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.

Enjoy this article? Check out FantasyTrader.Com's Offseason Roundtable Archives.

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.

Enjoy this article? Check out FantasyTrader.Com's Offseason Roundtable Archives.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fantasy Football Roundtable - Matthew Stafford vs. Mark Sanchez

Fantasy Football Roundtable
Hosted By FantasyFootballTrader.Com  March 20, 2010

This week's question: Call your shot...the better fantasy career between 2nd year quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez based on what we think we know?...'

Ryan of LestersLegends.Com says:

I'm going to go with the #1 pick Matthew Stafford for a number of reasons. First of all, he already has a premier wide receiver in Calvin Johnson. Megatron is a physical specimen that will only get better. He also has talented second-year tight end Brandon Pettigrew that will grow with him. Having two young, talented pieces in place is a great start.

Mark Sanchez started to get with tight end Dustin Keller in the playoffs, but his options are limited. Plus, the Jets don't need Sanchez to have a big game to win. The Lions, on the other hand, don't have a good defense. If they are going to win, it's going to be a shootout. The Jets are built on defense and their running game. It's unlikely that they are going to change it any time soon. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I also favor Stafford as a long-term fantasy quarterback because he plays in a dome. While Sanchez has to deal with the elements, Stafford is at ease in climate-controlled Ford Field. Nothing derails a fantasy championship like a late-season nor'easter.

Dave of RotoPicks.Com says:

I really enjoyed looking into this comparison, because on the surface these 2nd-year QBs are so similar. Both have quality weapons in the passing game with great WR tandems (Cotchery/Edwards and Johnson/Burleson) and emerging TEs (Keller and Pettigrew). Even their 2009 stats were comparable in almost all aspects. But the one thing that did stand out is that Stafford reached nearly the same fantasy production as Sanchez in 5 fewer games last season.

To me the question of who has the better fantasy career comes down to only one thing, opportunity. The fact is that the Jets bread and butter is a ball-control offense where a strong running game is complimented by a physical defense. In this system, Sanchez will likely get few opportunities to shine.

Stafford plays in an extremely tough division, facing the Bears, Packers and Vikings twice a year. In all likelihood, the Lions will be playing from behind a lot during the course of the year. This and the Lions question marks at RB (at least in 2010) should make for a consistent aerial attack.

Simply put, Stafford will have more opportunity to post bigger fantasy numbers over the course of his career. In my opinion, the stats that make the best case for this so far are passing attempts and completions. While both QBs regular season stats were almost identical in these categories, Sanchez had a season high of only 34 attempts per game and only turned in 20 or more completions once during his 15 regular season starts (both in week 8 vs. the Dolphins). Stafford, on the other hand, aired it out a season high 51 times (in week 10 vs. the Vikings) and had 20 or more completions in 6 of his 10 starts. Stafford’s per game averages in completions and passing attempts (20.1 completions, 37.7 attempts) put him well ahead of Sanchez (13.1 completions, 24.3 attempts) in my fantasy rankings. Watching Stafford throw for over 400 yards and 5 TDs in week 11 last season gives him a little boost too.

Derek of FantasyFootballManiaxs.Com says:

Stafford was the 26th-ranked fantasy quarterback, and Sanchez was the 25th-ranked fantasy quarterback. They were both poor fantasy starts for almost all of the 2009 season.

Sanchez plays on the more competitive team, but that does not translate into a lot of throws. When the Jets went on their winning streak at the end of the season, Sanchez had fewer than 20 attempts in four of his last five regular season starts and had 68 attempts in three playoff starts, or an average of about 23 pass attempts per game. The Jets had the first-ranked scoring defense, first-ranked yardage defense and led the NFL in both rushing attempts and rushing yards. They finished 32nd in passing attempts, which really hurt Sanchez’s fantasy value.

Stafford, on the other hand, had over 35 pass attempts in seven of his 10 games and over 40 attempts in four games. Because his defense was dead last in the NFL in both points allowed and yards allowed, rarely did he play with a lead. Despite playing in five fewer games, he had more touchdowns than Sanchez, but he also had the same number of interceptions trying to bring his team back from the dead.

Both players have some nice weapons. The best weapon is WR Calvin Johnson, who plays in Detroit. The long and athletic receiver gives Stafford a go-to guy that makes big plays in the passing game. The Lions also signed Seattle WR Nate Burleson to a free agent contract, and if rookie TE Brandon Pettigrew and RB Kevin Smith can return from injury, the Lions have a chance to surround Stafford with weapons.

Sanchez has an excellent running game, led by second-year RB Shonn Greene (Thomas Jones has been released), but he has the always drop-prone WR Braylon Edwards as his main target. TE Dustin Keller has shown promise in his first two years, and WR Jerricho Cotchery is a good possession receiver.

Johnson gives Stafford a significant advantage in the passing game. If the Jets can find some weapons in the draft, I would have more enthusiasm when it comes to Sanchez in 2010.

Finally, Sanchez is two years older than the 22-year-old Stafford, which gives him a slight advantage in maturity and development. That will probably only make a difference for another year or so. Stafford has the advantage in intangibles, and he has a rocket arm most quarterbacks can only dream about having.

My verdict is that you probably do not want either one of them. Most quarterbacks do not become fantasy viable until their third season, and neither quarterback is in an ideal situation. Stafford is stuck on a terrible team and needs a stronger supporting cast. Sanchez is stuck on a team that plays defense and runs the ball. We have Stafford ranked #20 in our seasonal rankings and #16 in our dynasty rankings - with Sanchez #25 in our seasonal rankings and #18 in our dynasty rankings. They are both second quarterbacks that need to be paired with a superior starter.

The above was an excerpt from Derek's full article at FFManiax.

Jeff of DynastyKings.Com says:

This one is a no-brainer.

Matthew Stafford is by far the better fantasy option. Long term he has the most potential to be a fantasy QB1 with all the weapons at his disposal - Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, Kevin Smith and now Nate Burleson. All that team needs is protection for their passer and they have a nice young core to build a solid offense around for the long haul.

