Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fantasy Football Roundtable - Offensive Teams Getting Boost from NFL Draft

Fantasy Football Roundtable
Hosted By FantasyFootballTrader.Com  May 7, 2010

This week's question:'In the aftermath of the 2010 NFL Draft this past April, which team's fantasy offense is expected to show the biggest improvement ?'

Dave of RotoPicks.Com says:

A little over a week ago, people were snickering at the possibility of the Raiders drafting Bruce Campbell with their top pick, but now some are actually considering them a legitimate threat in the AFC West. That’s probably taking it a little too far, but it is clear that the Oakland Raiders pulled a complete 360 during this year’s draft. Maybe it would be more accurate to say “during the 2012 draft” considering that the most significant move they made was acquiring a legitimate starting QB in Jason Campbell for just a fourth rounder in 2012.

The addition of Campbell not only drastically improves an offense that ranked #31 in points scored last season, but also opens up a new fantasy landscape where it becomes feasible for us to consider Raiders’ players not named Zach Miller as decent fantasy options. As for the players actually drafted, the Raiders did pretty well there too. The back-to-back defensive selections of LB Rolando McClain and DT Lamarr Houston in rounds 1 and 2 should pay immediate dividends and by taking O-Tackles Jared Veldheer and Bruce Campbell in the third and fourth rounds, Oakland is left with some insurance against one of them not panning out (at least they learned something from drafting JaMarcus Russell). Consider it an added bonus if any of their later picks work out.

Derek of FantasyFootballManiaxs.Com says:

When people are looking for the offensive fixes in a draft they usually think the skill positions. The St. Louis Rams turned their offensive fortunes around by drafting Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford. The Dallas Cowboys will have an even more explosive offense with Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant in the mix. The Bills offense just became more exciting with Clemson HB C.J. Spiller in the mix.

That is all fine and good, but any great offense needs an offensive line that is going to be able to open holes for the running back and protect the quarterback to give him time to throw. Offensive lineman may not get the loud cheers from the crowd, but ask any offensive coordinator how important a good offensive line is to his offense. An offense cannot function with poor offensive line play.

That leads me to the San Francisco 49ers. Not only did they use a first round pick on Rutgers T Anthony Davis, but they also added Idaho G Mike Iupati. That has the potential to be a 660 lb wall on the left side of the 49ers offensive line for the next decade.

There are a lot of 49ers players that are smiling about these acquisitions right now. First, RB Frank Gore has to be ecstatic. This has the makings of a 1,500-yard season with 12 to 15 touchdowns if that line can stay healthy and contribute immediately. Tight End Vernon Davis is smiling, because the more the offensive line can pick up a pass rush, the more often he can go out for a route. Wideout Michael Crabtree is going to have more time to find the opening in the secondary and create big plays down the field. If all those players are going to improve, that means that QB Alex Smith is not going to have to shoulder as much of the load.

This means that a San Francisco offense that was #27 in yards gained and #18 in points scored can begin to compete with some of the better offenses in the NFL. It means the defense can force more turnovers, because they can afford to gamble. They do not have to worry about the 49ers falling behind 14-0 early in the game and not having the ability to comeback.

Offensive line play is one of the key factors in an offense being able to put up points. I am not saying the 49ers will equal the Greatest Show on Turf, but I think this struggling offense’s fortunes were single-handedly turned for the better by drafting these two offensive linemen. They are an offense that could take a big step forward, even though they did not add one player in the first round of the draft that will score a fantasy point in 2010.

Jeff of DynastyKings.Com says:

I'm going to pick two teams here to discuss - Denver and Detroit.

Denver moved several key components out of Colorado prior to April's NFL Draft, shipping disgruntled WR Brandon Marshall off to Miami. The Broncos followed this move by trading TE Tony Scheffler to the Lions, creating an interesting lineup right up until NFL Draft Weekend. Denver chose to skip over Dez Bryant (which I'm practically certain that they will regret) to take Demaryius Thomas, followed by a crazy deal to get Tim Tebow later in the first round. Luckily they may have grabbed their best overall receiver on the roster with Eric Decker on Day 2, a player who could become the starter opposite of Thomas in the not-so-distant future.

