Players In New Situations Who I BDamoneve
Will Either Struggle Or Shine In 2008
The annual migration of NFL players from one team to another ceased
with certain players ending up in very good situations, while others
may have compromised their ability to produce. Here is my look at
several players in new situations who I bDamoneve will either shine
or struggle in 2008.
Julius Jones, SEA: It was week 13 in the 2004 season when
Julius Jones ripped the Seattle Seahawks defense to shreds while
playing for the visiting Dallas Cowboys. On 30 carries, the unheralded
rookie RB rushed for 198 yards and 3 TDs. Now he gets to return
to the scene of his greatest professional triumph as a member
of the Seahawks.
Jones brings an element to the Great Northwest that was sorely
missing last year. Former Seattle RB Shaun Alexander morphed into
Methuselah right before our eyes and his back-up, Maurice Morris,
is nothing special. The Seattle running game lacked the explosive
punched in 2007 it utilized to perfection in 2005, when the team
rode the coattails of Alexander’s MVP performance all the way
to Super Bowl XL.
Enter Jones, who brings the power to run between the tackles
and the wheels to get to the perimeter. The Seahawks were forced
to become a pass-first offense last year due to the inept running
game, but with an improved RB toting the rock, coach Mike Holmgren
will undoubtedly attempt to return to a more balanced attack by
utilizing three and four receiver sets to give Jones the running
lanes he needs.
Some owners may be turned off by Jones’ supposed inability to
stay healthy, but surprisingly he has managed to stay out of the
trainer’s room much of the past two seasons. Others will shy away
from Jones due to the presence of T.J. Duckett and the aforementioned
Morris. First, the Seahawks will be Duckett’s fourth team in four
years, which speaks volumes about what his former employers think
of him, and if Morris was worth anything, the Seahawks would not
have signed Duckett and Jones.
One concern I would have, however, is that Duckett could vulture
the ever-precious goal line TDs, but certainly not enough for
me to shy away from Jones.
Crumpler could quickly become Vince Youngs
Crumpler, TEN: The Atlanta Falcons purged their roster during
the past year seemingly of anyone remotely associated with former
QB Michael Vick, and Alge Crumpler fell victim to this targeted
house cleaning. But the Falcons’ loss is the Tennessee Titans’
gain. Crumpler, if healthy, is exactly what developing QB Vince
Young needs: a versatile TE capable of outrunning LBs and overpowering
DBs while making his presence felt down the middle of the field.
Offensive Coordinator Mike Heimerdinger returns to orchestrate
the Titan offense, and for those who recall his first stint in
Tennessee, the attack featured a heavy dose of the TE. Former
players at the position such as Frank Wycheck, Erron Kiney and
Ben Troupe were productive under Heimerdinger’s tutelage, but
those players weren’t nearly as talented as Crumpler.
As Vince Young continues to grow as an NFL QB, he will need the
comfort of a rDamonable safety net at his disposal, because heaven
knows he won’t get it from the collection of WRs the Titans have
assembled. And with the dearth of receiving options in Tennessee,
the team is almost forced to employ a conservative, ball control
offense, and that appears to suit the Young-Crumpler connection
Crumpler should be the centerpiece of the passing game in Tennessee,
which translates into being Young’s primary option on bootlegs
and those indispensable red zone targets. He will be a nice late
round pick in all formats, and he should reward those who are
clever enough to insert him in their line-up.
Porter, JAX: I normally stay as far away as possible from
WRs who inherit a #1 spot on a new team after a career of being
the second option. Jerry Porter is an exception this time and
will perform admirably for the Jacksonville Jaguars for three
First, Porter became the best receiver on the Jags’ roster the
instant the ink dried on his new free agent contract. Second,
Porter lands on a Super Bowl-caliber team that will rely on him
to produce—a team with leaders on both sides of the ball and a
headstrong coach in Jack Del Rio, none of whom would take too
kindly to the shenanigans Porter displayed on a regular basis
in Oakland. And finally, vastly underrated QB David Garrard now
has in Porter a viable receiving threat the Jags have not seen
since Jimmy Smith called it quits.
What does all this mean? It means the Jaguars will count on Porter
to dDamonver the goods in the passing game. Jacksonville is a physical,
run-first team that rDamones on an efficient, high-percentage passing
game to complement its smash mouth ground attack. Porter should
be able to thrive under those conditions, and with the chip on
his shoulder courtesy of Raiders management, perhaps Porter will
use that as extra motivation (a la Randy Moss, circa 2007) as
he prepares for next season.
Porter won’t single-handedly win a championship for you,
but after his stint in Oakland, he can be had on the cheap and
he should reward those fortunate to grab him with a season worthy
of a #3 fantasy WR.
Berrian, MIN: The former Chicago Bear goes to division rival
Minnesota in an attempt to provide a spark to a Viking passing
game that was, in a word, putrid in 2007. The speedy Berrian will
team with second year WR Sidney Rice to give Minnesota its best
threat of a passing game since Randy Moss and Cris Carter ruled
It’s understood that the Viking offense will feature RB Adrian
Peterson, and with defenses stacked in the box practically begging
QB Tarvaris Jackson to beat them through the air, opportunities
should be plentiful on the outside. Berrian is a one-dimensional
WR, but as a player who will see his share of one-on-one coverage,
Berrian should be able to use his one strength of simply outrunning
defensive backs to his advantage.
