Fantasy Football: It's that time again
BY Staff reports
Sunday, August 23, 2009
8/23/09 at 6:57 AM
Welcome to our Fantasy World.
Today, Tulsa World fantasy football gurus Matt Cauthron, Matt Doyle, Jason Collington and James Royal give you a preview of the football season, with rankings for each position, sleepers you should snag and players you should avoid.
But it doesn't end here. Check out Fantasy World, the Tulsa World's fantasy football blog, all season long at
. We'll be offering you advice on winning strategies, what free agents to pick up, who to avoid, what injuries to worry about, who to start, who to bench and more.
the rest of the preseason, too, for updated cheat sheets and analysis to help you as your draft approaches.
We'll be your one-stop shop for fantasy football advice from before the draft to the day your league crowns its champion.
1. Randy Moss, Patriots: With no Tom Brady to heave him
the ball in 2008, let’s just forget about last season and
remember the man who caught an all-time NFL-record 23
touchdowns in 2007.
2. Andre Johnson, Texans: He led the league in receptions
and yardage last season, even though Matt Schaub missed
several games due to injury. If both can stay on the field,
they’re an elite combo.
3. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals: He may be the best receiver in
the league, but he shares looks with another top-10 guy and
his quarterback is one big hit away from retirement.
4. Calvin Johnson, Lions: I don’t care who’s throwing him the
ball. It hasn’t mattered yet in Johnson’s NFL career.
5. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs: A better quarterback. A new passfriendly
offense. Tony Gonzalez shipped to Atlanta. This
may be the year Bowe joins the elite.
6. Steve Smith, Panthers: Don’t be scared of his
shoulder injury, which sounds like a non-issue.
He’ll be the same old burner we’ve come to love.
7. Greg Jennings, Packers: He was a top-five
fantasy receiver last season and not much
has changed for the Packers since then.
8. Reggie Wayne, Colts: Don’t hop on
the Anthony Gonzalez bandwagon too
quickly. Wayne is still the man in Indy,
and that means 10-plus touchdowns
9. Terrell Owens, Bills: A lot of
mud is slung Owens’ way, but he’s a
great player, and he hasn’t had enough
time to blow up the locker room yet.
10. Roddy White, Falcons: Defenses have no
choice but to focus on Michael Turner, and
that gives White the room to run wild.
11. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals
12. Marques Colston, Saints
13. Wes Welker, Patriots
14. Braylon Edwards, Browns
15. Roy Williams, Cowboys
16. Brandon Marshall, Broncos
17. T.J. Houshmandzadeh,
18. Kevin Walter, Texans
19. Vincent Jackson,
20. Antonio Bryant,
— By Matt Cauthron,
World SPOT Designer
1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings: With Brett Favre in the fold at QB now, AD
could eclipse the 2,000-yard barrier this season.
2. Michael Turner, Falcons: Showed what he could do as a first-time,
full-time starter last year. Expect more of the same in ‘09.
3. Matt Forte, Bears: Don’t expect a sophomore slump from Forte,
especially now that he has Jay Cutler at QB.
4. Steven Jackson, Rams: Health issues exist, but strong finish to ‘08
shows he’s still capable of being a top-flight performer.
5. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars: Can run and catch the ball, but can he
handle the full-time work load now that Fred Taylor is gone?
6. Chris Johnson, Titans: Could share more time with slimmed down
LenDale White. But Johnson’s is value enhanced by receiving skills.
7. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers: Was the surprise of 2008. But Jonathan
Stewart’s presence in the Panther backfield might affect DW’s
8. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers: At age 30, LT’s career is at the
crossroads. If healthy, he still has great value. But health has
been a question lately.
9. Brandon Jacobs, Giants: With no established WR yet,
Eli Manning might be handing the ball off to Jacobs
more. That’s not a bad thing.
