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18 Aug 2005

Scramble for the Ball: What Were We Thinking?

by Al Bogdan and Vivek Ramgopal

Vivek: Those of you who are loyal readers know this column's track record for predictions, with such gems as "Curtis Martin, worn down after nine seasons of hits, loses his grip on the full-time starting job" and "There's little not to like about Washington's chances in the NFC." Well, the glutton for punishment in both of us took on the Football Outsiders world in the Second Annual Football Outsiders Offseason Contest, a.k.a. Old Faces in New Places.

The GM-in-training for this year is Charles Jake of Cincinnati, who correctly picked the 2005 homes for 15 of the NFL free agents. For being the top FO prognosticator, Drake takes home a copy of Pro Football Prospectus 2005 just in time for his fantasy drafts. (Actually, he doesn't take it home, it gets sent to his home.)

The contest wasn't as easy for everyone else, as nobody correctly chose the 2005 teams for Ken Lucas, Mike Wahle, Jonas Jennings, Antonio Pierce, or Ed Hartwell. On the flip side, almost a quarter of the pool predicted that Jeff Garcia would rejoin his old head coach Steve Mariucci in Detroit.

So now six months later, we look back at the bold, beautiful and bizarre picks we made.

Shaun Alexander
2005 Team: Seattle Seahawks
2004 Team: Seattle Seahawks
Most Popular Contest Pick: Seattle Seahawks (40% of all entries)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Tampa Bay

Those who picked running backs to stay put this offseason fared pretty well, courtesy of three of the first five picks in the April draft being running backs. Coincidentally, the three teams that most desperately needed rushing help picked in the top five. I'll almost guarantee that Shaun Alexander is wearing a different uniform next season since his one-year contract says that the Seahawks cannot slap the franchise tag on him after this season. Seattle also retained Walter Jones and Matt Hasselbeck, so Alexander should have no problem matching his monstrous numbers from last season.

Al: Contest Pick -- Seattle

I agree. Alexander should have another good year in the revitalized Seattle offense before some team sings him for way too large of a signing bonus and watches him begin to decline next year.

Najeh Davenport
2005 Team: Green Bay Packers
2004 Team: Green Bay Packers
Most Popular Contest Pick: Green Bay Packers (60%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Philadelphia Eagles.

With Correll Buckhalter's troublesome knee in Phily, Najeh Davenport would have looked really good in green (without the yellow). As was the problem with all free agent running backs, no team was willing to spend money for a new starter or top backup when the draft was saturated with them. You can expect Ahman Green's carries to max out around 20, giving Davenport a chance to pile up some good numbers for a backup.

Al: Contest Pick -- New York Giants.

I still think Najeh would have been a good fit with New York, but the Giants addressed their backup needs in the draft with Brandon Jacobs. Davenport is playing for a big money deal next season, so if he's given an opportunity because of an injury or ineffectiveness from Green, Najeh could put up huge numbers this year.

Shaun Ellis
2005 Team: New York Jets
2004 Team: New York Jets
Most Popular Contest Pick: New York Jets (87%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- New York Jets.

This was the easiest call of the contest, since he re-signed with the Jets before the NFL season ended.

Al: Contest Pick -- New York Jets.

Apparently 13% of Football Outsiders contest entrants did absolutely no research before submitting their picks.

Travis Henry
2005 Team: Tennessee Titans
2004 Team: Buffalo Bills
Most Popular Contest Pick: Miami Dolphins (25%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Oakland

It made perfect sense given Chris Brown's medical charts, but only one person correctly placed Travis Henry in Tennessee. Henry should supplant Brown as the starter no later than week five, while getting a lot of goal line carries leading up to that point. He'll return to his status as a top fantasy back by season's end.

Al: Contest Pick -- Miami

I guess Henry's worth a fantasy roster spot, but I'm not counting on him to be that productive. Which is kind of sad for me since he's on the roster of my keeper league team and I picked him in the first other fantasy draft I've had this year.

Vivek: At least you didn't draft Ricky Williams in the later rounds last year ...

