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The Weekly Gut Check - Vol. 91
Applying The Third-Year WR Theory

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!

For the last three seasons (2004, 2005, 2006), The Gut Check has provided a short list of receivers with a statistical profile where there was supposed to be a high probability of experiencing a breakout fantasy season. The list is based on a historical, statistical profile where receivers reached certain stats the year before they experienced a big year for their team.

The players highlighted in yellow experienced a fantasy breakout season of at least 150 fantasy points scored in a standard scoring league (1pt per 10 yards receiving and 6 points per touchdown, bonus points for 100-yard games). The players with an asterisk, were quality starters in 12-team, 3-WR, lineups (top 36 at their position):

Past Breakouts
2006 Candidates 2005 Candidates 2004 Candidates
Roy Williams, DET Larry Fitzgerald, ARI Andre Johnson, HOU
Brandon Lloyd, WAS Donte Stallworth, NO * Javon Walker, GB
Reggie Brown, PHI* Lee Evans, BUF * Reggie Wayne, IND
Antonio Bryant, SF Charles Rogers, DET Charles Rogers, DET
Deion Branch, SEA Brandon Lloyd, SF Brandon Lloyd, SF
  Roy Williams, DET *  

A 150-point season is equivalent to a top-15 performance at the receiver position. Yours Truly did accurately pick Roy Williams as his top candidate to breakout in 2006, but he missed out on three players. Branch was a Patriot at the time of the Gut Check’s 2006 analysis and the missed games and trade certainly had a negative effect. Antonio Bryant was on the cusp of having a starter-worthy season.

While the Gut Check is still over 50% at picking quality starters one can insert into a 3-WR lineup (56%), the accuracy rate continues to plummet with each succeeding year. Sure, Yours Truly mentioned Bernard Berrian and Donté Stallworth as candidates for consideration, but he picked incorrectly. In fact there is a three-year downward trend with this profiling method.

Maybe the criteria used for a breakout season needs to be redefined a bit. Predicting 3-4 players to make the top 15 at their position when they have never reached it before is overshooting the mark. At the same time, it’s still worthwhile information for fantasy owners to see which players could present a draft day value with this kind of production potential, because if they miss the mark the results from the past three years show these players still have value.

In this year’s article, the Gut Check will tier the players according to a predicted fantasy point range. He was heading in this direction last year when he listed players in a predicted order of likelihood for a breakout season. Next week, he’ll display an alternate method of statistical profiling breakout candidates for not only the receiver position, but also the other skill positions—he calls it the Second Half Wonder Theory. Some of the Second Half Wonders for 2006 included Roy Williams, Mark Clayton, Amani Toomer, Reggie Brown, Frank Gore, and Chris Cooley. Each had great productivity for at least significant portions of the year.

Here’s a quick review of the analysis used to arrive at the players in 2004-2006 (for a more detailed explanation, check out 2004’s article):

  1. Create a sample size from the top 15 WRs during a 20-year span.
  2. Pinpoint the highest percentage cluster of years where a breakout occurred.
  3. Create a statistical profile of a receiver that fits the potential breakout criteria.
  4. Determine the receivers from 2006 that fit the profile entering 2007.

If one uses Tony San Nicholas’ analysis, it tends to yield a much higher accuracy rate. In a short, he discovered 71.4% of rookie WRs over the past 20 years with between 50-59 receptions and 700-799 yards experienced a breakout season the following year. In 2004, the sole candidate to fit the criteria was Andre Johnson. In 2005, there were more candidates (Williams, Fitzgerald, Houshmandzadeh, Stallworth, Givens, McCareins, and Northcutt) but the accuracy rate (57%) was lower than the historical average. Tony’s baselines revealed two curious picks for 2006:

2006: 50 Receptions, 700-Yard Benchmark
Last First  Year  Team G  Rec  Rec Yd  Rec TD  FF Pts
Parker Eric 2005 SD 16 57 725 3 90.5
Givens David 2005 NE 13 59 738 2 85.8

The Gut Check doesn’t feel either candidate passed the eyeball test as a likely breakout candidate. Givens missed most of the year with a torn ACL and Parker was 60th among fantasy receivers. Looking ahead to 2007, San Nicholas’ method yields:

