In the NFC East, a land of bulldogs (the real canines, not some reference to U of Georgia), a hyperactive scattershot of a beagle rules the day.
Easily one of the most talented running backs in all of football when healthy, Brian Westbrook leads a talented upside-laden Eagles squad to the front of the fantasy football pack in 2009. All the teams in the division have questions, some have impressive answers.
Watch your step as we wander around this yard gone to the dogs, there are a few land mines about:
1. If he’s even 80 percent, Brian Westbrook is still a fantasy god and the best fantasy back in the division. Problem is, he’s always hurt. Pick up LeSean McCoy, who seems to be a Westbrook copycat as insurance and you shouldn’t skip a beat.
2. Among all the early season sleepers (Chris Henry, Donnie Avery), Brent Celek is one of the few that remained a sleeper into the week leading up to the season-opener. After what he did at the end of the 2008 season and in the playoffs, I expect a top-10 showing.
3. Donovan McNabb’s days have been numbered for years in Philadelphia. (Pause, to let those time references sink in). He’s getting up in years and the Eagles have Mike Vick now. Vick’s a better athlete, but not a better quarterback. McNabb won’t lose his job this season, and he’s got enough juice left to lead a team to the Super Bowl.
4. DeSean Jackson seemed like a serious value in drafts. I hope you picked him up in a couple. In his second year, he should far out play his ADP.
5. Anyone who watched an Eagles game knew Brian Dawkins was the violent beating heart of the Eagles defense. How they adjust will be a huge storyline to watch in 2009. Remember how bad the Colts have struggled without safety Bob Sanders in the game? Yeah, me too, that’s why I stayed away from the Eagles defense in my drafts.
1. From a fantasy perspective, and likely from a real football perspective, the Cowboys will live and die by Tony Romo’s arm. If he can adjust to not having TO it will make all the receivers viable and keep stacked fronts away from a talented trio of running backs.
2. Hey, it’s me again, standing up on my soapbox (whatever that means) and shouting to anyone who can hear: “Picketh Felix Jones a round or two earlier than his ADP and thou shalt be rewarded with fantasy treasure.”
3. I’m no offensive line coach or NFL talent evaluator, but the Cowboys offensive line last year was better at times for opposing defenses than it was for Romo and company. Not sure they’ve done enough to fix that issue.
4. Roy Williams will be the Cowboys third best receiver in 2009. He’ll be outplayed by superstar tight end Jason Witten and the aforementioned Jones. Williams will be a little better than last year, but won’t live up to his ADP.
5. I’ll end with defense again, promise it’s the last time. I ended up with the boys in a lot of leagues. It’s probably because they have playmakers like DeMarcus Ware and Bradie James.
New York Giants
1. Bear with me here. If Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw provide the same kind of attack the Giants had last year, I would bet money that Eli Manning’s numbers nudge up a bit.
2. How the Giants defense adjusts to LAS (Life After Spagnuolo) will be something to watch. Many drafters didn’t note the adjustment period and paid extra to make sure they got the NYG D.
3. The Giants won’t realize how important Derrick Ward was until Brandon Jacobs blows his first tire.
4. Brandon Jacobs will blow at least one tire before the Giants Week 10 bye.
5. Both LBs Michael Boley and Antonio Pierce were picked after DE Justin Tuck in some of my IDP leagues this season. I say they’ll all have the same relatively good value by the end of the year.
1. If Jim Zorn can’t motivate the Redskins like he did during their 6-2 start to 2008, he may not have long in Washington.
2. This Devin Thomas/Malcolm Kelly mess still isn’t figured out? It’d be Thomas if he didn’t have a 2-cent brain. Dude, concentrate and you’ll get PAID!
3. Chris Cooley led the team with 83 catches last year. There’s no way he does that again… But, there’s also now way he has only one TD in 2009.
4. While I’m not a huge schedule analyzer, the wheeler-dealers among you should note that the Redskins play the Rams and Lions back-to-back in weeks 2 and 3. So, after Clinton Portis goes for 2 bills or Santana Moss has back-to-back 4 TD games, dangle them for underperforming talent.
5. If the Redskins haven’t wrinkled in a couple handfuls of Antwaan Randle-El Wildcat plays in 2009, Jim Zorn may not have long in Washington.
There’s a lot to talk about in the NFC East. What’s your opinion? What did I miss? Comments can be left below.
Also, tune in as we roll out team previews divison-style all week long and throw a couple start/sit recommendations out too. Content doesn’t stop just because the season starts.