Detroit comes next as they added Jahvid Best before the end of the draft's Round 1, moving up to get their feature back of the future - and probably the present as well. The trade for Scheffler (along with the free agent signing of Nate Burleson) transformed their set of skill players from complimentary to Calvin Johnson last season all the way up to significant threats to move the ball and make plays all over the field. Kevin Smith could come back, but right now that would be gravy to the meat and potatoes Matthew Stafford now has around him - Best, Johnson, Burleson, Scheffler and the probable return of Brandon Pettigrew. Assuming an offensive line can buy Stafford time, the Lions will have real firepower to post some points.

Honorable mention has to be given to the Cowboys for having arguably the best offensive talent fall into their laps at the bottom of Round 1. Dez Bryant could be a game changer and make Dallas a strong contender not just in 2010 but for many years to come.

Russ of FantasyFootballStarters.Com says:

There were several teams to choose from for this roundtable discussion, but the team I’ll pick is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay (correctly) identified that they lacked any type of playmakers at the WR position and on the offensive side of the ball, that’s the only position they drafted for.

Drafting Illinois WR Arrelious Benn in round 2 and Syracuse WR Mike Williams in round 4 was not just addressing need; it was also getting great value in my opinion as both players could be big time playmakers for a team that was bereft of any at the WR position going into the draft. There is a good chance both of these rookies could be starting week 1 since the competition consists of Michael Clayton, Reggie Brown, Sammie Stroughter, and Maurice Stovall. Benn and Williams are both bigger WR’s with good pass catching abilities and solid run after the catch skills and are clearly more talented than any of those four. This will give Josh Freeman better weapons to throw the ball to as he continues to develop as an NFL quarterback.

Freeman’s development is key to the success of the Bucs for fantasy football player projections, and entering only his second season, he will have his struggles so Benn and Williams may not pay immediate big dividends, but after losing Antonio Bryant in the off-season, the Bucs have reloaded, and reloaded with solid football talent at WR to help him out. Depending on what happens throughout the OTA’s and training camp, both Benn and Williams could be nice fantasy football sleepers as bench WR’s in 2010. In dynasty style fantasy football leagues, both are clearly players to target as one (or both) could emerge as top talents in a couple of seasons.

Ryan of LestersLegends.Com says:

I am a firm believer that you build your team in the trenches. Offensive lineman are about as sexy as that fifth piece of cheesecake, but they open holes for running backs, give receivers and tight ends time to get open, and allow quarterbacks to go through their progressions. In basic terms, if you offensive line has hole, you will struggle to move the ball.

Nobody made more of an effort to bolster their offensive line in the 2010 NFL Draft than the San Francisco 49ers. They spent not one, but two first round picks on their line with the selection of Anthony Davis at 11 and Mike Iupati at 17. They should be able to step in and contribute immediately. Along with Joe Staley, the Niners should be set for years to come.

Jake of JunkYardJake.Com says:

From a fantasy perspective, where rookie runningbacks receive the most attention, the Chargers with Ryan Matthews and the Texans with Ben Tate will most likely generate the most interest on fantasy draft day. However, in evaluating the overall quality of offensive picks, I think the teams that might have most improved the fortunes of their offensive units are the Patriots and the Panthers.

For New England, it would have been nice to see them target a runningback in the draft, but I think they did an excellent job in securing two of the most talented tight ends available in the draft this year. In the 2nd round, they selected Rob Gronkowski, who has great size at 6-6, and exceptional hands. Gronkowski doesn’t have the speed to constitute a consistent threat on deep plays, but he is a terrific blocker and should develop into a reliable short and intermediate target. The Patriots then selected Aaron Hernandez in the 4th round, who could turn out to be a steal. Hernandez gives Tom Brady another potential target with soft hands, and in contrast to Gronkowski, the former Florida Gator has top-notch speed for his position and should develop into a formidable downfield threat. In between Gronkowski and Hernandez, New England also addressed their shallow wide receiver position in the 3rd round with Taylor Price from Ohio. Price is a bit small at 6-0, and has been a bit inconsistent over his college career, but there is no denying his 4.36 speed, sharp cutting ability, and his solid route running.

