Supposedly today is the day that we find out Brett Favre will join the Vikings.  If his shoulder holds up he should still be able to produce.  He has some weapons to work with in WRs Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice, Bobby Wade, and Percy Harvin, TE Visanthe Shiancoe, and RBs Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor.  The Vikings will have two new faces on their Offensive Line, but it still should be a solid unit anchored by Steve Hutchinson.  If Favre doesn’t try to force the issue he could be a solid backup fantasy QB this year.

He faces Cincinnati, Carolina, and Chicago in the fantasy playoffs.  The Bears game is in Chicago so weather may be a factor.  His best matchups this year are Cleveland and Detroit in Weeks 1 & 2, St. Louis in Week 5, Detroit in Week 10, and Arizona in Week 13.  At this point in his career he is a fantasy backup so it may be wise to pair him with Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers (ironically), Dre Brees, or Philip Rivers who have byes in Week 5 or Eli Manning or Matt Schaub who have byes in Week 10.  Favre will be drafted in the later rounds.  I’m not sure what kind of production to expect from  him.  I’m goign to low ball him initially at 3200 yards and 18 TDs.

David Garrard
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David Garrard had a disappointing 2008 season.  Most of the team did, in fact.  Their Offensive Line was crippled with injuries.  Their Defense took a major step back.  About the only productive players was Maurice-Jones Drew.  2009 should look a little better as they bolstered their O-Line in the offseason with the addition of Tra Thomas, Eugene Monroe, and Eben Britton.  They also added Torry Holt to improve their WR play.  Maurice Jones-Drew is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and Marcedes Lewis is a solid pass-catching TE. 

Jacksonville’s fantasy playoff schedule consists of Miami, Indianapolis, and New England so it’s unlikely you’ll use Garrad in the fantasy playoffs.  During the season they have some decent matchups against Arizona in Week 2, St. Louis in Week 6, and Kansas City in Week 9.  Peyton Manning and Tony Romo have byes in Week 6 so he could be a decent option to pair with them.  I wouldn’t trust any of the Week 9 bye teams as a #1 QB so it doesn’t pay to pair Garrard with them.

Jake Delhomme throwing
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Jake Delhomme had a disappointing 2008 season.  Still, he has Steve Smith, one of the games most electrifying WRs at his disposal so he maintains fantasy relevance.  Muhsin Muhammad had a solid year, but at 36 you begin to wonder about a drop off.  This is a clearly a run-first team and Delhomme is a spot fantasy starter at best.

You can’t use him in the fantasy playoffs as he faces New England, Minnesota, and the Giants.  He faces Arizona and New Orleans in Weeks 8 & 9, which appear to be his best matchups.  He could be paired with Carson Palmer, Matt Cassel, Tom Brady, or Big Ben, who have byes in Week 8.  I wouldn’t trust any of the Week 9 bye teams as a #1 QB so it doesn’t pay to pair Delhomme with them.

Trent Edwards
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Trent Edwards gets the luxury/challenge of being T.O.’s newest QB. The good news for Edwards is that T.O. usually plays nice the first year in a new destination.  Plus, T.O. will probably be on his best behavior for his reality show.  In addition to Owens, Edwards has speedy Lee Evans, who just may be the best #2 WR Owens has played with in a long time.  With the attention Owens garners, Edwards and Evans could connect on some deep balls.  He also has three RBs capable of catching the ball out of the backfield in Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson, and Dominic Rhodes.  Edwards could be a breakout candidate.

His fantasy playoffs schedule consists of Kansas City, New England, and Atlanta.  I wouldn’t gamble on him in Weeks 15 & 16, but the opening round of the playoffs against Kansas City is intriguing.  He has a couple of decent matchups during the year.  First, he plays New Orleans in Week 3.  He also faces Cleveland in Week 5, which could be of interest to Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers owners, who are on bye that week.  Edwards will be a late round pick and I expect him to have around 3300 yards and 18 TDs.

Kyle Orton Broncos

Now we get to see what Orton has.  He was a standout at Purdue and finally has some weapons to work with in Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal.  He doesn’t take much of a step back with his Tight Ends as Daniel Graham and Tony Scheffler aren’t far off from Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark.  He is going to a more pass-happy Offense and should see an increase in production, though he’s clearly a backup fantasy QB.

He should get off to a solid start facing Cincinnati and Cleveland in the first two weeks.  He plays the Chiefs in Week 13.  Unfortunately his best matchups aren’t in bye weeks, with lessens his value as a backup fantasy QB.  His fantasy playoffs matchups are Indy, Oakland, and Philly, which are probably a moot point because if you’re relying on him as your #1 QB, you’re probably not in the fantasy playoffs.  I would probably try and pair him with Brees or Manning.  Brees has a bye in Week 5 and Orton faces New England.  Peyton has a bye in Week 6 and Orton faces San Diego.  Denver faces Baltimore when Tom Brady is on bye so I wouldn’t pair them up.  Orton will be a late round pick and I’m putting him on a 3300 yard, 18 TD season.

Eli Manning under Center
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I like Eli more as a reality QB than a fantasy one.  Even with Derrick Wards’ departure, this is still a run-first team.  Without a clear #1 WR, it’s hard to consider Eli anything more than a backup fantasy QB, especially considering the swirling winds he often plays in at Giants Stadium.  The Giants have drafted plenty of WRs the past few years so it’s time for Steve Smith, Mario Manninghma, Sincorice Moss, and Rookie Hakeem Nicks to step up.  Domenik Hixon will likely be his most reliable WR.  Kevin Boss is a serviceable TE for Eli that can gain yards after the catch. 

