While posting in various chat rooms, I found myself continuously singing the praises of certain players, trying to convince fellow owners to draft them. Subsequently, I thought I’d compile all of those arguments into one article and publish my thoughts in the hopes that they might help others with their pre-draft analysis. This study looks beyond the obvious players (no recommendations for LaDainian Tomlinson, Tom Brady, Randy Moss, etc.) and tries to find some late round gems.
1. Jericho Cotchery. What’s not to like about a wide receiver that tallied 82 catches and 1,130 yards with guys like Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens under center? Cotchery is certainly talented and a play-maker. Last year he had four games with over 100 yards receiving and notched high games of 165 and 152 yards. A big-play threat, he also had catches of 57, 50, 48, & 41 yards. Moreover, Cotchery is consistent. He had at least 50 yards receiving in 12 games and has a 39 game regular season receiving streak. Is he fragile? Nope. In the last three years, he’s missed only one game.
Cotchery now has Brett Favre pitching to him. Favre has the arm strength that Pennington didn’t, which will allow Cotchery to stretch the field. The sky is the limit for this fifth-year receiver. I see him improving on last year’s stellar numbers and I think ten touchdowns are plausible. Incidentally, Coles’ and Jones’ values should increase as well.
Prediction: Career Year – 85 catches, 1,250 yards, 10 TDs.
2. Jeremy Shockey. Shockey is usually a top-five tight end from year-to-year, but the ill-tempered TE has fallen on most people’s draft boards due to his injury last year, declining production, and bad attitude. But now the long-haired Goldilocks is on his way to the Crescent City where he will team up with Drew Brees, and the potential for the field to open up for Shockey is unlimited. In 2007, Brees passed for almost 1,100 more yards than Eli Manning in New York. Shockey is going to benefit immensely from that type of offense and that caliber of QB in 2008. Will he stay healthy? Most likely. If he starts healthy, he will finish healthy. In 2004, 2005, and 2006, he missed one game each year.
Prediction: It’s 2002 all over again – 73 catches, 800 yards, 9 TDs.
3.Kevin Walter. Who? Exactly. I have yet to see this name break the top 50 WRs in anyone’s pre-draft rankings. Let’s hope it stays that way, so you can steal this guy in the last round or two. For those of you who don’t know, Walter starts opposite Andre “Rehab” Johnson in Houston. When Johnson went down, Walter stepped up. In 16 games, he had 65 catches and 800 yards with a 12-catch, 160 yard game against Jacksonville. While I don’t expect him to improve on those numbers too much, he will fill in as a nice WR #3 this year or as a bye week replacement. During your draft, watch guys like Jerry Porter, Vincent Jackson, Isaac Bruce, Javon Walker, and Randle El all get selected. Then, make your move for Walter.
Prediction: Similar to last year’s numbers with more TDs – 70 catches, 750 yards, 6 TDs.
• The not-much-discussed Derek Anderson should only benefit from the addition of Dante Stallworth. I like him as the fifth best QB behind Brady, Manning, Romo, and Brees.
• If Ronnie Brown looks sharp during the preseason and stays healthy, he is going to skyrocket on a lot of draft boards.
• Ted Ginn’s value just went up with the addition of Chad Pennington. I now put him in the company of Patrick Crayton, Lee Evans, and Reggie Brown.
• A lot of issues with Tier-II wide receivers have me concerned about the early rounds of my mock drafts. Among those with nagging injuries or a history of injuries include: Plaxico Burress, Andre Johnson, Chad Johnson, and Anquan Boldin. Steve Smith and Brandon Marshall have been suspended for two and three games, respectively. Be sure to have a good draft strategy if you want to avoid these guys and still get studs with the picks you have.
Joey Litz has been playing fantasy sports since the late 80s - back when it was all referred to as rotisserie - and as commissioner, kept track of the leagues with a USA Today newspaper and a pencil. It's a passion of his during the NFL season. Thanks to the Fantasy Cafe for providing a forum for enthusiasts like us to get together. You can find Litz posting in the Cafe forums as joejlitz.
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