My 2007 Fantasy Team

1 September 2007

I drafted my 2007 Fantasy Football August 12th because one of our owners had to leave for school. I’d like to run it past you guys and hear how you think I did. I’ll set up the league for you. It is an eight man keeper league in the second year of existence. We got to keep two players from last year, and voted to keep three next year. You start 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DEF, and have eight bench slots. I had the sixth pick because I finished 3rd last year.

Keepers
I chose to keep Larry Johnson and Rudi Johnson. I love RBs that get the carries at the stripe. LJ is too young and talented not to keep despite his contract issue at the time. Other options I had were Tom Brady and Marvin Harrison.

First Round
I wanted an RB badly in case LJ didn’t play. I was targeting Cedric Benson because he should fit the bill of a RB that doesn’t lose red zone carries, plus the fact that he’s young. Adrian Peterson and Brian Westbrook were off the board. Travis Henry, Marshawn Lynch, and Benson were there. I decided against the win now approach with Henry, and took Benson. I think this is the better pick in the long run. Time will tell.

Second Round
I had three RBs so I wanted to go WR. My choices were Chad Johnson, Torry Holt, Roy Williams, Reggie Wayne, Javon Walker, and Housh. I went Ocho Cinco. I like the fact that he put aside money for his endzone celebrations. Wayne may have been the better pick, but Indy will probably have the division wrapped up by the fantasy playoffs.

Third Round
I wanted another WR here. Boldin just went off the board. I had the option of Andre Johnson, Plax, Randy Moss, or Lee Evans. As much as I like Moss, I was scared off. I went with Andre Johnson hoping Shaub will target him early and often. Andre Johnson.

Fourth Round
I consider Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, Brees, Bulger, Tom Brady, and McNabb to be a cut above the rest of the QBs this year. I wanted one of the six. Manning, Palmer, Brees, and Bulger came off the board. I grabbed Brady here. I don’t usually take a QB early, but in an 8 man league, I didn’t want to be left without one of the elite QBs.

Fifth Round
I wanted another RB. The WRs at this point weren’t that attractive. Santana Moss, Darrell Jackson, etc. didn’t do anything for me. Jamal Lewis, DeAngelo Williams, Cadillac Williams, and others were available. I chose to go with DeAngelo Williams because I like his upside. This may be the last year to keep Rudi, so he’s a potential keeper with LJ and Benson next year.

Sixth Round
I was that guy. Every year there is a guy that goes Defense before anyone else. I’m usually not that guy. I took a look at the RBs and WRs avaialble and decided that I get a D that’s going to be more consistent scoring big points. I took Chicago D off the board. Baltimore D went the same round, but I failed to start a big time D run. That’s probably because these two defense are on a different level than the rest

Seventh Round
I needed to address my WR situation since I only had two. I really like Mark Clayton this year so he was my selection.

Eight Round
Since my 3rd WR isn’t that strong, I wanted a solid 4th WR. Laveranues Coles is coming off a solid season and is a great value in what’s essentially the 10th round. Between Coles and Clayton I am pretty covered at 3rd WR.

Ninth Round
I wanted to add to my RB corps. I was pretty surprised that a talented rookie RB like Brandon Jackson was available. I made it so he wasn’t any more.

Tenth Round
I could have went WR here or reached for a RB, but I noticed that Matt Hasselbeck was available. I know I had TB already, but Hass was too good of a value to pass up here.

Eleventh Round
The RBs left were garbage. The WRs weren’t much better. I was, however, able to snag a starting WR from a pass happy team. Philly’s Kevin Curtis took on the role of 5th WR on my squad.

Twelfth Round
I assumed now was as good of time as any to take my TE. Unless you’re getting Gates, the rest are pretty much a crap shoot. Gonzo still has potential, but I think he’s slowing a bit. I took a guy who I think will bounce back with his QB. I grabbed Heath Miller.

Thirteenth Round
I looked at my roster and decided that I didn’t have a fat guy. I wanted a fat guy on my team. LenDale White answered that call. Seriously though, I don’t like this guy, but he does have some potential since he’s got talent if he’ll do a crunch every now and again.

Fourteenth Round
I enjoyed drafting a Titan so much that I decided to take LenWhale’s teammate Brandon Jones to comlete my WR corps. However, I have since dropped him to take Atlanta Defense. Chicago opens up against San Diego so I didn’t like that matchup. Atlanta plays Minnesota, which should be more fruitful.

Fifteenth Round
It was the last round, which to me means it’s time to pick a Kicker. I chose Stephen Gostkowski because I think New England will have a high powered offense this year. Plus I can call him Ghost Face Killa. I have also cut him because of his preseason woes. I picked up David Akers.

It’s an eight man league so the teams are bloated, but here’s my squad:

Brady
Hasselbeck
LJ
Rudi Johnson
Cedric Benson
DeAngelo Williams
Brandon Jackson
LenDale White
Chad Johnson
Andre Johnson
Mark Clayton
Laveranues Coles
Kevin Curtis
Heath Miller
David Akers
CHI DEF
ATL DEF

Here’s my take. I am tired of having old RBs and WRs. Each year I seem to have a few of them. This year youth was served. Having Benson, DeAngelo Williams, and Brandon Jackson give me keeper options for next year. If a couple of them emerge, I have trade potential for someone hurting for keeper RBs. My WRs are good, not great. If Andre Johnson can finally get some TDs I’ll be OK. I really think Kevin Curtis has great potential if McNabb stays healthy. Coles is the only old guy on my team. I love my QBs. Tom Brady could have a monster year with all the weapons they added. Hasselbeck, even in an 8 man league, is still a great backup. Heath Miller could be a steal at TE. If not, I just get rid of him and grab someone from the waiver wire. David Akers should be good while McNabb is healthy. If not I play the matchup game. No big deal. I love having a stud Defense. Chicago should be a plug and play almost every week. No need to play the matchup game (although I’m doing it Week 1).

How did I do in your opinion? Did I make any costly mistakes? I’d love to hear any feeback, pro and con.

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Each year there are guys who fall way short of expectations. Sometimes it’s because of age. Other times it may be a fluke factor. Last year I was decent prediction sleepers, but did quite well picking Trent Green, Tiki Barber, Santana Moss, and Jason Witten to not meet their expectations.

Some I’m hoping to do the same this year.

Quarterback
I’ll start at the Quarterback position. Obviously the biggest bust will be Michael Vick, who had excellent fantasty numbers last year.

My pick this year is Vince Young. Not just because of the Madden Curse. Yahoo has him ranked 7th among QBs. Sporting News is a little more conservative at 11th. CBS Sportsline has him 8th. I don’t question Young’s talent. I question the talent around him. The running game is a mess with a fat, lazy guy and a soft, oft-injured guy. Not to mention his stats last year just weren’t worthy of a Top 8 QB. He averaged 159 yards/start passing. He did make up for it with 40.6 yards rushing per game. His 12 passing TDs (less than one per game) were aided by 7 rushing TDS (over half a TD per game). He also threw 13 picks and lost 3 fumbles. Young is projected to throw for 2900 yards, rush for 840 yards, have 16 TD passes and run for 9 more. I just don’t see it.
Prediction: 2800 passing yards, 650 rushing yards, 16 TDs, 6 rushing TDs, 20 INTs

Running Back
I’m sticking in the AFC South for my RB Bust pick. I don’t see anyway Maurice Jones-Drew comes close to his rookie production. Yahoo has him projected to be the 15th best RB next year (ahead of Willis McGahee, Edge, Cedric Benson, and others). CBS Sportsline has him ranked 14th (ahead of Benson, Edge, and Ronnie Brown). Yahoo projects him to have 1264 yards and 12 TDs. I’m not buying that. He’ll be a decent RB again, but he still has to share with Fred Taylor. If you’re thinking MJD is going to be a solid as he was in the 2nd half of last year, you’re going to be disappointed.
Prediction: 1100 total yards, 8 rushing & receiving TDs

Wide Receiver
I’m going over to the NFC for this one. I’m talking Torry Holt. He’s 31, which isn’t terrible for WRs, but he’s not getting any younger. Throw in offseason knee surgery, and the questions start. Yahoo has him ranked 4th (ahead of Chad Johnson, Reggie Wayne, etc). CBS Sportsline has him 5th. Yahoo predicts 1200 yards and 9 TDs. Last year he had nearly 1200 yards and 10 TDs. However, 150 of those yards and 3 of those scores came in one game. He only had four 100 yard games last year, and even more importantly one 1 after Week 6. He also only had 3 TDs after Week 6. He averaged 66.1 yards and .3 TDs in the last ten weeks of 2006. That’s an average of 8.4 fantasy points per game. That would project to 1058 yards and 5 TD. It’s not bad, but it’s clearly not #1 WR status. I’d still take him as a #1 WR, but he’s not the same guy he used to be. I think he’ll still get good yardage, but the TDs may be less frequent. Adding Randy McMichael and Drew Bennett to the mix will almost guarantee that.
Prediction: 1100 yards, 7 TDs

