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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

  1. BSA says:
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    Hold on, hoooold on –
    My baseball cap is just starting to get worn in for 2009 – you know I go for the Trot Nixon look – rosin, sweat ringed, and folded in half to fit in the back pocket over 1000 times.

    Now I have to break out my Brady jersey and Pat the Patriot hat (he’s makin’ a comeback you know)?!

    Well, after reading this I may have to just jump in the deep end and find a football league I can try out the info I read here.

    Man, my wife is gonna kill me!

    “Sorry honey a lot of work to do on the computer tonight!”

    Nice job here Doc! I look forward to more.

  2. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @BSA: Thanks! We’ll be setting up some RCL leagues as we get rolling here.

  3. steamer says:
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    Nice! Looking forward to the blog.

  4. Frank Rizzo says:
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    Answer: Chris Johnson and Deangelo Williams.

    Question: Which 2 players in this top 10 will be letdowns based on where they’re drafted?

  5. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Frank Rizzo: Agreed, they are risks. But they have a lot of upside on teams that like to move the ball on the ground.

  6. Frank Rizzo says:
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    nice work putting Brady in there. most are hesitant, i’m a believer. i probably won’t take a qb high enough to get him but i’m really hoping to get his cohort, Moss. Brady is the #1 QB on my list ahead of even Brees. Moss is the #1 WR on my list ahead of Fitz, Calvin, AJ, etc.

    Oh how soon so many forget.

  7. Frank Rizzo says:
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    @Doc: No arguments at all. No reason to defend Doc. You almost have to put them there.

    I do like putting Brady there. It’s bold compared to the others.

    I won’t have to worry about having either of those backs based on where I’m picking in my draft.

  8. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Frank Rizzo: Yeah, we considered Brady over Brees. I feel like it is a toss up between those two for best QB this year. And Moss as well. He will be in the next ten for sure. Fitz is getting a lot of hype and deserves it, but Moss and Brady make for an unstoppable force. Of course if you drafted the pair last year you are wishing you at least diversified a little.

  9. Frank Rizzo says:
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    @Doc: A guy in our keep 1 ten team league had both Brady/Moss in 2007. He made a boatload of cash in 2007. In 2008 he lost Brady. Moss was still a pretty decent WR overall even without him. Plus his backup QB last year was Phil Rivers.

    I believe in swinging for the fences. Go for the most explosive talent early no matter what position or team he’s on. Then fill in the blanks in the middle rounds.

  10. steamer says:
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    @ Frank Rizzo: I agree with you on Johnson & Williams. I don’t think I will go near Williams. I feel the same way about Turner. I feel like he’s going to break down this year, & Norwood will have a much bigger role, but he’s a TD whore, so it’s tough to pass on him.

    I think LT will have a big year. I think he’ll be heathy & Norv says he’s getting 300+ carries.

  11. psycho says:
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    Feed is not working for me. :-(

  12. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @psycho: Thanks for the heads up.

  13. Frank Rizzo says:
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    @steamer: What makes you think Turner is going to break down but LT is going to have a big year? One clearly has much more wear and tear than the other. I’m curious to know why you think that.

  14. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @psycho: Can you describe the problem? I just signed up to the google feed and it is working.

  15. Corey says:
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    I’m not much of a fantasy footballer, but this sparks my interest. Thanks for the article and I hope to read more from you guys.

  16. Paulie Allnuts

    Paulie Allnuts says:
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    @Doc: Awesome Post: “The pope of fantasy hope”. Ha! Will pull out my LT Bobblehead (Lawrence Taylor, the REAL LT), pull out the Eli Jersey, dust off my Giant Frosty the Snowman, and dream of Eli to Tyree (Sorry, BSA). Looking forwards to the Razzball Leagues, and Draft. Just give some love to Brandon Jacobs (can’t believe that Grey has ever heard of that dude. What does he do in the off-season; hibernate and dream of new sabermetric tools?)

    BTW, the hat is way cooler then Grey’s ‘stache.

  17. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Paulie Allnuts: Thanks. I’ve got a ‘stache, flavor savor, and a kick ass hat!

  18. steamer says:
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    @ Frank Rizzo: I’m no expert, & I still think Turner has a big year. I should clarify that I’m not making a case for LT over Turner, I just think Turner won’t be as effective this year b/c of his workload last year, plus his schedule is much more difficult. He doesn’t get the NFC North & AFC West this year, instead he gets the NFC East & AFC East, much more difficult. I also think the Falcons get Norwood more involved this year. He’s still a top 10 back, I’d just rather have MJD or Forte.

    I just think LT is going to be a bargin at the bottom of the 1st round, he has a proven track record with a heavy workload & he should be healthy, which is big factor. There a lot of “ifs” at play, but it’s just my opinion.

