Home > Uncategorized > Week 17 In Fantasy Football: A Slight Look Toward 2010

Week 17 In Fantasy Football: A Slight Look Toward 2010

He is scratching the surface. Next season, Matt Schaub ... fantasy god

When I awoke Sunday morning, I should have been bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It should have been the start of a day I never wanted to end. It was the final full day of the NFL regular season. The past 16 Sundays had been highlights of my fall and winter — I lead a rather dull life. But this week, I just couldn’t get going. I was burned out. Riding the New York Giants roller coaster and having many near heart attacks due to fantasy football had taken its toll.

Now we are into the NFL postseason and the fantasy season is over — fantasy football playoff leagues are stupid. But it’s never too early to plan ahead. So, here is a small snapshot of my rankings at the top of each position as we are only 250 days away from the start of the 2010 season. I’ll be ready for it. I just need some rest.

Quarterback

1. Drew Brees: He didn’t score the most points this year and was actually disappointing early in the year, but he is still the safe, absolute money-in-the-back pick. He is in his prime and his weapons are too good to ignore.

2. Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers WAS the leading scorer in fantasy this season. He was extremely consistent — 13 games with at least two touchdowns. His running ability gives him an edge over the other studs, but I do worry about his lack of protection on the line and how that may lead to an injury.

3. Peyton Manning: He has the stats to be No. 1 on this list, but I think we’ve just grown bored with Peyton. He actually had his best season since his record-setting 2004 campaign, but I don’t think anyone realizes it because he is always fantastic. Sure, he doesn’t have a ceiling like I believe Rodgers does, but when your ceiling is 4,500 and 35, what’s not to love?

4. Matt Schaub: Schaub won’t be the No. 4 QB off the board, but I am absolutely in love with him and I would take him before the likes of Rivers and Brady. He led the league in passing yards and will continue to throw heavily because that offense is incapable of running the ball. He had 10 multi-score games and nine games with more than 300 yards. Plus, you give him a full season — something he finally accomplished in 2009 — with Andre Johnson, a healthy Steve Slaton, a healthy Owen Daniels, Kevin Walter, etc … this is my first man-crush of 2010.

5. Philip Rivers: Tomlinson is obviously sliding and this is now a pass-first offense. Rivers is very smart with the ball and when you have beasts such as Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd, all he needs to do is just toss the bean up into the air. One of those guys will come down with it.

Running back

1. Chris Johnson: There is some debate now, but there won’t be next summer. Chris Johnson is your No. 1 pick in 2010, no doubt. How can you argue against a player who just set the record for most yards from scrimmage in a single season?

2. Adrian Peterson: His value will stay the same whether Brett Favre stays or goes. He’s taken a pounding, but he keeps on dishing it out and his offensive line will be better. The only question is whether Favre will keep stealing AD’s touchdowns with these cheap throws inside the 5-yard line.

3. Maurice Jones-Drew: He did wear down toward the end of the year, but 16 scores and more than 1,700 yards is hard to pass up at No. 3. He’ll probably move up to No. 2 in PPR leagues. But I think the Jaguars will manage (read: limit) his touches a little more in 2010.

4. Ray Rice: How many people realize that he gained more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage this season? With Willis McGahee a free agent, maybe Rice will see more goal-line carries next season. There is no reason he should be taken off the field in that area.

5. Frank Gore: I think the drop from fourth to fifth is rather steep, but Gore is the best at the next level. Even though he basically missed three games, he still gained more than 1,500 total yards and scored 12 times. He’ll throw in some dud games when the Niners just don’t run the ball enough, but I think he’s more trustworthy than Michael Turner — a close sixth — Ryan Grant, Steven Jackson, etc.

Wide receiver

1. Andre Johnson: Did you click on that link above? Yeah, that’s why you should draft him. That is the highlight of the year, in my opinion. It doesn’t hurt that he just finished his second consecutive season with more than 100 catches and 1,500 yards.

2. Larry Fitzgerald: Yardage totals were down a little bit as he battled a knee injury at the end of the year, but he still tied for the league lead in touchdowns and is probably the best pure wide receiver in the game. Plus, even with the emergence of Beanie Wells, that offense is still pass-heavy.

3. Randy Moss: It almost felt like a disappointing year for Randy, and he still had 1,284 yards with 13 touchdowns. Although, if Wes Welker has to miss some of next season due to his horrible week 17 injury, I would probably knock Moss down a few notches. Welker does wonders in drawing away defensive attention.

4. DeSean Jackson: He is a total game-changer. He can score through receiving, running and punt returns, and most of those touchdowns come from at least 50 yards out, which makes him even more attractive in bonus leagues. His catches (63) and receiving yards (1,167) will undoubtedly go up next season.

