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JL’s Preseason Observation Deck

Preseason Observations:

The Patriots are an average team without

Tom Brady. I truly believe that

New England would miss the playoffs if Brady was actually injured and missed significant time. With that said, don’t be fooled by any injury report you hear about Touchdown Tom. He is fine, and he will light up the Kansas City Chiefs week one, I guarantee it.

Patrick Crayton is becoming a major cog in the Dallas Cowboys offense. He is not only out to prove some critics wrong, he is out to put up fantasy points.

Terrell Owens will see more attention than ever this season, and Crayton will be the beneficiary. I expect him to surpass 1,000 yards receiving and catch a handful of scores. Crayton has gained Romo’s trust, and when a quarterback trusts a receiver who is always seeing single coverage, production is inevitable.

Fantasy managers are over-looking aging superstars in drafts around the nation. I am usually one to draft upside, upside and more upside, but this year there are some great values to be had with older star players.

Torry Holt,

Marvin Harrison and

Donald Driver are going a round too late. Holt was in the worst situation of his career last year and still managed 1,189 yards and seven touchdowns. Holt had 90+ yards or a touchdown in 10 of his 16 games with the Rams offense in shambles; absolutely amazing. His production is almost certain to increase now that the Rams offense is not in complete disarray.

Harrison was not healthy for the first time in his career, and thus slides to the 4th or 5th round. Borderline insane when you consider the fact that

Harrison was the #1 overall fantasy wideout in 2006, posting a 14.4 per catch average, his highest since 1999. The man takes great care of himself and will emerge once again as a Top 15 WR. Lastly, Donald Driver is taking a major hit in his average draft position simply because he only scored two touchdowns in 2007. In 2007, Donald was targeted only 122 times, his lowest since 2003. From 2004-2006, Driver put the ball in the endzone 22 times and will likely reach that average again in 2008 with an increase of looks. He will see an increase in looks simply because Rodgers is going to look the reliable veteran’s way early and often as a security blanket. Remember, Driver is still capable of some very big plays, as he proved in the NFC Championship against the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.

ACCURATE 2008 Bold Prediction:

Marion Barber III will finish as the #1 overall fantasy running back. He will get between 320 and 340 touches, will score close to 20 touchdowns and will punish defenders week in and week out. I am begging people out there not to worry about

Felix Jones, Barber is the man on the best offense in the NFC, in the prime of his career.

Lee Evans and

Jericho Cotchery will both be Top 12 WRs in 2008. Both will increase their TD totals greatly, both will benefit from improved quarterback play and both will be targeted very often throughout the year.

Brett Favre and Cotchery will resemble Favre and

Jennings from 2007, except for the fact that Cotchery is a better route runner and is better after the catch then Greg Jennings. Lee Evans has always been an elite NFL talent, and

Trent Edwards is a much improved player mentally and physically. Expect to see the Bills using Lee in many more ways then we saw in 2007. Teams must respect

Marshawn Lynch‘s running ability, and once those safeties start creeping up, you will again see Lee torching them for long scores.

Tom Brady and

Drew Brees battle it out for the #1 quarterback spot. Brees will have a career year in 2008.

Robert Meachem and

Jeremy Shockey are both added bonuses Drew did not have a year ago. Throw those two in the mix with Colston, Bush, Patten and Henderson; you get the most explosive passing game west of

New England. I expect both quarterbacks to approach 4,500 yards passing and 40 touchdowns. If Brees can outscore Brady early in the year, I think he has a legit shot at finishing as the best quarterback in fantasy football.

A few more quick predictions:

Justin Gage becomes a viable #3 fantasy wideout; the type of guy you feel totally comfortable starting each week.

Randy Moss catches 20 TDs again in 2008. I expect his targets, catches and yards to go down. I also expect his average yards per catch to go up, with plenty of red zone looks too.

The Kansas City Chiefs pick 1st overall in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Andre Hall, not

Selvin Young is the 1,000 yard rusher for the Denver Broncos.

Nate Burleson averages over 10 fantasy points per start he makes for the Seahawks.(This statement was written before Nate’s ultra-athletic 68 yard touchdown catch Monday Night.)

The Dallas Cowboys win the Super Bowl.

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