Posted on: August 7, 2008 3:52 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2008 11:05 pm

Week 1 Thursday Preseason Fantasy Coverage

11:04 p.m.: Final thoughts from the first night of preseason games not in Detroit:

-- LaMont Jordan still has it. Sort of. Jordan had 76 rush yards on 19 carries with a touchdown against the Ravens, but he was playing with second-stringers. What's important is that he posted some nice stats against defenders he should be dominating. I can't shake the feeling that he'll be a significant part of the Pats' offense.

-- Kyle Boller won Round 1 of the QB derby in Baltimore. 'Who cares?,' says the amateur Fantasy owner. Anyone who drafts Derrick Mason or Todd Heap cares. Boller should be able to get them the ball better than Troy Smith, though it's not exactly an overwhelming difference.

-- Mike Freeman sarcastically said he fell asleep during the Chiefs-Bears game. Was there even one good quarterback in the game? Freeman thinks Croyle has improved, but Damon Huard has a much better command of the offense. Here we go again with the Chiefs' QB-go-round, but they're ahead of the Bears, who couldn't string too much together.

-- Luckily, the Bears have found a runner in Matt Forte. It looks like he's way ahead in the race for the starting job in Chicago. Second-year speedster Garrett Wolfe also had a nice run and a good showing. By the way, 14 Bears caught passes in this game; Forte was the only one with a game-high three receptions until RB P.J. Pope topped him very late in the fourth quarter.

-- From Jeff Lippman's player update on Robert Meachem: Saints WR Robert Meachem, who has been impressing in camp after not dressing in his first season in the league, impressed in a game situation Thursday against the Cardinals. Meachem caught four passes for 129 yards and a touchdown including a 49-yard bomb from Mark Brunell in which he outran the defender to catch the ball in stride. He then later took a pass over the middle to the house for a 60-yard highlight-reel catch and run. Meachem was on our radar earlier this offseason but dropped off. Could you imagine the New Orleans' offense if Meachem could put games like this together? Even games half this good? Drew Brees might have three 400-yard games this season.

-- Our preseason hero of the night is David Clowney of the Jets, who scored on touchdown catches of 70 and 71 yards against the Browns'second- and third-string defense. Based on my notes, Clowney is a pure speed receiver with little bulk or physicality. And get this -- Clowney was originally drafted by ... the Packers. Hmm, wonder if Brett Favre remembers him (Green Bay cut him and put him on its practice squad after last preseason). This performance should get him a second look from the coaching staff.

-- Honorable mention No. 1: Cardinals RB Tim Hightower, who scored on a 1-yard goal-line plunge with the first team and finished with 23 yards on five carries. Our scouting report on him says that he's a strong inside runner without elusive speed. Jeff Lippman called him a big, physical, stocky rusher. Sounds like a potential goal-line back to me. Worst part is that Edgerrin James is too good of a teammate to care about losing out on touchdowns, so long as the Cardinals are winning.

-- Honorable mention No. 2: Browns rookie TE Martin Rucker, who led the Browns in receiving through 3.5 quarters. There's murmurs that Rucker will be the backup tight end in Cleveland and be in line to catch passes when Kellen Winslow lines up in the slot. If no Browns WR steps up this preseason, we could see a decent amount of that. So far, Rucker is the leader in the clubhouse.

Thank you for joining us tonight. Please leave your feedback by emailing us here.

10:31 p.m.:
With the game over, Ford Field is quieter than a church.

But in the Lions' locker room, they're howling.

"Tell 'em there's a new Super Bowl champion," receiver Mike Furrey said.

True, the Lions aren't gullible enough to believe they're the best in the league after one preseason game, but their defense played better than expected and the passing game is still potent even with Mike Martz gone.

I talked with rookie RB Kevin Smith after the game and he was pleased with his play even though he didn't know his stats. A Q&A is forthcoming.

Giants RB Brandon Jacobs -- who is an absolute BEAST in person -- was also pleased with his play. He said he has goals for this season but isn't telling anyone. "But they're big. Big!" Brandon the Giant said.

Coaches were off limits after the game, but I would have liked to know about how both offensive coordinators plan on using their running backs this season, particularly Detroit's since they were completely inept in this game.

By the way, if you need a hint as to which way the media is leaning in the Tatum Bell vs. Kevin Smith debate, there were about 10 reporters around Smith and zero around Bell.

9:12 p.m.:
Robert Meachem blazed past a Cardinals defender and hauled in a 49-yard bomb from Mark Brunell that put the Saints in the red zone. Lippman said it was an overthrow.

The Jets haven't done diddly offensively. Their best play was an interception of Brady Quinn. Man, do they need a quarterback ...

Here, Lions CB Stanley Wilson just hurt his left leg and was helped off the field. Giants rookie LB Jonathan Goff got a fracture in his back. Rough injuries.

8:59 p.m.:
Nicest ovation of the night was for Drew Stanton, the former Michigan State QB taking on third-string duty here in the second half. His first play? An end-around toss to Taye Biddle that was sniffed out by Giants' first-round pick Kenny Phillips.

Bears and Chiefs' first-stringers playing into the second half. Kyle Orton looks average but finished his time making nice throws, says Freeman. Forte is also racking up hard yardage (35 total yards on 10 touches) and should be making a case for the starting job.

Interesting development for the Cardinals: Brian St. Pierre follows Matt Leinart. No Kurt Warner. I doubt it means anything ... unless we see Warner play well into the second half.

8:50 p.m.:
Dan Orlovsky not looking too shabby for the Lions, making lots of different throws and connecting when his receivers are on the same page.

Jeff Lippman tells me that Ryan Torain will miss 3 months with a broken bone in his elbow. That's much worse than his initial diagnosis of up to eight weeks. If the Broncos feel a roster crunch, Torain could be put on Injured Reserve, which would be an absolute shame since he had the makings of a quality sleeper. He's definitely still draftable in dynasty/keeper leagues.

8:44 p.m.:
Here's a sleeper for you: Tim Hightower, who scored for Arizona to get them tied with the Saints. He scored on a 1-yard plunge with the first team. Hightower is a rookie, sixth-round pick I think, who has been so good in camp that the club dumped Marcel Shipp before this preseason game.

Matt Leinart is sharp. He spread the ball around, according to Jeff Lippman, and is hitting his guys in stride. Nice work early from Leinart.

Not so nice work for Kyle Orton, who has 23 yards on 3-of-6 passing.

Damon Huard is getting first-team reps for the Chiefs, working with Larry Johnson.

8:35 p.m.:
Nice start for Bears rookie RB Matt Forte, who has 18 yards on four carries including a 9-yard burst.

Had a nice IM chat with Freeman about Maroney. He seems to think he'll see more work this year than he did last year. I think it will depend on the opponent.

Meanwhile, Lippman chirped in on a solid 34-yard connection from Matt Leinart to Steve Breaston. Breaston is competing for Bryant Johnson's old spot in the Zona offense.

David Carr opens the second half at quarterback for the Giants. Tough tumble for a former No. 1 overall pick.

8:23 p.m.:
Larry Johnson scored from 5 yards out to give the Chiefs' their first score of the preseason. That was set up by a 22-yard reception by Will Franklin, a rookie who is turning heads in Kansas City. Freeman admitted that Croyle's toss to Franklin was sharp. I guess it's not bad for a guy with a career-high passing game of 214 yards.

The Patriots have run the ball six times and completed one pass. Laurence Maroney has gotten ALL of the work. All of their first seven plays for yardage. He has six carries for 6 yards. It is Baltimore he's up against, though.

We're at halftime here in Motown. Lions' first-string offense can get it done through the air. Not so much otherwise. Giants look about the same as last season, but it's hard to judge them without Plaxico.

8:17 p.m.:
The Chiefs line is "pushing the Bears around a bit," according to Freeman, who is immediately impressed by Kansas City's front five. This is with first-round pick Branden Albert inactive. Interesting.

Kyle Boller is making a statement in the Ravens' QB race. Boller already has over 100 passing yards thanks to some strong hits to Derrick Mason. He's also coughed up the ball once.

8:13 p.m.:
Freeman just IMed me "Larry Johnson looks freaking awesome!" Says the line is holding up but Brodie Croyle isn't sharp at all. An early ray of hope on his Fantasy value. All this after two carries for 7 yards each.

Lippman said Marques Colston is out for the Saints. No biggie at this point, but his knee has been giving him some trouble.

8:09 p.m.:
Mike Freeman just said that the Bears announced that first-round pick left tackle Chris Williams had surgery on a disk in his lower back. Not good at all for the guy the Bears invested over $10 million in.

He added that Larry Johnson's first run was a nice 7-yard jaunt.

7:58 p.m.:
The Browns are off and running, looking good on the first string. The run defense has stymied the Jets' run offense (6 yards for Thomas Jones on three carries) and they scored on their first drive (Braylon Edwards 2-yard TD catch from Derek Anderson). A big pass interference call on Jets CB Justin Miller set it up, though.

For the Giants, Ahmad Bradshaw has not looked good early. Couldn't catch up with an Anthony Wright pass over the middle and had just one carry on the Giants' seven-play drive that ended with a 33-yard field goal made by Lawrence Tynes.

Highlight play: Wright hit WR Domenik Hixon right on the hands on a lob to the back right corner of the end zone, but couldn't keep two feet in bounds. Nice effort by Hixon.

Mike Freeman has checked in from Chicago, and Jeff Lippman from ... Florida, where he's watching Cards-Saints.

7:50 p.m.:
Kevin Smith's first series is a forgettable one. His longest run, seven yards, was on a third-and-22. Lions' second-team O-line isn't helping (two penalties on rookie Gosder Cherilus). If there's a positive, it's that he falls forward when he runs, which is a trait of better running backs. I'll see some more of him, I'm sure.

The starters are out of this game now. I'm about to see a lot of Dan Orlovsky, Anthony Wright, Ahmad Bradshaw, and ... David Carr. Ecch.

7:42 p.m.:
A 13-yard drive for the Giants comes up empty as Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes misses a 44-yard field goal. Derrick Ward did most of the ball carrying for the G-Men and wasn't great outside of a nice catch in the flat for a first down.

Kevin Smith about to make his debut for the Lions.

In Baltimore, Kyle Boller has started off hot for the Ravens, hitting Derrick Mason and Yamon Figurs for big gainers. Mason was a deep route.

7:27 p.m.:
Two series for the Lions, and I have yet to be convinced that anything that Lions head coach Rod Marinelli or offensive coordinator Jim Colletto have said about running the ball is true. Tatum Bell has 8 yards on seven carries and has been tripped up by the Giants on all but one carry. No sign of Kevin Smith yet.

