1 Drew Brees
Brees may be a bit inconsistent at times, but he remains one of the safest picks at any position this season. He may not top 5,000 yards again this season, but he is a top fantasy QB.
2 Tom Brady
Brady is expected to be ready for the start of the season after tearing his ACL in week one of the 2008 campaign. The trade of Matt Cassell should be a good sign that Patriots are confident in the health of Brady’s knee. Don’t expect a repeat performance of 2007, but a quick return to form is likely.
3 Peyton Manning
The 33-year old Manning is not quite the elite QB he once was, but he still remains a consistent fantasy option. His passer rating has declined each of the past four years, but he’s still a safe bet for 4,000-plus passing yards and around 30 TDs.
4 Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers will again benefit from Green Bay’s quarterback-friendly system and the solid receiving corps led by Greg Jennings and Donald Driver. The gap between the big three and Rodgers is not that big so he makes a great QB1 option if Brees, Brady, and Manning are off the board.
5 Philip Rivers
Rivers had an excellent ’08 season with 34 TDs and a 105.5 QB rating. He did attempt a career-high 478 passes, however that is still lower than most QBs in our top tiers. San Diego will again be a run-first offense with LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles so Rivers will need to continue to be efficient on passing downs. Assuming he will, Rivers is a nice QB1 option this season.
6 Tony Romo
Dallas may utilize a more conservative, run-based offense to showcase the talent of their running backs, which does not bode well for Romo’s fantasy numbers. On the other hand, the departure of Terrell Owens may help his fantasy production as he will have a chance to run the offense without distraction.
7 Kurt Warner
If the 38-year old Warner can stay healthy he should enjoy another productive year throwing to the best receiving trio in the NFL. His age and recent hip surgery make him a risky option within the top 50 overall picks, but when he plays he will remain a top-10 fantasy QB. Warner will be overvalued in most drafts this season so draft with caution.
8 Matt Schaub
Injuries are a lingering concern for Schaub as he has missed nine games due to injury during the last two seasons. When healthy, he is a legit QB1 option and the young Texans offense is primed for another good year.
9 Donovan McNabb
Despite being benched in Week 12, McNabb threw for a career high 3,916 yards last season. The Eagles made offseason upgrades to the O-line, WR, and RB to further improve their high-scoring offense. McNabb can get streaky at times, but he is surrounded with talent and should have a nice fantasy season assuming he stays healthy.
10 Carson Palmer
Palmer missed ten games last season with an elbow injury but opted to not have Tommy John surgery in the offseason. Two seasons ago Palmer was a top-five QB and his value this season is largely dependent on his health. Palmer has declared himself 100 percent healthy and he could be a nice value pick this season.
11 Matt Ryan
The 2008 Rookie of the Year has all the tools in place for a nice sophomore season. With Michael Turner, Roddy White, and the offseason addition of Tony Gonzalez, we expect Ryan’s numbers to improve across the board. Ryan is a borderline QB1 option this season.
12 Jay Cutler
Cutler’s fantasy stock took a big hit when he was traded to the Bears. Cutler should have some success in Chicago, but he could be overvalued in a lot of drafts this season as we expect a decline in his numbers from 2008.
13 Matt Cassel
Cassel had a breakout season filling in for the injured Tom Brady which earned him a starting gig of his own in KC. Cassel does not have the same weapons or coaching staff that he had in New England, but the Chiefs are a past-first offense and Cassel should see plenty of opportunities.
14 David Garrard
Garrard had a rough ’08 season being knocked down more than any other QB and his receivers led the league in dropped passes. The Jags have made some offensive line improvements and they signed Torry Holt. Garrard could be a great value pick this season and a nice QB2 option.
15 Ben Roethlisberger
Big Ben had average 2008 fantasy numbers coming off of a 34-touchdown a season prior. There is no doubt that he is one of the toughest QBs in the league, but he can be prone to turnovers and inconsistent at times. Pittsburgh’s conservative offense will limit his upside, but he still makes an excellent QB2 option.
16 Eli Manning
Manning’s numbers took a big hit without Plaxico Burress. He failed to top 200 yards in each of his final six games last season. The Giants drafted Hakeem Nicks in the first round to try and help fill the void, but without a go-to guy, Manning will only be an average fantasy option.
17 Joe Flacco
Derrick Mason’s recent retirement further weakens an already poor Ravens receiving corps. The addition of TE L.J. Smith should help some, but Baltimore will again play to their strengths; running the ball, and defense. Flacco’s ceiling will remain low within Baltimore’s system.
18 Kyle Orton
Orton landed in a nice situation with the trade to Denver. Orton may not have Cutler-like production, but he should have plenty of opportunity to throw the ball as Denver’s bad defense will keep them playing catch-up. Orton has a pretty big upside and could offer nice value as a QB2.
19 Jake Delhomme
Steve Smith continues to make Delhomme appear better than he actually is. Delhomme does appear to be healthy after coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2007, but Carolina’s commitment to the running attack further diminishes his fantasy value.
