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2009 Fantasy Football Freshman and Sophomore Guide


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Every fantasy football year we can guarantee a few things. In most leagues a running back will the highest point getter, there will be someone to pickup on the waiver wire by week three that ends up top 10, and defense doesn't win fantasy championships. I've determined through years of playing that the best teams are the teams with less risk, the ones who don't rely on potential, but instead take the sure thing, at least we think it's a sure thing. Sometimes you just want to take a gamble though. You want to prove to your friends and fellow owners that you know more than they do. You're the type of person that took Matt Forte last year within the first five rounds and made the most out of it. You knew that Chris Johnson was going to explode for Tennessee. You saw Calvin Johnson and Adrian Peterson taking that second year and turning it into greatness.

Fabulous Freshman


Michael Crabtree (49ers WR) - What? Wait! Who? Why? How can I have Crabtree as a fabulous freshman, especially first on the list. First of all, I'm going down the list based on draft pick and he's the first rookie that I see as a promising. I know he's not signed, yet, but that's what make him such a great value. Pick him up in the last round of the draft if he's there and wait and see if he gets signed by the start of the season. If he does then you got a wide receiver that will be the #1 for the 49ers. If he doesn't then you drop him and pickup Isaac Bruce.


Jeremy Maclin - The Eagles had some great draft picks this year and Maclin is another great pickup late in the draft. If you can get him round 11 or later then go for it. Everyone is high on Desean Jackson this year and Maclin brings many of the same attributes with a lot less of the attention on him.


Donald Brown (Colts RB) - If there's another guarantee in fantasy football, it's that Joseph Addai will get injured. The problem with Addai is that he gets injured in the first quarter, leaves the game, Brown will score two TD's and you will have him on your bench. Donald Brown is going to get a lot of carries this year and Addai will get injured. He is definitely a high value if you can get him at round 6 or later.


Hakeem Nicks (Giants WR) - Nicks is the one player that is starting to move up the draft boards within the last week. The Giants receiving corps is weak without Plaxico and Nicks is a bigger sized receiver, with great hands, that can help the Giants greatly. Look for him to get the #2 spot on the team and have a solid year. Pick him up at rounds 12 or later.


Chris "Beanie" Wells (Cardinals RB) - Okay, I've been done on Beanie pretty much ever since he stepped foot in the Horse Poop, I mean horseshoe, at Ohio State. Maybe it's my Penn State bias, because I think I'm coming around, a little. He's not as injury prone as everyone makes him out to be and the Cardinals will run the ball. He should get the majority of the carries so look for him in round seven at the earliest.



Lesean McCoy (Eagles RB) - McCoy is in the same situation as Donald Brown. Brian Westbrook is always out for a game or two each year and he's getting older and can't carry the entire load. The Eagles have brought in a great talent who plays similar to Westbrook with his tough running ability and his great hands at catching the ball in the flat. If you draft Westbrook he's a must get. If you didn't then look for him in round nine at the earliest.


Sleeper Rookie: Deon Butler (Seahawks WR) - Butler has played great in the pre-season for Seattle scoring a few touchdowns and showing great ability. He's not someone who you will have to draft, but definitely someone to be on the lookout, especially since Deion Branch is injured almost every week.


Freshman Failures


Matthew Stafford (Lions QB) - Most rookie quarterbacks don't excel in their first year at the helm. Even if the team ends up being good, they usually don't score a lot of fantasy points. I don't see the Lions ending up with a good record at all and I don't see Stafford doing much either.


Mark Sanchez (Jets QB) - His throwing targets are Chansi Stuckey and Jerricho Cotchery.


Knowshon Moreno (Broncos RB) - Knowshon will get his shots to be the star back in Denver, but I just think he is too undersized right now to be a consistent every down back. I would stay clear of him unless you can get him in round 10 or later, and in most drafts, that's not happening.


Percy Harvin (Vikings WR) - Brett Favre will throw more touchdowns to the other team then he will to Percy Harvin. Mark it down.


Shonn Greene (Jets RB) - I was enthused about Shonn Greene for awhile, but Leon Washington seems to have secured the second RB role. Shonn will be a good talent, but not this year.


Glenn Coffee (49ers RB) - The superstar performer of pre-season who won't touch paydirt all year. Coffee looked explosive for the 49ers during pre-season and everyone is jumping on to the Coffee Express, but I finally came to my senses and realized that Glenn is this years pre-season's standout to not do anything. If you draft Frank Gore then I'd definitely look for him though.


