Hey Guys... I wasn't getting a huge response from my fantasy musings so I've scaled back.
I didn't want to leave the few fantasy enthusiasts in here hanging, so I'll offer some "condensed " notes for the up-coming drafts.
Hope this helps....
* Projected rounds assume a Standard 12 team 20 round draft.
Players to avoid:
1)Clinton Portis: I struggled with him b/c I think he's great. I just feel that he's not a 1st or high 2nd round talent and he represents a bigger risk than reward. His career has peaked and 1200 yds is a stretch. It is also not worth handcuffing him to Betts. You're better off with Slaton, B Westbrook/McCoy(or Dunn) or S Jackson/A Pittman or Addai/D Brown or R Brown/R Williams or M Barber/ F Jones or C Johnson/ L White
2) Eddie Royal: Eddie is also a good player and deserving of being drafted, just not as a #2 WR in the 5th round. His numbers will come down with Orton or Simms, so draft him closer to 7th round or later.
3) Matt Cassell: He'll go much higher than he should. He still needs to prove that he was not a product of "the System". With a core of ancient WRs, mediocre TEs and RBs, I can't see much fantasy success this year for Matt.
4) Lance Moore: Buyer beware. Lance was a fill in guy and his stats represent the losses of Colston, Shockey, Bush, and Meacham. I have no indication that he's solidified the #2 spot and will produce equally. Remember Meacham was the #2 and is working with as a starter once again. With Dv Henderson also in the mix and Shockey back, don't overvalue Moore.
5) Darren McFadden: I really like McFadden but not in the high 3rd -4th rounds. His success may go the opposite of OAK's. If OAK is winning, M Bush will prove to be a big part of the reason and Al Davis will be sure the playoffs is the priority. If they're loosing, he'll want to play the players he's paying big$ to justify the expense. McFadden is good, but Bush is a monster talent than needs majority carriers. Factor in Fargas who will get his 500yds and you're left with a poor man's Reggie Bush, and that's not saying too much... right now anyways.
6) Beanie Wells: I generally don't like fantasy rookies, but this guy scares me to death. It would be nice to have the starting RB in one of the NFL's best offenses, but Hightower has something to prove. He's improved from last year and will likely hold off the injured Wells. Also, Wells is not a great compliment to Hightower so he'll likely be a pure backup.
7) Derrick Ward: It's hard to argue that TB won't play someone they're paying big bucks to, but Earnest Graham is still the starter? Factor in a healthy Cadillac Williams and Ward will struggle to be the goto guy. Be careful not to draft him as a pure #1.
HM: Brett Farve QB MIN, Lendell White RB TEN, Roy Williams WR DAL
Mid Round gems:
1) Carson Palmer QB CIN: Everyone is sleeping on him. Despite his resurgence in popularity via Hard Knocks, Palmer is poised to rebound from injury and return to form. IMO he has comparable weapons to 2006 and the O-Line is just as questionable as it was then. You can avoid QB until the 5th round and nab Palmer. Don't count on him week -to-week and try and platoon him with a solid #1 for when he plays PIT and BAL. You could partner him with Hasselback, Delhome, Garrard or Campbell and you'll be just fine.
2) Cedric Benson RB CIN: Like Palmer, Benson has lots of talent. He played well enough last year to convince me he'll be fine, especially behind a line that can only get better. Expect more TDs(8+) and 1150+yds. A solid #2 that you can get in the 6th-8th round.
3) Tory Holt WR JAX: He'll be one of the last few #1 WRs to go, maybe round 5-6. He has a veteran schedule and is not being over worked. Camp reports note he is as fresh as ever. Why I like him is for 2 reasons; Garrard, who is decent, finally has a true #1 to play with and Troy Williamson is impressive as a deep guy, which will free Holt from double team. Expect 80+ catches for sure.
4) Felix Jones RB DAL: Don't feel bad about pulling the trigger on Jones too early. If he's there in the 4th or 5th consider him. I can not see him sitting behind Barber much longer. He'll definitely be a 10 carry back, but probably be 17 by mid-season. With his big play potential, we could see a few 11 carry 100+ yd games.
5) Percy Harvin WR MIN: He's moved from sleeper to mid round target for most teams. I feel good about him in the slot with Farve on consistent 3 step drops. With Berrian always getting hurt, he could get a fair share or opportunities. Farve's arrival also helps raise the stock of TE Shiancoe.
