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AFC North Player Analysis

Baltimore Ravens


QB Kyle Boller – The Ravens QB situation is still a little unsettled, but he is helped by the addition of Kevin Johnson.  He’s a lucky guy though, as he’s dating Tara Reid currently!  Anyone think that will make him play even tougher on the field?    Personally, I’d be very skeptical of taking Kyle as a number #2 fantasy QB as he has Kordell Stewart waiting under the wings.  Maybe Kordell will start dating Tara and become a solid starting NFL QB too J


QB Kordell Stewart/Anthony Wright – Kordell has the best chance to see playing time as a QB.  Slash has always played well in Baltimore (as a visitor), and Kyle’s lock on the starting gig isn’t a lead-pipe cinch. 


RB Jamal Lewis – This is simple – Jamal’s the man.  One of the best RB’s in the game.  Draft him.


RB – Chester Taylor/Musa Smith – There’s definite depth here, but the Ravens usually give the rock to Jamal.  Unless Jamal pulls a Martha, expect both of these guys to be watching from the bench.


WR Terrell Owens – Nope, wrong team.  However, he’s in my report since it points out how badly the Ravens wanted to improve the WR corps.  The Ravens even drafted 3 rookie WR’s.


WR Kevin Johnson – Excellent receiver with something to prove.  Great hands, route-running.  I look for him to be the #1 option by the end of the year.


WR Travis Taylor – Wow, what happened to him?  He never really lived up to the associated hype from draft day.   He might have some good games, but I’d pass and let someone else overrate him.


WR Others(Ron Johnson, Devard Darling (2nd Round), Clararence Moore (6th Round), Derek Abney (7th round).  The first 3 guys are big targets, the final is a speedster.  We’ll see how The Ravens use they guys, probably as practice squad fodder.


TE Todd Heap – Great hands, great routes, the best receiver on the team.  If Kyle improves, look for Heap to benefit greatly.  The rest of the TE’s are not worth drafting.


K Matt Stover – He’s an accurate kicker with plenty of opportunities in defensive, close ballgames.  His leg isn’t as strong, so you might want to stay away from him in leagues with bonus points for long FG’s.



Cincinnati Bengals


QB Carson Palmer – Thrown to the wolves.  No, he’s not really that bad, but he’s starting for the first time.  He has some solid weapons and a strong offensive line, but buyer beware.  How many 1st round QB’s are great fantasy players in their first year starting?  I’d stay away.   Plus if he falters, Jon Kitna might get the call.


QB Jon Kitna – Tough for him to accept being the backup again, but he’ll be one of the best backups in the league.  Good insurance for Palmer.


RB Rudi Johnson – Strong runner who gets better as he touches the ball more each game.  Corey the cancer is gone, and it’s Rudi’s turn to carry the rock.  The offensive line is excellent, but defenses might stack the line again a rookie QB.  Rudi should be a solid #2 fantasy RB this year.


RB Chris Perry/Kenny Watson – Bengals didn’t draft a RB in the first round to watch him carry a clipboard.  He should spell Rudi by the end of the season to keep him fresh.  Kenny Watson is an experienced (many teams, little action) RB.  Will he survive in Cincy?  I’m rooting for him.


WRs Chad Johnson – Throw me the damn ball.  Wait, that’s his cousin Keyshawn’s slogan.  In any case, that’s what Kitna did last year.  Can Palmer get him the rock this year?  I think so, Chad has an excellent work ethic.  I look for many Palmer/Johnson connections.  If not, Kitna might be the QB.  Johnson should be a #1 fantasy WR, the only knock I see is a 1st year starter throwing him the passes.


WR Peter Warrick – Finally showed flashes of why he was a first round draft pick.   Maybe all he needed was contacts?!?  He should be an excellent #2 fantasy WR, assuming Palmer can get the ball to him.


WR Kelly Washington – Large receiver like Terrell Owens.  He’ll make a great 3rd option for Palmer.  He might be a sleeper #2 fantasy WR if he can stay healthy.



TE Reggie Kelly, Tony Stewart, Matt Schobel   – Seems like each game last year, one of these guys caught 3-4 passes for 20-40 yards.  Problem was, it was a different guy each week, so they are hard to project.  Just ignore these guys for now.


K Shane Graham – Excellent, accurate FG kicker.  Don’t be afraid to grab this guy late in the draft and be happy with the results.  Don’t overpay for him, but scoop him up cheap, and laugh all the way to the championships.



