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NFL Barometer: 2007 NFL Barometer-Week 5

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.



NFL Barometer
By Dalton Del Don
RotoWire Writer




UPGRADES


David Garrard
- Garrard finds himself firmly on the fantasy radar after being named the Jaguars' starting quarterback. With Byron Leftwich's release, Garrard's gig even comes with some job security. The timing of the move is questionable, but Garrard showed enough during training camp to convince Jacksonville brass that he's the guy moving forward. In 10 starts last season, Garrard completed 60.2 percent of his passes and had a respectable 7.2 yards per attempt. Although Jacksonville lacks elite wide receivers, Garrard is mobile, possessing the ability to pick up 350-500 rushing yards over the course of a season, making him a fine No. 2 QB for most fantasy teams.


Frank Gore
- Gore was held out of the 49ers' final preseason game, but all signs point to a full recovery from his broken hand. He's been medically cleared by team doctors and is a full go for the season opener, despite not receiving one preseason carry. He enters the regular season with fresh legs and in an offense centered around him.


Selvin Young
- Here we go again. Mike Shanahan surprised everyone by declaring undrafted rookie Young as the team's No. 2 running back. With Mike Bell moved to fullback and possibly on the trading block, Young is the clear-cut fall-back option if something happens to starter Travis Henry, who has been somewhat prone to injury throughout his career, including a sprained knee this preseason. Young gained 167 yards on just 34 carries this preseason and is worth owning in virtually every fantasy league because of Denver's prolific running game. He wouldn't be the first, or second for that matter, unknown to come out of nowhere and put up big numbers as the Broncos ballcarrier.


Kenton Keith
- DeDe Dorsey was expected to be Indianapolis' No. 2 running back, but Keith won the job, and Dorsey was outright cut. Keith, an undrafted former CFL star, finds himself second on the depth chart in an offense that is bound to be potent. While the team might still bring in outside help, Keith has impressed the Colts coaching staff and would become a must-add if starter Joseph Addai were to go down.


Charlie Frye
- While the job might not be his all season, Frye opens the year as the Browns' starting signal caller. Rookie Brady Quinn impressed throughout camp, so Frye's stint as the No. 1 QB is likely to be short-lived. Cleveland has an extremely tough schedule to open the season, so things could get ugly.


Michael Turner
- Turner's high ankle sprain turned out to be far less serious than originally feared. While the initial prognosis called him "out indefinitely," Turner is now hopeful to play in the season opener against the Bears.


Joey Harrington
- While we remain unconvinced, Harrington turned in a rather impressive preseason performance. He went 23-of-37 for 283 yards and a 2:1 TD:INT ratio. Because new coach Bobby Petrino employs such a quarterback-friendly system, Harrington can't be completely ignored. Just realize this is a quarterback with a career mark of 5.7 yards per attempt, so his upside is somewhat limited.


Kevin Jones
- In a surprising move, the Lions elected not to place Jones on the Physically Unable to Perform list, meaning the running back might see more early season action than originally thought. The foot injury will still likely keep him out of the first few games, but it's great news that he'll practice with the team. Doctors have assured Jones he cannot do further damage to the foot, but it remains to be seen how much the injury will affect his ability to cut when he returns to game action. Before going down last season, Jones was a Top-10 fantasy running back.


Donald Driver
- Driver (sprained foot) returned to practice last weekend and looked healthy. The same goes for teammate Brandon Jackson (concussion). Both look ready for Week 1.


Mike Williams
- It looks like he's going to remain in the league, after all. Williams hauled in three catches for 51 yards during Oakland's preseason finale Thursday, securing his spot on the team. He's no better than the team's No. 3 wide receiver, but the former collegiate star has the size to be a major red-zone threat, so he's someone to keep your eye on.


Marques Colston
- Colston (knee) and teammate Devery Henderson (hamstring) returned to action and both started in the Saints' exhibition finale. In an offense as explosive as the Saints', both wideouts should have ample opportunity to put up big numbers. Meanwhile, Drew Brees completed 35-of-39 passes in the preseason.


Jacoby Jones
- Everyone's favorite sleeper just keeps scoring touchdowns. Jones is an explosive playmaker, whether through returning kicks or as a wide receiver. He may begin the year third on the WR depth chart, but he'll overtake No. 2 Kevin Walter soon enough, and with Matt Schaub at the helm, the Texans offense looks to be much improved.


NO CHANGE


Randy Moss
- Rumors that Moss might be cut by the Patriots turned out to be unfounded, as he made the team's final 53-man roster. He's probably the biggest high risk/high reward pick for the 2007 fantasy football season.


Shayne Graham
- He suffered a hip pointer but is confident he'll kick in Week 1.


Jason Campbell
- After missing the team's previous exhibition game, Campbell (knee bruise) returned to action during the Redskins' preseason finale Thursday and completed 5-of-5 passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. He'll be fine for the regular season opener.


Clinton Portis
- Portis (knee tendinitis) did not play in Thursday's preseason finale but did participate in warmups before the game. He is expected to play Week 1 but might have a lighter load than usual because of his lack of conditioning. He did not play in a preseason game this year.


DOWNGRADES

Tatum Bell
- While it was widely assumed Bell would start at running back during the season's first six weeks, Bell's tenure likely will be shorter with the news that Kevin Jones will remain active and off the PUP list to begin the season. Bell should be worth using in fantasy leagues in the first month as Jones works his way back into playing shape, but Bell likely will share carries before too long and might be on the short end of the stick in the season's second half.


Byron Leftwich
- Not only did he lose the starting quarterback job in Jacksonville, but because of the timing of the move, Leftwich finds himself unemployed. That doesn't figure to last long, but with the season about to begin there isn't enough time for him to act as anything other than a team's backup quarterback. So far, interest in his services has been lukewarm at best.


Greg Olsen
- Olsen suffered a knee sprain in Thursday's preseason finale. He has been receiving daily treatment and doesn't think his injury is serious, though his status for Week 1 is unknown.


Mike Bell
- Bell is the latest victim of Mike Shanahan's turnstile approach to the running back position. Bell loses all fantasy value with the move to fullback, and the team is even shopping him in hopes of a trade.


DeDe Dorsey
- Dorsey went from the likely No. 2 running back on the league's most prolific offense to being cut.


Priest Holmes
- The situation regarding Holmes and the Chiefs is unclear, but it appears the proverbial nail has finally gone into the coffin that is Holmes' NFL career. He was placed on the Non-Football Injury list, effectively ending his hopes of a comeback.


Reuben Droughns
- Droughns continues this week's theme of backup running backs losing value, as coach Tom Coughlin has moved him to fullback. Droughns still might play some running back, but it's best not to expect more than a couple of carries per game. With previous starter Robert Douglas (knee) out and Droughns bulked up, Droughns could spend more time at fullback than anyone anticipated, opening the door for a different ballcarrier to claim the No. 2 running back role.

Article first appeared 9/3/07