Hi everybody! You're probably wondering where the heck I've been, haven't you? No? Not one bit? Well fine, be that way. I won't tell you about my fishing trip, but I do want to look at NFL.com's early fantasy football player rankings and projections, because I
want to do an in-depth analysis and breakdown of where your Minnesota Vikings are want to give Gonzo a break after keeping this place going by himself for over a week, and this is the first thing I can come up with. Anyways, let's look and see where NFL.com has your favorite Viking players, shall we? I'll hit each starter at the offensive categories, and the number in parenthesis next to their name is where they are ranked by individual position, not overall.
QB: Brett Favre (8): Initial gut reaction is that this is too low, and Favre should be top 5. Ponce DeLeon, who turns 67 in early September, is ranked 8th among quarterbacks. He has a stable of young, talented receivers, a good running game, and an offensive line that should be better with a healthy Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera. Ahead of Favre are the usual suspects (Manning, Brady, Brees, and Rivers)
two one guy I can live with, albeit grudgingly (Aaron Rodgers), and two guys that I just can't get on board with, Tony Romo and Matt Schaub. The fact that they have Jay Cutler 9th almost invalidates the list entirely, but let's just stick with 1-8. I can live with Rodgers being ahead of Favre, but I don't see him as the #1 overall QB. That goes to Manning, in my opinion. I think Favre has a better season than Tom Brady, Tony Romo, and Matt Schaub. the knock on Favre, ironically, is that he will eventually get injured and miss games...but he never has. Schaub finally started all 16 games in a season for the first time in his career last season, and although he has a great receiver in Andre Johnson, doesn't have the overall talent around him that Favre does. Tom Brady's ranking depends solely on Wes Welker and how quickly he can bounce back. Brady looked out of sorts against the Ravens in the playoffs without Welker, and I think without him his numbers will suffer, even with Randy Moss. He's still a great QB, but not as good as Favre. As for Tony Romo...there's just something about him that I don't trust. Romo is a very good quarterback, but I hesitate to call him great. Is Miles Austin the real thing, now that teams will roll coverage to his side? Jason Witten is arguably the best TE in the game, but Romo, who plays very well against teams Dallas should beat, still struggles in the spotlight, and the heat will be on Dallas all of 2010. I just don't see Romo as better than Favre.
RB: Adrian Peterson (2): Initial gut reaction is that is right on the money. The only guy ahead of him is Tennessee's Chris Johnson, and I can live with that. If I have the #1 overall pick, I'm still picking Peterson, though, because the possibility of Chris Johnson holding out seems more than an idle threat to me, especially with all the support he's getting from current and former players. AP had a great year that was marred by untimely fumbles, like inside the 10 during the NFC championship...ahem...sorry, still too soon. Anyhow, what Peterson lost in rushing yards he made up for in receiving yards, and had only 65 total yards from scrimmage less in 2009 than he did in 2008. With the loss of Chester Taylor, AP should have a more productive year than last season, and I expect him to nearly eliminate the fumble issues that dogged him in 2009.
WR: Sidney Rice (11), Percy Harvin (21), Bernard Berrian (56): Initial gut reaction is too low, marginally low, and way too low. Rice had a breakout year, but the threats of Harvin and Berrian prevent defenses from consistently double teaming him, and that alone moves him into the top 10. Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Randy Moss go 1-3, but without Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin I think Fitzgerald's production drops him out of the top 5. DeSean Jackson, Miles Austin, and Brandon Marshall are also guys that I would put Rice ahead of, making him a borderline top 5 guy. Rice was second in the NFC in receiving, behind Austin, but when you factor in the QB and overall offense, I put Rice ahead of Austin, but only by the length of a football.
Percy Harvin is only going to get better, but if he continues to miss games because of migraines, I can't see him being a top 10 receiver. I think he is easily a top 15 guy, and guys ahead of him like Michael Crabtree, Dwayne Bowe, and Hines Ward won't match his production because of quarterback issues. If you play in a league where individuals get special teams TD's and not defense/ST units as a whole, Harvin's value goes up even more.
If there is a guy that is really flying under the radar for 2010, it's Bernard Berrian. NFL.com says the reason his production slipped and he's no better than a #4 option on the team is because Favre developed chemistry with Harvin and Rice, which is true. But why did he? It's because Berrian was injured, remember? Berrian was the #1 receiver going into camp last season, promptly pulled his hamstring, and never really got it going. Oh, he had flashes of the deep threat speed he showed in 2008, but I can't remember BB ever just cutting loose last season. Add to that an on-again, off-again case of the dropsies, and you can see why he would be placed so low. But if healthy, I easily see Berrian in the top 30, and arguably top 20, and a 900+ receiving yards 7 or 8 TD season well within reach, which is what he produced in 2008. Oh, and he also did this.
TE: Visanthe Shiancoe (10): Yeah, that's about right. Shiancoe is a big time red zone threat, which increases his value, but he loses catches and yardage to Harvin and Rice, which drops his value. The guys ahead of him get more yards, but he gets more scores, so I can't say that I can find anything too terribly out of whack with the ranking.
As for defenses and kickers, to me they're all a bunch of meh. Defenses really can change from year to year with personnel turnover, and kickers are...kickers. There's a reason you draft kickers and defenses at the end of your fantasy draft, not the beginning. Now, some random thoughts.
--Daunte Culpepper has fallen from grace faster than Helen Thomas. Was it just over 5 years ago we were talking about DC as a legitimate MVP candidate, and now he's in the UFL? Wow.
--So, professional athletes (and good friends) Visanthe Shiancoe and Darren Sharper act like they're 12 over the social medium Twitter and there's actual, legitimate outrage? Really? Is it me, or is this way too much about nothing?
--EJ Henderson and Steve Hutchinson should both be good to go for training camp as they bounce back from off-season surgeries to fix injury. As bad as Henderson's was for the defense, Hutch's was as critical to the VIkes alarming drop in offensive line production last year. To show how bad Hutch's injury was and how it affected his play, I turn to my new favorite stats site, ProFootballFocus.com. In 2009, Hutchinson's overall rating was -7.9 (zero is considered average). Pass blocking was rated at 10.7, run blocking a staggeringly bad -17.1. In 2008, he was 23.2/6.0/17.7.
Yeah, I think it's safe to say that Hutch was really bothered by that shoulder.
Well, that's about all for now. I'm glad to be back, and you'll see me regularly again for the forseeable future, like it or not.