Saturday, August 18, 2007

Top Fantasy Stars: AFC South Preview

Houston Texans:

1. Andre Johnson-WR- Here is a case of an elite WR stuck on an offensively challenged squad. Johnson has been the Texan's only reliable weapon for 4 years, but he hasn't let the rest of the team's shortcomings slow him down. He's coming off a career high 103 catches last year and should continue to be the brightest star in the Texans' universe. The only wild card is whether or not he'll find chemistry with new quarterback Matt Schaub, but draft him with confidence by the middle of the fifth round.

2. Ahman Green-RB- It's undeniable that Green has seen better days back in Green Bay. But he is a starting RB in the NFL and therefore is worthy of a spot on your team. Green's real value this year will be in Point per Reception leagues as he is an excellent check down option out of the backfield (350 career catches). He's only good as a low end RB2 or a decent RB3/Flex player, so don't reach higher than the middle of the 5th round to get him.

3. Owen Daniels-TE- Daniels was quite a pleasant surprise for Houston last year. He hauled in 34 receptions and 5 touchdowns, providing the only real complement to Johnson. He obviously had good chemistry with David Carr and will now have to establish some with Schaub. Still, he's a viable TE2 and will likely still be available after the eight round.

Bargain Bin: Matt Schaub-QB- The Texans are very high on a player who has only thrown 161 passes in his professional career. Whether or not that trust is misplaced remains to be seen, but like Ahman Green, he is a starter in the NFL and that makes him draftable. Having said that, he's only worth a pick as a reserve QB, so don't reach anywhere higher than the 10th round to get him.

Indianapolis Colts:

1. Peyton Manning-QB- He's been the number one fantasy quarterback for several years running now. He just won his first Super Bowl last year, retained two of the best WR's in the world (Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne), has a young threat out of the backfield (Joseph Addai) to work with and is almost never injured. Any questions? He'll go fast so you'll need to take him with your first pick but with Manning as your QB1, you won't even have to think twice about the position all year long.

2. Joseph Addai-RB- With Dominic Rhodes moving on to not so green pastures in Oakland, Addai inherits the starting RB position for the Colts this season. This will translate to Fantasy Gold. There are questions about his ability to handle the workload, but his talent and situation makes him one of the most attractive options out there. If you're picking past the 8th spot in the first round, you likely will not have a shot for him to be your #1RB.

3. Marvin Harrison: Father Time can't catch Harrison and neither can opposing cornerbacks. He continues to defy aging and keeps posting Pro Bowl worthy stats every season. Don't expect a drop off this year either. You'll have to draft him by the end of the second round, but that's the price you pay for getting one of the very best at the WR1 position.

Bargain Bin: Reggie Wayne-WR- Wayne falls into the exact same category as Housh: A WR2 who performs like a #1 and that makes him a bargain. He is constantly able to exploit defensive coverages as teams usually assign their shutdown CB to Harrison. He'll be taken by the end of the 3rd round, but he's a very good value if you want to spend your first two picks at other positions.

Jacksonville Jaguars:

1. Maurice Jones-Drew-RB- Drew was one of the biggest surprises in the league last year due to scoring 15 touchdowns while sharing the load with Fred Taylor. He also caught 46 passes out of the backfield. He is young, quick, powerful and should take over the starting job this season. With this sort of potential, you cannot let him fall any lower than the middle of the second round before grabbing him as a lower tier RB1 or a great RB2.

2. Fred Taylor-RB- Taylor appears to have shed the "Fragile Fred" label by playing in 40 games the last three seasons. The timeshare with Jones-Drew may even be helping his stats (6 TD's last year) by keeping him fresher. Despite all the positives, it seems clear that he will be getting fewer touches this year. Don't think about risking him as an RB#1 or even a #2, but he's worth a 6th round pick as an RB3/Flex player.

3. Matt Jones-WR- As he is entering his third year in the league, hopes are high that Jones can put his immense talent to use and become a dependable player. He did improve upon his totals from his rookie year slightly last season (41 catches vs. 36) and his large frame makes him an attractive red zone target. Still, he has a lot to prove before anyone considers him a good bet. Take him as a WR3/Flex player after the ninth round.

Bargain Bin: Jaguars Defense-DEF- I rarely advocate taking a defense before the last four rounds of the draft. However, the Jaguars defense has special potential. They recorded 35 sacks and 20 interceptions last season and drafted a strong prospect in safety Reggie Nelson. Make your move for Jaguars DEF to be your starter once Chicago and Baltimore are off the board.

Tennessee Titans:

1. Vince Young-QB- As Young goes, so go the Titans. He had an impressive rookie season considering he was surrounded by very little talent in the WR department and his 7 rushing touchdowns gave him a nice value as well. However, the Titans did not improve their WR corps much in the off-season and his behavior in camp thus far (specifically engaging in a fist fight with a teammate and being benched for a preseason game for violating team rules) do not speak to his abilities to lead this team. His athleticism and potential will have someone drafting him as a QB2 by the seventh round, but proceed with caution as there should be better options available.

2. Lendale White-RB- White appears to be the leader in the competition for the Titans' starting running back position. Though he has battled weight and injury issues, he has had an impressive training camp thus far and could be a sleeper candidate for a breakout year. Even in a timeshare situation, he should also see most of the goal line touches considering his size (235 lbs.) Take him by the end of the eight round as an RB3/Flex player.

3. Bo Scaife-TE- Though technically he is the backup to Ben Troupe, Scaife has tremendous chemistry with Young dating back to their time as teammates at University of Texas. Troupe's inability to stay on the field or out of the coach's doghouse should result in greater opportunity for him to make his mark. He's worth a flier in the late rounds as a TE2.

Bargain Bin: Eric Moulds-WR- True, he may be far removed from the glory days earlier in his career. However, Moulds brings a veteran presence to the Titan's very young WR group. A cagey warrior who still knows how to get open, he could be worth drafting very late as a WR3/Flex player.

No comments: