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TALENTED MR. ROTO: Training Camp Questions

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Hey kids! Welcome to the Talented Mr. Roto, coming to you live and semi-direct from training camp. Well, training camp hasn't started yet. And I'm in my office, in front of a computer screen. But other than that, it's all true!

As camps are about to open, we here at TMR HQ thought we would take a quick tour around the training camps -- starting in the AFC this week. We do the North and South this week, Central and West next week. Then, onto the NFC, winding up in the beginning of August, where drafts are starting to be set and we'll get into the nitty gritty.

But for now, here are the major fantasy questions that need to answered in training camp this year -- in other words -- what should you be looking for as reports start trickling in.

AFC EAST

BUFFALO BILLS
The Question: With taking off for Atlanta, is second year WR ready to step up as a true No. 2? A smaller WR, is he going to be strong enough as an every down WR to keep defenses honest on ?

TMR Take: Reed won't put up Price's numbers, but he'll be a very solid No. 3 WR for you. Moulds will still be a stud. And a motivated by the drafting of , goes off.
MIAMI DOLPHINS
The Question: Who's under center? Fielder or Griese? And what does it do to the Miami offense?

TMR Take: Fiedler. Griese will be the trendy pick, but don't underestimate Fielder, a smart, cautious player who is a better fit for Norv Turner's ball-control, short-pass offense. The offense will stay the same regardless of who gets the call - it's all about Ricky in Miami. Bottom line: Norv likes Fiedler. Fiedler has nice chemistry with third year WR and TE . His teammates view Jay as a winner. Jury is still out on Griese on that one.
NEW YORK JETS
The Question: Is a legit answer to leaving? Pennington and Coles had such great chemistry - do we downgrade Chad? And/or will emerge as the No. 3/deep threat they need?

TMR Take: Conway is not Coles and he is injury-prone. That said, when healthy, he is a very underrated fantasy performer and he will have a lot more help around him than he did in San Diego. This should be the year Moss makes a real impact as well, giving Chad a deep threat while Chrebet goes across the middle. He enters his magical third year in the NFL and that's when a lot of WR finally figure everything out. Watch how he integrates into the offense, but expect the - and Pennington - to pick up where they left off last year, with a slight more emphasis on the running game.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The Question: Is done? If so, who runs the rock in New England?

TMR Take: Probably. Reports have him coming into camp in better shape than the past two years after having lost weight for the first time in the off-season. We'll see, but you won¿t find him on any of my fantasy rosters except maybe as a bye week RB. And since the jury's out on Smith and no one on the roster scares anybody, don't be surprised to see the Pats sign a free agent or make a trade before the season starts. Rookie RB from Virginia, out all last year with a knee injury but healthy now, is a wild card. Watch this situation closely, because a good running game is going to have a big impact on how Brady does this year.

AFC NORTH

BALTIMORE RAVENS
The Question: Is ready to run this offense? Does have anything left in the tank? And how's the health of .

TMR Take: We won't see rookie until mid-season but Robinson's health would go a long way to helping Redman be productive. Sanders is old, but brass are hoping that just getting out of Arizona will add ten years to his life. They might not be wrong. But I don¿t see any upside there. The real key is Robinson. If Marcus is 100% - they say he is, but we've heard that before - he has top 20 WR potential, especially lining up with and . A sleeper name you should watch during camp and pre-season.
CINCINNATI BENGALS
The Question: Does new Head Coach Marvin Lewis make them respectable?

TMR Take: Yes. Expect a new attitude to infuse a young and solid offensive line, becomes the work horse he wants, pushes Kitna to be better and , entering his magic third year in the NFL, has another big year. Watch how the entire team jells during camp - including rookie WR , who is very talented but is recovering from a neck injury.
CLEVELAND BROWNS
The Question: or under center?

TMR Take: Holcomb. He's better and has the confidence of his teammates. Watch this closely, however. It effects not just the value of these two players, obviously, but also the value of others. is a much more valuable WR, for example, if Couch wins the gig - they have a better rapport. didn't really come on last year until Holcomb started playing. Green will be one of the better RB this coming year regardless, but he and the rest of the are rooting for Kelly. Management is rooting for Couch and his big contract. This will be one of the closer training camp battles this year.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The Question: Amos or The Bus?

TMR Take: Amos. Bettis enters his 12th season in the NFL amid a lot of questions, including his health and, more importantly, his role in the offense. is a quicker, slasher type runner - a much better fit for the down-the-field style of rather than the plodding try-not-to-turn-it-over offense of Kordell. Last year, Bettis got 187 carries - and had 666 yards. Amos got only six more carries - a total of 193 - and finished with 762 yards. 100 more yards on six more carries? Who would you choose? Exactly. Amos also had a eight yard per catch average out of the backfield. Watch to make sure Cowher and Co don't do the stupid thing and name Bettis the starter - because if they do, you don't want him.

