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JL’s 2008 Grand Opening Observation Deck

Peterson vs McFadden: A mismatch

So i got to thinking what might start the 2008 Observation Deck season off with a bang. I decided to first bring up a real issue I have with fantasy managers/experts this pre-season. In 2007 Adrian Peterson was drafted 7th overall to the Minnesota Vikings and people were reluctant to grab him early in fantasy drafts around the nation. In 2008, however, one Darren McFadden gets drafted by a franchise in much worse condition, the Oakland Raiders, and I see him continuously come off the draft board in the top 3 rounds. I have a serious problem with this and I will tell u the reasons why.

1. The Minnesota Vikings have a much better offensive line and a much better defense(especially run defense) than do the Oakland Raiders. This equates to less carries and less opportunities for Run DMC.

2. Just as Chester Taylor still remained in the mix in 2007 for the Vikings, so does Justin Fargas in 2008 for the Raiders.

3. Thirdly, and most important, McFadden played in the spread offense at Arkansas, where seams are created and defenses are on their heels before the play even starts. AP played in a pro-style offense at the University of Oklahoma. His vision, power, elusiveness and patience are far superior to that of McFadden’s going into his rookie season. McFadden might develop these attributes as the season progresses, but he is a raw product in comparison to what AP was when they both entered the league. McFadden is still an amazing athlete though and will probably produce around 1,000 total yards and 7-8 touchdowns.

Jamal Lewis

If

you tell me you saw the resurgence of Jamal Lewis’s career in 2007 to the degree of success he achieved, your a liar.  If you foresee his demise in 2008, then your just wrong. In fact, I am surprised he is not taken in the first round of every fantasy draft around the nation this year. The man rumbled for 221 fantasy points in 2007 and was very impressive late in the year. In the last 10 games of 07′, from week 8 and beyond(after his minor injury and the Browns bye week), Jamal was held under 14 fantasy points only twice. In those 10 games, his average fantasy pts per game translate to a 250 point 15 game schedule, I say 15 games because Jamal has made atleast 15 starts in 6 of his 7 career seasons. In those 10 games, never received less than 16 carries in any of those games, as the Browns established an offensive identity. Jamal caught 26 balls in that span as well, showing that he is more than just the average bruiser. In Browns’ wins over the course of the entire season, Lewis scored 19.5 per game. For a team that many consider improved going into 08′, that is a very good sign.


Brandon Jacobs

Big bad Brandon Jacobs has a bad rap, especially in fantasy circles. Jacobs ended the year on a very positive note, scoring 5 total touchdowns in the post-season. Even during the regular season his production while on the field was incredible. On only 200 carries, he rushed for over 1,000 yards, and in games where he received 20 or more carries he averaged 15 fantasy points per outing. That is a significant stat because in his last 10 starts he averaged 18.2 carries per game. Jacobs finished as a top 20 fantasy running back despite only carrying the ball inside the opponents 5 yard line only 4 times all season long!! This guy is an absolute animal and if you are willing to grab him off the board in the first 3 rounds, it should not be too difficult to grab his backup, whoever it may be. His production is well worth the risk.

Three Sleeper Receivers

I will start with the most obvious sleeper wide out in the whole NFL. I want to try make everyone understand though that this player is still a tremendous value at his current average draft position.

Santonio Holmes is the future of the Steelers’ passing game. After leading the NFL in yards per catch in 2007 at 18.2 per grab, expect Holmes to break-out in a major way in 2008. Despite only being targeted 85 times the whole season, he still finished as the 18th ranked fantasy WR, which is a middle of the pack number 2 fantasy WR for your team in a 12 team league. In fact, in the only 3 games in which he was targeted 9 plus times, he produced 280 yards and 4 touchdowns, never scoring less than 11 points in any of those outings.DJ

Going a little deeper into the WR rankings,

DJ

Hackett has some upside as well. He never showed a lack of talent in Seattle, it was just a matter of opportunity and health that held him back. He is not afraid to work the middle of the field and has shown a great ability to catch in traffic. Playing in Seattle in 2007, he only was targeted 7 plus times in 5 games. In those 5 games he scored 11.8, 16.1, 19.6, 4.1 and 16.1 respectively. Extremely impressive considering the limited opportunity presented to him for most of the season. It is also worth noting, he will not see one down of double coverage the entire season, as the baddest man on the planet,

Steve Smith, resides on the other side of the football field.

Lastly, is another player that is overlooked by many because he is surrounded by other superstars. I am referring to the Chargers’

Chris Chambers. If you include the post-season, Chambers had 90+ yards or a TD in 6 of his last 7 games played, while teammate

Antonio Gates only accomplished the same feat once in that 7 game span.  Chambers averaged 10.8 pts per game in those same seven games, prorate that for an entire season he would have finished as a borderline top 10 wide-out, right in front of the likes of

Wes Welker,

Greg Jennings and

Torry Holt. A healthy, improved Phillip Rivers, combined with another year on the practice field for Mr. Chambers as a Charger could lead to some very serviceable numbers in 2008.

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