Positive news on Harrison

One of the biggest question marks of the 2008 fantasy football season surrounds the status of Marvin Harrison. The veteran wideout missed most of last season due to knee problems, and an off-the-field incident during the offseason seemed to make him an even greater risk.

But a recent ESPN interview with head coach Tony Dungy shed some positive light on what has been a clouded situation.

Marvin Harrison, WR,
Indianapolis Colts

2007 statistics
Rec: 20
Yards: 247
TDs: 1

During the interview, Dungy suggests that Harrison will be ready to go when the Indianapolis Colts open their regular-season schedule against the Chicago Bears in a rematch of Super Bowl XLI. He also didn’t feel that Harrison was a suspect in an April 29 shooting in Philadelphia, so it shouldn’t factor into his status or draft value.

What does factor into Harrison’s value, though, is a combination of age, questions about his durability, and the emergence of Anthony Gonzalez and Dallas Clark.

Harrison, who turns 36 this summer, might miss the start of training camp as a precaution. There’s also a chance his time in preseason game action could be limited. That would make it hard to gauge how much his knees have altered his speed, cutting skills and overall effectiveness.

When Harrison does return, owners still have to wonder if his extended age will hurt his chances to come back at the same level he played at for much of his career. The Colts will also continue to lean on Gonzalez and Clark, both of whom saw a greater role in the offense last season while Harrison was out.

And of course, Reggie Wayne will see more than his share of opportunities and has now passed Harrison as the best fantasy wideout on the team.

Whatever the scenario, fantasy footballers can no longer consider Harrison an elite fantasy wideout. He’s definitely a player to avoid in a prominent role, although he’s worth the risk if he falls past the middle rounds. Overall, Harrison should now be seen as more of a No. 3 receiver in most formats.

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