MATTY'S MAILBAG

We get e-mails. We like to answer some of them. The more concise the e-mail, the better the chance of getting it answered. Here we go:

Question: Matt, First Time, Long Time (Well, actually second time, but who is counting) Anyway, it maybe a little early for football, but the early bird catches the worm, right? Anyway, I am in an H2H 10 team keeper league. This year I kept three RB (going with the Faulk Strategy I guess) keeping , , and Edgerrin James. I have the fourth pick in my draft and this is the best of who will be available to me at that pick:

  • QB: , ,
  • WR: , , , , ,
  • TE:
  • RB: (might be picked at No. 3),

    I am leaning towards picking Tony knowing that one of the six WR should be available in the second round, and then I could grab a QB in the third. I also thought I could try and screw everyone and pick a RB and try and make a deal for a WR. What do you think? Hope this wasn't too long! Thanks for your help. Peace, Matt Pigskin Pride Answer: I actually think you take Davis if he is there. Davis is gonna be a stud this year in Carolina, where he's gonna get 35 carries a game. He's clearly the best available. There are a lot of QB this year - you'll get one in the third. I guess you can take Tony G. otherwise - I'm not a huge fan of taking TE's that early - especially since this year I think there are a lot of solid TE. (Shockey, Heap, McMichael, Jolley, B Miller, Franks, Stevens, etc) But I definitely wouldn't take a WR - I'm with you - one will be available in the 2nd. If not Davis, grab Garner. You can ALWAYS trade a RB and you'll be able to deal one of your RB for better position players than are available for you there. Question: First, thanks for giving me the edge necessary in baseball to be extremely competitive. I look forward to your insight every week. It's almost football season and I'm in a 10-team keeper league, standard scoring/yardage league. I can keep seven of the following eight. We start QB/RB/RB/RB/WR/WR/WR/D/K

  • QB: Culpepper
  • WR: Moss, Price, Porter
  • RB: A Thomas, Bennett, Barlow, Hambrick

    Thanks for your help. And one more question which if any, of the rookies would you consider drafting in the first round (consider the top 70 guys gone by the time we announce our keepers)

    Answer: Well, Bennett is probably out for the year, so I think that's the obvious choice. But I will say that I hate - hated him last year, hate him this year. He'd have been my choice if Bennett hadn't been injured. As for rookies, the guy who will replace Bennett (except on the goal line), is interesting as is (WR/DET). Willis McGahee (RB/BUF) for keeper leagues only. (RB/KC) - especially if Priest holds out or isn't healthy. But that's it for the first round. I like (WR/WSH) for really deep leagues because he knows the system and they'll be passing a lot and I never draft rookie QBs - rather have vets. For every Daunte, there's a lot more Cade's, you know?

    Question: Mr. Berry, is projected to go in the third to fifth rounds of this years fantasy drafts. Is it me or do you also see this as being sleeper pick? Wasn't he rated in the first round the last two years? What are your thoughts on him and the ?

    Answer: Yeah, because of all his injury problems, Warner has been dropping and I love him as a sleeper this year in third to fifth rounds. Make sure you grab around the eighth and you'll be set. Warner says his thumb is finally healed and the had a nice off-season, adding and Dave Wohlabaugh to , and to make one of the best offensive lines in the league. With more time and a healthy Faulk behind him, I expect Warner/Bulger to be a top five QB this year. will continue to be one of the top fantasy offenses this year.

    Question: I'm in a 16 team keeper football league, live draft and all that jazz, normal scoring and team defense. What draft strategy would go best, do I pick a running back and then go quarterback, what is your advice. Help!

    Answer: You go RB, RB, RB again, and then grab a QB. The Rotoworld Draft Guide is available online now and on newsstands soon and we have a whole strategy section devoted to drafts, why you should draft who where and why, but, quickly, there are A LOT of quality QB this year and in a 16 team league, RB are gold. You'll always be able to trade one. And you'll still get a quality QB. WR are a dime a dozen after the top few - you'll get some decent ones and can dela for an upgrade if needed.

    Question: I play in a 10-team keeper league that uses the following scoring system. Six points for TD, one point for every 15 yards rushing, and one point for every 15 yards receiving. I will have a chance to select one of the following RBs. , , or . Which back do you recommend to pick?

    Answer: Since it's a keeper league, I think I'd grab Lewis. He came back from knee surgery last year and was sixth in the league in rushing. Another year away from surgery, an improved offense and his youth make him not only a stud for this year, but many years to come. Grab rookie (RB/BAL) late in the draft for insurance, but he's your guy. I like both Greens and I think Taylor, now with a long-term contract, gets hurt, but Lewis is who I like the most.

    That's all we have space for this week. Thanks for reading! See you next week!

    Matthew Berry has been playing fantasy sports for over 19 years. Known as "The Talented Mr. Roto" he is the lead columnist for Rotoworld.com and was the highest scoring expert in the regular season in last years World Championship of Fantasy Football. E-mail him at TalentedMrRoto@aol.com

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