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Friday, September 30, 2005

Week 4 Tips

Must starts:
Jake Delhomme, Carolina. Green Bay's defense is cheesy soft.
Byron Leftwich, Jacksonville. No Champ Bailey for Denver.
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants. St. Louis will score some points. The Giants will have to keep up.
Brian Griese, Tampa Bay. Detroit's secondary isn't strong.

Bench them:
Brett Favre, Green Bay. Bench Brett Favre? Yep. He's going to struggle against the Panthers.
Jake Plummer, Denver. Jacksonville's defense is strong, especially at home.
Steve McNair, Tennessee. Has practiced sparingly this week. That wouldn't have been in problem in the past. Now it is.

Running backs:
Must starts:
Cadillac Williams, Tampa Bay. He's got a foot problem - but not enough of one not to put up another 100 yards.
Willis McGahee, Buffalo. McGahee should find some running room against New Orleans.
Rudi Johnson, Cincinnati. Could have a really nice game at home against Houston.
Stephen Davis, Carolina. Should get into the end zone once or twice this week.
Warrick Dunn, Atlanta. Could have a couple of nice long runs against Minnesota.

Bench them:
Ahman Green, Green Bay. Is really struggling. In fact, it's been about eight games since his last 100-yarder.
Steven Jackson, St. Louis. Was on my must-start list last week, but is now playing injured.
Lamont Jordan, Oakland. Dallas' defense is tough to run against.
Curtis Martin, Jets. Martin's banged up and going against Baltimore with Brooks Bollinger at QB.
Kevin Jones, Detroit. Has struggled this season.

Wide Receiver:
Must Starts:
Steve Smith, Carolina. Has shown he's all the way back from last season's broken leg.
Kevin Curtis, St. Louis. He'll start opposite Torry Holt, who draws plenty of attention.
Keenan McCardell, San Diego. Something tells me Marty Schottenheimer will know enough to attack the Patriots down the field.
Jimmy Smith, Jacksonville. I love his matchup with Denver's banged up secondary.
Bench them:
Laveraneus Coles, Jets. Bollinger against Baltimore won't bode wel for Coles.
Charles Rogers, Detroit. Has just four catches in two games. Mike Williams may push him to the bench.
Keary Colbert, Carolina. Has been the invisible man this season.
Joe Horn, New Orleans. Has barely practiced this week because of a hamstring injury. Play somebody else if you have a decent option.

Tight Ends:
Must Starts:
Courtney Anderson, Oakland. Has now had two very good games in three outings.
Ben Troupe, Tennessee. This kid is the next great tight end star.
Chris Baker, Jets. The tight end is a nice security blanket for a QB who won't have much time to throw.
L.J. Smith, Philadelphia. Has emerged as the Eagles No. 2 receiver behind Terrell Owens.

Bench them:
Bubba Franks, Green Bay. Likely too banged up to play again this week.
Todd Heap, Baltimore. Hasn't been a factor this season.
Dallas Clark, Indianapolis. Just hasn't been on the same page with Peyton Manning.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Thursday news and notes

Steve McNair, QB, Tennessee. McNair returned to practice Thursday with his sore right foot, but was limited. McNair should play Sunday, but beware.

Drew Bennett, WR, Tennessee. Bennett (foot) was back at practice Thursday. Get him in the lineup.

Chris Brown, RB, Tennessee. With Travis Henry out for four games on suspension, Brown will get all of the carries. Rookie Damien Nash, a fifth-round draft pick, will back Brown up.

Roscoe Parrish, WR, Buffalo. Parrish is out indefinitely with a wrist injury. Because of J.P. Losman's struggles, though, no Bills wide receivers should be starting. So Parrish's injury is no big deal.

Bubba Franks, TE, Green Bay. Franks, who missed last week's game with a knee injury, was limited in practice Thursday. Don't bet on him playing this week.

John Hall, PK, Washington. Hall (quad) is very questionable to kick for the Redskins this week.

Arnaz Battle, WR, San Francisco. Battle (Knee) didn't practice for the second day in a row Thursday and was downgraded to question. Bench him.

Joe Horn, WR, New Orleans. Horn was limited in practice Thursday with a sore hamstring, but should play Sunday.

Rudi Johnson, RB, Cincinnati. After sitting out Wednesday, Johnson was back Thursday.

Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis. Jackson has been limited in practice this week, but should play. Don't expect a big game, though.

Cadillac Williams, RB, Tampa Bay. The Bucs rested Williams and his sore foot Thursday, but he'll play Sunday.

Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia. McNabb was back at practice Thursday.

Terrell Owens, WR, Philadelphia. Owens was back at practice Thursday.

Rod Smith, WR, Denver. Smith (concussion) practiced Wednesday and Thursday. He should be OK to play Sunday.

Issac Bruce, WR, St. Louis. Don't expect Bruce to play Sunday. Kevin Curtis will start opposite Torry Holt, with Shaun McDonald serving as the third receiver.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Mid-week news

Here's a look at how the injury front is shaping up prior to Week 4.

Issac Bruce, WR, St. Louis. Bruce has a painful turf toe injury and is doubtful this week. Get Kevin Curtis in your lineup.

Cade McCown, QB, Arizona. McCown will start in place of injured Kurt Warner this week, but is not a decent play.

Jerome Pathon, WR, Atlanta. The veteran wideout signed with Atlanta Wednesday. He's not worth picking up.

Steve McNair, QB, Tennessee. No surprise here for the oft-injured McNair. McNair sat out practice Wednesday with a sore foot. It's doubtful that will keep him out this weekend.

Drew Bennett, WR, Tennessee. Bennett also sat out practice Wednesday with a sore foot. He should play Sunday.

Brooks Bollinger, QB, N.Y. Jets. Bollinger will get the start against Baltimore with Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler out. Newly-signed Vinny Testaverde will be the backup. Bollinger will be making his first career start against the Ravens. Sit all of your Jets this weekend.

Amos Zereoue
, RB, New England. Kevin Faulk is banged up, so the Pats signed Zereoue, releasing wide receiver Andre Davis. Davis won't be out of work long.

Jason Hanson
, PK, Detroit. Hanson has a sore hamstring. We saw what happened with Philadelphia's David Akers when he had a sore hammy. Keep an eye on the situation.

Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia. Tests confirm that McNabb does have a sports hernia. This is a painful injury that will eventually require surgery to repair. He's going to play through it, or at least try to. Trade McNabb now if you can.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


LaDanian Tomlinson was likely the top draft pick in most fantasy football drafts. And thus far this season, he's played up to that status.
But it's highly unlikely some of the other top performers from the first three weeks were first-rounders.
Here's a quick look at the top performers so far.
LaDanian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego. LT has been as good as advertised. He's been a star.

Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia. He doesn't get the rushing yardage that other top backs do, but Westbrook is the best pass-catching running back in the game. He'll get over 2,000 combined yards this season.

Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia. McNabb has been outstanding this season, even if he is banged up.

Steve Smith, WR, Carolina. Smith missed most of last season with a broken leg. He's proving this year that he's back.

Shaun Alexander, RB, Seattle. It's likely in many leagues that Alexander was the second player taken in many drafts behind Tomlinson. He's been deserving.

Drew Bledsoe, QB, Dallas. Enjoy it now. Bledsoe started fast last year as well before fading down the stretch. Trade him now if you can.

Kerry Collins, QB, Oakland. Collins and Randy Moss have hooked up early and often to give Collins plenty of fantasy points. He's still a bum, but as long as Moss stays healthy, he's a productive bum.

Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati. Palmer was one of my breakout players this season. He's proving that you can believe the hype.

Carnell Williams, RB, Tampa Bay. The Cadillac is a shoe-in for rookie of the year, just as I predicted on this site. If you drafted him after the second round, you got a steal.

Terrell Owens
, WR, Philadelphia. The last of the Philadelphia triplets has been good after a spotty preseason.

Thomas Jones, RB, Chicago. Even with a rookie quarterback and a No. 1 draft pick at running back pushing him, Jones has been outstanding. No reason to believe Cedric Benson is going to push him aside anytime soon.

Julius Jones, RB, Dallas. Thomas' little brother is every bit as good as his sibling. Bill Parcells will run him as much as possible.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Week 3 follow up

Here's a breakdown on Week 3 injuries that will affect fantasy football owners:

Chad Pennington
, QB, New York Jets. It appears Pennington's season is over thanks to a torn rotator cuff. With backup Jay Fiedler also hurting, the Jets are looking at signing Vinny Testaverde.

Kurt Warner
, QB, Arizona. Warner suffered a groin injury in the second quarter of the Cardinals' loss at Seattle, putting Josh McCown at QB. McCown was 10-of-23 the rest of the way for 97 yards with an interception. If Warner is out an extended time, the value of wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin will take a hit.

David Akers, PK, Philadelphia. After gutting it out Sunday with his hamstring injury, Akers will be on the bench this week and probably for the next several weeks. He'll be replaced by untested Todd France for now.

Desmond Clark, TE, Chicago. Clark left the Bears game with Cincinnati with a neck injury. With the way QB Kyle Orton is struggling though, Clark hasn't been a solid play this season.

Arnaz Battle, WR, San Francisco. Battle had another good week with six catches against Dallas for 68 yards and a touchdown. But he injured his hamstring and is questionable to play next week.

Travis Henry, RB, Tennessee. Reports are surfacing that Henry will be suspended by the league for four weeks for a positive test for a banned substance.

Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia. McNabb may have a sports hernia. Keep an eye on this situation. It may require surgery.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Week 3 tips

Must starts: Dante Culpepper, Minnesota. It seems odd to have to put him on here, but he can't continue to be this bad. This is New Orleans' third consecutive road game. That should have an effect.
Brian Griese, Tampa Bay. People will be lining up all season long to face this Packers defense.
Drew Bledsoe, Dallas. San Francisco's defense is awful.
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle. Arizona has gotten torched through the air this season. That should continue.

Bench them:
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants. Young man is going into beehive playing the team he spurned.
Michael Vick, Atlanta. That hamstring is still sore. If he can't run, he's no better than Anthony Wright.
J.P. Losman, Buffalo. J.P. just hasn't shown much. And Atlanta's defense is tough.
Chad Pennington, Jets. He didn't get a lot on his passes before his shoulder surgery. Now it looks like he's lobbing grenades.

Running backs:
Must starts: Cadillac Williams, Tampa Bay. He's reaching no-brainer status quickly. The Cadillac should have a big game in the battle of the bays.
Thomas Jones, Chicago. I'm still not sold on the Cincinnati defense yet. The offense is outstanding. But the Bengals can be run on.
Julius Jones, Dallas. Thomas' little brother should have a big day against San Francisco.
Willie Parker, Pittsburgh. Like the Cadillac, Parker is going to be a no-brainer before long. This New England team can be run on.
Travis Henry, Tennessee. Surprise! Chris Brown is banged up with a concussion. That could open the door for Henry.
Steven Jackson, St. Louis. Should find plenty of holes against Tennessee.

Bench them: Ronnie Brown, Miami. Has struggled and playing Carolina isn't going to help.
Curtis Martin, Jets. Are all of those carries catching up with him?
J.J. Arrington, Arizona. Looking like a flop. Has been passed by Marcel Shipp.
Michael Bennett, Minnesota. The hot rumor has him going to Arizona. Mewelde Moore will get more carries this week.

Wide Receiver:
Must Starts: Travis Taylor, Minnesota. This is just a hunch. Nate Burleson is out and somebody has to get open.
Terry Glenn, Dallas. Drew Bledsoe remembered his old running mate was still on the team last week. Glenn can still get deep.
Brandon Stokely, Indianapolis. The Colts are ready to break out after playing two tough defenses. Get all of your Colts in the lineup.
Braylon Edwards, Cleveland. The Browns will be behind.

Bench them: Jimmy Smith, Jacksonville. He'll be matched up with Ty Law and quarterback Byron Leftwich is banged up.
Plaxico Burress, Giants. If Eli struggles, it will be at least in part because the Chargers take Burress out of the game.
Michael Jenkins, Atlanta. Vick throwing from the pocket isn't good.
Lee Evans, Buffalo. Losman is struggling and Atlanta's defense is good.

Tight Ends:
Must Starts: Ben Watson, New England. The way to move the ball on the Steelers defense is with the tight end - if you have a good one.
L.J. Smith, Philadelphia. Last week's big game was just a taste of what he can do.
Jeb Putzier, Denver. Jake Plummer should look his way this week.
Randy McMichael, Miami. Is turning into the team's No. 1 receiver.

Bench them: Eric Johnson, San Francisco. He was placed on IR and is done for the year.
Bubba Franks, Green Bay. Too banged up to play this week.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Thursday news and notes

Tennessee running back Chris Brown (concussion) practiced sparingly Thursday. He's not a good start this week, however.

Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick practiced Thursday and was upgraded to probable to play this week. You can feel a little better about starting him this week.

As expected, Jets running back Curtis Martin practiced Thursday and will play Sunday.

Jacksonville quarterback Byron Leftwich (groin) practiced Thursday and will play Sunday against the Jets.

Carolina running back Stephen Davis (neck) practiced Thursday and will play Sunday against Miami.

San Francisco tight end Eric Johnson was placed on injured reserve with a torn tendon in his foot and will be out for the season.

Green Bay tight end Bubba Franks (knee) did not practice Thursday and likely won't play Sunday for the Packers.

After sitting out practice Wednesday, Tampa Bay running back Carnell Williams returned to practice Thursday. Get the NFL's rushing leader in your lineup.

Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb (chest) and receiver Terrell Owens (abdomen) returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday.

Philadelphia placekicker David Akers practiced a little Thursday, but is still not a strong start Sunday.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Mid-week news

Wide receiver Terrell Owens, quarterback Donovan McNabb and placekicker David Akers missed practice Wednesday for the Eagles. McNabb, who was already nursing a sore chest, strained his groin in the first half against San Francisco. He should be OK. Owens has an abdominal injury, but should also be fine to play Sunday against Oakland. Akers injured his hamstring and was unable to kick after the injury in a win over San Francisco Sunday. Bench him this weekend.

Minnesota receiver Nate Burleson, already a disappointment, will likely miss the Vikings' game at home against New Orleans with a sprained knee. He is listed as doubtful to play.

Atlanta QB Michael Vick has a sore left hamstring and may not practice this week, but is expected to start this weekend. Given that Vick's game is scrambling around to make plays, however, bench him if you have another option.

Jets running back Curtis Martin skipped practice Wednesday with a bruised knee, but should be OK to play Sunday. Martin has missed precious few games in his career and likely won't start missing them now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Week 2 injuries

Tests on Curtis Martin's sprained knee came back negative, but the Jets' star running back is questionable. Watch his practice status over the next few days.

Michael Vick strained his hamstring in Atlanta's loss at Seattle and left the game early. Head coach Jim Mora Jr. is hopeful Vick will play this week.

Baltimore quarterback Kyle Boller will not need surgery on his injured toe, but will be out at least another month.

Minnesota wide receiver Nate Burleson left Sunday's loss to Cincinnati in the third quarter with a knee injury. He's questionable to play Week 3 against New Orleans.

San Francisco tight end Eric Johnson (foot) is out of Sunday's game against Dallas.

Oakland wide receiver Ronald Curry is out for the year after reinjuring his Achilles tendon, the same injury that ended his season last year.

Byron Leftwich, who was injured in Jacksonville's loss at Indianapolis, is probable to play this week with a strained groin.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Week 2 surprises

Obviously there aren't as many surprises in week two as there are coming out of the first week of the season.
But there are always a few players who may have gone overlooked that are likely still on your waiver wire. Here's a look:

Troy Brown, New England. Brown became the forgotten man in New England last year. Heck, they even shifted him to cornerback to make up for a lack of depth at that position. But after a three-catch 87-yard performance Sunday, Brown is looking like a good No. 4 fantasy receiver.

Mewelde Moore, running back, Minnesota. Michael Bennett has done nothing in the first two games and added a pair of fumbles Sunday for the disappointing Vikings. Moore had eight carries for 29 yards and added a couple of catches as well. You can bet he'll get the bulk of the carries next week.

Steve Heiden, tight end, Cleveland. What, you thought Cleveland got rid of all of those passing plays in its offense when Kellen Winslow got hurt? Heiden has had some good games in the past. He'll be valuable.

Trent Dilfer, quarterback, Cleveland. Look back at my preseason sleepers. You'll find Dilfer there. He's not sleeping any longer. Dilfer has outproduced every quarterback not named Donovan McNabb in fantasy ball.

Josh Reed, wide receiver, Buffalo. J.P. Losman is killing the Bills right now as anyone who took Willis McGahee in the first round will tell you. But Reed caught six balls for 71 yards Sunday, more than half of the team's passing yards.

Marcel Shipp, running back, Arizona. Shipp had 12 carries for 54 yards Sunday, while didn't get a single rushing attempt. Shipp also caught five passes for 39 yards. Grab him now.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Week 2 tips

Must starts: Drew Brees, San Diego. Denver's secondary got banged up last week against Miami and Brees gets Antonio Gates back.
Trent Green, Kansas City. Oakland's defense is awful.
Kerry Collins, Oakland. Ditto Kansas City until it proves otherwise.
Anthony Wright, Baltimore. A suprise visitor here. The Ravens and Titans still consider themselves rivals and Tennessee's secondary is awful.
Bench them: Steve McNair, Tennessee, Chad Pennington, N.Y. Jets. Jake Delhome, Carolina.

Running backs:
Must starts: Fred Taylor, Jacksonville. Sorry, I'm not sold on that Colts defense just yet.
Bryan Westbrook, Philadelphia. In leagues that count catches as points, he's golden.
Willie Parker, Pittsburgh. Houston's defense is suspect and Parker is just that good.
Ahman Green, Green Bay. Green should be able to run all over Cleveland despite a tough game last week.
Stephen Davis, Carolina. New England is vulnerable up the middle.
Bench them: Ronnie Brown, Miami. Thomas Jones, Chicago. Chris Brown, Tennessee. Curtis Martin, N.Y. Jets.

Wide Receiver:
Must Starts: Roy Williams, Detroit. Just a hunch, but after a difficult opener, Williams should come out swinging.
Andre Johnson, Houston. He doesn't have a lot of help in Houston, but Johnson should be better as the Texans are forced to throw.
Derrick Mason, Baltimore. Mason exacts some revenge for his release.
Robert Ferguson, Green Bay. Teams will try to keep the ball out of Donald Driver's hands, leaving Ferguson one-on-one.

Bench them: Any Bears receiver. That could get repetitive. Darrell Jackson, Seattle. Brandon Lloyd, San Francisco. Deion Branch, New England.

Tight Ends:
Must Starts: Antonio Gates, San Diego. He's back this week, get him in the lineup.
Jeb Putzier, Denver. Looks like he'll be a big part of the offense.
Ben Troupe, Tennessee. Looked good in the opener. Big target.
L.J. Smith, Philadelphia. 49ers will load up to stop former teammate Terrell Owens.

