I've been drafting almost non-stop since magazine season started in the spring. Let's look at the names I keep picking and the guys I keep skipping over.
Players I've been drafting regularly, for whatever reason (in no particular rank order, but starting at quarterback):
• Tony Romo(notes) – Losing Terrell Owens(notes) isn't as bad as you think; Owens was an ordinary player last year. There's still plenty of toys in the chest.
• Matt Hasselbeck(notes) – Everything that could go wrong last year ultimately did. Hasselbeck's smarts haven't left, and Seattle's got deep receivers if they can keep people on the field.
• Matt Leinart(notes) – The light bulb finally is going on. He's not going to beat out Kurt Warner(notes) of course, but Warner's 38 and there's an extensive injury history. I'm not a big handcuff proponent but I think Warner owners need to insure themselves with Leinart, and I like Leinart as a high-upside spec play in deeper groups.
• Marion Barber(notes) – Yeah, Felix Jones(notes) is going to take some of the work, but he's not built to absolutely take over. Barber can finish a game, score from in close, catch the ball, what else do you want?
• Kevin Smith(notes) – Not fantastic in any one area but he's good at a lot of things. A 5-6 game improvement from Detroit wouldn't surprise me, and even when the Lions are behind, they'll throw it to Smith. He's priced for profit in most leagues.
• Joseph Addai(notes) – I'm in just because everyone else is out. If Addai can keep 55-60 percent of the backfield touches, you'll get your money's worth.
• Ray Rice(notes) – Funston loves him, Behrens loves him, and I guess I've come on board too. But how much touchdown upside applies here?
• Cedric Benson(notes) – Three yards and a cloud of dust, I get it. But if you give him the ball a zillion times … that's a pretty big cloud.
• Randy Moss(notes) – Didn't quit on the 2008 season but Cassel never clicked on the intermediate and deeper throws.
• Greg Jennings(notes) – Came up as a deep guy, but he's more technically sound than people realize. And with Aaron Rodgers(notes) looking like a star as well, how can you go wrong?
• Eddie Royal(notes) – Such an easy setup here, he's the Wes Welker(notes) guy in Josh McDaniels's scheme and the only player to screen him (Brandon Marshall(notes)) is bitching his way
• Anthony Gonzalez(notes) – Pedigree, Peyton Manning(notes), finally starting, looks too easy. Hopefully Peter King's panic over one dropped pass has lessened the Gonzalez price.
• Donnie Avery(notes) – Talent plus massive opportunity (nothing else here), how can he miss? Okay, the line needs to block, Bulger needs to stay upright.
• Ted Ginn Jr.(notes) – Eventually some of those longer passes will turn into TDs; not that he's going to score 10-12 times, but why not 5-7 spikes?
• Chris Cooley(notes) – If loving Cools is wrong, I don't want to be right. And he insists he'll be more used in the red zone this year.
• Zach Miller – The one Raider you can feel good about. Don't fear the low TD count, eventually he'll score a few times, even by accident.
• Minnesota Defense – Playmakers on all three levels, cake schedule to start year, let's start fast and worry about October later.
• Dallas Defense – When in doubt, follow the sacks (59 last year). And here's another club with a friendly slate.
Players I really want but I haven't been able to draft
• Aaron Rodgers – Geesh, did the ball even hit the ground once in August?
• Jay Cutler(notes) – Don't worry about his supporting cast; a star QB makes his receivers in most cases, not the other way around.
• DeAngelo Williams(notes) – Hits a lot of homers but has skill set to get the short scores, too.
• Devin Hester(notes) – A lot of technical improvement last year that didn't show up in the numbers; this year it will.
• Chris Henry – A matchup nightmare for nickel backs; has a shot at 8-10 TDs.
• Greg Olsen(notes) – I want a piece of this Chicago passing game, honest, and I keep getting sniped.
Notable players I've avoided for whatever reason
• Drew Brees(notes). Tom Brady(notes), Peyton Manning – There's too much depth in the league at QB for me to spend that much on a designer starter.
• Donovan McNabb(notes) – I've never really trusted his accuracy or consistency, and eventually he'll have to deal with the Michael Vick(notes) circus.
• Darren McFadden(notes) – Has a potential future as a satellite player, but he's a straight-line runner who goes down too often on first contact. Show me you can make it happen between the tackles.
• Donald Brown(notes) – Will he eventually take over for Joseph Addai? Of course. But I'm not betting on it happening right away.
• Dwayne Bowe(notes)– He's been in the doghouse most of the summer, Matt Cassel(notes) has his nicks, the Todd Haley regime could take a while to get off the ground.
• DeSean Jackson(notes) – Super talent who can score from all over the field, but will he command the rock in the red zone? And is this an offense that will go out of its way to feed one player? I don't see it.
• Brandon Marshall – You can probably figure this one out.
• Stephen Gostkowski(notes) – Don't like the cold-weather investment, and I generally don't pay for a name kicker anyway.
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