August 22, 2007
The final four rounds of the fantasy draft, when we find out which NFL team each participant has allegiance to (read: homer picks), and when the players Andrew and I would call “depressing” start coming off the board. When we say depressing, we mean it like when we think about them, their downward career spirals, and their failure to ever truly capitalize on their football talent, it makes us want to reach for a bottle, crank up a William Elliott Whitmore album and never leave the house again. For example, Sammy Morris and Kevan Barlow are depressing.
Though we wish it wasn’t true, all good things must come to end and the following thoughts on rounds 13, 14, 15, and 16 bring a close to the analysis of the draft for ETB’s First Annual Fantasy Football Extravaganza. We hope these articles have helped you in managing your own fantasy team, and wish you the best of luck. Of course, our fantasy football coverage will be ongoing throughout the NFL preseason and season, and will include periodic news, notes, and trends from our league that will help you out in your league as well. Enough–here’s the last four (often painful) rounds.
1. Robert Meachem – P**S****.com
2. Mike Bell – The Honda Accords
3. Anthony Gonzalez – Rushmore Calligraphy
4. Ronald Curry – twins15
5. Adrian Peterson – Skittlebrau
6. Eric Johnson – McLovin
7. Leon Washington – Fightin’ Snow Devils
8. Eric Parker – JD – 2 Guys & A Mic
9. Dwayne Bowe – The Ghosts
10. Denver – Donaghy’s Don
11. Seattle – Coach Janky Spanky
12. J.P. Losman – Trevor Masters
-P**S****.com feels Robert Meachem can contribute now in an explosive offense that made a star out of 7th-round pick Marques Colston a year ago. Maybe so, because Meachem is pretty quick and has good hands, but he has just average size. Devery Henderson is no stranger to the injury report, so Meachem could be stepping in at any point. Still, this leaves P**S****.com with a bench of Meachem, fellow rookie Ted Ginn Jr. and Reggie Williams at WR. That will hurt when bye weeks and injuries start taking effect.
- Over the past few seasons, for anyone wishing to maintain sanity it’s been a rule to just try and avoid the Denver backfield headache altogether if possible. Trying to conquer Mike Shenanigan’s random platoons has doomed many a fantasy team, but this year Travis Henry looks like “the guy,” and no such tomfoolery will be employed. If Henry falls, however, it’ll be back to Shenanigan’s old tricks, and Mike Bell will be fighting it out with Cecil Sapp . . . and whoever Mike wants to bring in off of the practice squad to impress us with his scouting talents. As such, neither Bell nor Sapp have much value at this point.
- Rushmore loves his Colts (and for fantasy purposes, who doesn’t?), and scoops up the reportedly hard-working rookie Anthony Gonzalez. We’ve seen slot receivers excel in Tom Moore’s offense before, and it looks like Manning has taken a liking to the rook and they’ve spent a lot of time together in the offseason. . . and that the ex-Buckeye has locked down a starting spot. Real nice upside pick here, because we’ve seen what the third receiver in Indianapolis can do before (See Brandon Stokley in 2004 with 10 TDs).
- I’m not sure why, but I’ve always kind of pulled for Ronald Curry to do well. Sadly, he’s rarely been put in a position to take advantage of his athleticism and size in Oakland. He’s also had trouble staying on the field. He’ll start the season opposite Jerry Porter and get his fair share of looks, but this offense will struggle all year long. I’m still pulling for you, though, Ronald.
- Andrew only wishes this was the Adrian Peterson suiting up for his Vikings. Instead, he steals Cedric Benson’s backup in Chicago away from Rushmore. It’s a smart move given that a) Benson has a history of injuries and bad attitude, and we don’t yet know if he can hold up to the pounding that every-week starters take, and b) if Benson does go down, one opponent will be significantly weakened with only “Cadillac” Williams and Kevin Jones to fall back on. Okay, and Chris Brown. Peterson has proven to be a pretty good back in limited opportunities too, averaging 4.7 YPC over the last five seasons.
- Eric Johnson put up some big stats two years ago, going for 82 catches, 825 yards, and 2 TDs with San Francisco. Now in his first year with the high-octane Saints, Johnson should be in a position to succeed with all kinds of speed on the outside (Colston, Henderson, Meachem) and in the backfield (Bush) to take away attention on him. Love this pick here, he’s a pro.
- As a rookie last year, Leon Washington looked like a world-beater in the October 22 contest against the Detroit Lions, rushing 20 times for 129 yards and 2 TDs. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get to line up against the Leos every week, and he’s behind Thomas Jones on the Jets’ depth chart. He’ll get starter carries after Jones succumbs to injury and should be in line for third-down touches from week one, but this is the Jets we’re talking about. Try to avoid their offense when possible.
- Chargers WR Eric Parker is injured and won’t see the field for awhile, failed to find the end zone last year, and has averaged about 37 receptions and 517 yards over his five-year career. Please don’t draft him. Thank you.
- Rookie wide receivers are always a risky proposition, even more so when their QB is as inexperienced as Brodie Croyle, who enters his first full season as a starter. Still, there’s not much of note in front of first-round pick Dwayne Bowe on the depth chart (remember Rod Gardner?), and by midseason he should be ready to contribute. KC has a tough schedule.
- The Denver defense will boast one of the league’s better starting cornerback tandems in Champ Bailey and Dre Bly, and gets to tee off on some pretty bad offenses (Oakland and KC twice, Chicago, Houston, Minnesota).
- You probably don’t need to worry about drafting the Seattle defense. They seem like a prime candidate for the “plug-in, plug-out defense carousel” that people who don’t own one of the top-ranked D’s should participate in. And yes, I know, I’m just as guilty for drafting Miami.
- Losman probably needs to be on somebody’s roster, but after taking him here I decided I didn’t want to roll with three quarterbacks just yet. Needing some more WR depth, I dropped him to waivers–where he’s still residing–and picked up San Franciso’s Arnaz Battle, who developed some rapport with Alex Smith late last season and will start opposite Darrell Jackson. That’s right, I’m totally pumping up my first free-agent pickup. Big deal!
1. Bobby Wade – Trevor Masters
2. Matt Schaub – Coach Janky Spanky
3. Tony Hunt – Donaghy’s Don
4. Anthony Thomas – The Ghosts
5. Ron Dayne – JD – 2 Guys & A Mic
6. Brian Leonard – Fightin’ Snow Devils
7. Carolina – McLovin
8. Troy Williamson – Skittlebrau
9. Rex Grossman – twins15
10. Jeff Garcia – Rushmore Calligraphy
11. Amani Toomer – The Honda Accords
12. Byron Leftwich – P**S****.com
- I felt so strongly about Bobby Wade, who’ll suit up for the Vikings this season after stints in Chicago and Tennessee, that I dropped him four days ago to pick up Chargers rookie WR Craig Davis, whom Andrew was kind enough to usher onto waivers after taking him in the final round. There’s just not much to like about Wade: his talent, quarterback, and upside are all limited. Plus, he may not end up as one of the top-2 WRs in this weak passing offense with Robert Ferguson and Sidney Rice on board.
- We’re all waiting with bated anticipation to see if the Texans’ struggles in the passing game the past few years could be chiefly pinned on David Carr, or if it had just as much to do with a porous offensive line (we think it’s probably a little of both). Former Ron Mexico backup Matt Schaub seems to have all the confidence in the world, which already gives him a leg up on his Houston predecessor, and he posted decent stats in limited playing time for Atlanta. Schaub is a decent insurance policy throwing to Andre Johnson, but nothing more.
- Rookie third-round pick Tony Hunt is a nice gamble this late in the draft. He won’t see the field in Philadelphia unless Brian Westbrook goes down with an injury, but that’s not such a far-fetched scenario. He will likely be the goal line back for the Iggles this season though. If/when the injury happens, he’ll only have to compete with Correll Buckhalter–who is also quite brittle–for carries since Ryan Moats has already been lost for the season.
- Leave it to someone like Dick Jauron, head coach in Buffalo, to firmly insist on a timeshare between rookie RB Marshawn Lynch (will be a stud) and veteran Anthony Thomas (boring). Thomas is still technically atop the Bills’ depth chart, but Lynch has been named the starter. Thomas’ health can’t hold up for very long (right?). Either way, The Ghosts don’t have to worry about it, as they wisely secure both backs.
