Fantasy Football Top Picks 2010
Fantasy Football Top Picks
Let’s face it: the top picks in a fantasy football draft are the most important ones. The first couple of rounds are what we spend most of our time obsessing over, joining mock drafts to study, and read about in fantasy football magazines. Every publication and website has its “fantasy football top picks” list, and ESPN NFL Live and SportsCenter training camp reports are going to focus on these guys.
But when you read a fantasy football magazine, you tend to hear all the good things about these guys, and seldom hear why you shouldn’t draft people in the top two rounds. I’m a natural pessimist (call me a “realist”), so the first thing I do when I look at a top fantasy football prospect is to think of reasons why I should avoid this guy. Pessimism can be a real downer in many aspects of life, but it actually serves a fantasy football owner pretty well.
Fantasy Football Rounds 1 and 2.
You look at the Top 24 list of fantasy players from last year, and a whole lot of those guys sucked. Even if they weren’t terrible, their production didn’t warrant being selected in the first or second round of a fantasy football draft. Heck, I’d say that half of the guys drafted in the top two rounds in 2009 were “busts”, or at least disappointments.
Now there are those fantasy football experts who’ll tell you that the middle rounds are where fantasy football leagues are won, and they’re right, to a certain degree. Certainly, you can’t win a fantasy league with just your first and second rounders. But like they say in baseball: you can’t win a division in April, but you can lose a division in April. It’s the same in fantasy football: you can’t make the playoffs in the first two rounds of a fantasy football draft, but you sure can miss the playoffs, if those picks are failures.
With that in mind, we’re going to put all our focus in this article on the top picks in your upcoming 2010 fantasy football draft. Using an “Average Draft Position” or ADP list from a respected website using real data from online 2010 fantasy football drafts that have already happened, I’m going to go over what the first two rounds of redrafts look like this year, then make suggestions where I would like to be selecting in 2010. I’ll discuss each and every player who is being drafted by average draft position in the first 24 picks. I’ll tell you why I wouldn’t draft that player in that position, why I would draft that player in that position, and somewhere in between, you should be able to get good information to make your selection.
After it’s all said and done, I think this discussion should take you through the process of evaluating high picks in fantasy football, and give you some provocative thoughts on the top guys that you can consider – and either accept or dismiss – when you start building your 2010 fantasy football draft lists.
Fantasy Football 1st Round Picks
1. Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
2. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
3. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens
4. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
5. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans
6. Frank Gore, RB, Niners
7. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
8. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
9. Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
10. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
11. Drew Brees, QB, Saints
12. Michael Turner, RB, Falcons
Fantasy Football 2nd Round Picks
13. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers
14. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
15. Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys
16. Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins
17. Roddy White, WR, Falcons
18. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers
19. DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
20. Peyton Manning, QB, Colts
21. Randy Moss, WR, Vikings
22. Greg Jennings, WR, Packers
23. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
24. Shonn Green, RB, Jets
Give Me the 12th Pick
I think I could start a pretty good fantasy football team with Michael Turner and Rashard Mendenhall at 12 & 13. Sometimes, those picks look awful, but I’d be pretty satisfied. Of course, Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene look like a good combo, too. The same goes for Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles, too.
This appears to me to be a pretty deep draft in the top rounds. I think the teams with high 3rd-round selections might have an advantage, since there are a number of 2nd-round talents falling into the third. Look at the next group of players on the ADP list.
Ryan Matthews, RB, San Diego Chargers
Sidney Rice, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints
Chris Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
I would be pretty thrilled drafting any of those six players as a third rounder, despite having some qualms about Beanie Wells (Hightower is still technically the starter, though I’m sure that changes by Week 1). But you could feel pretty good drafting DeSean Jackson, Randy Moss or Greg Jennings in the low-2nd, knowing some good runner has to fall to you in the 3rd.
Chris Johnson – Running Back – Tennessee Titans
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Chris Johnson #1 – Chris Johnson had about as big of a year in 2009 as any fantasy owner can hope to expect. Unless you were an absolute idiot GM, Chris Johnson at the very least assured you made the playoffs. But as I always say: they call them career years for a reason.
I’d be willing to bet a whole lot of money that Chris Johnson never has another year like 2009. That still leaves a lot of room for excellence, but there are good reasons to expect a disappointment from Chris Johnson in 2010. Between rushing attempts and catches, CJ had over 400 touches last year. That’s a tremendous workload for any back, and it’s especially large for a guy who was considered smallish coming into the NFL.
Sure, Chris Johnson has proven he can be an every down back in the NFL, but this goes beyond that. The mythical 370+ rushes plateau wasn’t technically hit, since Johnson only rushed 350 times in 2009. But his 50+ receptions mean he went significantly over 370 tackles, which take a toll on a running back. Statistics show that backs with that kind of workload just aren’t as good the next year. They tend to get nagging injuries. Some have major injuries. Even those who play 16 games tend to less explosive. They just look slower out there.
That happened to Michael Turner in 2009. It happened to Matt Forte, too. Both had the biggest workloads of 2008, with 370+ combined touches. Factor in the fact that Chris Johnson is considering a holdout – training camp holdouts also raise the risk of injury – and there are good reasons not to take Chris Johnson #1 in 2010.
Why You Should Draft Chris Johnson #1 – No, duh. Do you want to be the guy who doesn’t take CJ #1 overall, only to see him be the first guy in NFL history gain 2,000 yards? This is as close to a no-brainer pick as you’ll ever get in a fantasy football draft. Chris Johnson proved he was an absolute stud, performing when the Tennessee Titans were on their long losing streak, then performing when they went on their winning streak. Chris Johnson is more of a lynchpin for the Titans than any RB in the NFL right now.
Chris Johnson is the offense in Tennessee. He’s not splitting carries, like Adrian Peterson has at times in years past. He’s on a better team than Maurice-Jones Drew or Stephen Jackson. Chris Johnson doesn’t have the injury history of Frank Gore. Chris Johnson is clearly the #1 player in fantasy football coming into 2010. Take him with a clean conscience, and if things don’t pan out, then it just wasn’t in the cards.
Adrian Peterson – Running Back – Minnesota Vikings
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Adrian Peterson #2 – It always comes down to injuries with the running backs. There’s no bigger stud in the NFL right now than Adrian Peterson. But when Peterson came into the NFL out of OU, he had the injury-prone tag. Anyone remember that dive into the endzone that effectively ended Adrian Peterson’s college career?
In his 3 NFL seasons, Adrian Peterson has been remarkably healthy, considering the question marks at the time he was drafted. But he’s also had Chester Taylor as a reliable backup in Minnesota all this time. While Taylor took 3rd down production and a few TDs throughout the year (sometimes making Peterson’s fantasy owners crazy), Chester Taylor’s presence helped Adrian Peterson stay healthy and primed to perform. Now Taylor is gone in free agency to the division rival Chicago Bears, and Peterson looks like he’s going to shoulder the workload more than at any other time in his NFL career.
That isn’t a good thing. Toby Gerhart doesn’t look like a replacement for Chester Taylor, since Gerhart goes at 230-235 lbs. It’s Peterson’s show on 1st, 2nd and 3rd down, every down, as long as he lasts. The Vikings play an awful lot of games on turf, which is harder on players than grass.
You and I know, sooner or later, it’s going to happen. Running backs only last so long, and the big, upright runners like Adrian Peterson are always the first to go. Don’t be the one who’s stuck with Peterson when it happens.
Why You Should Draft Adrian Peterson #2 – Adrian Peterson is the lone guy in Minnesota for the first time. He’s going to get every touch, every reception, every down for the Vikings. Otherwise, the situation hasn’t changed in Minnesota.
We all know that Brett Favre will be back sometime in the latter stages of training camp. If anything, the receiving corps should be better, with Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin given an extra year to gain experience with Favre, and with Bernard Berrian healthier than a year ago. The Defense is going to be as stout as ever, with Jared Allen, Pat Williams and Kevin Williams still anchoring the most imposing defensive line in football.
The Vikings are ready to make another deep run in 2010. This is the year it all comes together. This should be Adrian Peterson’s career year. Don’t worry about injuries until they happen. It’s time for Adrian Peterson to peak.
Ray Rice – Running Back – Baltimore Ravens
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Ray Rice – Ray Rice surprised a lot of people in 2009, and a lot of people grabbed a nice sleeper in the 5th to 7th rounds, depending on how early your league draft was. I saw Willis McGahee go off the board before Ray Rice in one league (granted, not a league I’m too proud of winning), which told me it was time to grab the Baltimore Ravens starter. Through the first four weeks of the season, Ray Rice was getting all the production, and Willis McGahee led the NFL with 7 touchdowns. From Week 5 on, Ray Rice was about as good as you could get in fantasy football.
In 2010, the Baltimore Ravens are going to have some new pieces to add into the mix. Anquan Boldin dictates an expanded passing game. The development of Joe Flacco in his 3rd year suggests an expansion of the passing game, too. It’s time to let the young franchise quarterback take over more of a leadership role on offense.
Meanwhile, the Ravens Defense is getting older. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are starting to look the part of old NFL players, while the Baltimore Defense continues to evolve beyond the unit Rex Ryan was building up until he left 18 months ago. When a defense starts to falter, that almost always hurts the numbers of a running back.
Why You Should Draft Ray Rice – Oh, who am I kidding here? Ray Rice is about as safe of a draft pick as you can make in 2010. He’s only been an NFL contributor for 1 year. As far as running backs go, he’s as likely as any to stay healthy. Ray Rice has Willis McGahee and Leron McClain to spell him, so it’s not like he’s going to be worn to the nub.
And the Ravens are as well-run a franchise as their is in the NFL, under the guidance of Ozzie Newsome. The Baltimore Ravens have a young quarterback, additional firepower on offense, and there’s little to suggest they are going to falter in the AFC North. In fact, with Ben Roethlisberger out 4-6 weeks due to suspension, and the division champion Cincinnati Bengals almost certain not to go 6-0 against the AFC North again, I would say the Ravens have a better outlook in 2010, than in 2009.
In fact, I saw Ray Rice go #1 in a mock draft earlier tonight. I’m not so sure that isn’t a good idea. Chris Johnson worked miracles last year, but he’s on a worse offense and is coming off a huge load. Adrian Peterson has had two more seasons of full NFL pounding. I finish where I started: Ray Rice is about as safe of a pick as their is among 2010′s 1st round running backs.
Maurice Jones-Drew – Running Back – Jacksonville Jaguars
Why You Shouldn’t Draft – No matter how durable he’s been, Maurice Jones-Drew is still listed as 5’7″. You know how they tend to exaggerate the height of the small guys in the NFL. By any standards, Maurice Jones-Drew is a diminutive NFL player. Sooner or later, that has to catch up to him.
Besides that, the Jacksonville Jaguars are a team in crisis in 2010. They are imploring fans to show up at games, afraid they’ll have to leave the area. David Garrard is 32 and still hasn’t developed into the franchise quarterback they always hoped he would become. Mike Sims-Walker showed promise in 2009, but he also showed he’s a little crazy, after he was suspended the day of the Seattle Seahawks game. The Jags high round defensive picks haven’t been showing a whole lot in recent years, so what makes you think the new additions will be any better?
In the end, Maurice Jones-Drew is a small back carrying the full load on a bad team. The bottom could drop out in 2010.
Why You Should Draft Maurice Jones-Drew – Jones-Drew has always carried a chip on his shoulder about the height issue. He’s also about as wide as he is tall, and that’s a good thing. Maurice Jones-Drew has shown he’s a sturdy NFL runner, and it was years before Brian Westbrook, a similar player, began to wear down. Jones-Drew is still only 25. Besides, Jacksonville plays on grass, which reduces the risk of injury.
Besides that, Maurice Jones-Drew was statistically the #2 RB in many scoring formats in 2009, edging out Adrian Peterson in many systems. That was on a pretty bad Jaguars team. The Jags aren’t likely to be any worse this year. You’ve seen Maurice Jones-Drew perform to big standards in a worst-case scenario. All of the other RBs’s teams at the top of the draft have farther to fall than MJD’s.
Andre Johnson – Wide Receiver – Houston Texans
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Andre Johnson #5 – Never draft a wide receiver this high in a draft. Andre Johnson is great, but there are still top running backs to draft. The difference in the #5 running back and the #15 running back is stark. The difference in Andre Johnson and the #11 wide receiver just isn’t as big of a gap. The gap gets even wider as you go down 10 more spots.
The fact is, the wide receiver position is always deeper than the running backs. If there’s a top tier running back left on the board, you draft him. Frank Gore might not be as new and exciting as some of the guys further up the list, but he averaged as many points a game as Ray Rice in 2009 and Gore’s team is likely to improve even more in 2010, which usually helps an RBs numbers.
I’m not going to tell you that Andre Johnson isn’t great. He’s an absolute stud. But let me leave you with this. Matt Schaub has always been a little injury prone. In fact, he’s almost certain to get injured at some point in the season. And when he does, you’ll still be depending on Andre Johnson to be a 1st round difference maker, so much better than the other WRs that he’s worth drafting that high. In that moment, Texans backup QB Dan Orlovsky will hold your fantasy season in the palm of his hands.
Why You Should Draft Andre Johnson #5 – There is an ebb-and-flow to NFL careers. NFL players tend to enter their prime at age 26, and tend to stay in their prime until age 29 or 30. Those numbers shift down a couple of years, if you’re a running back. But for a 29-year old wide receiver like Andre Johnson, this is the prime of his life. He’ll never be any better than he is right now.
Often, a whole roster of players follow this ebb-and-flow. That’s the way it is with the Houston Texans. The team has slowly been building up a stock of NFL-caliber players over the past few years, slowly gathering a team capable of challenging the Indianapolis Colts. Every year, they play the Colts in tough games, only to fall short in the waning moments. But every year, the Colts stars get a little older. Every year, the Texans build the foundation a little stronger; their key players get a little more experienced.
Now, Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson have had time to grow into the players they are now. In 2010, they might be the most lethal QB-WR combo in football. 2010 is the year for the Houston Texans to break through and, if they do it, Andre Johnson has to be the #1 wide receiver in football. This is his year.
Frank Gore – Running Back – San Francisco 49ers
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Frank Gore – Frank Gore came into the NFL as an injury risk. Through 5 NFL seasons, Frank Gore has accumulated 1,392 combined touches (rushing attempts, receptions). He’s been a highly productive player, but that kind of workload has to take a toll on a runner. Now at age 27, Frank Gore is starting to enter the danger zone for NFL running backs. Any year could be the year.
The San Francisco 49ers front office seems to sense the same thing. The Niners brass drafted rookie RB Glenn Coffee in 2009. The team added rookie RB Anthony Dixon in the 2010 Draft. The Niners are preparing for the worst, because they know what you should know – 27 is leaning towards old for an NFL ball carrier.
Why You Should Draft Frank Gore – If you’re in a redraft league, you have nothing to worry about. If you had Gore as a keeper or in a dynasty league, you should be considering trading him this year sometime. But for a redraft, he’s fine and ready to go. In fact, he’s better than that.
The San Francisco 49ers play in one of the weakest divisions in football, getting four games against the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams. The Arizona Cardinals continue to win the division, but they are hardly what you consider an imposing defense. The Niners also get the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the schedule. Not only are those teams easy matchups, but that also means the 49ers are playing a lot of games on grass this season, which should help Gore’s chances of staying healthy.
This is the Niners year. That means Gore should get more touchdown opportunities. It also means he should rack up more yards in the 4th quarter against tired defenses.
Larry Fitzgerald – Wide Receiver – Arizona Cardinals
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Larry Fitzgerald in the 1st Round – Two words: Matt Leinart. The Larry Fitzgerald you knew may no longer be. Kurt Warner is retired, so Fitz has lost a Hall of Fame caliber passer. That’s a huge loss for his career, because Matt Leinart never has shown he can be a consistent NFL quarterback. Actually, that might be giving Leinart too much credit. Consistency suggests he’s good some of the time. Matt Leinart hasn’t shown he can be an effective NFL passer.
Besides that, Anquan Boldin is gone to Baltimore. That means opposing defenses are going to be able to focus on Larry Fitzgerald exclusively in their game plannning. While Steve Breaston and Early Doucet have talent, they simply don’t have the accomplishments of Anquan Boldin. Teams are going to blanket Larry Fitzgerald, daring Matt Leinart to beat them throwing to the other guys.
On top of that, Chris “Beanie” Wells should continue to develop. I get the suspicion that Ken Whisenhunt would like to turn the Cardinals into more of a running team, like the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise that Whisenhunt came from to Arizona. His remedy for the Matt Leinart concerns is likely to build a strong running game around Chris Wells and Tim Hightower. All of this spells a drop in Fitzgerald’s production.
Why You Should Draft Larry Fitzgerald in the 1st Round – Some players are just excellent. Double teams don’t matter. Mediocre quarterbacks don’t matter. Some players rise above it all, succeeding despite the odds stacked against them. Larry Fitzgerald is one of those talents.
I’m not arguing that the Cardinals Offense might not be the juggernaut that it once was. But the Cardinals Offense can falter and Larry Fitzgerald is still capable of putting up huge numbers. In fact, Leinart is likely to turn to Fitzgerald as his security blanket, forcing the ball into the tall wideout when Warner would have looked elsewhere. There’s nothing to say that Fitzgerald can’t continue to post huge fantasy numbers.
Besides, just because Matt Leinart wasn’t as good as Kurt Warner, doesn’t mean he can’t still be an effective NFL passer. Given a chance, he might show some of the talent that made him a Top 10 NFL Draft pick. And if he stinks it up, the Cardinals can always bring in Derek Anderson, who is known for throwing the deep ball well. What does it matter to Fitz’s fantasy stats, if Anderson throws a few interceptions along the way?
Aaron Rodgers – Quarterback – Green Bay Packers
Why You Shouldn’t Draft in the 1st Round – No quarterback is worth a #1 draft pick. The difference between Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees is slight. The difference between Aaron Rodgers and the #10 quarterback still isn’t that much. It’s just not worth it to draft a quarterback this high. Grab a solid RB or a stud WR instead, then grab the #6 QB three rounds later and be happy.
Aaron Rodgers has taken a beating these past two years, anyway. With the Packers ragged offensive line, Aaron Rodgers has hit the dirt a whole lot of times. He has weapons in Jennings, Driver and Finley, I’ll grant you that, but all these dropbacks means he’s getting dropped way too much. The Vikings Defense is going to be as fierce as it was in 2009, and the Chicago Bears pass rush should be much improved with Julius Peppers’ addition.
It might be different if Ryan Grant was a difference maker at running back. But despite good production in the fantasy playoffs in 2009, Ryan Grant isn’t a guy who is going to take the pressure of a pass rush off a young quarterback. Is it worth putting your season on the line for any QB?
Why You Should Draft Aaron Rodgers in the 1st Round – Aaron Rodgers put up huge numbers in 2009, and he’s still only 26. The 2009 campaign was with injuries up and down the offensive line, with a sub-par year from Greg Jennings, and a rookie dealing with nagging injuries in Jermichael Finley. All three of those factors should be improved in 2010.
In fact, Jermichael Finley is ready to break out as a tight end, if he didn’t in his rookie season. The Packers addressed the offensive line in the offseason, though it should improve just from an offseason to heal. And if the Packers o-line is improved, that means the Packers deep threat, Greg Jennings, should have time to run the kind of routes he excels at. Aaron Rodgers is just coming into his prime, and there’s every reason to think he’s going to be better in 2010 than he was in 2009. Aaron Rodgers is clearly the #1 QB in fantasy football.
Steven Jackson – Running Back – St. Louis Rams
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Steven Jackson – Two years ago, I had Steven Jackson pegged as a large ball carrier who ran upright and, as a result, had a lot of injury concerns. Jackson has been relatively healthy for a couple of years now, which is a major plus. But in the intervening two seasons, the St. Louis Rams have gone to being arguably the worst team in the NFL. To his credit Steven Jackson has been able to fight through the bad cast around him to put up 1st round fantasy football numbers. But I wonder when he stops beating the odds.
If you’re played fantasy football awhile, you know that running backs off of poor teams can put up solid numbers, but they aren’t likely to put up #1 overall numbers. That means Steven Jackson has a lower ceiling than someone like Adrian Peterson or Ray Rice. RBs on bad teams aren’t going to get as many touchdown opportunities, and they aren’t going to be on the field for as much time in a game. Jackson counteracts those facts with good reception totals and an all-around fantasy-friendly game. But a running back on a bad team just isn’t going to be as consistent, because there are going to be several games where the offense gets completely shut down.
In 2010, Sam Bradford enters the discussion. That means help is on the way. Unfortunately, most NFL rookie quarterbacks struggle. It’s not like Sam Bradford takes over a playoff contender the way Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Marc Sanchez did their rookie years. The best you can hope for is a Matt Ryan situation, where the QB transforms the situation. Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to happen in St. Louis. More than likely, by the time Sam Bradford is ready to lead the Rams, Steven Jackson is going to be winding down his fine career.
In the end, Steven Jackson represents a big runner who is racking up serious totals on receptions and rushes in his career, who is playing on a bad team. It’s bound to happen that he wears down, since big guys get hit more often and more solidly than smaller guys. That may not be this year, but I wouldn’t recommend betting on Steven Jackson.
Why You Should Draft Steven Jackson – Once again, you’ve seen this guy perform under the worst situation you could imagine him being involved in. The Rams have been awful later, yet Steven Jackson continues to produce big fantasy numbers. And while Sam Bradford might not be ready to lead the Rams to a Superbowl in 2010, that’s not the point. All Sam Bradford has to be is better than the Rams’ QB situation the last several seasons, when Marc Bulger couldn’t stay healthy and the team was relying on the likes of Kyle Boller and his ilk.
If Sam Bradford improves the QB position with the Rams, then the Rams are going to be better in 2010. The offensive situation is going to be better. Even some improvement dictates that Steven Jackson could improve on his numbers from 2009, which weren’t bad. Steven Jackson is still only 26, so put those injury concerns away for another year or two.
Calvin Johnson – Wide Receiver – Detroit Lions
Why You Shouldn’t Draft in the 1st Round – If you had Calvin Johnson in 2009, you’re not likely to be drafting him in the 1st round in 2010. That’s always a sign of where a player’s value lies, is to see if his owners from last year would want to draft him in the same place again.
Don’t get me wrong: Calvin Johnson has all the tools to be an NFL superstar. Most of his problems from a year ago stem from nagging injuries that lasted all year, along with injuries to his talented young QB later in the season. But what if Calvin Johnson’s injuries last year are an indication of a bigger problem? What if Stafford’s are? Either could derail a comeback campaign by Megatron.
Here’s the question: do you really want to trust your season to a Detroit Lion? That’s what you do if you draft Calvin Johnson in the 1st round of your draft. At the very least, hold off and draft this guy as your 2nd rounder.
Why You Should Draft Calvin Johnson – Once Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson have an offseason to get healthy, the two should return as one of the most dynamic young QB/WR combinations in football. Calvin Johnson should have had his breakout year in 2009, but injuries got in the way. It’s something to be saying “breakout”, when you say that Calvin Johnson had 12 touchdowns in 2008. Those are huge numbers for a 2nd year receiver.
Once Stafford and Johnson have a chance to get on the same page, they should be able to match that number in 2010. Also consider that the Lions added Jahvid Best, which should help distract defenses from focusing entirely on Calvin Johnson. To help bolster the offense and give Matt Stafford more options, the Detroit front office also brought in Nate Burleson and Tony Scheffler in the offseason. Slowly but surely, the Detroit Lions are putting together a team that isn’t a complete mess. If they can ever get to average, Calvin Johnson’s talent should make him a Top 3 fantasy receiver.
Drew Brees – Quarterback – New Orleans Saints
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Drew Brees in the 1st Round – Teams that win the Superbowl usually don’t make a return. Something happens along the way. Teams on top tend to fall off the top, and quickly. Maybe it’s a Superbowl hangover. Maybe it’s lingering controversy from the illegal drug scandal. Maybe the Saints Defense returns to being the Achilles heel it’s been in years past. Or maybe it’s what often gets teams: too many injuries after a year with 19 or 20 games.
Whatever the case, you can bet the Saints 2010 season isn’t going to be as good or as dominating as their 2009 season. Often, a Superbowl champ doesn’t even win its division the next season. The quickest way for the New Orleans Saints to falter is if Drew Brees falters somehow, either through injury or ineffectiveness. Since recent history suggests ineffectivness isn’t likely, a 30+ Drew Brees could flirt with injury again, like he did in his last season with the Chargers.
That’s idle speculation, though. The real reason you don’t want to draft Drew Brees in the first round of a fantasy draft is that quarterbacks just aren’t worth it. Far better to add a top WR or a stud RB at this spot, then grab an elite QB two or three rounds later. Elite runners won’t be there in the 4th or 5th, but elite passers will be.
Why You Should Draft Drew Brees in the 1st Round – Drew Brees has been the best fantasy football quarterback over the past 4 seasons. That means he’s had four combined better seasons than Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. He’s simply been the best during his time with the New Orleans Saints – bar none.
Nothing has changed for 2010. The Saints still have Marques Colston and Reggie Bush. The Saints have Pierre Thomas and Jeremy Shockey. Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson stepped up in 2009, while Lance Moore should be healthy for the first time since 2008. Drew Brees is only 31, while the line and defense are largely intact. Nothing has changed for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
I could see drafting Aaron Rodgers as the rising star, especially since Rodgers had the best numbers in 2009 (but only arguably, since Brees didn’t play Week 17). I could see drafting Peyton Manning for the incredible consistency over a decade of work. But in a league where three years is a lifetime, Drew Brees has been the best of the bunch over that period of time.
Michael Turner – Running Back – Atlanta Falcons
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Michael Turner in the 1st Round – Michael Turner is 28. He’s a big running back who takes a lot of solid hit. He didn’t bounce back from the 376+ touches he had back in 2008. He was injured much of the season, and didn’t look so hot much of the season when he was healthy. Or maybe you’re in a point-per-reception league. Since Michael Turner gets about 10 receptions per year in a good year, you have to downgrade him in receptions leagues.
So there you have it: age, injury concerns, and no receptions. Add in the fact that Matt Ryan is in his third year and that he’s naturally going to take a bigger role in the offense, and there are reasons to be concerned about Michael Turner’s fitness to be a 1st rounder in 2010.
Why You Should Draft Michael Turner in the 1st Round – The most important fact about Michael Turner is he’s the sole ball carrier in Atlanta. Jerious Norwood can’t stay healthy long enough to contribute, and never got more than sporadic carries when he was healthy. Jason Snelling is more of a fullback type, though he filled in admirably when Turner and Norwood were both out of the picture in 2009. But when everyone is healthy and ready to go, Michael Turner gets the lion’s share of the carries. There just aren’t that many runners in the NFL you can say that about.
As for the age factor, Michael Turner is a special case. He’s 28, but he’s also been an NFL starter for only 2 years. A large part of being a late-20′s running back in the NFL is about the amount of carries accumulated. Think about it? Players don’t hit the wall at other NFL positions at age 29. Players don’t hit the wall in other sports at age 29. It isn’t the age; it’s the workload. Michael Turner hasn’t had nearly the carries that most 28 year old RBs have, which conventional wisdom tells you is getting old.
So Michael Turner should be good-to-go for 2010. He’s on a playoff contender which continues to improve its defense, meaning Turner should be on the field a whole lot more than in 2009. Sure, I don’t like the lack of receptions, which is why turner isn’t a higher 1st round pick. But when Michael Turner is clicking, he’s going to make up for that shortcoming with touchdowns.
Rashard Mendenhall – Running Back – Pittsburgh Steelers
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Rashard Mendenhall – Ben Roethlisberger is out for the first 4 weeks of the NFL season for sure, and possibly for 6 weeks. Almost half of Rashard Mendenhall’s regular season (fantasy season) production is going to be tied to either Dennis Dixon or Byron Leftwich. Then remember that Santonio Holmes is gone, and Limas Sweed is out for the season already. So is the Steelers starting right tackle. Their line hasn’t been so great for two years, which makes it miraculous they won the Superbowl a year and a half ago. Mendenhall’s numbers were inconsistent at times last year, because of the line’s inconsistency.
Meanwhile, Rashard Mendenhall’s NFL career has been spotty, so far. He made it through half of a game as a starter his rookie season, before a shoulder injury put him out for the year. That might seem like ages ago, but Mendenhall has only made it through 1 of 2 NFL campaigns. Consider that the front office drafted Jonathan Dwyer, a rookie who was being touted as a possible 1st round NFL Draft selection only a year ago. Dwyer is big, though not very fast. That kind of runner has flourished in Pittsburgh before. While I’m not suggesting Rashard Mendenhall has to worry about his starting job (he doesn’t), the departure of Fast Willie Parker doesn’t necessarily mean Mendenhall gets every carry.
Why You Should Draft Rashard Mendenhall – The Steelers are going to need to win with defense and a running game until Ben Roethlisberger returns. That means the Steelers are going to lean heavily on Mendenhall in the early stages of the season. If it works, then Mendenhall could easily remain the focus for the offense, even when Ben Roethlisberger returns. That’s the way NFL teams go: units get chemistry and they go with that chemistry.
Even if the Steelers have a rough start, Roethlisberger will be back for the home stretch and the fantasy playoffs. That’s when you need him to come through big time. Until then, you still have Mendenhall healthy, so there’s nothing that says he can’t be productive enough to be worth a late-1st, early-2nd round selection.
Reggie Wayne – Wide Receiver – Indianapolis Colts
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Reggie Wayne – Reggie Wayne is 31 now and he’s had some nagging injuries in recent years. Besides, Dallas Clark is in his prime and he soaks up a huge percentage of the receptions. Between Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie, and Anthony Gonzales, the Colts have plenty of other weapons for Peyton Manning. As much as in the Marvin Harrison years, Reggie Wayne has plenty of other receivers to contend with. Back when Harrison was in his halcyon years, Reggie Wayne was being drafted in the 3rd round. Now he’s a consistent early 2nd rounder. Is he worth it?
You’re probably answering that question with a “yes”. But remember that the Colts are just as likely to be resting starters in the final weeks of the season, when you need those guys for your fantasy playoffs. Consider that Reggie Wayne is getting into his thirties, has plenty of other weapons to wolf production, and has concerns late in the season, and surely you can find a receiver more worthy.
Why You Should Draft Reggie Wayne – On the other hand, Reggie Wayne is the main receiver on the Indianapolis Colts offense, so you’re getting a hand on a large percentage of Peyton Manning’s production. Also, the unbeaten Colts streak is a bit of a fluke. You can’t account for which team or teams are going to go 14-0 in a season, though I would bet it won’t happen again in 2010 – especially with the Colts accomplishing that feat.
Reggie Wayne is one of the best receivers in football. His quarterback, Peyton Manning, is arguably the best QB. The Colts are one of the best offenses. That’s all you really need to know. Reggie Wayne is a pretty good bet to put up huge numbers in ’10.
Miles Austin – Wide Receiver – Dallas Cowboys
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Miles Austin in the 2nd Round – Miles Austin caught the league by surprise in 2009. Defensive coordinators weren’t gameplanning for him. In the latter stages of the season, teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins tried double-teaming him late in the season, and this had a serious effect on Miles Austin’s production in those games. In Austin’s defense, opposing defenses has nothing to worry about from the other receiver on the field (Roy Williams), who was being covered by every team’s fat kid. But the point holds true: Miles Austin is facing an entirely different defensive arrangement in 2010.
Besides that, Miles Austin seems to have gone Hollywood. He’s dating Kim Kardashian, fresh off the Reggie Bush experiment. Beyond that, Miles Austin is bucking for a long term contract, since he waited weeks and weeks beyond most of the players to sign his one-year tender offer. Despite the feel-good ’09 season, things could be better in Dallas, where Austin missed time as the voluntary workouts.
Then there’s Roy Williams. Jerry Jones has inexplicably announced that #11 is going to be the starting flanker opposite Miles Austin, meaning defenses have little to worry about across the field, despite the inclusion of Dez Bryant to the roster.
Why You Should Draft Miles Austin in the 2nd – Speaking of Dez Bryant, the Cowboys have a new weapon to add to the mix. We all know Bryant replaces Williams at some point. The situation isn’t exactly the way it was in 2009, when it was often Jason Witten and Austin and not much else. As far as Witten goes, the All-Pro tight end had what goes for a “down year” for him, so he should add more for defenses to consider coming this year.
Felix Jones finally stayed healthy long enough to put together several solid games in December and the playoffs. This should act as a springboard for him to become the starter, adding further punch to the offense. Even if Marion Barber and Felix Jones get dinged up during the season, the Cowboys still have Tashard Choice, so their running game should take pressure off Miles Austin. And what of Miles Austin himself?
Well, the Cowboys have been lining him up in the slot in O.T.A.s, which hides him from the double-team and pits him against a #3 cornerback on key plays. Dallas knows that teams are going to be gameplanning Miles Austin, and they’re making preparations. Besides, Tony Romo is a pretty good quarterback, so he and Miles Austin should be able to beat a few double-teams here or there, anyway.
As far as Kim Kardashian goes, the Kardashians are a good-luck charm. Think about it: Kim with Reggie Bush and Khloe married to Lamar Odom. That looks like 3-for-3 in world titles. So Dallas Cowboys fans should be saying: bring on the Kardashians. Maybe Miles should introduce Tony Romo to Kourtney.
Brandon Marshall – Wide Receiver – Miami Dolphins
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Brandon Marshall – Brandon Marshall is among the most talented wide receivers in football. I’m certain he’s glad to be out of Denver, where Josh McDaniels is convinced the Broncos don’t need a prima donna receiver (though they turned around and drafted a receiver the Broncs described as “like Brandon Marshall”). So he goes to the Dolphins, known for the Wildcat Offense and a two-headed running back monster named Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.
I wonder what Brandon Marshall is going to be doing all those plays the Dolphins are going to run without a quarterback. Maybe he’ll be loafing, like he did in the training camp practices that got him suspended by the team. I’m sure Brandon Marshall antics are going to go over well with Tony Spurano and Bill Parcells.
That’s my point: Brandon Marshall to the no-nonsense, run-first Dolphins seems like ill-fitting parts to me. Maybe the Dolphins completely change their offensive philosophy in 2010, unleashing the Chad Henne/Brandon Marshall combo. Maybe that happens, or maybe Brandon Marshall doesn’t get enough balls to be a 3rd rounder. In my mind, I might take a shot on Marshall in the 3rd, but not the 2nd.
Why You Should Draft Brandon Marshall – On the other hand, teams in the NFL usually don’t take the extra effort to trade for a player, only to knowingly waste his talents. So Bill Parcells and Tony Spurano probably decided they needed a #1 wide receiver and were happy to get one cheap from the Broncos. That could mean the Dolphins are ready to become 2-dimensional. Besides, even running teams often have enough production for one stud receiver, if he’s talented enough.
Chad Henne is still developing, but his development speeds up significantly with a big, strong receiver who gets plenty of run-after-catch yards. In fact, if you have a quarterback you’re not sure can be the big-time, big-play type, the best thing you can do for him is to collect receivers who give you plenty of REC yards. Like I mentioned earlier, I’d feel more comfortable with Brandon Marshall as my “3rd best player”, but he’s a huge NFL talent with big upside.
Roddy White – Wide Receiver – Atlanta Falcons
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Roddy White – Roddy White was battling injuries in the second half of 2009, which limited his production. In fact, that was a common theme with the Falcons Offense, since Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, and Jerious Norwood each had significant injuries. Sometimes, injuries become a chronic problem with a team. That could be the case with the Falcons.
The problem isn’t drafting Roddy White. It’s drafting Roddy White in the right spot. You’ll probably have to get him middle-to-low 2nd round, but is he worth that lofty spot in the draft? Roddy White has put up 3 pretty good years, but would you rather have him than Anquan Boldin? Marques Colston? Steve Smith the Younger? DeSean Freaking Jackson? I don’t think so.
Why You Should Draft Roddy White – Of course, none of those players have put up three straight years quite like Roddy White has. You get the idea Anquan Boldin and Marques Colston would, but both of those guys have had bigger injury concerns than Roddy White. The Giants Steve Smith looked great last year, but he’s only done it one year, and Hakeem Nicks might overtake him as the man in New York this year.
While DeSean Jackson has looked great his first two years in the NFL, that was with Donovan McNabb throwing to him. I think Kevin Kolb should be able to do over 16 games what he did in 2 as a starter last year, but you never really know, until the player does it. So of all the guys listed, Roddy White is the surest prospect. Draft without reservations.
DeAngelo Williams – Running Back – Carolina Panthers
Why You Shouldn’t Draft DeAngelo Williams – Two words: Jonathan Stewart. Jonathan Stewart came on at the end of last year, making a case that he should be the Panthers’ main man at running back. At the same time, DeAngelo Williams started to wear down and get injured. It’s possible that was an early sign of what’s to come in 2010 and beyond. You just never know how much of a pounding a RB can take, and Williams has never been an imposing runner.
Along with those considerations, the Carolina Panthers Offense is without veteran Jake Delhomme. They’re going to have Matt Moore or rookie Jimmy Clausen at the helm, and that might not be a good thing to begin with. Sure, their rushing attack is powerful, but how long can one mid-level offense support two fantasty football running back studs.
If someone has to suffer, it could be Williams. Jonathan Stewart is coming into his third year and, for the first time in the NFL, he is pain-free in the foot. Offseason surgery helped relieve a chronic Achilles ache that had plagued Stewart for 2 NFL seasons. So Stewart is ready to take over the duties. Last year, it was 60/40 in favor of Williams. This year, it could be 60/40 in favor of Stewart.
Why You Should Draft DeAngelo Williams – But there’s a lot to be said for a team with two running backs. It’s a simple fact that it should keep both fresh, while giving DeAngelo Williams the best chance to stay healthy. John Fox loves to run the ball, and the Carolina Panthers are good at it. This year, they should rely on the running game more than ever.
Julius Peppers is gone, so running protects a defense that might be shaky to begin with. Steve Smith broke his arm, so it’s possible the passing game is a little slow to gel. Jake Delhomme is gone (and was pretty ineffective, anyway), so one of two young QBs should need RB protection with a strong ground game. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are going to share carries, but that could be good for both of them. Maybe it hurts their consistency, as you can’t tell which one is scoring 3 TDs this week. But at least your RB will have a chance.
You should be thrilled to draft DeAngelo Williams this low.
