It’s early. Players have just begun showing up to camp overweight and out of shape. Some teams haven’t even gathered yet. And yet, there has been plenty going on. Plenty of rookie signings, plenty of speculation and plenty of fantasy ramifications.
This is by no means supposed to be an all encompassing list, just a list of a few things that are more helpful to you on a page here than they are collecting dust with the rest of the dust in my brain.
Terrell Owens — This is the note that spurred the post you are reading now. Dudes, TO was a top 28 receiver in standard leagues in 2009. That makes him a fantasy starter in 14-team leagues. He accomplished this with quarterbacks that for whatever reason have not been remotely competent in the NFL. Owens also got it as the No. 1 receiving threat on a run-first team. As the No. 2 (or 1.5) to Chad Ochocinco on a pass-friendly Bengals team, we should expect more in 2010, right? Consider me a little optimistic on Owens now.
Kevin Kolb — Speaking of optimistic. Just kidding. I’m still not optimistic on Kolb. It’ll be interesting to see how a quarterback not named Donovan McNabb handles Andy Reid’s offense and the Eagles offensive weapons. I smell growing pains. They smell like interceptions. However, I did read one little tidbit today that made me contemplate my stance for a second. I’ll paraphrase it: Would Andy Reid let a star quarterback like Donovan McNabb go if he didn’t think Kolb was ready? Interesting thought. It didn’t change my mind, but I could see it pushing those of you on the fence over the other side. Please, don’t fall too hard.
Donovan McNabb — More on McNabb when my QB rankings are unveiled, and there are plenty of other QB rankings on the site right now. But the thing is, I could see myself getting more pessimistic on McNabb as the preseason moves along. McNabb’s facing a new system with new terminology and new moving parts. He’s a veteran and a professional, so I don’t expect too many hiccups, but hiccups there may be.
Knowshon Moreno — Bottom line: I won’t own him this season. His YPC, the team he’s surrounded by, his poor play at the end of the year in 2009 — too many red flags for me. I own Steven Jackson in a keeper league. I’ve watched him be awesome yet be less of a fantasy factor than he should be because of a poor surrounding cast. Moreno isn’t nearly as talented as Steven Jackson.
Felix Jones — You see a lot of Felix Jones love on this site, mostly from jzak. But take caution. Yes, Jones has bulked up to be more difficult to bring down, but more bulk also puts more strain on his knees and toes, two body parts that have kept us from seeing Jones’ true potential so far this season. Right now hold your right hand and left hand in front of you palm up. Put Jones’ 2010 fantasy potential in the left hand. Put his injury history in your right hand. Let us know what hand wins in the comments. For me it’s about even.
Dez Bryant — Injured his ankle at camp today and will undergo an MRI. It’s too bad because I was ready to gush. He earns a couple points for already signing and participating in camp. If he’s healthy, Bryant in that offense is a top 28 receiver. Easy. We’ll have to see what happens with the injury, but Tony Romo’s value falls if it is significant. [Update 9:08 p.m. — Just got a breaking news email from footballguys.com saying Dez Bryant will miss 4-6 weeks. He should miss all of the preseason. The experts are calling it a “significant setback” and I agree. But if he’s expected to be on the field by opening day he will still make a significant fantasy impact.]
Cedric Benson — Will not be suspended. That’s good news. People are expecting him to perform like he did last season but over a full 16 games. I’m not one of those people. Benson’s games played will be closer to 13 (his total in 2009) than 16 even without the suspension.
Matt Leinart — Last week I read an article from an ESPN the Magazine from last preseason — I’m a little behind — and it talked about not giving up on Leinart. The argument was a good one. I’m no believer, however, as we get closer to the season, I have a feeling you’ll see him on some sleeper lists. Maybe even on this site.
Wes Welker — The news was good last week. Welker was going to be able to complete all parts of training camp. Then the other day, boom, Welker gets put on the active PUP list. While he’s designated as physically unable to perform, the Patriots have the power to pull him off the list throughout the preseason. This is Bill Belichick and the Patriots so we can expect some ridiculous circumstances surrounding an injury to a star player. However, I’m going to be a little hesitant on drafting Welker until I see him make some cuts on the field.
Hakeem Nicks — I want Nicks over the Giants’ Steve Smith this season. Smith might be target No. 1 for Eli Manning, but I like Nicks’ value (lower draft slot, higher potential) better. Don’t forget, Nicks was running away from people last season on a bum wheel.