Jul 7, 2009
I’ve been kind of swamped this month trying to get all our ducks in a row for the upcoming season, and unfortunately for me I’m dealing with literally 30 things a day, so I haven’t had a lot of time for the blog. As I hope everyone knows, players and teams are on vacation for most of this month, so there’s not a lot to talk about. I myself will be on vacation next week.
But I’ve been meaning to post something this month. I see people debating some of our rankings on the site on our MBs, which is great and all and totally healthy. I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with everything we say or have on the site.
But the point I’ve been meaning to make is that it’s really too early to make many definitive statements. I said it back in February, and I’ll say it again: I think this year’s going to be tricky. I say that primarily because last year wasn’t, so things are bound to get ugly. It’s also clear that there are a lot of situations that need to come into clearer focus, more so than this time last year.
Of course we’ll be following all the action closely from around August 1st (or a few days sooner) to the start of the season, and we’ll be tracking good vibes, bad vibes, emerging players, injuries, etc. There’s so much that’s going to happen during this period of time, so you really can’t be too confident or critical in, for example, our rankings & projections. There are many situations out there right now that we just don’t know enough about, so I thought I’d briefly cover some of them here. If you’re drafting now, good luck; I have to say it may be your fault for jumping the 2009 gun by doing so early if you end up with a bad team.
Okay, so here are some of the situations I’m keeping my eye on.
Chris Wells’ health and play in the preseason – I need to see him healthy, and I need to see him running hard in the preseason and in their games. If all checks out, he’ll beat Tim Hightower out and will have nice value. Of course, one of the main reasons I’ve been targeting him is his draft value, and that will be less attractive if he has a positive summer.
The Raven RBs – It’s a cluster F, for sure. I need to see nothing but good vibes from Willis McGahee, which may be asking too much. I’m going to try not to get overly-enamored with Ray Rice if he has a huge preseason, which I’m thinking he will (he’s bulked up, taking first-team reps, etc). Rice is a nice player, but he didn’t show he could be a lead guy last year. McGahee is the key. If he has issues, his value drops, and LeRon McClain’s goes up – assuming McClain is slim and trim.
Terrell Owens and Trent Edwards – I would certainly like to see Owens play a little more in the preseason and for him to click with Edwards.
Jonathan Stewart’s health – This dude had better show he can stay healthy throughout training camp or else a red flag will go up. Not sure if we’ll move DeAngelo Williams up more than 1-2 spots if Stewart has issues (since he’s already high), but I’ll move more toward actually targeting him in drafts if Stewart has issues.
Cutler with Hester and Olsen – I’m going to say it, I probably shouldn’t, but I am. If Olsen can quickly establish chemistry with Jay Cutler, and if he’s healthy all 16 games, I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up as the #1 fantasy TE in a non-PPR league. Hester may only go down in our rankings, but that’s only because we already like him a lot. It would be nice to see him connecting in the preseason down the field. I still think there are enough weapons for Cutler to be just fine for fantasy.
The Bengals as whole – I’m certainly not going to go gaga over anyone here, but if the vibes are good, Chad Ochocinco will continue his ascent up our rankings, and I’ll probably move Carson Palmer up a couple of spots. I’ve loved Palmer from Day One, but I gotta see some good preseason vibes here.
Braylon Edwards – He could be a steal in the 5th or even 6th round based on his ugly 2008 season. If he’s healthy and appears to be properly motivated, we’ll be pushing him. He’s the go-to guy, he’s in a contract year, and the QB situation is decent. You want truly elite players on your side, and last year’s train wreck aside, Braylon’s a stud talent. Remember that.
Roy Williams in Dallas – My boy’s gotta step up, and he has to show some urgency in practice and in their exhibition games. Otherwise, I’ll pass.
