For some reason this season excites me, if for no other reason there are so many draft strategies that the running back position is mostly running back-by-committee. The news is gearing up, too, with Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason announcing his retirement this week, but I'm not sure we've heard the last of this.
The Brett Favre saga should wrap up shortly as well because if he doesn't get into camp with the Minnesota Vikings then kiss that team's Super Bowl future goodbye. Favre needs training camp; he has not had an offseason regimen program as he did two years ago (2007 season), and he has to develop some chemistry with his soon-to-be new teammates.
Who cares if the Vikings are tailoring the playbook around him? If he doesn't develop chemistry he's more apt to try to force throws and improvise more often than needed. Let's be frank here: The knock on Favre is that he'll lose the game come playoff time when he forces throws and improvises too much.
We're not talking fantasy scenarios here, but getting into camp on time will only help his fantasy value as well.
That's just the tip of the iceberg as the news continues to flow; QB Matt Cassel of the Kansas City Chiefs was signed to a six-year extension. It's getting started people.
For draft newbies, check out Mock Draft Central. They're my favorite average draft position (ADP) site.
Chiefs | Cassel contract details
Updating previous reports, John Clayton, of ESPN.com, reports the Kansas City Chiefs have signed QB Matt Cassel to a six-year contract extension worth $63 million, according to a source. The deal includes $28 million in guaranteed money. Cassel will receive $40.5 million in the first three years of the contract.
I always like it when a player is in a contract year, and that's no longer the case with Cassel. Instead of playing for next year, there's always a chance a player gets too comfortable after his big contract. Obviously this isn't the case with every player, but it's a positive when fantasy owners know a player is playing for a contract.
Cassel is the 14th quarterback being taken on average, and his ADP is 102.43, the ninth round in a 12-team league. That's too early for me. I look at Cassel as my No. 2 fantasy QB at best and, to be honest, would grab someone else like a Matt Hasselbeck or Brett Favre because they are on better teams.
Let's face it: No one expects the Chiefs to be good this year whereas the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings are always division contenders.
Before leaving this topic, I want to say we look at contract-year players from a greed perspective, but wouldn't you look at your contract year as the year to step up if you haven't? I would, and every player does whether they're already playing at a Pro Bowl level or not.
Bills | Is Owens ready for big season?
Chris Brown, of BuffaloBills.com, reports Buffalo Bills WR Terrell Owens averaged 86.5 receptions, 1,264 yards and 13.5 touchdowns in his first seasons with his previous two teams, the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.
Those are nice numbers, but the Eagles and Cowboys are nearly always playoff contenders. I'm not expecting those numbers from Owens, especially when the Bills threw 14 touchdowns last year, 12 in 2007, and 19 in 2006.
You can't compare Trent Edwards to someone like Donovan McNabb or Tony Romo. More importantly you can't compare the players around those quarterbacks. Will T.O. improve that team? Yes, but will he see 13 touchdowns? NO!
T.O. is drafted on average with the 33rd overall pick and is the 14th wideout being taken. That's the third round in a 12-team league and way too high for me.
He has to learn a new offense, develop chemistry and overcome the wintry weather to post numbers that warrant that high a pick. Maybe he does it, but if he does, I'll let it be on someone else's roster.
Vikings | Jackson to demand trade?
Mike Lombardi, of NFL Network, reports there is speculation that Minnesota Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson might request a trade if and when the team signs free-agent QB Brett Favre (Jets).
Why would the team trade Jackson away? He knows the offense, and Brett Favre is not a given to last a full season. He makes a great No. 2 quarterback: someone who knows the offense, can come in and, at least in theory, not lose a game.
Even more importantly, he can learn from Favre even if it's just by watching him. I like Sage Rosenfels better than Jackson long-term but not right now because he has to learn the offense as well as develop chemistry with his new teammates.
Ravens | Mason already having second thoughts on retirement?
During an interview on ESPNews, Baltimore Ravens WR Derrick Mason said he had been thinking of retiring since the end of last season. However, despite saying earlier today he is retiring, he left the door open on a potential return.
"Right now I'm 99 percent sure," Mason said. He noted he has to talk with the Ravens, but he does not think there is anything they can say that will change his mind.
He said his family has 97 percent to do with it, but noted he has to weigh everything involved, too. If things do change and he decides to play, Mason said it will be because he changes his mind.
I have to agree with Matt Schauf of RapidDraft.com. I saw his Twitter posting, @RapidDraft, which said this saga may not be over. Mason may indeed be done, but he's still the Ravens' best receiver despite being 35-year-old, 12-year veteran. This team is not far from being a Super Bowl contender either.
He also has been instrumental in helping QB Joe Flacco grow as a player on the field. He's the type of receiver a quarterback can count on for the clutch reception. We've all heard the tales recently of the late Steve McNair and how good a quarterback he was.
However, McNair is not McNair without Mason. He helped make McNair a better quarterback, and while McNair is not a Hall of Fame quarterback, he did take his team to a Super Bowl and Mason helped in McNair's growth as a quarterback.
For fantasy owners, losing Mason is the equivalent of losing an outstanding No. 3 fantasy receiver, a No. 2 in point-per-reception (PPR) leagues. Schauf comes up with a nice stat when he states Flacco with a healthy Mason completed 61.8 percent of his passes, and after Mason got hurt, completed 57.3 percent. His loss will hurt.
Look for WRs Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams to be the starters barring the team signing a veteran. Remember they still have to deal with linebacker Terrell Suggs so there may not be the money needed to bring in someone like Arizona Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin or the Denver Broncos' Brandon Marshall.
Remember the team would not only have to shell out huge bucks but also give up draft picks. For a team that is built around the running game and defense, it would behoove them to first get Suggs under a long-term contract before considering trading for a top-tier receiver.
Cowboys | Romo-Williams relationship a work in progress
Tim MacMahon, of The Dallas Morning News, reports Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo and WR Roy Williams put in a lot of extra offseason work together. There were some encouraging signs of chemistry between the two during OTAs and minicamp, but there was also ample evidence that their relationship is a work in progress.
This is good news because fantasy owners who believe in Romo need to know he has more than just tight end Jason Witten to rely on. However, I'm concerned about the five-year, $45 million contract extension Williams signed.
Will he be hungry? It's a legitimate question because that is top-tier money and he has only eclipsed 1,000 yards once in his six year career.
That was in 2006: 82 receptions, 1,310 yards and seven touchdowns. Granted we're talking the Detroit Lions, but in comparison, Calvin Johnson in his second year on the league's worst had 1,331 yards receiving, 12 touchdowns and 78 receptions.
My point is simple: Johnson, at least for one year, showed that even on the league's worst team a top-tier wideout can produce top-tier numbers.
Redskins | Campbell ready for breakout season?
Washington Redskins TE Chris Cooley said he believes QB Jason Campbell is ready to emerge as one of the NFL's top quarterbacks this season. "Jason Campbell is so close to being one of the best QB's in the league; he will have a great year," said Cooley, who filled in for SI.com's Peter King during his Monday Morning Quarterback column.
First, this is a great article Cooley wrote. It will have you chuckling! Make sure you check it out.
However, don't be a chump, Cooley, and knock Trent Green. He represents blue collar America and how anyone can make it through hard work, buddy! I say that in jest as I've discovered many take me too seriously, and I'm not even married to you! I digress...
I would like to think Campbell is ready to emerge; he's entering his fifth season and second in the West Coast offense. You add the chip on his shoulder regarding the team looking to trade for Jay Cutler and there should not be any reason he doesn't produce.
Granted, two years is still a short time frame to learn the West Coast offense and succeed in the NFL. He'll still have some growing pains, but he should improve. He's the 23rd QB being taken, 184th overall, which is the 16th round in a 12-team league.
You can bet I'm taking a shot at him there if I'm still looking for a No. 2 quarterback, or No. 3 depending on the size of the league. Why not? I would rather have him than Matt Cassel only because he's on a better team offensively. I like Campbell's upside.
NFL | Rosenhaus says James will play this season
Edgar Thompson, of the Palm Beach Post, reports Drew Rosenhaus, agent for unrestricted free-agent RB Edgerrin James (Cardinals), said James will play this season but may wait to sign until training camps start and an injury forces a team to look to add another running back.
Seriously, where would you draft him? Obviously he'll have to sign somewhere first. I foresee him signing during training camp if someone goes down or if a team realizes what they have isn't going to get it done.
As silly as it sounds, why not back to Indianapolis as part of a running back by committee? I'm not a big Edge fan as he left for the money then whined when the team was losing in Arizona. That's right, whine, and anyone in the industry will tell you that. Sure no one likes to lose, but as professionals we have decisions to make.
I could have left KFFL years ago for a more lucrative job but stuck it out, and it paid off for me and almost paid off for James last year. Just remember the grass is not always greener on the other side people.
James' fantasy value obviously will be determined once he signs. In deep leagues, why not take a chance and draft him anyway? I would; you can always use him as your first cut if he doesn't sign.
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