2009 Fantasy Football Tiered Player Rankings: Lucky Lester’s Top 220

I’m back again with yet another fantasy article, this one rates out my top 220 players for this season and this season only. I’ve already busted out a dynasty chart (without rookies) for the next three years, you could check that out here. It’s an older article, and while some things have changed, that look should give you a decent view of the future if you find yourself in a dynasty league late this fall – but remember, it happened before the draft, and thus is without rookies, a valuable resource in dynasty leagues.

I’ve also spent a little time busting out some tiered rankings for each position, hopefully helping you on draft day – check that out here. I’m breaking these down into tiers as well, because a ranking list is nothing without a little crying game. Also, looking at my final rankings and my earlier tiered rankings, you’ll see some small differences. Why? Well, that’s because things happen over a month that give me reason to move players up and down. Nothing is concrete!

When I rank players, I’m not saying, “this is going to be the final points standings at years’ end”, no, I’m saying that this is the order of value, fantasy points, and upside going into draft day, a sort of cheat sheet to help you assess value on D-Day. Hope this helps!

First Tier

1.	Adrian Peterson – Favre signing just enough to get him on top.
2.	Maurice Jones Drew
3.	Matt Forte
4.	Michael Turner – I might not be giving him enough credit, looks great!

Second Tier

5.	LaDainian Tomlinson
6.	Steve Slaton
7.	Frank Gore
8.	Andre Johnson
9.	Larry Fitzgerald
10.	DeAngelo Williams – J-Stew’s injury woes has Williams moving up.
11.	Steven Jackson
12.	Chris Johnson
13.	Randy Moss – Randy is Tom’s favorite weapon.
14.	Brian Westbrook

Third Tier

15.	Steve Smith
16.	Calvin Johnson
17.	Clinton Portis – All four of these backs are great value picks…
18.	Ronnie Brown - …
19.	Ryan Grant - …
20.	Brandon Jacobs – His O-line is the stuff championships are made of.
21.	Marion Barber
22.	Tom Brady
23.	Drew Brees

Forth Tier

24.	Anquan Boldin – Best #2 in the league.
25.	Reggie Wayne – Still one of the best with one of the best tossing him balls.
26.	Greg Jennings
27.	Darren McFadden – all the talent in the world, lots of touches.
28.	Roddy White
29.	Terrell Owens
30.	Marques Colston

Fifth Tier

31.	Marshawn Lynch
32.	T.J. Houshmandzadeh – Housh looks like a 115 catch guy to me.
33.	Eddie Royal – Marshall moves down, Eddie moves up!
34.	Vincent Jackson
35.	Dwayne Bowe
36.	Derrick Ward – A pretty risky pick considering RB talent in Tampa Bay.
37.	Larry Johnson
38.	Knowshon Moreno – I still believe!
39.	Wes Welker
40.	Jason Witten

Sixth Tier

41.	Reggie Bush
42.	Joseph Addai – Running with something to prove, should be decent.
43.	Chad Johnson
44.	Anthony Gonzalez – This guy is crafty.
45.	Pierre Thomas
46.	Roy Williams
47.	Kurt Warner
48.	Peyton Manning
49.	DeSean Jackson – Has looked better in year 2, moving up my list.
50.	Aaron Rodgers
51.	Phillip Rivers
52.	Antonio Gates
53.	Tony Romo
54.	Donovan McNabb
55.	LenDale White
56.	Felix Jones
57.	Thomas Jones
58.	Julius Jones – No love for JJ, I think he’ll be solid.
59.	Ray Rice
60.	Dallas Clark
61.	Tony Gonzalez

Seventh Tier

62.	Matt Schaub – Please stay healthy and prove me right!
63.	Lee Evans
64.	Bernard Berrien – Brett at least gives Berrien more flavor.
65.	Matt Hasselbeck – Matt’s moving up my list.
66.	Santana Moss
67.	Braylon Edwards
68.	Jonathan Stewart – Many upside here.
69.	Jamal Lewis – His offense may be terrible, but his O-line is solid.
70.	Tim Hightower
71.	Carson Palmer – Hurt again?
72.	Lance Moore
73.	Beanie Wells
74.	Jay Cutler – Looked better than I thought he would, but still not top notch.
75.	Chris Cooley
76.	Matt Ryan – I’m not believing 25+ touchdowns in year 2.
77.	Brandon Marshall – I hear he’s having some problems.

Eighth Tier

78.	Leon Washington – I think he’ll be used more this season.
79.	Cedric Benson
80.	Willie Parker
81.	Hines Ward
82.	Owen Daniels
83.	Greg Olsen
84.	Santonio Holmes
85.	Jericho Cotchery
86.	Antonio Bryant
87.	Devin Hester – Hasn’t shown much in the pre-season, should change though.

Ninth Tier

88.	David Garrard
89.	Matt Cassel
90.	Kellen Winslow – has yet to catch a ball in the pre-season.
91.	Torry Holt
92.	Rashard Mendenhall
93.	Ben Roethlisberger
94.	Donald Brown
95.	Jerious Norwood – One of the best back-up backs in the league.
96.	Darren Sproles
97.	Ahmad Bradshaw – looks really good in the pre-season.
98.	John Carlson
99.	Kyle Orton
100.	Nate Burleson – people are forgetting about him, do.
101.	Donnie Avery – Should be healthy by week one, #1 receiver late.
102.	Derrick Mason – old and good, not unlike the guy right below.
103.	Donald Driver

Tenth Tier

104.	Trent Edwards – Like him with Lee and TO out wide.
105.	Fred Jackson
106.	Kevin Walter
107.	Brett Favre – Hmmm…. I wonder.
108.	Zach Miller
109.	Dominik Hixon
110.	Cadillac Williams – Looked good to me, hope he gets more touches.
111.	LeSean McCoy
112.	Nate Washington – Better than people know, hurt early, good late pick.
113.	Joe Flacco
114.	Josh Morgan
115.	Daunte Culpepper – If the job was his, guarantee, I’d rank him higher.
116.	Chad Pennington
117.	Jason Campbell
118.	Ted Ginn Jr. – Super fast WR coming into his own.
119.	Steve Breaston
120.	Chris Henry – Yes, the #3 is ranked higher than the #2.
121.	Vinsanthe Shiancoe
122.	Earnest Graham
123.	Laveranues Coles
124.	Percy Harvin
125.	Jabar Gaffney
126.	Michael Crabtree – This guy is a soap opera already.
127.	Tony Scheffler
128.	Dustin Keller
129.	Fred Taylor
130.	Kenny Britt – Moving on up, lots of talent.
131.	Kevin Curits – Not sure if his upside is high enough for me to get late.
132.	Correll Buckhalter
133.	Jake Delhomme
134.	Jeremy Shockey
135.	Willis McGahee
136.	Chester Taylor
137.	Michael Bush
138.	Shaun Hill
139.	Eli Manning
140.	James Davis
141.	Shonn Greene – Like his talent, just don’t like 3rd RBs too much.
142.	JaMarcus Russell – has looked solid so far this pre-season.
143.	Le’Ron McClain
144.	Sammy Morris
145.	Justin Forsett

Eleventh Tier

146.	Laurence Maroney
147.	Tashard Choice
148.	Marc Bulger
149.	Chaz Schillens – hurt early, but looks good to me.
150.	Patrick Crayton
151.	Michael Clayton
152.	Isaac Bruce
153.	Joey Galloway
154.	Mark Clayton
155.	Earl Bennett ¬– Not sure he is fast enough.
156.	Maurice Stovall – Could be in line for starting duties.
157.	Brady Quinn
158.	Bobby Engram
159.	Vernon Davis
160.	Mohammad Massoquoi
161.	Peyton Hillis
162.	Hakeem Nicks
163.	Jeremy Maclin – The speedster might be a nice second half pick-up.
164.	Mark Sanchez
165.	Glen Coffee
166.	Steve Smith (NYG)
167.	Chris Chambers
168.	Anthony Fasano
169.	Jamaal Charles
170.	Mike Bell
171.	Sidney Rice
172.	Edgerrin James
173.	Ricky Williams
174.	Troy Williamson – Has the speedster finally arrived?
175.	Deion Branch
176.	Justin Fargas
177.	Brandon Petitgrew
178.	Laurent Robinson – liked him better than Mike Jenkins in ATL too.
179.	Michael Jenkins
180.	Mushin Muhammad
181.	Kevin Boss
182.	Malcom Kelly
183.	Brent Celek
184.	David Clowney – Becoming number two?
185.	Mark Bradley
186.	Miles Austin
187.	Bo Scaife
188.	Ladell Betts
189.	JerMichael Finley
190.	Chris Brown – could be a TD stealer, but I doubt it.
191.	Devone Bess
192.	DeShawn Wynn
193.	Mike Walker
194.	James Jones
195.	Dominic Rhodes
196.	Pierre Garcon
197.	Jordy Nelson
198.	Michael Vick – In deep leagues, maybe?
199.	Limas Sweed – Nate Washington’s targets?
200.	Antwan Randel-El
201.	Deon Butler
202.	Kevin Jones
203.	Jonnie Lee Higgins
204.	Heath Miller
205.	Marion Manningham
206.	Robert Meachem
207.	Brian Robiskie
208.	Chase Coffman
209.	Todd Heap
210.	Brandon Jackson – Could be #2 still, had a tough camp.
211.	Byron Leftwich
212.	Matthew Stafford
213.	Kerry Collins
214.	Sage Rosenfels – So much for sleeper, thanks Brett!
215.	Matt Leinart
216.	Vince Young
217.	Chad Henne
218.	Samkon Gado
219.	Bernard Scott
220.	Tarvaris Jackson – Mr. Irrelevant could play well if he gets the chance.

