10 Breakout Candidates for 2009
Maurice Jones-Drew – RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
The reason Jones-Drew is listed as a breakout candidate, is because this will be his first season as the #1 Back in Jacksonville. Fred Taylor has gone on to New England, leaving Drew to carry the load. Jones also added more muscle in the offseason, which proves how serious he’s taking his new role this season. With the Jaguars adding Torry Holt at wideout, it gives the offense much more balance, and should make defenses play a more balanced scheme. Drew almost exceeded 1,000 yards in a time-share system as a rookie, so there’s no reason to see him not greatly exceeding that total this season. I expect Jones Drew to produce in the neighborhood of 1,700 total yards and 15 TD’s.
DeSean Jackson – WR, Philadelphia Eagles
D-Jax turned in a solid season for the Eagles, and quickly became one of Donovan McNabb’s favorite targets. With the Birds adding the electrifying rookie, Jeremy Maclin, across from Jackson, things should open up for the talented 2nd year Wideout. Jackson has also been reported as he most impressive player in training came so far, and should carry over into the regular season. Expect Jackson’s catches to total around 70-75, with 1,000 plus yards, and around 10 total TD’s, for this upcoming season.
Calvin Johnson – WR, Detroit Lions
Megatron exploded last season, after the departure of Lions’ former #1 Wideout, Roy Williams. Although Johnson will most likely have a rookie throwing him the ball, he’ll still be an elite Wideout, and a MAJOR force this season. Daunte Culpepper is currently penciled in as the Lions starter, but that will most likely change around mid-season, barring a sudden outburst of victories, from last year’s win-less team. The Lions also added dynamic rookie Tight End, Brandon Pettigrew, who should make some noise himself, and allow teams to account for his presence on the field as well. Also added, speedy WR, Derrick Williams, out of Penn State, along with former Penn State Star, Bryant Johnson. If BJ, can finally catch on with his new team, Calvin will face less double, and triple coverage…Yeah Right! Teams will be all over Megatron, but that shouldn’t stop him at all! Expect 90 Catches, 1500 Yards, 14 TD’s, as Johnson takes over in his first full season as, The Guy!
Pierre Thomas – RB, New Orleans Saints
Thomas is entering the season as the Saints’ #1 Back, Deuce-Free, and a hampered Reggie Bush. Barring any injuries, Thomas is as close to a sure thing as there will be for production, this upcoming season. Thomas also added much needed bulk, over the offseason, to assure the Saints won’t need to overlook him at the goaline. Thomas hasn’t struck any fear in opposing defenses just yet, and with Drew Brees at QB, defenses will be very weary of the Passing Attack of New Orleans. Fear of the pass should mean for enormous running lanes for Thomas, early on in the season. Thomas will have to earn the respect of opposing NFL defenses, and he definitely should. Expect 1400-1600 total yards, and 11 Total TD’s.
Aaron Rodgers – QB, Green Bay Packers
Dealing with the entire Brett Favre situation last season, had to be beyond a headache for Rodgers. This season, Rodger enters without any distraction, and the stand-alone leader of the Green Bay Offense. With the Packers locking up their #1 Wideout, Greg Jennings, the Green Bay Packers look poised to make huge steps next season. Throwing for over 4,000 yards and almost 30 Touchdowns, was a huge burst onto the scene for Rodgers, and he’ll only get better. If the Pack can get a healthy Ryan Grant running behind Rodgers, then there’s no doubt he’ll exceed last year’s statistics. I expect Rodgers to throw for about 4,000+ yards, and 36 Total TD’s.
Trent Edwards – QB, Buffalo Bills
Edwards is a natural breakout candidate, after Buffalo pulled the trigger on one of the biggest free agent acquisitions, signing Terrell Owens. Aside from Owens’ rants to the media, he’s a game changing player. T.O. also makes all the players around him, BETTER. Edwards should enjoy playing with Owens, who’ll open things up for young star, Lee Evans. The Bills are also hoping last year’s draft pick, James Hardy, can recover from injury, and contribute at some point. If Hardy is unable to go, the Bills’ offense should still succeed. Josh Reed, and Roscoe Parrish provide game changing speed from the slot position(s), and should also have much better seasons, playing with Owens. Edwards is being given the keys, and will be able to call his own plays during the no-huddle offensive sets. Expect Edwards to reach 3,500-3,800 Yards, and 30 Total TD’s.
Chris Henry – WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Don’t let last year’s numbers throw you off with Henry…the guy has talent, it’s always been OFF the field where he’s fallen short. I’ve always been a doubter of Henry’s abilities, due to his off the field antics. However, Carson Palmer has seemed to have fallen in love with Henry this year. Every interview, and every chance he’s gotten to…Palmer’s praised Henry. The talented wideout has been receiving rave reviews, and has seemingly, “turned over a new leaf.” For the first time, they’re saying Henry has come into came with a completely different attitude and work ethic. With Palmer showing so much favoritism towards Henry, it can only bode well for his fantasy owners. Expect Henry to record 60 catches, 900 Yards, and 9 TD’s.
Matt Ryan – QB, Atlanta Falcons
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