NationalFootballPost.com Fantasy Expert Joe Fortenbaugh shares his thoughts on Fantasy Football throughout the season special to us here at NFLGridironGab.com
The 2008 NFL season kicks off in two days which means most fantasy football drafts are completed and in the books. With that in mind, the National Football Post breaks down some of the lesser known fantasy players that owners should keep their eye on during the season. These are some of the players that are just a snap away from a starting roster spot in your fantasy lineup:
1. Ladell Betts Washington: Betts’ is a dual threat pass-catching back who can run with explosive power. He should see an increase in action in the new Redskins offense, helping to preserve the legs of Clinton Portis while taking the pressure off young QB Jason Campbell. His 2006 numbers (1,154 yds, 4.7 ypc, 445 rec yds, and 5 total TDs) were fantastic, but he did show a remarkable drop off in 2007. Betts is a “move the chains” type of player who lacks the quick bursts to make the big plays in open space. More importantly, he is not the featured back. Clinton Portis has carried the ball over 325 times in 2 of his last 3 seasons, proving he’s got the legs and the endurance to shoulder a heavy workload. However, if Portis should go down to an injury, expect Betts to step in and make plays.
2. Kevin Curtis Philadelphia: Curtis just underwent surgery for a sports hernia and is expected to miss some significant action in 2008. The interesting part is that his injury has dropped him off of the draft boards and relegated him to the waiver wire. Curtis has great speed for a slot receiver and runs well with the ball after he makes the catch. His 2007 season (77 rec, 1,110 yds, 6 TDs) was his best as a professional. The Eagles love to throw the ball and Curtis tends to fly under the radar, which eliminates defenses from doubling him. Curtis is good at stretching the field and has the speed to break the big play at any time. His 14.4 YPR in 2007 was a career best. When he returns to action he should once again emerge as one of quarterback Donovan McNabb’s favorite targets. If your team is thin at the WR position, be sure to keep your eye on Curtis when he makes his return.
3. Jason Wright Cleveland: Wright has nice hands out of the backfield and quietly put together a 4.6 yards per carry average in 2007, primarily as Jamal Lewis’ backup. He hasn’t played much in his four-year career, meaning there’s no real wear on his body. Should something happen to Lewis, Wright’s the guy Cleveland will turn to. Wright has no big game experience and has never handled a serious workload in his career. In addition, his open field speed and elusiveness are average. With Jamal Lewis healthy, Wright figures to be a situational back at best. However, Lewis is 29 years old and has significant wear on his tires. Should something happen, Wright will become a hot commodity.
4. Maurice Morris Seattle: We aren’t exactly sure why this is happening, but Morris has been falling to the later rounds of most fantasy drafts, if he gets selected at all. Morris knows the offense and fits Seattle’s style of play very well. He can catch the ball out of the backfield and is currently the RB1 on the Seahawks (even with the addition of Julius Jones). Morris averaged 4.5 YPC last season and is able to take advantage of opposing defenses when they sit back and try to defend the Seattle passing attack. He runs hard and can score touchdowns. Morris doesn’t have big play ability and he lacks break-away speed in the open field. The RB position in Seattle right now appears to be a committee, with Morris as the starter along with free agent signings Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett. Morris hasn’t carried the ball over 161 times in a season the past 3 years, raising the question of whether he can shoulder a full work load.