After one of the longest holdouts in recent memory Michael Crabtree signed with the 49ers. What does this mean for fantasy owners? Well some people actually already have him on their roster in 12 team leagues (though I’m not sure why). Yes you can rejoice that he will soon play football, but his relevance is still unknown. Rookie receivers seldom make a huge impact because that position requires so much learning. Now if the guy is a rookie and held out four games into the season how easy will it be for him to adjust to the NFL?
Consider this, Calvin Johnson is considered one of the top 10 receivers in the NFL and had the most potential coming out of college (he went #2 overall). His rookie season (when the Lions went 7-9) Johnson caught 48 passes for 756 yards and 4 scores. He battled injury some of that year, but he did play in 15 games. Ted Ginn Jr. and Dwayne Bowe also went in the first round in 2007. Ginn hauled in 34 catches for 420 yards and just 2 scores. Bowe did a bit better with 70 catches for 995 yards and 5 scores.
Last year both Eddie Royal and DeSean Jackson had fantasy impacts as rookies, but that’s more the exception than the rule.
Crabtree has a lot going against him. He may be in shape, but what about “football shape?” How quickly can he pick up the routes and how well does he know the playbook? Can he develop a rapport with quarterback Shawn Hill? Lots of questions surround him, but there are a couple things working in his favor. The team is 3-1, tight end Vernon Davis is emerging as a receiving threat and Gore should be back in two weeks. Crabtree won’t have the heavy burden of trying to resurrect a franchise- they were doing pretty well with out him. He’s just an extra weapon for the team.
Bottom line is this: (in 10 team leagues he’s still not worth picking up unless you really need WR help), but in 12 team leagues if you have a free bench spot, go ahead and stash him there, just don’t get carried away and start him until you see on field production.
by Matt Soltysiak
Game one in the 2009 NFL season is in the books and already the affects of the Madden Curse are being felt. In a previous posting (click here to read) we talked about the history surrounding this curse and how Larry Fitzgerald could be a risky fantasy play this year. He and Troy Polamalu both grace the video game cover this season.
Last night Troy Polamalu injured his left knee late in the first half and according to Yahoo! Sports the safety may miss 3 to 6 weeks. The video game has never put two players on the cover before, so we aren’t sure what to make of that, but last year it put a retired player on the cover and the curse still continued.
I avoided drafting Fitzgerald in one of my drafts (and targeted Randy Moss). The drafts are over, so now the question is should you get rid of Larry Fitzgerald? If you can get someone to buy high right now, I would trade the receiver. Many have him as the consensus #1 fantasy receiver, but I expect Randy Moss and Andre Johnson to each have a better season than Fitzgerald (possibly others too). Read more
The Broncos suspended receiver Brandon Marshall for the rest of the preseason due to insubordination. Drafting Marshall was already a risk this year because he’s coming back from injury, has to learn a new system, lost his Pro Bowl quarterback and has been unhappy with the team.
As of right now he’ll only miss the remainder of the preseason. Even if Marshall’s suspension ends before the regular season, he may have a smaller role on the team as it appears he is well behind the others in learning the playbook.
Some drafts have seen Marshall go in the third round as a #2 receiver. I’ve always thought that too high (see paragraph one), but now you really shouldn’t be taking him until the 4th or 5th round. That isn’t all bad. You could get very good value with him if he slides down a round or two, you grab him and then he works through all the kinks. There’s no doubting his talent, meaning there’s a lot of risk/reward with Marshall this season- just don’t reach for the troubled receiver on draft day.
Last season Greg Olsen was a solid tight end in his second professional season, catching 54 passes for 574 yards and 5 TD. Considering that he only started seven games and had Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman throwing him the ball, that’s actually pretty impressive.
He was actually the team’s second leading receiver in both catches (Matt Forte had 63) and yards (Devin Hester had 665), while leading the squad in TD. Desmond Clark, who had been the starter, figures to be the second tight end this season, giving Olsen even more opportunity to mature and take the next step.
You also have to take into account that Jay Cutler will now be manning the QB position, a significant upgrade. While Bears QBs combined for 3,229 yards and 14 TD, Cutler passed for 4,526 yards and 25 TD. Needless to say, there are going to be significantly more opportunities to make plays, even in the dismal winter weather in Chicago.
Having not imported any significant WR to help upgrade the position, the extra completions have to go to someone. While Forte figures to be one of the safety valves for Cutler, Olsen should be the other. There were only seven tight ends who caught over 700 yards last season, a mark that I would fully anticipate Olsen exceeding. Read more
by Matt Soltysiak
Not every draft is perfect. When you finish your 15 or 16 rounds you look back and may wish there was a pick or two you did differently. I’ll break down my draft and go over a couple of things.
I had the 7th overall pick (not a particularly high value spot).
1. Steve Slaton -I opted for a young running back
2. Greg Jennings- debated between him and Wayne, both are solid #1’s
3. Kevin Smith- got my #2 starting RB
4. Roy Williams- has plenty of upside and is the #1 receiver in a potent offense
5. Larry Johnson- great #3 back, has plenty of upside if he can bounce back even a little
The first five rounds are pretty solid. I somewhat debate taking Jennings over Wayne, but both should have strong seasons (Jennings did better than Wayne last year and I was targeting Gonzalez in the 6th).
Here’s where my drafting went down hill a bit.
