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Week 4 Watch List

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Here are some players to keep an eye on this week. If they continue to perform, add them to your roster.

QB Mark Sanchez (NYJ): His numbers are not jaw-dropping, but he is fairly consistent and plays on a team with a good defense and good running game. Which makes him a solid play if your starter is on bye or injured.

QB Chad Henne (MIA): Not sure how good he will be, but he is a starter now that QB Chad Pennington is done for the year, so give him some thought if you are desperate.

QB Josh Johnson (TB): It looks like QB Byron Leftwich has been benched. I doubt Johnson will do much, but you never know.

RB Jerome Harrison (CLE): I am a little disappointed that RB James Davis did not get more chances while RB Jamal Lewis was out with injury. Not sure if Harrison is the RB2 in CLE or if Davis is still dealing with injury issues of his own. Either way, as long as Lewis is slowed by injuries, keep an eye on both Harrison and Davis to see who gets the touches.

WR Keenan Burton (STL): I was big on WR Laurent Robinson, but now that he is on IR, someone else has to step up. And that guy could be Burton.

WR Mike Wallace (PIT): PIT cannot run the ball, so they will have to pass. And Wallace has looked pretty good as the third option. Keep an eye on him.

WR Andre Caldwell (CIN): I expected WR Chris Henry to be more productive, but he seems to be limited by injuries. Which has opened the door for Caldwell.

WR Chaz Schilens (OAK): He could play this week. Although with how poorly the fat caveman is throwing the ball, it might not matter. But keep an eye on him. He is tall and lanky, so maybe he can catch some of those errant passes.

TE Vernon Davis (SF): Davis had a big game against MIN and has done alright otherwise this year. Keep an eye on him and see if they continue to go to him in the red zone.

Week 3 Injury Update

September 28, 2009 1 comment

Here are some key injury updates…

QB Chad Pennington (MIA): Pennington (shoulder) could be done for the year. QB Chad Henne will likely take over, and could be a decent QB2 against favorable matchups. But I would wait and see what he does.

QB Marc Bulger (STL): Bulger (shoulder) could miss some time. If he is out, QB Kyle Boller will start in his place. Boller actually looked alright against GB.

RB Frank Gore (SF): Gore (ankle) could miss a couple weeks. Go get RB Glenn Coffee now.

RB Kevin Smith (DET): It sounds like Smith (shoulder) should be okay, but if you own him, consider adding RB Maurice Morris.

RB Brian Westbrook (PHI): Westbrook (ankle) missed this week’s game with an ankle injury, and it is not clear when he will be back. Go get RB LeSean McCoy now.

RB Marion Barber (DAL): Barber (thigh) is inactive for the game tonight against CAR. Watch to see how DAL uses RB Felix Jones and RB Tashard Choice tonight, because Barber could miss another game or two.’

RB Jamal Lewis (CLE): Lewis was out this week. RB James Harrison got most of the carries in his absence, with RB James Davis getting some touches, as well. But neither really did much. And I would probably avoid any CLE players for the time being, given their woes on offense.

RB Willie Parker (PIT): Parker (toe) is dealing with a minor case of turf toe, which is a notoriously annoying injury. If Parker misses any time, RB Rashard Mendenhall would get the start. Although he has not looked good and the PIT OL is marginal.

WR Wes Welker (NE): Welker missed his second game in a row. WR Julian Edelman played in his place but did not have another Welker-esque outing. Edelman could be worth a roster spot, though, if Welker misses any more time.

WR Laurent Robinson (STL): Robinson (ankle) is likely done for the year after breaking his lower leg. Which is too bad. He was having a great start to the season. I expect WR Keenan Burton to get some extra looks with Robinson out.

WR Chris Henry (CIN): Henry (thigh) has been battling a leg injury all year, which could explain why he has yet to explode onto the scene like I expected/predicted. Or maybe he is just not going to explode. Either way, while he is slowed by injury, WR Andre Caldwell seems to be getting some extra looks.

Training Camp Position Battles

August 11, 2009 Leave a comment

All 32 NFL teams are now in training camp. Which means there are plenty of position battles that you should be aware of as your fantasy draft approaches. I wrote about some NFC and AFC position battles a couple weeks ago, but I thought it would be worthwhile to update them now that camps are in full-swing. I did not include much (read: any) discussion of the battles. I just listed them so you can be aware. I did, however, list them in the order I expect the final depth charts to reflect. Check back as training camps progress to get updates on the key camp battles that will affect your fantasy draft.

