July 17, 2009
Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
It's All About The Slot: #6
Larry Fitzgerald: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

As much as I would love to have Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte or Steven Jackson on my fantasy roster, I would prefer the No. 6 overall pick over the No. 1 spot in deeper leagues. Given the remarkable depth at running back, wide receiver and tight end, I want time to "let the draft come to me." I need the exhilaration/anxiety of hedging my bets every 12-13 picks. And, for once, I crave a legitimate shot at owning either Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss (not the NFL Network host) in the first two rounds! (deep sigh)

Of course, not everyone shares my mid-round hubris. But hath no fear or ambivalence ... because here's a great strategy for nailing your mixed-league draft when possessing the No. 6 pick:

Round 1, Pick 6: Motive -- Best overall player
1st option: WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals ... 2nd option: RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers

Round 2, Pick 19 overall: Motive -- Best RB or WR available (a tad too early for QBs)
1st option: WR Calvin Johnson, Lions ... 2nd option: WR Reggie Wayne, Colts

Round 3, Pick 30: Motive -- Best RB available (ONLY QB considerations: Brees, Manning, Brady)
1st option: RB Ryan Grant, Packers ... 2nd option: RB Kevin Smith, Lions

Round 4, Pick 43 overall: Motive -- Best RB/WR/QB available
1st option: RB Darren McFadden, Raiders ... 2nd option: QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Round 5, Pick 54: Motive -- Best RB/WR/QB (too much TE depth to reach here)
1st option: RB Larry Johnson, Chiefs ... 2nd option: RB Derrick Ward, Buccaneers

Round 6, Pick 67 overall: Motive -- Best RB/WR/QB/TE available
1st option: RB Willie Parker, Steelers ... 2nd option: WR Lee Evans, Bills

Round 7, Pick 78 overall: Motive -- Best QB/WR/RB/TE available (last chance to land a great QB1)
1st option: QB Matt Ryan, Falcons ... 2nd option: QB Jay Cutler, Bears

Round 8, Pick 91 overall: Motive -- Best WR/RB/QB/TE available
1st option: WR Michael Crabtree, 49ers ... 2nd option: TE John Carlson, Seahawks

Round 9, Pick 102 overall: Motive -- Best TE/RB/WR/QB (perfect spot to grab TE1 or QB2)
1st option: TE Owen Daniels, Texans ... 2nd option: TE Zach Miller, Raiders

Round 10, Pick 115: Motive -- Best QB/RB/WR available (you can never have enough RB depth)
1st option: QB Matt Cassel, Chiefs ... 2nd option: WR Justin Gage, Titans

Round 11, Pick 126: Motive -- Best RB/WR/TE available (DO NOT even think about a D/ST here)
1st option: RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs ... 2nd option: RB Shonn Greene, Jets

Round 12, Pick 139: Motive -- Best WR/TE/RB available
1st option: WR Earl Bennett, Bears ... 2nd option: WR Nate Washington, Titans

Round 13, Pick 150: Motive -- Best RB/WR/TE/QB available
1st option: RB Michael Bush, Raiders ... 2nd option: TE Brent Celek, Eagles

Round 14, Pick 163: Motive -- Best TE/RB/WR available (although you now have permission to draft a kicker)
1st option: TE Brandon Pettigrew, Lions ... 2nd option: PK Nate Kaeding, Chargers

Round 15, Pick 174: Motive -- Best kicker or defense
1st option: PK Ryan Longwell, Vikings ... 2nd option: D/ST Philadelphia Eagles

Round 16, Pick 187: Motive -- Best defense or kicker
1st option: D/ST New York Jets ... 2nd option: PK Matt Prater, Broncos

The Power Of ADP

You have to love the people at Fantasy Football Calculator. The FFC is already hard at work, trying to make mathematical sense of this year's top fantasy football prospects. In fact, this site represents the perfect one-stop shopping for mock drafts and the Average Draft Position tool (ADP) -- perhaps the best learning aid for NOT reaching during the August/September drafts. Speaking of ADP, here's a list of wide receivers likely earmarked for Rounds 1-6 (12-team leagues), if a draft were held today:

Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals -- Round 1, Pick 7
Andre Johnson, Texans -- Round 1, Pick 10
Randy Moss, Patriots -- Round 1, Pick 11
Calvin Johnson, Lions -- Round 2, Pick 2
Reggie Wayne, Colts -- Round 2, Pick 7
Greg Jennings, Packers -- Round 2, Pick 8
Steve Smith, Panthers -- Round 2, Pick 11
Roddy White, Falcons -- Round 2, Picks 11 (dead heat)
Marques Colston, Saints -- Round 3 , Pick 1
Anquan Boldin, Cardinals -- Round 3, Pick 2
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs -- Round 3, Pick 6
Wes Welker, Patriots -- Round 3, Pick 8
Terrell Owens, Bills -- Round 3, Pick 8 (dead heat)
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks -- Round 3, Pick 12
Brandon Marshall, Broncos -- Round 4, Pick 1
Roy Williams, Cowboys -- Round 4, Pick 5
Chad Ochocinco, Bengals -- Round 4, Pick 8
Braylon Edwards, Browns -- Round 4, Pick 9
Vincent Jackson, Chargers -- Round 5, Pick 4
Anthony Gonzalez, Colts -- Round 5, Pick 5
Santonio Holmes, Steelers -- Round 5, Pick 8
DeSean Jackson, Eagles -- Round 5, Pick 11
Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers -- Round 5, Pick 11 (dead heat)
Lee Evans, Bills -- Round 6, Pick 4
Eddie Royal, Broncos -- Round 6, Pick 5
Bernard Berrian, Vikings -- Round 6, Pick 6

ADP Afterglow

Here are some quick thoughts on the above ADP rankings:

**Talk about progress: Four wide receivers (Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson) are among the top 14 picks. Finally ... fantasy owners are embracing the notion that a top-5 pass-catcher is better than the 13th-ranked running back.

**You can literally flip a coin between Roddy White, Steve Smith, Marques Colston and Anquan Boldin at the end of Round 2 or beginning of Round 3. In fact, there's really no point in tearing down one's fantasy prospects to build up another.

**Talk about progress, part two: Wes Welker certainly deserves a higher draft ranking than Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh in PPR leagues. But the fact he has prevailed in standard-scoring leagues is a fantasy miracle in the realm of LenDale White now weighing less than Maurice Jones-Drew (and that's NOT a knock on MJD -- have you seen the ultra-svelte LenDale?).

**I have no plans on drafting Roy Williams, Anthony Gonzalez, Kevin Curtis, Torry Holt, Plaxico Burress or Dwayne Jarrett at any time this year.

**I'm surprised Santonio Holmes isn't getting a bigger post-Super-Bowl-MVP bump in fantasy mock drafts. But then again, he doesn't score the title-winning touchdown last Februrary IF a Cards defender doesn't fall down three plays prior to The Catch Heard 'Round The World.

Union Of The Snakes

I used to think the union of Raiders owner Al Davis and quarterback JaMarcus Russell was a match made in heaven. After all, in Davis' prime as the franchise's authoritative, forward-thinking personnel honcho (the '60s, '70s, '80s and early '90s), he was constantly preaching the merits of a vertical passing attack -- one that could destroy defenses at a moment's notice and one that perpetually struck fear into the hearts of NFL defensive coordinators. And Russell, at 6-foot-6 and blessed with a rocket arm, was seemingly the perfect modern-day specimen to carry out Davis' preferred vision -- one that's responsible for three Super Bowl trophies (1976, '80 and '83).

But now, either Davis has lost his mind (entirely possible) or he's nothing more than a powerless figurehead (even more likely) ... because -- as scary as this may sound -- new backup QB Jeff Garcia and new Raiders passing coordinator Ted Tollner are a heartbeat away from running the show in Oakland.

I know what you're saying: Isn't Russell the Raiders' undisputed starting QB? To which I say, "Yes" ... but I also believe that it's only a matter of time before Tollner and Garcia impede (read: undermine) Russell's development and are helming the Raiders' dysfunctional ship, side by side, at season's end. Let's look at the facts:

**Tollner (who's partially responsible for USC's demise in the 80s) favors the West Coast system
**Tollner has a prior working relationship with Garcia ('02 49ers, '05 Lions)
**Russell has minimal experience running the West Coast; plus, he'd be wasting his immense talents in a dink-and-dunk scheme
**Garcia has a track record of only succeeding in West Coast offenses (his 2004 stint as the Browns' QB -- in a conventional, pro-style offense -- was an unmitigated disaster)

Before Garcia's signing, Tollner's hiring and Lane Kiffin's inexplicable firing, Russell was legitimately one top-flight receiving target (Darrius Heyward-Bey?) away from being a fantasyland gem. In 2008, he threw for 2,423 yards -- impressive numbers for a Year 2 QB who didn't have a 300-yard passing day ... and was obligated to throw to no-names like Chaz Schilens and Johnny Lee Higgins every Sunday. And under the tutelage of a creative offensive coordinator (read: not Tollner), I believe Russell would've surpassed 3,200 passing yards and 17-19 TDs this years -- even though his progression curve is still 3-4 years from reaching its very-high peak.

I understand that Garcia brings 10-plus years and 2,500-plus passing yards to the Raiders' table. I also acknowledge that he's probably a backup-QB upgrade over Andrew Walter and Marques Tuiasosopo. But while serving as Detroit's Web writer back in 2005, I don't ever recall Garcia completing a practice pass that carried at least 15 yards of air time. And at age 39, what NFL defense would respect such a weak-armed passer? And what aggressive defensive coordinator would fear such a horizontal attack?

Birds Of A Feather ... Mock Together

Recently, I participated in yet another experts' mock draft for Rotoworld, conducted through Mock Draft Central. The entire production -- featuring fantasy shamans like Andy Behrens, Ryan Houston, Michael Fabiano, John Hansen, Gregg Rosenthal, Geoff Stein, Greg Ambrosius, etc. -- will be published in Rotoworld's next football magazine sometime in August. In the meantime, here are Rounds 3-4 of the standard-scoring league draft (15 rounds, 2 RBs/3 WRs start):

Round 3
25. WR Anquan Boldin, Cardinals
26. WR Marques Colston, Saints
27. QB Drew Brees, Saints
28. QB Peyton Manning, Colts
29. WR Roddy White, Falcons
30. RB Kevin Smith, Lions
31. RB Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
32. WR Terrell Owens, Bills
33. RB Ryan Grant, Packers (my pick)
34. WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
35. TE Jason Witten, Cowboys
36. WR Brandon Marshall, Broncos

Round 4
37. WR Wes Welker, Patriots
38. WR Chad Ochocinco, Bengals
39. RB Reggie Bush, Saints
40. RB Darren McFadden, Raiders (my pick)
41. WR Roy Williams, Cowboys
42. TE Antonio Gates, Chargers
43. RB Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
44. WR Eddie Royal, Broncos
45. WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks
46. RB Marshawn Lynch, Bills
47. RB Joseph Addai, Colts
48. WR Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers

We Interrupt Fantasy Clicks ...

... To announce the arrival of Sports Illustrated's fantasy football spectacular, available online and at magazine racks nationwide. This 168-page tome is chock-full of rankings, columns (two from yours truly), features, draft-day advice, in-season strategies, booms, busts and an experts' mock draft, enlisting an army of SI's award-winning fantasy and NFL writers (including Peter King). Last but not least, it boasts perhaps the coolest cover of any fantasy magazine you'll ever see!

Am I overselling it a little bit? Perhaps. But the early feedback I've gotten from my fantasy brethren suggests SI's first major foray into fantasy football will be an absolute triumph -- and that it could become an all-time best seller within the genre.