2007: 50 Receptions, 700-Yard Benchmark
Name Team Rec Yds TDs FF Pts FF Pts/G
39. Deion Branch SEA 53 725 4 99.5 7.1
43. Bernard Berrian CHI 51 775 6 111 7.4

On the surface, these two seem like much better candidates for a 2007 breakout than Parker and Givens in 2006. But both need something to change this year to become consistent, fantasy starters. With Darrell Jackson sent to the Niners, Branch assumes the primary role and it will increase his likelihood for statistical success. Berrian has been used primarily as a deep threat. Although he has shown the ability to go over the middle with success, he’ll need to rely upon the continued development of Rex Grossman. An additional factor will be Rashied Davis and Mark Bradley’s recovery from his 2005 ACL tear. If Bradley is back to full health, he could take away catches from Berrian on 2007. Watch Bradley’s camp closely.

Historically, the Gut Check’s expanded analysis sacrifices some accuracy in percentage points but he winds up with more players to fall within the spectrum of possibility. Based on the last three years, the breakout candidates from the Gut Check’s statistical profiling generally performed well enough for consideration in a starting lineup even if their production didn’t reach top-15 quality at their position.

Here is the Gut Check’s performance profile for a potential breakout candidate.

  • 85% of the sampled breakout receivers achieved this feat between years 2-5 of their NFL career.
  • 81% had at least 41 receptions
  • 78% had at least 2 touchdowns
  • 71% had at least 400 receiving yards.
  • An average of five receivers per year attain breakout status.

As mentioned, there are 109 players—some prominent performers—that did not meet the 41-400-2/2-4 years experience criteria. Nonetheless, 1-2 of these receivers makes a significant leap in production an annual basis. This includes the players eliminated from the initial list above (i.e.—Santonio Holmes , a player the Gut Check believes is a viable candidate despite not making the cut in this statistical method).

While the Gut Check prefers to stick with the more defined criteria, here’s the list of players with a decent chance to breakout due to their situation and talent, despite lacking the statistical profile.

GC's Expanded Breakout List
Player  Team  G  GS  Target  Rec  Yard  TD  FFPts  FFPts/G
33. Devery Henderson NO 13 7 54 32 745 5 112 9
36. Donte' Stallworth PHI 12 11 78 38 725 5 103 9
46. Nate Washington PIT 16 2 69 35 624 4 87.2 6
49. Michael Jenkins ATL 16 16 83 39 436 7 85.8 5
52. Vincent Jackson SD 16 7 56 27 453 6 82.9 5
56. Patrick Crayton DAL 16 6 48 36 516 4 75.6 5
59. Kevin Curtis STL 16 1 56 39 469 4 68.3 4
60. Eric Parker SD 15 12 70 48 659 0 67.8 5
65. Brandon Jones TEN 16 10 55 27 384 4 62.7 4
68. Antwaan Randle El WAS 16 16 63 32 351 3 61.9 4
69. Ernest Wilford JAC 16 12 74 36 524 2 61.4 4
70. Hank Baskett PHI 16 5 43 22 464 2 58.4 4
71. Bobby Wade TEN 16 2 58 33 461 2 58.1 4
75. Cedrick Wilson PIT 15 12 68 37 504 1 54.8 4
78. Terrance Copper NO 15 4 42 23 385 3 51.3 3
79. Demetrius Williams BAL 16 0 45 21 389 2 50.9 3
80. Ashley Lelie ATL 15 9 68 28 430 1 49 3
81. Roddy White ATL 16 6 64 30 506 0 47.6 3
82. Mark Bradley CHI 10 0 23 14 282 3 46.2 5
85. Troy Williamson MIN 14 11 76 37 455 0 45.5 3
86. Brandon Marshall DEN 15 1 37 20 309 2 44.1 3
88. Roscoe Parrish BUF 16 1 40 23 320 2 42.8 3
89. Billy McMullen MIN 16 0 41 23 307 2 42.7 3
93. Rashied Davis CHI 16 2 56 22 303 2 39.3 3
94. Malcolm Floyd SD 12 0 32 15 210 3 39 3
96. Chad Jackson NE 12 1 19 13 152 3 35.4 3
98. Brandon Lloyd WAS 15 12 57 23 365 0 33.5 2
102. Derek Hagan MIA 16 0 37 21 221 1 28.1 2
106. Dennis Northcutt CLE 13 6 45 22 228 0 23 2
110. Kelley Washington CIN 5 1 12 9 115 1 17.5 4
125. David Givens TEN 5 5 20 8 104 0 10.7 2
126. Jason Avant PHI 8 3 15 7 68 1 9.8 1

When yours truly ran the numbers for the statistical profiling method, the players listed below made up the initial pool of candidates for 2007.

Breakout Candidates: Initial Pool
Player  Team  G  GS  Target  Rec  Yard  TD  FFPts  FFPts/G
21. Reggie Brown PHI 16 15 93 46 816 8 138 8.6
22. Jerricho Cotchery NYJ 16 16 126 82 961 6 134.6 8.4
26. Braylon Edwards CLE 16 15 122 60 879 6 125.1 7.8
28. Mark Clayton BAL 16 12 113 67 939 5 120.9 7.6
34. Bernard Berrian CHI 15 14 102 51 775 6 111 7.4
38. Deion Branch SEA 14 13 101 53 725 4 99.5 7.1
39. Bryant Johnson ARI 16 8 75 40 740 4 94.7 5.9
40. Reche Caldwell NE 16 14 102 61 760 4 94.5 5.9
42. Santonio Holmes PIT 16 4 85 49 824 2 89.7 5.6
43. Antonio Bryant SF 14 13 91 41 747 3 89.7 6.4
44. Reggie Williams JAC 16 14 92 53 615 4 88.9 5.6
48. Arnaz Battle SF 16 15 86 60 683 3 86.1 5.4
50. D.J. Hackett SEA 14 5 67 45 610 4 85 6.1
51. Matt Jones JAC 14 4 80 41 643 4 84.7 6.1
53. Greg Jennings GB 14 11 105 45 632 3 81.2 5.8
54. Ronald Curry OAK 16 4 89 62 727 1 79.1 4.9
55. Travis Taylor MIN 16 16 87 57 651 3 77.6 4.9
58. Wes Welker MIA 16 3 100 67 687 1 71.7 4.5
64. Samie Parker KC 16 15 68 41 561 1 62.8 3.9

Berrian and Branch naturally make this list, but there are also nineteen other players that match The Gut Check’s expanded profile. The first way to pair down these candidates is to eliminate the receivers lacking a firm hold on a starting job heading into 2007. At the time of this writing, there were receivers that either shared the #2 spot with another receiver (Holmes, Caldwell, Williams, Welker, and Taylor), or were at best #3 WRs for their squad (Johnson, Hackett, and Curry). Samie Parker is a player the Gut Check believes will lose his starting spot with the drafting of LSU rookie Dwayne Bowe.

This leaves ten candidates. An average of five breakout receivers make the top 15 for the first time in a given year. There were four last year—Evans, Williams, Houshmandzadeh, and Colston—but Yours Truly only picked Williams. The fact Santonio Holmes, Donte Stallworth, and Michael Jenkins either didn’t fit the initial criteria or second cut begs the question as to the efficacy of this analysis. While he’ll try a different method next week, let’s see if the Gut Check will have more success with this one in 2007:

10 Solid Candidates
Player  Team  G  GS  Target  Rec  Yard  TD  FFPts  FFPts/G
21. Reggie Brown PHI 16 15 93 46 816 8 138 8.6
22. Jerricho Cotchery NYJ 16 16 126 82 961 6 134.6 8.4
26. Braylon Edwards CLE 16 15 122 60 879 6 125.1 7.8
28. Mark Clayton BAL 16 12 113 67 939 5 120.9 7.6
34. Bernard Berrian CHI 15 14 102 51 775 6 111 7.4
38. Deion Branch SEA 14 13 101 53 725 4 99.5 7.1
48. Arnaz Battle SF 16 15 86 60 683 3 86.1 5.4
51. Matt Jones JAC 14 4 80 41 643 4 84.7 6.1
53. Greg Jennings GB 14 11 105 45 632 3 81.2 5.8
64. Samie Parker KC 16 15 68 41 561 1 62.8 3.9

Another point to consider is the number of receivers breaking the 150-fantasy point mark. In 2004 there were an unheard of 23 receivers with at least 150 fantasy points—the highest total since 1993 (19 players). This was likely a result of the new illegal contact rules. But in 2005 and 2006 it appeared defenses made the adjustment. There were only thirteen and fourteen 150-fantasy point receivers in 2005 and 2006 respectively—the lowest amounts in a decade.

