Indianapolis Colts receiver Anthony Gonzalez underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Thursday, and appears unlikely to return to the field anytime soon.
The surgery was conducted to clean up the inside of his knee, and to remove loose particles. Read more…
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Saturday, November 7, 2009
Tags: anthony gonzalez, anthony gonzalez injury, anthony gonzalez return, anthony gonzalez surgery, austin collie, colts injuries, colts receiver, Fantasy Football, fantasy player news, indianapolis colts, Pierre Garcon
While few games lived-up to their hype, we were blessed with a classic game between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots on Sunday, while getting the chance to watch history between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings on Monday.
Still, when it’s all said and done, there are five teams who are undefeated after four games, and all of those teams have taken different journeys.
Read on to see who makes the top five, and then check to see where everyone else fits in: Read more…
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Thursday, October 8, 2009
Tags: adrian peterson, atlanta falcons, Brandon Jacobs, brett favre, chicago bears, denver broncos, Detroit Lions, drew brees, eli manning, green bay packers, indianapolis colts, Minnesota Vikings, new england patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, new york jets, philadelphia eagles, pittsburgh steelers, San Francisco 49ers
Looking for the next big gem but not into digging for it yourself? That’s all gravy.
Take a look at the 10 safest rookie bets after two weeks (by position), along with some analysis toward their future, as well as a good look at their present.
And no, Matthew Stafford doesn’t make the list. Why? Because all he’s good for is interceptions; that’s why.
Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets
Last Week: 14-22, 167 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT
Sanchez has looked like a seasoned veteran in his first two games, throwing for three touchdowns, 435 yards, and only one interception.
However, the drop from 31 attempts and 272 yards in Week One to 22 attempts and only 167 yards in Week Two is exactly the kind of inconsistency you need to prepare for when dealing with a rookie.
Regardless, Sanchez is doing his best Matt Ryan impression and is easily the better play between him and Matthew Stafford going forward.
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Saturday, September 26, 2009
Tags: arizona cardinals, chicago bears, Chris Wells, Donald Brown, Fantasy Football, indianapolis colts, Johnny Knox, Julian Edelman, Kenny Britt, LeSean McCoy, Louis Muprhy, mark sanchez, Minnesota Vikings, new england patriots, new york jets, NFL Rookies, oakland raiders, Percy Harvin, philadelphia eagles, Sleepers, Steals
We can safely assume Joe Montana is at the top of this list, if not the easy-call to be the best clutch performer to ever hit an NFL field.
But, as periods change and times goes on, people lose their sight on relevance, and it begins to get increasingly more difficult to truly compare people.
This rings especially true for quarterbacks, as they are often lifted up or held down by their offensive systems, good or bad defenses, and their supporting casts.
Stats don’t always tell the whole story either, but sometimes that’s really all we have to go by. That is, unless you were there for some of those heroic moments delivered by the Fran Tarkenton’s, Terry Bradshaw’s, John Elway’s, and even Brett Favre.
But let’s keep it relevant, at least, as much as possible.
With Favre still retired, here’s a look at the top five active quarterbacks who you’d want running your two-minute drill, throwing that last pass, and ultimately leading your team into every game.
Look for the usuals to make the list, but especially keep your eye out for a surprise or two.
Honorable Mentions: Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle Seahawks)
Hasselbeck has registered 57 wins as a starter in the regular season, and played a big hand in bringing the once lowly Seattle Seahawks to a competitive level.
In eight seasons as the starter, Hasselbeck as racked up over 23,000 passing yards, 145 touchdowns, and has led Seattle to four postseason trips, including a Super Bowl loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005.
Other Notable Semi-Clutch Passers
Jake Delhomme (Carolina Panthers)
Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers)
Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)
Delhomme has been to a Super Bowl and the playoffs several times, Rivers hasn’t won much, but is a clutch performer, and Brees is a great performer with a trip to the NFC Championship and three career postseason trips under his belt.
5. Donovan McNabb (Philadelphia Eagles)
Despite nagging injuries and not always having elite receiving weapons (save for one good year of T.O.) McNabb has had to make a lot out of nothing, and much too often.
Sure, he’s almost always had Brian Westbrook, a stout offensive line, and a supportive defense, but he’s still won more games by himself than he has by leaning on his teammates.
McNabb has reached one Super Bowl and helped the Eagles appear in five NFC championship games in his career.
Really, when you think of McNabb, all you need to think of is the 4th and 26 play that helped beat Green Bay and put the Eagles in the NFC Championship back in 2003.
The Numbers (Career):
Regular Season Wins: 82
Postseason Wins: 9
Best Season: 13-2 (Super Bowl Appearance)
4. Kurt Warner (Arizona Cardinals)
While he’s probably better known for a three-year run of two Super Bowl appearances (one win) and a sick display of offensive production in St. Louis, Warner has had enough moments in Arizona to keep his “clutch-ness” relevant.
Warner had a righteous time in St. Louis, losing only eight regular season games in his first three seasons, while throwing for over 36 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards in two of those three seasons.
With three Super Bowl appearances and his insane accuracy in tight moments, including a game-changing touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald in 2008′s Super Bowl loss, Warner deserves a place on this list.
The Numbers (Career):
Regular Season Wins: 57
Postseason Wins: 8
Best Season: 13-3 (Super Bowl Champions)
3. Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts)
Manning has a rocket arm and lightning quick release, and is known as one of the most efficient, cerebral players in the league.
He’s a student of the game, as he practices and studies by himself and with his receivers constantly, even during the off-season, as to keep timing and chemistry at it’s highest possible level.
While he has the tools, smarts, and dedication to deserve to make this list, he also has the stats, experience, and wins.
Manning is slowly climbing up the ladder in almost every major passing category, and will either eclipse Brett Favre’s final numbers, or finish second behind him in most of the major passing categories.
After being regarded as “another Dan Marino”, an elite quarterback who can put up numbers but couldn’t win games, Manning finally separated himself from the Marino’s of the world, and won his first Super Bowl in 2006.
After starting his career in the postseason with a lackluster 0-3 record, Manning has since carved a niche for himself as one of the more prepared and clutch performers, leading Indianapolis to a solid 7-5 post-season record.
Throw in his 117-59 regular season record, as well as over 30 fourth quarter comeback victories, and you’ve got a guy who knows how to win.
The Numbers (Career):
Regular Season Wins: 117
Postseason Wins: 7
Best Season: 12-4 (Super Bowl Champions)
2. Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Big Ben is a household name, especially after his heroics in 2008′s Super Bowl win. If he wasn’t famous before that night, he surely is now.
Chalk it up.
Two Super Bowl titles, and a slew of regular season wins. 51, to be exact.
In just five seasons, Roethlisberger has helped the Steelers eclipse 50 regular season wins, including going 13-0 as a rookie, and 22-3 in his first 25 starts.
Talk about a first impression.
Roethlisberger was so clutch and effective, that his team was able to be competitive right away in 2004, and then re-grouped to win his first Super Bowl in 2005.
With an 8-2 career record in the post-season, as well as his “money” late-game winning touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes in last year’s Super Bowl, Big Ben easily makes his way on this list.
The Numbers (Career):
Regular Season Wins: 51
Postseason Wins: 8
Best Season: 12-4 (Super Bowl Champions)
1. Tom Brady (New England Patriots)
Brady is quite arguably the most effective clutch performer, as he was 3-3 in Super Bowl clutch moments until the New York Giants front line crushed his hopes of winning a fourth championship.
Still, there are few other quarterbacks, even in the NFL’s history, that you’d want guiding your team with under two minutes to go.
Brady has an impressive 87-24 regular season record, while guiding the Patriots to six seasons of 10-6 or better, including the NFL’s only undefeated season, as New England went 16-0, and 18-0 until they lost 2007′s Super Bowl.
Brady’s worst season as a starter came in 2002, where he and the Patriots could only finish 9-7. What’s most impressive, however, is that’s the worst record he has ever had as a starter.
With a 14-3 postseason record, several comeback wins, and three Lombardi Trophies to his credit, Brady, knee injury or not, is still the guy the majority of teams would want behind center when all the chips are on the line.
The Numbers (Career):
Regular Season Wins: 87
Postseason Wins: 14
Best Season: 18-1 (Super Bowl Appearance)
6. The Wild Card: Eli Manning (New York Giants)
Personally, I’m not sold on Manning as an elite passer, but his numbers (not fantasy-wise) are fairly consistent, and he appears to be a good leader, and most importantly, knows how to win.
His career will likely forever be defined for his 2007 run and win against the 18-0 New England Patriots.
However, he doesn’t make the cut for the top five, due to the extraordinary help he got from his extremely aggressive defense that year.
Besides, when he had Plaxico Burress to throw to, too.
The other thing to note is that he and the Giants went 4-0 during that run, and Manning hadn’t won a playoff game before, and hasn’t since.
Still, Manning delivered clutch performance-after-clutch performance in 2007, and has since cemented himself as one of the better, and more complete young quarterbacks in the NFL.
The Numbers (Career):
Regular Season Wins: 42
Postseason Wins: 4
Best Season: 10-6 (Super Bowl Champions)
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tags: 4th quarter comebacks, arizona cardinals, ben roethlisberger, brett favre, clutch quarterbacks, donovan mcnabb, drew brees, eli manning, indianapolis colts, Joe Montana, kurt warner, matt hasselbeck, new england patriots, New York Giants, peyton manning, philadelphia eagles, philip rivers, pittsburgh steelers, seattle seahawks, tom brady
(Calvin Johnson has already arrived.)
Everyone knows the old cliche’ about wide receivers. They don’t always make an immediate impact as rookies, and despite having natural talent, usually take a while to carve a niche with their team.
About three years, to be exact.
