The Hoff's 2009 Fantasy Football Rankings


Ah, it is that time of year again- not just football season, but fantasy football season. The time when armchair GM’s like myself put together “their” team and use it as a way to show up their friends and loves ones via competitive means that show no actual skill or athleticism at all. It’s the American way. A forum at which I can continuously talk trash to my fellow man without recourse, as the worst case scenario is the failure of a group of guys that may have no connection to each other at all- save for being in the NFL and having their names uttered by yours truly on draft day. What an honor.

Whether it is “Money Ball” or whatever twisted form of talent evaluation is utilized by Skeletor in Oakland (if you want to call it talent evaluation at all), each GM has their own specific guidelines for selecting what their team will look like- fantasy or otherwise. I have my own set of principles at which to narrow down my selections, so before giving you my rankings, I would like you to understand the methods of evaluation that I have used.


Most fantasy owners will tell you that the key to good drafting is actually creating the best “value” picks. Getting good upside for the round you’re in. While that may produce you a championship caliber squad, it is also going to produce a lot of weak squads, as players don’t always perform to their potential. I prefer a system of selection that minimizes risk. Selecting players with consistent statistical output is important to me, as is health. In a given year, someone like Brady or Brees can outplay a Peyton Manning, but having a guy who has never missed a start and will predictably perform within a very tight statistical range is valuable. Similar things can be said about nabbing guys like Jason Witten over a Kellen Winslow or Donald Driver over more boom/bust plays like Devin Hester. Also, selecting players without off-the-field issues is a plus, as you know it will be unlikely that they are suspended during the season. I also place a lot of value on size at QB and WR. Those guys take some hits and size is helpful at both positions, in order to help absorb hits. In contrast, a big RB tends to run more upright and open themselves up to injury more frequently. Moderate sized backs tend to be lower injury risks as they have enough size to absorb the blows inflicted on them, but not so much as to open them up to more hits and the types of hits that cause injury. Upside is great, but potential will get you beat- you need production on a consistent basis.


Fantasy football is about statistical output. You may feel like Kellen Winslow is a better TE than Greg Olsen, but at the moment, Winslow has a bevy of mediocrity throwing him the pigskin, while Olsen has a Pro Bowler. Olsen might be a better selection as a result. Sometimes coaching needs to be taken into account as well- Do we know how the Ravens D will perform without Ryan? How will the Seahawks offense change without Holmgren? Tampa without Gruden? These sorts of questions are important to keep in mind. Knowing the tendencies of a coach can help you determine the direction a team will likely go with their scheming. Knowing what a player has around him can help you determine how his supporting cast can affect his statistical output.


You still want to evaluate talent and potential, but it is NOT the first thing you should be focused on. Potential picks should be made late, after the consistent players are either gone or the statistical output is too low to be worried about (a consistent TE with 350 yards and 3 TD a year shouldn’t go before an up and comer, as their statistical output doesn’t justify it, as it is too low even though they may be consistent). If you are willing to bet that the statistical output of a potential based pick WILL be better than that of an established player, THEN you make that pick. You must be sure though, as drafting on potential too early can get you beat. However, that doesn’t mean you completely ignore it, especially if you’re in a keeper league.

If you combine these three factors,  giving the heaviest weight to consistency, then situation and then potential, you will find your team competing for a league championship regularly. If you don’t, sure you may win one year, but by the next you could be a cellar-dweller. The thing that makes fantasy football fun is consistently competing for that league title. Statistically you are going to win 1 year and lose as many years as there are other teams in your league anyway, you might as well keep yourself in the hunt at all times. That will give you a more fulfilling fantasy football season.

