Fantasy Clicks
BY JAY CLEMONS
The Marshall Plan Hits South Beach
Brandon Marshall: Jeff Moffett/Icon SMI

The three-tiered marriage of Brandon Marshall, the Dolphins and the city of Miami seems like a match made in heaven right now, especially since Marshall cannot carp about a new contract for the next 3-4 years. But what will Marshall be like once training camp opens and preseason games begin? And once the real season starts, will he perform with that patented chip on his shoulder -- the one he had with Denver from 2007-09 (three 100-catch seasons)? Hmmm ... seems like the perfect time to broach Marshall's first season under the South Beach spotlight, Revelations-style:

What He'll Probably Like: As much as he should appreciate a kick returner who crosses into an opponent's territory on a semi-regular basis, B-Marsh actually stands to benefit from the trade exodus of Ted Ginn, Jr. to the 49ers. Simply put, with Ginn on the lam in northern California, Marshall should reap more catches, passing yards and red-zone opportunities.

What He'll Love: The Dolphins' confidence in quarterback Chad Henne is off the charts right now, as evidenced by the 52 pass attempts in a 22-21 victory against the Patriots in Week 13 ... and 46 passes in a three-point defeat to the Titans in Week 15. (For good measure, Henne threw for 684 yards and three TDs in those two games.) And all that occurred with Ginn and Davone Bess as the top recieving options. With Marshall in tow, Henne will hopefully target his new batterymate at least 14 times in fair-weather games; and the 2010 schedule dictates a minimum of 14 Dolphins games played in ideal conditions (exceptions: trips to New York and Foxboro).

What He'll Love, Part II: Assuming restricted free agent Ronnie Brown re-signs with the Dolphins, the Lightning & Thunder backfield of the oft-injured Brown (648 rushing yards/8 TDs in only nine games last year) and Ricky Williams (1,121 rushing yards/11 TDs) should be booming again; consequently, this ground goodness will create favorable matchups in the secondary for Marshall (307 catches/3,710 yards/23 TDs the last three season).

What Might Make Marshall's Teeth Gnash: The downside to Brown/Williams running at full speed is obvious: They'll be locks for 22 combined touchdowns, with 17-19 likely stemming from red-zone opportunities. As a result, Marshall may have trouble amassing double-digit touchdowns.

What Might Make B-Marsh Scratch His Head: Miami's offensive line must be a juggernaut-in-waiting. That's the only acceptable reason for the club requesting that Justin Smiley, one of the NFL's most underrated offensive guards, stay away from the team's facility until a trade (presumably) occurs. Yes, Smiley doesn't have the value of tackles Jake Long and Vernon Carey, but he's hardly an eminently replaceable asset, either. What an odd situation!

What Could Blow His Mind: Marshall, who was apparently uncomfortable with Denver's fishbowl-obsession with athletes (especially Bronco stars), will experience a unique culture shock in Miami. Yes, the Dolphins are clearly the No. 1 sports team in south Florida, but the fervor surrounding Miami's longest-standing pro franchise simply can't match the intensity of Colorado and the Broncos ... although the South Beach way of life offers its own brand of, ahem, scrutiny, too.

The Power Of ADP

The calendar reads May 12, but the good people at Fantasy Football Calculator are already hard at work, trying to make mathematical sense of this year's top fantasy football prospects. In fact, this site represents the perfect one-stop shopping for mock drafts and the Average Draft Position tool (ADP) -- perhaps the best learning aid for NOT reaching during the August drafts. Speaking of ADP, here's a list of wide receivers likely earmarked for Rounds 1-6 (12-team leagues), if a draft were held today:

Andre Johnson, Texans -- Round 1, Pick 6
Reggie Wayne, Colts -- Round 1, Pick 10
Randy Moss, Patriots -- Round 1, Pick 12
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals -- Round 2, Pick 2
Miles Austin, Cowboys -- Round 2, Pick 4
Brandon Marshall, Dolphins -- Round 2, Pick 7
DeSean Jackson, Eagles -- Round 2, Pick 8
Calvin Johnson, Lions -- Round 2, Picks 8 (dead heat)
Roddy White, Falcons -- Round 2 , Pick 11
Vincent Jackson, Chargers -- Round 3, Pick 2
Marques Colston, Saints -- Round 3, Pick 4
Greg Jennings, Packers -- Round 3, Pick 5
Sidney Rice, Vikings -- Round 3, Pick 7
Anquan Boldin, Ravens -- Round 3, Pick 9
Steve Smith, Panthers -- Round 4, Pick 2
Steve Smith, Giants -- Round 4, Pick 6
Chad Ochocinco, Bengals -- Round 4, Pick 9
Michael Crabtree, 49ers -- Round 4, Pick 11
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs -- Round 5, Pick 3
Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars -- Round 5, Pick 6
Wes Welker, Patriots -- Round 5, Pick 7
Percy Harvin, Vikings -- Round 5, Pick 10
Pierre Garcon, Colts -- Round 5, Pick 11
Hakeem Nicks, Giants -- Round 6, Pick 4
Hines Ward, Steelers -- Round 6, Pick 7
Donald Driver, Packers -- Round 6, Pick 7 (dead heat)

Clipboards 'R Us

Here are my backup-QB rankings for 2010, from No. 1 (Michael Vick) to No. 32 (Brian Hoyer):
1. Michael Vick, Eagles (we freely admit this is a reputation pick)
2. Derek Anderson, Cardinals (decent QB bolstered by awesome supporting talent)
3. Seneca Wallace, Browns (could easily be the Browns' Week 1 starter)
4. Tarvaris Jackson, Vikings (IF Brett Favre miraculously returns ... to no one's surprise)
5. Bruce Gradkowski, Raiders
6. David Carr, 49ers (the second of two No. 1 overall draft picks on the same depth chart)
7. Brodie Croyle, Chiefs (eventually it'll click for this strong-armed veteran)
8. Dennis Dixon/Byron Leftwich, Steelers (Dixon is light-years ahead of Leftwich)
9. A.J. Feeley, Rams (should be the Week 1 starter/placeholder for Sam Bradford)
10. Kellen Clemens, Jets
11. Chad Pennington, Dolphins
12. Josh Johnson, Buccaneers (has excellent tools but needs plenty of seasoning)
13. Charlie Whitehurst, Seahawks (the QB of the future ... until Jake Locker gets drafted)
14. Shaun Hill, Lions
15. Kerry Collins, Titans (better real-world QB than in fantasyland)
16. Luke McCown, Jaguars
17. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills
18. Jimmy Clausen, Panthers (easily the greatest upside amongst the bottom 16)
19. Jon Kitna, Cowboys
20. Billy Volek, Chargers
21. Rex Grossman, Redskins
22. Tim Tebow/Brady Quinn, Broncos (Tebow could go H-back during red-zone chances)
23. J.T. O'Sullivan, Bengals
24. Chase Daniel, Saints
25. Dan Orlovsky, Texans (could easily thrive if Matt Schaub gets hurt)
26. Matt Flynn, Packers
27. Caleb Henie, Bears
28. Chris Redman, Falcons
29. Troy Smith, Ravens
30. Curtis Painter, Colts
31. Jim Sorgi, Giants
32. Brian Hoyer, Patriots (frankly, we're shocked that he's a No. 2 QB with a winning team ... and this is coming from a fellow Michigan State grad)

The Great Debate

Fantasy owners will soon be overwhelmed with (accurate) propaganda supporting Chris Johnson's candidacy for the No. 1 pick in standard-scoring leagues; and for the most part, it'll be good advice for the August drafts. However, there are still a few rock-solid reasons -- six, actually -- to consider Adrian Peterson for the overall top spot:

1. The numbers only tell part of the story. Everyone knows Peterson made a quantum leap in total touchdowns from 2009 (18) to '08 (10). But very few fantasy owners probably realize that AP's yards-per-touch ratio jumped to 5.21 -- up from 4.91 in '08 -- even though he finished with 66 fewer total yards on the season.

2. Peterson has finally become in a vital cog in the passing game. Thanks to Brett Favre and Brad Childress, All Day experienced a monumental jump in receptions. How much? His 43 catches in 2009 exceeded his combined total (40) from 2007-08. Perish the thought: Peterson may have the capacity for 55-60 catches someday -- adding to his allure in Points Per Reception leagues. (On the downside, he only has one career TD reception -- off his very first pro catch back in '07.)

3. Without a doubt, Chris Johnson has the higher upside ... but if you're looking for a lead-pipe cinch for 1,850 total yards and 17 touchdowns in any given year -- for the next 3-5 seasons -- Peterson's your man!

4. If Brett Favre retires ... Peterson's touches will most definitely go up about 6-8 percent; and with more touches comes more opportunities for breakaway runs like these.

