2007 Sophomore Slumps and Studs

A lot is said about a so called “sophomore slump” for NFL players, especially those in the skill positions. While this may be true for players like Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, Michael Clayton (coincidence they’re both on Tampa Bay, a crappy team?) and Anquan Boldin, there are still some players who made a huge impact in the second season, even after having a good rookie campaign. Examples of this are Antonio Gates, LaDainian Tomlinson (coincidence they’re both on San Diego, a good team?) and Clinton Portis. After a going through a few drafts, I felt the urge to point out a few second year players that you shouldn’t worry about the “sophomore slump” affecting, while pointing out a few that probably will…

Sophomore Studs

1. Joseph Addai (RB -IND): The more and more I think about Addai, the more and more I think he’s going to have an outstanding season. In a similar role to Maroney last season, Addai was able to produce outstanding numbers (1400+ combined yards, 8 TDs). This year, with the exit of Domanic Rhodes, Addai takes over as the main man in the running game for Indianapolis. Forget anything you hear about some guy named DeDe stealing carries. Addai will be the workhorse this year and should perform well with Peyton Manning keeping the secondary honest.

Projection: 1500 yrd rush, 10 TD, 500 yrd rec, 2 TD

2. Jay Cutler (QB-DEN): When Plummer took a seat towards the end of last season, Cutler came out swinging to the tune of 1000 yards and 9 TDs in just five games. Project that over an entire season and you get 3000 yards, 27 TDs (Tom Brady threw for 3500 yards and 24 TDs last year). While I’m not sure Cutler will get all those touchdowns (although with big endzone threats in Javon Walker and Brandon Marshall, there’s no saying that he can’t), I envision him getting more than much yardage as he gets more comfortable in the offense. Everyone knows that Mike Shanahan loves to run, so this should provide great opportunities for play-action bombs all season long…and Cutler definitely has the arm for that.

Projection: 3500 yrd pass, 25 TD

3. Laurence Maroney (RB-NE): With Dillon out of the equation in New England, and backups Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk not doing anything to incite any feeling of competition for the job, this is Maroney’s year to shine. He ran like a madman last season while splitting carries, so expect big things from my boy this year. Don’t worry about reports of his shoulder surgery…he’ll shake it off and be a regular season form soon enough.

Projection: 1300 yrd rush, 9 TD, 400 yrd rec, 2 TD

4. Reggie Bush (RB-NO): What can you really say about Reggie Bush that hasn’t already been said? I see almost no way, barring injury, that Bush will be affected by a sophomore slump. He should be more comfortable in the offense now and should see a slight increase in his role now with Joe Horn gone and Deuce one year older (almost 30). Expect big receiving numbers again this year, with an increase in rushing yards. Reggie Bush will want to prove to everyone that he is still the most electric young player in the league…not this Calvin Johnson character.

Projection: 800 yrd rush, 7 TD, 800 yrd rec, 4 TD

Sophomore Slumps

1. Vince Young (QB-TEN): You’ve already read about me projecting Young as a “bust” this year, so I don’t want to harp on it too much. But, like I’ve said, through no fault of his own Young is being set up for a set back this season. The team lost top receiving threat Drew Bennett to free agency and failed to replace him with anyone who’s expected to make a real impact.

Projection: 2100 yrd pass, 10 TD, 450 yrd rush, 6 TD

2. Maurice Jones-Drew (RB-JAX): Again, one of my busts for the year, I just can’t see a situation where Jones-Drew repeats with the same outrageous stats he put up last season (940 yrd rush, 13 TD, 440 yrd rec, 2 TD, 870 yrd ret, 1 TD). He’s too valuable to the team at this point to be returning kicks all year long, so if your league rewards kick returns, don’t expect the same benefit you got from Jones-Drew last season for that. Also, with all of the Jacksonville receivers continuing to disappoint, defenses will be game-planning for Jones-Drew a lot more this year.

Projection: 900 yrd rush, 9 TD, 400 yrd rec, 2 TD

3. Marques Colston (WR-NO): My fellow FFGeekBlog’ger Matt will probably hate me for this (he was the one to make the Colston free agent pick up in our leagues last year), but I can see a situation panning out where Colston’s productivity drops off this year. This season I see both Reggie Bush and Devery Henderson seeing a bigger part in the offense, both stealing receptions from Colston. The Saints offense was insane last season, so I don’t see them improving on that, so someone has to take a “pay cut”. Colston will still have a decent year, but I don’t see him having the same outrageous numbers (1000+ yards, 8 TD’s) that he had last year. (Some random guy here agrees)

Projection: 900 yrd rec, 6 TD