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The Weekly Gut Check - Vol. 68
Crank Scores - Part III

Rookie Scouting Portfolio The “Gut Feeling” is often synonymous with a sense of desperation resulting from a lack of preparation. The Gut Check is a huge proponent of studying the numbers, but there’s a point where one can place too much emphasis on the wrong information. This can result in the undervaluing or overlooking a player’s potential. Therefore, The Weekly Gut Check is devoted to examining the frame of reference behind certain number-driven guidelines that fantasy football owners use to make decisions.

Although The Weekly Gut Check doesn’t claim to be psychic, he does believe that he can dispel certain numbers biases and help you make the best choices for your team. We’ll keep a running tally of The Weekly Gut Check’s insights. This way you can gauge his views as something to seriously consider, or at least seriously consider running the opposite way as fast as you can!

Crank Scores will be the focus of a four-part series. Part I provided Crank Scores for standard scoring, 12-team leagues based on 2005 stats. Part II focused on Crank Scores from 2005 stats for 12-team leagues that score 1 point per reception. Part III incorporates a combination of two draft strategies to create projections. Part IV will be a more personalized projection incorporating Crank scores For a detailed explanation of the Crank Score see Volume 40 and Matt Waldman’s Draft Strategy article in the 2006 edition of Fantasy Pro Forecast now on sale at newsstands near you.

So you’ve been reading about Crank Scores, but wonder how you can apply this theory as a draft strategy for the coming season. The Gut Check believes one viable approach is to combine the concepts of Consistency Theory with The Average Value Theory (or AVT). If aren’t familiar with AVT, here’s a brief summary of it’s purposes from its originator, Wade Iuele:

The Average Value Theory “takes your player rankings (Top-30 QBs, Top-40 RBs, Top-50 WRs for example) and turns that into a complete VBD draft board. It already has all the fantasy points, it has already made all the comparisons, it just needs the names. There are several versions of AVT, but here is how the (simplest) one works:

Using historical data, AVT calculates what each player-slot will score on average. By player slot I mean WR1, WR2, WR3, WR4, etc. Each one of those player slots is given a fantasy point value, customized to fit your scoring system. These values are obtained by taking historical season-end statistics, calculating the fantasy point totals through your scoring system, removing the names, replacing those names with player slot ranks, doing this for several consecutive years, and taking the average. Very simple, very clean, and standardized while still being customized.”

The Gut Check’s approach to combining these two theories is simple: substitute Crank Scores for fantasy points then fit the players with the scores. This should be a great way to project players for head to head leagues. In essence, you get the historical values at each position that will help you generate more realistic performance projections (AVT) combined with calculations designed to predict success in head-to-head leagues (Crank).

First, yours truly had to determine how many years we should use to average the Crank Score. The table below is a color-coded representation of average QB Crank Scores for the starters (and in some cases, top reserves) in a 12-team league with a lineup of 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, and 1 TE for 4 years, 3 years, and 2 years. We’ll use a standard scoring league system in a 12-team league of .1 point per yard rushing/receiving, .05 point per yard passing, 6 points per rushing/receiving touchdown, and 4 points per passing touchdown. FF Today offers you a chance to generate your own Crank Scores customized to your league rules with The Crank Score Calculator. Here’s the raw data for this scoring system:

Average Crank Scores
Rank 4-YR 3-YR 2-YR Rank 4-YR 3-YR 2-YR Rank 4-YR 3-YR 2-YR Rank 4-YR 3-YR 2-YR
QB1 78.42 73.7 73.24 RB1 102.43 97.91 97.33 WR1 71.34 72.1 71.12 TE1 26.34 28.53 29.47
QB2 64.86 64.4 68.2 RB2 74.75 78.07 73.3 WR2 63.49 62.23 59.78 TE2 20.31 21.97 22.4
QB3 56.36 54.21 55.77 RB3 66.31 70.34 69.09 WR3 53.7 53.06 55.92 TE3 17.35 18.47 17.2
QB4 51.77 49.37 49.94 RB4 62.49 65.32 62.74 WR4 48.58 48.74 54.23 TE4 15.61 16.63 15.35
QB5 46.01 41.97 45.45 RB5 58.19 61.07 57.5 WR5 46.97 48.02 53.7 TE5 12.22 12.68 13.26
QB6 41.61 36.63 40.3 RB6 53.71 55.21 54.69 WR6 43.61 44.66 49.2 TE6 11.32 11.62 12.05
QB7 36.89 34.9 38.67 RB7 51.38 53.16 53.98 WR7 42.12 43.09 47.87 TE7 10.35 11.08 11.73
QB8 35.35 33.41 36.87 RB8 50.27 51.82 51.99 WR8 38.32 38.13 41.05 TE8 8.71 8.89 8.73
QB9 34.02 31.73 34.46 RB9 46.72 48.48 47.89 WR9 37.54 37.23 39.92 TE9 7.74 7.7 7.78
QB10 31.96 29.03 30.75 RB10 41.07 42.2 43.1 WR10 34.99 34.7 36.64 TE10 7.42 7.46 7.56
QB11 30.94 27.8 29.42 RB11 36.72 37.49 38.24 WR11 33.19 33.39 35.04 TE11 6.62 6.45 6.42
QB12 29.99 27.32 28.72 RB12 33.8 34.45 34.77 WR12 31.18 30.9 31.45 TE12 6.19 6.13 5.92
QB13 26.76 24.97 25.56 RB13 29.82 30.36 33.19 WR13 30.03 29.68 30.75 TE13 5.62 5.72 5.71
QB14 25.25 23.36 23.94 RB14 29.22 29.72 32.24 WR14 27.9 26.97 27 TE14 5.34 5.41 5.49
QB15 24.34 22.54 22.76 RB15 27.48 28.63 31.71 WR15 26.95 26.2 26.39 TE15 4.59 4.44 4.49
QB16 22.98 20.98 21.68 RB16 26.84 27.94 31.11 WR16 26.73 25.97 26.25 TE16 4.21 4.2 4.17
QB17 21.92 20.3 20.99 RB17 24.69 25.1 26.96 WR17 25.94 25.23 25.17 TE17 3.99 3.94 3.89
QB18 19.55 17.62 18.09 RB18 23.56 24.01 26.03 WR18 24.44 24.48 24.43 TE18 3.74 3.65 3.6
QB19 18.62 16.79 17.46 RB19 21.64 21.75 23.86 WR19 23.63 23.76 23.9 TE19 3.66 3.57 3.5
QB20 17.96 16.27 16.94 RB20 21.21 21.29 23.35 WR20 22.24 22.54 23.28 TE20 3.43 3.29 3.1
QB21 17.59 15.96 16.54 RB21 19.86 20.36 22.55 WR21 21.74 21.92 22.46 TE21 3.29 3.2 2.99
QB22 16.81 15.22 16.2 RB22 17.95 18.24 21.67 WR22 21.38 21.63 22.07 TE22 3.03 2.88 2.6
QB23 16.21 14.47 15.67 RB23 16.66 16.74 19.67 WR23 20.84 21.04 21.59 TE23 2.69 2.44 2.2
QB24 15.29 13.63 14.61 RB24 15.87 15.82 18.6 WR24 20.01 19.98 20.53 TE24 2.57 2.32 2.08
QB25 15.07 13.47 14.42 RB25 14.72 14.37 17.02 WR25 18.91 18.79 19.91 TE25 2.2 1.98 1.66
QB26 14.64 13.12 13.97 RB26 13.83 14.15 16.93 WR26 18.08 17.74 18.41
QB27 11.76 10.22 9.64 RB27 13.23 13.65 16.24 WR27 17.44 17 17.78
QB28 10.68 8.99 7.95 RB28 11.33 11.56 13.43 WR28 16.81 16.35 16.92
QB29 9.34 7.22 5.85 RB29 9.1 9.66 11.52 WR29 16.3 15.81 16.23
QB30 8.15 6.72 5.34 RB30 8.12 8.99 10.51 WR30 15.82 15.18 15.35
QB31 7.22 6.19 4.78 RB31 7.47 8.36 9.63 WR31 15.25 14.67 14.75
QB32 6.67 5.49 3.78 RB32 7.2 8.02 9.3 WR32 14.88 14.29 14.39
  RB33 6.79 7.52 8.73 WR33 14.56 13.95 13.88
  RB34 6.01 7.1 8.09 WR34 14.1 13.42 13.7
  RB35 5.65 6.7 7.73 WR35 13.32 12.4 12.48
  RB36 4.71 5.59 6.24 WR36 12.92 12.01 12.08