As he did in 2006, the Gut Check will profile the remaining 10 candidates plus four players he’s selecting from the list of receivers that didn’t meet the statistical profile. Here they are, ranked from worst to best in terms of the Gut Check’s confidence in their skill and situation to have a strong season. Consider the top five players as the Gut Check’s breakout candidates:

Not Quite Ready For Prime Time Players

Arnaz Battle, San Francisco 49ers: The former Notre Dame quarterback is one of the few college signal callers that have successfully made the transition to wide receiver in the NFL. This is a big, athletic receiver who caught nearly 70% of his targets from a second-year signal caller and running beside an underachieving #1 talent in Antonio Bryant. Despite Battle’s ascent up the WR depth chart, the Gut Check believes this receiver is close to the level of production the Niners envision from their #2 receiver in this offense. Yours truly doesn’t see Battle becoming a primary receiver unless forced into the role. If that happens, San Francisco will struggle offensively. The addition of Darrell Jackson guarantees Battle is at best, the secondary receiver. At worst, he loses his job to Ashley Lelie—which is a strong possibility.

Jerricho Cotchery, New York Jets: Despite two scoring receptions of over 70 yards, the Gut Check does not see Cotchery as a deep threat. Nor does he view the Jets offense as a system that will support two, 1000-yard receivers on a regular basis. The Jets’ inconsistent ground game necessitated a higher level of passing productivity. The addition of Thomas Jones should help the Jets control the clock more effectively. Do you really think Cotchery, paired opposite Laveranues Coles, is going to catch more than 82 balls? The Gut Check just doesn’t see it. Reading articles about Cotchery’s work ethic is encouraging, but yours truly views Cotchery as a good player that with good, not great, productivity.

Kevin Curtis, Philadelphia Eagles: This was a great pick up Philly. Curtis is a speedster with enough toughness to catch the ball over the middle. The Gut Check believes Curtis has a chance to be an even better addition than last year’s trade for Stallworth. He’s not a big guy, but he plays with the aggressiveness you want from a football player.

In 2005, Curtis started in place of an injured Isaac Bruce and accumulated 822 yards and 6 scores off 61 receptions. Those sound like excellent numbers for Curtis when he and McNabb take the field together. This is the type of receiver a fantasy owner will want to draft late, stash for a few weeks, and then ride him on a winning streak as Philly’s offense gets in sync. He may not score the magic 150 points we’re seeking from a breakout player, but he’ll play like one down the stretch for the Eagles and your team.

Vincent Jackson, San Deigo Chargers: Over the last 5 weeks of 2006, there were only 13 receivers more productive than Jackson. He had more than half of his receptions during this period and displayed the athleticism the Chargers sorely lacked for years at the position. Yet over a 16-game period, his stats project to 45 receptions, 915 yards, and 10 scores. This would place him just above the magic, 150-point mark. The Gut Check doesn’t see the Chargers passing game or Jackson playing with this level of consistency throughout the year. Rivers should continue to progress, but Gates and Tomlinson are still the centerpieces of this offense. Look for Jackson to come close to those projected reception and yardage totals, but only score 6-7 times.

On The Border

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions: Yes, he’s a rookie. But it seems every year the Gut Check points out the infinitesimally small number of receivers that had a breakout season in the history of the league but we’ve seen since 2004 Clayton, Boldin, and Colston reach this level of production in their rookie season. All three are bigger receivers that can run after the catch. Calvin Johnson is that candidate for this reason and so many more.

If you haven’t heard, Johnson has the hand eye coordination of a Randy Moss or Larry Fitzgerald, the size and running skills of a Boldin or Owens, and no major character issues. Roy Williams is an excellent receiver in his own right. Pairing Calvin Johnson opposite Roy Williams is simply ridiculous—yes, perhaps more so than Boldin and Fitzgerald or Bruce and Holt in their heyday. The offense will have a year of Martz’s system under their belt and Johnson will be playing with a quarterback in Kitna that is a huge upgrade from Georgia Tech’s woefully inaccurate signal caller, Reggie Ball.