20 Trent Edwards
The Bills now have two deep threats with Lee Evans and the recent addition of Terrell Owens. Edwards has not yet played a full 16 games, but if he does he could top 3,000 yards and around 20 touchdowns.
21 Matt Hasselbeck
Hasselbeck missed nine games last season because of injury, and the games he did play the offense was pitiful. The Seahawks added T.J. Houshmandzadeh to round out their receiving corps that also includes Deion Branch and Nate Burleson. The 34 year-old Hasselbeck may be an injury risk, but keep in mind he threw for nearly 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2007.
22 Jason Campbell
It’s obvious the Redskins don’t have much faith in Campbell after targeting Jay Cutler and Mark Sanchez. Washington’s receiving corps is less than stellar and the Skins did little to upgrade their offense during the offseason. Campbell has a low ceiling and it would not be a surprise to see him pulled as some point this season if the Skins begin to struggle.
23 Marc Bulger
Bulger has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in each of the previous two seasons. The Rams released Torry Holt and Orlando Pace, however they have a new coaching staff that will run the West Coast offense more suited to Bulger’s strengths. We would stay away from Bulger if you can, but if you do draft him keep your expectations low and you may not be disappointed.
24 Chad Pennington
In Pennington’s first year in Miami he helped vault a 1-15 team into the playoffs and he finished second in MVP votes. Pennington has never had back-to-back solid seasons and he has added pressure with Chad Henne and Pat White waiting in the wings. If the Dolphins are winning, Pennington keeps the job.
25 Shaun Hill
The 49ers may take a more conservative offensive approach under head coach Mike Singletary who prefers to run the ball. Hill should have no problem holding off Alex Smith for the starting job and rookie WR Michael Crabtree will at least give Hill a legitimate passing threat. Hill is a shaky QB2 option.
26 Sage Rosenfels
Rosenfels should have no problem winning the starting job from Tavaris Jackson, but Brett Favre’s return would push both of these guys to the bench. If Favre stays retired, Rosenfels could have a nice fantasy season and could be a sleeper worth targeting late in your draft.
27 JaMarcus Russell
Entering his third season in the NFL, Russell is under even more pressure to produce. The Raiders drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey to give Russell a legitimate deep-threat option and they also signed Jeff Garcia as a mentor. If Oakland’s offense struggles there is a good chance we may see Garcia, but the job appears to be Russell’s to lose.
28 Brady Quinn
Quinn is the likely favorite to start Week 1 over Derek Anderson, but regardless of who wins the job neither of them will have much consistent fantasy value in a rebuilding Cleveland offense. Monitor this position battle in preseason if you are desperate for a late-round QB.
29 Kerry Collins
Last season, filling in for Vince Young, Collins showed he is nothing more than an effective game manager. Tennessee will again be a run-oriented offense with a young receiving core, which gives Collins only marginal value in a 2-QB league.
30 Mark Sanchez
Sanchez will compete with Kellen Clemens for the starting QB job, however Sanchez is the likely favorite to start in Week 1. Sanchez is a high-risk low-reward player and should only be drafted late in a deep 2-QB league.
31 Matthew Stafford
Daunte Culpepper will likely start the season at QB, but it won’t be too long before Stafford is thrown into the fire. Stafford has a great arm and the skill-set to become a franchise QB, just don’t expect much this season.
32 Derek Anderson
After throwing for nearly 3,800 yards and 29 TDs in 2007, Anderson was the clear favorite to start the 2008 season. Early season struggles forced the Browns to bench him in favor of Brady Quinn. It appears that Quinn has the slight edge over Anderson this season, but its a situation worth monitoring as Anderson does have an upside for a late round pick.
33 Daunte Culpepper
Culpepper has a new contract for the 2009 season and will likely start for the Lions until Matthew Stafford is “ready.” Calvin Johnson should help salvage some fantasy value for Culpepper, but we’d be shocked if he was still starting after the Lions Week 7 bye.
34 Byron Leftwich
Leftwich was signed to a two-year deal in Tampa during the offseason. Leftwich will be battling Luke McCown for the starting job this season and first-round pick Josh Freeman might get an opportunity late in the year. Regardless of who wins the job they will only have marginal fantasy value in the Bucs offense.
35 Jeff Garcia
Garcia signed a one-year deal in Oakland as JaMarcus Russell’s backup. Russell is the early favorite to start in Week 1, however we would not be surprised to see Garcia take over at some point if Russell struggles. Neither of these guys are good fantasy options, but Garcia could produce if he gets the opportunity.
36 Josh Freeman
Freeman will likely be behind Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich to start the season, but he may get a chance late in the year. He may be worth a pick in a keeper league, as it is more likely he will see playing time in 2010.
37 Kellen Clemens
Clemens was the favorite to start after Favre “retired” until the Jets drafted Mark Sanchez. Clemens may get some playing time early in the season depending on when the Jets feel that Sanchez is ready. Either way, Clemens would only have marginal fantasy value even if he does manage to start a few games.
1 Adrian Peterson
No debate here for the number one overall pick. Favre or no Favre, he is the best RB in the game right now.
2 Michael Turner
He’s still a safe bet to score, but his lack of receiving ability diminishes any extra value in a PPR league. Jerious Norwood may factor into the Atlanta running game, but Turner will still get the goal lines and you can count on him touching the ball about 20 times a game.
3 Matt Forte
With an improved offensive and no backfield competition, Forte should have a solid sophomore season. With 63 receptions last year, Forte also offers exceptional value in PPR leagues.
4 Brian Westbrook
He’ll produce when he’s healthy, but it seems like he is always dealing with a nagging injury. He’s still worth the gamble, but be prepared for the dreaded game-time decision. LeSean McCoy looks to be the early favorite as his backup so if draft Westbrook you may want to consider using a late round insurance pick on McCoy.
5 DeAngelo Williams
Williams had a breakout season in 2008, rushing for a career-high 1,515 yards. We expect his numbers will decline, the question is, how much? His big play potential and Carolina’s commitment to the running game still give him solid fantasy value.
6 Steve Slaton
Slaton’s size is a concern, but he has little downside. He has explosive speed and is very dangerous in the open field. With 55 receptions last season he also offers an added bonus in PPR leagues.
7 Steven Jackson
Jackson looks to be the centerpiece of the Rams offense again this season, which features an improved offensive line and fullback Mike Karney. Jackson may lead the league in carries if he can stay healthy.
8 Maurice Jones-Drew
The release of Fred Taylor has opened the door wide open for Jones-Drew. He has never rushed more than 200 times in a season, but we expect that to change this year. More opportunity equals more TDs.
9 LaDainian Tomlinson
What a difference a year makes. Arguably the first overall pick last season, Tomlinson has seen his fantasy stock take a hit. At age 30 its hard to believe he’ll have a complete bounce back year, but his role in San Diego’s offense still gives him nice fantasy value.
10 Clinton Portis
Portis has shown he can handle a heavy workload and he does not face any real competition in the Washington backfield. Portis should put up another year of workhorse numbers, however its likely he’ll wear down towards the end of the season.
11 Brandon Jacobs
Jacobs will split carries with Ahmad Bradshaw to try and keep them both fresh throughout the season. Jacobs offers no extra value in PPR leagues, but he is the scariest goal-line back in football. He’s still a safe bet to for double-digit touchdowns, but his bruising running style make him susceptible to injury.
12 Chris Johnson
With an impressive rookie season and legitimate 4.3 speed, Johnson will see an expanded role in Tennessee’s offense. He will lose several goal-line carries to LenDale White, but with 43 receptions last season he offers added value in PPR leagues.
13 Frank Gore
Mike Singletary’s staff will use a run-first approach to their offense, and new offensive coordinator, Jimmy Raye, has described Gore as a 25-carry back. Gore may approach close to 300 carries and will have another productive season, however the lack of offensive line upgrades and a weak passing game are a slight concern.
14 Ryan Grant
After a slow start in September last season, Grant averaged 95 total yards per game the rest of the way. Although he only scored 4 rushing TDs last year, he still doesn’t face much competition for carries so that number will likely rise. As Rodgers and the Packers offense gets better, so will Grant.
15 Joseph Addai
One of biggest fantasy busts of 2008, Addai should easily improve on last years numbers. He’s likely to be in a committee system, splitting carries with rookie Donald Brown, however Addai still should play a bigger factor in the passing game and is likely to handle the goal-line carries.
16 Marion Barber
Barber looks to get between 10-15 carries per game while splitting time with Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. Out of the three backs, Barber is the only one that will offer consistent fantasy value and his receiving ability is a nice bonus in PPR leagues.
17 Derrick Ward
Ward is a great sleeper pick this season and offers a nice combination of speed and power. Although he is likely to lose a few carries to Earnest Graham and there are still a lot of questions regarding Tampa Bay’s offense, Ward still offers great value as a RB2 or RB3 slot.
18 Marshawn Lynch
Lynch has been suspended for the first three games of the season and there is some risk that Fred Jackson may earn extra playing time even when Lynch returns. For that reason, Lynch is likely to slip deeper into most drafts, however the addition of T.O. should help increase the Bills scoring chances so Lynch may be worth the risk. If you do draft Lynch, Jackson is worth a later round insurance pick.
19 Thomas Jones
Coming off of a career year, it is likely Jones will be in more of a time share this season. Leon Washington will remain as the change-of-pace back and will see time on third downs, but Jones may lose some goal-line carries to power back Shonn Greene. Jones is still the only back out of these three with consistent fantasy value.
20 Larry Johnson
The Chiefs have made some steps to improve their offense including the addition of Matt Cassel. The lack of depth at RB means that Johnson will see the majority of carries on first and second down, however with better receiving ability, Jamaal Charles is a better fit for the Chiefs spread passing attack.
21 Jonathan Stewart
Carolina’s running game is good enough for Williams and Stewart to both have fantasy value. Stewart was better on short-yardage and goal-line situations so he should come close to double-digit scores. You can expect Stewart to post very similar numbers to last season.
22 Pierre Thomas
Thomas has a high ceiling this season and could be a steal in many fantasy drafts. Of course Reggie Bush will be a big part of the Saints offense, but look for Thomas to see at least 10-15 touches per game, including a majority the goal-line carries.
