- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
AFTER THE TOP defenses-- Bears, Ravens, Patriots, Chargers-- are gone, you drop off into a muddied middle class of fantasy Ds. So if you can't nab one of the fearsome four, you shouldn't draft any defense until the last round. The fact is, a mediocre defense playing a turnover-prone offense is just as likely to score points as a tough defense facing a QB who can read coverages in his sleep. Last year the Chargers had 61 sacks and 16 interceptions; the defenses that played the Lions, though, came up with 63 sacks and 22 picks combined. My advice: Consider taking the Chiefs' D in the last round. Kansas City has seven games against turnover-prone QBs ( Rex Grossman, Brett Favre, Jon Kitna, left) and weak offenses ( Houston, Oakland twice, Tennessee). Platoon the Chiefs' D with the Falcons'--another unit sure to go undrafted--and you get the Texans and Titans again, and two games against the Buccaneers. The bottom line is that you don't need a top defense to score serious fantasy points. --D.E.
Set of Slippers
As opening day draws near, the allure of a trio of players--and one team offense--is fading
IT SEEMED like such neat symmetry: Carolina cut loose an older wide receiver from USC, Keyshawn Johnson, in the off-season and replaced him with a younger one, second-round pick Dwayne Jarrett, who scored 41 career TDs for the Trojans and seemed the perfect candidate to step in and produce. But several weeks into training camp Jarrett is taking only baby steps. In the battle for the starting spot opposite Steve Smith, Jarrett is in third place behind the Panthers' familiar fallback options, Drew Carter and Keary Colbert.
> Vernand Morency had been set to start at RB in Green Bay before he strained the patellar tendon in his right knee early in training camp. Morency should be ready for the regular-season opener, but Brandon Jackson, a second-round pick from Nebraska, has taken advantage and excelled to the point of muddying Green Bay's running back situation
> Two reasons to downgrade Eagles TE L.J. Smith: First, a groin injury on Aug.�9 has limited his practice time. Second, fifth-round pick Brent Celek, out of Cincinnati, has been a preseason surprise. Given that Philadelphia has denied Smith a contract extension, the Eagles have incentive to give Celek playing time and see if he could fill Smith's role in 2008.
> Owners looking to invest in the Jets' offense couldn't have been encouraged by the performances last Saturday of sixth-round pick Jacob Bender of Nicholls State and third-year player Adrien Clarke. They are the in-house candidates to replace the departed Pete Kendall at left guard, and neither appeared to be up to the task.