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Goldies reward stars, low-round selections

There are two types of Most Valuable Players in fantasy sports: Big-ticket guys who exceed even the wildest of expectations and unheralded picks who turn out to be stars.

For every LaDainian Tomlinson of 2006 there are 10 Frank Gores — savvy mid-to-late-round selections who ice a league championship for you.

So, while Tom Brady is on pace to have the greatest statistical season ever for a quarterback, don’t forget to give a little credit to Cleveland’s Derek Anderson.

Presenting the Goldies, your 2007 Midseason Fantasy Football MVPs, split into early round and late-round selections.

MONEYMAKERS

* Quarterback: Brady, hands down.

We all knew he’d enjoy his new toys — Wes Welker and Randy Moss — but not this much. Come on; 27 touchdowns and two interceptions? Ridiculous. I would trade Tony Romo, Marion Barber and my right pinky for Brady at this point. Heck, I tried, but the guy rejected the trade. My pinky thanks him.

Wingman: Anderson.

The third-year pro was on no one’s radar coming into the season, not even coach Romeo Crennel’s. But with Charlie Frye turning out to be, well, Charlie Frye, Crennel called on Anderson. Smart thinking: 14 touchdowns to eight interceptions, plus two more scores on the ground.

* Running back: Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia.

Ronnie Brown was a lock for MVP until he went down in Week 7 with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and ruined three of my teams. Tomlinson is having a better year than Westbrook, but he was the consensus No. 1 pick. Westbrook lasted until pick 10 for most leagues, has averaged nearly 100 yards on the ground and almost 60 in the air. A few more scores and he’d be the top back in the fantasy game.

Wingman: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota.

Who cares about his splitting time with Chester Taylor? This guy is a special talent, leading the league in rushing through Week 7. Wow.

* Wide receiver: Moss, New England.

Randy, meet your savior, Tom. Moss has 30 more points (in regular settings) than No. 2 Plaxico Burress. If 10 touchdowns weren’t enough, he’s averaging more than 100 yards per game.

Wingman: Tie, Braylon Edwards, Cleveland; Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City; and Roddy White, Atlanta.

Edwards has become Anderson’s favorite target, Bowe has become Damon Huard’s favorite target, White has become Atlanta’s QB du jour’s favorite target. If White or Bowe are available in your leagues, pick them up immediately.

* Tight end: Antonio Gates, San Diego.

While Philip Rivers hasn’t matured as much as many would’ve liked, Gates remains the ultimate tight end. Indy’s Dallas Clark might have more touchdowns and Dallas’ Jason Witten more yards, but Gates is a constant threat.

Wingman: Tie, Clark and Witten.

Clark, six touchdowns. Witten, 540 yards and four scores. Both are integral parts of high-powered passing offenses. Both have average draft positions higher than 80.

* Kicker: Matt Stover, Baltimore.

Stover has been nails, making a league-leading 18 field goals. Too bad the Ravens don’t score more touchdowns — maybe he’d have more than 10 PATs.

Wingman: Nick Folk, Dallas.

Folk’s name belongs near the top of Rookie of the Year standings. The former Arizona kicker has connected on 13 of 15 field goals and is 26-for-26 on PATs, after going undrafted in many leagues.

* Defense: New England.

With Baltimore and Chicago slipping, the Patriots have assumed the position of most reliable defense. The Chowderheads have slipped the past two weeks against Dallas and Miami but still tally plenty of sacks and interceptions.

Wingmen: Minnesota

A good run defense plus a poor pass defense equals dozens of pass attempts, which in turns equals plenty of turnovers (tied for most in the NFL with 16).

FANTASY BASKETBALL SLEEPER CHART

With the NBA season tipping off Tuesday, here are the top 10 sleepers to remember when drafting:

10. Antawn Jamison, Washington, SF/PF.

9. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland, PF/C.

8. Kirk Hinrich, Chicago, PG/SG.

7. Andris Biedrins, Golden State, C.

6. Nenad Kristic, New Jersey, PF/C.

5. Randy Foye, Minnesota, PG/SG.

4. Joe Johnson, Atlanta, SG.

3. Rudy Gay, Memphis, SG/SF.

2. Luol Deng, Chicago, SG/SF.

1. Andre Igoudala, Philadelphia, SG/SF.

Jon Gold is a Review-Journal sportswriter with 10 fantasy football teams. His column is published Friday. He can be reached at jgold@reviewjournal.com.

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