- There’s something very depressing about a team’s RB depth chart that reads like this, in order: Ahman Green, Ron Dayne, Samkon Gado. You don’t want to get involved in this situation–it’s one of those things you just know isn’t going to work out for any of the parties involved, you included.
- Fightin’ Snow Devils slowly raises his middle finger with a smile at The Honda Accords as he snags Steven Jackson’s very valuable handcuff in rookie Brian Leonard. The rook has impressed in training camp, and after already securing the backup tailback job looks to earn starter’s duties at fullback, too. You absolutely cannot play him unless Jackson goes down, but I have no doubt that he’ll steal a few TDs this season.
- Carolina is the defense McLovin drafts. We really don’t have much else to say about it other than Julius Peppers is a beast.
- Andrew will insist this isn’t a homer pick, and that former first-round pick Troy Williamson has made great strides this summer in overcoming his severe case of stone-hand-itis. He refused sports psychology sessions, but visited the Nike vision center several times and bought a JUGs machine, from which he estimates catching some crazy number like 20,000 balls during the offseason. He’s lightening fast, has plenty of talent and got wide-ass open all the time last year; still, Tarvaris Jackson is his QB, the Vikings figure to run the ball a lot, and performing under the bright lights is different from catching balls in your backyard. I’m calling this a homer pick, but it could pan out.
-We’re not fans of Rex Grossman and he really doesn’t belong on many fantasy rosters. The guy just sucks, OK?
- We’re also not fans of Moonball Garcia, but after his second-half performance last year in Philadelphia we can see why some might roll the dice on a repeat effort, especially since he’ll be nothing more than a plug-in play for a team that owns Peyton Manning. Tampa Bay has been a quarterback career-killer ever since winning the Super Bowl in ’02.
- After missing 9 games during his rookie year all the way back in ’96, Amani Toomer was a model of good health, missing only one game over the next nine seasons. Unfortunately that streak came to an end last year when he ripped his left ACL and missed half the season. He’s getting on in years and it remains to be seen if he fully recovers from that injury at 33 years old, but Toomer is a solid possession receiver who usually catches whatever is thrown at him. He’ll be passed on the depth chart by this year’s rookie Steve Smith or last year’s rookie Sinorice Moss before very long.
- P**S****.com has a soft spot for guys on Southern teams, so he takes Byron Leftwich as his backup to Tom Brady. We’re not really sure about him anymore: too many injuries, too much inconsistency and horrible underachieving from his first-round WRs. Honestly, it’s the last pick of the 14th round–he’s not a bad gamble.
1. Bo Scaife – P**S****.com
2. Michael Clayton – The Honda Accords
3. Drew Carter – Rushmore Calligraphy
4. Marty Booker – twins15
5. Kolby Smith – Skittlebrau
6. Michael Jenkins – McLovin
7. Owen Daniels – Fightin’ Snow Devils
8. Jason Campbell – JD – 2 Guys & A Mic
9. Ben Troupe – The Ghosts
10. Sammy Morris – Donaghy’s Don
11. Kevin Faulk – Coach Janky Spanky
12. Lorenzo Booker – Trevor Masters
- We’re sure that P**S****.com has a very good reason for drafting the Titans’ backup tight end. And we’re sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Scaife plays for the Titans. Personally, I’m hoping this means Vernon Davis is available with Bo now in the fold?
- 80 catches, 1,200 yards receiving, and 7 TDs: that’s Michael Clayton’s rookie stat line. He looked like a bona fide star in the making, but since that breakout campaign, his last two years have produced 20 less catches, 500 less yards, and 6 less TDs combined. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether he’ll ever get it back. Don’t like his chances with Garcia, and he’s already fighting injuries, but the talent is there. Decent gamble this late.
- Thus far, Drew Carter has failed to beat out Keary Colbert for the starter’s job opposite Stevonne Smith in Carolina. We’re not sure if that speaks well of Colbert, or badly of Carter. Either way, rookie Dwayne Jarrett is on the fast path to WR2, so . . .
