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Fantasy Nation 2014

eagle eye

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Fantasy football season is upon us. With the beginning of training camps across the league thus begins fantasy football team owners quest to figure out the best of their options when draft day rolls around. Now, some leagues draft early, maybe even having done so already. I think that does such a disservice to the fantasy owners because of exactly what happened over the weekend when several running backs were lost for either the season or a significant amount of time. The leagues I'm in draft after the 3rd preseason game and by 3rd I mean the so-called rehearsal game before the final preseason game. For teams like the Bills and Giants who are this year's participants in the annual Hall of Fame game that kicks off the preseason a week prior to everyone else that would be their 4th game but it is still the traditional game when the opening day starters play at least a half as a final tune up for the regular season. After that game the starters, and by proxy the primary fantasy players, won't see the field again until opening day. So far this has been a tough week for role players across the league. Let's take a look at some of the first week camp casualties and news worthy items.


> Indianapolis Colts RB Vick Ballard is done for the season with a torn ACL. Ballard had actually surpassed Trent Richardson on the depth chart last season and he figured to be part of the Colts RB rotation.


> San Francisco 49ers lost two RBs this weekend. The first was #2 man, Kendall Hunter, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL on Saturday. On Sunday LaMichael James went down with a dislocated elbow and is expected to miss a month of action which is basically all of training camp.


> Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice will miss the first two games of the season due to suspension for violating the leagues code of conduct policy. Rice is still in the news as there are many people who are outraged over what many believe is the light penalty handed down by the league office. Rice is guilty of knocking his then fiancée out in an Atlantic City elevator. The outrage comes as a perceived belief that the NFL is not hard line enough on players guilty of domestic violence and/or sexual misconduct.

The Ravens have good news though, Bernard Pierce who shoulder surgery with practice without restriction as he is recovered from shoulder surgery this past January.


> People are wondering what implications the Marshawn Lynch holdout will be for fantasy owners. I'm sure how long Lynch will hold out but back in 1993 Emmitt Smith held out through training camp and missed the first two games of the season before coming to terms with the Cowboys on a new contract. The fact Dallas lost both games strengthened Smith's bargaining position and when he came back he had another stellar season winning a second consecutive rushing title and leading the Cowboys to their second Super Bowl of the decade. A veteran guy like Lynch shouldn't miss training camp much and it would save wear and tear on his body and he has shouldered a big work load since coming to Seattle. The Seahawks, for their part, are not interested in upping Lynch's contract. They feel the 5 year $30mm deal he signed 3 years ago is fair. I found it quite interesting that Lynch is not listed on the Seahawks 2014 roster on their web site. Demitrius Bronson, Christine Michael and Robert Turbin are the only RBs listed.


> Falcons WR Julio Jones began training camp with the team although it's on a limited basis as he rehabs from off season foot surgery. He should be good to go by the regular season opener.


> There is a rave about rookie WR Sammy Watkins in Buffalo. He has really turned heads with his athletic ability. Could Watkins be that rare WR who is able to make an impact in his first season? The transition from college to the pros seems to be the hardest for WRs and it's rare when a receiver can make a lot of positive noise as a rookie. It's not like it can't be done. Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones and Dez Bryant come to mind as players who overcame the rookie blues to have good seasons. Reports are that Watkins and QB EJ Manual have put in extra time together to develop some chemistry. Watkins could be a bit of a steal in fantasy drafts.


> Last but not least is the reports out of Vikings camp that Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater are going 50-50 in snaps so far in training camp. Kind of makes it hard to decide on who to consider when fantasy drafts come around. Either way with Norv Turner as the OC both should have their share of success. Norv has had a lot of success as an offensive coordinator and he's helped a lot of young QBs develop going all the way back to Troy Aikman.

Edited by eagle eye
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  • 2 weeks later...

We know that David Wilson was forced to retire after only 2 seasons in the NFL due to a neck injury. Sad for Wilson who showed such promise in his brief career.

Now, former Giant TE Jake Ballard has retired after four seasons in the NFL. Ballard suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in the Giants Super Bowl XLVI win over the Patriots following the 2011 season. Seems like it was longer than 3 years ago. Ballard ended up having micro fracture knee surgery and in his retirement statement today Ballard said that his knee has never been the same since. He said he had seen other players who had a poor quality post football life and he wanted to avoid being one of those guys.


Boomer just texted me saying the Redskins lost #1 WR Pierre Garcon to a hamstring pull and #1A WR DeSean Jackson to an ankle injury. If D-Jax has the dreaded high ankle sprain he could be lost for up to a month of the season. As for Garcon, if his hammies are of the same ilk as, say, Miles Austin, this may never go away during the season. Redskins fans would not like this at all. Non-Redskins fans, on the other, hand may not be as sorry.