It appears that in recent years quarterback play has become less consistent at the top end of performance. There have been spikes in the average—for instance Manning and Culpepper’s 2004 seasons—but the number of QBs posting a Crank Score of at least 50 has dropped recently. Based off this data it might make sense for you to consider a more cautious strategy with quarterbacks, which means not waiting too long to draft your starter. These numbers for at least a 4-year period show that the 8th-ranked quarterback is essentially half as consistently productive at the desire level of play as the top signal caller. It doesn’t mean this quarterback is half has productive, it just means he’s half has reliable to have a quality game. If you pick the right quarterback early—one of the top 3-4 signal callers—the data shows you’re probably half as likely to worry about making the wrong decision to start him over another QB on your roster.

This is one of the interesting things about Crank Scores. Not only are you looking at whom to draft, but how your decisions may impact whom you start on a weekly basis. It’s good to have depth, but the teams that wind up on the bubble of a playoff berth often have squads that have too many players that lack a high enough level of consistency to separate themselves from their peers as a reliable starter week to week.

If you drafted the 10th-best QB during the past 3-4 years, which was likely a selection after the fifth round in most drafts, you were getting a player that wasn’t much better than a non-starter in a 12-team league. If you don’t have a good idea of which lower valued QBs have a strong likelihood of exceeding their worth, you may want to grab a signal caller before the first 6-7 QBs leave the board. This will increase your chances of landing a quarterback that will consistently perform to the expectations you should have for a starter.

Now if you want a starter that is consistently going to outpace at least half your league week to week, it appears you should gun for a QB with a Crank Score higher than 50 points. This means you’ll need to take one of the best 3-5 QBs on your draft board to have a reasonable shot at achieving this objective.

This information should tell you that you shouldn’t determine which round you take a quarterback as much as you count how many quarterbacks are (or will be) off the board before your next pick. If you count the quarterbacks off the board, this should give you a better chance to acquire a signal caller that will help you succeed week to week rather than wait for a certain round, and miss out.

The top running backs remain highly consistent. In fact, there is a trend of consistently higher performances in recent years despite the media’s obsession with the impending doom of running back by committees and NFL rules changes to aid the passing game. For the past two years, there have been four additional backs with consistency scores typically within the range of the 10th-12th rated RBs. This could have to do with fewer injuries or simply better performances with the running game.

In comparison to quarterbacks, there is nearly twice as many #1 quality RBs with Crank Scores of at least 40. The ratio of starter quality RBs to QBs is one factor in support of the stud running back theory (picking two RBs early—generally within the first two rounds). Ultimately what a fantasy owner hopes is to land two backs that rank within the top five by the end of the year.

Since the top 20 backs go off the board so fast, it’s wise to invest in rookies and backups throughout the selection process to have injury insurance. Sam Gado, Larry Johnson, and Cadillac Williams were all non-starter draft picks in 2005 (if drafted at all). As mentioned in previous columns, production is very much linked to opportunity. Taking as many reasonable chances on talented backups and rookies should provide you future trade bait, if not an actual starter.

