Fantasy
Last-Minute Drafts

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - For those who plan Draft Day as close to Opening Day as possible, there are many rewards. None of the late preseason injuries hurt any fantasy owners and last-minute announcements of starters and backups can be taken into account.

I have two such leagues, one drafting on Tuesday night and the other on Wednesday.

Let's look at the advantages these leagues hold over drafts held two weeks ago.

The value of Cleveland running back Jerome Harrison shot through the roof when rookie Montario Hardesty tore an ACL in his left knee. Harrison will get a chance to become a "workhorse" back, though if he falters, Peyton Hillis has shown the ability to handle a running game.

On Monday, Seattle coach Pete Carroll announced that Justin Forsett will be the Seahawks starting tailback. Leon Washington should still see plenty of time as well as kick return duty making him a viable option in leagues which include punt and kickoff return yardage.

Rookie C.J. Spiller is listed as the Buffalo's No.1 running back, at least for Week 1. Fred Jackson, who will likely get more carries over the 16-game schedule, will be limited in the first few games by his broken hand. Sounds like a definite "RBBC" situation with Marshawn Lynch also getting some playing time.

Minnesota Vikings' wide receiver Percy Harvin seems to have solved his migraine problem which could make him a more valuable fantasy asset with Sidney Rice sidelined for what is now expected to be six-to-eight weeks.

The Baltimore Ravens defense will be without star safety Ed Reed who was placed on the PUP List (Physically Unable to Perform). The Ravens defense must be downgraded slightly because they are without a top playmaker. The same adjustment must be made in Denver where sack-specialist Elvis Dumervil will miss the season after being placed on Injured Reserve.

If you were planing on taking Ben Roethlisberger, you got the exciting news that his six-game suspension was reduced to four games. On the other hand, if you had also selected Byron Leftwich as your temporary quarterback until he returned, you are in trouble as he injured a knee and is expected to miss from two-to-four weeks.

Vincent Jackson, the No.1 wide receiver of the San Diego Chargers, is no closer to getting back on the field and in fact, looks like he could miss as much as 10 games or the entire season. His ADP was 62 in late July and is 135 as of today. If you spent a fifth-round pick on him, you are going to be extremely disappointed.

The release of Matt Leinart made Derek Anderson the starting quarterback in Arizona by default. However, even those drafting this week should beware of overvaluing Anderson, as the best quarterback on the Cardinals roster might be Max Hall. If Anderson starts slowly, Hall might be in there before you know it. Taking a late-round flier on Hall might be the best option, particularly in keeper leagues.

Jets defensive back Darrelle Revis, a.k.a. the best cornerback in the NFL, has signed a contract and will play football after all. Although he's not likely to be his dominating self for a few weeks, it's safe to say the Jets defense, the first taken in most leagues, will be stronger than without him.

Three kicker positions were decided in the last week; Neil Rackers over Kris Brown in Houston, Mike Nugent over Dave Rayner in Cincinnati and Billy Cundiff over Shayne Graham in Baltimore. Both Rackers and Cundiff should be selected as starting fantasy kickers.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.