As for Sanchez, I do like him but Braylon Edwards is no Calvin Johnson. The Jets are built for "old school football", meaning that they will try and win 23-16 or 16-13 type games with a strong ground game and even better defense. That's Rex Ryan (and for the most part, Buddy Ryan) football - that's what they know how to do, and they do it well. Thomas Jones may be gone, but Shonn Greene is now the guy for 2010 and for years to come. Leon Washington is still a Jet (and they'll fight to keep him there despite the modest RFA tender) and New York is likely to continue to add solid RBs for depth. The offensive line is one of the best in the league and they love to run the ball 35-40 times a week.

So when you get right down to it, Detroit has far more going for it than the Jets for fantasy offense - better climate (dome vs. the outdoors of the Garden State), better receivers, an offense and coaching staff that lend themselves to throwing more and even a weaker defense for the Lions, which will only add to Stafford's numbers. Both in the near term and the long haul, I'd much rather have Stafford.

Russ of FantasyFootballStarters.Com says:

I liked both quarterbacks coming out of college. As I stated in my NFL rookie reports of each both are about the same size and have very similar skill sets. Their final stats for 2009 were almost identical:

Stafford: 201-377-20, 2,267 yards, 13 TD's, 108 rushing yards, 2 rushing TD's

Sanchez: 196-364-20, 2,444 yards, 12 TD's, 106 rushing yards, 3 rushing TD's

But where Sanchez accomplished his in 15 games, Stafford got his in only 10. The situations they're both in are totally different. Sanchez was asked to manage games in 2009 and not throw a bunch while Stafford, because the Lions were usually behind by a lot in games had to throw a lot more. Stafford also has one of the elite young WR's in the game with Calvin Johnson while Sanchez gets to throw to drop prone Braylon Edwards. Sure, personnel and coaching staffs will inevitably change in the future, but I think Stafford is in the better situation for the purposes of fantasy football rankings and projections. Stafford has more of a gunslinger attitude and his coaches are more apt to let him air it out with their suspect rushing attack and porous defense than the Jets are with Sanchez. They don't need Sanchez to since they have a strong rushing attack with Shonn Greene and a dominant defense.

Sanchez is likely to have more NFL success, especially in the next couple of years, but as we learned from Troy Aikman and Jeff George back in the 1990's, there's a big difference between being a successful NFL QB and a successful fantasy football quarterback. You don't need to be one to be the other. Providing the Lions offensive line gets better at protecting him so he doesn't get knocked around and become injury prone, Stafford is my choice over Sanchez for fantasy football in dynasty leagues.

Jim of FanaticFantasyFootball.Com says:

I could see Matthew Stafford having the better fantasy career except for one thing. He plays for the Lions. He was beat up in his first season, playing in only 10 games. Detroit must improve their offensive line for Stafford to be a more consistent fantasy football point producer. He had one more passing touchdown than Sanchez, but when looked at closer, five of Stafford’s touchdowns came in one game against the Cleveland Browns. Add to the five games he missed, two more games without a touchdown pass and he totaled 7 games without a TD pass. You only play 16, maybe 17, fantasy football weeks. Although Stafford has one of the best wide receivers in the NFL to throw to, Calvin Johnson, it doesn't help much if you're on the bench with injuries. Johnson's stats suffered greatly in 2009 (#24 among all wide receivers after being #3 in 2008). Will Detroit be able to run the ball in 2010 to help take some of the pressure off Stafford? If they don't, Matthew will have to run for his life again in 2010.

Mark Sanchez was more consistent, had a better running game to support him, and had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL protecting him. He should take a positive step forward this year after having a good year that saw him get some playoff experience. Not so fast my friend! Have we forgotten Matt Ryan, QB Atlanta Falcons? Matt was the #16 quarterback in 2008 with 290 fantasy points. In 2009 he took a step back, dropping to #19 with 254 fantasy points. Although that might not sound like a big drop it placed him in the company of both Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez.

So what is my take on the two quarterbacks? I think Stafford is the better quarterback but I think Sanchez is on a better team, giving him more of a chance to succeed as the better fantasy quarterback option. I still see both as no more than a #2 quarterback for the 2010 season.

Jake of JunkYardJake.Com says:

It’s probably not the majority opinion, but if given the choice between Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez in terms of future fantasy production, I would give a slight edge to Mark Sanchez. Clearly both quarterbacks demonstrated their abilities during the 2009 season and both quarterbacks no doubt have the requisite intelligence to blossom into fine players. I prefer Sanchez just marginally over Stafford because he seems to demonstrate a precocious ability to read defenses, anticipate the pass rush, and create positive plays when his primary options are covered. Overall, Sanchez just seems to be the more instinctive player.

As mentioned, choosing Sanchez over Matthew Stafford is probably the minority opinion. When rating the rookie QBs on pure physical skill alone, Matthew Stafford is arguably the superior option. Stafford has exceptional arm strength, a good release and impressive accuracy. Although we did not see him run much this past season, Stafford also has good speed for his size, and should evolve into a decent running threat if his offensive scheme allows him to. Sanchez has also shows good velocity on his throws, and is probably on par with Stafford in terms of accuracy, but Stafford gets the slight edge in this department.

In terms of the cerebral part of the game, Stafford has already shown potential, and if you go by Wonderlic score alone, he even has the edge here. Both Stafford and Sanchez scored well on this pre-draft test, but Stafford scored a 38 compared to Sanchez’s mark of 28.

Both Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez should end up having successful careers in the NFL, and although Stafford has the higher upside in terms of pure physical talent, it is commonly known that the ability to effortlessly hurl a ball 50 yards down the field is only one factor that portends success as an NFL quarterback. Mark Sanchez just seems to be the slightly more intuitive player, and I give him the slight edge based on this intangible.

Rick of says:

I'm with Pasquino above. The guy to have in this conversation is Matt Stafford and it's not very close at all. There's as large a gap between Matt (10th) and Mark (20th) in my Dynasty Rankings as you'll probably see from any source in the industry. As others alluded to above, Matt Stafford is simply in the superior system to breed stats for the foreseeable future.

Setting NFL quarterbacking skills aside, the systems these two find themselves in are polar opposites of each other. Merely pointing out the fact that Sanchez attempted the fewest passes in the league last year is a laughable understatement. The Jets 393 pass attempts were 48 fewer than even the second fewest Buffalo Bills (441). There's no other team that bottled up it's QB (and had greater success in doing so) than the Jets.

