Thursday, August 16, 2007

Top Fantasy Stars: AFC East Preview

New England Patriots:

1. Laurence Maroney-RB- With the apparent retirement of Corey Dillon, Maroney now becomes the main man in the Patriot's rushing attack. He is a very dangerous runner who scored 6 touchdowns in a share situation last season. The only worry about him is his durability, a definite cause for concern as he has suffered numerous nagging injuries in his short career. Even so, his potential dictates that he will be one of the top 10 RB's taken off the board and should be taken with a late first round pick.

2. Tom Brady-QB- You will find few QB's as consistent as Brady who are not named Peyton Manning. Though he has never been considered a fantasy superstar, he will likely be the 4th QB taken off the board. The Pats are providing him with two potential blockbuster WR's in Randy Moss and Donte Stallworth, so his numbers could see a big spike. Target him no later than the late 3rd/early 4th round.

3. Randy Moss-WR- Which player will show up this season, Supernova Randy or Black Hole Moss? Most bets are being placed on the former as he seems overjoyed to be out of Oakland (well, wouldn't you be?). The odds on him becoming the player he once was seem very long indeed, but if he can avoid the injury bug (no sure thing as he already has developed hamstring problems in training camp), he ought to be a very effective WR2 or 3 for your team. He won't make it past the 5th round, so plan accordingly.

Bargain Bin: Wes Welker-WR- In points per reception leagues, Welker will be extremely valuable. He won't score much, but he is a reliable safety valve which Brady will utilize extensively.

New York Jets:

1. Thomas Jones-RB- His recent calf injury is very worrying because he is slated to be the top rusher for the Jets, a team in need of a good ground game to implement the play action offense that it's quarterback excels in. If healthy, he should easily eclipse the 1,210 yards and six touchdowns he achieved in his timeshare with the Bears last season. His receiving ability out of the backfield (36 catches last year) is nice as well. Look for him to be taken as an RB2 late in the second round or third round (depending on the severity of his injury)

2. Laveranues Coles-WR- He posted some of his best career stats last season (91 catches) and is an integral cog in the Jets attack. A warrior, he plays even when hurt and contributes on a weekly basis. His chemistry with Chad Pennington is readily apparent and he will make a very nice WR2 or 3 for some team. He should be a steal in the 6th round.

3. Jerricho Cotchery-WR- He was a nice surprise for the Jets last year, recording 82 catches and scoring 6 times. He won't fool anyone this year, though. Still, he is an excellent value as a WR3 or Flex player. He'll be gone by the 8th round.

Bargain Bin- Leon Washington-RB- He may see extended playing time if Jones remains injured for a long period. A scatback with a tremendous burst, he is a nice addition as a reserve.

Buffalo Bills:

1. Marshawn Lynch-RB- Lynch, a first round pick of the Bills, is expected to contribute heavily as a rookie. Despite current reports of a committee situation, he should receive the majority of touches by season's end and be a fantasy force to be reckoned with. His receiving ability will be a nice bonus on PPR leagues as well. He should be played as a high level RB2 and should be drafted no later than the 4th round.

2. Lee Evans-WR- An undeniable gem, Evans broke out for 82 catches and 8 touchdowns last season. He is poised to equal or better those numbers this year and is a low level WR1 or an excellent WR2. He will be among the top 15 WR's selected and should be scooped up by the early 5th round...if he lasts that long.

3. J.P Losman-QB- Losman was pilloried in his first year as a starter for his suspect decision making and erratic play. Granted, some of that criticism was legitimate, but the fact is he still managed to put together a decent season by posting an 84.9 QB rating (11th in the NFL) and over 3,000 yards through the air. He would be a good choice as a backup or a QB2 in some formats. You can nab him in the 7th round or later.

Bargain Bin- Roscoe Parrish-WR- A speedster, Parrish caught 23 balls for an average of 13.9 ypc. With a maturing Losman at the helm of the offense, he should be good for at least 30 catches this year and could prove valuable with an injury to Evans. He is worth the late round flier.

Miami Dolphins:

1. Ronnie Brown-RB- True, there aren't many reasons to be excited about the Dolphins this year, fantasy-wise. However, Brown is the exception. Not only did he run for over 1,000 yds. and 5 touchdowns last season, he caught 33 passes out of the backfield as well. He also will be leaned upon heavily this year to carry the load. He will be among the top 10 RB's to be chosen and you cannot count on him making it past the early second round at best.

2. Chris Chambers-WR- Chambers had one of his worst seasons as a pro last year and his inability to hang on to passes was a huge reason. However, there is reason to hope as the QB situation has improved marginally with Trent Green coming aboard. His accuracy may translate into a better season for Chambers, who has been working hard this off-season to correct his issue. Don't reach for him, but take him in the 7th round as a low-level WR2 or a WR3.

3. Trent Green-QB- Green's season was interrupted last year by concussion problems and he hasn't had a worse injury since he played a key part in "The Kurt Warner Story". He can be a decent QB, though, whose accuracy has been steady throughout the years. Don't count on him being your starter by any means, but he can be a decent backup who will be available past the 8th round.

Bargain Bin- David Martin-TE- Replacing Randy McMichael's numbers will be no easy task. Martin does have the size (6'4, 265lbs) that many teams covet and and surprising soft hands. He will be a favorite of Green's, who clearly knows how to utilize TE's in his offense. Martin is worth the gamble as a backup TE and should be available in the later rounds.

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