      Terrell Owens, Buf    Team Durstenfeld

37      Dwayne Bowe, KC    Team YAY AREA

38      Thomas Jones, NYJ   Spongebob and Company

39      Ryan Grant, GB        Team Brady Killerz

40      T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Sea Team Zanger

41      Brandon Marshall*, Den                Team Oakland

42      Tony Romo, Dal        Team Reinhardt

My pick: Knowshon Moreno is my highest rated player left on the board, but ESPN has him rated as the 60th best player on the board and I don’t think, based on early indications, that I’m drafting against the most fantasy savvy people. Moreno is also coming off of an injury and has missed 2 preseason games, though he’ll be ready for the season, so I take Smith, my 2nd highest player, and hope I can get both him and Moreno.

Best pick: Aaron Rodgers was the 2nd best fantasy quarterback last year. Granted, it was in a year where Peyton Manning had injury problems and Tom Brady essentially missed the whole season, but Rodgers was also in only his first year as a starter. 29 is good value for him and that stood out above the rest of the bad picks in this round.

Worst pick: Yes, the Matt Ryan selection was my first indication that I wasn’t dealing with the most fantasy savvy group of guys, but this round really solidified that believe. Ronnie Brown hasn’t played a full season as a feature back since high school and he goes 31st. Jay Cutler is going to a conservative Bears offense and he goes 32nd. Thomas Jones will be essentially splitting carries with Leon Washington and Shonn Greene and he goes 38th. Brandon Marshall might not play this year and he goes 41st. Tony Romo chokes during the fantasy playoffs every year and he goes 42nd.

ROUND 4

43      Marshawn Lynch*, Buf        Team reinhardt

44      Wes Welker, NE       Team Oakland

45      Darren McFadden, Oak        Team Zanger

46      Tony Gonzalez, Atl    Team Brady Killerz

47      Michael Vick*, Phi     Spongebob and Company

48      Joseph Addai, Ind     Team YAY AREA

49      Roy E. Williams, Dal  Team Durstenfeld

50      Braylon Edwards, Cle Team Valladares

51      Willie Parker, Pit       Turn My Swag On

52      Vincent Jackson, SD  Team Morgan

53      Ray Rice, Bal           Tom Brady Is God

54      Jason Witten, Dal      Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

55      Knowshon Moreno, Den       Team lourie

56      Antonio Gates, SD     Team Sarmiento

My pick: I got Moreno. I was so happy. Moreno is my RB3 with RB2 value and RB1 upside. He could be a top 10 fantasy player at the end of the year and getting him at 55 in a 14 team league is amazing.

Best pick: I was actually hoping that Rice would slip to me in the 5th round, giving me a kickass RB4/trade bait. However, Tom Brady is God, who will make a number of good picks over the course of the draft, snatched him at 53. Rice is RB2 caliber and should be the feature back in Baltimore’s conservative offense this year.

Worst Pick: Spongebob and Company could not make this draft, for whatever reason, but he (they?) did set their pre-draft rankings and informed me of this. What he did not inform me of was the fact that he would be setting these pre-draft rankings while drunk. That’s the only reason I see that Vick, who won’t even play until week 3, has missed 2 years while in jail, and is not the starting quarterback for his team, goes 47th overall. And Vick is Spongebob’s QB2. He drafted Brees back in the first. I was not a fan of the Willie Parker and Joseph Addai selections, but Vick is way worse.

ROUND 5

57      Jonathan Stewart, Car         Team Sarmiento

58      Chad Ochocinco, Cin  Team lourie

59      Matt Schaub, Hou     Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

60      DeSean Jackson, Phi Tom Brady Is God

61      Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG        Team Morgan

62      Dallas Clark, Ind       Turn My Swag On

63      Owen Daniels, Hou    Team Valladares

64      Donovan McNabb, Phi          Team Durstenfeld

65      Bernard Berrian, Min Team YAY AREA

66      Larry Johnson, KC     Spongebob and Company

67      Chris Wells, Ari         Team Brady Killerz

68      Hines Ward, Pit         Team Zanger

69      Derrick Ward, TB      Team Oakland

70      Steelers D/ST, Pit     Team Reinhardt

My pick: With 3 running backs, I decided it was either WR or QB for me. At quarterback, I had the choice between Donovan McNabb, who is decent, Matt Schaub, who is injury prone, and Carson Palmer, a sleeper of mine that I felt I could get in the 6th round. I went with Palmer’s #1 option here, Ochocinco, so that I could cash in double when the pair resume their dominance this year.

Best pick: By default it has to be Chris Wells, because there was a lot I just didn’t like this round. Wells will be used a lot this year, especially if Warner is as hurt as he looks.

Worst pick: I thought a lot of things were mediocre this round, but the selections of Jonathan Stewart, who could miss the year, and Larry Johnson, who could be suspended, were big mistakes, as was the selection of the Steelers’ D. You don’t take a defense in the 5th round, no matter how deep the league is or how good the defense is.

ROUND 6

71      Reggie Bush, NO       Team reinhardt

72      Matt Cassel, KC        Team Oakland

73      Lee Evans, Buf         Team Zanger

74      Eddie Royal, Den      Team Brady Killerz

75      Giants D/ST, NYG     Spongebob and Company

76      Vikings D/ST, Min      Team YAY AREA

77      Santonio Holmes, Pit  Team Durstenfeld

78      Ravens D/ST, Bal      Team Valladares

79      Antonio Bryant, TB    Turn My Swag On

80      Titans D/ST, Ten       Team Morgan

81      Chris Cooley, Was     Tom Brady Is God

82      LenDale White, Ten   Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

83      Cedric Benson, Cin    Team lourie

84      Kevin Walter, Hou     Team Sarmiento

My pick: I was ready to take Palmer when it occurred to me that Sarmiento already had a quarterback and likely wouldn’t take Palmer. I could have been wrong and Sarmiento could have taken Palmer as his QB2, crazier things have happened, leaving me with a choice between Ben Roethlisberger and Brett Favre, but Satmiento has drafted pretty well so far so I believed I could get Palmer at 86. I took Palmer’s backfield mate instead. Cedric Benson has a questionable past, but in the present he’s a starting running back for one of the best offenses in the league.

Best pick: I don’t know why Antonio Bryant is rated so low by ESPN. He has missed the whole preseason, but he’s practicing again and should start week 1. He has WR2 potential this year. I was targeting him until Turn My Swag On took him at 79, which I really thought was a nice selection. Santonio Holmes and Kevin Walter were nice pickups as well.

Worst pick: Not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 fantasy defenses went in the 6th round. The worst of the 4 is going to surprisingly be the Titans’ defense. Not having Albert Haynesworth knocks this defense from elite to above average. If you’re going to take a defense this early, make sure its an elite one.

ROUND 7

85      Anthony Gonzalez, Ind         Team Sarmiento

86      Carson Palmer, Cin   Team lourie

87      Santana Moss, Was   Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

88      Tim Hightower, Ari    Tom Brady Is God

89      Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ        Team Morgan

90      Ben Roethlisberger, Pit        Turn My Swag On

91      Donald Driver, GB     Team Valladares

92      Greg Olsen, Chi        Team Durstenfeld

93      Jamal Lewis, Cle       Team YAY AREA

94      Zach Miller, Oak       Spongebob and Company

95      Felix Jones, Dal        Team Brady Killerz

96      Jeremy Shockey, NO Team Zanger

97      Darren Sproles, SD   Team Oakland

98      Devin Hester, Chi      Team Reinhardt

My pick: If he’s healthy, he’s golden. If he plays all 16 games this year, Palmer should have another 20+ touchdown 4000+ yard season and with the 86th pick, that’s excellent value.

Best pick: Greg Olsen could be the 3rd rated fantasy tight end at the end of the season if things go right. Cutler loves to throw to tight ends and Olsen has amazing skills for such a big guy. Getting him at 92 is amazing value.

Worst pick: I don’t think Sproles is even fantasy relevant in non-PPR leagues. He’s fast but he’s also 5 foot 5 and Norv Turner has promised that, if he stays healthy, LT will see the ball 20 times per game. That doesn’t leave a lot left over for Sproles. Jamal Lewis won’t be Cleveland’s starting back by week 4. He might not even start week 1 after James Davis’ preseason breakout.

ROUND 8

99      Lance Moore, NO      Team reinhardt

100     Fred Taylor, NE        Team Oakland

101     Donald Brown, Ind    Team Zanger

102     Eli Manning, NYG       Team Brady Killerz

103     Torry Holt, Jac         Spongebob and Company

104     Kellen Winslow, TB    Team YAY AREA

105     Derrick Mason, Bal    Team Durstenfeld

106     Laveranues Coles, Cin         Team Valladares

107     Earnest Graham, TB  Turn My Swag On

108     John Carlson, Sea     Team Morgan

109     Chester Taylor, Min   Tom Brady Is God

110     Steve Breaston, Ari   Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

111     Fred Jackson, Buf     Team lourie

112     LeSean McCoy, Phi    Team Sarmiento

My pick: I was pissed when Carlson went off the board. As a rookie he had 627 yards and 5 touchdowns. Now he’s a year older and has his quarterback fully healthy so he has nowhere to go but up. I wanted him as my starting tight end, but that didn’t work out. I shouldn’t complain after all the luck I’ve had to this point. Fred Jackson is a fine pick as well. He is going to start weeks 1-3 while Marshawn Lynch serves his suspension. After week 3 I could trade him to one of the inept owners in this league who doesn’t realize he’s not starting anymore and get myself a real fantasy piece.

Best pick: While I wanted Carlson, Derrick Mason is a consistent wideout who should get you 1000 yards this year. Props to Durstenfield for taking him with the 105th overall pick.

Worst pick: Nothing awful, but Laveranues Coles isn’t going to be a starter this year at wideout so I don’t see the point of taking him 106th overall.

ROUND 9

113     Eagles D/ST, Phi       Team Sarmiento

114     Chris Henry, Cin       Team lourie

115     Le’Ron McClain, Bal   Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

116     Josh Morgan, SF       Tom Brady Is God

117     Ted Ginn Jr., Mia      Team Morgan

118     Kyle Orton, Den        Turn My Swag On

119     Brett Favre, Min       Team Valladares

120     Julius Jones, Sea      Team Durstenfeld

121     Stephen Gostkowski, NE      Team YAY AREA

122     Sebastian Janikowski, Oak   Spongebob and Company

123     Steve Smith, NYG     Team Brady Killerz

124     Bears D/ST, Chi        Team Zanger

125     Domenik Hixon, NYG Team Oakland

126     Percy Harvin, Min      Team Reinhardt

My pick: As I made my Chris Henry pick I said, “and the 4th Bengal I will drafted tonight is…” Naturally people laughed. However, the Bengals, assuming Palmer is healthy, will regain their status as an elite offense. Their play Cleveland twice, and the Lions, Jets, and the AFC West. Having their starting quarterback, two starting wide receivers, and starting running back is hardly laughable.

Best pick: After the run on defenses in the 6th, credit Sarmiento for waiting and still getting an elite unit in the 9th. The Eagles defensive unit is banged up, but they will still create a lot of sacks, a lot of turnovers, and they have the best special teams in the league. Josh Morgan is a nice sleeper as well.

Worst pick: Where do I begin? Le’Ron McClain is a fullback. Kyle Orton had one of the worst INT:ATT ratios in the league last year playing for a conservative offense. Now he goes to Denver’s air it out offense. He should be 20 picks this year and fewer touchdowns than that. Stephen Gostkowski is at least a good kicker, but Sebastian Janikowski is a Raider. If you are going to reach that much for a kicker, make sure he’s not a Raider. Another laughable pick by Spongebob. Percy Harvin had fantasy value when the Vikings were considering using more wildcat, but I doubt that will still be the case with Favre in town.

ROUND 10

127     Kevin Boss, NYG       Team reinhardt

128     Jets D/ST, NYJ         Team Oakland

129     Donnie Avery, StL     Team Zanger

130     49ers D/ST, SF        Team Brady Killerz

131     Heath Miller, Pit        Spongebob and Company

132     David Garrard, Jac    Team YAY AREA

133     Dolphins D/ST, Mia    Team Durstenfeld

134     Ryan Longwell, Min    Team Valladares

135     Willis McGahee, Bal   Turn My Swag On

136     Joe Flacco, Bal         Team Morgan

137     Glen Coffee, SF        Tom Brady Is God

138     Patrick Crayton, Dal  Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

139     Matt Hasselbeck, Sea           Team lourie

140     Trent Edwards, Buf   Team Sarmiento

My pick: I was thwarted twice this round. First, the tight end I wanted, Heath Miller was taken. I still need a tight end at this point. However, I decided to wait on that and take my backup quarterback. Joe Flacco has an easy matchup during Carson Palmer’s bye week and Flacco is becoming a favorite sleeper of mine. However, Team Morgan thwarted me there for the 2nd time tonight. However, even though he faces Dallas’ defense during Palmer’s bye week, I decided to take Hasselbeck as my QB2 because I actually have him rated higher than Flacco. I believe between Palmer and Hasselbeck, both of whom have injury histories, I should get one good starting quarterback.

Best pick: Flacco and Glen Coffee are great guys to have on your bench. Both could break out this year and become real factors. David Garrard is extremely underrated and so is Donnie Avery, who is way ahead of schedule in his return from injury and should start week 1.

Worst pick: I don’t like either the Niners’ or the Dolphins’ defense this year, especially not in round 10.

ROUND 11

141     Robbie Gould, Chi      Team Sarmiento

142     Visanthe Shiancoe, Min        Team lourie

143     Bobby Engram, KC    Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

144     Patriots D/ST, NE      Tom Brady Is God

145     Jason Elam, Atl         Team Morgan

146     Sammy Morris, NE    Turn My Swag On

147     Rashard Mendenhall, Pit                Team Valladares

148     Kevin Curtis, Phi       Team Durstenfeld

149     Chris Chambers, SD  Team YAY AREA

150     Panthers D/ST, Car   Spongebob and Company

151     Joe Nedney, SF        Team Brady Killerz

152     Ricky Williams, Mia    Team Zanger

153     Dustin Keller, NYJ     Team Oakland

154     Rob Bironas, Ten      Team Reinhardt

My pick: Allow me to perform a magic trick. I will turn the 142nd pick into a starting caliber fantasy tight end. Shiancoe had 600 yards and 7 touchdowns last year and those numbers should only go up with the addition of Brett Favre this year.

Best pick: Rashard Mendenhall could start week 1…and week 2, and week 3, etc. Willie Parker has injury problems and Mendenhall, who was drafted to be Parker’s successor, could be feature back for Pittsburgh this year. Not bad in the 11th round. I will give Valladares some credit…actually a lot of credit. Granted, he wasn’t actually here at this point, his internet crashed, but still, nice pick.

Worst pick: Sammy Morris is buried on New England’s depth chart at running back and Kevin Curtis could be cut. I can’t decide which pick is worse.

ROUND 12

155     Michael Crabtree, SF Team reinhardt

156     Jerious Norwood, Atl Team Oakland

157     Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oak   Team Zanger

158     Leon Washington, NYJ         Team Brady Killerz

159     Muhsin Muhammad, Car      Spongebob and Company

160     Justin Gage, Ten       Team YAY AREA

161     David Akers, Phi       Team Durstenfeld

162     Jake Delhomme, Car Team Valladares

163     Nate Kaeding, SD     Turn My Swag On

164     Chargers D/ST, SD   Team Morgan

165     Devery Henderson, NO        Tom Brady Is God

166     Mason Crosby, GB    Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

167     James Davis, Cle      Team lourie

168     Tony Scheffler, Den  Team Sarmiento

My pick: James Davis will start for the Browns sooner rather than later. Getting a starting running back in the 12th round of a 14 team league is nice.

Best pick: Norwood has looked good in limited action in his career and I like this to be the year he finally getting more playing time in Atlanta. Leon Washington might be the most valuable Jets’ running back at the end of the year this year, so the upside is good there. Team Morgan once again thwarted my plans, this time my plan to take the Chargers’ defense so nice pick there.

Worst pick: Nothing awful this round, but Michael Crabtree shouldn’t be drafted. He’s not even under contract. Darrius Heyward Bey is under contract, but that’s about all you can say for him. He reportedly can’t catch the football.

ROUND 13

169     Cadillac Williams, TB  Team Sarmiento

170     Redskins D/ST, Was  Team lourie

171     Jason Campbell, Was Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

172     Michael Bush, Oak     Tom Brady Is God

173     Laurence Maroney, NE        Team Morgan

174     Chad Pennington, Mia Turn My Swag On

175     Nate Burleson, Sea   Team Valladares

176     Shonn Greene, NYJ   Team Durstenfeld

177     Joey Galloway, NE    Team YAY AREA

178     Adam Vinatieri, Ind   Spongebob and Company

179     Nick Folk, Dal           Team Brady Killerz

180     John Carney, NO      Team Zanger

181     Neil Rackers, Ari       Team Oakland

182     Brandon Pettigrew, Det       Team Reinhardt

My pick: I needed a defense. Albert Haynesworth will improve the Redskins’ sack total with his presence alone so close to 40 sacks is reasonable for them. This is a defense that was good at stopping teams last year, but not at creating sacks or turnovers. The addition of Haynesworth and a full season of DeAngelo Hall should fix those problems slightly.

Best pick: Other than myself, Team Morgan is having the best draft this year, which is surprising because this was his first draft and midway through he was confused as to what BE stood for, but I will give credit where credit is definitely due. Maroney is listed on top of the Patriots’ depth chart. Though Bill Belicheck often lies, Maroney is nonetheless the most talented runner on the team and starting, or at least getting a large chunk of the carries, for that offense gives him great fantasy value.

Worst pick: Nothing awful, but I don’t see how taking the Raiders’ 3rd string running back is smart. Michael Bush had one good game last year, but will be buried this year.

ROUND 14

183     Tashard Choice, Dal  Team reinhardt

184     Michael Jenkins, Atl   Team Oakland

185     Nate Washington, Ten         Team Zanger

186     Packers D/ST, GB     Team Brady Killerz

187     Justin Fargas, Oak    Spongebob and Company

188     Shaun Hill, SF           Team YAY AREA

189     Brady Quinn, Cle       Team Durstenfeld

190     Bo Scaife, Ten         Team Valladares

191     Sidney Rice, Min       Turn My Swag On

192     Mark Bradley, KC      Team Morgan

193     Anthony Fasano, Mia Tom Brady Is God

194     Correll Buckhalter, Den        Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

195     Earl Bennett, Chi       Team lourie

196     Isaac Bruce, SF        Team Sarmiento

My pick: I needed a WR4 and Bennett had the most upside of any wideout. He could lead Bears wide receivers in yards this year.

Best pick: Shaun Hill is a nice sleeper and Anthony Fasano is a starting caliber tight end in round 14.

Worst pick: The Packers play defense? Also, Correll Buckhalter is nothing but a decoy this year. Knowshon Moreno is the feature back in Denver and Buckhalter will fight with like 18 other backs for #2 on the depth chart.

ROUND 15

197     Hakeem Nicks, NYG  Team Sarmiento

198     Brent Celek, Phi        Team lourie

199     Samkon Gado, StL    Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

200     Kerry Collins, Ten     Tom Brady Is God

201     Ladell Betts, Was      Team Morgan

202     Jamaal Charles, KC   Turn My Swag On

203     Jeremy Maclin, Phi    Team Valladares

204     Vernon Davis, SF      Team Durstenfeld

205     Mike Sims-Walker, Jac        Team YAY AREA

206     Derek Anderson, Cle Spongebob and Company

207     JaMarcus Russell, Oak         Team Brady Killerz

208     Deion Branch, Sea    Team Zanger

209     Kevin Faulk, NE        Team Oakland

210     Danny Ware, NYG     Team Reinhardt

My pick: A few rounds ago I turned the 142nd pick into a TE1. Now I will turn the 198th pick into another TEI. I normally don’t like taking backup tight ends, but Brent Celek is too good to pass up. I can mix and match him with Shiancoe.

Best pick: Hakeem Nicks could be the Giants’ #1 option by week 8. That’s plenty upside for the 197th pick.

Worst pick: Kevin Faulk and Danny Ware only have value in PPR leagues and Samjon Gado and Ladell Betts only have value if Stephen Jackson and Clinton Portis, respectively, get hurt.

ROUND 16

211     Matthew Stafford, Det        Team reinhardt

212     Maurice Morris, Det   Team Oakland

213     Terry Glenn, Dal       Team Zanger

214     Dominic Rhodes, Buf Team Brady Killerz

215     Selvin Young, Den     Spongebob and Company

216     Mark Clayton, Bal     Team YAY AREA

217     James Jones, GB      Team Durstenfeld

218     Keenan Burton, StL   Team Valladares

219     Cowboys D/ST, Dal   Turn My Swag On

220     John Kasay, Car       Team Morgan

221     Kris Brown, Hou       Tom Brady Is God

222     Texans D/ST, Hou     Aaron Rodgers is a GOD

223     Lawrence Tynes, NYG         Team lourie

224     Peyton Hillis, Den      Team Sarmiento

My pick: I took Tynes, but then dropped him and picked up Shayne Graham because I decided I liked Graham better. If you’re keeping score at home that’s 5 Bengals for me.

Best pick: Tom Brady is God is the only other team that waited until the last round to take their starting kicker and he got the kicker I wanted. Morgan took a kicker, but took a K2, which is a rookie mistake. Backup kickers aren’t necessary.

Worst Pick: Zanger left after the 15th round satisfied and set it to auto draft. I don’t know what’s funnier, the fact that he has Terry Glenn on his roster now or that ESPN’s computers actually still had Terry Glenn in their computers as a viable fantasy option. Glenn hasn’t played in over 2 years. 

 

Guys coming off injury

QB Tom Brady

Brady is back at practice after his “shoulder injury.” It appears to be no big deal and he’ll probably start this week, though I wouldn’t be surprised if they held him out just to be safe. Brady has looked good in 2 of his 3 starts since returning from knee surgery and has more upside than any other quarterback this year.

Guys who get hurt

QB Matt Cassel

I already was down on Cassel, but he now has a knee injury that will force him to miss at least 2-3 weeks, possibly more. Cassel is still being drafted as  QB1 in some leagues. He’s nothing but a backup at this point.

WR Roy Williams

Williams’ shoulder injury doesn’t appear to be too serious, so I’ll leave him on my wide receiver board in exactly the same place until further notice.

RB Knowshon Moreno

Moreno didn’t play this week against the Bears, but he warmed up with the team, which means he would have played it is were a regular season game. Barring setbacks, he should be good to go for week 1. He provides late 2nd round value, with great potential, in the 4th round.

RB Brandon Jackson

Jackson is out indefinitely. This is good news for Ryan Grant as now he has no one to vulture carries. Grant is still a mediocre runner, but he’s got a great offense around him and no one to steal his carries so I’m moving him up.

WR Steve Breaston

Despite the fact that he’s a 3rd year receiver, I highly doubt that Breaston will match his 2008 totals, unless either Fitzgerald or Boldin miss large amounts of time. Both Breaston and his quarterback have had injury problems, and the Cardinals are going to run more this year, so there’s a very slim chance that Breaston is anything more than a WR5 this year, barring injuries to a starter.

RB Jerious Norwood

Norwood has a knee injury and will miss the preseason finale for the Falcons. I still love his upside and steal value late in the draft, especially in PPR leagues, though.

TE Ben Utecht

Utecht will miss the entire season with a concussion. Utecht is the 2nd Cincinnati tight end to go down for the year this preseason so, by default, Daniel Coats will be the starter. However, Coats is a former fullback who will probably only be the blocking tight end. If you want a Cincinnati tight end, not a bad idea because of how pass heavy the Bengals offense is, rookie Chase Coffman is the one. He’ll be the pass catching tight end for the Bengals. He has upside in the late rounds of deep drafts.

WR Antonio Bryant

Bryant returned to the practice field so everything appears on track for Bryant to make his scheduled return week 1. This has been my believe all along, so nothing changes here. I am just letting you know.

Rookies

WR Hakeem Nicks

Nicks exploded for 144 yards for the Giants last week, despite not starting. The Giants have shown no interest in starting the rookie, for whatever reason, but he could win the starting job for the Giants later this season. He has a lot of talent and thus a lot of potential late in the season. It might not be a bad idea to take him and stash him on your bench.

RB Chris Wells

After his great game last week, in which Wells showed no lingering effects from his leg injury, Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt is seriously considering making the rookie a week 1 starter. Even if he isn’t a week 1 starter, he will start at some point this year. Pass catching back Tim Hightower is going to get a lot of playing time in Arizona’s pass heavy offense, but there’s no denying Wells’ ability on the ground. If Kurt Warner struggles due to his hip injury, Wells will get a lot of carries this year and even if Warner doesn’t struggle Wells is the Arizona back you want in all formats excluding PPR.

Guys in position battles

RB Leon Washington

Washington is getting a lot of the carries for the Jets in the preseason and coach Rex Ryan is going running back by committee so while Thomas Jones is the listed starter, he doesn’t have a ton of value. Expect Washington to get about 150 carries this year, with a bunch of receptions, making him a nice PPR option. Jones, who is also getting up there in years, isn’t going to do anywhere near as well as he did last year when Washington was a mere 3rd down back. Rookie Shonn Greene could still his goal line carries too which would be a big blow to Jones’ stock. 

 

As the season gets closer these will become more frequent.

Also updated

Mid-late round Value Picks/Sleepers

Cheat Sheet 

Drafting a QB2

 

Guys coming off injuries

QB Tom Brady

Tom Brady looked good week 1, average week 2 in limited actions, and good again week 3. The only problem was he left with a shoulder injury on his throwing arm. They’re calling it a sore shoulder, which shouldn’t be a problem. Bill Belicheck said after the game that Brady did not leave because of the shoulder soreness and that the soreness is just part of the everyday “bumps and bruises” from a physical game. While we must take everything Belicheck ever says with a grain of salt, my stance on Brady is still the same. He’s the upside pick. Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are the safe picks. None of the three should be drafted until the 2nd round.

QB Tony Romo

Romo appears to have shaken off the injuries that plagued him last year and is having a great preseason. He still has some questions in terms of his receivers, can Roy Williams be the #1 option, who will start opposite him, but Romo deserves a move up my board. The only thing with Romo is that he tends to choke come fantasy playoff time so you might want to draft him, get a few good weeks out of him and trade him while he’s hot.

Guys who get injured/suspended

WR Brandon Marshall

Marshall, who I was already low on, has been suspended indefinitely, following his antics during practice. Marshall reportedly knocked down passes in a drill in which he was supposed to catch passes, punted the ball away from everyone, didn’t hustle into the locker room, and all around acted like a 6-year-old. He might not play at all this season for the Broncos so the only way he has any fantasy value is if he is traded and following his outbursts in practice, a trade might be a hard thing for the Broncos to pull off. Eddie Royal moves up my board as he now becomes the Broncos’ best receiver. He could catch 90-100 of Kyle Orton’s signature 6-8 yard passes making him extremely valuable in PPR leagues. He still has some value in regular leagues, but he isn’t going to get a ton of yards out of the 90-100 catches, maybe 900-1000, and he’s not an end zone threat.

WR Terrell Owens

Owens hasn’t played in the preseason with an injured toe. He’s on the wrong side of 35, playing with the worst quarterback he’s ever played with, playing for a team with an awful offensive line, and now he has this injury, which could linger. He’s not a lock for 1000 yards or 10 touchdowns, as strange as that may sound.

WR Bernard Berrian

Berrian has been limited in practice throughout the preseason with a hamstring problem. It shouldn’t cost him any games during the season, but it is costing him time in practice to build chemistry with new quarterback Brett Favre. Berrian’s stock goes down a little and Sidney Rice, who I already like as a sleeper, sees his stock go up because while Berrian has been missing practice, Rice, Minnesota’s #2 option, is building chemistry with Favre.

QB Ben Roethlisberger

Roethlisberger showed no signs of any problems due to his injured foot in his 3rd preseason game going 15-19 for 168 yards. Draft him as you would have a week ago.

Rookies

RB Knowshon Moreno

Knowshon might not be full speed by week 1 and he might not even play in the week 1 game. I still love him as a value pick in the 4th round and he still has a lot more value than his ADP, but I’ll move him down my board a little bit.

WR Brian Hartline

The Dolphins 2009 4th round pick Hartline has been starting for the Dolphins in the preseason, opposite Ted Ginn. Ginn would still be the deep threat, but Hartline is the endzone threat and the possession receiver in an average offense which means a lot of yards and a lot of touchdowns, making him a nice sleeper. He could get you 600-700 yards and 6-8 touchdowns and considering that most fantasy owners have never heard of him, that makes him a huge sleeper. Chances are that you can get this guy in the 14th or 15th.

RB Bernard Scott

The Bengals coaching staff is being confusing with rookie Bernard Scott. Week 1, he looks great, week 2 he doesn’t get a carry and Brian Leonard looks great, week 3, he looks great again. Neither Leonard nor Scott are draftable at this point because Cedric Benson is getting all the first team reps in practice and in games, but Cedric Benson isn’t exactly known for his ability to hold down a starting job. It still remains to be seen who of Scott and Leonard would get the bulk of the carries if Benson can’t produce.

WR Brian Robiskie

Robiskie hasn’t seen as much playing time in the preseason as I would have thought. He likely won’t start for the Browns to begin the season so, at the moment, he possess no fantasy value.

RB Mike Goodson

The Panthers have announced that due to Jonathan Stewart’s achilles injury, Goodson could be used more often in the early weeks of the season. If Stewart misses any games, a real possibility at this point, Goodson would take over Stewart’s carries making him a decent RB3 for a few weeks as Carolina has a great offensive line and the defense will be more worried about DeAngelo Williams. This guy is not even drafted in most leagues so he’s a huge steal at this point. Stewart’s stock falls everyday he misses practice and everyday rookie Goodson impresses.

RB Chris Wells

Wells played in his first game this preseason and showed no effects of the ankle injury that caused him to miss 2 games. He still split carries with Tim Hightower, but he proved that he can still be fantasy relevant while splitting carries.

WR Louis Murphy

If you draft any Raider wide receiver, not normally a good idea, make sure its this one. Murphy, despite being a rookie, has been the Raiders most impressive wide receiver this preseason and should get a starting job if Tom Cable isn’t too busy punching his assistants in the jaw to move Murphy up the depth chart. Murphy should be worth a late round flier and is not getting drafted in most leagues at this point.

Guys in position battles

RB Derrick Ward

The Bucs are going to give more carries to Cadillac Williams this season, meaning that Earnest Graham and Derrick Ward will get less carries than I has projected. Ward is still an RB3 and Graham still has value because he’ll get the goal line carries. As for Cadillac, he don’t think he’ll get enough carries to be fantasy relevant, but you never know. He is a former 1st round pick.

RB Thomas Jones

Just when I started to like Jones’ fantasy stock, is it announced than Leon Washington will get a lot of carries for the Jets this year. Jones should still get endzone carries and the bulk of the carries, but he won’t match last year’s numbers as long as Washington and even rookie Shonn Greene are stealing his carries.

TE Jermichael Finley

Finley has the inside track to the starting tight end job for the Packers week 1. Even if he doesn’t win the job, the Packers use a lot of 2 tight end sets so he’ll get action. Finley is a pass catching tight end in a pass heavy offense and fits the scheme very well which makes him a borderline TE1. He’s not even being drafted in most leagues.

RB Rashard Mendenhall

With Willie Parker out with back and hamstring injuries, Mendenhall is getting all the work with the first team. Mendenhall was drafted to replace Parker eventually. It seems that now may be that time. I imagine Mendenhall will be the week 1 starter and get the majority of the carries for the Steelers this season. He’ll be a solid RB3 for your team. Willie Parker, on the other hand, is being over drafted in the 7th round. Let someone else reach for him.

RB Edgerrin James

James didn’t play for the Seahawks during the 3rd week of the preseason. He just signed so I’m not too surprised, but this may mean that he won’t be the week 1 starter. Move him down your draft board a little bit and move Julius Jones up a little.

Guys you’ve never heard of

RB Danny Ware

Ware is playing the wind, pass catcher, role for the Giants in the preseason. He won’t get a ton of carries, and he’s only draftable in PPR leagues, but he could cut into the receiving yard total of Ahmad Bradshaw moving Bradshaw down my board a little bit.

RB Mike Bell

Bell is getting a lot of New Orleans’ carries this preseason and reportedly will get some carries during the regular season as well. While I don’t think Bell will get enough carries to be fantasy relevant, he will cut into Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush’s carries. Thomas is affected most because Bush’s fantasy value comes from his receiving yards.

Other

QB Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers is going into his 2nd season as a starter and his 1st season without Brett Favre mania, so a breakout season is not out of the question. He has looked flat out sick in the preseason, more impressive than any other quarterback, with the exception of maybe Peyton Manning. He has one of the best overall receiving corps in the NFL. He had 4038 yards and 28 touchdowns last season and I wouldn’t be surprised if both of those went up this year. He has 3rd round value and you can get him in the 4th in most leagues which is a pretty significant steal in the early rounds. Fantasy Football Trophies

 

 

Also updated

Mid-late round Value Picks/Sleepers

Cheat Sheet 

 

 

Guys coming back from injury

Tom Brady

Brady didn’t look Brady esque in his week 2 game. It was still only his 2nd game back from injury, but it was concerning. Brady still has more upside than Brees and Manning, but they are much safer picks. Manning, on the other hand, has looked amazing in the preseason.

Matt Hasselbeck

Hasselbeck looked fine in his 2nd preseason game and appears 100% after all the injuries he had last year. However, Walter Jones is out indefinitely and Sean Locklear, who moved from right to left tackle after Jones’ surgery, gave up two sacks in last week’s game. Ray Willis shifts from guard to right tackle as well and Chris Spencer, the starting center, is also out with a tear in his thigh muscle, which will force rookie Max Unger into the starting lineup earlier than they’d like. I don’t care who you are, if you don’t have good protection, you won’t be your best, especially if you are as old and frail as Hasselbeck. He still has high upside, but I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with him as my starting fantasy quarterback.

Brian Westbrook

Brian Westbrook will likely play next week so it appears he’ll be ready for the start of the season. However, the Eagles still drafted a running back in the 2nd round in LeSean McCoy and have so far said nothing but good things about the rookie. McCoy will steal more of Westbrook’s carries than Westbrook owners would like and if Westbrook gets hurt again, the Eagles might not let him play hurt as they would have in years past. Westbrook isn’t worth much more than a late 2nd, early 3rd round pick and will likely be drafted before that, maybe even in the first round if someone in your league is still living in 2007.

Guys who get injured

Benjamin Watson

Watson didn’t play again in the Patriots preseason game. My former fantasy sleeper is looking fantasy irrelevant at this point due to this injury.

Brandon Marshall

Last week I said good things about Marshall after he was cleared on battery charges and 100% after injuring his hip. However, in the next week, Marshall has criticized the Broncos on several occasions for the way they have handled just about everything ever. Marshall didn’t travel with the team to Seattle either. Think Terrell Owens from 2005. Let someone else draft this mess. Eddie Royal is the Broncos wideout you want. He’ll catch a lot of passes as the short yardage guy for the Broncos because Kyle Orton’s arm is really weak.

Donnie Avery

Avery, who was supposed to miss the first 2 or 3 weeks of the season with a foot injury, could play next week for the Rams and is back at practice. He’ll resume his role as the Rams #1 option, which is saying something, even if not much. Laurent Robinson, who was the #1 guy in Avery’s absence, gets moved to #2 and thus becomes fantasy irrelevant.

Braylon Edwards

Edwards hurt his knee before the preseason and is still showing some pain in his preseason games. He’s also been lazy and not finishing plays again. Maybe even money is not enough to cause him to bounce back or maybe he just forgot it was his contract year, but whatever the case, I’m moving him down some.

Rookies

Bernard Scott

Scott looked good in the Bengals week 1 game, but didn’t get a single carry last week. Brian Leonard, who is ahead of Scott on the depth chart, looked really good so Scott doesn’t have a lot of fantasy value at the moment. Keep your eye on him though, he could be the Bengals starting running back, or at least part of a RBBC by the end of the season.

James Davis

Davis had 116 yards on 12 carries in the Browns last preseason game. That gives me enough reason to believe that the 6th round pick with start for the Browns week 1, making him a huge fantasy sleeper.

Glen Coffee

Coffee looked amazing last week with 129 yards on 16 carries. Mike Singletary seems to love him after using a 3rd round pick on him, so there’s no reason to believe that he won’t at least get a good chunk of the carries for the Niners this season, especially near the goal line. This fantasy sleeper of mine is looking good. Really good.

Shonn Greene

Greene has 2 carries last week for the Jets. Its looking less and less likely that Thomas Jones will be traded and the Jets don’t seem ready to give the job to Greene just yet. Jones moves up my board, Greene moves off my sleeper list.

Jared Cook

Cook led the Titans in receiving last week and has looked good in the preseason. Tennessee is a very tight end friendly offense, just ask Bo Sciafe. However, its looking like Cook will be top dog on the Tennessee tight end depth chart very soon so he’s the Tennessee tight end you want. He’s definitely worth a late round flier.

Guys you’ve never heard of

Earl Bennett

Bennett has looked like Jay Cutler’s favorite target so far in the preseason and why not, the two were teammates at Vanderbilt and have good chemistry. Cutler and Hester, on the other hand, have not gotten along as well. Bennett is a really good sleeper at this point.

Justin Harper

Harper, one of my favorite sleepers, has looked really good for the Ravens so far. He’ll likely start week 1, but he’s still just a #2 option in a conservative offense. That being said, you can do a lot worse with a late round pick than taking Harper, who should catch a bunch of touchdowns this year.

Guys in position battles

Chris Henry

Henry is not suspended to start this season, which is always a good sign. He’s also been unstoppable on the field and is looking like the guy who will start opposite Ochocinco in Cincinnati’s high powered offense. He’s tall so he’s an end zone threat as well. Laveranues Coles, meanwhile, had no catches last week and does not look promising going into next season.

Steve Smith

Someone has to be the #1 option for the Giants this year right?…right? Smith has been the most impressive receiver for the Giants in the preseason and he’s in his 3rd year, so he’s worth a look in the mid-late rounds.

Edgerrin James

James’ stock goes up simply because he now has a job. However, he’ll likely get the majority of the carries for the Seahawks this year, including the endzone carries following the release of TJ Duckett. He’s not a fantasy stud, but he’s worth a look around round 9 or 10. Julius Jones is not. He loses his starting job which was the only thing he had going for him. Jones is not a very talented back.

Kevin Curtis

Curtis only had 1 catch last week. He may still be the same guy who was a fantasy stud in 2007, but he can’t do much for the Eagles bench. He’s not worth a pick in most leagues. 

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Guys coming back from injury 

QB Tom Brady- Everything looked fine for Brady in his preseason opener. He had been my #1 quarterback based on the assumption that he was 100%. Now that assumption looks like fact. Don’t be afraid to take Brady in the early 2nd round. 4000+ yards and 32-36 touchdowns is likely for him with a low interception total once again. That puts him a few slots above Drew Brees and a few more above Peyton Manning. All 3, though, are 2nd round quarterbacks though in my mind.

QB Carson Palmer- It’s been some of the good and bad with Palmer over the last week or so. He looked fine in his preseason opener after a bad elbow injury that cost him most of last year. However, he has a high ankle sprain that will force him to miss the 2nd preseason game. He should be good to go for the regular season, but he has had injury problems in the past. I think he has huge potential this year, but you need to be able to put your backup in at a moment’s notice if Palmer is your QB1.

WR Chad Ochocinco- Ochocinco looks 100% after his first preseason game, which makes Ochocinco underrated in some ways. In some leagues he’ll still be there in picks 45-50 which is amazing. However, he is a wide receiver which means, as he showed last year, his value is tied to his quarterback and his quarterback has a high ankle sprain. Chad’s injuries from last year are gone though which is still good news.

WR Brandon Marshall- He looked fine even with his hip injury and he was also acquitted of his battery charges. He still won’t match last year’s numbers with Kyle Orton at quarterback and he’s upset with his team, but I’ll move him up a little because he won’t be suspended and he’s not hurt as badly as I thought.

QB Matt Hasselbeck- Hasselbeck didn’t play a lot in the preseason opener. I’m not sure what to make of that, but reports say his back and all the other injuries from last year are fine. I still want to see him in action first, but if you’re the type of guy who likes to hold off on drafting a quarterback until late, Hasselbeck should be a solid starter for you, provided you have faith in your backup.

Guys who get injured

QB Kurt Warner- I’m reading this straight from the ESPN.com injury report, “Warner’s surgically repaired left hip hurts only when he stands or walks, John Clayton of ESPN.com reports.” So as long as he doesn’t need to do any of that he should be fine. In all seriousness, I don’t like Warner’s health going into next year. If your legs aren’t right, it does after you as a quarterback. Knock him and his receivers down a few slots and that includes Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald, who already has the Madden curse on him, is not a first round wide receiver if Matt Leinart is the quarterback or if Warner doesn’t play well. He’s still my 3rd rated wide receiver simply because I can’t knock Fitzgerald lower than Calvin Johnson just because Fitzgerald has quarterback issues. Johnson obviously has quarterback issues of his own. However, Fitzgerald is not worth more than a mid 2nd round pick.

WR Terrell Owens- Owens has a toe injury. This wouldn’t be a huge deal with Owens weren’t already old. He’ll be good for 1000+ yards if he plays more than 15 games, but that + no longer means 200 more yards than 1000. 1030-1070 is a probable range.

RB Jonathan Stewart- Stewart has an Achilles injury that is severely limiting him at the moment. He was already the 2nd back in Carolina’s running back combo with DeAngelo Williams. Move Stewart down, in spite of the fact that’s he was a 2008 1st round pick and move Williams up as I no longer think that they can deny Williams the carries he had last year with Stewart hurt.

RB Matt Forte- Forte was not in the lineup during the Bears’ first preseason game. Don’t make too much of this, this was a precautionary move. Forte and his hamstring should be good to go for week 1 which means Forte is still a top 5 pick lock.

RB Andre Brown- Brown, who was supposed to fill the pass catching (wind) role in New York’s earth wind and fire running game, is out for the season. Ahmad Bradshaw will likely fill the wind role, as well as his fire (speed) role. He should get as many carries as Derrick Ward had last year, which makes him a RB3 with 1000+ all purpose yards potential. Don’t be afraid to take him in the 6th round.

TE Cornelius Ingram- Ingram is out for the season after tearing the same ACL he tore in college. Brent Celek should now start all 16 games for the Eagles. Fantasy owners can feel safe going with him as a TE1 knowing that Ingram won’t be able to see playing time.

