Sunday, March 26, 2006

Free Agency: The Dust Settles

Most of the big free agency moves have occurred in the NFL (I'm waiting to hear where Lavar Arrington lands). There is a consensus among observers that the Cleveland Browns helped themselves most with their free agency moves. For some examples, look here and here and here. From a fantasy football perspective, Michael Fabiano at lists early pre-season ranking of footballers by position. Much as I respect Mr. Fabiano, these rankings are just fun little mind games to occupy you before the real season starts. They are not be taken seriously. The free agents haven't picked up a playbook, or run a play, or blocked, caught, run, tackled, or meshed with their new team. One thing that fifteen years of fantasy football has taught me is the folly of projecting next season's performance from last season's record, especially for players on new teams.

Master4caster's detailed pre-season assessment of NFC East teams will come after the draft. Here is a preliminary ranking of the East's best players by position.


  1. Donovan McNabb, Eagles - His return to health means return to form for this dynamic quarterback. His evolution to a pocket passer is a good thing despite the gripes of the local NAACP. But, where is his head? And why did so many of his teammates dis him in favor of Terrible Owens? Something's funny there!
  2. Drew Bledsoe, Cowboys - I had Mark Brunell penciled in this spot until the Cowboys signed Terrell Owens. TO changes everything for the Dallas offense. Only, Owens can both help this team and hurt them at the same time and in a big way.


  1. Tiki Barber, Giants - Eli Manning gets more press, but Barber is the sparkplug of the Giant offense.
  2. Clinton Portis, Redskins - Portis had a breakout year in the Redskins system in 2005 because the Skins finally committed to the run. Portis runs, blocks, catches passes and throws touchdown passes. If the new receivers force defensive safeties and linebackers into coverage and out of the box, Clinton can run for 1,600+ yards.


  1. Terrell Owens, Cowboys - He's a force of nature. He says he's learned from the past. We've heard that before.
  2. Santana Moss, Redskins - Santana is the NFL's best receiver named Moss. The Redskins presented an opportunity to break out and he grabbed it! The addition of Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle-El and the return of David Patten should provide more opportunity for Moss even as his numbers go down from 2005.


  1. Jeremy Shockey, Giants - Rough, tough, mean and a good target for Eli Manning
  2. TIE: Jason Witten, Cowboys & Chris Cooley, Redskins - Witten is the better blocker, as he should be. Cooley is an H-back who may line up in the backfield, in the slot or on the line. He is primarily a receiving threat whose numbers will be impacted by the presence of Randle-El and Lloyd.


  1. Mike Vanderjagt, Cowboys - Deadly accurate, except for his notable choke in the playoffs.
  2. Jay Feely, Giants


  1. TIE: John Runyan, Eagles, Jon Jansen, Redskins, Flozell Adams, Cowboys

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