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TALENTED MR. ROTO: Roster cut-downs

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foxsports admin

 
   
 

I have been doing fantasy drafts for a long time my friend. Many drafts over many years. And in that time - I've seen a lot of dumb stuff. But for start-from-scratch fantasy football, it's hard to beat what happened in one of my local 12 team start-from-scratch leagues last week. Standard scoring, you play 1 QB, 2 RB and can play a 3rd RB in a RB/WR Flex position. Okay, I get pick No. 1. I take Tomlinson. Thought about Portis, but I just like LT a smidge more. Either way, no complaints. Pick No. 2: The guy takes McNabb. Now don't get me wrong. McNabb is terrific - the best QB out there in my opinion. But at No. 2?! In a league where you play one QB and three - count 'em - three RB? What? Okay, the rest of round one the draft without any big shocks. Williams, Holmes, Faulk and then Portis at No. 6 (aargh! Why am I not at 6?) and so on. RB are the big commodity, of course. Before it swings back to our side, all RB plus Harrison, Owens and Moss go. We now come to team No. 2. With McNabb. Needing three RB. And they have just seen a ton of RB go. And he says - brace yourself - "I'll take Vick." Okay, now when I goto a draft I'm fairly quiet. Almost always, at least someone knows I write for Rotoworld, FoxSports.com and do a bunch of radio. With my picture on the first page of the Rotoworld magazine and the title of "executive editor" - it's even worse. I am already a target. "What's this guy know that I don't?" The answer, frankly, is not a lot. So I try to just draft and keep a low profile. There will plenty of time to be a pompous prick later, I figure. But I was so stunned I could not help myself. Before I can think, I blurt out "What!? Are you serious?!" He calmly looks at me and says "You'll see - when Vick explodes in week four, I'll be able to trade him." There are so many things wrong with that statement I don't know where to begin. First, in a 12 team league - EVERYONE will have a good QB. Who are you gonna trade with? Second, it's a little early to be drafting trade bait, you know? Third - there is no guarantee Vick comes back that soon and is that effective. Yes, he has enormous upside. And if he's stll there in round five - go for it. With my blessing. But in round two? When you have McNabb? What?! I grabbed Garner and with picks two and three. I was gonna wait, wait and wait some more on a QB. I URGE YOU to do the same. Lavernus Coles and Amos Zeroue were picks four and five. WR are a dime a dozen and you can always trade RB. I love Amos this year. Picks six and seven were and . I laugh at those that take WR early. Finally, in round eight, I take , who I love this year. I grabbed later and between the two of them, I think I am just fine. Atlanta Defense, , as WR No. 4 and some upside RB like Toefield and ... I think I am winning this league going away. By the way, the McNabb/Vick team? Their No. 1 RB is . Ouch. Let's get to it. four days, brother. We are four days from kickoff. CAN ... NOT ... WAIT. In the meantime, lots of cuts and roles being defined over the last days of preseason - let's take a tour around the league.

AFC EAST

BUFFALO: Well, the just traded to the . We'll deal with that when we get to Detroit. What that means is if you are wanting to back-up this year, you're best bet is former Texas Tech RB . has secured the No. 2 slot. MIAMI: The feel good story of 2002 is now looking for work as the Fins cut RB . He'll get a gig soon, but in the meantime, rookie RB beat him out. is who Ricky owners want anyways. NEW ENGLAND: It appears held off long enough to be named the starter. That said, I still like Faulk a little more than Smith and don't like either all that much. Avoid this situation if you can - if you're picking one, I like Faulk in the long run. NEW YORK JETS: I wrote this last week, but it bears repeating. - and his owners - are in for a long year. Curtis is a year older, coming off his worst year and had LaMONT JORDAN/RB/WR nipping at his heels. And let me ask you this. If you were a defensive coordinator, who would you try and shut down? Martin or 39 year old retread Vinny T? Exactly.

AFC NORTH

BALTIMORE: Rookie QB gets that starting nod and this doesn't effect that much. It's more of a FYI. Neither Boller nor Redman should be anywhere near you roster unless you are in a crazy deep league. It does mean you can drop down a notch as he had a special connection to Redman and I would push and up a notch. A rookie QB will look to his TE and RB to bail him out more often and with a rookie in there, expect Jamal to get the rock even more. CINCINNATI: Nothing exciting news wise here. Corey Dillion is a second rounder and is a nice No. 2 WR. That's it. CLEVELAND: You already know has been named the starter. And he is among my sleepers this year. At least, he was. OT has just been lost for the year. This is a huge blow to the OL and it means both Holcomb and sleeper RB should be dropped a notch or two. I still like both guys, but not as much. Don't reach for either. PITTSBURGH: Well, they waived Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, thankfully, I'll never have to write that name again. Nothing else of note here - you already know Zeroue is the starter and I think he's a top 15 RB before it's all said and done. Sleeper.

AFC SOUTH

HOUSTON: Bleah. You already know about and . And might be better than you think. But if you are in a keeper league where you need to draft rookie keepers, keep your eye on who has shown flashes in camp and who coaches are very high on. Keep an eye on him for now. INDIANAPOLIS: Looking for a sleeper TE in a deep league? Look no further than rookie . Pollard should be downgraded quite a bit and Clark should be looked at in deep leagues. Manning has been singing this guys praises to anyone who will listen. Edge has looked healthy in preseason... But it's a long season. If you're gambling on back-ups, I like Dominic Rhodes long term more than . Rhodes has been hurt, but is expected to suit up this weekend. By the way, his role hasn't changed or anything, but I just want it on record. is one of my big sleeper WR this year. JACKSONVILLE: is now looking for work, which means 's back-up - always draft worthy - is now rookie . With Taylor signing a four year deal in the off-season, I will bet anything you want that Talyor does not start all 16 games. When you get to the late rounds, Toefield should be one of the first RB you throw out. Matthew Hatchette and will be the starting WR while serves his four game suspension, but you won't find either guy on my team. TENNESSEE: In the battle to start opposite , has beaten out . Bennett is another one of my sleeper WR - I like him a lot this year. Another sleeper on this team? , who is the answer to the question "Who is 's back-up?" Rookie RB was hurt for a lot of camp, so he's No. 3. And George has looked terrible all preseason. Unless 72 yards on 30 carries does something for you. I wouldn't be shocked to see Holcombe become the guy sometime this year.

AFC WEST

DENVER: Nothing really of note here, although if Portis gets hurt, will be the guy who gets the call. remains No. 3, but I still like him a lot. KANSAS CITY: says he is 100%. I believe him. 's injury isn't serious - so they say - but it only gives me yet another reason to stay away from TE early. A healthy Gonzo, Shockey and Heap are better than the rest... but not so much so as to waste that early a pick on them. Let others do it while you grab high upside RB and WR. TE is failry deep this year - Crumpler, Jolley, Franks - there's a lot of mid tier guys that you would be just fine with. OAKLAND: Humming along, business as usual. I will say that rookie sure looked good and if Garner goes down, I bet it's him... and not that gets the call. SAN DIEGO: In case you need to win a bar bet, the WR on the other side of will be . He has managed to beat out . The second year WR is not bad, but there are better No. 3 and No. 4 WR out there who play on teams that pass a lot. Like .

NFC EAST

DALLAS: - and not - is the QB you want to ignore in Dallas. has managed to hang onto the starting job. The Adrian Murrell experiment is over... he's available once again. NEW YORK GIANTS: Super fast and deep sleeper pick has been put on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, which means he's out for the first seven games. keeps the No. 2 WR gig and there isn't any other name in -land that you don't know about - or that you should. PHILADELPHIA: The injury to DE is a blow to a defense that was already a bit thin. You no longer have to automatically bench all your RB when they play Philly (although they don't play a decent fantasy RB until in week four). Also, Duce Staleyis back and if you are deciding between Staley or Correll Buckhalter... I say go Staley. He's not coming off injury, he knows the system and he's a free agent at the end of the year. He's got something to prove. WASHINGTON: RB is no longer employed by Dan Snyder and company, which means is an even bigger sleeper. I admit - I am a fan and somewhat of a homer, but I don't think anyone believes in Trung Candidate. With being waived, is now the only other QB on the roster and he could put up big numbers in a hurry if something happens to Ramsey.

