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About the only stable running back scene in the NFC East belongs to the Philadelphia Eagles. LeSean McCoy ran for 1080 yards and seven touchdowns. He added to his totals with a ridiculous 78 catches for 592 yards and two more scores. Sure, he’ll lose some touchdowns to Michael Vick, but he doesn’t have much competition from other running backs. McCoy is a solid RB1.
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Felix Jones is the lead back in Dallas, but the Cowboys fully expect to share the workload. Tashard Choice and rookie DeMarco Murray will be in the mix, but they probably won’t do enough for fantasy teams barring injury. Jones is best suited as an RB3 at this point. Marion Barber III is unlikely to return gone.
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Ahmad Bradshaw is in limbo until the lockout is settled. If he become a restricted free agent he will likely remain with the Giants. If he is unrestricted he’ll go to the highest bidder. I like his prospects better if he stays with the G-Men, but I wouldn’t shy away from him if he bolts. Bradshaw is a solid RB2 regardless. Brandon Jacobs is also in limbo. The Giants could ask him to take a paycut. Whether or not he’ll be willing to do so will determine his fantasy worth. Like Bradshaw I like Jacobs better if he returns to the Giants. He’s a solid RB3 that would get a boost in value if Bradshaw leaves.
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Then there’s Washington. Ryan Torain had some moments last year, but he can’t seem to stay healthy. He’s a big risk that should probably be no better than a RB4. Torain will have to share the load with rookie Roy Helu, who has a good chance of becoming the most productive of his class this year. Clinton Portis is unlikely to return.
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Also check out:


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The NFC East has three established quarterbacks and one messy situation.
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Michael Vick is the number one fantasy quarterback in the division. He’s a bit of a risk in part because of injuries and in part because he’s never had a season like last year. He has the tools to succeed and the weapons around him to flourish, but we won’t know if he still has the drive to be a better quarterback. He’s easily a top tier QB1, but he has more risk than the likes of Rodgers, Brees, Brady, and Manning. Kevin Kolb is one of the better backup quarterbacks in the league. He could find himself traded, possibly to Arizona. He makes a decent QB2 if he’s a starter.
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Tony Romo put up big numbers when he is healthy. Dez Bryant is immature, but he gives Romo another quality weapon. He’s averaged 2699.5 yards and 1.9 touchdown passes per game over the past four years (51 games). His lack of playoff success keeps him from the Brady, Peyton, and Brees discussions, but he is possibly the best value among fantasy quarterbacks because of it.
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Eli Manning reached 4000 yards for the second straight season. Not bad for a team that historically likes to run the football. His career high of 31 touchdowns gives him an average of 29 over the past two years and 25 over the past six. He really formed a nice rapport with Hakeem Nicks and remains a solid QB1 if you want to address other needs or a high-end QB2.
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Then there is Washington. Donovan McNabb is as good as gone, which marks the second straight season he’s been sent packing. I don’t know if he’s a starting caliber quarterback anymore. Even if he finds a new gig, his fantasy days are most likely behind him. Rex Grossman could be brought back, but it appears John Beck could get a chance to show what he can do. This is a situation to avoid. Not only are the QB options mediocre at best, but they are running thin in the playmaker department.
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The Vikings have the 12th pick in the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft. While many NFL Draft purists put trading away draft picks right up there with treason, I’m from the camp that says the Vikings should go big and make the move for Kevin Kolb. But, it’s the 12th pick in the draft, you can’t trade that away. I say why not. Look at the past twenty picks from the 12th slot:
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2010:  Ryan Mathews
2009:  Knowshon Moreno
2008:  Ryan Clady
2007:  Marshawn Lynch
2006:   Haloti Ngata
2005:  Shawne Merriman
2004:  Jonathan Vilma
2003:  Jimmy Kennedy
2002:  Wendell Bryant
2001:  Damione Lewis
2000:  Shaun Ellis
1999:  Cade McNown
1998:  Keith Brooking
1997:  Warrick Dunn
1996:  Regan Upshaw
1995:  Warren Sapp
1994:  Aaron Glenn
1993:  Patrick Bates
1992:  Marco Coleman
1991:   Alvin Harper
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Some decent names, but aside from Warren Sapp, who slid because of character issues, the 12th pick has not been a player that changed the course of a franchise. Kevin Kolb has that potential.
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Kolb was drafted in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft.  He was the third quarterback taken in what could easily be the worst QB crop in NFL Draft history. Epic bust JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn were the top two taken. The Eagles received some criticism for taking Kolb when they had McNabb, but isn’t that the same song that was sung in Green Bay when the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers? I’m not saying Kolb has a chance to be anywhere near the quarterback that Rodgers is, but he would give them stability at the most important position in football.
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Kolb has spent four years learning the game from Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg. He will be more NFL ready than someone in the draft. Bill Musgrave, the Vikings new Offensive Coordinator, has worked favorably with young quarterbacks in recent years. He was Matt Schaub’s O.C. at Virginia before helping Matt Ryan become one of the game’s best young quarterbacks with the Falcons.
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While Kolb is older than the options in the NFL Draft, he’ll be just 27 when the season kicks off. He was plenty of good years in front of him. Whoever you would take in the draft would likely need a few years to be ready to play at this level. Think of this as a way of speeding up time.
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Kolb had two strong performances filling in for McNabb in 2009. The Eagles had enough confidence in him that they let Donovan McNabb walk. He did enough in the offseason to hold off Michael Vick, who was gearing up to have a near MVP season.
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While 2010 was a disappointment for Kolb, as he lost his job to Vick, he did salvage his reputation by turning in a near flawless performance against Atlanta in Week 6. He had a couple more bumpy starts, but I do believe the foundation has been set for Kolb. All he needs is an opportunity.
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The Vikings, like the Eagles, have good young talent at the skill position. They also have some aging veterans on both sides of the ball. The window to win is now. Sure, they can wait and develop a quarterback, but when he’s ready, the rest of the team may not be.
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The Eagles may be looking for too much compensation for Kolb. While I would be willing to part with the 12th pick, I wouldn’t agree to a second draft pick. Not when you would have to pay him handsomely. Not when there are still questions as to whether he can fully succeed at the position.
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This article is also featured at NFLTouchdown.com, where I am the lead Vikings writer.


