Who Not to Keep
At the beginning of each season the most important thing any fantasy football owner can do is research. Owners who put in the time early and often tend to put together better teams. Much like running an NFL franchise, your fantasy franchise is more than just a 4 month commitment. If your plan this season is to dominate the league, then now is the time to get started.
In some leagues owners are allowed to carry over players from the previous season; while in other leagues owners draft an entirely new team each season. In either case, it is important to rank the players and base your decisions on these rankings. Don't let your personal feelings toward a player or team cloud your judgment. Just because a guy plays for your favorite team doesn't mean he is worthy of being a first round selection.
Ranking players is not a simple task. There are many factors to take into consideration. For example, when ranking running backs it is important to know who was on the offensive line last season and who will be there this year. If one or more of the linemen from last season has moved on, then the running back may not have the same type of season this year. Obviously the opposite could be true too, but the important thing to note is the change in the offensive line. In addition to roster changes, it is important to take note of coaching changes, injuries and age. A change in any or all of these can result in a player becoming a dud or a stud overnight.
If you're in a league which allows owners to carry over players from year to year, then it is likely that preseason rankings play a huge roll in your decision on who to keep or cut. To help you with the rankings we've put together a list of players that you may want to think twice about keeping. Keep in mind we can't see any further into the future than you, so it's possible these players could still have a good season. However, based on roster changes, coaching changes, age, injuries, etc. we believe these players won't perform as well as many hope.
QB Brett Favre, --- - Quality Backup
Once again it has come to that time of year when everyone wants to know what Brett Favre plans to do with his life. Will he retire or will he come back for one, two or maybe ten more seasons? I doubt we'll see Brett in uniform for ten more seasons, but I think he will be there for 2010. Why else would he have had ankle surgery? Last season Favre had one of the best years of his career. He finished the year with 33 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. The last time he threw fewer than 13 interceptions was his rookie year when he threw two in two games. In addition, he finished the year with 4,202 yards good for 9th in the league and a 107.2 rating third best in the league last season. These numbers make Favre an excellent candidate for a keeper this season. However, it is important to keep in mind that Favre is no spring chicken. In October Brett will be 41 and there's no guarantee he will make it through the season. I'll admit, I think Favre is one of the toughest players in the league, but the older he gets the harder it will be for his body to recover.
QB Eli Manning, NYG - Quality Backup
For the first time in his career, Eli Manning passed for more than 4,000 yards last season. In another first, the league saw 10 quarterbacks hit the 4,000 yard mark in 2009. This shouldn't devalue Manning's accomplishment, but the fact that so many quarterbacks did it last year has to make one wonder how this happened. One may argue that it is because the league has so many good quarterbacks. Someone else may believe it is the lack of quality cover men. No matter what the reason, the fact that 10 quarterbacks did it last season lessens Eli's fantasy value. If you're going to keep a quarterback who threw for 4,000 yards and lose a draft pick or drop said quarterback, keep your draft pick and select a 3,600 yard passer laterl it's probably a wise choice to do the latter. Eli is not going to finish the season as one of the top 5 quarterbacks. Once you're outside of the top 5 it's anyone's guess who will be the next best set of quarterbacks.
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT - Quality Backup
Right now some of you are probably wondering who in their right mind would even think of keeping Roethlisberger? If there's one guy we've heard plenty about during the off season it's Ben Roethlisberger. Anyone who follows football knows what has been happening and wouldn't consider keeping him. Well, not everyone pays attention to what all the players are doing 24/7/365. The reason we've heard Big Ben's name so much this year is for all the wrong reasons. It appears Ben made some unwise decisions which have led NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend Roethlisberger for the first 6 games of the season. That right there should be enough to convince you not to keep Ben; Six games is nearly half of the regular season in most fantasy leagues. If you're going to keep someone, at least let it be a player who has the potential to score points.
RB Thomas Jones, --- - Fantasy Handcuff
One thing I pay close attention to when choosing keepers each year is where they played last season and where they'll be playing this season. In the case of Thomas Jones, he is moving from a run heavy Jets team to a Kansas City team which already has a young, talented 1,000 yard rusher. As a member of the Jets, Jones was the primary back who was handed the ball 331 times for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns. Now that he's a member of the Chiefs there's no way of knowing what his role will be. Speculation is that we'll see Jones as a change of pace back and possibly a goal line vulture. On the other hand, he could outshine Jamaal Charles and be the feature back; It's more likely we'll see the former, which means Jones will not be worth losing a draft pick in order to keep him.
RB Jonathan Stewart, --- - Solid/Safe Pick
If Jonathan Stewart was the only back in Carolina there's no doubt he would be a keeper. Not only would Stewart have the 1,133 yards and 10 touchdowns he had last season, but he would have had a good chunk of the yards and touchdowns DeAngelo Williams had. I wouldn't go so far as to say Stewart would have rushed for 2,250 yards and 17 touchdowns, but I could see 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns. As a two headed monster, Stewart and Williams present loads of trouble for opposing defenses. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, this two headed monster causes headaches. One week Stewart will rush for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns and the next week he'll rush for 40 yards. I believe Stewart will be a 1,000 yard rusher again this season, but a majority of those yards could come in 6 or 16 games. If you can keep someone in a single back offense or pick someone up in the draft with the pick you'll get by letting Stewart go, then it may be a wise decision to release him.Injury Status: Injured Reserve