2009 NFL Fantasy Football: Lucky Lester Shares his Predictions

Last year’s predictions had some big winners, a couple tough luck losers, not to mention a handful of “what the hell was I thinking” fortunes that I told all wrong. I won’t get them all right this year either, but I’d like to think my waterfall of fantasy fodder will get you on the right track for your drafts, seasonal trade value, and possibly even a date with that girl that works at Victoria Secret. The brunette. As goes, I’ll spout off some claim, maybe even a sentence explaining why I think this, and will review the whole thing later in the year to see how it all went. All four of the writers doing work on this site will do an article similar to this, and in the end we’ll see who is the sharpest beach ball of them all. Let the games begin!

1. When Maurice Jones-Drew straps up his helmet this season he’ll get 5-10 more touches per game. According to Josh Arsenault’s “Value of Opportunity” article that means big things for MJD. How big? Try 1800+ total yards and 14+ TDs for one of the game’s most explosive players.

2. Through one game last season, Nate Burleson was on pace to have 900+ yards and 80 catches. He’ll get close to that this season, despite being TJ Housh’s sidekick for the Seattle Seahawks. How close? Lets say 70 grabs and 900 yards, plus at least 6 touchdowns. Not a bad output for a guy rarely getting picked before Round 14, if at all.

3. Last year, Donnie Avery posted 53 receptions, 674 yards, and 3 scores for the Rams. He’ll double that last total, while finishing with at least 70 grabs and 850 yards.

4. Two of the following four quarterbacks will fail to play 12 games this year: Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, and Big Ben Roethlisberger. O-line questions, style of play observations, interesting coaching decisions, and some bad freaking luck will likely play a role.

5a. If Daunte Culpepper gets the job out of camp, he’ll throw more than 20 touchdowns in 2009.

5b. If Matthew Stafford gets the gig out of camp, he’ll throw for less than 15.

6. At least two of these guys will be in the top 5 in rushing yards this season: LaDainian Tomlinson, Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, and Ryan Grant.

7. There is a business like show business – it’s called professional sports.

8. The last time Tony Gonzalez had less than 73 catches was 2002 and that was the only time that happened in the last 10 years. He’ll have fewer catches this season.

9. Reggie Bush will end up having more fantasy points than Pierre Thomas, despite getting drafted after him in almost every single draft. Many forget that Reggie played in only 10 games (2 of which he barely played in) and he still finished with over 800 total yards and 6 TDs.

10. Matt Hasselbeck is moving up my rankings based on his strength and accuracy thus far in the pre-season. He’ll finish as a Top 10 fantasy quarterback this year.

11. Trent Edwards also has seen a boost. It’s just the pre-season, I know, but I see him being a Top 20 guy, easily.

12. When are people going to recognize Eddie Royal? This kid is going to be special. In his second season he’ll improve on his 91 catches, 980 yards, and five touchdowns. Yes, that means he’ll be even better without Cutler, folks.

13. Last year was amazing for DeAngelo Williams. First the Panthers draft Jon Stewart in the 1st round, then Williams turns into the best fantasy running back in the league. Not a fluke, the guy is a very smart runner. He won’t match his TDs from last season, but his rushing yardage will shoot over the 1500 yard mark once again.

14. Everybody and their mother thinks Ronnie Brown is overrated going into 2009 because “half his points came in one game, blah, blah, blah”. What a joke. The fat lady hasn’t even written a song for this kid yet, he’s going to tear it up in the AFC East this season. Halfway through his 7th game in 2007, Brown was just 9 yards short of 1000 from scrimmage with 5 touchdowns. He was the only offensive threat on the field and he was still rushing for over 5 yards per carry. He’s a beast. He’s fully healthy and more than a year removed from his knee injury. This will easily be his best season. I predict over 1400 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns from the 27 year old with very few miles on his tires.

15. Speaking of the fat lady, these old guys aren’t dead yet: Each player, despite their avg. draft slot, will have solid years. Torry Holt (35th WR), Terrell Owens (12th WR), Clinton Portis (14th RB) (only 28 this season, but an OLD 28), and LT (7th RB) should all be good. At least 3 of the 4 will will finish above their average draft slot ranking.

16. Youth Movement? Not this year, not for rookies anyway. After 4 rookie running backs finished in the top 20 in total rushing yards last season (3 in the Top 10), no more than one rookie will match that mark this season (none in the Top 10).

17. Julius Jones is getting picked late. Probably even later than he was before Edgerrin James got swooped up by the Hawks. But Jones will still be the man in Seattle, and that zone blocking scheme should be a good one for his Irish style. He once had 1084 rushing yards for the Cowboys and 4 touchdowns. I’m saying he finishes with more yards and scores than he did during his best season with Dallas. In fact, I’m willing to suggest he has 8 touchdowns or more in 2009.

18. There are 25 running backs getting picked ahead of Darren McFadden. He out produces at least half of those guys, and makes it into the Top 12 this season. He’s moving up my board!

19. Brandon Jacobs finishes the season with more carries and yards than he ever has in his career. Oh, and he at least matches those 15 scores from a season ago. That offensive line is beastly.

20. What does Dallas do with all those TO targets this season? Roy Williams? Sure, Roy will get more targets, but a lot of those TO touches are going to Felix Jones. That means he’ll be much better than his average draft position. His ADP is 36, he’ll be top 20.

21. People are drafting Vincent Jackson as if he will get the same numbers he got last season. So, a couple picks ahead of that, you should grab him. He will have better totals across the board, catches, yardage, touchdowns.

22. Mark Sanchez (the rookie that was “not ready for the NFL” according to the “brilliant” Coach Carol at USC) will win at least 8 games as the Jets starting signal caller this season.

23. Steve Slaton will outscore every sophomore running back not named Matt Forte. That’s right, those in love with McFadden’s upside, Chris Johnson’s speed, Kevin Smith, and Jon Stewart’s all around tools, Slaton is the guy I see being a stud this season.

24. Tim Hightower will be a better fantasy back than Beanie Wells – especially in PPR leagues. Beanie can’t catch. Beanie gets hurt. Tim isn’t my fave, not at all, but his fantasy stats will be better than the Cardinals’ first round pick’s numbers.

25. The San Diego Chargers’ defense will once again be a Top 5 fantasy unit.

26. Anquan Boldin > Roddy White (fantasy points).

27. Derrick Ward, often drafted as the 37th RB overall. He’ll be at least 10 spots higher than that on the end-of-season running back rankings.

28. Mark Sanchez gets drafted ahead of Matt Hasselbeck in most fantasy leagues. I promise Matt will be better than Mark, in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt doubles Mark in touchdowns. Shoot, right it down.

29. Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates, and Jason Witten will all finish ahead of Tony Gonzalez in the TE rankings.

30. Anthony Gonzalez, Eddie Royal, along with Vincent and DeSean Jackson will all have more fantasy points than Braylon Edwards this season.

That’s it, as promised, I’m first: 3 more prediction sessions on the way before the season begins…

The Value of Opportunity

Football, perhaps more than any other sport, is all about opportunity.  At the highest level the separation between stars and scrubs is often not a measure of talent but rather the chance players are given to put that talent on display.  For every Peyton Manning that was drafted into stardom there is a Tom Brady that toiled in obscurity until they got their shot (thank you, Drew Bledsoe).  As an avid fantasy footballer, part of what I try to do in building winning teams is to assess players not only on what they have done (given their opportunity), but what they could do if given the chance.  Historically sleepers are identified from one season to the next by determining which players’ values will take a spike due to either an increased role, a change of scenery, or an improved surrounding cast.  This logic seems sound in a lot of ways but it also leaves a lot to chance.  If I’m taking a shot on a guy in the mid-to-late rounds of my draft, I want to know that given the opportunity he will put points on the board.  Perhaps the best predictor of what a player is capable of with the ball in their hands is FPT or Fantasy Points per Touch.  Depending on the scoring of your league, you should have an idea which guys do the most with what they are given and then look for individuals in that group who may take advantage of an improved situation in the upcoming season.  The following lists of FPT all-stars compared to their top-tier peers are based on a standard PPR league for the 2009 season.  Call them sleepers if you want, but these are the guys you can trust to make the most of their opportunities when given the chance.


Top-Tier Peers:

Philip Rivers – .66 FPT
Drew Brees – .55 FPT
Peyton Manning – .52 FPT
Kurt Warner – .51 FPT
Jay Cutler – .46 FPT

Opportunity Darlings:

Shaun Hill – .50 FPT – I know he’s not sexy, but Shaun Hill wins football games and I have to think that when the chips are down Mike Singletary would rather have him behind center than an aging vet or an unproven rookie if the Niners go that route in April.  Young wideout Josh Morgan keeps getting better and I wouldn’t be surprised to see San Francisco go WR early when the draft rolls around or make a play on Torry Holt or Anquan Boldin if and when they come available.  If he wins the gig (and I think he will) and plays a full season, you’ll look like a genius for nabbing Hill with one of the last picks in the draft while others reached for a big name QB early.

Trent Edwards – .40 FPT – The career path of quarterbacks that have played with TO can’t be ignored.  Yes, he’s a pain in the ass … yes, he does topless crunches in his driveway while fielding questions from reporters … yes, he has the emotional maturity of a jock strap … but … Jeff Garcia went to three Pro Bowls throwing him the rock, Donovan McNabb had the best season of his career when TO was flying like an Eagle, and Tony Romo bacame a household name (and landed some hotties) during Owens’ time in big D.  Edwards is already a very accurate passer and has displayed good intangibles with only a couple seasons under his belt.  I anticipate a BIG step forward for the Stanford alum in the upcoming season.

Tarvaris Jackson – .56 FPT – The only thing standing between T-Jack and fantasy production is one Bradford Childress.  There aren’t many men I detest more than the software engineer currently running the show in Minnesota.  When given the opportunity Jackson has made strides toward becoming a viable NFL starting quarterback (see his 95.4 QB rating and 9-2 TD-INT ratio in limited action last season).  For reasons beyond my comprehension the Viking’s brass wants to hand the reigns to the walking turnover that is Sage Rosenfels.  When that fails miserably and the Vikes stumble out of the gates, make sure Jackson isn’t floating out on your league’s free agent list and he will reward you with above average production.

Running Backs

Top-Tier Peers:

Maurice Jones-Drew – 1.02 FPT
Brian Westbrook – .92 FPT
LaDainian Tomlinson – .77 FPT
Michael Turner – .71 FPT
Adrian Peterson – .66 FPT

Opportunity Darlings:

Pierre Thomas – 1.12 FPT – When Thomas took over the reigns for the injured (again) Reggie Bush and aging Deuce McAllister, the Saints offense didn’t miss a beat.  In fact, the guy that played in front of Rashard Mendenhall at Illinois took full advantage of his opportunity down the stretch last season and carried many fantasy owners to their respective championships.  Thomas proved to be a dynamic all-around threat as he displayed a nose for the goaline as well as above-average receiving skills out of the backfield.  Rumors have been swirling as they always do this time of year, but barring a reunion between Drew Brees and LT in the Big Easy, Thomas looks to be the guy to own in the Saint’s backfield heading forward.

Felix Jones – 1.41 FPT – How did Arkansas not win a national championship with Jones and Darren McFadden in their backfield?  I’m pretty sure I could have coached that team to 11 wins using a Tecmo Bowl playbook.  This silky smooth sophomore was putting up HUGE numbers with his limited chances early in the season before suffering a hamstring injury that translated into what was essentially a lost season.  Never fear, reports out of Dallas are that Jerry Jones wants to hand a bigger portion of the workload to Jones to help keep sledgehammer Marion Barber fresh.  The loss of the Tuman Oeadache also means the Cowboys will rely more on the ground game this season.  Don’t expect Jones to keep averaging nearly a point and a half per touch, but 950 yards and 8 touchdowns with contributions in the passing game and special teams is well within his reach.

Ahmad Bradshaw – .67 FPT – This one may be a stretch for some of you, but when I look around the league at muddy backfield situations in Denver, New England and Baltimore, you could do a lot worse than nabbing this diminutive fireball in the mid-to-late rounds of your league’s draft.  Bradshaw will be 23 at the start of the season, and he has averaged 6.1 YPC for his career in a limited role with the G-Men.  Derrick Ward’s breakout season stunted his growth last year, but word out of Giants camp is that the coaching staff is excited to see what Bradshaw can do with an increased role this year.  Translation: this guy could reward savvy owners with 800-900 yards and handful of touchdowns.  Brandon Jacobs is a bruiser but he doesn’t catch passes and he doesn’t stay healthy for full seasons … look for Bradshaw to open some eyes this year.

Wide Receivers

Top-Tier Peers:

Calvin Johnson – 3.38 FPT
Greg Jennings – 3.23 FPT
Larry Fitzgerald – 3.19 FPT
Roddy White – 2.89 FPT
Andre Johnson – 2.71 FPT

Opportunity Darlings:

Vincent Jackson – 3.30 FPT – Jackson’s size and speed combo served as a frustration to his owners in his first three seasons in the NFL.  Surely a guy with his physical gifts would dominate the league … it was just a matter of time.  Well, fantasy owners are not known for their patience but dynasty leaguers that held on to Jackson during his steady upward trends early in his career reaped the rewards of a very quietly productive season in 2008.  A physical freak at 6’5″ 230 lbs with a lightning quick explosion off the line and tremendous leaping ability, Jackson is a nightmare matchup for opposing defenses.  Another year in the saddle for Philip Rivers and the emergence of Jackson as a legitimate red zone threat could result in a top-5 WR next season for those that call his number on draft day.

Steve Breaston – 2.40 FPT – This is me saying I don’t think Boldin is coming back to the Cards.  Nobody (including the Cardinal’s front office as evidenced by the selection of Early Doucet last April) saw this second year man from Michigan ascending to the ranks of fantasy relevance before last season.  When Boldin exits stage east (hello Philly?), Breaston will step into his vacated spot opposite Larry Fitzgerald.  With the attention the braided one will command on the other side, Kurt Warner and Breaston will be free to carve up opposing defenses between the 20s.  Double-digit touchdowns may be a bit optimistic with the variety of weapons at Warner’s disposal, but 90 catches and 1,200 yards is well within reach for this dynamic speedster.  Invest.

Lee Evans – 2.80 FPT – Uncertainty at the quarterback position and a lack of talent around him have hurt Evans’ production throughout his NFL career.  Despite these limiting factors, the supremely talented former Badger has never missed a game and has never averaged less than 15 yards per catch in any of his five seasons.  Enter TO … with the flamboyant prima donna drawing the attention of defenses and media outlets alike, Evans will be freed up to work over the top without facing the double and triple teams that have held his stats in check thus far.  Another point to consider … Lee’s numbers have never been about quantity but QUALITY of his catches (averaging less than 60 catches per season) … TO commanding 80-90 balls will not cut into his value as some have speculated.  I anticipate a HUGE season for Evans in the 75-80 catch neighborhood with 1,400 yards and double digit touchdowns for the first time in his career.

first published on March 10, 2009

Ask Papa Weimer: Pre-Season #2

I’m back. More questions, seemingly better answers than before. This week we tackle auction drafts, the 1st Round wide receiver situation, and the “lack” of running backs – and even Brett Favre. It’s late and my knees are acting up, I’ll try my best not to take it out on the question askers. But that doesn’t mean all that BS about no question being a stupid question is true – there are tons of stupid questions – try me next week.

Graham “Big Worm” from Lower Columbia, WA asks, “What is your take on Brett Favre. The guy gets more coverage than an Anna Kournikova sex tape, which quite honestly chaps my ass, but if he can play he should play, right?” From a fantasy perspective should I dump Trent Edwards, my current back-up, and snatch up the old man?

You got it right on the button Big Worm. The way I see it is pretty simple. Brett Favre threw around retirement like he throws underhand backwards pitches to running backs. He wasn’t quite sure, but didn’t want the Packers relying on him being around so he called it quits, thinking that if he wanted to come back they would obviously welcome him with open arms. The trick was on him. The Packers decided to go with Aaron Rodgers (good move, because the youngster is legit) and did all they could to convince Favre to stay retired, even going as far as offering him money to do nothing. I’m not positive, but I bet that pissed Ol’ Brett off something fierce and it probably made him want to play even more. But the Packers didn’t want to face Brett, and trading him within their own division to help an opponent out made absolutely no sense to them. But Brett’s a competitor, so surely, right off the bat, he wanted to play against his former team and jam it right up their backside. Since he couldn’t, he toughed out a year in Jet-land, gave it all he had, ups and downs, just missed the playoffs, and thus retired again. Giving him exactly what he wanted, the Jets released his rights. That gave Favre the freedom to play wherever he wanted. Brett’s not the first guy to run right back to his old division and sign up with a rival. When let go, lots of guys take it personally, and some have even been known to give up some money for a couple chances a year at their old team. I think that’s freaking awesome. So now he’s in Minnesota and he’s going to give it his all to try and make the Vikings a championship level team. Will he? I’m not sure either way, but I’ll be watching, that’s for damn sure. Now a bunch of people are pissed that he retired and came back and retired and came back, but those people are stupid. Some people think it’s terrible that he went to the Packers’ rival. But it’s that same competitive spirit that made him as great a player as he is. So those people aren’t thinking past go either. Basically, I like it. If he wants to play, can play, and can get someone to pay him to do so, by all means, play until your shriveled up my man!!! As for all the coverage. Blah. I’m sick of it, and my TV is out. I can only imagine how you feel. Fantasy-wise, of course he’s going to have some value. That team is pretty stacked. Peterson is obviously a beast. Berrian has elite speed and Brett can get him the ball. Percy Harvin is dynamite. Even Shiancoe is a solid TE. That line will keep Brett standing. So all things look good except all those rushing attempts should keep him from big yardage. But he’ll still a decent back-up. However, I’d stick with Edwards. I know you don’t have much time, but Edwards is in that new hurry up, with lots of passing, two very good receivers, and some running backs that are solid catching out of the back-field. He’s very accurate, and you never know, this could be a big breakout year for him. But it’s close to a wash, so if you’re feeling one way, go with your gut. I have to listen to my gut, the thing is enormous.

Paul the Perv writes, “I’m in an auction draft and I was wondering if there’s any plan of attack that you try in these kind of drafts? I’m brand new to them and I’m not sure if nominating a guy gives me a better or worse chance in getting him on my team. Any ideas?”

Why are all Paul’s pervs? Hopefully your last name is Pervis or something like that, or maybe you’re just cleverly named as a common man. Regardless, I have answers to your dilemma. I’ve found all auction drafts to be a little different, and have become a big fan of them over the last few years. What I’ve found works best is nominating high-hype guys early in the draft. Guys that you think are a little overrated and currently getting loved on by the public. Now usually what this will do is get your league-mates to overpay for these overvalued players, leaving you with good money to get good value. That’s always my goal. Now sometimes I do this and as it turns out, everyone believes me that a guy is overrated and I end up bidding on the guy because his new value is much better. I almost never cross a guy off my list, everyone has value, but my goal is to make people overpay so I can underpay. Guys like Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Drew Brees, and Larry Fitzgerald are all guys I’d love to have, but they are all getting overvalued. (Even my nephew ranks Forte #2, which I think is too high) So if it was up to me, I’d call their names early if I got the chance, and see if I can’t get people overpaying for services. Hope that helps Perv!

Too Tall Tom from Onalaska asks, “I know you’re a big running back guy in the first couple rounds, but every year is different, is it okay for me to go WR in the first couple rounds this year?”

Sure man, in fact, I think going WR as early as 6th overall isn’t too ridiculous this season. Once you get out of that top tier of running backs, there’s a lot of equality there. And while I don’t buy this whole “the receiver cupboard is bare” BS that seems to be milling around draft rooms, I do think that there is a quick drop-off from elite to good to worth a shot. There are seemingly hundreds of receivers worth a shot. There’s a lot of guys I’d consider good options. But there’s very few ELITE #1s out there. Not enough for everyone to have a couple, that’s for sure. With RBs, there’s a lot of guys that I would be fine starting, and I’m talking about guys you can get in rounds 3-8. So, I’ve had some drafts in which I went WR early, the earliest being the 6th. I had Steve Slaton as my next best RB available, but he wasn’t too far ahead of a lot of the solid backs left, so I went with Larry Fitz and his elite consistency and overall numbers. On the way back (it was a 10 team league, which are the ideal type of leagues to go WR early) I still got Steve Slaton. With my 3rd pick I grabbed Steve Smith, and with my 4th pick I went with Kevin Smith, another guy we like here within the fantasy staff. So I got two number 1 receivers, and two young running backs that had solid years and possess lots of upside. If I went RB with my first two picks, I wouldn’t be much better in my backfield, but I would be worse at WR. That’s the kind of thing you have to think about during the draft, where’s the value? Sure, I went WR a lot earlier than usual. But I got the guy I think is the best player at that position – at a position with fewer elite players. So yes, in short, sometimes it’s good to be different.

Noah, from “just outside the ark” thinks out loud, “All the things I read are saying that WR is shallow this year and RBs are deep, do you actually believe this?”

No, and yes. I don’t believe that either position is actually shallow, but in a way, both are kind of shallow in the “elite” category. In years’ past there are lots of guys getting 80% of their team’s carries, at least. This year, there are fewer of those type running backs. Fewer proven carry-horses. So that makes getting one of those main guys a bonus, if you can. At WR you have the same type of thing, lots of guys with lots of upside, but not so many guys that can get drafted without at lest a little question mark by their production. Now nothing is guaranteed. Vince Young could get pouty in Week 1, feel bad that people are booing him, and never start another game the rest of the year. But those crazy things being written off as just crazy, I think you can find great options all over the draft at any of these positions. Would I rather have Roddy White, Larry Fitz, and Andre Johnson than Dominik Hixon, Anthony Gonzalez, and Nate Burelson? You bet. But should all 6 guys be owned? Definitely. Could all 6 be starter worthy during the year? You bet. I actually think, that with all the “sharing is caring” going around the NFL, having specialty players do certain things, carry in certain situations, and having 3 and 4 WRs, this is actually one of the “deepest” seasons in fantasy football that I’ve ever researched and took part in. There are so many players at all the positions, even TE has a grip of valuable guys. I got Tim Hightower and Julius Jones as 4th and 5th running backs, in rounds 11 and 12, for a league I’m in. That’s two starters. Hightower is young and scores touchdowns, and even though Beanie Wells is there, he’s still starting. And Julius Jones is in a scheme that should use his running ability well, and he’s done well when getting 20 carries a game. So while they are not starters in terms of top fantasy backs, they are still two actual NFL starters that could produce for me this season. Don’t believe the hype, shallow and deep are very arbitrary, especially this year.

NFL Season Preview: Over/Under Regular Season Wins (Part III)

TheGreek.com and the total wins I project as well. Enjoy!

  1. Oakland Raiders (Over 5.5 wins -140) (7): The Raiders are tougher than this. If they can stop the run a little better and be a little more efficient through the air, this team could get close to .500. It’s not like they have to rummage through a tough division, KC and Denver could both get swept by the more physical Raiders. Will that happen? I don’t know, but it’s possible, and the Raiders have a good enough run game to give mediocre teams fits. I think they’ll do that on way to their highest win total in quite some time.
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (Over 9.5 wins +125) (10): This one is tough, not a great value bet, but I like the Eagles to get into double digit wins. They’re hurting at linebacker though, they have some dings on the offensive line, and they lost their defensive and possibly team leader when Brian Dawkins left Philadelphia for Denver. This team is still full of talent. I would stay away from this bet, they could take the division or they could be scrambling for .500 – but I like the former over the latter, dream big Philly fans.
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers (Under 10.5 wins +110) (10): I would be surprised if the Steelers got 12 wins in 2009. Finishing out of the playoffs seems like a crazy idea too, but after a long run last season, the injuries could pile up in 2009, making a good finish tough to come by. Besides the Browns, I think this division will be pretty tough. They do get the luxury of playing the AFC West though, that should get them 3 wins easily. Still, I have a feeling dings will catch up with the Steelers, making 11+ wins tough to come by.
  4. San Diego Chargers (Under 10.5 wins -125) (10): Somebody will say I’m crazy, but it’s possible that nobody in the AFC East wins double digit games. The Chargers are talented, as always, but they aren’t completely healthy, have one of football’s toughest schedules, and rely heavily on a 30+ running back. Now LT is one of the best ever, and the Chargers do have 6 games against the likes of KC, Oakland, and Denver, but I wouldn’t be stunned if they just barely get to 10 wins. Oakland plays them tough at least once a year. Denver could get a lucky win. The Chargers have to play the Steelers, Ravens, Giants, Eagles, Titans, Cowboys, Redskins, Cowboys, and Dolphins, not to mention the rest of their normal NFL schedule. Those are playoff teams, or at least teams in the playoff picture right off the bat. Easy division? Yes. But they rest of their schedule has me on the under.
  5. San Francisco 49ers (Over 7.5 wins +105) (9): So what? Maybe there’s a little soft spot in my heart for anything football related to Mike Singletary. As a kid, I wore #50 in anything I did. I rocked it throughout my football career, and tried to play with that Singletary focus. So maybe I think a little too highly of Mike’s Niners. But I don’t think that’s the case. What I see is a team that finished the season  5-2. A team that has a lot of toughness and is easily the most physical team in a pretty soft NFC West. They may not be the best or most talented, but the Seahawks always have trouble stoping Frank Gore, and the Cardinals have similar problems. Obviously the Rams are relatively soft up front as well. I see lots of teams San Fran can out physical this season, and quite a few of those are on the 49ers’ schedule. So I’ll take the over and root hard for my favorite football guy to come through.
  6. Seattle Seahawks (Over 8.5 +130) (11): I really like this bet, even when I’m surprised it’s not at 7.5 – maybe Vegas just knows. The Hawks are the best team in the NFC West. That’s right, better than the returning Super Bowl runner-up Arizona Cardinals, better than the more physical Niners, and better than last year’s worst team in football, St. Louis Rams. (Record-wise, maybe not, but they would have lost 7 of 10 to the Lions last year, I guarantee it). So the Hawks are the top of this division, and this is why, they are a little better, a little more explosive, better up front defensively, and they also add TJ Housh and the best player in the draft, Aaron Curry. Oh, and they are twice as healthy. Injuries can always hit, but two years in a row seems questionable. The Hawks have more depth, a new coaching situation that should invigorate them a bit, and better players at the top end. And this team was picked to win the West last year. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m thinking last season’s down year was a fluke for the Hawks. This year will be different.
  7. St. Louis Rams (Under 5.5 +135) (6): I hate the Rams, think they were absolutely brutal last season. Plus their best receiving playmaker is an undersized sophomore that is known mostly as a burner, and will start the season on in injured list. (Donnie Avery). They are starting players that were cut from other teams. I see a lot of teams on the Rams schedule that will be difficult to beat. Starting with everyone, and then having to play the NFC North and AFC South, plus their usual terrible division is getting stronger, and they have to play the Redskins and Saints, two more teams I would easily rank much higher than the Rams. There’s no easy games for a team like the Rams, but this season seems especially tough.
  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Over 6.5 +140) (8): Really? Six and a half? This team has a stacked offensive line, a very good group of running backs, a solid leader in Byron Leftwich (whom doesn’t make tons of mistakes) and a defense that is out to prove they’re still solid after struggling down the stretch last season. It’s not like they lost a ton in the off-season, and they are consistently a solid team. Maybe it was all Jon Gruden before? I don’t know, I don’t get it, I think 8 seems like an easy number to get for the Bucs.
  9. Tennessee Titans(Over 9.5 wins +160) (10): The Titans lost one of the best defensive front players in football when Haynesworth signed a ginormous deal with the Redskins. But they are still stout defensively. They have playmakers on offense, easily being more explosive in the passing game with the additions of Nate Washington (very underrated) and rookie burner Kenny Britt – big tough receiver from Rutgers. LenDale is in great shape, looking to repeat as a touchdown beast, and everybody knows Chris Johnson is made of magic and pixy dust. I’m not a big Kerry Collins fan, but he rarely puts his team in tough situations. There’s lots of wins on the Titans’ schedule.
  10. Washington Redskins (Under 8.5 wins -150) (8): This is not a great money bet, the payout numbers are bad, and in the NFC West anything can happen. This defense got a lot stronger at the point of attack with Haynesworth climbing on board. They have lots of speed and talent in the secondary, and a second year under Jim Zorn, running his offensive schemes, should help this passing game be more efficient. Still, this team needs to get tougher, and in a very tough division less than .500 is a very big possability. Talentwise they could make the playoffs. So there it is, I didn’t give you much in terms of a sure thing here, but I’m leaning toward the under.

And that’s a wrap, next time I discuss this it will be a review of how well I did… But I will reference it throughout the season, if it supports my cause of course. Ha.

NFL Season Preview: Over/Under Regular Season Wins (Part II)

As promised, I’m back with my over/under predictions for the NFL Season. This time I take care of the middle-of-the-alphabet teams from the Packers to the Jets. I have their over/under total from TheGreek.com and the total wins I project as well. Enjoy!

  1. Green Bay Packers (Over 8.5 wins -145) (11): I really like the Packers’ schedule. They need to be better defensively, but the offense in Green Bay is legit. I think they are the best team in this division, even with the Vikings signing Brett Favre recently. Green Bay has to win some of those close games they struggled with last year, they will run the ball more efficiently, and make fewer mistakes. Playing the NFC West helps, and a split in their AFC games seems reasonable too. I like GB in the playoffs this season.
  2. Houston Texans (Over 8.5 wins +125) (9): Is this the year the Texans finally make the playoffs? Maybe, but I have them coming up a game or two short. 8.5 definitely seems high for the Texans over/under, but maybe that’s because the books are starting to notice their improvement. Houston needs to stay healthy, but if they can do that, they have plenty of talent to make waves in the AFC South, even with Jacksonville improving upon last season’s failures. This is a very close play for me. 8-9 wins seems right on. But still, I like their heads up chances against most of the NFC West and the AFC East, so I’ll take the over.
  3. Indianapolis Colts (Under 10.5 wins -180) (8): Another close one, because a new coach could take a team either way, but I think the Colts struggle a little during their first year without Coach Dungy. This squad has lost a little of it’s luster, the offensive line is not deep, and they no longer have the option of  two #1 receivers. The Jaguars and Texans will be better this season, and Tennessee is solid. Indy does have the benefit of playing the NFC West, but I still like them to struggle this season. Moving away from the Cover 2 look with a bunch of players selected to play the Cover 2 seems tough. Bob Sanders is still hurting, and that doesn’t help. It’s just a feeling.
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (Over 8.5 wins +130) (10): This team gets better defensively with one more season under the belt of a couple youngsters like Derrick Harvey, Justin Durant, and Reggie Nelson. Also, health along the offensive line is going to be huge for this squad. The addition of the best all around offensive lineman in the draft, Eugen Monroe, won’t hurt either. Torry Holt adds a nice piece for Garrard – a possibly aging, but still solid receiver he’s never really had. Maurice Jones-Drew will get more looks, that’s good too. The bottom line is this, the Jaguars are a good football team. They were decimated by injuries last season, and this year they are healthy and hungry. Good combo.
  5. Kansas City Chiefs (Under 6.5 -165) (5): This team will compete, I like that about them, but a very tough schedule early will make it tough for the Chiefs to build much momentum out of the gates. They will be lucky to win 2 games in their first 7. After their bye week, they play two teams they “could” beat, but they travel to Jacksonville and then Oakland in back to back games, that’s not usually a good thing. I see 6 games at the most, and I like this offense – but moving everything to a 3-4 might be tougher than it looks with this personal.
  6. Miami Dolphins (Over 7.5 +115) (9): The Dolphins were a huge surprise last season, winning the AFC East and garnering the division’s only playoff spot. Chad Pennington outshined the guy he was let go for, and took a playoff spot away from the 11 win Patriots. But still, nobody believes in the Dolphins. I wonder why. This was a team full of youth last season, and those young guys are now a year older. Ronnie Brown should be completely recovered from knee surgery, and he’s one of the more dynamic backs in the league when healthy. They still have Chad, who’s playing for a contract next season, and they resigned some key young defenders this off-season like Channing Crowder and Yeremiah Bell. Jason Taylor may not be the NFL Defensive Player of the year type guy, but he’s back with the Fins and he is still a force on the outside. This team got better. Will they get back in the playoffs? I’m not so sure about that, but they should get over the .500 mark despite a tough schedule (They draw the AFC and NFC South this season, both tough divisions).
  7. Minnesota Vikings (Over 9.5 -105) (10): Does the Brett Favre move jump the Vikings up in my book? Not really. I liked Sage Rosenfels in this offense as a guy that can sling it, so Brett’s addition doesn’t move me one way or another. However, I thought this was a 10-win team without the former Packer, and his presence on the field, being where he wants to be, that might be just enough to move this bet from close to good. The Lions will be better, and the Bears are decent, but I like the Vikings to finish 2nd or 1st in the NFC West. They have a solid defense and a running game that can maul anyone. Percy Harvin is an elite weapon as well. Another big help is EJ Henderson coming back and being healthy, he’s a very good linebacker. This team is much improved, and it’s not because of Brett’s return.
  8. New England Patriots (Under 11.5 wins +120) (11): This one is too close for me to wager on, but I think the Patriots will find 12 wins tough with a pretty darn tough schedule. Like I said already, the Bills and Dolphins both got better this off-season (though I don’t expect much from the Jets). Now, the Patriots did too (Tom Brady coming back), but they have a pretty tough schedule as well. Like the Fins, they go heads up against the AFC and NFC South. This is close though, and they do get an auto win against Denver (I just don’t see Belichick losing to McD), but if I had to go one way on this, I’d give a slight nod toward the under.
  9. New Orleans Saints (Over 8.5 wins -140) (9): I don’t like the Saints, but they’ll be better defensively this coming season. That should get them another win or two. Offensively, I actually think they’ll commit more to the run game, and that will help keep their defense off the field. Is Brees still going to throw the ball all over the field? You bet, but Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush will share a backfield that should be pretty productive. They still have a questionable secondary, but there are very winable games out there and I think their luck shifts a bit this coming season.
  10. New York Giants (Over 9.5 wins -140) (11): This is probably the best team in a stacked division. Sure, the Giants don’t have Plaxico Burress, which leaves them without that precious number 1 receiver – and they lost Derrick Ward to the Bucs, but this team is still stacked with talent. Their offensive and defensive lines are elite. I don’t know if I could say any team has a better front line than the Giants. That will win them 10 games right there. They do have the worst highest paid QB in the league running their team, but he’s still a decent option. They play in a tougth division, but they are tough, and should manage double digit wins.
  11. New York Jets (Under 7.5 wins +115) (6): I see 6, maybe the Jets win 7, but I don’t see them getting 8. The Bills should be better this year, and the Dolphins are more talented as well. Kellen Clemens or rookie Mark Sanchez will be at QB, and neither will provide elite QB play this coming season. They have a very underrated offensive line, but I think they’ll lose a lot of close games. I like their new head coach, but I don’t see .500 this year for Ryan and his staff.

Next time I’ll preview the bottom of the alphabet, from Oakland to Washington.

2009 NFL Season Preview: Over/Under Regular Season Wins

These are my over/under predictions for the NFL Season. I have every team listed in alphabetical order, with their over/under line and the total predicted wins. Nobody can win them all – unless of course you’re those bunch of Dolphins that sold their soul so they could get interviewed midway through the season and claim they were the best ever. I hate that ish. All my lines come from TheGreek.com.

  1. Arizona Cardinals (Under 8.5 wins -130) (7): Every team in the AFC South is tough, and could easily take down the Cardinals. The NFC South is getting tougher as well, despite St. Louis’s presence in the division. Arizona is not as deep this season, and come in overrated in 2009. They are a couple injuries away from a very tough post-Super Bowl hangover.
  2. Atlanta Falcons (Over 8.5 wins +110) (10): The Falcons face a tough challenge, getting back to the playoffs out of the NFC South. These teams rotate like a damn merry-go-round from year to year, and it’s a pretty stacked division as well. Any one of these teams could turn in a solid year, but I don’t expect much out of Tampa. The Panthers rarely put out 2 good seasons in a row, and while the Falcons may have a tougher schedule, last year’s young team has enough to get back to the playoffs in 2009.
  3. Baltimore Ravens (Over 8.5 wins -150) (10): KC, Denver, and Oakland. There’s three. Cleveland twice.. Four, Five. At the very least, one against Cincinnati. Six. Detroit. Seven. So they need to win two more games over the course of the season to get over – sure, I’ll take that bet. The Bengals should be better, and build off a solid defensive performance late last season, but the Ravens are still a top 2 team in the AFC North.
  4. Buffalo Bills (Under 7.5 wins +110) (7): The Buffalo Bills lost a great offensive lineman, which just happened to be one of their strengths last season. They won 7 games in 2008, against powerhouses like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, and Denver Broncos. With the NFC South on their schedule in 2009, the wins shouldn’t pile up quite so easily. TO is a big talent, but I’m not sure he tightens up that defense. I’ll go under.
  5. Carolina Panthers (Under 8.5 -145) (8): The Panthers ran the ball all over everyone last season, and they still played a heap of close games. Using the reasoning that they never play lights out two seasons in a row is stupid, and I won’t do that, I’ll just write about how that is usually the case. That is usually the case. There. The AFC South “NEVER” goes to the same team two seasons in a row. They lost some defense, might have trouble stopping the run, and have some luck about to evaporate as well.
  6. Chicago Bears (Under 8.5 +135) (7): Jay Cutler gets them more wins? Maybe. But this team will really rely on stopping the pass and Tommie Harris’s health. I don’t think they will be able to stop the pass, and Harris has yet to look like the guy that couldn’t be blocked rushing the interior a couple seasons ago. Urlacher is getting old, and while Briggs is still in his prime, he can’t tackle them all. Packers and Vikings get better in 2009, Detroit too, this division just got tougher.
  7. Cincinnati Bengals (Over 7.5 wins +125) (8): I’m not buying into the Bengals getting over .500 but their schedule looks easier than most, and I’m predicting a finish right on the even mark. The Ravens and Steelers are very tough defensively, and will likely eat the Bengals alive, but Cinci gets to play Cleveland twice. That’s nice. This defense is getting better, and while this is actually a tough pick for me, the Bengals’ schedule is in their favor, and I am predicting a late push gets them to even or better.
  8. Cleveland Browns (Under 6.5 wins -130) (5): The Browns stink. They won 10 fluke games in 2007, just enough to get their head guy some more money from the Brownies, and now they have Man-jina trying to run the brown gongshow circus in Cleveland. They have no gimmy wins this season – none, they aren’t good enough and no college teams are on their schedule. Their best offensive weapon drops touchdowns, and other passes to boot. They will likely be starting a first year starter at QB, and their running back is 29 going on 40. Defensively they have 3 or 4 good players, but no depth at all. I say they get lucky and win 5. Sam Bradford, step right up!
  9. Dallas Cowboys (Under 9.5 wins -130) (8): Call me crazy, but I think the Cowboys struggle in this division. They lost a great weapon when TO was let go. They have a nice running back trio, but an aging offensive line might cause trouble when injuries hit. A couple of their “easy games” happen to be in very tough places to play (Denver and KC), and the NFC East is probably the toughest division in football. I think the Eagles (even after losing some key defenders) and Giants (even with Eli at QB) are two very tough teams and the Redskins are no slouch, either. Drawing the NFC South makes it that much tougher, so tough that a 10 win season seems less likely than .500 – with a game to play with, I’ll take the under.
  10. Denver Broncos (Under 6.5 wins -115) (5): No love for Josh McDaniels and his Broncos I guess. But remember, this team still plays against the Chiefs and Raiders, two improving squads? maybe, but still KC and Oakland… Lets just say they get 3 of those 5 contests. They still need 4 more wins to beat this under. Look at their schedule, they draw one of the toughest stretches in football going up against Dallas, New England, San Diego, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Washington, SD again, and the Giants… Sounds like 8 losses to me. Lets say they get one of those games. They still need 3 wins against a “rest of schedule” that shows the Eagles and Colts. I wanted to say over here, really I did, but that middle of the year looks like a Korean class learning how to pronounce their toughest letter to master.
  11. Detroit Lions (Over 4.5 wins -135) (7): This one is pretty easy in my opinion. Sure, the Lions lost them all last year, but they aren’t a talentless bunch – not by any means. Their new staff brought in some solid schemes, and I expect nice things from this offense if Daunte gets to run the show. Defensively, they are still challenged, but they have made some moves that should allow them come together. There are wins to be had on that schedule, and being the “worst team ever” has to motivate a bunch of guys that get paid to be competitive. Laugh now, but the Lions improve in 2009.

Come back later in the week for my next 2009 NFL Regular Season Predictions segment. I’ll follow the alphabet one more time, going from Green Bay all the way to New York…

2009 Fantasy Football Sleepers

This season I’m giving you 10 sleepers. And by sleeper I mean: a player previously unrecognized as a fantasy contributor in 10 team leagues with 16 roster spots. What does that mean? It means I won’t be giving you sleepers like Ryan Grant, Ronnie Brown, Darren McFadden, DeSean Jackson, Devin Hester, Zach Miller, and Matt Cassel – all of which are certainly being undervalued, yes, but all are getting drafted in every single league, some as starters, and many of which either broke out last season, are still very new to the NFL, or have seen success in the past. These are not sleepers, these are undervalued players – the difference is grand. Sleepers, like I mentioned before, are previously unknown performers that could very well break onto the scene like Maurice Jones Drew a few years ago, DeSean Jackson early last year, Marques Colston before that, Pierre Thomas last season, Brandon Jacobs a few years back, and even Matt Cassel and Tyler Thigpen last year. Undrafted players, players out of the 160 list. What is the 160 list? That is the players drafted (on average) in the Top 160 players. Yahoo Fantasy Football keeps track, which is nice, because now I can be sure not to put one of the Top 160 drafted players in my sleeper list.

I’m also dumping the idea of write-ups on all the popular sleepers this season like Earl Bennett (Jay Cutler’s college #1), Mike Walker (the uber-talented and oft-injured 3rd year WR), Pierre Garcon (Peyton’s personal favorite for the #3 role), Shonn Greene (a rookie beast in Jet-land) and Hakeem Nicks (Plaxico’s rookie replacement?).

These are guys I haven’t seen listed as sleepers. I’m picking them out to surprise.

These 10 sleepers will go undrafted in most leagues, but at least half of these 10 will finish the season as a valuable force in fantasy football – so if your league is deep, or you want to take a chance on upside, reach for one of these freebies. Let the games begin!

(And by the way, all these players were selected prior to pre-season action)

Chaz Schilens

Chaz is going to be the top receiver in Oakland. That will, at the very least, make him ownable in most fantasy leagues. He isn’t going to set the world on fire like Lance Moore did early last year, but the Raider WR will catch a fair share of bombs from JaMarcus Russell as every defense in the league puts 8 in the box trying to halt that rushing attack. And why would they give much attention to a guy like Chaz? His name is Chaz. That being said, he’s got tons of speed, solid hands, and has proven the most polished receiver this off season. Zach Miller may be Russell’s favorite target, and he’ll probably be the top fantasy pass catcher in Oakland, but Chaz will be the top receiver in Oak town, and that will make him an asset this season. (60 receptions, 820 yards, 4 TDs)

Nate Burleson

After an injury filled 2008 (for just about everyone playing in Seattle) the Hawks are ready to turn their fortunes around, gather behind new head coach Jim Mora, and put up points in 2009. Nate Burleson is going to play a huge role in that master plan. Burleson is the most dynamic of all the Seahawk receivers, and that includes big money free agent T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Burleson has always done a lot with his touches, and already he’s being listed ahead of Seattle’s former number one, Deion Branch. That puts Nate and his lime green gloves opposite Housh in what should be a very solid receiving corps in Sea Town. Burleson will benefit from attention paid to Housh, Jim Mora’s love for the play action pass, and defenses focusing in on the run game. Nate is rarely getting drafted in leagues owned by a tiny little percentile of the public, but he’s a starter on a team with a good offense and accurate quarterback. I don’t get it. Seems like a no-brainer to me. (68 receptions, 900 yards, 7 TDs)

James Jones

To be fair, I’ve always loved the way James Jones plays the game. He’s a beast. He’s a poor-man’s Anquan Boldin – he goes over the middle and takes on tacklers as if he’s hitting them. There have been stories praising his off-season work, his impressive play in camp, and his head coach’s promises to get him more involved. Not a bad turn-around for a guy who basically lost the #3 job to Jordy Nelson last season. On a team full of solid receiving options I thin Jones will have his best season yet. He’s still just a #3, but here’s a guy that could blow up if an injury derails either Donald Driver or Greg Jennings’ this season. There aren’t a lot of #3’s that could come in off the bench and produce like top options, but I believe Jones can do that. Not only that, but he’s a big time red-zone threat and will likely produce enough to be owned in fantasy leagues even without an injury to one of the top guys in GB. Solid now, huge upside. (55 receptions, 640 yards, 6 TDs)

Laurent Robinson

I also liked Laurent when he was a Falcon, but for some reason they dumped the guy and stuck with Michael Jenkins opposite Roddy White. That’s okay, because now Laurent will have a chance to be the receiving red-zone option in St. Louis. Sure, I know what you’re saying, 12 trips to the red-zone all season doesn’t allow for any receiver to be called a red-zone threat. But I think the Rams will be better offensively this season. Not hard to improve on last year, a year in which I thought they were the worst team in football. (Maybe not record-wise, thanks to Detroit – the worst team ever, the Rams slipped by without much mocking from the gallery – but they were BAD) Donnie Avery may be the #1 guy, but Robinson had a clear lead on the #2 job, and Avery going down for a possible 6 week absence only gives Robinson more of a chance to cuddle up to Marc Bulger. And as much as Marc’s been hit, he could use a go-to guy. Robinson is in a great situation for targets, and his talent should prove enough to make him an own-able asset this season. (60 receptions, 700 yards, 5 TDs)

Bernard Scott

I don’t know why, but I have yet to find a reason to be in love with Cedric Benson as a starting running back, even if it is in Cincinnati. Even so, Benson will never be a burner, never be a game breaking presence that can score anytime he touches the ball. I’m rooting for the guy, yes, but he’ll be a bruiser at the very best, struggling through the bumps and bruises to get 4 yards a carry on a good day. That’s where Bernard Scott comes in. Scott is a burner – both in life and on the football field. The guy has had his fair share of troubles, no doubt about that, which is why the immensely talented runner found himself in Division II, which is why he found himself drafted at the end of the 2nd day, which is why nobody gives him much of a shot to succeed. But look into his game, listen to what his teammates say about him, watch him run, and you’ll start to believe. Some will say that he’s sure to become just another Cincinnati Jail-Bird, but I don’t see it. I see a kid that is going to run into success. His speed and vision had him throwing out college touchdown totals that LenDale White would be proud of. On a team that could use a talented game breaker in the back field, Scott looks to be in line for some nice touches this year. (500 yards rushing, 45 receptions, 400 yards receiving, 6 total touchdowns)

James Davis

Jamal Lewis is one of three things: either he’s lying on his birth certificate, his legs are twice his actual age, or he’s been in the league for half his adult life. All point to trouble staying healthy this season. Lewis has been a beast. He’s surprised, disappointed, and surprised again – and there’s really no telling what he does this year in an offense that looks anything but impressive, stuck right in the middle of a very tough division with two of the greatest defensive teams the NFL has. But he’s 29 going on 40 and unless he sipped from the golden goblet of youth this off-season, a full load is something he’s terribly unlikely to carry. That leaves room for a talented youngster in Cleveland. And while I’ve always like James Harrison, the former WSU Cougar hasn’t been all that impressive over his career. That leaves room for a bulldozer from Clemson to get some looks in Cleveland’s backfield. The Browns have a solid offensive line, which could be just the thing James Davis needs to succeed. Two years ago, at Clemson, Davis was a beast. People looked at him as a first day pick because of his size, athleticism, and speed. Last year, he struggled behind a mediocre offensive line and lost some of his luster. But word is he’s been great in camp, and I’ve always liked his style. Given a chance, he could be a steal for fantasy owners. (600 yards, 6 TDs – but he could be a second half stud, so pay attention)

Daunte Culpepper

Daunte has been big time before, but face it, he’s of the sleeper quality here. He hasn’t had a successful year in quite some time, and he’s just not getting drafted at all. Everyone has given up on Culpepper, everyone besides me. So yeah, I’ll be the guy to tell you “Draft this guy as your back-up instead of Chad Pennington, one of the rookies, or Jake Delhomme.” I may have not ranked him high, but he’s moving up my list. He’s got a great young running back in Kevin Smith. He has one of the most talented receivers I’ve ever seen. The Lions drafted a top-flight TE with great hands in Brandon Petitgrew. Sure, the Lions also drafted Matthew Stafford 1st overall, but I’m willing to bet Culpepper gets the starting job in Detroit, and I’m thinking he pulls a Drew Brees and keeps the job. Pep was an absolute stud for a couple years in Minnesota. Then it rained, and when it rains some guys get drenched, and Pep was one of those guys. But you can’t tell me he lost all his talent. Well you can, but I won’t believe you. Not until I get a chance to see him fail. I picked him last night in one of my drafts, he’s my back-up, and worst case scenario – he’ll be relegated to back-up duties and I’ll drop him, but I only wasted a 14th round pick on the guy anyway. I’ll pick up some other QB and hope he can keep my bye week warm when my starter goes down. On the upside, Pep gets to run a talented group of young players in Detroit, and breaks the 20 TD mark for the first time in a long time. I’ll take my chances. (3400 yards, 22 TDs, 240 rushing yards, 2 TDs)

Jacoby Jones

Everyone picked this cat to beat out Kevin Walter last season, but injuries and the fact that Walter is better than your average white guy sent Jones to the showers. But he’s still very talented, and lots of hard work, effort, and commitment has him rocking summer camps. Jones has the talent to be a #2, and you never know, he might get his chance. Andre Johnson hasn’t been the beacon of health in his short career, and Jones could be his fill in. Right off the bat I see Jones getting in and making things happen as a #3, and I’m telling you, his upside is better. I’m not projecting great numbers from Jones, but if he puts it all together, and gets a chance somewhere down the line, he could put up these kinds of totals in 6 or 7 weeks. Might be worth a chance in deep leagues. (40 receptions, 550 yards, 4 TDs)

Laurence Maroney

I may be looking in the past here, where I saw a great running back with speed, size, and super vision coming out of Minnesota. I thought he’d be perfect for Mike Shanahan’s scheme in Denver, but he got drafted by the Patriots, a team looking for a guy to replace the aging Corey Dillon. It’s been a few years since then, and still, Maroney’s best season for the Patriots was in back-up duty to Dillon. But the talent is there. He’s gone through lots of injuries and had his psyche hurt a few times. He, undoubtedly, has the most upside of any Patriot back right now. Sammy Morris has been successful, Fred Taylor has had one of the more successful careers amongst all RBs, and Maroney has just been a bust so far. But I’m telling you, a very late pick for a talented back in an offense that will likely run the ball more than in years past has a good ring to it. The upside is grand. The downside is a waiver wire move. He’s worth the risk. (1000 yards, 8 TDs)

Justin Forsett

As much as I’m hoping Julius Jones is allowed to run the ball 20 times a game this season, nobody has really given him that opportunity, ever. TJ Ducket? – come one, get serious here. That leaves Justin Forsett, a guy that might just get the Warrick Dunn role in a Seahawks backfield that Jim Mora is trying to figure out. Jones will get a couple games to show he can be the man, and his 4.4 yards a carry last season makes him a nice sleeper candidate as well (but he’s ranked too high to make my sleeper list) so why not throw out Forsett’s name. Because even though he’s listed as the #3, he’ll certainly hold more value than T.J. Duckett. Keep an eye on Forsett, draft him as a last round sleeper in deep leagues, and as soon as Jones has some trouble, or even sooner than that, he might get a chance to be more than just a change of pace back, and Forsett might be an absolute steal for you. (600 rushing yards, 400 receiving yards, 4 TDs)

Wing Man!: Not Every Superhero needs a Sidekick

History supports what I’m saying here, not always can the dynamic of two super personalities, amazing talents, wonderfully crafted names and/or awkwardly revealing spandex outfits, fit together like Steve Young and Jerry Rice, Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson, or even a more well-known duo, Batman and Robin (and even the last two heroes might find it tougher together nowadays)… In fact, if you look at the big picture, it becomes more and more evident that not every Super-Hero needs a Sidekick. In fact, most of the big name stars produce more box office fantasy potential all by themselves in their own little uniforms (As you can easily recognize that even Batman does his best movies sans his puffy feathered bird of a sidekick).

There are a few guys I’m looking at this year where a certain sidekick is digging into the main man’s cover-value, and even a couple more stars that are getting matched up with other stars – two superheroes do not always make a friendly team: Wolverine, Punisher, Spiderman, Captain America.  You have to remember, when a team gets better, a fantasy player doesn’t always improve.

Scrappy Doo basically crushed a very good cartoon of young crime fighters. Scooby was doing a fine job begging for Scooby Snacks, being a scaredy dog, and being his pot-head friend’s best bud. All Scrappy did was come in and steal some of the spotlight, and since everyone loves a puppy, soon he was getting too much attention. Suddenly, the drop off happened and Scooby and his friends have never quite recovered.

And what about Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s pal, one of the only guys to know Supe’s identity – well, all he did was get his buddy into trouble at every turn. Did Superman ever need Jimmy? I think not.

Wolverine vs. Punisher? Spiderman fighting Captain America? It’s amazing that a couple guys looking for the same thing (in both instances) could get into such a fiasco with each other – but it happens.

These things happen in the “fantasy world” and they also happen in fantasy football. This season there are some sidekicks ready to help the team all the while stomping out some fantasy fire of their own teammates. And while most of these guys play for wins and losses instead of statistical superiority – the truth of the matter is… You and I don’t. Not in fantasy football anyway. So which gridiron heroes will have their value cut down to size by the Scrappy Doo’s, Jimmy Olsen’s, Wondergirl’s and Aqualad’s of the National Football League? Follow along closely…

Matt Cassel and Tyler Thigpen

This seems like the easiest one around. Matt Cassel found a new home with a new offensive genius taking over in Kansas City. But what about Thigpen? What about the guy that dominated down the stretch? What about Tyler Thigpen? If you look back at last season’s stats, you will see two new teammates ranked 2nd and 3rd amongst quarterbacks during last season’s second half. That’s right, you guessed it, Tyler Thigpen is number 2 and Matt Cassell was number 3. That Top 5 list looks like this… Drew Brees, Thigpen, Cassel, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers. So, while many people probably don’t even know who Tyler Thigpen is, as he was really only a super hero fantasy star to those that picked him up for a late run into the post season (yes, that was me in more than a couple instances), he was still a star. Thigpen was 3 points shy of Drew Brees during those 10 weeks, and Brees had a brilliant season. But Cassel has the job, and surely Thigpen will suffer most in this match up of free agent pick ups turned fantasy playoff super heroes of 2008 turned teammates of 2009. This season will mark the first time in history that this situation will ever have taken place. Two young quarterbacks with huge statistical seasons meet up on the same team the very next year. But it is what it is, and Matt Cassel will be crushing the fantasy relevance of his teammate, and higher rated fantasy performer of last year’s second half. The team has gotten better, but Thigpen has lost his way.

Jay Culter and Matt Forte

Both players became fantasy stars in 2008. Matt Forte did so in his rookie season for a Bears team that used him as their main weapon, finishing a win away from the playoffs. Forte was as consistent as fantasy stars get, putting up solid numbers week after week as the Bears gave him the ball early and often. Jay Cutler was Mike Shanahan’s little buddy, a coach in uniform, the son he always wanted. Jay got the green light to throw any ball he wanted any time, and while that made Cutler one of the best fantasy quarterbacks in football, it also ended Splinter’s long run as the head coach in Denver. That led to Josh McDaniels getting the reigns for the Broncos, which led to Cutler having a fit when McD wanted his former QB, which led to bagels being just another way to get cream cheese to your face, which led to Jay Cutler getting traded for 2 first round picks, a couple more picks, and a 6 pack of Chicago’s best brew. That dysfunctional set of circumstantial dominoes led to Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, two rising fantasy stars, to meet up in Chicago’s backfield. Well goodness me. But whose value is effected more? Well, I would imagine that both players have a slight hit in value, but both could see their efficiency ratings moving on up. Crazy how fantasy and actual football can be so different. Matt Forte is likely to see less 8 man fronts (if any), while Cutler is likely to see more open secondaries with defenses actually paying attention to the run game in his offense. But, Forte will get less carries, less catches, and likely less touchdowns in 2009. Jay Cutler will almost surely have less yardage, fewer touchdown passes, while continuing to throw interceptions this season with the Bears. But Forte will get more yards per carry while Cutler’s QB rating will likely rise. They may make a nice duo, two young guys with their entire comic book careers in front of them, but this year both will suffer in the fantsy realm, losing the numbers from their days as single stars.

Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White

After years of lacking a #1 receiver, the Falcons finally came through with the coming of age of Roddy White. And after years of stumbling around losing seasons without another true offensive threat, Tony Gonzalez was traded to a city of bright fantasy youngsters making a name for themselves in the NFC South. But who will be the star in this receiving situation? The young up and comer or the old school TE that can stake his claim as one of the best ever? Only I have the answer you’re looking for. Both should fail to match last year’s top notch numbers. Say what you want about Dwayne Bowe’s rise to stardom or Matt Ryan being better than the Chiefs’ no-name quarterback last season, but neither piece of information will convince me that Tony G is in a better fantasy situation than he was last season. Last year, Bowe was still just the 2nd fiddle in KC’s passing game, with the attention of opposing defenses collapsing around Tony. And he may be relatively unknown, but I already showed you that Tyler Thigpen was no joke going down the stretch, so stop belittling the guy. Plus, KC threw the ball a lot last year, which is how Tony got so much fantasy love. Likewise, Roddy White was the only real threat in the passing game last season, but the Falcons ran so dang much that defenses had to bite on the play action. Matt Ryan locked onto his number one guy, and reasonably so, White was a yardage gaining machine for the Falcons. Now both top flight receivers will see differences in 2009. Tony Gonzalez will find himself in an offense that runs the ball as much as they throw which should cut down on his chances to get anywhere close to last season’s targets. Not only that but Roddy White is one of the best young receivers in the league, one that 2nd year QB Matt Ryan made a living throwing to in 2008 – so a repeat of last year’s totals should be close to impossible. And for Roddy, you know the Falcons are still going to run a ton, and a great tight end is a quarterback’s best friend, and his notoriety as a receiving threat should have defenses paying more attention to him this season – so his targets will likely fall as well. The Falcons offense should be great, even better than last season’s surprising numbers, but these two super-heroes won’t win as often in fantasy circles.

Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene

This is definitely a case similar to Scrappy Doo’s fuse lighting to the dynamite under Scooby’s career. Thomas Jones had his best season as a pro. If anyone gained value from Brett’s arm last season it was Jones. Thomas finished 5th amongst running backs in non-ppr leagues, making him one of the best fantasy values of 2008. But in comes the younger cuter puppy hero drafted by the Jets. (Actually, Shonn Greene is a beast of a kid and as far as looks go Thomas may have the girls gushing after his bulging biceps, but you get the picture). Still, already Shonn is getting rave reviews in Jets camp, and with a new coach in town there’s no real loyalty to last season’s production. If Coach Ryan learned anything from his time in Baltimore it was that the best player plays no matter if he’s getting paid like Willis McGahee or Le’Ron McClain. That might be just the ignition Greene needs to up-end the 31 year old Thomas Jones’ career. This could definitely be a case of the sidekick back-up unproven option stealing too much of the star’s light, and slowly eating into that profile he worked so hard to build. Drop Thomas in your rankings, yes, but don’t completely ignore the guy. I’ve seen him falling way too far in Fantasy Drafts, and there’s a good chance he’s still a productive piece of the Jets rushing attack.

Chris Johnson and LenDale White

Last season it was Chris Johnson eating into White’s numbers, but this season the roles may be reversed. I’ve noticed Chris Johnson getting lots of fantasy love on draft days. But LenDale is now a much slimmer and still powerful version of himself. Everyone expected Chris Johnson to continue his growing percentage of carries from last season. After starting pretty equal, he was definitely the horse the Titans tried to ride down the stretch. But this season could be a lot more even than people are ready to believe. LenDale has always had a knack for the end-zone with very athletic feet for a big powerful back. Coming into camp in the best shape of his life, running faster than ever, and apparently buying into everything more than ever before makes him a sneaky thief to Johnson’s carries. When you add the often forgotten fact that LenDale is smack dab in the midst of a contract season, he has even more to play for, a future contract and a starting gig (if the Titans don’t want to pay the man his money). So before you draft Chris Johnson with all his speed and excitement and all that man-love you have for him – remember, there’s a big bad touchdown thieving guy from USC that not only has something to prove, but money to earn in 2009. Chris should still be a nice player in 2009, he’s a great young back, but expecting even more impressive numbers in 2009 might disappoint you this season.

2009 Tiered Fantasy Rankings: Tight Ends

TE’s are kind of an afterthought on draft day, I never spend much on them (in terms of auction dollars or high draft picks) but a consistent point scorer at TE is tough to come by. I’ve always figured that if you don’t get a Top 5 guy, one should just wait until the end to take a chance on a kid with high upside. This year seems a little different in my book, as many young pass catching TE’s have nice upside in ’09. Not only that but after the Top 5, there’s plenty of guys that could have big years, and should put up points week in and week out. Not much seperates the 2nd class from themselves, but hopefully my tiers can help you out with the Top 25 TE’s in ’09.


  1. Jason Witten (1)
  2. Antonio Gates (2)
  3. Dallas Clark (3)
  4. Tony Gonzalez (4)

This is the top tier, and top it is. The rest of the TE’s aren’t likely to finish in the Top 4, as these guys basically have the spot on lockdown. Witten is my #1 because he’s a TE and a #1 option on his offense without too much taking away touches from him. Think Tony Gonzalez in KC last season, but a better QB for Witten in Dallas. Gates is still a stud despite injuries nagging on his numbers the last couple years. Despite Vincent Jackson’s rise in SD, Gates is still the #1 receiving option, and I expect him to have his best season in the last 3 years. Dallas Clark will be Peyton Manning’s #2 or #3 this season. With Marvin gone, Anthony G and Clark will get a majority of Marvin’s old target, which makes Clark that much more of a solid TE. Tony G might be the best TE of all time, no doubt about it, but he is in a new offense with a lot of talent surrounding him. He’ll do big things in Atlanta, but I don’t think there’s enough balls to get Gonzo as many catches as he had last season. He’s still a top tier guy, but the bottom of that barrell.


  1. Chris Cooley (5)
  2. Kellen Winslow (6)

All by themselves in my second tier are Chris Cooley and Kellen Winslow. Cooley never really gets his due, and despite a semi-slow year for the Redskin passing attack in ’08, Cooley should be back in the Top 5 in ’09. Cooley is a big reliable target for Jason Campbell, a quarterback I see taking a big jump in 2009. With much of the focus on Portis and Moss, Cooley will find himself collecting fantasy points like Bengals collect arrests. Kellen Winslow is in a new uniform in ’09 and he’s still one of the most talented TEs out there. Winslow might not have the best QB getting him the ball, but he will have plenty of opportunities to make himself a valueable option for fantasy owners. He’s risky, but the kid is tough and plays through bumps and bruises and low grade muscle tears. I don’t think you’ll regret having Winslow fill your TE spot.


  1. Owen Daniels (7)
  2. Zach Miller (8)
  3. Greg Olson (9)
  4. John Carlson (10)

Owen Daniels is the highest returning scorer of this group, and a good argument could be made for him being included in the 2nd tier, but this is my ranking system and I’ll do what I want. Owen sure accumulates the catches, but I think Slaton gets more involved this year, Schaub likes to throw to his receivers, and something in me just sees Owen taking a tiny little step backwards. Still a solid TE option, but not a Top 5 guy. Zach Miller is a stud. JaMarcus Russell and the Raiders look like they are going to be better offensively this season. McFadden is going to play well and the other Raider runners will draw attention too. Russell likes going to Miller, and why not? Sure hands, big body, a QB’s best friend. Greg Olson is shooting up draft boards everywhere because he and Jay Cutler apparently have “chemistry” – ooh that sexy little word. One thing is true, Olson just jacked the starting TE job in Chicago. Another thing, he’s probably got the best hands amongst receivers. Cutler likes it when his guys catch his passes. Not a Top 5 guy in my opinion, but he’s in the Top 10, and his upside is nice. Carlson looks good to me too. I know Jim Mora likes utilizing talented tight ends, and Carlson proved he was one of those in his rookie season where he was the best pass catcher in Seattle. This year he might not lead the team in catches, but he’ll get his fair share, especially if the Hawks offense improves as much as I think they will.


  1. Jeremy Shockey (11)
  2. Visanthe Shiancoe (12)
  3. Tony Scheffler (13)
  4. Anthony Fasano (14)
  5. Dustin Keller (15)
  6. Chase Coffman (16)
  7. Vernon Davis (17)
  8. Brandon Petitgrew (18)
  9. Kevin Boss (19)
  10. Heath Miller (20)
  11. Todd Heap (21)
  12. Bo Scaife (22)
  13. Brent Celek (23)
  14. Jermichael Finley (24)

You’re in a weird league if you need 24 ranked TEs, but if you need more than that I can’t help you. If you think I’m not a fan of TE’s, you’re right on the button. But they are a nessecary evil in most situations, and any of these guys could give you what you need: a big athletic lineman type player that lucks out and catches a touchdown now and then. Right, so Shockey heads my list because he has high upside, a starting job, and he’s real athletic when he catches the ball. He’s in the same tier as unproven TEs that may or may not fizzle out and become nothing because of the whole “when he catches the ball” thing. But he could be great. Shaincoe is very underrated, so I put him here. I think Rosenfels will look for him often. Fasano is solid, will get points and his 15 yard routes are perfect because that’s where Chad Pennington’s arm limits out. Seriously. Dustin Keller has tons of talent and has the most speed on the list, but Kellen Clemmens scares me and the other option is a rookie. Chase Coffman already had more talent than any other TE in Cinci, but now the other guys are injured, and he might walk into TE production right off the bat. Upside. Speaking of upside, draft bust Vernon Davis might finally be a TE worth having now that Martz is gone (where is Martz these days anyway?). But Vernon knows how to disappoint, click clack style. Petitgrew is a young all around solid TE in an offense that will likely see it’s fair share of Matthew Stafford – and he might be the 2nd best receiving option in Detroit. Kevin Boss, he is the TE for the highest paid QB in the NFL – just saying that makes my puke. But Boss doesn’t have sure-fire receiving options on the outside, and he might be the guy that makes up for Burress’s absence. Miller and Heap. Miller won’t ever be grand but Heap might never be fantasy worthy again. Both have their place though, Miller because he manages to catch TDs and is pretty consistent in points, and Heap because he was pro-bowl material for a few years there. Bo Scaife broke onto the scene last year, but I think his production falls a bit as Collins (or Young) become more confident in the receiving options in Tennessee. Brent Celek put up solid numbers in Philadelphia, and now he’s the main guy at TE in that offense. Still, there’s too many talented players on that team for him to acrue too many numbers, right? And last is a back-up, with lots of upside, Finley. Green Bay really likes this kid, but he’s also option #6 or so, just like Celek, but keep an eye out!