Tight End
Torry Holt isn’t going to be the only Big Dog I predict will take a fall this year. I’m predicting Tony Gonzalez to take a step back as well. CBS Sportsline has him ranked 2nd. Yahoo has him ranked 3rd (Todd Heap jumped him). Gonzo had 900 yards and 5 TDs. The yardage total was quite good, but the TD dip has to be concerning. The 5 TDs came in 3 games, which is even worse. He only cracked 70 yards 5 times. 6 times he was held below 40 yards. He’s also 31 this year. The KC line took a blow when Will Shields retired. I just get the feeling he’s going to be asked to stay in on pass protection a little more. He’s still a weekly starter, but he’s not even close to Gates territory any more. He’s way back with the pack.
Prediction: 700 yards, 5 TDs

Previous Spotlights
D.J . Hackett
Chris Brown
J.P . Losman
Vincent Jackson
Jerious Norwood
Heath Miller
Alex Smith

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He’s a former #1 pick. He looked miserable as a rookie. He made some nice strides last year though. His completion percentage improved from 50.9% as a rookie to 58.1% as a soph. His passer rating improved from 40.8 to 74.8. Having Darrell Jackson, Ashley Lelie, and a healthy Vernon Davis at his disposal, he should be due for an ever greater season.He started off hot last year passing for 288, 233, and 293 yards in the first three weeks. He only cracked 200 yards two more times (214 in Week 6 and 201 in Week 14). However, three of his four games where he had a 100 rating or higher came in Week 5 or later.

Smith didn’t end his season on a high note. He had his lowest passer rating and completion percentage. He also had his worst TD:INT ratio. His 2890 yards and 16 TD/16 INT probably won’t get anybody excited.

What I like is the fact that’s he’s been through this for 25 games now. He should be more comfortable with what defenses will bring. He does have the problem of having another new Offensive Coordinator, but he’s a bright kid. He can learn quickly and adapt. I’m not expecting starter numbers out of him, but I am expecting backup numbers.

Prediction: 3000 yards, 20 TDs, 14 INTs

 

 

Previous Spotlights
D.J . Hackett
Chris Brown
J.P . Losman
Vincent Jackson
Jerious Norwood
Heath Miller

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Today we’re talking Tight Ends. No, not Jessica Alba. NFL Tight Ends. Please try and stay focused. If you can’t get your hands on Antonio Gates, to me the rest are about the same. I think Tony Gonzalez takes a step back this year. Todd Heap, Kellen Winslow, and Shockey are solid, but they are injury risks. Alge Crumpler has to deal with a new QB. One that’s named Joey Harrington. The breakout guy everyone is talking about is Vernon Davis. Everyone is talking about him though, so I figured I’d talk about someone that many have forgotten.

Heath Miller had an outstanding rookie season. We’re talking 39 catches for 459 yards and 6 TDs. Those are pretty solid numbers for a rookie WR, let alone a TE. He took a step back last year with 34 receptions for 393 yards and 5 TDs. He did, however, have a 87 yard TD though. Not to mention his QB Big Ben struggled mightily last year.

I can’t really judge from his numbers last year. He only broke 40 yards once. His rookie year he did it 6 times. He also had a 4 game stretch where he scored 5 TDs as a rookie. Last year he finished December with 2 TDs. I think he builds on that, and gets worked into the offense a little more.

Prediction: 600 yard, 8 TDs

Previous Spotlights
D.J. Hackett
Chris Brown
J.P . Losman
Vincent Jackson
Jerious Norwood

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Jerious Norwood has a couple of things going for him. Warrick Dunn is getting up there in age for a running back, and Michael “Ookie” Vick won’t be there to take away rushing yardage. With Joey Harrington at the helm, the Falcons will have to run a more traditional offense that will feature more rushing by the running backs. I think Norwood is going to be the guy that benefits the most.Last year Norwood rushed for 633 yards at a ridiculous 6.4 yards per carry. That’s a Tecmo Football yards per carry. He also had 102 yards receiving, which means he was good for 52.5 total yards per game last year. Unfortunately he only reached paydirt twice (on 78 & 69 yard runs).

Looking at his last month of work doesn’t really show he’s ready for a breakout season. He had a 107 yard game, a 32 yards game, he missed a game, had a 20 yard game, and a 63 yard game. To say he was inconsistent is an understatement. It’s going to take a leap of faith to carry Norwood as your 3rd or 4th receiver knowing that Warrick Dunn has ran for at least 1100 yards the past three years.

I think Norwood will be more involved in the passing game this year. With Harrington behind Center, they are going to need to dump some balls off. Plus, getting a burner like Norwood in space is just a good idea. I wouldn’t count on a lot of TDs from Norwood, but he should put up some good yardage numbers.

 

Prediction: 1200 total yards, 5 TDs

Previous Spotlights
D.J. Hackett
Chris Brown
J.P. Losman
Vincent Jackson

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On to fantasy football talk. First of all, I am so happy that Larry Johnson, my Numero Uno Keeper has reached a deal with the Chiefs. I, along with other LJ owners, can breath a collective sigh of relief. Alright, enough small talk. Let’s talk about Vincent Jackson.