23 Cedric Benson
Benson may need about 300 carries to top 1,000 yards, but with the lack of running-back depth in Cincinnati that’s not out of the question. The Bengals should have a better offensive season so look for Benson’s numbers to improve.
24 Ronnie Brown
Brown has tremendous upside, and offers nice RB2 value. The Dolphins have a great offensive line and it appears that the Ricky Williams experiment is coming to a close in Miami. Another year removed from a torn ACL, Brown should see a more significant role this season.
25 Kevin Smith
A horrible offensive-line and an uncertain QB situation is usually not the formula for success for a sophomore RB. There is no doubt that Smith can help spark the Lions offense, but until the Lions can prove they have a passing game, Smith can expect to see a lot of 8 and 9-man fronts.
26 Willie Parker
Parker should get the majority of the carries in Pittsburgh, but Rashard Mendenhall’s role will continue to grow and Mewelde Moore figures to play on third downs. With no added value for receptions, and a likely timeshare, draft Parker with caution.
27 Julius Jones
The departure of Maurice Morris and Leonard Weaver leaves Jones in a fortunate situation. If Jones remains healthy he could get close to 250 carries. He may lose a few goal line carries to T.J. Duckett, but he still could offer later round value.
28 Jamal Lewis
Lewis did not have a 100-yard game last season, however he still topped 1,000 yards. Lewis remains the primary back in Cleveland so he should have 250-plus carries, however we are not too optimistic about the Browns offense.
29 Reggie Bush
Pierre Thomas is likely to lead the Saints in rushing attempts this year, however Bush still provides fantasy value despite his limited touches becasue of his involvement in the passing game. Check your league settings before targeting Bush. If you are in a PPR league, Bush is worth a pick.
30 LenDale White
White scored 15 TDs last season and lead the league in carries inside the five. White should have a similar role in Tennessee’s offense again this season so unless you are in a TD-only league you may want to look elsewhere for more consistent weekly value.
31 Darren McFadden
McFadden will be in a timeshare with Justin Fargas and Michael Bush again this season. After a disappointing rookie campaign, run DMC has a lot to prove. McFadden is talented, but there are a lot of question marks in Oakland, which make him a boom or bust option this year.
32 Tim Hightower
Edgerrin James and J.J. Arrington are gone which leaves a timeshare between Hightower and rookie Chris Wells. Hightower looks to lose some goal line carries to Wells, but he should have an increased role in Arizona’s explosive offense.
33 Knowshon Moreno
Denver surprisingly drafted Moreno with the 12th overall pick despite a crowed backfield. With the departure of Jay Cutler and likely timeshare there are too many unknowns to give Moreno much value on draft day.
34 Chris Wells
Wells should see plenty of scoring opportunities with the Cardinals and he may be looking at double-digit rushing TDs, however his lack of versatility will keep him from being an every down back. Tim Hightower will play on passing downs so Wells should be downgraded in PPR leagues.
35 Willis McGahee
McGahee will likely split carries with Ray Rice. Le’Ron McClain, the teams leading rusher last season, has gone back to the fullback position. McGahee is in a contract year so he should be more motivated this year, however you may want to monitor this situation before draft day.
37 Leon Washington
Washington is worthy of a late round reserve pick, especially in PPR leagues. Thomas Jones will likely get the majority of the carries, and rookie Shonn Greene will also be in the mix. Don’t expect consistent fantasy numbers from Washington unless injuries strike.
38 Ray Rice
There are indications that Ray Rice may be the No. 1 running back when camp opens. Either way Rice will be in some kind on timeshare with Willis McGahee. Monitor this position battle closely as Ray Rice may end up with the bigger role.
39 Justin Fargas
Fargas will likely see his role decrease significantly with a healthy Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. Fargas has fantasy value if he reaches 200 or more carries, however that seems unlikely in the three-man committee system in Oakland. Fargas may be worth a late round look only because of the injury history of his committee mates.
40 Felix Jones
Dallas will use Jones to help keep Marion Barber fresh. Even with a healthy Barber, Jones will have some fantasy value as he should get 10-15 touches a game. Jones may not provide consistent fantasy value, but he has big play potential and is worth targeting in the later rounds.
41 Donald Brown
Brown will be in a committee splitting snaps with Joseph Addai. Brown is not a great receiver and he does not have breakaway speed, but he may snag a few goalline carries and it would not surprise us if he is starting by the end of the season. Watch this position battle closely if you are targeting him on draft day.
42 Laurence Maroney
The signing of Fred Taylor is another indication of the Patriots lack of confidence in Maroney. A committee system is certain with Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, however it is still likely that Maroney will lead the Patriots in carries. He makes a nice late round value target.
43 Fred Jackson
Jackson will get a chance to start while Lynch serves his three-game suspension. Once Lynch returns, Jackson will likely return to a role similar to the one he played last season. He has slightly more value in a PPR league, but he’ll only provide marginal fantasy value after week 3 unless Lynch missing any time due to injury.
