Adrian Peterson is the obvious No. 1 pick.
Let’s start at the very top of the draft. Peterson is the consensus No. 1 pick. I just don’t see it being that clear cut whatsoever. Of course you can make your case for
Maurice Jones-Drew, but as I proved in a previous article, that would not be a wise move. A wise move would be to heavily consider drafting
Michael Turner No. 1 over A.P. Let’s hit on a few issues.
The biggest argument I hear about Turner is the curse of 370, or in normal person terms, he was overworked in 2008. Turner did handle a HUGE load last year with 402 total touches (including the playoffs). Peterson had 405 total touches in 2008. Peterson, who’s younger, has much more of an injury history than Turner and was coming off a 257-touch season in 2007. Turner on the other hand, had never even had a 100 carry season before last year. How about touchdown opportunities? Peterson had 54 redzone carries; 10 of those were inside the five. Turner had 79 redzone carries, with 19 of those being inside the five. With improvement at the quarterback position by both teams, this total might go up for both guys. With that said,
Matt Ryan is on a different level of quarterback than
Sage Rosenfels. The Falcons, as a team, will enter the redzone much, much more than the Vikings will this year. And the arrival of
Tony Gonzalez will simply give the defense even more things to worry about in the redzone. I guarantee teams will be doubling Tony G inside the 20, leaving only seven in the box to stop Turner, something that rarely happened in 2008.
AP is a better running back then Turner; that’s a fact. The situation he is in, though, is not the kind that produces Number. 1 overall fantasy backs. Turner outscored him by about 27 fantasy points in standard leagues in 2008. I don’t see any reason why Peterson would be able to make up that ground, even if he stays healthy.
Myth 2: Drew Brees
does not deserve to go in the first round.
What a joke this is. Depending on your scoring system, Brees was either the second or third-most valuable player in fantasy football in 2008. He had a career year. People say it is highly unlikely that Brees can repeat it. And yea, maybe he won’t reach 5,000 yards again, but 4,700 is easily attainable. He had 4,400-plus in both 2006 and 2007. The difference now is he is in his fourth year in Sean Payton’s system and the players to which he throws. In 2008 he was throwing to a healthy
Reggie Bush and
Marques Colston for about 10 games apiece.
Jeremy Shockey was a non-factor;
Lance Moore and
Devery Henderson were his main targets. So where exactly is the risk in Brees? He has missed one game in the last five years. You cannot say that about any running back in the league. All of his weapons were depleted last year, and he still had a career year, so I guess the fantasy world is assuming since he is getting all of the same players back, and now healthier, plus the emergence of
Robert Meachem, that Brees is a lock to regress. It makes no sense at all. Brees is tied for the biggest lock in the draft with
Peyton Manning, but has much more of an upside. The Saints will throw it 600 times once more in 2009, but this time Brees will play 16 games with a full cast of characters.
Average Draft Position
Vincent Jackson (ADP 54 overall, WR19): It is always interesting when a player is improving, in their prime, and things improve in the offseason, and then their ADP drops a significant amount. The argument I keep hearing is that with a healthy LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates,
Dwayne Bowe and
Reggie Wayne were targeted 157 and 131 times, respectively, and
Phillip Rivers is an elite quarterback; and two, defenses must focus on stopping the run and covering Gates in the middle of the field. And now since both of them are healthy,
Jay Cutler (ADP 69 overall, QB11): Although his Top 5 QB finish was with the Denver Broncos, he’s expected drop is a little bit too much. First off, the Bears receivers are better than people think. You know how I know? I know this because of
Kyle Orton‘s performance pre-injury in 2008. He had a five-game stretch where he threw the ball 32-plus times in every game. Orton had four multi-touchdown games, while passing for 265-plus yards in four games last season. A sprained ankle derailed his hot streak, and then he played like the old Orton. Before this, though, Orton was averaging about 17.5 points per game. Improvement by
Greg Olsen and
Rashied Davis will allow Cutler to throw the rock close to 500 times (which was Orton’s pace the first half of 2008). Using Cutler’s career yards-per-attempt of 7.4, you come out with 3,700 yards passing, and that is the bare minimum if you ask me. The Bears do not want to run Matt Forte into the ground, and Kevin Jones will be a factor catching passes on third downs. The Bears coaching staff knows they have an elite talent at quarterback now, so exceeding 500 passing attempts will not be a problem at all. Cutler is good for 200 yards rushing and two scores on the ground as well. Throw in a conservative 23 touchdown passes and your looking at an easy Top 8 quarterback finish.
Antonio Gates (ADP 50 overall, TE2) It is not so much the TE2 that bothers me as much as 50th overall. That means people are consistently passing up Gates in the fourth round. Just in case you forgot, Gates had a MINIMUM of 900 yards and nine scores per season four of the last five years. And even in an obvious “down year” last year when he finished as the fourth-best fantasy TE, he was still as valuable as the 12th or 13th ranked WR. Or, if that doesn’t interest you, he was as valuable as the 15th-ranked RB. If I told you that you could grab a Top 12 WR or a Top 15 running back at 50 overall, would you do it? Probably. And since we know that Gates was banged up pretty good last year, this finish is his absolute floor.
Anquan Boldin (ADP 26th overall, WR9) Injury risk has to be the answer here. Are we talking about the Boldin that had over 600 yards and 10 TDs in the first nine games last year? He was the No. 1 fantasy wideout through 12 weeks just a season ago, and he is playing for a new contract this season? Grabbing him 26th overall is a wise move folks. Being the ninth-best WR should not be a problem for this man. He finished as the seventh best only playing in 12 contests; just think what he could do with 16 games. The health of
Kurt Warner is always a concern, but I truly believe
Matt Leinart is good enough to throw the types of routes Boldin runs. If Warner gets hurt, it is
Larry Fitzgerald‘s healthy 15 yards per catch average that is going to take the hit. And just in case you think Larry Fitzgerald is a bigger redzone threat; since the beginning of 2007, aka the re-emergence of Kurt Warner, Boldin has outplayed Fitzgerald by a considerable amount in the redzone. Fitzgerald has been targeted 52 times inside the 20 the last two years only catching 30 of them (58%) for 19 scores; while Boldin has only been targeted 39 times catching 31 passes (79%) for 17 scores.