RunRiggoRun Posted July 6, 2005 Share Posted July 6, 2005 In the Trenches: Portis, Owens highlight NFC East http://www.sportsline.com/nfl/fantasy/story/8622378 Fantasy Football Preview (By Division) The NFL offseason has seen several important transactions that will affect player values and draft strategies across the board. Here's our fifth in a series of eight columns that focus on individual divisions and teams. NFC EAST Dallas Cowboys Notable additions: RB Marion Barber, QB Drew Bledsoe, LB Kevin Burnett, DT Jason Ferguson, CB Aaron Glenn, CB Anthony Henry, OG Marco Rivera, DE Marcus Spears, RB Anthony Thomas, LB/DE Demarcus Ware The Bledsoe-Bill Parcells reunion won't mean an increase in statistical success for the veteran, who remains a No. 2 quarterback in most leagues. However, Bledsoe's presence under center is a positive for TE Jason Witten, who should serve in a role similar to former Patriots TE Ben Coates. Witten has less value than TEs Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates, but he will be the third tight end selected in countless drafts. Player ranks Player 1. Julius Jones 2. Jason Witten 3. Keyshawn Johnson 4. Terry Glenn 5. Cowboys DST RB Julius Jones will remain the centerpiece of the Cowboys offense and should benefit from an improved line that now includes veteran OG Rivera. Expect him to be a second-or-third round selection in most formats. Barber and Thomas will compete to serve as the team's No. 2 back, but neither is worth more than a late-round selection as insurance for Jones. WRs Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn will be worth middle- to late-round selections, but neither should be considered more than a No. 3 in leagues with 12 or fewer teams. The additions of Burnett, Ferguson, Glenn, Henry, Spears and Ware to a unit that includes incumbent starters DE Greg Ellis, CB Terence Newman and SS Roy Williams makes the Cowboys DST a solid sleeper candidate. The move to a 3-4 defense will allow Williams more chances to use his skills and athleticism, so expect him to see an increase in value in individual defender leagues. New York Giants Notable additions: WR Plaxico Burress, K Jay Feely, QB Tim Hasselbeck, RB Brandon Jacobs, LB Antonio Pierce, CB Corey Webster The Giants have handed over the reins of the offense to QB Eli Manning, but he needs time and experience to make a consistent impact. The brother of superstar QB Peyton Manning, Eli will be worth no more than a late rounder in seasonal drafts. The addition of Burress is a positive for Manning and WR Amani Toomer, who should be 100 percent recovered from the injured hamstring that hindered him last season. However, Burress has much to prove before owners should consider him a solid No. 2 receiver. Player ranks Player 1. Tiki Barber 2. Jeremy Shockey 3. Plaxico Burress 4. Amani Toomer 5. Eli Manning The team will continue to lean on RB Tiki Barber, who will be worth a second- or third-round choice but has seen a decrease in numbers in his past two odd-numbered seasons. Jacobs impressed head coach Tom Coughlin in offseason workouts and could see some goal-line work, so he'll be worth a late-round flier in most formats. TE Jeremy Shockey is expected to see a more prominent role in the offense, so there's a good chance he'll at least duplicate last season's totals. The Giants DST will benefit from the return of DE Michael Strahan from an injured pectoral muscle and the addition of Pierce is a positive, but overall the unit will have little value in drafts. Philadelphia Eagles Notable additions: WR Reggie Brown, QB Mike McMahon, RB Ryan Moats, DT Mike Patterson, TE James Whalen The potential holdout of WR Terrell Owens is one of the bigger stories in the league, and it could have an enormous impact on Fantasy Football. Should this situation linger into training camp, it would alter the values of Owens, QB Donovan McNabb, TE L.J. Smith and WRs Todd Pinkston, Greg Lewis and Brown. However, T.O. should still be one of the first two wide receivers selected at this point in time. Player ranks Player 1. Terrell Owens 2. Donovan McNabb 3. Brian Westbrook 4. L.J. Smith 5. David Akers McNabb should rival QB Daunte Culpepper on ranks lists and will be one of the first three quarterbacks selected in drafts. The return of RB Correll Buckhalter from an injured knee shouldn't alter the value of RB Brian Westbrook, who remains a nice second back or flex starter. Buckhalter should see his share of carries and is a nice middle- to late-round choice, especially for owners who land Westbrook. Pinkston has been inconsistent for most of his career, so Lewis and Brown are both nice low-end sleepers who could earn more time on the field with impressive preseason performances. With veteran TE Chad Lewis out of the picture, Smith should have a breakout season and develop into a reliable No. 1 tight end. The addition of Patterson will increase depth on the defensive line, which should continue to produce with DE Jevon Kearse in the mix. With a solid defensive backfield that includes FS Brian Dawkins and CB Lito Sheppard, the Eagles DST remains an attractive late-round selection. Washington Redskins Notable additions: QB Jason Campbell, WR Kevin Dyson, WR Santana Moss, WR David Patten, CB Carlos Rogers Head coach Joe Gibbs has handed over the offense to QB Patrick Ramsey, who will be placed in more shotgun formations in an attempt to utilize the speed of new WRs Moss and Patten. The quarterback has much to prove at the pro level and will be worth no more than a late-round selection. Moss and Patten are expected to start (the team should release WR Rod Gardner soon), but their lack of size is cause for concern on a team with no true possession receiver. Player ranks Player 1. Clinton Portis 2. Santana Moss 3. David Patten 4. Redskins DST 5. Chris Cooley TE Chris Cooley, who scored six touchdowns in his rookie season, could become a nice outlet for Ramsey and is a viable sleeper candidate. The offense will revolve around RB Clinton Portis, who has added 20 pounds of muscle to his chest and shoulders to better endure the countless hits he will take. The team has made adjustments on offense designed to enhance his strengths that include wider formations to allow him wider lanes and more room to run, so Portis should remain a prominent option in drafts. The Redskins DST should remain a solid choice in most leagues, though the potential loss of Rogers to an injured ankle is an issue. The return of LB LaVar Arrington, who missed much of last season due to an injured knee, is a positive for the unit's value. The status of FS Sean Taylor, who has off-the-field issues, will also either increase or decrease the unit's overall value in drafts. 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