Category:NFL
Posted on: June 27, 2008 2:14 pm
 

Fantasy rankings update: Barber cuts into Top 10

Some might say we've been late to the party on this one, but after much deliberation, we've moved Marion Barber into No. 1 Fantasy RB territory. And, he's also in the Top 10 overall among all Fantasy players.

Read all about it in our updated rankings. You can find the positional rankings here: cbs.sportsline.com/fantasy/football
/rankings
and the top 200 here: www.sportsline.com/fantasy/football
/rankings/top200
.

Here are the changes ... by position.

RUNNING BACK

- Marion Barber moves into the Top 10. The Cowboys' runner was behind the likes of Marshawn Lynch, Larry Johnson and Ryan Grant before the move, and the reality is that even if his touches remain stagnant, he'll out-score all three of them. But the truth is that his touches should go UP, especially after signing a new contract. Figure we were just late to the boat on this -- Barber has been a late first-round pick in many drafts so far this summer.

- Matt Forte moves up a few notches. We're loving what we're hearing about Forte and how quickly he's adjusted to the Bears' offense so far this season. The combination of that news, the Bears waiving Cedric Benson and then subsequently not signing another free agent leads us to believe that Forte will see a nice chunk of the work in Chicago, with Adrian Peterson also getting some touches. Ask anyone in Chicago and they'd take that over Ced Ben falling down every two yards. Forte is still a No. 3 Fantasy RB, but now he's in the Top 30 at the position and Top 70 overall.

- Giants backup RBs swap places. With Ahmad Bradshaw's arrest and subsequent jail time and expected suspension (our hunch, not official news), Ward takes over as the more valuable rusher behind Brandon Jacobs. I have a feeling that the Giants will play merry-go-round at RB again this season anyway because of injuries. I'm steering clear if I can help it.

- Jamaal Charles debuts. With the news from Kansas City that Charles will get work as a rookie, how could we forget about him? His speed and change-of-pace style compared to Larry Johnson should work out nicely for the Chiefs.

- Brandon Jackson re-debuts. Maybe it's just because we didn't have a Packers backup on the rankings, or because we're not completely sold on Ryan Grant averaging 5.0 yards per tote for the entire season, but we felt like Jackson deserves a spot. We're stealing him in the late rounds of drafts.

- Travis Henry, Shaun Alexander almost off the list. Pretty self-explanatory.

QUARTERBACKS

- Jay Cutler down a smidge.
Just a small change to put him behind Matt Hasselbeck. If Brandon Marshall falls into a long suspension, then his stock will completely tank.

- Jeff Garcia down. Combination of people staying away from him in drafts, his contract demands and the Bucs' lack of a proven high-stat receiver to go opposite of Joey Galloway. Garcia is a clear-cut backup, not worth platooning at all.

TIGHT ENDS

- Vernon Davis up a smidge.
The talk out of San Francisco is that Mike Martz loves the options he'll have at his disposal with Davis, and Davis is encouraged by the progress he's making in Martz's offense. Granted, Martz has never had a tight end that produced big stats under his tutelage in recent history, but Davis is not your average tight end. Moreover, if the third-year receiver theory has anything to do with tight ends, then this will be Davis' breakout year. A LOT depends on his quarterback, though.

- Leonard Pope up a smidge. Just a tweak in our projections that resulted in Pope jumping over Randy McMichael and Donald Lee. I'm sure this news just rocks your world.

DSTs

- Giants DST down a few spots.
Strahan retired -- you knew this was coming.



What about Brandon Marshall?


Jamey and I have had noisy discussions over where we'd take Brandon Marshall in a Fantasy draft. For the most part, we agree to not take him anytime before Round 4 and bank on someone rolling the dice on him in late Round 3.

Jamey wants a reduction in his projections. I offer Jamey the opportunity to get real. After his arm laceration, we already had him at 14 games with around 80 catches for around 1,060 yards and seven touchdowns. I think that's very realistic for a well-rounded, aggressive receiver in an offense that needs the passing game to win. The only difference is that the two games he'll miss are for a suspension instead of an arm injury.

One thing is for sure: Marshall isn't the safe pick everyone thought he was after last season ended.


Posted on: June 25, 2008 2:27 pm
 

Tuesday Afternoon MOCKumentary (No. 2)

As per usual, I hit CBSSports.com's Mock Draft feature on Tuesday to partake in a mock draft and also test the QB-WR-WR draft theory outlined in the upcoming CBSSports.com/Pro Football Weekly Fantasy Football Preview Magazine (the story is on page 20, and the mag will be on newsstands on July 8). I'm planning to do at least one mock draft every Tuesday afternoon between now and September.

I was in a draft with 12 reliable people who didn't go on auto-pick until the tail end of the draft. I found the group to be engaging and well-educated as it pertained to Fantasy.

