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Friday, January 2, 2009
Updated: January 4, 11:43 PM ET
Fantasy predictions 2009: Not feeling Chipper

By Brendan Roberts
ESPN.com

What does 2009 hold in store for the world of fantasy sports? We surveyed our team of fantasy analysts and editors for the answers. Check out all twelve completed surveys by using the drop-down menu. (Some surveys were abridged to protect the innocent.)

Your name:
Brendan Roberts

But you wish to be referred to as:
Brendan or B-Rob

You're a shameless, unabashed fan of:
Cardinals baseball, Iowa Hawkeyes football and "Family Guy"

But we shouldn't hold it against you because:
The Redbirds are a proud and revered baseball franchise and I respect the game of baseball, the Hawkeyes were actually pretty good this year, and anybody with a (twisted?) sense of humor loves Peter Griffin and Co.

Your fondest sports wish for 2009 is:
A Hawkeyes national ti-- … aw, who am I kidding, I just want my fantasy teams to do we- … aw, who am I kidding, I just want to win lots of money playing fantasy sports.

Why will this happen/not happen?
The Hawkeyes? I won't go there. Winning lots of money? I have to. It's built into my budget as a part of my annual income now. Not winning would be like when Clark Griswold finds out he was enrolled in the Jelly of the Month club instead of getting a Christmas bonus.

Any sport, what is your biggest sleeper pick for 2009?
The Orioles' Matt Wieters will set the world afire, kinda like Geovany Soto did in 2008.

How high would you reach for that sleeper in a standard ESPN draft?
Considering he'll probably be ranked fairly low, I'd wait 'til everybody had a No. 1 catcher, then nab him before people think about backups. Probably somewhere around the 14th or 15th round.

Which player are you buying into but is most likely to disappoint you?
Kerry Wood. Just saying his name gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Which player are you not buying but will likely disappoint everyone else?
Well, my ol' standby is Jeremy Hermida. What a bust! But that's boring. How about Chipper Jones?

Any sport, who will be the best rookie to emerge in 2009?
I don't know if he'll be quite as effective, but I could see RB Shonn Greene doing for some team (from the second round of the draft) what Matt Forte did for the Bears this season. Call me a homer if you like, but do yourself a favor and pull up his highlight clips from this season on YouTube. The guy does it all, and against decent competition, too. He's a junior, so if he doesn't go pro this year, then copy and paste this for my answer next year at this time.

… but everyone is going to think it's going to be?
Any other rookie back. Knowshon Moreno? Chris Wells? Javon Ringer?

Who will be …

Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson showed glimpses of greatness in 2008.

… the first player drafted in fantasy football leagues? Adrian Peterson
… the player everyone wishes they had drafted? Chris Johnson
… the first player drafted in the NFL draft? Either Sam Bradford or Matthew Stafford. (Last I checked, the Lions need a quarterback.)
… the first rookie drafted in fantasy football leagues? Michael Crabtree
… the first player drafted in fantasy baseball leagues? Hanley Ramirez
… the first pitcher? CC Sabathia (but it should be Johan Santana)
… the first rookie? David Price
… the player(s) who'll start the season in Triple-A to everyone's frustration? Nelson Cruz or Taylor Teagarden
… the NHL's top scorer? Alex Ovechkin
… the NBA's MVP? Kobe Bryant
… the 2009 Sprint Cup champion? Carl Edwards

Mad Gabs

Fill in the blanks any way you want to create 10 more predictions for 2009.

  1. In 2009, DeAngelo Williams will be on the hook for fewer fantasy points than teammate Jonathan Stewart.
  2. There is no way that the Phillies will defend their title.
  3. Matt Wieters will be this year's Geovany Soto.
  4. Brett Favre will be in a tractor in Mississippi during Week 1 of the NFL season.
  5. If David Price begins the season as a starter for the Rays then he will be a fantasy disappointment.
  6. There will be no players that finish with more than 47 saves next season
  7. … but only three of the eight players that finish with 40-plus saves also did so in 2008.
  8. Matthew Berry will wear a bra over his clothing one day at work to: a) pay off a bet and, b) try to shake his Tout team out of the doldrums.
  9. This is the year that Alex Rodriguez finally suffers an injury that lands him on the DL.
  10. 2009 will forever be remembered as the year the Rays win the World Series.

The Name Game

A-Rod or Hanley Ramirez? Hanley
Tim Lincecum or Johan Santana? Johan
Evan Longoria or Garrett Atkins Longoria
Chase Utley or Dustin Pedroia? Pedroia
Manny Ramirez or Mark Teixeira? Teixeira
Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? Manning
Michael Turner or LaDainian Tomlinson L.T.
Randy Moss or Calvin Johnson? Moss
Antonio Bryant or Marques Colston? Colston
Brandon Jacobs or Marion Barber? Barber
DeAngelo Williams or Clinton Portis? Portis
Chris Paul or LeBron James? (For the rest of the season) LeBron
Danny Granger or Dirk Nowitzki? (for next season) Dirk
Derrick Rose or Kevin Durant? (for their careers) Rose (or neither)
Alexander Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby (for the rest of the season.) Ovechkin
Alexander Semin or Ilya Kovalchuk? (for next season) Kovalchuk
Steve Mason or Carey Price? (for their careers) Price
Jimmie Johnson or Carl Edwards? Edwards
Kyle Busch or Jeff Gordon? Busch

Playing with Numbers

Baseball

Francisco Rodriguez saves: 39
A.J. Burnett wins: 16
CC Sabathia's ERA: 2.92
Yovani Gallardo wins and strikeouts: 13, 167
Manny Ramirez home runs and RBIs: 34, 110
Matt Holliday home runs and RBIs: 26, 103
Mark Teixeira home runs and RBIs: 38, 123
Jay Bruce batting average and home runs: .274, 28
Rafael Furcal average and steals: .294, 26
Rafael Furcal average and steals against the Braves: .406, 6

Football:

Adrian Peterson yards and touchdowns: 1,701, 19
Drew Brees yards and touchdowns: 4,489, 31
Tom Brady yards and touchdowns: 3,608, 24
Kurt Warner starts: 14
Braylon Edwards yards, touchdowns and drops: 1,088, 9, 13
Chad Ocho Cinco's yards and touchdowns: 863, 4
Chad Ocho Cinco ridiculous statements: 14 (12 of 'em before the season begins)

Basketball (end of 2008-09 season):

Danny Granger's PPG: 23.6
Allen Iverson's PPG: 19.4
O.J. Mayo's PPG: 19.5
Jose Calderon missed free throws: 24
Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard's FTP: .567, .566
Tracy McGrady's missed games: 23
Carlos Boozer MRIs: 0

Hockey (end of 2008-09 season:)

Evgeni Malkin points: 107
Sidney Crosby points: 112
Alexander Ovechkin goals: 54
Alexander Semin goals: 43
Alexander Semin missed games: 14
Martin Brodeur wins: 39
Phil Kessel points: 74
Mats Sundin points: 54
Combined points for Ottawa's big three: 199

Speak now or forever hold your peace

What question do you wish you had been asked on this survey?

Why do you think Nelson Cruz will be a bust?

And the answer is?

Because no matter how hot he was in the minors, he's still a 28-year-old with a .251 average, a .312 OBP and 147 strikeouts in 557 major league at-bats.

What question are you glad you weren't asked?

Who would be the No. 1 pick in fantasy cricket?

Sucker! Now you have to answer.

Well, duh! Of course you'd have to go with Australian batsman Michael Hussey. (Thank God for ESPN's Cricinfo.com.)