6) Justin Gage WR TEN: Mr. Consistency. Gage will slide way down and prove to be a solid #2 or very good #3. Kerry Collins has a good synergy with him and they'll find more opportunities working together once again.
7) Deshaun Jackson WR PHI: McNabb and Philly have struggled to find a feature WR even when TO was in town. IMO they found one, and McNabb will do everything to get the ball in Jackson's hands and as often as possible. Expect more slot action and less RB opportunities in the passing game. This will also preserve Westbrook more.
HM: Donnie Avery WR STL(injury), Knoshown Moreno RB DEN, Donald Brown RB IND, Kevin Smith RB DET, Santana Moss WR WAS, Jerico Cotchery WR JET, Vincent Jackson WR SD, Rashard Mendenhall RB PIT, Jeremy Shockey TE NO, Zach Miller TE OAK, John Carlson TE SEA, Owen Daniels TE HOU, Ken Walters WR HOU, ray Rice RB BAL
1) Brandon Pettigrew TE DET: Matt Stafford will start and Pettigrew could end up pushing Calvin Johnson as the goto guy in Detroit. (Unlikely) He is as advertised and will be a great late pick up for keeper leagues. The hype is low out of Detroit, he'll make a good backup TE.
2) Austin Collie WR IND: Wayne, Clark and Gonzalez will all get their catches, but don't forget how much Manning loves his #3, he can 50+ catches to offer and Collie is a favorite over Garcon to be that guy. He's servicable as a backup WR and could be a gem is Wayne or Gonzo miss time.
3) Earl Bennett WR CHI: Never mind D Hester, he is still developing (see also Ginn) Bennett and Culter already know each other and Bennett is making a strong push to be the goto guy.
4) Edge James RB SEA: I was looking closely at Julius Jones. Why was SEA reluctant to bring in any competition? Jones was decent in DAL and maybe SEA had confidence in him? I was looking at him a s solid #3 RB maybe a sleeper #2, then Edge was signed. Edge is a better back than Jones and I have to assume at some point he'll take over full time, especially if SEA struggles and has to pass more, they'll need Edge's pass-blocking and receiving skills. I exepct SEA to struggle. SEA has a good rushing schedule for fanasty playoffs!
5) Matt Leinart QB ARZ: With ARZ and Warner's success, everyone has forgotten about Leinart. Keeper leagues should seek him out late in the draft and he's definitely a handcuff for Warner in all leagues. Warner is not getting any younger and it's only a matter of time before injury or the Leinart controversy resurfaces. How can you not have success in that system... Where's Neil Lomax?
6) Jermichael Finley TE GB: Rodgers had success with Donlad Lee last year, but Finley offers so much more. He'll be worked in and by season's end will secure himself as a featured weapon with GB at TE.
7) Brian Robiskie WR CLE: Like I said I don't like rookies, but this guy is the most Pro-ready WR of the lot. Nicks, Barden and HeywardBey are all good options but Robiskie has not disappointed. IMO B Edwards is a little overrated and without Stallowrth and especially K2, I expect more balls to get to the #2 and #3 WRs. Expect Robiskie to leap Patten as the #2 during the season.
QB: If your not getting Brees, Brady, Manning, Rivers, or Rogers then make sure you get Schaub, McNabb, Warner, Romo or Palmer as your #1. Otherwise, let QBs slide and platoon a solid combination later.
RB: RB by committee is really clouding this year's options. Put a high value on the true #1s that are getting 20+ carries a game. Make sure you handcuff your big guns- Peterson/C Taylor- Forte/K Jones - LT/Sproles etc. Also get backup RBs, especially starting #1s, because you don't want to give up on bye weeks and they're invaluable trade options for teams in need. BU RB is more valuable than your #2 WR in most leagues.
WR: It's always wiser to get a big producer early and platoon 3rd tier guys/sleepers for your #2/#3 slots, because you'll find tons of FA WRs who will become starters from injury.
TE: Like QBs, if your not getting one of the big 5, Clark, Whitten, Gates, Gonzo- then let them slide. You can get great value with Cooley, Olsen, Daniels, Carlson, Winslow, Keller, and Shiancoe much later.
K: Longwell, Crosby, Vinatieri, Gotskowski, Bironas, Akers, Kaedling, Elam, Rakers, Graham, then everyone else. Don't be the first wait until #7 is picked then get a good one.
DEF: After PIT, MIN, TEN, GIA and BAL there is a log jam at the second tier. Also factor in Specials if they count for your DEF because the pool will get even bigger. MIA JET and GB are good late options.