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.
As opening day
draws near, the allure of a trio of players--and one team offense--is
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.
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.
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.