Nothing motivates more than money. When an NFL player is in a contract year there is a lot of Motivation at stake.
Last season Kurt Warner was in a contract year. He passed for 4,583 yards 30 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions and led his team to the Super Bowl.
During the preseason, Warner was not even named the starter. He became one of the best sleeper picks in the ’08 season for many fantasy owners.
As much as a contract year can motivate players to post big numbers. It can also have a negative effect.
When players start to hold out from team activities,it can have a very negative effect, and the longer the issue goes unresolved, the worse the impact can be.
There's a negative impact on the performance of any player that misses out on training camp and the preseason.
Here is my list for the top contract seasons for ‘09 that could have a big impact for fantasy owners.
Philip Rivers' stock has shot up from the beginning of last season. He went from a low end No.1 QB to one of the top five targeted QBs in the ’09 draft.
Last season Rivers passed for a career-high 4,009 yards 34 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.
But this year is not only a contract year for Rivers. WRs Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers will also be playing for bigger deals. Expect Philip Rivers' stats to increase for the ’09 season.
Last season, Vincent Jackson finally lived up to expectations. He set career-highs with 1,153 yards and seven touchdowns.
Jackson has emerged as Rivers' No.1 target and should pick up were he left off last season posting high fantasy points.
On the downside Jackson could be facing up to a four-game suspension for a DUI. However, don't let that detour you from drafting Jackson. He should be a great fantasy option every week that he plays.
Chambers had a disappointing ’08 season, with a career-worst 462 yards and five touchdowns. Most of his production was in weeks 1-5.
In Week 5, Chambers injured his ankle, and never seemed to recover.
In the ’09 season look for Chambers to bounce back and become a solid No. 3 option with upside.
Last season was Jennings “magic” third season as a WR. He lived up to expectations setting career-highs in yards and receptions. Jennings had 80 receptions for 1,292 yards.
With Aaron Rodgers under center last season Jennings touchdown numbers dropped from the ’07 season. However, he still posted nine touchdowns in ’08.
Since this is Rodgers second year leading the offense, and a contract year for Jennings, look for Jennings to live up to expectations again.
Jennings is projected to be a top 10 WR. However he could end up No. 3 or No. 4 by the end of the season.
Last season, Ronnie Brown was very hit-or-miss week-to-week in fantasy football.
In the ’08 season Brown rushed for 926 yards and 10 touchdowns.
For the ’09 season he has a lot of factors working in his favor to post huge numbers this season.
First, Brown is in a contract year.
Second, this will be his second season back from ACL surgery. Statically, RBs that are in their second year from ACL surgery can have one of their biggest years.
Third, the Dolphins have improved their offensive line from last year.
Finally look for Brown to get more carries this season. Since the Dolphins will be moving him to a featured-back position in the ’09 season.
Last season White became rookie sensation Matt Ryan’s favorite target, finishing with 1,382 yards receiving and seven touchdowns.
With the addition of Tony Gonzales at TE,the Falcons could have a very high-powered offense for the ’09 season.
White has already established himself as Ryan’s favorite target and could post higher numbers than last year, which could set a record for the Falcons.
Last season, Turner proved to be a valuable asset on the goal line. However, this season the Falcons face a much tougher strength of schedule against the run.
Look for Turner's total TDs to be less than 17, making Roddy White and the rest of the passing game to make up the difference.
For the last two years Jason Campbell has had a lot of hype as a sleeper QB. Yet Campbell has not lived up to the hype.
Not only is this a contract season for Campbell. It could be make-or-break time.
If Jason produces this season he could have a bright future starting in the NFL. If he does poorly he could become a permanent backup QB in the NFL.
On the bright side for Campbell this season will be his first since before playing at Auburn that he will be in the same system for two consecutive seasons.
Last year under Jim Zorn, Campbell posted career-high numbers. With 3,245 yards, 13 touchdowns, and only six interceptions.
Look for Campbell to improve those stats this season.
However, at best he will be a quality No 2 fantasy QB with the potential to be a low-end No. 1 fantasy QB.