Much has happened in the NFL in the past week. Injuries, trades and roster cuts have affected the values of some players, while others won starting jobs. Let's take a quick look at several players whose values changed in recent days. ADP (Average Draft Placement) data courtesy of MockDraftCentral.com.
Brady Quinn, QB, Browns (ADP: 207): Fantasy owners have largely ignored Quinn in preseason drafts because he's been competing with Derek Anderson for the Browns starting gig. Despite Eric Mangini's best efforts to keep it quiet, word has leaked that Quinn is the starter. With a freak like Braylon Edwards (16 TDs in 2007) to throw to, there's potential here. If you didn't get a top-12 QB, I could see using Quinn as a matchup starter. This week, for example, the Vikings are typically tough against the run (particularly since the "Williams Wall" has avoided suspension for at least one more week), but can be had against the pass. I'd certainly prefer Quinn over Chad Pennington (ADP: 184) or Jason Campbell (ADP: 185). Given Quinn's lack of a track record, this could be the year he emerges as the star many thought he'd be coming out of Notre Dame.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions (ADP: 207): Stafford is similar to Quinn in having just won the starting job, having a freak to throw to (Calvin Johnson) and having the same ADP. The Lions defense was historically bad last year and continued futility should ensure Stafford throws often in the second half of games. There's a small chance that Stafford has a Matt Ryan-type of rookie year. (Though Ryan wasn't really playable last year in normal formats.) This week, it's not hard to envision Stafford going for 250 yards and two TDs as the Lions play from behind against the Saints' awful defense.
Byron Leftwich, QB, Bucs (ADP: 209): Leftwich beat out Luke McCown for the Bucs starting QB job, then McCown was traded to Jacksonville. This leaves only Leftwich and a rookie, Josh Freeman (a first-round pick). In no way am I giving Leftwich a ringing endorsement, but for two-QB leagues, his value has certainly increased. Expect Leftwich to keep the job until he falls flat on his face or the Bucs fall out of the race.
Fred Jackson, RB, Bills (ADP: 105): The Bills just cut Dominic Rhodes, who had been Jackson's only meaningful competition for carries the first three weeks while Marshawn Lynch is suspended. Don't take a backup like Willis McGahee (ADP: 104), LeSean McCoy (ADP: 105) or Rashard Mendenhall (ADP: 105) over Jackson.
James Davis, RB, Browns (ADP: 126): Rumor is that Browns starting RB Jamal Lewis barely survived cut-down day. Mangini has no allegiance to Lewis. With Davis the unquestioned backup, odds are good that he'll significantly out-produce his current ADP.
Mark Bradley, WR, Chiefs (ADP: 210): Ashley Lelie and Amani Toomer were cut, leaving Bradley as the Chiefs second receiver opposite Dwayne Bowe. When he started last year, Bradley had a five-game stretch where he posted three TDs and at least 50 yards receiving in each game. He can be a serviceable option this year; just not Week 1 against the Ravens (with Matt Cassel still injured). I'd certainly take Bradley over guys like with similar ADPs such as Kelley Washington, Louis Murphy and Antwaan Randle El.
Troy Williamson, WR, Jaguars (ADP: 205): After a strong preseason, Williamson won the Jaguars second WR job. As the 7th overall pick in 2005, Williamson has talent. Maybe this is the year he emerges. I'd take that chance before taking someone like Chaz Schilens (ADP: 201).
Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints (ADP: 36): I actually like Thomas a lot in an explosive Saints offense. The problem is that Thomas' sprained knee and recent laceration (the same knee, injured while trying to squeeze through a fence to gather up his dog) leave him questionable for the opener. Thomas says he'll practice Thursday with a knee brace. But if you own him, be prepared to pounce on Mike Bell, who gets a nice matchup against a bad Lions defense.
Patriots D/ST (ADP: 154): I like the Patriots trade of Richard Seymour from an NFL perspective — getting a first-round choice from the Raiders in 2011 (which could easily be a top-five selection) for a soon-to-be-30-year old DE entering the final year of his contract is a nice coup. That said, from a fantasy perspective, giving up a Pro Bowl DE without receiving anything that will help in 2009 can only be viewed as a downgrade to an already questionable defense
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