Fantasy football thoughts | NevadaAppeal.com

Fantasy football thoughts

Dave PricE

With the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts kicking off the NFL season Thursday night, I just wanted to jot down some notes for you fantasy football coaches who still have a draft coming up.

If you have any questions to ask during the course of the season, please feel free to contact me at dprice@nevadaappeal.com. Given enough response, I will try and share your thoughts here next week.

• No. 1 pick? Priest Holmes and LaDainian Tomlinson seem to be the favorites. Priest obviously made me a happy camper last year, though there is one concern – he turns 31 on Oct. 7. And Tomlinson plays for the Chargers – though that hasn’t slowed his fantasy value the last two years. Clinton Portis, 22 and heading into his third NFL season, always looks for a way to motivate himself to a higher level. What better motivation could there be than to show the Broncos they made a mistake by trading him to Washington?

• Handcuff these high draft picks together – talented starters with talented backups and they play in successful systems: Marshall Faulk/Steven Jackson, Rams; Travis Henry/Willis McGahee, Bills; Stephen Davis/DeShaun Foster, Panthers; Shaun Alexander/Maurice Morris, Seahawks. Could be worth taking a gamble – Lee Suggs/William Green, Browns; Tiki Barber/Ron Dayne, Giants; Quentin Griffin/rookie Tatum Bell, Broncos.

• More running backs? I like Deuce McAllister, but here’ s a point to ponder: With fullback Terrelle Smith lost to free agency, the Saints have switched to a one-back offense. Brian Westbrook’s size (5-10, 200) and durability are questioned, but he is THE back in Philadelphia now that Duce Staley is playing for the Steelers and Correll Buckhalter has been knocked out for the season with a knee injury. Westbrook believes he can get the job done, and he did have 945 yards in total offense with 12 touchdowns while sharing time and returning kicks last year. Domanick Davis believes he can rush for 2,000 yards in Texas. And watch out for Kevan Barlow in San Francisco.

• Twenty running backs have been drafted and you think the remaining talent is thin? Take a look at Duce Staley, who has a point to prove and should see the ball often in Pittsburgh. Also, there has to be a reason the Titans allowed Eddie George to move on to Dallas, so take a look at Chris Brown, who was good enough in his senior year at Colorado to score six TDs in a game against Nebraska. Tyrone Wheatley could be in for a good year with the Raiders.

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• Combos: I like to have quarterback-receiver combinations that score double points. These guys are proven: Culpepper-Moss, Manning-Harrison. If you like the Eagles: McNabb-Terrell Owens. Combo I’d like to have: Hasselbeck-Darrell Jackson or Koren Robinson (all stayed in Seattle through the offseason to work on eliminating those dropped passes from 2003, according to Rotoworld.com). Affordable picks: Favre/Javon Walker or Robert Ferguson. Could be worth the risk: Joey Harrington-Charles Rogers, Tom Brady-Deion Branch, Carson Palmer-Chad Johnson, Dave Carr-Andre Johnson.

• Quarterback? Sure, you can Peyton Manning or Daunte Culpepper or Michael Vick in the first couple of rounds. But Matt Hasselbeck, Trent Green, Tom Brady or Chad Pennington could give you comparable numbers with a later pick. Byron Leftwich is a talent and Josh McCown could be a sleeper now that Dennis Green is the head coach in Arizona. Either Rich Gannon or Kerry Collins could have a good year in Oakland. There are also many who believe Jake Delhomme was no fluke last year.

• Defense? Even without Deion Sanders – Do you think his signing is as over rated as I do? – the Ravens look like the best defense. Nor can you can’t go wrong with the Patriots. I like any team that has speed, and there’s a ton of talent in New Orleans (first-round draft pick Will Smith out of Ohio State is 6-3, 282, he’s has been timed at 4.58 in the 40, bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times at the National Scouting Combine, he and still can’t crack the starting lineup at defensive end, although the coaches plan to make sure he gets on the field). Isn’t it incredible how big, fast and strong these guys are? The Raiders might also be worth considering.

• Kicker? It’s easy to go with a high-power offense that scores TDs all the time. I fared quite well last year with Jason Hanson and his field goals (5-for-5, including three from beyond 40 yards in Detroit’s 22-14 Thanksgiving Day win over Green Bay). Mike Vanderjagt not only works indoors, he has a potent Colts offense to boot. I look for a good year from the Raiders, which makes Sebastian Janikowski an asset. FYI: The Kansas City Chiefs cut veteran Morten Andersen over the weekend.

Lastly, to all you fans out there, good luck on the season to come.

Contact Dave Price at dprice@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-1214.