Brad Morgan

Red Zone Report

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Red Zone Report Wrapup

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Before I get to a few notes for those still playing in Week 17, let's quick look at next season. I'm not gonna give you top 50 or top 10, rather here's 10 sexiest- meaning exciting- players for 2010 (and the guys you'll want to follow all off-season):

2010 Top 10 Sexiest Players

1. Beanie Wells (Cardinals RB)- As the season progress, Wells showed himself to be one of the steals of the 2009 draft. Slowly but surely, he stole more and more work from Tim Hightower, and now looks like he'll have a shot at being Arizona's #1 back next season. His combination of size (6-1 228) and explosive running ability will make him an exciting player to watch next year.

2. Jerome Harrison (Browns RB)- Whether or not 2010 will bring a Sanz-Mangini season for Harrison, his lighting quick running style has earned him the lion share of Cleveland Browns carries for the foreseeable future. Next year could be a great one for Harrison.

3. Michael Crabtree (49ers WR)- How many rookie wideouts can join the team mid-season and make and impact? Not many. Most rookie WRs don't make an impact as it is. Crabtree was truly spectacular in this respect. Given a full offseason to build chemistry with Alex Smith and learn their newly implemented spread offense, it's not crazy to say Crabtree could be a top 15 WR next year.

4. Justin Forsett (Seahawks RB)- The bad news is that Forsett has to compete with the incumbent RB, Julius Jones. The good news is that Forsett has to compete with Julius Jones. Honestly, I'm not sure what NFL coaches are thinking sometimes. Justin Forsett has done nothing but perform great when he's been given a chance, averaging 5.2 ypc and 8.6 yards per reception. Hopefully playing his best RB will be Jim Mora's New Year's Resolution.

5. Hakeem Nicks (Giants WR)- It took Nicks a while to become a integral part of the Giants offense, but Eli Manning has finally found his big downfield target to replace Plaxico Burress. Although Steve Smith was the Giants #1 this season, Nicks' skill set fits that role far better going forward (he averaged 17.3 yards per catch!!!).

6. Jermichael Finley (Packers TE)- Becoming an elite TE can happen suddenly, just ask Antonio Gates, Vernon Davis or Brett Celek. Finley came into this year as a huge longshot, who many thought had a slight chance to be a monster TE. Injuries and a slowly growing role in the offense prevented him from fully breaking out this season, as he finished as the 15th best TE. This offseason, however, Finley won't be the surprise of camp, developing him will be one of the Packers' biggest priorities. Finley has the explosive athletic ability to do what Vernon Davis did this season for fantasy owners.

7. Malcolm Floyd (Chargers WR)- Like a lot of guys on this list, Floyd wasn't give starter reps in games and practices until about halfway through the season (after the Chargers released Chris Chambers). Given a full off-season working the Chargers #2 WR opposite Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd will be another big (6-5 225) target for Phillip Rivers in San Diego's high flying passing game.

8. Michael Bush (Raiders RB)- Here's another guy who biggest problem has been getting consistent playing time. Like Forsett, Wells, and Harrison, Bush seems to always perform well when he's given a chance. With Justin Fargas turning 30 and seeing his 2nd declining season in a row, Bush should have a real shot at being Oakland's starting back, which could mean huge things for fantasy owners. He'll have to compete with Darren McFadden, clearly an inferior runner to Bush, but the Louisville alum should prevail.

9. Mike Wallace (Steelers WR)- Having proven himself as Big Ben new home run threat, Wallace now needs to make the jump to being a solid route runner as well. The new pass-happy direction of the Steelers offense bodes very well for Wallace getting an opportunity to prove himself as more than deep threat. With Hines Ward approaching the wrong side of 30, Wallace could see increased opportunity, as well.

10. Devin Thomas (Redskins WR)- As the season grew on, Thomas' role in the offense expanded. Although Santana Moss is still Washington's #1 receiving option, Thomas provides a much different skill set. At 6-2 220, Thomas is an uber-athletic receiver who can stretch the field or come across the middle. A former 1st round pick, Thomas should have ample opportunity this off-season to establish himself as an invaluable part of the Redskins passing attack. He will definitely be worth a late round pick come next fall, and could see a similar 3rd year breakout season to the Vikings' Sidney Rice.

Week 17 Notes
Here are a couple of under-the-radar options for this weekend's games:

Jason Snelling , Falcons RB

Snelling has another dynamite matchup against one of the worst run defenses in football. Don't be fooled by Tampa Bay's win last week against the Saints, they are still very weak against the run. Snelling is a solid RB2 this week, while Norwood is a good Flex play.

Billy Volek, Chargers RB
With the no.2 seed locked up this week, Volek should see a lot of action against the Redskins 22nd ranked pass defense this week. For those in 2QB leagues, or any Phillip Rivers owners, Volek could be a very nice replacement this week.

Josh Morgan, 49ers
Although he disappointed last week in a great matchup vs. Detroit, Morgan has a chance at redemption this week. Facing the Rams atrocious passing defense, Morgan is a decent WR3 option.

Muhsin Muhammad, Panthers WR
With Steve Smith out, Muhammad will take over #1 receiving duties for Carolina. If you've been burned by Smith getting hurt, Muhammad is a fine replacement, but don't expect more than 7-8 points.

Sammy Morris, Patriots RB
Facing a bad Houston run defense this week, Morris has a great chance to put up a second stellar fantasy week in a row. He makes a very nice flex play this week.


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