32 Takes on 32 Teams
By David Dodds
July 20th, 2010

As we delve deeper into training camps, situations are going to be a lot clearer than they are today. Here are some of my early takes on each of the teams around the league.

Arizona Cardinals I am not a fan of Matt Leinart's game. He has a noodle arm. He also hasn't shown any level of dedication since becoming a pro. Regardless of the offseason reports that he has matured, I still believe he will eventually falter this year. I expect this team will take a giant step back in the passing game this season with the departure of Kurt Warner. Leinart (and even Derek Anderson) are both sub-par players. The loss of Anquan Boldin will have Larry Fitzgerald constantly fighting off double teams. The emergence of RB Chris Wells could also change the pass/run dynamic greatly. I do believe the person least impacted by all of these changes will be Larry Fitzgerald. It may take more targets, but he will get his yards and TDs simply because the team has to feed him the ball.

Atlanta Falcons My eyes tell me that Matt Ryan is an excellent quarterback. But you wouldn't know that just reading the box score. David Garrard has outplayed him in fantasy the last two years and that is saying something. But the advantage of watching so much football is that sometimes the stats lie (at least a little bit). I do know one thing. Michael Jenkins is awful as the WR2 in this offense. He managed to get over 50 yards receiving in just 5 of his 15 games. And he scored just one TD despite 90 targets. The guy that I believe will win the WR2 job is Harry Douglas. He can run and catch and could have a multi-dimensional role within this offense. Right now he is flying below all radars, but that could change if he does something in the preseason games.

Baltimore Ravens The addition of Anquan Boldin gives this team a legitimate passing offense. Whether Boldin becomes the actual WR1 or that job stays with Derrick Mason is largely immaterial. It should open up the passing lanes (and also the dumpoff potential to Ray Rice) for the whole unit. Besides Boldin, the team added depth in Donte Stallworth as well this offseason. He likely will push Mark Clayton and Demetrious Williams further down the depth chart. When Mark Clayton or Donte Stallworth is your WR4, you have a very strong group of receivers. This team has been about playing great defense, running effectively and having the QB manage the game. But this defense has taken some big hits and now looks to be average at best. With all this extra talent and a defense with vulnerabilities, we are going to see more 30-24 scores than the 13-10 scores of the past. I suspect this will be a career year for Joe Flacco.

Buffalo Bills - This team is on life support from where I sit. They had good runners with Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch rostered. So they spent their 1st round pick to add CJ Spiller? Huh? This team needs offensive lineman and a quarterback and a WR2 and a bunch of other things. The two guys that I think should be on people's radar though are WR Lee Evans and TE Shawn Nelson. Lee Evans is a quality player just stuck in a horrible situation. His ADP is so low now it might be impossible for him to not surpass it. Terrell Owens departure will lead to many more targets to Evans and ultimately a lot better year. Don't count on many long bombs for Evans though as this offensive line is not going to give any of their QBs sufficient time to throw it deep. This bad offensive line might be the exact reason Shawn Nelson is targeted a lot in 2010. He is flying way below the radar, but someone has to catch some passes on this team. He seems as likely as WRs Steve Johnson, James Hardy or Chad Jackson.

Carolina Panthers - I think this team is in a lot of trouble this year. WR Steve Smith was visiably frustrated most of last year as teams bumped him at the line and also double teamed him on virtually every passing down. And why wouldn't a team do that? When Carolina's other WRs are Brandon LaFell, Dwayne Jarrett, Armanti Edwards and Wallace Wright, why will 2010 be any different? This team is extremely capable running the ball, but in the NFL you need to be a balanced offense to succeed. I suspect as the losses mount this team will look to phase out DeAngelo Williams (who is not under contract after this year) to see what Jonathan Stewart has as a fulltime starter.

Chicago Bears - There has been a lot said about Mike Martz being brought in to run the offense. With a lot of WRs that are dangerous in space, I think Martz has exactly the kind of team that can benefit greatly with his schemes. I expect WRs Devin Hester and Johnny Knox as well as QB Jay Cutler to all outplay their ADPs. This emphasis on the deeper passing game will likely come at a lot less opportunities for the tight end and running backs. I was already not a fan of Matt Forte's game and I think his situation just got way harder as Chester Taylor seems to be a better fit in this offense. This easily could be a RBBC situation all year long where both backs have limited fantasy value. TE Greg Olsen can't block so I remain skeptical he will be much of a factor in this offense.

