Here is a look at how each team in the AFC South currently shapes up prior to the NFL Training Camps.
Peyton Manning: Manning is probably the most consistent QB you will find in fantasy circles. No need to panic at QB for Indy, although in another 2-3 years they may want to look for someone they would like to groom as his replacement.
Joseph Addai: After being pushed initially by 2009 first round pick Donald Brown, Addai settled in and completed a decent season for fantasy owners. You can no longer count on him being your RB1, but he makes for a solid RB2 candidate.
Donald Brown: The rookie struggled with the injury bug most of the season and really didn’t make a huge impact for himself statistically. Although as previously stated, I think the Brown acquisition provided some motivation for Addai. From that perspective the move was successful. I do think Brown will eat more into Addai’s playing time in the future.
Reggie Wayne: One of the top receivers in the game. He should still have a few more quality seasons left.
Austin Collie/Pierre Garcon/Anthony Gonzalez: The Colts definitely do not lack in WR talent. All 3 of these players should contribute to the 2010 passing attack and one of the three will be ready to take over the reigns as top dog once Reggie Wayne retires. The big question is which one of these players is best to own. Last year it was Austin Collie. This year could be different.
Dallas Clark: Clark stayed healthy the entire season and posted stellar fantasy numbers at the TE position in 2009. I would look for his production to go down somewhat in 2010 due to the emergence of the aforementioned WRs.
Adam Viniatieri: Viniatieri may finally be over the injury bug that has plagued him the past few seasons and maybe now he can contribute again in 2010. The word out of OTAs and minicamps so far has been promising. Due to how efficient the Colts are in the Red Zone though, the Colts kicker figures to finish in the middle third of fantasy kickers for 2010.
The Indianapolis defensive unit shows flashes of brilliance every year, but it almost always seems some injuries beset them and it puts the defense ranking in the middle third of the fantasy defensive pack.
Vince Young: VY looked more like the player that came out and won 2006 ROY honors last season than the player that struggled and then rode the bench for the first half of 2009. He keeps many drives alive with his legs and has been a proven winner in the past. VY should be a fixture at QB for the Titans for many years to come.
Chris Johnson: Johnson totally dazzled and amazed the football world and fantasy owners alike in 2009. Although I expect CJ2K to post another respectable season, I would look for a decline in his touches in 2010 as Jeff Fisher tries not to burn him out in only a few seasons.
Javon Ringer/LaGarrette Blount: Ringer or Blount will need to win the training camp battle this year in order to get some of the scrap carry leftovers that Chris Johnson will leave. I would give the nod to Ringer since he already has a season into the Titans system.
Nate Washington: Injuries plagued Washington most of the 2009 season. He did have some nice performances mixed in when he could keep himself on the field. The Titans hope he can develop some more consistency in 2010.
Kenny Britt: 2010 is the year I believe Britt will take a step forward and become the leading receiving target on this team. He is a great target down by the goal line for VY to find.
Bo Scaife/Jared Cook: Scaife was resigned by the Titans and knows the system well. Eventually he will hand over the reigns to Jared Cook as the TE in Titanland.
Rob Bironas: The Titan offense typically struggles in the red zone every year and 2010 should be no exception. Bironas will finish in the top third of the fantasy kickers because of it.
The Titans defense is young and struggled throughout much of the 2009 season. 2010 may be another repeat in the bottom third of fantasy defenses until some of the young talent on the team develops.
David Garrard: Garrard is a capable NFL QB but is not an elite option at the position by any means. Garrard was given a vote of confidence by the Jaguar brass by them not selecting a QB in this year’s draft. Garrard just needs to develop some chemistry with the young receivers to step up his game.
Maurice Jones-Drew: You really can’t get anyone much better than MJD at the running back position. He carries the majority of the load and has posted top 10 RB fantasy numbers in his entire career. Look for him to be elite again in 2010.
Rashad Jennings: Jennings is a nice complimentary piece to MJD in the offense and was a great steal last year in the seventh round of the draft. He is the MJD handcuff for 2010.
Mike Sims-Walker: MSW was the leading receiver on the team in 2009. Look for that to continue in 2010. He should be a decent WR3 play especially in PPR leagues.
Mike Thomas: Last year’s rookie will most likely take over the other WR slot vacated by the departure of Torry Holt. He needs to hone his skills more to become a viable fantasy option.
Marcedes Lewis: Lewis has been a decent spot play now and again at TE. He may be challenged a little more though for the position by Zach Miller (not the one from the Raiders).
Josh Scobee: Scobee figures to finish in the bottom third of fantasy kickers in 2010.
This defensive unit could hardly generate any sacks all last season. This is a unit that figures to finish near the bottom in fantasy points and should be avoided on draft day.
Matt Schaub: Schaub finally had his first full healthy season in the NFL and he proved in 2009 why he is a top 10 talent QB. With the weapons he has in the passing game, there is no reason to expect a decline anytime soon.
Steve Slaton/Ben Tate/Arian Foster: Tate was the rookie added to the mix this offseason. He is behind a little bit since he has missed most of the offseason workouts due to a hamstring injury. Tate is back practicing and the team figures to use him on most first and second downs. Steve Slaton should see action as the third down back except in short yardage situations.
Andre Johnson: What else can really be said about Andre Johnson? He is a stud WR in any fantasy format and should continue to be with Matt Schaub at the helm.
Kevin Walter/Jacoby Jones: Walter had a very disappointing 2009 season. He was retained though and should challenge to start opposite Andre. However Jones seems to be developing into quite a solid complimentary player and will probably be given an ample shot during training camp to unseat Walter to start in 2010.
Owen Daniels: Daniels was enjoying the best season of his career in 2009 before it came to an abrupt end with a knee injury. If Daniels regains his pre-injury 2009 form, he could be a formidable force at the TE position in 2010.
Kris Brown/Neil Rackers: Brown and Rackers figure to duke it out in training camp for the kicking spot in Houston. I would give Brown the nod and expect him to finish top part of the middle third of all fantasy kickers in 2010.
The Houston defense settled in nicely towards the middle of the season last year. The Brian Cushing suspension will hurt in the first four games, but after that don’t be surprised for this defense to finish just outside the fringe of the top third of defensive units in 2010.
Here is the predicted order of finish for 2010:
- Indianapolis Colts
- Houston Texans
- Tennessee Titans
- Jacksonville Jaguars