Fantasy Football: The AFC East

Fantasy football is played by many, but few want to take the time necessary to dominate. Get an early look at the breakout players and where everybody has landed now that the smoke has cleared from the offseason.

Buffalo: The Bills shocked a lot of people around the league by bringing veteran Peerless Price back to replace Eric Moulds. Price never lived up to his billing as a No. 1 receiver, flopping in Atlanta and then Dallas. But Buffalo plans to line him up opposite Lee Evans to form a speedy starting duo. Andre Davis was also brought in from New England. Right now, however, Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish remain in a tight battle for the No. 3 spot.

The question will be: Which quarterback will be throwing them the ball under new head coach Dick Jauron -- Kelly Holcomb or J.P. Losman?

Holcomb is No. 1 for now. The team also signed veteran running back Anthony Thomas, a former 1,000-yard rusher under Jauron in Chicago, to back up Willis McGahee, who's slimmed down after playing at 240 pounds last season.

Miami: The Dolphins claimed one of the biggest prizes of the offseason by landing quarterback Daunte Culpepper from Minnesota. Culpepper is coming off a major knee injury, but former Buffalo head coach Mike Mularkey is a capable coordinator, so Culpepper should be valuable this season. In fact, with better offensive weapons around him, Culpepper should rebound in 2006 from what was a forgettable 2005 campaign.

Miami did lose Ricky Williams to yet another drug suspension, so Ronnie Brown will get all the carries this season, bumping his value up considerably.

Culpepper has always been fond of throwing to the tight end, so Randy McMichael could thrive this season. The team selected wide receiver Derek Hagan in the second round of the draft, but he'll likely open the season as number three or four on the depth chart.

New England: The Patriots lost wideout David Givens to Tennessee and placekicker Adam Vinatieri to rival Indianapolis. They replaced Vinatieri with Martin Gramatica, a solid kicker but not anywhere near Vinatieri's class. Reche Caldwell was added to help ease the loss of Givens, as was second-round draft pick Chad Jackson.

Caldwell will likely begin the season as a starter, so keep him in mind on draft day. Ageless Troy Brown may also have some value at WR, where the team felt secure enough to trade Bethel Johnson.

Speedy running back Laurence Maroney was the team's first-round draft pick and will back up Corey Dillon, who will turn 32 in October. He battled injuries in 2005.

New York Jets: With Chad Pennington's health still a question mark, look for Patrick Ramsey under center for the Jets this season after coming over from Washington where he was no longer in the plans. The Jets figure to be awful again in 2006, so Ramsey could have decent fantasy value so long as he can remain upright. The team addressed that situation in the draft by grabbing tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and center Nick Mangold with its first two picks.

The draft also brought quarterback Kellen Clemens of Oregon, who won't be expected to play early; running back Leon Washington, who could be the backup to Curtis Martin; and converted quarterback-now-wide receiver Brad Smith. Smith could be a utility-type player, seeing time as a wideout, running back and sometimes quarterback.

Courtesy of the Observer-Reporter


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