Not everyone can be Randy Moss and bust out 17 touchdowns in their first try, or like last year’s Eddie Royal, and haul in 91 receptions.
No, sometimes fantasy owners and NFL teams are forced to go the traditional route and wait.
Here’s a look at the wide receivers from the 2007 NFL Draft, who are entering their third season, with analysis on their progress and role with their team.
(This article will only analyze those receivers taken in the 2007 draft.)
1. Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions)
Johnson is arguably a top-three fantasy receiver, depending on who you’re talking to.
Despite not having a dependable quarterback, or any sort of supporting cast, Johnson racked up over 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2008.
The new regime is reportedly enamored with Johnson (how couldn’t they be?), as he’s poised to match last year’s numbers, and possibly add to them.
Prediction: 85 rec., 1,479 yards, 13 TD
2. Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City Chiefs)
Bowe has already made a quiet name for himself, as he was the second-best weapon (behind Tony Gonzalez) on Kansas City’s offense in 2008.
With Matt Cassel coming to town, Bowe should easily crack 1,000 yards again with a pass-happy system and an upgrade at the signal caller position.
Bowe has already showed glimpses of his potential with 12 touchdowns in his first two seasons. This should be his break-out year.
Prediction: 87 rec, 1,244 yards, nine TD
3. Anthony Gonzalez (Indianapolis Colts)
Gonzalez has been showing for the past two years that his speed and hands are more than able to make up for the loss of future Hall of Famer, Marvin Harrison.
His chemistry with Peyton Manning improves with every day of practice, and there’s no doubt Gonzelez can improve (and will) on his 2008 numbers of 57 catches, 664 yards, and four scores.
Prediction: 81 rec, 1,209 yards, eight TD
4. Ted Ginn Jr. (Miami Dolphins)
Ginn has progressed slower than many had hoped, but he has still shown flashes of electric play-making ability, and has starred as a solid return man, too.
His role has been increasing in the offense over his two years with the team, and to avoid the Wildcat offense from getting predictable, his production will have to increase.
Prediction: 74 rec, 1,088 yards, seven TD
5. Steve Breaston (Arizona Cardinals)
Breaston has been quite impressive already, as he topped 1,000 yards as the Cardinals reliable third option.
Apparently it’s not very difficult to get open when you have Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin taking all the attention from the secondary. Go figure.
Breaston has already “broken out” more than he or anyone else could have hoped, considering he was the third option last year, and will continue to be in 2009.
His numbers are likely to dip a bit, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t already “arrived.”
Prediction: 72 rec, 955 yards, five TD
6. Steve Smith (New York Giants)
With Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer out of town, Steve Smith is likely to pair up with Domenik Hixon (at least in the early going), and will have a legitimate chance at locking down a starting role.
Smith has good hands and is a solid route runner, and also possesses underrated speed and quickness. If he and Manning can continue the chemistry that landed him 57 catches and over 500 yards.
Prediction: 79 rec, 855 yards, three TD
7. Sidney Rice (Minnesota Vikings)
Rice battled injuries last year, taking him down a peg after putting forth solid effort in his rookie year.
With the potential (and likely) addition of Brett Favre, Rice could easily develop into a solid red-zone target, and could also be a decent down-field threat, as his speed has gotten better every year.
Prediction: 58 rec, 744 yards, six TD
8. James Jones (Green Bay Packers)
Jones and fellow slot receiver candidate, Jordy Nelson, both arguably have the talent right now to unseat Donald Driver.
Unfortunately, they will have to settle (at least for 2009) for fighting over third receiver duties.
While Nelson appears to have the upper hand with better size, speed, and hands, Jones may have more ability after the catch, making him a better fit for the slot.
Regardless, Green Bay’s system leaves the door open for tons of yards and scores to go around, especially as Aaron Rodgers matures.
Prediction: 46 rec, 690 yards, five TD
9. Johnnie Lee Higgins (Oakland Raiders)
Higgins is in line for contending for a starting role, and may end up with one of the starting gigs, almost by default.
Seventh overall selection, Darrius Heyward-Bey, has been slowed for the past month with injuries, and Javon Walker hasn’t been able to put forth 100 percent of his effort in over a year.
Higgins was a highlight reel waiting to happen on returns (three scores), and it’s clear Oakland coaches will do what is necessary to get the ball in his hands.
Prediction: 45 rec, 722 yards, four TD
10. Mike Walker (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Dennis Northcutt and Matt Jones are gone, which leaves the door open for Walker to step in and snag the spot opposite of Torry Holt.
Walker has the skills needed to make the jump, and in limited action, has impressed.
Prediction: 44 rec, 596 yards, three TD
11. Laurent Robinson (St. Louis Rams)
Robinson was a bit of a disappointment in Atlanta, which prompted the Falcons to send him packing to St. Louis.
Now Robinson is a better environment to utilize his skills, but will also have some young talent around him, making his production difficult to gauge.
