Evan Silva

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The Shy-Away Top 40

Friday, August 19, 2011




11. Patriots RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis - BGE and Danny Woodhead were the first backs in for Thursday night's preseason game, but Stevan Ridley's 222 total yards and three scores are still fresh on the mind. Ridley has more talent and a more complete game than the incumbent. The Pats don't dole out snaps based on experience, so this could quickly become a competition.

12. Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart - Stewart deserved better, but he was relegated to a clear backup role when the Panthers made DeAngelo Williams the highest-paid veteran running back in NFL history. Williams' five-year, $43 million contract with $21 million guaranteed indicates Stewart won't be more than a 6-8 carry-per-game back to open the season. He's not a flex starter.

13. Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew - Unlike Shaun Hill, Matthew Stafford's approach to the game is too aggressive for an oversized, plodding tight end to be a featured part of the passing attack. Tony Scheffler, a more athletic alternative at the position, is just as good a bet for targets.

14. Bills RB Fred Jackson - We've already broken down the NFL's offensive lines from 1-32, and Buffalo was lucky to not rank dead last. Now experimenting with former Redskins bust Chad Rinehart as a starting guard, the Bills will struggle to open holes this season. That's bad news for a 30-year-old running back whose touches are likely to diminish in favor of C.J. Spiller.

15. Bears QB Jay Cutler - The Bears' line has struggled to protect Cutler all camp, forcing OL coach Mike Tice to return to the drawing board this week with a new-look cast of starters. We liked the Mike Martz hire for Cutler's fantasy potential last offseason, but it became obvious quickly that Chicago lacked pass blockers to execute Martz's scheme. They might be worse year.

16. Bengals Wide Receivers - Jerome Simpson and rookie A.J. Green are down-the-field vertical threats now held hostage by a weak-armed rookie quarterback in an extremely run-heavy offense. Simpson and Green should both contribute a handful of big plays throughout the season, but consistency will be virtually impossible to come by. Green is a dicey WR3 in fantasy leagues.

17. Jets WR Plaxico Burress - Plax will have a hard time staying healthy after 18 months in prison at age 34, and the most telling sign was his inability to get on the practice field for the first two weeks of camp. The Jets would be smart to limit Burress' open-field snaps. He should still be able to make plays deep in the red zone, but 50 receptions is probably an unrealistic goal.

18. Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb - Larry Fitzgerald's enormous catch radius is a very big plus, but awful offensive tackle play, a far more balanced offense than he played in for the Eagles, and limited secondary receiver options are working against Kolb. There are at least five better QB2s.

19. Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez - Gonzo hit the skids last year, but he's still being drafted as a top-eight tight end over guys like Marcedes Lewis, Rob Gronkowski, and Kellen Winslow. Julio Jones and slot man Harry Douglas throw a large wrench into Gonzalez's fantasy potential.

20. Bears WR Roy Williams - Handed what may be his last chance at a significant NFL role, Williams reported to camp in less-than-peak condition and has performed poorly in practice. Bourbonnais observers have documented Williams' dropped passes, lackadaisical effort, and struggles in press coverage. Johnny Knox is the Bears' best option at X receiver, and has turned up the heat with several deep catches on the second team. The Bears need Knox to win this job.

21. Steelers WR Hines Ward - Ward was the No. 40 fantasy receiver last season, so he's past the point of lofty expectations. With Antonio Brown coming on extremely strong and talented 24-year-old Emmanuel Sanders due back from a foot injury in short order, however, Ward's ninth-round Average Draft Position is still a bit early. In all likelihood, he won't replicate last year's stats.

22. Jets RB LaDainian Tomlinson - Tomlinson received 219 carries last season, his legs petering out ominously down the stretch. L.T. may not see half that many this year with Shonn Greene enlisted as the Jets' "bell cow." Folks who've paid attention are aware of this, we realize.

23. Chiefs QB Matt Cassel - Cassel and Dwayne Bowe enjoyed career years in 2010 by preying on the league's softest pass defense schedule. Camp reports indicate Bowe dominated in St. Joseph, but Cassel isn't good enough to overcome tougher opponents in a passing game sure to regress. Drafters are smartly staying away, letting Cassel fall to the 11th round as the QB18.

24. Packers WR Donald Driver - He's in the same boat as Hines Ward. Everyone around him is young and getting better, while Driver is old and losing steam. After watching the preseason opener, it didn't take long to realize Randall Cobb can give Green Bay a much more explosive slot option. Driver's snaps and stats will continue to nosedive this season. He's barely worth a pick.

25. 49ers Wide Receivers - The 49ers' QB situation is headed for musical chairs and their wideouts will be end-of-the-bench fodder. Braylon Edwards is a WR4. Michael Crabtree is a WR5.


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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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