Fantasy Football Food for Thought

Zach HarrisContributor IJuly 8, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - JANUARY 4:   Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball in the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles during the NFC Wild Card playoff game on January 4,2009 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Written By: Mike Roy

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Now that the draft has happened and most players who are moving teams have moved fantasy projections can start being addressed.  Obviously, Peterson will be No. 1, but those few picks following him will be highly debated.  Here are my tops at each position and some warnings about those guys you may want to stay away from.


Let's start with Running Back because RBs make or break your fantasy team:

1. Adrian Peterson
2. Matt Forte
3. Michael Turner
4. Maurice Jones-Drew
5. Brian Westbrook
Sorry DeAngelo, you would have cracked my top five if it were not for your teammate who steals some touches from you, otherwise you would easily be a top-five back.
Caution: Clinton Portis (If you could get him at a value pick in the third round or later do it, but don't waste one of your top two picks on him.  He's an aging RB in a shaky offense and last year I feel will be the last highly productive season he has.)
This is the order most drafts will probably go, some may have Turner jump up,some may have Turner fall back.  Forte's worth has gone up since acquiring Cutler who will stretch the field a little more for the Bears.  Expect around 2,200 yds of total offense from Forte and around 15 tds.  
Turner will rush for about 1,500 yds but do not expect anything from him in the passing game, if he scores 15+ tds he's worthy of a top 3 pick.  MJD could easily be the top RB in fantasy points this year.  
With the departure of Fred Taylor he could put up ridiculous numbers.  He should lead all RBs in catches around 60+ and will likely have 1,300+ rushing yds, 16-18 tds.  Brian Westbrook just needs to stay healthy. 
When healthy he's an advanced version of MJD but injury issues have held back his full fantasy potential. Forty-plus catches 1,100+ rushing yds 12-14 tds.  Sorry to LT, this is the first year in many that your name is not there at the top, but he will be solid, if he's available at the seven or eight spot, take him.

Quarterbacks:  I can't really put these in a top five so I am gonna put them in two groups, Top Tier and Second Echelon.  Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees are the top tier QBs.  
If you are willing to sacrifice getting a solid second RB for one of these guys then go for it, they are consistent and, with the exception of Tom Brady last year, very durable.  
The next group of QBs contain all the QBs who should not go in the first two rounds, but who will all be quality QBs. Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Donovan McNabb, Aaron Rodgers, Kurt Warner, and Matt Schaub.  
Alright, I have 10 QBs here, that means if you are in a 10-team league, these should be the 10 starting, maybe a Matt Hasselbeck, Carson Palmer, Matt Ryan, or Ben Roethlisberger, but do not try and look smart and play a reach like Joe Flacco or JaMarcus Russel, that's not smart.

Caution: Chad Pennington (I like Pennington but not as a fantasy QB, Ronnie Brown and Pat White in the Wildcat cut down on Pennington's red-zone opportunities.) Sorry Chad.
Wideouts:  I'll give you my clear top three and then my cloudy three that follow them. Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Randy Moss.  Andre and Larry is a coin flip, if either of them were playing with Brady they would be the clear No. 1.  
After Larry's postseason performance last year he is worthy of a pick near the turn at the end of first or top of second round.  Expect Randy to get back to his 2007 form with Brady healthy.  
My cloudy three that follow them is cloudy because there are several guys you could slide in this spot but here are my three, Greg Jennings, Calvin Johnson, and Reggie Wayne. 
Jennings proved to be Rodgers favorite target last year, expect 11-13 tds and 1,300 yds.  Calvin Johnson is scary good on a scary bad team. Hopefully him and Stafford get things clicking and you could get 12-14 tds and 1,200 yds from him.  
Reggie Wayne is just a flat out solid wideout to have.  Peyton does not have poor games so it is unlikely that Reggie will ever give you a dreadful day, especially with Marvin Harrison's departure Reggie may see even more balls this year then he ever has.  
But check that, Marvin's departure could mean more love for Peyton's other favorite target, Dallas Clark.
Caution:  Chargers Receivers and Saints Receivers (I'm not saying don't pick them but do not expect consistency from them, Rivers and Brees share the wealth better than any other QBs in the league. 
Jackson could kill it one week, Chambers the next week, you just never know, and remember last year, Lance Moore had twice as many tds as Marques Colston...???)

Tight Ends:  Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez, Owen Daniels.  Expect a break out season for Greg Olson on the Bears who may quickly become Cutler's favorite target because of their bleak group of wideouts.

Caution:  Todd Heap (Has the capability but Flacco avoids him the closer they get to the end zone, only 3 TDs last season.)

Rookies on the radar:  Knowshon Moreno could be a potential solid 2nd RB, I'd be higher on him if Shanahan was still the coach because he could make anyone a 1,000-yd rusher.
Don't expect too much from Beanie Wells early, 10 touches a game, Hightower is the Cardinals goal line go to guy, but expect Beanie to get more involved in the offense as the season progresses. 
Hakeem Nicks could settle in very quickly with Eli, I expect more from him then Harvin or Crabtree because of the quarterback situations on their respective teams.  Maclin lined up across from DeSean Jackson is a dynamic and versatile speed combo. Maclin will make a few big plays this season but don't expect consistent numbers.


Final Thought: Don't draft T.O. before the fifth round. He's in Buffalo and his QB is Trent Edwards who at a Blue Jays game threw out the opening pitch and missed the plate six feet outside (if you don't believe me YouTube it, it's hilarious how bad it is), enough said.