Drew Brees(notes), NO, QB – Round 4, Pick 1
No, Brees won't fall to the fourth round in very many drafts. He's averaged 4575 passing yards and 31 touchdowns per year during his four seasons with the Saints, and he hasn't missed a game due to injury while in New Orleans (because no one ever hits him). There wasn't really a ton of separation among the elite fantasy QBs last year, but if any player at this position is going to deliver a historic season — like Brady's '07 or Manning's '04 — it's Brees.
This drafter is clearly taking a risk by waiting until the 5/6 picks to select a second running back, but he's hoping that a quarterback and/or tight end run will take place, leaving a few useful names in the RB pool.
Marques Colston(notes), NO, WR – Round 4, Pick 2
This dreadful PPR team plods on. After spending the past 24 hours trying unsuccessfully to trade Benson, the timer ticks down and they select Colston, the next name on the board at WR. He has 70 catches, 1000 yards and at least eight TDs in three of the past four years. Great offense, safe player. He alone cannot save this fantasy squad.
(Seriously, Pianowski, make this guy an offer for Cedric. Has there ever been a mock-trade in a mock draft? Let's make some history…)
Dallas Clark(notes), Ind, TE – Round 4, Pick 3
One of the most frustrating aspects of PPR participation is watching a seemingly substantial lead evaporate when one of your opponents collects, say, five receptions on one drive. This pick welcomes one of the usual suspects into the fold. Tight end has become a position of depth, yes, but there's still an elite tier. Clark was one of three players in football with at least 100 receptions, 1000 yards and 10 scores in 2009. It was his second double-digit TD season and his activity level in the passing game has been on an upswing for three straight seasons. A healthy Anthony Gonzalez(notes) could eat into his reception total, but I don't see the red zone targets going anywhere.
Hines Ward(notes), Pit, WR – Round 4, Pick 4
Ward had his second-best season in both receptions and yardage in 2009, not bad for a guy in his age-33 season. The QB situation could be a bit of a mess in Pittsburgh this year, but Ward and Ben Roethlisberger(notes) aren't exactly the best of friends, and Hines is much more likely to pull in a 4-yard grab to keep a drive alive than he is to burn you downfield. Possession guys are much more likely to be immune to QB turnover. The targets should be there with Santonio Holmes(notes) gone and there's a comfortable 6-7 TD floor here.
It might seem a little odd to see this team skip over a much-needed running back, but that pool is starting to lump together with a lot of similar-looking players, and I'm getting the sense that the next batch of picks will be looking away from the RB position anyway; in short, the drop-down to the back I get in Round 5 might not be that big a deal. Manning is such an established star that he needs little discussion or defending; you're getting both upside and floor with this selection, you'll use him every week, and his durability (192 consecutive starts) essentially buys you an extra roster spot to worth with (I'll use that lottery ticket on a late running back, I suppose). And given how much the Colts use Joseph Addai(notes) in the passing game, it doens't bother me to have a quarterback and a running back from the same NFL club (especially a high-powered unit like Indianapolis).
Chad Ochocinco(notes), Cin, WR – Round 4, Pick 6
Cincinnati's dancing diva lost a lot of his street cred during an injury-riddled 2008 season, but his stats rebounded nicely in 2009 and let's see the forest for the trees here – Ochocinco has given us a superstar season in seven of the last eight years. With his joie de vivre restored and his body healthy again, I see no reason not to expect at least a 70-1000-8 line, with the upside for more (the Bengals probably won't be as run-heavy as they were last season). Let's see some new moves in the end zone, Chad.
Hakeem Nicks(notes), NYG, WR – Round 4, Pick 7
It's insane Chris Wells is still on the board at this point, but with receivers continuing to go at a record pace, I need to once again address the position. Nicks had 796 yards with six touchdowns last year, which is pretty impressive for a rookie over just 14 games. While Steve Smith may end up with more targets, Nicks is the favorite to start at split-end in 2010, and he's by far the most explosive option in the Giants' passing game as well as the team's best threat in the red zone. With Eli Manning(notes) taking a huge leap last year, Nicks could easily prove to be a top-15 fantasy WR.
Michael Crabtree(notes), SF, WR – Round 4, Pick 8
Crabtree is a similar pick as Nicks, only he plays on a worse offense (although his path for targets is clearer, and he comes in with the better pedigree). Crabtree's numbers last year don't overwhelm (48 catches, 625 yards), but put into context (he was returning from foot surgery and held out until Week 7), his performance as a rookie at a tough position to tranistion to was nothing short of remarkable. The 49ers are a run-first team, but Alex Smith finally looks comfortable playing in the same system for two years in a row for the first time in his career. With immense talent, and the experience of his first full training camp, Crabtree could be in store for a big 2010.
Santana Moss(notes), Was, WR – Round 4, Pick 9
Ignore the Anthony Galea allegations, Moss should have a huge bounce back season. In actuality, even if he was heavily doped, the receiver wouldn't be punished until the following season. Just ask Brian Cushing(notes). Donovan McNabb's(notes) presence substantially bolsters the veteran's value. Last year playing in a dysfunctional 'Skins offense, he still managed to compile a respectable 70 catches for 902 yards. His TD total likely won’t reach double-digits, but a campaign similar to his first season in D.C. is possible. A line of 84-1483-9 isn't unthinkable.
If there's any top 10 quarterback who could make a Rodgers-esque jump into the top three, its Rambo. Evident in his sensational 26:9 TD:INT split, the former Eastern Illinois standout took a major maturity step last season - remarkable considering Jason Witten's(notes) hollow campaign. No longer the gunslinger of years past, he's more judicious with the football and poised in the pocket. The addition of Dez Bryant(notes) and increased PT of sure-handed Felix Jones will only enhance his numbers. 2010 just might be Romo's career year.
Beanie Wells(notes), Ari, RB – Round 4, Pick 11
True, Wells will catch very few passes with Tim Hightower(notes) around, but fantasy production is fantasy production and it doesn't really matter where it comes from. Given Wells' strong finish to his rookie season (6 TDs in final 8 games and emergence as the team's featured back) and the likelihood that Arizona runs the ball more in the post-Warner era, Wells stands to make fantasy owners a nice profit on the ground in 2010.
Percy Harvin(notes), Min, WR – Round 4, Pick 12
The Vikings understood from the get-go that Harvin can be lethal with the ball in his hands, and they were very creative in moving him all around the field so that he could be in position to use his game-breaking skills. With a year of experience under his belt, I expect him to be even more of the offensive focus
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