Tiers Of A Clown -- Wide Receivers

Wide receivers are the lifeline of efficient passing attacks, but they weren't all created equal. To wit, the revised WR tier system for fantasy drafts:

Tier 1 (1,350 total yards and/or 11 TDs)
Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss, Reggie Wayne

Tier 2 (1,200 total yards and/or 9 TDs)
Anquan Boldin, Dwayne Bowe, Greg Jennings, Roddy White, Marques Colston, Brandon Marshall, Steve Smith, Terrell Owens

Tier 3 (1,100 total yards and/or 8 TDs)
Wes Welker, Braylon Edwards, Lee Evans, Antonio Bryant, Chad Ochocinco, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Santana Moss, Vincent Jackson, Hines Ward, Sidney Rice, Jerricho Cotchery, Michael Crabtree, Lance Moore, Chris Henry, Nate Burleson (IF he can stay healthy)

Tier 4 (950 total yards and/or 6 TDs)
DeSean Jackson, Chris Chambers, Laveranues Coles, Greg Camarillo, Kevin Walter, Santonio Holmes, Earl Bennett, Bernard Berrian, Donnie Avery, Ted Ginn Jr., Eddie Royal, Jarrett Dillard, Percy Harvin, Bobby Engram, Isaac Bruce, Mark Clayton, Domenik Hixon, Donald Driver, Steve Breaston, Devin Hester, Torry Holt, Deion Branch, Anthony Gonzalez

Tier 5 (800 total yards and/or 4 TDs)
Bryant Johnson, Nate Washington, Patrick Crayton, Jerome Simpson, Jeremy Maclin, Davone Bess, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Austin Collie, Mark Bradley, Dennis Northcutt, Justin Gage, Jordy Nelson, Josh Morgan, Hakeem Nicks, Javon Walker, Jerheme Urban, Chansi Stuckey, James Jones

Welcome To The House Of Pewter

Poor Antonio Bryant. His mock-draft fantasy value took a hit this spring, stemming from the Buccaneers' complete overhaul, which includes the head-coaching hire of 32-year-old Raheem Morris -- a college defensive coordinator (Kansas State) just three years ago. As a consequence to this rebuilding project, which includes a new quarterback, Bryant is generating little buzz on the fantasy front. But is this fair? In lieu of Tampa Bay's new look, we'll address the Bucs' fantasy outlook, Revelations-style:

What He'll Like: Neither Josh Johnson nor Josh Freeman has thrown an NFL pass, but both quarterbacks seemingly have tremendous upside. And the faster they realize that, "When in doubt, throw to Antonio" ... the better off they'll be. Sure, Bryant will miss Jeff Garcia early in the season -- as visions of his 9-catch, 200-yard, 2-TD night against Carolina from Week 14 still dance in his head -- but in time, he'll realize that Johnson/Freeman can make all the deep throws that Garcia never could.

What He'll Like, Part II: On paper, the Buccaneers are loaded at running back. But the sad reality is both Earnest Graham (ankle) and Cadillac Williams (torn patella) may not be 100 percent when training camp starts. That leaves new acquisition Derrick Ward as the team's go-to back. Ward was a strong fantasy play last season with the Giants; in fact, he singlehandedly carried fantasy owners to a title in Week 16, rushing for 215 yards against the Panthers. But it'll be interesting to see how Ward adjusts to a new environment, new coaches, new offensive linemen and the novelty of being The Man in Tampa Bay (along with Bryant).

What He'll Love: Assuming he's healthy and ready to Soldier Up, Kellen Winslow should have a fantastic tenure in Tampa Bay. Yes, the previous statement comes with Winslow's 82-catch, 1,106-yard, 5-TD season from 2007 in mind, but his presence alone should create wider rushing lanes for Graham, Ward and Cadillac, while loosening up the secondary coverage for Bryant in the red zone. It's a win-win venture for all parties.

What He May Loathe: I started off this section talking about Johnson and Freeman. But as I write this, Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich are probably on the Bucs' unofficial depth chart. But I'm weary of McCown's lack of experience and Leftwich's unflattering speed and sloooow delivery. Look, I know Leftwich played well in relief of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger against the Redskins on Monday Night Football last year (129 yards passing, 1 TD), and for that, he should be commended. But we're also talking about a veteran who was the No. 3 QB (by a long shot) with the Falcons in 2007 (behind such luminaries as Joey Harrington and Chris Redman). Yikes!