The Panthers also seemed to have boosted the quality of their offensive unit, as they were able to fill their void at quarterback with Norte Dame's Jimmy Clausen in the 2nd round. Clausen may have frightened off some NFL teams with his below average Wonderlic score, but his clean mechanics, arm strength, accuracy as well as his good leadership skills and experience in a pro-style offense make him a premier prospect for a team in dire need of a franchise quarterback. Carolina also found another nice value at quarterback when they selected Tony Pike in the 6th round. Pike was expected by many to go as high as the 2nd round, and his good size and impressive accuracy make him an intriguing pick. The wide receiver position was also addressed by the Panthers, as they may have finally found a promising complement to Steve Smith when they selected LSU's Brandon LaFell in the 3rd round. At 6-3, 210 lbs, LaFell has prototypical size to go along with good hands and decent speed. Perhaps his best attribute is his physicality, as he knows what to do with the ball in his hands, and is an excellent blocker. The team also added depth at receiver with David Gettis in the 6th round. Gettis is considered a bit of a project in terms of route running, but his size/speed combination makes him an interesting player to watch.

Jim of FanaticFantasyFootball.Com says:

My gut just screams the San Francisco 49ers when I’m thinking of which offense is going to finally produce someserious fantasy points after some excellent drafting the last two years.

San Francisco landed some big names, and big bodies, in the 2010 draft. Quarterback AlexSmith will have some real protection along the offensive front. Opposing defenses will have their work cut out for them when trying to get around 6-5, 323 pound Anthony Davis, the #11 overall pick in the first round. Davis is considered one of the best tackles in this draft class. He played both right guard and left tackle during his two years as a starter for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. With the #17 overall pick in the first round the 49ers selected Mike Iupati, a 6-5, 331 pound offensive guard. Iupati is a hard-nosed guard known for his attitude, toughness, and athleticism. Both Davis and Iupati will be serious challengers for starting jobs this year.

The rushing attack received some support in the form of 6-0, 233 pound Anthony Dixon, a running back out of Mississippi State. Coach Singletary said he envisions Frank Gore getting 50%-60% (20-25) touches with Glen Coffee and Dixon splitting the remaining touches.

Second year wide receiver, Michael Crabtree, will headline the receiving corps. Josh Morgan, Ted Ginn Jr., and speedster rookie wide receiver Kyle Williams, will battle for two positions. Williams will most likely see action as the slot receiver. He can also be used to return punts and kick-offs.

I see the San Francisco 49ers winning the division in 2010 and will be the team to beat for years to come.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Candy - April 12th

April 12, 2010  JunkyardJake.Com

Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds, SP  

Hey, wait a minute, did we just waste the last few weeks anticipating the future exploits of Aroldis ‘The Cuban Missile’ Chapman? Was this not the left-hander who could tame wild beasts, alter the weather and defeat third world illiteracy with the magnificence of his 100 mph fast ball? Then, abruptly, just after most of us all learned how to spell his first name, it was like Janet Reno sent her SWAT team to apprehend the 22 year old Cuban defector in the middle of the night, loaded him on a bus and sent him down to Triple-A Louisville. Not to fret, because the Reds have probably made much worse decisions than choosing former Arizona State wunderkind Mike Leake to fill their number five rotation spot. Leake is a two-time Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, who really hit his stride in 2009, when he finished with a sparkling 1.71 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 142 innings. Although he doesn’t make headlines with his 90 MPH fastball, it’s his advanced control, plus changeup and the way he persuades hitters to constantly hit harmless groundballs which makes him an interesting prospect. Leake was especially stingy with walks over at Arizona State, granting just 1.68 free passes per 9 innings over his three-year amateur career. Certainly, if he can generate even half the success that he enjoyed at the collegiate level, he will make a worthwhile fantasy acquisition in the early weeks of the season.

Available in 50% of all CBSSportsline leagues.

