All of your local fantasy football establishments are unshuttering their windows and adjusting their eyes to the 2009 NFL season. We here at Razzball are happy to help all you fake footballers take those first shaky steps this year. Our top ten NFL players have enough upside to tan your backside, but they are the least likely to ask you to break off a nice green switch from the elm.
Should I draft these guys exactly where ya’ll have ranked them? That is a good question disembodied southern drawl voice. These rankings are mostly based on projected points in your average league. QB’s usually are your biggest scorers, but also have a better than average chance of their leg getting Joe Theismaned. Wide Receivers often have a better chance of living up to their expectations. Running backs have the ball much of the time, especially if they don’t have bricks for hands. But in retrospect would you have taken Drew Brees last year in the first round over LT? I sure would have. There are lots of draft strategies out there and we’ll go over some of our favorites as we get closer to kickoff, but here are our best bets for the top 10 for 2009 fantasy football.
1. Adrian Peterson – With the addition of Favre or even Rosenfels over TJax and Frerotten there are two words that come to mind: “sure, thing.” Kind of like your sister on prom night (of course if she is in a committed, loving relationship.) Don’t be the douche who tries to out think this pick. This isn’t Franken vs. Coleman. Peterson is good enough, he’s smart enough and gosh darn’t he’s the best player with the biggest upside (no not backside, that might go to Ted “Mt.” Washington!) The guy may not have stocked up on Stickum last year, but he’s Eric Dickerson, Walter Payton, and Barry Sanders all wrapped up in a tight purple suit. ADP: 1 Projection: 1775/17, 250/2
2. Maurice Jones Drew – At 5’7” 208 lbs MoJo could set up camp in my gut with room for a lemonade stand. And with Fred Taylor moving on to the old folks home (Foxboro, MA) MoJo will finally get his chance to carry the load. I don’t see why he can’t be the every down back. The guy is a bowling ball with radar and a jet pack and I’m buying some of that lemonade! ADP: 2 Projection: 1250/15, 575/5
3. Michael Turner – The Burner lived up to and surpassed the hype last year. He made Hotlantans forget they live inside a Waffle House grease trap. Can he do it again? The only thing holding his projections back this year are his outstanding numbers from last year! The dreaded curse of 370. Will his huge workload cause him to turn into Mr. Glass this year? The guy is an Ox, 27, on a well balanced team, a backup most of his career and has Norwood to spell him. There is some concern of course, but not enough to lower him on your draft board. ADP: 3 Projection:1650/18, 50/0
4. Matt Forte – Kyle Orton’s forte wasn’t stretching the field and the Bear offensive line’s forte wasn’t blocking, but Matt Forte’s forte? Well it was catching the ball, running between and outside the tackles and scoring TD’s. Insert Jay Cutler’s forte which includes an arm that can get the speedy Devin Hester the ball deep and you’ll see running lanes open and linebackers cheating toward the pass. Forte should add to his already stellar numbers from last year. Make picking Forte high off the draft board your forte! ADP: 4 Projection: 1325/12, 435/4
5. Steven Jackson – Action Jackson has yet to go the way of Carl Weathers, but his recent injuries make this season a career definer. Still only 26, AJax has the skills to repeat a 2006 season where he accumulated 2,334 total yards with 16 TD’s. He is once again a high risk, high reward pick this year. With offensive juggernauts like Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton the only wideouts taking the pressure off him he will see plenty of salivating linebackers, but with an improved offensive line and the offense running and passing through him, he will be a fantasy stud. ADP: 5 Projection: 1325/13, 550/3
6. Chris Johnson – The “Dash” portion of “Smash n Dash,” Chris Johnson is in tight competition with Steve Jackson for most mundane name in the top 10. One of the many rookie running backs to have big fantasy seasons last year Johnson is explosive and can knock off an 80 yard TD at anytime. That is the trouble. He’s too good not to put in the top ten, but luck is going to play a big part in his numbers this year. LenDale White (formerly LenWhale) will continue to get the goalline carries. Will Johnson into the endzone while needling your LenDale voodoo dolls! (who’s Will Johnson?) ADP: 8 Projection: 1375/12, 400/3
7. LaDanian Tomlinson – This was a tough call. LT is the king of fantasy. The czar of fake football. The pope of fantasy hope. But now the king has no clothes and many fantasy pundits are pointing and laughing. This is an easy knee jerk reaction to LT’s low numbers last year. A lingering turf toe injury hampered him much of the year and he still managed to be the 6th best fantasy RB and 14th best overall player. He will continue to be the go to back on a productive offense. He is a risk, but so are most of the top running backs this year. Will Mojo be able to handle a full load? Will Jackson stay healthy? Will Turner slow down after a huge workload? So I go back to a man who has stayed healthy most of his career, scored TD’s like they’re cocktail weenies at Kroger on Sunday and who seems to have gotten over last year’s injury. ADP: 6 Projection: 1250/14, 275/2
8. DeAngelo Williams – Okay, I have a slight man crush on the other “dash” portion of the other “smash n dash” duo. This man single-handedly won leagues for me last year. Every time I thought it was hopeless he would break a huge run for a TD. Him and Chris Johnson have similar roles and a similar skill set (but DeAngelo has a cooler name). Why is he behind Johnson? Don’t ask me, I’m just channeling Walter Camp and Bill Winkenbach. I do what they tell me. He will carry some of the same risk as Johnson, but all of the same upside. Do what you do and take the upside. ADP: 12 Projection: 1250/12, 200/3
9. Steve Slaton: As a rookie he showed receiving skills and an ability to run well in the Kubiak zone blocking scheme. It’s hard not to like 50 receptions from your RB. If Turner and All Day had as many receptions as Slaton they’d be living on their own fantasy planet orbiting all us fantasy paeons while they fight to their fantasy deaths. Slaton will continue to rack up fantasy points as long as he isn’t over used. ADP: 11 Projection: 1250/9, 375/2
10. Randy Moss: The leagues best corner, Nnamdi Asomugha, says Moss is the toughest receiver to cover while Moss says, Nnamdi is the toughest name he’s ever tried to say, even though he somehow wrote a paper on Things Fall Apart in college.
Even with a backup starting at QB all season Moss had 1,000 yds and 11 TD’s. Now he has Brady back. Will he catch 23 TD’s again? No. Can he split the difference? Yes. With 14 or more TD’s he will be the #1 receiver this year. ADP: 10 Projection: 1450/14