Brandon Marshall – I got a great tidbit on Marshall last night that I really can’t pass along, but let’s just say I feel a little better about him. He has no leverage, and he’s not going anywhere. Let’s just say the tidbit has to do with the notion that, if Marshall does behave himself this year and proves he deserves the money on the field, he’ll probably get it. Maybe I did just give it away. Of course, that’s no lock he does, but this helps. I obviously want to see the rest of the Broncos because they need to put out some good vibes this summer.
Matthew Stafford – Our guy at the position, and he’s already shining and looking like the starter. The Lion offense might actually surprise this year, with a rookie QB no less.
Donald Brown – A huge preseason by Brown would likely be the final nail in the Joe Addai coffin for me. If Brown’s all that, that’s obviously bad for Addai, but on the other hand, Brown could finally push Addai and get the best out of him. I want to see the overall state of the Colts, too.
Torry Holt’s health – It’s really a matter of his health, since I think he’ll be rock solid if healthy. Not a stud, but surprisingly helpful for fantasy.
The Whole Chief Offense – A ton to get a handle on with KC. I need to see Dwayne Bowe look beast-like as he did last year. Gotta see how they’re using the RBs and how Larry Johnson looks, and of course the QB. And will Brad “Smoke ‘em if ya” Cottam does.
Dolphin WRs – I like Ginn, Camarillo, and Bess, but we need to see their role. Is Ginn ready to take a step up, is Camarillo healthy? Will Bess be worth much or is he going to be just a slot guy?
The Vikings – Ah, yes, the Vikings. Here’s my prediction: Brett Favre will come out of retirement officially and join the Vikings somewhere between 7/12 and 7/21. Why? That’s when I’m on vacation.
The Patriots – Of course, the return of Tom Brady, although I’m already quite confident in him. I’m curious about the RBs.
Reggie Bush – The guy’s gotta be healthy. I need to see it, and I hope I see it. We know Pierre Thomas is going to be fine, but will there be two fantasy studs in this backfield?
Giant WRs – We just don’t know how this one’s going to shake out, so the key guys to watch are Domenik Hixon and Hakeem Nicks.
Mark Sanchez – There’s no way he’s going to be Matt Ryan good, so the question is, can he be Joe Flacco good in 2009? I doubt it, but the offense will be conservative, which helps his chances of doing his job in year one.
Michael Bush – That’s right, Michael Bush. If Darren McFadden’s not a true lead back, which he isn’t, then why can’t a healthier Bush get 15 carries a game as well as a good number of the goal liner carries. He could, so I want to see him have a big preseason.
LeSean McCoy – He needs to pick up the offense quickly and play well. If so, drafting Brian Westbrook should be a fine idea, as long as you get McCoy. If McCoy is struggling, that throws a monkey wrench into the plan.
Rashard Mendenhall – I still don’t think he’s ready to beat Willie Parker out. But if he has a big preseason, I’ll open up the possibility that he does during the season. And forget about it Parker is banged up. But Mendenhall has to bring it this summer, and he has to stay healthy.
LaDainian - Will we see him this summer at all? I’d actually like to see something, unlike the last five summers. If not, he’s going to be a little bit of a mystery going into the season.
The 49ers - Frank Gore’s fantasy interest is picking up some steam, and I can see why. It’s very simple, really. If he’s truly going to get the ball a ton, he has incredible potential if healthy. The guy’s a stud talent, period.
Steven Jackson – I fully admit I’m ready to move him up over LT. I just need to see some good things from him and the Rams and/or some bad things from LT and the Chargers. I do like how the Ram OL has been beefed up.
The Buc QB situation – I gotta tell you, I’m not getting a good feeling here. If rookie Josh Freeman has been your most impressive guy, that’s not good. I basically need Luke McCown to step up big time, or else I’ll be avoiding Antonio Bryant and Kellen Winslow. I don’t want to see or hear anything about Byron Leftwich. If I hear anything positive, I will put my hands over my ears. I do still like their RBs.
Jason Campbell – I wasn’t fooled last summer by the impressive preseason, but I do think he needs to show some spark this summer to get things rolling in the right direction. It would also be great if those two young WRs stepped up – or at least one of them.