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Fantasy Football : Should You Fear The Sophomore Jinx

by: JamieD On  Tuesday, August 25, 2009

matt-ryan-fantasy-football-sophomore-jinxTotal Pro Sports – When it comes to drafting second year players, this year’s fantasy football roster offers a lot of options.  The only question is should you fear the sophomore jinx?

Here is a look at some of last year’s rookies who performed well and whether you should worry about going after them in your draft as they enter their second seasons.

Quarterbacks:

Matt Ryan, ATL : Matt Ryan had an impressive debut season throwing for 3440 yards and 16 TDs.  We expect him to continue to improve as the go-to quarterback in Atlanta.  No sophomore jinx expected here.

Joe Flacco, BAL : If there is one QB we expect to get hit by the jinx, it would be Flacco.  His leash is shorter than Ryan’s with Troy Smith also waiting in the wings.  Remember, the starting job was Smith’s until he got hurt.  He never played himself out of it.

Running Backs:

Darren McFadden, OAK : Although Oakland still looks to be in quite a mess, I expect McFadden to have a breakout year this season, especially if Russell or Garcia can provide some help through the air.

Jonathan Stewart, CAR : Here is one back I expect to be hit by the jinx.  If he is healthy he should fair well behind the Panthers great offensive line, but already dealing with injury problems in preseason, this may be a setback season for Stewart.

Felix Jones, DAL :  He was playing great before going down with an injury, but if Jones stays healthy, he could be the Cowboys started sooner rather than later.  That, however, is a big “if”.

Chris Johnson, TEN : Johnson showed what he can do with the ball in his hands and only got stronger as the year progressed.  He should be even better this year and may receive more carries between the 20s.  Hopefully he will have Kevin Mawae back in time as well.

Matt Forte, CHI : It is hard to believe that Forte can improve on his great 2008 campaign, but with Cutler now the QB for the Bears, that is a very real possibility.  He will also be given some added rest with the addition of Kevin Jones to the backfield.

Ray Rice, BAL : He was not given as much responsibility as a rookie, but Rice should be set to start for the Ravens.  That is great news as he will likely receive the majority of the carries on a team that tends to rush the ball more than any other in the NFL.

Kevin Smith, DET : Detroit did not get the opportunity to rush the ball very often last year and this season may be somewhat similar, but when Kevin Jones is given the chance, he has proven he can produce.  Expect the Lions to improve this year and Smith’s numbers should do the same.

Steve Slaton, HOU : After impressing in his rookie year, Slaton has been given full control of the Texans backfield.  With strength at the receiver position and a quarterback who can spread the ball out, this may be the season that the Texans’ offense breaks out.  Slaton, of course, will benefit from this.

Wide Receivers:

Donnie Avery, STL : Avery is the starter which is good, but for the Rams, which is bad.  Because of the latter handicap, I would expect a quiet season for him, but a bright future is in sight.

DeSean Jackson, PHI : The Eagles offense is once again loaded.  With depth at all skill positions, the points should be coming in bunches in Philadelphia.  Expect Jackson to lead the charge as the number one receiver.

Eddie Royal, DEN : He was great last season but will no longer have Cutler throwing to him.  Now with Orton under center, Royal may be hard pressed to produce 91 catches and 980 yards, but he does give Orton a good check-down option and has the ability to break a short pass for a long gain.

Tight Ends :

Dustin Keller, NYJ : He was one of Favre’s favorite targets last season and it could be the same story with Mark Sanchez at QB.  You can bet the rookie QB will be looking for his TE more often than not.

John Carlson, SEA : He was Seattle’s leading receiver last year, but that was the result of injuries at WR.  With most of the wideouts back, expect Carlson to be used less, but things could change quickly when the injuries begin to come again.





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