Without further adieu, here are The Hoff’s 2009 Fantasy Rankings-


1. Peyton Manning, IND
2. Tom Brady, NE
3. Drew Brees, NO
4. Aaron Rodgers, GB
5. Tony Romo, DAL
6. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
7. Matt Schaub, HOU
8. Jay Cutler, CHI
9. Kurt Warner, ARI
10. Donovan McNabb, PHI
11. Phillip Rivers, SD
12. Carson Palmer, CIN
13. Matt Ryan, ATL
14. Matt Hasselbeck, SEA
15. Eli Manning, NYG
16. Matt Cassel, KC
17. Jason Campbell, WAS
18. Kyle Orton, CHI
19. Trent Edwards, BUF
20. Jake Delhomme, CAR
21. David Garrard, JAX
22. Joe Flacco, BAL
23. Marc Bulger, STL
24. Chad Pennington, MIA
25. Jamarcus Russell, OAK
26. Kerry Collins, TEN
27. Daunte Culpepper, DET
28. Brady Quinn,  CLE
29. Mark Sanchez, NYJ
30. Shaun Hill, SF
31. Sage Rosenfels, MIN
32. Luke McCown, TB

As I’m sure you noticed, players projected to be in a position battle/to win the position battle are towards the bottom. Those players usually have short leashes and it is a HUGE risk to take them, especially at this point. Hence the reason they’re at the bottom. I think there is a noticeable drop off after the top 3 here, but not much of one after that until after the top 15 or so, so don’t feel the need to stretch for a QB this year if one of the top 3 are gone. I don’t see any big time sleepers at this position this year. I think most fantasy owners will be in agreement as to which tiers each of these players belong in and it will turn out pretty accurate.


1. Adrian Peterson, MIN
2. Matt Forte’, CHI
3. Michael Turner, ATL
4. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX
5. Steve Slaton, HOU
6. Frank Gore, SF
7. LaDainian Tomlinson, SD
8. Clinton Portis, WAS
9. Steven Jackson, STL
10. Marion Barber III, DAL
11. Brandon Jacobs, NYG
12. Kevin Smith, DET
13. Chris Johnson, TEN
14. Deangelo Williams, CAR
15. Brian Westbrook, PHI
16. Marshawn Lynch, BUF
17. Ronnie Brown, MIA
18. Larry Johnson, KC
19. Ryan Grant, GB
20. Cedric Benson, CIN
21. Joseph Addai, IND
22. Julius Jones, SEA
23. Derrick Ward, TB
24. Willie Parker, PIT
25. Darren McFadden, OAK
26. Thomas Jones, NYJ
27. Reggie Bush, NO
28. Jamal Lewis, CLE
29. Knowshon Moreno, DEN
30. Chris Wells, ARI
31. Pierre Thomas, NO
32. Jonathan Stewart, CAR
33. Lawrence Maroney, NE
34. Le’Ron McClain, BAL
35. Willis McGahee, BAL
36. Ray Rice, BAL
37. Sammy Morris, NE
38. Leon Washington, NYJ
39. Donald Brown, IND
40. Tim Hightower, ARI
41. Earnest Graham, TB
42. Shonn Greene, NYJ
43. Lesean McCoy, PHI
44. Fred Jackson, BUF
45. Rashard Mendenhall, PIT
46. Darren Sproles, SD
47. Michael Bush, OAK
48. Jamaal Charles, KC
49. Ricky Williams, MIA
50. Jerome Harrison, CLE

As you can see, I definitely put a lot of stock in age and projected carry split. Guys who over 30 or even near it are usually a larger risk due to a pretty consistent statistical drop off at that age. Guys like Willie Parker, Thomas Jones or Brian Westbrook will likely be overvalued this year because of their name and prior production, but don’t let them fool you into drafting them too early- all of them are at or near that magical age and have younger players breathing down their necks. Which brings me to my next point- the Steelers know how to run the football and Willie Parker is somewhat injury prone and a little old, yet I rarely hear people talking about former 1st rounder Rashard Mendenhall. If you are in a deep league or a keeper league, I see him as almost a must. The value will likely be there, as he seems to have been forgotten, but I’d consider him highly as a top reserve. Guys that I project to split a heavy number of carries also drop down my list quite a bit. If you can’t verify that they’ll be getting touches consistently from week to week (LenDale White), than that player is nothing more than a headache for you.


1. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
2. Andre Johnson, HOU
3. Randy Moss, NE
4. Calvin Johnson, DET
5. Reggie Wayne, IND
6. Steve Smith, CAR
7. Brandon Marshall, DEN
8. Roddy White, ATL
9. Anquan Boldin, ARI
10. Greg Jennings, GB
11. Chad Ochocinco, CIN
12. Terrell Owens, DAL
13. Marques Colston, NO
14. T.J. Houshmandzedah, SEA
15. Dwayne Bowe, KC
16. Wes Welker, NE
17. Roy Williams, DAL
18. Braylon Edwards, CLE
19. Antonio Bryant, TB
20. Vincent Jackson, SD
21. Donald Driver, GB
22. Santonio Holmes, PIT
23. Desean Jackson, PHI
24. Anthony Gonzalez, IND
25. Lee Evans, BUF
26. Hines Ward, PIT
27. Bernard Berrian, MIN
28. Santana Moss, WAS
29. Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ
30. Devin Hester, CHI
31. Torry Holt, JAX
32. Donnie Avery, STL
33. Lance Moore, NO
34. Derrick Mason, BAL
35. Laveranues Coles, CIN
36. Kevin Curtis, PHI
37. Kevin Walter, HOU
38. Eddie Royal, DEN
39. Ted Ginn, Jr., MIA
40. Michael Crabtree, SF
41. Steve Breaston, ARI
42. Domenik Hixon, NYG
43. Nate Burleson, SEA
44. Chris Chambers, SD
45. Patrick Crayton, DAL
46. Michael Jenkins, ATL
47. Mushin Muhammed, CAR
48. Deion Branch, SEA
49.Percy Harvin, MIN
50.Nate Washington, TEN
51. Justin Gage, TEN
52. Steve Smith, NYG
53. Darrius Heyward-Bey, OAK
54. Johnny Lee Higgins, OAK
55. Greg Camarillo, MIA
56. Bryant Johnson, DET
57. Mark Bradley, KC
58. Isaac Bruce, SF
59. Mark Clayton, BAL
60. Devery Henderson, NO
61. Devone Bess, MIA
62. Miles Austin, DAL
63. Earl Bennett, CHI
64. Sidney Rice, MIN
65. Chris Henry, CIN
66. Antwaan Randle El, WAS
67. Bobby Engram, KC
68. Hakeem Nicks, NYG
69. Jeremy Maclin, PHI
70. Joey Galloway, NE
71. Keenan Burton, STL
72. Kenny Britt, TEN
73. Brian Robiskie, CLE
74. James Jones, GB
75. Jordy Nelson, GB

A lot of the guys toward the bottom of the list are the “upside” types of picks. Guys that, should they get a chance via injury or winning a larger role in their offense, could be solid players. I can’t imagine the rest of that list needs too much explanation.


1. Jason Witten, DAL
2. Antonio Gates, SD
3. Tony Gonzalez, ATL
4. Dallas Clark, IND
5. John Carlson, SEA
6. Owen Daniels, HOU
7. Kellen Winslow, TB
8. Zach Miller, OAK
9. Chris Cooley, WAS
10. Jeremy Shockey, NO
11. Greg Olsen, CHI
12. Kevin Boss, NYG
13. Heath Miller, PIT
14. Dustin Keller, NYJ
15. Vernon Davis, SF
16. Anthony Fasano, MIA
17. Visanthe Shiancoe, MIN
18. Todd Heap, BAL
19. Bo Sciafe, TEN
20. Tony Scheffler, DEN
21. Mercedes Lewis, JAX
22. Brent Celek, PHI
23. Brandon Pettigrew, DET
24. Donald Lee, GB
25. David Martin, MIA
26. Benjamin Graham, DEN
27. Alge Crumpler, TEN
28. Brad Cottam, KC
29. Jeff King, CAR
30. Desmond Clark, CHI