What'll Make Him Cringe: It may not rival Amelia Earhart's infamous one-way flight in the scope of the world's greatest unsolved mysteries, but I'd love to know the reasoning for Michael Clayton's stunning downturn in the last few years. How does someone go from all-world as a rookie in 2004 (80 catches, 1,193 yards, 7 TDs) to averaging 31 catches and 0.5 TDs in the next four (relatively injury-free) seasons? Better yet, how is Clayton (38 catches, 1 TD in '08) still No. 2 on the WR depth chart? And how, pray tell, did he land a new $26 million contract with the Bucs?

What'll Happen On Fantasy Draft Day: I would love to have Bryant, Ward and K2 on my roster. But none of these talents would justify a Round 4 or higher draft pick ... and someone will surely take a high-round mini-gamble on either Ward or Bryant. Realistically, Winslow and/or Graham would be my only fantasy considerations in '09.

Choose Your Quarterback
Daunte Culpepper: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Not to sound too much like Peter King here, but I Think I Think Brady Quinn will be the Browns' Week 1 starter ... and I Think I Think Daunte Culpepper will be under center for the Lions against the Saints on opening day. But both bits are subject to change -- given Quinn's less-than-decisive edge over Derek Anderson in Cleveland ... and the fact that Culpepper is keeping Detroit's QB seat warm for future star Matthew Stafford.

Add it all together ... and the Quinn (or Anderson) vs. C-Pep (or Stafford) debate makes for excellent Fantasy Clicks fodder, as we execute a week-to-week breakdown for this season:

Week 1 -- Quinn (vs. Minnesota) over Culpepper (@ New Orleans) -- (toss-up)
Week 2 -- Culpepper (vs. Minnesota) over Quinn (@ Denver) (toss-up)
Week 3 -- Culpepper (vs. Washington) over Quinn (@ Baltimore)
Week 4 -- Quinn (vs. Cincinnati) over Culpepper (@ Chicago)
Week 5 -- Quinn (@ Buffalo) over Culpepper (vs. Pittsburgh)
Week 6 -- Culpepper (@ Green Bay) over Quinn (@ Pittsburgh)
Week 7 -- Quinn (vs. Green Bay) over Culpepper (BYE)
Week 8 -- Culpepper (vs. St. Louis) over Quinn (@ Chicago)
Week 9 -- Culpepper (@ Seattle) over Quinn (BYE)
Week 10 -- Culpepper (@ Minnesota) over Quinn (vs. Baltimore)
Week 11 -- Culpepper over Quinn (head-to-head -- Cleveland @ Detroit)
Week 12 -- Culpepper (vs. Green Bay) over Quinn (@ Cincinnati)
Week 13 -- Culpepper (@ Cincinnati) over Quinn (vs. San Diego)
Week 14 -- Quinn (@ Pittsburgh) over Culpepper (@ Baltimore)
Week 15 -- Quinn (@ Kansas City) over Culpepper (vs. Arizona)
Week 16 -- Culpepper (@ San Francisco) over Quinn (vs. Oakland)
Week 17 -- Culpepper (vs. Chicago) over Quinn (vs. Jacksonville)

Verdict: I'm not surprised to see that Culpepper takes the cake here. But I am taken aback with the 11-6 victory, which includes six straight head-to-head wins from Weeks 8-13. On the positive side for Brady, though, Quinn merits a start in Weeks 14 and 15 -- traditionally playoff weeks in fantasyland.

