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NFL Fantasy Football - Top 15 Players to Pick

8-05-09

Pre-draft rankings? Screw ‘em. If you aren’t drafting on the fly without all the damned notes, then you’re not a real football fan. Face it – you’re not. Below you’ll find the 15 best fantasy studs of your draft and if you don’t have two of them then you’re totally screwed. Don’t worry. A couple idiots will balk by drafting Marvin Harrison or Torry Holt. Another guy will auto-draft Peyton Manning way too high. But if you want a real shot at the title, then draft these guys.

By the way, before I get started, can we talk about a draft queue for two seconds? When you are three turns away from selecting in the draft, don’t just sit there doing nothing (“ooooohhhh, I wonder who Fred is going to pick?!?!?!?”) figure out the three guys that you want with your next pick based on availability and your needs. That way, when it’s your turn you’ve already sorted out who you want. No guessing, no panicking. You had three guys queued up, one of them went, so now it’s a pick between two guys instead of you scrambling through your notes like you were cramming for a sociology exam. Please, it saves everyone time and pain and less people will hate you, which is a good thing whenever pride and hope are mixed with copious amounts of beer and frustration.

On to the rankings!

15. DeAngelo Williams (1,515 yards, 18 touchdowns)

It’s not that I don’t think this is an anomaly for DeAngelo because last year’s production was more than 4x what he did in 2007. If anyone’s primed for “fall back to Earth” status, it’s DeAngelo Williams. But if anyone has to take the pressure off of Jake Delhomme, it’s DeAngelo Williams. Sounds like a “rock and a hard place” if you ask me.

14. Marion Barber (885 yards, 7 touchdowns)

Barber wasn’t exactly the touchdown machine he usually is last year, but the thought of him as a true feature back were kind of overemphasized. This year, he falls back in to a committee with Taster’s Choice and Felix Jones. He’s a buy-low candidate for sure, kind of like the Dallas Cowboys this year.

13. Chris Johnson (1,228 yards, 9 touchdowns)

A running-back is usually only as reliable as his quarterback. Now when your two options are a career journeyman entering his 72nd year in the league, or a guy who sank in to an unfathomable depression because he lost his starting job, does that scream reliable? The Titans were 12-4-1 ATS last season…and Chris Johnson might not escape LenDale’s vulture tactics, nor his quarterbacks’ ineptitude this year.

12. Clinton Portis (1,487 yards, 9 touchdowns)

Two seasons of 16 games in a row and I’m no longer worried about his health. I’m worried about the Redskins questionable offensive capabilities, but Portis is like a Chevy – he’s a rock you can count on. Ok, maybe he’s not anything like a Chevy…

11. Matt Forte (1,238 yards, 8 touchdowns

Jay Cutler’s either going to steal opportunities or touchdowns away from Matt Forte. You take your pick.

10. Randy Moss and Tom Brady

I’ve written so much about Tom Brady’s knee that I’m starting to get emotionally attached to it. I’m not biting on either, because I don’t trust Brady, and I don’t trust any of his backups for Moss should he go down.

9. Thomas Jones (1,312 yards, 13 touchdowns)

I like Thomas Jones a lot, and the only reason he’s not rated higher is because of this contract mess he’s in. He’s making $800,000 this year with a $3 million bonus in March…unless the Jets cut him. So he’s in this weird “F-U mode” or contract year. I can’t tell. But either way, he’s gonna be pissed…which means buy now!

8. Larry Fitzgerald (1,431 yards, 12 touchdowns)

Can’t argue much that he’s the best receiver in the league until you wonder if Kurt Warner is going to return to form, or if Boldin will play at all this year…

7. Andre Johnson (1,575 yards, 8 touchdowns)

…which is why Johnson is actually the best receiver in the league. He can do it all, and he’s got Matt Schaub. An injury last year made things a bit messy, but Johnson and the Texans are due for a breakout year. I’m telling you that Houston is taking the AFC South division title. Please believe me!

6. Brandon Jacobs (1,036 rushing yards, 15 touchdowns)

Let me see…Eli Manning has nobody to throw to and Derrick Ward is in Tampa Bay. Brandon Jacobs is still 265 pounds right? Ok, just checking…

5. Brian Westbrook (936 rushing yards, 14 total touchdowns)

Westbrook is the best all-round back in the league right now. Great hands, genius ankles (I love that term) and is a deadly scorer that will benefit from an improved wide receiver corps. He’s that back that won’t let you down – he’ll find a way to score nearly every game.

4. Drew Brees (5,069 yards, 34 touchdowns)

A note to all of you Drew Brees haters out there: Marques Colston was out for 8 weeks last season and Brees still threw for 5,069 yards. Anyone else excited to see Dan Marino lose his mind on national television again? I wonder if he punches Boomer Esiason this time…oh I can’t wait!

3. Michael Turner (1,699 yards, 17 touchdowns)

I’m so torn on this one. On the one hand, the entire offense revolves around him. On the other hand, I don’t know if he was just a flash-in-the-pan or not. Sure the 17 touchdowns is “inflated” because he scored 4 in Week 1, but even if he just scored a single score in that game, he’d still have 14 touchdowns! If I’m picking third, I’m going after the back that proved everyone stupid last year…just so I don’t.

2. Maurice Jones-Drew (824 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns)

Give him a break. His two interior offensive linemen were injured last season. Now they’re back. Any more stupid questions?

1. Adrian Peterson (1,760 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns)

With Brett Favre, Peterson might have shattered the 2,000 yard barrier. Without him, he’s going to come pretty damn close. Aw shucks.

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