WR Chaz Schilens- Schilens was projected to be a starter for the Raiders, which would have given him some fantasy value, even if not very much. However, he broke his foot and will miss about 4 weeks of the season and this type of injury could linger. Stay away.

WR Donnie Avery- Avery got hurt and will miss the first few weeks of the season. Laurent Robinson and Keenan Burton will start in his absence. Both could be interesting plays for the first few weeks of the season, even if St. Louis is awful overall.

Rookies

QB Mark Sanchez- The 5th overall pick thrilled fans in his first preseason game and should be the week 1 starter, though it has not been announced. He’s still a rookie for a run heavy offense though, so don’t expect anything huge out of him. He can be a solid QB2 if you matchup bye weeks with Sanchez’s easy weeks and he does have a lot of potential so he is draftable at this point in standard leagues.

WR Michael Crabtree- Crabtree must have hired Scott Boras as his personal assistant because he’s content to hold out into the season and beyond. He’s undraftable this point. Josh Morgan, who I have liked as a sleeper for a long time, will be the #1 receiver for San Francisco and Isaac Bruce is the favorite for the #2 starting job. Only Morgan is draftable though.

RB Knowshon Moreno- Moreno has a minor MCL sprain which shouldn’t cost him any time in the regular season. Though injuries can linger, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Moreno is still being drafted way lower than he should be so he’s still a 4th round steal.

TE Brandon Pettigrew- Pettigrew has been hurt for about 2 weeks and missed the first preseason game for the Lions. He still has TE1 potential in the late rounds, especially if Detroit airs it out 33 times like they did against Atlanta in the opener, but know that the injury is there.

WR Jeremy Maclin- I had Kevin Curtis as a sleeper going into this season because I felt his injuries were behind him and that he would win the starting wide receiver job opposite DeSean Jackson. However, Maclin was the more impressive wideout for Philadelphia. The Eagles are going to spread it around and Maclin is only a rookie receiver, but if he cracks the starting lineup, he could put up sleeper numbers in this pass heavy offense, along with a few runs on end arounds. Curtis would then be considered undraftable. However, I need to see more from Maclin to make me stay away from Curtis.

WR Percy Harvin- The person who’s fantasy stock is hurt most by Brett Favre’s return is Harvin, believe it or not. Harvin’s potential is based on the potential that Minnesota does some sort of crazy wildcat offense with Harvin as the focus. With Favre in town, the offense will be a gun sling offense and Harvin is merely a slot receiver at best. He has no fantasy value.

RB Donald Brown- The Colts are calling it a timeshare between Brown and Addai at this point. However, Brown is a rookie so he has nowhere to go but up. The fact that Brown already has so much trust from the Colts’ coaching staff is a great sign. Had 58 yards on 5 carries in the preseason opener against Minnesota’s tough defense. Brown is the Indy back you want, not Joseph Addai. Brown is an 8th round pick on average. He’s worth a 7th at least, maybe a 6th because he does catch passes too.

WR Hakeem Nicks- Nicks was a fantasy sleeper of fine because I believed he was the best receiver on the Giants’ team. Apparently they don’t think so. Nicks did not take the field until the 2nd half of the Giants’ first preseason game. However talented he is, he can’t produce if he’s on the bench. Monitor the Giants’ wide receiver position closely. He may not be a factor now, but if he ever gets a starting job this year, he could help your team.

WR Kenny Britt- Britt I was not so high on. However, he was good in Tennessee’s game last week with 5 catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. He could win the starting job opposite Justin Gage, with Nate Washington in the slot, which would give him some fantasy potential as a late round flier.

WR Brian Robiskie- Robiskie is a sleeper of mine. He has yet to win the starting job opposite Braylon Edwards and only had one catch in his first preseason game. However, his only competition at this point seems to be fellow rookie Mohamed Massaquoi, who only had 1 catch in the same game. I still expect Robiskie to win the job and give you good value in the late rounds. He has the best fantasy potential of any rookie receiver in my mind at this point, but the 1 catch game could cause some concern.

RB Glen Coffee- Coffee is a sleeper of mine as well. He lived up to it in his first game leading the team in carries and having a YPC above 5. He’s not going to break a lot of 20+ runs, but he is consistent and should get a high amount of carries this season, especially if Frank Gore gets hurt. He could be the goal line back as well.

WR Ramses Barden- With Nicks not getting a lot of attention in the preseason, Barden is playing, especially in goal line situations. He’s the tallest receiver on the team and should fill Plaxico Burress’ role as goal line receiver making him an interesting option in touchdown leagues. I have to see him produce in the preseason first before I would draft him though.

TE Jared Cook- The Titans traded up for Cook last April. He has Vernon Davis’ measurables and his head in screwed on a little better than Davis’. He showed in his first preseason game that he could win the starting tight end job for Tennessee’s tight end friendly offense. Still, I have to see him do more in the preseason before I would advise drafting him, but in deep leagues, he could be an interesting sleeper option.

RB Mike Goodson- Goodson showed excellent speed in his first preseason game. Jonathan Stewart is having injury problems so Goodson could fill his role early this season. With his running ability and this great offensive line, that could make him an RB3 for a few weeks. Keep your eye on Stewart’s health.

RB Bernard Scott- Scott got a bunch of carries for the Bengals in their first preseason game. Though I like him this year, Cedric Benson could be Cedric Benson esque again for the Bengals this year and in that case, Scott could steal a bulk of the carries. He’s a pass catching back in a pass heavy offense so taking a flier on him late in your draft is not a bad idea. Keep your eye on him.

WR Julian Edelman- Edelman filled in for Wes Welker, who was out with undisclosed injuries (don’t you just love Bill Belicheck’s injury reports) in New England’s first preseason game. He was Welker esque. The former college quarterback could fill Welker’s role if Welker gets hurt sometime this season, so keep your eye on him.

Guys in position battles

Willie McGahee- Rice got a lot of the first team work in his first preseason game so I still like him as the feature back in Baltimore. He’s worth a 5th round pick, but could be available in the 7th. However, McGahee still has some fantasy value, if he stays healthy. He got the goal line carries, instead of fullback Le’Ron McClain. Watch to see if this trend continues.

Chris Baker- Benjamin Watson is a fantasy sleeper of mine, but he didn’t play in the Pats’ first preseason game with “undisclosed injuries.” Baker, meanwhile, got 2 touchdowns. Whoever wins this job is a fantasy sleeper simply because they are a starter in the New England offense. Move Baker up your board a little bit at this point.

Guys you’ve never heard of

Sam Hurd- The battle for the Cowboys #2 receiver was supposed to be between Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin. However, Hurd came out of nowhere in the first preseason game to have a big game. If he wins the starting job, as the 3rd option after Roy Williams and Jason Witten, Hurd becomes fantasy relevant in this Romo friendly offense.

Brett Favre signing

Brett Favre- Favre has a few things working for him and a few things working against him. He is still Brett Favre, he has Adrian Peterson to take some pressure off of him, he won’t have to worry about playing in snow all that much this season in the Metrodome, and he has 16 years of experience in the West Coast offense. However, he doesn’t have enough time to get chemistry with his receivers, he has a partially torn rotator cuff, he threw 22 picks last year, and he’ll be 40 this season. He’s still a borderline QB1 and should have a better year than last year, but don’t be the one to reach for him based on the name.

Adrian Peterson- You’d think Peterson only cements his status as the #1 fantasy player with a capable quarterback to take the pressure of him, but I’m not sure. Favre has thrown the ball at least 500 times in 15 of the last 16 seasons. Peterson had 363 carries last year. I don’t think Minnesota’s offense is going to be good enough to get 900+ plays in this season, between Favre’s 500+ throws, Peterson’s 363 rushes, and backup running back’s carries. Something’s got to give. Favre has shown in the past that he’s self centered, so I doubt he’ll take a cut in amount of throws just because Adrian Peterson is the most talented running back in the NFL. Peterson goes from clear cut #1 pick to having some competition from Matt Forte, Steve Slaton, Maurice Jones Drew. In PPR leagues, Peterson is my 4th ranked back after Forte, Slaton, and MJD.

Bernard Berrian: Berrian was set for a cut in his numbers this year because he had too high of a yards per catch last year and won’t match it. The only way he would have matched last season’s totals is with an increase in targets or a better quarterback. He now has his better quarterback. Expect 900+ yards and 5-7 touchdowns.

Sidney Rice: Rice, the 3rd year receiver, has great potential if he wins the #2 wide receiver job. He had great potential coming out as a rookie, but he was only 20. He is more mature now and his stock only goes up with the addition of Favre. Take a late round flier on him.

Visanthe Shiancoe- The Vikings tight end also gets a increase in production with the addition of Favre. He should at least match last year’s numbers, with the exception of touchdowns, which could be stolen away by 6-4 Sidney Rice. Expect 600+ yards and 4-6 touchdowns.  

HyperWear.com 

 


If you’re expecting this tip to be about Gene Simmons and his giant tongue, you’re out of luck. KISS=Keep it simple stupid and it is a great tip for fantasy owners at this time of year. The NFL Preseason is going on right now and people with upcoming fantasy drafts are looking very closely. Every 20+ yard catch, every 20+ yard completion, every touchdown, every 15+ yard run is reason to move someone up your fantasy board. Right? Wrong. Preseason stats rarely matter. Save yourself some time and look at these 5 types of players this preseason.

 

Guys coming back from injury: For these guys, the preseason does matter. If Tom Brady has a bad preseason it actually is cause for concern. If Carson Palmer looks 100% it is reason to move him up your fantasy board. These guys coming back from injury, however good they were before, have to prove themselves again before you can truly feel safe using an early pick on them, especially with running backs. Fortunately, Chad Ochocinco, Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, and Matt Hasselbeck, all of whom had bad injuries last year that sapped production and/or forced them to miss time, have looked close to their old selves in the preseason thus far.

Guys who get injured: This one is obvious so I almost don’t have to put this down, but if a guy gets hurt in the preseason, so does his fantasy stock. Injury reports are our friends. Unless they are coming from Bill Belicheck, they are most likely accurate. There’s a big difference between a guy going out with a knee sprain and a guy going out with an ACL tear.

 Rookies: While players coming back from injury have to prove themselves all over again, rookies have to prove themselves. Period. Looking at wide receivers is most helpful because they normally have the toughest transition. Keep your eye on Jeremy Maclin, Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks, and Darrius Heyward Bey, as well as Michael Crabtree if he ever signs. All 5 of those guys were receivers taken in the first round and their preseason can actually be a telling sign of whether or not they will have success in their first season in the league.

Guys in position battles: Here you should not pay attention to the stats as much as who’s getting the reps on the field, especially during weeks 3 and 4. If a player gets a week 3 or week 4 start in the preseason, he’ll likely get the week 1 start. If you believe in the ability of a player who is trapped in a position battle, watch to see if he’s on the field a lot in the preseason. Pay attention to Chris Baker vs. Benjamin Watson in New England. Watson is a fantasy sleeper of mine, but Baker got 2 touchdowns week 1 and Watson didn’t play. Whoever wins this job could be a fantasy sleeper simply because they play for New England.

Guys you’ve never heard of: The preseason is a great time to see the abilities of players you’ve never heard of, for three reasons. One, they could get playing time this season if there’s an injury, allowing you to pick them up off of waivers, two, they could get playing time in future season and if you plan on playing fantasy football in the future its good to know the abilities of players that other drafters haven’t heard of, and three because if they’re getting preseason reps, they could win a starting job and if they do that, you could get them for cheaper in fantasy drafts because other drafters haven’t heard of them either.                                                                  

 

 

 This is a fantasy football mock draft that I did on ESPN.com. It has the picks, my reasoning for my picks, and my comments on the picks of others. If you think you were in this ESPN Mock Draft room with me, send me an email, stevenlourie at yahoo dot com, just because I think that would be a totally legit thing to have happen to me. Just saying. Anyway, enough babbling, here’s the good stuff. My picks in bold. 


ROUND 1

1 Adrian Peterson, Min Team Thomas
2 Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac Team l
3 Michael Turner, Atl Team Smith
4 Matt Forte, Chi Team lourie
5 Chris Johnson, Ten Team Lavallee
6 Larry Fitzgerald, Ari kc garcia
7 LaDainian Tomlinson, SD Team Mendez
8 Steven Jackson, StL Team gellert
9 DeAngelo Williams, Car Team Downs
10 Andre Johnson, Hou Team clifford

My pick: I tried for at least 10 minutes to get in a league where I could have 4th pick. I think 4th is the pick you want to have this year. Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones Drew, and Matt Forte are the top 3 fantasy players this year, in my opinion. They are the top tier and better than everyone else. However, some idiot always takes Michael Turner in the top 3, which means you can still get a top tier back at 4. Drafting at 4, allows you to draft 7th in the 2nd round, giving you a good chance of getting a top tier wide receiver, Randy Moss, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, or Calvin Johnson. In this league, I was able to get Matt Forte with the 4th pick. Forte is my 2nd ranked back, just behind Adrian Peterson and just ahead of Maurice Jones Drew.

Best pick: I’m not allowed to pick my own pick here, even though I think they are all great. I like LT at 7. I think that’s a bit of a steal, even if not a huge steal. There are rarely steals in the first.

Worst pick: I could say Michael Turner, but I’ll say Larry Fitzgerald here. He’s a good receiver, but you can get equal or slightly less production from someone like Randy Moss or Calvin Johnson a whole round later. Plus, Fitzgerald’s quarterback will be playing hurt at 38 years old which is never a good sign. 

ROUND 2

11 Drew Brees, NO Team clifford
12 Frank Gore, SF Team Downs
13 Randy Moss, NE Team gellert
14 Steve Slaton, Hou Team Mendez
15 Calvin Johnson, Det kc garcia
16 Marion Barber, Dal Team Lavallee
17 Tom Brady, NE Team lourie
18 Peyton Manning, Ind Team Smith
19 Brandon Jacobs, NYG Team l
20 Greg Jennings, GB Team Thomas

My pick: I thought that when I got the 4th pick that I would be able to get a top tier wide receiver in the 2nd, but that didn’t happen. Time to adjust. Tom Brady is not a bad consolation at #17. I couldn’t get a top tier wide receiver, but I could get a top tier quarterback.

Best pick: Steve Slaton is my 4th ranked back. If Turner hadn’t been taken in the top 3, I would have taken Slaton at 4 in a heartbeat. Obviously getting him at #14 was a steal. He’s put up 10 pounds of muscle and appears to be a 3 down back that can help you in every area of the game. Mendez has best pick two rounds running now.

Worst Pick: Frank Gore at #12 was a huge reach. He’s my 15th rated running back. He’ll be giving a lot of his carries to Glenn Coffee and running behind the same offensive line as last year so his stats can only go down from the last year. He’s also injury prone and doesn’t score touchdowns.

ROUND 3

21 Clinton Portis, Was Team Thomas
22 Reggie Wayne, Ind Team l
23 Steve Smith, Car Team Smith
24 Roddy White, Atl Team lourie
25 Anquan Boldin, Ari Team Lavallee
26 Marques Colston, NO kc Garcia
27 Brian Westbrook, Phi Team Mendez
28 Terrell Owens, Buf Team gellert
29 Kevin Smith, Det Team Downs
30 Thomas Jones, NYJ Team clifford

My pick: Knowshon Moreno was my top ranked back here, but I needed a wide receiver. I have to hope that Moreno, who is ESPN’s 60th rated player, will still be available in the 4th. If not, I already have Forte and a few good mid round options. Wide receiver is more important here as I don’t have one. White is my 5th ranked wide receiver.

Best pick: Nothing really stood out, but Portis seems like way too consistent of a back to be available at 21. He could get hurt, but you can say that about every other running back in the NFL.

Worst pick: I’m not huge on Thomas Jones because he hasn’t even won his starting job yet and because he and rookie Shonn Greene are so similar in their skill sets, if Jones loses the job, he could slip to 3rd string, with Leon Washington, the speedster and pass catcher, keeping the 2nd string job. However, Jones could be traded. Seattle has interest and if that happens, the only red flag on him is his age. Still though, I don’t like the selection here in the 3rd because of the risks.

ROUND 4

31 Braylon Edwards, Cle Team clifford
32 Dwayne Bowe, KC Team Downs
33 Pierre Thomas, NO Team gellert
34 Roy E. Williams, Dal Team Mendez
35 Ryan Grant, GB kc garcia
36 Ronnie Brown, Mia Team Lavallee
37 Knowshon Moreno, Den Team lourie
38 Marshawn Lynch*, Buf Team Smith
39 T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Sea Team l
40 Aaron Rodgers, GB Team Thomas

My Pick: Moreno was still available so I obviously took him as my RB2. He is going to have a huge year. Moreno has been praised by coach Josh McDaniels, who used the 12th pick on him less than 4 months ago and should be the every down back for the Broncos, who have a great offensive line. He’s a pass catcher too and Kyle Orton likes to check down so he should have 1500+ all purpose yards.

Best pick: Nothing really stood out that much, but I like TJ Houshmanzadeh in the late 4th round. He’s finally the #1 option in an offense that suits him. He should be a lock for 1000 yards.

Worst Pick: Not only will Smith not be able to use Lynch for the first 3 weeks of the season because of his 3 game suspension, Lynch could lose his job or significant playing time to talented backup Fred Jackson if Jackson impresses in Lynch’s absence.

Dish Network Offers  

ROUND 5

41 Vincent Jackson, SD Team Thomas
42 Philip Rivers, SD Team l
43 Tony Gonzalez, Atl Team Smith
44 Jason Witten, Dal Team lourie
45 Wes Welker, NE Team Lavallee
46 Kurt Warner, Ari kc garcia
47 Antonio Gates, SD Team Mendez
48 Tony Romo, Dal Team gellert
49 Brandon Marshall, Den Team Downs
50 Derrick Ward, TB Team clifford

My Pick: Ray Rice is the best player left on my board, but I think he can be had next round. He’s ESPN’s 69th ranked player so I think its safe to go elsewhere here, especially considering I already have 2 running backs. Witten is a great pick up here. I think he has a better shot to get 1000+ yards this season than anyone else available with the exception of Wes Welker, who won’t catch the amount of touchdowns that Witten will. Witten is also a tight end which gives him more value.

Best pick: Phillip Rivers is my 4th ranked quarterback so he’s a steal here in the 5th. Team 1 makes a great selection here.

Worst pick: Vincent Jackson is a good player, but I think there were other, better options here. I don’t like his unusually high yards per catch average from last season. If he only gets 59 catches again, I doubt he’ll get anywhere near 1000 yards. 

ROUND 6

51 LenDale White, Ten Team clifford
52 Matt Ryan, Atl Team Downs
53 Jonathan Stewart, Car Team gellert
54 Chad Ochocinco, Cin Team Mendez
55 Dallas Clark, Ind kc garcia
56 Darren McFadden, Oak Team Lavallee
57 Ray Rice, Bal Team lourie
58 Antonio Bryant*, TB Team Smith
59 DeSean Jackson, Phi Team l
60 Joseph Addai, Ind Team Thomas

My pick: Luckily Rice was not drafted, so he’s a no brainer here. He’s getting all the reps with the first team in training camp so he should be the starter on week 1 and the rest of the season for the run heavy Baltimore Ravens. He’ll also catch you some passes so he’s a great value here in the 6th round. 

Best pick: Chad Ochocinco might not have the best character but that hasn’t affected his production on the field in the past. The only reason he had a down year last year is because he played hurt and Carson Palmer didn’t play because of injury. Now, he and Palmer are both 100% again so he’s a nice risk in the 6th round with high upside.

Worst pick: The award for first team to take a player that wasn’t on my Cheat Sheet (yes, I actually use that thing) goes to Clifford. Lendale White will be getting some of Chris Johnson’s carries because he’s lost weight and he’ll get you some touchdowns, but he is a 2nd string running back and 2nd string to an extremely talented Chris Johnson. 51 is too high for him.

ROUND 7

61 Larry Johnson, KC Team Thomas
62 Reggie Bush, NO Team l
63 Willie Parker, Pit Team Smith
64 Santonio Holmes, Pit Team Lourie
65 Lee Evans, Buf Team Lavallee
66 Matt Schaub, Hou kc Garcia
67 Donovan McNabb, Phi Team Mendez
68 Owen Daniels, Hou Team gellert
69 Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG Team Downs
70 Chris Wells, Ari Team Clifford

My pick: ESPN leagues use 2 running backs, 2 wide receivers, and one RB/WR, but I still need a WR2. Holmes is the highest rated wide receiver on my list. He has a shot at 1000 yards this year and has a low ceiling based on his past production.

Best pick: Nothing stood out here, but, even with his injury, I like Chris Wells’ upside. We saw a lot of good rookies last season. Wells is more talented than Tim Hightower so he’ll eventually be the starter in Arizona, unless he gets hurt again.

Worst pick: Nothing stood out as bad, but I don’t like Willie Parker. He’ll lose a lot of carries to Rashard Mendenhall. He won’t catch you passes or score touchdowns either. This was too early for him.

ROUND 8

71 Greg Olsen, Chi Team Clifford
72 Chris Cooley, Was Team Downs
73 Bernard Berrian, Min Team gellert
74 Jay Cutler, Chi Team Mendez
75 Eddie Royal, Den Kc garcia
76 Steelers D/ST, Pit Team Lavallee
77 Cedric Benson, Cin Team lourie
78 Santana Moss, Was Team Smith
79 Donald Brown, Ind Team l
80 Jamal Lewis, Cle Team Thomas

My pick: I like the depth in the wide receiver class more than the depth in the running back class, so I’ll take a RB4 here over a WR3. Benson is the starter for Cincinnati and appears motivated in training camp. Carson Palmer will open up lanes for him and he should get 275+ carries so 1000 yards is very, very possible, which is great value in the 8th round.

Best pick: I love the selection of Greg Olsen in the 8th. Jay Cutler loves to throw it to his tight ends and Olsen is in his 3rd year. He’s going to have a big breakout year at tight end.

Worst pick: I can’t say I hate any picks in this round, but I don’t like Jamal Lewis. I don’t think he’ll have a starting job in about a month. I may be wrong though.

 

ROUND 9

81 Hines Ward, Pit Team Thomas
82 Giants D/ST, NYG Team l
83 Titans D/ST, Ten Team Smith
84 Anthony Gonzalez, Ind Team lourie
85 Donald Driver, GB Team Lavallee
86 Kevin Walter, Hou kc garcia
87 Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ Team Mendez
88 Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oak Team gellert
89 Matt Cassel, KC Team Downs
90 Steve Breaston, Ari Team clifford

My pick: I need a wide receiver here. There’s no more putting it off. Gonzalez is the #2 receiver for Indy’s pass heavy offense and he’s in his 3rd year. He’s very solid value in the 9th round.

Best pick: Finally, someone is giving Kevin Walter credit other than me. He had 800+ yards and 8 touchdowns last season with Matt Schaub missing 4 games. If Schaub is fully healthy, 900-1000 yards and 9-10 touchdowns is very possible.

Worst pick: I hate seeing Tennessee’s defense go 3rd off the board in the 9th round. They’ll miss Albert Haynesworth more than they know. However, there was actually worse pick. Who does Team Gellert think they are?! Al Davis?! Heyward Bey can’t catch the football. He can run, but he can’t catch and his quarterback reportedly showed up to training camp resembling Fat Albert. This is probably the worst pick of the draft here.

ROUND 10

91 Percy Harvin, Min Team Clifford
92 Ben Roethlisberger, Pit Team Downs
93 Vikings D/ST, Min Team gellert
94 Julius Jones, Sea Team Mendez
95 Fred Jackson, Buf kc Garcia
96 Carson Palmer, Cin Team Lavallee
97 Derrick Mason, Bal Team Lourie
98 Le’Ron McClain, Bal Team Smith
99 LeSean McCoy, Phi Team l
100 Devin Hester, Chi Team Thomas

My pick: I need another wide receiver, but I’m not worried because there’s a lot of depth in the WR4-5 range. I did this draft before Derrick Mason’s finger injury. I’m not sure if it will cost him any time, but if I did this draft knowing about that injury, I may have felt safer taking Devin Hester, but I don’t regret this decision. Mason’s retirement last month was pretty much an impulsive reaction to the death of his good friend and former quarterback Steve McNair, but he has put that behind him and is in training camp now ready to continue his reign as the best player no one’s ever heard of.

Best pick: Hester is a steal in the late 10th round. I had him ranked only slightly lower than Mason, my pick, and may have felt safer taking Hester than Mason in the wake of Mason’s injury. Hester is going into his 2nd full season as a wide receiver and his 1st full season as a wide receiver with a strong arm to compliment Hester’s amazing speed.

Worst pick: Sorry, but I’m not sure if Harvin will do much for you. He’ll be a slot receiver for a team that focus on the run. He’ll be a 3rd string back and he’ll play some wildcat, but I’m not sure that all equates to the fantasy points you want from someone at this point.

ROUND 11

101 Kellen Winslow, TB Team Thomas
102 Kyle Orton, Den Team l
103 Lance Moore, NO Team Smith
104 Ravens D/ST, Bal Team lourie
105 Zach Miller, Oak Team Lavallee
106 Fred Taylor, NE kc garcia
107 Earnest Graham, TB Team Mendez
108 Matt Hasselbeck, Sea Team gellert
109 Darren Sproles, SD Team Downs
110 Eli Manning, NYG Team clifford

My pick: I’ve got a solid bench. Now, I need to focus on getting some more out of my starting lineup. Baltimore is still an elite defense and a steal here in the 11th round. 

Best pick: I’m not in love with any picks here, but Kellen Winslow is solid value as your starting tight end here in the 11th, even if he is a bit of risk.

Worst pick: Don’t draft Kyle Orton. Just don’t, especially not in the 11th. Orton threw 12 picks in 465 tries last year in a conservative offense supporting by a good defense. Now, he plays for the Broncos who won’t be able to run a conservative offense because the defense sucks (and sucks would be putting it lightly). 20+ picks is very likely. He doesn’t have the arm to make the throws this team will need him to make when the defense is unable to make any stops.

ROUND 12

111 Josh Morgan, SF Team Clifford
112 Torry Holt, Jac Team Downs
113 Felix Jones, Dal Team gellert
114 Laveranues Coles, Cin Team Mendez
115 Chester Taylor, Min kc Garcia
116 Ted Ginn Jr., Mia Team Lavallee
117 Hakeem Nicks, NYG Team Lourie
118 Sammy Morris, NE Team Smith
119 Rashard Mendenhall, Pit Team l
120 Willis McGahee, Bal Team Thomas

My pick: Putting the Cheat Sheet away and getting out the list of Fantasy Sleepers. Nicks is an 8th round pick in my eyes, so I love getting him in the 12th. He played in a pro style offense in college so he should be able to step in right away for the Giants, who desperately need a possession receiver like Nicks. He’ll be Eli Manning’s favorite end zone target too. He should lead the Giants in receiving yards and touchdowns. 

Best pick: Laveranues Coles could have a 1000 yards this year in TJ Houshmanzadeh’s old role in Cincinnati. He’s an above average player who has flown under the radar in his career, but he has talent and he should get a lot of targets from a healthy Carson Palmer and a lot of favorable matchups on the field thanks to Chad Ochocinco drawing double teams opposite him.

Worst pick: Sammy Morris is too far buried on the Pats depth chart. Morris had an average at best year last year when he was a year younger on a Pats team that had major injury problems at running back. Now, the Pats have added Fred Taylor and have a healthy Laurence Maroney, while Morris is 32. He’ll be a fantasy non-factor this season.

 

ROUND 13

121 Eagles D/ST, Phi Team Thomas
122 John Carlson, Sea Team l
123 Jets D/ST, NYJ Team Smith
124 Jerious Norwood, Atl Team lourie
125 Trent Edwards, Buf Team Lavallee
126 Jeremy Maclin, Phi kc garcia
127 Domenik Hixon, NYG Team Mendez
128 Bears D/ST, Chi Team gellert
129 Donnie Avery, StL Team Downs
130 Patriots D/ST, NE Team clifford

My pick: Another late round sleeper, Norwood, who has always had talent, but never gotten a shot, is a 9th round value to me. He’ll catch a lot of passes for a Falcon team that will pass more this year and he should vulture a lot of Turner’s carries as there is no way they’ll give him 370 again this year. Norwood should be good for 1000+ all-purpose yards.

Best pick: Donnie Avery hurt his ankle and could miss the first 2 weeks of the season. He’s also the #1 option for the Rams so there’s no reason he should still be available here. If you are a patient guy, be the one to take Avery while everyone else is scared off. The only reason I didn’t is because, frankly, it didn’t occur to me that he was still available. ESPN has him buried on their rankings because of his injury and he was not someone I was targeting in the 13th, but a great pickup by Downs.

Worst pick: Not a lot of bad picks here, but I don’t think Edwards is worth a 13th rounder. However, that’s just me being nit picky. Solid round all around. 

ROUND 14

131 Packers D/ST, GB Team Clifford
132 David Garrard, Jac Team Downs
133 Jeremy Shockey, NO Team gellert
134 Panthers D/ST, Car Team Mendez
135 Chargers D/ST, SD kc Garcia
136 Laurence Maroney, NE Team Lavallee
137 Kevin Curtis, Phi Team Lourie
138 Jake Delhomme, Car Team Smith
139 Chris Chambers, SD Team l
140 Muhsin Muhammad, Car Team Thomas

My pick: Kevin Curtis is back from his hernia injury so he should be in the starting lineup for the Eagles and approach his amazing 2007 numbers. Or not, but it’s the 14th round, its all about upside. Curtis has the upside here. He’s 2 years and 1 injury removed from an 1100+ yard season.  

Best pick: I liked a few, Delhomme, Muhammed, Maroney, but Chris Chambers stood out to me. Like Curtis, he’s 2 years and an injury removed from a great season. He could do that again. He’s definitely worth the risk in the 14th with his huge upside.

Worst pick: Don’t draft the Packers’ defense. They were one of the worst last season. BJ Raji and Clay Matthews were great picks in the 1st round of the 2009 NFL draft, but they’re more for the future. Clifford had much better options than the Packers if he wanted a defense.

ROUND 15

141 Brady Quinn, Cle Team Thomas
142 Danny Ware, NYG Team l
143 Tim Hightower, Ari Team Smith
144 Joe Flacco, Bal Team lourie
145 Justin Gage, Ten Team Lavallee
146 Nate Burleson, Sea kc garcia
147 Patrick Crayton, Dal Team Mendez
148 Bobby Engram, KC Team gellert
149 Dolphins D/ST, Mia Team Downs
150 Ricky Williams, Mia Team clifford

My pick: I don’t love Joe Flacco’s fantasy prospects, but he faces the Broncos awful defense week 8, which is Tom Brady’s bye week. Of course if Brady gets hurt again I’m screwed, but that’s what the waiver wire is for.

Best pick: Hightower should go into the season getting at least the majority of the carries for Arizona, including some end zone carries. That might not last all season, because the Cards drafted Chris Wells in the 1st round less than 4 months ago, but Wells is hurt now and Hightower is impressing so I love this pick here.

Worst pick: Danny Ware will probably go into the season as the 4th back on the Giants depth chart, after rookie Andre Brown hops him on the depth chart and moves into the wind role. Even if that doesn’t happen, he’s still behind Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw so his fantasy prospects are almost non existent.

ROUND 16

151 David Akers, Phi Team Clifford
152 Stephen Gostkowski, NE Team Downs
153 Ryan Longwell, Min Team gellert
154 Jason Elam, Atl Team Mendez
155 Rob Bironas, Ten kc Garcia
156 Mason Crosby, GB Team Lavallee
157 Kris Brown, Hou Team Lourie
158 Nate Kaeding, SD Team Smith
159 Nick Folk, Dal Team l
160 Neil Rackers, Ari Team Thomas

My pick: I need a kicker and, like everyone in this league, I waited until the last round to do so. Brown is one of the most underrated kickers (if there is such a thing) in the league. He plays for the Texans who have an amazing offense. He plays in a dome so the weather won’t bother him at home. And his bye week is week 10, which means I won’t have to shuffle my roster, to get a bye week kicker, until week 10.

Best pick/Worst pick: Honestly no idea. Kickers are all pretty much the same. I’m glad to see that everyone waited until the last round to draft one.

 

 

 

Kurt Warner- Kurt Warner says his surgically repaired hip is only about 85%. This wouldn’t be as big of a deal with Warner wasn’t 38 with a history of injuries.

Carson Palmer- His surgically repaired elbow reportedly looks great. He’s still a bit of a risk based on his history with injuries, but he’s also getting drafted way too low. He’s got great receivers and plays for a pass heavy team. 4000 yards is not out of the question for him.

Matt Hasselbeck- His back is reportedly feeling great and he looks great in training camp. He’s working with the most talented receiver he’s ever worked with in TJ Houshmanzadeh so he’s a nice mid-to-late round pick if you need a quarterback.

Chris Johnson- Lendale White showed up to camp 30 pounds lighter. White will still vulture Johnson’s touchdowns, but also take more of his carries than I originally imagined. Johnson is no longer the #3 fantasy back, but should still be a solid first round pick at about 8 or 9.

Steve Slaton- Slaton has added 10 pounds of muscle to his small frame. If this doesn’t slow him down, it could make him durable enough to play every down, including end zone carries.

Brian Westbrook- Its been a little bit of good and bad for Westbrook over the past few week. Good, he is expected to be ready for week 1. Bad, LeSean McCoy is impressive so the rookie should be on the field more, even if Westbrook is healthy. In an effort to keep Westbrook healthy, we could see Reid see McCoy lot more than I imagined. I wouldn’t take Westbrook in the first round.

Knowshon Moreno- McDaniels called Moreno a 3 down back. Though I believe Moreno would get a lot of work this season, this only confirms that. They don’t have a lot of offensive weapons so Moreno should get close to 300 carries behind a great offensive line. He’s also a pass catcher. He’s got 2nd round pick potential, but can be had in the 4th or 5th. 

Chris Wells- I liked Wells as a sleeper, but then he got hurt. Since he’s been hurt, Tim Hightower is reportedly impressing, which means, at best, that the two will be splitting carries, at least to start the season. This is a pass heavy team, which means there won’t be a lot of carries left over for Wells. Hightower may even cut into his end zone carries. 1000 yards and 10 TDs looks unlikely now.

Ray Rice- He’s getting all of the reps with the first team in training camp. He could be an even bigger part of this Ravens offense than I first thought. He could get 1000 yards. He won’t be a touchdown machine with LeRon McClain and Willis McGahee taking his end zone carries, but he will catch passes and he’s going very low in most drafts, like 7th or 8th round. He’s a 5th round pick at this point in my mind.

Larry Fitzgerald- Warner’s not 100%. One of the reasons I don’t like Fitzgerald as a first round pick is because of the situation at quarterback with Warner’s age and health. Don’t use a first rounder on this guy. Draft him below Moss and Andre Johnson at this point.

Steve Smith- He hurt his shoulder. He might not miss playing time in the regular season, but he’ll have to miss the preseason, which could hurt his preparedness. Smith has been an injury risk for years. Don’t be the guy to take him in the 2nd round.

Antonio Bryant- He’s also hurt. He probably won’t miss regular season time, but he’ll miss the preseason, which could hurt him and his chemistry with the team’s new quarterback, whoever they decide that is.

Brandon Marshall- His hip injury will force him out of the preseason and probably limit him some in the regular season. As if there already weren’t enough red flags with him, possible suspension, bad quarterback, unhappy with team, now he’s hurt. Avoid this guy until the 5th round. 
Kurt Warner- Kurt Warner says his surgically repaired hip is only about 85%. This wouldn’t be as big of a deal with Warner wasn’t 38 with a history of injuries.

Carson Palmer- His surgically repaired elbow reportedly looks great. He’s still a bit of a risk based on his history with injuries, but he’s also getting drafted way too low. He’s got great receivers and plays for a pass heavy team. 4000 yards is not out of the question for him.

Matt Hasselbeck- His back is reportedly feeling great and he looks great in training camp. He’s working with the most talented receiver he’s ever worked with in TJ Houshmanzadeh so he’s a nice mid-to-late round pick if you need a quarterback.

Chris Johnson- Lendale White showed up to camp 30 pounds lighter. White will still vulture Johnson’s touchdowns, but also take more of his carries than I originally imagined. Johnson is no longer the #3 fantasy back, but should still be a solid first round pick at about 8 or 9.

Steve Slaton- Slaton has added 10 pounds of muscle to his small frame. If this doesn’t slow him down, it could make him durable enough to play every down, including end zone carries.

Brian Westbrook- Its been a little bit of good and bad for Westbrook over the past few week. Good, he is expected to be ready for week 1. Bad, LeSean McCoy is impressive so the rookie should be on the field more, even if Westbrook is healthy. In an effort to keep Westbrook healthy, we could see Reid see McCoy lot more than I imagined. I wouldn’t take Westbrook in the first round.

Knowshon Moreno- McDaniels called Moreno a 3 down back. Though I believe Moreno would get a lot of work this season, this only confirms that. They don’t have a lot of offensive weapons so Moreno should get close to 300 carries behind a great offensive line. He’s also a pass catcher. He’s got 2nd round pick potential, but can be had in the 4th or 5th. 

Chris Wells- I liked Wells as a sleeper, but then he got hurt. Since he’s been hurt, Tim Hightower is reportedly impressing, which means, at best, that the two will be splitting carries, at least to start the season. This is a pass heavy team, which means there won’t be a lot of carries left over for Wells. Hightower may even cut into his end zone carries. 1000 yards and 10 TDs looks unlikely now.

Ray Rice- He’s getting all of the reps with the first team in training camp. He could be an even bigger part of this Ravens offense than I first thought. He could get 1000 yards. He won’t be a touchdown machine with LeRon McClain and Willis McGahee taking his end zone carries, but he will catch passes and he’s going very low in most drafts, like 7th or 8th round. He’s a 5th round pick at this point in my mind.

Larry Fitzgerald- Warner’s not 100%. One of the reasons I don’t like Fitzgerald as a first round pick is because of the situation at quarterback with Warner’s age and health. Don’t use a first rounder on this guy. Draft him below Moss and Andre Johnson at this point.

Steve Smith- He hurt his shoulder. He might not miss playing time in the regular season, but he’ll have to miss the preseason, which could hurt his preparedness. Smith has been an injury risk for years. Don’t be the guy to take him in the 2nd round.

Antonio Bryant- He’s also hurt. He probably won’t miss regular season time, but he’ll miss the preseason, which could hurt him and his chemistry with the team’s new quarterback, whoever they decide that is.

Brandon Marshall- His hip injury will force him out of the preseason and probably limit him some in the regular season. As if there already weren’t enough red flags with him, possible suspension, bad quarterback, unhappy with team, now he’s hurt. Avoid this guy until the 5th round. 
The preseason is starting and fantasy season is too. What has happened since my last fantasy updates to impact the world of fantasy football? Well, actually, a lot. My Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet has been updated as well
 
Kurt Warner- Kurt Warner says his surgically repaired hip is only about 85%. This wouldn’t be as big of a deal with Warner wasn’t 38 with a history of injuries.

Carson Palmer- His surgically repaired elbow reportedly looks great. He’s still a bit of a risk based on his history with injuries, but he’s also getting drafted way too low. He’s got great receivers and plays for a pass heavy team. 4000 yards is not out of the question for him.

Matt Hasselbeck- His back is reportedly feeling great and he looks great in training camp. He’s working with the most talented receiver he’s ever worked with in TJ Houshmanzadeh so he’s a nice mid-to-late round pick if you need a quarterback.

Chris Johnson- Lendale White showed up to camp 30 pounds lighter. White will still vulture Johnson’s touchdowns, but also take more of his carries than I originally imagined. Johnson is no longer the #3 fantasy back, but should still be a solid first round pick at about 8 or 9.

Steve Slaton- Slaton has added 10 pounds of muscle to his small frame. If this doesn’t slow him down, it could make him durable enough to play every down, including end zone carries.

Brian Westbrook- Its been a little bit of good and bad for Westbrook over the past few week. Good, he is expected to be ready for week 1. Bad, LeSean McCoy is impressive so the rookie should be on the field more, even if Westbrook is healthy. In an effort to keep Westbrook healthy, we could see Reid see McCoy lot more than I imagined. I wouldn’t take Westbrook in the first round.

Knowshon Moreno- McDaniels called Moreno a 3 down back. Though I believe Moreno would get a lot of work this season, this only confirms that. They don’t have a lot of offensive weapons so Moreno should get close to 300 carries behind a great offensive line. He’s also a pass catcher. He’s got 2nd round pick potential, but can be had in the 4th or 5th. 

Chris Wells- I liked Wells as a sleeper, but then he got hurt. Since he’s been hurt, Tim Hightower is reportedly impressing, which means, at best, that the two will be splitting carries, at least to start the season. This is a pass heavy team, which means there won’t be a lot of carries left over for Wells. Hightower may even cut into his end zone carries. 1000 yards and 10 TDs looks unlikely now.

Ray Rice- He’s getting all of the reps with the first team in training camp. He could be an even bigger part of this Ravens offense than I first thought. He could get 1000 yards. He won’t be a touchdown machine with LeRon McClain and Willis McGahee taking his end zone carries, but he will catch passes and he’s going very low in most drafts, like 7th or 8th round. He’s a 5th round pick at this point in my mind.
 
Cedric Benson- He’s reportedly looking good and motivated finally in training camp. Plus, a fully healthy Carson Palmer means more open holes for him. This guy’s not a bad late 5th round option. 
 
Larry Fitzgerald- Warner’s not 100%. One of the reasons I don’t like Fitzgerald as a first round pick is because of the situation at quarterback with Warner’s age and health. Don’t use a first rounder on this guy. Draft him below Moss and Andre Johnson at this point.

Steve Smith- He hurt his shoulder. He might not miss playing time in the regular season, but he’ll have to miss the preseason, which could hurt his preparedness. Smith has been an injury risk for years. Don’t be the guy to take him in the 2nd round.

Antonio Bryant- He’s also hurt. He probably won’t miss regular season time, but he’ll miss the preseason, which could hurt him and his chemistry with the team’s new quarterback, whoever they decide that is.
 
TJ Houshmanzadeh- He’s finally the #1 option. He’s in an offense that I think suits him well and now, his quarterback is 100%. Houshmanzadeh is a very safe bet for 1000+ yards in the 4th round.
 
Brandon Marshall- His hip injury will force him out of the preseason and probably limit him some in the regular season. As if there already weren’t enough red flags with him, possible suspension, bad quarterback, unhappy with team, now he’s hurt. Avoid this guy until the 5th round. 
 

 

In general


Rule #1: Have a list of the best players at each position in order of how you would draft them

Its much easier to do some research before hand rather than drafting according to the ESPN (or whatever fantasy service you use) rankings, mostly because those ESPN ones were made in June and aren’t always the best. If you do the research on your own, you can pick up the players you want. If you don’t want to do the research on your own, check out my fantasy rankings. I happen to think they are better than ESPN’s.

Rule #2: Have a list of high upside backups/mid-late round value picks

I’ll talk more about this later, but why draft a guy in the 11th or 12th who is going to get you 4-5 fantasy points per week with no upside, when you can draft a guy who has the potential to be at least a starter for you depending on the matchup. If you don’t want to do the research and pick out your own high upside guys, check out my list.

For quarterbacks

Rule #3: Draft a QB2 based on who has an easy matchup on our QB1’s bye week

With a few exceptions, when you draft a QB1 you can count on him to play 16 weeks, so the most you should need your QB2 for is one week, the week where you QB1 has a bye. So why not do some research and find who has the easiest matchups during the week your QB1 has a bye. Don’t want to do that yourself, no problem, I’ve done it for you. For the few exceptions, read rule #4

Rule #4: If you Jake Delhomme, Carson Palmer, or Matt Schaub make sure you draft a high upside backup 

Delhomme has consistency problems and Palmer and Schaub have injury issues. You want to take a backup who can step up and be a QB1 for a few weeks. If your really smart, combine this rule and rule #3  and draft Jake Delhomme and Shaun Hill, who plays St. Louis during Delhomme’s bye week, together, or Schaub and Jason Campbell, who plays Denver during Schaub’s bye week, together. Campbell and Hill, as you can see here, are my two high upside backup quarterbacks.

Rule #5: Don’t draft a QB3

Think about it. What good is one? You have your QB1 and your QB2, who you hope only has to play 1 week. What would the third guy do? There are just so many other, better things that you can do with the pick you want to use on a QB3.

Rule #6: Don’t draft Brett Favre

Nothing against the future Hall of Famer, but drafting him either means breaking rule #5, or risking going into next season having to grab your QB2 from the waiver wire, which in a 10 team league would likely give you a choice of Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez, or Marc Bulger, and in a 12 team league likely gives you a choice between Kerry Collins, Bryon Leftwich, Pat White, and Sage Rosenfels (yikes!). I would have taken the risk last year, in fact I did in a league in which I broke rule #5 and drafted Carson Palmer, Vince Young, and Favre (needless to say, I did not do very well in that league), but this year, you aren’t taking a risk on the Favre who is coming off of an caliber MVP season as he was last offseason. You’re taking a risk on the Favre who threw 22 picks last season. Its not worth it. 

For running backs

Rule #7: Be careful of guys who have a lot of carries the year before

History will show that only 4 of the last 20 guys who led the league in carries had equal to greater stats the next season. 2 of those were the great Emmitt Smith, 1 was a 21 year old Edgerrin James, and the other one was Clinton Portis, who only had 325 carries to lead the league in 2007. In the other 16 cases, the other guys have either gotten hurt, gotten less carries out of fear of injury, or simply not been as effective because their legs are tired. Be careful about where you draft Michael Turner, who led the league in carries. last year. 

For wide receivers

Rule #8: Be careful of guys who had an unusually high yards per reception average

History and common sense will show that guys who have been in the league 5 years of longer who have a so called breakout season because of an increase in yards per catch, rather than an increase in targets or catches, will drop back down to earth in the next season because they don’t have as high of a YPC average. The reason for the higher stats with said players is normally a few fluky 50 or 60 yard catches. Bernard Berrian averaged 20.1 yards per catch last season, and his career average is 16.0. If you remember, Berrian had a fluky 99 yard catch last season, which accounted for more than 10% of his yards on the season. Unless Berrian catches more balls this year, which likely won’t happen unless he gets a better quarterback, he is likely to have 48 catches again, only this time at 16 yards per catch. Be careful with him and guys like him. Steve Smith of the Panthers is another good example.

Rule #9: When drafting rookies, take guys who have experience in pro style offenses

They won’t have as hard of a time transitioning to the pros if they played in a pro style offense in college. This is why I like Jarrett Dillard, Jacksonville’s likely #2 receiver, Brian Robiskie, Cleveland’s #2 receiver, and Hakeem Nicks, New York’s #1 receiver as sleepers, but not Michael Crabtree.

For running backs/wide receivers

Rule #10: Only draft high upside backups/handicaps for your starters

I’ve said it before, but why draft a guy in the 11th or 12th who is going to get you 4-5 fantasy points per week with no upside, when you can draft a guy who has the potential to be at least a starter for you depending on the matchup. If you don’t want to do the research and pick out your own high upside guys, check out my list. Handicaps are the only exception. If you draft say Adrian Peterson as your RB1, you can draft low upside Chester Taylor as your RB4 or RB5, because if Peterson gets hurt, Taylor can be put into your starting lineup, in place of Peterson, and you won’t get hurt as badly as you could.  

Rule #11: Make sure you don’t draft too many guys with the same bye week

Pretty straight forward. You want to be able to field a complete roster. If you can’t because of byes, that’s bad.

Rule #12: Draft best available 

This is going to be a controversial rule, but if you have 3 running backs already, and only one wide receiver, and the guy who you think is the 21st best running back is available and the best wide receiver available is ranked 29th on your board, take the back and fill up your roster later. You can always make trades or keep everyone and mix and match depending on matchups and there will always be injuries. Plus, you can always get someone in the next round or the round after that who can fill your need. The difference between a wide receiver taken in the 6th and a wide receiver taken in the 8th is a lot less than you think. The difference between the 21st best running back and the 28th best wide receiver is a lot more than you think.

For tight ends

Rule #13: Only take Jason Witten before the 7th round

As you can read about in my top 15 tight end list, the difference between Tony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates, Greg Olsen, and Chris Cooley is going to be very small this year. Witten is the only tight end that is likely to get 1000 yards. Gonzalez, Clark, Gates, Olsen, and Cooley are all likely to get 800-900 yards this season. Why take Gates or Gonzalez in the 5th or Clark in the 6th when you can take Cooley and Olsen in the 7th. 

Rule #14: Never draft a backup tight end, unless he’s a high upside backup, or just too high of a value to pass up

You can always find a backup tight end on the waiver wire. After about the 14th or 15th ranked tight end, they are almost the same for about 10 tight ends. The only TE2s I’d draft are Heath Miller and Benjamin Watson, who in my opinion ate getting drafted too low, or Brandon Pettigrew, who has huge upside. Pettigrew, Watson, and Miller could all become nice trade bait down the line.

For defenses

Rule #15: Have a list of 3-5 defenses that are all about the same, then take one after 50-60% of the defenses on the list are gone

You never want to be the first one to take a defense, even if it means you won’t get Pittsburgh doing so. The top defenses are always very indistinguishable, so make a list of top tier defenses. In my opinion this top tier includes Pitt, the Giants, the Eagles, and Ravens, and possibly the Vikings if the Williams can avoid suspension. If I see 2 or 3 of those are gone when its mine turn to pick, then I pick the best remaining defense. This way I get a top tier defense without having to use too high of a pick to get one, but I also ensure that I do in fact get a top tier defense.

Rule #16: Never draft a backup defense

There just is no need. You can get a good defense off of the waiver wire when you need one. Save you bench for your QB2 and your backup WRs and RBs. 

Rule #17: Try to grab a defense with a late bye week

This one goes along with rule #15. You don’t want to drop one of the sleepers on your bench too early in the season, to pick up a bye week defense, and then see someone else pick him up right when he gets hot. I know what you might be thinking, doesn’t Philadelphia, one of my top tier defenses, have a bye week 4. Yes, it does. This is why I like pairing Philadelphia with Fred Jackson. Fred Jackson is going to be Buffalo’s starting running back for the first 3 weeks of the season, with Marshawn Lynch suspended, but he won’t do a lot for you from weeks 4-17. Before week 4, either drop Jackson, or trade him to that clueless fantasy owner who will only look at Jackson’s stats and not the fact that he’s not a starter anymore, and pick up a defense to replace Philly for the week. 

For kickers

Rule #18: Never draft a backup kicker

Pretty obvious, why waste a roster spot on a kicker who will play one week, when kickers are all pretty much the same. That’s the one thing you have to know about kickers: they are pretty much random and thus all the same.

Rule #19: A good kicker should have a history of kicking well, kick in a dome for his home games, kick for a good offense, and have a late bye week

While kickers are all the same, there are a few qualifications I have for kickers. Obviously, if they’ve kicked will in the past, they will do it again. If they kick in a dome, there is a smaller chance they will struggle because of weather, with the only way they could struggle because of weather being if it’s a road game. If a kicker kicks for a good offense, there is a higher chance he can score large amount of fantasy points for you. If a kicker has a late bye week, you won’t have to drop one of the sleepers on your bench too early in the season, to pick up a bye week kicker, and then see someone else pick him up right when he gets hot. I like Kris Brown as a kicker because he has hit at least 85% percent of his field goals in each of the past two years, he kicks in a dome, he kicks for Houston’s dynamic offense, and his bye week is 10.

Rule #20: Never draft a kicker before the last round of the draft

Obviously if kickers are almost all the same because they are so random, you don’t want to take one until you absolutely have to.In general
Rule #1: Have a list of the best players at each position in order of how you would draft them
 
Its much easier to do some research before hand rather than drafting according to the ESPN (or whatever fantasy service you use) rankings, mostly because those ESPN ones were made in June and aren’t always the best. If you do the research on your own, you can pick up the players you want. If you don’t want to do the research on your own, check out my fantasy rankings. I happen to think they are better than ESPN’s.
 
Rule #2: Have a list of high upside backups/mid-late round value picks
 
I’ll talk more about this later, but why draft a guy in the 11th or 12th who is going to get you 4-5 fantasy points per week with no upside, when you can draft a guy who has the potential to be at least a starter for you depending on the matchup. If you don’t want to do the research and pick out your own high upside guys, check out my list.
 
For quarterbacks
 
Rule #3: Draft a QB2 based on who has an easy matchup on our QB1’s bye week
 
With a few exceptions, when you draft a QB1 you can count on him to play 16 weeks, so the most you should need your QB2 for is one week, the week where you QB1 has a bye. So why not do some research and find who has the easiest matchups during the week your QB1 has a bye. Don’t want to do that yourself, no problemI’ve done it for you. For the few exceptions, read rule #4
 
Rule #4: If you Jake Delhomme, Carson Palmer, or Matt Schaub make sure you draft a high upside backup
 
Delhomme has consistency problems and Palmer and Schaub have injury issues. You want to take a backup who can step up and be a QB1 for a few weeks. If your really smart, combine this rule and rule #3  and draft Jake Delhomme and Shaun Hill, who plays St. Louis during Delhomme’s bye week, together, or Schaub and Jason Campbell, who plays Denver during Schaub’s bye week, together. Campbell and Hill, as you can see here, are my two high upside backups.
 
Rule #5: Don’t draft a QB3
 
Think about it. What good is one? You have your QB1 and your QB2, who you hope only has to play 1 week. What would the third guy do? There are just so many other, better things that you can do with the pick you want to use on a QB3.
 
Rule #6: Don’t draft Brett Favre
 
Nothing against the future Hall of Famer, but drafting him either means breaking rule #5, or risking going into next season having to grab your QB2 from the waiver wire, which in a 10 team league would likely give you a choice of Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez, or Marc Bulger, and in a 12 team league likely gives you a choice between Kerry Collins, Bryon Leftwich, Pat White, and Sage Rosenfels (yikes!). I would have taken the risk last year, in fact I did in a league in which I broke rule #5 and drafted Carson Palmer, Vince Young, and Favre (needless to say, I did not do very well in that league), but this year, you aren’t taking a risk on the Favre who is coming off of an caliber MVP season as he was last offseason. You’re taking a risk on the Favre who threw 22 picks last season. Its not worth it.
 
For running backs
 
Rule #7: Be careful of guys who have a lot of carries the year before
 
History will show that only 4 of the last 20 guys who led the league in carries had equal to greater stats the next season. 2 of those were the great Emmitt Smith, 1 was a 21 year old Edgerrin James, and the other one was Clinton Portis, who only had 325 carries to lead the league in 2007. In the other 16 cases, the other guys have either gotten hurt, gotten less carries out of fear of injury, or simply not been as effective because their legs are tired. Be careful about where you draft Michael Turner, who led the league in carries last year.
 
For wide receivers
 
Rule #8: Be careful of guys who had an unusually high yards per reception average
 
History and common sense will show that guys who have been in the league 5 years of longer who have a so called breakout season because of an increase in yards per catch, rather than an increase in targets or catches, will drop back down to earth in the next season because they don’t have as high of a YPC average. The reason for the higher stats with said players is normally a few fluky 50 or 60 yard catches. Bernard Berrian averaged 20.1 yards per catch last season, and his career average is 16.0. If you remember, Berrian had a fluky 99 yard catch last season, which accounted for more than 10% of his yards on the season. Unless Berrian catches more balls this year, which likely won’t happen unless he gets a better quarterback, he is likely to have 48 catches again, only this time at 16 yards per catch. Be careful with him and guys like him. Steve Smith of the Panthers is another good example.
 
Rule #9: When drafting rookies, take guys who have experience in pro style offenses
 
They won’t have as hard of a time transitioning to the pros if they played in a pro style offense in college. This is why I like Jarrett Dillard, Jacksonville’s likely #2 receiver, Brian Robiskie, Cleveland’s #2 receiver, and Hakeem Nicks, New York’s #1 receiver as sleepers, but not Michael Crabtree.
 
For running backs/wide receivers
 
Rule #10: Only draft high upside backups/handicaps for your starters
 
I’ve said it before, but why draft a guy in the 11th or 12th who is going to get you 4-5 fantasy points per week with no upside, when you can draft a guy who has the potential to be at least a starter for you depending on the matchup. If you don’t want to do the research and pick out your own high upside guys, check out my listHandicaps are the only exception. If you draft say Adrian Peterson as your RB1, you can draft low upside Chester Taylor as your RB4 or RB5, because if Peterson gets hurt, Taylor can be put into your starting lineup, in place of Peterson, and you won’t get hurt as badly as you could. 
 
 
Rule #11: Make sure you don’t draft too many guys with the same bye week
 
Pretty straight forward. You want to be able to field a complete roster. If you can’t because of byes, that’s bad.
 
Rule #12: Draft best available
 
This is going to be a controversial rule, but if you have 3 running backs already, and only one wide receiver, and the guy who you think is the 21st best running back is available and the best wide receiver available is ranked 29th on your board, take the back and fill up your roster later. You can always make trades or keep everyone and mix and match depending on matchups and there will always be injuries. Plus, you can always get someone in the next round or the round after that who can fill your need. The difference between a wide receiver taken in the 6th and a wide receiver taken in the 8th is a lot less than you think. The difference between the 21st best running back and the 28th best wide receiver is a lot more than you think.
 
For tight ends
 
Rule #13: Only take Jason Witten before the 7th round
 
As you can read about in my top 15 tight end list, the difference between Tony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates, Greg Olsen, and Chris Cooley is going to be very small this year. Witten is the only tight end that is likely to get 1000 yards. Gonzalez, Clark, Gates, Olsen, and Cooley are all likely to get 800-900 yards this season. Why take Gates or Gonzalez in the 5th or Clark in the 6th when you can take Cooley and Olsen in the 7th.
 
Rule #14: Never draft a backup tight end, unless he’s a high upside backup, or just too high of a value to pass up
 
You can always find a backup tight end on the waiver wire. After about the 14th or 15th ranked tight end, they are almost the same for about 10 tight ends. The only TE2s I’d draft are Heath Miller and Benjamin Watson, who in my opinion ate getting drafted too low, or Brandon Pettigrew, who has huge upside. Pettigrew, Watson, and Miller could all become nice trade bait down the line.
 
For defenses
 
Rule #15: Have a list of 3-5 defenses that are all about the same, then take one after 50-60% of the defenses on the list are gone
 
You never want to be the first one to take a defense, even if it means you won’t get Pittsburgh doing so. The top defenses are always very indistinguishable, so make a list of top tier defenses. In my opinion this top tier includes Pitt, the Giants, the Eagles, and Ravens, and possibly the Vikings if the Williams can avoid suspension. If I see 2 or 3 of those are gone when its mine turn to pick, then I pick the best remaining defense. This way I get a top tier defense without having to use too high of a pick to get one, but I also ensure that I do in fact get a top tier defense.
 
Rule #16: Never draft a backup defense
 
There just is no need. You can get a good defense off of the waiver wire when you need one. Save you bench for your QB2 and your backup WRs and RBs.
 
Rule #17: Try to grab a defense with a late bye week
 
This one goes along with rule #15. You don’t want to drop one of the sleepers on your bench too early in the season, to pick up a bye week defense, and then see someone else pick him up right when he gets hot. I know what you might be thinking, doesn’t Philadelphia, one of my top tier defenses, have a bye week 4. Yes, it does. This is why I like pairing Philadelphia with Fred Jackson. Fred Jackson is going to be Buffalo’s starting running back for the first 3 weeks of the season, with Marshawn Lynch suspended, but he won’t do a lot for you from weeks 4-17. Before week 4, either drop Jackson, or trade him to that clueless fantasy owner who will only look at Jackson’s stats and not the fact that he’s not a starter anymore, and pick up a defense to replace Philly for the week.
 
For kickers
 
Rule #18: Never draft a backup kicker
 
Pretty obvious, why waste a roster spot on a kicker who will play one week, when kickers are all pretty much the same. That’s the one thing you have to know about kickers: they are pretty much random and thus all the same.
 
Rule #19: A good kicker should have a history of kicking well, kick in a dome for his home games, kick for a good offense, and have a late bye week
 
While kickers are all the same, there are a few qualifications I have for kickers. Obviously, if they’ve kicked will in the past, they will do it again. If they kick in a dome, there is a smaller chance they will struggle because of weather, with the only way they could struggle because of weather being if it’s a road game. If a kicker kicks for a good offense, there is a higher chance he can score large amount of fantasy points for you. If a kicker has a late bye week, you won’t have to drop one of the sleepers on your bench too early in the season, to pick up a bye week kicker, and then see someone else pick him up right when he gets hot. I like Kris Brown as a kicker because he has hit at least 85% percent of his field goals in each of the past two years, he kicks in a dome, he kicks for Houston’s dynamic offense, and his bye week is 10.
 
Rule #20: Never draft a kicker before the last round of the draft
 
Obviously if kickers are almost all the same because they are so random, you don’t want to take one until you absolutely have to.

 

Like my top 15 fantasy quarterbacks list, my top 30 fantasy running backs list, and my top 30 fantasy wide receiversthis list also happens to be the same list as my “list of guys who if you have anyone else as your TE! you’re screwed list” (name pending). No offense to tight ends 16 on, but if you’re in a 10 or 12 team league, you don’t want the 16th best tight end as your TE1.

1. Jason Witten (Dallas)

He’s the clear cut #1 tight end. He has averaged 1000+ yards over the past two years in Dallas, even though he hasn’t gotten that many targets because a certain receiver with a 2 letter nickname cried conspiracy every time Romo threw Witten’s way. Expect Witten to get more targets than ever before, and thus a higher reception total as Romo really likes throwing his way, and for good reason. Assuming Romo is healthy, Witten is a fantasy stud. Roy Williams is going to be able to take the coverage off Witten over the middle as well as Owens would have, unless Williams doesn’t bounce back from a bad year. Expect 1000+ yards and 5-7 touchdowns, out of him, but more importantly, expect 100 more yards out of him than any other tight end. If you’re sitting there in the middle of the 4th looking at Witten and a few other wide receivers who could get 1000 yards, take Witten just because of the positional value. Wide receivers who get 1000 yards aren’t that rare. Tight ends are. His value overall is even higher on PPR leagues, as he’s had 177 receptions over the past 2 years. He’s the only tight end I’d draft in the first 7 rounds just because he’s head and shoulders above everyone else at his position.  

2. Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta)

He’s lead tight ends in yards in each of the past two years, but don’t expect a repeat performance this year. Even ignoring the fact that he’s 33, he’s no longer the feature receiver on his team. He’ll have to battle with Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, and Jerious Norwood for receptions, which is unlike anything he had to deal with in Kansas City. Remember, he just had Dwayne Bowe to deal with in Kansas City. Matt Ryan is a better quarterback than anyone he had in Kansas City last year, but the Chiefs didn’t have Michael Turner. The Falcons aren’t going to air it out 541 times like the Chiefs did last year. Even though I expect them to go to the air more, they actually have a competent ground game, and they won’t trail in as many games, so expecting Ryan to throw more than 500 times is unrealistic and that cancels out his upgrade in quarterback. He won’t have a bad year, but don’t expect more than 900 yards and 7 touchdowns.

3. Antonio Gates (San Diego)

He’s healthy and he’ll have more than the 704 yards he had last year. He also shares the field with a ton of other passing options for a team that is going to run more this year than last year, so expecting the 984 yards he had in 2007 is unrealistic. 800-900 is more likely what he’ll have in terms of receiving yards. He’s still San Diego’s primary end zone threat, although Vincent Jackson could challenge him for that, so he should lead tight ends in touchdowns with 8-10.

4. Dallas Clark (Indianapolis)

He’s not going to get you 11 touchdowns as he did in 2007. At 6-3, he’s just not going of a true end zone threat to do that for you. However, the Colts are going to throw it a lot with Peyton Manning at the helm, and Manning’s #2 receiver is young, and his slot receivers are inexperienced, Clark should be Manning’s 2nd favorite target, and most definitely will be his favorite target over the middle. Expect close to the 848 yards he had last year, with 6-8 touchdowns. Hopefully you are noticing, there is really no difference between Clark, Gates, and Gonzalez statistically, so why take Gates or Gonzalez in the 5th or 6th, when Clark should be there in the 7th round. You’ll notice more of an ambiguity trend among the tight ends coming up.

5. Greg Olsen (Chicago)

Cutler loves throwing it to his tight end, as shown by the fact that even Tony Scheffler has averaged 600 yards receiving over the last two years when Cutler was in Denver. Now in Chicago, Cutler isn’t going to have much choice but to throw Olsen’s way often, especially in the end zone. His other two options are a converted kick returner/cornerback and a running back. Olsen is also in his 3rd year, the year when wide receivers and tight ends tend to break out. All signs point to Olsen having a top 5 TE season this year. He had 574 yards last season. Expect 750-800 this year, as well as 6-8 touchdowns as he’s the closest thing his team has to an end zone target. And yes, notice the ambiguity. He’s going 8th round on average in 10 team leagues.

6. Chris Cooley (Washington)

Playing his first year in a west coast offense, Cooley had a career high in receptions, 83, and yards, 849. He also had only 1 touchdown. The Redskins have a lot of options with the maturation of Fred Davis, Malcolm Kelly, and Devin Thomas, all in their 2nd year, so those numbers in terms of receptions and yards should drop by 8-10, 80-100 respectively, but I see no reason why he shouldn’t get more than 1 touchdown. That was kind of a fluke thing. He should get his career average of about 6 again, maybe a little less.

7. Kellen Winslow (Tampa Bay)

Winslow is going to do better than the 428 yards and 3 touchdowns he had in 10 games last year. He is inconsistent and constantly hurt, but he’s also got great talent and he’s playing in a better overall offense in Tampa Bay this year. I see no reason why he can’t get 700+ yards and 5+ touchdowns. He’s a high upside because of his past production, but also a high risk because of his injury problems.

8. John Carlson (Seattle)

I like Carlson as a sleeper. He had 55 receptions for 627 yards and 5 touchdowns as a rookie, with Matt Hasselbeck hurt most of the season. Hasselbeck is back and Carlson is maturing as a pass catcher. TJ Houshmanzadeh will subtract from his production a little, but I don’t see why he won’t get 700+ yards and 5-7 touchdowns. Notice the ambiguity trend.

9. Zach Miller (Oakland)

The Raiders suck. They did last year too and Miller had 778 yards. JaMarcus Russell can’t be worse this year than last year, so that number should go up. The one issue, he had only 1 touchdown last year, and 3 the year before. Oakland’s offense is a little better with a bit of a better offensive line, a healthy Darren McFadden, and of course Russell can’t be worse than last year (right?), but I can’t see him getting more than 4 touchdowns. The 800+ yard potential is nice though.

10. Owen Daniels (Houston)

Daniels and Miller are pretty much the same tight end in terms of fantasy. Daniels plays on a better team, but he’s also overshadowed by Kevin Walter, and Andre Johnson, who also happen to both be taller than him. Because of that, the 2 touchdowns he had last year were no fluke. Steve Slaton will be involved in the offense more this year, which is good for everyone expect Daniels, because pass catching backs take away from tight end’s receptions. In the last 8 weeks of last season, he had 2 games of 41 or more yards. Those were incidentally the weeks that Slaton got involved more. 700 or so yards with 3-4 touchdowns is likely for him. Chances are he’ll be overdrafted in your league.

11. Jeremy Shockey (New Orleans)

Every year Shockey has been healthy, he’s had at least 600+ yards receiving. He should get that again. He also plays on one of the best offenses in the NFL so he’ll get touchdowns. Expect 600-700 yards and 5-7 touchdowns, barring major injury. He’s definitely a late round sleeper.

12. Heath Miller (Pittsburgh)

Miller no longer has to contend with Nate Washington for receptions over the middle and Ben Roethlisberger’s shoulder is no longer hurt so he can go back to being that 500-600 yard 5-7 touchdown guy this season. If you forgot to take a tight end in the earlier rounds or you didn’t because you were busy gobbling up RB/WR sleepers, you can do a whole lot worse than Miller, a consistent performer.

13. Benjamin Watson (New England)

He’s healthy. He’s in a contract year. Tom Brady’s healthy and the team brought in Chris Baker so he’s not a blocking tight end any more. You have to like him as the #3 option on the Patriots top passing game, especially when you consider that he’s motivated and healthy. It wouldn’t be crazy to expect the 600+ yards and 3 touchdowns he had in 2007. He’s more of a high upside backup though than a TE1, just because most fantasy players are ignoring him, but he’s the 13th best tight end for next season. Don’t take him until the 2nd to last round though, right before you take your kicker, just because isn’t unnecessary, not because he’s not worth it.

14. Dustin Keller (NY Jets)

He had 535 yards and 3 touchdowns last season, but he has a rookie quarterback this season and he’s going to have to do more blocking this season, as his team is going to run a lot more. His team’s offense is going conservative this season, as opposed to gunslinger, so he won’t be involved in the offense as a receiver as much. View the 535 yards and 3 touchdowns as a maximum for him this season. He’s a borderline TE1, but he’s getting drafted a lot higher.

15. Kevin Boss (NY Giants)

He’s not a good player. But he’s 6-6 and his team’s best end zone target. He’s going to be good in touchdown leagues, but not in normal leagues as 400 yards is the maximum for him. You can expect 5-7 touchdowns though.

HyperWear.com 

 

Like my top 15 fantasy quarterbacks list and my top 30 fantasy running backs listthis list also happens to be the same list as my “list of guys who if you have anyone else as your WR1 or WR2 you’re screwed list” (name pending). No offense to wide receivers 31 on, but if you’re in a 10 or 12 team league, you don’t want the 31st or 32nd best wide receiver as your WR2.

1. Randy Moss (New England)

If Moss can get 1008 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns with Matt Cassel, a weak armed quarterback favoring chuck downs and 6-8 yard throws, than imagine what he can get with Tom Brady, who actually has arm strength, back at the helm. To think he can get 1493 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns again like he did in 2007 would be ridiculous, but its completely reasonable to expect 1200+ yards and 15+ touchdowns from him. That puts him ahead of any other player at his position.

2. Andre Johnson (Houston)

It was tough to choose between Johnson and Fitzgerald here. Both earned about the same amount of fantasy points last year, Johnson with 1575 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns, and Fitzgerald with 1431 yards and 12 touchdowns. However, I’m taking Johnson here because his offense has a chance to get a lot better, with a fully healthy Matt Schaub and the increased utilization of Steve Slaton, while Fitzgerald’s doesn’t have anywhere to go but down with an injury prone 38-year-old at quarterback and an unhappy wide receiver paired alongside him. A lot of people are putting a ton of stock into Fitzgerald’s postseason run, but what I saw was just someone getting hot at the right time. More often than not, when a player explodes in the postseason, they bounce back to normal the next season.

3. Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona)

Even with all that said above, Fitzgerald is still an amazing wide receiver. He’s not the top receiver and he’s not worth the top 5 pick he’s getting in a lot of leagues, but he’s almost certainly a lock for 1200+ yards and 10 touchdowns. All you have to do is look at what he’s done in the past, especially last season, to see that this is a guy with amazing talent at the wide receiver position you will perform for your fantasy team on a weekly basis.

4. Calvin Johnson (Detroit)

He has top receiver talent, but he’s stuck in an awful situation in Detroit. However, in spite of that, he had 1331 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns, which, when you consider that his team didn’t win a game, is an amazing feat. He has two things working for him this year that he didn’t have last year. Daunte Culpepper, assuming he stays healthy and the reports about him finally being in shape are true, is better than any of the garbage he had last season at quarterback. Its also his third year, the year when, like magic, receivers tend to break down. I know its hard to believe that he can improve upon his stats on such a bad team, but this guy is a freak of nature. He can make bad throws turn into receptions and 5 yard receptions turn into 20 yard gains with his freakish athleticism.

5. Roddy White (Atlanta)

Roddy White had 88 catches for 1382 yards last year, despite the fact that Matt Ryan only threw 434 times. The Falcons are giving Ryan more of a role in the offense this season, as Michael Turner was way overworked last year, and thus White’s targets will go up. I see no reason why Ryan won’t throw 500+ times this season and if that happens, White should get 1400+ yards and improve his touchdown total, 7, as well. White is also in a contract year, which means he’ll be motivated.

6. Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis)

The last time Peyton Manning was fully 100% for a whole season, Wayne had 1510 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Last year, Manning wasn’t quite 100% until week 5, and Wayne’s stats “suffered” as he only had 1145 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. I don’t think he’ll match his 2007 stats, because I think that was a bit of a freakish fluke, but he should have something in between 2007 and 2008. 1300-1400 yards and 7-9 touchdowns is not too much to ask for him, in fact those are very close to his ’06 stats. People wonder what Marvin Harrison’s absence will do to him, will he get more targets and thus more receptions, or will he get more double teams and thus less receptions. That’s not even something you have to wonder about. Harrison has been virtually not existent for the last 2 years so expect more of the same. Wayne’s not a touchdown threat at barely 6 feet tall, but as long as he’s Peyton Manning’s #1 receiver, he’ll get plenty of yards.

7. Marques Colston (New Orleans)

Everyone expected great things out of Colston last season as he was a 3rd year receiver and the #1 option in New Orleans’ pass heavy offense. Then he got hurt. However, he came back and had 678 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns in the last 8 weeks of last season, which is very good for someone coming off a thumb injury. Now, 100%, he should at least match those numbers, which over a full season would be 1356 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. He’s the #1 receiver in New Orleans’ high octane offense and at 6-5, he’s definitely an end zone threat.

8. Greg Jennings (Green Bay)

Jennings had 1292 yards and 9 touchdowns last season and as young Aaron Rodgers continues to mature, those numbers should continue to increase a little. 1300+ yards and 10+ touchdowns is too much to ask. What will hold him back a little is the fact that Green Bay has a lot of targets and likes to spread the ball around. If Jennings can’t average 16.2 YPC again like last year, he could be in trouble, but I don’t see why he won’t.

9. Anquan Boldin (Arizona)

Despite missing 4 games with injury last season, he still had 1038 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. Over a 16 game season, that’s 1384 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns. The only reasons why he’s not ranked higher with those potential stats are the fact that he plays in such a way that its almost impossible for him not to get hurt in some way, and the fact that Kurt Warner, his quarterback is 38, injury prone, and likely won’t have quite the season he had last year. Still, I’d be surprised if he didn’t grab 10 touchdowns and get 1100 yards receiving, even with Larry Fitzgerald playing alongside him. Watch for trades as he could be on a different team by next season, and that could change his fantasy potential a little bit, either for the better or the worse.

10. Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City)

Bowe had 1022 yards and 7 touchdowns last season despite finishing 2nd in the league in drops. He shouldn’t have as many drops this season, as he is improving with age and maturing, remember last listen was only his 2nd in the league. He’s in his 3rd year, so he should break out, and he finally has a somewhat decent quarterback for a full season. With a better overall offense, he’ll finally be able to use his 6-2 height as a threat in the end zone more often, so his touchdowns will go up. The only bad thing is that Tony Gonzalez is gone so he’ll get more and more double coverage. However, Bobby Engram is a decent option over the middle, so he’ll help take away the double teams, though not as effectively as Gonzalez. Expect 1100-1200 yards and 9-11 touchdowns.

11. Braylon Edwards (Cleveland)

Edwards seems to only be good when he’s in a contract year, has something to prove, or is on Monday Night Football, as he had his 3 best games of the season last season on Monday Night games and his best season in the year everyone started calling him a bust. This year, he has something to prove, after having an awful year last season, and he’s in a contract year. I expect him to approach the 80 receptions and 1289 yards he had in 2007, in order to get a massive contract and then sink back into obscurity. Notice I said approach and not match, just because he’s the only good receiver on his team and will draw a ton of double and triple teams. I don’t expect him to approach the 16 touchdowns he had in 2007, just because the offense overall is not as good. However, he is 6-3 and their only real end zone target, so he should have 10+ touchdowns to go with 1000-1200 yards.

12. Steve Smith (Carolina)

Steve Smith had a great season last season, with 1421 yards in 14 games. Over a 16 game season, that’s 1624 yards, an amazing stat. However, don’t be the one to reach for him because of the season he had last year. Those stats will almost surely fall. Jake Delhomme was healthy all season last year. That is unlikely to happen again. Also, Smith had an unbelievably high yards per catch, 18.2, a stat that is by far a career high for Smith, a veteran of 8 seasons. Expect that to drop down to at least 15, though his career average is 14.4. He’s not likely to get a higher amount of targets this year, and he didn’t have a high drop count last season, so even if he does play a 16 game season, something he hasn’t done since 2005 and has only done twice in his 8 year career, expecting more than 90 receptions from him would be crazy. 90 receptions at 15 yards each is 1350 yards, but then you factor in the fact that neither him or his quarterback have great health record, and you get an estimation around 1200-1300 yards, good, but not worth the 2nd round pick he’s getting. Then, consider his touchdown numbers, at 5-9, he’s only had double digit touchdowns once in his career and had only 6 last season. Unless he grows and/or gets a bunch of long catches, that number isn’t going to be too high this season, especially when you considering 6-5 Dwyane Jarrett’s expected emergence as a red zone threat. Overall expect 1200-1300 yards and 5-7 touchdowns, which is good if you have a pick late in the 3rd round, but I’ve seen him go in the 2nd round based on his season last year. Also consider that he’s quarterback is very inconsistent and that will make Smith’s fantasy production inconsistent as well.

13. Antonio Bryant (Tampa Bay)

Bryant had a career year last year, but many aren’t sure about whether he’ll repeat or not. I think he will because, as was the case last season, Bryant is in a contract year, signing his one year franchise tender in the offseason. That means that Bryant will actually have to try again for another season if he wants loads of money (boo hoo). 1248 yards and 7 touchdowns might be a little too much to ask for, considering Tampa’s quarterback situation, but it wasn’t that great last season either. 1200 yards and 6-8 touchdowns is not too much to ask from him and that’s worth a 4th round pick.

14. Roy Williams (Dallas)

Williams is a bit of a wild card. On one hand, he stunk in 10 games with Dallas last season with 19 receptions for 198 yards and 1 touchdown, after coming over midseason from Detroit. On the other hand, he’s a former Pro Bowler, he has had enough time to get familiar with the Cowboys’ offense, and with Terrell Owens gone, Williams is now the #1 option in Dallas’ potent offense, and more importantly is playing his old position once again, flanker. I would take a chance on him in the 4th round and hope that he has a the 1000+ yard season he has the potential to. I believe that all of his struggles last season were due to playing out of position in an unfamiliar playbook, but I could be wrong.

15. TJ Houshmanzadeh (Cincinnati)

Houshmanzadeh is in a perfect situation. Matt Hasselbeck has never had a receiver of Housh’s caliber before, but he’s still made decent receivers look good before. He could make a good one like TJ look great. He’s also finally the #1 option, and he is playing in a west coast offense, that makes very good use of his skills. He should be able to have a 1000+ yard season, and while he won’t do a whole lot for you in terms of touchdowns, he is a guy who gets a lot of receptions, which is an added bonus in PPR leagues, and he’s consistent. Consider him the Anti-Roy Williams.

 

16. Terrell Owens (Buffalo)

Owens had his worst statistical season of the decade, with the exception of 2005, when he only played 7 games. If you throw out 2005, he had his lowest reception and receiving yards totals since 1999, and his lowest touchdown total since 2003, despite playing all 16 games. You have to think that age is starting to get to Owens, who turns 35 later this season. He joins a weaker passing attack and overall offense this season, and while he’ll be motivated as hell, I don’t think he is going much higher than his 2008 totals. Good thing those 2008 totals included double digit touchdowns and 1000+ receiving yards. He should be good for that again, though not a whole lot more.

17. Wes Welker (New England)

In 2007, with Brady at the helm, Welker had 112 receptions for 1175 yards. In 2008, with Matt Cassel at the helm, he had 111 receptions for 1165 yards. Wonder what he’ll do this year? The only difference between 2007 and 2008, he had 8 touchdowns in 2007, as opposed to 3 in 2008. That total should go back up in 2009, though I don’t think he’ll get 8 again as the 2009 Patriots won’t be quite as dangerous on offense as the 2007 Patriots and Welker is 5-9 and has only once had more than 3 touchdowns in a season. Expect 1100-1200 yards and 4-6 touchdowns. He’s higher on this chart in PPR leagues.

18. Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson (Cincinnati)

Johnson had his worst season since his rookie year in 2001 last season, with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback and numerous injuries to deal with. Carson Palmer is back this season, but there’s no telling how Palmer’s surgically repaired elbow will hold up. Also, Ocho Cinco no longer has TJ Houshmanzadeh drawing the double teams away from him, so he’ll be double teamed more often, which will frustrate him, and when Ocho Cinco is frustrated, you never know what will happen. You can expect 1000+ yards and 8 touchdowns, but he’s always a risk when you draft him.

19. Brandon Marshall (Denver)

Marshall could have the 1295 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns he has averaged for the last 2 seasons this year, but he also could do a lot worse. He could be suspended for 3 or 4 games, due to violations of the league’s personal conduct policy which allows Roger Goddell to suspend you if he doesn’t like you. His quarterback is also no longer Jay Cutler, as Kyle Orton is now the quarterback with Cutler in Chicago. Orton doesn’t have a strong arm, especially not compared to Cutler. Marshall is a deep threat, as is Randy Moss, so we could see a statistical fall that mirrors the one Moss had from ’07 to ’08, when Cassel took over for an injured Brady. He could get 1300 yards, but he could also just as easily get 800 or less, so I’d rather take one of the other 18 receivers on the board, who barring injury are highly likely to have 1000 yard receiving years, rather than take a chance on Marshall. Of course, if Goddell decides not to suspend Marshall, or if he gets traded to a team that has it figured out at quarterback, he shoots up this list to top 10.

20. Santonio Holmes (Pittsburgh)

Holmes has never had a 1000 yard season. But also, in 3 seasons, he has never had less than 821 yards. He’s only 25 and with Big Ben’s shoulder 100% this season, as it wasn’t last season, he has a good shot to get close to 1000 yards, if not more than 1000 yards. And even if he doesn’t, he isn’t going to get less than 800 yards, unless he gets hurt, so if you’re looking for a low floor wide receiver in the 5th round, especially one with high upside, Holmes is your guy. Looking at his career stats in terms of touchdowns, he should get at least 5, and more likely 6-8.

21. Santana Moss (Washington)

Forget about high upside guys, how ’bout low floor guys. Santana Moss hasn’t had less than 790 yards since his 2nd season in the league back in 2002. He is the unchallenged #1 for the Washington Redskins. Jason Campbell is in his contract year and finally going into his 2nd straight season with the same offensive system, so I’m expecting big things from him and his receivers, including #1 option Santana Moss. He had 1044 yards last year and should get 1000+ this year which is more than you can say for most other guys still left on the board. He’s not a touchdown machine though, as he has only had double digit touchdowns once, but he’s available in the 6th round in most drafts and at that point, I’ll take his 1000 receiving yards and 5-7 touchdowns.

22. Anthony Gonzalez (Indianapolis)

He’s the unquestioned #2 in the Indianapolis offense and he’s in the his 3rd year, the magical year when all high upside wide receivers break out. He was a first round pick in 2007, so the upside is there. Now that he has the opportunity and the experience, he could be ready to shine. He has 1240 yards and 93 receptions in his short career so if he gets 75-80 receptions this year, not unreasonable for the Indy #2, he could get 1000 yards.

23. Derrick Mason (Baltimore)

Derrick Mason might be the most underrated player in the NFL. He has had 1000+ yards in every season this decade with the exception of two. He had 1037 yards receiving last season with rookie Joe Flacco at quarterback, despite the fact that Mason was 34. Flacco is in his 2nd year now and Mason is still his #1 option. Mason has never been all that athletic so the fact that he’s now 35 isn’t going to stop him from having 1000+ yards. He’s not a touchdown machine, but he catches a lot of balls and will get you high reception and yards totals.

24. Lee Evans (Buffalo)

Lee Evans has had 1000 yards receiving in 2 of the last 3 years. However, I don’t expect him too this year. Trent Edwards is the quarterback and he’s simply not a good enough quarterback to get two talented wide receivers, Evans and Owens, the ball enough for them both to have 1000 yard seasons. Owens is more talented, and will freak out, making the whole Owens experiment a mistake, if he doesn’t get the ball, so I expect Owens will get the majority of the targets, while Evans will get less and thus will have 800-900 yards, with low touchdown totals. He’s 5-10 and has never had a double digit touchdown season. In fact he had 3 all of last year. 6-3 Owens is going to take away from his end zone receptions so don’t expect more than 5 TDs.

25. Vincent Jackson (San Diego)

Jackson had 1000+ yards last season, but I don’t think he’ll match that again. He had an uncharacteristically high yards per catch average, 18.6, and I expect that will fall back to his career average, 17.2, which is still not bad. Jackson only had 59 receptions last year, and will find that tough to do again with Chris Chambers, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Antonio Gates back to limit his production. Expect 50-55 receptions at 17 each, for 850-900 yards. He’s still 6-5, though, so, even though he’s never had more than 7 touchdowns in a season, his touchdown total has high upside.