5. Reggie Wayne: This is tough because the wide receiver pool will be so deep next year — you could probably get a stud such as Vincent Jackson as the No. 10 WR off the board — but there’s nothing wrong with Wayne’s consistency. Four of the past six years, he has posted at least 83 catches, 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns. Calvin Johnson just missed here. He’s just too talented to doubt.

Tight end

1. Antonio Gates: I would never use such a high pick to select a tight end like Gates, but he’s probably still the top guy. He had a tremendous second half of the season and is still a matchup nightmare. I expect him to get more catches next year as the Chargers continue their transition to more of a passing offense.

2. Dallas Clark: He could make a case for No. 1, but I think Gates’ size and athleticism blinds us. I think it will be hard for Clark to repeat his 100-catch season, but he’ll still be a big TD target.

3. Vernon Davis: Top scorer at the position this year and had one of the best seasons for any tight end in the past 25 years.  Based on statistics and talent, Davis should be at the top. But I just feel like this is a fluke. That offense in the hands of Alex Smith still scares me. I’ll need to see another productive year out of Vernon before I can trust him.

4. Tony Gonzalez: He’ll be 34 next season, but I have a feeling that this whole offense will rebound in a big way.

5. Jason Witten: With tight ends and wide receivers, you look for big yards while the touchdowns are gravy. Witten had just two touchdowns this year, but 1,000 yards from a tight end is still a big luxury. He’ll be fine.

Now, some bullets about week 17 and a couple of the days that followed …

  • With so many teams sitting their starters in week 17 (Colts, Saints, Chargers, Cardinals) or just not playing very hard (Bengals … Giants), it’s hard to gain anything from this week. But what the hell?

    DeAngelo Williams is a free agent after next season. Stewart boosters can't wait for him to be gone

  • You want a preview of the Bills for 2010: Fred Jackson gets 33 carries. Marshawn Lynch gets one. Jackson, with his running and receiving skills will still be a big value in drafts next year.
  • Memo to Bills’ coaches from Ralph Wilson: I’m going to be making some changes for next season. There will be some coaches who will not return for the 2010 campaign. The first coach to go? Everyone.
  • Few running backs were more impressive in the second half of the season than Jonathan Stewart. He had another big game on Sunday (I’m not sure where Saints’ No. 39 Chris Reis is diving on that play). Stewart and DeAngelo Williams became the first RB duo to each run for 1,100 yards. But as long as Williams is around and healthy, it will be Stewart’s value that suffers more. Hopefully these last few weeks don’t cause you to over-draft him. He’s just a solid flex play as long as Carolina’s running game remains a timeshare.
  • Another 100 yards and a touchdown for Jerome Harrison. Oh, gooood for you. I’m not going anywhere near him in 2010 drafts. He’s a free agent this offseason and his final three weeks just have that feeling of a big dash for cash. He’ll sign for more money than he’s worth and he’ll be an easy bust call.
  • Bill Belichick seems to have a ornery personality. He especially doesn’t like Houston. He doesn’t like its turf. He apparently doesn’t like its former GM either.
  • As expected, Wes Welker does have a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee. His status for the start of the 2010 season is uncertain. Rank him on your draft board accordingly. And for as long as he is out, Julian Edelman is a great sleeper. He is Welker-lite. He caught 18 balls in two games while Welker was injured.