Edgerrin James
2005 Team: Indianapolis Colts
2004 Team: Indianapolis Colts
Most Popular Contest Pick: Indianapolis Colts (47%)

Al: Contest Pick -- Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are willing to spend whatever they need to keep their offense together for one more run at a Super Bowl crown. $8.1 million for one season is probably a lot for James, especially with all of the available running backs on the market this year, and the glaring weaknesses on the other side of the football. You didn't see any free agent linebackers buying homes in Indianapolis this off season. If James plays a full season, however, he'll be one of the five most productive backs in football and help Indianapolis score enough to have a legitimate shot at home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Indianapolis Colts

The Colts chose to beef up their secondary via the draft instead of free agency, leaving plenty of money for one more season of Edge. He was back to his 1999 and 2000 form last season, so like Al said, he will be a top five back if healthy.

Rudi Johnson
2005 Team: Cincinnati Bengals
2004 Team: Cincinnati Bengals
Most Popular Contest Pick: Cincinnati Bengals (84%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Cincinnati Bengals

The normally closed-wallet Bengals slapped the franchise tag on Johnson in the offseason, then signed him to a five-year, $26 million contract. Last year he made the Pro Bowl after Curtis Martin backed out. This year he will be there on his own merits.

Al: Contest Pick -- San Francisco 49ers

Cincinnati put the franchise tag on Johnson during the contest and about a week after our predictions column ran. That explains the 84% of our readers that correctly predicted Johnson would stay with the Bengals.

LaMont Jordan
2005 Team: Oakland Raiders
2004 Team: New York Jets
Most Popular Contest Pick: New York Jets (36%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- New York Jets

262 carries for 1277 yards and ten touchdowns. No, it's not my prediction for Jordan's season, rather his four-year career total. Not bad numbers for a full season of work, and with defenses unable to load up in the box, expect him to come close to those numbers.

Al: Contest Pick -- New York Jets

No way the Jets could match the contract Oakland gave Jordan with $11 million in guaranteed money. Derrick Blaylock could easily be as productive as Jordan for a third of the guaranteed money.

Anthony Thomas
2005 Team: Dallas Cowboys
2004 Team: Chicago Bears
Most Popular Contest Pick: Chicago Bears (33%)

Al: Contest Pick -- Carolina Panthers

Anthony Thomas was in this contest? Really scraping the bottom of the barrel there for free agents. With Julius Jones on pace for 450 carries this season, I don't think Thomas will have a huge impact in Dallas.

Vivek: Contest Pick - San Francisco 49ers

I wonder if he'll invest in this company with his downtime in 2005.

Plaxico Burress
2005 Team: New York Giants
2004 Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Most Popular Contest Pick: Baltimore Ravens (33%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Jacksonville Jaguars

The contest entrants assumed that a division rival was going to snatch up Plaxico, but after an odd courtship process he wound up with the Giants. He's overrated, but maybe he needs the motivation of being a #1 target.

Al: Contest Pick -- Jacksonville Jaguars

Instead of addressing their need for a wide receiver through free agency, Jacksonville used the draft to grab someone in the first round who never played wide receiver before. Makes sense to me.

T.J. Houshmazadeh
2005 Team: Cincinnati Bengals
2004 Team: Cincinnati Bengals
Most Popular Contest Pick: Cincinnati Bengals (51%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Oakland Raiders

Everyone talks about the young receivers in Arizona and Detroit, but if Housh continues his growth and tops 1000 yards (and assume that Warrick finally breaks out), this corps could wind up being the best of the group.

Al: Contest Pick -- Oakland Raiders

Peter Warrick is more likely to be cut before opening day than he does of breaking out in Cincinnati. If anyone is going to join Johnson and Housh as effective Bengal receivers it will be Kelley Washington. It's probably expecting a bit too much of the Bengal offense, however, to think they'll have three wide receivers put up decent numbers this season.

Muhsin Muhammad
2005 Team: Chicago Bears
2004 Team: Carolina Panthers
Most Popular Contest Pick: Carolina Panthers (40%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Chicago Bears

I was due for a free agent signing at some point. Unfortunately for Musi, Rex Grossman's probably season-ending ankle surgery will bring back nightmares of last season's quarterback carousel (Jeff George, Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson, and Jonathan Quinn.)

Al: Contest Pick -- Minnesota Vikings

It won't be as bad as last year. Jeff Blake and Kyle Orton should both be better than what Chicago passed off as quarterbacks in 2004. Muhammad won't put up 1400 yards again, but he's still a good fit for the Bears.

Jerry Porter
2005 Team: Oakland Raiders
2004 Team: Oakland Raiders
Most Popular Contest Pick: Oakland Raiders (44%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Oakland Raiders

"Jerry Porter would be a terrific No. 2 receiver in Oakland, and I'll assume that he stays there with Oakland signing another top wideout." -- Me, February 11, 2005.

Al: Contest Pick -- San Diego Chargers

San Diego? What was I thinking? Oakland found the cap room to bring in Randy Moss and give Porter $10 million in guaranteed money. Porter's going to have a great year in Oakland. According to the latest update from Antsports.com, Porter has been on average the 18th receiver selected in fantasy drafts. KUBIAK (PFP's fantasy projection system) has Porter even lower than that, but I wouldn't be surprised if Porter ended up in the top 10 of fantasy receivers at the end of the year. Porter was #20 last year as Oakland's only serious offensive weapon. With Moss getting double teamed on the other side of the field, Porter will be able to feast on single coverage against the opposition's weaker defensive back.

Travis Taylor
2005 Team: Minnesota Vikings
2004 Team: Baltimore Ravens
Most Popular Contest Pick: Baltimore Ravens (27%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Cincinnati Bengals

I was almost positive that this underachieving wideout was going to replace another underachieving wideout (Peter Warrick) in Cincinnati. Instead he plays second fiddle -- and possibly third fiddle depending on how fast Troy Williamson develops -- to Nate Burleson. I don't see Dante Culpepper being too jazzed up for this signing.

Al: Contest Pick -- Baltimore Ravens

Yeah, Randy Moss to Travis Taylor is a bit of a downgrade. Nice to see that Baltimore cut bait on Taylor, though. With Derrick Mason in the fold, the Ravens will finally have a decent wide receiver.

Ty Law
2005 Team: New York Jets
2004 Team: New England Patriots
Most Popular Contest Pick: New England Patriots (35%)

Al: Contest Pick -- Cleveland Browns

In retrospect, signing a 31-year-old cornerback coming off an injury doesn't make that much sense to a rebuilding team. Makes plenty of sense, though, for a team like the Jets that thinks they have a chance to contend this year.

Vivek: Contest Pick -- New England Patriots

Exit Ray Mickens and enter Ty Law. This signing, the first major free agent acquisition of General Manager Terry Bradway's tenure, was sorely needed after the retirement of cornerback Donnie Abraham.

Ken Lucas
2005 Team: Carolina Panthers
2004 Team: Seattle Seahawks
Most Popular Contest Pick: Seattle Seahawks (58%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Minnesota Vikings

I think a very good signing, especially when you pair him with Chris Gamble. This defensive unit is good enough to shut down any offense. If you were worried about Michael Vick's inaccuracy and tendency to make bad throws last year, image adding two games against this revitalized Panther defense.

Al:Contest Pick -- New Orleans Saints

You had the wrong defensive back going to Minnesota. I thought someone would overpay for Lucas, but I'm a bit surprised it was Carolina. $13 million is too much of a signing bonus for a cornerback of Lucas' caliber. He'll be an upgrade over the young corners Carolina trotted out onto the field last season, but the Panthers definitely overpaid.

Fred Smoot
2005 Team: Minnesota Vikings
2004 Team: Washington Redskins
Most Popular Contest Pick: Washington Redskins (38%)

Al: Contest Pick -- Dallas Cowboys

Why would the Cowboys do something like sign a top notch cornerback when they could bring in Anthony Henry and Aaron Glenn? If Dallas doesn't make the playoffs this year, their secondary will be the reason why.

