Thursday, August 18, 2005

Archer's Draft Analysis



DAFFY-KNEE-SHUN:

Anal - (adj) Of or near the anus.

Lysis - (comb form) a loosening, dissolving or destruction thereof.

This explains why you feel so crappy about anything that involves analysis. Nobody likes having that area of their body "loosened" or "destroyed". I've talked to a few proctologists like the one in the picture here who could tell you a few very amusing stories about real-life anal-lysis, some of them self-inflicted, but I digress.

Let's get down to business and analyze this year's draft. I've been compiling data from numerous varied sources. NFL and ESPN mostly, but I've got Football Sharks, Football Guys, and dozens of other people who are probably just as knowledgeable as me on the subject, but they have figured out a way to make money offering their advice. anyway, I've got a good handle on what's happening out there so far, so I can share with you all what to expect.

The best way to explore this draft is to break it down by individual rounds. let's pretend we're in a standard scoring, redraft 10 team league. I'll focus on the offensive players mainly, but I'll have a section at the end that deals with individual defensive players for those of you who have the need of that information.

Here's how the first 10 rounds of your draft should look.

Round 1

1.1 LaDanian Tomlinson
1.2 Shaun Alexander
1.3 Priest Holmes
1.4 Peyton Manning
1.5 Edgerrin James
1.6 Willis McGahee
1.7 Deuce McAllister
1.8 Daunte Culpepper
1.9 Jamal Lewis
1.10 Randy Moss

There's only one other site I've run across that is actually putting Priest Holmes down around #8 on their top10 RB lists, which put him in the second round. That's where he should be folks! *Ducking tomatoes* I know, I know! But listen, we saw a portent of things to come last year and we need to take of the rose-colored beer goggles and face the facts. Priest is not immortal. He won't last all year this year either, not even close. So be a wise fantasy owner if you must grab Holmes at #3 or 4, and make sure to get your handcuff later, you'll need it. I'll be discussing Larry Johnson in the 6th round.

Peyton Manning shouldn't be #4 overall, either. He's bound to have a little drop off from last year's phenomenal numbers. He can still throw 40 TD's this year and make you about 20 points a game, which isn't bad, but it isn't good enough to warrant him going this high. He should be where Culpepper is.

Culpepper won't have one of his better years, either - not without a Moss-type receiver. Without Randy or a strong running game, Daunte will face a very challenging season and he will suffer for it. Tice's offensive scheme is not good enough to plug in just any old wide receiver like Burleson and still get the same numbers that Moss brought. Nate is an average receiver, and he's Culpepper's best option this year. I expect Minnesota to keep in games through their strengthened defense this year, not by their explosive offense.

Speaking of Moss, he's got a new team and quarterback to get used to in Oakland. It would be wonderful if Kerry Collins had enough poise to stay in the pocket without getting so excited that he forgot what color of uniform his receivers were wearing. Look for more of the same this year. Moss will be very frustrated... and his numbers will slump. He'll still be a top 5 WR, but I would rather have Chad Johnson here in the first round. The Bengals have all the right pieces this year, including a young and now seasoned quarterback.

Round 2

2.1 Clinton Portis
2.2 Domanick Davis
2.3 Ahman Green
2.4 Kevin Jones
2.5 Terrell Owens
2.6 Julius Jones
2.7 Corey Dillon
2.8 Rudi Johnson
2.9 Tiki Barber
2.10 Donovan McNabb

I'm not convinced that the Gibbs x 2 Era at Washington will make any drastic improvements on offense as long as they continue to keep Patrick Ramsey as their #1 Quarterback. Until that change is made, I would expect Clinton Portis' numbers to suffer. He also has the ex-Denver running back curse going for him. I'm certain that I would look good as a Denver running back. That's not taking away from Clinton's talents, but Shanahan seems to know how to maximize the potential of his backs better than most coaches around the league. Clinton needs some blockers, too if he's ever going to get back up around 4.5 or 5.0 yards per carry.