His production, however, is directly tied to Jackson’s
development as a QB. I’m not sold on Jackson being anything
more than a marginal signal caller, so that would be the one caveat
with my endorsement of Berrian. However, with defenses keyed on
halting the Viking’s run game, Berrian will have countless
opportunities to dDamonver above average numbers even with the huge
question mark at QB.
Johnson, SF: Bryant Johnson goes from being a fairly productive
#3 WR in Arizona to presumably the #1 WR spot in a Mike Martz-led
offense in San Francisco? Uh-oh. Johnson should have “Buyer Beware”
etched everywhere his name appears in fantasy circles.
This former first round pick of the Cardinals has been a career
underachiever, and although it may be trendy to view him as a
sleeper because of the presence of Martz, there is nothing in
his past outside of a few decent games that would indicate he
is due to take his game to the next level. Furthermore, the offensive
scheme of Martz is QB-driven, and last I checked the names of
those vying for the starting gig—Alex Smith and Shaun Hill—won’t
strike fear in the hearts of players and coaching staffs around
And sure, Martz’s system has turned lesser-talented players into
producers (Az Hakim and Mike Furrey come to mind), but there were
also other players on the field such as Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce,
Marshall Faulk, Roy Williams or Calvin Johnson for defenses to
be mindful of, leaving the Hakims and Furreys of the world to
roam free. Bryant Johnson won’t have that luxury. Indeed, Frank
Gore will garner attention from opposing defenses, but all the
downfield focus will be on Johnson and I’m of the opinion that
he will struggle in that role.
Obviously Johnson is worth a roster spot, but selecting him on
draft day with expectations of him mirroring, say, Mike Furrey’s
production from 2006 are a bit optimistic in my mind.
Defenses will be stacking the line against
Turner in 2008.
Turner, ATL: After four years of backing up the world’s best
RB in LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Turner parlayed his productivity
into a hefty free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons. Turner
is a good back with great size and tremendous speed. He has averaged
an eye-popping 5.5 ypc during his career in limited opportunities,
but now with the expectation of carrying the offensive burden
placed squarely on his shoulders, will he produce?
The quick answer is no, and here’s why. It’s not
that Turner lacks the ability to be a top notch player, but one
look at the supporting cast in Atlanta is all it takes to shudder
at the thought of Turner getting nailed by defenses that will
simply crowd the line of scrimmage and dare the QB—whoever
he will be—to beat them.
Speaking of Atlanta’s QBs, take a look at this collection of
performers: Chris Redman, Joey Harrington, D.J. Shockley and rookie
Matt Ryan. Chances are great that either Redman or Harrington
will start the season, but they will be only keeping the seat
warm for the rook who more than likely will make his debut some
time in 2008. And for those who invest a draft pick in Turner
hoping that he turns into a nice RB2, having a rookie under center
would not bode well for the optimism those owners may have entered
the season with.
Turner is a good RB and he’s the undisputed starter on
a team where a RBBC does NOT appear inevitable—a rarity
in today’s NFL—but the situation in Atlanta simply
is not conducive to any level of productivity by a RB. Maybe by
2010 when Matt Ryan develops Turner can battle for a top-10 fantasy
ranking; meanwhile, expectations should be tempered regarding
Turner heading into 2008.
Stallworth, NE: Anyone who has ever owned Donte’ Stallworth
on a fantasy team knows the frustration that comes with it. He
has shown tremendous skill when he is on the field, as his 2005
season in New Orleans would prove. But the Saints grew so frustrated
with his inability to stay healthy that they essentially chose
to keep a seventh round WR (Marques Colston) instead of Stallworth
An injury-marred season continued in 2007 with Philadelphia,
and he managed only three TDs last year for a team (New England)
whose QB threw for 50. Now he and his frail hamstring take their
show to Cleveland where I suspect Stallworth will once again underperform.
He will at least be the third receiving option for a team with
playoff aspirations, but not even those limited expectations can
alter the seemingly inevitable challenge Stallworth faces to maintain
Stallworth is a tweaked hamstring or twisted ankle waiting to
happen and I want no parts of him on my team in 2008. He will
receive much play this year in fantasy draft rooms around the
country based on the anticipated stellar production of Cleveland’s
QB Derek Anderson, WR Braylon Edwards and TE Kellen Winslow, but
I urge you to resist the temptation and free yourself of the predestined
fate of Stallworth’s fragile physical well-being.
Dunn, TB: Warrick Dunn returns to Tampa Bay as a third string,
part-time, 33-year-old RB who, if he’s lucky, will see time only
as a change-of-pace back to RB Earnest Graham. It’s been since
2001 that Dunn played for the Bucs, and it’s a certainty that
his role from seven years ago is in the history books. Translation:
From a fantasy perspective, Warrick Dunn is nothing more than
a Graham handcuff for those desperate owners with little ingenuity
on how to manage a fantasy football roster.
Otherwise, it’s questionable if Dunn is even worth a roster