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Green Bay Packers

I didn't understand what the Packers were doing in the offseason. They had a terrible pass defense, so they booted any experienced members of the secondary to give the starting nods to slow, inconsistent and unproven players. The Vikings on the other hand, made all the right moves to fix the defense and might have to rely on the defense to win games without Randy Moss.

Charles Woodson
2005 Team: Oakland Raiders
2004 Team: Oakland Raiders
Most Popular Contest Pick: Oakland Raiders (31%)

Al: Contest Pick -- Indianapolis Colts

For some reason I forgot about the Colts' long-standing policy against bringing in players from other teams to improve their defense. My mistake.

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Green Bay Packers

Are you surprised that Al Davis hung on to Woodson?

Jonas Jennings
2005 Team: San Francisco 49ers
2004 Team: Buffalo Bills
Most Popular Contest Pick: Buffalo Bills (65%)

Al: Contest Pick -- Miami Dolphins

Again, I forgot about the Dolphins' policy of having a terrible offensive line. My mistake.

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Buffalo Bills

This is the one spot that the 49ers improved in the offseason. Now if they could get a wide receiver ... and a proven runner ... and a defense ...

Walter Jones
2005 Team: Seattle Seahawks
2004 Team: Seattle Seahawks
Most Popular Contest Pick: Seattle Seahawks (85%)

Al: Contest Pick -- New York Giants

Hey, look at that! A long-term deal for Walter Jones. It's about time. The annual Walter Jones holdout was getting a bit ridiculous. Signing Jones instead of Kareem McKenzie would probably have been a better short term solution for New York, but over the long term, I think New York will be better off.

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Seattle Seahawks

You have to admit though, this does take some excitement out of next year's franchise tag time.

Orlando Pace
2005 Team: St. Louis Rams
2004 Team: St. Louis Rams
Most Popular Contest Pick: St. Louis Rams (87%)

Al: Contest Pick -- Buffalo Bills

Bad pick on my part. If Buffalo was going to spend money on an offensive lineman, they would have done it on Jennings and not Pace. Why pay Pace if you're not going to pay Jennings? I have no idea what I was thinking with this one.

Vivek: Contest Pick -- St. Louis Rams

This is a first -- Orlando Pace in camp on time, and the offensive line will need it badly after undergoing a makeover in the offseason. The Rams need Pace to get comfortable with first round draft pick Alex Barron and the others who are auditioning for starting spots on the o-line.

Marco Rivera
2005 Team: Dallas Cowboys
2004 Team: Green Bay Packers
Most Popular Contest Pick: Green Bay Packers (56%)

Al: Contest Pick -- Green Bay Packers

Who would have thought Green Bay would have let two of the five best guards in the league leave their team in the same off-season?

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Detroit Lions

Welcome to the NFL, Aaron Rodgers. Enjoy the view from the ground if Brett Favre hangs it up after this season.

Mike Wahle
2005 Team: Carolina Panthers
2004 Team: Green Bay Packers
Most Popular Contest Pick: Green Bay Packers (64%)

Vivek: Contest Pick ---- Green Bay Packers

See Marco Rivera.

Al: Contest Pick -- New England Patriots

Here's one free agent the Panthers didn't overpay for. Whoever ends up getting the carries in Carolina will love running behind Wahle.

John Abraham
2005 Team: New York Jets
2004 Team: New York Jets
Most Popular Contest Pick: New York Jets (60%)

Al: Contest Pick -- Houston Texans

I really didn't think the Jets would keep Abraham after the way he finished his season last year on the sidelines. They are only committed to a one-year deal, but why franchise Abraham instead of Jason Ferguson, who they let go to Dallas? Abraham has missed 13 games the past two seasons and three out of five Jet playoff games in his career. He's a very good pass rusher, but that's all he does. I'd rather spend my money on a durable line-clogging tackle than a fragile, one-dimensional end.

Vivek: Contest Pick --Dallas Cowboys

John Abraham still has not reported to camp after refusing to sign his one-year, $6.67 million franchise tender. Abraham is seeking a long term deal, but with the departure of tackle Jason Ferguson, the Jets will make sure he is back in camp in time to get ready for opening day.