Cleveland Browns


QB Jeff Garcia – A change of the guard in Cleveland as Tim Couch is gone, and Jeff Garcia is here to stay/play.  No more controversy.  Garcia is an excellent fit with the porous offensive line of the Browns as he’ll need his happy feet to run for his life.  I’d stay away from him in a fantasy draft, maybe a weak #2 fantasy QB at best, I’m not looking for great things from the Cleveland QB position.



QB Kelly Holcomb – Still recovering from injuries (football related).  I like him as a player, but his location (Cleveland), means he’ll probably get hurt again.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see Luke McCown see some action by the end of the year.   


RB Lee Suggs/William Green – There’s some controversy at this RB spot.  William Green has had some incidents, and Lee Suggs has taken over.  Now that Green is clean (hey, that’s rhymes – let’s make some t-shirts), who is the starting RB?  Both are excellent RB’s, but RBBC makes both players into poor fantasy RB’s.  I’d stay away from this fiasco until training camp.  In fact, I wouldn’t overpay for either player right now, perhaps Lee Suggs is worth it if Green gets suspended.  See how it plays out.


RB James Jackson – I could see him getting a start or 2 this year also.  I hate RBBC situations.   Don’t you?


WR Quincy Morgan – He should be a top 15 receiver, but will he produce?  Coming off a sub-par year, he could be available cheaply.  Great leaping ability, speed, and has a more experienced QB now.  Should be Garcia’s main target.


WR Dennis Northcutt – An unhappy camper = boom or bust.  See how training camp pans out.


WR Others – See training camp – the TE position is more important for the Browns.


TE – Kellen Winslow (Jr.)  Probably the best TE to come out of the NCAA in years.  Incredible receiver to take over games.  Will immediately become Jeff Garcia’s best friend.  I expect BIG things from this rookie. He signed now, so he’ll be the rookie of the year.  Guaranteed.


K Phil Dawson – Decent accuracy, few chances.  You could have a worse kicker, but I’d stay away from kickers who play outside, in wind and snow near a city labeled the ‘mistake near the lake’.  Buy him cheap, you’ll be ok, but I’d prefer a Jason Hanson or Shayne Graham.


Pittsburgh Steelers


QB Tommy Maddox – I like the guy, he’s funny, and he plays hard, but he needs some time to read the defense.  If he has the time this year, he’ll perform well with a trio of solid receivers.  But, if he’s chased around, and the Steelers give up on the season, look for big Ben to drop the clipboard, and run for his life.  I think Tommy makes a decent #2 fantasy QB.


QB Charlie Batch, Ben Roethlisberger – Charlie is a Pittsburgh local, however this should be his last year with the team.  This is Ben’s team, and he knows it.  Both will not do well if called upon this year


RB Duce Staley – The Steelers didn’t sign this guy unless they plan to use him.  He will get his touches, and bring some leadership to the team, but it remains to be seen if he can run better than Bettis.  He’s a solid #2 fantasy RB, but not #1 material.


RB Jerome Bettis/Verron Hanyes – It’s clear that Bettis has lost a step with all the punishment he’s taken.  Verron is a toughguy who gets hurt.  If he could stay healthy, he’s make an excellent change of pace FB.  Stay away from both unless Duce gets hurt.


WR  Hines Ward – Best receiver on the team. Great hands, tough blocker, and a leader.  He wants it this year, before the Ben rebuilding project begins.  Definitely a #1 fantasy receiver.


WR Plexico Burress – Some people think he’s better than Ward, they are dead wrong!  Look at the facts (stats).  Just got done reading the book Moneyball [HIGHLY recommend it – All about general managers of baseball and trades] Someone will overpay for Burress – let them, he’s a solid #2.


WR Antwaan Randel El – Great effort, solid worker, sometimes tries to do too much.  Slash Jr, as he touches the ball in many different positions.



TE Steelers never throw to the TE, just ignore this position.


K Jeff Reed – supposedly the starter, but I doubt Bill Cohwer has thrown away the phone numbers of the guys from the tryouts last year.  I’d stay away from a kicker without job security.  (They get nervous and miss more kicks).  Plus, the Heinz field (named after our next first lady) isn’t a kicker’s heaven.  Pass


Overall, I like Jamal Lewis (Ravens), Kellen Winslow (Browns), Hines Ward (Steelers) as the only can’t miss fantasy guys on the board.

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