Well, judging from the running back review, my teams and my teams historically, I'm a bit of a running back specialist. We might be reaching new levels of specialization when someone focuses on analyzing running backs for fantasy football. I'm going to review the other positions but my opinions didn't venture as much from the mainstream they did for ballcarriers. There were pretty much nine guys that everyone agreed were at the top and I was in step with that, though there were a few I was less confident in and a few guys I targeted further down but I'll get that in time.
Conventional Ranking: 2nd-3rd. After unanimous top pick Larry Fitzgerald. What I said: I listed him first. I thought the top few were all close but the Texans offense would have a big year. What Happened: The Texans passing offense at least has been great and he was indeed first after last week. Future Prospects: Receivers are usually more consistent than rbs, AJ will be ranked just as high next year.
Conventional Ranking: Top 5 guy, usually 4th or 5th off the board. What I said: He had produced last year with little help, he would do it again. 2nd choice. What Happened: He didn't produce. He got no help from his qb but we knew that going in. We were wrong, but I was the most wrong for thinking he was safe. Future Prospects: Calvin bounces back. The unsurety that 09 introduced will move him to the back of the first tier but that's as low as I'll go.
Conventional Ranking: Far and away the number one pick, often picked as high as 5 or 6. What I said: That the difference between Fitzgerald and Johnson wasn't nearly worth picking him in the first round. He was being overrated based on an outstanding playoffs. He would likely finish 4th or 5th. What Happened: Currently 4th among receivers. Future Prospects: High, like Andre Johnson, he produces every year. They are probably the top 2 (again) next year.
Conventional Ranking: 5th-6th. What I said: The lowest floor out there. He was being underdrafted and I thought it was likely he finished on top. What Happened: In a year in which receivers didn't come up huge and none of the top guys hit their ceiling, Wayne came through and he is currently on top of the points list. Future Prospects: Not as young as the other top guys, Wayne will still be top 5.
Conventional Ranking: 8th to 9th What I said: I said he would be the biggest riser as the Falcon running game slid. Ranked him 5th. What Happened:Well, the running game did slide but the injury to Matt Ryan prevented him from having the season he could have. Still finished 8th. Not bad for catching passes from CHris Redman. Future Prospects: Nothing points to a change, maybe a slight uptick.
Conventional Ranking: 2nd-3rd What I said: 6th. He had a little uncertainty because of Brady's return from serious injury and the rejection of assumptions that the 07 Pats were back. What Happened: The Pats were not exactly the 07 variety. Moss had a good year, is currently 6th. Future Prospects: Age and a recent lack of effort point to a slow down in numbers next year.
Conventional Ranking: 4th to 6th What I said: 7th, lacking the upside of the guys above him but likely to repeat his 08 success. What Happened: He couldn't find the endzone early and his qb situation deteriorated. Ended up toward the end of the top 25. After all the fuss after Delhommes's playoff disaster, we were all ready to look past it. Whoops. Future Prospects: In doubt, he isn't getting younger and his qb isn't getting better.
Conventional Ranking: 6th to 7th down from 2nd a year ago. What I said: He still deserved a top 9 spot, but he wasn't a great value. Rodgers would spread it out and I though Driver might actually be a better player. What Happened: Hit this one, Jennings was 24th, after Rodgers spread out the touchdowns and Driver ended up a bargain. Future Prospects: No reason to think he doesn't overtake Driver next year, and grab a few more tds.
Conventional Ranking: 9th to 10th. What I said: In step with the mainstream, ranking him 9th. What Happened: Battled injuries all year, putting up some good games but often disappearing while nicked up. Future Prospects: Second year in a row he suffers the injury bug. He is definitely a risk now, but maybe someone you can get in a lower round and reap the benefits of a healthy year.
Conventional Ranking: 9th to 11th. What I said: I agreed about this one too. Brees would spread the ball, but I had such high projections for the Saints that there would be a lot of points to go around. Colston was the only Saint I had faith in. A lock to finish somewhere between 7 and 12. What Happened: Like I said, the Saints were great and Colston finished 8th. Future Prospects: Probably downgrading him, as the offense won't be this good, Meachem is becoming a bigger part and they will continue to spread the ball.
Conventional Ranking: 16th to 19th What I said: My main target and the guy outside the top tier to put up top 10 numbers. Would finish "at least 12th." What Happened: He is currently 10th. One of my best calls of the year and I was well rewarded where I grabbed him. Future Prospects: Top tier guy next year, right player in the right situation.
Conventional Ranking: 10th to 12th What I said: Agreed. Although I didn't think Cassel was an improvement, He seemed like a superior player. What Happened: Bowe wasn't putting up great numbers even before he was suspended. We were very wrong. Future Prospects: Dropping, though how he does the last few games will have a large impact.
Conventional Ranking: Mid 20s What I said: My other target, he was being underdrafted. The second year receiver would make the leap as the top target of a good offense. What Happened: He blew up and finished in the top 5. Future Prospects: Like Jennnings this year, he won't repeat his finish but he should stay in the top 10.
Conventional Ranking: 18-20 What I said: Agreed with the ranking, he was a high risk/reward pick. What Happened: Currently 13, he was worth the risk as a late number 2. Future Prospects: Another year or two as a number 2 fantasy receiver, than a few more years as a spot starter.
Conventional Ranking: Wide range, as his conditions changed several times in August. Typically 12-20. What I said: Ranked him 18, not knowing whether or not he would play. What Happened: Got better and better as the season went on. Future Prospects: Should be a top pick next year, as the off field questions have faded.
Quickly, some rankings to lead into 2010. I'll use this as a point of reference to monitor situations and make more accurate rankings as we move into the offseason. Just the first tier for now.
1. Andre Johnson
2. Larry Fitzgerald
3. Reggie Wayne
4. Brandon Marshall
5. Roddy White
6. Vincent Jackson
7. Calvin Johnson
8. Miles Austin
9. DeSean Jackson
10. Randy Moss
11. Marques Colston
12. Anquan Boldin