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Big Risks = Bigger Rewards

There are a few guys that could have absolutely huge fantasy seasons if they can stay healthy. Unfortunately, they have not shown us that they can do this on a regular basis. Which is why they are big risks. But if things work out, the rewards could be tremendous.

QB Matt Schaub (HOU): Somewhat surprisingly, Schaub has been one of the best QBs in the NFL (statistically) when healthy over the past couple of years. Unfortunately, he has missed a significant amount of time recently due to a variety of injuries. If he can finally put together a healthy season, he should be a top-level fantasy QB, with guys like WR Andre Johnson, RB Steve Slaton, and TE Owen Daniels.

RB Steven Jackson (STL): Remember when Jackson was one of the best RBs in fantasy football? Me either. It seems like so long ago. But on top of coming into the year healthy, Jackson will also be running behind a much-improved offensive line. If you could guarantee me that Jackson will play every game, I would rank him right behind RB Adrian Peterson. But Jackson’s health is far from guaranteed. So if you like to gamble, S-Jax is your man.

RB Brandon Jacobs (NYG): In most respects, the departure of RB Derrick Ward to TB is good for Jacobs, because he should get more carries. However, it also means he will take more of a pounding. And he has missed nearly 10 games over the past two years due to injuries. But if he can stay healthy, he should be a beast and improve on his numbers from 2008.

RB Clinton Portis (WAS): Portis had nearly 950 yards through 7 games in 2008. And then, well, he slowed down, so to speak. Portis gets a lot of touches. And he is one of the toughest RBs in the NFL. But he is wearing down. And that is a major concern. Although you can expect RB Ladell Betts to get a larger share of the carries this year, Portis is still going to have over 300 touches. So if he can avoid the minor injuries that have slowed him in the recent past, he should be a very solid option at RB.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson (SD): Do you think he has one last hurrah in him? I do. His foot injury last year really hampered his ability to run and cut effectively. Which is precisely what made him so great to begin with. And do not buy all the talk about RB Darren Sproles. Yes, he is good. But he is not a full-time RB and he never will be. So look for LT to be the main guy again, although Sproles will eat into his production. Either way, I expect LT to be a top-10 RB one last time before he descends into fantasy oblivion with the likes of Shaun Alexander and Priest Holmes.

WR Marques Colston (NO): When Colston plays, he is a stud. Unfortunately, he has not played much over the past couple of years. Many people will be gun-shy after spending high picks on him last year. But you saw what he can do in the last few games of the year when he was finally back in action. QB Drew Brees is playing at a very high level. And if Colston is healthy, he will be the main beneficiary of Brees’ play. Maybe it was just bad luck. Or maybe he is injury-prone. But if he can stay healthy, someone will get a very good deal on him.

TE Kellen Winslow (TB): Winslow has had knee surgery every year since his rookie year. Yet, somehow, he has been pretty effective as a playmaking TE. When he is on the field, he performs well. And he was on the field during 2006 and 2007. But he missed 6 games in 2008. Given his history, you can probably get him on the cheap. But do not be upset if he misses some time.

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