44 Jerious Norwood
Norwood may snag a few more carries from Michael Turner this season, but he does not offer much value beyond that unless Turner gets hurt. If you drafted Turner you may want to consider drafting Norwood as a handcuff.
45 Le’Ron McClain
With Lorenzo Neal gone, McClain will play a more traditional fullback role for Baltimore. Ray Rice and Willis McGahee will get a majority of the carries and receptions, but McClain is the better option to score. McClain is worth a late round pick, especially in TD only leagues.
46 Correll Buckhalter
Buckhalter was projected as the teams starter until Denver drafted Knowshon Moreno. Buckhalter may be worth a late-round handcuff pick if you drafted Moreno, but with Kyle Orton at the helm we would suggest you not invest too much in Denver’s backfield.
47 Ahmad Bradshaw
Bradshaw will play a similar role to what Derrick Ward did the past two seasons as a change-of-pace back to Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs is an injury risk because of his bruising running style and Bradshaw would be the favorite to start if Jacobs were to miss any time.
48 LaMont Jordan
Jordan seems more likely to be a short-yardage option instead of the primary backup. The Denver backfield is already crowded with Knowshon Moreno, Correll Buckhalter, Peyton Hillis, and J.J. Arrington so its a long shot for Jordan to provide much fantasy value.
1 Larry Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald’s 2008 performance has vaulted him into elite WR status. A large part of Fitzgerald’s success was the health of Kurt Warner, which will be a big determining factor again this season. Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston will again get their fair share of looks, but there will be plenty to go around in Arizona.
2 Andre Johnson
There is not much separation between Fitzgerald and Johnson. Johnson may even have the slight edge if you are in a PPR league. Johnson led the league in receptions and yardage last season and he should have another monster fantasy season if Matt Schaub can stay healthy.
3 Randy Moss
Brady is back. Moss scored an NFL-record 23 TDs with Brady at the helm in 2007 and showed little signs of slowing down last season. There is some risk that Brady may not be the same coming back from knee surgery, but that’s a risk worth taking. Just don’t expect a repeat of 2007.
4 Steve Smith
Smith continues to be a consistent fantasy WR despite Carolina’s commitment to the running game and Jake Delhomme’s mediocre 2008 season. In 2008, Smith topped the 100-yard mark in eight games, which paved the way for his fourth straight 1,000-yard season. A better QB and more passing attempts would certainly increase Smith’s value, but thats not likely to happen this year.
5 Calvin Johnson
Johnson may be the best fantasy WR, on arguably the worst team in the NFL. His talent will still earn him a top-5 WR pick in most drafts, however aging veteran Daunte Culpepper, or rookie Matthew Stafford, will be throwing him the ball. The good news is, Detroit will likely be playing catch-up in a lot of games this season so Johnson will again see plenty of looks.
6 Reggie Wayne
Wayne continues to put up solid fantasy numbers, however he did see a 2008 drop-off in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Wayne should benefit from Marvin Harrison’s departure and he should see a nice share of red zone looks with Dallas Clark. Wayne is still a very safe WR1 pick and we expect a bounce back year.
7 Greg Jennings
Jennings had nice chemistry with QB Aaron Rodgers last season pulling down 80 receptions for 1,292 yards and nine TDs. As Donald Driver continues to fall into a possession role, Jennings has emerged as the go-to receiver and big-play threat in Green Bay. Jennings makes a great WR1 pick.
8 Roddy White
White still has room to grow along with the maturation of young QB Matt Ryan. Proving that 2007 was not a fluke, White broke the Falcons single-season record with 1,382 receiving yards in 2008. Atlanta should be more aggressive in the passing game and the addition of Tony Gonzalez should draw some coverage away from White.
9 Anquan Boldin
Boldin had 89 receptions and 11 TDs in only 12 games last season. His durability is somewhat of a concern as he has played in all 16 regular-season games only twice in six NFL seasons. Boldin is a big, physical receiver with a high ceiling if he can stay healthy.
10 Brandon Marshall
Marshall has been one of the league’s most productive receivers the past two seasons, with 206 receptions, 2,590 yards and 13 touchdowns. Denver will likely remain a pass-heavy offense, but unfortunately for Marshall, they have downgraded at QB with Kyle Orton. Until it is clear how effective Orton will be in the new offense, Marshall is more of a risk/reward pick this season.
11 Terrell Owens
Owens will get a fresh start in Buffalo and he’ll be playing alongside another elite receiver in Lee Evans. If Trent Edwards can get him the ball, Owens will find the end zone. Owens has the upside to play like a WR1, but he may struggle to top 1,000 yards this season.
12 Dwayne Bowe
Bowe should have another nice fantasy season as the Chiefs are expected to be aggressive in the passing game with the recent addition of QB Matt Cassell. Tony Gonzalez is gone, leaving Bowe as the only real passing threat for the Chiefs. Bowe has breakout potential this season and should provide nice WR2 value.
13 Wes Welker
Welker has caught more than 110 passes in each of his first two seasons in the New England offense. Although he is an elite possession receiver and offers exceptional value in a PPR league, Welker will have to find the endzone more often to be considered a top-10 fantasy receiver.
