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Running Back Blurb Breakdown: Derrick Ward

Ward comes into a muddy Tamp Bay offense.

We’re not sure how much work he will share with Ernest Graham. We’re not sure who the quarterback will be and aside from Antonio Bryant, we’re not sure who will be catching the ball.

We are sure that Kellen Winslow will help keep the secondary honest and that Ward is going to be a big part of this run game.

The problem is, even though we are sure about all of the above things, we’re not totally sure what any of it means. Or that it will last past August.

Instead we can look back at what he did for the Giants over the past few years. While with New York – and as part of a trio of running backs – Ward cracked 1,000 yards and caught 41 passes for 384 yards. He played behind a better offensive line, with a much surer hand at quarterback even if the wide receiver group was almost as shaky depth-wise as Tampa’s.

Graham couldn’t secure the job last season, being pushed aside at times for Warrick Dunn and missing six games.  He can catch the ball as well as Ward, but unlike Ward, hasn’t hit 1,000 yard mark yet.

It’s very likely Ward will end up getting more carries and doing more with them at that. His 5.6 yards per carry is very encouraging. And while the confusion at quarterback will hurt a little, it means that there is a good chance that the Bucs will need to lean on a run game pretty heavily.

He was also brought in by new Head Coach Raheem Morris who certainly strikes me as the type of guy to fall in love with his own players and give them every chance to succeed. Of course that leads you to wonder what might happen to the offense if/when rookie quarterback Josh Freeman gets in there.

Also with Kellen Winslow there, there may be a ton of redzone looks which go elsewhere, assuming K2 comes to play and prove Cleveland foolish for letting him go.

But Ward has enough potential to make him a safe RB3, with some upside for more. If the team were more stable and we knew how the carries were going to be split, he could even creep up a little more.

This is a player who needs to be watched very carefully during camp and could emerge as a real value in your fantasy drafts.

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ESPN 1230 Appearence – but can’t get audio

As you know I always try to post the ESPN 1230 appearance here by the afternoon, but I cannot get it to play right now. Will try again later/tomorrow, and post it when I can. Along with my top players (which you know by looking at the player rankings below) I named my MVP and LVPs for the season as well as guys who have a history of getting stronger and playign better towards the end of the season.


The Drive Block’s own Cecil Lammey – also a cohost of the Denver 104.3 the Fan Broncos post game show – has posted in the Shark Pool over at that Ryan Torain may be done for the season. MRI to come but Cecil says it looks very grim.

Hillis of course is the last healthy man standing, though Young is still around and Pope is still a possible person.

Not good for the run game here. More as I hear it, as Cecil hears it.

Top Fantasy WRs of Week 5

Andre Johnson finally had a fully stud game as did Housh and Moss. But the other two were a bit of a surprise although White’s ascendancy onto this list (though inconsistent) proves what he was lacking all along was a decent quarterback. As Ryan gets better, White will put up consistently good numbers. And the most impressive thing about Hixon’s performance was that he didn’t have a full game to compile his stats in, leaving early with a concussion as a precaution.

All in all it wasn’t a stellar day for WRs, with only six receivers topping 100 yards, though four who didn’t were the only WRs with 2 touchdown games. Those guys were Isaac Bruce, Larry Fitzgerald (flirting with the top five list), Housh (on the list) and Sinorice Moss (what?).

  1. Andre Johnson – 9 receptions, 131 yards, 1 TD
  2. Roddy White – 8 receptions, 132 yds, 1 TD
  3. TJ Houshmandzedah – 7 receptions, 85 yards, 2 TDs
  4. Randy Moss – 5 receptions, 113 yards, 1 TD
  5. Domenik Hixon – 4 receptions, 117 yards, 1 TD

If I was a betting man – and I am it turns out – I think Housh might be back and you will see Johnson many times on this list the rest of the way.

RBs shortly.

Adrian Peterson – Game Time Decision

NFLN is reporting that Adrian Peterson will be the dreaded ‘GAME TIME DECISION’, meaning that even though he practiced he is still feeling the affects of his hamstring injury.

I followed up on some of the beat writer blogs in Minny and yeah it looks like ADP is not so much ‘All Day’ as we’d like to see. I will be downgrading him on the RB rankings (out in about an hour, maybe less). He will be listed as Questionable on today’s Injury Report in all likelyhood.

