Top 25 for 2009
1. Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN – This is always a debate during the offseason of the Top 3 players drafted. In 2009, there shouldn’t be much thought as Ladainian Tomlinson is no longer the best back in the league. AP had 1,760 rushing yards and 10 TDs this year. If he can stay healthy, he could reach 2,000 rushing yards next season.
2. Michael Turner, RB, ATL – I think he will slip to the middle of the first round this year as people will overlook what he did this year and select RBs such as Marion Barber and Steven Jackson ahead of him. Turner will have the featured role to himself, something that is now rare in the NFL with Matt Ryan maturing. Don’t let him slip in your draft. One yard shy of 1,700 rushing yards and 17 TDs can easily be repeated.
3. Matt Forte, RB, CHI – This guy was a steady work horse all season and should pick up where he left off. People will forget he was the best RB in fantasy. He didn’t have as many rushing yards as the first two RBs but he was a treat in receiving as well as rushing. He could be a steal again this year.
4. Marion Barber, RB, DAL – Barber was a Top 5 RB until he got hurt. He was averaging 21.3 FPTs per game and had he been healthy for the final four games would have finshed with 352 FPTs on the season, ahead of Matt Forte. The reason he isn’t in the Top 3 is because of the
5. Ladainian Tomlinson, RB, SDC – Tomlinson’s future in
6. Chris Johnson, RB, TEN- Johnson will either go too high or fall far in drafts because you don’t know what to make of this RB. He was a steal this year in drafts and averaged 18.6 FPTs through 15 games. He was having a good playoff game as well before leaving with a sprained ankle. I feel this is a good spot for him considering LenDale White being a TD vulture.
7. Frank Gore, RB, SFO – The 49ers have made progress with Mike Singletary and with Mike Martz out of the picture, we make see Gore used finally as he should. Had he not hurt his ankle missing two games, he would have finished in the Top 10 at RB. He could have a 1,700-rushing yard year which he was close to in 2006 but the scoring opportunities are what keeps him from moving up the list. Still he plays in a weak division which will give him good defensive matchups for most of the season.
8. Brian Westbrook, RB, PHI – Westbrook is a tough player. No doubt about it. He has endured many injuries and still played at a high level. He has only had two 1,000+ rushing yards in his career but his receiving yards are what makes him so productive. He probably should be ranked at the end of the first round or the beginning of the second come draft day. This will depend on the Eagles offseason if they bring in another RB or go younger.
9. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, JAC – Too high you say? Frustrates the hell out of you? Well those who stuck with MJD benefited as he averaged 18.9 FPTs a game. Fred Taylor is going to be out of
10. Steven Jackson, RB, STL – Jackson has been ranked in the Top 3 for awhile, but has disappointed the last two years and hasn’t stayed healthy. He has the potential to be as good as anyone and if the Rams can fix what went wrong this season then he will be a good RB, but he also has the risk factor.
11. DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR- Williams went from 13.4 FPTs through the first seven games to 27.6 FPTs through the next nine. He was a great value pick this season with the drafting of Jonathan Stewart and his owners benefitted nicely. Just think if you had Peterson, Forte and Williams in a draft. That would be a killer combo. The Panthers will want to get Stewert involved as they did prior to his injury which will limit Williams’ potential.
12. Marshawn Lynch RB BUF – Lynch will find himself a borderline first to second round RB every year until he can have consistent production. He had just three 100+ rushing games and had just two RuTDs over the final nine weeks of the season. He would make a very risky RB1 but a good RB2.
13. Brandon Jacobs, RB, NYG – Jacobs is never going to be a first-round back because he will never finish a whole season. He will be a free agent as well so his future is uncertain, but I think he will return to the Giants. Jacobs should have another 1,100-RuYD year with 10 RuTDs. This will be the first season where you won’t have a QB drafted in the first round.