DeSean Jackson – Wide Receiver – Philadelphia Eagles
Why You Shouldn’t Draft DeSean Jackson – Given his first two brilliant years in the NFL, the only reason to be concerned about drafting Desean Jackson in ’10 is concern over Kevin Kolb. The weapons on the Eagles are immense, led by Jackson, Brent Celek and Jeremy Maclin. But the team has a brand new quarterback, after Donovan McNabb had manned the position for 10 years.
Now Eagles fans never seemed to like McNabb very much, which always mystified me. Sure, he “didn’t win the big one”, but Donovan McNabb was by far the Eagles most successful QB in the Superbowl Era. Jaworski got you to your only other Superbowl, but McNabb got you to a Superbowl and 5 total NFC Championship Games. In one stretch, Donovan McNabb got the Eagles to 5 out of 8 championship games, and McNabb went on I.R. two of the other three years. So 5 of the 6 years he was on his feet in those years, McNabb got you to the title game. I guess McNabb was the Danny White of the Philadelphia Eagles (never winning the big one), but Eagles fans didn’t have Staubach and Aikman to compare him against.
Regardless, Kevin Kolb steps into big shoes. He was great in two games filling in for Donovan McNabb, but then, Scott Mitchell looked great once filling in for Dan Marino for a few games. The point being, two games do not make a career. Until you see how Kolb performs as the unchallenged starter, you just don’t know what DeSean Jackson can do.
Why You Should Draft DeSean Jackson – The Philadelphia Eagles are a good franchise. They tend to make good decisions. Andy Reed is a solid football guy. He knows his quarterbacks. If the team is willing to ship Donovan McNabb out, they think Kevin Kolb is ready for prime time.
The Green Bay Packers cut bait with Brett Favre a couple of years ago, and despite the lack of playoff success, Aaron Rodgers has proven to be among the best fantasy quarterbacks. The same could be developing with Kevin Kolb. If so, DeSean Jackson is obviously going to be Kolb’s #1 target.
Also remember this is DeSean Jackson’s 3rd year. While he’s already “broken out”, Desean Jackson may show that he has another gear to kick it into this year. We may be seeing the start of DeSean Jackson’s prime years, as if 2009 wasn’t good enough. I would take DeSean Jackson and be happy I got the guy.
Peyton Manning – Quarterback – Indianapolis Colts
Why You Shouldn’t Draft Peyton Manning in Round 2 – I’m not going to insult you by saying this is the year Peyton Manning is going to slow down or become merely human on the football field. Peyton Manning has shown no signs of decline.
My arguments against Peyton Manning this high are strategic. Never take a quarterback in the 1st or 2nd round. Grab studs at RB and WR, then worry about the quarterback position. Is drafting Philip Rivers, Tony Romo or Matt Schaub in the 4th or 5th round that much of a downgrade? It’s insane to draft a quarterback this high. You’re just giving most of the rest of the league a built-in advantage.
Besides, Peyton Manning is likely to be sitting on the bench, or playing half a game, during your fantasy playoffs. Peyton Manning was a waste in Week 16 for fantasy owners in 2009. If you were fortunate enoguh to get to the fantasy title game, you had the decision to either start Peyton Manning, who was likely to play one half at most, or sit him for whatever backup QB you had. You’re just not as likely to have that dilemma with the other quarterbacks you’re going to draft as a starter.
Why You Should Draft Peyton Manning in Round 2 – Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne were two of the best fantasy options in 2009. Peyton Manning made Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie legitimate fantasy football players in 2009. Anthony Gonzales should be a factor, after a waste of a year in ’09. Joseph Addai looked motivated and healthy again, while Donald Brown should be ready to contribute to the team in his 2nd season. The Colts are absolutely loaded on offense.
Then there’s the consistency. No player is more dependable than Peyton Manning in fantasy football. He’s been like money in the bank for more than 10 years now. If you’re going to spend a high round pick on a quarterback, get the guy who was worth that slot every single year for the past 12 years. With Peyton Manning giving you certain production at QB, you can find the players to make a contender, if you know what you’re doing.
And don’t worry about the Colts clinching too early. That stuff is too unpredictable to try to factor in. Most years, even if they win their division by several games, they are still in a homefield advantage battle. Last year’s unbeaten streak was great, but it was a fluke, too. Those campaigns seldom happen twice in a row for the same team.
Randy Moss – Wide Receiver – New England Patriots
Why You Shouldn’t Draft in Round 2 – The Patriots are old and getting older. Randy Moss is fast approaching his mid-30s, when receivers start to decline rapidly. Tom Brady is 32 and hasn’t quite looked the same (except for a game here or there) since he’s returned from his major knee injury. Wes Welker may or may not be ready to go in Week 1, and the running game is still the afterthought it always has been.
More than ever with the Patriots, defenses can key on the Randy Moss/Tom Brady combination coming into 2010. The New England Patriots just aren’t the same team they were when they were running up an 18-0 record. That was three years ago. Teams get old. Players get old. Just because a player has a big name, doesn’t mean he’s the same player he was three years ago. That’s the way of the NFL. It happens to the best of them, and it’s happening to Randy Moss.
Why You Should Draft in Round 2 – Tom Brady is two years removed from his knee injury. That’s when a player is considered fully recovered. That means Tom Brady is ready to get back to being Tom Brady. Sure, he’s 32, but Peyton Manning is 34, and Manning shows no signs of slowing down. Tom Brady might have a half-decade left as an elite NFL quarterback.
As for Randy Moss, he was battling injuries in 2009. Wes Welker appears as if he should be ready to go by Week 1, while Julian Edelman should be improved with the experience he gained last year. Consider 2009 as a year the Patriots were retooling their team, reloading for the 2010 season. You know that Bill Belichick has obsessed about turning the tables on the New York Jets this season, so you shouldn’t count out Randy Moss just yet.
And if Tom Brady has to force a few more balls to Randy Moss? That might not be good for the Patriots chances of success, but it shouldn’t hurt Randy Moss’s fantasy numbers.
Greg Jennings – Wide Receiver – Green Bay Packers
Why You Shouldn’t Draft in Round 2 – Did you play fantasy football in 2009? Greg Jennings was a consistent Rd 2 selection last year, and the teams which drafted him were consistently disappointed. Meanwhile, those fantasy owners who took a flier on Donald Driver in the 5th and 6th rounds were putting up the big numbers at Jennings’ expense, at least the first 2/3rds of the season. If you had to depend on Greg Jennings last year, it was a mess.
There was the weekly question: should I start Jennings again? Making things worse, Greg Jennings came up weak in the obvious starts, like when he barely collected 100 yards in two combined games against the Detroit Lions. And you’re going to spend a 2nd rounder on that guy again? What makes you so confident Greg Jennings has a big rebound year in 2010?
Why You Should Draft in Round 2 – 2009 was an aberration for Greg Jennings. The Green Bay Packers offensive line had injuries everywhere, so Aaron Rodgers was under siege from Week 1. That meant that players had to break off routes, and Rodgers had to throw underneath more often than he did in 2008. Throwing underneath means Donald Driver and Jermichael Finley are going to get a whole lot more production than planned, while the big play receiver (Jennings) was a forgotten man in many games.
There are also injury considerations. Sometime early in ’09, Greg Jennings received a wrist injury that hampered his production through a significant portion of the season. Their were whispers that Greg Jennings just wasn’t right for a big part of the campaign. An offseason means that Greg Jennings comes into 2010 healthy, while the health of the Packers OL should assure we see more of the Cheesehead offense we saw in 2008. Greg Jennings’ 2008 campaign is what caused you to draft him in the 2nd round last year, so he’s a safe bet to have a big bounceback year.
Jamaal Charles – Running Back – Kansas City Chiefs
Why You Shouldn’t Draft in Round 2 – Jamaal Charles was arguably the 2nd-best fantasy football running back in the second half of 2009, after he took over for Larry Johnson in the Kansas City Chiefs backfield. No doubt those teams that had Jamaal Charles sitting on their fantasy bench got a big boost for the final push, and Charles probably helped a significant number of teams win their league championship.
So is Jamaal Charles likely to repeat that performance over the course of a full fantasy football season?
I’m saying no. Jamaal Charles fits the classic profile in my “Fresh Legs Theory” that I talk about occasionally. The idea is that fantasy ball carriers who come in midseason or later and look great aren’t always that good, but they are running with fresh legs against tired defenses. I’ve cited a whole list of running back who were half-year or one-month wonders in fantasy football over the past 10 years: Julius Jones, Ryan Grant, Derrick Ward. Going back a little further, I think of Troy Hambrick and Chris Fu’Amatu Ma’Afala. Heck, look at what Quinton Ganther and Justin Forsett did in the closing weeks of 2009, but you don’t see their teams suddenly announcing they are the undoubted starter on their teams. The list goes on and on.
The idea is, Jamaal Charles might not necessarily be as good as he looked at the end of last year. He might not be as quick or elusive. Jamaal Charles was working at an advantage against defenses, because those players had been worn down by 8 to 10 games. Maybe Jamaal Charles is that good, but maybe not.
On top of that, the Kansas City Chiefs brought Thomas Jones into to carry part of the load. Thomas Jones is on the other side of 30, but he was also a Top 10 fantasy RB in a lot of systems last year. In a situation where he can get some tough yards and wolf some touchdowns, he can’t be entirely dismissed. Jamaal Charles won’t get every yard, every reception, every touchdown, like he did at the end of 2009.
Why You Should Draft in Round 2 – Then there’s the fact that Jamaal Charles was highly productive in 2009. From certain pronouncements about Matt Cassell to his handling of Larry Johnson and Dwayne Bowe, Todd Haley is the type of coach who requires you to earn his trust. What Jamaal Charles did in 2009 is certainly worthy of Haley’s trust. That should mean something when it comes time to allot playing time in 2010.
Besides, Jamaal Charles is a young RB on an improving team that’s going to need to rely on him. Their most talented receiver (Bowe) is a complete mess right now, facing suspensions and calling out teammates for their extramarital affairs on the road. The team has no one but Jamaal Charles to hang its hat on. Besides, I trust Scott Pioli and Todd Haley to improve the team in subtle ways, as they acquire more of “their type of guys”. The Chiefs should improve in 2010, which means Jamaal Charles is a safe late-2nd rounder.
Shonn Greene – Running Back – New York Jets
Why You Shouldn’t Draft in Round 2 – If Jamaal Charles fit the “Fresh Legs Theory”, it goes even more so for Shonn Greene. Shonn Greene got his starts even later in the season, when teams had played 13, 14, 15 games of football. He was quite similar to Ahmad Bradshaw the year the Giants won the Superbowl, fresh as a spring rain. The 2009-2010 NFL Playoffs were no real indication of Shonn Greene’s talent.
It’s a whole different story when you start from Week 1. Just like those defenders, you take 20+ hits a game, get the same bumps and bruises, slow down and wear down. By the fantasy playoffs, Shonn Greene will be on the same level as the rest of the players in the NFL, unlike in 2009. Now Shonn Greene might have the talent to raise his game a level. He might be on a team where he’s running “downhill” all season, where the Jets are ahead and the defense keeps giving him the ball back. So maybe he excels.
Besides, he still has to contend with the likes of Ladainian Tomlinson. You don’t just sit LT on the bench all year. Rex Ryan knows that. That’s why Rex Ryan said the week LT was signed that he was going to go with the hot hand at runner throughout the season. Even if Shonn Greene is the primary ball carrier, Ladainian Tomlinson is going to be a factor. And that week you really need Shonn Greene to win the week for you, that’s the week that LT turns back the clock 5 years and scores those 2 touchdowns you needed.
Why You Should Draft in Round 2 – I’d be thrilled to draft Shonn Greene as a #2 running back with the last pick of the 2nd round. He would be a pretty nice addition as a sidekick to Chris Johnson. Greene has had a year to sit and learn, and he had a big playoffs last year. He’s done it when the games counted most, so he should be fine for the regular season.
Besides, the Jets are a team on the rise. Their vaunted defense only improved in the offseason, and they’re going to be getting the ball back for the offense quickly most of the year. Rex Ryan believes in defense and ball control, so Shonn Greene is set to be the man in New York City in 2010. You couldn’t want a better situation for your RB.
There’s Ladainian Tomlinson, for sure. But Ladainian Tomlinson is 31 years old. Ladainian Tomlinson is finished. Rex Ryan can talk all he wants about going with the hot hand at runner, but you know those were just words to stroke the ego of LT in the week they signed him to back up Greene. Everybody knows that Shonn Greene is the man.
Pick Fantasy Football Top Players
So there’s a full look ahead to the first two rounds on your 2010 fantasy football draft. Like I said earlier, the fantasy football top picks for 2010 seem particularly deep and strong, with a number of picks falling into the third that would be 2nd-rounders in most other years. This should make redrafts fun and exciting this year or, better put, more fun and exciting than usual. Training camps are almost here, so the best time of the sports year is just around the corner. Good luck picking fantasy football’s top players.
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