Every fantasy season there are a handful of players that get taken early who turn out to be busts.
The reasons for being regarded as a bust can range from injuries, to supporting casts not living up to expectations, all the way to the player himself simply not getting the job done.
Like clockwork, this season will be sure to have at least a handful of guys who are taken in the top three rounds that end up not proving their worth while some guys taken in the later rounds rise to the top.
In this article I wanted to highlight a few players who you should keep high on your target list and not be scared to go after simply because of their lackluster 2009 performance. After going through a number of draft rankings, here are the guys who stood out to me, that you shold not lose sight of.
I see Brady slipping down draft boards everywhere. Remember, this is the same Tom Brady who absolutely annihilated fantasy scoring just two years ago, and he still has the big-play threat with Randy Moss. Their O-line finally had to overcome some injuries, and their defense was a little less powerful than in past seasons.
With Wes Welker and Moss, not to mention the addition of sure-handed veteran Torry Holt, don’t be surprised if Brady ends up at the top of the QB rankings, at season's end. Don’t be afraid to reach for Brady as early as Round Three if top-tier RBs and WRs are off the board.
Probably 2009’s biggest bust from a fantasy standpoint, Forte was expected to be among the Adrain Peterson's and Chris Johnson's of the fantasy world. Keep in mind that he still had 258 carries and just shy of 1,000 yards. He didn’t find the end zone as much, but Jay Cutler throwing 26 INTs limits your opportunities.
Keep Forte as an extremely solid second RB option in the second and third rounds, and you will be thankful come playoff time.
Lasy year, Moss had a very down year, with the Redskins in a tailspin and Jason Campbell working to miss him every other play. The Eagles' offense wasn’t record-shattering last season, but look at what DeSean Jackson did. Moss has speed similar to Jackson and can be the deep ball threat that the Redskins will need. Look for Moss as an extremely solid No. 2 or No. 3 WR with a lot of upside, for this year.
The Lions made some serious moves in the offseason to upgrade their talent level. They could very well be the most improved team in 2010 (not that it would take a lot), and Matt Stafford has a solid RB, much better O-line, and a great wideout in Calvin Johnson. All of this will help him have a great sophomore year. Keep Stafford high on your board for a high-quality No. 2 QB.
Yeah, Ahmad is the second-string guy now, but you can bank on Brandon Jacobs going down with injury. He is getting older, and he is a battering ram type of back, which means his injury risk goes way up.
Grab Bradshaw as a high-quality No. 3 back, and depending on your draft position, consider even taking him as your No. 2. By Week Four he will be getting the third down and goal line carries at a minimum and likely be the starter with Jacobs not being 100 percent.
Steve Smith (Carolina)
The only risk with this guy is that his QB is a little unproven. Rest assured John Fox’s job is on the line, so he is going to do everything in his power to get Smith the ball. Smith was a top-three WR going into last season, but a little Jake Delhomme and you see him in the 10-15 range this season. Steve Smith is a beast of a receiver and is probably the most solid No. 2 you will ever have.
A Few Extra Guys
Mike Shanahan will be running more two-TE sets, which means that Chris Cooley and Fred Davis will get more looks at the same time, which I think benefits Davis more than Cooley. Expect McNabb to look Davis' way in the red zone a lot this year. If L.J. Smith or any other TE Philly had the past 10 years could catch, they would have been All-Pro. McNabb loves the TE in the red zone.
Now I almost never draft a kicker unless I have to and would never tell you to take one before Round 13 at the minimum, but once the other goons in your league draft kickers starting in Round Eight, keep Crosby circled. The Green Bay offense is going to have a nice year, and Crosby will get you 3-5 minimum each week and likely average around 8-10, which is quality for that position.
This squad was one of the premier defenses in the league last year, led by London Fletcher. The only reason their rankings were middle of the pack was because the defense was on the field, on average, of about 40 minutes a game due to the offensive issues.
Albert Haynesworth will adapt and put up one of the best seasons of his career. The secondary got much better, and the LB corps was already one of the better ones in the league. If you miss out on the top-tier D’s, don’t be afraid to go after the Skins' defense.
That is two QBs, two WRs, and two RBs with some specialty positions thrown in for you to highlight going into your draft. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions on players, draft strategy, rankings, teams, etc...I am always here to help.
Need a draft guide? Check out the $5 Hatty Waiver Wire 2010 Draft Guide.