2010 Fantasy Football Rankings: Free Agency Stock Up
In the first of many of my 2010 Fantasy Football articles, here are 10 players whose stock has gone up based on what happened in free agency. There will be many more 2010 Fantasy Football features in the late spring and summer, including tons of 2010 Fantasy Football Mock Drafts, Player Rankings, Sleepers and Busts. I'll also have an extensive 2010 NFL Fantasy Football Preseason Stock Report.
2010 Fantasy Football Quarterbacks - Stock Up:
Joe Flacco, Ravens
I liked Joe Flacco going into last season. He performed well at the beginning of the year (1,674 yards, 11 TDs, 5 INTs in six games), but struggled later on because of injuries.
Flacco is healthy now, and he has to be pleased with Baltimore's trade for Anquan Boldin. Now with Boldin and Derrick Mason as his targets, Flacco will no longer struggle to find anyone open downfield.
Chad Henne, Dolphins
Chad Henne has lots of talent, but struggled with consistency last year. Part of the problem was that he was a first-year starting quarterback. The other part was the lack of a No. 1 receiver. Now, both of those things are non-factors.
Henne threw for more than 300 yards in three of his final five games, so he definitely has the potential to be a starting fantasy quarterback. Expect big things with Brandon Marshall now in the mix.
2010 Fantasy Football Running Backs - Stock Up:
Ryan Grant, Packers
The Packers absolutely had to re-sign offensive tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher this offseason. They managed to do so, which only bodes well for Ryan Grant.
Clifton and Tauscher started eight games together. Let's take a look at Grant's 2009 stats with and without both Clifton and Tauscher in the lineup:
Grant WITHOUT Clifton or Tauscher (8 games): 147 carries, 604 yards (4.1 YPC). 3 TDs.
Grant WITH Clifton and Tauscher (8 games): 135 carries, 649 yards (4.8 YPC). 7 TDs.
Green Bay should be looking into drafting an offensive tackle with one of its first two picks, so there's a good chance Grant will have quality blocking all year instead of just half the season.
Felix Jones, Cowboys
Felix Jones didn't get more than 10 carries in any game last season until Week 11. After that, his carry totals were: 10, 7, 6, 10, 14, 10, 15.
Most Cowboys beat reporters are predicting that Jones will be the starter in 2010. Marion Barber being on the trading block supports those projections.
Ray Rice, Ravens
Like Joe Flacco, Ray Rice really benefits from the addition of Anquan Boldin. The obvious reason is that Boldin will help stretch the field, opening up greater running lanes for Rice. The less-obvious reason is Boldin's run-blocking. Boldin excels in run support, so Rice's yards-per-carry average of 5.3 could really improve in 2010. That's pretty scary.
DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
Jake Delhomme was a disaster last year. In order to retrieve his kidnapped son, Delhomme had to throw games on purpose. This meant heaving interceptions and fumbling as much as possible so his son's kidnappers could win their bets.
Fortunately, Delhomme is gone and has been replaced by the more efficient Matt Moore. What does this have to do with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart? Only everything.
Moore won't toss interceptions or fumble on every possession. He'll put together long drives, giving both Williams and Stewart more carries and end-zone opportunities. Williams and Stewart had 28 rushing touchdowns in 2008, but only 17 in 2009. The 2010 total should be closer to the former number.
2010 Fantasy Football Wide Receivers - Stock Up:
Brandon Marshall, Dolphins
I usually don't like receivers going to a new offense (see Roy Williams, T.J. Houshmandzadeh), but Brandon Marshall is one of the top wideouts in the NFL. He'll adapt. Marshall gets a "stock up" vote because Chad Henne is a better quarterback than Kyle Orton. Henne has a gun for an arm and will be hitting Marshall for much deeper passes.
Marshall's receptions could drop a bit, but his yards per reception (11.1 in 2009) will certainly rise. He'll also have more scoring opportunities in a more efficient offense.
Santana Moss, Redskins
Santana Moss' quarterbacks over his career: Vinny Testaverde, Chad Pennington, an aging Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell and Todd Collins. Think Donovan McNabb's a bit better than those five?
Moss generated 902 yards and three touchdowns last year. That obviously wasn't his fault; the offensive line gave Campbell no time to locate Moss downfield. And when Campbell had ample time in the pocket, he just didn't have the talent to maximize Moss' potential.
McNabb changes everything. Assuming he stays healthy, Moss should have one of the best seasons of his career. Moss is only 31, so it's not like he's over the hill quite yet.
Steve Smith, Panthers
Steve Smith failed to crack 1,000 yards last year for the first time since 2004. The culprit was Jake Delhomme; all of his interceptions and fumbles limited Carolina's offense, and in turn, Smith's production.
Smith received great news this offseason when he learned Jake Delhomme had been released. Delhomme's replacement, Matt Moore may not be a Pro Bowl quarterback, but he raises Smith's fantasy stock compared to what it was last season.
Here are Smith's per-game averages with Delhomme and Moore:
With Delhomme: 4.2 catches, 54.9 yards, 0.36 TDs.
With Moore: 4.8 catches, 94.5 yards, 0.75 TDs.
Mike Wallace, Steelers
Santonio Holmes was traded to the Jets, so Mike Wallace will step into the lineup. Wallace had 39 receptions for 756 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie in 2009. Holmes, meanwhile, caught 79 balls. It's reasonable to expect Wallace to garner all of Holmes' targets.
2010 Fantasy Football Tight End - Stock Up:
John Carlson, Seahawks
John Carlson was asked to block on about 45 percent of his snaps last year. That's a high number but it was unavoidable; Seattle's offensive line was that bad.
However, look for that figure to drop down to about 40 percent in 2010. The Seahawks signed Chris Baker, a solid blocking tight end. He'll help out in the blocking department, allowing Carlson to run more routes.
2010 Fantasy Football Defense - Stock Up:
The Redskins had 40 sacks last year. That's amazing considering that they often trailed. With Donovan McNabb, Washington will have the lead more frequently, which means more opportunities to collect sacks and turnovers.
Again, this is the first of many of my 2010 Fantasy Football articles. Come back in May-August, where there will be tons more 2010 Fantasy Football content, including tons of 2010 Fantasy Football Mock Drafts, Player Rankings, Sleepers and Busts. I'll also have an extensive 2010 NFL Fantasy Football Preseason Stock Report.