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2010 Draft Prep: Full speed ahead for Ryan, Flacco

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Anquan Boldin sees big things ahead for Joe Flacco this year.

"He's a good talent," Boldin said in an interview with CBSSports.com. "He can make every throw on the football field. I hope to help him take the next step."

Roddy White is expecting Matt Ryan to become a star.

"I feel like we're going to have an outstanding year," White told us. "We're going to throw the ball around. We're going to be better. He has a lot more control. He can get out there and do his thing."

Boldin and White are obviously biased, but they are expecting each of their quarterbacks to shine in 2010. And we agree.

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Flacco and Ryan will forever be linked because they were part of the same draft class in 2008. Both had early success in making the playoffs as rookies, and both played well in their sophomore season. But what lies ahead for their third season?

The prediction here is both are going to become stars. We're counting on Flacco and Ryan to become starting Fantasy options this year.

Let's start with Flacco, who played well in 2009 with 3,613 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He had limited weapons last year with Derrick Mason, Ray Rice and Todd Heap as his main targets.

This offseason, the Ravens got a proven star wide receiver in his prime when they traded for Boldin from Arizona. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron can now open up the offense, and Flacco should become the next great quarterback in the NFL.

"He's a humble kid," Boldin said. "He's a smart kid. But he has a big arm. I'm looking forward to getting in there and working with him."

Flacco is being drafted at No. 56 overall, which is Round 5 in standard 12-team leagues, and he's the No. 8 quarterback coming off the board behind Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Matt Schaub, Tony Romo and Philip Rivers. But Flacco could easily finish as a Top 5 Fantasy option, and he's worth targeting as your starter if you miss on one of the top passers.

The perception is the Ravens are a running team, but last year Flacco had nine games where he attempted at least 30 passes. That number should go up with the increase in talent, and Flacco is someone I've targeted as often as possible in all my leagues.

The same goes for Ryan, who has the chance to throw more in 2010 after he passed for 2,916 yards, 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last season. Coach Mike Smith said in an interview with CBSSports.com that the Falcons have "opened up the playbook" for Ryan this year.

It makes sense when you consider Ryan has an elite wide receiver in White and arguably the best tight end in NFL history in Tony Gonzalez, who both finished as Top 5 targets last year at their respective positions. He also has a running game that opposing defenses have to respect, and the Falcons are excited for Ryan to continue his development.

"The sky is the limit with him," Gonzalez said in an interview with CBSSports.com. "I always say it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when he's going to be an elite quarterback in this league. We can help him with that, and I think the offense can help him with that."

Added Michael Turner: "Matt has been taking more of that leadership role. He's just more comfortable. Each year he's been taking strides by leaps and bounds. I can't wait to see what he does this year."

Ryan is a steal on Draft Day since he's being drafted at No. 80 overall, which is Round 7, and he's the No. 14 quarterback being selected. He will definitely outperform his draft position and finish as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback.

Flacco and Ryan are quarterbacks on the rise. They are ready to become stars, and these are two passers to target on Draft Day.

Since they aren't proven commodities yet, you'll still want to get quality backup Fantasy quarterbacks in case they struggle. But as Gonzalez said, it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when both will become elite quarterbacks. And now is the time.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can also follow Jamey at @jameyeisenberg . Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com .

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