I picked sixth out of 12th -- the perfect spot to get a top-two QB in Round 1 and a pair of stud receivers in Rounds 2 and 3.

Round 1: Tom Brady, if only to get the theory rockin' and rollin'. It was tough to pull the trigger on him because Steven Jackson had slipped to me. As I said in the draft chat room, I would have normally taken Jackson and found my QB later, but I was there to test my theory.

By the way, Marion Barber went fourth and Randy Moss went fifth. Methinks some people drafting ahead of me were testing draft theories.

Round 2: With Clinton Portis and Willis McGahee slipping to the top of Round 2, I warned my fellow drafters that if one of them made it to me, I'd take them. Alas, neither one made it, but Braylon Edwards did. Moss, Reggie Wayne (11th overall!), Terrell Owens and Larry Fitzgerald went ahead of Edwards. No-brainer pick for me.

I've seen Moss going in Round 1 very frequently and Portis going in Round 2 very frequently. Are we too high on Portis? He's 27 years old and beginning his first season in the West Coast offense, which will feature him in several roles. How are people passing on him?! You guys can tell me if we're out of line ...

Round 3: Capping off the QB-WR-WR theory, I took Torry Holt. KInd of a brain fart for me since Plaxico Burress and Brandon Marshall were still there, but Holt's track record and dominating play at home still makes him a low-end No. 1 Fantasy WR. I might not do that again if given the chance -- he hasn't had a great road effort in 1.5 seasons.

At that point, I could have also taken Maurice Jones-Drew, Brandon Jacobs, Julius Jones or Reggie Bush. That was the kind of caliber of RBs left on the board, as well as everyone beneath them. My focus now was to hoard RBs ... and hoard I did.

Round 4: Rudi Johnson, who I've done enough research on to believe that he'll bounce back this year. I expect him to be a pleasant surprise for owners who take him in Rounds 3-4 this summer. I took him over Earnest Graham.

Round 5: Jonathan Stewart, who I took over Laurence Maroney. Even in mock drafts, I can't put my hands on Maroney -- even in Round 5!

Round 6: Calvin Johnson. I saw a slew of players I wanted for my next pick go between Stewart and Johnson -- Ronnie Brown, Antonio Gates, Kellen Winslow, Matt Forte and Kevin Smith to name, uh, six. I took Johnson over Edgerrin James and assumed he would be the last WR I would take. Not a bad No. 3 WR, don't you think?

Round 7: Fred Taylor. Just padding my RB depth. He's my No. 3, which is fine.

Round 8: Jerious Norwood. I'm finding myself drafting him a lot and feel like the Falcons will find a role for him. Even if they don't, he could fall into playing time with Michael Turner getting banged up behind Atlanta's suspect offensive line.

Round 9: Ryan Torain. Maybe a bit high for a guy who might not play right away, but

Round 10: Leon Washington is another RB I'm finding myself take a lot. Nothing wrong with a 10-touch speedster that will work behind an improved offensive line, though.

Round 11: SLEEPER PICK. I am planning on taking this sleeper pick in every mock draft I do, and I'm not going to reveal who it is. Want to know? Get in a draft with me (see how below).

Round 12: Jeremy Shockey. I needed a TE.

Rounds 13 and 14: Giants DST and Jason Hanson.


FINAL RESULTS


TEAM 1
Pos Round Player
QB 4 (#48) Anderson, Derek (QB CLE)
RB 1 (#1) Tomlinson, LaDainian (RB SD)
RB 5 (#49) Turner, Michael (RB ATL)
WR 2 (#24) Colston, Marques (WR NO)
WR 3 (#25) Johnson, Chad (WR CIN)
TE 8 (#96) Heap, Todd (TE BAL)
RB-WR 6 (#72) James, Edgerrin (RB ARI)
K 11 (#121) Dawson, Phil (K CLE)
DST 10 (#120) Steelers, DST (DST PIT)
RS 13 (#145) Kitna, Jon (QB DET)
RS 12 (#144) Curry, Ronald (WR OAK)
RS 7 (#73) Bowe, Dwayne (WR KC)
RS 9 (#97) Walker, Javon (WR OAK)
RS 14 (#168) Scobee, Josh (K JAC)

TEAM 2

Pos Round Player
QB 3 (#26) Brees, Drew (QB NO)
RB 1 (#2) Westbrook, Brian (RB PHI)
RB 2 (#23) Lewis, Jamal (RB CLE)
WR 5 (#50) Ward, Hines (WR PIT)
WR 7 (#74) Driver, Donald (WR GB)
TE 6 (#71) Davis, Vernon (TE SF)
RB-WR 4 (#47) Parker, Willie (RB PIT)
K 9 (#98) Vinatieri, Adam (K IND)
DST 8 (#95) Patriots, DST (DST NE)
RS 11 (#122) Garcia, Jeff (QB TB)
RS 12 (#143) Bell, Tatum (RB DET)
RS 10 (#119) Rice, Sidney (WR MIN)
RS 13 (#146) Booker, Marty (WR CHI)
RS 14 (#167) Crumpler, Alge (TE TEN)

TEAM 3
Pos Round Player
QB 6 (#70) Cutler, Jay (QB DEN)
RB 1 (#3) Peterson, Adrian (RB MIN)
RB 5 (#51) Graham, Earnest (RB TB)
WR 2 (#22) Smith, Steve (WR CAR)
WR 3 (#27) Houshmandzadeh, T.J. (WR CIN)
TE 4 (#46) Witten, Jason (TE DAL)
RB-WR 7 (#75) Evans, Lee (WR BUF)
K 13 (#147) Folk, Nick (K DAL)
DST 12 (#142) Titans, DST (DST TEN)
RS 10 (#118) Young, Vince (QB TEN)
RS 14 (#166) Wilford, Ernest (WR MIA)
RS 8 (#94) Taylor, Chester (RB MIN)
RS 9 (#99) Curtis, Kevin (WR PHI)
RS 11 (#123) Alexander, Shaun (RB SEA)

TEAM 4
Pos Round Player
QB 3 (#28) Palmer, Carson (QB CIN)
RB 1 (#4) Barber, Marion (RB DAL)
RB 2 (#21) Grant, Ryan (RB GB)
WR 4 (#45) Jennings, Greg (WR GB)
WR 6 (#69) Chambers, Chris (WR SD)
TE 11 (#124) Scheffler, Tony (TE DEN)
RB-WR 5 (#52) Young, Selvin (RB DEN)
K 13 (#148) Bironas, Rob (K TEN)
DST 7 (#76) Bears, DST (DST CHI)
RS 10 (#117) Rivers, Philip (QB SD)
RS 14 (#165) Hightower, Tim (RB ARI)
RS 8 (#93) Fargas, Justin (RB OAK)
RS 9 (#100) Porter, Jerry (WR JAC)
RS 12 (#141) Hester, Devin (WR CHI)

TEAM 5
Pos Round Player
QB 7 (#77) Rodgers, Aaron (QB GB)
RB 3 (#29) McFadden, Darren (RB OAK)
RB 4 (#44) Jones, Thomas (RB NYJ)
WR 1 (#5) Moss, Randy (WR NE)
WR 2 (#20) Johnson, Andre (WR HOU)
TE 8 (#92) Watson, Benjamin (TE NE)
RB-WR 5 (#53) White, Roddy (WR ATL)
K 11 (#125) Graham, Shayne (K CIN)
DST 10 (#116) Colts, DST (DST IND)
RS 9 (#101) Schaub, Matt (QB HOU)
RS 13 (#149) Dunn, Warrick (RB TB)
RS 12 (#140) Bruce, Isaac (WR SF)
RS 14 (#164) Gaffney, Jabar (WR NE)
RS 6 (#68) Mendenhall, Rashard (RB PIT)

MY TEAM (TEAM 6)
Pos Round Player
QB 1 (#6) Brady, Tom (QB NE)
RB 4 (#43) Johnson, Rudi (RB CIN)
RB 5 (#54) Stewart, Jonathan (RB CAR)
WR 2 (#19) Edwards, Braylon (WR CLE)
WR 3 (#30) Holt, Torry (WR STL)
TE 12 (#139) Shockey, Jeremy (TE NYG)
RB-WR 6 (#67) Johnson, Calvin (WR DET)
K 14 (#163) Brown, Kris (K HOU)
DST 13 (#150) Giants, DST (DST NYG)
RS 7 (#78) Taylor, Fred (RB JAC)
RS 8 (#91) Norwood, Jerious (RB ATL)
RS 9 (#102) Torain, Ryan (RB DEN)
RS 10 (#115) Washington, Leon (RB NYJ)
RS 11 (#126) SLEEPER PICK

TEAM 7 (emailer Ryan took care of this team)
Pos Round Player
QB 5 (#55) McNabb, Donovan (QB PHI)
RB 1 (#7) Jackson, Steven (RB STL)
RB 3 (#31) Jones-Drew, Maurice (RB JAC)
WR 2 (#18) Fitzgerald, Larry (WR ARI)
WR 4 (#42) Harrison, Marvin (WR IND)
TE 6 (#66) Gonzalez, Tony (TE KC)
RB-WR 8 (#90) Berrian, Bernard (WR MIN)
K 9 (#103) Gostkowski, Stephen (K NE)
DST 7 (#79) Vikings, DST (DST MIN)
RS 11 (#127) Campbell, Jason (QB WAS)
RS 12 (#138) Peterson, Adrian (RB CHI)
RS 10 (#114) Gonzalez, Anthony (WR IND)
RS 13 (#151) Clayton, Mark (WR BAL)
RS 14 (#162) Olsen, Greg (TE CHI)

