Tommy Hanson :: Bob Levey/Icon SMI
The summer hasn't even officially started yet and I'm already through with two fantasy football drafts. The first can be found in the new Sports Illustrated Presents Fantasy Football 2009 manual, available at newsstands now. The second took place this past Monday when 12 of the most visable fantasy football writers from across the web, including yours truly, took part in one for NFL.com's site and upcoming Fantasy Football issue. Host Michael Fabiano has listed every pick of the draft along with round-by-round commentary. I decided to go with a few reaches here an there knowing full well that the NFL's rise of stars is fast and fall is even faster. Here are the whens and whys of my selections out of the eighth slot.
1. Steve Slaton, RB, Texans: There were two obvious choices here, DeAngelo Williams and Steve Slaton, neither of whom should've been there at that selection. Choosing to go against the chalk pick of Williams, the 2008 touchdown leader, I picked Slaton who is primed to become a top fantasy player as one of the league's few fulltime backs in his sophomore season in Houston.
2. Brian Westbrook, Eagles: When the round begane I was ready to take a wide receiver with Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss and Steve Smith my main targets but as players were taken off the board ahead of me, Westbrook was staring at me with the 17th pick. Sure he has an ankle injury now, but even if he misses a week or two during the regular season, he's fantasy gold on an improved Eagles offense, especially in a PPR league like this.
3. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks: While I believe that Terrell Owens will have a big year for the Bills, I just couldn't go through the season worrying about when he would alienate his coach/quarterback/teammates, so instead I decided to roll the dice on Housh's return to the Pacific Northwest clearly as Matt Hasselbeck's best receiving option.
4. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills: Lynch is appealing a league-sanctioned three-game suspension for off the field activities, but even if he sits all three he's exactly the kind of injection that a fantasy team needs. I love having him as my flex.
5. DeSean Jackson, Eagles: With the receiving corps getting a bit thin and with only Houshmandzadeh on my roster it was time to pick the best available. Since Anthony Gonzalez, one of my personal favorite sleepers this season, was taken, I went to last season's breakout rookie Jackson. That's two Eagles now which pretty much torpedoes my idea of drafting of Donovan McNabb.
6. Felix Jones, Cowboys: In baseball you can never have enough pitching. In fantasy football you can never have enough good running backs ... and Jones is primed to be an electrifying force in Big D in all aspects of the offense.
7. Matt Ryan, Falcons: The Falcons are poised to be a powerful offensive squad, especially with the acquisition of Tony Gonzalez. Mark my words: Ryan will be in the Pro Bowl this season.
8. Steve Breaston, Cardinals: Yes, he's a third receiver, but he also plays in one of the most explosive passing offenses in league history. With Anquan Boldin's future in the desert still in doubt, Breaston is worth the chance. Plus I have another receiver up my sleeve.
9. Percy Harvin, Vikings: My collegues and I have disparate views of Harvin's worth, but after watching him filet SEC defenses with his incredible speed and versatility and the fact that the Vikings are basically rewriting the playbook to provide him with every opportunity to contribute immediately, I believe I got a steal. He'll be what the Bears have been hoping Devin Hester would become since he first took snaps on offense two years ago.
10. Fred Jackson, RB, Bills: Forgive the term, but Lynch needed a handcuff, and Jackson is the man in Buffalo who'll start for the season's first three games. Once Lynch returns, I can use this spot to grab the best receiver off the waiver wire, or I can package both Buffalo runners for a top receiver.
11. Anthony Fasano, Dolphins: I touted him as a sleeper last year and with seven touchdowns he came through. Expect more big things from the Sparano personal favorite, especially in a conservative, ball-control offense.
12. Kyle Orton, Broncos: Brandon Marshall's trade demands put a bit of a dampener on this pick, but Orton should still be solid as a backup to Matt Ryan on this team.
13. Glen Coffee, 49ers: Mike Singletary is a believer in ball control offense and in his first full season will run his backs into the ground. Coffee will get his chances, although they may not come for the first few weeks of the season.
14. New York Jets Defense/Special Teams: Rex Ryan, Bart Scott, Leon Washington, Kerry Rhodes, Lito Sheppard and Darrelle Revis made Gang Green an easy pick from the remaining D's.
15. Bobby Engram, WR, Chiefs: Here's a pure gut instinct pick. Engram has the potential to catch 80 balls in the Chiefs new-look offense, playing a role that Wes Welker plays in a similar scheme in New England. Gonzo's departure also gives Engram great potential as a target across the middle of the goalline.
16. Lawrence Tynes, K, Giants: Fantasy kickers are more a product of their team's success than they are of their own skill. Last season the Giants made 43-year old John Carney the league's leading socrer. This season those duties fall on Tynes. Should he somehow stumble, there are 20 more choices waiting on the waiver wire for me.
Adverse weather has wreaked havoc throughout the majors this season as summer just refuses to arrive, especially in the Eastern half of the nation. For those of you who lost player games in weekly head-to-head leagues, this information isn't of much consolation; but for those in rotisserie leagues that feature tight category races, it could prove to be the difference between winning and losing. These are the teams who have games rescheduled for later in the season, explaining why you lag behind in certain stats and also making their players the most attractive targets in trades.
These teams have the most games left:
Teams with the fewest games left:
|In||5 minutes ago||Out|
|Starter||Matt Cain||Roy Halladay/Johan Santana||Zack Greinke|
|Power hitter||Albert Pujols||Torii Hunter||Joe Mauer|
|Closer||Huston Street||Heath Bell||Kelly Downs|
|Speedster||B.J. Upton||Carl Crawford||Juan Pierre|
Follow me for tips throughout the year on Twitter at @SI_DavidSabino.