Vincent Jackson is a big target. He’s listed at 6’5″ and 241 lbs. He’s entering his third year, which is a magical number for receivers. He caught 27 passes last year, which isn’t great, but he took 6 of them to the house. That’s should get you attention.What really should get your attention though is how he finished the season. In his last four games he caught 14 (52% of his total) passes for 286 yards (63%), and 3 TDs (50%). That’s a mighty fine way to finish the year.

If you extrapolate Jackson’s numbers from his last four games you get 56 catches for 1144 yards and 12 TDs. With all the attention LT and Gates get I think he’ll come pretty close to those numbers.

 

Prediction: 64 receptions, 1100 yards, 9 TDs

Not that it means much, but he scored a TD in San Diego’s second preseason game.

Previous Spotlights
D.J. Hackett
Chris Brown
J.P. Losman

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When you think J.P. Losman, admit it…you think Lossman or Loserman. He’s been the butt of jokes the last couple of years. I wouldn’t dream of picking Losman as the starting QB of my fantasy team, but believe it or not, he made great strides in his second year as starting QB. His first year as a starter he completed 49.6% of his passes. That is dreadful. Last year he completed 62.5%. He passed for 1340 yards in 9 games (8 starts – 167.5 per start) in 2005. He improved to 3051 (190.69 per start) in 2006. His TD-INT ratio improved from 8-8 to 19-4. His passer rating improved 20 points.

I believe he’s going to be called on even more in 2007 as they will be using a rookie running back. As I’ve mentioned before, I like to look at how a guy ended the year to predict how he’ll do. He had almost as many TDs in December (9) as he had the other months (10). He averaged 208.8 yards/month. The other months he averaged 182.45 yards/month. If you extrapolate his December numbers you get 3341 yards, 29 TDs and 19 INTs. I don’t think he’ll get quite that many TDs or INTs, however I do think he’ll be an adequate backup in most leagues.

Prediction: 3400 yards, 24 TDs, 16 INTs

Previous Spotlights
D.J. Hackett
Chris Brown

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Travis Henry has moved on to Denver’s greener pastures. LenDale White is a fat sweat who isn’t motivated. Chris Henry will get a chance to show something in the preseason. Rookies RBs typically struggle picking up blitzes. Although he was limited to 41 carries last year, I feel Chris Brown will lead the Titans in rushing this year.

I don’t suggest taking him early at all. In fact, I think he should be your 5th RB. If you are in smaller leagues, maybe you just want to keep an eye on him on the the waiver wire. He has produced in the past (1214 total yards, 6 TDs in 11 games in ’04 & 1178 total yards & 7 TDs in 15 games in ’05), and given the opportunity, he’ll do so again.

You can’t really guestimate numbers based on last year, but he should come close to repeating his 2005 stats. He’ll have to have big plays to score TDs though because Henry and White will likely work the red zone.

Warning: The bust factor is high on this pick.

Prediction: 1000 total yards, 5 TDs

Previous Spotlights
D.J. Hackett

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Last year I predicted and tracked players that I thought would be surprises or disappointments. I was moderately succesful. I did well with Reggie Brown, Philip Rivers, Mark Clayton, and Chester Taylor in the surprise department. In the disappointment compartment is where I really made my reputation. I successfully predicted a disappointing year for Trent Green, Tiki Barber, Santana Moss, Sinsinnati’s Defense, and to some extent Jason Witten.

First up is D.J. Hackett. It is his fourth year in the league and his 3rd year he’ll get playing time. He played in 13 games in 2005 catching 28 passes for 400 yards and 2 touchdowns. Last year he played in 15 games and catch 45 passes for 610 yards and 4 TDs. Darrell Jackson is taking his drops down the Pacific Coast to San Francisco meaning D.J. is likely going to be a starter.

One of the ways I like to judge players is how they finished. Let’s take a look at his December numbers. D.J. caught 20 passes (44% of his receptions) in December for 304 yards (50%) and 2 TDs (50%). in five games. That’s an average of 4 passes for 61 yards and 0.4 TDs. If you project that out to 16 games you get 64 passes, 976 yards, and 6 TDs. Obviously those numbers aren’t worthy of a #2 WR on a fantasy team, but they wouldn’t be too bad for a 4th WR (possibly 3rd in deep leagues). I think D.J. does a little better than my extrapolation though.

Plus, on MNF he was the best at catching fish at the fish market in Seattle.

Prediction: 80 receptions, 1100 yards, 8 TDs

Agree? Disagree? Let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

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