Jun 1, 2007
Too many times, a fantasy situation that appears too good to be true winds up being exactly that. You see my post below about the Patriots, but let me go on the positive side and talk about the Detroit Lions. I really do wonder if even the devoted NFL fan realizes how great Mike Martz is. Yeah, I know the “genius” stuff was floated out there a lot and Martz had some issues as a head coach. But this guy is “the man” for offense. He’s the real deal; all the hype is merited. When he has the right players to run his system, it works very well – every time.
QB Jon Kitna may be a stop-gap NFL player, but he’s a great example of the difference between fantasy and reality. In the real world, Kitna will probably make a stupid throw in a key spot and lose you the game, but in fantasy he has probably thrown for over 300 yards with 1-2 TDs already, so you don’t really care. The guy never gets hurt, and while his arm strength is average, he can get the ball to his receivers. He was operating last year behind a depleted and atrocious line, but he stayed in one piece all year and put up big numbers. He’s not a great athlete, but he can extend plays with his legs and scramble when you need a first down.
What people may not remember is that his receiving corps last year was abysmal. I mean, it was all-time bad. WR Az Hakim was 3rd in receptions at the position last year – and he played only five games after joining the team mid-season. Other than RB Kevin Jones, who caught 61 passes, look at the cast of characters who caught a pass for Martz last year: Arlen Harris, Corey Bradford, Marcus Pollard, Shawn Bryson, Mike Williams, Cory Schlesinger, Casey Fitzsimmons, Aveion Cason, Devale Ellis, Sean McHugh, Brian Calhoun, Josh McCown, and Eddie Drummond.
Most of these player’s catch totals were in single digits, and only Campbell – known as a blocker – caught more than 20 passes.
Despite all of this, Kitna was 4th in the NFL with 4208 passing yards. That was more than Carson Palmer. Read this again: Kitna was 4th in the NFL with 4000+ passing yards with one of the thinnest receiving corps in NFL history. There were extenuating circumstances, of course. The defense was terrible, so they threw it a lot, and they really couldn’t run the ball consistently. The good news is I think their defense will be terrible again, or at least bad, thanks to their secondary, and I doubt they’ll be able to consistently run the ball.
Oh, and Kitna’s Lions have added one of the best receiving prospects to enter the league in over 10 years, maybe of all time. They also added a guy in Shaun McDonald who knows the system very well, is a perfect fit, and should help this team. Now, Mike Furrey, 2nd in the NFL in catches with 98, will move to the #3 role. That’s a great role for him. If defenses can somehow stop Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson on the outside, I think Furrey will be an inviting and capable target for Kitna, not to mention McDonald.
Kitna is commanding around a 6th round draft pick these days. Some think that’s high. It may be hard to stomach using that high of a pick on Jon Kitna, but I’m more than okay with that. In fact, I think it’s great value. It’s Mike Martz, a fantasy football hero.
To say this is a good situation for fantasy is an understatement. Drafting Kitna for fantasy football this year is like drafting in fantasy baseball a juiced-up young stud slugger who has a corked bat and plays for the Colorado Rockies, who have just moved their fences in 10 feet.
It’s a can’t-miss proposition.