NFC NORTH

CHICAGO: has managed to hold off ... for now. But I won't draft him. Especially since the just lost starting LG for the year. Bad QB, Bad RB, decimated OL? No thanks. DETROIT: The just made a trade for . Apparently, they felt one former Bill RB wasn't enough. That said, he's officially the best RB they have - including Stewart. Bryson is starter now, but that will change the second Gary learns the playbook. He should be grabbed in leagues where he is available - I bet he keeps the job even when Stewart comes back. He'll be a good No. 3 RB and a so-so No. 2 RB in normal size leagues. GREEN BAY: ? Cut. Which means is the No. 2 and is the No. 3 behind . You should already know is the No. 2 opposite Driver, but just wanted to say that I love him as a sleeper this year. MINNESOTA: Many, many questions and e-mails asking about and my question is... why is no one asking about ? He scored 11 TD last year and when injured his ankle, head coach Mike Tice named him the starter. Smith will get some carries, but nothing near the goal line. Williams was valuable last year - and now that he has the starting gig, he's even more valuable. Great No. 3 RB and a solid No. 2.

NFC SOUTH:

ATLANTA: Jon Loomer, my esteemed former colleague, IMed me the other day asking if I was still pimping . Jerk. He's a good friend and we love to give each other hell but sadly, I have no come back, as the waived Jenkins and named as the No. 3 WR. That said, McCord can fly as well. Regardless, Jenkins value dropped with Vick's injury and I expect Jenkins to sign somewhere soon, but still. It hurts. I really liked the speedy Jenkins, on turf with Vick throwing to him. Sigh. CAROLINA: In a move that should not matter to you, is the starter at QB over . was cut, which means the back-ups to are and Rod Smart - better known as "He Hate Me" from the XFL. The say they want to run the ball 500 times this year. That's a lot of wear and tear on a RB. It's good to know all three names here. I like anybody carrying the ball for Carolina. NEW ORLEANS: After last week's column where I pimped Ki-Jana Carter, my cousin Ari sends me an e-mail telling me I'm nuts. Then Carter goes for 94 yards rushing along with 26 yards receiving for the in a preseason game and I'm feeling very smart and cocky. Then, today, Carter gets waived. I don't think the believe in that much, so I'm guessing they'll sign or or someone. Whoever becomes the back-up has value, obviously. TAMPA BAY: Nothing worth noting here. They will be very good on defense and very middle of the road on offense. Looks like Pittman, Jones and Stecker form a three headed RB monster with Alstott taking all the goal line carries.

NFC WEST:

ARIZONA: If you find yourself in a bar and the trivia question comes up, "Who are the starting WR in Arizona this year?" you can answer and . And then you can ignore them. may wind up back there and he would have a smidgen of value in deep leagues, but this team is a fantasy wasteland. ST. LOUIS: Former first round WR pick is cut. Many, including me, thought he would be the No. 3 WR in a high flying offense. That job now goes to rookie WR . Something to file away. SAN FRANCISCO: Looks like a RB split again. is listed as the starter, but he and will get carries. 's back seems fine. SEATTLE: Nothing to really report here either. You know all the starters. It should be a very good fantasy offense. No room this week for the mailbag, but I continue to answer as many as I can. Got to about 75 this week. When not reading about fantasy sports, writing about fantasy sports, Matthew Berry is happy to respond to as many e-mails as possible. E-mail him at TalentedMrRoto@aol.com
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