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AFC North Fantasy Breakdown



Baltimore

Ravens

QB: Joe Flacco

Flacco had a big 2009 season. That trend should continue, as the ground game is solidified with stud Ray Rice in the backfield and the passing game gets a dangerous weapon in Anquan Boldin. Flacco is still a borderline QB1, but has tremendous potential.

RB: Ray Rice, Willis McGahee

Rice should be a top four pick. He put up ridiculous numbers last year, and probably helped a lot of fantasy owners win leagues, myself included. He runs, he catches, he scores. McGahee is an obvious handcuff, but shouldn’t steal away too much value.

WR: Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason

Flacco gets a new toy. Often disgruntled in

Arizona
, Boldin has found a new home as a Raven. He’s tough, physical and very talented, but his style of play can lead to injuries, like that time he broke his face. Definitely worth drafting, but know that he’ll miss a game or two at least. Mason drops down on his team’s depth chart, but will still get plenty of targets and will put up solid production.

TE: Todd Heap

Heap had a decent year. He’s still a good pass catcher, but with Boldin around, there’s less ball to go around. He’s also an injury risk.



Cincinnati

Bengals

QB:

Carson
Palmer

Palmer is now out of excuses. He had a running game last year, but teams could key on Chad Ochocinco. Now he’s got Terrell Owens, Antonio Bryant and rookie tight end Jermaine Gresham. If he can’t be valuable now, it’s got to be on him. I still only rank him as a mid-tier QB2.

RB: Cedric Benson

Benson was a comeback story last year. Nice to see a guy turn his life around. But, can he do it two years in a row? I think he can, but not to last year’s extent. Still very valuable, but as a RB2.

WR:

Chad
Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Antonio Bryant

Solid receiving corps. Ochocinco finally proved last year that he can still play. Owens goes to a team where he’s a No. 2, as he should be. And Bryant, although injured, is wildly talented. This is a crapshoot, and one I don’t want any part of, aside from ‘The Ocho.’

TE: Jermaine Gresham



Gresham

is a tremendous talent. But he’s an injury risk playing tight end on a running team with a bunch of moody wideouts who need their egos satisfied. Sorry rookie.



Cleveland

Browns

QB: Jake Delhomme

Yikes. I suppose new team president Mike Holmgren wanted some insurance in case he didn’t get to draft the quarterback he wanted, but I’d have looked elsewhere. And so should you.

RB: Jerome Harrison, Montario Hardesty


Harrison

was huge late in the season last year. In his last three games last year, he scored a total of 85 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues. Granted, it was against
Kansas City,
Oakland and

Jacksonville
, but those guys are still professionals.
Harrison isn’t getting much love this year, but he will from me, especially late in the seventh round where he’s currently going. Hardesty is interesting, but I think he only cuts into Harrison’s time or gets the gig if
Harrison gets hurt.

WR: Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs, Brian Robiskie

Interesting guys; all of them. But, all very inconsistent and very risky if you’re actually counting on them. Cribbs is fun to watch, but really for special teams. Massaquoi and Robiskie are both young and should develop. This group’s problem is whose on the other end of the ball.

TE: Ben Watson

Only because he’s Watson. He once caught touchdowns from Tom Brady. That’s got to count for something, right? Nah, not really.



Pittsburgh

Steelers

QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich

‘Big Ben’ was naughty. Again. So he’ll serve at least a four-game suspension. He’ll be OK when he gets back, but if you take him as your QB1, you need to get a QB2 fast, because those four weeks will kill you. Leftwich will fill in, but has minimal value.

RB: Rashard Mendenhall

Big things. I expect big things from Mendenhall. He’s a physical runner that fits in well with the Steelers’ scheme. If he can stay healthy, he’ll reward you as a RB1 in the late-first or early-second round.

WR: Hines Ward, Mike Wallace

Every year I pass on Ward, and every year he produces. He’s still very good, but he’s a much better football player than a fantasy player. He’ll do what he always does, which definitely has value. Wallace is a popular sleeper this year, but I don’t see it. Roethlisberger will miss time, and

Pittsburgh
is a running team. I’m not ready to hop on the bandwagon yet.

TE: Heath Miller

Miller is another guy who is always overlooked and always produces. He’s not Antonio Gates, but you’re not looking for that in the 13th or 14th round. He’s a bargain there.

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