Commentary

Lipscomb: Josh Johnson, NL Cy Young

Updated: January 5, 2010, 2:41 PM ET
By Keith Lipscomb | ESPN.com

"There's always next year," they say. Well, next year is here. We surveyed ESPN's fantasy staff to find out a bit about what they think is in store for fantasy owners in 2010.

Reality Check

ESPN Fantasy Sports

Your fondest sports wish for 2010 is:
The Cavaliers to bring a championship to Cleveland.

Why will this happen/not happen?
Because it's hard to imagine the city's title drought coming to an end, as much as I welcome it.

Any sport, which player do you fear will let you down, but you feel compelled to keep drafting him anyway? Pierre Thomas. It's not that he's letting me down, it's the sharing touches with two other backs.

Which player has let you down one to many times and is now "dead to you?"
T.J. Ford. I keep thinking that I'm getting a late-round value, only to get what I paid for, if that.

Let's talk Football

Who will be ...

... The first quarterback drafted in fantasy football leagues? Drew Brees.
... The first running back? Probably Chris Johnson after his monster season.
... The first wide receiver? Andre Johnson.
... The first rookie? C.J. Spiller.
... The NFL MVP? Philip Rivers.
... The fantasy football MVP (most value for draft position)? Knowshon Moreno. He'll get more opportunities to shine and won't disappoint.
... Fantasy football's leading scorer. Brees.

The Name Game ...
Which player would you rather draft in 2010?

Frank Gore or Ray Rice? Rice. The Ravens still favor the run, while only two teams had fewer rushing attempts than the 49ers. And I don't expect Rice will lose so many touchdowns to teammates in 2010, either.
Terrell Owens or LaDainian Tomlinson? Both are clearly on the downside, but I'll go with T.O., because I think LT's decline has been sharper. Besides, we all know Owens performs better under a one-year contract, which is what he'll likely sign this offseason.
DeSean Jackson or Brandon Marshall? Marshall, but it would help if I knew where he'll be playing, because I'd be surprised if it's Denver.
Vernon Davis or Antonio Gates? Gates. It'll be hard for Davis to duplicate that TD total in 2010.
Jay Cutler or Kyle Orton? Cutler. Much greater upside, despite the multi-INT downside.
Fred Jackson or Jonathan Stewart? Stewart, because of his ability to find the end zone.
Knowshon Moreno or Beanie Wells? Moreno. He could enjoy a nice breakout.
Shonn Greene or LeSean McCoy? McCoy, despite the Jets' propensity to run and the Eagles' not to. I like his ability to catch the ball, which is key in that system. I have a soft spot for McCoy, so I may be alone on this one.
Miles Austin or Roddy White? Because I'm forced to answer, I'll go with Austin and his big-play ability.
Steve Smith or Steve Smith? I like the Panthers' version to bounce back, as long as the extension the team gave to Jake Delhomme last year doesn't stop them from addressing the obvious need at QB.

Playing with Numbers:
Predict the 2010 stat.

Tom Brady's passing touchdowns: 28.
Michael Vick's total touchdowns: Talk about a total guess. I'll go with 8.
Adrian Peterson's total yards: 2,050.
Chris Johnson's total yards: 2,075.
Terrell Owens touchdowns: 8.
Brett Favre games played: If the Vikes win the Super Bowl, zero. You know the answer if he comes back.
Kurt Warner games played: 12.
Matt Forte's average draft position: 37th.

Play Ball!

Who will be ...

... The second player taken in fantasy leagues? Hanley Ramirez.
... The first starting pitcher? Tim Lincecum.
... The first closer? Jonathan Broxton.
... The second catcher? Victor Martinez.
... The AL MVP? Miguel Cabrera.
... The NL MVP? Hard for me to go with anyone but Albert Pujols.
... The AL Cy Young? Felix Hernandez.
... The NL Cy Young? Too easy to say Lincecum, so I'll go with Josh Johnson.
... The AL Rookie of the Year? Neftali Feliz, since he still qualifies for the award. If the Rangers follow through with plans to start him, though, I'll go with Brian Matusz, the much safer pick for the award.
... The NL Rookie of the Year? Jason Heyward, even if he doesn't start the season with the team.
... The fantasy baseball MVP (most value for draft position)? Carlos Gonzalez.
... The highest-rated player on Player Rater? Boring, I know, but Pujols.

The Name Game ...
Which player would you rather draft in 2010?

Hanley Ramirez or Alex Rodriguez? Hanley. Even if A-Rod has better power numbers, I think Hanley will hit at least 20 points higher and steal more bases.
Tim Lincecum or Zack Greinke? Lincecum. He's more likely to repeat his '09 numbers.
Roy Halladay or Chris Carpenter? Halladay. More confidence he doesn't miss time. Simple as that.
Ryan Braun or Matt Kemp? Braun. Could be better in every key category except steals again.
Yovani Gallardo or Josh Johnson? Johnson. Gallardo needs to cut down on the walks and be more consistent on the road.
Prince Fielder or Ryan Howard? Howard, but it's very close.
Adam Lind or Josh Hamilton? Lind. He's just now emerging, while it's hard for me not to be concerned about Hamilton's durability.
Aaron Hill or Ben Zobrist? Zobrist, the late-bloomer with better speed.
Evan Longoria or Mark Teixeira? Teixeira. More accomplished and showing no signs of slowing down.
Mariano Rivera or Jonathan Broxton? Broxton. It's easier to predict strikeouts than saves.

Playing with Numbers:
Predict the 2010 stat.

Roy Halladay wins: 18.
Cliff Lee wins: 16.
Mark Reynolds home runs and batting average: 34 and .262.
Joe Mauer's batting average and home runs: .327 and 20.
Chone Figgins and Ichiro Suzuki's stolen bases: 37 and 29.
Matt Capps saves: 28.
Javier Vazquez wins, ERA and WHIP: 15, 3.77, 1.23.
Stephen Strasburg's wins, ERA and WHIP: 10, 4.27, 1.30.
Grady Sizemore's HR/SB: 27/30.
Alfonso Soriano's average draft position: 79th

Mad Gabs

Fill in the blanks to formulate 10 predictions for 2010. Do not limit yourself to football or baseball

Matthew Berry will enjoy Sundays much more with Jim Zorn out of the mix in the nation's capital.
This is the year that LeBron finally becomes a free agent (and stays in Cleveland, by the way).

Have we missed anything?

What question do you wish you had been asked on this survey?
Is Jamaal Charles for real?

And the answer is?
Without question. His late-season production was no fluke, and that 5.7 yards per carry for his career is impossible to ignore. I see no reason he can't get 1,800 total yards and 12 touchdowns in 2010.

Keith Lipscomb is a senior editor for ESPN Fantasy Games.