In the college game, coaches always say the best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores. In many cases the same thing is true in the NFL. The 2008 NFL campaign seemed to be full of rookies making an impact. And that made a big difference in every fantasy football league in the nation. So which players will break out during their sophomore seasons and which will be in for the dreaded sophomore slump?
The Colts drafted Donald Brown in the first round last year to share the load with Joseph Addai in the hopes of keeping Addai healthy and fresh come season's end. Instead it was Brown who had trouble staying healthy, playing in only 11 games and he was banged up for most of those. Due to all his injuries and Addai being healthy, Brown only got 78 carries for 281 yards and a touchdown. He should be more effective this season if he can stay healthy; as long as Addai is healthy and in the picture, Brown will never be a true #1 fantasy back and at this point isn't much more than a handcuff.
Greene was an afterthought going into 2009, but won't be in 2010. After a rookie season stuck behind Thomas Jones and Leon Washington (for the first 7 games), Greene didn't put up crazy rookie numbers. He saved all that for the playoffs where he had 304 yards and 2 touchdown in 3 playoff games. Jones and Washington are gone and LaDainian Tomlinson is there to help groom Greene and play on 3rd downs. How much they plan to use LT will dictate how good Greene can be. With a great OL and play makers at WR, the Jets' offense is loaded and Greene should be a top fantasy RB for years to come. He should be taken anywhere from the end of the first round on.
Not only is Donovan McNabb gone from the Eagles' offense, but so is Brian Westbrook. This leaves the starters open right there for 2nd year man LeSean McCoy. McCoy had a solid rookie season sharing the ball with Westbrook and others, gaining 637 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground (as well as 40 receptions for 308 yards). McCoy is part of a very young and explosive group of offensive players. He should be thought of as a #2 fantasy RB, taken anywhere from end of the 2nd round on.
Knowshon Moreno had a very solid rookie season, playing in all 16 games and rushing for 947 yards with 7 touchdowns to go along with 28 receptions for 213 yards and another 2 touchdowns. He did all this while sharing the load with Correll Buckhalter, something he won't be doing as much of this season. While Buckhalter will still help out on 3rd downs and give Moreno a breather now and then, the Broncos' offense will rely heavily on Moreno this season (especially with the departure of Brandon Marshall). Moreno is a very good #2 fantasy RB, and should go anywhere from the middle of the 2nd round on.
Beanie Wells came on strong at the end of the season after a slow start; with Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin gone, it's very possible the Cardinals will change from a passing team to more of a running team (or at least a more balanced attack). That's the good news for Wells; the bad news is he will be sharing time with Tim Hightower. He was able to rush for 793 yards and 7 touchdowns last year sharing the ball and if he wasn't sharing the ball he would be higher up in the rankings. Until that changes, he is a low end #2 fantasy RB.