April 29, 2009
Throughout the week, the Yahoo! fantasy staff will be conducting our annual post-NFL Draft fantasy mock. This thing will look EXACTLY like your league's draft in August, with zero exceptions. Book it. End of story. That's how deadly accurate we are around here. To see Round 1 and Round 2 results, just follow the links.
A victim of the injury imp early last season, Colston contributed minimally over the first eight weeks of the season. However, once he rounded into form, he averaged 9.3 targets, six receptions and 84.8 receiving yards per game from Week 10 on. More impressively, only Andre Johnson outpaced him over the final three weeks of the regular season. Entering his fourth season, the 25-year-old is Drew Brees' most trusted target, especially in the red-zone. Assuming he avoids the injury bug, Colston should achieve totals similar to '07 (98-1200-11). Reggie Wayne was also considered here, but after the Colts' receiver disappointed in the TD department last year, the sticky-fingered Saint was the logical choice. (Brad Evans)
The expected advancements of second-year sensation Matt Ryan should again rev Hot Roddy's engine. The eighth-best receiver in the league a year ago, White produced steady yields, topping the century mark seven times with seven scores. For those who favor PPR formats, his 5.5 receptions per game were unbelievably valuable. Skeptics will contest Tony Gonzalez will steal away looks, but in reality the tight end's presence should help free White more often downfield. Another 85-plus catches with 1300-1500 yards and 8-10 scores is definitely attainable. (BE)
I love Boldin. I hate the predicament he’s currently in. If there was a guarantee of a happy union between Arizona and their star receiver heading into the ’09 season, I would have jumped on him last round. Hell, if there was simply a guarantee that he will play 16 games for the Cardinals in an angry, bitter fashion in ’09, I would have taken him last round. But, as it stands, you have to at least be concerned about a possible trade that would land him in a less desirable situation, or even the possibility of a holdout as he tries to force Arizona into coughing up some more dough. At this point, however, Boldin is too good to pass up, regardless of the issues. On a per game basis, there wasn’t a more productive fantasy wideout in ’08. The pick is in … now, c’mon, guys, can’t y’all just get along? (Brandon Funston)
Round 3, Pick 4 - WR Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
At this point in his career, Wayne’s reputation exceeds his actual value. He’s typically on the tongue of the majority when top five receivers are being contemplated, but he’s finished outside the top dozen receivers in fantasy points twice in the past four seasons and he’s only once caught double-digit touchdown passes in that span. What he’s got on his side is consistency – 1,000-plus yards and 80-plus receptions for four straight seasons – and, with Marvin Harrison’s decline and offseason departure, the mostly undivided attention of sharp-shooter Peyton Manning. He’s an extremely safe choice at this point, and that really should be spun as a positive considering the random nature of fantasy football. (BFun)
Going QB in Round 2 left this team with a choice: Pick through the scraps for a WR1 or an RB2. In the end I decided to take my chances on grabbing a wideout later, and then it became a process of elimination. I talked myself out of Thomas Jones (age), Marshawn Lynch (inconsistency) and Joseph Addai (health, competition) and finally settled on Smith, not the sexiest back skill-set wise, but a guy who improved late (97.0 ypg, 3 TDs over last three) and who is all but guaranteed a featured role. It will only take a slight second-year improvement from Smith and minimal franchise bounce from a rock-bottom campaign for Smith to register 1,400 total yards and 10-12 TDs. (Matt Romig)
RB Brian Westbrook, R1; QB Drew Brees, R2; RB Kevin Smith, R3.
With 1,022 yards and seven TDs last year, Bowe didn't leave himself a ton of room for a third-year leap. Oh well. I'll take modest gains. Bowe was already one of the most heavily targeted receivers in fantasy a year ago -- five or more receptions in 11 of 16 games -- and that was with Tony Gonzalez commanding a lot of attention. Gonzalez is gone, passed in the other direction by QB Matt Cassel and head coach Todd Haley, who left behind an impressive offensive resume in Arizona. Unless K.C.'s defense makes massive strides, the ball figures to remain airborne deep into the afternoons at Arrowhead again in 2009. (Mig)
Round 3, Pick 7 - QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
Everybody else souring on Manning is my gain. Why the hate? All the guy has done is throw for at least 4,000 yards and 26 TDs in nine of the past 10 seasons. And do you know how many games he has missed in his 11-year career? Zero. I can't see why people are down on him. The loss of Marvin Harrison should have little affect on Manning's numbers, and Anthony Gonzalez should just keep improving in Year 3. Plus, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark remain rock-solid targets, and it's possible that another wideout could emerge this year. At this point in the draft, Manning is easily the safest player left on the board, and although he might not be a sexy pick anymore, you can mark him down for another prolific season. (Michael Blunda, PFW)
Round 3, Pick 8 - QB Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals
The real values right now are at quarterback, and Warner is the best of the remaining bunch. Besides a bit of a backfield shakeup and the loss of offensive coordinator Todd Haley, Warner's 2009 situation should be exactly the same as it was in '08, when he piled up an insane 4,583 yards and 30 TDs. Obviously, an Anquan Boldin trade could drastically change things, but assuming he doesn't get dealt, there's no reason not to love Warner's outlook this season. He has probably the NFL's No. 1 wideout in Larry Fitzgerald, a coach who loves to throw and ideal conditions to pass in for a bulk of the year. He's no spring chicken at age 37, but plenty of QBs have gotten it done at this point in their careers, and few were as talented as Warner. (MB)
He's headed to a new city and offense, he turns 32 in September, he's not much of a deep threat, I get all that. But I'm not going to say no to those pretty three-year averages (98 catches, 1,042 yards, 8 TDs), and keep in mind TJH found a way to be reasonably productive even with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB last fall. The Seahawks got a smart, adaptable, reliable pro for their $40 million. If Matt Hasselbeck can stay under center for most of the year, Houshmandzadeh should challenge for a Pro Bowl spot again. (Scott Pianowski)
The key with Owens is remembering that he's a honeymoon receiver - not someone you get attached to for the long term. His first season in Philadelphia led to pinball numbers (77-1,200-14), and he was just as good when he premiered in Dallas (85-1,180-13). We have to lower our expectations just a spec now that Owens is 35, and TO was having some trouble beating the jam at the line of scrimmage last year, but I'm trusting the pattern with the ultimate Receiver Diva - he'll will himself to at least 10 touchdowns in Buffalo, no matter what the quarterback play is like. A motivated Owens will lead to a fantasy profit. (Pianow)
WR Larry Fitzgerald, R1; RB Clinton Portis, R2; WR Terrell Owens, R3.
This team has a full backfield already (Gore, Slaton), so they're going to focus on receivers with the next two picks. The hope is that a quarterback like Schaub or Ryan will be there in Round 5 or 6; in all likelihood, Romo, Rivers, Rodgers and McNabb will be gone. Welker is a fairly easy call at this point in the draft, since he's one of the last names in his receiver tier. He's really as safe and reliable as any WR in the player pool, coming off back-to-back seasons in which he topped 110 receptions and 1100 yards. The Pats will obviously have Brady back at the controls, so Welker should find the end zone more often than he did in '08. (Andy Behrens)
After taking almost the full 90 seconds to make the selection, this owner grabbed the last of the full-workload RBs. Let the rest of the field talk themselves into rookies and committee members. Grant carried 312 times for 1203 yards last season, and, while the touchdown total was disappointing (4 rush, 1 rec), he remains the unrivaled primary ball carrier in a productive offense. You'll recall that Grant dealt with injuries and contract issues during the preseason last year, and it affected his production in the early weeks. His second half was better than his first.
In Round 4, this team will either go with a receiver or a quarterback. It's probably one round too early for the Bears defense...
RB Brandon Jacobs, R1; WR Andre Johnson, R2; RB Ryan Grant, R3.
Photos via Getty Images