National Football League
May 8, 2008
Draft King Analysis
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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You might be surprised at who the second-best QB behind Tom Brady was as far as pass accuracy went in 2007. According to nfl.com, Brady lead the league with an 68.9 average, but right behind him with 68.8 was Jets QB Chad Pennington. Also noteworthy was Browns QB Derek Anderson with a distant 28th at a 56.5 percent completion rate.
Fantasy football fans looking for steals can look to the most recent draft for some potential hits. Larry Johnson is the starter in Kansas City, but given his injury history, University of Texas RB Jamaal Charles (#73 overall pick) could have a chance to end up with the primary running back role at some point. Meanwhile, UCF's Kevin Smith was drafted by the Lions (#64 overall) and could end up as the day one starter in Detroit if he can outperform Tatum Bell and Brian Calhoun.
|Jamaal Charles may turn into a breakout star, perhaps as soon as this season. (Icon SMI)
QB and WR are much tougher to find as a steal in the fantasy football ranks as rookies, and even a strong prospect like Matt Ryan might produce only pedestrian numbers -- if he gets to play much at all. Much better bets are players entering their third year (often a breakout year for wideouts), perhaps guys like Dolphins WR Derek Hagen or Chiefs QB Brodie Croyle.
As for wide receivers, the 2006 Draft was relatively weak at wideout, though, with only one wide receiver (Pittsburgh's Santonio Holmes) going in the first 35 spots. But hardcore fantasy fans would be wise to keep track of the various battles for starting spots in training camps, particularly in situations where players may be on the verge of a huge breakout. I'd like to list Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe here, but after 995 receiving yards in 2007 (despite a protracted negotiation process that delayed his arrival in camp, which was chronicled on HBO's Hard Knocks), he's hardly a sleeper.
It's time to start looking ahead to 2009 at this point. Consider, for example, the various early front-runners at quarterback. Florida's Tim Tebow is fascinating to consider as a potential NFL prospect -- can he take his physical, run-and-pass style to the pro level, and if so, where will he go? Can Louisville's Hunter Cantwell not only replace Brian Brohm, but also show enough in one year of action to earn a day one selection in 2009? And will Georgia QB Matt Stafford prove that he has the goods to perform on the next level?
At running back, Chris "Beanie" Wells of Ohio State is the standout star who will be the man to beat for the top spot if he goes pro. With Wells as a junior, and two All American defensive players in LB James Laurinaitis and CB Malcolm Jenkins returning for their senior seasons, it seems to me that Ohio State has the best chance of any team for winning the BCS Title.
One thing to note about the upcoming college football season: the powers that be have meddled with the game again, apparently forgetting how many problems they caused with the rule changes in 2006 that were all overturned, such as the clock starting on kick-offs, the clock starting on the respotting of a ball after a change of possession, etc. The new changes aren't quite so drastic, but going from 25 seconds to 40 seconds in the game clock is a terrible move, in my opinion.