Fearless Fantasy Football Predictions – 2009

Last year, right before my league’s draft, I looked over the “You Heard Me” preseason predictions of ESPN’s Matthew Berry, aka “The Talented Mr. Roto.” Disagreeing with a good bit of what he said (though i’ll let it slide, because I like his writing style, and he’s a Redskins fan), I came upon this nugget of wisdom:

“Leonard Pope will catch seven touchdowns”

Virtually certain that pretty much everyone in the league wouldn’t know the difference between Leonard Pope and Benedict XVI (I’m fairly certain that most of the GM’s in my league wouldn’t have known the difference between Desean Jackson and Tito Jackson before the season started, but I digress), I thought I’d give Mr. Berry a chance to redeem himself. Perhaps he knew something about the colossal TE that I had missed, even though I had watched Pope since his days as a Bulldog, and I could grab him and make myself look like a genius. Near the end of my league’s draft, Pope was still sitting there, so I grabbed the Tight End and hoped for the best (that’s what she said).

Fast forward a year, and not only did Leonard Pope fall quite a bit short of Mr. Berry’s predictions (he only fell short of the mark by … seven touchdowns), but Pope is now without work, having been cut by the Cardinals a few days ago.

Now, El Señor Roto is a smart dude and good at what he does – he was high on Chris Johnson going into the season last year, and I thought Johnson was basically going to be Trung Canidate ver 2.0, and we all know how that worked out – so I’ll forgive him on the Pope prediction (especially since, right before the season started, I cut Pope to pick up a free agent named Kurt Warner, who I later spun in a trade for Andre Johnson, so I really shouldn’t complain).

However, inspired by his 2009 sequel of “You Heard Me,” I decided to write down some of my own predictions for this upcoming Fantasy Football season. You’ll find them below.

Disclaimer: After finishing this page, I noticed that a handful of them are very close to Berry’s predictions. So, I want to make clear that I didn’t copy any of his predictions, but rather made them based on my own statistical projections for this upcoming season (then again, after his Leonard Pope prediction, I’m not sure how comfortable I am having some that are similar…. No, no, I kid).

Anyway, away we go:

Quarterbacks:

1. Donovan McNabb will be a top 5 fantasy QB, ahead of guys like Kurt Warner, Phillip Rivers, and Tony Romo

2. Jay Cutler will break 3600 yards passing and throw at least 22 TD passes.

3. Matt Schaub exceeds 4,000 yards passing – I think he ends up finishing in the top 3 in the league in this stat category.

4. Matt Hasselbeck will finish with more fantasy points than Kurt Warner, Matt Ryan, or Eli Manning.

5. Speaking of Eli Manning – he doesnt finish in the top 20 fantasy QB’s.

6. Matt Leinart will start at least 4 games for the Cardinals this season (due to an injury to Kurt Warner) and will look good in those games.

Running Backs:

7. LaDainian Tomlinson will finish in the top 3 in rushing in the NFL, and will have over 1350 yards and 10 TD’s rushing.

8. Steven Jackson will stay healthy for all 16 games and will lead the league in combined rushing and receiving yards from scrimmage.

9. Brian Westbrook will still have 1500 combined yards and 10 combined TD’s, age be damned.

10. Maurice Jones-Drew does not finish as a top 5 RB. Everyone is expecting a dramatically increased workload for MJD, but I say he doesnt get more than 230 carries this year.

11. Chris Johnson doesnt finish in the top 10 RB’s in fantasy points. This time, I mean it !

12. Ryan Grant will approach 1300 rushing yards rushing and 9 TD’s.

13. Frank Gore will break 1200 rushing yards and 7 TD’s.

14. Larry Johnson finishes with over 1000 yards rushing and 7 TD’s.

15. Laurence Maroney flirts with 1000 rushing yards and 8 rushing TD’s.

15a. So does Julius Jones

16. Ray Rice will become “the next” Maurice Jones-Drew. Look for at least 1200 combined yards and close to 10 combined TD’s.

17. Darren Sproles doesnt finish with more than 70 carries all year.

18. James Davis will be the Browns starting QB for (at least) the last 4 games of the season – and it won’t be due to a Jamal Lewis injury

19. Jets rookie RB Shonn Greene will have more rushing yards than Thomas Jones over the last 8 games of 2009

19a. So will Leon Washington

Wide Receivers:

20. Larry Fitzgerald will not be the highest scoring Fantasy WR in ’09. He may not even be the 2nd highest.

21. Marques Colston finishes as a top 5 WR

22. Chad Ochocinco bounces back this year, finishing with around 1100 yards receiving and 7 TD’s

23. Nobody will be happier about Brett Favre’s re-un-retirement than Bernard Berrian, who will (finally) exceed 1000 yards receiving. And he’ll be in the neighborhood of 7-8 receiving TD’s.

24. Brandon Marshall will not hit 1000 receiving yards nor 8 TD’s. .

24b. Neither will Roy Williams

24c. Neither will Terrell Owens – in fact, I think he gets less than 7 TD’s.

25. Antonio Bryant finishes with less than 800 yards receiving and 6 TD’s for the Buccaneers, and becomes a nuisance to the team with at least one public “blow-up”

26. No rookie first-round-pick WR will have more than 700 yards receiving in ’09.

26a. But someone is going to draft Michael Crabtree way too early.

Tight Ends:

27. Tony Gonzalez will not finish in the top 5 fantasy TE’s. In fact, he may even finish towards the bottom of the top 10.

28. At least two TE’s will have more fantasy points than Jason Witten. Maybe 3.

29. Greg Olsen will be considered among the game’s best Tight Ends by the end of the season

30. This will finally be the year that Vernon Davis lives up to his draft billing.

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