Lately there have been 7-8 receivers that perform at a level of consistency comparable with the #1 quality starting RBs. For the past 3-4 years, you might be in as good of shape drafting a receiver with your top pick from spots 9-12 instead of a runner. Again, it depends on your league’s draft tendencies but simply by the numbers, a top tier receiver could do you more good than the runner you’ll likely have a shot at drafting on the way back to you with your second round pick. It’s important to realize that drafting a receiver any earlier is fraught with risk.

One of the most interesting facts about comparing QB, RB, and WR Crank Scores is how the level of score begins to even out across all three positions within in the range of the 14th-17th rated player at each position. This phenomenon dictates fantasy football common sense: the more valuable players within these ranges tend to be backs and receivers because they still tend to be starter material. This is why it’s wise to be patient with landing that backup QB or starting TE—that is unless you have drafted against the common trend and have to plan accordingly.

The spread for tight end Crank Scores has been very consistent. There are generally two stud tight ends, one significantly better than the other, another five decent starters, and then the rest of the field. This is another reason why most fantasy leagues experience a noticeable run of tight ends going off the board at some point in the draft. It’s probably best to be the one to start the run if you are closer to either end of a serpentine draft. This will allow you to snag a desired player at another position due to the fact other teams may be reacting to the positional run.

Now that he has seen the average Crank Score values for these ranges of time, The Gut Check will use the two-year average to do an AVT-like projection using Crank Scores. Just from eyeballing the charts, it appears the two-year average has more in common with the four-year average. The three-year average was somewhat of an anomaly so the most recent past seems to more consistent with the first half of this decade overall.

Here were several factors the Gut Check considered as he assigned players to these values:

  • Has the player consistently posted a Crank Score close to the projected AVT Crank Score?
  • If the player is a rookie, what was the prior starter’s Crank Score for the preceding year?
  • Was the player injured last year and what is the status for his recovery?
  • Has the player switched teams or have key support staff arrived or departed from his squad?

The Crank Score-AVT rankings below show the player, the assigned Crank Value, and his corresponding Average Draft position at the time of publication (just as training camps are about to open). The Gut Check will continue to revise these projections into his personal Crank Projections for the 2006 season, but let’s consider this somewhat of a rough draft. Would yours truly use these projections for a draft? At this point, sure—while there will still be a lot of changes (especially at the RB position), the Gut Check feels pretty good about these rankings as a pre-training camp draft list.

