Article Last Updated: 07/26/2006 02:37:32 AM PDT

[size=18px]New roots for NFL transplants[/size]

Column by Dave Del Grande
insidebayarea.com


I'M NOT SURE exactly when it happened, but sometime in the past six months, the NFL morphed into Major League Baseball.
I mean, what's with all the player movement?

In fantasy circles, much is being made of an intriguing crop of rookies. But truth be told, the "newcomers" with the most potential this season are veterans who have changed addresses.

Unfortunately, most of these guys traveled with more baggage than just their suitcases. So the key to accurately assessing them on fantasy draft day is to study their training-camp performances and, without the benefit of a single regular-season game, attempt to project how comfortable their new lives will be.

Here's a position-by-position look at the transplants I'll be watching the next six weeks:


Quarterbacks

Aaron Brooks, Raiders. Kerry Collins had 21 and 20 touchdown passes the past two seasons. Brooks has to do better than that, doesn't he?

Daunte Culpepper, Dolphins. All the ingredients are in place for the Dolphins to be a much improved offense this season ... if Culpepper can stay healthy.

Jon Kitna, Lions. Mike Martz spun straw into gold on several occasions in St. Louis. The Lions hope he can do it again.

Also: Drew Brees, Saints; Air McNair, Ravens; Josh McCown, Lions; Brian Griese, Bears; Joey Harrington, Dolphins; Gus Frerotte, Rams; Trent Dilfer, 49ers.


Running backs

Edgerrin James, Cardinals. Some are rating the ex-Colt as the No.4 fantasy back — in other words, the first to go after the Big Three (Shaun Alexander, Larry Johnson and LaDainian Tomlinson).

Chester Taylor, Vikings. New Vikings coach Brad Childress wants to re-establish the run. Taylor was imported from Baltimore with that in mind.

Also: Mike Anderson, Ravens; Tony Fisher, Rams.


Wide receivers

Terrell Owens, Cowboys. There's always a fire before an Owens flame-out. In the right situation, this guy has proven to be first-round stuff.

Javon Walker, Broncos. The ex-Packer is coming off a serious injury, which makes him a big-time question mark for his new employer. A return to his All-Pro form in the defensively challenged AFC West would be no surprise, however.

Nate Burleson, Seahawks. Like Walker, Burleson latches onto a team that already employs a quality veteran receiver. In this case, though, that receiver (Darrell Jackson) has injury issues, which makes the 2005 disappointment an intriguing proposition.

Joe Jurevicius, Browns. What happens when a touchdown-making machine joins a team that is allergic to the color of the end zone? We'll see.

Antonio Bryant, 49ers. If nothing else, Bryant should get a workout this season. A team that's regularly two touchdowns behind has to do a lot of throwing.

Also: David Givens, Titans; Corey Bradford, Lions; Rod Gardner, Packers; Keyshawn Johnson, Panthers; Eric Moulds, Texans; Brandon Lloyd, Redskins; Antwaan Randle El, Redskins; Reche Caldwell, Patriots; Peerless Price, Bills; Jabar Gaffney, Eagles.


Tight ends

Jeb Putzier, Texans. The Bengals wanted this guy last year. Now the Texans have successfully stolen him away from the Broncos. Is he really worth the effort?

Also: Matt Schobel, Eagles; Christian Fauria, Redskins.


Kickers

Adam Vinatieri, Colts. A great outdoor kicker figures to be even better indoors.

Mike Vanderjagt, Cowboys. The opposite transition — from 72 degrees in the dome to 32 on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas — isn't so easy.

Also: Ryan Longwell, Vikings; Billy Cundiff, Packers.

Need help managing your football team this season? Check out Mr. Fantasy Access on the mrfantasy.com Web site or e-mail [email protected]

New roots for NFL transplants