Meanwhile, Calvin Johnson was used on a jump ball route over Giants CB Corey Webster, and he just skied over him for the ball. It's the kind of play the Lions don't want to run because it risks Johnson's health, but it's just as dominant of a single-coverage play as you can ask for.

7:20 p.m.:
Early rust for Eli Manning as he didn't complete a pass on his first series, lobbing two balls too high for Brandon Jacobs and slow on the trigger to another to Amani Toomer that was knocked away. Highlight of the drive was a Jacobs run off the right tackle for 27 yards. Lions defense playing aggressive and attentive early.

7:11 p.m.:
The Lions take the opening kickoff and drive into the Giants' end zone, but probably not how the coaching staff would have prefered. Running back Tatum Bell has four carries for 5 yards. They moved the chains thanks to Jon Kitna's escaping the Giants' pass rush and connecting with Calvin Johnson on three passes and a hit to Roy Williams who crossed the middle and tiptoed the right sideline for a touchdown.

Giants' defensive line looked good but definitely couldn't corral Jon Kitna. Preseason rust?

6:46 p.m.:
Looks like Brett Favre is serious about playing this year. He appears to be calm, but excited, about joining the Jets. He said he's excited about the opportunity and admitted that he really doesn't know the guys there but wants to put the circus about his future behind him and be "1 of 53."

"I don't know anyone in this locker room. I don't know what I am getting into," he said.

We've projected Favre out to just over 3,800 yards and 24 touchdowns with plenty of interceptions. The good news is that his supporting cast is very good -- the O-line is talented (guard Alan Faneca leads the way), the running game should be strong and the receivers are experienced.

But answer me this: How many former Jets (or Giants) have been regular 225-to-250-yard passers in the Meadowlands? Do the research and let me know. Don't worry, even if you don't, I will.

6:34 p.m.: Just got done talking to Giants GM Jerry Reese, who clued me in on Kevin Boss, Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon as guys to really watch in 2008. We also spoke about Brandon Jacobs in a contract year, which he was candid about. Hope to have the conversation up later tonight.

6:06 p.m.: The Giants are on the field warming up. Eli Manning looks loose.

Here are the notable inactives for the Giants-Lions preseason game:

LB Ernie Sims
WR Shaun McDonald

WR Steve Smith
WR Plaxico Burress
WR Mario Manningham
WR David Tyree

I got a feeling we'll see a lot of Domenik Hixon and Sinorice Moss tonight. Good chance for Moss to impress.

Tatum Bell is starting at RB for the Lions. Kevin Smith is second string. Hope to see him with the 1s.

Here's the scene: Last year, Week 3 of the preseason. I'm in the press box at Reliant Stadium in Houston watching the Cowboys and the Texans. Jamey Eisenberg is in the press box at Dolphin Stadium watching the Bucs and Dolphins. columnist Mike Freeman was at a third preseason game (I'm not sure which one). We were all on an instant messenger service.

DRichard: Matt Schaub is the real deal. Solid footwork and knowledge of the offense.
JEisenberg: Cadillac looks a little sloppy. I doubt it's the Dolphins defense.
MFreeman: Nice grab by Marques Colston. Maybe he's the real deal after all.

Anyway, it was through that chat that made me realize that we could be giving Fantasy owners like yourself legit, up-to-the-minute analysis on the players we're watching live.

So through the magic of Instant Messaging, I will cull info from several games tonight -- including the Cardinals-Saints preseason tilt on TV -- into this blog for your viewing pleasure ... and Fantasy Education, of course.

Here's who is contributing thus far ...

Dave Richard: Giants at Lions
Mike Freeman: Chiefs at Bears
Jeff Lippman: Cardinals at Saints

Other games we'll keep an eye on ...

Ravens at Patriots
Jets at Browns

So unless you've got big plans for tonight, your online destination (as always) should be right here at for instant analysis from Thursday's preseason games.

I'll be back before and/or after the Favre press conference at 6 p.m. Check back then.
Category: NFL
Posted on: August 1, 2008 3:52 pm

The latest on Brandon Marshall

Through an e-mail exchange with NFL Vice President of Public Relations Greg Aiello Friday, has learned that the NFL will not take action this week on Broncos WR Brandon Marshall's violations this offseason of the personal conduct policy.

Aiello wrote "expect something soon, perhaps next week."

Marshall has had a laundry list of off-the-field issues this offseason, including DUI and domestic violence charges. That's in addition to Marshall seriously injuring his right arm in a horseplay accident in late March.

Marshall is working at training camp to get into football shape and has passed muster with his coaches. "He hasn't skipped a beat," head coach Mike Shanahan said earlier this offseason.
Posted on: July 30, 2008 1:44 pm

Our latest rankings changes

Here's a look at the changes to our positional and top 200 rankings. Please comment below if you agree or disagree with them.


Only noticeable move is Rex Grossman jumping up to 27th, ahead of Brodie Croyle and the rest of the garbage No. 3 Fantasy QBs. I am sure this rattles your world. Grossman moved up because of a bump in projections for Devin Hester (more on that in a bit).


Between LaMont Jordan signing with the Patriots and the Seahawks being coy about how and when they'll use their running backs, we had a shakeup among the 16th and 19th overall running backs. Brandon Jacobs moves up by default, and could rise some more since it looks like he'll play out his contract this year, a move that should motivate him to play big often. Laurence Maroney is next, and with Jordan signing it's pretty clear that he's not going to be the only useful running back in New England. Starter? Of course. 15 touches per week? You never know with the Pats, but if any RB is going to get 'em, it's Maroney. Goal-line work? I think Jordan can lay claim to that now, at least until it starts snowing, and even then ...