Crank Score-AVT Rankings
QB Player Crank ADP RB Player Crank ADP WR Player Crank ADP TE Player Crank ADP
1 P. Manning 73.24 2.03 1 L. Johnson 97.33 1.01 1 L. Fitzgerald 71.12 2.08 1 A. Gates 29.47 3.04
2 D. McNabb 68.2 6.01 2 S. Alexander 73.3 1.02 2 T. Holt 59.78 2.06 2 T. Gonzalez 22.4 5.03
3 M. Bulger 55.77 6.05 3 T. Barber 69.09 1.05 3 M. Harrison 55.92 2.11 3 J. Shockey 17.2 4.11
4 T. Brady 49.94 5.02 4 L. Tomlinson 62.74 1.02 4 T. Owens 54.23 2.02 4 T. Heap 15.35 5.1
5 C. Palmer 45.45 4.08 5 C. Portis 57.5 1.04 5 C. Johnson 53.7 2.06 5 J. Witten 13.26 7.03
6 K. Warner 40.3 7.11 6 L. Jordan 54.69 1.07 6 R. Moss 49.2 2.11 6 A. Crumpler 12.05 6.07
7 A. Brooks 38.67 9.05 7 E. James 53.98 1.07 7 A. Boldin 47.87 3.02 7 C. Cooley 11.73 7.11
8 E. Manning 36.87 6.02 8 C. Williams 51.99 1.11 8 S. Smith 41.05 2.01 8 R. McMichael 8.73 8.04
9 J. Delhomme 34.46 7.03 9 B. Westbrook 47.89 2.01 9 C. Chambers 39.92 3.06 9 B. Watson 7.78 10.08
10 D. Bledsoe 30.75 7.09 10 R. Brown 43.1 1.09 10 S. Moss 36.64 4.04 10 K. Winslow 7.56 9.09
11 D. Culpepper 29.42 7.02 11 R. Johnson 38.24 1.1 11 J. Horn 35.04 5.06 11 V. Davis 6.42 10.09
12 M. Hasselbeck 28.72 5.08 12 S. Jackson 34.77 1.07 12 D. Mason 31.45 5.09 12 H. Miller 5.92 10.04
13 T. Green 25.56 8.08 13 J. Lewis 33.19 3.04 13 D. Jackson 30.75 3.12 13 L.J. Smith 5.71 9.01
14 D. Brees 23.94 10.03 14 D. Foster 32.24 4.03 14 J. Galloway 27 6.01 14 B. Troupe 5.49 13.06
15 B. Favre 22.76 10.04 15 C. Benson 31.71 5.05 15 T.J Housh 26.39 5.07 15 Dal. Clark 4.49 12.07
16 S. McNair 21.68 11.04 16 J. Addai 31.11 5.01 16 H. Ward 26.25 3.09 16 Des. Clark 4.17
17 M. Vick 20.99 8.12 17 R. Bush 26.96 3.09 17 D. Driver 25.17 4.07 17 A. Smith 3.89 14.07
18 B. Leftwich 18.09 11.03 18 C. Dillon 26.03 4.03 18 R. Wayne 24.43 3.07 18 C. Anderson 3.6
19 C. Simms 17.46 12.05 19 W. Dunn 23.86 3.11 19 R. Williams 23.9 3.12 19 M. Lewis 3.5 15.01
20 M. Brunell 16.94 13.02 20 W. Parker 23.35 3.01 20 T. Glenn 23.28 9.09 20 Z. Hilton 3.1 14.1
21 Roethlisberger 16.54 10.04 21 F. Taylor 22.55 5.11 21 P. Burress 22.46 4.05 21 L. Pope 2.99 15.06
22 J. Plummer 16.2 9.02 22 K. Jones 21.67 2.1 22 M. Jones 22.07 8.12 22 J. Putzier 2.6
23 J. Kitna 15.67 11.12 23 R. Droughns 19.67 3.07 23 K. Robinson 21.59 8.08 23 J. Wiggins 2.2 14.03
24 B. Volek 14.61 13.08 24 A. Green 18.6 5.12 24 A. Bryant 20.53 10.1 24 D. Graham 2.08
25 D. Carr 14.42 11.12 25 W. McGahee 17.02 2.05 25 L. Evans 19.91 6.08 25 E. Johnson 1.66
26 R. Grossman 13.97 14.06 26 F. Gore 16.93 6.11 26 A. Johnson 18.41 4.1
27 P. Rivers 9.64 12.1 27 J. Jones 16.24 2.09 27 D. Stallworth 17.78 9.04
28 K. Holcomb 7.95 28 C. Taylor 13.43 3.07 28 D. Branch 16.92 5.08
29 C. Frye 5.85 15.07 29 L. White 11.52 8.06 29 E. Kennison 16.23 8.08
30 B. Johnson 5.34 14.04 30 C. Martin 10.51 6.09 30 R. Smith 15.35 7.04
31 A. Smith 4.78 31 D. Williams 9.63 7.07 31 N. Burleson 14.75 7.11
32 C. Pennington 3.78 32 T. Jones 9.3 5.08 32 M. Muhammad 14.39 8.06
  33 V. Morency 8.73 33 K. McCardell 13.88 11.05
  34 M. Barber 8.09 8.07 34 J. Walker 13.7 4.11
  35 T. Bell 7.73 4.04 35 K. Johnson 12.48 11.01
  36 D. McAllister 6.24 5.06 36 B. Lloyd 12.08 12.12

This is the kind of cheat sheet the Gut Check will often use—especially if he isn’t able to bring a laptop with him to a draft (in that case he’d use the Compiler/Draft Buddy with some Crank info as an addition resource). Since the Crank Score encompasses fantasy point per game average and consistency strength, yours truly gets a well-package view of projected productivity. The ADP scores were from serious mock drafts from during the month of July for 12-team leagues with no flex player and a tight end requirement. The ADP provides a relative value that your peers likely have for that player. The Crank Score and ADP provide a balanced analysis for you to decide which players you believe are overvalued or undervalued. Plus you can get a general idea of when you can wait a round or two and when you should reach a bit to grab that desired player.

