First I must admit that this entire article has an extremely high chance of being biased. I went to school with Megatron at Georgia Tech and have an unnatural man crush on the guy. Seriously, ask my wife. That being said, Calvin is my top rated fantasy WR this year.
The man is a freak of nature. He’s 6’5”, 235 lbs, with a 43” vertical, and Velcro-like hands. If the “real” Megatron showed up on Calvin’s door steps, pissed off that Calvin stole his nickname, transformed into a jet, and challenged him to a race, I would put my money on No. 81. Case in point, for the 2007 draft, C.J., a sure fire Top 5 pick, showed up to the combine, just planning to field a few questions from reporters. Mid-way through the combine he changed his mind and decided to run the 40-yard dash. He borrowed a pair of kicks, and posted a 4.35 in someone else’s shoes! OK, so it was later found out that someone was just giving him back his own shoes. Regardless, when was the last time you saw a guy that big running a 4.35?
In Calvin’s sophomore season, he put up 1,331 yards and 12 TDs. Everyone knows that the third year is when WRs hit their growth spurt. Last year, Greg Jennings increased his totals from 920 to 1,292 yards. Will Calvin get 1,800 yards and 16 TDs in 2009? Probably not, but it is not unreasonable to imagine Calvin improving on his stats from last year. I think his 2008 stats are the basement for Megatron in 2009.
The Lions set an NFL record for terribleness last year. Going 0-16 means three things: 1) you will have the first pick in the draft 2) your head coach will be fired 3) you will be throwing a lot of Hail Mary’s as your team plays catch up in the second half. Instead of beefing up their defense, the Lions chose to add QB Matt Stafford and TE Brandon Pettigrew in the first round. Both are great talents, but neither will help reduce the 32.3 points a game that opponents put up against the Lions last year. I fully expect great for fantasy owners with Johnson on their team.
Also take a deeper look at the other top WRs. Larry Fitzgerald will have to split targets with a healthy Anquan Boldin and an up-and-coming WR Steve Breaston. Do you realize that half of Larry’s 12 TDs last year came in the four games that Anquan was out? Also he has to rely on a 38-year-old QB, who just had hip surgery, to stay healthy. Andre Johnson has similar concerns with a QB that has missed 10 games in the last two years. In the 11 games Schaub played in 2008, Andre scored six TDs. In the five he was out, Andre hit pay dirt only twice. With Randy Moss, you have to worry about Brady’s knee quitting on him. You also have to worry about Moss quitting on Brady. He’s only three years removed from a 553-yard, 3-TD, and one smoothie company performance.
All that being said, Megatron doesn’t exactly have can’t miss options at QB either. However, Daunte Culpepper and Matt Stafford both have to be upgrades from Dan “No One Can Pronounce My Last Name” Orlovsky. Remember the last time Culpepper was relevant? It was in 2004 when he had a young and motivated Randy Moss on his team. I guarantee you that Daunte could not have put up those kinds of numbers had Cris Carter been his only receiver. He lacks the touch. However, what Daunte lacks in accuracy, he makes up for in arm strength. Calvin is an upgraded (bigger, stronger, and more motivated) version of Moss, who should be able to catch tons of deep bombs thrown by Culpepper.
Also don’t worry about the rookie
Lastly, you can’t help but root for the guy. Have you ever read anything negative about the man? No way, he’s a class act. Kind of like the pre-gun incident Marvin Harrison or Jerry Rice, before he went soft and went on
Dancing with the Stars. I’d way rather root for one of those guys than one of the ego maniac receivers like T.O. or Ocho Stinko. I realize fantasy football is not about personal feelings, but I can’t help but feel like a sellout when I root for a guy like Kellen “I’m a Soldier!” Winslow.
Calvin certainly has question marks this year, but you have to believe that with everything that went wrong last year with the Lions, Calvin has no where to go but up. I personally believe that most of the other elite WRs hit their ceilings last year. Johnson and Moss are the only WRs whose 2008 numbers represent the basement for their expected production this year. When given the option of selecting a 32-year-old WR on the decline of his career with a proven track record of quitting on his team, or a 23-year-old up and coming and hardworking receiver, I choose the latter every time, and you should too.