Winds Of Change; Noteworthy 2009 Trades and Free Agency Acquisitions.
Brett Favre - Minnesota Vikings
Call me naive, but I actually believed that Favre would stay retired this time. Unlike other teams, there will not be a quarterback competition in Minnesota. Obviously, this is causing some hate and discontent with other Minnesota players, not to mention Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels who were and should feel cheated. Okay, it is time to get back to the purpose of this article and discuss if Favre will hurt or help your team this season. While Favre would not be a wise pickup if you are penalized for interceptions as he has averaged 18 over the past three seasons, he will serve you well as a QB2 on your fantasy team.
Projections: 3200 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions
Jay Cutler - Chicago Bears
While the plan for Cutler was to be traded to either Tampa Bay or Detroit, he ended up in Chicago and Kyle Orton was sent to Denver. I like the avenue that the Bears are heading down and if they can obtain a solid receiving corps, this team will be hard to stop. Unfortunately, the Bears are lacking a solid receiving corps. Yes, Cutler will have Matt Forte and Greg Olsen, but their other receiving options lack NFL experience. Their veteran WR is Devin Hester who has been in the league since 2006. While Cutler is a strong QB1, I would not expect the same stats as he had in Denver.
Projections: 3800 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions
Matt Cassel - Kansas City Chiefs
Matt Cassel has spent his entire College and NFL career as a back-up quarterback. He was thrust into the starting role when Tom Brady went down with a knee injury. While he responded to his new role very well, he had many weapons to help him along the way, mainly Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Fortunately, Cassel was traded from one pass heavy offense to another as new head coach Todd Haley will continue to pass as often as he did in Arizona. The most pressing question surrounding Cassel is, was 2008 a fluke? Only time will tell, but I think that you can draft Cassel as a low end QB1. While he will not have Moss or Welker to throw to, he does have Dwayne Bowe which should help.
Projections: 3500 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions
Kyle Orton - Denver Broncos
Kyle Orton was traded to Denver for Jay Cutler and while this is an obvious downgrade, the sky is the limit for Orton. New head coach Josh McDaniel, who came over from New England knows how to mold a QB, which is evident by Matt Cassel. It is obvious that Josh McDaniel likes to pass the ball, so Orton should get plenty of chances throwing to Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, and Tony Scheffler. If Orton cannot pass for 3,000 yards for the first time in his career, then I do not know of any other situation when it can be done. With that said, Orton is a high end QB2 and should have a solid season in relief of your starter.
Projections: 3200 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions
Correll Buckhalter - Denver Broncos
Correll Buckhalter has played every season in Philadelphia behind Brian Westbrook. In is limited chances, he took full advantage of his opportunities as he averaged 4.5 yard per carry. Now that he is out of Westbrook's shadow, he has the chance to show what he can do, and what a better place than the home of the Running Back carousel. Buckhalter is currently at the top of the depth chart above Peyton Hillis and Lamont Jordan. If he wins the starting job, he could be a low end RB2, but I would still draft him as a RB3 to be on the safe side.
Projections: 845 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns
Derrick Ward - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Speaking of shadows, here is another player that may get the chance to be at the top of the depth chart at the end of the preseason. Derrick Ward is an outstanding running back and that showed during his time with the Giants. While splitting time with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, Ward rushed for 1,025 yards and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. He is currently battling Earnest Graham for the top spot and with the injury history that Graham has, I think Ward will end up winning the starting job. Ward should be drafted as a RB2 as there is a bit of uncertainty at the position in Tampa Bay.
Projections: 980 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns
Terrell Owens - Buffalo Bills
The writing has been on the wall for a while now and it was just a matter of time until Terrell Owens was traded. I just did not expect to see him in Western New York sporting red, white, and blue of the Buffalo Bills. In order for Owens to have a successful season, there are two major obstacles that must be overcome. He must remain injury free, which he has yet to do thus far. His sprained toe is a cause for concern since that is the type of injury that will follow you for an entire season. The other obstacle deals with Trent Edwards and getting Owens the ball. Does Edwards have enough power and accuracy to get Owens the ball on demand? On the positive side, Lee Evans is a viable threat opposite Owens and this will take some of the pressure off of Owens. The only time Owens has failed to have 1,000 yards receiving was in an injury shortened 2005 season. While he was in a better situation in Dallas, Owens is still a solid WR1 and should be drafted as such.
Projections: 83 receptions, 1150 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns
T. J. Houshmandzadeh - Seattle Seahawks
T. J. finally has the opportunity to be a WR1 after being in Chad Ochocinco's shadow for his entire NFL career. While he was mainly a possession receiver in Cincinnati, he will need to shed that label if he expects to remain the top dog in Seattle. Housh will be learning a new offense with a new QB, so I would expect a few growing pains through the first few games. While this may not seem like a big deal, playing flanker in the west coast offense is quite different then what Housh was used to in Cincinnati. In addition, Matt Hasselbeck must stay healthy, Seattle will need to find a consistent running game, and another receiver must step up to take some of the pressure off of Housh. While Housh will be the number one receiver, he will not have WR1 numbers for the reasons stated above. Although, I would rank him slightly higher in PPR leagues.
Projections: 90 receptions, 950 receiving yards, and 8 touchdowns
Laveranues Coles - Cincinnati Bengals
Laveranues Coles will replace T.J. Houshmandzadeh as the Bengals possession receiving option opposite of Chad Ochocinco. The biggest concern that I have with Coles is if he and Chad can work together as both receivers make their money running outside routes. If they can play well together, Coles should improve slightly on his numbers from last season. While he will not score as many touchdowns as Housh, I think you can expect receptions in the 80 range which is gold in PPR leagues. All of this is dependent on Carson Palmer and is he completely healthy, which I think he is based on his preseason play.
Projections: 81 receptions, 850 receiving yards, and 5 touchdowns
Torry Holt - Jacksonville Jaguars
Based on the situation in St. Louis, signing with the Jaguars was the best thing that could have happened to Holt's career. He was destined for the garbage pile in the fantasy world if he would have stayed. He now has a renewed outlook with the Jaguars. He has a solid QB (David Garrard) and will be at the top of the depth chart with little or no competition. With that said, do not expect for Holt to have another one of his 1200/10 seasons. He has gotten older and has lost a little of his speed and is slowly turning in to possession receiver. While this is not a bad thing, it makes him a high end WR3 on most fantasy teams.
Projections: 78 receptions, 880 receiving yards, and 5 touchdowns
Nate Washington- Tennessee Titans
Washington was a very interesting pick up by the Titans. While Washington will go from a WR3 to a WR1 on paper, it means nothing for his stats. He will still have stats equal to that of a WR3. Tennessee has never been and will never be a passing team as long as Jeff Fisher is calling the plays. As a result, there are not any Titans receivers that are worth drafting until the late rounds, and this includes Washington. Washington is a WR4 on most fantasy teams if he can stay healthy and by the looks of things, he is not going to be able to do that. There are better options out there that can be found in the later rounds. Although, if you must draft Washington, I would expect similar numbers that he posted in Pittsburgh last season, assuming he is able to get and stay healthy.
Projections: 55 receptions, 525 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns
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