At least it’s an early game – make sure you check in here and watch the news pre-game to make sure you are ok to start him. Unlike LT, who played hurt and ultimately had to come out, the matchup and ADP’s ability make me confident that if he does play, he will be a good start.

RB and TE rankings a little later. Just wanted to catch you up on Peterson.

More cuts on Black Tuesday

More cut updates – remember Saturday is the big day and lots of platyers will drop. I have high hopes that Blurb faves Steve Johnson (BUF), Joey LaRocque (CHI) and Josh Johnson (TB) will be on the squads on opening day.

DT Joe Cohen, TE Cooper Wallace, S Lewis Baker, QB Kyle Wright, G John Booker
Bills DB Kennard Cox, WR C.J. Hawthorne, P D.J. Fitzpatrick, DE Shaun Nua
Bucs WR Paris Warren, LB Antoine Cash, S Donte Nicholson

Added players from earlier:
Texans –
OL Scott Jackson (foot) onto IR

More should be coming – and Saturday could be brutal. Again, props to jeter23 over at the message board whose list thread is pinned at top and has been where I am going to make sure I miss nobody.

Other notes of notes -

Cincinnati Bengals
According to HC Marvin Lewis, Jerome Simpson could open the season as the Begnal’s #3 WR. that’s a huge turn of events from earlier this preseason, when Simpson was struggling. How much this will pay off will depend on two things – the health of the Dynamic Duo (Housh and CJ) and if Ben Utecht puts up numbers like we expect/hope at TE. Late pick at best.

Arizona Cardinals
Regardless of ESPN, Chris Mortenson and John Clayton, HC Whisenhunt says he won’t decide until post-Thursday’s game as the starter. I am not a big fan of this situation and frankly, don’t know who will end up any week as the starter. Leinart better look nails this week though, or Mort will be right and Whisenhunt – and myself – will be eating crow.

Green Bay Packers
HC Mike McCarthy is talking about decresing Grant’s carries over the season, I assume to integrate Brandon Jackson into the game mroe. It doesn’t kill Grant’s value, but it will lessen the chances he ends the season in the top 10.

Denver Broncos
Brandon Marshall is in NY to protest his suspension – hoping to knock a game off the total 2-3 game time. This has a big impact on rookie Eddie Royal. Royal will be a starter during the time Marshall being suspended and will put up good numbers during that time, so every game counts. He should be ok throughout the year BUT he needs some time to lock that #2
spot up – he’s a borderline 3/4 now and will probably be no more than that.

That’s it for now – we’re back at 6:30am PST/9:30am EST for the morning post and remember the Thundering Blurb Fantasy Football Podcast is back tomorrow night at 6pm PST/9pm EST.

Also, tonight we rebooted the BlogTalkRadio fantasy draft and actually got through it with minimal pain – I’ll talk a little about it tomorrow here or on the show.

Have a good night.

Cut Days Are Upon Us

Here in NFL-land, teams have begun cutting the chaff from the wheat – or is it wheat from the chaff? Whatever, dead weight is being expunged today and on Saturday.

Here is a list, compiled from various sources of the teams who have made cuts so far. Special props to jeter23 over at the FBGs Shark Pool who started the template I have based this on pretty much totally.

