The NFL Season's Fantasy 1/8 Pole

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - As of around midnight on Monday we will have completed one-eighth of the 2010 NFL season and though in many instances it's still too early to tell exactly where everyone is headed, there are some very good clues.

We will go position-by-position and give you our early impressions on some of the top fantasy performers. Hopefully, it will help you decide whether to keep and play a player, trade him or continue to evaluate him.


Jay Cutler, Chicago - Two weeks into the "marriage" of Cutler and offensive coordinator Mike Martz and those who drafted Cutler in the sixth round (ADP 62.7) are looking like geniuses. He's thrown five touchdown passes against just one interception and looks nothing like the guy we saw lead the league in picks last year. He's accumulated more points than Tom Brady, Tony Romo or Aaron Rodgers and though that may not continue, he's the better value at this time given where you chose him.

Kyle Orton, Denver - Tim Tebow may be the future, but Orton can help you right now. The Broncos' quarterback is averaging 301 yards per week and his receiving corps of Eddie Royal, Jabar Gaffney, Brandon Lloyd and rookie Demaryius Thomas is looking better with each practice. Instead of trading for a big name, I'd pick up Orton as he is owned in just 45-percent of all leagues.

Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia - I thought Kolb was ready to explode, but now I'm not so sure. Yes, Andy Reid as declared him the starter in Week 3 assuming he stays healthy (concussions), and he's a very loyal coach, but for how long? The Eagles offensive line wasn't strong to begin with and the loss of Jamaal Jackson hurt. Long-term, everyone thinks Kolb is the Eagles' future, but fans always want to win now and "backup" Michael Vick's running and "escapability" make him a better option behind this line. As a Kolb owner, I'd try to pick up or trade for Vick. Kolb's fantasy value is at an all-time low (as a starter) and therefore you would get nothing for the seventh-round pick you spent on him (RapidDraft ADP 81.3).

Running Backs

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville - Jones-Drew's knee may be healthy, but the offense he operates in definitely is not. If David Garrard can't loosen up the line of scrimmage then "MJD" is going to have a difficult season. Garrard was acceptable in Week 1, but ugly against the Chargers on Sunday. He has thrown for less than 200 yards in four of his last six games. The jury is still out as to whether Jones-Drew can thrive in this offense. Be ready to pull the trigger on a trade if a good one comes along.

Ray Rice, Baltimore - He's off to a slow start, but there is no need to panic. Remember the teams he went up against - the No.1 (Jets) and No.4 (Bengals) defenses from a year ago. He's healthy and getting at least 20 touches a game.

Shonn Greene, New York Jets - Greene is not living up to the expectations fantasy owners assigned to him after his stunning playoff run a year ago. Worse, LaDainian Tomlinson looks like he's got a "second wind" and is running like a youngster again. Unfortunately, you can't get anywhere near the value you invested in Greene, so you will likely have to accept a lot less, or hold onto him. As your investment advisor, I'm recommending holding onto him until his value is higher.

Ryan Mathews, San Diego - Through two games, fantasy owners are disappointed with his results...but hopeful. His professional debut was played in the rain at Kansas City, he fumbled, and sat more than expected. On Sunday, he was running well until he injured his ankle. He might even miss one week with the injury, but I like the way he runs and would be very hesitant to trade him, particularly in PPR and keeper leagues.

Wide Receivers

Brandon Marshall, Miami - In a throwing offense, Marshall would be worth every penny you paid for him (ADP 20.2), but his fantasy talents look like they will be wasted in Miami where Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams get the majority of the touches. He's getting looks as the team marches down the field, but might not get enough of them in the red zone where this team thinks ground game first. I don't believe he's a second round fantasy player in this offense, therefore my advice is to trade him if you can as it's not going to get much better than this and he's not going to match his Denver numbers.

Percy Harvin, Minnesota - It appears that the Vikings passing game misses Sidney Rice more than anyone expected. Harvin and Bernard Berrian look like they are good No.2 receivers, but can't carry this Minnesota passing attack as Rice did. And more bad news - Rice isn't a fast healer. However, I recommend you keep Harvin on your roster and hope that the Vikings trade for disgruntled San Diego wideout Vincent Jackson.

Eddie Royal, Denver - Heading into the season most "experts" (me included) thought that Gaffney would be the Broncos' No.1 receiver. We were wrong. It appears that the coaching staff has begun to use Royal as they did back in 2008 when he posted 91 receptions for 980 yards. Although he'll never put up "Marshall-type" numbers, as a 10th-round pick, he's a huge bargain. If you try to trade for him, don't offer the farm because Orton has a lot of receivers to choose from each week which will limit his top-end.

Tight Ends

Visanthe Shiancoe - Shiancoe was the guy who just caught touchdowns until this season. Now he's Brett Favre's main man with 10 catches and 162 yards in the first two weeks. Beware, if Vincent Jackson does show up or Sidney Rice gets back sooner than expected, then Shiancoe's numbers will suffer.

Chris Cooley, Washington - As expected, Donovan McNabb found a friend in Redskins' tight end Cooley and he will use him until exhaustion. As long as Cooley stays healthy, he'll be a top-five fantasy performer which you selected in the ninth round (ADP 106).

Aaron Hernandez, New England - As Ben Watson will attest, Tom Brady can find his tight end when needed, particularly deep. He has already shown he likes his new rookie receiver and you can pick him up for just a waiver claim since he's owned in just 4-percent of all leagues.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at

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