Peyton Manning (Position: 2, Overall: 21):
Given Manning's consistency — he has reached 27 touchdown passes and 4,000 in three straight seasons — and the fact that Tom Brady is returning from injury, this ranking makes sense.
Drew Brees is the number one ranked quarterback and no one can doubt his potential to be a productive fantasy quarterback when his past three seasons and the fact that Saints should be involved in a number of shootouts is considered.
In a 12-team draft, his overall ranking would place Manning at the tail end of the second round, where he would be a steal. Chances are that someone will take him earlier, especially if the draft is conducted somewhere in the Indianapolis area.
But, anywhere in the second round is a good time to take Manning, provided that you are interested in being set at the quarterback position and not interested in taking a chance at a quarterback in the later rounds when the sure things are off the board.
Kurt Warner (5, 33), Aaron Rogers (6, 34)
Addai's struggles in 2008 caused him to drop in the rankings
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Joseph Addai: (21, 51):
Obviously, fantasy experts are concerned about Addai's ability to rebound from offseason knee surgery and his chances of keeping rookie Donald Brown from getting a healthy share of the touches in 2009.
If he can indeed be had towards the end of the fourth round or early in the fifth round, Addai is an excellent value pick as a third running back, especially in leagues that give you a point for every reception that a player records (PPR).
With his pass catching ability and familiarity with the blocking responsibilities required of a Colts running back in their scheme, Addai will at least have value as a third down option even if he loses the regular job to Brown.
However, he can no longer be depended upon as a marquee first or second back for fantasy purposes, so don't draft him as such.
Donald Brown: (27, 57):
Towards the end of the fifth round, Brown makes a lot of sense, especially if you listen to some of the folks at ColtPower.com, who suggest that Brown will have claimed the starting job and the majority of the carries by the end of the season.
The good news hidden between the lines is that fantasy experts believe the Indianapolis running game will recover in 2009, no matter who is the starter.
Ray Rice (66, 188), LenDale White (28, 74).
Reggie Wayne: (3, 17):
Considering that Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss are the only two players at the position that rank ahead of Wayne, he's doing very well for himself in the fantasy rankings. Chances are slim that Wayne will go in the first round, so if you are looking for a solid, productive receiver in the second round and Fitzgerald and Moss are gone, you could do a lot worse.
Still, the fact remains that there are few options in Houston (Andre Johnson), Carolina (Steve Smith), and Green Bay (Greg Jennings), so if any of those players are available, they would be better selections simply by virtue of the fact that they will get more targets. The more targets a player gets, the better the chances that they will produce.
Andre Johnson (4, 18), Steve Smith (5, 19), Greg Jennings (6, 20).
Anthony Gonzalez: (17, 37):
Gonzalez enters the 2009 season finding himself in the enviable position of being Peyton Manning's second option. However, he has yet to put up numbers that are indicative of his draft position in situations where he was in a similar position to the one he finds himself in the coming season.
In 2007, when second receiver Marvin Harrison was hurt for most of the year, he had 37 catches for 576 yards and three touchdowns. In 2008, Gonzalez improved with 57 catches for 664 yards and four touchdowns, but those numbers still don't justify his position.
It could be that the switch will be flipped for Gonzalez in his third season, as it tends to take receivers some time to adjust to the speed of the NFL game, but he seems to be ranked awfully high for a player that has not produced according to his ranking when given the chance.
Clark should once again be a top five fantasy tight end
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Dallas Clark (5, 93):
Clark is correctly placed behind Jason Witten (1, 45), Tony Gonzalez (2, 46), and Antonio Gates (3, 47), but is also ranked behind Kellen Winslow (4, 73), who is with a new team and has proven to be inconsistent and/or injured in his time in the league. Clark has been productive in terms of receptions and may approach his 2007 touchdown numbers (11) if Gonzalez proves to be a liability in the red zone.
If he is available in the late seventh or early eighth round, he would be a valuable selection if your league requires that you start a tight end.
Defense/Special Teams: (10, 143):
With a new emphasis on blitzing by defensive coordinator Larry Coyer, sacks should be up. A healthy Bob Sanders will help the run defense and the turnover department, which should vault the Indianapolis defense into the top ten.
Points-wise and stats-wise, the Colts have held up and that should be expected to continue. If the run defense holds up, they are a solid option given that you choose your defense outside of the last two rounds of your draft.
Tennessee (11, 174), Atlanta (19, 208)
Adam Vinatieri: (12, 257):
Although Vinatieri is one of the greatest clutch kickers in the history of the NFL, he is often overrated for fantasy purposes. As the magazine says, "he has averaged only 23 field goals in the past three years and is only four for nine from 40 yards or more in the past two seasons."
He's a good final option, but there are better options available when you get around to drafting a kicker and the men in front of him have better reputations fantasy-wise, as they play for teams that are less effective in the red zone than the Colts and attempt more field goals.
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