YFFL.com senior writer Bobby Sansone (Jr.) wraps up his 2007 YFFL preseason coverage with a look at the AFC East. After being called out by Sansone a year ago, the division produced a surprise Super Bowl champion in the Cuban Refugees. Is this the year for the Hoochie Llamas to ascend to the top of the league?
This could finally be the year for the perennially disappointing Llamas. They have had lofty expectations in an abysmal AFC East the past three seasons but have yet to lay their claim to the division title. The big off-season acquisition of Drew Brees cements the Llamas as the clear-cut favorite to win the East. Kevin Sansone has taken the title of "Most Obsessive Owner" from Steve Dugas this off-season which is clearly a sign of Kevin's absence from the post-season the last several years. With a solid RB trio of Joseph Addai, Chester Taylor and Marion Barber along with a stellar WR corps, the Llamas should coast to the AFC East title and amass the league's best record.
Projected Record: 10-3
Tom Brady will lead Bear country again this season as the natives could be growing restless. Bear has struggled in the postseason since winning back-to-back Super Bowls some 12-years ago. It is 2007 however and Davidson seems to win with both his teams in odd-numbered years. Ronnie Brown will have to play better than he did last season and newcomer Brandon Jackson will be a starter right away. Chad Johnson leads one of the deepest WR corps in the league which include Jerricho Crotchery, Santana Moss and Greg Jennings. The bench is thin so injuries could cause some problems. Bear should be right in the wild card hunt with the Buddies and Merry Men.
Projected Record: 7-6
The reigning Super Bowl champions are back and many owners around the league are already writing them off. But with a solid lineup of JP Losman, Laurence Maroney, Maurice Jones-Drew, Javon Walker, Reggie Brown, Todd Heap, Adam Vinatieri, and Tatum Bell, the Refugees will certainly win their fair-share of games. Sophomore RBs Maroney and Jones-Drew remain the biggest question mark as both are coming off incredible rookie seasons. Aceto hasn't named a starting QB yet but whispers from around the league have Losman getting the nod over Jason Campbell. Aceto could use Grossman in favorable match-ups. In the end, I don't think Jones-Drew and Maroney will match last season and the Refugees will finish below .500
Projected Record: 6-7
No team has had a worse string of luck than Jon Kinsman and the Orangutangs. From Byron Leftwich's recent release to TJ Duckett falling off the face of the earth to Chris Henry's suspension, Kinsman hasn't had much to look forward to this season. To Kinsman's credit, he has managed to assemble a somewhat competitive lineup behind David Garrard which includes Willis McGahee, Laveranues Coles and Randy McMichael. After last year's improbable run by the Refugees, I won't ever count any team out again, but the '07 Orangutangs nearly made me retract that statement. Someone needs to look up which owner had the fewest wins in one season because Kinsman's two franchises should challenge that record.
Projected Record: 3-10
Drew Brees, Llamas
Brees gets the vote over Tom Brady and Joseph Addai. While riding the pine last season for the Chickens, Brees only had 4 weeks in which he didn't score in double digits. In one six game stretch he went for 18, 22, 24, 10, 18 and 16. Brees finally gives the Llamas the franchise QB they thought they were getting in Delhomme.
Lee Evans, Llamas
Evans is the one player [Bobby] Sansone regrets trading last year and he should only continue to get better. Evans scored 50 points last year for a mediocre Bills offense. With McGahee gone, Evans will be more of a focal point in the Bills offense. Look for Evans' 100-yard games and TDs to go up in '07.
Laurence Maroney, Patriots
Maroney now has the Patriots backfield all to himself...or does he? There have been reports that Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk could get increased carries in an effort to protect the oft-injured second year back out of Minnesota. Maroney was steady last year but was never exceptional like Reggie Bush, Joseph Addai or Maurice Jones-Drew. Maroney's fantasy numbers may not live up to the expectations.
Jerricho Cotchery, Poop
Cotchery showed flashes of greatness last season and emerged as the Jets clear #2 receiver over Justin McCarrens. Cotchery now has another year under his belt and should improve even more this year. I wouldn't be surprised if Cotchery's fantasy numbers surpass those of teammate Laveranues Coles.