FANTASY NEWS & NOTES: A look around the NFL prior to training camp

Fantasy FANTASY NEWS & NOTES: A look around the NFL prior to training camp

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Please note, my notes are based on a twelve team league, starting one quarterback, 2 running backs, three wide receivers, and one TE.  If I list a running back as a starter or a RB, then he is among the top 12 on my board.


AFC East


Buffalo, The Bills will be starting rookie guards and RB Marshawn Lynch is scheduled to miss the first three weeks due to suspension, which after appeal will probably be 2 games; Lynch’s value has dropped, Fred Jackson will get the start for him with Dominic Rhodes getting some goal line work


New England, Bill Belichick has won Super Bowls with retread running backs in Antowain Smith and Corey Dillon so why not Fred Taylor? He is better bet than Sammy Morris.


Jets, Regardless of who starts at quarterback keep an eye on wide receivers Chansi Stuckey and David Clowney, 2 names no one talks about but the winner in camp between them to start along with Jericho Cotchery could get 60 receptions.


Dolphins, in 2008 quarterback Chad Pennington was averaging 2 touchdown passes a game late last year, he may not be a fantasy starter, but has tremendous match up value.


AFC North


Baltimore, Willis McGahee will get most of the Raven’s carries in 2009 despite second team status in OTA’s; when it counted, he had 22 touches in the AFC championship game. He will be a fifth round selection in most drafts.


Cincinnati, in a wide receiver heavy draft this year, you can wait and draft former Jet WR Laveranues Coles and get a lot of value out of him with a healthy Carson Palmer and a seemingly more sane Chad Ochocinco; they will miss the solid TJ Houshmandzadeh but will score a ton nevertheless.


Cleveland, I hate the label “Sleeper”, fantasy writers use that when they want you to take a chance on a player but are afraid to commit to him, but TE Martin Rucker fits that role taking over for Kellen Winslow Jr.


Pittsburgh, Running back Willie Parker is slipping on most draft boards, to a low RB II, but I have seen nothing from Rashard Mendenhall.


AFC South


Houston, quarterback Matt Schaub is a low end fantasy starter, but he gets injured a lot; if you  select him, draft the capable former Lion Dan Orlovsky, his back up; he may not know where the back line of the end zone is, but they are loaded at the skill positions.


Colts, who cares who the coordinators are, Peyton Manning will get you close to thirty touchdown passes, even without future Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison; keep an eye on rookie free agent wide receiver Brett McDermott from Holy Cross in camp. Joseph Addai will come back but not to 2006 form, he is a RB II.


Jaguars, they have the most improved offensive line in football; running back Maurice Jones-Drew has made the highest jump of any fantasy player from 2008 to 2009 on draft boards with Fred Taylor leaving but while he will gain more yardage, the thinking here is he gets a break on goal line carries…those duties could go to Greg Jones or youngster Chauncey Washington.


Tennessee, stay away from everyone in the Titans passing game; running backs will be handled the same as last year; Chris Johnson gets more carries, LenDale White will get the goal line work, Johnson is a high RB II, White is not far behind on draft boards.


AFC West


Denver, Kyle Orton will win the starting quarterback position; with the running back situation clouded in mediocrity, they will throw more than they have in decades; Orton is a solid fantasy back up, wide receivers Brandon Marshall who will not be suspended and Eddie Royal will score plenty of fantasy points.


Kansas City, Matt Cassell is a high end fantasy back up and Dwayne Bowe a high end WR II;  running back Larry Johnson’s status still is not clear, low end RB II, he should get the goal line carries.


Raiders, TE Zach Miller, a fantasy starter and low end RB II running back Darren McFadden are the only viable Raider fantasy players as it stands today; running backs Justin Fargas and Michael Bush could come into play as early free agents.


San Diego, running back LaDainian Tomlinson will be thirty before the season starts and Darren Sproles will get more touches but Tomlison remains a RB I and probable first round selection.


NFC East


Dallas, WR Roy Williams should get to double digit touchdowns, high WR II


Giants, TE Kevin Boss is a low end fantasy starter, he never drops a pass


Philadelphia,  veteran wide receiver Joseph Avant has been running with the first team and catching everything thrown his way; the Eagles are stockpiling receivers, they appear as if they will take the  wide receiver by committee approach this year; keep a very close eye on this, the Eagles have been giving a lot of work to rookie running back LeSean McCoy, who by being selected in the second round is the highest choice Andy Reid has ever used on a running back; with all of his surgeries Brian Westbrook may be on  the downside of a great fantasy career…this could be the biggest fantasy story  in 2009.


Washington, the Redskins passing game will not be improved; running back Clinton Portis will continue to carry them, he is RB I but select Ladell Betts if you get Portis.


NFC North


Chicago, all the fantasy attention is on running back Matt Forte, who is a RB I, but TE Greg Olsen is also a fantasy starter and should have by far his best season as a pro.


Detroit, wide receiver Calvin Johnson is a WR I no matter who the quarterback is.


Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers is a QB I, wide receiver Greg Jennings should have a Pro Bowl year.


Minnesota, my bet is Brett Favre will be in purple in September; this will give wide receiver Bernard Berrian more value but running back Adrian Peterson will garner the most fantasy attention; should be the number one pick in most drafts, although Chester Taylor still has value in certain match ups, especially late in the season.


NFC South


Atlanta, running back Michael Turner will be the second over all choice in most drafts and the first in some; keep an eye on second year wide receiver Harry Douglas he could win the starting position over Michael Jenkins; TE Tony Gonzalez remains a top tier starter and his acquisition could prove to be one of the best trades in franchise history



Carolina, quarterback Jake Delhomme has fallen drastically because of his awful playoff game last year against the Cardinals, but he is still a solid QB II; he has Steve Smith to throw to; DeAngelo Williams will share some carries with Jonathan Stewart again but he is a RB I, Stewart will score, but not as much as last year.


New Orleans, no surprise here, quarterback Drew Brees is near or at the top of most draft boards; the surprise is running back Pierre Thomas who will go before Reggie Bush in half the drafts this year.


Tampa Bay, wide receiver Antonio Bryant will not duplicate 2008’s statistics; TE Kellen Winslow will find it hard to catch passes from the journeyman quarterbacks they have on the depth chart; Bryant and Winslow are risky selections this year.


NFC West


Cardinals- my take is that rookie running back Chris Wells becomes the starter here, and gets more carries than Tim Hightower, but Hightower will catch a lot of passes as the third down back and score rushing touchdowns…he should get most of the goal line touches.


Rams, quarterback Marc Bulger without Torry Holt has fallen from fantasy elite to being ranked anywhere from 28-31 on the draft board; wide receiver Donnie Avery is a high end back up as of now; Steven Jackson is still ranked in the top ten for running backs.


San Francisco, Shaun Hill will win the starting position here, he is similar to Chad Pennington; late last year he was averaging 2 touchdown passes a game and had value in some match ups, solid fantasy backup quarterback; wide receiver Josh Morgan should start and provide the same type of fantasy value as Hill.


Seattle, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will rebound this year…I have him as a low starter; TJ Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch provide experience on the outside in a soft pass defense division.

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Kurt Backert

About Kurt Backert

Kurt’s passion for the game began in the 60’s watching the Colts on TV and at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. He began following the statistics of not only his beloved Colts but also those of the Colts opponents, with a keen eye on Vince Lombardi’s Packers. His thirst for and attention to statistical detail would eventually lead Kurt on a journey to the world of fantasy football in the late 1980’s where he’s captured more titles than John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins
Kurt carries a distinction that no other fan of the NFL can boast about.  He is the reigning NFL National Trivia Champion and he credits his Dad for passing on such passion for the game, something Kurt also hopes to pass along to his 9-year-old son.

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