TEAM 8
Pos Round Player
QB 2 (#17) Romo, Tony (QB DAL)
RB 1 (#8) Gore, Frank (RB SF)
RB 5 (#56) Maroney, Laurence (RB NE)
WR 3 (#32) Burress, Plaxico (WR NYG)
WR 4 (#41) Holmes, Santonio (WR PIT)
TE 6 (#65) Cooley, Chris (TE WAS)
RB-WR 7 (#80) Green, Ahman (RB HOU)
K 12 (#137) Brown, Josh (K STL)
DST 11 (#128) Seahawks, DST (DST SEA)
RS 8 (#89) Garrard, David (QB JAC)
RS 14 (#161) Morris, Sammy (RB NE)
RS 13 (#152) Brown, Reggie (WR PHI)
RS 9 (#104) Crayton, Patrick (WR DAL)
RS 10 (#113) Hardy, James (WR BUF)

TEAM 9
Pos Round Player
QB 7 (#81) Bulger, Marc (QB STL)
RB 1 (#9) Addai, Joseph (RB IND)
RB 2 (#16) Portis, Clinton (RB WAS)
WR 3 (#33) Marshall, Brandon (WR DEN)
WR 9 (#105) Moss, Santana (WR WAS)
TE 5 (#57) Gates, Antonio (TE SD)
RB-WR 4 (#40) Bush, Reggie (RB NO)
K 14 (#160) Kaeding, Nate (K SD)
DST 8 (#88) Chargers, DST (DST SD)
RS 10 (#112) Delhomme, Jake (QB CAR)
RS 6 (#64) White, LenDale (RB TEN)
RS 11 (#129) Williams, Reggie (WR JAC)
RS 12 (#136) Brown, Chris (RB HOU)
RS 13 (#153) Rhodes, Dominic (RB IND)

TEAM 10
Pos Round Player
QB 1 (#10) Manning, Peyton (QB IND)
RB 2 (#15) McGahee, Willis (RB BAL)
RB 4 (#39) Jones, Julius (RB SEA)
WR 3 (#34) Welker, Wes (WR NE)
WR 6 (#63) Galloway, Joey (WR TB)
TE 5 (#58) Winslow, Kellen (TE CLE)
RB-WR 7 (#82) Engram, Bobby (WR SEA)
K 13 (#154) Crosby, Mason (K GB)
DST 11 (#130) Jaguars, DST (DST JAC)
RS 10 (#111) Manning, Eli (QB NYG)
RS 14 (#159) Daniels, Owen (TE HOU)
RS 8 (#87) Williams, DeAngelo (RB CAR)
RS 9 (#106) Cotchery, Jerricho (WR NYJ)
RS 12 (#135) Williams, Ricky (RB MIA)

TEAM 11

Pos Round Player
QB 4 (#38) Roethlisberger, Ben (QB PIT)
RB 3 (#35) Jacobs, Brandon (RB NYG)
RB 5 (#59) Forte, Matt (RB CHI)
WR 1 (#11) Wayne, Reggie (WR IND)
WR 2 (#14) Owens, Terrell (WR DAL)
TE 8 (#86) Miller, Heath (TE PIT)
RB-WR 6 (#62) Smith, Kevin (RB DET)
K 14 (#158) Gould, Robbie (K CHI)
DST 13 (#155) Cowboys, DST (DST DAL)
RS 7 (#83) Coles, Laveranues (WR NYJ)
RS 9 (#107) McAllister, Deuce (RB NO)
RS 10 (#110) Johnson, Bryant (WR SF)
RS 11 (#131) Mason, Derrick (WR BAL)
RS 12 (#134) Jackson, Vincent (WR SD)

TEAM 12
Pos Round Player
QB 6 (#61) Hasselbeck, Matt (QB SEA)
RB 1 (#12) Lynch, Marshawn (RB BUF)
RB 2 (#13) Johnson, Larry (RB KC)
WR 3 (#36) Boldin, Anquan (WR ARI)
WR 4 (#37) Williams, Roy (WR DET)
TE 8 (#85) Clark, Dallas (TE IND)
RB-WR 5 (#60) Brown, Ronnie (RB MIA)
K 14 (#157) Rackers, Neil (K ARI)
DST 13 (#156) Packers, DST (DST GB)
RS 11 (#132) Russell, JaMarcus (QB OAK)
RS 7 (#84) Burleson, Nate (WR SEA)
RS 9 (#108) Johnson, Chris (RB TEN)
RS 10 (#109) Stallworth, Donte' (WR CLE)
RS 12 (#133) Jones, Felix (RB DAL)

Let's draft!

Interested in getting in on the mock draft fun? Drop me a line at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com if you want to draft with me. Put 'Draft with Dave' in the subject line. I draft Tuesday afternoons between now and September.
Posted on: June 17, 2008 4:57 pm
 

Tuesday Afternoon MOCKumentary

Long time, no blog.

I owe you guys one from my last blog -- players not in the Top 200 who should be. I will attempt to get to that in a bit.

But first ...

I'm planning to do at least one mock draft every Tuesday afternoon between now and September where I test the QB-WR draft theory outlined in the upcoming CBSSports.com/Pro Football Weekly Fantasy Football Preview Magazine (the story is on page 20). By the way, the magazine will be on newsstands soon and promises to be our best -- and most controversial -- magazine ever.

I picked third overall in today's draft with two auto pickers.

Round 1: Normally I'd pick a running back here, but since I'm testing out the theory, Peyton Manning was my pick. Tom Brady went first overall. LT was second. Randy Moss was fourth to a drafter who was also testing out a theory. I think it's safe to assume all four of these players will be first-round picks in most leagues, just not this close to the front of a draft.

Round 2: My theory goes out the window as the 11 gracious souls in the mock draft with me let Clinton Portis fall to me. I couldn't pass on him, even in a fake draft. The receivers were flying off the board, too.

Round 3: Took the best receiver left in T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Round 4: While the RB pickings are far from slim, I wanted to stick to my theory. Greg Jennings was my pick.

Round 5: Swiped Roy Williams with the plan that I wouldn't draft another receiver for the rest of this draft.

Round 6: Selvin Young

Round 7: Matt Forte

Round 8: Jerious Norwood

Round 9: Ryan Torain (loved this pick here, especially considering Selvin Young three rounds earlier)

Round 10: Leon Washington (if this were a REAL draft, I might have gone WR here instead)

Round 11: Todd Heap. Too good to pass on this late at a position I neeeded to fill.

Round 12: Shaun Alexander. Just in case.

Round 13: Patriots DST

Round 14: Jason Hanson. I'm drafting Hanson in all leagues this year strictly because the Lions play the Falcons in Week 1. I'll go PK by committee thereafter.

We'll do it again next Tuesday. Email me at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com if you want to draft with me.



Let's see what you guys had to say about our Top 200, and who is out ...

- Broncofan46 put in a vote for Pierre Thomas of the Saints, citing that Deuce McAllister is no lock to play 16 games (Saintly1 also wants to see Thomas on the list). I liked Thomas a lot last year and could see him filling in for Deuce if the veteran can't stay healthy, but I've been in enough drafts to know that he's not getting drafted. Definitely a player who will be taken off the waiver wire in leagues this year.

- Broncofan46 also liked the Eagles DST. I'd like to see them slow down the run first. The additions of Asante Samuel and DeSean Jackson do make it a much more appealing unit than we're giving them credit for, though.

- Scoofer, a regular commentator on my blog, didn't like us leaving off Cadillac Williams. Until Williams shows the world that he can play, he shouldn't be drafted. There's still a chance that he doesn't play in 2008 even though Bucs' coach Jon Gruden is calling his recovery from a torn patellar tendon "miraculous." What will be miraculous is if Williams posts a 100-yard game in '08. Again, someone I doubt people will draft by and large this summer.

-Dcoate put in a vote for Texans rookie RB Steve Slaton, suggesting that Ahman Green and Chris Brown aren't long for playing regularly. I liked Slaton a lot as a junior but not as a senior, and I think he's more of a project pick for the Texans than anything else. I'm not sure if he's a fit for their offense right now. Chris Taylor might attempt to knock off Slaton's spot on the depth chart ... not to mention Green and Brown's. Neither Slaton nor Taylor are worth a top-200 pick.

- Triblade, a proud Michigan State Spartan, chimed in with Devin Thomas with Washington. I realize that Thomas had a solid junior year at school and has a lot of attributes for success, but rookie receivers are tough to bet on. The West Coast offense is tough enough to understand for veterans, and I think that it'll be even harder for Thomas. I think he'll make some nice grabs in 2008, but not be draftable in seasonal leagues.

- Lastly, for the couple of people who suggested Terry Glenn ... come on ...





Posted on: June 5, 2008 4:21 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2008 5:26 pm
 

Who's NOT in our rankings

Fun exercise for you all to do today ... but first ...

Check out our latest positional rankings, our latest Top 200, and drum roll please ...... tatatatatatatatatatata .... our latest projections release! Interestingly enough, you will find the players in order based on our projections in the positional rankings, but not the Top 200 (if we did that, there would be a lot of QBs at the top).