I probably passed the info along at some point but I honestly couldn't remember that the Patriots have one Brandon LaFell on their roster. Tom Brady commented today that it was nice to have the 6'3" LaFell on the field because he already has the little pygmies to throw to referring to Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman. Brady gave an immediate disclaimer that he was only joking about the "pygmies" line. He said he knew both guys knew he was only joking. The Pats do have another big guy in 6'3" Aaron Dobson but he's missed time with a foot injury. The knock on LaFell has been his iffy hands but after a deep indoctrination in "the Patriot Way" LaFell has been a consistant playmaker in training camp. Could be I just gave you fantasy fanatics a sleeper alert!


Here's another sleeper alert of sorts; in Minnesota Viking camp they are reporting that rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater has looked really good so far in training camp and he's taken first team reps in practices lately. There is a feeling that Matt Cassel has the inside track as the starter on opening day but if Bridgewater continues to impress you never know what Norv Turner might do.


It's looking like fantasy players should consider avoiding taking any of the Jets running backs. Not because they suck but because it sounds very much like a 3 headed monster at the position, at least to begin the season. The Jets have Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell all listed as starters in the first incarnation of the Jets depth chart.


You have to wonder if Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan are just a little bit pissed at QB coach Wade Wilson who told reporters that Tony Romo is having trouble throwing the deep ball and he feels it's because of his back. Teams don't normally divulge information such as pointing out player weaknesses. It could be construed as giving the other team a competitive advantage. Unless it's a ploy by the team to make Romo seem less effective....but, wait. Romo isn't playing tomorrow night vs San Diego. Yeah, you gotta feel that there may be a heart-to-heart in Wilson's future.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The next two weeks are really important for fantasy football team owners because the league drafts will be coming hot and heavy. My personal preference is to draft the week after the 3rd preseason game which is the last time, for the most part, teams play their starters. The 3rd game is considered the rehearsal game and the starters all play at least a full half. It's sort of the last time the starters are in for any length of time and the last time they can get hurt before the season opener. It makes for the best draft IMO.


There has been some injuries to make a note about so let's get started.


Jets WR Jalen Saunders was in a car accident on the way to practice this morning. He went to the hospital but he didn't suffer anything worth noting. He will be held out of the game vs Cincinnati this week. Saunders is a 4th round draft pick out of Oklahoma.


Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe will miss the first game of the season because he has been suspended for a marijuana bust last November. Reports are that Bowe has struggled in training camp because one of his fingers and I'm guessing either an index or middle finger has been dislocated about 15 times. Andy Reid was quoted as saying Bowe's finger "is shot". That is definitely good information for a fantasy draft.


Bears TE Zach Miller suffered a lisfranc injury and has been placed on season ending IR. The Bears have reinstated TE Martellus Bennett and in the game last night Bennett had one catch for 25 yards.


I still can't believe that Blaine Gabbert goes from the outhouse to the penthouse in terms of his situation. Leaving the Jaguars and signing with the 49ers is a complete 180 degree turn. 49ers head man Jim Harbaugh said that he's pleased with Gabbert's work so far. Go figure, but the expectations are certainly different with Gabbert no more than a backup to Colin Kaepernick. It made me wonder what happened to Colt McCoy who experienced the same turn of events last year going from Cleveland to San Francisco. Well, it seems McCoy's commitment to San Fran ended when the season did and he was signed by the Washington Redskins. He will be somewhere in the pecking order of RGIII, Kirk Cousins and him if the Redskins decide to keep three QBs.


Speaking of the Jags, they played the Chicago Bears and were actually leading the game until a late surge by Chicago gave the Bears a 20-19 win. Both of the Jags QB did a decent job with Chad Henne going 12/17 for 130 yards and a TD and Bortles going 11/17 for 160 yards. On the other side Jay Cutler was sharp in his outing going 5-7 for 75 yards and a TD to Brandon Marshall.


For Marc Sanchez fans in his first series of the game he leads the Eagles in the 2:00 drill to end the first half and he guides them to a TD with :41 seconds left in the half. Sanchez hit Ifeani Momah who fell and the ball popped up and was caught by teammate Areleus Benn for the score. The first half is over with score tied 21-21.


In tonight's other game New Orleans is hosting Tennessee and mid way through the second quarter the Titans are leading 10-7. Drew Brees is not playing again this week. Luke McCown is leading the Saints and he's not doing bad. He's 10-16 for 92 yds and a TD. Jake Locker is also doing well for his team. Locker is 8-11 for 75 yds and a TD. The big gun for the Titans has been Shonn Greene who has gained 33 yds in 8 carries so far.

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After decent showings in the past two preseason games Eagles head coach Chip Kelly says if anyone wants to trade for Marc Sanchez he will listen. Does that mean Sanchez has played well enough to earn some trade value or is Kelly not all that impressed with Sanchez and is looking for a way to move him? I believe it's the former and when asked if he was open to a deal Kelly said it would have to be a good deal. Sanchez is a better QB than he's given credit for. My pal Boomer is a fan of Sanchez, butt fumble not withstanding, and his arguments for this are pretty hard to dispute.


Could there be a QB controversy brewing in Minnesota? While Matt Cassel has been impressive so far in both preseason games Teddy Bridgewater showed why he was a man on everyone's radar in this year's draft. That is, of course, until his poor combine undercut his draft stock. The Vikings may just be the beneficiary of too much weight being put on those combine results. While Bridgewater was pretty bad last week he was really good against the Cardinals last night. He tossed two TD passes, one of which was at the end of a marvelous 2-minute offense with only :20 left on the clock in a 30-28 Vikings win. It will be very interesting to see what goes down in Viking land the next two weeks. Stuff like this can drive fantasy owners crazy when they try to draft.


The Buffalo Bills offense struggled again this week in a 19-16 loss to Pittsburgh. This make 3 games that the No 1 offense has struggled. EJ Manuel is frustrated and first round pick Sammy Watkins left the game with bruised ribs. Manuel seems to be able to move the team between the 20's but the red zone is a mystery he hasn't solved yet. Watkins should be okay going forward.


Rams RB Isiah Pead is done for 2014 after tearing his ACL on kickoff return in the Rams-Packers game. The damnable thing is it was a non-contact injury.


The most surprising thing this weekend was the total ass-whooping the Broncos put on the San Francisco 49ers. I feel like 34-0 is an ass-whooping. Everything went right for Denver and almost nothing worked for the Niners including an injury to SS Antoine Bethea which turned out to be a concussion. The Broncos were not the opponent I would have scheduled for the first game in my new stadium but that's who San Fran had with the inaugural preseason game at the 49ers new 1.2 Billion dollar stadium. It is a preseason game and doesn't really count so I guess they'll give the Niners a pass on this one.


Could the Colts have the best WR corp in football? With TY Hilton, Reggie Wayne and now an emerging Hakeem Nicks they Colts look pretty formidable. But the big question is who is the WR 1 in this group. Realistically, it will be either Wayne or Hilton but this is such a toss up. The other question that begs an answer is, will this be the year that Andrew Luck's Stanford buddy Colby Fleener finally be what everyone expected him to be? Third year is usually the charm for receivers, even tight ends. Could be Fleener could be a nice sleeper pick or maybe not.


This has nothing to do with fantasy sports but I'm watching the broadcast on Fox Sports of the Chiefs and Panthers game and Moss was a guest commentator and Moss did pretty darn well. It turns out, tonight anyway, that he's a pretty good communicator. He's light years better than LaDanian Tomlinson on the NFL Channel. Moss is poised and has a nice easy style where Tomlinson is nervous and has trouble putting his thoughts into the words he wants. I could easily see Moss moving into a good color man on Fox Broadcasts going forward.


Speaking of the Chiefs-Panthers, rookie QB Aaron Murray just came in the game for Kansas City and threw one pass---a touchdown to TE Travis Kelce--in a one play drive covering 43 yards in KC's first possession of the 3rd qtr giving the Chiefs a 16-14 lead. In 3 1st qtr possessions Carolina was not impressive at all going 3 and out in all 3 opportunities. The 2nd qtr was a little different with Carolina scoring TD's on two long drives that both ended with Jonathan Stewart runs of 2 and 3 yards.

Texas fans will happy to know that former Longhorn and former Cleveland Brown Fozzy Whittaker is having a nice 3rd qtr for his new team the Carolina Panthers. Carolina WR Brenton Berson has shown a little something in the second half with two very difficult catches, one for a 16 yard back should fade for a TD. Carolina needs WR help and this Berson kid seems to be trying to make a case for himself.

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You may have noticed or heard that KC's Jamaal Charles did not play in Sunday night's game vs Carolina. You may also have heard it was because Charles suffered an ankle injury. Head coach Andy Reid was vague about it until today when he explained that Charles twisted his ankle moving out of the dorm at the Chiefs training camp facility. For all you fantasy owners who were going to make Charles a top 5 pick don't press the panic button. First, Reid explained that Charles was carrying a box down a grassy hill and took a misstep off a curb and hurt his ankle. Second, after undergoing a series of tests including an MRI it was found all the tests were negative meaning his ankle is fine. Charles may not play in the game this week, normally considered the final rehearsal game for the starters, but it would be a 'why risk it?' type of deal. Normally, starters play into the 3rd quarter but with a guy as valuable to the Chiefs offense as Charles the Chiefs may decide to hold him out until opening weekend.


The Chiefs have other concerns namely with last year's No 1 pick tackle Eric Fisher not playing well so far in preseason after a so-so year in 2013. Andy Reid defended Fisher saying that his struggles stem from off season shoulder surgery and Reid believes with continued reps and game action he will get better. That would be great news for Alex Smith who got creamed by Carolina's Luke Kuechly and sacked by DL Greg Hardy.


Gronk is practicing with the team which is good news for the Pats. He participated in 11-11 team drills today.


Maybe the Bears have the best WR corp in the NFL -- now. The Bears have signed Santonio Holmes and he will join Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey as a formidable pass catching unit. Marc Trestman said that whatever baggage Holmes had in New York with the Jets is behind him and that people can change. Since Holmes was allowed to test free agency this past spring and he had little to no interest that can be an eye opening experience for a player. To start with Holmes will be competing with Josh Gordon for the 3rd WR spot so this job is not a gimme. Even if he makes the team Holmes doesn't figure to be much of a WR fantasy option.


It seems that Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has made his decision on who the opening day starter will be. (drum roll.....) Matt Cassel will be the man under center in the Viking 3rd game this week vs Kansas City. It seems that Cassel has been pretty impressive running the Norv Turner offense and he does have skills. Bridgewater has the luxury of sitting back with no pressure on him and learning how to be an NFL QB. He may take over at some point this season if Cassel falters but in all likelihood Teddy will wear a ball cap and carry a clipboard or ipad this season. With the weapons at hand and veteran QB Minnesota could be the sleeper team in the NFC this season.


It seems the hands-down winner of the most penalized team in the NFL this preseason is the New Orleans Saints. They had over 20 flags thrown on them this past weekend. Sean Payton can't be happy with that but to be honest refs so far in preseason have been ridiculous with the flags. They seem to be focusing on defensive holding particularly on DB's the overall flag rate is undeniably over the top. If the trend continues into the regular season we could be looking at a lot of 4 hour games.

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The Patriots don't have a running back they can count on. Yes, they have Shane Vareen but he's the guy that is good in the passing game, a third down specialist if you will. They have rookie draftee James White from Wisconsin but if you go by the first two preseason games Mr White ain't all that. There's Brandon Bolden, eh. Rookie out of Standford Tyler Gafney, eh. The best option the Patriots have is 4th year man Stevan Ridley. Trouble is Ridley stayed in Bill Belichick's dog house all last year because he kept putting the ball on the ground. It looks like he's back in residence at the dog house after fumbling again against the Eagles last Saturday. How do I know? Because after the fumble Ridley didn't play another down. Fantasy owners can take a chance on him but doing so you must know the chance you are taking. You think Bill Belichick wishes he's given LaGarrette Blount a deal instead of letting him get away and sign with the Steelers this off season? Blount is only 27 and has a good two years left in his prime. Blount produced for the Patriots and probably deserved a little more consideration.


The Arizona Cardinals defensive front seven took another hit over the weekend when DL Darnell Dockett was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Pro Bowl LB Karlos Dansby left for Cleveland in free agency and LB Daryl Washington was suspended for the entire year following his second violation of the NFL substance abuse policy. Arizona has the #1 defense against the run in 2013 but they will have a hard time repeating that with the losses they have suffered.


Okay fantasy owners, take note here. NFL.com is reporting that the Raiders have QB Matt Schaub locked in as the week one starter.


Last night's game featured two QB's who looked like neither of them wanted a starting job for their team. Cleveland's Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel were both stinking up the joint in a 24-23 loss to Washington. The Browns head coach Mike Pettine said last week that he would name a starter by Tuesday of this week. After both his top candidates pretty much screwed the pooch last night Pettine may want to rethink that strategy.

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The Arizona Cardinals got good news today when they were able to activate Tyrann (Honey Badger) Mathieu off the PUP list with hopes that he may be ready to go on opening day. Mathieu has ACL and LCL surgery on his knee this off season and he has been doing his rehab pretty diligently. Before he hurt his knee he was part of the discussion for defensive rookie of the year honors. The Cardinals didn't expect Mathieu back until Week 5 so he is definitely ahead of schedule in his bid to get back on the field.


Vikings Jerome Simpson is appealing his 3 game suspension. The suspension is based on an arrest last November for suspicion of driving while intoxicated when his car was broken down on a freeway just outside Minneapolis. The charge was plead down to careless driving and failure to submit to a chemical test. Simpson was absent from practice Monday so he could attend a hearing at the NFL league office to plead his case to reduce or revoke the suspension. Simpson told reporters on Tuesday that, "I just told the truth." Whether or not that helped his cause remains to be seen.


Speaking of suspensions, Cleveland's Josh Gordon is still waiting to find out what his punishment will be for a second offense for marijuana use from the NFL league office. The situation is under appeal and in the meantime Gordon has been a full participant in Browns training camp. His performance vs the Redskins on Monday night wasn't very good and head coach Mike Pettine said after film study that there were plays where Gordon could have put up a better effort. Could it be Gordon is assuming the worst and is just going through the motions? Could be. Why bust your hump if you can't even play this season? Pettine allowed Gordon to play into the 4th quarter of the game and despite criticism of playing him so long when he could be gone Pettine insisted that learning a new offense and new staff, etc, Gordon needed the work. Hopefully for Gordon's sake he gets to play this season.


Fantasy Flag! Bill Belichick said that WR Brandon LaFell can "have a big role" for the Patriots this season. Who knows if Darth Belichick is blowing smoke because with Rob Gronkowski coming back, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman working the slot and second year players Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Tompkins on the roster. It could be like the RB by committee approach to the WR/TE corp. In other words Brady goes to the hot receiver that week. It's for damn sure the Pats offense should be more explosive in 2014 even if they don't have a reliable RB.


Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt stated this week that newest RB Bishop Sankey from Oregon is not a fumbler despite a fumble in each of the two preseason games that Tennessee has played and reports that he's had exchange issues with QB's in practice. Maybe the issue will be that there seems to be a three headed monster at RB in Titan-land with Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster ahead of Sankey on the depth chart.


Two rookies who could be that breakout guy this season are Giants RB Andre Williams or maybe Falcons RB Devonta Freeman. Both have shown up well in preseason.

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Week 3 of preseason begins tonight with the battle of Pennsylvania. Yep, Pittsburgh and Philly tonight on the NFL channel and you will get to see the starters play no less than a quarter and probably no more than a series or two into the second half. It will give fantasy owners a chance to look at what both teams will be bringing to the table this year, as will most of this weekend's games. It will be pretty much vanilla on both sides of the ball as teams won't want to give anything away before the season begins. This weekend is about execution. Coaches and fantasy owners alike will be watching to see how sharp their favorite team is after 3 months of OTA's, mini camps and training camp. It could be a make or break weekend for many players and a chance to see just how good their "good" players still are. To me, this is the best weekend in preseason and it's the last game before my fantasy drafts will be held. It's also the last real chance a significant starter can be injured before the regular season begins which is a big reason I like my fantasy drafts after Week 3.


The biggest surprise is the announcement by the Cleveland Browns that Brian Hoyer will be the starting QB in Week 1. Or maybe this week. Or maybe practice today. Who knows but what we do know is Hoyer is the Browns guy. You sort of knew that when Cleveland gave him a big contract this off season and released Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell as well. It looked like the new regime in Cleveland was handing the keys to the car over to Hoyer. Then, along came Johnny Finger. Browns coach Mike Pettine gave Manziel every chance to win a starting job in Cleveland and by his own admission Manziel said he wasn't ready. Give him a half season or ideally a full season to learn the NFL game and Manziel will be the guy---unless Hoyer is exceptional. Then what do you do? No answers....................? Speaking of variations on Manziel's nickname, I heard one on Mike and Mike this morning. One newspaper changed Manziel's nickname to suit his backup status after Hoyer was named the starter. You ready? Johnny Bench. Not too shabby especially if you are aware of baseball history.


The Saints have been trying to replace RB Pierre Thomas for several years now. But, every year Thomas still ends up the primary back in the Saints offense. This year is no different as Thomas is currently listed as #3 on the depth chart but it's not like the 29 year old RB is over the hill. And it's not like he's sitting on his laurels expecting to carry the rock. In an interview he said that somebody will have to put him on the bench because they are better than he is but it won't be easy because he claims nobody will out work him. He is also readying himself for a bigger role in the passing offense now that Darren Sproles is gone to Philly. He has worked hard this off season to improve his pass blocking and receiving skills with an eye on becoming a 3rd down type of back. This may be necessary because Mark Ingram has been pretty darn good at RB this training camp and is showing signs of being a good early down back. We'll see how the Saints play both guys this weekend.


Another thing to watch this weekend is a move the Patriots seem to be making. Bill Belichick cut his NFL teeth on the 3-4 defense in the 1980's under Bill Parcels and he has used that defense predominately since as a head coach. In recent years though there have been times when the Patriots have been more of a 4-3 defense because of the personnel they have had and because of injuries. According to watchful eyes in Patriot country it's being reported that New England has been going back to using more 3-4 sets this off season and one of the biggest changes is that DL Chandler Jones, who has been playing defensive tackle is being used as a strong side outside linebacker in that 3-4. I will be watching this weekend for sure.

Edited by eagle eye
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The only thing that we learned tonight is that Philadelphia is better than Pittsburgh tonight. That's not entirely true. We saw a glimpse of how the Eagles will use LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles and that is as scary a tandem as you'll find in the NFL. McCoy did leave in the 2nd quarter with early reports he has an issue with his hand or wrist. Nick Foles did a good job and Marc Sanchez continues to impress. Now, if you look at the final score of Philly 31 Pitt 21 you think that Philly dominated and offensively they did but Pittsburgh's offense looked confused. Ben Roethlesberger was out of sync with just about everyone and everyone seemed like they were in a fog. It may have been a marijuana fog because the top two RB's on the Steelers roster were arrested on Wednesday for possession of pot. First offenders of the NFL substance abuse policy have been getting 4 game suspensions for first offenses and second timers face a year's suspension. Le'Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount and an unidentified female were arrested and charged with possession of about 20g of marijuana. Bell also faces a DUI charge for being high. It appears that both are first time offenders. Besides the legal ramifications the potential of a suspension is a very likely possibility. Being so close to the beginning of the season it would seem likely the suspensions would come around mid season after the legal system has their way with both players. The legal matters facing both player could and probably should be considered in fantasy football drafts.
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Steelers RB Isaac Redman has officially retired from the NFL due to a spinal cord injury suffered last season. Redman played 5 seasons in the NFL and he was at the top of the Steelers RB depth chart at the end of last season. After the conclusion of the 2013 season Redman went to California to see the doctor to did Peyton Manning's neck surgery and after 2 MRI's and a CAT scan Dr Watkins to Redman he has suffered a career ending spinal cord injury. This news comes right on the heels of the retirement of 2nd year player for Dallas DeVonte Holloman due to a neck injury.


Need some advice on your fantasy draft? Well, take this with a grain of salt but Jets teammates swear CJ2K (Chris Johnson) has "still got it". This means his teammates have seen the outright speed that made him famous at the 2009 Draft Combine when he ran a 4.2 40. Johnson's production has dropped the last two seasons but I seriously believe it was more to do with a poor offensive line and poor offensive scheme in Tennessee under then head coach Mike Munchak. The whole world knows that Rex Ryan loves his ground and pound running game and with Johnson and Chris Ivory leading the charge that running game could see a big resurgence in New York. Johnson may well be the sleeper hit of the season and the comeback player of the year in the NFL. That all depends on if Geno Smith can produce a viable threat in the passing game so teams can't load up 8 in the box to stop the run.


Chris Wesserling of NFL.com has an article, What to Watch in Friday's Preseason Games, and I am intrigued by his first choice of who to watch and I agree with him. Jacksonville takes on Detroit tonight and the guy to watch according to Wesserling is Blake Bortles. Bortles could have been the first pick in the draft by Houston if they so chose so to watch his progression will be interesting. Week 3 in preseason is arguably the most important for players to make a team and in this case may determine who will start in Week 1. Can Bortles wrestle a starting position over Chad Henne who has been said to have had an excellent camp? Good stuff.


The other game I will be interested in checking out at some point in the battle for New York. The Giants and Jets face off against one another and we may get a look to see if Eli Manning is as bad as he's looked so far in preseason and if Geno Smith is really, really the guy for the Jets or has Michael Vick overtaken him? Also, we'll get a good look at the aforementioned Chris Johnson.

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Take aways from last night's games.


> St Louis is in a bit of trouble if Sam Bradford hurt his knee bad enough he has to miss a bunch of games. There are those who feel the Rams have the quality of team to challenge Seattle for the division. But, only if Bradford is healthy.

> Miami's got a nice two headed RB monster in Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno. If you draft one in your fantasy league make sure you take the other as a handcuff or flex player. I like Moreno myself.

> Ronnie Hillman will be the man for a while as Montee Ball recovers from an appendectomy he had prior to training camp. Rookie Juwan Thompson from Duke looked pretty good too.

> It looks like Houston intends to run the hell out of the ball so, I will be very interested in Arian Foster on my fantasy team. Foster was held out last night which gave quality reps to Jonathan Grimes and Alfred Blue but Foster is still the man and from all reports in the practices with the Broncos this past week he was impressive.

> I will be shocked if Ryan Williams doesn't make the Cowboys final roster. The guy has torn it up the past two weeks. Granted it's been against 2nd and 3rd teamers but he has run hard and with passion. This guy was a 2nd round pick coming out of college who has some bad luck with injuries while with Arizona but right now he's healthy (depending on the groin injury he suffered last night) and playing better than either Joseph Randall or Lance Dunbar. I honestly think if Dallas doesn't keep 4 RB's Dunbar could be the odd man out.

> Dez Bryant is just awesome. You'd be foolish to pass on him in your draft.

> Emanuel Sanders missed training camp time with a quad issue but he's back and Peyton Manning seems to like the guy. Sanders could be a huge part of the Denver offense especially if Wes Welker is having concussion issues. Nice little sleeper pick here.

> Eric Decker didn't do bad against the Giants on Friday night. In deeper leagues he may be a solid pickup in fantasy drafts.

> I think Chris Johnson will have a resurgent year in New York. I think the change of scenery will suit him just fine.

> Minnesota just undressed the Chiefs last night. I have seen a few highlights and Teddy Bridgewater is making it hard on coaches to decide if the starter should be him or Matt Cassel. If you are in a deep league or a 2 QB league you might take a chance on ........... Crap, see what I mean?


More to come.

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NFL teams have to cut their rosters from the current 90 man rosters to the target of 75 players by tomorrow evening. Here's a list of notable cuts made today around the NFL from and article on NFL.com.




The most notable roster move was made yesterday when the Rams announced that their starting QB Sam Bradford had torn the ACL in his left leg which is the same ACL he tore last season. This leaves St Louis with going with career backup Shaun Hill or making a trade for a better option like a Marc Sanchez or a Kirk Cousins or maybe even a Michael Vick. I'm just throwing out some names here but the Marc Sanchez option was given some air today but Sanchez says he is perfectly happy in Philly playing for Chip Kelly. The loss of Bradford is a huge blow to a Rams team who had a shot at winning the NFC West with a healthy Sam Bradford. The Rams can still do the deal but Hill will have be damn good or and deal the Rams make will have to translate into a very productive QB. For those of you who are looking at who you can pick up on the cheap consider this---if they weren't good enough to make a team's 75 why would you think they'd be any better on your team?

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Here's a list of all the notable cuts made by NFL teams through today to get down to the 75 man roster limit as teams head into the final preseason game this year. It will be the last chance for bubble players prove their worth to their team or at least get quality film for the 31 other potential employers in the NFL.




Okay, I didn't know this but Denver kicker Matt Prater will be suspended for the first 4 games of the season for violating the NFL substance abuse policy by drinking beer between mandatory mini camp in June and training camp which began the end of July. Why? Because Prater was already in the program because of a DUI he got in 2011. Actually, Prater is lucky he wasn't suspended for the whole season. If he isn't he should be ecstatic over his suspension for 4 games considering the alternative. As a result Denver traded for Giants UFA rookie kicker Bryan McManus for a seventh round draft choice. It was thought that the Giants would cut McManus but Denver didn't want to take a chance on losing out to a team like Philadelphia who needs a kicker so they made the deal. McManus has impressed with his kicking in training camp with 10 touchbacks in 11 kickoffs and he's been knocking down 46-47 yard field goals as well. If McManus really is the real deal in the first 4 games of the season Matt Prater may be looking for job himself.


The Jets have suspended CB Dimitri Patterson for the entire 2014 season after he mysteriously disappeared over last weekend including the Jets game against the Giants. The Jets plan to use the time to gather information on why Patterson ditched his team during a critical time in the preseason so they know how to, if possible, help him.


The trade the New England Patriots made with Tampa Bay to acquire tight end Tim Wright is reportedly not an alarm that Rob Gronkowski's knee is not healed and a possible scratch for opening day. No, it's a deal that fills a need by the Patriots to fill the void left by former TE Aaron Hernandez. At 6'4" 220 lbs Wright had been working out of the slot this summer in Tampa. It seems like New England will have the best set of receivers it's ever had in the Tom Brady era. Fantasy wise you know this diversity means that fantasy numbers for most of these guys will be diminished. I do think that Gronk and Julian Edelman will be viable fantasy options.