14 Braylon Edwards
Edwards had a forgettable 2008 season leading the league in drops for a second straight year and only scoring 3 times. Edwards is Cleveland’s biggest scoring threat with Kellen Winslow in Tampa Bay and Donte’ Stallworth facing a league suspension. A top-5 WR pick a year ago, Edwards may drop out of the top-15 this year. Edwards has a nice upside and bounce back potential so don’t let him slip too far.
15 Marques Colston
Colston tore a thumb ligament in the 2008 season opener and he did not play again until Week 8. Colston ended the season on an encouraging note, averaging 85 yards a game and scoring 5 TDs in his last 8 contests. The Saints have plenty of weapons that will cut into Colston’s looks, but he still could provide WR1 numbers as Drew Bress’ No. 1 receiver.
16 T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Houshmandzadeh’s success in Seattle is largely dependent on the health of QB Matt Hasselbeck. Housh has success on shorter underneath routes, which should be a good fit the Seahawk’s West Coast offense, however he will now see No. 1 receiver attention from opposing defenses. Housh is still a viable WR2 option.
17 Vincent Jackson
Jackson is coming off a season that saw him have career-highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Jackson should again benefit from being Philip Rivers’ No. 1 receiver, but keep in mind Jackson does face the possibility of a league suspension stemming from a DUI arrest.
18 Chad Ochocinco
Last year, with QB Carson Palmer out with an elbow injury, Ochocinco caught only 53 passes for 540 yards. If Palmer is healthy we expect a strong rebound year from Ochocinco. With six straight seasons of 1,100-plus yards prior to 2008, he’s worth the risk for a WR2 option.
19 Antonio Bryant
Bryant was one of the biggest surprises last season hauling in 83 receptions for 1,248 yards and seven touchdowns. Bryant will again be the No. 1 receiver in Tampa Bay, but the QB situation remains unclear. Bryant has a lot to prove and should be motivated on a one-year contract, just don’t expect a repeat of 2008.
20 Lee Evans
The arrival of Terrell Owens should help Evans’ fantasy value as he should see more single coverage. Evans does not offer as much value in PPR leagues, but we like his upside this season. Evans makes a nice WR2 option, with breakout potential.
21 Anthony Gonzalez
Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark will continue to be a big part of the Colt’s passing game, however Gonzalez will have a much larger role with the recent departure of Marvin Harrison. Gonzalez should rack up a nice amount of catches underneath and he makes a great value pick this season.
22 DeSean Jackson
Last season Jackson took full advantage of injuries to Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis. He ended his rookie campaign with 62 receptions for 912 yards. Jackson does have excellent speed and the improvements to the Eagles offensive line should also improve McNabb and the passing game. Jackson makes a decent WR2/3 option.
23 Roy Williams
Jason Witten will likely be Romo’s most consistent target, but Williams will get every chance to emerge as the top receiver in Dallas with the release of Terrell Owens. The opportunity is certainly there and this could be a big year for Williams, however there is little reason to think that he will provide consistent fantasy value week-to-week.
24 Eddie Royal
Last season Royal recorded the second most catches for a rookie receiver in league history with 91. The departure of Jay Culter does hurt his value but most of his receptions were quick, underneath routes, which is a nice fit for McDaniels offense. We think he will still hold decent WR2 value especially in a PPR league.
25 Jerricho Cotchery
Cotchery was a bit of a disappointment last season after coming off of a 2007 season with 82 receptions for over 1,100 yards. Brett Favre and Laveranues Coles are no longer with the Jets, which should open the door for Cotchery to emerge as the top offensive threat. He’ll certainly see a lot of targets and could have a nice upside this season.
26 Hines Ward
Last season Ward put up his best numbers since 2003, but it was also the first time he played in all 16 regular season games since 2004. Ward is now 33-years old and his intense playing style increases his injury risk. If Ward can stay healthy he’ll continue to be a reliable fantasy option with a nose for the endzone.
27 Laveranues Coles
The Bengals are counting on Coles to fill the void left by T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who is now in Seattle. Coles is no longer a deep threat, but he should see a lot of looks underneath. If Carson Palmer is indeed healthy and Chad Ochocinco returns to form, Coles could have a nice season and offer nice WR3 value.
28 Santana Moss
Last season Moss had three games with more than 140 yards receiving and five games with less than 30. Moss still has the speed and big-play potential, but his supporting cast give us little reason to think that he’ll be a more consistent fantasy option this year.
29 Donnie Avery
With Torry Holt in Jacksonville, Avery becomes the primary receiver in St. Louis. Marc Bulger and the Rams passing attack is less than stellar, but the lack of receiving depth does give Avery some fantasy value. He’s worth a look as a WR3 option, just don’t expect too much out of the second-year receiver.
30 Donald Driver
Driver has posted five straight 1,000-yard seasons, but in three of his last four campaigns he has scored five or fewer touchdowns. Green Bay has a lot of depth at WR and it is likely he will be in a rotation with James Jones and Jordy Nelson. Don’t expect a repeat of last years numbers.