If you're making the turn in a serpentine draft and just picked up a stud WR like Moss or Johnson, and you see running backs like Corey Dillon, Domanick Davis or Ahman Green still on the board... wouldn't you rather have one of them instead of Portis? I would! Switching Dillon and Portis makes better sense. Julius averaged over 100 yards per game in 4 starts last year, and has a more cohesive offensive unit now with Bledsoe and Parcell's re-uniting. I would switch him with Kevin Jones, since I think JJ will have a slightly better year.

Round 3

3.1 Marvin Harrison
3.2 Torry Holt
3.3 Chad Johnson
3.4 Steven Jackson
3.5 Curtis Martin
3.6 Javon Walker
3.7 Brian Westbrook
3.8 LaMont Jordan
3.9 Andre Johnson
3.10 Joe Horn

Here in round 3 is where all the rest of the top tiered WR's not named Moss or Owens hang out. So far this year, it's a dead heat at 3.1 for Harrison, Holt and CJ. They are ranging from 17th pick overall to 24th pick overall. Harrison is my favorite, but I think Wayne and Stokley will continue to benefit again this year from double team coverage on Marvin leaving his numbers less than what pre-season expectations dictate.

This is Marvin Lewis' third year as head coach of the Bengals, and if he follows the same path of his successful predecessors then he's going to the playoffs this year. Palmer and CJ will have to put up some awesome numbers to accomplish that and I think they can.

Javon Walker, Andre Johnson, and Joe Horn are pulling up the rear of the 3rd round. Walker's hold-out has surely helped to decrease his stock some so far this year. With his projected performance for this year and the great year he had last year, he should be in the top 3 right behind TO. I think Walker's numbers will not be as high as people expect. Driver will be the one to have a better year. AJ has been a solid performer and last year people were big on the Carr/AJ connection, but they weren't mature enough for real big numbers last year. However, this year seems more likely for them to really gel and start fulfilling those heightened expectations. Horn has also been a very consistent performer on a very average offense.

Four running backs are going in round 3 and only one of them is on my "watch' list... LaMont Jordan. Martin should be the solid leader for this grouping followed by Jordan, Steven Jackson and Brian Westbrook. I don't think Jackson is going to have a better year than everyone else in this list, but he may have better numbers than Westbrook if only because he stays healthy all year.

Round 4

4.1 Hines Ward
4.2 Tatum Bell
4.3 Chris Brown
4.4 Antonio Gates
4.5 Tony Gonzalez
4.6 Ronnie Brown*
4.7 Reggie Wayne
4.8 Roy Williams
4.9 Nate Burleson
4.10 Carnell Williams*

*- rookie

Ward should be in round 3 with Horn, but again a contract hold-out has effected how comfortable people have been drafting a player. However, his stock should rise again now that he's signed.

The glaring and obvious trend to see here in this round is the fact we have another TE worthy of Gonzo status in the upper echelon. Gates is actually in a dead heat with Gonzalez. Brees staying in San Diego may have helped keep Gates' stock so high this year, plus the lack of any real new developments to improve the Charger WR corps. It appears that Gates will once again be the prominent feature of the Charger passing attack.

Reggie Wayne is our first #2 WR to show up, and I agree that he should be the head of this class of WR's, but I think Roy has the potential to put up better numbers this year in Detroit. I would rather have any receiver in round 5 over Nate Burleson. Boldin should be up in round 4, since Arizona looks like a much improved offense with some explosive weapons.

Tatum Bell is another running back on my watch list, despite all the rumors and speculations, I believe he will emerge as the #1 feature back for Denver. I don't see a RBBC happening under Shanahan. The main concern with both Bell and Brown is whether they can stay healthy all season long. If I were looking to pick one of these guys up then I would also have to consider picking up Travis Henry and Mike Anderson as insurance.

Ronnie Brown tops the rookie class of backs this year and it's obvious that he is sorely needed in Miami to start immediately. But I like another rookie who's also needed immediately, but not in such a dire straits kind of situation... that is JJ Arrington in Arizona. I've already mentioned the passing game, but I think this will be a very well rounded offensive attack, which makes me believe Arizona is on the verge of becoming a playoff contender. JJ has the build and running style that Denny Green loves. He's got a low center of gravity and very elusive with lots of leg power. He's a franchise type of back with a lot of future and a good coach to bring in to the league properly. "Cadillac" is also in the same situation at Tampa with Gruden. He's a close second to Arrington, then Ronnie Brown and last is Benson, who is the first player taken in the next round.