With a young, talented O-line paired with second year battering ram Shonn Green...and then you factor in one of league's top 3 best shutdown defenses? Hell, forget about arm strength, accuracy, leadership or any other positive QB traits at this point. Give me the guy that's going to complete a forward pass once in awhile.

Enjoy this article? Check out FantasyTrader.Com's Offseason Roundtable Archives.

Player Spotlights - Luke Hochevar and Chris Coghlan

Luke Hochevar and Chris Coghlan March 20, 2010

Live Fantasy Baseball Mock Drafts, Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings, Player Trade Calculator, Fantasy Forums and more ! at FantasyBaseballXtreme.Com

SP Luke Hochevar,Royals, - Luke Hochevar’s professional career has indeed gotten off to a tumultuous start, not unlike the chaotic process that brought him into the big leagues in the first place. Originally drafted by the Dodgers in 2002, Hochevar declined this option to pitch for the University of Tennessee instead. He went on to have a very successful college career, culminating in 2005 with a 15-3 record, an ERA of 2.26, Whip of 1.13 and 154 strikeouts in 139 innings. He was then selected by the Dodgers once again in the 2005 amateur draft, but couldn’t reach an agreement. Finally, in 2006, the Royals made him the #1 selection and he began his professional career at the age of 22. Now 26, Hochevar has turned into somewhat of an enigma, with an accumulated 5.88 ERA, 1.47 WHIP over three major league seasons. Also surprising is how his K per rate has fallen from over 8 during his minor league seasons, to 5.8 at the major-league level. Hochevar has pretty good stuff, with a fastball that can reach the mid-90’s, a hard slider and a good curve. On the basis of upside potential, he’s worth a flier in the final rounds of fantasy drafts this year.
OF/2B Chris Coghlan, Marlins, - After getting the call in early May 2009 it took a little while for the 24 year-old Chris Coghlan to make an impression for the Marlins. He had a rough May, batting an anemic .212 in that month. By the All-Star break, he was hitting just .245, with 2 HRs and 4 SBs, and many fantasy teams had given up hope at that point. For those with patience, Coghlan went on to show significant improvement after the break, proceeding to hit .372, with 7 HRs and adding another 4 SBs in the second half of the 2009 season. He earned the NL rookie of the year award for his efforts, and now enters the 2010 season as the starting left-fielder for Florida. Coghlan’s minor league history suggests that we probably shouldn’t expect much improvement over his 2009 BA and HR numbers, but he does seem to have untapped 20 SB potential that failed to emerge last year. With his ADP still hovering around the 18th round area, Coghlan makes a solid player to add as your 4th or 5th fantasy outfielder in 2010.

Player Spotlights By Junkyard Jake JunkyardJake.Com 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fantasy Football Roundtable - Matt Leinart

Fantasy Football Roundtable
Hosted By FantasyFootballTrader.Com  March 16, 2010

This week's question: Given what we know (or think we know) about about Matt Leinart, what are your expectations for the Arizona Cardinals in 2010?...'

Ryan of LestersLegends.Com says:

I may be one of the only people that actually like the party boy. He has the talent and the pedigree. Maturity has been his main issue. He felt he was entitled to the job because he was a top draft pick. He didn't work hard.

Now with the future Hall of Famer out of the picture, Leinart has the opportunity to seize the gig. He has had several years to study under one of the best, not only in his ability, but in the way he prepared for games. I'll give Leinart the benefit of the doubt that he learned from that experience.

He has great weapons, with or without Anquan Boldin. The Cardinals should have an improved rushing attack with Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower. He won't be required to throw as often as Warner did.

Though he failed to throw a TD this year, he did complete a career high 66.2% of his passes. I won't say he looked totally comfortable when he spelled Kurt Warner against the Saints, but he managed to complete 7 of 10 passes for 61 yards.

I certainly wouldn't want him as a fantasy starter, but he's a nice low risk/high reward backup option. Before I draft him though, I want to see him take the OTAs and training camp seriously. If he shows me he's serious, I'll be serious about him. If not, I'll contact Jeff Gillooly as a Larry Fitzgerald owner.

Dave of RotoPicks.Com says:

I don’t think anyone can argue that the Cardinals hopes for 2010 took an enormous hit when Kurt Warner announced his retirement this off-season. From what I’ve seen of Matt Leinart, I’m sure he could become a middle of the road starting QB (maybe holding a fantasy value somewhere between Kyle Orton and Jason Campbell), but I doubt his ability to run a efficient passing offense. I’m expecting the Cardinals to bring in a few QBs this off-season and open up the competition to see who emerges.

Along with the QB position, there is uncertainty across the Cardinals roster. It’s very possible that Anquan Boldin will be wearing a different jersey next season, which will hurt whoever lands the starting QB job. The Cardinals have a couple of quality young WRs in Steve Breaston and Early Doucet, but I don’t think either of them can fill Boldin’s shoes on their own. Couple Arizona’s changes at QB and WR with the pending release of LB Karlos Dansby and S Antrel Rolle and we’ll be looking at a much different Cardinals squad in 2010.

As far as my overall expectations for the Cardinals go, I don’t think its all doom and gloom for the club. I think the Cardinals have enough pieces in place to have a good showing next season and finish the year as the second best team in the NFC West. But unless they make some huge off-season moves or re-sign a few of their key players I don’t think they’ll have a chance of beating out San Francisco for the division title.

Derek of FantasyFootballManiaxs.Com says:

Matt Leinart has a lot of weapons in Arizona. He has arguably the most talented receiver in the NFL in Larry Fitzgerald, who had 1,092 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns last season. I would be surprised if fellow star WR Anquan Boldin is back in 2010, but Leinart would still have Steve Breaston and Early Doucet, two talented receivers that could put up bigger numbers with more playing time. He also has running backs Chris Wells and Tim Hightower, who combined for 1,391 yards rushing, 571 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns.

He has enough running back talent to have success with play action passing and enough receivers that he can find open targets. The Cardinals have a very quarterback friendly situation and it is surprising that he lost his job in the first place; a more prepared quarterback would not have had the struggles Leinart has experienced. A big question with him has been his work ethic and it has shown since he arrived in 2006. If his work ethic does not improve in 2010, the Cardinals will not win the division with him at quarterback.

The Cardinals are in danger of losing the division to a San Francisco 49ers team that beat them twice in 2009 and trailed them only by two games in the final standings. The 49ers have a young improving team and they have the 13th and 17th picks in the draft, a luxury the Cardinals do not have. Warner threw 26 touchdown passes in 2009 and if Leinart has only between 15-20 that could be 40 to 60 less points, which is a big deal seeing they had a scoring differential of only 3.1 points per game last year.

They have also released S Antrel Rolle, who promptly signed with the Giants and lost LB Karlos Dansby in free agency to the Miami Dolphins. Those are a lot of losses for one year and I think the Cardinals will probably take a step back in 2010 as they recover from some of their player personnel losses; guys who played a big role in their rise to Super Bowl contender.

The above was an excerpt from Derek's full article at FFManiax.

Please note the above was an excerpt from Derek's full article at FFManiax.

Matt of RapidDraft.Com says:

Despite what many folks will say, there’s really not a whole lot that we know about the way Matt Leinart will perform in 2010.

Just think about it: The only season in which he got a real stretch to work as the starting quarterback was in 2006, when he was a rookie who held out through a large portion of his first training camp. Leinart started 11 games that season and finished with a respectable 56.7 percent completion rate and 11-12 touchdown-interception ratio. (Much better numbers than the Sanchize -- albeit with better receivers.)

Since then, Leinart has gotten little time to develop on the field and spent those reps not only with Kurt Warner staring directly over his shoulder, but often warming up with the bullpen and getting his boy God to whisper in the coaches’ ears. Now, by all accounts, Leinart hasn’t gotten more playing time because he hasn’t bowled his coaches over, but the fact remains that it’s been four years since we got a good look at him in NFL games.

On the other hand, here’s what we do know. The high-powered Arizona pass offense won’t be nearly as efficient this year. How can it be? The biggest thing going for Kurt Warner (besides his story and, of course, Jesus) is that he has been one of the most accurate passers in the league over at least the past decade. That will likely mean that even if Larry Fitzgerald (and whoever starts across from him) catches as many passes as we’re used to, he’ll have a hard time matching yardage and touchdown numbers.

For what it’s worth, in 14 games with Leinart as the starter or more-active passer, Fitzgerald has scored just five times. For his career, he has averaged about 10 touchdowns per 16 games played. Similarly, Anquan Boldin has caught just four touchdowns from Leinart in 15 games together, as opposed to a career average of about seven per 16 games.

We also know, however, that Leinart loves looking to his left (throwing) side and going to Fitzgerald. Fitz’s other numbers in Leinart games extrapolate to 93 catches and 1,230 yards over a 16-game season. Compare that with an average of 91 receptions and 1,229 yards for his career.

Now, Fitzgerald’s more recent stats look better than that after lower output early on, but that early portion of his career was also when the bulk of his exposure to Leinart came. Even if a full season with Leinart could mean seven or eight scores instead of 10 to 12, Fitzgerald should still catch 90 to 100 passes and get to or past 1,200 yards.

Boldin’s 16-game projection with Leinart, however, comes up 23 catches and 209 yards short of his career 16-game averages. That will be moot for him if he starts 2010 with another team but doesn’t bode particularly well for whoever would replace him.

The player who could be helped by the switch to Leinart, of course, is Chris Wells. Ken Whisenhunt has preached a desire to feature the run more, and it should be quite a bit easier to stick with the running game when the other option is relying heavily on the young lefty instead of Warner. Wells is due to begin this year as the starter and should easily surpass 250 carries if he can stay healthy.

Russ of FantasyFootballStarters.Com says:

For over 2 years, Leinart has been on the sidelines most of the time watching Kurt Warner execute the offensive system in Arizona. Everyone seems to forget that Leinart was actually the starter for 11 games as a rookie and has started 17 games over his 4 year career. He's still a young QB who hasn't been given enough starting time to develop into the player he can become. His stats haven't been great, but conversely they haven't been awful either. In his 17 career starts (and remember that for the first 5 games of 2007, Ken Whisenhunt used a dual QB attack with Leinart starting and Warner coming in for chunks of the game, often in red zone situations) Leinart's stat line reads 289-511 for 3,364 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions.

Like I said, not great, but certainly not horrible either. And there's room for improvement as he acquires more playing experience.

Now, the Cardinals will tweak their offense to be more balanced in their attack. They have a power RB in Chris Wells. They have a solid complimentary RB in Tim Hightower. Even though they have traded WR Anquan Boldin, they still have Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, and emerging Early Doucet. The weapons are in place for a game managing Leinart to succeed. Ken Whisenhunt had a strong rushing attack when he was the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh a few years ago, and while it's never translated into a featured rushing attack in Arizona, he also never really had a RB like Wells to rely on. I think you'll see the Cardinals become a lot more balanced offensively if Leinart takes over.

This situation kind of reminds some of the Packers situation 2 years ago with Aaron Rodgers taking over for Brett Favre. Little was known about how Rodgers would respond to having to take over for a legend in Green Bay. There were a lot of expectations and there was little history of Rodgers playing to gauge whether he'd step up and become a great NFL QB. There was so much concern in the organization that the Packers actually drafted TWO QB's that year (Brian Brohm in the second round and Matt Flynn in the seventh). Rodgers was under immense scrutiny and many predicted he would fail. His arm wasn't strong enough; his passes sailed; he wasn't a commanding presence in the huddle; etc. All of these things were said about Rodgers.

And all of them have been said, are being said, or will be said again about Leinart.

I was not one of those who predicted doom for Rodgers. And I'm not predicting doom for Leinart. Did I see how great Rodgers would turn out to be? No. But I certainly gave him a chance for it. Same chance I'm giving Leinart. I think Leinart can be one of the prime QB 2010 fantasy football sleepers.

Jim of FanaticFantasyFootball.Com says:

I looked back a few years to see what kind of stats some other quarterbacks put up in their first year after being the backup for extended time. David Garrard QB Jacksonville Jaguars, spent five years as the backup before his first full season in 2007. Garrard ranked #16 among fantasy QBs scoring 252 points. He completed 208 of 325 attempts, threw 18 touchdowns and was only intercepted 3 times.

