Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
With NFL training camps just around the corner, we all have our early thoughts as to who will be this year's fantasy bargains and who will be a flop.
We'll start with the quarterback position and over the next few weeks we will evaluate the other spots. We'll look at three players who will play above their current projected fantasy value and three who won't perform up to expectations.
Of course, over the next two months our opinions could change based on what we see at camp and in the preseason, but going into the season here are some of my early expectations.
Tony Romo, Dallas (ADP 32) - Cowboys management has added another weapon to Romo's arsenal in the form of Oklahoma State rookie Dez Bryant. Along with Miles Austin, Jason Witten and Roy Williams, they make up a very talented receiving corps. The team already threw the ball 55.7-percent of the time in 2009. Romo's ADP was 49 last season, but I don't think fantasy owners realize how much this offense is improved with Bryant at wideout and Felix Jones as the starting running back. Romo could be the No.3 fantasy quarterback this year, bypassing Tom Brady (who you will see in the "Below" list) and even Peyton Manning.
Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia (ADP 72) - Kolb's ADP is being held down because he is a first-year starter and fantasy owners are obviously concerned by the lack of data. But Kolb is in the perfect position to be a fantasy success. He has very good receivers (DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek) and a coach who throws the ball as much as anyone in the league. He also has a defense which will probably yield plenty of points forcing Kolb to continue to throw late in games. He's better suited for the "West Coast" offense than Donovan McNabb was, although McNabb certainly learned how to be productive within its confines. McNabb had an ADP of 57 last year, the eighth quarterback off the board, and Kolb's fantasy value should be just as high.
Jason Campbell, Oakland (ADP 185) - Compared to last year's Opening Day starter JaMarcus Russell, Campbell will seem like an All-Pro to Raiders fans and the team's receivers. If Oakland can get the running game going with Michael Bush and Darren McFadden, then Campbell could be useful as a spot starter in 2010 given that they play Kansas City twice and St. Louis once. He's not a fantasy starter, but he'll play better than most people expect and above what you normally get from a 16th-round selection.
Tom Brady, New England (ADP 26) - If you throw out the 2007 season in which Brady and the Patriots played like Superman, Brady hasn't been much better than an average starting fantasy quarterback. If you look at Brady's statistics from 2002 through 2009, throwing out 2007 (aberration) and 2008 (injury), he has averaged 3,852 yards, 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His average position rank is seventh for those years, yet he's the fourth quarterback being selected in 2010. And that doesn't even take into consideration that Wes Welker may or may not be ready to start the season. I would much rather have Romo or Matt Schaub (ADP 36) for a cheaper price.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore (ADP 77) - While the Ravens added a star receiver in the offseason (Anquan Boldin), they are likely to continue to be a "run-first" offense with budding superstar Ray Rice in the backfield. Yet fantasy owners have made Flacco a low-end starter in 2010 as the 12th quarterback off the board. Yes, he will be improved, but in a division with the No.4 (Cincinnati) and No.5 defenses (Pittsburgh without Troy Polamalu) he might not be able to put up "starter numbers" every week.
Donovan McNabb, Washington (ADP 82) - McNabb's relocation south to our nation's capitol is more than just a move of 140 miles. McNabb is losing a coach who loves to call passing plays, his receiving corps is weaker and his offensive line is questionable. Yet fantasy owners are expecting McNabb to perform to a high level, almost that of his replacement Kolb or Flacco in Baltimore. Comparing wide receivers, McNabb has the worst of the choices. Santana Moss and Devin Thomas don't compare favorably to Jackson and Maclin or Derrick Mason and Boldin. He's overpriced and he won't be able to live up to the seventh-round price.