Monday, March 15, 2010

Thoughts On Fantasy Football, 2010

Let's start in the NFC East.

The Eagles dumped Brian Westbrook, which effectively turns LeSean McCoy into a viable #2 RB with #1 upside. McNabb's status is up in the air, but he'll probably stay put and remain a decent QB in the 7-10 range. DeSean Jackson is a low-end #1 fantasy WR and Celek is a 6-10 tight end. Maclin is a good sleeper.

Doesn't look like anything will change with the Cowboys offensively, which means Romo, Austin and Witten are all great options. Austin could produce as a top 5 WR, but will probably be drafted as a receiver in the 10-12 range. RB is a muddy mess; Choice is probably the best back on the team, but he gets the fewest touches. That's one platoon that I would stay away from. Roy Williams isn't worth mentioning.

New York has changed the defensive quite a bit, but remains Eli's team on offense. Which in my mind, means no one on the Giants is an enviable fantasy option. Steve Smith is probably a 15-20 WR, and Jacob and Bradshaw are both #3 RBs until one of them gets hurt.

Washington is a wildcard. Their 2010 quarterback situation is up-in-the-air, but it will probably be Jason Campbell again. They want Sam Bradford, but it seems that so do the Rams. Will they draft Claussen 4th, or is that too early? (Probably too early). They signed Larry Johnson to try to compete with Portis, but I still expect Portis to get 75% of the work and be a #2 RB. Stay away from all their receivers, and draft Cooley as a 6-8 TE.


Green Bay is a powerhouse offense in 2010, led by Aaron Rodgers - a top 3 fantasy QB. Jennings and Driver are both #2 WRs, and Ryan Grant is a #2 RB. It's a highly balanced offense with only one fantasy star, and that's the quarterback. JerMichael Finley may be a top 10 TE whom you can wait to draft until very late.

The Bears will be your typical Mike Martz offense in 2010 - tons of yards, tons of turnovers. I won't be drafting Jay Cutler because I can't stand his stupid guts, but if you want 380 yards, 2 TDs and 3 INTs a game, he's your guy. Johnny Know is a good #2 receiver this year and I love Greg Olsen as a 7-8 tight end. Matt Forte - wait until at least the third round.

The Lions have been active all offseason, which is great, but they still aren't ready to be a team with many fantasy players, except of course Megatron. Burleson is a nice #4 receiver I guess, and Kevin Smith isn't the worst #3 running back in the world, although he'll miss the first few weeks of the season, and possibly more. Matt Stafford? No way. Pettigrew? Maybe if your starter has a bye and the matchup is right.

I'm not wasting any words on Brett Favre until August. Adrian Peterson is the #2 running back on my list and I love Sidney Rice no matter who plays quarterback. Harvin's an alright #3 WR.


Obviously, Drew Brees will be the most highly drafted non-RB in just about every league. He's a statistical super-star. The rest of the Saints, however, all come with questions. Colston is more of a #2 WR than a #1, and the rest of the receivers are inconsistent, because Brees spreads the ball around so brilliantly. Reggie Bush is a below-average RB unless your league rewards receptions.

What about Matt Ryan this season? Last year, he and Roddy White (and Michael Turner) all fell short of fantasy owners' lofty expectations. It'll be tough for him to recover from a mini-sophomore slump, but I think he'll settle in as a low-end #1 QB. As for Turner and White, I'd say they're both low-end #1 guys as well. Put it this way: if I'm drafting #12 (for the third year in a row!) I won't be ticked off if I get Turner the Burner. Tony Gonzalez's stock has dropped, but he may be a value pick now in the 8-10 TE range.

Carolina is an offense to avoid in 2010. Matt Moore will be an improvement over Jake Delhomme (it'd be impossible not to be), but that doesn't mean the passing game will be anything better than 25th in the league. This is still a run-dominated team, and the backs will be splitting carries pretty evenly. I like DeAngelo as a 1,200 yards, 6 TDs guy and Stewart for about 800 yards and 10 TDs; neither is better than a top 15 RB. Steve Smith is getting older and has some injury issues and off-the-field issues that scare me off.

Tampa Bay may be the worst offense in the NFL in 2010. Josh Freeman will get the start, Derrick Ward and Cadillac Williams will take turns sucking at running back, and Raheem Morris will be fired (and put out of his misery). Antonio Bryant, who wasn't that good in the first place, took off to Cincinnati and they don't have any legitimate wide recievers anymore. Brutal.


I'll start with Arizona, even though they are no longer the team to beat in the division. Losing Boldin hurts, and losing Warner kills. Losing two key defenders doesn't help either. I wouldn't draft Matt Leinart unless ... well, for any reason. Fitzgerald is still a #1 WR of course, but he drops from #2 to about #8 on my list. I hate their running game, although Wells will probably surpasss Hightower and become an okay #3 guy.

San Fran is intriguing, because of how awesome Vernon Davis was last season and the potential that Michael Crabtree possesses. But is Alex Smith the guy again? Now that Shaun Hill is in Detroit, he has to be. I don't see him playing great, but 7-9 could easily win this division, so San Fran won't be panicking to draft a QB. Expect offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye to use plenty of Frank Gore (he's a top 5 RB), and don't draft Davis with expectations of last years' 13 TDs. Crabtree is the wildcard. I wouldn't take him as any more than a #4 WR.

Matt Hasslebeck's future with the Seahawks is in question, and they have the #6 pick in April's draft. Claussen is an option, as is running back CJ Spiller. But if OT Russell Okung falls to them, I think they'll take him and let Hass have another season. Seneca Wallace is gone, and so is Nate Burleson. That leaves TJ Houshmandandy as a pretty decent #2 WR. As for the rest of the Seahawks, don't bother. (Unless they draft Spiller, which makes things interesting.)

The only Ram worth mentioning is obviously Steven Jackson, and the question becomes: how high is too high to draft a great player on a horrible team? He does everything for St. Louis and plays every down like it counts, but he's also been injured several times in the past few years. I LOVE him as a #2 RB, but wouldn't trust him as a #1 until maybe the 9th or 10th pick in the draft. If the Rams pick Bradford #1, he's not a fantasy option, but it does help Donnie Avery move from a #6 WR to a #5 WR.


Brady, Moss and Welker are still great, and if you think otherwise, you're a fool. That said, I won't be drafting any of them after Brady screwed me in BOTH leagues last season. Actually, I would draft Welker as a #2. Not Moss though; his age scares me. I'll let someone else pick him in the second round. As always, don't even pay attention to their RB and TE situations.

The Jets are very interesting. They just picked up LaDanian Tomlinson for about the same amount of money they weren't willing to pay Thomas Jones. Very strange. That offensive line is outstanding, so whoever is the starter week 1, whether its Shonne Green or LT, is worth a shot as a 10-15 RB. But they do like to platoon. I like Sanchez as a player, but not a fantasy guy yet. Braylon Edwards is a low-end #2 WR and Dustin Keller is a low-end #1 TE.

Once again, Miami lacks the wide receivers to do anything other than befuddle teams with their Wildcat antics. Ronnie Brown is a great low-end #1 RB and Ricky Williams is at least a #3 RB, maybe a low #2. Chad Henne? No thanks. Ted Ginn Jr? I don't think so.

It doesn't appear that the TO experiment worked too well in Buffalo, and their offense is in absolute shambles. Don't look at anyone. Unless they draft either Spiller or Best with the 9th pick, in which case that person might be interesting.


Anquan Boldin is probably the biggest free agency splash in terms of fantasy. He becomes a low-end #1 WR on Baltimore, and also raises Flacco into relevance as a good #2 and decent #1. Ray Rice is the #4 guy on my RB board, but I think I'd draft him 5th overall, behind Brees. Derrick Mason is an okay #3 receiver for some consistent 50 yard games.

The situation in Pittsburgh is contingent upon whether or not Rapist Roethlisberger goes to jail. If he plays the season as I expect he will, he's a low-end #1 QB and Holmes and Ward are both good #2s. Mendenhall is a pretty low #2 RB - that offensive line stinks. I'd pick the Steelers defense in the top 5 and Heath Miller is a 8-10 TE. If Ben goes to jail like he deserves, Charlie Batch (who, ironically, has a degree in Criminal Justice!) becomes the starter. That drops Holmes and Ward to #3s at best, crushes Miller's value into nothingness, and also knocks Pittsburgh out of the playoffs for a second straight year. I can only dream...

Cleveland has cleaned house and ridded themselves of both Anderson and Quinn, receiving a fullback from the Broncos and a sixth-round draft pick in return. They added Jake Delhomme and Mike Holmgren's favorite player, Seneca Wallace. The two will compete for the starting gig, and that's a lose-lose situation if I've ever seen one. Look, when Parcells went to 1-15 Miami he turned them around in one season with some brilliant GM skills. People are expecting Holmgren to do the same in Cleveland, but he's up against too many obstacles, the key being that he's simply not the genius that Parcells is. No one involved in the Cleveland passing game is worth a pick; but it may be wise to gamble late on Jerome Harrison as a #3 or 4 running back. I mean he did rush for over 500 yards in the Browns' last three games of 2009.

