It's never too early to scout for 2008

Another fantasy season concludes, but hope springs eternal. Here is a peek at several players whose performances hinted at the promise of greater impact in 2008.

Quarterbacks

David Garrard, Jaguars - Imagine Garrard with a full training camp as the starter. After just six touchdown passes in his first six starts, Garrard learned on the job and cranked out 12 TDs in his most recent six starts, including three scores on the Steelers' top-ranked pass defense.

Jay Cutler, Broncos - Cutler improved notably in many passing categories despite a myriad of injuries to his surrounding skill players. He threw eight interceptions in the first six games before finding his rhythm. If the talent around him can stay healthy next year, Cutler should increase his scoring.

Running backs

Joseph Addai, Colts - In his second season, Addai emerged as a top-tier runner, but the best is yet to come. The Colts increased his carries this season, and with receiver Marvin Harrison turning 36, Addai is poised to become the beneficiary of an even greater role next year.

Ryan Grant, Packers - He emerged as a starter in Week 8 when three other runners couldn't keep the job. Grant's numbers over a full season project to 1,500 yards and a dozen touchdowns. That is not out of the realm of possibility for 2008.

Brandon Jacobs, Giants - Jacobs is a somewhat reliable workhorse who struggled through poor quarterback play this season. Still, at 5 yards a carry, he is due a larger role and the chance to be a top-10 running back.

Wide receivers

Brandon Marshall, Broncos - In only his second season Marshall is approaching 100 catches. And the Broncos are still finding new ways to use his athleticism. With a healthy Javon Walker to draw coverage next year, Marshall can increase his scoring total.

Roddy White, Falcons - Under quarterback Michael Vick, Falcons receivers were always labeled underperformers. This year, coincidentally, White's receptions, yards and touchdowns doubled. His potential is still tied to a shaky quarterback situation, but White established himself as a player to build around.

Calvin Johnson, Lions - Detroit finally drafted a receiver who is earning his pay. Rookie receivers don't make great fantasy players, but averaging 16 yards a catch is a sign of big things to come. Johnson had multiple catches in every start and has the athleticism to develop into an end zone terror.

Tight ends

Vernon Davis, 49ers - He's not living up to his television exposure, but some of the blame lies with poor quarterback play and bad luck. Over the last six games, Davis has 24 catches and three scores. If he can stay healthy, he has the potential to be a 1,000-yard receiver.

Donald Lee, Packers - It took five years, but Lee finally had his breakout season. However, his future success is tied to Brett Favre, who clearly trusts him in the red zone. A season of 800 yards and eight to 10 touchdowns is doable if he's serving as Favre's security blanket again next year.


Contact staff writer Dylan Purcell at fanfootball@phillynews.com.