Kendrell Bell
2005 Team: Kansas City Chiefs
2004 Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Most Popular Contest Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers (49%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Houston Texans

The Chiefs finally understood that a coordinator change couldn't fix their problems on defense, so they went out and added Kendrell Bell along with Patrick Surtain and first-rounder Derrick Johnson. The key here is whether Bell can stay healthy, and it looks like he will miss his second straight preseason game with a sore back.

Al: Contest Pick -- Philadelphia Eagles

Great signing by the Chiefs. Bell will solidify the middle of Kansas City's defense and help the team improve their terrible numbers defending the pass against running backs and tight ends.

Drew Brees
2005 Team: San Diego Chargers
2004 Team: San Diego Chargers
Most Popular Contest Pick: San Diego Chargers (67%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- San Diego Chargers

Was there really any doubt who would line up behind center on opening day? Assume that Drew Brees builds on his breakout 2004 season, Antonio Gates gets better, the wide receiving corps become more consistent and LaDainian Tomlinson takes his place as the best runner in the game. All of those factors, plus pass-happy offenses in the Wild Wild West means that Brees could top 4000 yards this year.

Al: Contest Pick ---- San Diego Chargers

I'm surprised 31% of contest entrants thought Brees would play elsewhere this season. The most popular alternate destination? Arizona, with 9% of the votes.

Bubba Franks
2005 Team: Green Bay Packers
2004 Team: Green Bay Packers
Most Popular Contest Pick: Green Bay Packers (62%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- New York Jets

This pick is a wildcard because Big Bubba still hasn't signed his transition tag tender and reported to camp. With tight ends having lower salaries, it isn't completely out of the question that the Packers move him before the season starts.

Al: Contest Pick -- Green Bay Packers

All of the contenders in the contest had Franks remaining in Green Bay, so even if he does play for someone else on opening day, the contest results won't be effected.

Jeff Garcia
2005 Team: Detroit Lions
2004 Team: Cleveland Browns
Most Popular Contest Pick: Cleveland Browns (29%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Arizona Cardinals

This should have been an easy pick: Garcia reunited with Steve Mariucci. Like I said in the Over/Under column for the northern divisions, Garcia will be starting before the midpoint of the season.

Al: Contest Pick -- Cleveland Browns

Detroit was the second most popular choice, with 22% of the vote.

Edgerton Hartwell
2005 Team: Atlanta Falcons
2004 Team: Baltimore Ravens
Most Popular Contest Pick: Baltimore Ravens (49%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Baltimore Ravens

Signing Hartwell was a tremendous move for the Falcons. He joins Keith Brooking to form one of the quickest linebacking duos in the league.

Al: Contest Pick -- Baltimore Ravens

Hartwell is exactly the type of free agent that leaves his old team in the NFL. A young emerging star on a team that already has a strong veteran presence at the position. Of course, I predicted Hartwell would stay with Baltimore.

Matt Hasselbeck
2005 Team: Seattle Seahawks
2004 Team: Seattle Seahawks
Most Popular Contest Pick: Seattle Seahawks (78%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Seattle Seahawks

Al: Contest Pick -- Seattle Seahawks

Not to be confused with Matt Hasselback. No way Seattle was going to let him go. A handful of people guessed that he would replace a retiring Brett Favre in Green Bay.

Reuben Droughns
2005 Team: Cleveland Browns
2004 Team: Denver Broncos
Most Popular Contest Pick: Denver Broncos (62%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Seattle Seahawks

This lack of running back movement killed me. I pegged Droughns as Shaun Alexander's replacement in Seattle, who was going to Tampa Bay to replace Charlie Garner, who was a teammate of Jerry Rice in San Francisco, who was in Necessary Roughness with Robert Loggia, who was in Return to Me with David Allen Grier, who was in the Woodsman with Kevin Bacon. Admit it, you're impressed.

Al: Contest Pick -- Arizona Cardinals

David Allen Grier was in my favorite Saturday Night Live sketch of all time. He's a TV weatherman on a morning show hosted by Will Ferrell and Nancy Walls. The teleprompters go out and the hosts completely lose it and the set turns into Lord of the Flies.

