20. Jamaal Charles – Jamaal Charles emerged last year as one of the bigger sleepers in late 2009. Once he took over the starting job he put up 1,120 yards and 7 TDs. He also got almost 300 reception yards and 40
receptions with a TD. These are solid stats on another horrible team that shows the pure talent of this running back. Charles could be one of those running backs that we take in the top 5 next year if his numbers get even better. However if things start off slow for Charles, look for Thomas Jones to steal some carries.
19. DeAngelo Williams – DeAngelo Williams’s value took a drop after his injury in 2009 and gave time for Jonathan Stewart to shine. Williams should be the number 1 running back in Carolina this year so he will be a solid starting running back but it comes with risk. The risk is that when Stewart comes in to relieve and produces, Williams might lose some carries. This is the gambling part of fantasy football and hope the odds go in your favor.
18. Phillip Rivers – Rivers should be there in the second or third round so if you are sticking to old school and taking all running backs early, you can still land a great quarterback. The top 4 or 5 quarterbacks are shockingly going in the first round in the drafts I have personally seen. The talent at quarterback level is high this year with the veterans and the rookies are also showing promise. Rivers is coming off the his best year with 4,254 yards and 29 TDs. He is a great quarterback that doesn’t have the superstar tag on him to make him go very early. However his stats are very similar. Snag those running backs early and pick this guy up.
17. Tony Romo – Romo and the Cowboys finally shook a lot of monkeys off their back in 2009. They got that first playoff win, they had a successful December month, and Romo proved he can protect the ball. The Cowboys also gave Romo another weapon to use by drafting Dez Bryant. That’s a big and scary weapon. I’ve seen him in person at training camp (before the injury) and he is a playmaker. Miles Austin also emerged as a superstar and immediate chemistry with Romo. Romo likes to share the ball among his receivers and keep the defenses guessing. Romo has all the ingredients for having his biggest year yet and could probably go earlier in the draft. He seems to grow every year and make less mistakes. He also has the speed and maneuverability to keep the play going. Don’t be surprised if Romo gets snatched real early by some gambler.
16. Shonn Greene – Shonn Greene has everything going for him this year to have a breakout season. The Jet’s traded away Thomas Jones even though he was an asset to this team. That shows a lot of confidence in Greene as he will be the starting running back behind a strong offensive line. LT is his backup which fits perfect for him in his aging career. He won’t steal many carries from Greene unless he gets injured. Take Greene late in 1st or early 2nd round.
15. Cedric Benson – I like the Bengals in 2010 and see them continue the success they started last year. Cedric Benson does have to play the Steelers and Ravens twice a year but the Bengals had their number last year. Have the Bengals figured these tough defenses out? Benson is the main running back on this team and with the addition of T.O. in the offseason, look for more eyes to be taken off the backfield.
14. Tom Brady – The Patriots are coming back in 2010 with a different attitude. Tom Brady is another one of those quarterbacks were going to look back when were old men and say “Remember that Tom Brady fella? I hated playing that team!” I am not a fan of the guy but the man sure knows the position. Before he got injured he, he came off his record breaking year and was a game away from going undefeated. His stats did drop some when he came back but he still is very dangerous. However there is something I must say about this guy. Ever since the “Brady injury of 08”, referees will call any little finger that touches Brady below the knee. Therefore, defenses are extra cautious on sacking the guy. Less sacks = more stats. I am not trying to say this guy isn’t a great quarterback but I can’t stand a guy that will point at a defensive player on the floor to draw a flag. This is a man’s sport, stop crying and use that talent you have.
13. Andre Johnson – Andre Johnson emerges this year as the number one receiver and is a big reason why I expect Schaub and the Texans to take that next big step. He just inked his two year extension and is now the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. He deserves it after putting up 1,569 yards and 10 TDs. Some people will take this guy once the top running backs are gone and to me that is ok. I just wouldn’t do it. It’s just not my style but that doesn’t make it wrong. Football isn’t what it used to be as it is evolving to a passing game. Look for a huge year out of Andre Johnson.
12. Rashard Mendenhall – The Steelers are a running team and Mendenhall showed last year that he is the number one running back in Pittsburgh. Without Roethlisberger from 4-6 weeks, the Steelers should run the ball more. Mendenhall did have a decent year on a passing team in 2009. Willie Parker got shipped off so all signs point up for this guy. Mendenhall will be a solid late 1st round pick.
11. Matt Schaub – This is the guy I’m saying right now that is going to surprise the NFL and be the next big thing. He already is an amazing quarterback and threw for the most yards in 2009. He has the best receiver in the game and he knows how to use him. This combo will lead the Texans to their first playoff appearance.