If Kitna stays healthy, it’s inconceivable for Johnson not to average 4 catches per game at an average of 15 yards per catch. Throw in a touchdown every 8 catches—a number bordering on something you’d see from a top receiver—and you have 48 grabs, 960 yards, and 6 scores—18 points away from the breakout mark. The Gut Check is going to use this as a conservative number for a player of Johnson’s skill. But he’s toning down his enthusiasm for this rookie despite his rare talent in a passing offense that will get him the ball.

Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers: Jennings was a pleasant surprise for the Packers at the top of the season, but he faded fast in the second half. The Gut Check thinks Jennings has more physical potential to be a #1 receiver than Cotchery, but he’s still second banana to Driver. Yet if there’s a QB capable of producing two, 1000-yard receivers, Favre is that type of player. Expect Jennings to improve upon his rookie season, but fall just short of reaching the productivity of a breakout fantasy receiver.

Santonio Holmes, Pittsburgh Steelers: If Jennings was a pleasant surprise to begin the season Holmes had a sneaky-good rookie season. Although he struggled with fielding punts and kicks, Holmes didn’t show as much of problem running routes and catching passes. Holmes had 192 more yards than Jennings on just 4 extra receptions! Look for the Ohio State product to build on his rookie year as teams continue to focus on Hines Ward. The Steelers have quietly discussed the possibility of expanding the passing attack for the past two seasons. It might have happened last year if not for Roehtlisberger’s motorcycle accident. If Pittsburgh continues to move in this direction under Mike Tomlin, Holmes has the skills to put together excellent numbers in 2007. The Gut Check expects Holmes to come close and be a no-brainer breakout candidate for 2008.

Matt Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars: Jacksonville improved its ground game in 2006, but quarterback play faltered due to injuries and inconsistency at the back up spot. This is a pivotal year for Byron Leftwich and Jaguars passing game. The Jags’ brass has to feel that Leftwich has to put it all together this year or they will be looking elsewhere in 2008. And Jones will be an integral part of a receiving corps that has yet to live up to its flashes of potential.

There’s no doubt Jones is a physical freak at his position but he has fallen prey to minor injuries one would expect from a player with no experience at the receiver position upon entering the pros. It’s the same issue as last year for Jones—there are too many ifs related to this passing game to bet on Jones as a surefire breakout candidate. At the same time, Jones was a top 16 receiver over the last five weeks of 2006 with 19 catches, 320 yards, and 3 scores. He’s also most likely to be the primary receiver for the Jaguars.

If Reggie Williams or Ernest Wilford can be consistent, Jones has a strong opportunity to shine. But the guys to keep an eye on are 2nd year receiver Charles Sharon and rookie Mike Walker. Sharon was one of the most talented all-around receivers in the 2006 class and intrigued the Jags before his recent arrest. If convicted, his career is likely over. But he is a great route runner with excellent hands—something the Jags covet. Walker is actually a bigger and faster version of Sharon that didn’t play with a quality college quarterback. If one of these receivers can step into the system and become a solid possession guy out of the slot or on the outside, then Jones will have big games.

Breakout Imminent

Bernard Berrian, Chicago Bears: Last year, the Gut Check listed a few reasons why Berrian would come close but not hit the breakout mark in 2006: The Bears offense still had a number of question marks. The running game became more of a committee? And Grossman disappeared in games last year. Berrian had a big jump in his numbers, but not enough for the Bear to become a more than a #3 receiver in his 3rd year. The Gut Check believes this year Berrian will take that next step. He gained the trust of Grossman in 2006 and demonstrated he is more than just a deep threat. It’s more likely that the other receivers on the Bears depth chart will be spelling the aging veteran Muhammad than Berrian. Draft the 4th year receiver with confidence as a #3 receiver if not take a chance on him as a #2 if you are targeting other positions early.

Deion Branch, Seattle Seahawks: On the surface, Branch seemed like the most logical can’t miss candidate last spring on the 2006 list. Then Branch held out and got traded to the Seahawks. Now Branch is the undisputed #1 receiver for Seattle with the draft-day trade of Darrell Jackson to the 49ers. If one projects Branch’s production in 13 starts over a full season, the receiver would accumulated 65 receptions, 892 yards, and five scores—not breakout material. But to be fair to Branch he was the #2 receiver to Darrell Jackson. In 2007 Branch is the Seahawks’ de facto primary wide out now with a year of the west coast offense under his belt.

