Fantasy Feedback: Sophomore Breakout

Dan ClasgensContributor IJune 29, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 10:  Running back Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs the ball in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 10, 2009 at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It’s never too early to start thinking about the fantasy season. Some have already started e-mailing me there questions. Let’s take a dip into the fantasy mailbag:

Question: Dan, who would you keep? I know it’s early but your opinion would help me decide. We can keep a player after the third round. I have it down to Chris Johnson in the 6th Round or Phillip Rivers in the 8th Round. Also, I have Thomas Jones in the 5th Round, DeSean Jackson in the 10th or Hightower last. Any help would be great. - Joe S.

My Take: You do have some nice options to consider. Rivers and Jones both provide nice value for you, but not enough for me to resist Chris Johnson for a sixth round pick. Despite having LenDale White cut into his touchdown total, Johnson shined as a rookie. His 1,468 total yards and 10 scores were solid initial numbers and I expect Tennessee to work him into the offense even more during his sophomore campaign. Getting Johnson the ball in open space will greatly help his chances at producing big numbers. Johnson’s value goes up in PPR formats (43 receptions in ‘08). He could easily finish as a top 5 fantasy running back this season, making him a steal for a sixth-rounder.

Question:  I have to make a decision on which Saints running back is going to be more productive this year, Reggie Bush or Pierre Thomas? - Tommy R

My Take: You scoring format could go a long way towards answering this question. Bush is a one-of-a-kind player. His value goes way up in leagues where you get points for receptions, but I expect Thomas to be a better option in standard formats. He’s going to get more carries, particularly in the red zone and should emerge as a legitimate RB2 with great upside. Both make solid options for your team, but consistency will remain a question.

Question:  Can Matt Cassel be counted on as a weekly starting option at quarterback this year in Kansas City? - Lance G.

My Take: Kansas City is not New England. Cassel has a ton to prove to me. While I believe there is upside in the former Patriot, particularly in Todd Haley’s system. Still, I am going to temper my expectations a bit until he proves he is ready. I look at him as a borderline fantasy starting QB heading into 2009.