Yesterday I broke down the most valuable players on each AFC West team based upon their average draft position. It was brought to my attention that I did not list the players' positions, so I went ahead and edited yesterday's post to include that information. I appreciate the feedback. Please keep it coming. With that said, let's get to today's divisional breakdown. Here are my value picks out of the NFC East.
Marion Barber, RB, Dallas Cowboys:
It must be the threat of Felix Jones and Tashard Choice that's causing Marion Barber to slip late into the late 2nd round/early 3rd round territory. While it's becoming a grim reality that running back committees have decreased the value of many running backs, I feel that Barber is a guy that can flourish in such a system. A smash mouth runner that punishes opposing defenders, Barber needs a backup that can spell him throughout games, keeping him fresh so that he can continue to hand out blows well into the fourth quarter. Sure, this means he's a stretch to rush for over 1,000 yards, but he's never done that. Owners take Barber for his ferocity in goaline situations and his pass catching ability. With Terrell Owens now in Buffalo, expect for Barber and Jason Witten to control the Cowboys' goaline package, with Barber getting at least one shot on first down before offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, calls in a play-action pass or fade route to the corner of the endzone. In points-per-reception leagues, Barber is a fantastic bargain as a late 2nd/early 3rd round pick. Look for double digit touchdowns and 50+ receptions from the Barbarian in 2009.
Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia Eagles:
There is just no way that McNabb should be slipping into the 6th round of drafts this year. Some make the argument that he's an injury risk, but the guy stayed healthy last season and posted a career high in yards with a rookie (DeSean Jackson) as his leading receiver. The Eagles brought in offensive linemen Jason Peters (from Buffalo) and Stacy Andrews (from Cincinatti) to replace the aging Tra Thomas and John Runyan, and while the entire offensive line has yet to play together thus far in preseason, one can't help but think that, once healthy, they'll be one of the best units in the league. Given the proper protection, McNabb will undoubtedly utilize the speed of wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin in the vertical passing game. Further, a healthy Kevin Curtis (WR), emerging tight end, Brett Celek, and the versatile Brian Westbrook (RB) will all serve as productive weapons for McNabb and the Eagles' offense. I fully expect McNabb (6th in my QB rankings) to surpass 4,000 yards in the air and 25 touchdowns this season. I'd take McNabb in the late 4th/early 5th round, but if you can snatch him up in the late 5th/early 6th like many have been able to do, you're getting yourself a great value pick at the quarterback position.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants:
For the most part, preseason stats are poor indicators of how a player will fare over the course of the 16-game regular season, but Bradshaw's production in the Giants' first two exhibition games is an exception. This guy is shredding first and second team defenses with his impressive combination of explosiveness and power, and he's doing it in, both, the run game and the passing game. Last season the Giants showcased their "Earth, Wind, and Fire" backfield, utilizing starter Brandon Jacobs, second-stringer, Derrick Ward, and arguably the best third-string back in the league, Ahmad Bradshaw, to wear down opposing defenses. Jacobs scored the bulk of the touchdowns, but Ward finished the season with 182 carries for 1025 yards and 41 receptions for 384 yards. Now that Ward is in Tampa Bay, the backup gig is all Bradshaw's and he is poised for a breakout campaign. With Jacobs' durability an issue (he hasn't completed a full season as a starter), it's very possible Bradshaw could see 3-4 starts this year. Also working in Bradshaw's favor is the fact that the Giants lack an attractive third-string running back to steal carries from him. With that in mind, I expect Bradshaw to receive 200+ carries this year, and if you've watched him at all this season or last you'll know that he's capable of doing some serious damage with that type of workload. His ability to catch the football out of the backfield is a huge bonus as he should post receiving numbers similar to Ward's in 2008. Here comes the shocking part. Wait for it. Wait for it.......Bradshaw is being taken in the middle of the 8th round behind guys like Jamal Lewis (CLE), Cedric Benson (CIN), Felix Jones (DAL) and rookies LeSean McCoy (PHI), Chris Wells (ARI), and Donald Brown (IND). That is just ridiculous! Bradshaw should be taken well ahead of all those guys, somewhere in the late 5th/early 6th round area. The way I see it, taking Bradshaw anywhere in the 8th round is one of the biggest bargains you'll find this season, but don't pass him up in the 7th round if you want him because his stellar preseason is not going unnoticed.
Chris Cooley, TE, Washington Redskins:
The way things currently stand, I don't see much value in the Redskins' offense. I'll let other owners draft QB Jason Campbell (flashed promise early last season before falling off), RB Clinton Portis (wearing down...probably going to get banged up), and WR Santana Moss (too inconsistent to be trusted week-in, week-out) in my leagues, but the guy I'll keep my eye on is TE Chris Cooley. From 2004 to 2007, Cooley averaged almost 7 touchdowns a season, but scored only 1 in 2008. He did, however, set career highs in receptions and yards. If he can add to last year's reception and yardage numbers with his touchdown production from previous season, we're looking at a top-5 tight end. Per rotoworld.com, head coach Jim Zorn has promised Cooley at least 6 TDs this season, so expect the Skins to look his way in redzone situations. Currently being taken in the late 7th/early 8th round, Cooley has the potential to outproduce his draft spot by as much as a full round. He's a solid TE1 option for any fantasy team, especially given his tremendous upside and late ADP.