Chicago Bears: The Jay Cutler experiment last year was a failure, but not all his fault-a young wide receiving corps, bad offensive line, and an ineffective running game all contributed to the bears struggles. So what’s the forecast this year: Aromashodu at WR should be the standout of WR. Hester is best in a hybrid role, but not a #1 or 2 fantasy receiver. Forte has pressure on him after the Bears signing Taylor, but if he can get back to his rookie form he’ll be a top 10 back. Cutler is a #2 fantasy QB for now.
Detroit Lions: Calvin Johnson is the best receiver on one of the worst teams and has done more with less than any player in the league. Stafford’s improved play will mean bigger stats for Johnson. The Lions gave Stafford some good weapons this year with Scheffler at TE and rookie Jahvid Best. Look for Best to take over for the oft-injured Kevin Smith.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rogers is a top 2 fantasy QB. Brees may put up bigger numbers, but Rogers ability to get rushing TDs is often overlooked and a way to pick up extra points. Look for Finley to arrive as a top TE. Jennings and Drivers are solid picks, but both have had some injuries, but they’re both starters. Ryan Grant is a top RB and should get the bulk of the carries this year.
Minnesota Vikings: A lot of their offensive production depends on Brett Favre. If he comes back he’ll make a lot of fantasy owners happy-but even happier will be Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice- they could put up some monsterous numbers. Peterson is still a threat at RB. He’s got a ton of issues with fumbles, which makes him a goal line liability and is why the Vikings drafted Toby Gerhardt. Look for Gerhardt to be a guy who averages 5 yards a game with 2 TD’s. Shiancoe is a top TE. This team is loaded with talent…pending the return of their fickle and fearless leader.
Atlanta Falcons: Roddy White, Matt Ryan, and Michael Turner. I think Ryan will have a good season this year and could be a #1 in some leagues, definitely a #2 in every league. Roddy White will continue to be his go-to receiver, but expect a lot of double-coverage. Tony Gonzalez continues to be productive defying his age. Turner proved he was the real deal last year before getting injured. If Turner’s your guy make sure you handcuff him as durability is still suspect.
Carolina Panthers: Looks like this is shaping up to be a tough year for Carolina. Steve Smith’s broken leg could keep him out of training camp and slow the veteran receiver down. I think this is the year that you pass on Smith until the 3rd or 4th round. Matt Moore will battle rookie Jimmy Clausen for the starting position at QB- look for Moore to be the starter in September, which bodes well for DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart. Both get yards and scores and are safe picks for your 1 or 2 RB.
New Orleans Saints: A Drew Brees led team won’t have much of a let down after winning the Super Bowl. They’ll come back hungry and ready to defend the title, which is great news for fantasy owners. Brees is one of the few QBs who is worthy a first round pick. He spreads the ball and is surrounded with weapons at every position. Colston, Meachum, and Henderson will all get plenty of targets. Colston is still a #1 with Meachum and Henderson better situated to be your 2/3/flex options. Pierre Thomas will get the bulk of carries and is a fantasy starter. Only draft Bush if he’s sitting there in the 6th round or later. He’s too inconsistent and there are too many other options for him to be a starter on your team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The only player that is a fantasy starter on this team is Kellen Winslow. Josh Freeman will remain to be up and down in his first full year as a starter. Cadillac Williams’ production is good, but not great and will split carries with Derrick Ward making them guys for the bye weeks.
Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys offensively should be one of the more explosive and productive teams this year. Miles Austin will be a top receiver and Dez Bryant is a worthy pick up in the later rounds-kid can play. RBs are by committee. Both Felix Jones and Marion Barber will split carries. They’re both going to be productive, but neither are #1. Jason Witten is still a favorite target of Tony Romo and both are safe starters.
New York Giants: With a year playing together look for the young receiving corps to be much improved which makes Eli a legit starter in bigger leagues and definitely a worthy back up. Hakeem Nicks and Manningham will get plenty of targets. Manningham needs to have less drops. Nicks will have a breakout season and is a worthy #2. Boss is a backup TE in fantasy. Jacobs and Bradshaw will be another RB by committee with Jacobs getting the brunt of the carries. He’s a starter in most leagues and Bradshaw is worth a late round pick.
Philadelphia Eagles: They have some explosive position players. LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Brent Celek should all be starters. The obvious question is if Kolb can get them the ball. My gut says that Andy Reid wouldn’t let McNabb go unless this Kolb was ready. Kolb just needs to be a game manager and get the ball into anyone of his play makers hands and they’ll make him look like a top fantasy QB.
Washington Redskins: An upgrade and motivated QB with McNabb will help this first year QB/Coached team. He’s not a starter in a 10 team league, but can be in 12/14 team leagues. He doesn’t have quite as many weapons as he did in Philly, but he’s a savvy veteran with a great offensive coach. Portis isn’t what he used to be, but worth a spot on your bench. Moss is a flex guy. Cooley is the only solid fantasy starter on this roster.
Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald will struggle this year. Losing Warner and Boldin will put a tremendous amount of pressure on him. He’s still great and can go up and get the ball better than anyone in the league, but don’t expect the massive numbers he’s put up in the past. If the offense doesn’t bomb-Doucet is a safe/sleeper pick as he’ll be the biggest beneficiary of Larry Fitz getting double teamed. Anderson and Leinhart aren’t worth spots on your roster. Beanie Wells showed some glimpses of being a starter and is worth a mid-round pickup.
San Francisco 49ers: Gore is another starting RB worth handcuffing. He takes a lot of abuse and is suspect to hold up 16 games. Crabtree should produce this year now that he’ll play a full season. Vernon Davis should still be a considered a top TE despite issues under center. QB remains to be an issue and Alex Smith is an iffy backup.
Seattle Seahawks: New coach, new QB? Hasselbeck might not make it through September as the starter and there isn’t a lot of depth behind him. Forsett should get a lot of carries and will be a nice surprise to someone who picks him up. Look for Rookie Golden Tate to make some headlines this year on a talent deprived team.
St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford is good. Unfortunately, the Rams offensive line is not. He’ll suffer through a tough rookie year as he doesn’t have a lot of weapons around him. This is the year Steven Jackson becomes human and starts that natural RB decline. And to make matters worse, Jackson and Bradford won’t get any help from their WR. Name one? Yea, I couldn’t either.