Vivek: It does say something about the projected impact that Droughns will have on the Browns when this section is devoted to David Allen Grier and Robert Loggia.

Antonio Pierce
2005 Team: New York Giants
2004 Team: Washington Redskins
Most Popular Contest Pick: Washington Redskins (76%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Washington Redskins

So much for loyalty. Pierce always praised defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and said that he was responsible for his development last season, but Pierce had 26 million reasons to help the Giants' defense that ranked 28th against the run.

Al: Contest Pick -- Washington Redskins

That's the last time I rely on The Royal Gazette out of Bermuda for my football news. Great signing by the Giants. I can't wait to see a Giant linebacker finally be able to tackle Brian Westbrook before he gets a first down.

Kurt Warner
2005 Team: Arizona Cardinals
2004 Team: New York Giants
Most Popular Contest Pick: Cleveland Browns (22%)

Vivek: Contest Pick -- Detroit Lions

I needed to swap Kurt Warner and Jeff Garcia's landing spots. Dennis Green got solid years out of former Pro Bowl castoffs Randall Cunningham, Warren Moon, and Jeff George. He might get the same result this year with Warner and his receiving corps of Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, and Bryant Johnson.

Al: Contest Pick -- Oakland Raiders

Every quarterback in the contest had at least 7% of contest participants saying that QB would go to Arizona. Warner received the highest percentage of Cardinal votes, with 13%.

Next Week: With just a few weeks to go before opening day, we're getting into serious fantasy drafting season. We'll spend the next two editions of Scramble for the Ball going through the Scramble mailbag answering your fantasy questions. Submit your question through our contact form and we'll answer it over the next two weeks.

Posted by: scramble on 18 Aug 2005

8 comments, Last at 10 Sep 2010, 3:15am by uggs outlet

Comments

1
by Gonzo (not verified) :: Fri, 08/19/2005 - 12:46pm

First!

And

"Yeah, Randy Moss to Travis Taylor is a bit of a downgrade. Nice to see that Baltimore cut bait on Taylor, though. With Derrick Mason in the fold, the Ravens will finally have a decent wide receiver."

Maybe Baltimore should have tried acquiring someone that can possibly, you know, play quarterback on an NFL level.

As long as the Ravens want to keep trotting Kyle Boller and the like out there behind center, Baltimore will be where receivers go to die. (Well, Baltimore and Chicago.)

Travis Taylor, on the other hand, now has a real QB to get him the football. He's going to do better in the Minnesota offense than anyone currently thinks he will.

2
by TMK (not verified) :: Fri, 08/19/2005 - 1:30pm

Nice to see you're doing well, Mr. Taylor; we were beginning to think you had gotten into some bad lutefisk. Is there such a thing as good lutefisk? I'll let our Minnesota contingent argue that.

After watching Travis Taylor cut off routes, short-arm passes and generally play like every other undisciplined UF wideout that has come through the league the past few years, I find it interesting that he still has defenders. Marcus Robinson, Todd Heap, Qadry Ismail and Brandon Stokely all had decent seasons with the same QB's that supposedly are the cause of Taylor's problems. That Ozzie let three of those guys go rankles; that Taylor didn't step up when given the opportunity of those men's absence is his own fault.

3
by Sebastian (not verified) :: Fri, 08/19/2005 - 5:35pm

Am I the only one to notice (besides Al of course) that predicting that each and every free agent on the list resigns with his team gives you 7 more correct picks than Al got?

4
by Gonzo (not verified) :: Fri, 08/19/2005 - 10:33pm

"Marcus Robinson, Todd Heap, Qadry Ismail and Brandon Stokely all had decent seasons with the same QB’s that supposedly are the cause of Taylor’s problems."