The next player I looked at was Matt Schaub QB Houston Texans. After being a backup for three years and injured the better part of the next two years; Matt finally got his chance to start and play a full season in 2009. He didn’t disappoint his owners, as he finished as the #4 QB in 2009 with 372 completions, 544 attempts, 4467 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs, had much more success while running the New England Patriot offense but his stats with the Chiefs were respectable considering the team around him. He was 272/494 for 2924 yards with 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, compared to the year before (Patriots) where he posted 328/518 for 3693 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in what was actually his first full year after being a backup for three years.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, sat for three years behind Brett Favre in Green Bay. During his first year at the helm of Green Bay’s potent offense he posted super stats and followed that in 2009 with an even better year. We had rated Rodgers as the #1 QB in our 2009 Quarterback rankings.

Team wise, I think Texans Matt Schaub QB / Andre Johnson WR duo and Matt Leinart QB / Larry Fitzgerald WR duo are very similar situations. Anquan Boldin WR has been traded to the Baltimore Ravens, so I see Leinart’s numbers reading something like 260 completions, 433 attempts, 2860 yards, 16 touchdowns / 11 interceptions. He will have some games where he performs like a #1 quarterback but I see him more as a fantasy football backup in 2010. If he progresses this year and you can stash him on your team for spot duty then you might have a diamond in the rough for 2011.

The above was an excerpt from Jim's full article at FanaticFantasyFootball.

Jake of JunkYardJake.Com says:

Originally selected by Cardinals as a #10 overall pick, Matt Leinart was largely regarded as the top QB prospect in a 2006 draft class that included Vince young and Jay Cutler. He went on to start to twelve games that season, and despite the typical rookie learning curve for NFL quarterbacks, he actually had flashes of very solid performance. Overall, Leinart finished 2006 with over 2,500 passing yards, 12 INTs, and 11 TDs, highlighted by a 405 passing yard day versus Minnesota. When you consider that the top two rookie QBs drafted in 2009, Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez, both threw 20 INTs as first-year staters, Leinart's rookie numbers look fairly good in comparison.

Indeed one of the attributes that scouts cited about Leinart when he came out of USC in 2006 was his experience in a pro-style offense. His ability to interpret defenses, read coverage and anticipate receiver routes were already quite advanced for a rookie QB. When you factor in his great size, impressive accuracy, strong leadership skills and efficient mechanics, it's easy to see why he was so highly touted back in 2006.

Fast forwarding to 2010, it is fairly likely that the Cardinals will attempt to deploy their running attack on a higher proportion of plays now that Kurt Warner is gone. Not to mention, standout receiver Anquan Boldin has been mentioned as trade bait, and the Cardinals seem willing to part with him for a 3rd round pick. Nonetheless, even in the event that Boldin leaves, Leinart will still have the dynamic Larry Fitzgerald along with solid #2 receiver Steve Breaston and dependable 3rd down back Tim Hightower. Clearly, he'll have all the help he needs to succeed in his first campaign as undisputed starter, and now with the luxuary of lowered expectations, and additional wisdom, Leinart could turn out to be a surprise fantasy contributor in 2010.

Enjoy this article? Check out FantasyTrader.Com's Offseason Roundtable Archives.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Player Spotlights - James Shields and Garrett Jones

James Shields and Garrett Jones March 16, 2010

Live Fantasy Baseball Mock Drafts, Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings, Player Trade Calculator, Fantasy Forums and more ! at FantasyBaseballXtreme.Com

SP James Shields,Rays, - A very consistent fantasy option during the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Tampa Bay's James Shields fell victim to an uncharacteristically substandard second half in 2009, ending the year with a disappointing 4.14 ERA, and only 11 wins. While he started the 2009 season looking like the reliable pitcher we had become accustomed to, with 6 wins a 3.42 ERA and a Whip of 1.26 through the All-Star break, his 2nd half ERA 5.16 was an unpleasant surprise for fantasy owners. As a consequence, his fantasy value has taken a significant hit in 2010, with his ADP dropping from the 7th round in 2009 to about the 11th round in most recent 2010 drafts. Shields is never going to overwhelm hitters with his 90 MPH fastball, but it's his skill in combining this pitch with his excellent 80 MPH change-up and impressive control that makes him effective. Slated to be the Rays opening day starter, Shields seems undervalued and is a likely rebound candidate to target in fantasy drafts this year.
OF/1B Garrett Jones, Pirates, - Before his breakout season last year, 28 year old Garrett Jones seemed destined to languish as a career minor leaguer. Originally drafted by the Braves in 1999, Jones was shipped off to the Twins organization a few years later, and didn't begin to show his power potential until 2004 when he hit 30 HRs for Minnesota's AA affiliate that year. Still, up until last year, Jones had compiled just a .258 average during his time in the minors, and doubts remained about his ability to consistently handle major league pitching. After a trade to the Pirates in 2009, Jones received his first opportunity of significant playing time when the team traded Nyjer Morgan to the Nationals. He responded with 10 HRs and a .310 BA during the month of July, and finished the season with 21 HRs and a .293 average in 314 at-bats. It remains to be seen if Jones can follow through in 2010, and his .208 BA against left-handers last year is a concern, but he should represent a decent source of mixed-league power at a 15th round price.

Player Spotlights By Junkyard Jake JunkyardJake.Com 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Player Spotlights - David Aardsma and Kendry Morales

David Aardsma and Kendry Morales March 7, 2010

Live Fantasy Baseball Mock Drafts, Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings, Player Trade Calculator, Fantasy Forums and more ! at FantasyBaseballXtreme.Com

