While I'm not necessarily nervous that there won't be a season this year, I am anxious to see McGreedy and McGreedier come to terms and end the lockout. A little bit of certainty would go a long way. Even with the uncertainty, I intend to turn on the new Fantasy Football Nerd engine next month. A few sites are already reporting on their fantasy football rankings. Generally, I'm seeing a toss up between Arian Foster, Chris Johnson, and Adrian Peterson as the projected Number 1 fantasy pick, but I've also seen Michael Vick at the top spot. I'm not ready to grab Vick with the first pick overall but putting that through the consensus filter shows him ranging between 10 and 15 overall. He'll be a first or 2nd round pick depending on your league size.
I've always thought that putting together rankings before summer is kind of like rocking in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn't get you very far. There are a lot of questions as we get closer to the peak-drafting month of August that I'd like to see answered. Trades will happen, rosters will shift, and somebody will inevitably get arrested/suspended/injured. See - even with a lockout in place, the NFL is still a fun place to be!
You'll be interested to know that I have my rabbit's foot and four-leaf clover with me as I type. This is fortunate because I've seen Peyton Hillis ranked high in several of the preseason draft rankings. I'd love to have the Browns' starting RB on my team, but that Madden Curse is like getting a hex from a voodo-priestess...you may laugh about it as it's happening, but you'll be checking behind you for quite a while (not that I've ever laughed at a voodo-priestess while getting cursed at...lately).
Hines Ward has become a staple in the news this off-season. He not only danced away from a mix-up with the police, but he's also dancing his way into the heart of America on Dancing With The Stars. Admittedly, I am not a fan of the show, but I can picture him smiling that famous smile during the competition. I only wish that I could smile as bright as he does, but alas, I'm frowning when I think of his declining fantasy value. I've had him on various teams over the past few years and I'll probably dance away from him this season.
What good is an off-season without some juicy rumors? Here's the one that I'm most interested in. Carolina's Steve Smith is on the radar screen of the San Diego Chargers. Once the CBA mess gets resolved, I'm hoping to see some movement on this one. What a wonderful feeling it would be to not have to go through the same routine with Smith. Expectations are high at the beginning of the year that he can pull off his earlier-career numbers. Then we factor in his pathetic QB situation and reality grimly sets in. As talented as Smith is, he can't throw the ball to himself. A smile should start to creep up on your face though as you imagine Philip Rivers throwing the ball to him. The Chargers could lead a massively-talented aerial assault EVERY WEEK with Steve Smith, Vincent Jackson (assuming his franchise tag stays), and Antonio Gates. Philip Rivers, already a must-own fantasy QB, would stand to get even better production. That would be fun to watch.
Of course, if Steve Smith stays in Carolina he'll be playing catch with Jimmy Clausen, or perhaps Cam Newton. Yawn. Assuming Newton can win the top spot, the pressure on this kid is going to get even more intense following the draft. At this time there's little reason to be excited about Newton or Clausen from a fantasy perspective. Sorry Steve Smith fans...
One more Carolina story that I'd like to see resolved is that of DeAngelo Williams. Personally, I don't see Williams playing for Carolina this year. Where will he be? That's a great question without a solid answer. I like Jonathan Stewart, albeit only slightly more than I liked him last year.
Another guy that I'm watching is St Louis RB Steven Jackson. While his production has been decreasing with each year, he is still a talent. From what I understand, the Rams are looking for a compliment to SJax. With injuries and declining production, a handcuff may not be far behind. Pay attention to who gets the 3rd-down and goal-line carries. If it's not SJax, his fantasy value will go down.
Reggie Bush stirred the hornet's nest when he recently tweeted "Everybody complaining about the lockout! Shoot I'm making the most of it! Vacation, rest, relaxing, appearances here and there! I'm good!" he wrote. "Right about now we would be slaving in 100 degree heat, practicing twice a day, while putting our bodies at risk for nothing." Soooooooo.....what do we make of that? Will Reggie be ready for the season? I can't believe that making personal appearances makes for a fine substitute for two-a-days, but hey, what do I know? Hopefully he's keeping in shape because I'd like to spend a late-round pick on him. If I take him, do I get a Kardashian as well?
Another question I'd like to see answered is who will be under center in Washington? Rex Grossman or Donovan McNabb? Both would make great matchup-based or bye-week QB's.
Finally, all indications are that Randy Moss, the Fantasy Football Nerd 2010 BUST of the Year, will not be back in Tennessee. "I honestly don't think we'll try to re-sign him" said Mike Reinfeldt, the Titans GM. So where is a 34 year old WR on the decline supposed to go? His best options are probably New England (if they'll have him), the Jets (if they'll have him), and the Rams (if they'll have him). I think the potential for production is there in New England, but I think the most potential actually resides in St Louis. Sam Bradford has a bright future and the talent to lead that team in the coming years. There is no WR1 there and Moss would certainly find a spot on that roster. Of course, starting at WR on another new team is no guarantee of production for Moss, but hey, someone will take him, right?