AFC North
BAL RB: Ray Rice v. Willis McGahee v. Le’Ron McClain
CIN QB: Carson Palmer v. His Elbow
CLE RB: Jamal Lewis v. James Davis v. Jerome Harrison
PIT RB: Willie Parker v. Rashard Mendenhall v. Mewelde Moore

AFC South
IND RB:
Joseph Addai v. Donald Brown
IND WR3: Pierre Garcon v. Austin Collie
JAX RB2: Chauncey Washington v. Rashad Jennings v. Greg Jones
TEN WR: Nate Washington v. Justin Gage

AFC East
MIA WR2: Greg Camarillo v. Devon Bess
NE RB: Fred Taylor v. Sammy Morris v. Kevin Faulk v. Laurence Maroney
NYJ RB: Thomas Jones v. Shonn Green v. Leon Washington
NYJ QB: Mark Sanchez v. Kellen Clemens

AFC West
DEN RB: Knowshon Moreno v. Correll Buckhalter v. Peyton Hillis v. Ryan Torain
KC RB: Larry Johnson v. Jamaal Charles v. Kolby Smith
SD WR2: Chris Chambers v. Malcolm Floyd v. Buster Davis
OAK RB: Darren McFadden v. Michael Bush v. Justin Fargas

NFC North
CHI WR1: Devin Hester v. Earl Bennet v. Rashied Davis
DET QB: Dante Culpeper v. Matthew Stafford
GB WR3: James Jones v. Jordy Nelson
GB TE: Jermichael Finley v. Donald Lee
MIN QB: Sage Rosenfels v. Tavaris Jackson
MIN WR2: Sidney Rice v. Percey Harvin

NFC South
NO WR2: Lance Moore v. Robert Meachem
NO WR3: Robert Meachem v. Devery Henderson
TB QB: Byron Leftwich v. Josh Freeman v. Luke McCown
TB RB: Earnest Graham v. Derrick Ward
TB WR2: Michael Clayton v. Maurice Stovall

NFC East
NYG RB2:
Ahmad Bradshaw v. Andre Brown v. Danny Ware
DAL WR2: Patrick Crayton v. Austin Miles v. Sam Hurd
NYG WR: Dominic Hixon v. Steve Smith v. Mario Manningham v. Hakeem Nicks v. Ramses Barden
NYG WR2: Steve Smith v. Mario Manningham v. Hakeem Nicks v. Ramses Barden
PHI WR2: Kevin Curtis v. Jeremy Maclin
WAS WR2: Devin Thomas v. Antwaan Randle-El v. Malcolm Kelley

NFC West
AR RB: Tim Hightower v. Beanie Wells
SF QB: Shaun Hill v. Alex Smith
STL WR2: Laurent Robinson v. Keenan Burton

Sleepers

July 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Here is a list of players who I consider “sleepers” for the 2009 fantasy draft.

QB Jason Campbell (WAS): Most think Campbell has been disappointing thus far in his career. But you should remember that — until this year — he has yet to have the same head coach and offensive coordinator for two years in a row. I think HC Jim Zorn will have Campbell playing well this year. He should be a better-than-average backup, and could even be your starter against weaker teams.

QB Kyle Orton (DEN): Of course, QB Jay Cutler got all the attention in the blockbuster trade of the offseason. But it could be Orton who ends up benefiting the most. Orton was not all that terrible last year. And now he has guys like WR Brandon Marshall and WR Eddie Royal to throw to, in addition to a pretty solid running game. He should put up respectable numbers, especially in the AFC West, which is weak against the pass. A very solid backup.

QB David Garrard (JAX): Last year, the Jags struggled due mainly to injuries across their offensive line. Assuming the same does not happen this year, I expect Garrard to put up better numbers. Plus, they brought in WR Torry Holt, who may be old, but he is better than anyone they had before. Another very solid backup.

RB Lesean McCoy (PHI): If RB Brian Westbrook gets injured, McCoy should be a stud in the Eagles offense. And he should get quite a few touches either way.

RB Michael Bush (OAK): I am not a big fan of RB Darren McFadden. Yes, he is fast and athletic. But so is RB Reggie Bush. Unfortunately, D-Mac struggled with injuries last year, so it is hard to tell. But I do not think he can be a full-time RB in the NFL. He runs too upright. Which should open the door for Bush, who would have been a first round pick but for a nasty leg injury in college. Rumors are that he has looked great this summer.