The following article claims that Saints RB Mark Ingram is poised for a big breakout season for the Who Dat's. It's not just hyperbole it is backed up with stats from the preseason, which doesn't mean all that much, but also from the final six weeks of the 2013 season. Pretty sweet, because I was able to get Ingram in the first of my fantasy drafts on Sunday evening. You can bet I'll be targeting him in the other draft due up this week as well. As for the Saints, I'm sure they are thinking it's about damn time since the word "bust" has been bandied about since he was drafted by New Orleans in 2011 draft with the 28th pick in the first round. The stats and other reason given in the article offer a pretty convincing argument for Ingram's big breakout. I know Ingram is poised for a breakout but don't forget about Pierre Thomas. It seems like the Saints have been trying to phase him out for years now but he just won't go away. With Darren Sproles no longer on the team there is a void to be filled and Thomas has been working on his pass blocking, which was already pretty darn good but his receiving skills as well. I don't see Khiry Robinson as any more than a role player but even that could be worthy of a flex position in the Saints prolific offense.



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All 32 teams in the NFL will have to get down to the 53 man roster limit by this afternoon. At that point the teams will be preparing for opening weekend which will be a short week for Green Bay and Seattle who kick off the 2014 season on Thursday night.


There have already been some roster moves that will raise some eyebrows. In fact there are a couple of moves that had a guy in one of my leagues ask me what happens if a guy you drafted gets cut. That should tell you something about the nature of some of these moves. Let's take a look at a couple.


Buffalo Bills - Signed QB Kyle Orton. This means that Orton will finally get what he wanted when he refused to attend Cowboys off season work outs---a startiing QB job. I'm putting the cart before the horse a little bit but as much trouble as EJ Manual has had so far and the guys head coach Doug Marrone has had as his competition is pretty weak. Orton is a better than average QB and probably deserves to start somewhere and Buffalo is a likely spot. That's probably why he signed, because he was promised an opportunity to be the No 1 guy. This certainly would up Sammy Watkins stock in fantasy.


New York Jets - NFL.com is reporting that Stephen Hill the WR out of Georgia Tech will be waived after 2 disappointing season in the Big Apple. Hill was not in a good situation in New York and he failed to take advantage of the situation he was in. The Jets needed a No 1 WR and hopes were Hill was that guy. He hasn't been but I sort of blame Rex Ryan some for that. He has not shown players on the offensive side of the ball much support. Hill has a lot of talent and somebody will pick him up lickety-split I'm sure.


A guy asked me, what do I do if a player I drafted is cut? That was sort of a new one on me but danged if Cincinnati didn't cut BenJarvis Green-Ellis. The Law Firm was a pretty good 2 to the 1 punch of Giovanni Bernanrd but Cincy drafted LSU RB Jeremy Hill so that coupled with a hip issue BJGE has been battling he became expendable.


Here's a list of other notable cuts so far from NFL.com



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It's almost counter productive to publish a list of sits and starts this week. It's week one so you know what? Pick the top guys at any position and play them. Play the next best fantasy option as your flex and see what happens. Know why? Because it's Week 1 and nobody knows squat about how good some teams, or players, are going to be to begin the season.


Want a sleeper? Here's one. San Francisco running back Carlos Hyde. The guy is a beast (or he was in college at THE Ohio State University) and Frank Gore is 31 years old. Hyde will get his chances. How about a flex player? Okay, it's back to San Fran where former Oregon speedster LaMichael James will be the Niner's Darren Sproles. Finally healthy he gives the 49ers a big dose of speed out of the backfield. Why two 49ers? Because they are playing the worst defense in the NFL in 2013 this Sunday and until Dallas can prove, if they can, they are betters than last year it is a prime matchup. Want a sleeper WR? Okay. How about New England's Aaron Dobson. He came on strong at the tail end of last year and he will be a forgotten man with Gronk, Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell getting most of the press this summer. How about a sleeper TE? Maybe not so much of a sleeper but danged if he didn't sort of break out last season. Who? I'm glad you asked. None other than Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed. He played in only 9 games before an injury cut his season short and he only started 4 of those but he caught 45 balls for 499 yards and 3 TDs. He averaged 11.1 YPC and he's right in the middle of a Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson sandwich. Teams are going to go crazy trying figure out who to double cover and Reed will likely be overlooked, at least until he's burned a few teams first. I'm sure Boomer will want to weigh in on this but this is my story and I'm sticking to it. For now.

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