Sophomore Standouts


Darren McFadden (Raiders RB) - After having a mediocre rookie season, at best, I look for McFadden to finally use all his running and receiving skills to earn some major fantasy points on a team who is lacking any other major fantasy player. If you can get McFadden in round four or later then you are getting a bargain.


Joe Flacco (Ravens QB) - Flacco came out of nowhere last year to take the Ravens to the AFC Championship. He has a bullet for an arm and somehow finds a way to make the necessary plays. The Ravens seem like they've slumped off a little, but I don't see Flacco allowing them to fall flat.


Felix Jones (Cowboys RB) - Jones will start to get more and more carries this year for Dallas since I don't see Marion Barber IV being able to handle the load. Jones had a lot of promise last year, but then got injured, which will help lower his stock this year and help you grab a great value in the later rounds.


Chris Johnson (Titans RB) - Will Chris have as great of a season as he did last year? I don't know. He will be very solid though. LenDale White might get some of the goal line carries, which will hurt some of Johnson's points, but he has explosive speed that will help him be a standout, just like he was last year.


Dustin Keller (Jets TE) - Keller is a tight end that many leagues are passing over. The Jets are going to get blitzed a lot with a rookie at QB and Keller is great catching TE who will be used a lot for short yardage and check down situations. He will also be a great target for Sanchez at the goal line.


Eddie Royal (Broncos WR) - Eddie Royal jumped on to the fantasy scene quickly last year and he should continue to do well this year. Orton will have to make plays and throw the ball and Eddie Royal will be his new go to go. With the uncertainty if Brandon Marshall will be on the Broncos, suspended, or batting down balls, Royal has the chance to become the teams #1 and keep the position for years to come. Try to get Royal in round six or later for maximum value.


Matt Forte (Bears RB) - Forte tore it up last year for the Bears, a lot due to the fact that he has great hands and can catch the ball in the backfield. Cutler is a gunslinger and will be looking down field early, but two things can happen with that fact. Either Cutler connects down field and opens up the running game for Forte or Cutler falters and must use Forte in the flats more often. Either way Forte is going to have a mammoth year. Top three running back!


Ray Rice (Ravens RB) - Rice started building up his stats later into the season after McGahee went down and now he has secured the starting nod at RB. Baltimore will still use Willis and Le'Ron, but Ray should still get the majority of the carries and have a solid fantasy year. Don't draft him too high though.


Sleeper: Jermichael Finley (Packers TE) - Everyone's new favorite tight end should grab the TE spot in Green Bay and solidify it for awhile. Green Bay loves running slants to Driver and Jennings and Finley will just open up more passing lanes with his great ability. Some people aren't so sure about him, but I think he will be a fantasy stud.


Sophomore Slumps


Matt Ryan (Falcons QB) - Matty Ice looked stellar in his first year at QB, but I see a drop off for him this year. There will be much more focus on stopping Turner this year, which will make him throw the ball more. I don't think that's a good thing, and even with the addition of Tony Gonzalez I don't see him having a great fantasy year.


Jonathen Stewart (Panters RB) - Stewart did a great job last year to help out DeAngelo Williams, but he has been suffering some injuries in pre-season and doesn't seem ready for another solid year. Williams will be the every down back and Stewart will be left on the sideline hoping for a chance.


Rashard Mendenhall (Steelers RB) - It's not really a slump when you don't show any promise last year and end up getting injured all season, but he's had his chance this year to take the starting job from Willie Parker and he didn't seize it. Stay away from Mendenhall unless you have Parker and want the handcuff.


John Carlson (Seahawks TE) - Most people think Carlson will be a major target again this year for Hasselbeck, but with the addition of T.J. and a better all around team, I don't see the same production for John. He's not a TE I would look at taking and would go with a better option such as Kevin Boss or Brent Celek.


DeSean Jackson (Eagles WR) - Everyone saw how great DeSean played last year with a depleted Eagles offense, but this year the Eagles seem healthy and everyone is ready for DeSean. He will be covered much harder so I don't think he'll have as many opportunities to break away and drop the ball before he crosses the goaline.


Kevin Smith (Lions RB) - Kevin Smith did a good job getting fantasy points on a horrible Lions team last year. This year he will get a lot of carries with a rookie QB in front of him, but the defenses will focus more on him beating them then Stafford beating them. His performance level should drop.


Steve Slaton (Texans RB) - Slaton was the waiver wire pickup of the year last year and surprised the entire league with his ability. I don't think he'll do terrible, but I do think Chris Brown will get many of the goal line rushes and take away from his fantasy points. I like Slaton, just not as a first round pick.

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