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First Month’s Predictions: Final Chapter

First Month Predictions: Final Chapter

The start of the football season is now mere hours away. The tension and anticipation of that first Sunday of football, which will begin sometime around 11 a.m. (Eastern) with pre-game shows and end in the late evening after the Washington Redskins upset the Dallas Cowboys. Here’s the final chapter of my First Month’s Predictions.

The Next Steve Smith Will Be?

We live in a society that is allergic to new stars. Everyone has to be the next “Insert Hall of Fame Star Here.” The NBA is the absolute worst when it comes to this as they’ve been on an endless quest to find the next Michael Jordan. When Kobe Bryant retires, then they can start a new quest for the next Kobe Bryant.

Of course, fantasy football is no different than the rest of the sports world. We need to know who the next Ray Rice is, for example. I think we’ve all agreed that it’s Arian Foster. Even before a single game has been played I think the next Rice question has somehow been settled.  

While Rice was the most surprising running back last year, Steve Smith of the New York Giants was also a huge shocker.   Smith was a 12th-round receiver in 2009, who finished with more than 100 receptions, 1,220 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Which receiver this year drafted nearly as low as Smith can give owners a huge value?

Put me on the Mike Wallace bandwagon. The hype on Wallace began to build as drafts got closer and he eventually landed in the seventh round, which is usually a starting position on most teams. Still, Wallace is a huge talent and he showed his potential in the last three games, with 230 yards receiving and three touchdowns. This was with Santonio Holmes still in the lineup.

I know that in the offseason, the Steelers have been talking about focusing a lot of their offense on Rashard Mendenhall, but I’m still not entirely sold that he’s the real deal. And I’m still not sold that he was worthy of being a second-round pick.

I’m predicting that Wallace will be the most reliable weapon in the Steelers offense. He’s a credible deep threat and led the league in yards per catch last season.   Steelers’ beat writers even think he’s Pro Bowl material.   He’s had an excellent preseason as well, the highlight being a 68-yard touchdown catch.  

The Steelers will probably have a slow start to their season, which will make Wallace a great ‘Buy Low’ candidate. He won’t be as great a value as Smith, but he still will be the best value at the wide receiver position in 2010.

I Don’t Care if Revis Signed, the Jets will still be The Most Disappointing Team in the NFL

I’ve already gone over in exhaustive detail why owners should’ve avoided all Jets in their drafts. But, if we’re talking about the biggest stories in the first month of the season, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Jets will be 0-3 to start the season. Those owners that bought into the Shonn Greene hype will get a taste of what’s in store for them against the Ravens Monday night.

Greene is the only Jets fantasy football player that will be the most affected by the three-game slide. I’m presuming nobody’s starting Mark Sanchez, Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery, right? If you are, you’re either a diehard Jets’ fan or your team is seriously headed for disaster. Either way, you lose.

The fact that Revis signed is important, but not necessarily for those owners who overpaid for the Jets’ defense, but more so for the owners, who will now have to sit stud receivers when the Jets are on the schedule. This hurts especially for Randy Moss and Brandon Marshall owners. As an owner of Marshall in two leagues, I was hoping for a season-long holdout. I guess you can’t win them all, can you?

The Path to Titletown Goes Through … Oakland?

I remember reading in Sports Illustrated’s annual fantasy football magazine that a question was posed to a team of experts about which NFL team had the fewest draftable fantasy players. One of the experts picked Oakland as a fantasy wasteland.

I couldn’t disagree more. The Raiders boast a plethora of fantasy options to choose from. This is a franchise that has been awful for a while and many owners incorrectly passed on their players, in part because of the stigma the Raiders have.  

Let’s take a look at the long list of potential fantasy stars on the much maligned and massively under-drafted Raiders. They’ve got a potential No. 2 running back in Michael Bush, who is getting healthier and returned to practice this week. Both their quarterback and their defense can make capable spot starts on bye weeks. Louis Murphy has shined in the preseason and looked good last year even with the NFL’s biggest bust JaMarcus Russell throwing him the ball. In Murphy, you’re looking at a No. 3 receiver with a lot of upside who is somehow still available on the waiver wire in most leagues.  

Finally, you’ve got one of this year’s biggest sleepers in tight end Zach Miller, who could easily post a 1,000-yard season. Miller had 897 receiving yards last year with ‘Super Bust’ Russell passing to him. This is a team brimming with fantasy potential and they can be had for a great value, even now with the season only days away.   Right now, Bush is a great buy-low candidate for owners skittish about the misdiagnosis of him being out for 4-6 weeks. The reality is Bush still has an outside chance to play in week 1.

Don’t be surprised at the end of the year, when you see playoff teams in your league with Raiders starting on their teams. It’s a new world out there, friends. I’m not predicting that the Raiders will make the playoffs but I am predicting they may make it to your postseason if they’re on your team.

Good Hunting!

Ed Bonfanti

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