14. Andre Johnson, WR, HOU – Johnson should be taken as the first WR off the board. With the remaining RBs not as solid as the previous ones, you will want to take a quality WR. Johnson had some monster games even though there were changes at the QB position due to injuries. He will put up big numbers and should have double-digit TDs for the first time in his career.
15. Clinton Portis, RB, WAS – Portis showed he still had it as he almost had 1,500 RuYDs this season. He did get nicked up but still produced. He should go in this spot with a risk if
16. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI – There will be debate between Fitzgerald and Johnson, but Fitz may not have Warner next year which could hurt him with Matt Leinart playing. He finished the season with his third 4,000+ receiving season with 10+ ReTDs.
17. Brandon Marshall, WR, DEN – If things shape up the way they are looking this year, next year could be a good year to go RB-WR in drafts as the next tier of RBs doesn’t excite me to take over top wideouts. Marshall could have finished fourth had he not sat out the first game of the season. The infinite injuries to the RB position hurt the Broncos offense at the end of the season. If they can a productive RB and improve on defense, Marshall will remain a Top 5 WR.
18. Steve Smith, WR, CAR – If Smitty would not have pulled that punk move during training camp, he could have finished the year as the third-best WR as he averaged 17.9 FPTs. We shouldn’t hear much trouble from him again but the question will be what the Panthers will do at QB and if they can ever get a reliable WR on the other side.
19. Peyton Manning, QB, IND – The first QB will come off the board somewhere in the middle of the second as long as you have owners who don’t draft QBs in the first no matter what. If he can last this long he will be great value because he can continue throwing for 4,000 yards. Tony Dungy is out at head coach but it shouldn’t affect Manning.
20. Calvin Johnson, WR, DET – He finished as the third-best WR even though his team was horrible. His team went 0-16, they traded Roy Williams (which we can see was the Lions’ only smart move of the year), they used multiple QBs, he faced double coverage and his team was ranked 24th in passing yards, 30th in rushing and 27th in points per game. Despite all those factors, he still put up 1,300+ ReYDs and 12 ReTDs. To put it into perspective, he had 40% of their ReYDs and 67% of their PaTDs (18 for the team) on just 27% of their receptions. He would be ranked as high as the No. 1 WR if he gets a better QB situation and the team makes a ton of improvements.
21. Drew Brees, QB, NOS – Brees should go before Tony Romo or any other QB drafted other than Manning because he will be just as consistent as Manning. He’s had back to back seasons with 400+ completions with 600+ attempts and his passing yards increase every year since 2004. He will have questions at RB next year even if Reggie Bush is healthy. If they can add another quality WR, he will be the best QB in 2009.
22. Reggie Wayne, WR, IND – Wayne had a down year but still put up his fifth 1,000+ receiving season. He faded down the stretch which should cause him to slip in some drafts, making him a good target in this spot. He’s just as good as the other top WR, but with Marvin Harrison likely to hang it up, he may struggle without a legit No. 2 on the opposite side.
23. Steve Slaton, RB, HOU – Slaton came up big for owners and if you faced him in the playoffs, you had troubles. The spot he lands depends on Houston’s pursuit of a bigger RB which will kill his production and goal-line opportunities. He was one of the best values in drafts in 2008 and in some cases was still available on the waiver wire.
24. Randy Moss, WR, NEP – A great value in 2007, he was drafted very high in 2008. When Tom Brady went down, many panicked and thought the worse. He played well despite Matt Cassel taking over and finished 11th among WR’s. The QB situation will depend on what New England does with Cassel as they may franchise him. Brady may not be ready for the season and some may speculate that Brady or Cassel could get traded. He’s still a good WR.
25. Joseph Addai, RB, IND – One of the most disappointing RBs this season. Drafted fourth in 2008 he finished 37th among RBs. He could rebound and be a great comeback player candidate for 2009. If He remains the starter, grab him with value. If another RB shares carries, he won’t be worth a Top 25 spot.