6. Matt Schaub- finally got my quarterback, was hoping to wait one more round though
7. Kevin Walter – 8 receivers went between my 6th and 7th pick. I was hoping for more
8. Felix Jones- good value, he’s my #4 back with a lot of upside
9. Kevin Curtis- feeling bad about my receiving corps I reached on someone.
10. Kyle Orton- A decent back-up qb.
11. Mark Clayton- at the time Derrick Mason was retired, not so anymore Read more
by Matt Soltysiak
He’s back… in the news! Brett Favre is in Minnesota meeting with the Vikings. It looks as though the three time MVP and future Hall of Fame quarterback is going to join the team after all. So what does this mean for fantasy football if he does indeed take the field? Well even if your league already drafted, no one likely took Tarvaris Jackson as one of their quarterbacks. Favre is definitely worth grabbing and putting on your bench as your #2 qb. He is a solid back up who could even take over as a starter for your team.
Critics will point to last year when he joined the Jets. Farve came into camp late and out of football shape. After some quick catching up, he looked pretty good. The team did well up until week 13. The New York Jets finished the season with just one win in their final five games, thus missing the playoffs. Favre had a QB rating of an 81, throwing the same number of TD’s and INT’s (22). Eight of those INT’s came in the last four weeks alone. But he’s in a much better position this year because he has a better defense, a better offensive line to work with, younger and healthier receivers and possibly the best running game in football (even though Thomas Jones was no slouch last year). Read more
It’s time to take a look at the Fourth Round from the recent Rotoprofessor Challenge Draft:
- + Rock Star + – Chad Ochocinco
- Mose U Over – Aaron Rodgers
- Rotoprofessor – Tony Romo
- Peterson’s Peeps – Wes Welker
- Big Fan – Roy Williams
- AU Eagles – T.J. Houshmandzadeh
- Lester – Terrell Owens
- agent ile – Kurt Warner
- Show me the Money – Antonio Gates
- I’m So Paid – Reggie Bush
- CP – Vincent Jackson
- Geckos – Joseph Addai
Best Pick of the Round – Terrell Owens
He currently has an ADP of 33.12, so getting him in the fourth round is a great move for Lester, who gets him as his #2 WR. I understand the concerns of him moving to Buffalo and his attitude, but he has had over 1,000 yards in nine of the past eleven seasons. He’s also had double-digit TD catches in eight of those seasons.
If Trent Edwards takes the next step in his development, the concerns surrounding Owens are quickly going to disappear. Honestly, despite being 35-years old at the start of the season, there shouldn’t be any doubt as to what type of player he is. Read more
How often does a running back who has rushed for over 1,100 yards each of the past four seasons get disrespected by fantasy owners? That’s the case for Thomas Jones, who has had little fan fair heading into the 2009 campaign.
Is it the presence of Leon Washington, who is looking for a big contract and if he gets it is going to have to be a bigger factor in the offense? What about the presence of rookie Shonn Greene, who has the potential to steal some carries after the team traded up to get him in the third round?
Those are both issues worth monitoring, lessening his value, but with the success that Jones has had, he should not be so easily overlooked. He’s still a solid option, despite being forced to share carries this season.
The Jets are going to be depending on a young QB, whether it be Kellen Clemens or Mark Sanchez, so the running game is almost certainly going to be utilized to help alleviate some of the pressure. Rex Ryan, the new head coach in New York, learned first hand how much a run game and defense can win you a championship. Do we all remember the 2000 Ravens led by Trent Dilfer? Read more
Drafting time is upon us for many Fantasy Football Players. Some lucky ones don’t draft for another 3 weeks yet, others are under the fire right now. It’s tough drafting right now because training camp battles are still going on and you never know who’s going to get hit with an injury before the season even starts. Here are a few players who are already having issues.
WR- Steve Smith – The Panther’s star receiver has a shoulder injury and hopes to be ready for the season opener. The collision during a practice drill will sideline him most of the preseason.
WR- Antonio Bryant – The Buc’s receiver had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He’s expected to be fine for the season opener, but I think you have to think twice when selecting one of your top receivers.
Those are a couple of the major injuries to be aware of. Other guys are banged up like T.O. with a toe, Calvin Johnson with a thumb, a few running backs like Chris Wells and Jonathan Stewart have some ankle issues.
The best way to approach injured players when drafting is to take a few things into consideration. How severe of an injury is it? How much recovery is needed? How could their game be impacted if the injury lingers all season?
I’d be gun shy in selecting someone like Bryant very early, but think he could be a great value (risk/reward) if others let him fall a round or two further because of injury. So before you go into your draft, know who’s injured and how long their expected to need for recovery. You’ll be a step ahead of many others in your league.
by Ryan Lester of Lester’s Legends
We finish the Running Back previews with the RBs that will fill out your bench or be the guys you grab of the waiver wire.
Leon Washington/Shonn Greene, New York Jets – The Jets will operate the newly popular three-headed monster with Thomas Jones, Washington and Greene. Leon Washington will have a heavier workload as the team will look to get the ball in the playmaker’s hands. He can score from anywhere on the field on a run, pass, or return. Shonn Greene, is the Jets’ RB of the future. If the team struggles, the future may come sooner rather than later as the Jets get Greene acclimated to the NFL. Unless you’re in a keeper league, Washington is the more attractive option.
Laurence Maroney/Sammy Morris/Fred Taylor/Kevin Faulk, New England Patriots – What to make of this mess? The Patriots are so tough to read. All the RBs are capable of delivering, but which one holds the best fantasy value? Talk about a loaded question. Kevin Faulk is probably the best bet in PPR leagues. Fred Taylor is my pick for standard leagues. Sammy Morris in TD heavy. Maroney is the wildcard because if he can stay healthy, he’s young enough and talented enough to be their top back. It may be best to avoid this mess all together. Read more