The Gut Check clearly has some players that he feels are over valued and undervalued. So let’s give a brief profile of some of these projections that might jump out at the average observer:


Donovan McNabb #2 overall, ADP 6.02: McNabb has proven to get it done with or with out Terrell Owens. He’s in the best shape of his life and sports enough of a supporting cast to regain a spot as one of the elite fantasy quarterbacks. Re-think that supporting cast comment for a second. Brian Westbrook is one of the best all-purpose backs in football and he’ll continue to receive a lot of looks in the passing game because second-year back Ryan Moats is an excellent runner that will provide the Eagles a surprisingly effective 1-2 punch. Go ahead and listen to the television cognoscenti tell you the Eagles won’t be able to run, because about a month into the season they’ll be talking about the run game as a surprising success. Plus Moats and Westbrook on the field at the same time will create dangerous advantages for Philly because once Moats burns the defense enough times, Westbrook will see more room as a receiver. L.J. Smith is an underrated tight end and solid red zone option and Reggie Brown can do a little bit of everything. While they lack the elite receiver, McNabb put up top 3-5 QB-like fantasy numbers without one. While four other quarterbacks are going off the board before McNabb, the Gut Check thinks he’s a bargain compared to Matt Hasselbeck.

Kurt Warner #6 overall, ADP 7.11: Did anyone watch Warner at the end of the year? Considering he’s the starter for a historically moribund franchise, and he looked like a punching bag for the Giants in ’04, it’s hard to blame the casual observer for letting Warner fall off the radar. Still, Warner garners strong value with two, pro bowl quality receivers and now an elite runner. Warner had the 6th highest Crank Score in 2005, but missed 6 games. But the presence of James should provide extra protection for the Cards QB. Fitzgerald and Boldin should only get better as 3rd and 4th-year veterans, so expecting 14-16 games out of Warner isn’t a reach.

Matt Hasselbeck #12 overall, ADP 5.08: Why is the Gut Check not as impressed with Hasselbeck in comparison to the rest of the fantasy world? The Seahawks QB was ranked 13th in 2005, 14th in 2004, and 13th in 2003. Is Nate Burleson going to catapult Hassebleck into the elite fantasy quarterbacks? The Gut Check doesn’t think so. The absence of Steve Hutchinson isn’t going to make it easier for the Seahawks offense, either. This isn’t to say Seattle will disappoint—they should have an excellent year—but Shaun Alexander remains the centerpiece and Hasselbeck is the second banana. Why does everyone else rate him so highly? Yours truly guesses it has to do with the Super Bowl appearance. So at this point, consider Hasselbeck a good quarterback, but an over hyped fantasy signal caller.

Running Backs

Jamal Lewis #13 Overall, ADP 3.04: If you’ve been reading the Gut Check’s work for at least a year, you’ll know he predicted a down year for the Ravens back. This year he is reversing his field on Lewis’ prospects, and believes he’ll be an outstanding second back for you fantasy squad. Lewis’ value has dropped due to the fact he never recovered from his ankle injury last year—how anyone thought Lewis would get the best of care while rehabbing at a federal prison is behind understanding—and the acquisition of Broncos back Mike Anderson this year. As for Anderson’s presence, the Gut Check believes Lewis will be the main man if healthy. Anderson is simply an upgrade to Chester Taylor—a back that can carry the load if called upon. Sure, he’ll get his share of carries, but if you think a healthy, focused Jamal Lewis is going to cede significant looks to Anderson, then you must be in the camp that age has taken a toll on the former 2000-yard rusher. The Gut Check doesn’t have this inclination, especially with the presence of Steve McNair. This Ravens team could very well perform like the Titans of the late 1990’s—and the best-case scenario could mean Lewis returns to elite back status in 2006.

