Here’s our fantasy takes on the NFL news of the day …
Shonn Greene to be bell cow: Apparently, fantasy owners aren’t the only ones who think Greene is on the verge of a breakout season. Jets OC Brian Schottenheimer recently echoed those sentiments, telling the New York Daily News that Greene is “ready to take that next step” and will “without a doubt” be the team’s primary ball carrier in 2011. The Iowa product failed to meet expectations last season, as LaDainian Tomlinson started the majority of the games and led the team in carries and running-back fantasy points. But with L.T. now slated for more of a third-down, complementary role, Greene could end up seeing 300-plus carries this season. Currently rated No. 20 among running backs on NFL.com, the third-year veteran could turn into a tremendous draft value.
Big Ben a big fantasy bargain: On Sunday, our panel of NFL.com experts discussed which quarterback was the best drafted in 2004 — Eli Manning, Philip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger. Based on his resume, Big Ben was the winner. Of course, there’s no argument who the best quarterback is from a fantasy perspective — Rivers clearly has the most value — but Roethlisberger’s stock can’t be underestimated. In fact, he’s the perfect middle-round target for owners who want to focus on running backs and wide receivers in the earlier rounds. Here’s a quick little factoid to wrap your fantasy brain around: In 12 starts last season, Roethlisberger scored 209.60 fantasy points. If we project those over a full season, he would have outscored Drew Brees and posted just 2.14 fewer points than Rivers. Not bad for someone who isn’t considered an “elite” option in fantasy land.
Plaxico Burress could have value: If you’ve been playing fantasy football for several years, you remember Burress from his time with the Steelers and Giants. While he was never considered an elite wideout, Burress was a legitimate starter in most leagues before his incarceration. Now a free man after being released from prison on Monday, the Michigan State product will be looking for work in the National Football League once again. The current lockout could help Burress, giving him plenty of time to get back into playing shape and sign with a team. Burress, who turns 34 in August, isn’t guaranteed to have the same sort of success as Michael Vick coming out of prison, however. In fact, chances are he’ll struggle to start his second NFL tenure. But if he lands with a team that allows him a chance to start — the Rams would be a prime example — Burress will have draft value.