Julius Jones falls in next. He should still be a nice total yardage producer but the touchdowns will be iffy. I'd like to see him outshine Maurice Morris this preseason, and I'm sure the coaches in Seattle hope for it too. Makes their decision on who to play easier. Rudi Johnson rounds out this foursome, though we're developing some ideas for what he might be able to rebound to after being hurt last year.

The next significant movement was sliding Deuce McAllister out of the Top 40. OK fine, he had his knee drained and a negative MRI, but it's pretty obvious that he'll be an injury risk all season long. Healthier alternatives for RBs capable of 800 yards and 5-to-7 TDs will go before him. Aaron Stecker and Pierre Thomas also enjoyed positive movements in these rankings.

Lorenzo Booker also made the Top 50. News out of Philadelphia suggests that he's fitting in exceptionally well with the Eagles' offense and could see playing time with Brian Westbrook. If that happens, that could mean another 100-200 yards to Donovan McNabb's bottom line since he'll just throw dumpoffs to him and Westy all day. I like Booker as a solid late pick in drafts.

Kevin Jones is sliding and could slide off the list depending on what his status is come the end of the preseason. More and more, it's looking like Chicago signed him to boost the running game after Week 6, when he can come off the PUP list. Jones tore his ACL late last year and is still in the process of rehabbing it.

Other tiny moves: Matt Forte ahead of Fred Taylor, and Chris Johnson ahead of Jerious Norwood. We're going to end the preseason with Johnson as the trendiest mid-round sleeper pick thanks to his unrivaled speed and tremendous versatility. He might end up playing three downs for the Titans and being a boon for Vince Young.


Isaac Bruce and Arnaz Battle are up while Bryant Johnson is down, this after learning that Johnson is still taking second-team reps. The Niners may opt to lead with a three-WR set in 2008, which would mean plenty of playing time for Johnson, but the fact that he can't unseat Bruce or Battle makes us hesitate on him.

Devin Hester's new $30 million deal suggests that the Bears are going to plug him in at wide receiver for much of the season. I'm not sure if he can hold up to the physical nature of the position, much less the nuances and playbook recall required for the position, but his offensive stats should be much improved from last year. He'll be drafted in most leagues late.
Category: NFL
Posted on: July 25, 2008 9:33 am

Sophomore slump for Adrian Peterson?

Thought I'd pop open the ol' Inbox this morning and see if we had any interesting emails. Indeed we did.

From Ken Z.: Dave, In years past, several FF analysts have mentioned the sophomore slump of several RBs. Adrian Peterson is in his second year, yet I have not heard anyone mention a possible down year for him. Does everyone think AD is simply just that good and he won't have a down year? I think AD is going to be the biggest first round bust. Thoughts?

I did a lot of research this offseason, but one item I didn't get to was this one. Let's take a look at the running backs who were Rookies of the Year and how they did in their second season (keeping in mind that their first season was obviously amazing, otherwise they wouldn't have won the award):

1993 ROY: Jerome Bettis
1994 season: 1,025 on 319 carries (3.2 avg.) with 3 TDs; 293 receiving yards and a receiving TD, a slight improvement over his rookie year.
Sophomore Slump? Yes.

1994 ROY: Marshall Faulk
1995 season: 1,078 yards on 289 carries (3.7 avg.) with 11 TDs; 475 receiving yards and 3 receiving TDs much improved from rookie season
Sophomore Slump? Nope.

1995 ROY: Curtis Martin
1996 season: 1,152 yards on 316 carries (3.6 avg.) with 14 TDs; 333 receiving yards and 3 receiving TDs, also an improvement
Sophomore Slump? Nope.

1996 ROY: Eddie George
1997 season: 1,399 yards on 357 carries (3.9 avg.) with 6 TDs; only 44 receiving yards, but with a touchdown
Sophomore Slump? It's borderline, but statistically speaking, yes.

1997 ROY: Warrick Dunn
1998 season: 1,026 yards on 245 carries (4.2 avg.) with 2 TDs; 344 yards receiving but with no touchdowns
Sophomore Slump? Yes, but again that's statistically speaking.

1999 ROY: Edgerrin James
2000 season: 1,709 yards on 387 carries (4.4 avg.) with 13 TDs; 594 receiving yards and 5 TDs through the air.
Sophomore Slump? No way. In fact, James is the only RB on this list so far whose rushing average INCREASED in his second year.

2000 ROY: Mike Anderson
2001 season: 678 yards on 175 carries (3.9 avg.) with just 7 starts. Oh, he also had 4 TDs; he had 15 in his rookie year.
Sophomore Slump? Oh yeah.

2001 ROY: Anthony Thomas
2002 season: 721 yards on 214 carries (3.4 avg.) with 6 TDs and four games missed. Receiving stats were minimal.
Sophomore Slump? Yessir.

2002 ROY: Clinton Portis
2003 season: 1,591 yards on 290 carries (5.5 avg.) with 14 TDs and 314 receiving yards. Matched his average from his rookie year.
Sophomore Slump? No way.

2005 ROY: Cadillac Williams
2006 season: 798 yards on 225 carries (3.5 avg.) with 1 TD. He added 196 receiving yards.
Sophomore Slump? Yes.

2007 ROY: Adrian Peterson
2008 season: ?????

The thing to note is that other than Edgerrin James and Clinton Portis, every single ROY RB listed above had a worse yards-per-carry average in his sophomore year than his rookie year. Six of them failed to average even 4.0 yards per carry.

That said, keep in mind that Peterson averaged 5.6 yards per carry as a rookie, and that was on 238 reps. We expect him to top that 238 carry total, which will likely mean a drop in his yards per carry average anyway.

The other thing to remember is that the history of other running backs on other teams in other years has no bearing on Peterson's 2008. The Vikings' offensive line is one of the best in football, and the gameplan they run tends to focus more on rushing than passing. Even though Peterson will lose some carries to Chester Taylor, he's still expected to produce high numbers.

We don't foresee a sophomore slump for Peterson. We like him between third and fifth overall in drafts this summer.
Category: NFL
Posted on: July 22, 2008 4:46 pm

Latest Rankings Changes

My first day back from a 12-day vacation and I can barely catch my breath! Here's a look at the changes to our positional and top 200 rankings:

Jerry Porter's torn hamstring makes an impact
Jacksonville's big free-agent acquisition is now even more of an uncertainty for 2008 after tearing his hammy this offseason and having surgery to fix it. Jacksonville expects him back by Week 1 of the regular season, but I doubt he'll make a solid contribution all year. Hamstring injuries can be nagging and annoying, and we're talking about a wide receiver coming back from one with a team he's never played with. You can not count on Porter for big stats this year. And if his numbers slide, so too do David Garrard's, which is why he's now at 14 on our QB rank list. Porter is now 48th among receivers with teammate Dennis Northcutt climbing up to 67th.

Lots of positive movement from Shockey trade
With Jeremy Shockey moving to New Orleans, several Fantasy players take a jump. Shockey is an obvious one, heading to a club that will feature him in the passing game and in the red zone. He's back to being a quality No. 1 Fantasy TE (7th at his position), and he pushes Drew Brees closer to Tony Romo for the third spot overall among QBs. Take note: Fantasy owners should aim for Romo or Brees in their drafts this summer. Robert Meachem and David Patten fall on the WR rank list, but they were both low-end reserves to begin with.

In New York, Kevin Boss climbs to 21st overall at tight end, but that may not be high enough. Jamey Eisenberg loves Boss as a top-12 tight end. Considering his 14 career receptions (including the postseason), I'm not sold. Instead, I think second-year WR Steve Smith will be a better outlet for Eli Manning to connect with on a weekly basis. Smith is now 60th among wideouts and someone who should be drafted in all leagues.

Marvin Harrison cleared for practice
He may not be at 100 percent yet, but with the news that Harrison is OK to practice, he jumps into solid No. 2 Fantasy WR territory (19th overall). Expectations are now up for him, though we're still confident he won't be good for the numbers we're used to seeing from him. As a result, Anthony Gonzalez takes a small hit and falls into low-end No. 3/top-end No. 4 Fantasy WR territory.

Redskins join Top 12 DSTs
Adding Jason Taylor will result in more sacks and fumble stats for the Washington DST. They're now worth a late-round Fantasy pick.
Posted on: July 10, 2008 11:27 am

The No. 2 QB dilemma

So while much of the focus on Fantasy QBs is on the top of the rank list (and when they should be taken), a developing concern we have is about the flux of backup Fantasy passers.

No need to breakdown the top dozen Fantasy passers, but the next dozen -- for the most part -- are completely interchangeable and so close as far as potential and likely statistics go.

13. David Garrard
14. Jake Delhomme
15. Aaron Rodgers
16. Jason Campbell
17. Philip Rivers
18. Jon Kitna
19. Matt Schaub
20. Jeff Garcia
21. Vince Young
22. JaMarcus Russell
23. Trent Edwards
24. Matt Leinart
25. Tarvaris Jackson

The expectation is that at least 10 of these guys will get drafted. Which 10 is the question.

Garrard, Delhomme and Rivers are no-brainers. Rodgers is too so long as Favre doesn't come back (and if Favre does come back, then Eli Manning becomes a no-brainer ahead of Garrard and Rodgers falls off the face of the earth).

Everyone else is either a low-risk, medium-reward QB or a high-risk, high-reward option.

Jason Campbell should be good for about 200 yards and two TDs per week, but people fear his ability to grasp the West Coast offense in time for the year. A good preseason will lock him in as a good No. 2, but he won't post amazing stats.

Jon Kitna still has incredible receivers but is now playing in an offense with a running conscious. His days of chucking the rock 45 times per game each week are long gone.

Matt Schaub has the skills and the stud receiver but Houston's schedule is dreadful and Schaub and Andre Johnson are far from locks to play 16 games.

Jeff Garcia was consistent last year, but no one wants to rely on a 54-year-old quarterback with a 55-year-old receiver.

That brings me to the five wild cards of the No. 2 QB derby: Vince Young, JaMarcus Russell, Trent Edwards, Matt Leinart and Tarvaris Jackson. I think most people could take all five guys, throw 'em under a rug and just see who crawls out, but I think I like them differently than how we have them ranked.

Vince Young is like a delicious stuffed Giordano's pizza. You know you shouldn't get involved with him, but the draw to his potential is strong. Young is not only a rusher and a passer, but the Titans have added decent help in Alge Crumpler, Justin McCareins and rookie Chris Johnson that should push Young's passing totals well over 3,000 yards. If he rushes for 500 yards, the Fantasy point equivalent is that to a 4,250-yard passer in standard-scoring leagues. BUT ... those are some huge numbers to associate with a guy who threw 9 TDs in 2007.

Matt Leinart is also appealing because of his stud receiving corps and the expected decline of Edgerrin James. But how much of Kurt Warner will we see in 2008? Will Warner play whenever the Cards must score quickly? Those are opportunities Leinart needs to be a capable Fantasy passer. When Leinart did play last year, he was not Fantasy friendly at all, so a lot of people are scared to draft him.

The other three -- Russell, Edwards and Jackson -- have upside thanks to improved receiving corps (in Russell's case, Darren McFadden is reason for optimism). The potential for a 3,000-yard season is also high with these guys.

So the question I am posing to you guys is to rank the quarterbacks that we have listed 13 through 25, and target three quarterbacks you want the most. I've pretty much ranked mine above, but the three I'd target are: Garrard, Delhomme and Young.

Pass the pizza, please.
Posted on: July 8, 2008 4:52 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2008 10:20 am

Tuesday Afternoon MOCKumentary (No. 4)

I tried doing something new in my mock draft this Tuesday -- and I fell flat on my face!

(No, I did not try a cartwheel or hand stand).

Instead of going with my usual QB-WR-WR theory that's been working for me, I took the No. 2 overall pick and went with Adrian Peterson in Round 1. The idea was that I could swipe a quality QB and WR in Rounds 2 and 3, then finagle talent elsewhere down the line.

Maybe it was my last minute change of theory, or maybe it was the 11 bright guys in the mock draft with me, but I found myself scratching my head more times in this mock than in any of my previous three drafts. NOT GOOD.

Here's the rundown ... I picked 2nd overall in the odd rounds and 11th in the even rounds.

ROUND 1: Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN

This was on the heels of my detailed look at the Vikings' schedule. I like their schedule quite a bit and wanted to see what it felt like to draft him. He's going to go second overall in a lot of leagues, so hopefully my team will be somewhat indicative of what a No. 2 overall team might look like.

ROUND 2: Drew Brees, QB, NO

I was hoping for Tony Romo to slip, but he went 14th overall (wow!). I would have gone with any of the three players taken in front of me over Brees: Clinton Portis, Larry Fitzgerald or Marques Colston. Six WRs went in Round 2.

ROUND 3: Plaxico Burress, WR, NYG

The first of many tough picks for me. I could have settled for Chad Johnson or Wes Welker, but Burress says he's 100 percent healthy and hoping to get paid. He's been working hard in New York ever since he got there and could be amazing if he can stay out of the trainer's room. A reach of sorts, but I bit. Also, I haven't been able to pull the trigger on Jamal Lewis in Round 3 yet this year ... something's stopping me from doing it in my mind. I guess Jamey Eisenberg's theory of Lewis getting paid and cutting back is weighing on me.

ROUND 4: Darren McFadden, RB, OAK

I'm finding myself drafting him a lot in Round 4 this summer, which could mean that either I'm taking him too high or everyone else isn't biting on him (or both). Maybe people are scared off by the whole Raiders thing, but they've become a good unit with the run. I think he's a high-yardage, low-TD type as a rookie. Other considerations: Thomas Jones, Willie Parker, Matt Forte, Michael Turner, LenDale White.

ROUND 5: Willie Parker, RB, PIT

I know, I know ... now i have TWO high-yardage, low-TD guys on my team. Hey, Parker will at least be my third RB, which is really not bad at all. Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, LenDale White and Ronnie Brown were also considerations.

ROUND 6: Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC

Soooo many good players went in Rounds 5 and 6 that it made this pick really difficult. I needed a WR and Bowe had the best shot at 1,000 yards. Problem is, Brodie Croyle is his QB. Should I have gone with Marshall to be my No. 2 WR in Round 5 and gone with a RB or TE here? Perhaps so.

ROUND 7: Chester Taylor, RB, MIN

Always good to handcuff your studs, and Taylor is a pick between Rounds 7 and 9 anyway. I recommend this for anyone who takes Peterson in Round 1.

ROUND 8: Jerious Norwood, RB, ATL

I really did not like this pick, but felt like there was no one else really worth a look otherwise. I wanted Bernard Berrian, but he went two picks in front of me. Chris Johnson and Rashard Mendenhall also went in my mind, but I figure Norwood has the experience edge over both of those guys and could play more than both of them. It was a tough call.

ROUND 9: Santana Moss, WR, WAS

Turned out to be my last WR pick in the draft. Should be a hit in the West Coast offense.

ROUND 10: Jaguars DST

Another pick I had to wrestle with. Do I take a backup QB? I just missed on the Patriots and Cowboys DSTs and Ahman Green (wow, a starting RB in Round 10). I think I would have been better off with Seattle or the N.Y. Giants. Obviously, the right move would have been to take a player over a DST (Tony Scheffler?), but I had players in mind for my last two reserve spots.

ROUND 11: Brett Favre, QB, GB

Low-risk, high, high-reward if he does come back, and right now it looks like he wants to play. If we were to play this league out, I'd be dangling Favre for the entire month of August for a wide receiver.

ROUND 12: Greg Olsen, TE, CHI

I needed a tight end. Olsen should be fine. They all look the same at the bottom of the draft, anyway.


ROUND 14: Ryan Longwell, PK, MIN

Might as well pick up the extra points scored by Peterson and Taylor, right?

The mock was interesting otherwise. Would you believe there was trash talking? Mock trash talking! In early July! Something tells me this Fantasy Football thing isn't just a fad ...

Anyway, here are how the other teams look ... who do you think did the best?

Player Round Drafted Overall Pick
Manning, Eli QB NYG 8 96
Jones, Thomas RB NYJ 4 48
Tomlinson, LaDainian RB SD 1 1
Houshmandzadeh, T.J. WR CIN 3 25
Smith, Steve WR CAR 2 24
Clark, Dallas TE IND 6 72
James, Edgerrin RB ARI 5 49
Crosby, Mason K GB 12 144
Packers, DST DST GB 13 145
Rodgers, Aaron QB GB 9 97
Bruce, Isaac WR SF 14 168
Scheffler, Tony TE DEN 11 121
Brown, Reggie WR PHI 10 120
Driver, Donald WR GB 7 73

TEAM 2 (me)
Player Round Drafted Overall Pick
Brees, Drew QB NO 2 23
McFadden, Darren RB OAK 4 47
Peterson, Adrian RB MIN 1 2
Bowe, Dwayne WR KC 6 71
Burress, Plaxico WR NYG 3 26
Olsen, Greg TE CHI 12 143
Parker, Willie RB PIT 5 50
Longwell, Ryan K MIN 14 167
Jaguars, DST DST JAC 10 119
Favre, Brett QB GB 11 122
Moss, Santana WR WAS 9 98
Norwood, Jerious RB ATL 8 95
Taylor, Chester RB MIN 7 74

Player Round Drafted Overall Pick
Roethlisberger, Ben QB PIT 4 46
Lewis, Jamal RB CLE 3 27
Westbrook, Brian RB PHI 1 3
Colston, Marques WR NO 2 22
Ward, Hines WR PIT 5 51
Gonzalez, Tony TE KC 6 70
McAllister, Deuce RB NO 7 75
Hanson, Jason K DET 14 166
Seahawks, DST DST SEA 13 147
Delhomme, Jake QB CAR 8 94
Crumpler, Alge TE TEN 12 142
Brown, Chris RB HOU 11 123
Green, Ahman RB HOU 10 118
Stallworth, Donte' WR CLE 9 99

Player Round Drafted Overall Pick
Hasselbeck, Matt QB SEA 5 52
Addai, Joseph RB IND 1 4
Jacobs, Brandon RB NYG 3 28
Fitzgerald, Larry WR ARI 2 21
Jennings, Greg WR GB 4 45
Miller, Heath TE PIT 7 76
Smith, Kevin RB DET 6 69
Kaeding, Nate K SD 14 165
Patriots, DST DST NE 10 117
Leinart, Matt QB ARI 13 148
Berrian, Bernard WR MIN 8 93
Crayton, Patrick WR DAL 9 100
Fargas, Justin RB OAK 11 124
Ward, Derrick RB NYG 12 141

Player Round Drafted Overall Pick
Brady, Tom QB NE 1 5
Portis, Clinton RB WAS 2 20
Stewart, Jonathan RB CAR 4 44
Gonzalez, Anthony WR IND 7 77
Welker, Wes WR NE 3 29
Davis, Vernon TE SF 6 68
Forte, Matt RB CHI 5 53
Scobee, Josh K JAC 14 164
Giants, DST DST NYG 13 149
Rivers, Philip QB SD 11 125
Cotchery, Jerricho WR NYJ 9 101
Curtis, Kevin WR PHI 8 92
Morris, Sammy RB NE 10 116
Williams, Reggie WR JAC 12 140

Player Round Drafted Overall Pick
Palmer, Carson QB CIN 4 43
Grant, Ryan RB GB 2 19
Jackson, Steven RB STL 1 6
Johnson, Chad WR CIN 3 30
Marshall, Brandon WR DEN 5 54
Lee, Donald TE GB 13 150
Johnson, Calvin WR DET 6 67
Bironas, Rob K TEN 11 126
Cowboys, DST DST DAL 10 115
Young, Vince QB TEN 12 139
Thomas, Devin WR WAS 14 163
Chambers, Chris WR SD 8 91
Mendenhall, Rashard RB PIT 9 102
Williams, DeAngelo RB CAR 7 78

Player Round Drafted Overall Pick
McNabb, Donovan QB PHI 5 55
Gore, Frank RB SF 1 7
Graham, Earnest RB TB 3 31
Edwards, Braylon WR CLE 2 18
Galloway, Joey WR TB 4 42
Heap, Todd TE BAL 7 79
Taylor, Fred RB JAC 6 66
Dawson, Phil K CLE 14 162
Titans, DST DST TEN 13 151
Ginn Jr., Ted WR MIA 10 114
Rhodes, Dominic RB IND 11 127
Rice, Sidney WR MIN 12 138
Toomer, Amani WR NYG 8 90
Washington, Leon RB NYJ 9 103

Player Round Drafted Overall Pick
Manning, Peyton QB IND 1 8
Bush, Reggie RB NO 4 41
Jones, Felix RB DAL 6 65
Boldin, Anquan WR ARI 3 32
Johnson, Andre WR HOU 2 17
Gates, Antonio TE SD 5 56
Williams, Ricky RB MIA 7 80
Folk, Nick K DAL 10 113
Chargers, DST DST SD 8 89
Duckett, T.J. RB SEA 14 161
Torain, Ryan RB DEN 11 128
Clayton, Mark WR BAL 12 137
Jackson, DeSean WR PHI 13 152
Johnson, Chris RB TEN 9 104

Player Round Drafted Overall Pick
Garrard, David QB JAC 8 88
Barber, Marion RB DAL 1 9
McGahee, Willis RB BAL 2 16
Holmes, Santonio WR PIT 4 40
Holt, Torry WR STL 3 33
Daniels, Owen TE HOU 7 81
Turner, Michael RB ATL 5 57
Brown, Josh K STL 14 160
Eagles, DST DST PHI 13 153
Schaub, Matt QB HOU 10 112
Gaffney, Jabar WR NE 11 129
Johnson, Bryant WR SF 12 136
Porter, Jerry WR JAC 9 105
Young, Selvin RB DEN 6 64

Player Round Drafted Overall Pick
Anderson, Derek QB CLE 3 34
Johnson, Larry RB KC 2 15
White, LenDale RB TEN 5 58
Harrison, Marvin WR IND 6 63
Moss, Randy WR NE 1 10
Witten, Jason TE DAL 4 39
Evans, Lee WR BUF 8 87
Gostkowski, Stephen K NE 9 106
Vikings, DST DST MIN 7 82
Campbell, Jason QB WAS 11 130
Bell, Tatum RB DET 12 135
Hardy, James WR BUF 13 154
Walker, Javon WR OAK 10 111
Smith, L.J. TE PHI 14 159

Player Round Drafted Overall Pick
Romo, Tony QB DAL 2 14
Johnson, Rudi RB CIN 3 35
Lynch, Marshawn RB BUF 1 11
Coles, Laveranues WR NYJ 7 83
Williams, Roy WR DET 6 62
Cooley, Chris TE WAS 5 59
Jones, Julius RB SEA 4 38
Vinatieri, Adam K IND 10 110
Bears, DST DST CHI 9 107
Dunn, Warrick RB TB 14 158
Mason, Derrick WR BAL 13 155
Shockey, Jeremy TE NYG 12 134
Engram, Bobby WR SEA 8 86
Steelers, DST DST PIT 11 131

Player Round Drafted Overall Pick
Bulger, Marc QB STL 7 84
Jones-Drew, Maurice RB JAC 3 36
Maroney, Laurence RB NE 4 37
Owens, Terrell WR DAL 1 12
Wayne, Reggie WR IND 2 13
Winslow, Kellen TE CLE 5 60
Brown, Ronnie RB MIA 6 61
Graham, Shayne K CIN 14 157
Colts, DST DST IND 12 133
Cutler, Jay QB DEN 9 108
Burleson, Nate WR SEA 10 109
Hester, Devin WR CHI 13 156
Peterson, Adrian RB CHI 11 132
White, Roddy WR ATL 8 85

EDIT: You may have noticed that one of the players I drafted was "DAVE RICHARD IS AN IDIOT!" That's because I actually published the name of the super sleeper. I was in a hurry to put these results up and I botched it. But I'm not gonna say who it is ...

Ah, screw it ... it's LaMont Jordan! Are you happy now?!?!?!?!?!

The idea of drafting Jordan late is to pick him up in anticipation of his eventual release from Oakland. Several teams are interested in Jordan, according to what I've been reading and hearing, so he could fit in as a goal-line back or even come out smelling like a bed of roses as an every-down back. And, he hasn't played much football in the last year.

Jordan and Brett Favre (for now) are both very strong late-round picks. If you miss on them for whatever reason, you just toss 'em back and pick someone else up off the waiver wire. If you hit on them, though, you're golden.

I'll do my best not to be a complete idiot again. Thank you.
Posted on: July 7, 2008 11:03 am

One man's guess on Brett Favre's future

Before reading this blog, please read Peter King's latest story on what's going on with Brett Favre and the Packers right now (forgive me for linking off of, to a competitor nonetheless, but it's required reading at this point).

Now then ... here's my educated but hardly enlightened guess on how this will play out:

Because it seems apparent that Favre has asked to return to the team, it's just a matter of time before his agent, James 'Bus' Cook, writes the Packers asking for him to be activated from the Reserve/Retired list.

When that happens, the Packers must activate him, trade him or release him. If they activate him, they own his rights and are on the hook for his $12.8 million salary ... unless they then trade him or release him. Both of those options are still available to them.

I expect that letter to be written, and when it is, I expect the Packers to activate Favre, and keep Favre.

There's all this talk about the Packers "moving forward" with Aaron Rodgers and drafting Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn. Yeah, I see that. But there's one thing -- one major thing -- that is more significant than all the wheelings and dealings around the NFL: Winning.

And if Favre is quarterbacking the Packers, they're going to win some games. Like 12 of them, if not more.

If Rodgers is quarterbacking them, they might win 10.

Head coach Mike McCarthy and GM Ted Thompson need to realize that Favre isn't the only "old man" on the team. Donald Driver, Al Harris, Charles Woodson and Chad Clifton are all in their 30s and are relatively close to the end of their respective careers. One last run for a Super Bowl ring might just be what this team needs before they rebuild -- especially if Favre's heart is in it.

The Packers keep Favre, extend Aaron Rodgers and promise that the job is his in 2009. Then they go all out to try and win in 2008. Heck, the Packers might pawn off a draft pick for DE Jason Taylor -- another "one more year" player -- and make a serious, serious run for the Super Bowl.

In fact, if Favre is back with the team before the open of training camp, then I'm going back to my original Super Bowl pick of Green Bay over Cleveland instead of Cleveland over Seattle/Minnesota.

And yeah, I'm drafting Favre with late-round picks in all the drafts I can get in right now.
Category: NFL
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