Cincinnati Bengals - This is one of the more intriguing situations this year. If you believe Carson Palmer still has game, you have to be thrilled with all of the weapons they added in the passing game. Adding WRs Terrell Owens, Antonio Bryant and Matt Jones while drafting TE Jermain Gresham significantly improved the Bengals ability to pass the ball. The issue now focuses on Carson Palmer. He looked awful in the playoffs last year and I am having trouble shaking that memory. But he looked great very early in 2009. I will be watching this situation close through training camp. If Palmer is back to the player of a few years ago, this will be an exciting team to watch this season. Palmer's ADP is laughably low at this point considering the talent he has catching his passes.

Cleveland Browns - When Jake Delhomme is your starting QB and Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie and Ben Watson are your targets in the passing game, you have significant problems. The safe play here is just to pass on everybody on the Browns. Possibly somebody outplays their ADP of WR85 and comes in at WR68. It won't make a difference to your fantasy roster.

Dallas Cowboys - The drafting of Dez Bryant is going to make this offense a lot better in 2010. It's unfortunate he is dinged up now, but he will steadily improve through September. It's not just what Dez Bryant brings to the table. It puts Roy Williams in the slot and that is scary. Teams still have to body up (or double) Miles Austin and Jason Witten. Add the fact that Felix Jones looks to have a bigger role and this offense is going to be extremely efficient at getting first downs. Not many defenses can take away all of the options. I've stated on record many times that Tony Romo has as good a chance as anyone to be the top quarterback this season. The good news is you can currently get him for a fraction of what it would cost to land Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Peyton Manning.

Denver Broncos While fantasy novices look to rookie WR Demaryius Thomas and 3rd year player Eddie Royal, the sharks should have their eyes on Jabar Gaffney. He was the one who took the place of Brandon Marshall in week 17 last year and he showed he is ready to be the main target of this offense this season. I had high hopes for Knowshon Moreno coming into camp. With his injury it will likely depend on how far he slides. He could be a great player to ad to your roster via trade after a few weks of games.

Detroit Lions - This is a team that is quietly starting to put together a respectable offense. Admittedly the offensive line is still very bad, but the starting offensive skill positions are better than a lot of NFL teams. Rookie Jahvid Best has blazing speed and should make an immediate impact on offense. The addition of Nate Burleson and Tony Scheffler give the team a lot more options than simply tossing the ball near Calvin Johnson and hoping for the best. Matthew Stafford showed flashes of brilliance as a rookie. With better weapons on offense, he could be poised for a breakout season. You know the defense is going to give up a lot of points so this will be a team that is forced to pass in 2010.

Green Bay Packers The fact that their #1 WR (Greg Jennings) scored just 4 TDs should put in perspective how dangerous this offense can become. Aaron Rodgers looked the part as the best fantasy quarterback in 2009 (despite playing behind a battered offensive line) and I see nothing that should diminish his prospects this season. Donald Driver is again undervalued despite having surgery and actually feeling much better than the last 4 seasons. TE Jermichael Finley is no longer a secret after his stellar play in the playoffs. WR James Jones and to a lesser extent Jordy Nelson have flashed big-play ability. RB Ryan Grant isn't anything special, but is adequate.

Houston Texans I have a bad vibe with the logjam at running back. The team drafted Ben Tate to be the guy, but Arian Foster has been the most impresive in camp. Steve Slaton also has been getting praise as he attempts to get back to where he was 2 years ago. But the fact remains that this team's backs last year averaged just 3.73 yards per carry. Common sense says that this 3-headed moster at RB will exceed those numbers, but they will still likely under-perform the league averages. I am going to let other drafters mess with these three backs. They may seem cheap (vs ADP), but it feels like Fool's Gold to me. Of the three, I like Arian Foster the best at their current ADPs.

Indianapolis Colts Last year showed me a lot about this team. They lost Anthony Gonzalez early and didn't miss a beat with Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. My eyes will be back on Anthony Gonzalez this preseason. I feel he has better skills (or did pre-injury) than Garcon and represents unbelieveable value right now in drafts. Seriously, what risk is there drafting Anthony Gonzalez this low? If he is damaged goods you will know that within weeks and cut bait. But what if he is all the way back and lands the WR2 job in Indy? This is a low-risk, high-return type of pick that can win your league.

Jacksonville Jaguars David Garrard at home was one of the better quarterbacks in the league (2,019 passing yards and 12 TDs in 8 games). Unfortunately David Garrard on the road was beyond abysmal (just 3 passing TDs in those 8 games). It wasn't quite as pronounced in 2008, but Garrard still managed 5.4 more fantasy points per game at home. Right now, Garrard is being drafted as if he is one of the worst quarterbacks in the game. I think he is worth a late-round flyer if only to just play him in home games.

