“Fantasy football is the new icebreaker in our society. No matter where one goes from August to January, a conversation about fantasy football will most likely be heard regarding recent trades and who the week’s breakout player will be. From sports guru to casual fan, fantasy football provides a level playing field for individuals that need a little extra fix of football aside from the Sunday gridiron.””
Fantasy football is the new icebreaker in our society.
No matter where one goes from August to January, a conversation about fantasy football will most likely be heard regarding recent trades and who the week’s breakout player will be.
From sports guru to casual fan, fantasy football provides a level playing field for individuals that need a little extra fix of football aside from the Sunday gridiron.
For those still pronouncing T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s last name as Who’sYourMomma, here is a breakdown of who to take, why to take them, and who will be a break-out fantasy star in the 2007-08 NFL season.
Manning has been an absolute lock for the past eight years. His completion percentage has not dropped below 60 percent in each of the past eight years and he is surrounded by a plethora of talent in Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, rookie Anthony Gonzalez and Joseph Addai. With a QB rating that hasn’t dropped below 100 since 2003, Manning is the ultimate fantasy quarterback.
Look for Big Ben to have a productive year under new coach Mike Tomlin. Following a year that saw Roethlisberger crash a motorcycle and have an emergency appendectomy, look for a fresh and renewed Steelers QB with a big chip on his shoulder. The Steelers have installed a new offense that will see running back Willie Parker in spread formations, giving Roethlisberger more options and threats in the passing game.
Since coming into the league in 2001, no other running back has accumulated more yards or touchdowns than LT. Coming off a record-breaking 28 touchdown season, Tomlinson is by far the best running back in the league and a must-have RB for any fantasy team.
Many might not consider anything Bush does to be surprising, but his numbers from last year should dramatically improve this season. Splitting time with Deuce McAllister not only keeps Bush fresh, but gives him the opportunity to line up in wide-out sets to open up the Saints offense, as well as punt-returning for special teams. His combination of speed, elusiveness and versatility provide any fantasy owner with a superstar that can get yards and touchdowns at anytime.
Harrison and Manning are the best WR-QB combination in the league. Harrison has the ability to fight through double teams and is debatably the best route runner in the league. You always know what you’ll get from Harrison: a receiver with a knack for big plays and finding the end zone.
Johnson thinks he had a bad season in 2006 after catching 87 passes for 1,369 yards and seven touchdowns. Johnson is a great route runner who often splits double teams and has to work harder than most recievers to make plays. One thing matters: His hard work pays off. CJ’s off year would be a career year for most NFL receivers. In typical ‘Ocho-Cinco fashion, Johnson claims to have gotten his sexy back, and promises a career year. This is great news for any fantasy owner.
Opponents have so much attention focused on teammate LaDanian Tomlinson that Gates is able to work freely and create mismatches for defenses due to his size and speed. In 2006, Gates had 49 first downs, nine touchdowns and a 13-yards-per-catch average. Gates has the ability to make huge plays for the Chargers and keep the chains moving. First downs and touchdowns are the key for tight ends and Gates is a master of his craft.
Kellen Winslow Jr.
The most important thing for K2 is health. If he is able to stay healthy in 2007, look for him to be a huge mismatch for defenses. The most important thing the Browns did in the offseason was secure a good offensive line which will help Winslow become one of the premiere tight ends in the league because it will allow them to run the ball and keep a QB in the pocket for more than two seconds. K2 has yet to reach his potential and this could be a breakout year for him.
Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens may have lost All-Pro linebacker Adalius Thomas but this is still a unit that has Ray Lewis and Terrel Suggs at linebacker and a secondary consisting of Ed Reed, Chris McAllister and Samare Rolle. Until the Ravens prove otherwise, they are the most dominant defense in the NFL. BJ Sams is still a threat at punt returner as well, even after coming off a bad 2006 outing.
LB DeMarcus Ware anchors this young and powerful Cowboys defense, coming off an 11.5 sack season. Between Ware, Brady James, Bobby Carpenter and Greg Ellis, opposing QBs won’t have much time to stand in the pocket and wait for plays to develop. Cornerbacks Anthony Henry and Terrence Newman are fast and athletic and potential big playmakers for the Cowboys this season. Strong safety Roy Williams will bounce back from a 2006 season that showed problems covering deep passes, but huge plays come often and in clutch moments for the five-year veteran. Turnovers will be a huge part of the team’s success. Expect them. Often.
Vinatieri is the most clutch player in the NFL. He has won AFC Championship games, as well as Super Bowls in the final seconds by hitting clutch field goals. No other kicker in the game has been as clutch for their team. Vinatieri’s only downside is that Manning and Harrison connect in the end zone so much that in some games he won’t have as many opportunities for field goals.
Anyone not kicking for the Dallas Cowboys – As a die-hard Cowboys fan, I digress, and will speak the truth. No other team in recent NFL history has had the Cowboys field goal kicking woes and I urge you to stay away from Cowboy kickers, and pray for me.
Don’t forget about your bench players either. If you have a player going up against the Oakland Raiders or the Houston Texans, it’s probably a good idea to play them.
Take advantage of weak opponents, find the week’s hot player and bask in the glory that is fantasy football.
There is no other place, other than the anti-climactic Pro Bowl that a dream team can be assembled, with you as the general manager.
2007 Surprise Fantasy Football Stars
QB John Kitna –
QB Matt Lienart –
RB Marion Barber –
RB Marshawn Lynch –
WR Terry Glenn –
WR Dwayne Jarret –
TE Vernon Davis –
San Francisco 49ers
TE Chris Cooley –
D/ST – Miami Dolphins
K Phil Dawson –