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Intelligence Report

Aug. 20, 2007
Aug. 20, 2007

Table of Contents
Aug. 20, 2007

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Intelligence Report

I THINK . . . ByPeter King

This is an article from the Aug. 20, 2007 issue

. . . I have 10quick tips from my 15-day tour of 12 training camps:

1. Don't be afraidto pick Bills rookie Marshawn Lynch very high. I see a 1,500-yardrushing-receiving season in him--this year.

2. Kellen Winslowwill catch 84 passes.

3. Do not pick theBengals' defense.

4. By midseasonPeyton Manning will talk about Anthony Gonzalez in the reverential tones heused to describe Brandon Stokley.

5. You cannot pickWR Bernard Berrian or TE Greg Olsen too high--within reason, of course. ThinkBerrian in the sixth round and Olsen in the ninth.

6. I wouldn't pickany Packers RB till the 11th round.

7. DaunteCulpepper's arm looks very good, and he says his knee feels fine. But pressedto the wall, I'd say Josh McCown makes the Week 1 start for the Raiders.

8. Always, always,always take the Jaguars' defense.

9. Vikings coachBrad Childress is determined to get the ball to TE Visanthe Shiancoe.

10. Need alast-round pick? Try Kolby Smith, a rookie RB from Louisville. I like to pickguys who coaches just love to have on their teams, and Herman Edwards is crazyabout this kid.

EPSTEIN'S THEORYON Schedule Strength

When choosingbetween similar players in a draft, team schedules can be a tipping factor.Even top players can become average Joes against stalwart defenses. Forinstance, Saints fantasy stars Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush combined foronly 27 rushing yards against the Ravens last year. Meanwhile Edgerrin James,disappointing last year, ran for 115 yards against the Rams' soft defense.

So which teamsdoes the 2007 schedule hurt, or favor? G.M.'s should be cautious about draftingplayers from the Bills, Browns, Chargers, Chiefs and Lions, who will go upagainst exceedingly tough defenses. But give a bump up to players from theCardinals, Panthers and Rams--and, as if they needed it, the Colts, who playthe easiest pass defenses. The team that will meet weakest resistance? TheBuccaneers, who will see all the NFC West teams, plus the Lions, Redskins,Texans and Titans. The offense of Jon Gruden (left), ranked 29th last year,will have every opportunity to bounce back.

Catching On

Spend a late pickon these young receivers and you could reap surprising dividends

MOST ROOKIES needtime to find their way in the NFL, but that doesn't appear to be true of SteveSmith, the Giants' second-round pick out of USC. New York's coaches love hishands and the precision of his route running. He reminds them of AmaniToomer--who, at 32 and coming off a torn left ACL, might cede playing time tothe 5' 11', 197-pound Smith. That makes him worth a late-round flier.

> Dolphinsfans booed when Ted Ginn Jr. was drafted ninth out of Ohio State, but beforelong he may give Miamians--and fantasy owners--reason to smile. Ginn is certainto lift the Dolphins' return game, and G.M. Randy Mueller says, "We thinkhe's a better receiver than he's been given credit for." Miami will useGinn as the Rams once used Az-Zahir Hakim, moving him around in formations,sending him on end arounds and deploying him as a third receiver.

> Remember howimpressive Michael Clayton was as a rookie, racking up 1,193 receiving yards in2004 for the Bucs? In the two seasons since then he has totaled 728 yards. NowMaurice Stovall, a second-year man out of Notre Dame who caught only sevenballs in 2006, could well supplant Clayton in the starting lineup.

> RoscoeParrish is also set to improve his paltry production. In his first two seasonswith the Bills he had a combined 38 receptions and three TDs. But this yearBuffalo plans to use more three-receiver sets, exploiting Parrish's blindingspeed and making defenses pay when they focus on WR Lee Evans.

MORE

For the latest news on injuries that affect the fantasyworld, follow Will Carroll's updates at SI.com/fantasy.

PHOTOSTEVE MITCHELL/US PRESSWIRE  Ginn isin
The Dolphins see great possibilities in their multifacetedrookie.
PHOTOTOM DIPACE