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Avoid Drafting Potential Pitfalls and Landmines (Part 1 of 2)
Posted by funsammy (2941 days ago)
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By Sam Kline, AKA the Human Fantasy Hintbook

QB – Joe Flacco (Bal) – Not only have the Ravens been fortifying their running game with Willis McGahee’s newfound work ethic and Ray Rice’s explosive preseason, but Joe Flacco has had the Raven coaching staff worried with an inordinate number of interceptions thrown in practice. Although WR1 Derrick Mason came out of retirement to play again in 2009, he’s a year older and slower, although still a formidable fantasy WR4. Mark Clayton tore his hamstring, denying Flacco valuable time to establish timing before the regular season begins. Given that there are about 25-30 starting quarterbacks who would look much better on your roster, you’ll want to avoid a potentially frustrating season by letting someone else draft Flacco as their QB3.

QB – Jay Cutler (Chi) - If you think Cutler will approach the numbers he put up in Denver, it is important to take three things into account. 1) Da Bears have a defense far superior to the Donkeys, which means Cutler will probably not be playing/passing with his team down as often. 2) The Bears’ receivers do not match up with Denver’s wideouts. Even if Bear TE Greg Olsen has the monster season people are predicting, he and Devin Hester do not hold a candle to Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal for fantasy purposes. 3) Chicago typically runs more of a ball-control offense. While they may open things up this year to allow Cutler’s arm to stretch defenses, you can expect Matt Forte to vulture at least 8-10 TD’s inside the 5 yard-line.

QB – Marc Bulger (StL) – Torry Holt, the wideout that had been Bulger’s go-to target for many years, is now in Jacksonville. Donnie Avery, the Rams’ new WR1, has been hampered by a broken foot all preseason. That leaves a dearth of receiving talent available for Bulger to pass to. Furthermore, Bulger recently suffered a fractured pinkie on his throwing hand, will probably need extra time to establish timing and chemistry with his new receivers, and may show some rust once he is healthy. The days of the “Greatest Show on Turf” get even smaller in the rear view mirror while RB Stephen Jackson continues to establish himself as the focal point of the Ram offense.

QB - Brett Favre (Min) As soon the news of #4's return broke, I immediately thought of my friend, Bob, who has endured so so much frustration as a Viking fan of 30 years. Although it sounds like a great fit for Favre given that he's familiar with the West Coast offense and has a premiere running game which will keep defenses honest, I am concerned about his surgically-repaired body holding up all year long. Even though Favre is expected to take over the starting QB job in Minnesota, he has been diagnosed with a slightly torn rotator cuff, which isn't supposed to affect his throwing ability. In spite of his status at the Cal Ripken Jr.-esque Ironman of the NFL, I would bet dollars to donuts that, in spite of skyrocketing ticket sales for Sunday afternoons at the Metrodome this fall, Favre doesn't make it through a full 16 game-season. He barely made it through 2008 as a Jet, and wasn't well enough to play last year's Pro Bowl (why he was selected after throwing 22 TD / 22 INT speaks to the credibility of the Pro Bowl selection process). Let someone else in your draft overpay for Favre, and instead take a less-risky QB2 three to four rounds later than Favre with slightly less upside but will put up similar numbers (and fewer INT's) like, say, Trent Edwards, or perhaps Matt Hasselbeck (if Walter Jones is healthy).

RB – Marshawn Lynch (Buf) – Not only is Lynch facing a three-game suspension from offseason criminal activity to start the season, but the Bills will be passing more this season given that they have two elite receivers in Lee Evans and newcomer Terrell Owens. As Buffalo is in a tough AFC East division, they will probably be playing from behind a great deal this season, and Lynch will not be able to rack up games where he gets 25 carries.

RB – Earnest Graham (TB) – When RB Derrick Ward signed with the Bucs, Graham’s value took an immediate hit. He is, at best, a decent RB3 who is effective at the goal-line if he stays healthy. However, the fact that Tampa Bay lacks a true QB1 leads one to believe that opposing defenses will not respect the Buccaneer passing game. Expect more eight-in-the-box formations than usual against Tampa Bay this season, and a disappointing season for Graham. Lastly, newcomer Kellen Winslow is sure to vulture 5-8 TDs from the running game this year if Winslow can avoid staph infections and testicular maladies.

RB - Thomas Jones (NYJ) – Jones had an career year during season in his first year on the Jets, but this can be partly attributed to the fact that defenses were kept honest by Brett Favre's presence under center. In 2009, Favre is gone from East Rutherford, but rookie RB Shonn Greene has impressed early in preseason and will surely cut into Jones' workload., Given that Jones isn’t exactly a spring chicken at 31 years old, expect more of a timeshare between Greene and Jones. Also, don't forget about scatback Leon Washington, who is expected to play a bigger role in the offense.

RB – Lendale White (Ten) The running back formerly known as "LandWhale" lost 30 pounds this offseason after swearing off tequila for six months. Besides the fact that White has been a virtual nonfactor when it comes to receptions, it remains to be seen whether this weight loss will be helpful or harmful to his power style of running. White, without a doubt, will play second fiddle in the Tennessee backfield to speedster Chris Johnson. Also, the Titans are not expected to be as dominant a team this year without defensive mayhem specialist Albert Haynesworth plugging holes in opponents’ blocking lanes. In 2008, White was brought in to games when his team had the lead and was trying to kill the clock, while Johnson was inserted when the Titans needed a big offensive play with the game in question. Since Tennessee won’t be nursing as many leads this year given the gaping hole from the absence of Haynesworth on defense, expect fewer carries for White.

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