Still, the Gut Check has reservations about Branch. Although Tom Brady really missed his top receiver, the Pats QB still had excellent stats. The same couldn’t be said for Branch. The system change had something to do with it, but who exactly will be playing on the opposite side of the Seahawks’ new primary weapon in the passing game? D.J. Hackett looked good at times, but is he really good enough to take away double teams? Nate Burleson has disappointed thus far and Bobby Engram is more of a steady veteran presence. Rookie Courtney Taylor is a receiver more along the lines of Engram and Burleson when he develops, but it won’t likely be this year. And Jordan Kent has great athleticism, but needs a lot of coaching to develop. Without great complementary support, Branch is still a player that will likely reach this breakout level, but don’t reach for him as your first WR off the board.

Braylon Edwards, Cleveland Browns: Did you know Edwards had more games producing at a level of a #1 and #2 fantasy WR than Chad Johnson, Roy Williams, Anquan Boldin, and Torry Holt? Edwards wasn’t as prolific in terms of points per game, but he was highly consistent despite poor pass protection to give Frye, Quinn, or Anderson time to throw the football. The Michigan alum is developing into a beast of a receiver—he only had three games last year where he scored less than 9 fantasy points. Look even better totals from the Cleveland Brown with an upgraded offensive line.

Mark Clayton, Baltimore Ravens: At this time last year, McNair was not even a Raven. Now that McNair will have a year under the Ravens system and Baltimore upgraded their running game with the addition of Willis McGahee, look for the offense to make significant improvement. The Ravens won’t be the offensive juggernaut on par with the Colts or Bengals—New England has a better chance to achieve that level production—but look for the Ravens to be just a notch below in the AFC. Clayton is a terrific runner after the catch and has the speed to get deep. He’s the type of receiver a savvy quarterback like McNair will be able to find when the play breaks down. Clayton was the 18th-most productive receiver over the last five games of the 2006, which shows McNair clearly gained comfort with the highly regarded, 2nd-year receiver out of Oklahoma. Clayton had on more target than Mason—113 to 112—and 189 more yards with three fewer starts. The torch has been passed to Clayton. Look for him to build on his 2006 production and perform like a #2 WR at the draft value of a #3.

Dontè Stallworth, New England Patriots: Stallworth falls a bit because he will be the complimentary option to Randy Moss. Brady is quite capable of producing multiple, 1000-yard receivers but the offense is now loaded with weapons—Moss, Ben Watson, Maroney, Wes Welker in the slot, Chad Jackson in his second season, and Kelley Washington as depth. The Patriots are taking a page out of the Colts and Rams offensive playbook in many respects. Brady threw for 3500 yards and 24 scores last year without receivers nearly as good as Moss and Stallworth. It’s very likely Brady will get another 45-60 attempts this season, which should put him within range of 4000 yards. Plus, Moss has never been a great threat on those routes over the middle. Stallworth is likely to get these looks along with Welker. Moss should have a 1200-yard season in New England and look for Stallworth to get 1000 yards with 9 scores. That leaves another 1800 yards worth of receptions for Welker, Maroney, Watson, and the Pats suddenly talented depth chart.

Reggie Brown, Philadelphia Eagles: The Gut Check had Brown pegged as a top breakout candidate in 2006 and the Eagles receiver was on pace to reach 200 fantasy points after seven weeks. But the loss of Donovan McNabb in week 8 derailed Browns production. The 2nd year receiver only produced a little more than 50 fantasy points in the remaining 8 games with Garcia under center.

Still yours truly likes Brown’s work ethic and athleticism. The Gut Check was correct that Donovan McNabb would lean hard on Reggie Brown in 2006, and fantasy owners did get a draft day bargain for half the season if they got him as their #3 starter. Look for Brown to easily surpass his 2006 totals as long as McNabb begins playing with confidence by week four.

Matt Waldman would like to thank Doug Drinen of for his indirect assistance with this article. His site provides a comprehensive, and fairly accurate, history of the football statistics available for download and in a format easy to manipulate with database queries.