- Marty Booker enjoyed somewhat of a return to fantasy relevance last year, and will again start for the Dolphins along with Chris Chambers. As a fourth or fifth WR on your fantasy roster, you could do much worse than the eight-year vet.
- Rookie RB Kolby Smith has become a household name ’round Empty the Bench this preseason, as he’s officially Andrew’s sleeper pick. Much like I drafted Lorenzo Booker on the guess that Ronnie Brown either gets injured or benched, Skittlebrau drafts Smith on his “certain knowledge” that the newly resigned Larry Johnson will go down too. Time will tell if one, both, or neither of our hunches come to fruition. Seriously though, Andrew says he’s “70% certain Larry Johnson has a significant injury.” Oh, and Michal Bennett? Michael Schmennet. Guy’s a punk and an injury waiting to happen. Worst Pro Bowl running back ever.
- Roy Williams recently said that he feels Joey Harrington “could be one of the best quarterbacks in the league,” given the right system. That’s very nice of Roy to say, but Michael Jenkins, don’t get your hopes up.
- As a rookie fourth-round pick last year, Owen Daniels missed two of the Texans’ first seven games, but in the five he dressed for, Daniels caught 18 balls for 183 yards and 5 TDs. Fantasy owners scrambled to get him and he rewarded everyone by adding just 16 catches, 169 yards and no touchdowns to his year-end totals. Schaub might utilize him better than Carr did.
-JD now employs three quarterbacks after drafting Jason Campbell, but my gut feeling is that he’ll only own two–and one of them won’t be named Campbell–before the season even starts.
- If it’s a Titans tight end you want, Ben Troupe should be the guy to take over Scaife. The team has much more invested in the ’04 second-round pick and will give him every chance to earn the majority of snaps at TE. Personally, we’re not interested in either one.
- For our thoughts on Sammy Morris, please see the introduction of this article.
- Kevin Faulk gets just enough carries and makes just enough catches to piss off owners of the more valuable and expensive offensive weapons on New England. This pick is strictly in case Laurence Maroney goes down, but since I’m his owner I’m not planning on that happening.
- As I mentioned in our NFL Prediction-o-Rama, Ronnie Brown is my leading candidate as this year’s Running Back Bust of the Year . . . though after that awful season last year perhaps I’m taking the easy way out by picking him. If he does flop, or get injured, rookie third-round pick Lorenzo Booker figures to be the main benefactor (Though word out of Miami this week is that Jesse Chatman is ahead of Booker and could even challange Brown for carries). In other words, while I don’t wish injury or failure upon any player, here’s hoping the ‘Fins are starting two Bookers before too long.
1. Mark Bradley – Trevor Masters
2. Peerless Price – Coach Janky Spanky
3. Eric Moulds – Donaghy’s Don
4. Kenny Irons – The Ghosts
5. Kevan Barlow – JD – 2 Guys & A Mic
6. Chris Henry – Fightin’ Snow Devils
7. Najeh Davenport – McLovin
8. Craig Davis – Skittlebrau
9. Tony Scheffler – twins15
10. Michael Pittman – Rushmore Calligraphy
11. Kevin Walter – The Honda Accords
12. Correll Buckhalter – P**S****.com
- I almost can’t live with myself for drafting a member of the Chicago Bears offense not named Benson, but for whatever reason Bradley has always intrigued me. Maybe this is the year he stays healthy and cashes in on a few Grossman prayers downfield; maybe I cut him before the season even starts.
- Hard to believe Peerless Price is entering his ninth NFL season. The first four years of his career were on a steady upward path, peaking in ’02 with a monster effort of 94 receptions, 1,252 yards, and 9 TDs. The year after he departed for Atlanta, and his career did a 180. Down. Way down. Now back with the Bills, Price strongly feels he’s back, but we have our doubts. He’s a decent gamble as Janky’s last pick of the draft.
- We remember when Eric Moulds was a top fantasy WR. He enjoyed quite a run in Buffalo for about eight-years, perhaps peaking in ’02 with a 100 catch, 1,300 yard, 10 TD season. Now, he’s a 34-year-old veteran on his last legs and in his first year with the Titans. Andrew mentioned the other day that Moulds will be on and off waivers all year and will be one of those guys that’s started when he does absolutely nothing, and benched when he scores. Sounds about right to me.
- Cincinnati Bengals rookie Kenny Irons is done for the year after suffering a torn ACL in the team’s preseason game against the Lions. The Ghosts have since replaced him with Kenny Watson, who’ll now likely back up Rudi Johnson in Cincy. That makes him a very valuable handcuff, as Irons would have been. It was also important to the Ghosts to have a Kenny on the roster. Mission accomplished.
- For our thoughts on Kevan Barlow, please see the introduction of this article.
- Chris Henry has been dropped in favor of Daniel Graham, likely due to Henry’s eight-game suspension to start the season. Graham was always jerked around a bit by the Patriots, never getting into a groove as the clear-cut tight end for the Pats. It’s probably his own fault. After being selected in the first round with the 21st overall pick in 2002, he’s missed time due to injuries every year and averaged just 24 receptions a season.
- We’ve seen Najeh Davenport run over opposing defenders–usually on the Detroit Lions–many times over his five-year career. The guy is a load, and he’s actually got some speed. Davenport has never made it through an entire season however, his main drawback. If the Steelers run little Willie Parker into the ground, Davenport will be the one spelling him. Hopefully he doesn’t take a shit in somebody’s hamper again.
- Yeah, Craig Davis was one of my sleepers heading in and he could have some fantasy relevance. Whatever, I cut him for another sleeper I was high on. After reading glowing reviews in the Baltimore Sun which suggested Demetrius Williams was poised to “blow up,” that he was certain to take over a starting job from Mason, that the Ravens will be running more three-receiver sets and that Williams has been a primary end-zone target, I swooped in. He is a big target who showed flashes last season and needs to be on your radar.
- I actually like Tony Scheffler as a nice sleeper this season. He finished 2006 by scoring 4 TDs in the season’s final four games and showed a nice rapport with fellow rookie Jay Cutler. They could develop a nice bond, and he could become an average TE this season. Unfortunately, twins15 has already (inexplicably) dropped Scheffler for Visanthe Shiancoe. Shiancoe has 35 career receptions, has never reached 100 total yards receiving in a season, and hasn’t caught a TD since 2004.
- Veteran Michael Pittman always seems to succeed when given the opportunity (see ’04, when he averaged 4.2 YPC in racking up 926 yards rushing, 391 yards receiving, and 10 TDs), but unfortunately he’s behind Carnell Williams on the depth chart. Still, we’re no big fans of Williams and Pittman looks like he’s going to start at fullback, get third-down carries and catches and perhaps assume Mike Alstott’s former role of plunging into the end zone from the 1-yard line. Not a bad pick here, really.
- Kevin Walter played his college ball at Eastern Michigan and has caught 47 passes for 456 yards and 1 TD during a four-year career. He’s actually starting right now for Houston. Blech.
-After word came down that Correll Buckhalter may not actually be Brian Westbrook’s most valuable handcuff, he was swapped for Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn was a colossal mistake for the Dolpnins at 9th overall this April, and he’s not going to have any fantasy value this year by the looks of it. Ginn, projected as a return specialist, was recently demoted to third on the kickoff-return depth chart and isn’t even listed on the wide receiver depth charts.
Of course, your league’s scoring format and roster setup are critical in selecting players and assessing a draft. Be sure to learn your league’s settings before the draft, and consider how those settings affect player value.
QB, WR, WR, WR, RB, RB, TE, W/T, W/R, DEF, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN
Stat Categories (Points):
Passing Yards (30 yards per point)
Passing Touchdowns (4)
Rushing Yards (15 yards per point)
Rushing Touchdowns (6)
Reception Yards (12 yards per point)
Reception Touchdowns (6)
Return Touchdowns (6)
2-Point Conversions (3)
Fumbles Lost (-2.5)
Offensive Fumble Return TD (6)
Fumble Recovery (2)
Block Kick (2)
Points Allowed 0 points (12)
Points Allowed 1-6 points (8)
Points Allowed 7-13 points (5)
Points Allowed 14-20 points (1)
Points Allowed 21-27 points (0)
Points Allowed 28-34 points (-3)
Points Allowed 35+ points (-5)