Chris Wesseling

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Friday, September 04, 2009




Falling

Quarterbacks

1. Matt Cassel - With one training camp and preseason under his belt in K.C., Cassel has done nothing to allay concerns that he was a product of the Patriots system and wide receiver talent. The Chiefs are one of the most talent-starved teams in the league, and Cassel will be running for his life all season behind an over-matched offensive line.

2. Kyle Orton - Orton is nobody's idea of a franchise quarterback. His contract is up after the season, which means he has to be a strong fantasy asset in 2009 in order to hold value. With an underwhelming preseason, a nasty finger injury that threatens his early-season accuracy, and a crazy person for a No. 1 receiver, Orton's present value has been beaten to a pulp.

3. Kevin Kolb - Undrafted in a recent startup league with 25-deep rosters, it's hard to picture any team giving Kolb a starting opportunity in the near future. Unlike a Matt Schaub who flashed in short doses early in his career, Kolb has yet to show anything that would make a team want to deal for him.

4. Pat White - The second-rounder won't even be ready for Wild Cat duty as a rookie. White is still uncomfortable anywhere but in the shotgun, and the Dolphins quarterback of the future is Chad Henne. It's hard to envision even long-term value at this point.

Running Backs

1. Derrick Ward - Ward had the potential to be a high-end RB2 this season behind a quality offensive line in a run-oriented offense. Instead he's a 29-year-old back in a 2-2-1 rotation. It's now or never for aging backs, and Ward's "now" just deflated.

2. Jonathan Stewart - With a second straight offseason/preseason of foot injuries – this year even more disconcerting than last – Stewart hasn't shown the much-needed NFL ability to withstand nagging setbacks. Already tough to rank considering his high-end talent mired in a backfield timeshare, Stewart's future is murkier than ever. When will he graduate to weekly asset?

3. Brian Westbrook - This one is quite simple: Westbrook is one bad hit or one wrong cut away from ending his career. Doubtlessly, he can still be a weekly asset when healthy, but the risk is no longer worth the reward when weighed against younger backs.

4. Clinton Portis - We know that his explosion is gone, evidenced by the disappearance of his breakaway speed. Portis is entering the plodding, beast of burden stage of his career. Worse, he's doing so behind a tattered offensive line with Ladell Betts set to take over third-down duties in an effort to keep the starter fresh. Carry totals of 325+ in four of the past five seasons are a flashing neon-red warning: stay away.

4. Reggie Bush - Similar to Brian Westbrook in that concerns about his knees trump whatever upside he may possess. With Pierre Thomas emerging and Mike Bell around for insurance, Bush is going to have to rely even more on his receptions for fantasy value.

Wide Receivers

1. Brandon Marshall - What a mess this guy is. When he's not in handcuffs, he's sabotaging Broncos practice, malingering, and trashing the organization. A suspension waiting to happen, Marshall combines the worst parts of Terrell Owens and Plaxico Burress. No thanks.

2. Michael Crabtree - At this point, his rookie season is a wash. We've missed out on a chance to evaluate his talent throughout training camp and against NFL competition in preseason action, so our knowledge gap remains pretty wide. I wouldn't have any problem placing the diva/knucklehead tag on him at this point either.

3. Miles Austin - The Cowboys were dying for Austin to step up and take the No. 2 receiver job, and he couldn't beat out Patrick Crayton. This may have been the best opportunity he'll ever receive.

4. Brian Robiskie - Shame on you if you drafted Robiskie over Harvin or any of the other first-round receivers based simply on a better-than-expected forty time and minicamp hype. With zero difference-making potential and a low ceiling, he's exactly what you don't want in a rookie wide receiver. Robiskie is now sitting at fifth receiver on the Browns depth chart, behind less-hyped second-rounder Mohamed Massaquoi.

5. Kevin Curtis - Curtis is the kind of fringe starter who needs to produce in the present to have Dynasty value. Local papers continue to suggest that his starting job is up in the air due to his inability to shake a sports hernia and knee issues. He can't be counted on for 2009, in which case he's practically valueless.

Tight Ends

1. Ben Watson – Last year's starter has fallen behind Chris Baker, perhaps as far as fourth on the depth chart. Watson is firmly in Bill Belichick's doghouse and may be off the roster before he gets a chance to redeem himself.

2. Heath Miller - Miller is falling not so much through any fault of his own. His low yearly ceiling simply means that young, talented tight ends such as Finley, Bennett, and Jared Cook are worth rostering ahead of him.


For the most up-to-date player rankings, profiles, projections, cheatsheets, and much, much more that will allow you to dominate your fantasy football league, check out the 2009 Rotoworld Football Draft Guide.



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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling



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