By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer
Watching last Thursday’s game, it became clear that Santonio Holmes is more important to the Steelers’ offense than Willie Parker is…Marc Bulger was one of the five biggest busts in fantasy football this year…Steven Jackson seems to break off a big run every single week. He’s going to be an excellent value pick in fantasy leagues next year.
It seems so long ago, but do you realize Steve Smith had 15 catches for 271 yards and three touchdowns through two weeks this season? It rarely happens, but when both he and Jake Delhomme are healthy at the same time, he’s fantasy football’s best wide receiver…Terrell Owens had a big 2007, but fantasy owners should remember he faded down the stretch, is injury-prone and will turn 35 years old next season; he’ll probably go too high for my taste.
Over the last five games, Eli Manning has completed 79 of his 175 pass attempts, good for a 45 percent clip. His 6.2 YPA and 19:26 TD:turnover ratio are truly atrocious…There isn’t a bigger risk/reward player to draft in fantasy leagues next year than Brandon Jacobs…Tom Coughlin has officially passed Mike Shanahan as the league’s rushing guru, as he continuously produces huge numbers on the ground no matter who is toting the ball. Ahmad Bradshaw, anyone?
I’d argue that the Packers turned in one of the worst performances any team has all season long last Sunday…Who cares what Chicago’s record is with Kyle Orton starting at quarterback? That’s like saying what a good year the starting pitcher with a 4.65 ERA and 15-7 record had…It’s bad for the league that both Green Bay and Dallas appear to be limping into the postseason…If no competition is brought in, how high does Ryan Grant go in fantasy leagues next year?…Greg Jennings can’t make it past the early third round, either…How about Green Bay punter Jon Ryan’s day last week? He had two punts blocked, also dropped a snap and booted a 9-yarder, finishing with a 15.0 net.
I would be shocked if Rudi Johnson is back in a Bengals’ uniform next season…Derek Anderson has not been very good over the second half of the season, and the Browns would be wise to enter next year with both Anderson and Brady Quinn on the roster…I’m not sure what to make of Carson Palmer’s season, but he’s had one of the most disappointing campaigns in the league this year.
While not exactly Rocco Baldelli territory – after all, he’s set the bar at an almost unreachable height – Kevin Jones has become extremely injury-prone. He simply can’t be trusted…Playing for a bad team, Tony Gonzalez has quietly put together one of the best seasons of his career at age 31…Larry Johnson was someone to avoid in fantasy leagues this year coming off the record-setting 416 carry 2006 season, but this year’s injury may mean fresh legs for next year. The 3.5 YPC is a concern, but he’s still just 28 years old and a beast, so he may be a pretty good value pick in 2008.
If Andre Johnson isn’t selected within the first 15 picks during next year’s fantasy drafts, I’d be shocked…Peyton Manning is the best player in the NFL, but he simply can’t be drafted in the first three rounds of fantasy leagues. There are five QBs within five TD passes of his 31 scores and four other signal callers with more yardage. That position simply has to be waited on.
JaMarcus Russell has looked nothing short of terrible during his brief work in the NFL, and I hate to say I told you so, but that team would be sitting much prettier if they went Calvin Johnson over him instead…Maurice Jones-Drew didn’t live up to my high expectations this year, but I love him as a value pick next season with Fred Taylor’s strong finish in everyone’s mind. Taylor is about to turn 32 years old, which is ancient for a running back.
For those of you still playing fantasy football during Week 17, join a different league. That said, Pierre Thomas is my sneaky play of the week…New Orleans is my “bet of the week” Sunday for these reasons: 1)New Orleans was badly beaten last week while Chicago dominated 2)New Orleans actually does have something to play for 3)Chicago ended New Orleans’ season last year and 4)Kyle Orton is starting at quarterback for the Bears.
Anquan Boldin was flat-out dominant last week…Anyone who drafts Jerious Norwood in next year is going to hate Jason Snelling with a passion…If you prorate Kurt Warner’s stats from his 10 starts this season over a full 16-game slate, here are the results: 32 touchdowns and 30 turnovers.
With a decent defense, offensive line and running game, the 49ers would be solid with a competent quarterback. Shaun Hill may very well qualify…Patrick Willis had one of the most dominating games of the season Sunday, racking up 20 tackles, recording two sacks, defending one pass and forcing another fumble. It helps to play on a defense always on the field, but this kid is the real deal. He’s recorded 29 more tackles than anyone else in the NFL this season.
Ironic that Laurence Maroney was one of the best fantasy running backs during the two most crucial weeks of the season. Too bad most of his owners were likely already knocked out thanks in no small part to him…Tom Brady is going to go in the top-5 of an awful lot of fantasy drafts next year, but I’d advise against it. After a magical first half of the season (9.1 YPA, 30 TDs), he’s been only “great” since then (7.5 YPA, 18 TDs). A 35-touchdown season from a quarterback simply isn’t as valuable as a stud running back. Plus, this was hardly an anomaly how the inclement weather during Weeks 14-16 hurt his stats when it mattered most.
Is there a more overrated coach in sports than Brian Billick?…I hope D.J. Hackett ends up on a bunch of my fantasy teams next year…Do we really have to be subjected to the Todd Collins led Redskins in the playoffs? What’s that point spread going to be? Seattle minus 14?
I haven’t heard this talked about much, but the Madden cover jinx most certainly struck again this year…The Titans/Browns playoff scenario is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen. The Browns could start me at quarterback and have essentially the same odds of making the playoffs (a tie isn’t going to happen).
Is there really even a debate regarding whom Washington should start during the playoffs? Jason Campbell got 6.5 YPA this season, while Todd Collins has gotten 8.7 with a 4:0 TD:INT ratio. If they are in the postseason, it also means the team went 4-0 with Collins starting. Campbell is going to be coming off a pretty serious knee injury. This one’s a no-brainer…Tarvaris Jackson is no friend of Adrian Peterson’s fantasy owners. He’s got to be able to pick apart defenses absolutely loading the box to stop the run.
With the secondary showing vast improvement and the running game working, it’s too bad Philip Rivers is quarterback for the Chargers. They’d be a very interesting team with someone else at the helm. As is, look for San Diego to get blown out Round 2 against the Colts…Brandon Marshall will enter 2008 as a top-30 fantasy player.