As you'd expect with any relaunched site, we have a lot going on behind the scenes here, so I'm keeping it short. But here's the exercise for you:

Below, you will find a list of NFL players who at one point earlier this offseason was ON our Top 200 list. Your mission -- if you choose to accept it -- is to find ONE name on the list below who you think belongs on our Top 200 list, and be sure to explain why.

Roydell Williams, WR, Tennessee

Devin Thomas, WR, Washington

Limas Sweed, WR, Pittsburgh

Donnie Avery, WR, St. Louis

Antwaan Randle El, WR, Washington

Shaun McDonald, WR, Detroit

Brandon Jackson, RB, Green Bay

Jason Wright, RB, Cleveland

Steve Slaton, RB, Houston

Aaron Stecker, RB, New Orleans

DeShawn Wynn, RB, Green Bay

Kenton Keith, RB, Indianapolis

Lorenzo Booker, RB, Miami

Cadillac Williams, RB, Tampa Bay

Mason Crosby, PK, Green Bay

Neil Rackers, PK, Arizona

Olindo Mare, PK, Seattle

Mewelde Moore, RB, Pittsburgh

Chris Henry, RB, Tennessee

Michael Bush, RB, Oakland

Najeh Davenport, RB, Pittsburgh

Adrian Peterson, RB, Chicago

Nate Washington, WR, Pittsburgh

Dennis Northcutt, WR, Jacksonville

James Jones, WR, Green Bay

Arnaz Battle, WR, San Francisco

Keary Colbert, WR, Denver

Chris Henry, WR, Cincinnati

LaBrandon Toefield, RB, Carolina

Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona

Brian Leonard, RB, St. Louis

Kolby Smith, RB, Kansas City

Correll Buckhalter, RB, Philadelphia

Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans

Kenny Irons, RB, Cincinnati

Kris Brown, PK, Houston

Kevin Jones, RB, Detroit

Ron Dayne, RB, Houston

Darius Walker, RB, Houston

LaMont Jordan, RB, Oakland

Musa Smith, RB, Baltimore

David Patten, WR, New Orleans

Eagles DST

Jason Elam, PK, Denver

Andre Hall, RB, Denver

Terry Glenn, WR, New England

Kenny Watson, RB, Cincinnati

A good argument will get your guy on our list in our next release.
Category: NFL
Posted on: June 2, 2008 5:13 pm
 

Travis Henry release fallout

The Broncos released veteran RB Travis Henry on Monday, opening up the competition at running back for the team. That's all well and good, but what are the Fantasy implications?

You've come to the right place. You can 'feel the impact' in our positional rankings and our Top 200 rankings.

With Henry gone, Selvin Young appears to be the most likely person to start. Young ran well last season but couldn't find the end zone more than once despite totaling close to 1,000 yards. Furthermore, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said earlier this offseason that he didn't envision Young as anything more than a 15-carry-per-game guy. So you can eliminate any visions of him being the proverbial Broncos stud RB from your head -- especially since he's built for goal-line carries like I'm built for body building.

Newly signed veteran Michael Pittman is in line to at least begin training camp as the third-down back. This is a job Pittman has excelled at for years and should be functional at immediately. That means he'll not only be blocking pass rushers on third down, but he'll also be catching the ball out of the backfield and even running the occasional draw. The likelihood is that he'll finish with around 500 total yards.

Andre Hall, last year's surprise runner who posted a big week at Chicago, will compete to be at least a change-of-pace running back. Before Henry's release, I figured Hall would be cut come late August. It's still a possibility, but without Henry there, it's not as likely. I don't expect Hall to get many yards unless it's as a replacement for Young.

The guy I think who will be the star of the Denver run game before the season is over is Ryan Torain, a fifth-round pick out of Arizona State. Although Torain was injury prone in college, he ran in a one-cut system nearly identical to what the Broncos use in their run attack. Torain is a physical back who is best built for goal-line carries from all of the players listed above, and can be effective on first and second downs, too. I could easily see a scenario where Young gets hurt or plays poorly, and Torain comes in and doesn't let up on the job. But even if Young does a nice job, Torain could get the touchdowns at the goal line and also fill in on shorter first and second downs.

So, how does a Fantasy drafter try to maximize his or her value with the Broncos' running backs?

I think if you're going to go after Young, you've got to get Torain, too, and it will mean drafting both fairly early. Young is now going to be drafted between late Round 5 and Round 7; Torain no later than Round 9. I'd suggest getting Young as late as you can (early Round 7?), then come back and take Torain with your next pick. While that will hurt to do come Draft Day, you will lock up the Broncos' backs, which is a valuable commodity in Fantasy. Moreover, if you pick your WRs and QB early in drafts (which we're recommending this year), you'll be happy to aim for this combo in Rounds 7 and 8 (or 6 and 7 if your league is deep or RB-intensive).

Now then, what about Travis Henry? Is he useless? As of now, I'd say no. I think Henry will find a place to work out this summer and try to make a club on a one-year deal. Is he good for 1,000 yards and six touchdowns? I doubt it. His legs are beat up, as is his reputation after last year's positive drug test that got, uh, overturned. Might he be a good bye-week replacement once he gets a job in the NFL? Probably so.

Just one last thing: Never rule out Mike Shanahan finding someone on the waiver wire or the street to come in and compete ... and completely mess up this whole rigamarole. LaMont Jordan, Shaun Alexander ... the league has plenty of re-treads that might be useful for the Broncos, if only for a year.

Shanahan's firm grip on Fantasy Football continues to pinch owners everywhere.
Posted on: May 23, 2008 3:36 pm
 

Interesting, informative Jamal Lewis item

The Canton Repository was among numerous local newspapers to sit with Jamal Lewis recently. Here are some highlights:

On the Browns in minicamp so far: "The tempo is much better than it was last year. You can tell the team is responding well to last season. You can see the hunger."

On why this year with the Browns will be different than years past in his career:
"The offense was all focused on Jamal Lewis running the football. But now you can't do that. You have so many weapons this team can go to. I can do my job without worrying about eight- and nine-man fronts. Here, I deal with six- and seven-man boxes. That's what I like to see."

Fantasy FYI: When debating over running backs, always ALWAYS go for the ones who play on teams with good passing offenses. Eight-man fronts and running backs don't mix -- just ask Adrian Peterson when he ran into them late last season.

On turning 29:
"I don't look at it as a big deal. You get older. What can I say? I've overcome a lot of adversity in the past that other people haven't overcome. I just look at it as another year."

Another Fantasy FYI: We're getting ready to expand on our initial research into what makes a running back break down. Big injuries play an obvious role, but so do the nicks-and-bumps a runner will deal with WEEKLY throughout his career. For now, figure that any RB with the equivalent of eight full seasons under his belt and/or 2,400-to-2,600 career carries  is BAD NEWS. One such RB this season: Edgerrin James. Jamal Lewis will be one next year ... as will some guy named LaDainian Tomlinson ...

On exceeding last year's stats:
"I think 1,400 or 1,500 yards is an understatement. I'd like to get more than that. I think I can get more than that. Missing two games ... I could have gotten more than that last year."

What we're thinking:
Jamey Eisenberg and I differ on Lewis. I'm willing to buy him for one more season, while he's off the bandwagon completely. Jamey's thinking: Lewis' new three-year deal will make him a little lazier, especially when it comes to playing hard while hurting. Lewis got paid, so why should he exert the effort. I'm on the record saying the Browns are winning it all this year, so of course I expect Lewis to do well and be motivated to play well because he wants another Super Bowl ring. I think he's a No. 2 RB; I think Jamey's avoiding Lewis at all costs in his drafts.

Would you draft Jamal Lewis? If so, where? What would you pay for him in an auction? Who would you rather have on your team than Jamal Lewis? Answer these questions and more in my message board below!
Category: NFL
Posted on: May 15, 2008 2:07 pm
 

Greetings from the homestead -- a.k.a. Chicago

I have a free minute to post and thought I'd drop a line from lovely Chicago, where if it ain't winter, it's time for some construction on one of the highways!

Most of my vacation is over, but the two-and-a-half days away from the wife and kids while I hung out with good friends from high school was some much-needed therapy. I spent most of the time either eating pizza (Aurelio's and Giordano's), playing cards and being a derelict, sleeping or watching my buds golf. During much of that time, I was hammered with football questions, not that I didn't mind ...

  • Upon my arrival at my friend Matt's house, the discussion quickly turned to football, notably football as it pertains to Matt. He asked me hypotheticals about his keeper league team (which I'm a rival owner in, so all of my advice was tempered) as well as the Bears' future (not good at all).
  • On the way to New Buffalo, Michigan (don't ask), Matt and my other good friend, Quincy, talked football. About half of the trip was football-related talk (the drive was over an hour). They were both floored when I didn't stutter my AFC Champion team: Cleveland.
  • More Bears questions while playing roulette -- the manliest game in any casino, of course. Casino dealer Brian, a devout Royals fan, also wanted to know how I thought the Bears would do. Believe it or not, Brian wanted to know my thoughts on Cedric Benson (anyone NOT off his bandwagon by now?). The most upbeat, positive news I could give him was to draft Matt Forte in Round 6 or 7. "Really?! That high?" he asked. Hey, if a player's going to play ...