  19. Paulie Allnuts

    Paulie Allnuts says:
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    @steamer: I would agree – LT’s injury was to his toes, and I see no reason why he shouldn’t come back at full strength. I see him as a bargain low 1st round pick as well. The only changes I would make in the top ten is that I would add Brandan Jacobs, as he will get more of the work load with Ward off to the Bengals; without Plax, or any break out receiver, the Giants are going to have to rely more on their running game. I also would put Steve Slaton in the top ten. He had an awesome season as a rookie last year, and will be able to do so without the help of a Committee. Steve Jackson is a bit too much of a risk for me to take 1st round, and I don’t think that Chris Johnson’s going to get enough TD’s to justify such a high pick – Len-Whale will have his typical 8 carries for 15 yards, with 2 TD’s. Also, I would look for Matt Ryan to be in the top 5 QB’s this year; possibly ahead of all but Brees, Peyton, and Brady.

  20. steamer says:
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    @ Paulie Allnuts: Good call on Slaton & Jacobs. Slaton averaged 20+ carries after week 11.

  21. Hank

    Hank says:
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    @Paulie Allnuts: Jacobs could be a beast, but we are worried about durability. If he gets the Giant’s share of carries those injury concerns even more relevant. He only played 13 games last season due to injury.

  22. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    im here,type you a story later guys,got the 14 month old now

  23. Paulie Allnuts

    Paulie Allnuts says:
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    @steamer: @Hank: I would agree about the durability issue. He has never played a season without missing time due to injury. In that case, I would try to make sure that I have Bradshaw on my reserve list. The guy has tons of talent, but doesn’t block very well. Once he learns to be more of a complete back, watch out! I think that I picked Slayton late in the draft, and he was awesome.

    @AL KOHOLIC: Good to see you on the site. Enjoy the 14 month old. Maybe we can be in the same Razzball Football League. Bring along your bud, BFH.

  24. Johnny 5 says:
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    I own Turner in a keeper – I’m considering taking Calvin Johnson (best available WR) in the first round instead of doubling up on RBs and taking a player in the Gortis range (Gore/Portis)

    Thoughts?

  25. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Paulie Allnuts: I’ll be there, we’ll have the All Nuts League.

    Allnuts, Al’s Nuts and Hippo Nuts………..

  26. BigFatHippo says:
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    Give me MJD in the 1st, Slaton in the 2nd, a jelly doughnut and a fifth of anything……………………………………to go.

  27. Paulie Allnuts

    Paulie Allnuts says:
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    @BigFatHippo: The All Nuts League – Ha! Sounds great! But I will fight you for Slaton.

    @Johnny 5: Last year I tried that with Randy Moss. Didn’t work out so well. Luckily, I was able to pick up Michael Turner, De Angelo Williams, and picked up Slaton off the waiver wire. The one thing about backs – there are always some break out guys no one expects to do well. As for Cal-Jo; he is undoubtably one of the greatest receivers in the game, but he does play for the Lions. Keep that in mind.

  28. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Johnny 5: Don’t pass up Larry Fitz for Calvin if he’s available.

  29. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Johnny 5: I think that’s a good idea. Turner is going to as good a bet as any rb going and you should be able to get a decent RB in the second round. It looks like there will be a run on WR pretty early on in a lot of leagues. Is Calvin the only non-keeper WR? I think he’ll stay a stud, but this year won’t be as good as next year.

  30. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @BigFatHippo: How bout a fifth of MJD? That’s not much, but it will produce.

  31. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @Paulie Allnuts: @Doc: me and hippo been in a keeper league with the guys in our baseball league for many years,back when we had to score ourselves and another league player from the newspaper,2 years ago our commish e-mailed me but never spoke to me about the draft,so im on my way home (from ill where the draft is)to louisville 4 hours away when hippo`s brother calls and tells me the draft is in 1 hour,after cursing and calling our commish a few choice words i inform janell to hit the wallmart.12 pack and a draft mag,did the draft unprepared and on the phone,which sucks,my team sucked you cant draft blind like that without seeing or knowing who`s gone,started out 13-0 and won the league,braylon edwards,roddy white brandon jacobs were my 3 break out longshots that struck it rich,had 1 beer left exiting to the house,on paper my team looked terrible,oh,and im in the ALL NUTS LEAGUE

  32. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: You’re the Hunter S. Thompson of fantasy sports!

  33. Paulie Allnuts

    Paulie Allnuts says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: That’s a great story! Last year I drafted Randy Moss, Darren McFadden, and several other losers. However, I also drafted Brees, took Michael Turner fairly low – I had watched him play when LT was injured, and knew that he would be a stud; also had De Angelo, Slaton off the FA bin,and LenWhale and Roddy White. I coasted through the regular season, and won the first game of the playoffs without a problem. However, in the Championship game, I broke the cardinal sin of fantasy – I would not start DeAngelo because his team was playing my beloved Giants in an important game, and I didn’t want to be cheering on the Giants, and at the same time hoping that DeAngelo would get his yards and points. Well, that week, DeAngelo led fantasy with close to 40 points, and I lost the Championship by a hair. Serves me right, but I guess I would do it again. I also have this thing about not drafting any Cowboys. It is a lot easier in baseball; although I like the Mets, I have no problem drafting Ryan Howard or Utley.

    Three for the ALL NUTS LEAGUE so far!

