DeAngelo Williams leads the NFL in touchdowns this season.
Go back in time four months when you were prepping for your fantasy football draft, and think to yourself what you would have thought if you had heard that.
Think about it: LT is having the worst season of his career; Tom Brady...who is that guy again; Braylon Edwards...forget about it. Heck, you can go beyond fantasy, the Titans are the top seed in the AFC.
Face it, 2008 in the NFL has been an unconventional year.
Which is why, for the most part, I am going to forget it come next season's draft day.
Nope, you won't find me taking DeAngelo Williams or Matt Forte 2nd overall. Here's my fantasy mock draft for 2009.
1. Adrian Peterson: He is the consensus No. 1 pick in 2009. AP is still getting better and has proved himself to be the best RB in the NFL in just his 2nd season. Took a big step this season to prove his durability to fantasy owners; however, I'm still not completely convinced. Regardless, there aren't any other options here: Don't get cute if AP is available.
2. Joseph Addai: The most underrated player in fantasy, Addai is dependent and predictable, which is exactly what I look for in a 1st round pick. I know he had injury problems this season, but between his physique, and running behind Indy's O-line, it was more of a fluke than a concern.
Last year, Addai was the 2nd most consistent RB in fantasy and had only three games where he did not score (throwing out week 17 where he only got four carries). In those three games he still posted 107, 72, and 67 yards. Keep in mind Addai is only entering his 3rd season and as Peyton ages, Indy will rely more and more on Addai; and that offense will always put up points year in and year out.
3. Marion Barber III: As long as he is running in the Cowboy's offense, Barber will post big numbers. Keep in mind, this guy scored 12 TD's in 2007 platooning with Julius Jones. And he scored seven TD's in his first seven games with Dallas this year.
His bruising running style is a concern as far as his health down the stretch, but when Felix Jones went down this season was really when Barber began to battle injuries. Jones will be back and stronger next year, and although he may take away some carries, Barber will still get goal line carries and will be fresher as the season progresses. You can depend on Barber for at least 12 TD's every year barring major injury.
4. Michael Turner: This is where it really gets tough for me. Turner showed he can withstand a 16 game pounding as a full-time back and thrived in the role (the top scorer in many leagues depending on the format).
Although I would consider MJD, Gore, S. Jackson, DeAngelo Williams, Westbrook, and maybe even LT here, I am going with Turner simply because the Falcons are on the rise. Matt Ryan will get even better and Turner will be right there with him.
5. Maurice Jones-Drew: This pick obviously banks a lot upon how the Fred Taylor situation resolves. I am going to assume Taylor will be out of Jacksonville when making this pick, however.
Jones-Drew could be taken as high as No. w and as low as the No. 10 range, but I will take him right in the middle at No. 5. MoJo has been extremely consistent even as a backup, and has a nose for the goal line.
With Taylor gone, expect to see a boost in every category. I especially like the prospect of him getting more long runs, seeing as he will get more carries on opponents side's of the field if your league gives bonuses for that. It is a huge factor knowing he will face Houston and Indianapolis a combined four times a year by default.
6. LaDanian Tomlinson: There isn't much hardcore reason I can give here, it's more of a gut feeling.
I just don't think LT is done yet. He faces Denver, Oakland, and KC each two times a year and they are all horrendous rush defenses. SD will continue to put up a lot of points and I think one factor this year was that many TD's Rivers threw on the goal line could have very well been LT's.
Some of that is confidence in LT, confidence in Rivers, and some of it is just plain old luck. I don't think he will have his best year, but at this position, I would rather feel safe with LT than take one of the many potential one year wonders.
7. DeAngelo Williams: The leader in TD's this season, Williams will probably go higher than No. 7, but I'm not sold yet.
I find it ironic, because when he was a backup I always felt he would be a good fantasy option, and now that he is that, I just don't feel compelled to buy in. Although Jonathan Stewart is definitely a concern to take carries, Williams also showed a lot of inconsistency this year. Looking at the game log, he had a few spectacular games (weeks five, 12, 16) but many duds (weeks two, three, four, and 6).
He also saved himself in a couple games with one long TD run (week 14 vs. Denver comes to mind) or multiple goal line TD's (four 1-yard TD's vs. GB week 12) when Jonathan Stewart could take those away.
When considering this with a first round pick, it is a scary prospect. Remember, 1st round picks can't win you leagues, but they can certainly lose them for you. But enough with all negatives: Williams also has huge upside and could very well be the top scorer again.
8. Steven Jackson: If Jackson stays healthy, he could be a "sleeper", if you will, for 2009.
While 1st rounders can't really be sleepers, Jackson is flying under the radar for '09. He looms in the down-right awful NFC West where he gets six matchups a year against weak defenses. I also think the Rams will improve slightly (they can't get much worse than this year) which means Jackson will not be abandoned so frequently because they are down in games so early.
The point with Jackson is that he catches so many balls out of the backfield so he will always put up at least 80 yards a game, and most days he will find paydirt.
9. Frank Gore: Before battling injuries this year, many experts were deeming him the top player in fantasy. Much like Jackson, Gore can do it all: both catching passes and running. Likewise, he plays in the NFC West and gets six cupcakes a year. The 49ers are showing late season life and hope to carry that momentum into '09. If that happens, they could very well win the NFC West and Gore will be the biggest part of it.
10. Matt Forte: Quietly, Forte has put together a fantastic rookie campaign.
He has scored in all but five games this year, and is the only player in the NFL to lead his team in rushing yards and receptions. He plays in a weak division as far as rush defense and should continue to get plenty of carries in the Bear's controlled offense and no one threatening him on the depth chart. He could be very Addai-esque. Take this kid, and be very happy to get someone this consistent, but also have plenty of upside as well.