Bears WR Marcus Monk
Broncos WR Samie Parker, DL Josh Mallard, WR Lorne Sam
Cards WR Jemalle Cornelius, CB Marcus Brown, C Hercules Satele, DL Bryan Robinson
Chiefs LB/FB Oliver Hoyte, DE Trevor Johnson
Colts CB TJ Rushing(#1 punt and kick returner), TE Zac Herold were moved to the IR, RB Clifton Dawson, LB Marcus Richardson, P/K Adam Crossett were cut
Cowboys FB Ronnie Cruz, CB Quincy Butler, QB Jeff Terrell, P Jay Ottovegio, WR Daniel Polk
Falcons DT Trey Lewis to non-football injury reserve list and OL Renardo Foster and of course WR Joe Horn last week
Giants WR DJ Hall, S Craig Dahl, S Miguel Scott, WR Michael Jennings
Jags OL Chris Liwienski, WRs John Broussard, Clyde Edwards, Jeron Harvey, DL Alex Boston
Jets RB Musa Smith, S Ron Girault, RB Rodney Kinlaw, OT Thaddeus Coleman
Lions K Dave Rayner, CB Stephen Howell, LB Tyrone Pruitt, G Carroll Madison, and DE Claude Harriott
Packers RB DeShawn Wynn, RB Ryan Powdrell, WR Chris Francies, OL Ryan Consodine
Panthers QB Lester Ricard, CB Curtis DeLoatch, TE Chris Conklin, DE Casper Brinkley
Raiders S Jarrod Cooper, DL Greg Spires, and LB Grant Irons
Redskins LB Matt Sinclair, S Vernon Fox, WR Burl Toler, DT Babatunde Oshinowo, DE Dorian Smith
Saints FB Kevin Dudley, WR Todd Blythe, S Curome Cox, C Rob Hunt, P Waylon Prather
Steelers WR Jeremy Bloom, QB Mike Potts, DL Martavius Prince
Texans FB Jameel Cook
Titans DT Barry Booker, T Brandon Torrey, WR Chris Davis (WFU), LB Jorge Cordova,
Vikings LB Derrick Pope, WR Daniel Davis, OLs Sean Dumford and Brock Pasteur

Some teams I haven’t see cuts for yet include the 49rs, the Bills, the Pats and the Seahawks, though there are many teams still out there to eject people. If you hear of someone I missed or see someone you know wasn’t cut, let me know ( and I will double check and correct if need be.

Will throw out another post tonight with more cuts if I can. Keep track of these guys so you can cut off the Hail Mary picks from late in your draft and make room on your roster. A few names like Musa Smith (Jets) are a minor surprise but most won’t even be ones you recognize.

Tuesday Morning Stampede

Hey folks – just a short week away from the return of actual NFL football. College gets us started this weekend, then kickoff on Thursday between Washington and the NY Giants.

Here’s the morning look at the news -

Baltimore Ravens
Troy Smith has been vying for the starting QB job and looked like he might get it – until Tonsilitis derailed him. He didn’t start game three and hasn’t been practicing. The QB situation in Baltimore is bad and if there is any value at the WR position, this is making it hard to find. Mark Clayton is probably the guy to own here but who will throw him the ball. Smith is unproven, Flacco needs work and we all know Boller isn’t the clear answer, despite good play last year. If you have to take someone, Clayton is it.

We still don’t know what is going on with McGahee’s knee, by the way. Ray Rice is an exciting prospect but 1) what if McGahee comes back and 2) he could wear down late in the season. Don’t reach for Rice, but if he falls to you as your #3 back somewhere in the 5th – 8th, take him in smile.

Jacksonville Jaguars
MJD owners can breathe a sigh of relief (or sleep soundly at night or relax – whatever trite saying floats yoru boat) as HC Jack Del Rio says Jones-Drew’s ankle is only mildly sprained. Don’t expect to see him in the preseason finale at Washington, but then again, that’s standard procedure for most studs on most teams. I still like Fred Taylor as a guy to shoot for in the 5th-8th rounds. Taylor has something left in the tank and while you can never count on him for TDs, he’s great for yardage.

The WR core is still a shambles, though. Garrard will put up respectible numbers but who knows who is catching the ball. Porter has been hurt, Williams -despite last year- is unreliable, Troy Williamson still has hands of cement and most of the guys behind them havne’t stepped up. Matt Jones has played well and probably saved his job after the cocaine fiasco a month ago, but he’s burned us before, hasn’t he? I wouldn’t draft him.

San Diego Chargers
The Darren Sproles/Jacob Hester battle continues. After excelling at the goal line this preseason, Hester was stuffed 4 times last night, though he scored on a 5th attempt. Sproles had a huge night, carrying thw ball 13 times for 102 yards and a TD which was – you guessed it – short yardage. As we have said, if LT goes down (ok, I just got a chill typing that) these guys will likely split carries. One bad preseason game does not kille Hester after several very good games. Neither does it puff Sproles up too much. Sproles isn’t an every down back, his size and skill set don’t quite fit it. Could he step up? Sure. But Hester has played well enough to get a piece of the action. I like Hester as a late back-up for LT or a high upside pick. You know I hate handcuffing, but if you must, go Hester.

Seattle Seahawks
After 3 games, we still don’t know who is playing around Nate Burleson (who looked pretty darn good last night. This week, it was Jordan Kent who stepped up on the stat sheet, with 4 catches for 47 yards and a TD. Kent has been very productive, though he fits into the split end position Burleson occupies and is a bit raw. Courtney Taylor only had 3 catches for24 yards, but threw a gorgeous block during Burleson’s 68 yard TD. That’s the sort of thing coaches love to see, as it proves you can help the run game as well as catch balls. Burleson did some nice work after the catch there as well, but Taylor just annihilated a defender.

Maurice Morris looks to have crept ahead of Julius Jones on the depth chart here in Seattle – but expect a full blown RBBC, though both backs may have some value anyway. They may not be consistent, but then again, one may break out during the season. The run game has to get going here, so the issue will get forced during the early part of the season.

Speaking of RBs -

Quick RB Notes
Mike Bush (OAK) may be getting some work at fullback – that’s usually a sign he will be left out in the carries deptartmen and is not going to have much value as a RB for you….. rookie Jamall Charles (KC) is back at practice but will not overtake Kolby Smith as Larry Johnson’s back-up. LJ is a guy who has been beat up the last few seasons, but his back-up is not really someone i will go out of my way to draft…. Seattle rookie full back and Blurb fave Justin Forsett fell back to earth after a good preseason. Last night he only got 9 yards on 4 carries, caught on pass and lost a fumble. He’s #3 here, though I still think down the road a few seasons, he may prove to be a guy who can start… I don’t buy the Rudi Johnson trade rumors out of ESPN. First off, Chris Mortenson (who I have all the respect in the world for) seems to have been off his game this year. Aside from the Favre story, we’ve seen him throw out some real hum-dingers (Miami trading Ronnie Brown anyone?). But beyond that, who is going to take Johnson and for what? He’s been hurt since the jump last season and we’ve yet to see him in preseason. And with Chris Perry being a walking injury time bomb, Kenny Irons gone and very little behind them (Kenny Watson and………?) can they afford to dump hinm? And for a ‘quality wide receiver’? They could use some shoring up at WR, but I don’t know who will be a guy they can get when Rudi is a big question mark and Shaun Alexander, Cedric Benson and others sit out there who might be cheaper and healthier. Of course, who really wants Benson? As I have said, between the injuries and the O-line questions, I have avoided the running backs here all Draft season and will continue to look elsewhere for my #2,s 3 or bench depth…. Speaking of Ronnie Brown, he and Ricky Williams are splitting reps in practice – exactly what we said would happen. Williams hasn’t proved he can still carry a whole season and Brown is still coming along from his injury. Both are good RB3s.

OK, folks – that’s it for now – will be back with more later!

Keep sending those draft questions to – been responding to them since I got back Sunday night and will turn them around ASAP for you guys drafting up to the start of the season.

Orton wins Chicago Starting Quarterback Job

According the Chicago Sun-Times, Kyle Orton will be the Bears’ Opening Day quarterback.

Which only tells you which Chicago QB you should not be drafting. Orton looked better than Grossman so far, but his yards per pass is awful and he doesn’t bring much upside to the table.

Still, he’s the guy right now and it should merely remind us that at the end of the day, Chicago will struggle to give us any fantasy value through the air. Hester and Greg Olson might break out, but I would suggest staying away. Even Matt Forte is shaky when he’s going to face stacked run D’s all season.

More later, but thought you might like the breaking news…

Steve Smith on the Block?

This is via ESPN, so take it for what it’s worth. Last year they had – in my opinion – a horrible track record for these little ‘Inside News Blurbs’. They just kept pushing the same stories over and over until they stuck.

This year seems better but I always throw the caveat out there anyway.

According to them, the Carolina Panthers are reportedly fed up with Smith’s antics and are interested in moving him. He’d certainly move quick – teams would probably line up starting in Dallas and moving from there. Apparently the players were very angry with Smith and were going to punish Smith if the staff didn’t.

Again, take it FWIW – I’m going to keep my ear to the ground and see if I hear anything. But just play this up and see if you can get Smith to drop even further in your drafts. His value would depend upon where he went, but there are some teams he would blow up in, no doubt.