  34. chisox says:
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    Nice article, this post brings back the pain of taking Brady with my first pick last year and not drafting a backup, then trading Deangelo to get Aaron Rodgers, what could have been….

  35. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Paulie Allnuts: Brees and DeAngelo were my saviors last year.

    The good thing about being a Steelers fan is that it is usually a decent idea to not start players against their D. If it’s a stud I start him and decide that if my team loses at least my fantasy team probably did well and vice versa.

  36. Paulie Allnuts

    Paulie Allnuts says:
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    @Doc: @AL KOHOLIC: Yeah, you could say that AL utilizes a Gonzo fantasy style. He could play the Johnny Depp role in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

  37. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @chisox: Thanks.

    That is painful. I managed to not have Brady on any teams, but I did have Moss and seeing Brady go down hurt.

  38. Steven Jackson might play 12 games this year. If he’s lucky. Count me out.

  39. Eeps 2 QB’s top 10? Maybe in a 20 team league, heh.

  40. Personally, if you worry about playing guys against your team, why even play? Fantasy has no bearing at all on the outcome of your favorite teams game.

  41. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @Paulie Allnuts: i did one time in real life,remember the sceen where he isnt sure if had said something or just thought he did,been there,whooo,the good ole days,no not last week,5 years ago

  42. Cheese

    marcheese says:
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    Great to see football razz style! I like the comments and generally agree with the rankings. However, aren’t those projections a little optimistic? Those seem like the ceilings for most of the guys, not what we should expect…

  43. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @marcheese: I agree they are close to the ceiling. That was mainly for our rankings. We may adjust them a little as we move forward.

  44. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Elijah: Much depends on ADP. QB’s will go further down and so you should probably wait on them, but the numbers will be there.

  45. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Elijah: We all can’t separate these things so easily! Live long and prosper!

  46. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Elijah: That’s one against.

  47. @Doc:

    Yeah that was my thinking. Just because a guy is top 10 in #’s doesnt mean hes worth a top 10 pick. Its more about how much better he is than the average guy at his position.

  48. Jackson and Forte should be flipped – no way the Rams are perceived to be as good as even the Rams.

    Tomlinson and Williams are right, but Brady is far too high. Brees should go first as he’s lowest risk. Brady in the second round is more defensible, but if you do, you forego the first three running back tiers.

  49. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Demockrat: We are currently tweaking our position value on our draft sheet. Brady will probably move down closer to his ADP, but I do like him in the second round.

    I still like Jackson better than Forte, but it’s close.

  50. AJ says:
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    I was offered LT for Boldin straight up. This is for this year only. Thoughts? Already keeping MBarber, Wayne and Winslow. This is a PPR league. I draft 10th with Turner, Forte, DeAngelo, Chris Johnson, Slaton, Jacobs, Calvin, Steve Smith, Westbrook, Kevin Smith, Roddie White, Bowe, Ronnie Brown, Jennings, Bush as the probable top 15. Would love some feedback.

  51. Rockefeller says:
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    I’m on board pretty much through #6. After that, uhmmm…not so much…

    LT will NOT have a top 10 Fantasy season. Moss at 10…no…These are what I call the “familiarization” syndrome, the desire to go with the names you know. It invariably happens to many a fantasy drafter. Both are DEF. 2nd rounders…

  52. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Rockefeller: I can tell you I have no desire to go for LT or Moss because I know their names. I know Jeff George’s name and I’m waiting until the 3rd round for him! No, I understand where you are coming from. I don’t think LT will return to his prime numbers, but somewhere in between, which should be good enough for a top ten finish and Moss, well, there’s no reason to think he won’t return to form with Brady instead of Cassell.

  53. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @AJ: I think you have to take LT and then grab a WR in the first round. White looks like the top choice there.

  54. Rockefeller says:
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    It’s true Moss should rebound with a healthy Tom flinging the rock, but you have to look at how Welker has matured as a receiver the last 2 seasons, and the fact that you now have Galloway as a more often down the field threat than what they’ve had recently. That alone could take away 4-6 TD’s from Moss. Age will become a factor for him as well any day now/ Putting him in the top 10, let alone above Fitz or A.J. as a receiver, I just can’t justify that.

    Then Jackson above Forte, with the Rams offense currently, and Steven’s injury history as of late, can’t do that either. Look for Turner to have a decreased load in Atl puts him below Forte, not to mention the Falcons tough schedule. I’d almost consider putting Gore above LT, and I DEF would think of the 2 WR’s mentioned, and maybe even Brees, ahead of LT.
    Greener pastures…

  55. Jackson at 4? He hasn’t played a whole season since 2006.

  56. Pound Sand says:
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    Sooo…Favre is back.

  57. Pound Sand says:
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    also agree S Jackson is way too high at #4. would never take him there.

  58. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Pound Sand: I share your SJax worries, but I’m all about ceilings. He has a #1 type ceiling, but with recent injuries to Bulger and Avery I think he moves down a notch or two.

    Favreageddon is back! I like Rosenfels, but if they want Favre so bad they must have worries about Sage. So I guess it helps their surrounding players including AP.

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