Chicago: The Chicago Bears had everything but a quarterback last season
after yet another injury sidetracked Rex Grossman. Not wanting to go
through a similar situation again this year, the team signed former
Denver and Tampa Bay starter Brian Griese. Griese lost his job in Tampa
last year to Chris Simms after suffering a severe knee injury, but
don’t be surprised if he eventually replaces Grossman, who is shaky, at
best, as the starter.
The team added return specialist Devin Hester in the draft, making
Chicago’s oustanding defense/special teams unit even stronger. It’s now
possibly the best in terms of fantasy production.
Detroit: The Lions brought in two quarterbacks to replace soon-to-be
released Joey Harrington when only one would have done the job. Expect
Jon Kitna to win the starting job over Josh McCown, at least for now.
Kitna knows how to distribute the ball and should thrive as a solid
sleeper QB in new offensive coordinator Mike Martz’ offense. Expect
Martz to also get the most out of Detroit’s receiving corps as the
Lions offense should be more explosive in 2006. Last year was supposed
to be Kevin Jones’ coming out party. It could happen this year instead.
There was little offensive help in this draft as the Lions went after
Green Bay: Brett Favre will be back for at least one more season,
though he’s no longer a top-flight fantasy QB. The team also re-signed
running backs Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport, both of whom are coming
off of injuries. With Javon Walker now in Denver, Donald Driver is the
unquestioned No. 1 receiver, with Robert Ferguson, who is also coming
off an injury, sliding into the No. 2 spot.
Speedy Greg Jennings, one of two second-round draft picks, excels at
catching short passes and turning them into long gains. He’s a decent
late-round pick given Ferguson’s injury status and relative lack of
productivity in his career. Reliable placekicker Ryan Longwell moved on
to Minnesota. Billy Cundiff is expected to take his place.
Minnesota: The Vikings jettisoned star quarterback Daunte Culpepper,
meaning veteran Brad Johnson is now their No. 1 quarterback. Johnson
will never be a fantasy star, but is a solid No. 2 fantasy QB. Running
back Chester Taylor was signed and will battle Mewelde Moore for the
starting job. Both will likely see time, though Taylor has more fantasy
value given the team’s investment in him. Wide receiver Nate Burleson
was lost as a restricted free agent to Seattle, but the team expects
Koren Robinson and last year’s top pick Troy Williamson to pick up the
slack. Placekicker Ryan Longwell, late of Green Bay, should have good
value moving indoors after spending his career with the Packers on the
frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.
The Vikings surprised many by trading a pair of third round picks for a
second round selection used to draft Alabama State quarterback
Tarvarius Jackson. But the team feels Jackson, who has a strong arm and
good mobility, can be its quarterback of the future.
Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter