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NFL e-mail: Sleeper RBs, WRs and No. 1 pick

Dave,

In a keeper league where you lose your pick in the round they were drafted (and a free agent counts as a last-round pick).

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Here were the players who were kept (you can keep a guy for two years):

Joseph Addai (eighth-round pick)

Adrian Peterson (fifth)

Tom Brady (third)

Derek Andersen (16th)

Jamal Lewis (fifth)

Tony Romo (sixth)

Randy Moss (third)

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Ryan Grant (16th)

Reggie Brown (16th -- long story)

Marion Barber (eighth)

Clinton Portis (third or fourth)

Brian Westbrook (me -- second)

I had the fourth overall pick and I traded out. I just didn't like what was left over, so I traded my first- and sixth-round picks for third- and fourth-round picks. So that left me with the following picks: 21st (will be Westbrook), 28th, 34th, 39th, 45th, 52nd. Any thoughts

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on a good sleeper RB2? How about WR? I like Wes Welker, Santonio Holmes and Marques Colston (if he's there). I don't like Steve Smith, Plaxico Burress or Torry Holt.

Also, I'm in talks with the Eagles fan in our league about sending him Westbrook for the first overall pick. Is it too crazy if I take Peyton Manning with the top pick?

I just feel like:

1. It's thin in QBs

2. He is a lock for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns where LaDainian Tomlinson, Steven Jackson and others are injury prone.

Please advise.

Thanks,

Jason

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Jason,

If you are going to get the first overall pick for Brian Westbrook, I think you are getting the better end of the deal. In turn, I would try to flip that first overall pick for someone who really knows what it is worth, if you know what I'm saying. Someone is going to want LaDainian Tomlinson, so you should milk that for all it is worth if you don't want him. You can move back a spot or two and still get Peyton Manning.

But my opinion on Manning is that I don't particularly want to spend a high pick on him. He's injured right now, although it is minor, and Marvin Harrison might be a wild card this year. I also feel like the AFC South has improved a lot over the last few years so Manning isn't padding his stats against some brutal defenses anymore. Guys like Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer and Donovan McNabb could give you similar production and you wouldn't have to spend such a high pick. Roethlisberger could have another big year now that he has even more passing weapons and they seem set to pass more than in the Bill Cowher days. And yes, I do think McNabb can give you similar production if he's healthy because the Philadelphia Eagles pass about 60% of the time.

I don't know if I'd say LaDainian Tomlinson is injury prone. Actually, he is probably the least injury prone running back in the league. As a matter of fact, he has never missed a regular season game due to injury. As for Steven Jackson, all I can say is two things: contract year and Al Saunders.

If I'm trading for the top pick, I'm taking either LT or Steven Jackson and I'm not even sweating it. You are essentially trading Brian Westbrook for Jackson or Tomlinson, which is a great trade for you.

For sleeper running backs, to be honest, I'm not happy about any of the guys you might quantify as RB2s. I'm not a fan of Willis McGahee (brutal offense). Larry Johnson might be a good value pick if he falls (but he's still on a brutal offense). Ryan Grant is sketchy without Brett Favre. Clinton Portis, Maurice Jones-Drew and Brandon Jacobs all share carries. I like Marshawn Lynch and I don't mind Jamal Lewis, but I'm not telling you anything new there.

I like Laurence Maroney as a good value pick. Think about where this guy was drafted last year. You don't have to worry too much about sharing carries there and he does play for the best offense. He is great value. For later, I love Jonathan Stewart and Kevin Smith, but I'm worried about Stewart splitting carries. I wouldn't be surprised if Smith was starting by Week 1. I also like Rudi Johnson, who has fallen completely off the map on cheat sheets.

For wide receivers, my sleepers are Calvin Johnson (Roy Williams personally told me that he would draft Calvin Johnson ahead of himself in fantasy drafts) and Reggie Brown. Brown has been working extremely hard in the offseason and I think will have a big breakout year. I like Steve Smith -- there's plenty of weapons to distract attention from him and I also think Chad Johnson will have a monster year despite the controversy.

Hope that helps,

Dave

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