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Edwards not a gold-medal pick

Posted by Gabe Kahn October 2, 2008 05:59 AM

Braylon Edwards of the Browns is friends with Olympian Michael Phelps. They both went to Michigan, and they've traded training tips.

That's a nice story, but when it comes to Edwards in 2008, it's the only story. If you were like me and you spent a second-round pick on Edwards (right), or even thought about it, then consider this: 25 percent of Edwards' season is complete (four games), and he's accumulated 14 total fantasy points, one touchdown, and 95 total yards.

That's a borderline disaster, and not what you would expect from someone who amassed 16 touchdowns and 1,289 yards in 2007. Edwards himself, when discussing how he was in contact with Phelps during the Olympics, told reporters that he was going to have to top Phelps' efforts by getting at least 17 touchdowns this season.

Good luck, Braylon. He did finally catch his first touchdown pass of the season last Sunday, but the Browns' offense has been brutal. Edwards' catch was the only touchdown Cleveland put up in a win against the lowly Bengals, and Cleveland quarterback Derek Anderson -- whom Edwards gelled with nicely last year -- is apparently fighting for his job on a week-to-week basis.

It's not as if owners of Edwards, like myself, can bench him. He's not hurt, and there's no way you can take a chance on sitting a guy with that much breakout potential. You've got to live and die with him, and hope you drafted well at that position. I've been fortunate: Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City) has been steady, and I grabbed Eddie Royal (Broncos, 27 receptions) off waivers early in the season.

I'm still waiting for Wes Welker to break out as well, but that's another story. In the meantime, I'll have to wait on Edwards awhile longer: the Browns have a bye this weekend.

Three up, three down
UP -- Deuce McAllister, RB, New Orleans
There was a Deuce sighting in New Orleans last Sunday, and the results were encouraging. Coming back from another knee surgery, McAllister piled up 73 yards and a touchdown, and the score came on a goal-line run. This is great news for owners who took a chance on him in the draft and left him on their benches through the season's first month.

UP -- Matt Prater, K, Denver
If you need a kicker, look no further. Prater will get plenty of chances to kick in Denver's high-scoring offense, and last Sunday he cranked four field goals -- including a 56-yarder and a 51-yarder. Make a move if he's available, as the second-year player from Central Florida is not well known.

UP -- Steve Breaston, WR, Arizona
Also a second-year player (Michigan), Breaston is likely to see his role increased and more balls thrown his way from Kurt Warner because of the head injury Anquan Boldin suffered last weekend. Breaston may not be able to match the nine catches and 122 yards he had in the loss to the Jets, but you can count on the Cardinals playing from behind and Warner slinging it to his receivers.

DOWN -- Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta
Ryan and the Falcons are too inconsistent -- you're taking a big chance if he's in your starting lineup. Ryan is barely completing over 50 percent of his passes, and he's not at the point where he can take over if Atlanta's running game has been neutralized. Plus, Ryan's main receivers -- Michael Jenkins and Roddy White -- are just OK; neither is the type of game-changer he needs.

DOWN -- Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco
Davis looks imposing in those Under Armour commercials, but his fantasy statistics are quite the opposite. To date: five catches, 87 yards, zero touchdowns. At some point this year, Davis will probably have a big game, but leaving him in the lineup in hopes of that is foolish. He always gets drafted, and he always disappoints.

DOWN -- Patriots running backs
There's no lack of talent in the New England backfield, but it's a question of who do you put in your lineup? Laurence Maroney entered the season as the starter, has been banged up, and is now practicing again in full pads. But would it shock anyone if LaMont Jordan got 20 carries this weekend against the 49ers? Or if Sammy Morris received the bulk of the carries? Start any of them at your own risk.

Ed Ryan writes about fantasy sports and betting for OT and can be reached at ed_ryan@globe.com

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