Commentary

Fantasy Predictions 2009: Tavares will be a factor

Updated: January 5, 2009, 11:58 AM ET
By Pierre Becquey | 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:
Pierre Becquey

But you wish to be referred to as:
Pierre Becquey. (Say it like it's Irish, pronounced B'Kay) I've gone by the pen name of Pete Becker for the past five years, but the reasons for it no longer exist.

You're a shameless, unabashed fan of:
Toronto sports teams.

But we shouldn't hold it against you because:
You should. I'm terribly irritating about it.

Your fondest sports wish for 2009 is:
For the Maple Leafs to draft John Tavares first overall in the June draft.

Why will this happen/not happen?
The Leafs can't do anything right. They'll putter along at .500, vastly exceeding expectations and barely missing the playoffs. As opposed to the past decade where they have puttered along at .500, vastly underperfroming and barely missing the playoffs. We said goodbye to Mats Sundin for this?

Any sport, what is your biggest sleeper pick for 2009?
Francisco Liriano. He'll have better numbers than Johan Santana.

How high would you reach for that sleeper in a standard ESPN draft?
Fourth round.

Which player are you buying into but will most likely disappoint you?
It'll be whoever I pick in the first round of my fantasy football leagues. Something tells me it'll be Marion Barber.

Which player are you not buying and will likely disappoint everyone else?
David Price. He's a rookie pitcher that no hitter will underestimate. As soon as there's a book out on him, he'll start taking his lumps. Sell high in May.

Any sport, who will be the best rookie to emerge in 2009?
John Tavares. If Ilya Kovalchuk is still a Thrasher in September, he'll be glad he stuck around.

… but everyone is going to think it's going to be?
In hockey? Tavares. But David Price will probably be the highest-drafted rookie, relatively speaking.

Who will be …

[+] EnlargeBrian Westbrook
Geoff Burke/US PresswireWestbrook has been a fantasy stalwart despite perceptions of being oft-injured.

… the first player drafted in fantasy football leagues? Adrian Peterson.
… the player everyone wishes they had drafted? Brian Westbrook.
… the first player drafted in the NFL draft? Sam Bradford
… the first rookie drafted in fantasy football leagues? Chris Wells if he lands with either the Bengals or the Broncos, which I'm guessing he will. Todd McShay agrees with me. He is wise in the ways of such things.
… the first player drafted in fantasy baseball leagues? Alex Rodriguez. Call it the Tex factor.
… the first pitcher? Johan Santana.
… the first rookie? David Price.
… the player who'll start his season in Triple-A to everyone's frustration? Matt LaPorta. And good for the Indians to give him at least two months of Triple-A.
… the NHL's top scorer? Marc Savard. Those Bruins are unstoppable.
… the NBA's MVP? LeBron James.
… the 2009 Sprint Cup champion? Carl Edwards. (I peeked at Chris Harris' survey).

Mad Gabs

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

  1. In 2009, Yovani Gallardo will stay healthy for the entire season.
  2. There is no way that anyone will draft a QB in the first round.
  3. Travis Snider will be this year's Evan Longoria.
  4. Brett Favre will retire and I can finally start wearing my No. 4 Packers jerseys again.
  5. If Favre doesn't retire then the darn things stay in the closet another year.
  6. There will be no players that score 60 goals.
  7. … but at least five players that score 50.
  8. Matthew Berry will lose his bet with Simmons and then fail miserably to grow his Fu Manchu.
  9. This is the year that the San Jose Sharks finally win their Stanley Cup.
  10. 2009 will forever be remembered as the year Albert Pujols won the Triple Crown.

The Name Game

A-Rod or Hanley Ramirez? Han Ram.
Tim Lincecum or Johan Santana? Lincecum
Evan Longoria or Garrett Atkins? Longoria
Chase Utley or Dustin Pedroia? Pedroia. In order to trade him for Utley.
Manny Ramirez or Mark Teixeira? Ramirez on a one-year contract over the suddenly wealthy and comfortable Teixeira.
Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? Manning. Why risk it?
Michael Turner or LaDainian Tomlinson? Turner. When the end comes, it comes hard. And fast.
Randy Moss or Calvin Johnson? Calvin.
Antonio Bryant or Marques Colston? Colston.
Brandon Jacobs or Marion Barber? Barber. And I'll regret it. See above.
DeAngelo Williams or Clinton Portis? Portis.
Chris Paul or LeBron James? (For the rest of the season) Chris Paul.
Danny Granger or Dirk Nowitzki? (for next season) Granger.
Derrick Rose or Kevin Durant? (for their careers) Durant.
Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby (for the rest of the season.) Crosby.
Alexander Semin or Ilya Kovalchuk? (for next season) Semin will finally be healthy, taking some of the load off Ovy, giving Sidney the edge.
Steve Mason or Carey Price? (for their careers) Price

Playing with Numbers

Baseball

Francisco Rodriguez saves: 41
A.J. Burnett's wins: 14
CC Sabathia's ERA: 4.00
Yovani Gallardo's wins and strikeouts: 18 and 215
Manny Ramirez's home runs and RBIs: 37 and 140
Matt Holliday's home runs and RBIs: 29 and 99
Mark Teixeira's home runs and RBIs: 31 and 125
Jay Bruce's batting average and home runs: .290 and 30
Rafael Furcal's average and steals: .310 and 45
Rafael Furcal's average and steals against the Braves: .200 and 3

Football:

Adrian Peterson's yards and touchdowns: 2,200 and 18
Drew Brees' yards and touchdowns: 4,700 and 25
Tom Brady's yards and touchdowns: None
Kurt Warner's starts: 15
Braylon Edwards' yards, touchdowns and drops: 998, 5 and 8
Chad Johnson's yards and touchdowns: 1,200 and 5
Chad Ocho Cinco's ridiculous statements: It's a non-Olympic year, so only about a dozen.

Hockey (end of 2008-09 season:)

Evgeni Malkin's points: 112
Sidney Crosby's points: 113
Alexander Ovechkin's goals: 52
Alexander Semin's goals: 41
Alexander Semin's missed games: 21
Martin Brodeur's wins: 12
Phil Kessel's points: 95
Mats Sundin's points: 41
Combined points for Ottawa's big three: 240

Speak now or forever hold your peace

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

Tampa Bay Rays: one-year wonders or true contenders?

And the answer is?

Contenders. I stated in a chat in 2007 that the Rays were a scary team that would win at least a few pennants in the next 10 years. I'm not going to change my mind now. And to think, they still have one of the better farm systems around …

What question are you glad you weren't asked?

What big-name pitcher will be traded mid-season?

Sucker! Now you have to answer.

Roy Halladay. And if you want to see a grown man cry, drop by my desk after it happens.

Pierre Becquey

Fantasy Sports
Pierre Becquey is a senior editor for ESPN.com fantasy games.