Jun 15, 2010
Whew. I finally got done editing and posting our initial 2010 player previews. They are the beefiest yet and contain more analysis and information than we’ve ever had (I don’t miss the magazine and its space restrictions at all). Contrary to what one blog respondent wrote here recently, I think bigger is better when it comes to these previews/profiles. In fact, while these things are massive, they probably could have been 15-20% bigger and still contain zero fluff. I do realize some people have shorter attention spans, so you do have to draw the line somewhere. For those who are simply looking for 1-2 sentences on the players, check out the comments within the projections.
For everyone else interested in reading these, consider it assigned summer reading – and your deadline’s about August 1st. There’s no way we can realistically re-write and update all these in the summer, so what we do on the player profile page going forward is include all subsequent updates on each player below his profile on his profile page. So what I’d recommend, if you’re interested, is to read these profiles from now until the start of training camps (in about seven weeks) to get you ready for the 2010 season. We’ve considered a ton of factors in these previews, and they are very up-to-date in terms of the recent news of the OTAs, minicamps, police blotter, etc. But once training camp starts, our coverage will shift a little away from these previews and to keeping up with news and injuries, Stock Watch, and much more, including writing and updating a ton of articles. Again, if you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for each player, you can head to his player page. From there you’ll see his profile and all relevant updates on the player from news, injury updates, Stock Watch, exhibition game reviews. If there’s anything you should know about the player from training camp and the preseason, it’ll be there.
Anyway, the point of today’s post is to mention how muddy this year’s fantasy waters are. There are certainly a lot of sure things, but I think there are more situations that are a little up in the air than usual. Because of this fact, it’s hard to nail down a lot of sleepers and potential values (I’m working on this year’s article for release this week, by the way). But ultimately, players will emerge, so I think it’s going to be a really active preseason in terms of emerging players, and I also think it’s going to be a really active regular season in terms of viable pickups emerging on the Waiver Wire.
This all falls into my general approach to 2010 in that it’s going to be wise for fantasy players to focus on acquiring as many sure things as possible early, regardless of position. The apparent depth because of all these open situations is great, so while I’m sure educated readers will be getting 1-2 sleepers at least in their drafts, I also think there will be a lot of players dropped early in the season, once they appear to be dead weight or once better options emerge.
You’ve likely seen the Adam Caplan’s position battles article posted last week, and obviously you can see the extensive previews, but I figured today I’d throw out some of the more intriguing situations to watch this summer and regular season. I’m not saying thing are fascinating position battles, but what I am saying is that these are situations from which a fantasy sleeper may emerge.
Bill #2 WR job – Granted, they may not a lot of fantasy glory here, but someone has to catch the ball other than Lee Evans. To me it’s between Steve Johnson and the rookie Marcus Easley. We’ve liked Johnson and he looks okay in terms of the eyeball test, but the team seems to be enamored with Easley. He’s intriguing, but he’s really inexperienced. TE Shawn Nelson getting a real chance this year is also something to watch.
Panther #2 WR job – Again, not a lot of upside here, but Brandon LaFell could have some fantasy worth at some point. I think he’ll be the guy, but he still has to prove he’s worth it and beat out the sluggish Dwayne Jarrett.
Bear WRs – A huge one here, obviously. I’m really torn because I like each of the top-3 guys. Maybe they’ll split the production up in a way that’s not good for fantasy, but I suspect 1-2 of these guys will be very good for fantasy. Not great, but very good. Right now I’m actually leaning to Johnnie Knox. Of course, how they use RBs Matt Forte and Chester Taylor is huge, too. I’m kind of thinking a healthy Forte will go down as a decent value, but they’re not paying Taylor to sit on the sideline, either.
The Bengal passing game – Lots of potential here, especially for QB Carson Palmer. The vibes are so good here that the team’s even talking up guys like Andre Caldwell and Jerome Harrison. But nothing’s really a sure thing just yet, so this is a key thing to watch. First up, we have to see Palmer throwing the ball well.
Brown RBs and WRs – Lots of possibilities here, especially at RB. We opened some eyes ranking Montario Hardesty so high, and Hardesty has really impressed so far. But Jerome Harrison also has plenty of fantasy juice and potential. Gotta see how this shakes out, but we still think Hardesty will get 200+ carries. As for the WRs, there’s intrigue here with two youngsters who appear to be coming on: rookie Carlton Mitchell and second-year man Brian Robiskie.
Dallas WRs – We need to see how much Dez Bryant is going to chip away at Roy Williams’ minutes, targets, and fantasy value. Williams is making things more complicated by having a good offseason, but Bryant’s clearly going to play a lot right away. Of course, we also need to see how they’re going to use RBs Felix Jones and Marion Barber.
Denver RBs and WRs – For one, will the team truly commit to Knowshon Moreno? My guy in Denver seems to think so and sees Moreno’s role in the passing game increasing. As for the WRs, there’s a ton to be settled here. Ideally, they use rookie Demaryius Thomas and veteran Jabar Gaffney on the outside with Eddie Royal in the slot. So Gaffney might be a sleeper believe it or not.
Lion RBs – How much will the rookie Jahvid Best play? He’ll certainly be a big factor, but the health of Kevin Smith will likely decide how many touches Best gets.
Texan RBs – I’m pretty confident it’s going to be about a 60/40 split in terms of carries with Ben Tate and Steve Slaton, with Slaton getting most of the passing action. If so, this should give both players pretty solid fantasy value. Also, will WR Jacoby Jones, who is coming on, pressure Kevin Walter for his starting job
Colt WRs – It looks like Anthony Gonzalez could be the odd man out and still has some injury issues, but things could change if Gonzalez is healthy. Big one here
Jag WRs – I doubt there’s a legit QB battle here, but someone has to start opposite my boy MSW. If it’s Troy Williamson, he’s worth watching. If he’s Mike Thomas, he’s a decent little PPR option
Chief RBs and TEs – It will be nice to get a glimpse into how much they plan to run Thomas Jones, of course. But also I’m intrigued by TE Tony Moeaki, who has been impressive and might even start as a rookie
Miami receivers – How will this team use guys like Brian Hartline, Greg Camarillo, and Davone Bess? And will they actually throwing to TE Anthony Fasano? There are some questions here, along with RB Ronnie Brown’s health.
Patriot RBs and WRs – What the heck is going to happen in this backfield? Most likely, it’ll be a cluster-F again, but Laurence Maroney is certainly the youngest, so you have to look at him first. Of course, there’s a ton to be settled at WR. I’m watching Brandon Tate, and I’m watching Wes Welker as it relates to his and Julian Edelman’s value.
Saint RBs and WRs – It’s going to be interesting to get a handle on how they plan to use their RBs, and whether or not Pierre Thomas will truly get more touches. He should, but we clearly know they don’t view him as a workhorse. And at WR, will Robert Meachem officially start, or will they take the if-it-isn’t-broke-don’t-fix-it mentality.
Jet RBs and receivers – How much exactly is LT going to play over Shonn Greene? This is a legit question, especially with Greene going as high as the 2nd round. Also, how do they work Santonio Holmes into the mix? And is there enough to go around for TE Dustin Keller.
Raider Running game and WRs – The Michael Bush/Darren McFadden rotation is going to be a big story to me. More I think about it, Bush is going to be the guy. That’s a sleeper right there, but McFadden should also finally get consistent and significant touches, which complicates things a little. And at WR, we have to see if Chaz Schilens is healthy and if Darrius Heyward-Bey is improved enough to stave off Louis Murphy, who I like.
Eagle RBs – We’ll have to see if LeSean McCoy is totally ready, or if backups Mike Bell and/or Charles Scott need to chip in significantly. Obviously, watching how Kevin Kolb performs in camp will give us a decent glimpse into his 2010 season future.
Mike Wallace starting in Pittsburgh – Color me skeptical on Wallace as a #2, but we’ll know more in August. And also it’ll be interesting to see if Rashard Mendenhall is bringing it and/or if rookie Jonathan Dwyer is ready to contribute.
The potential Vincent Jackson holdout – If this gets ugly, Malcom Floyd’s value soars.
Seattle’s offense – There are of ton of guys here who could emerge and play key roles. I really like Justin Forsett, but we’ll have to see about Leon Washington. I think a kid like Deon Butler at WR is interesting, but Golden Tate was a high pick, so he may get the nod. At QB, Charlie Whitehurst may play. There is nothing but unanswered questions here.
Laurent Robinson in St. Louis – We really liked him last summer, and it looked like he was going to settle in as their #1 WR, but he got hurt once again. We have to see if he can pick up where he left off last year because there are some other guys here like Brandon Gibson and Brooks Foster who are capable of making an impact.
Tampa WRs and RBs – I’m kind of high on WR Arrelious Benn, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if fellow rookie Mike Williams out did him this year, so this is a great example of a situation that is currently unanswered but could very well wind up producing a fantasy factor. Also, at RB, we have to see how serious the team is about giving RB Derrick Ward more carries.
Backup RB in Tennessee – I like Javon Ringer and think he’s going to be a big surprise if Chris Johnson is out of the mix for whatever reason, but they might just sign someone else, and rookie LeGarrette Blount could still emerge as a force. We’ll know a lot more about this situation in 8-9 weeks.
Redskin RBs – Who’s going to be the odd man out? Although Willie Parker’s been a little sluggish, I still think it will be Larry Johnson if it’s anyone, but it’s way too early to really tell. And how will they be using the TEs?
And these are all just off the top of my head; I’m sure I missed a few. There’s no doubt there are a lot of questions going into this season. Normally, that would concern me, but I’m totally prepared for it. I know I’m going to play things safe early and keep it simple, and that I can easily fill in the gaps with late picks and WW options.