Commentary

Fantasy predictions 2009: Granger very much for real

Updated: January 5, 2009, 1:44 PM ET
By Keith Lipscomb | ESPN.com

Your name:
Keith Lipscomb.

But you wish to be referred to as:
Keith Lipscomb (I'm a simple man.)

You're a shameless, unabashed fan of:
All Cleveland teams.

But we shouldn't hold it against you because:
Chances are, no Cleveland team has denied your favorite squad a championship in your lifetime.

Your fondest sports wish for 2009 is:
Same as every year … not to be forced to say "maybe next year" at the end of each of my favorite teams' seasons.

Why will this happen/not happen?
The Cavs are the only hope for this to happen, and they've got Boston in the way. The Tribe isn't quite there and the Browns … well, I'll spare you my many thoughts on them.

Any sport, what is your biggest sleeper pick for 2009?
Adam Jones, Orioles.

How high would you reach for that sleeper in a standard ESPN draft?
Taking him before Round 12 would be unnecessary, but I expect him to continue the learning process and be a nice value pick in the later rounds.

Which player are you buying into but is most likely to disappoint you?
Delmon Young … still waiting for that power stroke to show up.

Which player are you not buying but will likely disappoint everyone else?
Matt Schaub. People will prorate his quality numbers over 16 games and point out his weapons, but he hasn't proven to be durable enough to be anything more than a good No. 2 QB just yet.

Any sport, who will be the best rookie to emerge in 2009?
I'll go a little bit off the board here, just for fun. If he lands with a team in need of a starter in the backfield, I think LeSean McCoy will be productive from the giddy-up.

… but everyone is going to think it's going to be?
David Price. Not that it's hard to argue why they'd think that.

Who will be …

[+] EnlargeLeBron James
Ned Dishman/Getty ImagesLong live the King says Keith Lipscomb.

… The first player drafted in fantasy football leagues? Adrian Peterson
… Who will everyone wish they had drafted? Michael Turner (my, how things change quickly in the NFL).
… The first player drafted in the NFL draft? Matthew Stafford
… The first rookie drafted in fantasy football leagues? Knowshon Moreno
… The first player drafted in fantasy baseball leagues? Hanley Ramirez
… The first pitcher? Johan Santana
… The first rookie? David Price
… The player who'll start his season in Triple-A to everyone's frustration? Travis Snider
… The NHL's top scorer? Evgeni Malkin
… The NBA's MVP? LeBron James
… The 2009 Sprint Cup champion? Carl Edwards

Mad Gabs

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

  1. In 2009, Donovan McNabb will still play for the Eagles. (Technically, I'm already correct.)
  2. There is no way that Cliff Lee will repeat his 2008 performance.
  3. Blake Griffin and James Harden will be this year's Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo, in terms of impact NBA rookies.
  4. Brett Favre will finally retire, and we can all rejoice that we don't have to endure the rumors any longer.
  5. If Favre doesn't retire then Aaron Rodgers can look forward to totally outperforming him nearly every week once again.
  6. There will be 10 pitchers that strike out 200 batters
  7. … but only one pitcher that wins 20 games.
  8. Matthew Berry will be the first to attempt to draft a player who's already been taken at both the baseball and football drafts -- again.
  9. This is the year that Dwyane Wade finally misses fewer than five games.
  10. 2009 will forever be remembered as the year the Yankees spent a boatload of money (again) and failed to get the ring (again).

The Name Game

A-Rod or Hanley Ramirez? Still A-Rod for me. The difference in RBIs in '08, even in a "down" season, is enough for me. I'll find the extra steals elsewhere.
Tim Lincecum or Johan Santana? Johan, but how do you go wrong?
Evan Longoria or Garrett Atkins? Atkins. I think he'll bounce back from his poor second half.
Chase Utley or Dustin Pedroia? Utley. I don't expect him to miss much time.
Manny Ramirez or Mark Teixeira? Big Tex, but Manny's still got him in BA … and quirkiness.
Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? Even after his lowest TD output in six years, Peyton is historically steadier. And I still have questions about whether Brady will ever be the same.
Michael Turner or LaDainian Tomlinson? Turner. How 'bout them apples? I can't help but be concerned LT's on the decline, while Burner has fresher legs and a great O-line.
Randy Moss or Calvin Johnson? Megatron. Pass the torch, Randy.
Antonio Bryant or Marques Colston? Colston. More importantly, will Bryant play consecutive full seasons with the same team for just the second time in his career?
Brandon Jacobs or Marion Barber? Jacobs, assuming he re-signs with the Giants and Derrick Ward goes elsewhere, and with Felix Jones and even Tashard Choice getting on the field more in Big D.
DeAngelo Williams or Clinton Portis? Portis. It's close and Williams is no fluke, but 20 TDs qualifies as one.
Chris Paul or LeBron James? (For the rest of the season) LeBron, especially the way he's shooting free throws.
Danny Granger or Dirk Nowitzki? (for next season) Granger. Love the 3s and I'll find the boards elsewhere.
Derrick Rose or Kevin Durant? (for their careers) Durant. He'll be an elite scorer and will help in more categories.
Jimmie Johnson or Carl Edwards? Edwards. It's his turn now.
Kyle Busch or Jeff Gordon? Busch. The struggles in the Chase will motivate him to regain his early-2008 form.

Playing with Numbers

Baseball

Francisco Rodriguez saves: 38
A.J. Burnett wins: 14
CC Sabathia's ERA: 3.37
Yovani Gallardo wins and strikeouts: 13, 175
Manny Ramirez home runs and RBIs: 35, 105
Matt Holliday home runs and RBIs: 27, 97
Mark Teixeira home runs and RBIs: 37, 119
Jay Bruce batting average and home runs: .281, 26
Rafael Furcal average and steals: .280, 21
Rafael Furcal average and steals against the Braves: .280, 3 (he mysteriously misses all meetings in Atlanta)

Basketball (end of 2008-09 season):

Danny Granger's PPG: 24.2
Allen Iverson's PPG: 18.7
O.J. Mayo's PPG: 18.7
Jose Calderon missed free throws: 9 … and might as well predict the date he misses his first one as Jan. 11 against Boston, too.
Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard's free throw percentage: Both shoot 57 percent
Tracy McGrady's missed games: 25
Carlos Boozer MRIs: I've lost count already … but I believe it was three at last count … and one surgery to come.

Speak now or forever hold your peace

What question do you wish you had been asked on this survey?
Who will be this year's Geovany Soto?

And the answer is?
Matt Wieters. I didn't use him for the earlier rookie questions, so I wanted to make sure I wasn't the only one not to mention him in this survey! :-)

What question are you glad you weren't asked?
Who would you vote for as the true fantasy heartthrob at ESPN?
A. Matthew Berry
B. Christopher Harris
C. Eric Karabell
D. Nate Ravitz

Sucker! Now you have to answer.
None of the above! Just an excuse to get a "Brewster's Millions" reference in.

Keith Lipscomb is a senior editor for ESPN Fantasy Games.