Snakes and Ladders

Posted: December 31, 2010 in Fantasy Football

As part of my season wrap-up, this version of snakes and ladders will be covering who will climb a ladder or get bitten by a snake between now and next season’s pre-season.

LADDER- Jamaal Charles– I know, he’s a top-10 RB now, but I still think he climbs because…
SNAKE- Thomas Jones– Jones is old and worn out. Todd Haley has to let Charles take the reigns. If Charles got 25-30 touches per playoff game, the Chiefs could win some.
LADDER- Shonn Greene– Yes, the other Jets back had a good start to the season, but he quickly tired out and Greene took over the majority late. I expect Greene to get at least a 60/40 share from the beginning of next season.
SNAKE- Ladanian Tomlinson– He can still be useful, but it will be in a supporting role, giving Greene breathers and maybe being the long-yardage or third-down guy.
LADDER- Ben Tate– Tate got hurt in pre-season and we never got to see him on the field for Houston, but even with the emergence of Arian Foster, Tate should get his chanes.
SNAKE- Brandon Lloyd– With Kyle Orton slinging the ball everywhere, Lloyd enjoyed a career year, but if the Broncos hand the controls over to their QB of the future, Tim Tebow, then it will be a more balanced attack.
LADDER- Tim Tebow- You know I’m buying. I’m all-in, as a matter of fact. He has looked very good so far and with another offseason of training, this guy has HUGE upside. If he starts the full 16 games (assuming there isn’t a lockout), then Tebow could be in the top-15 of fantasy QB at the end of the year.
SNAKE- Matt Cassel– Yes, he’s a good quarterback. But after this season, the Chiefs will have to give Charles more work, and that means less gunslinging. He could end up in the top-15 again, but another 98.8 passer rating seems unlikely. I’d expect something like 25 TDs and 15 INTs.
LADDER- Pierre Thomas– He was injured much of this year, but the guy is a star. He’s borderline top-10 among RBs when healthy.  He’s probably the best screen back i the NFL, and that’s perfect for the Saints offense.
SNAKE- Peyton Hillis– The Browns will get highly touted rookie Montario Hardesty back from the injury that ended his 2010 before it began. This looks like a split-gig next year.
LADDER- Matt Ryan– One of the most under appreciated players in the game, Ryan has a stud running back to hold defenses attention, has a superstar receiver, first ballot Hall of Fame tight end, and plays indoors at LEAST nine games per year, between home games and New Orleans.
SNAKE- Jay Cutler– His 23 TDs against 14 INTs is about as good a spread as we can ever expect from him. If he stays there, he is somewhere between the 10th and 15th fantasy QB.
LADDER- Joe Webb– I bet you didn’t know his 40′ time at the NFL combine was the exact same as Michael Vick’s. The kid is quick, and makes good decisions with the ball in his hands. There will be mistakes, but he has exciting upside.
SNAKE- Michael Vick– Speaking of the sleeper explosion of this decade, good for him. But he is the type of player who people love to watch so much that he will get way overdrafted. Is he a top-10 QB? Yes. Top-5? Not on my board. Too much of an injury risk with that playing style. And with an entire offseason, good defensive coordinators will figure out how to stop him.
LADDER-  Vincent Jackson– We have seen Phillip Rivers look for him constantly since he got back. Jackson looks like a top-10 WR right now.
SNAKE- Jimmy Clausen– Not that he has a huge value right now, but the Panthers are going to draft Andrew Luck with the top overall pick.
LADDER- Broncos DST– I know, I know. But they are probably going to have the second overall pick in the 2011 draft and will get help on defense. Right now, their best options are Nick Fairley or Patrick Peterson. Whether its help on the line or with the next great shutdown corner, they also get 2009 sacks leader, Elvis Dumervil back.

Those are the guys I would expect to see a major value shift in between now and the beginning of draft prep for next season. More to come.

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