Only other note of interest -- not really Fantasy related -- my brother-in-law, David Farby, just finished his freshman year at Syracuse. He's in their Newhouse School of Broadcasting and Journalism, which has churned out legendary sports-broadcast figures such as Bob Costas, Mike Tirico, Jason Horowitz and Eric Mack. Before he finished his first year, he landed an internship at WMVP-AM in Chicago, a sports-talk station affiliated with a network not many people have heard of (it's pronounced "Espen"). Interestingly enough, it's the rival station of the one I am on during the football season, WSCR-AM 670 The Score, which is affiliated with a network EVERYONE knows about, CBS Radio!

Anyhoo, David is an intern for the Silvy and Waddle Show, featuring Chicagoland fave Tom Waddle, an ex-Bears receiver. Waddle was one of my faves when I was younger too. A gritty player who never got the recognition he truly deserved while playing. By the way, David said that Waddle is a cool guy really into his work -- I could have figured that myself, but it's good to know.

Now, get this ... the announcer who does the sports updates during the show is Bryan Dolgin, who was (is?) a fraternity brother of mine at Miami. I met Dolgin before I even came to school at a pre-UM party for incoming Chicagoland freshmen. He's got a year on me and came to the party wearing his fraternity letters with his best friend, Dan Fleischer. Suffice to say, four of us who were at that party wound up being in the fraternity. Now he's pushing around my brother-in-law, who BETTER think long and hard about joining the same fraternity at the Cuse ...

I'm not done ... the executive producer of the show is Randy Merkin, the brother of Chicago White Sox beat writer Scott Merkin. The Merkins lived in Olympia Fields, Ill., right near where I lived when I was little. One of them ... I think it was Scott ... was my camp counselor at River Oaks Camp one summer when I was like 10.

Just a crazy series of coincidences. It really is a small world (or maybe Chicago is just a small city). By the way, if anyone at WMVP wants good, embarrassing stories about David (or Bryan), email me.



Upon my return to Florida, I'm going to help put the finishing touches on the CBSSports.com/Pro Football Weekly Fantasy Football Preview Magazine. One of the projects: 165 words on why I like Ernest Wilford. Not a tough assignment since I think he's got a shot to post career-best numbers (not 1,000 yards, though) with Miami in 2008. The magazine is shaping up to be the most informational -- and believe it or not, controversial -- preview magazines you'll find. Our mock draft is off-the-charts stunning, and Jamey and I each have some really provocative articles to help you get ready for '08.

After the mag is put to bed, I have to start crankin' out preseason outlooks for every player and DST you'll find in the CBSSports.com draft room and player pages this summer. You know, quick blurbs that paint the picture of what you can expect from players this season. I also have to tweak our projections and begin delving into a Draft Prep content series deeper than a Giordano's stuffed pizza (second Gio's reference in the same blog! Nice!!).

But until then, I still have some time left to relax at home.

See ya next week.
Posted on: May 8, 2008 5:16 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2008 5:30 pm
 

More thoughts on Maroney

I'm putting the finishing touches on my annual breakouts, sleepers and busts article for the Pro Football Weekly/CBSSports.com Fantasy Football Preview Magazine (on newsstands this June ... I think ...), but I wanted to share something I did just for those of you reading the blog.

In addition to the 30 or so players I asked CBS' panel of analysts about, I got their take on Laurence Maroney, who is the one running back that I can't quite put my finger on in terms of production.

Guess what? Our panelists couldn't put a solid finger on it either. But, the exercise here is to take what our experts had to say, and see the common threads. That will tell you what the consensus opinion on Maroney is heading into 2008.

"That's the enigma. Maroney is just like Marion Barber, and they were coached the same way in college. They both run with that frenetic style that's like a tsunami. He attacks defenders. I don't know if you can sustain that to 25 carries a game for 16 games. With that said, he'll be a high-efficient runner so long as he's not getting a lot of carries. Sammy Morris will be a factor and Kevin Faulk will continue in his third-down role. Now, whether or not Maroney stays healthy is what will tell you if he gets to 1,000 yards. But I still think you need to surround him with talent. Now he has to prove he can stay healthy, or he'll have to augment his running style, and if he does that, then will he be the same runner?"

-- Solomon Wilcots


"The vast majority of people don't know what to think of him. I think everyone agrees on his physical talents. You have to question his physical endurance as a professional, and at what point does he kind of get turned loose. We waited a long time for that last year. It would appear that he is and will continue to be just a very good contributing piece of an offense. So if you're looking for that center-cut diamond, Maroney's not it."

-- Randy Cross


"I think he'll be a solid back, but he's got to stay healthy. That's been a little bit of a problem for him. But the Patriots will still be a pass offense first, and I think he'll have a solid year, probably limited just by the fact that there's only so many touches you're going to get in that offense."

-- Charley Casserly

"With the Patriots, I still think he's got a chance to have some numbers, but they're still about throwing the football, though. I think you can see the biggest question with him is if he can stay healthy. If Maroney stays healthy, he'll be a big-number guy."

-- Bill Cowher
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com