Williams, Hester see changes in value for 2008

Free-agent movement has been rampant around the NFL in recent weeks, so the obvious focus of fantasy football enthusiasts has been on the players that have moved to new cities or will remain with their current teams.

However, several players that have not been involved in the free-agent madness have still seen their value altered in either a positive or negative fashion. With that in mind, we've listed 15 players that haven't changed uniforms but have still felt the impact of all the player movement.

Shaun Alexander, RB, Seattle: With Julius Jones, T.J. Duckett and Maurice Morris now on the Seattle roster, it appears Alexander will be released in June. The former NFL MVP and fantasy football superstar has seen his numbers fall across the board over the past two seasons, and it's evident that his best statistical seasons are well in the rearview mirror. Alexander should land with another team that will allow him a chance to start if and when he is released, but it's hard to see him as more than a No. 3 fantasy runner.

Marion Barber, RB, Free agent: Barber, a restricted free agent, is expected to remain with Dallas after the team placed the highest possible tender on him ($2.5 million; first- and third-round selections). With Julius Jones now in Seattle, Barber will become the team's unquestioned starter in what will remain a prolific offensive attack. The 'Boys are expected to add a change-of-pace back either via the free-agent market or in the draft, but MBII should have a ton of value headed into all 2008 fantasy football drafts.

Arnaz Battle, WR, San Francisco: Battle appeared set to see a more prominent role in the offense of new coordinator Mike Martz, but that went out the window the second Isaac Bruce inked a deal with the Niners. With Bruce and Darrell Jackson expected to start, Battle will be penciled in as San Francisco's No. 3 receiver next season. Battle was a viable option for fantasy owners at times in 2007, but now he'll be hard pressed to make a consistent impact with Bruce, Jackson and Vernon Davis all in the receiver mix.

Drew Bennett, WR, St. Louis: Bennett, a former 1,000-yard receiver during his time with the Tennessee Titans, is slated to start opposite Torry Holt after the departure of Bruce. The former collegiate quarterback out of UCLA did little in his first season in St. Louis, but he's a big target at 6-foot-5 and almost guaranteed to improve on his pedestrian 2007 totals. He still won't be worth a prominent selection in drafts, but Bennett now warrants a late-round flier as a No. 5 fantasy receiver in most formats.

Michael Bush, RB, Oakland: Bush was considered a potential sleeper candidate earlier in the offseason, but his value has fallen after Oakland retained the services of both Justin Fargas and Dominic Rhodes. Fargas, who broke out last season, is slated to start for head coach Lane Kiffin. With Rhodes considered the favorite to finish second on the depth chart, Bush could be limited to a shared role in the backfield. LaMont Jordan is also in the current mix, but chances are he'll be released in the weeks and months to come.

Devin Hester, WR, Chicago: Hester is better known for his heroics as a return specialist, but he's slated to be Chicago's No. 1 wide receiver after the release of Muhsin Muhammad and departure of Bernard Berrian to Minnesota. While he has much to learn at the position, Hester has the confidence of his coach, Lovie Smith, who believes Hester can be a solid wideout in the NFL. Based on his skills and abilities alone, Hester has to be considered a viable sleeper candidate and will be worth a middle- to late-round selection.

Dwayne Jarrett, WR, Carolina: Jarrett didn't show much in his rookie season, but the former Southern California standout is still the favorite to open next season second on the depth chart behind Steve Smith. Carolina did add veteran Muhsin Muhammad in recent weeks, but the team would much prefer to see Jarrett earn a prominent role in the offense. He is a player to watch in training camp and in the preseason, and Jarrett could be worth a late-round choice if he can showcase the abilities that made him such a monster at USC.

Joe Jurevicius, WR, Cleveland: The Akron Beacon-Journal reports that Jurevicius preferred not to start next season, a wish that was granted when Cleveland agreed to terms with veteran Donté Stallworth. Jurevicius, 33, is now on the downside of his career and will be hard pressed to duplicate the 50 receptions and 614 yards he recorded last season. In fact, Jurevicius will now warrant little to no attention in most fantasy drafts with Braylon Edwards, Stallworth and Kellen Winslow all in the Browns' offensive mix.

Jerious Norwood, RB, Atlanta: There's little doubt that Norwood has the tools to make an impact every time he touches the football, but his chances to become a viable sleeper candidate took an enormous hit the second Atlanta added Michael Turner. Now slated to serve as a change-of-pace back behind Turner, Norwood is worth no more than a middle- to late-round selection in drafts. His greatest value from a fantasy football perspective will be as a handcuff option for those owners who land Turner in the earlier stanzas.

Greg Olsen, TE, Chicago: Much like Hester, Olsen should see a far greater role in Chicago's pass attack due to the release of Muhammad and departure of Berrian. He showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season, and chances are he'll emerge as the next productive tight end to come out of the University of Miami (Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow). In fact, I wouldn't be a bit shocked to see Olsen develop into a reliable and productive No. 1 fantasy tight end in 2008. Consider him in the middle rounds.

Sidney Rice, WR, Minnesota: Much like Olsen, Rice showcased some real potential in his rookie season. But after the addition of Berrian, Rice will have a much harder time making a consistent impact in fantasy land. Furthermore, Minnesota's offensive attack will remained centered on Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor and the ground game, so none of the team's receivers will become reliable options for owners. Rice is will worth a late-round selection as a No. 4 or 5 fantasy wideout in most formats, but his stock is a bit limited.

Tony Scheffler, TE, Denver: The release of Javon Walker, who signed a monster contract in Oakland, coupled with the addition of the inconsistent Keary Colbert should mean a far greater role in the offense for Scheffler. In fact, outside of Brandon Marshall, Scheffler might be the most reliable option in the pass attack for Jay Cutler. Denver tight ends such as Shannon Sharpe, Desmond Clark and even Dwayne Carswell have all helped owners in the past, and Scheffler could be next in line to be a productive fantasy starter.

Ricky Williams, RB, Miami: Williams, a former first-round selection in fantasy drafts, appears to be the clear-cut No. 2 running back in Miami now that Jesse Chatman has signed with the New York Jets. With Ronnie Brown coming back from a reconstructive procedure to repair a torn ACL, Williams could see a nice number of opportunities to start the 2008 season. Overall, fantasy football owners who draft Brown in the first or second round should definitely take a look at Williams as a potential handcuff in the later stanzas.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina: The release of DeShaun Foster, who signed with San Francisco, puts Williams right in the middle of the fantasy spotlight for next season. A former touchdown machine at Memphis, Williams finished last season with 241 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the final three weeks. Unless Carolina does more than add the likes of LaBrandon Toefield to the backfield mix, Williams could become as much as a No. 2 fantasy runner in 2008. He'll come off the board in the middle rounds in most formats.

Reggie Williams, WR, Jacksonville: Williams recorded a mere 38 receptions in 2007, but he was an end-zone magnet in the second half of the season and finished with 10 touchdowns. The number will take a severe hit in 2008, however, as Jacksonville added Jerry Porter and Troy Williamson to a core of receivers that also includes Dennis Northcutt, Matt Jones and Marcedes Lewis. Williams will still be taken in most drafts, but owners should target him as more of a No. 4 or 5 fantasy wideout headed into next season.

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