RP David Aardsma,Mariners, Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2003, David Aardsma progressed rapidly to the AAA, where he was being groomed as the clubs future closer. In 2004, he saved 11 games for AAA Fresno, but struggled with his control. That same year, he made it to the Giants, but continued to have trouble pitching strikes in his limited debut. From 2005-2008, Aardsma bounced between the minor and major league teams of 4 different organizations with erratic results. After seizing the closer assignment for Seattle in 2009, the 27 year old pitcher was finally able to produce a noteworthy season, with 28 saves, an ERA of 2.52 and a WHIP of 1.164. Aardsma has decent stuff, and his pitch selection/velocity is almost identical to Boston's Jonathan Papelbon. Both pitchers mix in a splitfinger fastball and slider while primarily relying on a 94-95 MPH fastball. Aardsma's 4.3 walks per nine innings wasn't awful in 2009, but the biggest potential liability associated with him remains the possible reemergence of control problems.
1B Kendry Morales, Angels, - It's safe to say the Angels look like geniuses after replacing the uber-expensive Mark Teixeira with farmhand Kendry Morales last year. That transition could not have worked out better, as Morales finished up his first season as the Angels new first-baseman with 34 HRs, 109 RBIs and an impressive .306 BA. Before 2009, Morales had exhibited 30 HR power in the minors, but it had never translated to expected performance when he was called up major league auditions during those years. Morales obviously quieted all doubts concerning his abilities last season, and looked especially good after the All-Star break, when he hit .330 with 19 HRs compared to .284 with 15 HRs in the first half. While there are always doubts and risk inherent with young players who generate sparkling fantasy numbers seemingly out of nowhere, when you consider his second half performance along with his minor league resume, Morales looks to be a legitimate rising star.

Player Spotlights By Junkyard Jake JunkyardJake.Com 

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Player Spotlights - Brett Anderson and Scott Sizemore

Brett Anderson and Scott Sizemore February 28, 2010

Live Fantasy Baseball Mock Drafts, Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings, Player Trade Calculator, Fantasy Forums and more ! at FantasyBaseballXtreme.Com

SP Brett Anderson,A's, - While fellow left-hander David Price received more publicity in 2009, it was Oakland's rookie Brett Anderson who ended up looking like the more accomplished rookie pitcher. Originally drafted in the 2nd round by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Anderson was traded to the A's in 2008, and had only 6 starts at the AA level before joining Oakland’s rotation in 2009. The 21-year old didn't disappoint, compiling 11 victories with 150 K's in 30 starts. Most encouraging was the rookie's ability to improve in the 2nd half of the season, lowering his ERA from 4.64 to 3.48, and his WHIP from 1.37 to 1.19 in the 2nd half. Anderson consistently throws strikes and his fastball is usually seen in the 92-93 MPH range. He also mixes in an effective 80 MPH slider about 30% of the time, and rounds out his arsenal with an excellent curve and solid changeup. Anderson generally pitches to contact, but still generated 7.7 K/9 while walking just 2.3 batters per 9 innings in 2009.
2B Scott Sizemore, Tigers, - Scott Sizemore was relatively quiet during his first three years in the minors, compiling a .289 average and only 11 HRs in 248 games over the 2006-2008 timeframe. In 2009, after reaching the Tigers AA affiliate at the age of 24, Sizemore turned his game up a notch, hitting .307 with 9 HRs in only 59 games. After his promotion to the AAA level, Sizemore continued his offensive surge hitting another 8 HRs while maintaining a .308 average through 71 games at Toledo. Along with his good average, and recent HR power, Sizemore also offers some speed on the base paths, notching 58 steals in 378 career minor league games. With Placido Polanco being shipped out of Detroit this past offseason, and only the light-hitting Ramon Santiago seemingly in his way, Scott Sizemore has an opportunity to capture significant playing time for the Tigers at 2nd base in 2010. You should be able to snag Sizemore past the 25th round in your fantasy draft as a solid sleeper pick.

Player Spotlights By Junkyard Jake JunkyardJake.Com 

Fantasy Football Roundtable - 2010 Dallas Cowboys Backfield

Fantasy Football Roundtable
Hosted By FantasyFootballTrader.Com  February 28, 2010

This week's question: Unscrambling the Dallas Cowboys backfield. Which Cowboys RB will present the most value at fantasy drafts this Fall?

Ryan of LestersLegends.Com says:

This is a little bit of a trick question. I'm expecting Felix Jones to be drafted higher than Marion Barber III, who will be selected higher than Tashard Choice. Clearly I am expecting Felix Jones to be the most productive of the Cowboys' RBs. That isn't the question though.

The question is which one will present the most value. I actually think that honor belongs to Tashard Choice. Marion Barber will likely be the short yardage back. Choice will likely be the one to spell Jones when he needs a breather. I also think if Felix Jones were to get hurt, Choice would be the one to replace him as lead back.

Barber still has some name value, and the potential to score double-digit TDs, so I expect him to be the second Cowboy off the board. Since his role seems to most in question, I think he's the worst value of the three.

Felix Jones will be the first one off the board, but given the committee he's in, I don't see him standing out from the crowd of similar picks.

Choice, however, will be a late flier that could end up producing like an RB2. While I would rather have Felix Jones on my roster, I think Tashard Choice presents the best fantasy value of the three Cowboy RBs.

Dave of RotoPicks.Com says:

I’m confident that Marion Barber will not only be the best draft value in the Dallas backfield, but I think he’ll also be the most productive RB for the Cowboys at the end of the 2010 season.

Felix Jones’ stock has skyrocketed as a result of his post-season play and fantasy owners will pay a premium for him in 2010 drafts. Looking at the Cowboys postseason totals, Jones was clearly the better back, turning in over 200 yards rushing and 1 rushing TD on 30 carries and over 50 yards receiving on only 4 receptions. These numbers are pretty substantial compared to Barber’s 11 rushing attempts and zero receptions for a measly 18 total yards. Unfortunately, what you can’t see from these numbers is the context in which these figures were produced.

During their playoff run, Dallas faced the Eagles in the Wild Card round and the Vikings in the Divisional Series. These defenses were ranked 9th and 2nd, respectively, in rushing yards allowed during the regular season and made a living beating up on RBs that ran primarily between the tackles. In these situations, a shiftier Jones might have been the better play, but once the regular season rolls around I’m sure he will see a transition back to the change of pace role and situational return duty. Let’s not forget that Barber was the one who led all Cowboys RBs in rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing TDs, receptions, and receiving yards during the 2009 regular season.

Sure Jones might get a few more touches in 2010, but I’m not willing to pay a premium for the second best back in a committee system.