Round 5

5.1 Cedric Benson*
5.2 Michael Clayton
5.3 Darrell Jackson
5.4 Steve Smith
5.5 Larry Fitzgerald
5.6 Fred Taylor
5.7 Trent Green
5.8 Marc Bulger
5.9 JJ Arrington*
5.10 Anquan Boldin

Finally, Fred Taylor is no longer considered a top tier feature back. His numbers have not warranted that designation for the past couple of years now. Seeing Fred here means that he's a #3 running back, used only for bye weeks or an injury to one of your top two backs. Perfect placement!

We also have several lower tiered #1 WR's, which usually start making up the #2 WR spots on most fantasy squads since there are 32 NFL teams and only 10 or 12 fantasy teams. Michael Clayton and Larry Fitzgerald are my favorites in this group. I've already discussed my excitement about Arizona, so I'll abstain from making any more comments. Clayton had a very surprising year last year with Griese, and I think that will continue into this year. Griese is a self-destructive kind of quarterback though, so my enthusiasm is tempered.

Trent Green and Marc Bulger are both excellent quarterbacks that have consistently put up good numbers with their respective teams the past few seasons. The loss of Johnnie Morton along with moving Samie Parker up into that slot has me excited for the Kansas City passing game. It's always been underrated in the shadow of Holmes, but Green seems to always get decent fantasy points, now he has a young new receiver to throw to, which should help. Brett Favre should also be up in this quarterback grouping. This year looks like another bad year for the Packer defense, so Brett and company are going to have to be a prolific point-scoring machine, which means a lot of passing. It also means Favre will have the opportunity to throw a lot of interceptions, which has been his only downside.

Round 6

6.1 DeShaun Foster
6.2 Derrick Mason
6.3 Warrick Dunn
6.4 Muhsin Muhammad
65 Larry Johnson
6.6 Lavernues Coles
6.7 Duce Staley
6.8 Michael Vick
6.9 Kevin Barlow
6.10 Carson Palmer

Three of the wide receivers in this round have new homes this year. Mason in Baltimore, Muhammad in Chicago and Coles has returned to New York. I am most excited about Coles returning to Jets territory. He and Pennington had such good numbers back in 2002, I'd like to see those kinds of numbers return for both of them. Pennington's off-season shoulder surgery is a concern here though, which is probably why Coles isn't going any higher. Mason in Baltimore doesn't really do anything for me, unless Anthony Wright gets the starting QB job. Boller has never impressed me with his vertical passing ability... or lack of. The fact he's had no wide receivers really hasn't been the issue. But now that Billick and the Ravens have committed to developing the Ravens passing game... I think Kyle Boller's days are numbered. I like Mark Clayton and it pained me to see him drafted by a team known for not having a passing game. I hope they bring in a decent QB before they lose Clayton to another team. This year... I expect Heap to be the leading receiver again... just like year before last.

Muhammad in Chicago is my least favorite of these new pairings. Muhsin had such a great year last year and he took advantage of it for one last decent contract, but the fact he's in Chicago means that his career is fading quickly, he won't ever see the numbers he had last year again. Wide receivers who wear Bears' uniforms just don't make it to the top.

Remember I said I would be talking about Larry Johnson in this round? Here we are. Larry should go around 6.7 since Priest is going at 1.3. If you're looking to steal a badly needed handcuff make sure to take note of this. Johnson on the board after 6.7 is an open invitation. Other backs going in round 6 are Foster, Dunn, Staley and Barlow. I like that order. Dunn and Foster are very good #3 running backs and the first two may even make decent #2 backs.

Michael Vick is also going in this round. I've heard someone say recently that he puts up numbers like a #2 running back, so it's only fitting that he's down here in the 6th round with a bunch of #2 backs. Personally, I would never draft Vick. His playing style is exciting to watch, but it sucks from a fantasy standpoint and it will also shorten his career due to the wear and tear he needlessly puts on his body. He should learn to be a passing QB but, then, there wouldn't be any hype because he would be average at best. Carson Palmer is another QB in this round, and one I have my eyes on as a strong top 10 QB of the future. I would rank him higher than Vick.

