Brian Westbrook, RB
Take him: 1st Round
After busting out for 1,217 rushing yards and 77 receptions last year, the Villanova product comes into this year ranked as the number seven or eight fantasy player, by most accounts. But once studs LaDainian Tomlinson, Steven Jackson and Larry Johnson are gone, Matt Waldman of fantasy site fftoday.com thinks you should consider Westbrook one of the next few picks. “The great thing about Westbrook is that he’s a dual threat,” Waldman says. “He’s now the focus of the offense, he gets a lot of opportunities, and he’s entering the athletic prime of his career.” He projects Westbrook at close to 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 10-plus touchdowns.
Donovan McNabb, QB
Take him: 5th Round
McNabb comes into this season with big risk-reward potential. The Eagles offense has been one of the most productive in the league in the past few years, and McNabb was arguably the top fantasy quarterback the first half of last season. Until … “If he stays healthy, he’s going to produce,” says Bryan Collins, of site fftoolbox.com. But that’s a big “if” for your starting QB. McNabb is coming off a torn ACL, and Waldman points to former Vikings signal-caller Daunte Culpepper and Cardinals running back Edgerrin James as two players who struggled the year after similar knee injuries. If McNabb falls to the fifth round, grab him and take a solid backup for insurance.
Reggie Brown, WR
Take him: 6th round
With the departure of Donté Stallworth to the Pats, Brown claims the Eagles’ number one receiver slot after going for 816 yards and hauling in eight TDs last year. He’s a favorite under-the-radar pick for many fantasy football players, and both Collins and Waldman believe he’ll break 1,000 yards this season for the first time. So what’s the problem? Well, when everyone starts calling a player a sleeper, you run the risk of overrating him come draft time. Brown has been all over the board in mock drafts, going as early as the end of the third round and as late as the seventh. He should produce, but only take him as a number two receiver in the late fifth or early sixth round.
Kevin Curtis, WR
Take him: 11th Round
The Eagles brought in Curtis as a free agent to replace Stallworth, and he’s one of the fastest receivers in the NFL. He’s been part of an explosive offense before, spending the past three seasons as the number three receiver in St. Louis, where he produced decent numbers. In Philly, Curtis moves into the number two slot and has the potential to be a McNabb favorite target. “If there’s a sleeper on the Eagles squad, Kevin Curtis is it,” Waldman says. “Get him after round 10 and he’ll outperform expectations.” Expect Curtis to struggle at the beginning of the season as he learns the offense. But by midseason, he could be an every-week starter.