Even Vick knows where he should be drafted.
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By Cy Holt
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For those of you who were lucky enough to pick up Michael Vick last year you don’t have to read this. Because only you select few know the great feeling and comfort of having him on your team. And for those who weren’t so lucky, you know the awful uncomfortable feeling of playing against him. #7 scored 300 points in 2010, including his monster 49-point game against
Washington in week 10.
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He was only surpassed by breakout running back Arian Foster who scored 313 points (according to ESPN fantasy football
standard league scoring). Vick did his damage in just 12 games. That is an average of 25 points per week. Just think of what he could have done if he would’ve played all 16 games!
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Within the top five scorers last year no player scored over 20 per game. Except Vick. Yes, there is some discussion on if Michael will be able to stay healthy and not get hurt. People say he runs too much, and takes too many big hits from opposing defenses instead of sliding. Well I got two things to say…
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#1 He got better of running out of bounds and sliding after his injury
#2 News flash for you, running backs take those same hits every play.
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So there is a risk with whomever you draft. But just know that Vick is as tough as they come. Most people are still stuck on drafting a running back with the number one overall pick . Well, I’m here to change your mind. Nobody in football has the capability to put up the monster week as Vick. He set a career high in rushing touchdowns and easily had his best season passing the football. He matured this year, finally working at his craft. With a ton of young, explosive weapons on offense, the sky is the limit for Vick.
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If I had the number two, three, or four pick I am taking a RB, but for the number one pick it is a clear and obvious choice that you should take Michael Vick.
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Though the franchise tag may not be stick based upon what is agreed to on the next collective bargaining agreement, the Eagles made it clear that they consider Michael Vick the future at quarterback. Vick, who turned 30 last summer (don’t you remember the party), made a triumphant return to star status leading the Eagles to an NFC East title.
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Vick was his elusive self running for 676 at 6.8 yards per carry and a career high nine rushing touchdowns. This time around, he brought an electric passing game as well completing a career best 62.6 passes (the first time he’s topped 57 percent) for 3018 yards (first 3000 yard season) and a career high 21 passing touchdowns.
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This means the Eagles could be interested in trading Kevin Kolb, only unless they figure out the CBA, that may not happen. If the Eagles aren’t able to trade him before the draft, they won’t be able to improve their team this year. Given Vick’s style of play, the Eagles may be cautious and keep him around in case Vick goes down with an injury. They could then trade him next year.


Image courtesy of Icon SMI
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Having players go in the Thursday night games gives you a little bit of advantage. If your players do good, you can perhaps be a little more cautions with your team. If your players failed to put up good numbers, perhaps you will want to take a bigger risk, hoping for a bigger reward to make up for it. You also get a feel for your match-up depending on how your opponents players did. Let’s take a look at how fantasy owners will be feeling about their players.
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Top of the World
With the fantasy playoffs on the doorstep, you can’t help but swell with pride based on the numbers these guys dropped.
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Michael Vick – My #1 ranked QB this week did not disappoint. He threw for 302 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. He added 48 yards on the ground. He’s definitely in the MVP hunt (both in fantasy and reality).
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Matt Schaub – Vick did his thing, but Schaub was no slouch. He threw for 337 yards, 2 TDs, and an INT. If you stuck with him (despite my #18 ranking) kudos to you. If you sat him because of me, my apologies.
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Arian Foster - Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow. 109 total yards (83 rushing, 26 receiving) and a score on the ground and through the air. You’ve been counting on  him all year, and he didn’t disappoint.
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LeSean McCoy – Not to be outdone, McCoy accumulated 130 total yards (44 rushing, 86 receiving) as well as a rushing and receiving touchdown. If you own McCoy, you can breath a sigh of relief.
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Andre Johnson –  So he didn’t score a touchdown. His six catches for 149 yards and two carries for ten yards got his owners off to a great start. It wasn’t enough to change your strategy, but it’s certainly a good start. continue reading »


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We had such a good turnout for the Ocho & T.O. contest that SMW Clothing is sponsoring another one. Once again you have a chance to win a awesome shirt that will make you the envy of your league.
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This week’s contest will also revolve around the Thursday night game.Whoever guesses the combined passing and rushing yardage that Michael Vick will have against the Texans on Thursday night without going over wins. No repeat answers.

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So leave a comment with your best guess and be sure to check out SMW Clothing.

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It is going to be weird on Sunday when Donovan McNabb returns to The Link sporting the Redskins burgundy and gold. He’ll still wear that trademark smile and don the #5, but everything else will be different. 
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The question is, how will he be received by Philadelphia’s notorious fans? They booed Mike Schmidt and Santa Claus. They’ve thrown snowballs. How will they treat the QB they booed on draft day back in 1999?
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My guess is that he’ll receive a warm introduction. Sure, there will be some boos, but for the most part the Eagles fans will show their appreciation prior to kick-off.
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I attended Charles Barkley’s first game back to the Spectrum following his trade to Phoenix and Barkley had a raucous standing ovation from the Sixers crowd. In fact, the Sixers players were booed during their introduction because the fans felt they weren’t given enough time to cheer Sir Charles. A fan came on the court while Barkley was shooting a free throw to hug him.
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Granted, Charles Barkley was a more beloved figure in Philly than McNabb, but I do believe the fans have appreciated the success the Eagles have had.
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Once the game starts though, all bets are off.
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As far as his level of play, I believe he’ll rise to the occasion, which is why I have him on the Start side of the ledger in this week’s sit/start article (click here to see the article).


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No surprise here. Kevin Kolb will miss Sunday’s game against Detroit with a concussion. Michael Vick will start in his absence. Vick has a good chance to hang a solid fantasy number on the Lions with both his feet and his arm. If your starter has a tough match-up, Vick is a high risk, high reward play. If Vick plays well, look for the quarterback controversy to heat up.
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Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Written by Eric Stashin of www.rotoprofessor.com

 


Image courtesy of Icon SMI

 

LeSean McCoy showed enough in his rookie campaign to allow the Philadelphia Eagles to let oft injured veteran running back Brian Westbrook walk in the offseason.  Selected in the second round of the 2009 draft, McCoy now has a chance to put his skills on full display.

 

The question is, how good do you think he will be?  In abbreviated appearances (only 4 starts despite appearing in all 16 games) last season he managed to rush for 637 yards and 4 TD.  He averaged 4.1 yards per carry, a more then respectable number.

 

As has always been the Eagles nature, he was a great option in the passing game.  He had 40 receptions for 308 yards, showing the same type of ability as Westbrook did.  In their offense that uses a lot of screens, Westbrook accumulated as many as 90 catches in a season and was always a threat.

 

With Kevin Kolb manning the quarterback position, it’s quite possible that the focus on using the running backs increases.  Despite the ability Kolb showed last season, there’s a big difference starting week after week, as opposed to starting just one or two games (you can click here for my full thoughts on him).

 

He could easily feel the pressure.  The Eagles could easily script the plays in order to protect him, limiting the risks he’s forced to take.  That means more screens, more check downs to his running back or tight end.  That means more opportunities for McCoy to excel.

 

The offensive line, however, will need to hold up to allow him to run rampant.  The last time they stepped on the field, they allowed four sacks to the Dallas Cowboys, including a pair from DeMarcus Ware. continue reading »


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