Coby Fleener
For the most part the free agent signings  thus far won’t have major fantasy implications. The quarterback market and wide receiver market are soft. The running back and tight end markets have a little more intrigue. One potentially exciting signing is Coby Fleener going to New Orleans.
Fleener caught 54 passes last year with 491 yards and three touchdowns. It marks the third straight season of at least 50 catches for Fleener. In 2013 he snagged 52 passes for 608 yards and in 2014 he caught 51 for 774 yards and eight touchdowns.
Fleener’s production has been limited over the years because of Dwayne Allen’s presence. In New Orleans he’ll get a chance to play more snaps and secure more targets. Plus, Drew Brees has a history of making stars out of tight ends.
Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham have been two of the most prolific tight ends with Brees. Ben Watson set career highs last year with 74 catches for 825 yards and  six touchdowns despite turning 35 in December. Fleener will be 28 and entering his prime. He is very much on the TE1 radar.

The NFC South features three of the top quarterbacks in the league and a rookie that wants to become an icon.
Drew Brees sets the bar for the NFC South, and you need a ladder to reach it. Brees topped 4000 yards for the fifth straight year, 4620 to be exact. His 33 touchdown passes marked his third straight year with at least 33. Brees is remarkably accurate, productive, and consistent. He’s a bona fide star and top tier QB1. It doesn’t seem to matter who is catching the ball for him.
Matt Ryan made a nice jump into borderline QB1 territory last year. He threw for 3705  yards and 28 touchdowns. Roddy White is one of the most explosive receivers in the league. The Falcons traded the moon for rookie WR Julio Jones to compliment Roddy. I’m not sure Ryan can be much more productive than last year, given their commitment to Michael Turner and the running game, but he should be as good or slightly better. Ryan is a low-end QB1, high-end QB2.
Josh Freeman quietly turned in a solid season, throwing for 3451 yards and 25 touchdowns. Perhaps as impressive was his INT total (6). He added another 364 yards on the ground. Given his size, I expect Freeman to record his first rushing touchdown next year. His numbers are a little bloated thanks to a five touchdown performance against a dismal Seahawks pass defense in Week 16, but he remains a terrific QB2. Freeman really developed a nice rapport with Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn is ahead of schedule on his ACL recovery and should be more effective in 2011.
Then you have Cam Newton. He is an amazing athlete, capable of being very productive with his arm and his feet. The lockout could prevent Newton from becoming comfortable with the offense, but he will still have the instincts to make plays with his feet. He’s worth a look late in the draft as a QB2, but he could run hot and cold in 2011, especially if Steve Smith gets his wish and is dealt to a contender.

Also check out:

Did you miss the playoffs or get eliminated? That doesn’t mean the winning has to stop. SMW Clothing is giving you a shot at redemption. All you have to do is guess the combined passing yards for Drew Brees and Matt Ryan on Monday Night Football. Whoever comes the closest without going over takes home the prize.
Drew Brees is averaging 294.4 yards per game with a high of 382 and a low of 221. Matt Ryan is averaging 237.2 yards per game with a high of 316 and a low of 174.
Oh, and if you are still in the hunt in your fantasy league, no worries. You’ll look great in this shirt as you brag about your fantasy football championship. .
As always, be original. If somebody guessed a total you want, you’ll have to come up with another one. Just leave a comment with your best guess and be sure to check out SMW Clothing.

Also check out:


The NFL season kicks off tomorrow tonight and I figured we could do something fun, and in the process I could reward one of my loyal readers with a cool gift. The rules are simple. Whoever comes the closest in predicting Brett Favre and Drew Brees’ combined passing yards in the NFL season opener will win the prize.


What is the prize you ask? I won a Le Rustique wine rack in a drawing from Zim Consulting (Join their Facebook page to be eligible for future contests). I am not a wine drinker so I decided to share the bounty with you.


Enter your guess below and enjoy the game tomorrow tonight.

Written by Eric Stashin of


Image courtesy of Icon SMI


Many people think that 2010 will finally be the year that Pierre Thomas fully breaks out and explodes onto the scene.  My question for those people is…  Why?


Don’t get me wrong, Thomas is a solid running back and could emerge as a Top 10-15 RB, but that’s about his upper limit in my mind.  However, he’s currently the 16th running back being drafted (with an ADP of 29.00 according to Mock Draft Central).


Basically, he’s being drafted about where I think his best-case scenario is.  I know, he’s likely to finally be the #1 running back in New Orleans, but there are a few reasons that I’m skeptical heading into the season.


First of all, the presence of Reggie Bush.  While Thomas may get the bulk of the carries, Bush has proven to be a dynamic third down/change of pace back.  He’s going to be in the game as a receiving option and a playmaker, but don’t discount his ability to run the ball as well.


Granted, the team is not likely to hand the ball off to him time and time again, in order to keep him healthy.  Still, this past weekend he proved just how dangerous he could be on the ground rushing seven times for 49 yards and a touchdown.
continue reading »

The Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints are a fantasy friendly bunch. Big things should be in store for them in 2010 as well.

Fantasy Playoffs Schedule: Moderate
On paper they have a cakewalk (Rams in Week 14), a dogfight (Ravens in Week 15), and a tough divisional match-up (Falcons in Week 16). The Baltimore game is in the road, and they could possibly run into some tough weather.

Five Star Fantasy Options
Drew Brees – Brees is easily one of the premier QBs (fantasy and reality) in the league. Throwing for 4000+ yards and 30+ TDs has become commonplace. He’s as consistent as they come.

Marques Colston – He has more weapons to share with Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson’s development, but he is still the go-to-guy.

Four Star Fantasy Options
Pierre Thomas – Staying healthy is the key, but PT is one of the most versatile backs in the league. He could approach 1500 total yards and double-digit scores.

Three Star Fantasy Options
Reggie Bush – Bush is obviously more valued in PPR leagues, but he has some value in standard leagues as well. He could easily approach 1000 total yards and 8-10 TDs.

Two Star Fantasy Options
Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson – I like both of these young WRs, but I value Meachem a little more. Meachem had 722 yards and 9 TDs. Henderson had 804 yards and 2 scores.

Jeremy Shockey – His mouth could lead you to believe he’s better than he actually is. He will get some yards, but he’s just as likely to injure himself.

Saints Defense/Special Teams – Their D isn’t great, but they are well coached. Darren Sharper is a perfect fit for this defense racking up INTs.

One Star Fantasy Options
Lynell Hamilton – Hamilton will take over for Mike Bell. He’ll need a PT injury to have consistent value.

Lance Moore – Injuries cost him last year, and given the success Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem shared, he could see few opportunities in 2010.

Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

Marques Colston TD
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Marques Colston’s impressive young NFL career took a little bit of a break last year as he was limited with injuries.  He still managed 47 receptions for 760 yards and 5 TDs in 11 games.  It just doesn’t compare to the 84 receptions, 1120 yards, an 9.5 TDs he averaged in his first two years.  His 16.2 yards per catch was a career high for those of you looking for consolation on a failed draft pick last year.  Of course if you were able to make the fantasy football playoffs with him, you enjoyed the 183 yards and 2 TDs he got in Weeks 15 & 16.

His 2008 troubles should get you Colston at a discounted rate.  You can get him in the third round and possibly even stretch him out into the 4th round.  When I have WRs on the same plane, I tend to look at their QB and their environment.  Colston has Drew Brees at QB, which helps put him at the top of the next tier for me.  Plus, he plays his home games in a dome.  Those factors put him in the top ten of WRs for me.  I’m expecting a 90 reception, 1200 yard, 9 TD season from Colston.

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Tony Dungy is gone, but I can’t think of a QB more equipped to make the transition than Peyton Manning.  He had so much freedom with Dungy that he was pretty much running the show on Offense anyway.  He lost a weapon in Marvin Harrison, but let’s face it, Mavin wasn’t the same anyways.  Reggie Wayne should bounce back from a somewhat disappointing season.  Anthony Gonzalez should take the next step becoming a weekly fantasy football starter.  Dallas Clark is a top five TE.  Joseph Addai should bounce back giving them balance running the ball (along with Donald Brown) and another weapon in the passing game. 

