1. I think it will bee a RBBC for a good portion of the season. Obviously, if one is seriously underperforming, the other will get the starting nod. However, with two talented backs, I assume the Bears will use both.
2. It will be hard for Ricky to not improve from last season. With two (three if you count McMichael) deep threats, it will be tougher for defenses to stack the box to shut down Ricky. I see a definite stat increase for him. As for the WRs, both will probably break 1000 yards. However, all this depends on how AJ Feeley performs as a starting QB. If he can't do what Fiedler couldn't, the offense won't change that much.
3. Not sure about Vick being top-3, but perhaps top 5 or 6. His ankle may give him a slow start, but we just have to keep an eye on him from now until September. It seems to me that the Atlanta offense needs another threat for Price to excel as a #1 receiver, so I wouldn't put my cards on him.
4. Davis' stock obviously drops due to Foster's presence, but he is still worthy of an early 2nd-round pick. He's on the lower end of the #1 RBs, but I don't see Foster taking away too many carries.
5. Wow, tough one! Lotta guys with a lotta potential, but also either unproven or prone to injury. I'm gonna go out on a whim and say Barlow will have the best season and Rudi will have the worst.
6. Er...not all of those were trades. But I'd generally avoid all of them, unless Dillon ends up in a place where he will get a majority of the carries. Garner can put up some decent numbers in TB, though.
7. I think Palmer will definitely put CJ and Warrick off to a somewhat slow start. A new QB is a big change, and we aren't even sure of what Palmer can do. Rudi is still somewhat of a question mark, so it's hard to say how Carson will affect him.
8. The Skins offense with Portis and Brunell should flourish quite nicely. Portis will put up some monstrous numbers, and I expect Coles to improve on last year's numbers with this potent offense.
9. Santana Moss should do the best of three, especially with a healthy Chad Pennington. The others are somewhat risky, but I wouldn't mind taking a chance on them.
10. The Browns offense doesn't look like a good situation. Too many question marks for me to even touch any of them relatively early in the draft. Suggs could be a decent sleeper, though.
11. I'm unfamiliar with that situation, so I'll pass.
12. As long as Fitz or Roy (and I'd also say Mike) end up in a place where they would be starting immediately, I'd take them relatively early. Obviously, a proven WR is superior, but these guys make quite good sleepers. The RBs are deep sleepers because they might not see all the touches right away.
Thanks for posting the questions; well-written and obviously well thought-out.
Thanks for the responses so far guys. These kind of questions make for some good discussion, but as one poster pointed out, it's hard to really know what will happen until the season begins, or at least the preseason! Anywhere, here's my take on these situations.
1. I think that Thomas is the better back. He did a good job last year putting up per-game numbers similar to guys like Domanic Davis, Tiki Barber, Kevin Barlow, and Bryant Westbrook over the course of the season. Most people don't realize that Thomas actually made a pretty decent #2 back last year during the 13 games that he played in. He sat out three with injuries. Meanwhile, Jones has never really done anything until the second half of last season and hadn't even been a starter most of his career, prior to that. Unfortunately, I think the Bears management brought him in to compete for the starting job. I think this because Brock Forsey did well as a backup last year. I don't think they wanted Jones as a backup. This leads me to think it will be a nasty case of RBBC. That being said, I would draft A-Train before Jones--probably in the 7th or 8th round if he's there then.
2. I think adding Boston helps everyone on that offense, but I'm still skeptical because Feely may not prove to be any better than Fiedler. With Ricky getting a lot of carries (as usual) and McMichael also seeing some balls, I'm not sure Chambers and Boston will have enough passes come their way to be real fantasy stars. Both should post 1,000 yards and 6 or 7 scores. That's good, but not great. I'll be drafting Chambers before Boston. I'd rank Chambers at around the #13 receiver available with Boston right behind.
3. I guess you could say I'm not sold on Vick. He's great, but I think he's over-hyped and therefore overrated. Over the last 5 games of last season, he was only the 14th-best fantasy QB using ESPN's scoring system. Obviously, he was shaking off the rust from a serious injury and may have had limited mobility, but I still expected him to do better. His ankle should be fine to start the season, but even if he completes a full 16-game schedule, I look for him to finish no better than 4th behind C-Pep, Manning, and McNabb. In re-draft leagues, with guys like McNair, Hasselback, Trent Green, and Pennington available in the 6th round, I'd take Vick no earlier than the 4th round, but he'll be gone by then. In keeper leagues, he moves up to late-second. I don't think Price will ever be as good as he was in Buffalo. The Bills were just on fire that year. I won't be drafting Price as anything more than a #3 receiver and I'd prefer to have someone else in that slot.
4. I don't know what kind of vibe is coming out of the Panther's camp during the offseason. Maybe some Carolina fans can fill us in. IMO, Davis is clearly the better back. He performed well last season and only missed 2 games due to injury. On a per game played basis, Davis was tied with Taylor for #9 among fantasy backs just ahead of Ricky Williams and Travis Henry. He's actually more durable than people think. I don't think he has a history of being injury-prone. Foster will see some spot duty, but I see it playing out a lot like last year. Like Henry, I would select Davis in the mid-to-late 2nd round, depending on who else is available. Foster shouldn't be anything more than a late round handcuff.
5. I'll try to keep this one short:
Davis - good back, catches some balls. Houston O should continue to improve. Decent #2.
Barlow - maybe the best back, but don't expect him to produce as well with Garcia, Owens, and Streets elsewhere. Decent #2.
Johnson - should be quality if Dillon is, in fact, traded. Decent #2.
Westbrook - another good player, but Buckhalter will definitely see plenty of goal-line action and Owens will be the focal-point of the offense. Good #3, borderline #2.
Shipp - not regarded as highly as the other 4, but with good reason. Still vastly overrated. Most people don't realize that even during the games he played, he still was no better than a #4 fantasy back in most leagues. His numbers rank him behind buys like Staley, Bettis, Pittman, Richie Anderson and Onterrio Smith! I won't be drafting Shipp unless he slips well below where I've seen him in most drafts.
In summation, I look for Davis, Barlow, and Johnson to do about equally well and will be drafting them in that order. Shipp is my pick for flop, but among the other 3, I'd say Barlow has the most uncertainty, given the state of the offense.
6. I like Garner and Staley as #3 backs, especially in leagues that give points for receptions. I'd snap up Dillon as my #2 in the third round if he goes to Dallas.
7. This is a cop-out, but I'm going to have to wait and see how Palmer does in the preseason. This question wasn't a knock on Palmer as I think he'll be a good quarterback, more a reflection of the fact that he, nonetheless, has no game experience at this level. I'll still be looking at all three of the Cincy guys at about the same place, but the change makes them a little more risky.
8. Portis' value decreases slightly for the obvious reason that he's running behind the Redskins' line and not Denver's. I like Coles better this year because 1. he's healthy 2. Portis will attract a lot more defensive attention than Trung Canidate and Ladell Betts 3. Brunell is better than Ramsey and 4. the offense will be a lot more potent this year so he should score more. I would take Portis with the 4th pick (behind Priest, LT, and Green) and have Coles as the #8 wide receiver. I think Brunell will make a fantastic #2 in 10-team leagues and a starter in larger ones.
9. I guess I'm one of the few that's considering putting Moss ahead of Smith on my cheat sheet. He did score in like 9 straight games last year. Pennington obviously likes him. I keep hearing that Boston will take some pressure off Chambers on the other side, but the same people say that McCaeirens will steal balls from Moss and that lowers his value. I have Moss and Smith both ranked right at #12, but that could change before draft day. Frankly, I don't like Walker very much. He scored a lot over the 2nd half of the season, but over the last 8 games, he only caught 20 passes. To put it in perspective, that's less than Robert Ferguson. I see him going in the 7th round in many drafts, but I'd hold off until the 10th where I might take him as my 4th receiver.
10. I think Garcia is one of the more under-rated fantasy QB this year. When healthy, he usually puts up top-5 fantasy numbers. Just look at what he did after coming back from an injury last year. If I don't take a QB early, I might wait until the 8th or 9th round and grab Jeff as my starter. I don't know much about the Suggs/Green situation, so I'll have to watch that battle during the preseason. All I know is that if I can get a guy like Green in the 9th or 10th who was going in the 2nd last year, he's going to be hard to pass up. I'll be looking at Davis and Morgan in the late rounds as a #4.
11. Alright, I know this is a TE question and it doesn't have as much fantasy impact as the Buffalo RB situation, etc. In fact, some people have said that it's irrelevant because neither guy will make an impact, but that's the very reason I asked this question. Did you know that after Conwell went down with injury, Boo Williams was the #3 fantasy TE all season long behind Gonzalez and Sharpe, even outpacing Todd Heap? Not only that, but he was VERY consistent. In mocks, I've seen him going in the 9th round behind Heap, Crumpler, McMichael, and Franks and couldn't believe it. The only reason I could think of that he might be going so low is that Conwell could come back and steal some playing time. How else can you explain him going that low behind so many guys that he BLEW AWAY last season? Unless Gonzalez falls to my spot in the lower 4th round (unlikely), I'll be looking to grab Williams in the 8th and laugh all the way to the fantasy Super Bowl, hehe.
12. Depending on where they go, I'm thinking to grab Jackson or Jones in the 4th round and Fitz or Williams in the 5th round of keeper leagues. In a re-draft league, I'd drop them down them down to the 6th and 7th. Again, it's totally dependant on where they end up and whether or not they'll start right away.
1. Who will emerge as the starting running back in Chicago ... ? The Chicago Bears prove once again that they have the worst ownership/front office in the NFL. Yet another stupid move. RBBC.
2. How will Boston/Feely to Miami affect the values of Ricky Williams, Chris Chambers, David Boston? Which of the two receivers would you draft first and when? I see no significant change for any of these players from last year. The WRs are a toss-up. I'd take neither until fairly late in the draft. IMO, Miami still doesn't have a QB.
3. Will Michael Vick return to form as a top-3 fantasy QB ... Will his return help Peerless Price become a top receiver once again? Yes and yes.
4. How will the Stephen Davis/Deshaun Foster situation work itself out in Carolina? Stephen Davis remains the man.
5. Who will be the most productive out of this season's up-and-coming running backs such as Barlow, Rudi, Domanic Davis, Westbrook, and Shipp and who will flop? Most Productive: Rudi Johnson Flop: Willis McGahee
6. What about traded veterans such as Garner, Staley, Hearst and possibly Dillon? Of these? Duce Staley. The Steelers have released Zero, and Bettis is just hanging on. Pittsburgh returns to the run with The Duce.
7. How much will Carson Palmer's presence as the starter lower the values of Chad Johnson and Peter Warrick ... How will it affect Rudi? Big loss in leadership here w/o Jon Kitna. Take the WRs down a notch, maybe 2. Will help Rudi (unless the Bengals find themselves down by 2 scores all season long).
8. How productive will the Redskins offense be with the addition of Brunell and Portis ... ? This is the same ol' same ol' yet again from the Redskins. Daniel Snyder has clearly confused himself with George Steinbrenner. Didn't work in the past. Won't work this year.
9. Can Santana Moss, Steve Smith, and Javon Walker ... show they belong in the top-10 of fantasy receivers? Can? Yes. Will? No. Not Top 10.
10. How will Cleveland's offense adjust with Garcia/Suggs now leading the way? ... Will Morgan/Davis put up respectable numbers ... ? Yet another team trying to bust a move on the cheap. Shoot yourself before considering any Browns.
11. Will Boo Williams be the full-time TE in New Orleans or will Conwell steal some of the action ... ? This is a Top-12 burning question?
12. How early could you take Fitz/Roy Williams and Stephen Jackson/Kevin Jones ... ? If Fitz goes to Arizona ... how will that affect Boldin's value? I pass on all these guy, unless in a keeper league. And then late and cheap. My rule? It's all hype until you show me something. Boldin? Despite last year, keep reminding yourself. He plays for Arizona.