Bench them: Jeremy Shockey, N.Y. Giants. He's banged up. Chris Baker, N.Y. Jets. Sorry, I've got to see him do it again. Dallas Clark, Indianapolis. On my must-start list last week. He's still suffering from concussion problems. He could see a little itme this week

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Week 2 Injury report

Ravens: OUT: QB Kyle Boller (foot). QUESTIONABLE: WR Devard Darling (thigh); CB Deion Sanders (thigh); LB Terrell Suggs (back); TE Daniel Wilcox (hip). PROBABLE: LB Peter Boulware (knee); TE Todd Heap (foot); RB Jamal Lewis (finger); S Ed Reed (thigh).
Titans: QUESTIONABLE: LB Keith Bulluck (calf); T Brad Hopkins (knee); DE Antwan Odom (knee); LB Cody Spencer (abdomen); TE Ben Troupe (foot/ankle).

Lions: OUT: QB Jeff Garcia (ankle); RB Cory Schlesinger (leg). QUESTIONABLE: K Jason Hanson (hamstring); LB Teddy Lehman (knee); LB Alex Lewis (ankle). PROBABLE: G Damien Woody (shoulder).
Bears: OUT: QB Rex Grossman (ankle). PROBABLE: CB Jerry Azumah (hip); WR Muhsin Muhammad (side).

Jaguars: OUT: WR Cortez Hankton (ankle). PROBABLE: CB Rashean Mathis (groin); RB Derrick Wimbush (hamstring).
Colts: OUT: DT Vincent Burns (knee); LB Gilbert Gardner (ankle); S Joseph Jefferson (toe); DE Jonathan Welsh (knee). QUESTIONABLE: TE Dallas Clark (concussion); DT Montae Reagor (groin); RB Dominic Rhodes (foot); S Bob Sanders (concussion); CB Donald Strickland (hamstring); DE Josh Thomas (knee); DT Larry Tripplett (knee). PROBABLE: DE Raheem Brock (knee); CB Marlin Jackson (shoulder); S Gerome Sapp (shoulder); WR Brandon Stokley (hip).

Steelers: DOUBTFUL: RB Jerome Bettis (calf). QUESTIONABLE: RB Duce Staley (knee). PROBABLE: G Alan Faneca (quadricep); LB Clark Haggans (groin); LB Joey Porter (knee); QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee); T Marvel Smith (knee); T Max Starks (ankle); WR Hines Ward (back); CB Willie Williams (groin).
Texans: QUESTIONABLE: TE Mark Bruener (toe); C Drew Hodgdon (toe/shoulder); WR Jerome Mathis (hamstring); CB Lewis Sanders (shoulder/neck). PROBABLE: CB Dunta Robinson (ankle).
Bills: OUT: TE Tim Euhus (shoulder); WR Roscoe Parrish (wrist). PROBABLE: LB Angelo Crowell (groin); WR Eric Moulds (ankle); RB Shaud Williams (ankle).
Buccaneers: QUESTIONABLE: G Matt Stinchcomb (lower back).

Vikings: QUESTIONABLE: LB Sam Cowart (calf); C Anthony Herrera (leg); T Bryant McKinnie (foot).
Bengals: PROBABLE: WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (shoulder); CB Tory James (toe); S Reggie Myles (groin).

Patriots: QUESTIONABLE: LB Tully Banta-Cain (knee); WR Andre' Davis (foot); T Brandon Gorin (thigh); DE Jarvis Green (shoulder); WR Bethel Johnson (thigh); CB Tyrone Poole (ankle); S James Sanders (ankle); CB Chad Scott (shoulder); DE Richard Seymour (thigh); CB Duane Starks (thigh). PROBABLE: QB Tom Brady (right shoulder).
Panthers: OUT: DT Kris Jenkins (knee). PROBABLE: DT Jordan Carstens (ankle); S Marlon McCree (thigh); LB Brandon Short (foot).

49ers: DOUBTFUL: TE Eric Johnson (foot). PROBABLE: WR Johnnie Morton (concussion); C Jeremy Newberry (knee).
Eagles: QUESTIONABLE: QB Donovan McNabb (chest). PROBABLE: S Brian Dawkins (ankle); P Dirk Johnson (hernia).

Falcons: DOUBTFUL: CB Kevin Mathis (knee). QUESTIONABLE: CB Allen Rossum (hamstring). PROBABLE: LB Keith Brooking (foot); WR Roddy White (ankle).
Seahawks: OUT: T Floyd Womack (triceps). DOUBTFUL: WR D.J. Hackett (knee); T Wayne Hunter (knee); TE Itula Mili (stomach).

Rams: OUT: T Rex Tucker (calf). DOUBTFUL: CB Terry Fair (neck). PROBABLE: WR Kevin Curtis (ankle).
Cardinals: OUT: LB Gerald Hayes (knee). DOUBTFUL: TE John Bronson (knee); LB James Darling (knee). PROBABLE: DT Darnell Dockett (stomach/illness); C Nick Leckey (ankle); C Alex Stepanovich (hand).

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (0-1) AT DENVER BRONCOS (0-1): Chargers: DOUBTFUL: DE Igor Olshansky (ankle/knee). QUESTIONABLE: WR Vincent Jackson (calf).
Broncos: QUESTIONABLE: RB Mike Anderson (ribs); CB Champ Bailey (shoulder); TE Nate Jackson (hamstring). PROBABLE: DE Courtney Brown (elbow); T George Foster (ankle); T Cornell Green (knee); CB Lenny Walls (hand).

CLEVELAND BROWNS (0-1) AT GREEN BAY PACKERS (0-1): Browns: OUT: WR Josh Cribbs (knee); LB Matt Stewart (knee). QUESTIONABLE: CB Gary Baxter (concussion); CB Leigh Bodden (groin); DE Orpheus Roye (knee); TE Aaron Shea (shoulder); RB Lee Suggs (ankle). PROBABLE: TE Steve Heiden (stinger).
Packers: OUT: WR Javon Walker (knee). QUESTIONABLE: LB Na'il Diggs (knee). PROBABLE: WR Terrence Murphy (knee).

MIAMI DOLPHINS (1-0) AT NEW YORK JETS (0-1): Dolphins: PROBABLE: RB Ronnie Brown (shoulder); LB Eddie Moore (knee).
Jets: OUT: DE Trevor Johnson (head).

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (1-0) AT OAKLAND RAIDERS (0-1): Chiefs: QUESTIONABLE: QB Todd Collins (right hand); RB Tony Richardson (knee/ankle); T Willie Roaf (hamstring); T Kevin Sampson (toe); DT Ryan Sims (foot); CB DeWayne Washington (back). PROBABLE: LB Rich Scanlon (shoulder); CB Patrick Surtain (concussion).
Raiders: QUESTIONABLE: WR Doug Gabriel (finger). PROBABLE: QB Kerry Collins (right thumb); RB Justin Fargas (knee); WR Jerry Porter (hamstring).

NEW YORK GIANTS (1-0) AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (1-0): Giants: QUESTIONABLE: LB Barrett Green (knee/ankle); T Kareem McKenzie (ankle); CB William Peterson (knee); TE Jeremy Shockey (ankle); WR Jamaar Taylor (groin); CB Corey Webster (quadricep).
Saints: QUESTIONABLE: LB James Allen (knee); TE Ernie Conwell (jaw); LB Alfred Fincher (hand); WR Az-Zahir Hakim (hamstring); TE Shad Meier (knee).

WASHINGTON REDSKINS (1-0) AT DALLAS COWBOYS (1-0): Redskins: OUT: DT Brandon Noble (knee). QUESTIONABLE: S Ryan Clark (knee); LB Chris Clemons (hamstring); K John Hall (quadricep/right); T Jon Jansen (thumb).
Cowboys: QUESTIONABLE: LB Kevin Burnett (knee).

Monday, September 12, 2005

Week 1 wonders

Here is a look at some of the guys who may have snuck through your draft but will be hot prospects on the waiver wire this week in no particular order.

Robert Ferguson, wide receiver, Green Bay. Ferguson and fellow receiver Donald Driver should benefit from the loss of star receiver Javon Walker for the season, with Ferguson's status making the biggest jump. Driver was likely a mid-round pick in most drafts, while those who grabbed Ferguson - if they did at all - got him very late. Driver will easily top 1,000 yards this season, while Ferguson will make a serious run at that total.

Willie Parker, running back, Pittsburgh. Willie Parker has what one scout described to me as, "Oh $#%@ speed!". But Parker also had some nice power runs against the Titans Sunday, gaining over 200 total yards on just 23 touches - 22 carries, one reception. And to think, he only played through the first series of the third quarter. Bill Cowher has named him the starter again this week at Houston. Another solid performance could make this a long-term thing.

Gus Frerotte, quarterback, Miami. There is no doubt any longer who the quarterback is in Miami. Frerotte picked apart Denver's defense Sunday, completing 24-of-36 passes for 2755 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Is he an every week fantasy starter? Nope. But with the receivers the Dolphins have, Frerotte showed he can put up good numbers against a defense that was supposed to be solid. He's certainly better to have on your bench than, say, Eli Manning.

Chris Baker, tight end, New York Jets. Laveraneus Coles, Wayne Chrbet and Justin McCareins are all bigger names, but Baker was the big receiver for the Jets Sunday catching seven passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. Baker's touchdown pass, however, came from Jay Fielder after Chad Pennington had been pulled and the game was out of reach. I'm not sold on Baker being a big performer full-time.

Bobby Engram, wide receiver, Seattle. It only seems like Engram has been playing forever. With Koren Robinson gone, Engram quietly moved into the starting lineup this season. Sunday, the wily veteran caught eight passes for 79 yards. He's not going to beat anybody deep, but he'll get his share of catches working the short routes. And he likely went undrafted in many leagues.

Arnaz Battle, wide receiver, San Francisco. Battle did a little bit of everything for the 49ers Sunday against St. Louis, catching five passes for 59 yards and a score, completing 2-of-2 passes for 27 yards, and rushing the ball once for a loss of three yards. If the 49ers are going to continue to use Battle as a wildcard kond of player, he could have decent fantasy value from week-to-week.

Frisman Jackson, wide receiver, Cleveland. Frisman? Frisman? The only reason I had ever heard of Frisman Jackson was because I have to cover two Cleveland games per season when they play the Steelers. But Jackson, who had 13 catches for 168 yards last season (honest), had eight catches for 128 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals. While Jackson may have a couple of more decent games under his belt this season - the Browns are going to be behind a lot - don't expect big performances every week.

Patrick Crayton, wide receiver, Dallas. This guy is why they had no problem cutting Quincy Morgan. Peerless Price was inactive for the game and Crayton solidifyed himself as the No. 3 receiver with a six-catch, 89-yard effort with a touchdown. Given Terry Glenn's injury history and Keyshawn Johnson's advanced age, Crayton may not be a bad guy to stash on your bench.

Ernie Conwell, tight end, New Orleans. Conwell is one of those guys you always forget about of draft night and then you look up and he’s doing good things. He had six catches for 71 yards against Carolina and is a nice second tight end option.

Stephen Davis, running back, Carolina. Regular visitors of this site knew weeks ago that Davis was going to be the man in Carolina. He proved it Sunday, rushing for 81 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown. He's back.

Brandon Jacobs, running back, New York Giants. It's hard to overlook a guy who's 6-3, 250-pounds, but Jacobs likely went undrafted in many leagues. Heck, in my league, a guy drafted Mike Cloud late and then looked at me like I was on drugs when I took Jacobs in the next round. Tom Coughlin likes to use goal-line backs and Jacobs is a better option at that than Tiki Barber. Plus, he had 39 yards and a touchdown on just six carries. Big fella can run.

J.P. Losman, quarterback, Buffalo. OK, Losman's 17-for-28 day for 170 yards and a touchdown weren't great. But he had a better day than counterpart David Carr of Houston, who was likely in more than a few starting lineups. Losman isn't going to put up big numbers, but he's a scrambler who also had 31 yards rushing Sunday. He'll struggle in some games this seaosn, but he's not a horrible backup with the talent that surrounds him.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Week 1 tips

Must starts:
Usually, I wouldn't include Peyton Manning, Daunte Culpepper or Donovan McNabb on this list - they are must-starts every week - but I'm sure some out there are wondering whether to bench Manning against the Ravens defense. Don't. Jake Delhomme, Panthers, Delhomme faces a Saints defense that has been on the road for weeks because of the hurricane. A healthy Steve Smith, an emerging Keary Colbert and Rod Gardner as the No. 3 should make up for the loss of Muhsin Muhammad. Brett Favre, Packers. He used to be a must-start every week, but now there are times to bench Favre. This isn't one of them. The Packers will need to score plenty to keep up with Detroit. Joey Harrington, Detroit. This will be a weekly thing. Start whoever is playing against the Packers.

Bench them: Don't start Kyle Orton, Bears, Tim Rattay, 49ers, Kyle Boller, Ravens or Gus Frerotte, Dolphins unless you want the first waiver pick in your league this week.

Running backs:
Must start: St. Louis' Steven Jackson should tear up against San Francisco. Kevin Jones, Detroit: Again, Green Bay has the league's worst defense. Willis McGahee , Buffalo. With J.P. Losman making his first start, the Bills will lean on McGahee. Rudi Johnson, Cincinnati. Johnson torched the Browns last season. And that defensive front doesn't look any better.

Bench them: Michael Bennett, Minnesota. Missed a lot of the preseason with injuries. Keep him on the bench until you see what he does. Reuben Droughns, Cleveland. He'll likely share carries with William Green. And they'll be way behind, so they may split 20 attempts. Kevan Barlow, San Francisco. Another team that will be way behind, limiting his carries.

Must Start: Nate Bureleson, Minnesota. Will replace Randy Moss' output for the Vikings. He'll soon be a no-brainer. Terry Glenn, Dallas. The San Diego pass defense is a little soft and Glenn has had an outstanding preseason hooking up with former teammate Drew Bledsoe. Drew Bennett, Tennessee. Bennett will have a big size advantage on the Steelers' starting corners. Antonio Bryant, Cleveland. Browns should be behind all day. Bryant's their best receiver.