Willie Parker #20 Overall, ADP 3.01: The Gut Check has quite a few adjustments to make to the 12th-24th rated backs on this list, but he believes the Steeler’s starter is the beneficiary of the same hype Matt Hasselbeck has received as a Super Bowl participant. The Gut Check believes Jerome Bettis will be tougher to replace than many fantasy owners anticipate. Just think about The Sporting News’ rumor that Pittsburgh inquired about the availability of Falcon runner T.J. Duckett. If the Steelers thought they had a featured back in Parker, a possible trade wouldn’t be something they’d entertain. Parker was rated 22nd among backs in 2005 Crank Score and the Gut Check believes Staley and Haynes will take on larger roles in the Pittsburgh running game in 2006 if Duckett or another power back doesn’t get shipped to the Iron City. Parker will have some nice games, but don’t consider him a lock as a #2 RB for your squad.

Cedric Benson #15 Overall, ADP 5.05: As training camp progresses, we’ll see whether Benson retains the starting spot. If he does, expect his value to steadily rise. But if you draft early in the preseason, the second year back out of Texas is potentially nice value as your #3 RB if he’s available at the projected ADP. Thomas Jones was the 11th-rated back according to his 2005 Crank Score and The Gut Check doesn’t see the Bears defense getting any tamer for opponents. This should present good opportunities for the lead back in Chicago. Speaking of Chicago backs, keep an eye on Adrian Peterson—Lovie Smith has always been high on this player and so has yours truly. If disaster strikes the Second City’s backfield, Peterson could have a Gado-esque 2006.

Note: Domanick Davis was purposely excluded from the rankings. Until the Texans back demonstrates he’ll be healthy enough to run, The Gut Check isn’t going near him in early summer drafts.

Wide Receivers

Joey Galloway #14 overall, ADP 6.01: Galloway is the victim of the age old, old age concern that the wheels are bound to fall off sooner than later. But the Gut Check isn’t buying it for 2006. In fact, yours truly still thinks he might have Galloway ranked too low at #14 overall. It’s the presence of a rejuvenated David Boston and fully rehabilitated Michael Clayton that is quelling his optimism at the moment. Only Fitzgerald and Owens had more elite games than Galloway last year. The Gut Check is going to keep an eye on preseason developments as One Buc Place.

Terry Glenn #20 overall, ADP 9.09: Maybe Owens has traditionally been a ball hog, but T.O. has never had a receiver the caliber of Terry Glenn on the opposite side. Dallas now has two excellent deep threats and a top tight end. The presence of Owens should give opposing defenses fits in pass coverage because Glenn has the advantage one on one against most corners when it comes to deep routes. At the tail end of round nine, Glenn is a potential steal.

Joe Horn #11 overall, ADP 5.06: Sticking with the fine wine ages with time theme, Joe Horn makes The Gut Check’s list as an undervalued player. Drew Brees is continuing to mature into a very savvy quarterback and he and Horn should become a great combo. To get a perennial top-flight, fantasy receiver as a #2 or #3 starter on a roster is yet again a great deal.

Tight Ends

Heath Miller #12 Overall, ADP 10.04: This is a player the Gut Check will likely bump up a few notches in his projections. Miller and Roethlisberger should continue to establish a great connection. Look for Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt to come up with even more packages to exploit the second year tight end’s skills. While other owners talk up Kellen Winslow, Vernon Davis, and Ben Watson, Miller could very well be just as enticing a value.

Desmond Clark #16 Overall, ADP Not Drafted: Clark is a good receiver that wasn’t in great shape last year. He has been impressive in mini camp after arriving in much better condition. The Bear’s starter had some moments in Denver and it wouldn’t be a surprise to the Gut Check if he actually performs like a fantasy starter this year. A good late round pick.

Next week, the Gut Check will tweak his projections for the final installment of the Crank Score series.