26. Torry Holt (Jacksonville)

Torry Holt is the unquestioned #1 on a very underrated offense in Jacksonville. He has something to prove this year, so one has to believe he’ll at least beat the 796 yards he had last year. He is going to deal with a lot of double teams, but that hasn’t bothered him before in his career. At 6-0, he’s not a touchdown threat really, but he’s still his team’s best option inside the 20. Expect 800-900 yards and 6-8 touchdowns out of him.

27. Devin Hester (Chicago)

Hester had 51 catches for 665 yards in his first full season as a wide receiver, despite the fact that weak armed Kyle Orton was the quarterback. Now, Jay Cutler is the quarterback and he has the arm strength to hit the speedy Hester downfield. Hester is going to be Cutler’s 3rd option after Olsen and Matt Forte, maybe even 2nd option if Cutler continues to gunsling the way he did in Denver, despite the fact that he has a real defense now. Now, with a year of experience at the position under his belt, and a quarterback who can hit him downfield, Hester should have 900+ yards. He isn’t a touchdown machine at 5-11, but he’ll get more than the 3 TDs he had last year just because the offense as a whole is better. Expect 5-7 TDs.

28. Bernard Berrian (Minnesota)

I don’t like Berrian’s uncharacteristically high YPC, 20.1, from 2008. More often than not, in fact almost always, veterans whose stats improve from one season to the season as a result of an increase in YPC, rather than an increase in catches, drop back down to normal the next year. His career average for YPC is a modest 16.0. If Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels is quarterback for them next year, I doubt he’ll get more than 50 catches, as he had 48 in 2008 for the Vikings. At 16 at catch, that’s about 800 yards, and since he’s not likely to have any more than the 7 touchdowns he had last year, that doesn’t make him a good fantasy option. However, there is a chance that Brett Favre is the quarterback for them next year, and if he is, Berrian should approach 1000 yards again, with 6-8 touchdowns. Keep an eye on the Favre situation, though that shouldn’t be too hard to do.

29. Kevin Walter (Houston)

6-3 Kevin Walter had 899 yards and 8 touchdowns last year. If both Slaton and Schaub stay healthy this season, this offense will be that much better and those stats will approach 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s a real fantasy sleeper. The only thing I don’t like about him is that he’s a 27, soon to be 28 year old receiver who has never had 1000 yards or 10 touchdowns in any season, and only has 2 seasons of 800 yards or more. He also has to share the end zone Andre Johnson, but nonetheless, the potential is there for 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns

30. DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia)

Don’t be the one to reach for Jackson in the 7th round. He’s talented, but the Eagles have way too many receivers for one, even one as talented as Jackson, to shine. Don’t expect too much more than the 912 yards and 2 touchdowns he had last year. He’s also known to throw the ball away before scoring so watch out for that.

 

 

Like my top 15 fantasy quarterbacks list, this list also happens to be the same list as my “list of guys who if you have anyone else as your RB1 or RB2 you’re screwed list” (name pending). No offense to running backs 31 on, but if you’re in a 10 or 12 team league, you don’t want the 31st or 32nd best running back as your RB2.

1. Adrian Peterson (Minnesota)

This isn’t like last year where you can justify more than one guy to go number #1. Last year it was between LT and AP and maybe Brian Westbrook. This year, Adrian Peterson is the clear cut number #1. Peterson had 1760 yards last year on a 4.8 YPC clip. He’s only 24 and still improving. No one else can say that. The defense now has to respect the passing game for the first time in a while, with the additions of Sage Rosenfels, assuming he beats out coach Brad Childress’ man crush Tavaris Jackson, and also with the addition of Percy Harvin, who gives them a speed threat. Defenses won’t be able to stack the box anymore. Anyone with the #1 pick should take Adrian Peterson before 5 seconds go off the clock. 1700+ yards rushing should be expected, double digit touchdowns again, even though he is not the goal line back. He wasn’t last year either and had 10 touchdowns. Receiving yards should stay at about 200, which he has averaged over his first two years in the league.

2. Matt Forte (Chicago)

He had 1238 yards rushing as a rookie last year and now has a year under his belt and is finally playing with a true quarterback, Jay Cutler, who will both make it so defenses can’t stack the box, raising his YPC from 3.9, and also help Forte as a pass catcher. Forte lead the Bears in receptions last year. The Bears don’t have a true #1 option, so Forte will get a lot of targets on plays where he doesn’t run the ball. 60+ receptions again isn’t crazy which should be him near 500 yards receiving. The Bears will get more red zone opportunities so his 8 touchdowns from last year should go up to about 10 this year. The Bears don’t have a true goal line back so Forte will get the bulk of the goal line carries. 2000 all purpose yards is not completely unlikely for him.

3. Chris Johnson (Tennessee)

The Titans say they are going to give Johnson more work this year. They still have Lendale White but I think coach Jeff Fisher realizes that White likes eating more than football. White will still get some carries, but the Titans run so much that White isn’t going to stop Johnson from getting 300+ carries this year. He had only 251 last year so if his YPC stays at 4.9, and I don’t see why it won’t considering he’s still just as fast, he could get around 1400 or 1500 yards rushing this year. White will still get goal line carries, but he did that last year and Johnson still ran for 9 scores. Expect more of the same with a shot at double digit touchdowns. He might not be targeted enough to get 43 receptions this year, as the Titans actually improved their receiving corps, but Collins still likes to check down and Johnson still has great hands and the ability to break one for a touchdown when he gets the ball in those hands. 200+ yards receiving isn’t unreasonable, with the potential for a few receiving touchdowns as he does have that great speed.

4. Maurice Jones Drew (Jacksonville)

MJD could be unpredictable this year. He’s never had more than 197 carries in a season, but now that Fred Taylor is gone, Jones Drew should break the 300+ carry mark, assuming he doesn’t get hurt doing it, because the Jags are going to run a lot. He has averaged 4.8 yards per carry in his career and even 4.2 yards per carry behind that awful offensive line last year, which has been fixed in a big way. However, how he will react to more carries is the question. He’s only 5-7, even though he is 208 pounds. I don’t think he’ll get hurt too badly., but he won’t average 4.8 yards per carry like most people are expecting. 4.5, 4.6 is more reasonable and at 300+ carries, that still puts him in a good position to run for 1400 yards. He’s going to get the goal line carries so the 12 touchdowns he had last year should either stay at that number or increase due to Taylor’s departure and the improved offensive line. He’s a terrific receiver and should surpass the 500 yard receiving mark again, but I just don’t know if he can handle the load. He could be the #1 back this year, but he could also be a disappointment and either get hurt or struggle with defenses targeting him and only him more. That’s why he’s at #4.

5. Steve Slaton (Houston) 

Houston’s offense really took off last season after Slaton was given more work. The Texans don’t have another running back to cut into Slaton’s carries so you have to believe that the 20+ carries per game he was getting towards the end of last season will continue. He had 4 100 rushing yard games in his last 7 games last season and he’ll only get better with experience. He also had 50 catches for 377 yards last season which is a very nice added bonus. Expect 300 carries, at around 4.5 or 4.6 YPC, just because I think his 4.8 from last year will be tough to repeat over 300 carries. Touchdowns should remain in the 9-11 range and receiving carries will approach 400 again because of his team’s strong passing game.

6. LaDainian Tomlinson (San Diego) 

Let’s take a look at LT’s awful season last year. 1100+ yards rushing, 400+ yards receiving, 12 total touchdowns. Wow that’s awful! In all seriousness, LT wasn’t that bad last year even though he was coming off surgery and the rest of the team around him was banged up. Shawne Merriman is healthy now so the defense will get the offense the ball back more quickly. Chris Chambers and Antonio Gates are healthy now so the passing game is better. There is no way this secondary is as bad as the were last year, which, again means more time for the offense on the field. Darren Sproles is going to cut some into LT’s carries, but not too much as Sproles is not an every down back at all. The cut in carries should only be to about 270 or 280, which is 20-30 less than last year. The increase in YPC should make up for that. LT is still a threat through the air. He’s still going to get the goal line carries. Most importantly, he’s motivated. He knows guys aren’t believing in him. He knows that his contract has been restructured such that, one bad year and he could be done as a running back in the National Football League. Expect him to match or eclipse all of his stats from last year. Expect about 1200 rushing yards, 400 receiving yards, and double digit touchdowns.

7. Michael Turner (Atlanta)

I am aware that he had 1699 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns last year. I am also aware that he had 376 carries. Even ignoring the 370+ carry curse, he is not going to put up those big numbers again because he won’t get those carries again. The Falcons are going to give Matt Ryan more of a role in the offense this year. This means that not only will Turner not run as much, he won’t be in there as much. He is an awful pass catcher, while backup Jerious Norwood is an excellent pass catcher. Expect about 300 carries. He won’t repeat the 4.5 YPC clip from last year again, because of how much he was overworked. That should fall down to 4.2 or so, which at 300 carries is about 1250-1300 yards rushing. His lead hands mean he won’t get over 100 yards receiving so he’s not going to help you there. He’ll get some goal line carries, but not as many as last year as the Falcons now have a tight end who can do something. The touchdowns should fall to about 12-15 with the combination of less carries, tired legs, and the addition of Tony Gonzalez as an red zone target.

8. Steven Jackson (St. Louis) 

He was hurt last year and only had 253, thus he only had 1042 yards rushing and 7 touchdowns. That could happen again, but more likely he’ll get closer to 300-320 carries, though he could miss a game or two. St. Louis’ new coach Steve Spagnuolo is going to emphasize the run more this year. The YPC from last year was 4.1 and that should improve to about 4.3-4.5. St. Louis upgraded their awful offense line with Jason Brown and Jason Smith. 300+ carries at 4.5 YPC should be about 1400 yards rushing, assuming he doesn’t get hurt. He’s a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield as well with 379 receiving yards last year. If he’s healthy, expect that to go to 400 or 500. The big question with him is health. If the health issue wasn’t there, he could be a top 5 or 6 back on this list.

9. DeAngelo Williams (Carolina) 

He’s not going to do what he did last year. He had 1515 yards and 18 touchdowns on 273 carries. This year, Jonathan Stewart is going to get more carries and Carolina’s schedule is harder. The defense isn’t going to be as good unless something drastic happens in the Julius Peppers situation, which means Carolina will have to throw more. Also, Williams just doesn’t seem like the type of guy who can repeat what he did last year. He could prove me wrong, but he had amazing production for the offensive line last year, which might not happens as much this year. He’ll still be a decent option in the early 2nd round and get you 1200+ yards, decent production though the air, around 200 receiving yards again, and 12-14 touchdowns. Just don’t be the guy to reach for him with the 5th pick.

10. Clinton Portis (Washington) 

Portis has never broken down all that much despite being a 300+ carry back for most of his career. Expect for one bad injury in 2006, he’s been healthy. Expect for 2006, he has had 1250+ yards in every season. However, there is always a first time for everything and I have a bad feeling that this could be the year Portis slows down. He’s going to be 28 when the season starts and he has 2000+ career carries. All the warning signs are there which he why he ranks so low here. Be prepared, when drafting him, for his YPC to drop below 4 and/or a big injury. If he proves me wrong and stays healthy again, expect more of the same 1300-1400 rushing yards, 10+ touchdowns, and 200-300 receiving yards, just be aware of that if.

11. Brandon Jacobs (NY Giants) 

Derrick Ward is gone and, while the Giants will still do the earth, wind, and fire thing with 2009 4th round pick Andre Brown in Ward’s role, earth, meaning Jacobs, is going to get the bulk of the carries. Barring injury, also a possibility with someone of his size, he should get 260-280 carries this year. He’s not going to average 5.0 YPC like last year, but the Giants have an excellent offensive line so 4.5-4.7 is possible. That’ll be good for 1300+ rushing yards. He’ll still be the goal line guy and may surpass his 15 TDs from last year as Plaxico Burress is gone so the Giants may not have a true goal line receiver. He won’t do anything, like at all, through the air, but with 1300+ yards and 15+ TDs, it won’t matter.

12. Brian Westbrook (Philadelphia)

This may look low for someone who has been a fantasy MVP for the last few years. However, he was banged up a lot last year, but played through it. This year, he turns 30 and the Eagles have a capable replacement for him, 2nd round pick LeSean McCoy. Andy Reid might not let Westbrook play through those injuries this year. Like Portis and Jackson, Westbrook is an injury risk, but unlike Jackson and Portis, I can’t see Westbrook playing 16 games this year. I can’t even see him playing more than 12 games this year. He’s already having preseason surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle. Even when he is in the lineup, he will split carries with McCoy and the Eagles are going to pass more anyway. I predict about 200-220 carries for him this year, max, which would be about 800-900 yards rushing. He’ll still be a threat through the air, which will make him more valuable in PPR leagues, but expect closer to the 402 yards he caught last year, as opposed to the 771 he caught in 2007. Expect about 1200-1300 total yards and 10-12 total touchdowns. Those aren’t fantasy first round numbers. Don’t be the one to reach for him with the 5th pick.

13. Kevin Smith (Detroit) 

Detroit sucks. They aren’t going to do a lot through the air because Daunte Culpepper is their quarterback, playing behind an awful offensive line with one legitimate, albeit freakishly athletic, receiver. Kevin Smith doesn’t suck. Hopefully new coach Jim Schwartz will realize that and get him more carries. I expect 300+ carries easily for him, and while he won’t get a high YPC behind their awful offensive line, he did have 4.1 last year so a YPC of 3.8-4.0 isn’t unreasonable. At that rate, 1200-1300 yards can be expected along with close to double digit touchdowns. He’s also a threat through the air. He may actually be Detroit’s 2nd best receiver, unless Brandon Pettigrew can step up big as a rookie. Culpepper is going to need to check down a lot because of the bad line so Smith should be there. He had 286 yards receiving last year and should approach 350 this year.

14. Knowshon Moreno (Denver) 

Moreno is a rookie, but he probably has the most talent of any back in the rookie class. He’s running behind a good offensive line for a team that is going to want to emphasize the run because of Kyle Orton’s conservative mentality. Moreno should get 260-280 carries at 4+ per for about 1100-1200 yards rushing. Orton likes to check down as shown by the fact that his leading receiver in Chicago was a running back and Moreno good hands should get him 300-400 yards receiving. He should have 7-10 rushing touchdowns, but that can be tough to judge for a rookie.

15. Frank Gore (San Francisco)

I don’t like Frank Gore. Yes, the Niners are going to run more, but they drafted Glenn Coffee in the 3rd round and he is probably going to get a good chunk of the carries. Gore shouldn’t get more than 250 carries and because he’s running behind pretty much the same line as the last 2 years, he should repeat the 4.2 YPC he had had in 2007 and 2008, so asking for more than 1100 yards out of him would be ridiculous. He’s not a touchdown threat either as he’s never gotten in double figures in his career. Expect more of the same 5-7 touchdowns and 1100 yards. He has good hands, but Singletary and Shaun Hill don’t seem to think so. After Hill took over as QB and Singletary as coach, Gore only had 62 yards receiving in 6 games. Don’t expect more than 250 yards receiving.

16. Marion Barber (Dallas) 

Dallas is going earth, wind, and fire this year too, but unlike Brandon Jacobs, I don’t like Marion Barber. Unlike Jacobs, he is not running behind a great offensive line. Unlike Jacobs, his fire and wind counterparts are very capable of cutting into his carries in a big way. Unlike Jacobs, his quarterback is going to throw more, especially in the end zone. I can’t imagine Barber having as many carries as Jacobs. I can’t even see him matching Jacobs’ 219 carries from last year. Barber is going to get about 200 carries this year, up about 4.1 or 4.2 by per carry, which would only be good for 800 or so yards. The only reason to like him is because he’s going to get a lot of goal line touches so he should have around 11 or 12 touchdowns. Barber is a good pass catcher, but his wind counterpart Tashard Choice is going to be in on most passing downs so Barber isn’t getting anywhere close to his 417 yards receiving from last year.

17. Derrick Ward (Tampa Bay) 

Ward rushed for 1025 yards on 182 carries at 5.6 YPC last year behind New York’s amazing offensive line. He is in Tampa now, whose line is, while not as good as the Giants’, still very solid. His carries are going to go up too, no longer stuck behind Brandon Jacobs. He should rush for at least 900 yards. He’s a great pass catcher catching 41 balls for 384 yards last season. He should get about that this year as his quarterback especially if his quarterback is Luke McCown, who likes to check down. The only thing with Ward is that Earnest Graham is going to get the goal line carries so Ward isn’t going to get a lot of touchdowns. He only has 5 in his short career anyway.

18. Chris Wells (Arizona) 

Wells is going to get the vast majority of the carries for his team this season, which is more than you can say about most halfbacks available in the 4th round. The defense will be so concerned trying to slow down Kurt Warner, covering Boldin and Fitzgerald, that Wells should have 1000 yards rushing with ease. He didn’t catch a lot of balls at Ohio State, which means he won’t do a lot in that area. Tim Hightower will. The only issue is his durability. Most rookies backs tend to break down by fantasy playoff time, but in weeks 14-17, Wells faces San Francisco, Detroit, St. Louis, and Green Bay, which will be a cakewalk for him, even if he has started to break down. He’ll get a lot of goal line carries, more so because of how dynamic Arizona’s passing game is. He should have 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns with ease. The only issues are his health concerns and his inability to catch.

19. Pierre Thomas (New Orleans)

Obviously New Orleans has Reggie Bush, but Thomas put on 10 pounds of bulk in the offseason and looked really good towards the end of last season, getting 80 yards or more in 5 of the last 6 games he played. There should be a place on the field for both Bush and Thomas on most plays. Bush can catch, but not much else. Thomas is going to be the primary back and the goal line back. Bush is going to get work and the Saints are still going to air it out a lot like they did last season, but Thomas should be 200 carries or more. He averaged 4.8 YPC last season and while he likely won’t do that again this year, he is still a very talented back and should get 900 yards or so if he’s healthy. He’s going to be the goal line backs as well and thus should have 10+ touchdowns. Bush is going to get most of the catches, so Thomas won’t, but it shouldn’t matter. You have to like his 900 rushing yards and 10+ touchdowns in the middle of round 4.

20. Jonathan Stewart (Carolina) 

Stewart is going to get more work in his 2nd year. The Panthers, even though they have DeAngelo Williams, didn’t draft Stewart 13th overall to get less than 200 carries so expect 200+ carries from him. Carolina is going to run a lot If he runs the ball 220-240 times, he should get close to 1000 yards. He had 10 touchdowns last year despite having only 184 carries so expect that to go up proportionately. He’s not a pass catcher at all though.

21. Ray Rice (Baltimore) 

Rice is going to be the #1 back on the depth chart for Baltimore this year, due to Willie McGahee’s age and injury problems, as well as LeRon McClain moving back to fullback. McGahee and McClain are still going to cut into Rice’s carries. Rice averaged 4.2 YPC last year and Baltimore is still going to run a lot because I’m not sure they’re fully ready to use Joe Flacco as a 500-550 throw quarterback yet. He should get more than 200 carries and at around 4 yards per carry, maybe more depending on how he improves as a runner in his 2nd year, he should get 800+ yards. He caught 33 balls last year for 273 yards and that should improve to somewhere around 50 balls for 400 yards this year as he gets more work. Flacco likes to check down and will look for Rice often. McGahee and McClain and McClain will split goal line carries so 5-9 200 pounds Ray Rice won’t get into the end zone that often. Don’t expect more than 4 or 5 touchdowns.

22. Ryan Grant (Green Bay) 

Grant is working out the whole offseason this year, after holding out for a new contract, which he got, last season. However, I don’t like Grant. He doesn’t score touchdowns. He doesn’t catch. He’s running behind a poor line. He is 26 and only really has one good season under his belt. Brandon Jackson sits behind him and he’s a little bit more talented, in my opinion. Grant isn’t going to run the ball 312 times again this season. Aaron Rodgers will be given the full green light by the coaching staff and the team’s poor defense will make Green Bay air it out a lot. Expect less than 300 carries and the 3.9 YPC to stay about the same because the offensive line is only getting older. He could surpass 1000 yards rushing, but he’s not a touchdown machine at all, only having 4 all last year and he won’t get more than 200 receiving yards, even in Green Bay’s pass heavy offense, because of his lead hands. Then, of course, there’s the possibility that Brandon Jackson cuts heavily into his carries, as Jackson is a better pass catcher. I wouldn’t consider him until late in the 4th round or early in the 5th, but he’s not going to be available there. Don’t be the guy to reach for him in the 3rd.

23. Ronnie Brown (Miami) 

I don’t like Ronnie Brown and that may come up to make me look stupid. However, Brown is being given a lot more work this year as his only backup is 31 year old pothead Ricky Williams. That’s not good. Brown has never carried the ball more than 241 times in a season and when he gets lot of work early in a season, see 2007, he gets hurt. I can’t predict injuries but “Ronnie Brown everydown back” spells injury to me. He’ll be good for you until he gets hurt, but I wouldn’t risk more than a 5th round pick on this guy. His likely injury is a big part of the reason why I expect a disappointing year from Miami and of course it’s part of the reason why I like 31 year old pothead Ricky Williams as a late round fantasy sleeper.

24. Thomas Jones (NY Jets) 

Like Brown, Jones could prove me foolish and rush for 1312 yards on a 4.5 clip for 13 touchdowns again. However, he’s going to be 31 years old and he sat out minicamps because he wanted a new contract. Meanwhile, Shonn Greene, who they traded up to get in the 3rd round of the 2009 NFL Draft, is performing very well and could jump Jones on the depth chart by week 1. Greene is the back of the future, but he could be the back of the present. Jones and Greene are very similar and have similar strengths and weaknesses so if Jones were dropped on the depth chart, he would likely fall to 3rd in carries, behind pass catcher/speedster Leon Washington. Don’t take a risk on this guy before the 5th round. Some guys are taking him in the 2nd or 3rd. That could be a potentially huge mistake.