Eli has some nice regular season matchups in Week 4 vs. Kansas City, Week 6,against New Orleans, Week 7 against Arizona, and Week 12 against Denver.  He has a tough fantasy playoff schedule at home against Philly, at Washington, and at home against Carolina.  He’d be a nice compliment to Matt Ryan, Donovan McNabb, and Kurt Warner who have byes in Week 4, Tony Romo and Peyton Manning who have byes in Week 6, or Matt Hasselbeck who has a bye in Week 7.  I think you’ll see typical Eli numbers with 3300 yards and 21 TDs.

Matt Schaub & Andre Johnson
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Hopefully Matt Schaub can hit his WRs this year like he can hit golf spectators.  Kidding aside, it’s a big year for the former Virginia star.  Sage Rosenfels moved onto Minnesota, most likely to backup Brett Favre, so Houston needs Schaub to stay healthy.  He has missed five games in each of the past two seasons with various injuries.  He averaged 276.6 yards per game last year with 1.36 TDs, which translates into 4426 yards and 22 TDs in a full season.  He has plenty of weapons in Andre Johnson, who is one of the premier WRs in th game, Kevin Walter who quietly has back-to-back 800 yard seasons, TE Owen Daniels, and gifted RB Steve Slaton.  Now he just needs to stay on the field.

His early schedule is fairly difficult, but he has a nice back-to-back block in Weeks 5 & 6 against Arizona and Cincinnati.  His fantasy playoff schedule is decent as he faces Seattle, St. Louis & Miami.  Weather should not play a factor.

Schaub is best served as a backup QB and with his matchups in Week 5 & 6 would be a nice compliment to Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, or Philip Rivers who have byes in Week 5 or Tony Romo or Peyton Manning who have byes in Week 6.  Chicago plays Baltimore and Green Bay plays Pittsburgh in Week 15 so I strongly urge Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers owners to try and grab Schaub.  He’ll likely be selected in the 9th-12th round depending on league specifics.  I’m predicting 3400 yards and 20 TDs.  I think he’ll miss at least one game.

Matt Cassell Chiefs
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Maybe Matt Cassel was a product of the New England system last year.  To do what he did under those circumstances showed moxie, especially when you consider how long it’s been since he was a starting Quarterback.  Fortunately for Cassel, he will be operating another pass-friendly system.  Losing Tony Gonzalez is a blow, but Dwayne Bowe is one of the best young WRs in the game.  Mark Bradley showed signs last year and Bobby Engram was brought in to work the slot.  If Larry Johnson can return to some form of his old self, he’ll take some of the pressure off of Cassel.

He could have a rough go of it from the beginning facing Baltimore, Oakland, Philly, NY Giants, Dallas, Washington, San Diego, Jacksonville, Oakland again, Pittsburgh, and San Diego again.  Don’t give up on him though as he faces Denver in Week 13 and has a soft fantasy playoff schedule of Buffalo, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.  After that tough start, Cassel could be a Buy Low candidate.  Clearly he’s a backup fantasy QB this year unless he proves otherwise.  I would expect him to be drafted somewhere in the 9th-12th round.  I’m expecting 3400 yards and 18 TDs from Cassel in 2009.

Matt Hasselbeck throwing
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Matt Hasselbeck had a disappointing 2008 season that saw him throw for just 1216 yards with 5 TDs and 10 INTs.  There Seahawks season was also marred by WR injuries.  Things are looking up though with the arrival of T.J. Houshmandzadeh from Cincinnati.  Housh is the most reliable WR Hasselbeck has had in Seattle.  If Nate Burleson and Deion Branch can stay healthy and TE John Carlson’s continued development, Hasselbeck can rejoin the ranks of fantasy relevant QBs.  At this point in his career I would prefer Matt as a backup QB, but he’s definitely worth owning.

His top matchups come in Weeks 1 & 12 (Rams), 6 & 10 (Cardinals), and 9 (Lions).  The Seahawks avoid the likes of Pittsburgh, NY Giants, Philly, Carolina, Baltimore, and their matchup with Tennessee is after fantasy football season.  Their fantasy playoff schedule of Houston, Tampa, Green Bay could prove to be challenging.  That said, I would still take Hasselbeck as one of the top backup QBs.  If I drafted Brady, Brees, or Manning I would hold off a bit, but he’s a good compliment to Matt Ryan, Carson Palmer, Jay Cutler, or Big Ben.  I would consider taking him around the 10th round.  My expectations of Hasselbeck are around 3200 yards and 20 TDs.

Big Ben
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Big Ben finds himself in the news for the wrong reasons.  I’m not going to weigh in on his situation because I don’t have the information and don’t want to jump to conclusions.  Obviously his situation has a strong bearing on his fantasy value.  If he is suspended or incarcerated he will obviously need to be reevaluated.  I am assuming that he will not miss time to suspension or incarceration then I expect him to a low end fantasy starter.  He has some great weapons in Santonio Holmes, who I expect to blow up this year, Hines Ward, and Heath Miller.  Limas Sweed is a decent breakout
candidate.  Big Ben showed in the Super Bowl that he can win a game if he needs to, but this team’s identity is still their Defense and with Rashard Mendenhall healthy, along with Willie Parker, the Steelers will be more run-heavy in 2009.

The Steelers have a sweet schedule featuring Cleveland twice, Cincinnati twice, Detroit, Denver, and Kansas City.  They do have to face Tennessee, San Diego, Minnesota, and Baltimore twice so don’t expect Big Ben’s Sack totals to drop drastically.  I like Pittsburgh’s first two matchups (Cleveland & Green Bay) in the fantasy playoffs, but hate that they have to face  Baltimore in the fantasy championship game.

If Ben’s situation hangs over his head this Summer it will affect his draft position.  Right now he’ll probably be taken in the 7th-9th round.  If he stays healthy and eligible I think he’ll have somewhere around 3300 yards and 20 TDs.


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