Manning simply produces.  He has 4000+ yards in all but two of his eleven seasons.  He has never thrown for less than 26 TDs with nine of the seasons having betwen 26-31 TDs.  He has never missed a start.  Is he always the top fantasy scoring QB?  No.  He’s always in the conversation though.  There isn’t a more reliable option in fantasy fotoball. 

He has some tough tests (Miami, Tennessee twice, New England, Baltimore, NY Jets) and some favorable matchups (Arizona, St. Louis, San Francisco, Denver).  His fantasy playoffs schedule (Weeks 14-16) is decent as he faceds Denver, Jacksonville, and the Jets. 

He should be good for another 4200 yards with 30 TDs.  He’ll be drafted mid-second/mid-third round.  He may not put up the numbers Drew Brees or Tom Brady does, but he’ll consistently put up big numbers.

Tom Brady throwing
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

There is a high risk/reward for drafting Tom Brady.  He is coming off a major knee injury that cost him virtually the entire 2008 season.  He set the fantasy world on fire though in 2007 and you can argue he has an even better supporting cast with the addition of Joey Galloway.  Randy Moss put together a solid season with Matt Cassel at the helm, and should return to elite status with Brady back.  Wes Welker just goes out there and catches pass after pass.  He should have no problem catching 100 balls for the third straight year.  He fits so nicely in their system.

The Patriots are usually pretty hush hush regarding injuries, but Brady may play a little more extensively in the preseason since he missed a full season.  So far Brady’s knee is not a cause for concern.

The Pats have a fairly strong schedule facing the Jets and Dolphins twice apiece, plus Baltimore, Tennessee, Carolina, and Jacksonville.  When their Offense is clicking, it doesn’t really matter who they face.  The key will be how Brady handles the pass rush.  He’s a pretty cool customer, but it’s hard to predict how he’ll react when he gets
knocked down a couple times.  My guess is he’ll be fine, but the human psyche is quite unpredictable.  For the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16) Brady faces Carolina, Buffalo, and Jacksonville.  Carolina and Jacksonville are home games so all three have the potential for inclement weather.  It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but something to keep in mind when you are weighing Brady against Drew Brees, Peyton Manning or holding off on a QB for a few rounds as Brady will likely go in the late first/early second round.

It’s hard to project numbers for Brady, but I’ll put him on a 4400, 30 TD season.  Those numbers are better than what I projected for Drew Brees, but I would still take Brees ahead of Brady because of the uncertainty of his knee.

Drew Brees
Image Courtesy of Icon SMI

Drew Brees has become the new Peyton Manning.  Not that Peyton isn’t a top tier QB anymore, but Brees has consistently delivered excellent fantasy football numbers the past three years.  He has thrown for 4400+ yards and 26+ TD the past three years.  Last year, he blew up throwing for 5069 yards and 34 TDs.  He had ten 300+ yard games (two 400+) and 11 multiple TD games.  He had only two games (vs. Washington & Carolina) where he failed to throw multiple TDs or for 250 yards.

Brees will once again be a top end fantasy QB.  He has a tough schedule facing Philadelphia, the Jets, the Giants, Miami, Carolina (twice), and New England.  His fantasy playoff schedule (Weeks 14-16) is relatively difficult as he faces Atlanta, Dallas, and Tampa Bay.  Regardless, Brees will still produce.  He should get better performances from Marques Colston and Reggie Bush in the passing game.  He will not only make due with the weapons he’s provided, but he’ll thrive. 

Drew Brees will likely be drafted in the late first/early second round of fantasy football drafts.  He will be one of the first three QBs taken along with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.  He provides the least amount of risk of the big three as Brady is recovering from his knee injury and both MVP QBs had personnel changes as Tony Dungy retired and Josh McDaniels moved on to Denver.

I think he’ll take a step back this year with 4400 yards and 27 TDs.  Not quite last year, but still elite numbers.

Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties