by Ryan Lester of Lester’s Legends
I was expecting big things out of Bowe this season, but I wasn’t expecting it to be his waistline. Thankfully Bowe, who was overweight and out of shape dropped the weight and reported to camp lighter than he played last year. So far Bowe likes his new build. The goodwill didn’t last long though as new Coach Todd Haley isn’t pleased with Bowe’s conditioning. Mark Bradley and Devard Darling practiced with the first team on Monday. Bowe is easily the best weapon on the Chiefs, but it could be a long, frustrating year for Chiefs fans and Bowe owners if he continually clashes with Haley.Bow had a solid, not spectacular, season with 86 receptions for 1022 yards and 7 TDs, which came on the heels of a 70 reception, 995 yard, 5 TD rookie season. He finished with just two 100+ yard games and only had four 90+ yard games. He was more of a force in PPR leagues than traditional leagues.
This year is different though as Todd Haley brings a more offensive mindset, and it appears as if Matt Cassel will be an upgrade at QB, although it remains to be seen if he was simply a product of New England’s system or if he can flourish elsewhere.
With the questions that surround Bowe I would prefer to have Bowe as a WR2. I would look to draft him in the late third or early fourth round. I’m predicting 90 receptions for 1100 yards and 7 TDs.
Brandon Marshall, like Dwayne Bowe, is being sent a message as new Coach Josh McDaniels has Marshall listed on the second team on the Broncos’ depth chart. Marshall has asked to be traded, had another run-in with the law, and has been unable to practice because of injury. Not exactly the way to endear yourself to you new Coach.
Marshall had two monster games in his return from suspension last year (18 receptions for 166 yards against San Diego & 6 receptions for 155 yards vs. New Orleans). He only topped 100 yards one more time the rest of the way. Yet, he finished with 104 receptions for 1265 yards and 6 TDs. That of course was with QB Jay Cutler, who forced his way out of Denver. New QB Kyle Orton doesn’t have the arm strength of Cutler, but he has proven to be a winner. It will be interesting to monitor both QBs to see how they do in their new homes. The questions surrounding Marshall make it difficult to rely on him as your #1 WR. That’s the risk you’ll likely have to take on him as he’s going in third round of fantasy drafts. I expect him to have another stellar year, assuming he does not get suspended. He should catch 95 passes for 1200 yards and 7 TDs. All things considered though, I would lean towards a WR that wasn’t quite as risky.
Roy Williams changed his number hoping for a reversal of fortunes for the talented WR. He has a full offseason to work with Tony Romo to establish a rapport that never got on track last year. Aside from the midseason trade, he battled through a foot injury, had to live in the shadow of T.O. and the pressure of a huge contract for his hometown team, and had to play without Tony Romo because of his injury for three weeks. Not exactly a smooth arrival to one of the biggest stages in the NFL.
With all that he went through I’m going to give his 36 catch, 430 yards, 2 TD season a mulligan. The key will be if he can play more like the WR we saw in 2006 when he had 82 catches for 1310 yards and 7 TDs, or the WR who hasn’t had 900 yards receiving in any other year. My guess is it’s somewhere in the middle. I love Roy as a WR3, and could tolerate him as a WR2 if I was loaded elsewhere. I would take him in the 5th round. Any sooner I rather go RB, QB, or elite TE. A healthy Roy Williams should bring 80 receptions for 1100 yard, and 8 TDs.
While two of the previous profiles (Dwayne Bowe & Brandon Marshall) have some growing up to do, Santonio Holmes did his growing up last year after he was busted with marijuana. He accepted responsibility and earned back the trust of his teammates, coaches, and fans. He went on to take Super Bowl MVP honors with nine catches for 131 yards and the winning TD. That was the only time he had 100+ yards last year. After catching just 1 TD pass in the first six games, he had four in his last nine games. Holmes was a trendy pick to breakout last year, and aside from the clutch Super Bowl performance, his numbers decreased from 942 yards and 8 TDs to 821 yard and 5 TDs despite playing in two more games in 2008.
I think Holmes can have that breakout year in 2009 as long as his QB isn’t suspended because of the rape allegations. I like Holmes as a WR2, but prefer him as a WR3. He will likely be taken in the fourth or fifth round. He should be good for 65 receptions for 1050 yards and 8 TDs.
If anyone was ever tailor made for an offense, it’s Wes Welker for the Patriots. Who loses a Hall of Fame QB in the opening week and hardly misses a beat with a QB that hadn’t started since high school? Wes Welker, that’s who. Welker had 112 receptions for 1175 yards with Brady and 111 catches for 1165 yards without him. The only real difference is the 8 TDs he caught with Brady vs. 3 with Cassel. I’m still convinced that he could have caught 20 passes in the Super Bowl loss to the Giants, as New York did not have an answer for him.
The addition of Joey Galloway, who provides another vertical threat can help stretch defense so Welker can work his magic. He is such a great route runner with amazing hands. He’s quick, but he’s also shifty, which makes him so tough to defend on quick slants. He’s even a tough little cat for his size, taking the hits and popping back up.
Welker is a solid WR2, especially in PPR leagues. He’ll likely go in the fifth round in standard leagues and as early as the third round in PPR leagues since he catches so many passes. I see a 110 reception, 1100 yard, 6 TD season for Welker.
Originally published at LestersLegends.com