Alright, so as previously mentioned, I did not want to do a full fantasy preview earlier because I didn’t want anyone in the league I’m in to steal my genius (Editor’s note: The Pundit needs to get out more). But, I figured I should devote at least one post to the sensation that is fantasy football. Thus, I have devised a list of my top 25 players, and have come up with a collection of names to look over for waiver wire deals, steals and trades. Make sure to have at least three of my top 25 on your team, even if it means bamboozling (Editor’s note: Who said booze?) that guy in your league who has no idea of how to draft players and is excited that he got Drew Brees in the first round. Give him Marvin Harrison or something. (Editor’s note: Can Harrison’s new nickname be Colt .88 Special?)
1. LaDainian Tomlinson
2. Brian Westbrook
3. Joseph Addai
4. Tom Brady
5. Adrian Peterson
(Why Addai over Brady and Peterson? Why Peterson at 5? Simple: Addai is the safest pick of the three. It’s unlikely that Brady can repeat his legendary season of last year, especially because losing Dante Stallworth will hurt their passing attack. And you already know the fears with AD: defenses stacking the box and his injury history. Is Peterson worth the risk considering he was only 5.3 fantasy points better than Addai last year? The Colts traditionally field fantasy studs; I see no reason why Addai should regress this year.)
6. Steven Jackson
7. Marion Barber
8. Randy Moss
(Barber over Moss, and a slew of other running backs? I don’t think Moss will put up the ridiculous numbers of a year ago; meanwhile, Barber was already a stud, and now he’s getting all of the reps. Running backs are normally more consistent than receivers, and I think Barber is going to have a big year – I almost put him ahead of Jackson, but with TO and Witten around, he’ll lose some touches.)
9. Tony Romo
10. Peyton Manning
(Three QB’s in the top 10? And Romo ahead of Manning? Football is changing. The days of the 400 carry workhorse are temporarily over. Many teams are platooning backs now and relying more heavily on their passing attacks. Romo is the real deal, and with TO and Witten, he has excellent options. Meanwhile, Manning will still produce, but Marvin Harrison isn’t the guy he once was, and the Colts offense doesn’t conjure up the same degree of fear in defenses it once did.)
11. Terrell Owens
12. Clinton Portis
13. Ryan Grant (New QB in town means he may shoulder a heavy workload – and boy was he good when he became the starter last year, totaling 158.1 fantasy points despite only 10 starts.)
14. Marshawn Lynch (The rushing yards are there – 1115 yards last year. Expect him to score more than 7 total touchdowns this season, and hopefully do better than 18 receptions for 184 yards).
15. Braylon Edwards
16. Reggie Wayne
(Comparing these two is fun. Edwards finished last season with 224.9 fantasy points, while Wayne finished with 211. Edwards was a touchdown machine, scoring 16 – Wayne is a yardage machine, amassing 1510 last season. The main difference? Edwards should benefit from having a dangerous second receiver added to the mix in Stallworth, while Wayne will lose some touches due to the return of Marvin Harrison. Stallworth may steal a touchdown or two from Edwards, but he will also make it more difficult to double the electrifying Edwards, which could lead to a higher yardage output than last year.)
17. Willis McGahee
18. Maurice Jones-Drew
19. Larry Johnson
20. Frank Gore
21. Andre Johnson (This may seem a bit high for Mr. Johnson, but consider this: in only 9 games last year, Johnson posted 133.1 fantasy points. That’s an average of 14.8 points for game, meaning had he stayed healthy, Johnson likely would have been worth about 230 points last season. That would have been better than every receiver except for Mr. Moss. If he’s healthy, he’s a steal here – if not, he’ll still give you decent numbers when he’s on the field. 21 seemed like the right spot for him.)
22. T.J Houshmandzadeh
23. Drew Brees
24. Larry Fitzgerald
25. Marques Colston
Obviously, this list will be controversial, perhaps unorthodox, and certainly debatable. It is also pure gold (Editor’s note: Oh, that’s just arrogant). Again, be sure that you have at least three of these players on your team: QB-RB-WR, QB-RB-RB, or RB-RB-RB, which was how I went (Editor’s note: LT, Clinton Portis and Ryan Grant: not bad, Mr. Pundit). Now, on to my Golden Nuggets of Genius.
– Follow the Patriots carefully. Without Dante Stallworth, someone is going to step into the third receiver spot and get some looks. Conventional wisdom would suggest Jabar Gaffney, though don’t forget about Chad Jackson.
– I wouldn’t recommend drafting him, but if he gets a nice start, snag Aaron Rodgers quickly. The Packers offense thrived on short crossing patterns that allowed Greg Jennings and Donald Driver to gain yards after the catch. If he can manage the offense and avoid turnovers, Rodgers could be this year’s Derek Anderson.
– Be wary of drafting running backs from Denver and Tampa Bay, but seek them through the waiver wire later in the season. Mike Shanahan’s offense could move the ball with The Pundit at running back (Editor’s note: Speaking of fantasy…) and the Bucs added Warrick Dunn and Michael Bennett to their backfield this year. Remember, Earnest Graham started last year as a special teams player.
– Darren McFadden might not be this year’s Adrian Peterson, but he should be a solid player whom establishes himself as the Raiders’ guy. If one of your household name picks starts slow, try to dish him off for McFadden.
– I’m scared of Kurt Warner. I’m scared that if I don’t pick him up, he’ll have a big year. I’m scared if I do pick him up, he’ll be easy prey for defensive ends like he was in New York and will end up getting hurt. I’ll be watching closely.
– Someone has to catch the ball in Oakland. I say that someone will be Ronald Curry.
– Someone has to catch the ball in Miami. I say that someone will be Ted Ginn, Jr.
– Someone has to catch the ball in Chicago. I say that someone will be the other team’s defenders (Editor’s note: But don’t count out Greg Olsen).
– Devin Hester is a gamble pick – feel him out early in the season. He’ll likely be an inconsistent scorer, so if you’re going to play him, be sure to do your research on the opponent.
Alright, that’s enough fantasy for now. The real NFL preview is coming later in the week. Be sure to check the links in the morn.