Monday, August 27, 2007

Top Fantasy Stars: NFC South

Atlanta Falcons:

1. Jerious Norwood-RB- The Falcons are still insisting that, as of right now, Warrick Dunn is the starting running back. That seems very hard to believe considering what Norwood brings to the table over Dunn. A small back with exceptional speed and power, he averaged 6.4 yards per carry last season and is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. He is an exceptional value pick in the fifth round as a quality RB2.

2. Warrick Dunn-RB- Dunn may be the lesser threat in the Atlanta backfield but he still has a role to fill. In fact, considering his age (32), he may actually benefit from taking on a smaller responsibility. A shifty runner who rarely takes a big hit full on, Dunn can be invaluable in terms of moving the chains and providing a change of pace over the more powerful Norwood. He'll be largely overlooked in drafts and you should be able to take him around the eight round as an RB/3Flex player or a reserve RB.

3. Alge Crumpler-TE- He has been former QB Michael Vick's favorite target for years and it seems entirely possible that new QB Joey Harrington will become enamoured with him as well. Crumpler is quite simply the best receiving threat the Falcons have (even with an over the hill Joe Horn now on the roster) and should be able to at least match last year's totals (56 catches, 8 touchdowns). He is still one of the better TE's out there not named Gates and can be stolen in the ninth round as a TE1.

Bargain Bin: Joey Harrington-QB- Vick's suspension left the Falcons with no other choice than to put the ball in Harrington's hands and hope for the best. He has not been a spectacular quarterback throughout his career by any means, but he does occasionally have hot streaks where it looks like he may fulfill his potential. You shouldn't have him anywhere near your starting QB position, but he should be available in the later rounds of the draft as a somewhat serviceable backup.

Carolina Panthers:

1. Steve Smith-WR- It's very possible that Smith will be the first WR taken in the draft, a designation that is well deserved. He is capable of dominating a game the way few others are. Though he suffered a bit of a down year last season, he still put together an 83 catch, 8 touchdown campaign. Look for him to rebound from those "dismal" numbers to once again approach 100 catches and take him in the second round as your WR1.

2. DeAngelo Williams-RB- Williams is one of those rare running backs: A backup who is more coveted than the actual starting running back (not unlike the situation in Atlanta). Given the fragility of DeShaun Foster, there is good reason for this. Williams had a decent rookie year, marked by an excellent 33 catches out of the backfield, which will increase his value in PPR leagues. He should be the starter at some point this season and therefore must be drafted before the end of the sixth round if you want him as your RB2 or 3.

3. Deshaun Foster-RB- A player who has an immense amount of talent, Foster has unfortunately been hindered by injuries his entire career thus far. He managed to stay reasonably healthy last year and rushed for 897 yards and three touchdowns. However, it always seems like it's only a matter of time before he goes down again. If he can put his health issues to rest, he'd be an exceptional value in the 7th round as an RB3/Flex player.

Bargain Bin: Jake Delhomme-QB- His season was interrupted by injuries last year, but Delhomme is still a capable NFL QB. His connection with Steve Smith alone makes him a commodity. He's likely to be undervalued this season so you ought to be able to nab him in the later rounds as a very good backup QB.

New Orleans Saints:

1. Reggie Bush-RB- Bush is an absurdly good pick in a keeper league and an excellent running back in a yearly league. He is expected to carry more of the load this year, which should translate to the numbers many expected of him when he was drafted #2 overall. His 88 receptions last year proves that he is one of the most dangerous backfield threats in the league. He'll be among the top ten RB's taken in the draft (he could go in the top six in PPR leagues), so you'll have to take him in the late first round as your RB1.

2. Marques Colston-WR- Colston came out of nowhere to surprise everyone last season. Teams will be concentrating on him this year, but it's difficult to contain a receiver with his talent, speed and size (6'4, 231 lbs). Expect him to eclipse his previous stats (70 catches, 8 touchdowns). He'll be among the top ten WR's taken and therefore must be targeted no later than the third round as a WR1.

3. Drew Brees-QB- If the Chargers didn't already have a young developing QB in Phillip Rivers, they might have been kicking themselves for letting Brees go. He quieted the negative buzz about his surgically repaired shoulder and put together one of his finest seasons to date (4,418 yards and 26 touchdowns.) With an outstanding young WR crew and Bush and McAllister in the backfield, he is poised to have his best year yet. He'll be among the top five QB's taken, so be sure to grab him by the fourth round as your QB1.

Bargain Bin: Deuce McAllister-RB- Many thought a timeshare would doom McAllister to fantasy mediocrity, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the timeshare did him a favor by keeping him relatively healthy last season (when he scored double digit touchdowns for the first time since 2002.) He should be drafted in the fourth round as an excellent RB2.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

1. Carnell Williams-RB- Cadillac endured a terrible Sophomore Slump last season, accruing only 798 rushing yards and one measly touchdown. Inconsistent QB play and the fact that the team played from behind in many games contributed heavily to the situation. A marginally improved offensive line and Jeff Garcia as the starting QB should alleviate these concerns somewhat, but he still must prove he can remain healthy for a full season. A bounce-back year is predicted, but proceed with caution and don't draft Williams any higher than the fifth round as an RB3/Flex player.

2. Joey Galloway-WR- He may be close to qualifying for his AARP card, but Galloway can still surprise teams with his speed and playmaking ability. Doubters who keep predicting his decline may have to keep waiting. The fact that he amassed 62 receptions and 7 touchdowns last season doesn't sound like he is about to become irrelevant in the world of Fantasy Football. He will likely be overlooked in drafts and would make a fine WR2 if he fell to you in the sixth round.

3. Jeff Garcia-QB- His career was thought to be over but Garcia has made a habit of proving experts wrong. He resurrected the Eagles season last year by coming off the bench to throw ten touchdowns in eight games. He is also an experienced veteran who can run Coach Gruden's West Coast Offense very well. He's not starting QB material, but you could do a lot worse than him in finding a backup QB in the later rounds.

Bargain Bin: Maurice Stovall-WR- Finally, a player who truly defines the meaning of "Bargain Bin". The Buccaneers have been seeking someone to replace the disappointing Michael Clayton as a compliment to Galloway and they may have found him in Stovall. A Super-Sleeper, he has the size and the skill to fill the job and is worthy of taking a flier on in the last three rounds of the draft.

Note: I'm taking off for my Bachelor Party in Las Vegas tomorrow and will finish this series next week.

No comments: