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Meet the Warners of 2009 – Holt, Ward and Driver

Last season fantasy owners were caught off guard by the 4,583-yard, 30-TD performance by the soon to be 39-year-old Kurt Warner. What will 2009 bring? How about three 33+-year-old undervalued receivers ready for big seasons?


 


Torry Holt:


For the first time since 1999, Holt failed to record a 1,000-yard season in 2008. Also for the first time since 1999, the sure-handed former Wolfpack star failed to eclipse the 80-reception mark. And, for the first time since 1999, the veteran pro bowler won’t be drafted inside the fifth round; unless of course more fantasy owners start figuring out that he could be ready for a rebound 80+ catch, 1,000+ yard season in 2009.


 

According to
Scout.com, Holt’s new offensive coordinator in

Jacksonville
, Dirk Koetter, told
CBS Sports that he likes what he sees from the veteran newcomer thus far.


 

“He’s looked good,” Koetter said. “He doesn’t run like he once did, and when we became interested in Torry we watched a lot of film on him, and Torry has explained to me that he knows how to take care of himself and be ready when the time comes. You’ve got to take him on his word on that.”


There also has been talk from different sources who observed Jaguars OTAs that quarterback David Garrard was searching for Holt on almost every play, which could be a sign that both veterans are already developing some kind of chemistry.


 

The bottom line with Holt is that his 2008 numbers don’t do him any justice, and the change of scenery should help him get back to the receiver he’s been the majority of his career. He’s being drafted around round eight, so be prepared to pounce on him in round seven as he’s destined for a big rebound season as the Jaguars top pass-catcher.


 


Hines Ward:


While big-play receiver Santonio Holmes stole all the thunder with his miraculous Super Bowl performance to secure the title of MVP, the hard-working reception artist was like lightning as he caught the very first pass of the Super Bowl from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for a 38-yard gain to set the tone.


 

Sure, Holmes deserves praise for his efforts, but what about Ward? Has he been overlooked due to No. 10’s Super Bowl super success?


 

Yes, yes, and yes!


 

I just don’t understand it. Ward is coming off his best season in five years, and Holmes dropped his production a bit in 2008, yet fantasy owners insist on grabbing Holmes first and treating Ward like an old dog who doesn’t have much left in the tank, drafting him as a backup option at best. But wait, there’s more.


 

In a recent
Sporting News Q & A Holmes was asked:

Does Ben Roethlisberger look your way enough? Holmes went on to explain that he and Big Ben are “definitely off every now and then.” He also explained when a different question was asked that he feels that teams are not leaving him in one-on-one coverage anymore, thus freeing up Ward in the middle of field.


The bottom line with Ward is that all the facts point in the direction of him having another nice season in 2009. Like Holt, he’s being drafted around round eight, so he’ll be a steal for fantasy owners willing to wait.


 


Donald Driver:


Did you know that the green and gold No. 80 is one of two receivers (Reggie Wayne) to have recorded 1,000 yards in the last five seasons? I bet you would’ve never even cared before reading this. How do I know?


 

According to MyFantasyLeague.com’s ADP Rankings for Re-Draft League drafts conducted this offseason, Driver is being taken as the 39th best receiver between rounds nine and ten. Last season he was taken as the 28th best receiver and in 2007 the 16th best.


 

I just don’t get why there is all of a sudden so much hatred for one of the most consistent wideouts of the past five seasons. No, he’s not flashy. And no, he doesn’t record too many huge performances. But he gets the job done week in and week out, and has been since 2002.


 

Yeah, but what about Greg Jennings, you ask?


 

He doesn’t matter. That’s right, in this argument he doesn’t matter. Driver is going to perform with or without

Jennings
. Aaron Rodgers knows it. Mike McCarthy knows it. Even good old Ted Thompson knows it.


 

Why do you think Driver is still around, even with a boatload of young talent at the position and a small contract dispute?


 

It’s because he can play at a high level, people!


 

Sure, Jordy Nelson is getting better every day and could be a star someday.   Yes, Ruvell Martin is one of Mr. Rodgers’ favorite targets. Great, James Jones has been bulking up and working hard to get back in to the rotation. But none of it matters.      


 

The only thing fantasy owners should be concerned with is whether or not Mr. Driver will be in the starting lineup every week for Mr. Rodgers to throw to. And the bottom line remains that with nobody else (not even a tight end) to work the middle of the field like Driver does, the Packers offense and signal caller Rodgers need him. They need him to catch those tough passes in traffic. They need him to get those tough yards after the catch. Most of all, they need him to continue to convert tough third downs and shimmy like he means it.


 

If you’re looking for a nice late-round sleeper to plug in as your third or fourth receiver, especially in PPR formats, then look no further than Driver. He’s 34 years old, but much like what we saw with Kurt Warner in 2008, he still has plenty left in the tank and the ability to be a top-flight player at his position.


 

Thanks for reading! Good luck!

 


Eric Huber is a staff writer for FantasySharks.com. You can follow him on Twitter, keyword — FantasyMagician, or you can e-mail him at e.huber12@yahoo.com.

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