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47 Early Tips and Storylines to having 2010 Success

Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr and Frank Gifford were some the prime names who were inked on to a master draft sheet in the very first fantasy football draft in August of 1963. Once that first ball is booted off the tee in

New Orleans
in early September, the 47th season of fantasy football existence will begin. In tribute to Season 47, I’ve come up with 47 early tips and storylines to follow for fantasy success in 2010.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the real deal, and will prove to be worth every penny you spend on him this upcoming season. 

Temper your expectations when it comes to Titans running back Chris Johnson.  He probably won’t repeat his 2009 performance, but will still put up good enough numbers to be considered a Top 5 overall pick. 

Make sure you wait and grab the right Steve Smith of the New York Giants in the fourth round.

Let someone else take a chance on the other inconsistent Stevonne Smith in the third round.

If Frank Gore can stay healthy for the entire 2010 season, he will finish in the Top 3 among running backs. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Gore hasn’t played out a full season since 2006-2007. 

Take a pass on Wes Welker, and draft Julian Edelman. He costs less, and doesn’t have his limbs tied in a knot. 

Don’t fall for the hype surrounding the change of scheme in

. When has

ever seen an offense dominated by a rushing attack?

Be very afraid of the Colts running game. They’re talking about four-wide receiver sets in

. Add in Peyton Manning‘s accurate arm, and Donald Brown and Joseph Addai may just become irrelevant. 

Keep an eye on where rookie Montario Hardesty lands. If he lands on a good team that needs a hard-nosed runner, he could post big fantasy numbers in 2010. 

Take a flier on Rashad Jennings, even if you don’t have Maurice Jones-Drew.  Rumor has it that coach Jack Del Rio would like to get

more involved this upcoming season to alleviate some pressure off ‘M.J.D.’ 

Hopefully, Chad Ochocinco can bring his dancing skills back with him to the Bengals’ endzone, and score another nine touchdowns, even with Antonio Bryant joining him. Ochocinco’s current value lies between Rounds 4-6.

12. The only Raider offensive player worth a darn at the current moment is maybe Chaz Schilens.

I wouldn’t even touch Darren McFadden until some consistency is shown on offense, especially at the quarterback position. 

Expect a T.J. Housmandzadeh rebound, especially if Charlie Whitehurst is given the opportunity to start right away. Whitehurst will naturally look to ‘Housh’ as his prime target on almost every passing down until he finds a comfort zone with his other targets in his new offense. 

Ride the Jonathan Stewart train to a championship. He has been consistently nicked over the past two seasons, but still has performed at a pretty high level.  Season three should be his year to breakout.

Steve Slaton’s time may be running out. Arian Foster is bound to get more opportunities, and the Texans could select a running back early in the draft. 

DeSean Jackson’s current value is way too high. I mean, I know he’s a great player, but with the status of Donovan McNabb still unknown, and the chances of Kevin Kolb starting for the Eagles increasing each day, I’m not touching

in the second round. 

There will be a rather large drop off at quarterback after the Top 7. If you want good production from one of the most important positions you may have to grab one before the fifth round. 

Don’t overvalue Jerricho Cotchery in the ninth round or higher. The Jets will be doing most of their damage on the ground with Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson. Plus, Braylon Edwards is their new downfield threat to offset their potent rushing attack.

Keep an eye on the 49ers defense. They already play the run well, and with a few more pieces and continual growth and belief that Mike Singletary will take them places, they will only get better in 2010. 

The Tennessee Titans may finally have a wide receiver worth drafting. Second-year physical wideout Kenny Britt seems to be the real deal, and is a perfect complement to Chris Johnson and the Titans running game. He would be a great fourth or fifth option on any fantasy team as an 11th-round selection. 

Roddy White, Marques Colston and Greg Jennings are all steals early in the third round. If you were smart and lucky you could end up with Chris Johnson, White and

with your first three picks. 

Having Chester Taylor pushing from behind him may propel running back Matt Forte to new levels. Forte has dropped from first-round stud to third-round question mark. If you do take advantage of his low value and draft him in the third, make sure you back him with

later on in your draft just in case No. 22 is the typical Bears historical runner. 

24. With No. 4’s status still up in the air in Minnesota, I would much rather select Percy Harvin in the fifth round or later than Sidney Rice in the third or earlier. 

I suspect Pierre Garcon’s playoff performance has solidified him as the No. 2 target opposite Reggie Wayne heading in to 2010. He will be a hot name once draft day rolls around, and his current sixth-round value will rise. 

Having Thomas Jones around will definitely help Jamaal Charles grow, but it may stunt his current first-round value in fantasy. I suspect Charles will slowly drop in to the second round, as he’s not worth the first-round label that’s attached to him right now. 