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why people keep placing Greg Olsen above John Carlson. Carlson did in 1 year what took Olsen 2 and did it with primarily backups around him. Yes, that might make you s focal point, but playing with the likes of Charlie Frye throwing to you can’t be good. He makes Rex Grossman look like Joe Montana. I also imagine Olsen is going to face a lot of attention this season with a pretty mediocre group to catch passes around him. The big key at TE this year- don’t reach. I don’t see a significant decline in production from spots 1-9 and only a small one from 10-11. As long as you get one of those guys, you should feel comfortable. If that means you get to pick one 1-2 rounds later and get better quality at WR, DO IT!

KICKERS (Yup, kickers)-

1. Stephen Gostkowski, NE
2. Rob Bironas, TEN
3. Jason Elam, ATL
4. Neil Rackers, ARI
5. Mason Crosby, GB
6. David Akers, PHI
7. Nate Kaeding, SD
8. Adam Vinatieri, IND
9. Matt Bryant, TB
10. Jeff Reed, PIT
11. John Kasay, CAR
12. Ryan Longwell, MIN
13. Nick Folk, DAL
14. Josh Brown, STL
15. Garret Hartley, NO
16. Kris Brown, HOU
17. Shayne Graham, CIN
18. Robbie Gould, CHI
19. Rian Lindell, BUF
20. Joe Nedney, SF
21. Phil Dawson, CLE
22. Matt Prater, DEN
23. Olindo Mare, SEA
24. Lawrence Tynes, NYG
25. Dan Carpenter, MIA
26. Jay Feely, NYJ
27. Josh Scobee, JAX
28. Shaun Suisham, WAS
29. Jason Hanson, DET
30. Sebastian Janikowski, OAK

Kicker is the position most influenced by outside factors. Mediocre kickers from great offensive teams are more useful than great kickers on awful offensive teams. Some of the best kickers in the league aren’t high on this list for that reason (Josh Brown, Jason Hanson, Joe Nedney are all examples). Also, avoid kickers that are in position battles- even though they have potential to be good as they might play on teams with good offenses (Olindo Mare, Nick Folk), it’s best not to potentially waste the draft pick. Also, avoid drafting kickers until toward the end of your draft, if not in your last pick entirely.


1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Minnesota Vikings
3. New York Giants
4. Baltimore Ravens
5. Washington Redskins
6. New England Patriots
7. San Diego Chargers
8. New York Jets
9. Chicago Bears
10. Seattle Seahawks
11. Philadelphia Eagles
12. Dallas Cowboys
13. Tennessee Titans
14. Carolina Panthers
15. Arizona Cardinals
16. Miami Dolphins
17. Indianapolis Colts
18. Buffalo Bills
19. Tampa Bay Bucs
20. San Francisco 49ers
21. Houston Texans
22. Jacksonville Jaguars
23. Atlanta Falcons
24. Green Bay Packers
25. Oakland Raiders
26. Cincinnati Bengals
27. Cleveland Browns
28. New Orleans Saints
29, Kansas City Chiefs
30. St. Louis Rams
31. Detroit Lions
32. Denver Broncos

Transitional defenses, especially those that have personnel ill-suited to run their new scheme (Kansas City and Denver for example) should be avoided like the plague. I also foresee a steep decline for the Titans without Albert Haynesworth. He made their defensive line work and their defensive line made their defense work. San Diego is going to have a big bounce back year from their defense this season, primarily due to the return of Merriman and nabbing of Larry English, which should restore their pass rush. Seattle should have a bounce back sort of year as well, if for nothing more than their change of coordinators should help. Avoid teams that don’t or can’t run the football well. They put added pressure on their D. You could care less who wins the actual game, you just need your defense to score points, which is usually tied in some way to points allowed.

Well, enjoy your chest pounding debauchery this season. Make your opponents your bizznitch and, most importantly, don’t forget the little guys who got you there. Don’t forget The Hoff.