http://www.nfl.com/fantasy/story/9908343

One man's mock draft for 2007


By Michael Fabiano
NFL.com Fantasy Expert




(Jan. 4, 2007) -- The fantasy football season might last only a few short months, but there is no true offseason for those enthusiastic owners who live, eat and breathe the National Football League. In fact, some have already started to research and examine how drafts could look in 2007 (training camps are just six months away!)

In an effort to feed that fantasy football fix all year round, we here at NFL.com will run an updated three-round mock draft once a month throughout the offseason. Each numbered position represents an individual team, so no one team will select more than one quarterback, two running backs or two wide receivers.

The draft is based on a standard scoring system that rewards one point for each 25 passing yards, 10 rushing and receiving yards and six points for all touchdowns. There are no points awarded for receptions.

ROUND ONE
1. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego: Tomlinson was without question the MVP of fantasy football this season and will be the first overall selection in almost all 2007 drafts. He led the entire league with 1,815 rushing yards and scored an NFL record 31 touchdowns (33 total with his two touchdown passes included), and he will continue to be the centerpiece of the Chargers offense for head coach Marty Schottenheimer.

2. Larry Johnson, RB, Kansas City: Johnson, who was the consensus No. 1 overall selection in this season's drafts, didn't disappoint with 2,199 all-purpose yards and 19 total touchdowns. The fact that he recorded an NFL single-season record 416 carries and should see at least 20-30 additional looks in the postseason is a bit of a concern, but it will still be hard for most owners to pass on this ultra-talented and versatile back.

3. Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis: Jackson broke out in his first season under head coach Scott Linehan with an impressive 2,334 all-purpose yards and 16 total touchdowns, so look for him to replace Shaun Alexander on the list of elite backs. The former Oregon State standout also recorded 90 receptions -- that's the most in the league for backs -- so he could be a better choice than Johnson in leagues that reward owners for catches.

4. Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco: Gore, who was the top preseason sleeper on NFL.com, broke out under the guidance of offensive coordinator Norv Turner with an NFC-high 1,695 rushing yards and nine total touchdowns. He also posted an additional 485 yards as a receiver out of the backfield in what became an improved Niners offense. Gore should continue to thrive under Turner -- his goal for 2007 is 2,200 yards.

5. Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis: There will be at most three elite quarterbacks next season -- Manning, Drew Brees and Donovan McNabb -- so look for some owners to pass on a back and take one of these studs. Manning, who threw for 4,397 yards and recorded 35 total touchdowns, will no doubt be the first field general taken and is almost a lock for another season with 4,000-plus yards and 30 touchdowns.

6. Willie Parker, RB, Pittsburgh: Parker was inconsistent at times this season, but it's still hard to overlook his 1,494 rushing yards and 16 total touchdowns. The undrafted back out of North Carolina is productive and explosive -- he rushed for 200-plus yards on two different occasions for head coach Bill Cowher -- and the fact that he started all 16 games proves he can handle the punishment a featured back can endure.

7. Shaun Alexander, RB, Seattle: The Madden cover curse struck Alexander and fantasy footballers hard as he missed six contests due to an injured foot and failed to rush for 1,000-plus yards for the first time since 2000. The experienced veteran will turn 30 before the start of the regular season -- that makes him somewhat less attractive -- but he still has the skills and abilities to rush for 1,200-plus yards and double-digit scores.

8. Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia: Westbrook is the most underrated back in all of fantasy football. The versatile veteran had career-highs in carries (240), rushing yards (1,217) and tied his previous best in total touchdowns (11) in what amounts to less than 15 contests. Westbrook proved he can be a featured back for an entire season, and he will be a better choice than Parker or Alexander in leagues that reward for catches.

9. Rudi Johnson, RB, Cincinnati: Johnson failed to rush for 1,400-plus yards for the first time since 2003, but his 1,308 yards on the ground is impressive nonetheless. He also scored 12 rushing touchdowns for the third consecutive season, so he's proven to be consistent overall. Johnson will continue to be prominent in what will remain a solid offensive attack, so look for him to produce another 1,200-1,400 yards and 10-12 scores.

10. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans: Brees experienced an unbelievable increase in value this season. He was a middle-round choice at best in most 2006 drafts, but he now warrants first-round consideration. Brees threw for an NFL-best 4,424 yards with 26 touchdowns in his first season with the Saints, and there's little doubt his success will continue in an offense that fields such studs as Reggie Bush and Marques Colston.

11. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville: Jones-Drew came out of nowhere to produce an incredible 1,377 all-purpose yards and 15 total touchdowns even though he started just one game as a rookie. Much of his future value will depend on whether or not he can pass veteran starter Fred Taylor on the team's depth chart, but it's difficult to ignore his first-season numbers and long-term potential as an elite featured back.

12. Steve Smith, WR, Carolina: Smith missed two contests due to injuries and saw a decrease in his level of consistent statistical success when Jake Delhomme was out of action, but he still finished the season with 1,166 yards and eight touchdowns. The talented wide receiver should bounce back and record much improved numbers next season, so look for him to be selected in the late first round in countless drafts.

ROUND TWO

13. Clinton Portis, RB, Washington: Portis is expected to be fine for the start of next season after hand and shoulder ailments limited him to eight contests in 2006. The one issue with the veteran back is the potential for a committee situation with Ladell Betts, which would no doubt hurt his overall value across the board.

14. Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia: Much depends on the time it takes him to rehabilitate his injured knee, but owners shouldn't forget that it was McNabb, not Tomlinson, who was the fantasy football MVP in the first half of the season. McNabb could move into the first round if he is expected to return for Week 1.

15. Kevin Jones, RB, Detroit: Jones is now on track to return in time for the start of the regular season after a successful surgical procedure to repair his injured foot. He was on pace to finish with better than 1,600 all-purpose yards and double-digit touchdowns, and Jones will be more attractive if receptions are rewarded.

16. Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis: Addai finished with an impressive 1,406 all-purpose yards and eight total touchdowns as a rookie and in a committee situation with Dominic Rhodes, so his potential as a breakout candidate is evident. Look for Addai to be closer to a featured back in his second pro season.

17. Reggie Bush, RB, New Orleans: Bush had a solid 1,306 all-purpose yards and eight total touchdowns as a rookie, but he scored four times in one game and wasn't consistent for most of the season. His numbers will no doubt improve in his second pro season, but he won't be featured with Deuce McAllister in the mix.

18. Chester Taylor, RB, Minnesota: Taylor posted an impressive 1,216 rushing yards and six touchdowns in his first season as a featured back, but he broke down late and was a bit of a disappointment in the fantasy football postseason. Still, Taylor remains a borderline first or second back in most cases and should improve.

19. Deuce McAllister, RB, New Orleans: McAllister was a pleasant surprise for owners, as he rushed for 1,057 yards and 11 touchdowns one season removed from an ACL ailment. He will continue to share time with Bush, which limits his value a bit, but his stock could rise if he were to be traded in the offseason.

20. Ronnie Brown, RB, Miami: Brown missed three contests due to a broken hand but still rushed for a respectable 1,008 yards and five touchdowns. Those numbers should increase next season unless the Dolphins decide to bring back Ricky Williams, in which case Brown's stock will fall across the board.

21. Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati: While he was inconsistent at times, Palmer was still able to throw for 4,036 yards and 28 touchdowns. He will enter next season at 100 percent health and has an unreal arsenal of offensive weapons, so look for the talented quarterback to at least duplicate his solid 2006 numbers.

22. Edgerrin James, RB, Arizona: James was a serious disappointment for much of his first season with the Cardinals, but he did finish on a high note and would see an increase in value if the team makes moves to improve its offensive line. Edge should be a nice second back for owners next season, but he's not a No. 1.

23. Chad Johnson, WR, Cincinnati: Johnson had the word bust written all over him in the first half of the season, but he went on a statistical tear and finished with a league-high 1,369 receiving yards. The excitable wideout should continue to produce as the top option for Palmer in what remains a prolific offensive attack.

24. Laurence Maroney, RB, New England: Maroney would be a lock first-round selection if Corey Dillon weren't in the mix, but for now we'll consider him a high-end sleeper candidate. Head coach Bill Belichick can't ignore Maroney's skills and abilities, so don't be shocked if he passes Dillon on the depth chart soon.

ROUND THREE
25. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona: Injuries limited Fitzgerald's numbers, but he is still in line to be a top-five wide receiver. He could even move ahead of Chad Johnson and be selected in the second round.

26. Willis McGahee, RB, Buffalo: McGahee has been inconsistent over the past two seasons, but the Bills offense should be much improved in 2007. Too bad McGahee couldn't face the New York Jets each week.

27. Torry Holt, WR, St. Louis: Holt will have a surgical procedure on his knee in the offseason, but the veteran should be fine for the start of next season. He is a durable, reliable and consistent choice overall.

28. Marvin Harrison, WR, Indianapolis: Harrison improves with age like a fine wine -- he led all wide receivers in fantasy points in standard formats at 34 and will remain a solid choice for all owners.

29. Travis Henry, RB, Tennessee: Henry came back from the fantasy football dead to record 1,211 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games. However, his value could fall if he shares carries with LenDale White.

30. Terrell Owens, WR, Dallas: Owens might not be back with the Cowboys in 2007, but he'll be a productive option wherever he lands. He led all wideouts with 13 touchdowns in his first season in Dallas.

31. Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis: Wayne had some inconsistent weeks, but his 1,310 yards and nine touchdowns were terrific nonetheless. He remains a solid No. 1 wideout with Peyton Manning at the helm.

32. Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans: Colston posted 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie in what amounts to less than 14 games, so don't be shocked if those numbers improve in his second season.

33. Anquan Boldin, WR, Arizona: Boldin should double the four touchdowns he scored this season and will no doubt be a prominent option for Matt Leinart in what will be a Cardinals offense loaded with potential.

34. Jamal Lewis, RB, Baltimore: Lewis saw an increase in production once head coach Brian Billick took over the offense, but there's a chance the veteran back will not return to the Ravens next season.

35. Cedric Benson, RB, Chicago: Benson has definite sleeper potential, but he needs to pass Thomas Jones on the depth chart to be worth a third-round selection. Owners should watch him in the postseason.

36. Carnell Williams, RB, Tampa Bay: Williams was a serious disappointment, but he still has a boatload of potential. He will be close in value to Brandon Jacobs, LaMont Jordan, and DeAngelo Williams in drafts.