Derek of FantasyFootballManiaxs.Com says:

While the Cowboys’ quarterback situation is very stable, the Cowboys have three running backs that contributed at various points of the season. Marion Barber saw the most action with 214 carries for 932 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns, while adding 26 receptions for 221 yards. Felix Jones had 116 carries for 685 yards rushing and three touchdowns and also compiled 19 receptions for 119 yards. Finally, Tashard Choice added 64 carries for 349 yards and three touchdowns, along with 15 receptions for 132 yards.

That leaves fantasy owners in a bind this year. All three running backs showed potential last year. When healthy and on the field, each is worthy of being in a Fantasy Owner’s starting lineup. Which of the three has the best chance to put up the numbers that Owners look for in a Fantasy Football starting running back?

I think it is clear that Choice is not going to be the No. 1 option. He failed to earn more than five carries after Week Six in any game.

The bigger question is who should owners be drafting first, Barber or Jones?

Gerry Fraley and Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News, as well as Tim MacMahon of Dallas, have reported this offseason that Jones will be the starter in the Dallas backfield and that injury concerns will lead to fewer carries for Barber. Furthermore, Jerry Jones has said that he would like to see Choice used more in the short passing game in 2010.

While Jerry Jones told the Dallas Morning News in January that money would not be a factor in Barber returning for the 2010 season, it does not take a fantasy football scientist to see that Barber’s carries are going to be even more limited in 2010. He is going to be the short yardage and change of pace back, with Jones receiving the bulk of the carries on first and second down and Choice being the wildcat and third down back, unless he is traded this offseason. Choice being out of the mix would help Barber’s value.

We currently have Felix Jones as the 16th-ranked fantasy running back. If he can stay healthy, we think it is reasonable to expect 1,100 yards to 1,200 yards and seven to nine touchdowns to go along with 30 to 40 receptions and 300 to 400 receiving yards, which could vault him into the vicinity of the top 10. He has good third round pick value; unfortunately, the fact that he plays for the Cowboys is going to make it hard to select him past the third round, and I can foresee drafts where he will be a second round pick. You hate to pick a player that high with an injury history that plays in a crowded backfield.

I think Barber is probably going to return to his 2006 numbers, when he had 135 carries for 694 yards. That year he had 16 touchdowns. I don’t expect those numbers to be as high in 2009; I think seven to nine touchdowns is more realistic. Barber is an excellent handcuff for Jones in case he is injured.

Please note the above was an excerpt from Derek's full article at FFManiax.

Jeff of DynastyKings.Com says:

The dreaded three-headed committee reappears in yet another franchise. The Dallas Cowboys were all set with Marion Barber III last season as their workhorse and they had planned on using Felix Jones as their complimentary back. Both guys have great skill sets but it is pretty clear as to which one is better on short yardage and between the tackles (Barber). Jones is a fierce player once he gets to the second level, making him a perfect candidate for plays designed to go wide or even on some screen passes. Both have significant downside – Barber is showing some signs of slowing down and Jones is not built to take a feature back workload.

Right now, Felix Jones is a very sexy pick. In four Winter Survivor Leagues that have been going since the end of January, Jones is going in the RB21-24 range, projecting him to be a fourth or fifth round selection in 2010 redrafts. Barber isn’t much lower, going in the RB27-33 range, which means this is viewed both as a RBBC and a toss-up. For me, Barber could be recouping from an undisclosed injury and Jones has not proven himself to be capable of holding up for a full season. Both backs represent decent value and it depends on Jones’ upside versus Barber’s return to previous performance levels.

The big wildcard? Tashard Choice. Personally I think he’s the best “value” pick in terms of what he will cost you as opposed to what his performance level could be in 2010. If Barber is hurt, I still believe that Jones will not be the workhorse for Dallas. Choice, not Jones, fits the style of Barber and is the closest thing to a drop-in replacement in that offense. Choice has also run the Cowboys’ version of the Wildcat and is a solid pass protection back (often used on third downs and passing plays out of the shotgun formation). While other fantasy owners will be rolling dice on Jones or Barber and hoping that they hit with their selection – I prefer a different value Choice. Choice will be dirt cheap in 2010 as the third man on the depth chart but his upside is huge, and neither back ahead of him has proven to be very durable.

Matt of RapidDraft.Com says:

This is a wide open question with answers that can vary depending on interpretation, but I’ll try to answer as straightforwardly as possible:

Marion Barber will lead the group in touchdowns and drive you crazy with the injury reports. Felix Jones will improve significantly on his first two seasons, produce the most yardage and probably miss a couple of games. Tashard Choice will continue to make fantasy owners wish he played for a different team, unless one of the other two suffers a significant injury.

Barber has been at his most consistently productive when spelled by another back. His breakout 16-touchdown 2006 came with just 135 carries (and 158 total touches) to Julius Jones’ 267. Barber’s next most productive year came in 2007, with just a 55 percent share of the carries that went to him and Jones.

In 2008, a Thanksgiving Day toe injury made it tough to know how Barber would have held up down the stretch, but there’s no denying that he wore down late in 2009. After averaging 4.6 yards a carry through the first 10 contests (missing one), he went for just 3.5 per rush in the final five games – including pedestrian outings against lackluster run defenses such as San Diego and New Orleans. That precipitated a mere 11 carries and 18 yards in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, a new Jones was finally getting a larger share of the load and looking good while doing it. The 5.9 yards per carry is no illusion, as even when Jones picks up 5 or 6 yards, he looks like he’s a step or two from breaking a long one. He’ll probably top out in the 12-15 carry a game range to keep from burning out, but Jones’ 30 rushes in the two playoff games were twice as many as either of his backfield mates.

Should he average just 12 attempts per game, Jones would need just 5.2 yards a rush to reach 1,000 for the season. He doesn’t look like he’ll become a prime receiving option soon, but Jones should be able to reach six or seven touchdowns along the way. I’d take him ahead of Barber at this point.

Finally, there’s Choice, who could well be the most consistent producer of the group if he got the chance. You could make an argument for him as the top value, considering Choice will go much later than the other two (seven rounds later, in Round 13, according to very early Fantasy Football Calculator numbers). He’ll be a very risky fantasy play, however, unless injury befalls Jones or Barber.

