Chris Wesseling

Draft Analysis

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AFC Fantasy Draft Notes

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


With draft season upon us in full force, it's worth checking the barometer of each team for players rising and falling due to training camp and preseason performances. Today's column will stroll through the AFC, and we'll return with the NFC teams on Thursday. Together, the two columns will hopefully make for a handy information-packed complement to your cheat sheets.

Editor's Note: For the most up-to-date player rankings, profiles, projections, cheatsheets, and much, much more that will allow you to dominate your fantasy football league, check out the 2009 Rotoworld Football Draft Guide.

AFC East

Bills: Trent Edwards and the first-team offense have yet to find the end zone in nine series this preaseason. … T.O.'s ADP is holding steady at mid-third round even with the toe injury. He's always a good bet for double-digit TDs, but drafters will want to consider holding off until the fourth round until he makes it through a couple of full practices. … Lee Evans, a WR2 with upside, is still going in the sixth round.

Dolphins Even though he's currently running as the No. 2 starter, Brian Hartline is a poor bet for fantasy value. Target Davone Bess instead, especially in PPR leagues. … Ronnie Brown, who is currently sporting a third-round ADP, looked fantastic in Saturday's game against the Panthers. You won't find many RB2s with a higher upside. … Ted Ginn, a popular breakout candidate, has been quiet in preseason action. … Chad Pennington is getting no respect as the 23rd QB off the board. To be fair, he has a much tougher schedule this season.

Jets Stay away from the Jets quarterback regardless of who wins the competition. … Jerricho Cotchery makes for a fine WR3 and Dustin Keller is a late-round TE to target. Other than that, avoid the Jets passing game like the plague. … Leon Washington is in line for a bigger role this year and is a much better value in the 10th round than Thomas Jones is in the fifth. Washington makes for an ideal flex in leagues that start 10 players. … Rookie Shonn Greene may have a tough time finding consistent carries early in the season.

Patriots Tom Brady took a big hit and kept on ticking against the Bengals. If he stays healthy, he's a safe bet to throw up more TDs than Drew Brees. … Fred Taylor started the second preseason game after Laurence Maroney started the first. Taylor looks like the Week 1 starter, though Maroney has a higher fantasy ceiling. … Chris Baker has the early edge on Ben Watson at tight end. … Joey Galloway's fantasy production will be far too inconsistent as the Pats' No. 3 receiver.

AFC North

Bengals Chad Ochocinco is flashing Pro Bowl form once again and has seen his ADP rise from mid-fifth to early fourth round over the past couple of months. He could post WR1 stats if Carson Palmer stays healthy. … The enigmatic Chris Henry is now being drafted as a borderline WR3/WR4. While he has an outside shot at double digit touchdowns, we still wonder if he's going to see enough targets to be a weekly asset. … Brian Leonard is maintaining an edge on rookie Bernard Scott for the backup job. Consider Scott more of an in-season waiver possibility.

Browns Over-hyped rookie Brian Robiskie has been invisible since training camp started, while fellow rookie Mohamed Massaquoi is pushing Josh Cribbs for the No. 2 job. Outside of Braylon Edwards, it's a good idea to stay away from the Browns passing game. … Rookie sixth-round RB James Davis followed up an impressive training camp with an eye-opening performance against the Lions. He's not likely to threaten Jamal Lewis' starting job in Week 1, but he's looming as a potential replacement should Lewis start slowly.

Ravens With Mark Clayton injured and Demetrius Williams struggling to put in a full week of practice, the Ravens have a glaring hole opposite Derrick Mason. Expect Mason to continue receiving plenty of targets as the go-to guy. … Ray Rice is beginning to put some distance between himself and Willis McGahee. We already considered him a candidate for 50+ receptions, and his presence at the goal-line in Monday's game is promising. Rice is still hanging around the Joseph Addai/Thomas Jones range in most drafts, which is absurd. He'll out-perform that draft spot. … Stay away from Ravens tight ends. Neither Todd Heap nor L.J. Smith can stay healthy.

Steelers Limas Sweed maintains an edge on Shaun McDonald and rookie Mike Wallace for the No. 3 receiver job. … Rashard Mendenhall has done nothing to stand out in preseason action. Still, Willie Parker is no more than a RB3 with Mewelde Moore as the third-down back and goal-line carries still up in the air. … Dennis Dixon's shoulder injury means that Charlie Batch will likely keep his No. 2 job behind Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben (Achilles) should be fine for the season opener after receiving a scare in practice late last week.


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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
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