It’s A Bounce Back Jack
Eddie Royal – Heading into the 2009 season Royal was being touted as a can’t miss guy. He was going to be Josh McDaniels’ Wes Welker without a doubt. Unfortunately, no one could have predicted what was to be in store for the former Virginia Tech Hokie. He had 345 yards receiving and a big goose egg in the touchdown category (unless your league counts return touchdowns, that is). The worst thing about it all was that if you drafted the guy you were almost married at the hip because you had invested so much stock into him. If you were in a points-per-reception league and drafted him, the pain was like pulling teeth without Novocain. Royal basically was the Matt Forte of wide receivers last year, but I really think this guy is going to have a bounce back season for the Denver Broncos. McDaniels has already stated he views Royal as a slot wide receiver and this season he will be positioned in that role. I completely agree this is the position his skill set will flourish at. Don’t worry about his quarterback who can’t throw the deep ball because Royal is going to be the dink-and-dunk guy and will be leaned on to make plays after the catch. You’ll be able to get Royal at a rock bottom price at your draft and if you roll the dice on him I think you will be rewarded with a career setting season.
BB Prediction: 100 receptions, 1,000 yards, 10 TD
Clinton Portis – A concussion cut Portis’ season in half last year where he posted 494 yards and two touchdowns (one receiving) in eight games. Not exactly vintage Portis numbers. Grumblings about his dedication and work ethic have started to creep into the conversation, but have no fear future Portis owners – Mike Shanahan to the rescue. The same Shanahan where ‘Southeast Jerome’ (Portis) had two of his best seasons as an NFL runningback. Truthfully, that was more than six years ago, but I’m on the side that believes Portis has a little more left in the tank and this is the year where he goes all-out for the Washington Redskins. He turns 29 this season so you can breathe easy that he won’t reach the dreaded 30 until the 2011 season. Donovan McNabb is a huge upgrade over Jason Campbell and defenses are going to have to respect McNabb’s arm a tad more, opening up things even more for No. 26. Now I’m sure you are waiting for me to address the 37 runningbacks
BB Prediction: 1,350 yards, 12 TD
Dwayne Bowe – Yet another guy whose work ethic, dedication and overall maturity has been questioned since he entered the league. Hell, even some people don’t think he is No. 1 WR material, which I disagree with completely. Last year’s numbers of 589 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games can’t fall squarely on the shoulders of Bowe.
BB Prediction: 85 receptions, 1,150 yards, 10 TD
Bounce Back Sacked
Matt Forte – Talk about a tale of two seasons for this Chicago Bear. Rookie season: 1,238 rushing yards, 477 receiving yards, 12 total touchdowns. Last Season: 929 rushing yards, 471 receiving yards, four total touchdowns. If you were the unfortunate owner to put your hopes in Forte last year I think it is safe to assume your squad failed miserably. It will turn out to be a good thing for you owners actually because he belongs on your black list this season. Even if his value is nice I still think he is going to have a disappointing 2010 campaign. Mike Martz is the new offensive coordinator in town and everyone knows he doesn’t like to run the ball. This guy goes to bed at night and has dreams about passing the football. Even if Martz does decide to run the rock I think it will be Chester Taylor who ends up receiving the majority of those carries because straight up he is the better overall runningback. Forte has a sub four yards per carry his first two years in the league and to make matters worse, all of his success has come from the Power I formation. If you know anything about Martz you know he doesn’t like fullbacks and is a fan of the single back set. Forte will get his numbers catching the football, though, and definitely has much more value in PPR leagues, but I believe his touchdown total will continue to remain low. Top if off with the ridiculously tough division the Bears play in and this leads me to believe Forte will not have a bounce back season and is someone you should avoid unless value is irresistible.
BB Prediction: 60 receptions, 1,000 total yards, 5 TD
LaDainian Tomlinson – I used to be one of Tomlinson’s biggest supporters, but entering this season I am beginning to see the writing on the wall. Some will stay faithful to Tomlinson and point the finger at Norv Turner being so awful for Tomlinson’s recent struggles in San Diego, but I believe his workload over the years has finally caught up to him. Playing in 14 games last year, Tomlinson set a career low in carries, yards per carry and rushing/receiving yards. He did manage to find the endzone 12 times, which is definitely a nice consolation prize, but still it wasn’t even close to a vintage Tomlinson season. The lack of impact in the receiving game is what is really alarming in regards to Tomlinson and is what had made him so dominant over the years. Without that he is just another running back on the wrong side of 30 (31 to be exact). Sadly, even Tomlinson seems to be in some sort of denial making comments to the media that he believes he is competing for the starting spot with teammate Shonn Greene. After those comments the Jets posted an article on the front page of their website all but crowning Greene the No. 1 guy heading into the 2010 season. I personally think Greene is being overlooked this year and is going to have a breakout season which only hurts the newly acquired Tomlinson’s value even more. Hopefully, Tomlinson got the message and will realize his days of being the top guy are long gone, and hopefully you realize the same on draft day and don’t draft him hoping for glory days of years past.
BB Prediction: 800 total yards, 6 TD
Kevin Walter – The Texans’ No. 2 wide receiver isn’t exactly the sexiest pick on draft day, but some people will look at him on their cheat sheets and think he’ll round out the back end of their wide receiver corps nicely. Especially, considering the Texans can throw the ball all over the field with Matt Schaub and there should be plenty of stats to go around. Last year, Walter played in 14 games posting 611 yards and two touchdowns. Yucky all the way around and a complete drop off from his 899-yard, eight-touchdown performance in 2008. You would think Walter would have posted better numbers in 2009, considering the loss of Owen Daniels for much of the season, but Jacoby Jones (not Walter) took advantage of the opportunity he was given. Jones caught six touchdowns and became a nice red zone target for Schaub to go along with Andre Johnson. I mean, there are only so many times Johnson can catch a ball in triple coverage, so someone else had to pick up the slack. With Jones emerging and reports of Daniels being ready to go for the upcoming season, Walter is going to find himself the odd man out. Jones could even push Walter for the No. 2 spot at some point during the season if the Texans staff desires. The only way that Walter won’t find himself with a decrease in production is if Johnson continues to holdout and not play. Which one of you actually believes that is going to happen? Sorry, but Walter will not have a bounce back year and return to his 2008 success. You’ll be better off rounding out your wide receivers with someone else and rolling the dice on an up and comer.
BB Prediction: 450 yards, 2 TD