Ian Desmond , Washington Nationals, SS  
The polls are in, and while Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, both Congressional Chaplains, the Obama family dog, Senator Blabby Blowhard from the great state of South Morontopia and even the guy who dry cleans John Roberts judicial black robe have all fallen into the teens on their approval ratings, the Washington Nationals have somehow escaped the wrath of the electorate, at least temporarily. So what’s the justification for this blind optimism? Well, it can’t be Washington’s pitching staff as their best pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, was sent down to double-A before the season where he will work on destroying the confidence of minor league hitters for the next couple months. One possible reason for the early season enthusiasm is the arrival of rookie shortstop Ian Desmond. Drafted at the age of eighteen back in 2004, Desmond has always shown a penchant for stealing bases, but really didn’t show much else for his first few years. In 2008, he started showing a bit of power hitting 12 HRs at the AA level, and then earned a promotion in 2009 to triple AAA, where he hit .354 over 55 games. He won the starting SS spot for the Nationals with a great spring, so it’s his job to lose and he makes a solid fantasy pickup in the early going.
Available in 55% of all CBSSportsline leagues.

Austin Jackson , Detroit Tigers, OF  
Heralded as one of the top prospects in the NY Yankees farm system for the past couple years, Austin Jackson was essentially exchanged for Curtis Granderson in a trade between the Yankees and Tigers this offseason. Actually, to be fair, the trade was more confusing than that, as it also involved sending Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson to the Arizona Diamondbacks, some pork belly futures contracts, and an attempted return of Staten Island to the Lenape Indians. (They respectfully declined, and who could blame them). Time will tell if this trade works out, but amazingly enough, this might be the most frugal roster move the Yankees have made since they traded for Roger Maris in 1959. (Granderson is scheduled to make only $5.5 million this year, or about 10 million less than the typical retail price the Yankees typically pay for shiny new players.) As for Austin Jackson, he doesn’t have Granderson’s 30 HR power, but he is a smooth defensive player who could very well hit .280 with 10-15 HRs and 20 plus stolen bases. He’s off to a good start this season and the Detroit Tigers seem committed to him for the immediate future so Jackson makes a good pickup to round out your fantasy outfield in mixed leagues.
Available in 47% of all CBSSportsline leagues.

Allen Craig, St. Louis Cardinals, 1B/3B/OF  
It’s hard to get too excited about the rookie whose primary job on the St. Louis Cardinals is possibly backing up Albert Pujols at firstbase. That’s kindof like expecting Carrot Top to fill in for Conan O’Brien, or winning the thankless and lonely job as the George Clooney stand-in who specializes in only scenes that call for the actor to get hit in the face with a barstool. So why is Allen Craig an interesting waiver prospect? Well, for one thing, he is probably funnier than Carrot Top, just by default. More importantly though, his minor league numbers suggest a player who might be ready to start launching the ball over the walls at Busch Stadium if given the chance anytime soon. Over the past three seasons as he progressed through the Cardinals minor league affiliates, Craig has demonstrated consistent power, blasting 24 HRs in 2007, 22 in 2008 and then 26 homeruns in 2009. All three seasons, his average exceeded .300, including his .322 BA at AAA Memphis last year. Although Craig is not known for his defensive skills, he does play 3rd base in addition to 1st base, and should also see time at the corner outfield spots.
Available in 98% of all CBSSportsline leagues.

Other Players To Consider:
Dallas Braden,Oakland A's,SP  
Available in 42% of all CBSSportsline leagues.

Drew Stubbs,Cincinnati Reds,OF  
Available in 44% of all CBSSportsline leagues.

Gaby Sanchez,Florida Marlins,1B  
Available in 77% of all CBSSportsline leagues.

Carlos Gomez,Milwaukee Brewers,OF  
Available in 62% of all CBSSportsline leagues.

Jaime Garcia,St.Louis Cardinals,SP  
Available in 69% of all CBSSportsline leagues.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fantasy Football Roundtable - Overvalued Fantasy QBs in 2010

Fantasy Football Roundtable
Hosted By FantasyFootballTrader.Com  March 30, 2010

This week's question: Among the expected top-10 fantasy QBs for 2010, which player do you feel might be overvalued on draftday?...'

Derek of FantasyFootballManiaxs.Com says:

The name I am going to throw out there that many people might not be talking about right now: New England Patriots QB Tom Brady.

