August 21, 2009 These rankings are based on ESPN's standard scoring system (which has 15-player rosters and room for up to four quarterbacks, though most owners only carry two or three), and they are ESPN's, not my own. The analysis is mine.
Also, the draft guides are based on 16-round drafts, unless it's a draft in a keeper league. In that case, the draft guides are based on drafts ranging in length from 13-16 rounds based on the projected length of a draft depending on how many players owners can retain from the previous year.
The dollar figures in the auction draft are the maximum figures you should pay for the player based on the other circumstances included in the draft guide.
25. Shaun Hill, San Francisco 49ers
Projected Stats: 177-of-283, 1954 yards, 12 TDs, 8 INTs, 35 rushes, 157 yards, 1 TD
Pros: After a strong second half of 2008, Hill is presumtively slated to begin 2009 with the 49ers' starting gig. That means his attempts, yardage, and completions should increase greatly this season.
Hill averaged 7.1 yards per gain, which was decent. He throws touchdowns more often than most other starters, and his passer rating was 12th-best in the NFL
. Hill has several serviceable targets, including Isaac Bruce, Frank Gore
, Vernon Davis, and presumably Michael Crabtree—who combined for 135 catches amassing over 1500 yards in 2008.
Bruce, Gore, and Davis combined for 135 catches worth over 1500 yards.
In his most recent stint as an offensive coordinator (with the Raiders from 2004-05), new offensive head man Jimmy Raye's offenses have attempted many throws.
Cons: Chances are Hill will not have much time to throw. Only a minor offseason move or two displaces this year's offensive line from the 2008 line that allowed an NFL-high 55 sacks.
When offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye has held the same position with other teams, their passing offenses were largely unsuccessful and inconsistent. But he has a better track record of late than he did earlier in his career.
Verdict: In spite of his terrible offensive line, Hill is a major sleeper.
Draft Guide for Hill:
Snake or IDP
24. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
Projected Stats: 277-of-458, 3173 yards, 15 TDs, 14 INTs, 47 rushes, 145 yards, 2 TDs
Pros: When you think of teams with a lot of passing weapons, the Ravens don't usually come to mind. But because of versatility at skill positions, Baltimore has multiple weapons to take advantage of in the passing game—including Derrick Mason, Todd Heap, Mark Clayton, Ray Rice, and Willis McGahee. The trick to defending this passing game is trying to guess where the ball will go.
Flacco should have ample time to throw. The Ravens return three starters on the offensive line from 2008, and they brought in free agent Mark Birk to snap the ball. The only question mark is how Marshal Yanda will bounce back from offseason knee surgery
Cons: Flacco will not get enough throws (and consequently not get enough yardage or touchdowns) to satisfy fantasy owners except in a backup capacity. The Ravens ran the ball more than any other team, and it wasn't close, whereas they passed more than only three other teams.
But with three viable running backs who were all healthy for the whole season, why not run it more than any other team? There's no reason to expect anything different in 2009.
Verdict: Even if the Ravens threw 25 times a game, Flacco would be a solid fantasy starter. But they don't, and because of that Flacco must be relegated to backup duty.
Draft Guide for Flacco:
Snake or IDP
Between 9th and 14th rounds
Between 9th and 12th rounds
Between 8th and 12th rounds
23. Chad Pennington, Miami Dolphins
Projected Stats: 227-of-347, 2454 yards, 14 TDs, 8 INTs
Pros: Miami's offensive line allowed 26 sacks last year, better than much of the NFL. The Dolphins averaged a healthy 31:03 of possession. Pennington was the most accurate passer in the NFL—he completed 67.4 percent of his passes. Only seven other starting quarterbacks averaged more yards per gain. Pennington also had the second-highest passer rating in the NFL.
While the former Jet threw only 19 touchdown passes, that was still better than the majority of the starters. In addition, he attempted 476 passes, better than all but 12 other starters.
TE Anthony Fasano (who is 6'4" and 255 pounds) provides a sizable target with sure hands in the red zone. Touchdown machine running back Ronnie Brown's threatening presence helps give Pennington bigger passing lanes in the red zone, enabling him to throw for scores more easily.
Cons: Pennington's yardage wasn't there, and the Dolphins love to work out of the Wildcat formation, which often involves a direct snap to someone other than Pennington.
Verdict: Pennington is an above-average fantasy option. He's good at the little things, but his shortage of yards and touchdowns, and the touches he misses out on when the Dolphins pull out the Wildcat, keep him from being an elite fantasy player.
Draft Guide for Pennington:
Snake or IDP
Keeper (13-16 rounds)
22. Jason Campbell, Washington Redskins
Projected Stats: 270-of-446, 3007 yards, 14 TDs, 11 INTs, 36 rushes, 194 yards, 1 TD
Campbell attempted a hearty 506 passes. TE Chris Cooley is a tremendous security blanket, particularly in the red zone, and receiver Santana Moss emerged as a second red zone threat last year with six touchdowns. RB Clinton Portis
keeps opposing defenses honest, helping to keep passing lanes further open, which is particularly helpful to Campbell due to his suspect accuracy.
Cons: Could have confidence issues after team made pass at Matt Cassel. Accuracy is below average. In 2008, a year during which starting quarterbacks were hit hard by injuries, Campbell was in the middle of the pack in completion percentage.
He averaged more yards per gain than only seven starters, and he had the second-lowest touchdown percentage in the top-heavy NFC. Campbell was sacked a disappointing 38 times. He had one of the lowest passer ratings in his conference.
RB Clinton Portis will continue to eat up much of the vertical yardage in the coordinator Sherman Smith's offense.
Verdict: Campbell is an acceptable backup who, as along as Chris Cooley returns to form and pulls in a bunch of TD passes, should at least score some fantasy points by finding the end zone 18-20 times.
Draft Guide For Campbell:
Snake or IDP
12th round or later
21. Jake Delhomme, Carolina Panthers
Projected Stats: 250-of-420, 3247 yards, 16 TDs, 12 INTs
Pros: Delhomme should have one of the NFL's best receivers in Steve Smith available for the full season this year (injuries can always happen, though). Second-year TE Gary Barnidge emerged as a pass-catching threat in training camp, and he may begin '09 as the Panthers' No. 1 tight end. The Panthers' offensive line is one of the best in the league at pass protection.
Cons: HBs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are expected to produce much of the yardage and score most of the touchdowns in coach John Fox's run, run, run offensive system. This, and his inconsistent accuracy, kills Delhomme's fantasy value.
Verdict: Don't waste your time on Delhomme. The Panthers simply run the ball too much to make him much of a fantasy commodity.