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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.

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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?

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

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.


Week 4: Injury Updates

September 29, 2008 Leave a comment

QB Carson Palmer (CIN): Palmer did not start this weekend due to a sore elbow, which was somewhat of a surprise. And now it appears that his injury might be serious.

QB Aaron Rodgers (GB): Rodgers sprained his shoulder scrambling (which he does way too much). He did throw a TD after hurting his shoulder, but also said that it was very painful. I expect him to play on Sunday.

RB Brian Westbrook (PHI): Westbrook did not play last night against the Bears. He was a game-time decision, though, so he may be ready to go this week against the Redskins. If not, Correll Buckhalter will likely start in his place.

RB Darren McFadden (OAK): Despite what McFadden says, his toe is clearly bothering him. For the second straight game, Michael Bush seemed like the better option at RB. I have never been very high on McFadden, and his lingering toe injury makes me like him even less.

RB Willis McGahee (BAL): McGahee had an eye injury coming into the game, then injured his chest, but returned only to leave again with an unspecified injury. Le’Ron McClain carried the load for the rest of the game, putting up 63 yards and a TD on 16 carries. Even if McGahee is healthy, it is safe to say that McClain will get some touches and likely the goal line carries.

RB Rashard Mendenhall (PIT): Rookie RB Rashard Mendenhall broke a bone in his shoulder on MNF and is out for the season. The Steelers expect Willie Parker to be back next week, but if he is not 100% healthy, add RB Mewelde Moore.

WR Anquan Boldin (ARI): Boldin was knocked unconscious towards the end of the game on Sunday. What initially looked like a much worse injury may end up being a concussion. It is unclear whether he will be ready for next week.

Week 4 Start/Sit: Bad Matchups

September 25, 2008 Leave a comment

The decision to start/sit a player really depends on your alternatives. With that in mind, here are some players/teams with some bad matchups this week that I would likely sit:

QB Matt Schaub (HOU): Schaub has not been playing well this year (1 TD, 5 INTs in two games), and life does not get any easier this weekend on the road against the Jaguars. Although Jacksonville has not lived up to expectations, they do have a solid defense (ranked 14th). Rookie RB Steve Slaton showed some promise last week, putting up over 100 yards on a tough Tennessee defense, but Schaub still struggled. Unfortunately, when when Schaub struggles, so does WR Andre Johnson struggles. However, you could easily blame Johnson, and not Schaub, for his two dropped potential TD passes last week. And he did still have 10 targets. I own Andre Johnson and I am starting him this week, but I am well aware that I could end up disappointed (again).

QB Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), RB Rashard Mendenhall (PIT): The Steelers are beat up and will be missing starting RB Willie Parker. Although I previously said Mendenhall is worth a roster spot and possibly a start if you are thin at RB, do not expect much from him against a Baltimore defense that has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in over 20 games. Mendenhall will get 20+ carries and could find the endzone, but temper your expectations, particularly with Big Ben’s injuries. Also, remember that the Ravens defense has looked dominant, but it did so against the Bengals and the Browns, teams that are simply struggling in general.

QB Kyle Orton (CHI), RB Matt Forte (CHI), WR Brandon Lloyd (CHI): The Bears have been somewhat surprising on offense this year, behind rookie RB Matt Forte and newly-appointed starting QB Kyle Orton. And last week, WR Brandon Lloyd showed signs of life with his 124-yard, 1 TD performance. But that was against the Bucs, who are not as strong as the Eagles on defense. Look for Philly Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson to blitz Orton, and look for the Philly CBs to shut down Lloyd. Fotre is a better play than Orton or Lloyd, but the Eagles have allowed less than 50 yards per game on the ground this year (best in the NFL).