THE THING to understand is that this is a work in progress, ever changing throughout the season. Of course, barring an unforeseen disaster, either Tom Brady or Peyton Manning will be my All-Pro quarterback in the end. But at midseason some positions aren't close to being set. Here's where I stand.
Randy Moss ( Patriots) is penciled in at one spot. That one-handed catch against the Colts—whew! He's consistently made the spectacular look commonplace. I'm leaning toward T.J. Houshmandzadeh ( Bengals) at the other spot. I've got to find a place for Wes Welker (Pats), the King of the Hot Receivers. Maybe slot receiver or something. And how about Reggie Wayne ( Colts), who's taken the receiving load upon himself? Oh, yes, don't forget Braylon Edwards ( Browns). Sorting through the choices at this position is always difficult.
Adrian Peterson ( Vikings, above) has sprinted away from the pack. Last week Minnesota announced he was a starter. His response? An NFL-record 296 rushing yards against San Diego.
This position is always my last. I was very impressed by Lawrence Vickers ( Browns) when I saw him play two weeks ago. Unfortunately it was against St. Louis.
Antonio Gates ( Chargers). I could list a bunch of others, just to list them, but there are stretches when Gates simply takes over.
I can't find any. In the first two games in which I saw him, 2006 All-Pro Jammal Brown ( Saints) looked as if he were on an extended summer vacation. Walter Jones ( Seahawks) remains functional, but he's aging. A few years ago I picked Matt Lepsis ( Broncos), and he's getting a long look.
The first one's easy: Logan Mankins (Pats) is the best at his position in all phases. In the past few years I don't think I've been fair to Steve Hutchinson ( Vikings), but I still don't like him as much as my sleeper, Jason Brown ( Ravens). Or maybe Chris Snee (Giants).
I don't see much past Jeff Saturday ( Colts) or Dan Koppen (Pats).
Jared Allen ( Chiefs, below) is a human ball of pass-rushing fury. K.C. was 0--2 while he was serving a suspension, 4--2 since he came back. I've got a sleeper at the other spot, Marques Douglas ( 49ers). The only thing that worries me is that he's playing way above his energy level. If he falters, Aaron Kampman ( Packers) is ready to move in.
Well, the gigantic nosemen are spending less time on the field. Albert Haynesworth (Titans) is the clear stick-out so far, as an all around DT. He always was a destroyer, but now he sustains it longer.