Round 7

7.1 Jerry Porter
7.2 Drew Bennet
7.3 Jason Witten
7.4 Todd Heap
7.5 Thomas Jones
7.6 Michael Bennett
7.7 Brett Favre
7.8 Alge Crumpler
7.9 Lee Evans
7.10 Isaac Bruce

Jason Witten, Todd Heap and Alge Crumpler round out the top 5 TE's as selections in round 7. Crumpler has been the only consistent receiver that Vick uses since he doesn't have any vertical passing game. Witten is an emerging TE that I would put on the top of this grouping. So, it appears others feel the same way I do. I've mentioned the Dallas reunion of Parcells and Bledsoe already, and Witten should benefit from this. I also will predict that many fantasy owners will find themselves rummaging through the waiver wire to find Terry Glenn at some point this season.

Michael Bennett... or "Matchstick Man" as I like to call him, for some reason he still has a loyal following willing to draft him this high. I'm not one of them. I'd rather draft Mewelde Moore up in round 6 where Kevin Barlow is and not even mess with Bennett. But I admit that round 6 is too high for Moore, we'll talk about him later.

Drew, the other Bennett, could have a great year if McNair stays healthy or gracefully steps aside rather than trying to play through the pain so that Volek can continue to establish his leadership of the team, which is inevitable. Calico also has an excellent chance to put up decent #2 WR numbers. The Titans running game is suspect, which means that their offense may not be as balanced as it needs to be in order for the passing game to be successful. I would approach any Titan offensive player with some degree of caution this year. Mason's departure is a good thing for Bennet fans, but I think Tennessee is going to struggle with another below .500 year.

Lee Evans is an emerging #2 WR with a lot of potential. He had some great games near the end of last season, but that was with Bledsoe. Losman may not have the field vision to find Evans as often this year. Rookie quarterbacks, and Losman is for all practical purposes, seem to have narrow vision and focus only on their veteran receivers like Moulds who are team leaders and easily earn the trust of a young quarterback. This may hurt Evans for the first part of this year.

Round 8

8.1 Ravens DST
8.2 Tom Brady
8.3 Chris Chambers
8.4 Eric Moulds
8.5 Plaxico Burress
8.6 Jeremy Shockey
8.7 Lee Suggs
8.8 Kerry Collins
8.9 Matt Hasselbeck
8.10 Jerome Bettis

Tom Brady at #9 overall on the Quarterback list seems about right, but I would expect him to go right after Palmer or before, instead of Vick. Brady is definitely a great value for QB this late in the draft. The other two QB's going this late are Hasselbeck and Collins, neither of which I like. Drew Brees, Aaron Brooks or maybe even Chad Pennington are QB's I'd rather have rounding out the top 10 and going in this round.

Some WR's going in round 8 include; Burress, Moulds, and Chambers. The situation in Miami with Frerotte possibly getting the starting QB job has my interest. Chambers has never been a receiver I paid much attention to because he didn't have a decent QB throwing to him. I don't know if Gus will be any better, but it's a situation I will monitor in the first few weeks of the season. If it appears the status quo is still in place, I will continue my Chambers bashing.... unashamed.

Burress in New York doesn't seem to be a very good mix personality wise, but he is needed. If he and Eli don't gel this year, and Plaxico's mouth doesn't get him shipped out by 2006, then I can see him putting up decent numbers again.

Lee Suggs is the only running back going in this round. I'd rather have Reuben Droughns who will be mentioned shortly in the next round. Shockey's injury risk is the only thing I can tell that is keeping him this low and out of top 5 TE territory.

