St. Louis: The biggest losses of the offseason in terms of fantasy football were head coach Mike Martz and his wide-open offense, and the news that running back Marshall Faulk will miss the season because of a knee injury. Martz's pass-happy offense thrilled owners of the team's quarterbacks and wide receivers in years past, but the new regime should feature running back Steven Jackson, especially with Faulk sidelined. The Rams traded tight end Brandon Manumaleuna to the Chargers, opening the door for second-round draft pick Joe Klopfenstein to start right away. Klopfenstein is an excellent receiver, so he's a nice sleeper pick at tight end given the offensive talent around him. The draft also brought former Virginia quarterback Marques Hagans, who'll be converted into a wide receiver/return man. The Rams signed Gus Frerotte to back up injury-prone quarterback Marc Bulger. If you draft Bulger, you'd better take Frerotte as well.
San Francisco: Unhappy with their production at wide receiver last season, the 49ers traded Brandon Lloyd to Washington and signed Antonio Bryant, late of Cleveland. He'll start and could end up being second-year quarterback Alex Smith's security blanket if he can keep his head on straight. Arnaz Battle takes over the other spot, though veteran Johnnie Morton and third-round draft pick Brandon Williams also figure into the mix. The draft yielded speedy tight end Vernon Davis, who at 6-3, 256 pounds with 4.4-second speed will be expected to cause mismatch problems all over the field. Davis will be a solid tight end pick this year. The 49ers also selected quarterback Michael Robinson of Penn State and will convert him to running back, causing further matchup problems if he can win a job as a third-down back.
Seattle: The Seahawks signed restricted free agent Nate Burleson away from Minnesota as revenge for the Vikings signing guard Steve Hutchinson. Burleson will try to shake off an injury-plagued 2005 season and could thrive in the northwest opposite Darrell Jackson. Some owners may still be down on him after expecting a breakout season in 2005. Don't be one of them as Burleson should thrive in this offense.
(Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter)