New York Giants first round pick Hakeem Nicks walked into the perfect situation for a young player. He joined a solid, professional franchise who many thought could challenge for a Super Bowl, yet was void of elite talent at the wide receiver position.
They have endless options of players who could contribute:
- Dominick Hixon
- Steve Smith
- Mario Manningham
- Sinorice Moss
Even David Tyree and fellow 2009 draft pick Ramses Barden are in the mix. Yet, through three weeks of preseason action, it is only Nicks who has stepped up and made an impression.
Obviously, you have to take into account that the majority of his work has come against second and third string defenses, but still his numbers against the Jets had to open eyes. He had 6 catches for 144 yards and 2 TD, making him the only Giant receiver to have over 100 yards for the entire preseason (and he is now at 208). He is also the only Giants receiver to have 2 TD (the rest of the receivers have just 2 TD between them). Read more
by Ryan Lester of Lester’s Legends
With the 2009 NFL Season ready to kick off in a few weeks, I decided it was a good time to get my predictions out there.
MVP: Tom Brady
Tom Brady once again takes the league by storm to lead the Patriots to the best record.
Runner Up: Peyton Manning
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Knowshon Moreno
Knowshon has the clearest path to the starting job. He’ll put up big numbers for the Broncos.
Runner-up: Percy HarvinDefensive Rookie of the Year: Aaron Curry
Curry will lead all Rookies in tackles.
Runner-up: Rey Maualuga
Comeback Player of the Year: Tom Brady
If he’s back to form, there isn’t any competition.
Runner-up: Rashard Mendenhall
Defensive Player of the Year: Patrick Willis
Willis racks up 140+ tackles for the third straight year. Read more
by Ryan Lester of Lester’s Legends
Here are some Running Backs putting up serious preseason numbers. Let’s take a look and see if they have a chance to translate some of that preseason production into fantasy worth in regular season play.
Glen Coffee, San Francisco 49ers – Coffee leads all RBs with 196 preseason rushing yards. He is averaging 6.5 yards per carry (ypc). He also has two receptions for 8 yard, but has failed to score a TD. The Rookie out of Alabama is doing all the right things to serve as Frank Gore’s primary backup. If Gore goes down, Coffee’s value skyrockets. He is a great late round value as a Gore handcuff or trade bait.
Tyrell Sutton, Green Bay Packers – Sutton has 140 yards on 27 carries (5.2 ypc) with a TD. It’s could earn him a gig on a practice squad somewhere or the UFL.
Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons - The preseason means little, but it’s nice to know the Burner is picking up where he left off with 128 yards on 13 carries (9.8 ypc) with a pair of TDs. He is clearly a top four pick, with a bump in non-PPR leagues.
James Davis, Cleveland Browns - James has been shooting up fantasy draft boards with an amazing preseason. He has looked great in practices and showed a glimpse of his big play potential with a 81 yard TD run against the lowly Detroit Lions en route to a 12 carry, 116 yard game. Through two preseasons games the Clemson Rookie has 121 yards on 14 carries (8.6 ypc) and 3 receptions. He has plenty of competition in Jamal Lewis and Jerome Harrison, but let’s face it. The Browns are bad. They are going to be bad. It’s only a matter of time before they start planning for the future, and Jamal Lewis isn’t the future. Harrison is better suited for the change of pace role, meaning Davis could get the bulk of the carries. Read more
by Ryan Lester of Lester’s Legends
Here are some Wide Receivers and Tight Ends putting up serious preseason numbers. Let’s take a look and see if they have a chance to translate some of that preseason production into fantasy worth in regular season play.
Jonathan Stupar, Buffalo Bills - Stupar leads the NFL with 15 preseason receptions for 155 yards and a TD. He’s third on the Bills’ Tight End depth chart so don’t get any thoughts of fantasy worth.
Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans - Now Cook is a TE with some fantasy value. The Rookie out of South Carolina has 12 catches for 120 yards in the preseason. With Tennessee’s limited options in the passing game, Cook could become one of their more reliable targets. He’s worth taking as a TE2.