5. If Favre returns to Minnesota ... tell me you wouldn't rubber-stamp a repeat of 1,819 total yards and 18 touchdowns, leaving yourself more time to focus on the crucial swing picks of Round 2 (No. 24) and Round 3 (No. 25). In other words, as great as Johnson should be this decade, he hasn't fully earned the year-in, year-out bankability for 1,800-2,000 yards yet. And before laughing that off, just remember Steven Jackson hasn't emulated his out-of-this-world success from 2006 (2,334 total yards, 16 TDs).

6. Let's be honest: Money talks. Whether Peterson and the Vikings carve out an extension this summer or midway through next season, rest assured that a highly lucrative deal is coming Adrian's way ... perhaps making him the highest-paid non-QB in the league. As a good-faith gesture for getting all that do-re-mi before his current contract expires in a few years, Peterson will certainly bring his A+-game to the table this fall.

Verdict: The above arguments only work for standard-scoring and TD-only leagues. For PPR leagues, Chris Johnson is the redoubtable choice for No. 1 overall ... while AP could even be usurpred by Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald or Steven Jackson at the No. 2 spot.

The Biggest Crapshoot Of 'Em All

Here are my post-draft RB rankings (standard-scoring league), which will undoubtedly differ from experts of other sites -- primarily because it's virtually impossible to predict anything past Beanie Wells (No. 13 overall) at this point. And if anyone claims otherwise, they're probably lying:

1. Chris Johnson, Titans
2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
4. Ray Rice, Ravens
5. Michael Turner, Falcons
6. Steven Jackson, Rams
7. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
8. Frank Gore, 49ers
9. Cedric Benson, Bengals
10. Ryan Grant, Packers
11. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
12. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
13. Beanie Wells, Cardinals
14. Matt Forte, Bears
15. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
16. Shonn Greene, Jets
17. LeSean McCoy, Eagles
18. Pierre Thomas, Saints
19. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
20. C.J. Spiller, Bills

Meet The Safety Blankets

It's absolutely essential to pair a QB/WR or QB/TE from the same NFL team in Points Per Reception leagues. In the biz, it's known as "handcuffing," and it's the quickest way to doubling your points in high-scoring leagues. Here are the top 20 QB-TE handcuffs (with ties):

1. Peyton Manning/Dallas Clark, Colts
2. Tony Romo/Jason Witten, Cowboys
3. Philip Rivers/Antonio Gates, Chargers
4. Alex Smith/Vernon Davis, 49ers
5. Josh Freeman/Kellen Winslow, Buccaneers
6. Matt Ryan/Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
7. Kevin Kolb/Brent Celek, Eagles
8. Jason Campbell/Zach Miller, Raiders
9. Aaron Rodgers/Jermichael Finley, Packers
10. Matt Schaub/Owen Daniels, Texans
11. Brett Favre/Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings
12. Matt Hasselbeck/John Carlson, Seahawks
13. Jay Cutler/Greg Olsen, Bears
14. Mark Sanchez/Dustin Keller, Jets
15. Donovan McNabb/Fred Davis, Redskins
16. Carson Palmer/Jermaine Gresham, Bengals
17. Matthew Stafford/Tony Scheffler, Lions
18. Ben Roethlisberger or Dennis Dixon/Heath Miller, Steelers
19. Drew Brees/Jeremy Shockey, Saints
20. Vince Young/Jared Cook, Titans
20a. Matthew Stafford/Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
20b. Donovan McNabb/Chris Cooley, Redskins

Choose Your Quarterback
Alex Smith: Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images

It's quite possible that some owner in the 16-team SI.com & Friends superleague will wait until Round 8 to draft a quarterback ... and end up with Mark Sanchez and Alex Smith as their 1 and 1a signal callers. But which one stands to have the better season? Here's a week-by-week breakdown between the two evenly matched quarterbacks, on the off chance you'll draft 'em both:

Week 1 -- Smith (@ Seattle) over Sanchez (vs. Baltimore)
Week 2 -- Smith (vs. New Orleans) over Sanchez (vs. New England)
Week 3 -- Smith (@ Kansas City) over Sanchez (@ Miami)
Week 4 -- Smith (@ Atlanta) over Sanchez (@ Buffalo)
Week 5 -- Sanchez (vs. Minnesota) over Smith (vs. Philadelphia)
Week 6 -- Sanchez (@ Denver) over Smith (vs. Oakland)
Week 7 -- Smith (@ Carolina) over Sanchez (BYE)
Week 8 -- Smith (vs. Denver) over Sanchez (vs. Green Bay)
Week 9 -- Sanchez (@ Detroit) over Smith (BYE)
Week 10 -- Sanchez (@ Cleveland) over Smith (vs. St. Louis)
Week 11 -- Smith (vs. Tampa Bay) over Sanchez (vs. Houston)
Week 12 -- Smith (@ Arizona) over Sanchez (vs. Cincinnati)
Week 13 -- Sanchez (@ New England) over Smith (@ Green Bay)
Week 14 -- Smith (vs. Seattle) over Sanchez (vs. Miami)
Week 15 -- Sanchez (@ Pittsburgh) over Smith (@ San Diego)
Week 16 -- Smith (@ St. Louis) over Sanchez (@ Chicago)
Week 17 -- Smith (vs. Arizona) over Sanchez (vs. Buffalo)
Final Tally: Smith wins, 11-6

Verdict: The 49ers have built-in fantasy advantages over the Jets, like 1) more defensively challenged opponents 2) better weather during November and December ... and sure enough, those factors heavily contributed to Smith's sizable victory in this survey. Of course, it also helps that Smith has the better No. 1 running back (Frank Gore over Shonn Greene), No. 1 receiver (Michael Crabtree over the suspended Santonio Holmes) and No. 1 tight end (Vernon Davis over Dustin Keller). And yet, don't be surprised if Sanchez is consistently the higher-drafted commodity come August, based off the Jets' preseason hype and the obligatory East Coast bias.

Second Time Around

The Running Back Class of 2009 might not compare to the name-brand talents of previous years (like 2008), but this group should still have a profound impact on this fantasy season. Here are the rankings for Year 2 backs in standard-scoring leagues:
1. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
2. Beanie Wells, Cardinals
3. Shonn Greene, Jets
4. LeSean McCoy, Eagles
5. Donald Brown, Colts
6. Glen Coffee, 49ers
7. Rashad Jennings, Jaguars
8. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals
9. James Davis, Browns
10. Javon Ringer, Titans
11. Andre Brown, Giants
12. Bernard Scott, Bengals
13. Mike Goodson, Panthers
14. Aaron Brown, Lions
15. Chris Ogbonnaya, Rams

Finish What You Start

It's never too early too check out Fantasy Football Toolbox, which is always doing research for the upcoming season. This week's gems involve the most overused backs in 2008-09 or offensive line proficiency or contract-year players or Year 3 receiver rankings and the NFL's best finishers at running back (last six games of 2009):

1. Chris Johnson, Titans -- 6 games, 143 fantasy points = 23.8 per game
2. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs -- 6 games, 130 fantasy points = 21.7 per game
3. Jerome Harrison, Browns -- 6 games, 114 fantasy points = 19.0 per game
4. Adrian Peterson, Vikings -- 6 games, 103 points = 17.1 per game
5. Frank Gore, 49ers -- 6 games, 100 points = 16.6 per game
6. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers -- 6 games, 96 points = 16.0 per game
7. Thomas Jones, Jets (now Chiefs) -- 6 games, 89 points = 14.8 per game
8. Fred Jackson, Bills -- 6 games, 87 points = 14.4 per game
9. Ray Rice, Ravens -- 6 games, 86 points = 14.3 per game
10. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos -- 6 games, 85 points = 14.2 per game
11. Ryan Grant, Packers -- 6 games, 83 points = 13.9 per game
12. Arian Foster, Texans -- 4 games, 53 points = 13.3 per game
13. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars -- 6 games, 78 points = 13.0 per game
14. LaDainian Tomlinson, Jets (now Chargers) -- 6 games, 75 points = 12.4 per game
15. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers -- 6 games, 74 points = 12.4 per game

Mark Your Calendars

FYI: Sports Illustrated will be coming out with the sequel to its 2009 preseason fantasy football publication sometime in July, and our official Experts' Mock Draft is slated for June 1, meaning I'll have plenty of post-draft nuggets for the June 2 Clicks. Can't hardly wait!

The Bye Week Conundrum

Come August, let's pretend you have the No. 3 overall pick in a 10-team, standard-scoring league ... and subsequently, the No. 18 pick on the turnaround. And let's say you're primed to grab 49ers RB Frank Gore in Round 1 and Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno in Round 2. Sounds like a great plan ... until you realize both Gore and Moreno share the same bye period, Week 9. Would you be comfortable with having two elite talents sitting out the same week, or would you prefer to stagger their fantasy goodness with different bye weeks? This is a debate we'll tackle in future football Clicks; in the meantime, here's the 2010 bye schedule and the impacted fantasy stars:

Week 4: Cowboys (Romo, Barber, Jones, Austin, Williams, Bryant, Witten), Chiefs (Cassel, Charles, Jones, Bowe, McCluster, Chambers, Urban, Cottam), Vikings (Favre, Peterson, Gerhart, Harvin, Rice, Shiancoe, Berrian), Buccaneers (Freeman, Williams, Ward, Graham, Benn, Williams, Stoval, Winslow)

Week 5: Dolphins (Henne, Brown, Williams, Marshall, Bess, Hartline, Camarillo, Turner, Fasano), Patriots (Brady, Moss, Tate, Edelman, Welker, Gronkowski, Hernandez, Maroney), Steelers (Roethlisberger, Dixon, Mendenhall, Ward, Wallace, Miller, Sanders), Seahawks (Hasselbeck, Forsett, Jones, Washington, White, Houshmandzadeh, Branch, Carlson, Tate, Williams)

Week 6: Bills (Edwards, Spiller, Jackson, Lynch, Hardy, Evans, Nelson, Parrish), Bengals (Palmer, Benson, Scott, Ochocinco, Bryant, Gresham, Simpson), Cardinals (Leinart, Wells, Hightower, Stephens-Howling, Fitzgerald, Doucet, Breaston, Spach, Becht), Panthers (Moore, Williams, Stewart, Smith, LaFell, Jarrett, King, Rosario)

Week 7: Lions (Stafford, Best, Smith, Johnson, Burleson, Scheffler, Pettigrew), Colts (Manning, Addai, Brown, Garcon, Collie, Wayne, Clark, Gonzalez), Jets (Sanchez, Greene, Tomlinson, McKnight, Edwards, Cotchery, Keller, Holmes), Texans (Schaub, Slaton, Tate, Foster, Johnson, Walter, Jones, Daniels)

Week 8: Falcons (Ryan, Turner, Norwood, Snelling, White, Gonzalez, Jenkins), Bears (Cutler, Forte, Taylor, Aromashodu, Hester, Bennett, Olsen), Browns (Delhomme/Wallace, Harrison, Hardesty, Davis, Massaquoi, Royal, Cribbs, Stuckey), Giants (Manning, Jacobs, Bradshaw, Brown, Smith, Manningham, Boss, Nicks), Eagles (Kolb, McCoy, Bell, Jackson, Avant, Celek), Ravens (Flacco, Rice, McGahee, McClain, Boldin, Mason, Williams, Heap, Stallworth, Dickson)

Week 9: Redskins (McNabb, Portis, Johnson, Parker, Moss, Cooley, Thomas, Kelly, Davis), Broncos (Orton, Moreno, Thomas, Decker, Arrington, Buckhalter, Graham, Royal, Gaffney), Rams (Feeley/Bradford, Jackson, Avery, Burton, Robinson, Gilyard, Amendola, Gibson, Fells), Titans (Young, Johnson, Ringer, Britt, Gage, Cook, Scaife, Washington), 49ers (Smith, Gore, Coffee, Crabtree, Morgan, Ginn, Davis, Hill), Jaguars (Garrard, Jones-Drew, Jennings, Sims-Walker, Dillard, Williamson, Lewis)

Week 10: Packers (Rodgers, Grant, Jackson, Jennings, Driver, Jones, Finley), Raiders (Campbell, McFadden, Bush, Murphy, Heyward-Bey, Miller), Saints (Brees, Bush, Thomas, Meachem, Colston, Moore, Henderson, Shockey, Thomas), Chargers (Rivers, Sproles, Mathews, Jackson, Naanee, Davis, Gates)

I Cannot Leave Without Regaling ...

... the greatest line ever uttered in a sports-media press box (at least in my presence). In September 2002, while covering Alabama vs. North Texas in Tuscaloosa for The Mobile Register, an attractive, twentysomething girl from Texas asked me the following question while perusing the Crimson Tide's media guide:

Why is this stadium named after Brian Dennehy?

The girl, passively referring to Bryant-Denny Stadium, was unaware of coaching legend Paul 'Bear' Bryant and his legacy with the Alabama program ... or that Brian Dennehy, the actor, studied history at Columbia University.

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