The Ravens DST is our first defense to show up in the draft. I wouldn't spend an early draft choice on a defense, unless I wanted the Patriots, which no one is drafting in the first 10 rounds this year. Big mistake folks! I think there's always an emerging defense every year that you can grab off the waiver wire by mid-season and stick with the rest of the way, so why worry too much about drafting one. Some other defenses that are looking good this year, but that no one is going to draft until late... if at all: Detroit, Arizona, Jets and Minnesota. Back to the Patriots defense for just a sec, I know they lost some key players and a defensive coordinator, but Mangini is the coordinator and he's also very good... if not better than Crennel. Bruschi is out, a very heartbreaking story, and a big hole considering his emotional leadership and passion for the game, but the Patriots got busy and brought in Chad Brown from Seattle and Marty Beisel from Kansas City, who I think will be great additions in the linebacker corps. I am still a little worried about the loss of Ty Law and how that will effect the Patriots passing defense.

Round 9

9.1 Donald Driver
9.2 Santana Moss
9.3 Deion Branch
9.4 Jimmy Smith
9.5 Ashley Lelie
9.6 Brandon Stokley
9.7 Travis Henry
9.8 Dallas Clark
9.9 Steelers DST
9.10 Reuben Droughns

Big grouping of WR's here with Driver, Branch, Moss, Smith, Lelie and Stokely. I'd rather have Driver or Branch. Branch will emerge even more as Brady's #1 target now that Patten is gone. I've already discussed Driver, who is ready for a breakout year since he and Favre have had all this time in training camp to bond, while Walker sat at home playing Madden '05 on his Gameboy.

Santana Moss is the one WR here that doesn't belong as high as he is. Jimmy Smith is more attractive than Moss... fantasy wise... c'mon. Neither of those guys would make my top 10 rounds list. I'd rather have Kennison, Colbert or maybe Calico.

Droughns would be my choice of a late pick up at running back. He should do just as well as Suggs, and Crennel has stated he'd let the best guy in camp start or, if they both do well, he'd play them both equally. Either way, Droughns isn't going to be your starting back, but he makes a decent back up, without the injury concerns of a Henry or Faulk.

Round 10

10.1 Drew Brees
10.2 TJ Duckett
10.3 Randy McMichael
10.4 Jake Plummer
10.5 Braylon Edwards*
10.6 Troy Williamson*
10.7 Aaron Brooks
10.8 Byron Leftwich
10.9 Marshall Faulk
10.10 Charles Rogers

This is QB territory again with Brees leading the pack, followed by Plummer, Brooks and Leftwich. Brees and Brooks were mentioned earlier in rounding out the top 10, so I think they are great value QB selections this late in the draft. Brees helped me get to the champoinship of one league last year, although he didn't have a good week 17, so I lost the title game, but I like Brees again this year. Other QB's I'd rather have here than Plummer or Leftwich are Delhomme, Pennington or Carr. I also think Warner will end up in the top 15 QB's by year's end as long as he can stay healthy. He's still not Round 10 material, though...you could easily pick him up in the 12th.

Dallas Clark and Randy McMichael are the two late round TE selections, but I like the idea of Marcus Pollard moving to Detroit better. I know Detroit hasn't been a decent place for TE's, but this might just work. This late in the draft it would be worth taking a flyer on Pollard. Another candidate worth considering here would be the rookie Heath Miller in Pittsburgh.

I would also rather have Kennison, Houshmandzadeh, Colbert, Rod Smith or maybe Marcus Robinson than to select Charles Rogers. There's nothing wrong with taking a chance on the rookies, but I think they won't be nearly as productive as some of the other WR's I've mentioned. And Rogers is just too fragile to be dependable as a decent back up.

TJ Duckett, Marshall Faulk and Michael Pittman round out the running back selections for these late rounds in the draft if you're still looking for a 3rd or 4th back up. Remember that discussion we had about Mewelde Moore earlier? This is where I would draft him, and I think he would be an excellent fill in type of back since Bennett is bound to go down sometime during the season. Ricky Williams may also be worth a flyer if you're the brave sort. he's typically going in the 12th or 13th rounds.

That's all for now, but I will be adding the IDP top 20 list as promised.... tomorrow.

Archer

2 comments:

Archer said...

Whoever helped me edit this article since I ran out of time and had to publish it as a rough draft.... thank you thank you!

Tennisfans said...

Holmes is immortal...how diappointing...sweet site wikkid...GreenFuzzyBalls is here to whack your smack.