31 Bernard Berrian
Berrian had the best season of his career in 2008 with 964 yards, however his 48 catches were his lowest mark in the last three seasons. If you are targeting Berrian, keep an eye on the QB battle between Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson. Berrian does have an upside, especially if Rosenfels wins the job.
32 Santonio Holmes
After and impressive post-season and Super Bowl XLIII MVP, Holmes may be a bit overvalued in a lot of drafts this year. Keep in mind that Holmes did not have a single 100-yard game in 2008 and has had back-to-back games with a touchdown just twice in his three-year career. Holmes could emerge as the No. 1 receiving option in Pittsburgh, just be careful how much value you give him on draft day.
33 Lance Moore
Moore emerged to be one of the best waiver wire pickups last year as he made the most of his opportunity filling in for the injured Marques Colston. Moore could have decent fantasy value in the Saints pass-first attack, but if you are targeting Moore keep an eye on his health during camp as he suffered an offseason shoulder injury.
34 Steve Breaston
Breaston is behind Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin on the depth chart, however he will still get more looks than many starters in Arizona’s pass-heavy offense. Its hard to imagine Breaston’s numbers improving from last year without an injury to Fitzgerald or Boldin, but he’s still worth a late round reserve pick.
35 Derrick Mason
Mason returned to the Ravens less than three weeks after surprisingly announcing his retirement on July 13th. Mason was clearly Flacco’s go-to receiver last season and the second-year QB should get more passing opportunities. Mason has put up consistent, yet unspectacular numbers topping 1,000 yards in seven out of the last eight seasons.
36 Torry Holt
Holt gets a fresh start in Jacksonville, after a forgettable 2008 season with the Rams. Holt should be David Garrard’s top option and he will get a lot of looks. We expect a slight rebound year, but no miracles.
37 Kevin Walter
Walter is the No. 2 option behind Andre Johnson and the Texans should remain aggressive in the passing attack. Johnson should draw a lot of attention from opposing defenses and Walter should benefit.
38 Ted Ginn Jr.
Last season Ginn showed signs of promise with a 175-yard week against the Bills, however he was held to under 20 yards five times. In a better situation, Ginn could be an elite deep threat, but he is stuck on a run-heavy team with a weak-armed QB.
39 Devin Hester
Hester is the main beneficiary of Jay Cutler’s arrival in Chicago. Hester does have an upside, but until he can prove he can handle the attention that will come from opponents as the Bears’ only outside threat he’s just a borderline WR3 option.
40 Muhsin Muhammad
Last year Muhammad’s return to Carolina resulted in his best season since 2004 with 923 yards receiving. He does have good chemistry with QB Jake Delhomme, but at age 36 its likely Muhammad will see his numbers decline.
41 Michael Crabtree
Crabtree immediately becomes the 49ers top receiving option and is the favorite to win the starting job over Josh Morgan. We don’t expect that Crabtree will be a consistent fantasy option this season, but may he be worth a late round reserve pick especially in a keeper league.
42 Chris Chambers
Chambers is Philip Rivers’ third option behind Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson. We do expect an improvement on his 33 receptions in 2008, however we don’t expect he will retain consistent weekly production.
43 Kevin Curtis
Curtis will likely be the second receiving option behind DeSean Jackson. Unfortunately for Curtis, Jason Avant, Hank Baskett, and rookie Jeremy Maclin also will play some part in the Eagles passing game. Curtis will still have some big weeks, but the Eagles’ depth at receiver will limit his value.
44 Isaac Bruce
Bruce’s best years are clearly behind him and he may even be pushed to the bench behind Brandon Jones this season. Bruce did have nice chemistry with QB Shaun Hill at the end of last season, however a decline in production is likely.
45 Steve Smith
Smith is likely to fill one of the two spots left by loss of Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. Smith led the Giants with 57 receptions last year, however he only found the endzone once. Don’t count on many touchdowns, but he will have slightly more value in a PPR league.
46 Domenik Hixon
Hixon will get more opportunity with Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer gone. This void also gives first-round pick Hakeem Nicks a chance to emerge so monitor this position battle if you are in desperate need of a late-round WR.
47 Marvin Harrison
Harrison may offer some fantasy value if he is picked up by the right team. He’s obviously not worth the gamble if he is not signed to a team by draft day, but he’s someone worth keeping on your radar.
48 Plaxico Burress
Burress faces a felony charge that could very well lead to prison time. Even if he’s not sent to prison, he could face a suspension from the NFL. He obviously would have fantasy value if he actually plays this season.
1 Jason Witten
Witten has emerged as Tony Romo’s most consistent underneath target and he should get even more looks in the redzone with the departure of Terrell Owens. He remains a a top TE1 option in all leagues.
2 Tony Gonzalez
Gonzalez will provide QB Matt Ryan another solid target to complement Michael Turner and Roddy White in the Falcons offense. Ryan is the best QB he’s played with since Trent Green and he should benefit from playing on turf in a dome.
3 Antonio Gates
Gates had 60 receptions for 704 yards and 8 TDs last season while battling hip, ankle, and toe injuries. It appears that he is 100 percent and a healthy Gates could be one of the most productive fantasy tight ends this year.