    Wes Welker is now on my "Do Not Draft" list

  • That win over the Patriots likely saved Gary Kubiak‘s job, which angers me and should anger every running back in Houston. Expect another year of the unexpected there.
  • Why was Brett Favre throwing for touchdowns from the 1-yard line with a 34-0 lead in the third quarter??? That was disgusting. Everyone is talking about how much better the Vikings are when Favre is chucking it all over the yard, but mark my words: If the Vikings elect to use a roughly 3:1 ratio between Favre’s throws and Peterson’s carries, much like they did on Sunday, they will not make it to the NFC Championship. Book it.
  • Raheem Morris will return for another season as the Bucs’ head coach. Certainly with a bad defense, a gimpy running game and a raw quarterback, it wasn’t his fault for why the Bucs went 3-13. Fantasy-wise, I don’t trust Cadillac Williams but I think Josh Freeman has a lot of potential.
  • It was evident that Rashard Mendenhall wore down in the final month of the season. Some of it had to do with the matchups (Baltimore and Green Bay in December), but I think some of it had to do with workload. Willie Parker is a free agent, but even if he leaves, you shouldn’t expect Mendenhall will be an every-down back next year. Keep that in mind before you make him a top-20 pick.
  • Davone Bess is a guy I will love to have as my No. 3 WR next year, no matter who is Miami’s quarterback.
  • The end of the NFL season brings one positive note for the Chicago Bears: NO MORE JAY CUTLER INTERCEPTIONS!!!! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! Of course, he throws for four touchdowns in the last two games. Of course, of course. Way to rub salt in his owners’ wounds.
  • For a consensus top-5 pick this year, Matt Forte was a pretty big bust. This MCL issue sounds like an excuse more than a legitimate explanation for his struggles.
  • In that link, you saw Ron Turner titled the Bears’ offensive coordinator. You don’t have to worry about that any more. On his way out the door, one of those fired coaches called Jay Cutler a “coach killer.” On the nose, dude.
  • Miles Austin is probably eighth or ninth on my WR draft board for 2010. There are other more-talented, more-proven options out there, even though Austin was the fourth-highest scoring receiver this season. But I’m not really trusting any of Dallas’ RBs.
  • Meanwhile, I still think LeSean McCoy is the back you want in Philly. I’m not Andy Reid (I can prove that), but it just makes the most sense. Brian Westbrook is done and Leonard Weaver is a fullback. The coaches may not trust McCoy enough yet, but that has to end soon. He is clearly the best running back on the Eagles.

    He carried many owners to fantasy titles this year. I am a little more pessimistic about next year

  • How about the modesty of Jamaal Charles? The Chiefs get the ball with about 3 minutes to play. With 50 more yards, he is the king of single-game running backs. Nah, I’ll pass. I’ll do it later. Awesome! Charles is going to be a top-12 pick next year. With his lack of size, a very average offensive line and no real offensive threat around him, I worry about him being overvalued. To be fair, there are no words to describe how valuable he was to fantasy teams this year.
  • Another year, new coach, same ol’ choke in the Broncos. In 2006: Start 5-1 and as long as they win in week 17 at home against the 6-9 San Francisco 49ers, they are in the playoffs. They lose in overtime, 26-23, end up at 9-7. In 2008: Lose final three games, including a win-and-your-in week 17 game against the Chargers, 52-21. This year, they win their first six and then go 2-8 the rest of the season. They ended their season by losing a ton of games as well as their best wide receiver and tight end.
  • I love Knowshon Moreno for next year*. I think he’ll be underrated, but he could be a top 7 or 8 running back by season’s end. Just throwing that out there.
  • Next year’s candidate for the LenDale White award (a running back whose value is largely based on touchdowns and will be overrated in many drafts): Willis McGahee. It was so frustrating to see him run all over and through the Raiders. Now, much like Jerome Harrison, he’s a free agent. Gee, what timing for a 14-touchdown season.
  • Sure, it was a hold, but for Ed Hochuli to call back Chris Johnson‘s fourth-quarter, 62-yard rush was so weak. C’MON, let’em play! That run would have put Johnson at 2,060 yards for the year, 45 shy of the record, with about 12 minutes left. What might have been?
  • No surprise here. I like Vince Young as a No. 2 QB next year, somewhere in the 17-20 range. But I really like Kenny Britt.
  • Mike Shanahan‘s first duty as head coach will need to be managing some high-profile egos after all this smack. Damn, it is going to be a fun offseason in D.C.!!
  • Nine catches and 140 yards for Malcolm Floyd. It was with the second-string offense, but he is a lovely deep sleeper for ’10.
  • Apparently, Larry Fitzgerald is a little more selfish than we thought. That has to be whyhe was running routes in a 33-0 game, late in the fourth quarter and with nothing to play for.
  • In other Cardinals’ wide receiver news that should be valuable to those of you who are hooked on fantasy sports like crack cocaine are in fantasy playoff leagues, here’s this.
  • The Packers’ offense is already loaded and I think Jermichael Finley has a chance to be a top-5 tight end in fantasy next year. It’s not a very loaded position after a number of guys disappointed this season and Finley gets a lot of looks.
  • Credit to the Packers for playing their starters about three quarters. Finally, a team handles its guaranteed playoff spot correctly. That’s one reason why I think they will beat Arizona again this weekend. That and the fact they are just better.
  • I’ve read from some people who say that Shonn Greene will be the Jonathan Stewart of 2010. I could certainly see that. But I’d much rather have Stewart.

Oh, a little sex will clear that right up

*I reserve the right to change those rankings at any time. Like, maybe even tomorrow.

Again, to those who won their league championships, congratulations. If you take it seriously enough, it certainly isn’t easy. I take it as life and death and I am now 0-for-9. For those who knocked off along the way, I’ll see you in the mock draft rooms in about seven months. Cheers!

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