25. Darren McFadden (Oakland) 

He didn’t play much last year and disappointed as a rookie. However, even with turf toe, he had 4.4 YPC, albeit in limited carries. Justin Fargas, the current #1 back for the Raiders, averaged 3.9 and is getting up there in age. Al Davis loves McFadden, who he drafted with the 4th overall selection in 2008 and will do everything he can to make sure McFadden gets on the field. He’s turf toe is gone. He is incredibly talented and the offensively line is actually alright this year. He won’t get goal line carries, but he can catch, assuming JaMarcus Russell ever actually checks down (his draft stock goes up if Jeff Garcia wins the job, which is unlikely). The Raiders are a mess but if he stays healthy and is put on the field, McFadden could have 1300 all purpose yards and 6-8 touchdowns which would be nice value in the middle of the 5th round. He’ll likely still be there in the 5th unless you’re drafting in a league with Al Davis, in which case he’ll be the first one off the board.

26. Cedric Benson (Cincinnati) 

Ok, laugh, get it out now. Cedric Benson is the unquestioned #1 back in Cincinnati. Using Mike Shanahan’s thinking, any back with 2 legs can get 1000 yards rushing if he is given 300 yards and Benson could actually be given that many carries. Last time I checked, he has two legs. He’s not much of a pass catcher, but could get 200+ receiving yards in Cincinnati’s offense. He had 185 yards receiving in 12 games last year with Carson Palmer hurt. Cincinnati’s offense is very good so Benson should get into the end zone a few times. The Bengals don’t really have a goal line back. He should be a solid RB3 could good value in the 5th or 6th round. He faces Cleveland’s awful defense twice, Denver’s once, Green Bay’s once, Kansas City’s, Detroit’s and Oakland’s so on certain weeks he could be very good in flex leagues or maybe as a RB2 in regular leagues in certain situations.

27. Reggie Bush (New Orleans) 

He would be rated much higher in PPR leagues, as he is basically a wide receiver at running back, but in normal league, he’s not going to get a lot of rushing yards even if he’s healthy, which is unlikely. Pierre Thomas is a very good back so Bush isn’t going to get more than 150 or so carries in any case, so expect less than 600 yards rushing. However, he might end up being one of the top 5 receiving backs in terms of yards this year so he’ll definitely surpass 1000 all purpose yards and get close to 10 total touchdowns. He could be an interesting RB3 in flex leagues, especially if your RB1 or RB2 isn’t a great pass catcher, see Chris Wells.

28. Joseph Addai (Indianapolis) 

He’s going to split carries pretty much evenly with 2009 first round pick Donald Brown, which could be alright if he wasn’t playing for a very pass heavy offense. Splitting carries, he won’t get more than 200 carries in Indy’s offense. 180 carries, at a clip of maybe 4 per if he’s healthy, is going to get you about 700 yards rushing. The good thing is that he is the goal line back so he’ll get you touchdowns, and he can catch passes, which is good in Indy’s offense. Expect 1000+ all purpose yards and 10 touchdowns, if, and only if, he can stay relatively healthy. Those numbers will go up or down depending on his health, which right now is iffy.

29. Marshawn Lynch (Buffalo) 

He’s suspended for 3 games and if he gets that cut to 1 or 2, he’ll shoot up this board. I don’t see that happening though so I’ve penciled him in at #29. If Fred Jackson goes for 100+ yards at least 2 times in those 3 games, like he did in week 17 against New England last year, Lynch could lose his job for good, which makes Fred Jackson a fantasy sleeper. The only reason that Lynch is here at 29 instead of Jackson is the fact that he was a 1st round pick in 2007. That will give him the benefit of the doubt, but keep your eye on this situation. As I said, if Lynch gets the suspension cut, Jackson won’t have enough time to prove himself and possibly cut into Lynch’s carries or steal his job. Of course if Jackson struggles, Lynch should come back in and rush for 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns, despite the renovations going on with Buffalo’s offensive line. If you want to take the risk, he could be a steal in the 5th round. Just know that he could end up being a bust in the 6th just as easily.

30. Julius Jones (Seattle) 

Jones isn’t a great runner and he certainly didn’t live up to his contract last year, but Maurice Morris is gone so Jones is going to be the every down back again, which automatically gets him RB3 consideration. Seattle isn’t going to run much, but as an every down back he should get at least 800 rushing yards. He’s not a goal line back, so don’t expect more than 4 touchdowns. He’s a decent pass catcher and should get 200+ receiving yards in Seattle’s west coast offense. 

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This top 15 list also happens to be the same list as my “list of guys who if you have anyone else as your QB1 you’re screwed list” (name pending). No offense to quarterbacks 16-32, but if you’re in a 10 or 12 team league, you don’t want the 16th or 17th best quarterback as your QB1 (for reference my 16th best quarterback is Jason Campbell and my 17th best is Eli Manning). 

Tom Brady Bye 8 

The Patriots receivers and system last season made a 7th rounder look like a Pro Bowler. Now, the receiving corps have added Brandon Tate, Joey Galloway, and Greg Lewis and a healthy Benjamin Watson. I find it hard to believe that Tom Brady won’t be the best fantasy quarterback working with those receiving corps. Also, for the first time in a while, the defense will have to respect the run as Fred Taylor has been added. He had major surgery, but it was on his knee and not his arm. He wasn’t a terribly mobile quarterback before the surgery anyway. He may take a few more sacks and it may take him a little while to get back into the groove as it took Peyton Manning, but he has a great offense around him and should throw for 4000+ yards and 35 touchdowns with ease by the time the season is done. That will make him the top fantasy quarterback. 

Peyton Manning Bye 6 

Every year, with the exception of his rookie year, Peyton Manning has started every game, thrown for more than 4000 yards and 25 touchdowns and this season shouldn’t be any different. He had a down year last year, but still won the MVP, which is saying something. Marvin Harrison is gone, but he really wasn’t doing much for the team anyway over the last 2 years. Expect 16 starts 4000 yards and 25 touchdowns bare minimum for him next season. The only major knock on him is the fact that his team is normally so good that he doesn’t play more than a drive or two come fantasy playoffs time, but don’t let that stop you from taking him in the first 2 rounds. 

Drew Brees Bye 5 

Brees threw for over 5000 yards last season, but he won’t do that this year, not just because that is a nearly impossible stat to achieve twice, but because the defense is better. Brees won’t have to throw as much and will probably throw the ball around 550 times, the amount he threw for in 2006, rather than the 650 had he been throwing in 2007 and 3008.. That will cut down on his interceptions, he had 17 last season, 2nd most in his career, but it will also cut down his yards. That being said, he still had 4418 yards in 2006 and now has a great tight end, Jeremy Shockey, assuming he stays healthy. Also, if Reggie Bush can stay healthy the entire season, it will raise his YPA, 8.0 in 2008 and 2006, because the defense will have to respect the run and because Bush is an amazing pass catcher. Unlike Manning, Brees will likely have to play the whole game during fantasy playoff time.

Phillip Rivers Bye 5 

Phillip Rivers really broke out last season, despite the fact that he was coming off of a knee injury. This season, he goes into the year 100%. He has a fully healthy Antonio Gates which he did not have last season. He has a fully healthy Chris Chambers. Darren Sproles as emerged as a nice chuck down option. LaDainian Tomlinson is back healthy so the defense will have to respect the run. We could see an increase in his 8.4 YPA as well as an increase in his 34 touchdowns because of how dynamic the offense is again. The offense that this team had in the last 4 weeks of the season, in which Rivers was 80-121 (66.1%) for 1054 yards with 11 touchdowns and 1 interception, could be the offense the Chargers have all this season. Those numbers from those 4 games spread out across a season would give him 44 touchdowns and 4216 yards. Expect slightly less than that, 36-40 touchdowns, 4100 or so yards, with low interceptions, 10-12, over this season, and that’s very, very good.

Kurt Warner Bye 4 

Warner is not going to throw the 4583 yards and 30 touchdowns he did last year, but he has a great arm and three amazing receivers, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston. That still makes him a very good fantasy option who deserves some looks in the late 3rd round, early 4th. His team will run more and he will be a year older, but he hasn’t let anything stop him before. The running game will also open up the passing game for him more.

Aaron Rodgers Bye 5 

The defense still sucks so Rodgers will still have to air it out, meaning more picks, but more yards. He has a ton of good receivers, including 2 now in their 2nd year, to hit which will help him out tremendously. He should eclipse his numbers from last season now that he has more confidence and the receivers have improved. Expect 4000+ yards, close to 30 TDs,  and 15 picks.

Carson Palmer Bye 8 

Carson Palmer has always been a good quarterback, but he’s been killed by interceptions. Now, he finally has a good defense supporting him, which means he won’t be playing from behind so much, cutting down on his interceptions. He still has a very good offense around him and should stay healthy as his elbow is 100% healed and the offensive line looks very good. He’ll get 3500 yards for sure, maybe closer to 4000, with 25-30 touchdowns, and interceptions in the mid teens.

Donovan McNabb Bye 4 

McNabb needs to have a big year and he knows it. The knee injury is a thing of the past. He has his best supporting cast since the year he took the team to the Super Bowl. I am expecting big things from McNabb. He should eclipse his 2008 totals across the board, with the exception of yards because they will emphasize the run more this season. They still don’t have a goal line back so McNabb will match or eclipse, more likely eclipse because of the improvement around him, his 2008 total of 25 total touchdowns. He is still a threat on the ground, though not nearly as much as he was before. Expect 3600-3800 yards, 27-30 total touchdowns, 10-12 picks, and a completion rate of about 61-63 percent.

Matt Ryan Bye 4  

All logic says that Ryan will have a sophomore slump, but I don’t see how he can. He has his top receiver in a contract year, a huge upgrade at tight end, and will be given more throws, he only had 434 attempts last year, now that he is in his 2nd year and now that Michael Turner is coming off a season in which he was given too much work. The ground game is still going to be there as the Falcons will work Jerious Norwood in more. Norwood is better pass catcher than Turner. All signs say that Ryan will at least match, but more likely eclipse his 2008 stats across the board. Close to 4000 yards, 20-25 touchdowns, 12-15 picks, seems realistic for him.

Matt Schaub Bye 10 

Just because the Texans no longer have an insurance plan for Schaub, doesn’t mean that he won’t get hurt. That is his one weakness. However, he has three great receivers, Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, and Owen Daniels, and a great running back, Steve Slaton. Once they have Slaton the green light last season, this offense, and Schaub’s stats, took off. In his last 4 weeks, he totaled 1281 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Over a 16 game season that would be over 5000 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 8 picks. That is not going to happen, but that’s an idea of how good he can be if he’s healthy full time. The health thing is the only problem. Still, I would take this guy in the 7th or 8th and hope he stays healthy because you’re getting a 5th round caliber player if he is.

Jay Cutler Bye 5 

Cutler is a great player, but his stats are going to go down this year. He is going to a conservative offense, with average at best receivers, learning a new offense, in a city known for wind and bad quarterbacks. He is going to turn this into a deadly offense, but his stats are not going to great fantasy wise. He won’t get 4500+ yards again, but close to 4000 is still possible. 25 touchdowns seems reasonable again for him, plus or minus 3, as this team lacks a true goal line back. The 18 picks will drop as he actually has a defense this year. But because he won’t get throwing the ball 616 times again, his overall stats will drop.

Tony Romo Bye 6 

Bad news for Romo, his team lost its best receiver and will focus more on the run with Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice. He won’t sniff 4000 yards and the 36 touchdowns he had in 2007 are not happening because this offense isn’t as good. I think he’ll have a big down year. Expect 20-23 touchdowns, 3500-3700 yards, 14-17 picks. This guy is going way higher than he should. Don’t be the one to reach for him in the 5th or 6th based off of his name.

Ben Roethlisberger Bye 8 

Big name, big game, fantasy wise, not so much. Over the past 3 season this is a guy who has averaged 3300 yards and 24 touchdowns, not because he’s a bad player, but because he doesn’t throw the ball all that much. He has never had more than 469 attempts in a season and the return of Willie Parker and Rashad Mendenhall this season means that he likely won’t go much above 469 this year. Expect same old, same old, which isn’t enough fantasy wise. Don’t be the one to reach for Big Ben in the 6th.

Matt Hasselbeck Bye 7 

He’s old, he’s injury prone, but he is working with by far the best receiver he has ever worked with in TJ Houshmanzadeh. However, his slot guy who was his safety net in 2007, Bobby Engram is gone and Deion Branch could be cut for cap reasons. He has no running game so he’ll have to do a lot of the work and the defense is not as good as it has been in past years. You’re not getting the Matt Hasselbeck of 2003-2007 if you draft him so don’t be fooled. Expect 3400-3600 yards, 21-25 touchdowns, and 13-16 picks. He is a solid value in the 9th or 10th round, but that’s it.

Jake Delhomme Bye 4 

Even though he gave the ball and the game away in the playoffs last year, I still like Delhomme as a sleeper. He has a great supporting cast and he’s another year removed from his elbow surgery. He still will be inconsistent and that’s a risk you’ll have to take, but if you can get his 3200-3500 yards and 18-20 touchdowns in the 10th or 11th round, go for it.

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Sometimes, in Fantasy Football, in order to determine who could be possible sleepers for the upcoming season, you have to wait and see who the coaching staff chooses to start at the position. Potential fantasy sleepers can’t do much if sitting on the bench. Here’s a look at the 9 prominent quarterback competitions in the NFL that could impact how you should draft come fantasy time.

New York Jets

Kellen Clemens vs. Mark Sanchez

The Jets didn’t trade away their first two picks along with helpful defensive rotation guys to get a backup. They traded for Sanchez with the intention to start him early. Clemens may get the nod for week 1, but Clemens, a 2006 2nd round pick, has a quarterback rating of 59.3 for his career with 5 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. I would be very surprised if Sanchez is not the starter by week 9, New York’s bye, and there is a very good chance Sanchez is the week 1 starter. Keep your eye on this one for fantasy purposes. Sanchez could be a sleeper if he’s given the week 1 nod as he has great talent and a good supporting cast, but Clemens shouldn’t be anywhere near fantasy rosters, regardless of his position with the team. 

Miami Dolphins

Chad Pennington vs. Pat White 

This is not your traditional quarterback competition. Chad Pennington is now and will be the starting quarterback throughout the season. However, about 25-30% of the team’s snaps, maybe more, will be given to 2009 2nd round pick Pat White, who will run the wildcat offense for them. Pennington had a great resurrection type season last year, but he played a very, very weak schedule and now will have a much tougher schedule and a guy cutting into his snaps. Pennington has little to no fantasy value right now. Pat White does not either because he will not play all that much. Stay away from both of these guys and don’t be fooled by Pennington. 

Brady Quinn vs. Derek Anderson 

Anderson and Quinn both are talented quarterbacks. Anderson was a Pro Bowler in 2007 and Quinn was the star quarterback at Notre Dame. However, Quinn is going to be given every opportunity to win this starting job because he’s a former 1st round pick who has not been given a shot yet and I expect him to win the job. However, he will not have a very good supporting cast around him. Yes, maybe Braylon Edwards may decide to actually catch the football this year seeing as he’s in a contract year or maybe Brian Robiskie steps up big time as a rookie, but Quinn is going to be working with the same supporting cast he had last year before he got hurt. He should produce similar numbers, the potential in Edwards and Robiskie canceled out by the team’s lack of a tight end, as he did last season, when he completed 45 of 89 for 518 yards and 2 touchdowns to 2 picks in 3 games. Spread that out during a whole season, and its not very good. He doesn’t have a good running game supporting him and the defense still sucks. I wouldn’t draft him. If he gets off to a good start then pick him up, but I wouldn’t draft him. Anderson could be interesting if he gets traded. The last time he had a capable supporting cast he was a Pro Bowler. Teams could be looking for quarterback help and if he gets traded, pick him up immediately. 

JaMarcus Russell vs. Jeff Garcia 

Russell was the #1 pick 2 years ago and insane owner Al Davis is still madly in love with him so he’s going to give him every chance to win this starting job and even if he doesn’t win the starting job, he’ll still be given the starting job. Neither of these guys has much fantasy value if they were to start. Garcia didn’t have a lot of value last season with a good supporting cast, so if he were to become the Raiders’ starting quarterback, he would have little to none. Russell was interesting towards the end of last season, but he is reportedly very out of shape this season and performing horribly in mini camps. Don’t be the one to take a flier on Russell as a backup.

Kyle Orton vs. Chris Simms 

Simms is reportedly gaining ground on Orton, but McDaniels didn’t ask for Orton to be put in the Cutler deal to sit him on the bench. McDaniels sees Orton as the perfect fit for his offensive system and is going to give him every opportunity to start. Orton could be interesting in the late rounds. He has a good supporting cast on offense, but the defense is atrocious which means that he’ll be forced to make big throws and he can’t do that. Expect his interceptions to skyrocket and his fantasy value to be very low. 

Tavaris Jackson vs. Sage Rosenfels

The Vikings traded for Rosenfels, but don’t be fooled. This is still Tavaris Jackson’s job to lose. The Vikings only gave up a 4th rounder to get Rosenfels so in no way are they obligated to start him. Coach Brad Childress loves Jackson. He drafted him in the 2nd round when many other did not see him as a day 1 pick at all. He started him in the playoffs last year over Gus Frerotte, who was 8-3 as a starter. The Vikings are also reportedly experimenting with the wildcat now that they have Percy Harvin. Jackson’s speed would make him a great candidate for the wildcat. If Jackson is given the job, as I believe he will be, he still won’t have much fantasy value. Rosenfels could have some, but you have to remember that Rosenfels is a guy who had a 79.5 quarterback rating last season, which is mediocre, at best, in limited action throwing to Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, and Owen Daniels. Throwing to Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, and Visanthe Shiancoe isn’t nearly as good. I wouldn’t draft either of these guys regardless of who starts, but Rosenfels, if he overtakes Jackson on the unofficial depth chart, could be interesting in the late rounds if you take him paired with a guy who has a week 10 bye. Rosenfels would play Detroit week 10.

Daunte Culpepper vs. Matt Stafford

Culpepper has lost weight, about 30 pounds, and really put in a lot of work this offseason. He deserves to be the starter here and I think he will be the week 1 starter, but, barring a failed physical, which sadly is a possibility, Jon Jansen will become a member of the Detroit Lions today. The Lions upper management has a reputation for being not very smart. They have failed their holes with veterans this offseason, veterans who were good a while ago, Anthony Henry, Grady Jackson, Julian Peterson, Larry Foote, etc. The Lions may put Jansen at right tackle, move Gosder Cherilus to left, move Jeff Backus to guard and call it a passable offensive line, which it would not be, and then throw Stafford out to the wolves. For Stafford sake, I hope he does not take more than a few snaps this season, even if they put Jansen in the starting lineup, because he could end up shell shocked like David Carr or Joey Harrington. But, the Lions upper management isn’t very smart and they could throw Stafford out there as soon as week 8, the week after the bye, or worse, week 1. I wouldn’t draft either of these guys, but you should keep your eye on Culpepper early on. He hasn’t been hurt in a while and is reportedly in great shape. He’s throwing to Calvin Johnson which definitely doesn’t hurt.

Luke McCown vs. Byron Leftwich vs. Josh Freeman

In the only three way quarterback battle we have the mysterious veteran who just never has gotten a shot in McCown, the reclamation project in Leftwich, and the 17th pick in the 2009 draft Josh Freeman. I don’t think we’ll see Freeman start week 1. It is unnecessary for this team to start him right away so I don’t think they will. Between McCown, who was promised a shot at the starting job, but not promised the starting job as is a big misconception, and Leftwich, I think they’ll take Leftwich because of his upside. Unlike the Bucs, you shouldn’t take Leftwich, even with his upside. If he gets off to a great start, by all means pick him up, but I wouldn’t draft him. He doesn’t have any really easy games this season, so using him as a week 1 replacement for a consistent starter won’t work. If Freeman is given the job this season, I wouldn’t pick him up, until he proves himself, because I just don’t like their schedule.

Shaun Hill vs. Alex Smith

They call it a quarterback competition but it really isn’t. They just say that because counting a guy out of the quarterback race in June, 4 years after you took him #1 overall, looks awful for you. That is the only reason Smith is still in this “competition.” This is Hill’s job and I love him as a fantasy sleeper. After Singletary took over and ran with him as his guy, Hill was 166 for 265 (62.6%) for 1873 yards, 12 touchdowns and 8 picks. Spread that out over a whole season and you’ve got about 3600-3700 yards, 24 TDs, 16 INTs. Add in the fact that he now has a capable receiver, Michael Crabtree, to throw to, and you’ve got yourself a fantasy sleeper. I would not be afraid to take this guy in the 12th round, especially if my QB1 had a 4th week bye, Matt Ryan, Donovan McNabb, Kurt Warner, and Jake Delhomme. Hill plays St. Louis’ miserable defense week 4. He is currently going in the 13th or 14th round. I might also take Hill as a QB2, if my QB1 were someone I was unsure about who I could replace with Hill, in case Hill gets hot or my QB1 gets cold. Jake Delhomme is the best of both worlds here. 

 

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