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Let’s take a break from the odd (or freakin’ weird!) week of offseason football that this has turned out to be and get back to our fantasy football features.  Here is a look at Sidney Rice’s projections in ’09.

THE GOOD:  Rice is only 23 years old and has shown great raw talent.  He is a big, athletic target in the end zone that is capable of making highlight reels every Sunday.  He has also shown a great deal of dedication this offseason as chronicled on his blog and as evidenced by his participation in a receiving camp run by Larry Fitzgerald, Cris Carter, and Jerry Rice.  Rice could prove to be a fantasy steal this year.

THE BAD:  Last year left a lot to be desired when it came to Rice, as a knee injury hampered his efforts almost from the very beginning.  While Rice managed four touchdowns, his 15 catches and 141 yard season left him sitting on waivers for most of the fantasy season.  While Rice’s knee is back up to par, he has a lot to prove before fantasy owners will trust him with one of their roster spots.

THE BIG QUESTION:  Wide outs are known to break out during their third season in the NFL.  Rice is in fact entering his third season and expectations will be higher than ever.  Often drawing talent comparisons to Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald, Rice has yet to prove he is even in the same ball park as those two guys.  Rice needs to step up big time and maintain his grip on the number two spot for an entire and productive season.  Staying healthy and being dangerous enough to keep him in on most offensive snaps should ensure success.

PREDICTION:  I think that Rice has exactly what it takes to shine this season, and I am going to be a complete homer here and say that he will be a tough wide out to contain.  I think Rice will surprise everyone this year by gaining 750 yards on 60 catches with 8 touchdowns.  That’s right, I think the kid will be THAT good… regardless of who the quarterback is.

WHERE TO DRAFT:  Rice is going to tumble down most draft boards, and could be an incredible steal in the last few rounds if he lives up to the prediction I just gave.  Take a late round flier and make him your number four wide out, but if you don’t and he lands on waivers, keep a close I on his production… he may be worth snatching up mid-season.

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