The Bye Week Conundrum

Come August, let's pretend you have the No. 2 overall pick in a 10-team, standard-scoring league ... and subsequently, the No. 19 pick on the turnaround. And let's say you're primed to grab Falcons RB Michael Turner in Round 1 and Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin in Round 2. Sounds like a great plan ... until you realize both Turner and Boldin share the same bye period, Week 4. Would you be comfortable with having two elite talents sitting out the same week, or would you prefer to miss their fantasy goodness in staggered weeks? This is a debate we'll tackle in future football Clicks; in the meantime, here's the 2009 bye schedule, along with the impacted fantasy stars:

Week 4: Cardinals (Fitzgerald, Boldin, Warner, Wells, Urban, Breaston, Hightower, Pope), Falcons (Turner, Ryan, White, Jenkins, Norwood, Gonzalez), Panthers (Williams, Stewart, Delhomme, Muhammad, Smith, Dawson, Jarrett), Eagles (McNabb, Westbrook, McCoy, Jackson, Maclin, Curtis, Avant, Celek)

Week 5: Bears (Cutler, Forte, Peterson, Bennett, Hester, Olsen), Packers (Rodgers, Grant, Wynn, Jennings, Driver, Jones, Lee), Saints (Brees, Bush, Thomas, Colston, Moore, Henderson, Meachem, Shockey, Miller), Chargers (Rivers, Tomlinson, Sproles, Jackson, Chambers, Floyd, Gates, Davis)

Week 6: Cowboys (Romo, Barber, Jones, Choice, Williams, Hurd, Crayton, Witten, Bennett), Colts (Manning, Addai, Brown, Wayne, Gonzalez, Collie, Clark), Dolphins (Pennington, Brown, Williams, Camarillo, Ginn, Bess, Fasano), 49ers (Hill, Crabtree, Gore, Robinson, Coffee, Bruce, Davis, Morgan)

Week 7: Ravens (Flacco, McGahee, McClain, Rice, Mason, Clayton, Heap), Broncos (Orton/Simms, Marshall, Royal, Stokley, Scheffler, Moreno, Buckhalter, Jordan, Hillis, Torain), Lions (Culpepper/Stafford, Smith, Johnson, Johnson, Curry, Pettigrew), Jaguars (Garrard, Jones-Drew, Washington, Northcutt, Holt, Lewis, Dillard, Walker, Williamson), Seahawks (Hasselbeck, Jones, Duckett, Burleson, Branch, Houshmandzadeh, Payne, Carlson), Titans (Collins/Young, Johnson, White, Gage, Thorpe, Washington, Scaife)

Week 8: Bengals (Palmer, Benson, Johnson, Leonard, Dorsey, Ochocinco, Simpson, Crosby, Urrutia), Chiefs (Cassel/Thigpen, Johnson, Charles, Cottam, Bowe, Engram, Bradley), Patriots (Brady, Taylor, Maroney, Morris, Moss, Welker, Galloway, Smith), Steelers (Roethlisberger, Parker, Mendenhall, Ward, Sweed, Holmes, Miller), Buccaneers (Johnson/Griese/Leftwich, Graham, Ward, Williams, Winslow, Clayton, Bryant), Redskins (Campbell, Portis, Betts, Moss, Cooley, Thomas, Kelly, Randle El)

Week 9: Bills (Edwards, Lynch, Jackson, Rhodes, Owens, Evans, Hardy, Reed, Parrish), Browns (Quinn, Anderson, Lewis, Edwards, Robiskie, Heiden, Royal, Harrison, Furrey, Cribbs), Rams (Bulger, Jackson, Avery, Burton, Robinson, Klopfenstein, Darby, Pittman, McMichael), Vikings (Rosenfels, Peterson, Harvin, Taylor, Berrian, Rice, Shiancoe), Raiders (Russell, McFadden, Fargas, Bush, Heyward-Bey, Walker, Schilens, Miller), Jets (Clemens, Washington, Jones, Greene, Stuckey, Cotchery, Keller, Clowney)

Week 10: Texans (Schaub, Johnson, Walter, Slaton, Daniels, Green), Giants (Manning, Hixon, Hicks, Boss, Jacobs, Bradshaw, Toomer)

Target Practice

A receiver is only as good as his quarterback ... and the number of opportunities he gets to make a catch (known as Targets). Here are last season's Target leaders -- on a per-game basis -- which explains Nate Burleson's place on the list, even though his season was cut short by injury:

