Only two months until the start of the 2010-2011 NFL season and that means NFL fantasy football. Jon Mark ran away with the championship last year, but with everyone a little older and wiser this year, it should be a very competitive league. Although keepers aren’t everything, they are certainly an important part of every team and form your team’s core from year to year. Teams with better keepers take a sizable advantage into the draft as they have proven sources of production week in and week out. So without further adieu, here are your keeper rankings for the 2010 Harwood Bowl.
1. A-RODGE — As much as it pains me to say it, Jm’s keepers are pretty sick. He somehow managed to compile a core consisting of the #1 Running Back, Quarterback and Wide Receiver. Although Chris Johnson will likely not put up the same kind of numbers he did last year, MJD should pick up the slack in what is the best 1-2 RB combo in our league. Barring injury (should be a concern with the amount of hits that he takes), Aaron Rodgers should be right up there in the top 3 for quarterbacks again this season as Green Bay possesses a strong group of receivers and a very skilled pass-catching tight end in Jermichael Finley. Andre Johnson is primed for another monster season as well, (provided Matt Schaub can stay healthy this year) and should now be thought of as the best fantasy receiver in the game. All-in-all, Jm should once again contend for The Harwood Bowl.
2. Forrester Creations — With a good mix of young upside and proven veteran skill, Forrester Creations earns the second spot in the keeper rankings. Last year, Phillip Rivers put up consistent numbers every week to somewhat salvage his horrid quarterback situation, and hopefully he can repeat those numbers this year. With LT gone, an improved running game should take some of the focus off of him and allow him to improve on his numbers from last season. Ray Rice (acquired in a late season trade including Matt Forte and Marques Colston). Rice’s skill catching passes out of the backfield makes him extremely valuable in a ppr league, as he usually makes up for bad rushing games by hauling in five or six passes, making him a very consistent source of points. Finally, Larry Fitzgerald and Reggie Wayne will lead Forrester’s receivers each week, and while neither of them are in absolutely ideal situations (Manning has lots of other receiving options and Leinart is largely unproven) they should still continue to get solid targets and lead Forrester to a potential division title.
3. MacG Blazers — MacG’s problem last year was not his keepers, but rather his depth. He was strong upfront, but his receiving core lacked punch and with Ronnie Brown’s injury, his flex position did not get him many points weekly. However with that said, he does have very strong keepers. Armed with the best QB 1-2 punch in the league in Manning and Brady, he has absolutely no worries at the position and can draft pretty freely to hopefully improve his receivers. Peterson will put up good rushing numbers again, although his fumblitis is still a problem and Favre’s gunslinger mentality could take away some of his carries. MacG’s final keeper (I think) is Ronnie Brown. A decent option at RB but could lose carries to Ricky Williams this year and injuries have somewhat plagued his career. MacG should finish 2nd or 3rd in his division as his core looks solid, but not quite good enough to take down the Neuf troop.
4. My Virtual Players — Bryce has some very solid keepers in Brees and Moss and they should both lead their respective positions for the Icemaster this year. Frank Gore is also primed for a breakout season in San Fran, as they seem to be getting their ducks in a row with their offensive gameplan and the maturitization of Alex Smith. Deangello Williams looks a bit like the weak link on this team right now, as he loses carries to Jonothan Stewart, and has an unproven QB in Matt Moore handing off to him. But if Bryce can draft right, he’ll have a good chance to finish 2nd in the division and possibly a long shot to steal the show from Jm.
5. Team Ramrod — Fuchs surprised us all last year with a trip to the finals and some very questionable moves (mainly releasing Brett Favre to pick up an injured Chad Pennington), but he made it further than six other teams so you can’t really question his strategy. Well Fuchs will be back this year with a strong core of keepers, anchored by Steven Jackson and Tony Romo. They both should put up good numbers again this year as Romo has a great group of receivers, and Jackson might have a quarterback that doesn’t break when you pat him on the back. The big question marks here are Brandon Marshall and Sidney Rice. Marshall is an elite talent, but he is also on a new team with an unproven quarterback, and one brain fart away from a major suspension. Rice proved last year that he has the size and skill to play with the big boys, but uncertainty on Brett Favre’s part and the fact that Favre is now becoming an injury risk makes him a gamble as a keeper. I don’t expect Fuchs to make the finals again this year, but another playoff berth is likely and you never know with Fuchsy.
6. Rockets Away — Brent’s keepers scare the heck out of me. The amount of talent around Donovan McNabb has taken a MAJOR hit since his move to the Redskins and that should equate to a sizable drop in production. Wes Welker, while an elite pass-catching talent (unfortunately taken four rounds too soon), appears to be bouncing back from his knee injury, but these kind of injuries take significant time to heal and I wouldn’t be surprised if he only starts putting up Welker like numbers near the midpoint in the season. Greg Jennings was terrible last year, although he began to turn it around in the last few weeks and had a huge game in the playoffs. He should put up decent numbers with Rodgers throwing to him, provided Driver doesn’t have another renaissance season. Mendenhall is another questionmark, as Roethlisberger won’t be there for the first part of the season to divert attention away from the ground game. His season could go either way, but i wouldn’t bank on big numbers from the man who pissed off Ray Lewis so much that he broke Mendenhall’s shoulder just because he could. Brent’s team is hard to predict, as he could end up anywhere from first to fourth in the division.
7. Bubba’s Bashers — Bubba’s keepers don’t look too bad on paper, but if this game was played on paper then math would be the only skill involved. Matt Schaub (acquired in a trade from Brent) had a career year last season, but in the previous two years he had only managed to play 22 games. He’s a glass quarterback and one awkward hit could end his season and Bubba’s playoff hopes. Turner the Burner had a very average season in 2009 and dealt with his own injury problems as he only played in 11 games. The word on the street is that he’s gotten a little more fit and lost some weight, but injuries are still something to be concerned about with one of the NFL’s biggest workhorses. And then we come to Vincent Jackson. Bubba may not know it, but Vincent Jackson has been suspended for the first 3 games of the season, and could miss up to 10 in total as part of a contract dispute. That’s a hard pill to swallow when your talking about one of the pivotal players on your team. Luckily for Bubba, Calvin Johnson should have a bounce back season now that him and Matthew Stafford have been able to develop some chemistry, and maybe he can hold Bubba’s receivers together until Jackson works something out.
8. The Beast — The Beast has a strong disadvantage going into this season as a couple of unlucky early picks last year derailed his running backs. With Westbrook and Jacobs out of the picture, Beast looks to start over with Pierre Thomas as his feature back. Despite not living up to the hype last season, Thomas could put up big numbers now that Mike Bell is out of the picture and if that is the case, then Beast might not lose as much sleep of his RB situation this year. Unfortunately his quarterback situation looks bleak as well. Carson Palmer is no longer an elite QB and having to keep him really hurts The Beast. Hopefully he can find himself a franchise QB in the first couple of rounds and play palmer as a QB2 where he belongs. If there is one area where the beast isn’t hurting, it’s at the wide receiver position. He absolutely owned it last year with Driver, Ochocinco, White, and Sims-Walker. Of those four it looks like he’ll keep Ocho and White, and they should give him good weekly production, especially from Roddy who could have a monster season with Matt Ryan’s sophomore jinx out of the way. Beast could end up anywhere from second to fourth in the division.
Those are the keeper ranks, let me know if you agree.