Prediction: 42 rec, 539 yards, four TD
12. Jason Hill (San Francisco 49ers)
Until further notice, Michael Crabtree and Isaac Bruce are not starters, while Josh Morgan and Jason Hill are.
Hill has good after-the-catch ability, and could snag a spot in the slot, regardless of the play of Crabtree.
Prediction: 39 rec, 477 yards, three TD
13. Chansi Stuckey (New York Jets)
Stuckey burst onto the scene early last year with some nice catches and decent performances, as he and Brett Favre formed some solid chemistry.
However, that eroded mid-way through the season, and we never saw that confident, rising receiver again.
It’s unlikely he’ll reach his potential with Kellen Clemens or a first-year Mark Sanchez throwing him the ball, but he’s a better bet than, say, a Titans receiver.
Prediction: 41 rec, 505 yards, four TD
14. Robert Meachem (New Orleans Saints)
Meachem only makes this list because Drew Brees spreads the ball around more than Fabio spreads I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and that Saints offense is insanely sick.
He can still run with the best of them, and even as their fourth option, could still put up some decent numbers.
Prediction: 33 rec, 421 yards, three TD
15. Dwayne Jarrett (Carolina Panthers)
Muhsin Muhammad won’t be around forever to rescue Steve Smith from double teams. Come to think of it, I’m not sure he was that great at it last year.
Jarrett isn’t guaranteed slot duties, and is still in a run-first offense. But if he can show he can get it done in pre-season, he could prove to be a dangerous weapon with Steve Smith distracting the secondary.
Like many receivers, though, he’ll have to start slow.
Prediction: 22 rec, 311 yards, four TD
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Friday, July 24, 2009
Categories: Fantasy Football
Tags: anthony gonzalez, arizona cardinals, atlanta falcons, Calvin Johnson, Carolina Panthers, Chansi Stuckey, Detroit Lions, Dwayne Bowe, Dwayne Jarrett, Fantasy Football, indianapolis colts, jacksonville jaguars, james jones, Jason Hill, Johnnie Lee Higgins, kansas city chiefs, Laurent Robinson, miami dolphins, Mike Walker, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, new york jets, NFL, oakland raiders, Robert Meachem, San Francisco 49ers, Sidney Rice, St. Louis Rams, Steve Breaston, Steve Smith, Ted Ginn Jr.
After going through the top 50 players in the league who provide good potential but give you reason to worry, I decided to put together a smaller list of guys that you shouldn’t think twice about drafting.
Drew Brees (pictured) doesn’t even have to be on the list. But a better example there is not.
Outside of a freak, Tom Brady-like injury, Brees should easily top 4,500 yards again and could flirt with 30 scores for the second straight year.
He is clearly what makes that potent offense go, and with a healthy arsenal of weapons all around him, there’s no reason to doubt him or the Saints in 2009.
But Brees is just the first of many players you shouldn’t second-guess.
However, sometimes when you’re drafting, those “guarantees” will fly off the board, and you’re left with too many decisions and not enough real answers.
Read on to see if the players you’re targeting in your draft are “sure things.”
(List is in no particular order.)
1. Randy Moss, WR, New England Patriots
This isn’t Oakland or Minnesota.
Randy Moss is playing dominant football, and he’s doing it with a smile.
Even without his stud quarterback, Tom Brady, he had a solid 2008, with over 1,000 yards and 10 scores.
He may not get back to 23 touchdowns, but with Brady and that offense gearing for a potential return to 2007 form, he’s as safe a bet as any star receiver.
Prediction: 84 rec, 1,390 yards, 15 TD
2. Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots
Much like Moss, Welker benefits from a great New England system, as well as the return of 2007′s NFL MVP, Tom Brady.
Again, like Moss, the most beautiful part about this receiver is that even without his star quarterback, his production really didn’t drop off too much.
Mark him down for two straight seasons with at least 111 catches and 1,100 yards.
I’d bet on a third.
Prediction: 115 rec, 1,224 yards, 7 TD
3. Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Manning won’t miss Marvin Harrison as much as many think.
Harrison has been on a downward slide for two seasons now, and Manning has been able to build great chemistry with his No. 1 guy, Reggie Wayne, as well as Dallas Clark and Anthony Gonzalez.
Gonzalez gives the Colts the speed Harrison “used” to have, as well as reliable hands and good route-running.
With offensive coordinator Tom Moore back under contract, you can safely assume Manning should be in line for his usual 26-plus touchdowns and 4,000-plus yards.
You can talk about age (33) and last year’s knee surgery all you want, but the guy has never tossed fewer than 26 touchdowns and has passed for less than 4,000 yards just twice in his entire career.
Oh, and he was the league’s MVP last year. Yeah, he’s still got it.
Prediction: 4,177 yards, 30 TD, 14 INT
4. Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts
t’s as simple as this: If you’re even remotely sold on Manning continuing his dominance (he will), then Wayne is your second man in line.
He’s basically been Manning’s go-to guy for the past two years, anyways (sorry Marvin).