Kansas City Chiefs Although I think Jamaal Charles is a better fit than Thomas Jones in this offense, I am not thrilled with his high ADP at all. It's way too big of a risk for an under-sized back that racked up nearly all of his yards last year against suspect run defenses late in the season. As for the rest of the offense, I just don't see the production. Bowe is talented, but will need to stay out of the doghouse he was in for most of last season. I think the winning play here is to avoid everyone on this team (see Cleveland).

Miami Dolphins In weeks 13 through 16, Chad Henne managed to throw for 300+ yards three times. And this was with Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, Ted Ginn, and Greg Camarillo as your WRs. Chad was able to fit the ball in very tight spaces. I know it generally takes a little bit of time for a WR to make the transition to a new offense, but it's hard not to get excited about the potential that Brandon Marshall brings to this unit. Everyone expects Miami to run a lot, but Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have combined for just 388 and 374 rush attempts the last two years. This team will still use the Wildcat and will have a great ground game, but don't be too shocked when the team opts to pass it 30-40 more times this year because of the addition of Brandon Marshall.

Minnesota Vikings Until Brett fails to show up to practice one week before the Saints game, I am staying with the prediction that he will play week 1. It's an ankle. Favre had minimal mobility before the injury. The opener rematch wth New Orleans is on too big of a stage for Brett not to play in it. Just for giggles though, let's look at what a Brett Favre retirement would do to the rest of the production on the Vikings. The biggest hit would likely be to Sidney Rice. His deep patterns would definitely be in jeopardy. Additionally Rice's hip issues make him extremely risky right now. Adrian Peterson would see a lot of men in the box. He likely would get a similar number of carries, but the ypc would shrink as would the TDs. I think he would slide to RB4 in drafts and that could be over-valuing him. The guy least impacted would likely be Percy Harvin. He runs a lot of slants and is excellent after the catch. Tarvaris would utilize him. TE Visanthe Shiancoe's TDs would also likely nose dive significantly making him mostly irrelevent. Tarvaris would likely be wildly inconsistent, but his running ability could make him a serviceable backup QB if facing a good matchup.

New England Patriots I still don't get how New England with all of their draft picks doesn't draft a rookie RB. Outside of Laurence Maroney, this stable of RBs are all close to getting social security checks. I am going to bet against Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, and Kevin Faulk. I expect the team to try and make Laurence Maroney the guy. He has had moments of good play, but most of his career has been a disappointment. At his super-low ADP, this is a very low-risk, high-reward play that I love in the second half of a fantasy draft. The other player to watch closely here is Wes Welker. I understand all of the arguments that he shouldn't be able to practice right now. But the truth is he is practicing. He is exactly the kind of player that I think betting against is usually a losing proposition. Look for his projections and ADP to keep moving up until the season starts. I don't see the usual 100+ catches, but 80-85 are definitely possible. As for the Torry Holt experiment...it was over before it started. He isn't any good.

New Orleans Saints Robert Meachem continues to miss time dealing with his toe injury. The forgotten man in New Orleans who is now healthy (and taking Meachem's reps) is Lance Moore. Remember that Moore is just a year removed from catching 79 passes for 928 yards and 10 TDs. In this offensive powerhouse, give me Lance Moore late in every league I am in. He could smash these low expectations.

New York Giants The battle at running back is just beginning. I am not going to deny that I have a man-love crush on Ahmad Bradshaw's running style. The guy could barely walk between contests (usually in a walking boot until Friday) and then still looked great on Sundays. That's my kind of player. I have Jacobs and Bradshaw projected as full-blown RBBC, but I think Bradshaw represents a lot higher ceiling. As for the WRs, Nicks showed flashes of someone very special in this league. He is priced correctly at his ADP though so I am not sure I will land him on many rosters.

New York Jets I have a bad vibe here. On paper, it looks like the Jets made all the right moves. But two of the guys they brought in (Antonio Cromartie and LaDainian Tomlinson) looked very bad in their loss to the Jets in the playoffs. Add the normal New York frenzy, their training camp featured on HBOs "Hard Knocks", a 2nd-year QB that won, but amassed awful stats, and a really difficult starting and ending schedule and I think this team will fail to meet expectations in a big way. I don't think any of the WRs are worth rostering at their current ADPs. Shonn Greene ran hard in the playoffs, but he doesn't catch the ball enough to justify his ADP. His limited body of work leaves a big question mark to me. And then compound everything with the great defense the Jets will have. That sounds like a lot of low-scoring games. I don't envision targeting many Jets players this season.

Oakland Raiders Everybody agrees that JaMarcus Russell was a horrible NFL QB. But despite being awful in every imagineable way, TE Zach Miller has improved his targets, receptions and yards every season. Giving him even an average QB like Jason Campbell (who also loves throwing to the TE) and Miller could flourish. I expect his TDs to bounce up significantly making Miller a great value in the middle-rounds at tight end.

Philadelphia Eagles I am just going to blurt out what's on my mind here. I don't think LeSean McCoy is a very good football player. He failed to gain 100 yards rushing in any contest last year despite Brian Westbrook missing signicant time due to the concussions. The team is likely forced to play him though, but I think that could lead to things crumbling around Kolb (despite his own skillset).

Pittsburgh Steelers I think this team is going to struggle badly while Byron Leftwich is behind center. About the only player I like in this situation is TE Heath Miller as I expect he will be bailing Leftwich out a lot. Mendenhall is going to face a lot of people on the line of scrimmage until Ben gets back. As for Ben, I expect the suspension will last just 4 games. The team is going to make sure he doesn't screw up again (at least for this year). When he returns, we should see Pittsburgh get back to playing good football.

St. Louis Rams I think not taking Suh is going to end up being a huge mistake for this franchise. Sam Bradford should start week 1 despite camp reports saying AJ Feely could be that guy early. I am a big believer in Steven Jackson's talent, but I still feel like a 1st round selection is a reach on such a horrible offense. He gets gang-tackled on every play. I don't think he is particularly frail, but you can't take that much punishment on every run and hold up in this league. A deep sleeper on this team is TE Daniel Fells. I could see him having a large role in this offense this season.

San Diego Chargers I can't believe how much panic has set in with fantasy players because of the nasty Vincent Jackson discussions. First, whether VJAX plays or not, Rivers is going to be fine. His numbers are not going to fall off a cliff under any scenario. The team still plays in the AFC West and the last I checked Kansas City, Denver and Oakland reside there. In regards to Vincent Jackson, I still think something gets done. Football players play football. He may think he deserves a huge contract extension and huge dollars, but he also knows the two DUIs prevent him from getting that long-term deal right now (especially with the NFL contract very much in limbo). When two-a-days stop, I expect VJAX to crawl back and ask for forgiveness and I think the team will do just that offering him some decent number to play THIS YEAR. I do not see Vincent Jackson as a Charger after this season though.

San Francisco 49ers Vernon Davis is a BEAST. It's easy to discount him and his 13 TDs as any TE scoring that many has to be a fluke, right? The fact is he dropped a bunch more. His size/strength makes him completely uncoverable and I will be shocked if he isn't the feature in the redzone again this year. Michael Crabtree looked the part of an elite wide receiver at the end of last year and should only get better. And for once this team showed clarity at QB and opted to bolster the line instead of replacing Alex Smith. From what I saw last year, Alex was fine when he had time to throw. Most people are expecting Gore to go wild in this offense. I too think he will play great, but I suspect this whole offense is a lot better. The 49ers should have success both running and passing in this weak conference. Outside of Frank Gore and perhaps Crabtree, a lot of these players seem under-valued to me.

Seattle Seahawks This is a team I can't really get a good pulse on. It looks pretty good on paper, but I can't get excited about Matt Hasselbeck behind center. He has chronic back issues and I feel confident they will resurface once the game hits start happening. The player that I think people could be making a huge mistake on is RB Leon Washington. He was electric for the Jets before getting hurt. The camp reports are starting to glow about him being back to pre-injury levels. If this is true, he is significantly undervalued this year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers This is not a good team. Kellen Winslow is recoverying from another surgery, but promises to be fine. Cadillac Williams remains the starter at RB, but he is not a player that I get excited about. He still has the herniated disks, but is somehow able to play through the pain. The WRs are all inexperienced. Outside of grabbing rookie WR Mike Williams late, I would suggest passing on all of these players this year.

Tennessee Titans How good was Chris Johnson? Consider in the 2nd half of the year, he combined for 1,388 yards and 9 TDs in those 8 games. Those are sick numbers. He should be the #1 pick in EVERY draft in America. This offense will run through Johnson, but I also think Nate Washington will outplay his ADP. Most consider Kenny Britt to be WR1, but his conditioning and work ethic leave a lot to be desired. I won't be rostering Britt in any leagues this year. Vince Young won't be an elite QB, but his ability to scramble and buy his team time is a huge asset (especially with Johnson's ability to turn a dump off pass into a huge gain).

Washington Redskins I expect Donovan McNabb and HC Mike Shanahan to get this offense on track this year. Clinton Portis is heavily under-valued even if he misses a few games due to injury. WR Devin Thomas looks ready to make the next step as a player and McNabb will definitely find him often. The tight ends are both solid players with Cooley the more complete player. Both should see a lot of action.

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