I know it's early, but yesterday my friend from school asked me a simple question that led to a rather large debate.
He asked me whom I would take if I had the No. 1 pick in next year's fantasy draft. Quickly, I responded with, "Adrian Peterson."
Then, he asked, "What if you had the second pick?"
After a minute of thinking about it, I could not come up with an answer. Next year's draft is going to be 10 times different than this year's. So many players came out and surprised the world of fantasy.
We tried to come up with how we thought next year's first round will go and this is what we came up with:
1. Adrian Peterson
A.P. is definitely the safest pick you could take at No. 1. He is a great player on a good team, and the surest bet to give you quality points every single week. He has the most explosive first step in the league and has the possibility to score on every single play.
2. Clinton Portis
CP26 (you heard that here first) has been producing quality fantasy points for years now. He runs behind a huge offensive line, and his supporting cast is starting to step up, relieving some of the pressure for him to carry the load.
With the emergence of Santana Moss and Jason Campbell, opposing defenses need to respect the pass more. This is doing wonders for Portis' rushing average, giving him bigger holes to run through.
3. Brian Westbrook
I know, I know. He isn't having the best season, but Westbrook remains a top fantasy player. He is the best dual threat (running and receiving) player in the league. He is still a very dangerous player.
Unfortunately, he has been hampered by injuries all season. I predict Westbrook and the Eagles will be back next year playing like they have something to prove.
4. Marion Barber
The Barbarian will once again be a solid fantasy player next year. He is a hard runner and gains a lot of tough yardage.
Barber's fantasy appeal went down this year when Tony Romo got hurt. With Brad Johnson under center, opposing defenses loaded the box to force him to make plays. If Dallas can stay healthy next year, expect them to be the highest-powered offense in the league. Barber will flourish.
5. Peyton Manning
It's hard to say who will be the first quarterback taken in drafts next year. So far, Warner, Rivers, and Cutler are currently ahead of Manning in fantasy points. The difference between Manning and these guys is that Manning has been doing this for years.
I would feel much safer with Manning under center than anyone else. He is consistent and as long as he's with the Colts they will always be a high scoring team. He has an OK line and great targets to throw the ball to.
Look for Anthony Gonzalez to step up next year, in his third year, and be a solid receiving threat.
6. Michael Turner
I hate to admit it, but the guy puts up numbers. At the start of the season, I was saying Turner is the most overrated back in the league. However, he still leads all running backs in fantasy points.
Atlanta's offense has greatly approved with Turner and Matt Ryan now in the mix. Roddy White has also emerged as a fantasy stud. I just don't think they're going do to it again. I could be wrong, but I would feel a lot safer with the five guys above.
7. Matt Forte
Sure, he's a rookie, but you couldn't tell by watching him play this year. I was one of those lucky Forte owners this year, and he is easily my best player. He has great field vision that will only get better with age.
Although Orton and company stepped up this year, Forte is the main guy in Chicago. He will once again see a lot of plays go his way. He is great at catching the ball out of the backfield, and until the Bears get a decent receiver, he will continue to catch a lot of balls.
The thing I like most about Matt Forte is his schedule. He plays Detroit twice, Green Bay twice, Houston, New Orleans, St. Louis, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. Yes, please.
8. LaDainian Tomlinson
It's hard to take LT out of the first round. He's coming off a down year, but still showed signs he can play. He's still a great player in a pretty good offense.
LT was hampered all year with a turf-toe injury that limited his ability to make sharp cuts. He has never really been plagued by injury, so I am expecting him to come back next year at full strength and ready to go.
9. Frank Gore
Gore as been a pretty consistent player this year. You know what you're going to get with him: about 1,200 yards and eight to 10 touchdowns. His schedule shouldn't be too tough next year, either. If Shaun Hill can continue to play well, expect Frank Gore to keep producing.
10. Drew Brees
Brees is on pace to beat Dan Marino's passing-yards record this season. He has done this even with his top two receiving threats missing most of the year. Once Marques Colston and Reggie Bush come back healthy again next year, Brees will have no other choice but to keep racking up the passing yards.
Brees has been another very consistent quarterback throughout his career, so you can bet he is going to be a pretty safe pick in next year's draft.
11. Thomas Jones
You can't deny, Thomas Jones is having a very good year this year. He is running behind a much-improved offensive line, who should all be back again next year. The Jets as a whole are playing with a lot more confidence this year. Their defense is also improving, giving Jones more time on the field.
The Jets' new high-powered offense is usually on top in most games. This gives T. Jones more opportunities to run the ball to wind down the clock. Plus, he gets the goal line carries.
12. Anquan Boldin
This was a tough pick. However, I couldn't think of any other player who has deserved a first-round pick over Boldin. He has definitely been playing with something to prove this year. He has emerged as the top wideout in the league with his great hands and ability to run after the catch.
The Cardinals are having one of their best seasons ever, and Boldin is the biggest reason why. Warner says he wants to play another three years, and as long as his huge arm is lobbing balls up to 'Quan, he will remain at the top.
He, like all wide receivers, is a risky pick, but a risk I wouldn't mind taking.
Other Players Who Could Fall into the First Round
- Tom Brady
- Brandon Jacobs
- Kurt Warner
- Tony Romo