1. Brandon Marshall, Broncos (12.4 Targets)
2. Andre Johnson, Texans (11.3 Targets)
3. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals (11.0 Targets)
4. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (10.4 Targets)
5. Calvin Johnson, Lions (10.4 Targets)
6. Roddy White, Falcons (10.2 Targets)
7. Dwyane Bowe, Chiefs (10.2 Targets)
8. Steve Smith, Panthers (10.1 Targets)
9. Nate Burleson, Seahawks (10.0 Targets)
10. Wes Welker, Patriots (9.6 Targets)
11. Braylon Edwards, Browns (9.4 Targets)
12. Terrell Owens, Cowboys -- now Bills (9.3 Targets)
13. Eddie Royal, Broncos (9.3 Targets)
14. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals -- now Seahawks (9.3 Targets)
15. Santana Moss, Redskins (9.1 Targets)
16. Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers (9.0 Targets)
17. Matt Jones, Free Agent (9.0 Targets)
18. Greg Jennings, Packers (8.9 Targets)
19. Marques Colston, Saints (8.6 Targets)
20. Reggie Wayne, Colts (8.4 Targets)
21. Randy Moss, Patriots (8.3 Targets)
22. Hines Ward, Steelers (8.1 Targets)
23. Derrick Mason, Ravens (8.1 Targets)
24. Santonio Holmes, Steelers (7.9 Targets)
25. Plaxico Burress, Free Agent (7.9 Targets)
26. Donald Driver, Packers (7.8 Targets)
27. Laveranues Coles, Jets -- now Bengals (7.8 Targets)
28. Deion Branch, Seahawks (7.8 Targets)
29. Torry Holt, Rams -- now Jaguars (7.7 Targets)
30. Greg Camarillo, Dolphins (7.7 Targets)

PPR Madness

Here are my revised WR rankings for Points Per Reception leagues, from No. 1 (Andre Johnson) to No. 35 (Bernard Berrian):

1. Andre Johnson, Texans
2. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
3. Randy Moss, Patriots
4. Reggie Wayne, Colts
5. Calvin Johnson, Lions
6. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals
7. Wes Welker, Patriots
8. Greg Jennings, Packers
9. Roddy White, Falcons
10. Marques Colston, Saints
11. Brandon Marshall, Broncos (he'd be No. 3 if Jay Cutler was his QB)
12. Steve Smith, Panthers
13. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
14. Braylon Edwards, Browns
15. Terrell Owens, Bills
16. T.J. Houshamandzadeh, Seahawks
17. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals
18. Vincent Jackson, Chargers
19. Kevin Walter, Texans
20. Donnie Avery, Rams
21. Lee Evans, Bills
22. Antonio Bryant, Bucs (would be higher if he had a better QB)
23. Santana Moss, Redskins
24. Laveranues Coles, Bengals
25. Steve Breaston, Cardinals
26. Earl Bennett, Bears
27. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets
28. Chris Chambers, Chargers
29. Michael Crabtree, 49ers
30. Sidney Rice, Vikings
31. Hines Ward, Steelers
32. Greg Camarillo, Dolphins (a Wes Welker doppleganger)
33. DeSean Jackson, Eagles
34. Eddie Royal, Broncos
35. Bernard Berrian, Vikings

A Dark Horse Of A Different Color

Just like Fantasy Football Calculator, the eggheads at Fantasy Football Toolbox are off and running with unique takes on the upcoming season. And I wanted to call special attention to two intriguing pieces:

The first one, authored by Daniel Kalles, offers 10 Fantasy Dark Horses for '09. The second article, penned by Jeb Gorham, reveals the pre-eminent comeback candidates -- featuring Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who could very well be the greatest QB draft steal of the season.

Odds & Split Ends

Chargers receiver Chris Chambers may be on the wrong side of 30, and Vincent Jackson (59 catches, 1,098 yards, 7 TDs last season) has officially supplanted him as the Bolts' best receiver, but Chambers still holds one major trump card for savvy fantasy owners: In odd-numbered years, he's averaging a robust 65 catches, 983 yards and eight TDs per season. And as luck would have it, the calendar reads 2009! Cha-ching!

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