4 FOLLOW THE FREE
Chester Taylor is
the anti-Edge. Taylor was an unrestricted free agent in the off-season who
signed with the Vikings and became a dependable fantasy back. There are several
backups, including the Chargers' Michael Turner, the Raiders' Justin Fargas and
the Redskins' T.J. Duckett, who could be free agents next summer and emerge as
the '07 Taylor.
agency has also made the Ravens' backfield the one to watch in the off-season.
Starter Jamal Lewis is owed $10 million over the next two years, and it's
likely that Baltimore will cut him before the contract kicks in. The club may
well try to bring him back at a lesser price, especially considering his
performance of late (299 yards and five touchdowns in his last four games).
Backup Musa Smith is an unrestricted free agent next year, which could leave
Mike Anderson (who is signed through '09) as the Ravens' only experienced
running back. However this game of musical chairs plays out, the
best-positioned survivor has a chance to be a solid fantasy contributor.
5 FILE AWAY THE
of the 2006 season not named Drew Brees was 49ers second-year running back
Frank Gore. But this shouldn't have come as a shock: The way Gore finished last
season (255 rushing yards and two touchdowns in his last three games)
foreshadowed his '06 success.
No one has come on
stronger in the last few weeks than Titans rookie quarterback Vince Young,
whose knowledge of the offense and familiarity with his receivers should only
grow next season. And with DeShaun Foster sidelined by an elbow injury,
Panthers rookie running back DeAngelo Williams was finally given a chance to
contribute and has responded with 445 total yards in his last four games. If he
can improve his pass blocking, this gamebreaker will be hard to keep off the
receivers such as New England's Reche Caldwell (24 catches in his last five
games) and Miami's Marty Booker (26 in his last four games, with four TDs) have
stepped up their production down the stretch and are well worth taking a flier
on next year.