Fantasy draft season has come to the close and the NFL season officially kicks off Thursday night. I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but after doing six drafts over the past four weeks, I'm kind of glad I won't have to do another one until 11 months now. I'm ready to get the season started and see how my squads fare.
Looking back on the 2010 draft season, what did we learn?
Well, for one, it looks like the era of the bell-cow back has come to a close. Four backs — Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice — were the consensus top four picks. But after that, all bets were off, with nine QBs and WRs going in the top 20, on average, according to ESPN's live draft rankings. Back in the day — you know, three years ago — it was pretty much all running backs.
The shift in strategy — breaking away from the archaic RB-RB-RB approach and actually being a little creative — shows that fantasy owners are getting smarter collectively. More people are playing than ever, and there's an endless supply of information and opinions to guide them on their quest for glory.
These trends have made drafts much more interesting, with non-backs flying off the board early and often. Do you dare take a Drew Brees or an Aaron Rodgers in the first round? Do you grab a pair of stud wideouts with your first two picks and scour for backs later? Is Dallas Clark really worth a third- or fourth-round pick? We'll find out the answers 15 or 16 weeks from now.
Good luck on your quest — or if you're crazy like me, quests.
Start 'em or sit 'em — Week 1:
Arian Foster, Texans: Start 'em. I'm liking Foster more and more, and he should run wild against the Colts, assuming Indy doesn't pull away early.
Shonn Greene, Jets: Sit 'em. With a tough matchup against the Ravens, he isn't going to be a Monday night fantasy savior.
Matt Forte, Bears: Start 'em. Forte begins what should be a bounce-back season against the Lions.
Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars: Sit 'em. He'll likely draw Champ Bailey, and David Garrard is still his QB.
Brett Favre, Vikings: Sit 'em. The Vikings' return to the Superdome is a classic Favre-trying-to-do-too-much game waiting to happen.
Ronnie Brown, Dolphins. Start 'em. Brown is the bane of my fantasy existence, but he's healthy and he's playing the Bills. You don't have to feel good about it, but you've got to play him.
Chicago wideouts Devin Hester and Devin Aromashodu, who have a favorable matchup against the Lions, are available in many leagues. Good luck guessing which one to play. ... 49ers QB Alex Smith should play well against the Seahawks. ... With Joseph Addai banged up a little, I like Donald Brown against the Texans. Plus he has upside for the whole season, so scoop him up if he's out there. ... Cadillac Williams is a starting back, so he shouldn't be on waivers, especially not with a juicy Week 1 matchup against the Browns. ... Your waiver-wire D/ST of the week is the Cardinals, who play rookie QB Sam Bradford and the Rams.
The statuses of a bunch of running backs are up in the air, including Maurice Jones-Drew (knee), Fred Jackson (hand), Knowshon Moreno (hamstring), Michael Bush (thumb) and Jonathan Stewart (heel). Don't forget to check the inactives Sunday before plugging one of them into your starting lineup. ... Two guys recovering from ACL tears, Wes Welker and Owen Daniels, are expected to play in Week 1, but their production probably won't be where it was pre-injury, not quite yet. Welker is thought to be further along than Daniels. ... Even if Dez Bryant (ankle) plays, keep him on your bench. He's a question mark right now. ... Montario Hardesty (knee) is out for the season, raising Jerome Harrison's value. ... Marques Colston (bruised kidney), Carolina-style Steve Smith (arm) and Larry Fitzgerald (MCL sprain) are expected to play in Week 1. ... Two of Peyton Manning's favorite weapons, Dallas Clark and Pierre Garcon, are questionable.
You make the call:
Which player would you rather have going forward this season: Randy Moss or Larry Fitzgerald?
Reader question of the week:
I have gotten none so far, which isn't surprising considering the season has yet to start. Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them in the comments section below.
Stow Vincent Jackson away on your roster if he's available. Yeah, he's suspended, and yeah, he's holding out. But he's a top-10 fantasy receiver who will have a ton of value if he plays in 2010, be it for the Chargers or someone else.
- Detroit Lions
- Houston Texans
- Minnesota Vikings
- Wes Welker
- Dallas Clark
- Larry Fitzgerald
- Brett Favre
- Arizona Cardinals
- Buffalo Bills
- Cleveland Browns
- Indianapolis Colts
- Los Angeles Chargers
- San Francisco 49ers
- Seattle Seahawks
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- New York Jets
- Drew Brees
- Arian Foster
- Sam Bradford