The guy is just entering his prime at 30 years old and is only one season removed from a sickening 104-catch, 1,500-yard season.
Expect a return to his 2007 form, or very close to it.
Prediction: 97 rec, 1,388 yards, 11 TD
5. Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers
Sure, Gates’ receptions have gone from 89 to 71 to 75, and then all the way down to 60 last year.
But he hasn’t scored fewer than eight touchdowns since his rookie year.
Yeah, that’s five straight years of being the league’s best tight end.
However, his bum toe has taken him out of his title spot (you’re welcome, Jason Witten), and now he mostly settles for touchdowns as the Chargers’ third receiving option.
Gates should be close to full health in 2009, though, which should mean fewer plays as a decoy and anywhere from 15 to 30 more grabs.
If all else fails, you have his insane touchdown production to fall back on.
Prediction: 80 rec, 985 yards, 12 TD
6. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego Chargers
Like his teammate Gates, Tomlinson played through nagging injuries in 2008 that slowed him down and kept him from being his usual electrifying self.
L.T. put up solid numbers (1,110 yards and 11 TD) in what experts called a “down” year.
That may be true, but only because L.T. has shown us for so many years what he is capable of.
The franchising of Darren Sproles means that L.T.’s production is very unlikely to get back anywhere close to his majestic 2006 season, and possibly not even his elite 2007 production.
However, he’s still in his prime, and if he can do damage with all the injuries he had last year, he definitely has another year or two of quality production.
He may not be a surefire No. 1-4 pick, but he’s still a first-rounder.
Prediction: 1,390 yards, 12 TD, 55 rec, 477 yards, 3 TD
7. Clinton Portis, RB, Washington Redskins
Too much focus has been put on Portis’s late-season slump in 2008, where he failed to rush for a touchdown over a seven-game span and finished the season with less than 80 rushing yards in five straight contests.
His yards per carry was pretty pitiful down the stretch, too.
But here’s where common sense comes to the rescue.
The entire offense was pathetic during the last eight games, and a lot of that had to do with Jason Campbell’s lack of a killer instinct and Jim Zorn’s offense becoming too predictable.
Portis should be good for another hot start as the offense continues to grow and the other young weapons around him mature.
Be aware of the possibility of another late-season collapse, but at just 27, that’s a bit of a reach.
Prediction: 1,466 yards, 10 TD, 35 rec, 349 yards, 2 TD
8. Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
While everyone else is reaching for Donald Driver or Jerricho Cotchery as their WR3, you can smile with confidence as you snag Witten as YOUR third receiving option.
With Terrell Owens gone, Witten is more like a receiver than ever, and he should keep his reception and yardage total high while he gets back to the six- or seven-touchdown range.
He’s too big, fast, and strong to be kept out of the end zone for long without pay dirt hog T.O. gone.
Prediction: 94 rec, 1,117 yards, 8 TD
9. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
As if you weren’t expecting Mr. “All-Day” to show up on this list sooner or later.
Sure, he fumbles, plays recklessly, and is in an increasingly more competitive division (on paper) by the day.
But when the guy can run over AND around just about anybody he wants to, it’s pretty hard to doubt his abilities.
His play could catch up with him eventually, but if Brett Favre signs, something tells me it won’t be happening in 2009.
With a true presence (albeit a 40-year-old one) behind center, Peterson will finally shine to his fullest.
Just an interesting note:
Jets RB Thomas Jones’ 2007 TD total (before Favre arrived: ONE
Jones’ total with Favre at QB in 2008: 13
A.P. scored 10 times last year while leading the league in rushing with over 1,700 yards.
Oh, the possibilities.
Prediction: 1,669 yards, 17 TD, 27 rec, 288 yards, 2 TD
10. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
The entire 2008 season was about taking the place of a legend and making his own mark in Green Bay.
Aaron Rodgers did both. The only problem was, his defense didn’t back him up at all.
With a new scheme and players in new spots in some areas, Rodgers will hopefully have a serviceable defense defending the other end zone.
In the meantime, Rodgers still has a hell of a right arm, is mobile, and has a slew of offensive weapons who are just as productive as he is.
With over 4,000 yards passing and 31 total touchdowns in his first year as a starter, it’s safe to say he’s arrived.
Now just cross your fingers he makes it through 16 games—again.
Prediction: 3,988 yards, 27 TD, 14 INT
11. Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers
Smith is being held back by an ineffective quarterback and average receivers surrounding him, yet is still an elite fantasy option.
And a consistent and reliable one to boot.
Despite Jake Delhomme’s poor play at times, Smith is still arguably a top-five option and is entering his prime.
He still has game-breaking speed, excellent hands, and body control, and he makes plays on every ball thrown his way.
Don’t let Delhomme scare you away from four straight 1,000-yard seasons.
Prediction: 85 rec, 1,369 yards, 9 TD
12. Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons
White is officially “the” guy in Atlanta’s passing game, and even the arrival of Tony Gonzalez shouldn’t change that.
His chemistry with Matt Ryan is outstanding and should only improve, while two straight seasons of 1,200-plus yards and at least six scores should keep you salivating.
He’s also grabbed over 83 balls in each of the past two seasons.
He’s only 27 and is just going to get better.
Prediction: 90 rec, 1,444 yards, 10 TD
13. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Forget about his ridiculous 2008 postseason run.
Tons of players go “off” in the playoffs and then fizzle out the next season.
Fitz, however, has been doing this for years.
Draft him based on the three 1,400-yard and 10-plus touchdown seasons out of his last four tries.
The guy has size, speed, reliable hands, excellent body control, and a Pro Bowl quarterback.
Just knock on wood when thinking about him being on the Madden cover.
Prediction: 101 rec, 1,515 yards, 15 TD
14. Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona Cardinals
What are you waiting for, Warner to grow a long, white beard, fall and break his hip, or retire unexpectedly?
Don’t wait on it.
Warner may be 38, but he isn’t playing with the body of the usual late-30s quarterback. He still has a good arm and is sickly accurate.
Oh, and he has two of the game’s best receiving options (Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin), as well as underrated third and fourth options.
Sure, he could always shatter like glass, but then again, so could anyone else in this league.
If you’re really that worried, grab Matt Leinart later in the draft as insurance.
Prediction: 4,377 yards, 29 TD, 15 INT
15. Steve Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams VS. Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Both Steven Jackson and Frank Gore are elusive backs with exceptional speed, inside running ability, and vision.
The trouble is, they can’t stay completely healthy, and the rest of their offense stinks.
Neither has a reliable quarterback or passing game, and both of their defenses still could use some work.
However, the tide is turning.
Despite all of these things working against them, both backs have churned out back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns and have tons of room for fantasy optimism.
Jackson has a new coach with an emphasis on defense and running the ball.
Ding, ding, ding! We’ve got a winner.
You can say much the same for Gore as well.
His quarterback situation may not be resolved completely in 2009, but his carries should increase, as the Mike Martz system kept him well below 300 carries.
Both backs should see the ball at least 18 to 25 times a game and are still the featured offensive players on their teams.
So, barring a major injury, they should easily be top-10 fantasy backs and are viable RB1 candidates.
Jackson Prediction: 1,359 yards, 11 TD, 64 rec, 525 yards, 2 TD
Gore Prediction: 1,288 yards, nine TD, 49 rec, 358 yards, 2 TD
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Categories: Fantasy Football
Tags: aaron rodgers, adrian peterson, antonio gates, arizona cardinals, atlanta falcons, brett favre, Carolina Panthers, Clinton Portis, dallas cowboys, drew brees, Fantasy Draft, Fantasy Football, frank gore, green bay packers, indianapolis colts, Jason Witten, kurt warner, LaDanian Tomlinson, Larry Fitzgerald, Minnesota Vikings, new england patriots, New Orleans Saints, peyton manning, Randy Moss, Reggie Wayne, Roddy White, san diego chargers, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Steve Smith, Steven Jackson, tom brady, washington redskins, Wes Welker
There won’t be a Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco this year.
Mark Sanchez could see his team get the playoffs, but it will undoubtedly not be because he throws for 3,000 yards and 20+ touchdowns.
There’s not going to be an Adrian Peterson, or a slew of Chris Johnson’s, Steve Slaton’s, and Matt Forte’s.
Realistically, there are only two rookie running backs worth drafting in the top five rounds.
That might even be a reach.
Wide Receivers are no different.
There are a few with a solid chance at starting, and a few more with duties in the slot almost guaranteed.
But superstars? Not even Michael Crabtree.
If you must take a chance, or are investing for a dynasty or keeper league, here’s the top five guys that could pan out, just as you’d hoped.
Honorable Mentions: Donald Brown, Shonne Green, LeSean McCoy, Kenny Britt, Percy Harvin
5.Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Regardless of what some biased scouts said about him, the guy can flat-out play.
He has the hands, smarts, and body control of a dominant NFL wide receiver, and that’s exactly what he’ll be-some day.
Crabtree is still behind Isaac Bruce, Josh Morgan, and probably even Jason Hill.
Due to missed practices and the depth ahead of him, Crabtree is in danger of starting his rookie year as the fourth option.
He’s still been going high (eighth) round, so you may have to fight for him.
But I suggest you let someone else take that chance.
4. Brian Robiskie, WR, Cleveland Browns
If there’s any receiver who is a shoe-in to start, it’s Robiskie.
He has exceptional hands and body control, and reportedly runs routes and handles coverage like a veteran.
He may not have blazing speed, but Robiskie is vastly underrated, and projects to snag the number two spot before the season starts.
Robiskie would make for a nice steal in rounds 8 to 10.
3. Knownshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos
He could very well end up being the best player on this list (this year, and beyond), but his offensive system and depth at his position really don’t suggest so.
