Patriots and Bills fantasy previews

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This is going to be the first and last time you'll see the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots put on the same page when discussing fantasy football.

The Pats are loaded with fantasy options, while the Bills, well, are just running on fumes with one or two decent players.

In order to save some time, we'll continue with the multiple team previews here to give you only the bottom line when it comes to sizing up these players.

Here we go:

Quarterback
Patriots: Tom Brady
Bills: Trent Edwards
Stats: Brady, Edwards

Talk about two different ends of the spectrum with these two guys.

We'll start with Mr. Perfect, Tom Brady.

Brady will be the first quarterback selected in fantasy football this year, thanks to his absolutely ridiculous 2007 season. The addition of a rejuvenated Randy Moss and speedy Wes Welker turned Brady into an absolute fantasy beast and things won't change much this time around.

Don't hesitate to pull the trigger on Brady if you have anywhere between the sixth and tenth pick in your draft.

Trent Edwards on the other hand is not a solid fantasy option. Those of you who are Bears fans reading this know what teams led by coach Dick Jauron are like and the Bills will fair no different.

They've added some interesting pieces around Edwards, but not enough to validate a fantasy selection. However, if you're in a deep, 15-team league you might have to stretch this far when searching for a backup QB. There are worse options out there, but not many.

Running Backs
Patriots: Laurence Maroney, LaMont Jordan
Bills: Marshawn Lynch
Stats: Maroney, Jordan, Lynch

Again we'll defer to the Patriots.

Laurence Maroney had a decent 2007 season, but when fantasy owners around the country spent first round picks on him last year only to see mediocrity in production the season has to be considered a bust.

Nobody knew that the Patriots would turn into one of the most prolific aerial attacks in history and that Maroney would suffer because of it. I'm extremely hesitant to advise you to select him anywhere near the first two round, but anytime after that Maroney is fair game.

His last five games - including two playoff appearances - Maroney exploded for 550 yards and six TDs. If the Pats realized Maroney is a serious threat and plan on toning down the passing game, he could potentially catapult himself into first round value found in the fourth or fifth round.

I'm not going to say anything about LaMont Jordan except that if Maroney goes down, Jordan is more than capable of becoming the Patriots featured back. For those of you into handcuffing your running backs, Jordan is a must have.


You have to admire what Marshawn Lynch did last year as a rookie.

The Bills weren't very good and just happen to reside in a division with the best team in football. Yet, Lynch put up very respectable numbers and may have even earned Rookie of the Year honors if it wasn't for a certain running back up in Minnesota.

Jauron will not hesitate to let Lynch shoulder the load up in Buffalo and you should be thanking the heavens for his penchant for employing a ground focused offensive attack.

Lynch is without question a first round back, and if he happens to slip to the second round, you'd be very wise to grab him without looking back.

Wide Receivers
Patriots: Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Chad Jackson, Jabar Gaffney
Bills: Lee EVans, James Hardy (R)
Stats: Moss, Welker, Evans

Let's just get this out of the way so we can get to the rest of these guys.

Randy Moss is the best fantasy wide receiver in football.

Hands down. T.O. is a very close second, but the combo of Moss and Brady is untouchable.

So, onto the speedy little Wes Welker. Simply put, this kid is one heck of a football player. He's the perfect underneath receiver for Brady and the Pats offense and always seems to find open space despite opposing defensive coordinators' best laid plans to prevent him from doing so.

He's a borderline number one, ridiculously good number two wide receiver. I'd rank him in the top fifteen overall at his position and I suggest you do the same.

There's not much separation between Chad Jackson and Jabar Gaffney. Both move in and out of the Pats lineup and cannot be counted on to produce on a consistent basis. Gaffney has the experience while Jackson is younger and has the higher upside.

Poor Lee Evans.

He might just be the best wide receiver that hasn't ever gotten a chance to show what he's really capable of because of poor quarterback play. The Bills drafted the freakishly tall and fast James Hardy (6' 7") to line up opposite Evans in hopes of giving Evans a little more room to work with.

Evans is still a very respectable number two wide receiver for your team and will always receive the lion's share of looks in Buffalo. What it comes down to is the play of Edwards and Hardy's ability to step up in his rookie year.

Due to the fact that rookie WRs typically don't fair very well in the NFL (besides Randy Moss), I'd say you look for Hardy as a potential sleeper pick in the later rounds.

Tight Ends
Patriots: Ben Watson
Bills: Robert Royal
Stats: Watson, Royal

Ben Watson started off 2007 making fantasy owners very happy, scoring five touchdowns in the first five games of the season. However, things went downhill quickly after Watson suffered an ankle injury and he was never the same.

He's not a bad option at the position and would probably be there if you prefer to wait until the final rounds before drafting a tight end.

Robert Royal is one of those guys that just goes out, does his work, and probably doesn't even draft himself in his fantasy football league. Edwards connected with Royal for two touchdowns in the preseason, but don't let that fool you. Use him for a spot start when your stud TE is on a bye, but other than that, out of sight out of mind.

Defenses

The Patriots are a top ten defense and the signing of veteran S Jon Lynch only strengthens that statement. With an offense putting up obscene points every week, the Pats defense can afford to gamble on a more consistent basis, therefore the probability that defensive touchdowns may occur is much higher in New England.

The Bills aren't worth drafting, so please don't draft them. Not even if they're your favorite team.

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1 Comments

I have Laurence "Belichick hates me" Maroney on my team as well as Brandon "Can't stay healthy" Jacobs... Who would you rather keep because my team is total garbage after those two. Thank You. I can only keep one.

Olsen responds: First off, love the nicknames. You hit the nail on the head with both of them.

But in response to your question, I'd have to go with Maroney. I liked what I saw from him at the end of last year and I truly believe Belichick realized how much of a weapon he has in this kid.

I like Brandon Jacobs, but with his punishing running style, injuries will always be a factor. Not to mention Reuben Droughns and Ahmad Bradshaw are going to see their share of touches this season, limiting Jacobs chances of scoring even more.

Go with Maroney and the high powered Patriots offense. You know they won't have a problem getting the ball down in the red zone.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for suntimes.com and editor of CenterstageChicago.com. He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on August 19, 2008 7:00 AM.

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