10. Steve Slaton, Texans: Lack of size issues are
negated when you factor Slaton’s speed and big-play
11. Brian Westbrook, Eagles
12. Frank Gore, 49ers
13. Marion Barber, Cowboys
14. Clinton Portis, Redskins
15. Ryan Grant, Packers
16. Kevin Smith, Lions
17. Pierre Thomas, Saints
18. Ronnie Brown, Dolphins
19. Marshawn Lynch, Bills
20. Ray Rice, Ravens
— By Matt Doyle, World sports Writer
1. Drew Brees, Saints: He threw lights out last year without his
best wide receiver for most of it.
2. Peyton Manning, Colts: No slow start this year, and he’s
talking like he shares thoughts with Anthony Gonzalez.
3. Tony Romo, Cowboys: Without Felix Jones and missing
three games, he still made the NFL’s top 10 in touchdown
passes, yards per game, yards per attempt, attempts per game
and passer rating.
4. Tom Brady, Patriots: Yeah, he threw 50 TDs once. Before
that, he topped out at 28. Calm down, people.
5. Kurt Warner, Cardinals: His head coach knows he has a
good thing going, so he won’t touch this system too much.
6. Matt Schaub, Texans: Everyone said Kurt Warner couldn’t
stay healthy either. Schaub has the system and weapons to be
this year’s Warner.
7. Aaron Rodgers, Packers: Only problem is he won’t get in a
lot of shootouts with such a good defense.
8. Carson Palmer, Bengals: He will get in a bunch of shootouts
because he has a horrible defense.
9. Donovan McNabb, Eagles: He did get benched last year, so
he barely makes the top 10.
10. Brett Favre, Vikings: Yeah, why not. Rivers was human
before last year, and Favre is back in a system that he threw 28
TDs in two years ago.
11. Philip Rivers, Chargers
12. Trent Edwards, Bills
13. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
14. Matt Cassel, Chiefs
15. Matt Ryan, Falcons
16. Jay Cutler, Bears
17. Jason Campbell, Redskins
18. Eli Manning, Giants
19. Daunte Culpepper, Lions
20. Chad Pennington, Dolphins
— By Jason Collington,
World Web Editor
1. Jason Witten, Dallas: No T.O. means a
mediocre Dallas receiving corps means best
buddy Tony Romo will be throwing to Witten
2. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta: Gone from KC, but
he’ll be QB Matt Ryan’s favorite new target.
3. Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota: Will be a
steal in middle to late rounds because Favre
likes his TEs in the red zone. Ask Bubba Franks.
4. Antonio Gates, San Diego: Gates still among
the best, but may find better value in later
5. Dallas Clark, Indianapolis: Flip a coin on
these last two. They’re virtually the same.
6. Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay
7. Owen Daniels, Houston
8. Greg Olsen, Chicago
9. John Carlson, Seattle
10. Vernon Davis, San Francisco
— By James Royal, World assistant sports Editor
1. Pittsburgh Steelers: Was No.
2 in total defense with tough
schedule last year. With easier
schedule this year, results could
be even better.
2. New York Giants: The best
defensive line in pro football
should generate a very nice
sack total this season.
3. Tennessee Titans: Despite
losing DT Albert Haynesworth,
the Titans have a very solid unit
that will be formidable again.
4. Baltimore Ravens: Losing LB
Bart Scott, S Jim Leonhard and
coordinator Rex Ryan in offseason
was huge and dropped
Baltimore a notch.
5. Minnesota Vikings: If the
Giants have the best defensive
line, Minnesota is second if the
Williams boys stay on the field.
6. Philadelphia Eagles
7. New York Jets
8. Dallas Cowboys
9. New England Patriots
10. San Diego Chargers
— By Matt Doyle,
World sports Writer
1. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots:
He led fantasy kickers last year,
and now Tom Brady is back.
Plenty of chances with an offense
like New England’s.
2. Nate Kaeding, Chargers: If
you like dependable, meet Mr.
Kaeding. He hasn’t failed to top
112 fantasy points in the past
3. David Akers, Eagles: An
efficient offense. A leg like a
cannon. What’s not to like?
4. Neil Rackers, Cardinals:
He would’ve scored more last
season but the Cards scored
too many touchdowns.
5. Robbie Gould, Bears: He’s as
accurate as they come and the
Bears offense should be much
6. Mason Crosby, Packers
7. Jason Elam, Falcons
8. Ryan Longwell, Vikings
9. Nick Folk, Cowboys
10. Rob Bironas, Titans
— By Matt Cauthron,
World SPOT Designer
PLAYERS TO STEAL
DeShawn Wynn, RB, Packers: He’s been
the talk of camp and some say he may not
just be the backup to Ryan Grant — he
might be sharing time with him.
Devone Bess, WR, Dolphins: Ted Ginn is
not up to the task and Greg Camarillo is
coming off serious knee surgery.
Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots: The good
thing is he has burned a lot of fantasy
owners in the past and will fall in most
drafts — he’s healthy now.
Josh Morgan, WR, 49ers: Everything
will be different about San Fran’s offense
this year, now that Mike Singletary is in
control, but Morgan is the only guy on the
field who looks like he can catch.
Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs: You would
want to quit too if you had Herman Edwards
controlling your life. Now he has a
coach who knows how to win and find the
Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals: He was a
stud before he got hurt, and his wide
receivers are all motivated to break games
open this season.
Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Colts: He isn’t
getting picked very high because people
think he’s the No. 2 guy to Reggie Wayne.
Earnest Graham, RB, Bucs: He helped win
leagues two years ago. He’s healthy now
and has Derrick Ward to help the team
get in the red zone more.
Shonn Greene, RB, Jets: He’s simply better
than Thomas Jones, younger and he’s
in an offense that will run all day long.
Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys: In such an
amazing offense, even the third guy has
a shot. Especially if Roy Williams doesn’t
Chris Henry, WR, Bengals: He is looking
for a contract and plays like Randy Moss.
Robert Meachem, WR, Saints: Not a homer
pick. Lance Moore is ailing, and Meachem
is better than Devery Henderson.
Lee Evans, WR, Bills: He can take guys
on one-on-one. Thanks to T.O., that will
happen more often.
Kevin Smith, RB, Lions: Finished the season
with five TDs in the final eight games
on the worst team in history.
Kevin Walter, WR, Texans: He scored
more points last season than a lot of guys
in everybody’s top 20 this season.
— By Jason Collington, World Web Editor
PLAYERS TO AVOID
Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis: This
isn’t about performance; Manning’s great.
It’s about value. To get Manning, you’ll
have to take him in the early third round.
Instead, take a running back or wide
receiver and use a fourth- or fifth-round
pick on Aaron Rodgers, Phillip Rivers, Kurt
Warner or Tony Romo — all of whom
should have comparable numbers.
Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia: He’s
hot or cold, and this year he’ll be cold a
lot more often with rookie LeSean McCoy
stealing carries. Unless Westbrook falls to
you in the third round or later, let someone
else take him.
Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys: Booker T.
Washington grad Felix Jones can be better
than Barber if he stays healthy. Tashard
Choice is going to get carries, too. Three
backs is too many.
Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans: Lance
Moore looked great when Colston got
hurt last year. Booker T. Washington alum
Robert Meacham should see more of a
role. There won’t be as many balls for
Drew Brees to spread around this season
with Pierre Thomas getting more carries.
Colston is too much of a risk for not
enough reward. (On a side note, is every
receiver in New Orleans an injury waiting
Brett Favre, QB, Minnesota: Don’t be that
guy, the one who takes Favre thinking he’ll
be the Favre of old. He won’t be. He’s a
backup at best.
Kyle Orton, QB, Denver: He was never
any good in Chicago, so why should Denver
be any different? Thinner air? There’s
a good chance he’ll lose the starting job
to Chris Simms by Week 3 if he can even
hold onto it through the preseason.
Rookie quarterbacks: Matt Ryan was a
flash in the pan. Don’t expect Matthew
Stafford or Matt Sanchez to duplicate his
— By James royal, World assistant sports Editor
Former Oklahoma Sooner Adrian Peterson tops our list of fantasy running backs. Associated Press photo
Randy Moss looks to regain his 2007 glory. Associated Press photo
Drew Brees comes off a season in which he threw for more than 5,000 yards. Associated Press photo