The unrestricted free agent market is slowing down due to a number of early signings and lack of quality free agents available courtesy of 2010 being an uncapped year.
Much like the NFL, fantasy football has leagues that run all year due to the expanding number of dynasty leagues that employ keepers, salary caps and various free agent tags, not to mention rookie drafts.
With fantasy football becoming a year-round pursuit for many, lets fill the time with something useful during this down period, before we ratchet things up for the next big event on the NFL calendar, the NFL Draft.
Well, as I always say, there is never a wrong time to do a mock draft to think about when players will be drafted if we started a brand new league, today.
This mock is a one-man show based on statistical projections for the 2010 season, and assumes all players are going to play 16 games and be solid citizens from now until the end of the year.
Concerns about Brandon Marshall? Forget about it. Vincent Jackson might get suspended? For what? Let’s agree to ignore all that, at least for the next ten minutes.
Plus, this mock draft does not consider the incoming rookie crop or some veteran free agents who are bound to end up as handcuffs to players in this draft and negatively impact their touches.
Keep your eye out for where Brian Westbrook and Willie Parker eventually sign. Plus, a couple of players will likely drop in value once the rookie draft is complete such as Kevin Smith of the Detroit Lions.
1.02 (2) Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC—Touchdown machine who put concerns about his durability to rest after his first year as a starter in 2009.
1.03 (3) Chris Johnson, TEN—Fantasy’s biggest breakout star last year will try to duplicate his 2009 performance. He’ll be great in 2010, just not as great.
1.05 (5) Frank Gore, SF—Plenty of talented, young skill position players in San Francisco will help Gore’s touchdown totals.
1.06 (6) Steven Jackson, STL—He’s a beast but a bit of a risk due to the low number of touchdowns and injury issues. Downside risk if they take a quarterback in Round 1 of the draft.
1.07 (7) Michael Turner, ATL—Lack of receiving ability drops him down but he’s good for almost a score a game.
1.08 (8) Aaron Rodgers, GB—First quarterback off the board. There’s no reason why he can’t duplicate his 2009 performance.
1.09 (9) DeAngelo Williams, CAR—If he can stay healthy, he could get back in the top five like he was in 2008.
1.10 (10) Andre Johnson, HOU—Topped 1,500 yards and eight touchdowns in each of the last two years.
1.11 (11) Ryan Grant, GB—Fantasy’s most underrated running back. I’m not sure why fantasy owners aren’t more interested in a RB who starts on one of the most explosive offenses in the league.
1.12 (12) Matt Schaub, HOU—Threw for more yards than any other quarterback last year. Bit of an injury risk but guaranteed to be in the top five if he stays healthy for 16 games.
2.01 (13) Knowshon Moreno, DEN—All he needs to breakout is more touches. Look for him to get those touches in 2010.
2.03 (15) Randy Moss, NE—With Welker hurt and no proven third wide receiver or starting tight end, Moss figures to get plenty of looks in 2010.
2.04 (16) Peyton Manning, IND—Top five lock once again but a risk considering he’s often rested for at least part of the fantasy playoffs.
2.06 (18) Drew Brees, NO—Before you get your knickers in a knot, note that five quarterbacks threw for more yards than Brees in 2009.
2.08 (20) Cedric Benson, CIN—The Bengals now feature the running game and Benson is one of the few workhorses in the league.
2.09 (21) Rashard Mendenhall, PIT—Mendenhall came on strong last season but it remains to be seen whether the Steelers will revert back to a more ground based attack after a pass heavy 2009 season.
2.11 (23) Brandon Marshall, DEN—Catches 100 balls every year even with the suspensions.
2.12 (24) DeSean Jackson, PHI—Expect Jackson to make plenty of big plays again in 2010.
3.01 (25) Donovan McNabb, PHI—Eagles young skill position players only figure to get better and the offensive line should bounce back after underperforming in 2009.
3.04 (28) Vincent Jackson, SD—Facing a league suspension but has gotten better every year, and the Chargers could lean more on the pass this year.
3.06 (30) Shonn Greene, NYJ—Greene was pegged at least a round higher before the LaDainian Tomlinson signing. Greene will still be solid enough for a mid-third round pick. Leon Washington was likely going to get the third down work anyway.
3.07 (31) Matt Forte, CHI—Chester Taylor’s a good back but he’s a similar player to Forte. If Taylor gets the goal line work, Forte will suffer slightly. However, Forte’s a solid receiving threat out of the backfield and should benefit in that area with Mike Martz running the show.
3.08 (32) Greg Jennings, GB—Scored only four touchdowns in 2009 but that should improve in 2010. Jennings was a touchdown machine in 2007 and 2008 with 21 over those two seasons.
3.09 (33) Marques Colston, NO—Top receiving threat on a great offense that unfortunately spreads it around a lot.
3.10 (34) Kevin Smith, DET—Bit of an injury risk. However, I’m not as sold as other prognosticators on the Lions taking an impact running back early in the draft.
3.11 (35) Philip Rivers, SD—His passing yards have gone up every year and that shouldn’t change in 2010 with no clear starter at the running back position.
3.12 (36) Larry Fitzgerald, ARI—He’s a bargain at this spot but hard to move up given the doubts about Matt Leinart’s ability to produce at quarterback. Had the 15th most receiving yards in the league in 2009 but was the fourth ranked fantasy wide receiver courtesy of his 13 touchdowns.