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Who Wants to Gamble? 2009 NFL Draft Edition

Ready to Roll the Dice? We are here to help hedge your bets!

You know that rush you get when you are holding a lottery ticket? So much potential and mystery because it could be worth $5, $5 million or absolutely nothing. It's risky, but I guess that is why they call it gambling. The NFL Draft is no different. Just about every single player is a gamble, there are no sure things. Every year there are players that are absolute roll of the dice selections. Either they had extremely productive college careers, maybe a huge Combine performance or they are just physical freaks of nature. Either way, they have NFL General Managers and fantasy owners alike salivating. How do you tell the difference between the beasts and the busts? That is the million dollar question. 

QB/WR Pat White: 

West Virginia QB Pat White has all the upside in the world, but we're not exactly sure at which position he'll be playing in the NFL. He's only 6'1" and under 200 pounds, not exactly the prototypical NFL QB. But then again, White isn't your prototypical athlete either. His college numbers are eye-popping and his playmaking ability is draw-dropping. The popularity of the wildcat offense could be a blessing for White, because he is a threat to run, pass or line up as a WR. He is risky because he does not do any of these things extremely well. But he could. He is going to need to learn how to play WR in the NFL. Strong, knowledgeable coaching and willing teammates are going to be crucial to his development. 
If he ends up with the right organization, he could be a very sneaky dynasty option. Pay attention to the organization that drafts him and their early comments about what position they want him to play. To maximize his talents, his NFL coach is going to have to have an open mind and an open playbook. Once he does, he'll enjoy watching Pat White in open space and look like a genius. 

WR/RB Percy Harvin: 

Percy Harvin is good. Real good. Because of his dual-threat abilities, though, his growth as a true WR has been slowed. Much like Pat White, Harvin is going to need a creative gameplan to take full advantage of his unique skillset. His career could develop a number of different ways at this point, most likely very similar to Reggie Bush. Like Bush, he is a threat to score from anywhere on the field at any time. And unfortunately, also like Bush, Harvin is constantly nagged by injuries. Durability and getting pigeon-holed as a tweener without a true position could be Harvin's downfall as a potential fantasy stud. 
You are not going to draft him and expect a WR1, because that is not what you are getting. Expect a true playmaker with an elite ability to produce studly fantasy numbers as a true WR/RB hybrid.

WR Ramses Barden:

A physical freak like Barden is always going to garner extra attention. Whether or not he will adjust to playing against NFL competition is a question mark. But this 6'6" beast was built for the redzone. The upside is obvious. A player his size who can run and make outstanding downfield catches is worth rolling the dice on. You can bet there will be a number of NFL teams that feel the same way. Be sure to have him high on your list during your dynasty draft because the fantasy rewards could be fruitful. He has the long-term potential to catch 10+ TD's a season and be an above-average possession receiver. 


QB Josh Freeman

We've all created our own player in a football video game. It's fun to make yourself a quarterback that is a beastly 6'6" and 240 pounds with a rocket arm who can run over defenders. Meet Josh Freeman, your fantasy QB. His physical attributes alone make him worth a dynasty gamble. He is oozing with upside, but he is very much a project. He will need a patient coach (and fantasy owner) and the work ethic to really be great. He needs work on his accuracy, reads, footwork and pocket presence before he gets thrown into the fire on sundays. He is not a natural instincts type of QB, but he does have a solid football IQ. He profiles similarly to the Redskins Jason Campbell and the Raiders Jamarcus Russell, both of whom are still developing. While not a true "running" QB, he could vulture upwards of 10 TD's a season on the ground, similar to Daunte Culpepper in his prime. 
If he continues to grow as a player, you are looking at a Top 5 fantasy QB. 

TE James Casey

A tight end with 362 yards and 11 TD's rushing in the past two years...do I have your attention? Actually, James Casey has lined up at six different positions while at Rice. And he can catch the ball a little bit too. He had a monster year in 2008 for the Owls, putting up 111 catches, 1329 yards and 13 TD's receiving this year, along with his 241 yards and 6 TD's on the ground.
 He also threw in 2 passing TD's for good measure. Prior to playing football at Rice, Casey was a farmhand in the White Sox organization. So he is obviously a special athlete and obviously a little old. He'll be a 24 year old rookie. He probably needs to bulk up and show some blocking ability to assure that he gets playing time, but he definitely has the potential to be a top notch receiving TE. Add the versatility to his skillset and you could be looking at a very unique, high upside dynasty player with TE eligibility.