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Fantasy Football: 2011 Contract Year Players

Fantasy Football – Dave B’s Contract Year Players to Draft

The next installment of our 2011 Fantasy Football Draft Guide – Cheat Sheets & Player Rankings. With the lockout dragging on, contract extensions have not been negotiated between many teams and their Stud players, leaving a glut of Superstars going into 2011 in the final years of their contracts.

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While this will not affect some players (management likely has extensions drawn up), some will be showcasing their talents this season in hopes of landing a huge contact for next season.

Dave B has compiled a list of such players and has given a brief description of why or why not their contract situations will affect them in the upcoming season.

Good luck and don’t be afraid to share your thoughts below about what Dave B has to say!

Quarterbacks

Drew Brees, New Orleans – Brees is one of those guys that would likely have an extension in place if it wasn’t for the lockout. Owner Tom Benson is no fool! Although Brees is listed among the plaintiffs in the class action complaint against the NFL his contract situation will likely be the last thing on everyone’s mind when the Saints take the field in September.

Michael Vick, Philadelphia – Vick is perhaps the most intriguing of the contract year players. He far exceeded expectations last season and landed a huge Franchise Tag for this season. Kevin Kolb may be traded elsewhere leaving Vick as the only game in town. He will have to be good or a long term contract may be a pipe-dream. Vick’s contract situation (unlike Brees) should be an enormous motivator in 2011.

Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia – Kolb is rumored to be going any one of three or four places – his move will likely come with some sort of extension. Although he is a contact year player now, I don’t expect him to be after his inevitable trade.

Kyle Orton, Denver – Orton proved last season that he can still play in this league. But Tim Tebow lurks and Orton may find his way out of Denver. Like Kolb, an inevitable trade will likely be closely followed by a nice contract extension for Orton. My guess is that he will be off the “Contract Year Player List” by the commencement of the season as well.

Running Backs

Frank Gore, San Francisco – Injury prone Gore will have a ton to prove when the 2011 season kicks off. He has been the face of the franchise and would love to end his career in San Francisco. Apparently he is healthy and GM Trent Baalke has mentioned that he would love to sign Gore to another long-term deal that would keep him with the 49ers for years to come. Gore is one of those guys that wouldn’t be on this list if there wasn’t a lockout!

Ryan Grant, Green Bay – Grant spent most of the 2010 season on IR and James Starks emerged for the Packers. Grant is in a tough position – the Pack found that they don’t need a stellar Running Game and that they have pieces in place to potentially replace Grant. Keep an eye on Grant this season – at 29 years old he will be playing for a potentially lucrative contract for 2012 and beyond. Failure in 2011 will mean that he won’t be as rich as he wants to be.

Matt Forte, Chicago – Forte will be playing out the final year of his rookie contract and is in line for an enormous raise (just $550,000 this season). Forte proved himself last season and should be a major focus for the Bears before the season. The Bears could opt to wait and see on Forte too. Either way, Forte should have a good year in either rewarding his management team or showcasing his talent for Free Agency in 2012.

Reggie Bush, New Orleans – Bush is all but done in New Orleans. The question remains – which team will want to take on his $12 million salary. Needless to say, Bush has a lot to prove to the Saints or to his new team. He is going to have to be special in order to command a salary anywhere near his 2011 one! Can he live up to his hype and command yet another huge salary? Me thinks not!

Thomas Jones, Kansas City/ LaDainian Tomlinson, New York Jets – These two players have a lot in common – both chiselled veterans, both on the downsides of their careers and both likely to lose touches to their younger, more talented teammates.

Both of these guys looked good last season and nothing short of a miraculous 2011 will bring another rich contract. Both have motivation but both also have little left in the tank and a shrinking role in their respective offenses.

Wide Receivers

Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis – Wayne’s should be a priority once the lockout ends – he likely won`t enter the 2011 season as a contract year player. He`s still a Stud and his chemistry with Peyton Manning can`t be denied.

Wes Welker, New England – Welker`s situation is very interesting – he is still a quality player but he plays for a coach that doesn`t mind allowing veteran talent to walk away. At 30 years old Welker will have a ton to play for in 2011 – showcasing his talent to the Pats or any other team that will have him in 2012.  I suspect big things from Welker based on these facts. [ad-8469823]

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona – Fitz is the Arizona Cardinals – look for the team to lock him up soon after the lockout. He won`t be a contract year player for long and likely won`t be for many years to come.

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City – Bowe`s behavior and his commitment will likely determine whether or not he plays out his contract in KC or if he is signed to an extension. His head and heart seemed “right“ last season (league leading 15 touchdowns) but all it takes is the old Bowe to show up in 2011. My guess is that he puts it all together and forces the Chiefs to pony up some big dollars. Bowe must stay effective or his market could be significantly affected.

Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, New Orleans – Both of these guys have a lot to prove – both had offseason surgery and both would love to have Drew Brees throwing them the ball for the foreseeable future. Both men should be motivated to have a great season.

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Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati – Ocho, if he doesn`t kill himself attempting one of his stunts is in the final year of his contract with Cincinnati – some believe that he will be released and some think he will be traded. Either way, Chad needs to have a good season any way you slice it OR guaranteed money will be hard to come by.

Tight Ends

Jermichael Finley, Green Bay – After an injury stopped his 2010 season, Finley will play out the final year of his rookie contract and NEEDS to live up to the hype. Mackey Award winner D.J. Williams lurks and if Finley falters, he may be looking for work elsewhere – I have faith in Mr. Finley however!

Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville – Lewis will be looking for an extension after the lockout for sure. After a breakout season he MAY be worth it!

Greg Olsen, Chicago – He`s a talented guy who plays in a system the doesn`t utilize the Tight End as much as Olsen would like. Consider 2011 an audition for next season when he will go to a team that will utilize his strengths.

Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota – Christian Ponder may be Shiancoe`s QB in 2011 and the team drafted Kyle Rudolph. It doesn`t appear that a big season is in the cards for Visanthe. Consider 2011 to be a showcase for Shiancoe’s as he looks for work elsewhere next season.

Pre-season is nearly upon us (we hope), so for the next few weeks we encourage you to be checking out our FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT GUIDE for all your rankings and analysis for the upcoming league drafts that you’re going to be participating in.

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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.


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