Brady has finished in the top 10 among fantasy quarterbacks every year since 2002, excluding 2008, when he was lost to injury for the season in the opener. Last year he had an amazing season with 4,398 yards passing, 28 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a QB rating of 96.2, which earned him the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. He ranked eighth in fantasy scoring by quarterbacks.

There are a variety of issues in New England.

We are used to seeing this team as an elite one, but by the end of last year, they looked done. WR Randy Moss was not right the second half of the season. Moss had just 25 receptions for 373 yards and six touchdowns in his final seven games, three of those touchdowns coming against the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars secondary. Compare that to the first nine games of the season, when he had 58 receptions for 891 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. In the playoff loss to Baltimore, Moss had just five receptions for 48 yards and no touchdowns.

He followed that up by saying that this year is probably his last one in New England. That is a pretty early point in the offseason to make that proclamation.

Moss is a player that has proven he does not give full effort when he does not feel appreciated or wanted. He is slowly looking like the player that left Oakland for a fourth-round pick instead of the one with 23 touchdown receptions in 2007. Even if his attitude was not in question, at 33 years old he is starting to leave the prime years of his career, which is terrible news for New England, especially if he is not going to play or work hard.

The Patriots really need Moss to step it up this year. WR Wes Welker tore his ACL in the final regular season game at Houston. It is uncertain if he will be ready for the season opener, and how close to 100 percent will he be even if he is able to play?

TE Ben Watson signed with the Cleveland Browns. That leaves WR Julian Edelman as the next leading receiver / tight end with 37 receptions for 359 yards and one touchdown.

If Moss is not going to play hard and Welker is not healthy, there is not a lot to be scared of on the current roster. The Patriots have many journeymen that they rotate into the lineup. The reason why that strategy is working is that teams have no answer for Moss and Welker, which gives the Patriots' runners and other receivers a lot of room to operate. Without these two players at their best, teams are going to find it a lot easier to stop the run and guard these other players.

Just how important is Moss to this offense?

In the games where Moss had at least 100 yards receiving or scored at least one touchdown, Brady threw for 304.4 yards per game and had 22 touchdown passes to just six interceptions. The Patriots were 8-2 in those games.

In the games where Moss failed to reach at least one of those totals, Brady averaged just 225.7 yards passing per game and had six touchdown passes to seven interceptions. The Patriots were 2-4 in those games.

If Moss is going to pull the same stunts that he pulled in Oakland and play at cruising speed in 2009, the Patriots do not have enough weapons for Brady to have a successful NFL or fantasy season.

We still have Brady ranked sixth in our seasonal rankings, as he has been too good for too long to bet against, but I would be lying if I did not say that I am nervous about how the 2009 season ended for New England. Whether he falls out of the top 15 remains to be seen. The 15th-ranked quarterback in fantasy last year was Jacksonville Jaguars QB David Garrard, who finished with 3,597 yards passing, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

It would seem difficult to believe Brady would have that type of season. However, if Moss does not play hard, it is going to be hard for Moss to repeat his No. 2 ranking, which will negatively affect Brady. How much he's negatively impacted is a big question Fantasy Owners will be asking themselves come draft time.

Brady and Moss are two players I would keep my eye on to decline in 2010. New England does not look like the sure bet they did for the better part of a decade, and their offensive weapons do not look as appealing in fantasy football as they did from 2007 to 2009.

Ryan of LestersLegends.Com says:

Ben Roethlisberger threw for 4328 yards with 26 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. It was his first time topping 4000 yards. It's not that I don't think he's capable of putting up big numbers, but I feel Pittsburgh will run more in 2010. Oh, and did I forget to mention that Big Ben could miss some time if Roger Goodell sees his latest accusation as conduct detrimental to the league.
Russ of FantasyFootballStarters.Com says:

Every year there are players at every position who finish in the top 10 of the final fantasy football rankings only to drop off of it the following season. Identifying which of those players are the most likely to do so is one of the jobs we, as fantasy football experts, try to do.

Using the high performance decimal point scoring system from my friends at, where each touchdown pass was worth 4 points and each interception -1, the top 10 fantasy football QB's from 2009 were (in order) Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers, Tony Romo, Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning.

Which one of these quarterbacks from this list is most likely to not finish top 10 in the 2010 fantasy football rankings when it's all said and done? To me, it's Ben Roethlisberger.

I liked Roethlisberger heading into last year, but looking ahead to 2010 I see a lot of potential for a letdown. Even if you take out his off-field issues going on right now, there was word after the 2009 season was over that the team wanted to scale back on its reliance throwing the football and get back to much more balanced attack. In 2009, the Steelers posted their highest pass ratio (56%) in the last 30 years, and probably their entire history. It led to Roethlisberger having great fantasy numbers, but it didn't translate into enough victories for Pittsburgh to make the NFL playoffs.

There's also the fact that Roethlisberger continues to get knocked around a lot. I don't think any quarterback been sacked more than Roethlisberger (189) in the last 4 seasons combined. He's managed to only miss 3 games in that span, but that's a lot of punishment, and sooner or later those injuries he plays thru will become more of a concern if the high sack totals continue.

Finally, there's the current sexual assault allegation. Regardless of how it plays out, it will hang over his, and the organization's, head. It could be a distraction even if it gets settled months before the season begins.

When I combine the situation Roethlisberger is facing with the probability of the team throwing the football less, and the potential for injury if the sack totals don't come down, I see Roethlisberger as being the most likely quarterback to really struggle to finish in the top 10 of the 2010 fantasy football rankings.

Dave of RotoPicks.Com says:

I’m taking Ben Roethlisberger as my top 10 QB that will struggle to repeat for a number of reasons.

The first, and most important, reason is that Pittsburgh is looking at a 2010 schedule that is not conducive to top tier fantasy QB production. The Steelers will play 9 games this year against defenses ranked in the top 10 in passing yards allowed from 2009, including games vs. Buffalo, Carolina, and the Jets who all ranked in the top 5. With the emergence of Mike Zimmer’s defense in Cincinnati, the AFC North is becoming a much stronger division. Now add in games vs. the AFC East (Jets, New England, Miami and Buffalo) and NFC South (Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans and Tampa Bay) and you’re looking at a rough road ahead (Pittsburgh also has games against Oakland and Tennessee). I can assure you that Ben will not be looking forward to seeing defensive standouts like Darrelle Revis, Nnamdi Asomugha, Jairus Byrd, etc. on the opposing sideline week after week.

Another important point is that Pittsburgh’s O-line has been just short of terrible over the last few seasons and I haven’t seen any indication that they are addressing this glairing need. Hopefully, they’ll go that way early in the draft, but if not, we can expect Roethlisberger to take a pounding again this season. Since 2006, no QB has been sacked more than Roethlisberger (50 sacks in 2009, 46 in 2008, 47 in 2007, and 46 in 2006). Those hits will start showing effects at some point and I’m thinking that the Steelers will revert back to a run-first approach in 2010 to help keep Ben off his back.

Finally, for those of you that don’t know me, I am an absolute stat-monger. The way I see it is that Ben’s 2009 totals were way too high for his average level of performance. Over his first 5 seasons, Ben averaged roughly 3,000 yards and 20 passing TDs on 380 passing attempts per season. Last year he put up over 4,300 yards and 26 passing TDs on over 500 attempts. In statistics there’s a term called regression toward the mean that basically says that within a sample of data, an extreme value will be followed up by one that is closer to the sample average. I’m expecting Ben’s 2010 stats to be closer to his career average of 3,200 yards and 21 TDs, which should land him somewhere in the high teens when the final QB totals are tallied at the end of 2010.

And of course, there is still a real possibility that Roethlisberger might face some penalty from the league for his off the field issues. If (and this is a big if) Ben is handed a suspension for “X” number of games, his fantasy production is guaranteed to suffer.

Jake of JunkYardJake.Com says:

Judging from the very early rankings, the top couple QBs who will likely be selected in the first few rounds of fantasy drafts this upcoming season are usual suspects Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, likely to be followed up by new fantasy darling Aaron Rodgers. Tom Brady is likely to be the #4 QB based on 2010 fantasy rankings, and he might be the player who will represent a marginal disappointment.

It's never wise to bet against such an accomplished player like Brady, and he will probably go on to have his customary solid season. However, there are a number of factors that may prevent him from matching his 2009 performance of 4,300 passing yards and 28 TDs. Two such factors that should be considered are his aging offensive line and inconsistent running game, and I think his receiving corps and schedule could also pose some problems.

