Friday, August 24, 2007

PHSports’ 5 Sleepers and 5 Busts for the 2007 NFL Fantasy Season

Each year dozens of sports websites offer their lists of busts and sleepers for the fantasy football season. These lists are entirely speculative and based on mostly nothing but gut feelings. Having now degraded the uncertain nature of predicting sleepers and busts, the staff at PHSports has decided to jump aboard the ship and offer what its own crystal ball revealed for the 2007 fantasy football season.


1. LaMont Jordan (RB, Oakland Raiders)

Yes, I can sense the double take followed by the rubbing of the eyes you all just experienced. A Raider? As a sleeper? Well, after last season this team, and Jordan, has nowhere to go but up. Jordan’s sub-par 2006 lays the groundwork for an improved season. Furthermore, Dominic Rhodes’ 4-game suspension to start the season is the ultimate early Christmas present for Jordan, who has two years under his belt with his Oakland teammates. That camaraderie, along with Lane Kiffin’s new system, will propel Jordan to be a solid #3 back.

2. Greg Jennings (WR, Green Bay Packers)

This second-year wide-out from the frozen tundra goes against the traditional notion that wide receivers don’t usually pan out until their third season in the league. Now, we aren’t saying that Jennings will provide Ocho-Cinco type stats to your depleted fantasy roster, but he did have 45 receptions for 632 yards last season. Since then, the Packers have dropped veteran WR Robert Ferguson, and Jennings has claimed the 2nd starting WR spot opposite Donald Driver. With Brett Favre’s arm likely being the key to the Packers’ offensive scheme again this season, look for Jennings to get at least 90-100 looks from the aging QB. NOTE: since the drafting of this article, Packers' #1 WR Donald Driver was carted off the field with an undisclosed injury. Keep an eye out on this situation since it could boost Jennings’ status as a sleeper.

3. Vincent Jackson (WR, San Diego Chargers)

Now, here is a WR entering that supposedly grand third season, and one who PHSports thinks will put up the numbers in 2007. Admittedly, Jackson had a statistically forgettable 2006 season. His 27 catches for 453 yards aren’t noteworthy, but the 6 touchdown catches are nothing to sneeze at. 2007 should see Jackson’s totals rise, even though he is still competing with the arguably the league’s best TE in Antonio Gates. The key to Jackson’s stats this season is the arrival of Norv Turner. Though he’s never amounted to much of anything as a head coach, Turner has played a key part in improving the passing offense of his past teams, and will do the same for the Chargers.

4. Brandon Jackson (RB, Green Bay Packers)

Green Bay fans must be loving us right now. (There’d better be a rise in hits from Wisconsinafter this article). The second Jackson of this list has a great opportunity ahead of him at the side of Brett Favre. Thanks to the injury to Vernand Morency, who still claims the #1 spot on the Packers’ depth chart, Brandon Jackson has seen and will continue to see most of the touches with the first string offense. Jackson has shown promise in the preseason, so the job appears to be his to keep. Though we don’t expect magical numbers from the rookie out of Nebraska, he will produce good numbers. This is probably the biggest “reach” of our sleeper picks.

5. Alex Smith (QB, San Francisco 49ers)

The lone quarterback on our sleeper list could very well have the breakout season of 2007. Although he no longer has QB guru Norv Turner to guide him, Alex Smith is working with a very solid team that experienced some quality success last season. Furthermore, Frank Gore will help to alleviate the pressure from the young quarterback. The 49ers have also added some depth to the receiving core, adding Ashley Lelie and Darrell Jackson in the off-season, not to mention the help he’ll get from a healthy Vernon Davis. Don’t be surprised if Alex Smith is a top 10 fantasy QB by the end of the season.


1. Shaun Alexander (RB, Seattle Seahawks)

It pains us to put this former TD and rushing champion at the top of this list, but there are far too many questions surrounding his injured foot and his ability to bounce back. Alexander only played in 10 games last season, and only managed 3.6 yards per carry (ypc), a far cry from the 4.8 ypc in 2004 and and 5.1 ypc in 2005. He’s also no spring chicken, turning 30 before the regular season starts, so we have to wonder whether he has enough youthful energy left in him to return to his glory years or if he’s on course to become the next Marshall Faulk.

2. Randy Moss (WR, New England Patriots)

So much hype and so many expectations can only lead to disappointment, especially considering that Randy hasn’t even practiced with the team since early August. People tend to overreact when a quality wide receiver switches teams, assuming that the mere pairing of a quality wideout with a team’s quarterback will lead to sheer magic. Unfortunately, those people are forgetting Peerless Price to Atlanta, Muhsin Muhammad to Chicago, oh and Randy Moss himself to Oakland. Sure, Randy could pull a DontĂ© Stallworth and provide immediate help to his new team, but given his lack of practice time with Tom Brady, we wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t finish in the top 2 on his team in receptions.

3. Tom Brady (QB, New England Patriots)

When a team has basically been crowned the Super Bowl champion by a solid portion of the media during the off-season, it’s usually been a bad sign of things to come (see Washington Redskins under Daniel Snyder). The Patriots went out and signed about 400 new wide receivers for their GQ QB after the AFC Championship loss to the Colts last year. Unfortunately for Papa Brady, this has fans expecting a 5,000 yard season with 30+ TD passes (finishing second only to Jon Kitna’s self-projection of 50 TD tosses). Given those over-reaching expectations, Brady’s got fantasy bust written all over him. He may still have an okay fantasy season, especially if he and his new wideouts can get on the same page despite injuries. However, he won’t be worth the 2nd or 3rd round selection that will be used on him in most leagues.

4. Marc Bulger (QB, St. Louis Rams)

What a difference a signature makes. Before Bulger signed his new contract extension a few weeks ago, some of the staff here at PHSports had him pegged for a sure-fire sleeper pick. Bulger was poised to have a “contract year” to guarantee himself the big bucks from the Rams or some other team after the 2007 season. But then, it happened. The Rams caved and gave him a 6-year, $65 million extension … so now he’s settled financially and ready to underachieve.

5. Clinton Portis (RB, Washington Redskins)

The man of many disguises has become way too injury prone very early in his career. The injuries coupled with a 1,000-yard backup RB in Ladell Betts who proved his worth last season, make Portis a very risky selection in any fantasy draft. He’s only played a full season once in his three years as a Redskin and he’s seen zero action this preseason. Even if he is fully healthy by the start of the season, Portis will only be getting about 60-65% of the touches after Betts’ solid 2006 campaign, thus limiting his fantasy production.

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