Head Coach Josh McDaniels runs 3-4 backs at all times, and prefers the pass over the run. If Kyle Orton does well, they’ll stick to that plan, which could have Moreno falling short of 1,000 yards, despite being “the starter.”
2. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
There’s simply too much talent ahead of him for him to start right away.
Kevin Curtis has paid his dues and is still effective, while it’s unrealistic to think the electric DeSean Jackson will take a back seat to the rookie.
Maclin’s talent is off the charts, though, with excellent size, speed, and hands.
He won’t start the season as Philly’s go-to receiver, but he’s likely to send Curtis to slot duties, eventually.
1. Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Don’t buy the hype.
Tim Hightower is a failed experiment, and Arizona spent a first rounder on Wells for a good reason: to start him.
He may be eased into the role, but there’s no reason to have him sit behind the ineffective Hightower.
Hightower has a slight advantage in the passing game, but expecting that to keep Wells off the field is simply laughable.
The Cardinals aim to have a more balanced attack, and if Wells can help make that successful, he could post the best numbers of all the rookies.
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Saturday, July 18, 2009
Tags: adrian peterson, arizona cardinals, atlanta falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Brian Robiskie, chicago bears, Chris Wells, cleveland browns, denver broncos, Donald Brown, houston texans, indianapolis colts, Jeremy Maclin, joe flacco, Knowshon Moreno, LeSean McCoy, mark sanchez, Matt Forte, matt ryan, Michael Crabtree, Minnesota Vikings, new york jets, Percy Harvin, philadelphia eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Shonne Green, steve slaton, tennessee titans
It’s the first day of June, which means all of those premature NFL power rankings and fantasy football rankings are no longer, well, quite as premature.
While everyone (including myself) is discussing LeBron James and his handshake phobia, the Magic and the Lakers, or Bruno’s fall into Eminem’s lap, I’ve decided to take that free fall dive into the loving arms of fantasy football.
And yes, the fantasy realm loves me back.
However, let’s pace ourselves. After all, it is in fact the first month of summer (first day, no less), and we don’t want to generate pre-football heart attacks.
I mean, Brett Favre hasn’t even made up his mind yet, so why should the rest of us be getting antsy?
Regardless, here is a team-by-team look at all 32 starting quarterbacks, their weapons, offenses, and how they may destroy or enhance your team.
Still worried about Favre’s final decision, camp battles, or injuries? I’ll do my best to fill you in, allowing you an early look at which quarterbacks may be the best bets, which could be potential sleepers, and which ones you should stay away from.
Tom Brady—New England Patriots
Matt Cassel is in Kansas City, and Brady is back in camp, meaning two things.
You have nothing to worry about, and you have nothing to worry about.
Brady has looked sharp in limited practice, and still has the same awesome weapons he had in 2007 during his 50-touchdown season. This list isn’t a ranking, but if it were, I’d have Brady at the top.
Verdict: If you can get him in the second round, you’re already winning.
Proj: 4,090 yards, 35 TD, 13 INT
Mark Sanchez—New York Jets
Don’t buy the Kellen Clemens hype (not that there actually is any).
For better or worse, Sanchez will begin the new Joe Namath era.
It won’t be as sexy or productive as either of Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco’s seasons last year, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Jets reached the playoffs.
Verdict: Not yet an option for FF
Proj: 2,400 yards, 16 TD, 17 INT
Trent Edwards—Buffalo Bills
I like the addition of Owens, but not the loss of Marshawn Lynch to start the season.
Edwards isn’t as bad as people think, and now he has a sound offense around him. He’s a borderline top-15 quarterback, and depending on how he looks in pre-season, could crack that barrier quite easily.
Proj: 3,555 yards, 26 TD, 14 INT
Chad Pennington—Miami Dolphins
This is probably Pennington’s last hurrah with Miami, and something tells me the exciting juice that this offense had last season has all but dried up.
Pennington still doesn’t have enticing options, and he’s got two quarterbacks breathing down his neck.
He’ll be serviceable to start the season, but you won’t claim your league’s championship if he’s your starter.
Verdict: He’s a stop-gap
Proj: 3,100 yards, 17 TD, 14 INT
Ben Roethlisberger—Pittsburgh Steelers
If he endures a Super Bowl hang-over, we could see some bad numbers.
Because, as we’ve learned, the less Big Ben throws, the better he is.
He’s still a fantasy quarterback with solid weapons around him, so don’t be afraid to snatch him up.
Proj: 3,470 yards, 23 TD, 18 INT
Brady Quinn—Cleveland Browns
Personally, I think Derek Anderson has the better arm and size, but Braylon Edwards favors Quinn, and the organization is more likely to run with the young, more familiar face.
Quinn is actually a good, young quarterback, and I’m not sure why Eric Mangini isn’t higher on him.
Regardless, aside from Braylon “Mr. Drop” Edwards, Quinn has no weapons.
Verdict: Things could get ugly
Proj: 2,899 yards, 20 TD, 20 INT
Carson Palmer—Cincinnati Bengals
He was awful last season, going 0-4 before bowing out with an arm injury.
However, his weapons are still potentially elite, and if he can return to form, could easily put up numbers that will have you kicking yourself for passing him up in the fourth round.
Verdict: Possibly ends the season as a top-5 passer
Proj: 3,884 yards, 27 TD, 17 INT
Joe Flacco—Baltimore Ravens
Flacco proved to be a capable game-manager, and has reportedly looked good over the offseason.
However, the Ravens are likely to base their offense around the run, and Flacco doesn’t have superstar options surrounding him.
Verdict: See Chad Pennington
Proj: 3,335 yards, 18 TD, 16 INT
Vince Young—Tennessee Titans
Call me crazy, but I don’t see Kerry Collins finishing the first half of the season as the starter.
He’s up there in age, which makes a regression or an injury extremely likely, and if things aren’t going well, he’ll be benched rather quickly.
Young may not have a cloudless head on his shoulders, but he still can make things happen with his feet.
Verdict: Young might surprise some people
Proj: 2,467 yards, 15 TD, 13 INT, 430 r yards, 4 TD
Peyton Manning—Indianapolis Colts
Manning loses Marvin Harrison, Tony Dungy, and two other important assistant coaches.
That doesn’t mean he’ll suddenly lose his touch, but there’s only so much Anthony Gonzales and Austin Collie can make up for.
Verdict: Draft him below Tom Brady, for sure this time
Proj: 4,300 yards, 33 TD, 19 INT
David Garrard—Jacksonville Jaguars
He lost Matt Jones, but gained Torry Holt.
Something tells me Garrard won’t really notice.
Jacksonville’s offense is all about grinding it out, but they were forced to put the ball in the air more last year because of an atrocious offensive line.
Verdict: A better line means Garrard is good again
Proj: 3,090 yards, 20 TD, 12 INT, 260 r yards, 3 TD
Matt Schaub—Houston Texans
Schaub has too many weapons to fail. The only problem is, he needs to stay on the field.
If he can play even 13 games, he’ll put up huge numbers, while leaving everyone guessing, yet again, what he’d do if he played a full season.
Still, with Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, Steve Slaton, and Owen Daniels, the future looks good for Schaub.
Verdict: He can lead your team to a title
Proj: 3,800 yards, 25 TD, 16 INT
Philip Rivers—San Diego Chargers
If Rivers’ defense can back him up, unlike in 2008, he could easily approach last year’s numbers, and possibly even surpass them.
With a healthy Antonio Gates and LT, Rivers is more confident than ever.
Verdict: Draft him like he’s Tom Brady
Proj: 4,270 yards, 30 TD, 16 INT
Jeff Garcia—Oakland Raiders
I just don’t see the JaMarcus Russell experiment lasting more than three or four losses in 2009, and wouldn’t be shocked to see him benched in the pre-season.
As long as Garcia wins a few games, Al Davis will let him start. After all, he brought him in for a reason.
Verdict: Nobody in Oakland is worth your while
Proj: 2,300 yards, 15 TD, 9 INT
Matt Cassel—Kansas City Chiefs
Cassel is in a new place with a huge drop-off as far as offensive weapons. He still has good experience from last season, combined with his solid arm and good athleticism.
However, we’ll all be left wondering what could have been, had Tony Gonzalez not been traded to Atlanta.
Verdict: Stay away in year one
Proj: 3,700 yards, 22 TD, 23 INT
Kyle Orton—Denver Broncos
Orton was putting together a solid season in Chicago before hurting his ankle. Once he came back, he played admirably through injury, and didn’t have the best options out there.
In Denver, he’ll have a friendlier offensive line and system, as well as excellent receiving options.
Verdict: Orton could make the leap to elite
Proj: 3,600 yards, 24 TD, 16 INT
The NFC Edition will be made available, depending on the reads/comments for this article. Thanks for reading, and for those basketball enthusiasts, check out my NBA blog: www.robertsroundballreport.com
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Monday, June 1, 2009
Categories: Fantasy Football
Tags: andre johnson, anthony gonzalez, antonio gates, austin collie, ben roethlisberger, brady quinn, braylon edwards, brett favre, bruno, buffalo bills, carson palmer, chad pennington, cincinnati bengals, cleveland browns, david garrard, denver broncos, derek anderson, eminem, eric mangini, houston texans, indianapolis colts, jacksonville jaguars, jamarcus russell, jeff garcia, joe flacco, kansas city chiefs, kellen clemens, kerry collins, kevin walter, kyle orton, l.a. lakers, lebron james, mark sanchez, marshawn lynch, marvin harrison, matt cassel, matt jones, matt ryan, matt schaub, miami dolphins, new england patriots, new york jets, oakland raiders, orlando magic, owen daniels, peyton manning, philip rivers, pittsburgh steelers, san diego chargers, steve slaton, tennessee titans, terrell owens, tom brady, tony dungy, tony gonzalez, torry holt, trent edwards, vince young