This was the fun list to make. Keep in mind I am predicting players that will NOT be starting during Week 1 that you shouldn't pass on simply because of their position on the Depth Chart.
1. Pierre Garcon IND, WR This is my personal favorite. If you're in a deep re-draft or dynasty league, this guy is a must have.
In terms of raw talent, he is not lacking anything. With respect to team placement, he would be hard pressed to find a better team. But in terms of the Depth Chart, Garcon has some work to do. Right now he is holding down the No. 3 job in Indy.
But with newly drafted Austin Collie (BYU) behind him nipping at his heels, it is time for Garcon to step up and make a push. I don't see him pushing Gonzalez for the No. 2 spot but I do see him making a strong case for more three WR sets (something Manning and the Colts utilize often).
Garcon is nothing more than a sleeper but in terms of non Starters with the proper talent and situation for BIG points if they get their shot, he has to lead the list. He will probably go undrafted in all league formats but should be targeted as a late flier in dynasty & deep re-draft Leagues.
2. Matt Leinart ARI, QB Okay, so he'll need an injury to take over. The fact of the matter is Kurt Warner is no spring chicken. How many times has Warner started all 16 games in one season? Three.
And who lost the Super Bowl? Check that one too: the Cardinals. Everything in the universe is pointing to Matt Leinart getting his shot to lead the Cardinals for a significant amount of time.
And given Warner's age, each injury has the potential to be his last. Matt Leinart is not draftable in smaller re-draft Leagues but he should be the first backup QB taken in every dynasty and deep re-draft League. Leinart is the guy who will have a job for sure next year. He is a must own Dynasty QB.
Unless you get your hands on Stafford or Sanchez, he is the best young potential QB available cheap. Likewise Leinart might be a non-factor early in the season but he could be valuable throwing to Fitzgerald and Boldin come your fantasy playoffs.
3. Shonn Greene NYJ, RB Greene is the only rookie to make this list because I believe he is the only Rookie that will unquestionably win the starting job (not just be given it like Knowshon Moreno) and be worth having.
Donald Brown will have to contend with Joseph Addai and Matthew Stafford is liable to struggle early and often this season. But Greene could become a proven commodity in New York as they try to keep the ball (and the game) out of the hands of Mark Sanchez. Word on the street is that Thomas Jones is looking great at OTAs.
He should retain the starting role leading up to the start of the season. But playing is different than practicing and if Greene can be productive with his carries he could quickly earn goal line carries (giving him early season value) while staying healthy and being ready to take over midseason.
Is Greene draftable? Yes. When is too early? Anytime before your draft has reached the bottom rung of starters. Once the final viable starters are gone, Shonn Greene is one of the first backup RBs that should be gone.
Be patient with him and you might have a fantasy playoff beast on your squad.
4. Rashard Mendenhall PIT, RB Alright this one is easy. Getting your hands on Mendenhall is the tricky part. Everyone knows he'll start on the bench and the same people are predicting that he will take over the starting job by mid-season.
This one isn't ground breaking and you aren't going to impress anyone with this pick. But that doesn't mean the potential isn't there. Mendenhall is a ninth Round Pick in standard sized leagues. Should he go before Parker (ADP is the 6th round )?
Depends on your view of him. I'm concerned about his toughness in an aggressive Pittsburgh rushing attack but you can't deny his physical talent. I'll be passing on Mendenhall and looking to take him lower then most Owners will. I don't expect to land him in any of my re-draft Leagues.
But the value is there and if you're a believer (or a FWP hater) this non starter is the guy for you.
Honorable Mention: Lawrence Timmons PIT, LB So he won't REALLY be the backup to anyone, but he has been a backup the last two years. And while every fantasy site is starting to talk about him, I'm going to let my Steeler love shine through.
You can draft James Harrison if you want, but I'm predicting that Timmons and Farrior will be battling it out for the most points by a Steelers IDP player. The two are going to feed off each other and reduce the tackle chances for Harrison and Woodley on the outside. The weak link in the 3-4 Defense is the middle.
Most teams run a two TE set which spread out the OLBs and then attack the MLBs. Farrior and Timmons will be tested all year long and will prove the be a great tandem inside for the Steelers. Look for each of them to have at least 80 solo tackles and over 100 total tackles.
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