With the Pro Bowl in the rearview mirror, the 2007 NFL season is now finished and the start of what should be an interesting offseason begins.
With that in mind, it's time for us to start our monthly one-man, three-round mock draft for the 2008 fantasy football season. Each numbered position of the draft will represent an individual team and owner, so no more than one quarterback, two running backs or two wide receivers will be selected for each team's final roster.
The draft is based on NFL.com's standard scoring system that rewards one point for each 25 passing yards, 10 rushing and receiving yards and six points for all touchdowns.
1. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego: Tomlinson didn't duplicate his incredible 2006 numbers, but the best runner in fantasy football still recorded 60 catches, close to 2,000 all-purpose yards and 18 total touchdowns last season. Tomlinson, who will be 29 when the NFL kicks off its 2008 season, will remain the main centerpiece of San Diego's offense and should post solid numbers across the board. Based on his age, however, this could be the last time Tomlinson will be considered for the first overall selection.
2. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota: The MVP of this past weekend's Pro Bowl, Peterson might be the most explosive runner in the entire league. He rushed for over 1,300 yards and scored 13 total touchdowns in his rookie season, and he did it all in 14 games (nine starts). While he does lose a bit of value with veteran Chester Taylor in the mix, A.P. will remain one of the top three selections in all fantasy drafts. In fact, he will taken ahead of Tomlinson and be the No. 1 overall choice in countless drafts.
3. Tom Brady, QB, New England: Brady threw for a career-best 4,806 yards and an NFL-record 50 touchdowns in what was the greatest fantasy season of all time, but there is little to no chance he'll be able to duplicate those numbers in 2008. He still warrants consideration as the No. 1 overall selection, but the bottom line remains that featured backs are far more difficult to attain in drafts. Unless Randy Moss leaves as a free agent, Brady should record 4,000-plus passing yards and 35-40 total touchdowns next season.
4. Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia: One of the most underrated running backs in the entire NFL, Westbrook produced career bests in receptions (90), rushing (1,333) and receiving (771) yards and total touchdowns (12) last season. His immense skills as a runner and receiver out of the backfield have made him a hero in fantasy land, despite the fact that he fell down at the goal line rather than score a touchdown to ensure a win over Dallas. His knee issues could be a concern, but Westbrook is worth a top-five pick in drafts.
5. Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis: An injured groin limited Jackson to 12 starts last season, but he still rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored six touchdowns in limited work. He should thrive in the offense of new coordinator Al Saunders, who plans to use Jackson much like Priest Holmes while he was the OC in Kansas City. That sort of role should mean monster numbers from the Oregon State product, who has the tools and potential to record 50-plus receptions, 2,000 all-purpose yards and double-digit touchdowns in 2008.
6. Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis: Addai did falter a bit down the stretch last season, but he still finished with 41 receptions, 1,436 all-purpose yards and 15 total touchdowns in what was a productive Indianapolis offense. The Louisiana State product has a tremendous advantage in the presence of Peyton Manning, who forces defenses to remain honest, so his numbers should remain solid across the board. Look for Addai to be one of the first five running backs off the board in all formats, standard or otherwise.
7. Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis: The face and landscape of fantasy football has been altered after a 2007 season that saw quarterbacks thrive and running backs fall, so Manning will be a first-round selection in most drafts. The veteran produced his eighth NFL season with 4,000-plus passing yards in 2007, and he scored 34 total touchdowns. One of the greatest quarterbacks to ever grace the gridiron, Manning is durable, reliable and a virtual lock to produce monster numbers for fantasy footballers in all leagues.
8. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas: Unless Jessica Simpson decides to watch all 16 Dallas contests next season, Romo will be a surefire first-round selection. The All-Pro out of Eastern Illinois recorded career bests in passing yards (4,211), passing touchdowns (36) and total touchdowns (38), and he should continue to thrive now that offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is locked in to a long-term contract. Romo has a ton of weapons at his disposal, none more prominent than Terrell Owens and Jason Witten, so he'll find more success.
9. Larry Johnson, RB, Kansas City: Johnson was one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy football last season, as he scored a mere four touchdowns and missed eight starts with an injured foot. The future does seem much brighter for L.J., however, as he'll be back to 100 percent in plenty of time for training camp and will remain the featured back in the offense of new coordinator Chan Gailey. He should be fresh and set to rebound, so look for Johnson to eclipse the 1,200 rushing yard mark and produce like a top runner.
10. Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco: Much like Johnson, Gore endured a difficult season and was a serious detriment to the postseason aspirations of fantasy footballers. He too should bounce back, however, as Gore will remain prominent in the offense of new coordinator Mike Martz. Backs like Marshall Faulk and Kevin Jones have thrived under Martz in the past, and Gore should be no exception. As a result, look for the former Miami Hurricanes runner to see an increase in receptions, total yards and touchdown production in 2008.
11. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Buffalo: Lynch showed flashes of brilliance as a rookie, as he rushed for 1,115 yards and seven touchdowns, but an injured ankle limited him to 13 starts. He'll be a true featured back in the offensive of new coordinator Turk Schonert, who plans to utilize Lynch as an every-down runner, so the California product could be on the verge of a breakout season. In fact, Lynch could post 40-plus receptions, better than 1,500 all-purpose yards and eight to 10 total touchdowns in his second NFL season.
12. Clinton Portis, RB, Washington: There were questions about the value of Portis headed into last season, as an injured knee and the emergence of Ladell Betts in 2006 made him somewhat of a risk. Rather than lose carries to Betts, however, Portis remained the featured back in Washington and produced a career-best 47 receptions, 1,651 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns. The fact that he has 1,710 regular-season carries on him is a concern, but Portis has far too much talent to be passed on in the first round of drafts.
13. Randy Moss, WR, New England: Moss bounced back from hard times in Oakland to record 98 receptions, 1,493 yards and an NFL-record 23 touchdowns in his first season in the football heaven that is New England. He won't duplicate such immense totals in 2008, but Moss will be the top fantasy wideout in drafts as long as he remains with the Patriots.
14. Ryan Grant, RB, Green Bay: An explosive runner with the skills to make noise in the stat sheets, Grant developed into one of the best runners in fantasy football in the second half of last season. He has earned the top spot on the Green Bay depth chart and will be seen as a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy runner in almost all 2008 drafts.
15. Willis McGahee, Baltimore: McGahee experienced an increase in statistical success and fantasy value in his first season with Baltimore, as he totaled a career-best 43 receptions, 1,438 all-purpose yards and eight total touchdowns. His numbers should remain solid under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, so McGahee will be prominent in drafts.
16. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans: Brees finished last season with career bests in passing yards (4,423) and touchdown passes (28), and he did it all despite the fact that he threw for one score in his first four starts. New Orleans will continue to throw the ball a ton in 2008, so Brees should produce his third consecutive 4,000-yard season.
17. Willie Parker, RB, Pittsburgh: Parker was headed to his first rushing title before a fractured fibula ended his season in Week 16. He was an impressive asset in those leagues that were based on yardage, but his lack of touchdowns (2) was a concern. Still, Fast Willie should increase his visits to the end zone and is a solid second rounder.
18. Ronnie Brown, RB, Miami: Brown was the best running back in fantasy football before an injured knee cost him the final nine games of last season, as he was on pace for 89 receptions, 2,265 all-purpose yards and 11 total touchdowns. His knee could limit his value, but Brown will be hard for owners to pass on in the mid-second round.
19. Terrell Owens, WR, Dallas: One of the most productive wide receivers to ever put on a helmet and pads, Owens recorded 1,355 yards and 15 touchdowns in his second season in Dallas. He'll remain a prominent target of Tony Romo in Jason Garrett's offensive attack, so look for T.O. to produce immense totals for owners in the 2008 season.
20. Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati: Palmer struggled down the stretch and finished with a career-worst 20 interceptions, but he also tossed 26 touchdown passes and had a career best 4,131 yards. Unless he loses Chad Johnson to a trade, Palmer will have an ultra-impressive set of wide receivers on offense and should throw for another 4,000 yards.
21. Marion Barber, RB, Dallas: Barber, an unrestricted free agent, is expected to take over as the featured back in Dallas next season. There have been reports that the Miami Dolphins want to acquire him via trade, but that deal could be difficult to achieve. Look for MB3 to remain in Big D and rush for the first 1,000-yard season of his career.
22. Earnest Graham, RB, Tampa Bay: Graham's status could change based on the status of Cadillac Williams, who continues to recover from a serious knee ailment, but for now it's hard to pass on this touchdown machine. He was an important component in Tampa Bay's offensive success, however, so I don't see how he isn't in a prominent role in 2008.
23. Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis: With Marvin Harrison out of action much of the season due to an injured knee, Wayne recorded career bests in catches (104) and yards (1,510) last season. He might be hard pressed to duplicate those totals with Harrison back in the mix, but Wayne will remain a valuable No. 1 fantasy wide receiver regardless.
24. Jamal Lewis, RB, Cleveland: Lewis, who is one of five runners to rush for 2,000-plus yards in a season, will be 29 at the start of next season, so it wouldn't be a shock to see his numbers decrease. Still, the fact that he found statistical success last season in a productive Cleveland offense makes him worth a second-round selection.
25. Braylon Edwards, WR, Cleveland: Edwards came out of nowhere to produce 16 touchdowns last season, so he'll be a solid No. 1 fantasy wideout in all 2008 drafts.
26. Andre Johnson, WR, Houston: Johnson has incredible talent and could record 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns next season if he can avoid serious injuries.
27. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona: One of the most talented wideouts in the league, Fitzgerald should record 90-plus receptions and eight to 10 touchdowns next season.
28. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh: Roethlisberger recorded a career-best 34 total touchdowns in 2007, and his success should continue in a solid Pittsburgh offense.
29. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville: The smallish Jones-Drew didn't endure a sophomore slide and will be an attractive No. 2 fantasy runner in all 2008 drafts.
30. Brandon Jacobs, RB, N.Y. Giants: He might lose carries to Ahmad Bradshaw, but Jacobs proved to be a productive option in his first season as a starter in New York.
31. Steve Smith, WR, Carolina: It looks like Jake Delhomme will be fine for the start of next season, so look for Smith to rebound from what was a mediocre 2008.
32. Reggie Bush, RB, New Orleans: Bush was a tremendous fantasy disappointment last season, but he has far too much talent to pass on at this point of the third round.
33. Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans: Colston has proved he has the tools to be an elite wide receiver at the NFL level, so he'll be off the board no later than Round 3.
34. Chad Johnson, WR, Cincinnati: His value could fall further if he's traded, but he's still an attractive No. 1 fantasy wideout despite an inconsistent 2008 season.