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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.

I think…

September 21, 2009 Leave a comment

1. I think … I’m glad I had RB Chris Johnson on my team in one league. But I am not so glad I had to play against him in another.

2. I think … RB Cedric Benson is shaping up to be a very nice RB2. He is tied with RB Michael Turner for the most carries in the league through 2 weeks.

3. I think … the GB offense has disappointed thus far. The OL is the problem. And it could have a major affect on QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Ryan Grant, and WR Greg Jennings if it does not improve.

4. I think … NYJ CB Darrelle Revis is very good. He held WR Andre Johnson to 4 catches for 35 yards in week 1 and WR Randy Moss to 4 catches for 24 yards in week 2. I might consider benching your WRs against him.

5. I think … RB Darren Sproles is not a great RB. But, damn, he is great when he gets the ball in space. He is worth starting every week, especially while RB LaDainian Tomlinson is hurt.

6. I think … RB Felix Jones could benefit greatly if RB Marion Barber misses any time due to his quad injury. But watch for RB Tashard Choice to get some touches, too.

7. I think … As (I) expected, WR Devin Hester is not a real WR. However, its a little surprising to see rookie WR Jonny Knox has become the leading WR in Chicago.

8. I think … I love the NFL. QB Jay Cutler throws 4 INTs and CHI loses go GB in week 1. Then CHI beats PIT in week 2, and GB loses to CIN. So tough early on to tell who is for real.

9. I think … QB Matt Ryan is the real deal. And TE Tony Gonzalez is his new best friend.

10. I think … I was wrong about WR Dominic Hixon. It looks like WR Mario Manningham and WR Steve Smith are going to lead the way. One or both might even be available in your league.

RB Handcuffs

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

As I have said before, you should not automatically grab the “handcuff” for the RBs you draft simply because they are their real life backup.

However, there are some “handcuffs” you should defnitely grab if you draft certain RBs. And here is a list of guys that, if you draft them, you should also draft their “handcuff”:

RB Adrian Peterson (MIN): Peterson has been a workhorse since he came into the league as a rookie. But he is not without injury concerns. And he may have one of the better backups in the league in RB Chester Taylor. If AP misses any time, Taylor should put up very good numbers in his stead.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX): MJD has had a very healthy career thus far. But he has also been limited in the amount of touches he’s had. This year JAX (finally) expects to use him as a fulltime ballcarrier. Although that increases his fantasy value, it also increases his chance to get injured. There has been no official word from JAX on his backup, but I expect RB Chauncey Washington would get the nod (initially) to take over the load. But also keep an eye on rookie RB Rashad Jennings, who could get some touches, too.

RB Michael Turner (ATL): Whether you believe “The Curse of 370” or not, you cannot argue with the fact that there is a body of statistical evidence out there that says it is very likely Turner will get injurd this year. So, even if you do not believe it, you should play the odds and pickup his backup. Unfortunately, his top backup, RB Jerious Norwood, suffered a knee injury recently. But he should be fine by the time Turner goes down. But you should also keep an eye on RB Jason Snelling and rookie RB Thomas Brown, who could get some work if Turner succumbs to “the curse”.

RB Frank Gore (SF): Gore is a highly-ranked RB this year, due to his skill level, the offense he is working in, and his history of being productive. However, he also has a history of being injury-prone. And rookie RB Glenn Cofffee is playing ver well. So add him if you have Gore, and look like a genius when Gore misses time and you casually insert Coffee into the lineup and pile up the points.

RB Brian Westbrook (PHI): If you gamble on Westbrook early, you need to make sure you get RB LeSean McCoy later in the draft. McCoy should put up very Westbrook-like numbers if/when Westbrook goes down.

RB Marion Barber (DAL): It is not entirely clear what role Barber will have in the DAL offense this year. But he should get enough touches to make him a very solid RB2. Either way, in the event that his brutish running-style causes him to miss any games, look for RB Tashard Choice to pick up his touches. RB Felix Jones should continue to get his own touches no matter what, although they would likely increase in the event that Barber goes down.

RB Pierre Thomas (NO): Thomas came into the year with high expectatoins, but an MCL injury has put his status for week 1 in doubt. If you have Thomas on your team, you should also add RB Mike Bell, who would benefit immensely if Thomas misses any time.

RB Clinton Porits (WAS): Those who had Portis on their team last year remember how much fun it was at the beginning of the season when he was killing it. And they also remember how miserable it was at the end of the year when he was getting killed. And now there are reports that he has a bruised rib. I love Portis and think he is about as tough as they come for NFL RBs. But as a result of his toughness, he often has nagging injuries. I think RB Ladell Betts will be involved more this year, and he should be on your roster if you own Portis.

RB Marshawn Lynch (BUF): We already know Lynch is going to miss the first 3 games of the year, which means RB Fred Jackson is going to get a majority of the touches during that time. Add him to your roster if you have Lynch, not only for those first three games, but also for later, just in case Lynch gets injured or cannot keep his nose clean.

RB Thomas Jones (NYJ): Thomas is getting older and has not looked good so far this year. But he did have a career-year in 2008, so it is hard to discount him completely. Either way, if he were to get hurt or become entirely ineffective, RB Shonn Greene would probably take over his role as the main ballcarrier. Although I think RB Leon Washington is the only NYJ RB worth owning, Greene will probbaly do alright in the event Jones goes down. But, like the situation in DAL, Washington would probably see his touches go up, as well.

RB Knowshon Moreno (DEN): Moreno has a ton of potential, unfortunately we have no idea whether he will ever meet said potential, because we have yet to see him play in the NFL for any legitimate amount of time due to a knee injury he suffered early on in his first preseason game (after a long holdout). I suspect he will be fine once he recovers, but if you took a flyer on him in your draft, you should also add RB Peyton Hillis, who seems (to me, anyway) as the best option DEN has if/when Moreno is out. RB Correll Buckhalter and RB LaMont Jordan are also in the mix, I suppose, but Hillis should be the most effective RB in the group.

RB Joseph Addai (IND): Addai has been fairly ineffective recently, and he has struggled to stay healthy. Enter rookie RB Donald Brown, who has looked sharp so far. It is hard to say what will happen with this RBBC, but it is safe to say that if Addai gets injured or cannot get the job done, Brown will step in and could do very well.

RB Jamal Lewis (CLE): Lewis has looked slow this preseason and is at that magical age (30) when RBs go down hill. So if you take him, you should also grab RB James Davis, who could supplant him as the starter by midseason.

RB Willie Parker (PIT): Parker has seen his YPC go down each year since becoming the starter. That is not a good sign of things to come. So if you take Fast Willie, make sure you also grab RB Rashard Mendenhall, who should see his role increase as the year goes along, especially if FWP cannot stay healthy.

Players to Watch Tonight

August 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Eight teams play their first preseason games tonight. Here is a list of some players to keep an eye on.

NE v. PHI

QB Tom Brady (NE): How comfortable does he look in the pocket?

RB Fred Taylor (NE): Does he have anything left?

WR Greg Lewis (NE): Can he beat out WR Joey Galloway for the number 3 WR spot?

RB LeSean McCoy (PHI): Can he live up to the hype?

WR DeSean Jackson (PHI): Is he ready to take the next step?

WR Jeremy Maclin (PHI): Will he have any impact as a rookie?

BAL v. WAS

QB Joe Flacco (BAL): Has he progressed at all?

RB Ray Rice (BAL): Is he ready to be the main ballcarrier?

WR Demetrius Williams (BAL): Can he stay healthy and make some plays?

QB Jason Campbell (WAS): Can he relax and take charge of the offense?

WR Devin Thomas (WAS): Is he ready to make an impact?

ARI v. PIT

RB Tim Hightower (ARI): Can he hold onto the number 1 spot

RB Rashard Mendenhall (PIT): Can he show us something other than his ability to get hurt?

WR Limas Sweed (PIT): Can he live up to the hype he had while at Texas?

DAL v. OAK

QB Jamarcus Russell (OAK): Does he still look like a bust?

RB Darren McFadden (OAK): How do the Raiders use him?

WR Chaz Shilens (OAK): Could he be a sleeper?

WR Johnnie Lee Higgins (OAK): He caught a TD pass in each of the last 3 games in 08. Fluke?

QB Tony Romo (DAL): Is he more relaxed without WR Terrell Owens around?

RB Marion Barber (DAL): Will he go back to his old role as TD-machine and game-closer?

RB Felix Jones (DAL): How do the Cowboys use him?

WR Miles Austin (DAL): Is the sleeper-hype justified?

RB Handcuffs

August 10, 2009 Leave a comment

You have all heard the term “handcuff” before when referring to fantasy football players and their backups. Generally, I am not a huge fan of automatically drafting a “handcuff” for your starter, but there are situations when it can be valuable.

I would only recommend drafting a handcuff if you are drafting a RB with a high (e.g. first 3 or 4 rounds) who is (1) injury-prone and (2) plays in a high-powered offense. For example, I would recommend grabbing Westbrook’s backup, because he is injury prone and the Eagles’ offense is very good. Conversely, I would not recommend grabbing RB Steven Jackson‘s handcuff, because he will not perform at anywhere near the same level. My point is this: Do not waste a pick by automatically selecting a handcuff for each of your RBs. There are more valuable players out there in many situations.

For your 2009 fantasy football draft, I would recommend the following handcuffs if you draft any of these players:

RB Adrian Peterson (MIN): Peterson accounts for a large percentage of the Viking offense. And it is reasonable to assume that if AP goes down, RB Chester Taylor will assume a similar role. Grabbing Taylor as a handcuff for AP can be tough, though, since Taylor gets enough touches on his own to make him worth drafting late. But it is always worthwhile to protect your investment in a guy like AP, who gets a lot of touches and thus is more exposed to potential injuries.

RB Brian Westbrook (PHI): Westbrook is old and about to breakdown. Or so everyone (including me) says. He could very well prove us all wrong this year, and avoid any injuries. But he is a risk. Handcuff = RB LeSean McCoy.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX): I do not consider MJD to be injury-prone, but any time a guy increases his workload in a significant way, you have to also consider him an increased risk to get injured. And the Jags like to make their RBs the focal point of their offense, so his backup should still do fairly well.  The only problem is, right now we are not entirely sure who that is going to be. Keep an eye on this situation throughout camp. Potential Handcuff(s) = FB Greg Jones, RB Chauncey Washington, and RB Rashad Jennings.

RB Brandon Jacobs (NYG): Jacobs is a bruiser. And although he usually doles out more punishment than he receives, you can almost guarantee he will miss time in 09 with a nagging injury. However, much like the Jags, it is not clear yet who would be the primary ball carrier if Jacobs goes down. Keep an eye on the battle for his backup during camp. Potential Handcuff(s) = RB Ahmad Bradshaw, RB Danny Ware, and RB Andre Brown.

RB Marion Barber (DAL): Although Barber did miss some time last year due to injury, I do not consider him injury prone. However, due to his running style, it is always a possibility. Handcuff = RB Tashard Choice (Note: I do not consider RB Felix Jones to be a handcuff for Barber, because I think Jones will be used differently in the offense.)

RB LaDainian Tomlinson (SD): As we all know, LT is getting older. And last year showed us that he is, in fact, human. Although I do expect him to have a better year in 09, there is no reason to be foolish. Handcuff = RB Darren Sproles (Note: Due to the touches he will get regardless, Sproles will likely go pretty early. If you do not want to waste an early pick on a handcuff, then consider grabbing RB Gartrell Johnson later.)

RB Clinton Portis (WAS): The Skins want to reduce his workload already, but despite how tough Portis is, he has missed some time due to injury. Handcuff = RB Ladell Betts.

RB Darren McFadden (OAK): The Raiders love to run the ball. And they want to make McFadden a focal point on offense. But McFadden has a slight build, is an upright runner, and missed quite a few games in 08 due to injuries. Handcuff = RB Michael Bush (Note: RB Justin Fargas is in the mix, too, so watch how the Raiders use these guys in camp.)

RB Thomas Jones (NYG): Jones had a surprisingly good year in 08. But he is past the 30-year old mark and he is unhappy with his contract. Plus he has a shaky QB situation. And he has a rookie RB breathing down his neck. Handcuff = RB Shonn Green. (Note: RB Leon Washington, much like Sproles and Felix Jones, already has a role in the offense, but I do not expect him to become the full-time RB if Jones goes down.)

RB Marshawn Lynch (BUF): Lynch is already scheduled to miss the first 3 games of the year due to an NFL-imposed suspension. Which makes drafting him fairly risky to begin with. But he should do well later in the year to make him attractive in the middle rounds of the draft. If nothing else, you will want a replacement for the first 3 games. Handcuff = RB Fred Jackson.

RB Larry Johnson (KC): No one really knows what to expect out of the Chiefs this year. New Coach. New GM. New QB. And a happy LJ? It’s hard to say how it will all work out, but we do know that LJ has had his fair share of injury issues in the past. Handcuff = RB Jamaal Charles.

RB Jamal Lewis (CLE): I am still surprised Lewis has an NFL career, at this point. It seems like he has been around forever, and I expected him to fade away awhile ago. And this may be the year it finally happens. Handcuff = RB James Davis.

RB Joseph Addai (IND): We all know about the struggles Addai had last year. And then the Colts went out and drafted a talented rookie RB. So if you roll the dice with Addai, you better be willing to spend a mid-round pick on insurance. Handcuff = RB Donald Brown.

RB Willie Parker (PIT): Parker has been slowly declining for the past couple of seasons, and missed significant time last year due to injuries. He is getting older and there is youth behind him. Handcuff = RB Rashard Mendenhall.


“I Love You, Man”

July 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Every year, there are guys who are not rated as highly as I think they should be. And then there are some guys who, for some reason or another, I simply fall in love with. You cannot really call most of these guys “sleepers”, since they are definitely on peoples’ radars. But they are guys who I think are underrated.

QB Aaron Rodgers (GB): Yes, he is consistently ranked as a top-10 QB, and even top-5 on a lot of lists. But he was second only to QB Drew Brees last year in total scoring. And I think he will only get better in 2009. The Favre-saga is [mostly] behind him and now he is the unquestioned leader of the team. I have him ranked 3rd, after Brees and QB Tom Brady.

RB Steven Jackson (STL): The more I think about Jackson, the more I like him. And its not just because of his sweet Nike commercials. Last year, Jackson held out thru training camp. And, in the history of the NFL, that basically guarantees that you will get injured. (RB Ryan Grant suffered the same fate.) However, this year, he comes into camp ready to play. And the Rams’ line is much-improved. I think Jackson will return to fantasy stardom. He is not without risk, however.

RB Steve Slaton (HOU): Slaton has everything you want in a top fantasy RB: (1) youth, (2) running ability, (3) receiving ability, (4) a high-powered offense, and (5) no potential threat as a backup. Last year, Slaton surprised many with his combo of running and receiving skills, and posted over 1600 yards and 10 total TDs. I think he will be even better this year. And I am not at all worried about RB Chris Brown or RB Ryan Moats taking carries away from him. Which is a huge plus these days.

RB Marion Barber (DAL): Barber was expected to blow up last year. But injuries limited him in the second-half of the season. Guys like Barber can be annoying in fantasy football: They are too tough to sit down when they are hurt, but they are less effective (for fantasy purposes). It was clear his toe injury was bothering him. But I think he will be back this year. He may never be a full-time RB, due to the flexibility and talent of RB Felix Jones and the emergence of backup RB Tashard Choice, but he is still the most complete RB on that team, and he has one of the best noses for the endzone in the NFL.

RB Ryan Grant (GB): He struggled last year because he tried to play through a hamstring injury after missing camp due to a holdout. But he should come in this year healthy and ready to pick up where he left off in 2008. For some reason, the Packers like to utilize one RB, which is good for Grant. Barring injury, I think he will end the year as a borderline RB1.

RB Kevin Smith (DET): Smith quietly put up a very solid rookie season in 2008. And keep in mind, he did that while sharing carries with RB Rudi Johson (seriously?) early in the year and while playing for the 0-16 Lions, who were constantly playing from behind. I do not expect the Lions to be much better than last year, but Smith should be the unquestionable starter and get quite a few carries. I think he is a solid RB2.

RB Ray Rice (BAL): I think the RB Willis McGahee experiment in Baltimore is about to end. Rice looked very good last year and McGahee has struggled mightily with injuries lately. Plus, he seems to have lost his explosion and desire. Rice, on the other hand, has both. Unfortunatley, as long as McGahee (and FB/RB Le’Ron McClain) is in the picture, Rice will not be the stud he could otherwise be. Watch the news from Ravens camp to see how the team decides to use these guys.

WR Terrell Owens (BUF): It hurts my [football] soul to even include him on this list, but I do think TO is underrated this year. QB Trent Edwards is a better than you think. And WR Lee Evans is better than anyone TO has had across from him in awhile. Plus, TO always has a one-year honeymoon period with his new team, before he starts tearing them apart from the inside. And he only has a one-year contract. Much like WR Randy Moss when he first showed up in New England, TO will have something to prove.

WR Dwayne Bowe (KC): He is ranked pretty high on most lists, but not high enough, if you ask me. This guy is a stud. And he put up very good numbers over the past couple years with very marginal QBs . In 2008, he was third to only WR Brandon Marshall and WR Andre Johnson in targets among WRs. And QB Matt Cassel is clearly better than the previous KC QBs. So Bowe should benefit. And without TE Tony Gonzalez, Bowe should become the primary redzone target.

Week 15: Injury Updates

December 13, 2008 2 comments

QB Jeff Garcia: Garcia is questionable and may not start. If he cannot go, QB Luke McCown would get the start. I do not recommend either of them against the Falcons. UPDATE 12/15/08: Garcia has been ruled out. QB Brian Griese will get the start.

QB Gus Frerotte: Frerotte (back) is doubtful. If he cannot go, QB Tavaris Jackson will get the start. Avoid him. Even against the Cardinals.

QB Matt Hasselbeck: Hasselbeck is out this week. QB Seneca Wallace will get another start. If you are desperate, he might do well against the Rams.

RB Brandon Jacobs: Jacobs (knee) is out this week. Look for RB Ahmad Bradshaw and RB Derrick Ward to get more work. Both have a pretty good matchup against the Cowboys.

UPDATE 12/15/08: RB Reggie Bush: Bush (knee) will undergo an MRI on his knee and may miss the rest of the season. With Bush out, expect RB Pierre Thomas to get more carries and perform pretty well.

RB Fred Taylor: Taylor (hand) is on IR. RB Maurice Jones-Drew will get all the carries.

RB Frank Gore: Gore (ankle) will not play this weekend. RB Deshaun Foster will get the start.

RB Marion Barber: Barber (toe) is listed as probable this week. But even if he does play, he will likely split carries with RB Tashard Choice, who looked good last week against Pittsburgh.

RB Ray Rice: Rice (shin) is doubtful. So look for RB Willis McGahee and RB Le’Ron McClain to get more work.

RB LenDale White: White missed two straight practices this week. His status for the game against the Texans is unclear. If he cannot go, expect RB Chris Johnson to have a big game.

RB Joseph Addai: Addai (shoulder) is questionable this week. I expect RB Dominic Rhodes, who has been playing well, to get more work. He has a very good matchup. UPDATE 12/15/08: Addai plans to dress for the game, but I expect Rhodes to get nearly all the carries, still.