Cincinnati is a bit of an enigma, pending Ochocinco's unpredictably stupid antics. The Dancing With the Stars star may not be keen to come back to Cincy after Bryant signed, but will anyone else take him? It would have to be a team that's used to media circus and needs a WR. Maybe Buffalo? Washington? Chicago? Oakland? Who knows, I'd personally like to see him playing for the CFL. Carson Palmer's really no better than a #2 fantasy QB in 2010, and I don't like Cedric Benson until at least the 4th round.


Peyton Manning is a safe first-round pick and a very legitimate #2 QB off the board, although I might take Rodgers ahead of him for the upside. Reggie Wayne is as safe a #1 WR as you'll find, and Dallas Clark is the #1 TE on my board. After that, the Colts become a tough team to figure. Will Anthony Gonzalez steal the #2 WR job from Garcon and Collie? Will Donald Brown take the starting RB gig away from Addai? We won't really know until the season starts, but I think yes on both accounts.

The #1 player drafted overall in most fantasy leagues will be Chris Johnson, and shoot, why not? He's this decade's Barry Sanders. He's absolutely unbelievable. There's nothing else to get excited about in Tennessee, but I think he's a lock for 1,500 yards and 10 TDs even with no help. I, personally, would probably take AP over Chris Johnson simply to play it safe, but you can't go wrong either way. As far as Vince Young, don't think about it. None of those receivers are worth much either, and the tight ends play in a platoon so I wouldn't go for either guy.

My #3 overall player on the board is TD machine Maurice Jones-Drew. I always seem to overhype Jacksonville each offseason, but this year I really think they'll click. Not 12-4 or anything like that, but a solid 9-7 or so and some monster games from MJD. David Garrard has really reached his ceiling - a middle-of-the-road QB. He's not getting any better. But he's not bad; he's safe; and most importantly for fantasy pruposes, he does not get in MJD's way. I don't like MSW (Mike Sims-Walker) very much, but he's probably an okay #3 WR for now.

The top WR on my fantasy board is Andre Johnson, and it would take a lot for that to change. Back-to-back 1500 yard seasons with at least 8 TDs and 100 catches. You only get that production from a handful of running backs. He's a first-rounder. Steve Slaton on the other hand, had an absolutely miserable 2009 and might not even be the starter for 2010. Kris Brown, Ryan Moats, Adrian Foster ... blah. Who knows what to make of the RB situation there. Owen Daniels is a very safe TE pick who you can get after the first 4-5 studs are gone. I'm not sold on Kevin Walter. As for Matt Schaub, he's not the QB I want, but if I wait to draft a QB until round 6 or 7, I'll grab him then and be moderately happy.


Starting with the Chargers, the obvious fact is that this is no longer LT's team - it's Phillip Rivers' team. To emphasize that point, the Chargers let Tomlinson go and now Darren Sproles value is quite high. He's got Chris Johnson like potential; not as great a player, but better offense. The problem with Sproles will be the passing game doing most of the work in San Diego. But I do like Sproles as a very decent #2 RB. Rivers is a top 5 QB in my mind, and I love Gates as my #2 TE off the board, and Vincent Jackson as a low-end #1 WR or a great #2.

Denver is having Brandon Marshall problems for the third straight offseason, and I doubt that he'll be on the roster come August. And considering the amazing disappearance act from Eddie Royal last year, I don't know who will catch the ball in Denver. Stokely, Gaffney, Lloyd? Not a great crew. On top of that, Brady Quinn was brought in to compete with Kyle Orton. In a looks competition, I'd go with Quinn in a heartbeat; in a football battle, it's probably still gonna be Orton. Moreno has decent value because no one is expecting much from Denver, but they do have one of the league's best offensive lines, anchored by Ryan Clady- the best LT in the NFL according to most experts.

Kansas City brought in Thomas Jones, but it's hard to imagine he could start over Jamaal Charles, after Charles-in-Charge went for an insane 1130 combined yards in his 8 starts last season (in other words, just a shade better than Chris Johnson's yards-per-game average.) I know. Wow. But keep in mind, that was a lot of garbage time at the end of the season and Charles was probably overachieving. Still. Charles is a third round pick, maybe second. Thomas Jones is really nothing more than a handcuff. As for the Cassel to Chambers connection that was so deadly at the end of 2009, I'm not buying it. I still like Dwayne Bowe as a low-end #2 WR.

Last but not least, the Oakland Raiders. Okay, last and least. Will it be JaMarcus Russell, or Charlie Frye? Or will Al Davis be smart and start Bruce Gradkowski from week 1? Will Heyward-Bey even get a chance to prove why he was the 7th overall pick last year? Can we expect anything from McFadden, other than another injury? Will they draft the fastest player in the NFL draft with their 8th overall pick? (probably). The only guy I like in Oakland is Zach Miller, and that's as a low-end #2 TE.

So that's all I got for now.
Stay tuned for something about LOST.

Happy St. Patricks Day

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