In terms of receivers, notwithstanding any improvements that the Patriots will generate from the upcoming draft or additional free agent signings, the New England receiving corps going into 2010 looks inferior to the group they went into the 2009 season with. Of course, the biggest question mark is Wes Welker, who will be trying to make it back from ACL surgery performed in late January. A reasonable timetable for his return might be October or November, and while the Patriots did sign David Patten, it's hard to imagine replacing Welker's unique quick-cutting and impeccable route-running abilities. Then there is the venerable Randy Moss, who once again delivered a strong season with 1,264 receiving yards and 13 TDs in 2009. However, Moss is now 33 years old, and it's safe to say that the explosive speed and play-making ability he exhibited in his younger days is probably long gone, and this limits the vertical dimension of the Patriots passing attack. At tight-end, New England parted ways with Ben Watson and it's looking like recent signee Alge Crumpler might be his 2010 replacement. While Watson never fulfilled his expected potential, he did offer better speed in comparison to the 33 year-old Alge Crumpler, and it's difficult to see how this change will transpire as much of an improvement for the Patriots passing game.

The fairly challenging New England schedule could represent another obstacle for Tom Brady and Patriots passing game in 2010. In terms of division play, the AFC East is expected to be extremely competitive once again, with the Patriots having to contend with last season’s top two pass defenses, Buffalo and New York, in four total meetings. These two teams combined to hold opposing QBs to only 168 pass yards and .7 passing TDs per game in 2009. When you factor in two other games against the improving Miami Dolphins defense, plus home games against the 2009 top-10 pass defenses of Green Bay, Baltimore and Cincinnati, the chance of merely average stats by Tom Brady in about half his games looks possible.

While Tom Brady is simply too good to ignore if he happens to fall into the 3rd or 4th round of your draft in 2010, I think he should be considered as only another solid 2nd tier fantasy option in 2010, and it may be wise to resist the temptation to draft him anywhere near his 2009 average position of late 1st to early 2nd round.

Rick of says:

Most of you will think I'm off my rocker for pegging 2009's yardage leader (4,770 to be exact) as the top 10 fantasy QB least likely to repeat. Allow me to clarify that I don't actually believe Matt Schaub's inaugural landing inside fantasy's top 5 elite last year was a fluke. As an owner of Schaub in one of my Dynasty leagues, I can earnestly say I'd love nothing more than to be wrong on this one.

And there's a good chance I will be wrong. Hell, I'll go a step further and even say that I should be wrong. Schaub has arguably the most gifted WR in the league at his disposal, a returning TE in Owen Daniels who was pacing all others before succombing to a knee injury in week 8, an O-Line that allowed Schaub to only absorb a 5th ranked 25 sacks and an "OLE!" defense to ensure the Texans' offense often needs to score in bunches to hang with their opponent. What's not to like here?

Well...plenty actually. I don't think we can simply bury the fact that 2009 was the first year in Schaub's six year's in the league that he started more than 11 games. And...he played through a shoulder injury to do that! Yes, his sacks taken are encouraging and I do believe the Texans' O-line is on the upswing buuut.

Also, one gets the feeling that Schaub is do I put this, at the mercy of Andre Johnson's health than Drew Brees is to Colston or Manning is to Wayne or Brady is to Moss. And the reason for that is apparent. Brees has gone weeks without Colston and not missed a beat. When Welker went down last year, some schmoe named Edelman stepped right in and it was status quo. Heck, in the playoffs last year, defenses took a chance by doubling Wayne and Clark and saying you're NOT beating us with these two! To that, Manning said "fine", and made Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie the #1 and #2 playoff leading WR's.

But with Schaub & Johnson it feels different doesn't it? Johnson had a league high 171 targets last year and even the Texans' SECOND most targeted player Kevin Walter had a measly 70 targets. Something tells me that if anything ever happened to A.J. it could be devastating to Schaub - unlike the league's other top passers.

Again, I am NOT forecasting any of the above to happen - just acknowledging that Schaub's perch among the top 6-7 QB's is much less stable than the other elite passers.

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