WR Brian Robiske (CLE): Despite the fact that he is a Buckeye, I like this kid. His dad is a WR coach in the NFL. He has good size and good (enough) speed. And — most importantly — he runs good routes. And he can catch the ball. Combine all of those, and you have the recipe for an effective rookie WR. And the rumors out of Cleveland are that he is penciled in to start opposite WR Braylon Edwards. And we learned from last hear (e.g. WR Eddie Royal, WR DeSean Jackson) that rookie WRs that start have a good chance at doing something good.

WR Miles Austin (DAL): Someone has to catch balls opposite WR Roy Williams. TE Jason Witten will continue to be QB Tony Romo’s main target, but I expect Austin to work his way into the rotation and get quite a few looks. He has very good size for the position. He will probably be somewhat inconsistent, but he is a borderline WR3.

WR Chris Henry (CIN): Henry has had his fair share of problems since coming into the NFL. But I think he actually figured out that he has to stop screwing up if he wants to succeed on the field. The reality is, Henry is extremely talented. So if he can focus on football, he could be a very good WR, especially now that WR TJ Houshmandzadeh is gone and QB Carson Palmer is healthy.

WR Josh Morgan (SF): I liked this guy last year, but he could not stay healthy long enough to get into the lineup. Although the 49ers like to run, I think Morgan will get some changes to make plays. And the arrival of WR Michael Crabtree should force defenses to direct their focus elsewhere. Keep him in mind in the late rounds. Stash him on your bench and see how he develops.

WR James Jones (GB): I love this kid. But, as with many others on this list, injuries kept him from doing much last year. However, his knee is healthy and he has dropped some weight in order to increase his speed. He will play behind WR Greg Jennigns and WR Donald Driver, but if QB Aaron Rodgers throws for around 4000 yards again (which he will), Jones should do well enough to use as a bye-week fill-in or spot-starter. And bump him way up if either Jennings or Driver misses any time with injuries.

WR Earl Bennett (CHI): He was very (very) quiet last year. But someone has to catch the ball in Chicago, right? I am simply not convinced that WR Devin Hester is that guy. I might be putting too much stock into the fact that Bennett and QB Jay Cutler were college teammates. But that has to be worth something, right? (A bench spot, perhaps.)

WR Mike Walker (JAX): Like Morgan, I was high on Walker last year. But also like Morgan, he could not stay healthy. But I expect him to get his opportunity this year, since guys like WR Jerry Porter and WR Matt Jones are now unemployed. I doubt many people will even consider picking him, but I think he is worth a bench spot on your roster.

WR Sidney Rice (MIN): All this guy does is catch touchdowns. No, he is not Cris Carter. But seriously, all he does is catch TDs. Last year, he had 15 catches and 4 TDs. Not bad. I love his size (6-4, 202). If he can stay healthy (anyone sense a trend?), he should make some plays this year, especially if QB Brett Favre is lobbing jump balls in his direction. If he can stay healthy, he could be a very solid WR3 option if he can get involved in places that are not the endzone.

WR Steve Smith (NYG): The Giants have a high-powered offense. And QB Eli Manning looked to Smith often last year when he needed a 1st down. Smith is not a burner or big-play guy, but he runs very good routes and has reliable hands. He should have a surprisingly solid year. My guess is he will make a solid WR3 in most leagues.

WR Mark Clayton (BAL): I pick him as a sleeper every year. Its sorta like a tradition, at this point. I believe in you, Mark!

WR Mark Bradley (KC): He has never stayed healthy. But if he can, he could do well in the new-look KC offense. Defenses will have to focus on WR Dwayne Bowe, allowing Bradley to get open. But he has never stayed healthy. Ever. So you can likely get him off waivers after the first couple weeks if he is not already on nursing an injury.

WR Michael Jenkins (ATL): After doing very little during his career, he actually looked like a decent WR last year. Part of this was due to the surprisingly solid play of QB Matt Ryan, but it was also due to the emergence of WR Roddy White. Jenkins is slow, but he has great size (6-4), making him a good possession receiver. Also, having TE Tony Gonzalez taking up some attention should help him get open on third downs and in the endzone. Likely waiver material, but keep an eye on him.

WR Harry Douglas (ATL): Two Atlanta WRs on this list? I must be crazy. Perhaps. But Douglas looked good last year coming in as a rookie. And I think he will continue to develop this year. Keep an eye on him early in the season to see how he is used.

WR Keenan Burton (STL): Call me crazy. But I think the Rams will be (slightly) better this year. And, other than WR Donnie Avery and RB Steven Jackson, there is no one else to throw the ball to. And Avery is more of a deep threat. So look for Burton to compliment Avery’s speed. Another guy to watch on waivers, perhaps.