Brandon Stokley in 4 seasons in Baltimore:

60 catches, 913 yards, 7 TD

Brandon Stokley last year in Indianapolis (an offense with a real NFL QB):

68 catches, 1077 yards, 10 TD

It's tough for a WR to "step up" when they play with QBs that struggle to complete 50% of their passes, and somehow manages to have the worst passing offense in the NFL despite defenses stacking the line of scrimmage against a 2,000 yard rusher. The fact that Lewis ran for 2,000 yards despite the army of suck that marched through the QB position in Baltimore that year makes it all the more amazing, IMO.

5
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 08/23/2005 - 10:22am

"Porter’s going to have a great year in Oakland. According to the latest update from Antsports.com, Porter has been on average the 18th receiver selected in fantasy drafts. KUBIAK (PFP’s fantasy projection system) has Porter even lower than that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Porter ended up in the top 10 of fantasy receivers at the end of the year. Porter was #20 last year as Oakland’s only serious offensive weapon. With Moss getting double teamed on the other side of the field, Porter will be able to feast on single coverage against the opposition’s weaker defensive back."

And the #2 WRs in Minny never faced single coverage? Or is Kerry Collins just such a huge upgrade over Daunte Culpepper that he'll be able to get the ball to the #2 guy, despite Randy Moss demanding 40% of the action?

I love the people who drink the Jerry Porter kool aid in my fantasy drafts. Yes, he faces more single coverages, but if you really think a little thing like double coverage is still going to stop Collins from looking to Moss first, second, and third, you're crazy. First, because Moss can beat double coverage, and second, because if he doesn't, Moss will stop playing. Meanwhile, Isaac Bruce, who hasn't finished the season lower than the #18 overall WR in SIX YEARS routinely falls to me as the #24/25 overall WR.

People are right. Drafting based on upside DOES win fantasy championships. For the people who scoop up all the bargain talent passed up by the people doing it. Just ask Curtis Martin, Tiki Barber, Isaac Bruce, Jake Plummer, and Eddie Kennison owners.

6
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 08/23/2005 - 10:30am

Oh, and Gonzo, some food for thought...

I'm assuming you at least partly agree with the stats on the site, since you're here after all. I'd like to point out, then, that despite all the Kyle Boller bashing going on here, he finished #21 in DVOA last season. This despite playing without any credible threat at WR, without Todd Heap (his only decent target) for the majority of the season, and without Jailbait Lewis for 4 games.

This is ahead of Drew Bledsoe, Jeff Garcia, Aaron Brooks, Billy Volek, Kerry Collins, Joey Harrington, Steve McNair, and Michael/Mike Vick, most of whom the common consensus is "can possibly, you know, play quarterback on an NFL level."

Why don't we give the kid a little bit of slack and one season with an actual target to throw to before deciding he's a bust, okay? Heck, Joey Harrington has gotten far more slack and 3 first-round WRs, so why can't Boller even get the benefit of the doubt?

7
by Fiver (not verified) :: Tue, 08/23/2005 - 12:08pm

Having watched Travis Taylor's career from Florida to the present day, I am willing to go on record saying that I don't believe Travis will fare any better in Minnesota than he did in Baltimore. That doesn't mean he won't have a few games where he racks up high yardage totals running deep under Culpepper's long bombs, but he will never be a consistent #1 Receiver or anything like that. If a team already has an established #1 WR, then Travis should be good downfield against a lesser CB, but Balto drafted him 10th overall to be The Man in a West Coast offense, not an alternate version of Corey Bradford. Travis doesn't get off the line quickly, he doesn't have any YAC skills, he shrinks from contact (weird for such a good run blocker), and he drops half the balls that hit him in the breadbasket. He's the only real misfire Ozzie and Company have made in the draft: taking a college receiver who ran downfield in Spurrier's "find an open space" system and trying to mold him into a West Coast route-runner playing within 15 yds of the LOS.

As for his positives, he does have good straight line speed and will sometimes catch the spectacular ball. He run blocks willingly. He plays well when there's no pressure--witness his stellar training camps every single season--but when the lights go on he's the definition of unreliable.

Don't get me wrong, he was always a nice guy and all, and I wish him much success. I don't think he ever quite recovered (mentally) from a broken collarbone his rookie season. He didn't show gunshy tendencies until that injury.

8
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