"Who are the top players on your roster whose production might
suddenly drop this year?"
That's the question we posed to our Scout
NFL team experts. Find out what they had to say about it in this exclusive
Todd Korth, PackerReport.com
Green Bay Packers
Donald Driver is a Pro Bowl receiver who is coming off a career season with
92 catches for 1,295 yards and eight touchdowns. He's had three straight
1,200-plus yards receiving campaigns, but he is entering his ninth NFL season. Though he
keeps himself in excellent shape, he will be double- and triple-covered
constantly, in 2007, which will affect his numbers -- especially if younger receivers
like Greg Jennings, Ruvell Martin and James Jones get open because of the focus
Jon Scott, PatriotsInsider.com
New England Patriots
Reche Caldwell is the top candidate who will see his production level drop in
The free agent acquisition from 2006 became Tom Brady's No. 1 receiver by
default after the team failed to re-sign Deion Branch.
Caldwell managed a career-best 61 receptions for 760 yards to lead all Patriots' receivers.
But the addition
of Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth, Wes Welker and Kelly Washington will put the
heat on Caldwell just to make the final roster, let alone match his 2006 season.
Asante Samuel, who turned in a career-best 10 interceptions last year, should see a
decline in production. If Samuel holds out, he'll suffer because he won't be
ready for the season, or may even miss some games. If he reports in time for the
season, teams will likely go after whomever is across from him. Either way it
will be hard for Samuel to repeat his 2006 success.
Brad Keller, CardinalInsider.com
The two players on the Cardinals most likely to see a decline in production
are Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. New head coach Ken Whisenhunt has
never had two receivers go over 1,000 yards in the same season in his system,
something that Boldin and Fitzgerald did in 2005 and would have easily
duplicated in 2006 had Fitzgerald not missed three games.
There will be a
new emphasis on the running game under Whisenhunt and, hopefully, Arizona will
not be playing from behind as much this season, which would limit both
receivers' numbers in garbage time.
Barry McBride, TheOBR.com
The first area concern is the team's defensive line. Ancient warrior
Ted Washington (39) is edging closer to the end of his career and defensive
stalwart Orpheus Roye (33) is coming from off a poor season due to injury. As with many players his age,
there are questions about whether Roye's lower production is
a one-year blip due to injury or simply a sign of decline. The Browns hope that
the answer is the former, because the they have few options behind Roye at right
|Browns DT Ted Washington|
Another position the long-suffering team's fans and fantasy players need to
watch is running back. While Jamal Lewis has looked great in workouts so far,
displaying tremendous quickness and no hesitation getting to the hole, his yards
per carry have decayed steadily over the past three years. This is generally one
of the early signs of a player reaching the end of his career.
Did the Browns
sign Lewis in time for a revival of his career or simply get a washed-up back
who will do less at running back than Reuben Droughns? Stay tuned.
John Crist, BearReport.com
Tight end Desmond Clark enjoyed a career year in 2006, catching 45 passes for
626 yards and 6 touchdowns. Quarterback Rex Grossman was at his best when Clark
was heavily involved in the offensive attack, but with the addition of
first-rounder Greg Olsen from Miami, Clark's numbers will most likely take a dip
this season. Although nobody can deny the fact that Clark is a good player,
Olsen is simply a better athlete and offers more big-play ability.
Clark will continue to be the starter in Chicago, but offensive coordinator
Ron Turner has already created a package for Olsen and lined him up everywhere
from tight end to H-back to fullback during mini camp and OTAs. The Bears will
most likely feature a generous amount of two-tight sets, as well. Olsen could be
the next in a long line of great Hurricane tight ends, so look for him to eat
into Clark's productivity to some degree.
Michael Lombardo, SDBoltReport.com
San Diego Chargers
LaDainian Tomlinson’s numbers are almost certain to drop, as there is
nowhere to go but down from the 31 touchdowns and 2,323 yards from scrimmage he
posted a season ago. Michael Turner should see some more touches as the
Chargers attempt to justify his $2.4 million price tag.
Also, no one should count on Nate Kaeding making a return trip to the Pro
Bowl. His 2006 numbers were inflated by kicking for the league’s highest
scoring team, but his confidence appears to be at an all-time low. He missed
field goals in both of the Chargers’ regular-season defeats and -- for the
second time in three years – he missed a clutch kick in the postseason that
would have extended San Diego’s season.
Doug Farrar, Seahawks.net
After a 2006 season in which the starting quarterback, running back and top
receiver from the year before all saw their output plummet due to injuries and
other concerns, it’s difficult to point out another marquee Seahawks player
whose totals could be headed downward in 2007. If Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun
Alexander and Bobby Engram return to reasonable facsimiles of their 2005 totals,
the team will be in good shape.
On defense, end Bryce Fisher might see fewer
reps as youngsters Darryl Tapp and Baraka Atkins get time on the field. Other
than that, I think the Seahawks saw such a downturn in production in so many
areas last year, you’d almost have to point to a set of completely
unpredictable injuries as a reason for further decline.
Matthew Postins, BucsBlitz.com
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The one player who could suffer a big hit in terms of production in 2007 is
wide receiver Joey Galloway. His production the past two seasons -- 145
receptions, 2,344 yards and 17 touchdowns -- rivals his production during his
four seasons in Seattle. He's never had a better two-year stretch in terms of
receptions of 20 yards or more (36) and first downs (101).
But Galloway is 35
and he must be handled with care due to his hamstrings. He regularly practices
just once a day during training camp. Plus, he'll be catching passes from
37-year old Jeff Garcia. If Garcia gets hurt, then it's likely second-year man
Bruce Gradkowski, who struggled to get the ball to Galloway last year will step
breakdowns by either Garcia or Galloway could spell a downturn in Galloway's
Michael John Schon, BroncosUpdate.com
A huge question mark for the Denver Broncos heading into 2007 is at the wide
receiver position, with thirty-seven year old Rod Smith coming off the worst
season of his career, due in part to a severe hip injury. Although the hip was
surgically repaired in February, the question remains whether or not the
fourteen-year veteran has enough left in the tank to fend off second-year
standout Brandon Marshall, who many consider to be the leading candidate to take
over the starting role.
|Broncos WR Rod Smith|
While not as predominate as Smith, another Bronco finding himself in an
uphill battle is former University of Arizona running back Mike Bell, who broke
out a very respectable 677-yards on 157 carries, playing alongside starter Tatum
Bell. With Bell packaged in the Dre Bly trade with Detroit during the offseason,
the Broncos look to have a shift in philosophy, moving newly acquired Travis
Henry into the featured back position and limiting Bell’s carries to short
yardage situations. While he may prove effective over the long haul, Bell’s
value on the fantasy market will undoubtedly drop severely.
Denis Savage, SilverandBlack.com
The Raiders offense was so anemic last year that it would be improbable
to see any production drop. As the only team in the league not to
surpass 210 points offensively (168), the only way to go is up in all
We turn to the defense where Warren Sapp had a renaissance of sorts, tracking
and wrapping the quarterback up 10 times last year, his highest total since
the 2000 campaign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Expecting that kind
of production from the 34-year-old veteran may be a bit much to ask.
Also, Nnamdi Asomugha came into his fourth season without an interception
to his credit and picked off eight in 2006. If the Oakland offense
can control the ball more, the odds of Asomugha coming close to equaling his impressive feat last year will be slim.
Charlie Bernstein, JagNation.com
The top player on the Jaguars whose production may take a hit in 2007 could
be Maurice Jones-Drew. Jones-Drew surprised many in the league last season
when the second-round pick ran over and around defenses en route to 2,250 total
yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns. Since Jacksonville played without
their starting quarterback for most of 2006, they instantly became a run-first
team, and Jones-Drew flourished with all the extra touches. The
second-year player will not only have to share the backfield with a healthy Fred Taylor in 2007,
but also with Greg Jones as well.
In 2007, teams will be keying on stopping the Jaguars' third-ranked rushing
attack, and Maurice Jones-Drew is likely to garner attention every time he steps
on the field. With quarterback Byron Leftwich returning from injury, and
an infusion of talent at the wide receiver positions, the Jaguars will likely
throw the football considerably more and that should take away some
opportunities for Jones-Drew to carry the ball, and subsequently score
Alain Poupart, DolphinDigest.com
This actually is a very difficult question to answer for the Dolphins,
particularly from a fantasy football standpoint, because none of their returning
offensive players really had great numbers in 2006. That would include wide
receivers Chris Chambers and Marty Booker, and could apply as well to running
back Ronnie Brown. Brown did reach 1,000 yards rushing in his second season, but
he missed some time because of injuries and he's likely to be able to duplicate
-- and probably surpass -- his 2006 stats.
If we take it outside the realm of fantasy football, the logical answer to
this question would have to be Jason Taylor, if only because he had such a
monstrous 2006 season. Taylor is too good not to put up numbers again in 2007,
but he'll be hard-pressed to match his two interception returns for touchdowns
as well as his 10 forced fumbles and 11 passes defensed.