Contract Year Players
Another mistake people make when discussing pay-off seasons is focusing only on star players. This year, guys like
Now that I've narrowed the pool down to players who are literally playing for jobs, let's identify the three categories they fall into. With all this talk of getting paid, I'm starting to feel a little gangsta, yo, so I've divided the following candidates into players who will "get that scrilla," guys who "won't thrill ya," and under-appreciated performers who you should "take a feela" on. Alright, so that last one is pretty lame. Shoot me. It rhymed ... biatches.
Let's cut Campbell some slack. He had three different offensive coordinators over his first three seasons. His two main receivers could moonlight as munchkins in the remake of Wizard of Oz. His owner's a megalomaniac, his first head coach was born before the advent of the forward pass and his current leader has third degree burns on his posterior from sitting on a metal chair placed directly over a bonfire. Of course, none of that is an excuse for throwing 13 touchdowns while starting every game last season, or failing to reach the 200-yard plateau in eight of 16 contests. But hey, he did throw a league-low six interceptions!
With the Redskins attached to recent rumors about other QB acquisitions, its apparent this is Campbell's last chance to prove he's a starting caliber NFL signal-caller. A second consecutive season in QB guru
Despite leading the league in completion percentage and setting a career high with 3,653 passing yards, Pennington once again is in a situation where he has to prove himself. Not to the Dolphins brass -- who've all but decided that
You'll read a lot about how Orton's skill set fits perfectly with the offense
However, don't make the mistake of glancing at Cassel's numbers from '08 and projecting them onto ol' "Neckbeard." For starters, if you look closer at the game-by-game production, you'll see that Cassel averaged 345 yards and threw 13 touchdowns during four monster outings, while hitting pay dirt just eight times with an average of 193 yards in the remaining 12 games. Oh, and he was also in charge of guiding an offense that established itself as the best EVER the year prior. I have no doubts Orton will find success in Denver and land a multi-year deal at season's end, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's worthy of your fantasy lust. Consider him a reliable backup with matchup play possibilities, despite the recent injury.
Maybe it's just me, but White seems to embody the "dolla dolla bill y'all" persona that many NFL'ers are acting out these days, and, not surprisingly, the signs of contract year motivation are already evident. Weighing in at a blubbery 260-pounds last season, "Smash" apparently realized that playing your way into shape during training camp hasn't worked since 1964. He has vowed to keep himself hovering around 230 pounds throughout the season.
White's always had the physical tools to be an ultra-productive fantasy running back, it was just his head, heart and gut that prevented him from rising to the status his talents indicated. Now that the chance of a huge payday has taken care of his heart and gut, owners are left with only his head to worry about. That puts him on par with about 50 percent of the players in the league right now. Even if
With knee and shoulder issues limiting him to 11 games, Parker suffered through his worst statistical output since taking over the starting job in 2005. He averaged 3.8 yards-per-carry, and recorded just three catches. In his absence,
All the reports coming out of Pittsburgh have been positive regarding Parker's conditioning, but if he's lost even the slightest bit of step, we can go ahead and start the clock on his impending free agency. You'll have to draft him as an RB2 if you want to own FWP, and I am not willing to pay anything near that much for a rapidly declining running back with a possible time share problem.
As an undrafted free agent in 2007, Thomas' rookie contract is now up, and after posting 677 total yards and nine scores over his last six games as the Saints starting running back, he's looking to upgrade his "embarrassing" $460,000 salary of last year.
Sporting a career average of 4.8 yards per carry, Thomas enters the season as the unquestioned primary ball carrier and goal line option in NOLA, and factoring in his above-average receiving skills -- 48 catches in part-time duty over the last two seasons -- it's not hard to see why fantasy experts everywhere are declaring him the breakout candidate of '09. And I gotta admit, I'm buying into the hype. Looking at
Edwards is surly, irresponsible -- check out his role on the night
By all accounts, Henry has done a complete 180 in his approach to football, and more importantly, life in general. Words like "maturation" and "dedication" are being thrown out with regularity, and he spent a portion of his offseason training with
Many people are discounting Fasano as a reliable fantasy option based on his, well, unreliability last season. Sure, he had six games when he registered one catch or less, and the hands-challenged
Josh McDaniels hates tight ends, everyone knows this. I think it's even posted somewhere on his Facebook profile. More specifically, he hates pass-catching tight ends. He thinks their place is on the line, protecting the quarterback, not running up the seam with speedy wideouts. While in New England, he routinely shied away from
McMichael caught 11 balls through the first four games last season before hitting injured reserve with a broken leg. The Rams have an entirely new coaching staff, led by