Friday, August 05, 2005

BREAKING DOWN FANTASY FOOTBALL'S TOP 20!

ASSESSING FANTASY FOOTBALL'S TOP 20 DRAFT PICKS!

1. LaDainian Tomlinson RB SDC 1.01
2. Shaun Alexander RB SEA 1.03
3. Priest Holmes RB KCC 1.03
4. Edgerrin James RB IND 1.04
5. Peyton Manning QB IND 1.04
6. Deuce McAllister RB NOS 1.06
7. Willis McGahee RB BUF 1.07
8. Clinton Portis RB WAS 1.07
9. Domanick Davis RB HOU 1.08
10. Jamal Lewis RB BAL 1.10
11. Randy Moss WR OAK 1.10
12. Kevin Jones RB DET 1.12
13. Tiki Barber RB NYG 2.02
14. Corey Dillon RB NEP 2.03
15. Julius Jones RB DAL 2.03
16. Ahman Green RB GBP 2.04
17. Terrell Owens WR PHI 2.05
18. Rudi Johnson RB CIN 2.05
19. Daunte Culpepper QB MIN 2.07
20. Marvin Harrison

I would consider the following when drafting:

3. Priest Holmes: Here's a guy who's going to be drafted... in most leagues, higher than he probably should. There's absolutely no disputing Holmes' past productivity. In 8 games last season, Holmes notched 14 TDs... that does, of course, project to a ludicrous 28 rushing TDs... and he's got 62 TDs in his past 3 seasons. However, 2 of the past 3 seasons have been injury-marred affairs for the aging runner- that has to be taken into consideration. At 5'9, 213 Lbs, Holmes is no giant, and at age 32, Holmes is no youngster. Having bandied the concept of retirement about with increasing regularity... it'd be devastating to a fantasy franchise if, after suffering another nagging injury, Holmes opts to hang 'em up and hand the reins over to the apparently very capable Larry Johnson.

6. **Deuce McAllister**: After injuring his ankle during week 2, Deuce was severely hobbled until the final 1/4 of the season. However, over those 4 contests, McAllister keyed the wins, averaged 28 totes, 110+ yards, and had regained his bounce and burst. This coming season should be a far better one for him, as the entire O will revolve about him. I like Deuce, who enters the '05 season in the best physical condition of his career, for a HUGE, 1,400 yard, 10+ TD season. That is, however, assuming QB Aaron Brooks cuts down on his bonehead plays.

7. **Willis McGahee**: His value could rise... and it could fall, but one thing is certain; McGahee's worth WILL be impacted by the performance of young QB J.P Losman. Essentially a rookie due to an injury-shortened '04 season, Losman possesses tremendous athleticism, a strong arm, and has demonstrated admirable leadership skills. At least initially, McGahee WILL be greeted by 8 man fronts. And, until such time as Losman proves he can punish the defenses that overlook him, Ds will focus upon the Bill run game.

8. **Clinton Portis**: Portis never seemed to find a comfort zone in head coach Joe Gibbs' trap heavy run blocking system last season. Forever running up his linemans' rear ends, Portis' runs of 20+ yards diminshed from 33 or so in his 2 seasons with Denver, to a mere fistful last year. A square peg in a round hole in '04, this season should be a far more productive one as Gibbs promises to make better use of the former Miami Hurricane. Still, Portis will be affected by the team's topsy-turvy QB situation and lack of playmaking pass catchers.

9. Domanick Davis: Owners have to take note of a couple things; Davis' durability and the presence of rookie Vernand Morency. Although Davis DID hang solid numbers last season... he should still be considered a #2 fantasy back. The Texans MUST do a better job protecting QB David Carr, who has absorbed an absolute (expletive)-kicking over his 3 NFL seasons, AND the team has to develop a credible receiving threat to line up opposite gifted young Andre' Johnson. Attending to both offensive issues will aid the running game.

10. **Jamal Lewis**: Lewis' '04 season was derailed by a Federal drug charge that turned into VERY real jail time. One would think that the... umm, "me time" Lewis had on his hands while staring at the ceiling of his 5'X5' cell will stoke his competitive fire. A former top 4 fantasy RB, Lewis will benefit from the revamped wide receiving unit and should be a candidate for a 1300+ yard, 7-10 TD season.

12. **Kevin Jones**: The Lions have a receiving corps that boasts 3- 1st round draft picks; Charles Rogers, Roy Williams, and Mike Williams. In addition, former Colt TD specialist TE Marcus Pollard has been added to Detroit's pass catching fold. Should QB Joey fail to live up to his high draft status, Coach "Mooch" won't think twice about pulling the string and putting HIS guy, 3 time Pro Bowl QB Jeff Garcia, under Center. The skilled wide receiving corps should be able to open up the underneath stuff, giving Jones ample room to run. After finishing the '04 season on a real tear... look for Jones to "RESTORE THE ROAR!" and be a top fantasy back.

13. Tiki Barber: Another guy who is largely forgotten about, Barber transformed himself from a 3rd down back to a 3 DOWN back. However, Curtis Martin, Jerome Bettis and Emmitt Smith aside for a moment... Barber will be 31, and a RBs legs can over the course of an off-season. While I'm not suggesting that Tiki will have become antiquated after his tremendous '04... I AM suggesting that Tiki has endured a lot of abuse, has accrued a lot of mileage in recent seasons, and with a young QB and average receiving game... defenders will be more likely to focus upon him.

16. Ahman Green: Green killed the Pack with as many fumbles as TDs last season (7). Another aging runner, Green plays in the brutal cold of Lambeau Field, has absorbed some punishing hits, also has a lot of miles on his legs, and seemed to have lost a step towards the end of last year. Though he could certainly bounce back for 1350 yards and 10 TDs, Green is a back better left for another owner to worry about.
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"If You Can't Fix It With Duct Tape... It Ain't Worth Fixin!"

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