Cedric Benson is severely undervalued as a late second-round pick. The Bengals showed last season that their new winning ways moving forward will most likely be led by their defense and rushing attack and not Carson Palmer’s right arm.

Forget Marshawn Lynch. Fred Jackson is the real deal and will come fairly cheap as a fourth- or fifth-round selection. 

The steal of the draft at tight end right now may be Chris Cooley. There may be a war about to ensue at the quarterback position in

, but I don’t believe there will be the same between Fred Davis and Cooley at tight end.

The faith in Jaguars quarterback David Garrard among fantasy owners is starting to evaporate. He currently seems to be falling outside of the Top 24, and his value may not get any better, at least until Jacksonville doesn’t draft a quarterback this April.

31. Unless you plan on selecting Jared Allen, wait for the value to fall to you at defensive end in Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues. Guys like Dwight Freeney and Andre Carter hold better value a few rounds later, which will allow you to build up other positions.

Heath Miller is feeling the Big Ben (Roethlisberger) backlash effect. Even after a career 2009 season which featured him approaching the 800-yard receiving mark, he’s still currently being forgotten about and has been bouncing in and out of the Top 12.

Lofa Tatupu against David Hawthorne for the middle linebacker spot in the Seahawks defense will be the battle to watch as the preseason draws near. 

filled in admirably for the injured Tatupu in 2009, but is it his starting job to keep?

Despite his wretched 2009 season, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is getting the love in fantasy circles. He is currently being taken off the board ahead of Brett Favre, Carson Palmer and Eli Manning, even with average receivers still at his disposal. 

Oddly enough,
Houston’s Bernard Pollard,
Oakland’s Tyvon Branch and

San Francisco
’s Dashon Goldson will most likely spearhead the 2010 class of top safeties in IDP drafts. All three are tackling machines and pure playmakers. 

One rookie wide receiver I’m looking forward to seeing in 2010 is Mardy Gilyard.  He’s not the fastest wideout in the draft, but he’s a smooth inside route runner and has great hands. If he lands on a good team in need of a good slot receiver he could produce solid numbers right away. 

Looking for the next Dallas Clark in dynasty drafts?  Look no further than the rookie out of Brigham Young, Dennis Pitta. Pitta has good speed, soft hands, and has the quickness off the line to play in the slot as a receiver. The bonus is that he’s 6-foot-5. 

The best landing spot for quarterback Michael Vick is

. The Raiders are infested with speed players all over their depth chart and the environment is downright ruthless, something that Vick knows a little something about. Ruff!

With so many other tight ends rising after breakout 2009 seasons, Jason Witten is slowly being pushed down the rankings board. His two touchdowns from 2010 were a little disappointing, but he should increase that number this season while closely mirroring his reception and yardage totals of 94 and 1,030. He’s a steal after the Top 3 are taken.

40. Rashard Mendenhall’s value should continue to rise as Ben Roethlisberger’s continues to diminish. And if my suspicions come true, the Steelers will draft one or two offensive linemen who can make an immediate impact in the early rounds of the NFL draft. Mendenhall is currently approaching first-round status. 

Ryan Grant’s late second-round value is still severely too low considering he rushed for 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. It’s the same story as last offseason. It’s almost like fantasy owners want to believe that he’s going to be bad.  

One quarterback I’ll be monitoring as the NFL draft progresses is Jevan Snead.  Snead is a great leader on the field and has the natural talent to be a good starting quarterback at the NFL level. If he lands in the right situation he could become a hot name in dynasty circles. 

If you want value at running back in touchdown-only leagues make sure you grab Marion Barber in the sixth round or later as his current early Average Draft Position (ADP) suggests. Yes, Felix Jones will get more touches in 2010, but Jones still hasn’t proven he can stay upright for an entire season. 

I’m a little surprised at how far Anquan Boldin’s value has fallen with the move to

. Sure, he’s no longer part of the high-flying Cardinals offense, but with Derrick Mason returning Boldin should see plenty of open looks, especially down the seam, and Joe Flacco is one of the best quarterbacks at threading the needle with his rocket-like arm. 

Steven Jackson’s current Top 5 value scares me a bit. Sure,

ran for 1,424 yards last season, but he was used and abused, and scored just two touchdowns all season. 

The top kicker on my current draft board is

’s Dan Carpenter. Carpenter converted 25-of-28 field goals and punched through 37 extra point attempts. More importantly, though, he made at least one field goal in all but two games, showing more than just a glimpse of consistency.

The one player who will benefit the most in the Eagles offense if Kevin Kolb takes over as starting quarterback is tight end Brent Celek. In both Kolb’s two starts last season, Celek eclipsed the 100-yard mark. With McNabb behind center Celek recorded just one all season and the big playmaking tight end appeared in every game.

Thanks for reading!

(Eric Huber is a staff writer for

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