4 Dallas Clark
Clark is coming off a solid fantasy season with 77 receptions for 848 yards. Clark still has the injury-prone label from early in his career, but he has only missed two games in the previous two seasons. Clark should be one of the first five tight ends off the board.
5 Chris Cooley
Last season Cooley posted career-highs with 83 receptions and 849 yards, however he only scored only one touchdown. Cooley is a dependable option in the Redskins passing game and a safe pick for your TE1 slot.
6 Owen Daniels
Daniels snagged a career-high 70 receptions last season and will play another big role in the Texan’s offense this year. The only drawback to Owen’s numbers are the lack of touchdowns. Daniels may offer slightly more value in a PPR league, however he’s still a top TE option in most league formats.
7 Kellen Winslow
Last season Winslow missed six games with a staph infection and a high ankle sprain and only caught 43 passes for 428 yards. Winslow gets a fresh start in Tampa Bay and should start the season healthy. Winslow is your classic boom-or-bust pick, but worth the gamble.
8 Greg Olsen
Olsen’s third year in the NFL shows a lot of signs of a breakout season. The biggest improvement is obviously the arrival of Jay Cutler who loves to utilize his tight ends. Olsen could emerge as the Bears top redzone target.
9 Zach Miller
Miller led the Raiders in receptions and yards last season, but only scored one touchdown. His success this year largely depends on the development of QB JaMarcus Russell. Miller will continue to be targeted often, which makes him a safe pick with decent fantasy value.
10 John Carlson
As a rookie, Carlson carried a heavy load on an offense that was basically without any other viable receiving options. The healthy return of QB Matt Hasselbeck is a plus, but be careful not to overvalue Carlson as newly acquired T.J. Houshmandzadeh and a heathy Nate Burleson and Deion Branch will cut into his production.
11 Jeremy Shockey
Shockey was pretty much a non-factor in his first season with the Saints as he only had 50 receptions and failed to score a touchdown. A healthy offseason is at least some hope that he can have a nice rebound year. He could offer great fantasy value if he can manage to play in all 16 games this season; just don’t count on it.
12 Dustin Keller
Keller was able to string together a couple nice games last season, but was inconsistent down the stretch. The Jets cut WR Laveranues Coles and the offense is thin on quality receiving talent. Keller could play the role of a No. 2 receiver and could be a bigger part of the Jets passing attack. Until we see how this actually plays out we consider Keller as low-end TE1 option with an upside.
13 Tony Scheffler
Last season Scheffler set a career-high in YPC and yards as one of Jay Cutler’s favorite targets. Unfortunately for Scheffler, Cutler was traded to the Bears and the Broncos also drafted blocking TE Richard Quinn. Scheffler is more of a risk/reward pick this season until is is clear how he will be utilized in Josh McDaniels offensive scheme that historically does not utilize TEs as much in the passing game.
14 Heath Miller
Miller is in a contract year, which could motivate him to play hard for a new deal, but we don’t see any reason to think he’ll vastly improve on his 2008 numbers. Miller would have more value if he was more involved more consistnely in the passing game and less as a blocker.
15 Visanthe Shiancoe
Last season, Shiancoe posted career-highs with 42 catches for 596 yards with seven touchdowns. Pay attention to the QB battle in Minnesota as we like his potential to repeat a lot better with Sage Rosenfels at QB.
16 Anthony Fasano
Fasano exploded with 8 receptions for 84 yards in Week 1 last season, but remained inconsistent the rest of the year failing to exceed more than 3 catches in any of the last 15 games. We doubt he’ll repeat his 7 TDs from a year ago which makes him an inconsistent TE2 fantasy option, or a good bye-week fill-in.
17 Vernon Davis
The 49ers brought in new coordinator Jimmy Raye, who may utilize Davis a bit more in the passing game. Raye coached in Kansas City from 1992-2000 and was a big part of the development of future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez. Although we do expect his production to increase, the underachieving Davis has a lot to prove before we consider him a consistent fantasy option.
18 Kevin Boss
In his first full season as the starting TE, Boss caught 33 passes for 384 and a team-high 6 touchdown receptions. Without Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer on the roster, Boss could emerge as a redzone threat, but there is some concern that rookie Travis Beckum could take a chunk of his workload.
19 Bo Scaife
Scaife led the Titans with 58 receptions a year ago, but was unable to get a long-term extension with the team. Scaife will certainly have a lot to prove, but veteran Alge Crumpler, and rookie Jared Cook will cut into his production.
20 Marcedes Lewis
Lewis posted career-high totals with 41 receptions and 489 receiving yards last season. If he can find the end zone on a more regular basis that would make him a viable fantasy option. Lewis should improve on last season’s numbers, but at best he’s still only a TE2 option.
21 Brent Celek
L.J. Smith is gone, which means Celek becomes the Eagles’ primary receiving TE. After an impressive end to last season, combined with the fact that the Eagles love to utilize their TEs on redzone calls, makes Celek an interesting sleeper pick the season.