Chris Henry, Cincinnati Bengals - As long as he can stay out of Roger Goodell’s office, Henry has a chance to really break out this year. He has 11 catches for 155 yards and 2 TDs. Now that he seems to have put his troubles behind him, he could put up huge numbers in a full season. He is going in the later rounds of fantasy drafts, and could end up putting up WR2 or WR3 numbers.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs - For all the talk of Bowe not fitting into the Chiefs’ system or being at odds with Todd Haley, he has looked good in the preseason games with 8 catches for 107 yards and a TD. If you moved him down in your WR rankings, you may want to move him back up. 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.
It has been some time since we updated our QB Rankings, so with drafting season in full gear let’s see how things currently pan out (you can view our original Top 10 by clicking here):
- Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints - After throwing for 5,069 yards (leading the league by nearly 500 yards) and 34 TD last season (tied for league lead), do I really need to say more?
- Peyton Manning – Indianapolis Colts - While the departure of an aging Marvin Harrison could have an effect on his performance, the Colts are still loaded with plenty of firepower. Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez offer very good targets on the outside, as does Dallas Clark from the TE position. That’s not to mention the pair of RB in Joseph Addai & Donald Brown who can provide some help out of the backfield. Needless to say, they are one explosive offensive team.
- Tom Brady - New England Patriots – There were concerns entering the preseason and rightfully so. After missing the majority of the 2008 season you just didn’t know exactly what you were going to get out of one of the premier QBs in the league. He’s responded by going 14-23 for 157 yards and 2 TD (an 1 interception) over the first two preseason games. There’s still a risk, but it’s a good enough performance to convince me he belongs in the Top 3.
- Philip Rivers – San Diego Chargers - He threw for over 4,000 yards and 34 TD without an elite wide receiver at his disposal. They didn’t address the position much via free agency or the draft, but a fully healthy LaDanian Tomlinson will certainly help.
- Kurt Warner – Arizona Cardinals - The rumors of Anquan Boldin’s departure proved unfounded as he will return to Arizona along with Larry Fitzgerald & Steve Breston to form one of, if not the best receiving triumvirate in the game. They proved how explosive they could be last season and I’d expect more of the same in 2009. Read more
There was a time when Larry Johnson was one of the premier running backs in the game. In 2005, despite starting just 9 games, Johnson rushed for 1,750 yards and 20 TD. The full-time back in 2006, he followed that up with a mediocre 1,789 yards and 17 TD.
The scary thing is that those numbers don’t even factor in his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, picking up 343 and 410 yards, respectively. He was electric, dominating the game from the moment he stepped onto the field.
Unfortunately, since then he has been plagued by injuries and suspensions. In 2007 he played in just eight games before a foot injury prematurely ended his season. He was healthy for much of the 2008 season, but was suspended by the team and benched thanks to violating team rules. Later on in the season, he was suspended for a game by the league. All in all he played in just 12 games, rushing for 874 yards and 5 TD.
Clearly, even when he was healthy, he was just a shell of his former self. Well, is that actually true?
Johnson did average 4.5 yards per carry last season, the same number as Michael Turner and Thomas Jones. It was better then Clinton Portis (4.3), Maurice Jones-Drew (4.2) and Brian Westbrook (4.0), just to name a few. Read more
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
It’s time to take a look at the Sixth Round from the recent Rotoprofessor Challenge Draft:
- + Rock Star + – Carson Palmer
- Mose U Over – Derrick Ward
- Rotoprofessor – Knoshown Moreno
- Peterson’s Peeps – Antonio Bryant
- Big Fan – Matt Schaub
- AU Eagles – Anthony Gonzalez
- Lester – LenDale White
- agent ile – Torry Holt
- Show me the Money – Lee Evans
- I’m So Paid – Lance Moore
- CP – Pittsburgh Defense
- Geckos – Philadelphia Defense
Best Pick of the Round – Anthony Gonzalez
With Marvin Harrison no longer on the roster, Gonzalez should be the #2 receiver on a dynamic offense, meaning he could be in line for a monster season. I spoke about him at the end of June (click here to view) and my feelings on him remain unchanged. Read more