Russ of FantasyFootballStarters.Com says:

Few backfields in the NFL pose the type of problem for fantasy football owners in 2010 than the one in Dallas. All of us could spend a lot of time dissecting this situation as it really isn't nearly as cut and dried as some want to think. There's Felix Jones, Marion Barber, and Tashard Choice. All the current signs point to the Cowboys getting Jones more involved in the offense in 2010. There's no doubting that his speed and playmaking abilities make him the most dynamic threat in their backfield, but questions still surround how well he'll fare if called on to regularly carry the ball 15+ times per game. While everyone is down on Barber at the present time because of his struggles in the post-season and the way Jones ran in their 2 playoff games, it needs to be remembered that Barber suffered a knee injury before the playoffs and in the last 3 games of the regular season Barber rushed 48 times for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns compared to Jones's 39 rushes for 207 yards and 1 touchdown. Jones had the better yards per carry average (5.3), but Barber's (4.5) wasn't bad either. Both RB's have had their struggled the last 2 seasons with injuries and it looks like a committee between them is forthcoming in 2010 again. I would expect that Jones would be the primary getting 13-15 carries per game with Barber the secondary getting 10-15, but it's still too early to tell. Choice is the interesting odd man out, as he has demonstrated excellent rushing skills when called upon and there is speculation that he could supplant Barber as the secondary RB to Jones in 2010. But I tend to think that is more of a motivational tactic to get Barber fired up than anything else. Not saying Choice can't do it, but I just think it unlikely.

Bottom line is that any of them could end up being the top fantasy Cowboys RB in 2010 making each of them risky propositions in fantasy football drafts. In our own expert's fantasy football mock draft Jones went 53rd overall as the 21st RB taken while Barber went 80th overall as the 34th RB off the board. Choice went in the 16th and final round. Barber went a little later than where I expect he'll go come around August but currently he's getting the least favorable press of the group. We'll see if that continues once we get into OTA's and training camp.

My 2010 fantasy football projection here is that barring an injury, I expect Jones will have around 224 carries for 1,030 yards with about 36 receptions for another 234 yards and a combined 6-8 touchdowns. Barber will have around 208 carries for 853 yards with about 32 receptions for 208 yards and scored 7-9 touchdowns. Jones has the higher ceiling for big statistical numbers, but it's probable that both RB's are going to cut into each other enough to the point where neither is a reliable every week play. Sounds like a lot of today's NFL backfields.

Jim of FanaticFantasyFootball.Com says:

Felix Jones saw his numbers go up but after his 2008 year that would be expected. Jones only had four games during the 09 season in which he received double digit carries and all four games came in the last eight weeks of the season giving rise to the hope he might put his injuries behind him and produce like a #1 or #2 back...For the rest of Jim's breakdown of the 'Boys backfield, please see his article posted at Fantasy Fantasy Football.

Personally this is a running back situation I prefer not to get involved in if at all possible. If I draft any of them it’s for running back depth and I don’t jump on any of them too early.

Marion Barber has received the most work over the last two years. His numbers have remained pretty constant since 2007, averaging 213 carries for around 900 yards and 8 touchdowns rushing per year. The part of Barbers game that has been affected the most is his targets and receptions. In 2007 he had 44 receptions for 282 yards and 2 TDs. He followed that up with 52 receptions, 417 yards and 2 TDs in 2008. During the 2009 season he was only targeted 32 times. Of those targets he caught 25 for 207 yards and zero TDs. Did the presence of Felix Jones and/or Tashard Choice cut into Barbers numbers out of the backfield?

I don’t think so. Choice saw his numbers drop in all phases of his game except one. His rushing opportunities dropped from 92 to 64 (-28), rush yards down from 472 to 349 (-123), receptions 21 to 15 (-6), receiving yards 185 down to 132 (-53), and zero receiving TDs in both 08 and 09.

Jake of JunkYardJake.Com says:

The Cowboys certainly have one of the more enviable running back situations in the NFL. Not many teams can boast three talented options at the position, and it's fairly clear that Marion Barber, Felix Jones or Tashard Choice can all be productive in a starting role. Barring a coaching change, or a trade, Dallas's RB rotation might very well stay consistent with the trend we have observed over the past two years. In this scenario, Marion Barber would assume early down carries, with Felix Jones providing an added speed dimension on 3rd downs. Tashard Choice's role would once again expand in the absence of either Barber or Jones due to injury.

In the event of a trade, the situation of course changes completely. There has been speculation that one of the three running backs could be traded this offseason. The most likely candidate is said to be Marion Barber. This makes sense from the perspective that he has the most mileage on him and commands the highest salary among Dallas's current RB trio. Choice, only one year younger than Barber, has also been mentioned in possible trades. Felix Jones, the youngest of the three players and turning 24 this season, probably has the best chance of staying in Dallas.

If Barber changes his address due to a trade, this will probably elevate Tashard Choice to 1st and 2nd down action. Choice is quite similar to Barber in terms of inside running ability and power. Choice is slightly smaller, but also has a nominal speed advantage over Barber. Moreover, despite the fact that Choice wasn't known as much of a receiver when he was drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 draft, he has proven himself to be competent in this regard. In 2009, Choice caught 15 passes for 132 yards and his 8.8 yards per catch was almost identical to the yards per catch produced by Barber, who had 26 catches for 221 yards (8.5 yards per catch).

Rick of says:

As usual, once we get down to me, you're already well versed in all of the numbers. I again tip the hat to the saavy crowd of analysts assembled above, as Tashard Choice (the forgotten man) was a popular selection. Remember - "value" was the key word in this discussion and Choice simply doesn't have to do much at all to offer awesome value among the late reaches of your 16 round draft.

But I'm going to take a chance and bet on the fact that Felix Jones has arrived for good. F.F.T. readers all know Felix has been a pet project of mine since entering the NFL. I've always been one of the few who said he'd have a better pro career than Arkansas running mate Darren McFadden and I'm sticking by it. Every time I watch a healthy Felix run he seems to outshine Barber and Choice (both of whom, I agree, have their place in this offense).

But Felix is a "breath holder". Whenever he touches the ball the opposing fan base forgets to breath until he goes down. Those guys always get featured sooner or later, height, weight and any other measurable be damned.

You want Felix at almost any point in the mid-third round. He and Shonn Greene are this year's Ray Rice.

Enjoy this article? Check out FantasyTrader.Com's Offseason Roundtable Archives.