Bench them: Any Bears receiver. Kyle Orton. Ick. Any Washington receiver. I haven't seen enough out of any of their QBs to make me want to start a Redskins' receiver.


Start them: Heath Miller, Steelers. They'll show the world their No. 1 pick. Dallas Clark, Indianapolis. Could be the guy who gets open against the Ravens. Erron Kinney, Tennessee. Always has good games against the Steelers.

Bench them: Alge Crumpler, Atlanta. The Eagles will try to take Crumpler away from Michael Vick and see if the receivers can beat their excellent corners. Ituli Mili, Seattle. A late addition to the injury list. Antonio Gates, San Diego. The only time you'll see him here. He's suspended.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Post-game thoughts

In the aftermath of Thursday night's regular-season opener, here are a few quick thoughts.
Some wondered whether Lamont Jordan would be able to handle the load for Oakland. He looked good running the ball with 18 carries for 70 yards and five catches for another 40 yards.
Kerry Collins, on the other hand, looked awful. He spent most of the game throwing off his back foot. Maybe it was New England's defense, but Collins has to play better than that.
Despite Collins' struggles, Randy Moss made a big splash, catching five passes for 130 yards, including a 79-yard TD catch.
Tight end Courtney Anderson had a pair of TD catches for Oakland. If you had him on you roster, you don't need to be rading this blog for information.
For New England, Tom Brady has his usual solid game, throwing for 306 yards and a pair of scores. Get used to seeing that kind of passing game against that Oakland defense.
Deion Branch was the top receiver with seven catches for 99 yards and a score. Brady always looks for Branch. Branch just doesn't always stay healthy.
Corey Dillon had a tough night, but did get into the end zone twice.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Thursday night's game

Remember, the NFL season begins Thursday night with Oakland visiting New England. You don't want to have Randy Moss sitting on your bench because you forgot to activate him.

Here's the latest injury report for that game: Raiders: OUT: WR Doug Gabriel (finger). QUESTIONABLE: RB Justin Fargas (knee); WR Jerry Porter (hamstring). Patriots: QUESTIONABLE: LB Tully Banta-Cain (knee); WR Andre Davis (foot); WR David Givens (chest); T Brandon Gorin (thigh); DE Jarvis Green (thigh); WR Bethel Johnson (thigh); DT Dan Klecko (knee); S James Sanders (ankle); CB Duane Starks (thigh). PROBABLE: QB Tom Brady (right shoulder).

Be careful starting Jerry Porter. He's been limited. If he doesn't play, Ronald Curry could see some extra catches.
The Patriots have a nasty habit of listing a multitude of people as questionable as head coach Bill Bellichick plays head games with his counterpart.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Duce Staley update

Talking to Duce Staley Monday, he confirmed my suspicions that he likely won't be a full-time player until after the Steelers' bye week in Week 4. Staley, who didn't practice throughout the preseason after having surgery to repair a torn knee meniscus, said his conditioning will be a factor and he'll have to play his way back into shape, getting five to 10 carries per games the first couple of weeks.

Jerome Bettis
is out in Week 1 with a calf injury, meaning Willie Parker will get the bulk of the carries, with Verron Haynes serving as the third-down back.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

O-RFL draft

The Observer-Reporter Football League had its draft Friday night. The first round of the 14-team draft went like this: LaDanian Tomlinson, Shaun Alexander, Edgerrin James, Peyton Manning, Priest Holmes, Deuce McAlister, Willis McGahee, Jamal Lewis, Julius Jones, Randy Moss, Tiki Barber, Ahman Green, Steven Jackson and Corey Dillon.

Picking in the 10th spot, I had to decide between taking Moss, Jackson, Clinton Portis or Brian Westbrook. I decided on Moss and was fortunate enough to get Westbrook with my second round pick.

In the third round, I grabbed Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, the player I feel will win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. I also grabbed Michael Pittman later in the draft, just to cover myself.

My fourth-round pick was Roy Williams, whom I'll pair with Moss to give me a nice receiving tandem.

Overall, my draft looked like this:
QB: Brett Favre
RB: Westbrook, C. Williams, Pittman, Stephen Davis - he'll start for Carolina - Larry Johnson and Brandon Jacobs.
WR: Moss, R. Williams, Chris Chambers, Terry Glenn and Sammie Parker
K: John Kasay
D: Panthers, Chiefs

We don't have to start a tight end, so I'll have to pick the better matchup between Chambers and Glenn every week. But, if Davis plays as he should, I could deal him for a receiver.

I'm rolling the dice with just one QB, but Favre never gets hurt and he doesn't have his bye until midway through the season. By then, I'll find a QB to start that week.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Last minute tip

Don't forget to check the injury report before heading in to draft your team. I've seen more than one owner embarrassed on draft night when they selected a player who was out for the year.
Many of the major sports-related Web sites have extensive injury reports available to print out. It never hurts to have one available.