Commentary

Player Tracker: Miller up, LJ down

Updated: August 27, 2007, 4:41 PM ET
By Matthew Berry | ESPN.com

Rising

Heath Miller, tight end, Steelers: A rejuvenated quarterback and the fact that he caught two passes for 50 yards in the most recent preseason game make you take notice. And then you remember he has 11 touchdowns the past two years. With Santonio Holmes spreading the field, there should be even more underneath for Miller and it just further underscores the point that tight end is really, really deep this year.

Cadillac Williams, running back, Buccaneers: My friend Ron Shandler is fond of saying, "Once a player displays a skill, he owns it." He is also fond of saying, "Bring me my trained monkey army!" One of those statements is true, as is this: Cadillac used to be good. It was a while ago, but if you buy the belief that once a player displays a skill, he owns it, then it is worth noting that in his most recent preseason game, Williams rushed only four times for 25 yards. Remember that Mike Alstott isn't playing this year. He had three touchdowns last year, which doesn't sound like a lot until you consider that the Bucs only had six rushing touchdowns the entire season. So 50 percent of their rushing touchdowns aren't back and the addition of Jeff Garcia means this offense has a chance to be better. And if you have an army of trained monkeys, I'd like to buy one.

Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts, running backs, Redskins: The trade of Pete Kendall to my beloved Redskins means a few things. First, he has two first names. That's always a crowd pleaser. He brings stability and depth to an already pretty good offensive line. I have high expectations for the Redskins running game this season and this only goes towards improving it.

Falling

Larry Johnson, running back, Chiefs: Two. That's how many touchdowns the Chiefs offense has scored in three preseason games. For those that don't want to do the math, that's not a lot. This is a bad team that is going to be behind a lot in a very tough division. LJ doesn't catch a ton of balls out of the backfield (41 catches last year) and according to him, he won't be 100 percent for game No. 1 (the one against Houston). He's now No. 5 on my board, after Addai and Gore.

James Jones, wide receiver, Packers: The fact that the injury to Donald Driver is not serious hurts the chances of the trendy sleeper pick. He's had a fantastic preseason, no doubt, but his best chance at consistent playing time initially would have been aided by Driver's absence. He's worth a flyer very late in 12-team leagues, but he's not draftable in an ESPN standard 10-team league in which you only play two wideouts.

Plaxico Burress, wide receiver, Giants: He doesn't have the nickname "Plexiglass" for nothing. He keeps having problems with the other ankle. Of course, he had offseason surgery. Now, he misses a game with the flu. Add to that the fact that Eli Manning has a 54 percent career completion rate and it means he's at best a No. 2 wide receiver, and he is going higher than that.

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