Team: Kostas Bolos | Team Roster
Reason: Without a bona fide No. 1 running back on my roster, I needed to add more depth at the position. Ward is a potential breakout candidate this season, now that he should get his chance at starting, on a team that will surely run the football a lot. Ward also has the ability to catch passes out of the backfield, snatching 41 balls in 2008, which adds to his value.
Standards Set: I think he can reach 1,100 rushing yards with 40-plus receptions and six to eight touchdowns.
Team: Ryan R. Bonini | Team Roster
Reason: Grant had a "bad" season last year, his first as a full-time starter, and still rushed for 1,203 yards. A holdout and nagging bumps slowed him early, but he finished stronger the second half of the year (82 rushing yards/game and 4.2 yards/carry in the final two months). The Packers offense is strong with quarterback Aaron Rodgers slinging the ball, preventing defenses from stacking the box. Grant will find more room to run this year with the line maturing.
Others Considered: I looked at New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas long and hard with this pick. In fact, I'm still watching him in the rear-view mirror and wondering if I made the right call.
Standards Set: Grant's five total touchdowns from last year needs to almost double for this pick to prove worthy. Provided handcuff back Brandon Jackson doesn't vulture too many touches, a healthy Grant can post 1,500 total yards and close to 10 touchdowns this year.
Team: Nicholas Minnix | Team Roster
Reason: Last season V-Jax finally showed the desire to be the man - or at least one of them. In 2008 the Bolts offense began a transition phase to an attack that involved more of the outside, vertical game. Jackson is leading the way and ready to take his game to an even greater height.
Standards Set: I look for Jackson to break the 70-catch, 1,200-yard plateau and score another seven to eight touchdowns.
Team: Tim Heaney | Team Roster
Reason: Luckily, one of my others considered in Round 3 fell to me as my No. 2 receiver. My gamble paid off, and I'm relishing my Marshall-Dwayne Bowe pairing. Even if Marshall exits Denver, he'll still rack up receptions. Marshall's recovery from hip surgery hovers a bit in my mind, but we saw him return from inactivity in a big way last year, too.
Others Considered: None
Standards Set: He should fill the stat sheet with 100 receptions and 1,100 yards, along with an upshot of eight touchdowns, depending on his 2009 uni. It also would be nice if Marshall stayed away from his new hometown's most wanted list.
Team: Cory J. Bonini | Team Roster
Reason: I can't say that I'm all too thrilled with this pick, but in a point-per-reception league, Housh made sense. Seattle will be a run-first offense in 2009, but the rest of the receiving corps is, well, kind of pathetic, really. Nate Burleson (knee) is a quality No. 2, but he's coming back from knee reconstruction. Deion Branch is a joke, and the team has a rash of nobodies to round out the depth chart. In other words, Houshmandzadeh should catch a lot of passes. I'm slightly worried about how he will perform after landing a big contract.
Standards Set: I think Housh can catch 85-90 passes for 900-1,000 yards and score seven or eight times. Any more production will be gravy as far as I'm concerned.
Team: Tim Piotrowski | Team Roster
Reason: I went with T.O. here because I am hoping he will be productive in the Bills' offense and that he will be able to behave himself as he looks for a bigger contract next season. Although he is a character off the field, there is no denying he can produce on the field. He has posted at least 1,000 yards in eight of his last nine years and has caught at least 10 touchdowns in four of his last five years, including each of the last three years.
Standards Set: I would like to see Owens continue to put up the kind of numbers he has been for the last several seasons: at least 75 receptions, 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Team: Matt Wilson | Team Roster
Reason: The running backs are falling, so I can put off picking up my No. 2 back for at least another round. Witten is the Dallas Cowboys' top pass-catcher and one of the safest, most consistent fantasy players available. Witten's average draft position falls in the mid-fourth round, so I had better grab quarterback Tony Romo's favorite target here, because he probably will be gone when my 5.06 pick rolls around. I am not convinced that wide receiver Roy Williams can offset the loss of wide receiver Terrell Owens (Buffalo Bills), which is why I think quarterback Romo will lean on Witten a ton this year.
Standards Set: I'm looking for 95 catches for 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns from Witten.
Team: Keith Hernandez | Team Roster
Reason: Edwards is entering the prime of his career and ready to match his 2007 breakout season. Despite the quarterback competition between Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, I'm expecting Edwards to silence his critics and have a great season. If he improves on his pass-catching skills he will have already improved from last season.
Standards Set: Last year (55 receptions, three touchdowns) was just a minor setback. I'm hoping for similar numbers to his 2007 campaign (80 receptions, 16 touchdowns). While it might be a stretch to ask for 16 TDs, it's not inconceivable for him to catch somewhere in the range of 80 to 85 passes.
Team: Bryce McRae | Team Roster
Reason: Ochocinco appears as motivated this year as he has in any of his recent seasons. From 2003 to 2007, he averaged 92.4 receptions, 1,374 receiving yards and 8.6 touchdowns per season. I think losing Carson Palmer (elbow) for most of the season last year hurt Ochocinco more than anything.
Standards Set: I'm looking for 85-plus receptions and 1,200 to 1,300 yards from 8-5, at a minimum. I also expect at least at eight touchdowns. I do feel that he could far surpass those stats, though.
Team: John Kotch Jr. | Team Roster
Reason: After choosing two running backs and a quarterback in the first three rounds, it was time for a wide receiver. Sure, there were more obvious choices available, but I decided to roll the dice on Hester simply because he's a prime breakout candidate. Hester will be an "every-down receiver," according to Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner, and has been concentrating on improving his receiving skills. Plus, with the acquisition of former Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, Hester is primed to have his best year as a pro.
Standards Set: While I realize he had only 51 catches for 665 yards and three touchdowns last season, Cutler will likely look to Hester as his main target. I expect Hester to approach 80 catches, 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns with Cutler at the helm. My expectations may be lofty, but Hester is capable of reaching these numbers.
Team: Mike Egnak | Team Roster
Reason: With two running backs and a top-end wideout picked, it was time to turn my attention toward quarterback. Manning remains one of the top fantasy options at the position because of how consistent he has been over his career. His completion percentage is consistently over 65 percent, and he almost always reaches 4,000 passing yards on the year. The fact he hasn't missed a start in his entire career also means I won't have to worry about a backup except for his bye week. The value on Manning was also far too great to pass up!
Standards Set: I'm looking to get 4,000 passing yards out of Manning with 30 touchdowns. He doesn't rush much, so any touchdowns he gets on the ground is considered a bonus.
Team: Ilan Mochari | Team Roster
Reason: Having selected running backs in Rounds 1-3, I ignored the position here - though the best available player enticed me - and sought a potential No. 1 receiver. Only 27 years old, in a high-powered offense, Williams can deliver stats comparable to his 2006 campaign: 82 catches, 1,310 yards and seven touchdowns. Since then, he has not played more than 12 games in a season, so he has something to prove.
Standards Set: Expecting 2006 numbers is farfetched, but Williams (if he stays healthy) should approximate the 2008 numbers of departed wide receiver Terrell Owens: 69 catches, 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns.
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